Prepare for a Job Interview in English

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Are you wondering how to prepare for a job interview in English? Many of our students are improving their English for work, whether it’s helping them advance at their current job or helping them find the next one. They use our online English classes to improve their grammar, vocabulary and accent to help them sound polished and professional.

Of course you know the basics of how to prepare for an interview in any language. Do your research on the company and industry… anticipate questions, etc. So instead, we thought to focus on helpful strategies that will give English learners a competitive edge and help them shine their brightest in interviews.

What is the interviewer’s goal?  

Before we get into those helpful tips, let’s start by considering what companies are looking for in their next hire. Of course they want employees who are knowledgeable, qualified and have experience. Consider this… much of this information is presented in your resume or CV. So if you are invited to interview, the company’s goal is to evaluate more than what’s on your resume. So what are these other things interviewers are evaluating?

Here is an example from our company Lingoloop. When we hire English tutors, we won’t ask them to an interview unless we see they are experienced and qualified. So when we interview them, we want to focus on answering the following questions:

Do I trust this person?

Is this someone I want to hang out with?

It’s a short list of questions right? 🙂 To us, once we see that someone is capable, the most important success factors are trust and fit. With that in mind, here are five tips to help you through your next interview in English:

Keep it simple

If you’ve read our other blog posts about improving your English speaking, you already know this! Far too often, English learners get tongue-tied when they try to cram multiple thoughts into a sentence. A longer sentence is not necessarily a better one. If you speak simply, you’ll be easier to understand. 

Also, try your best to only answer the question being asked. English learners can get tongue-tied when they overcomplicate a response. Take a breath. Resist the urge to say more than you need to and you’ll come across sounding more organized.

Don’t worry about making mistakes

It’s natural to make mistakes when speaking. Even native English speakers do it. Don’t let your mistakes trip you up. If you make a mistake just move on. Remember, personality fit and likeability are oftentimes the most important thing in an interview. 

Positive vibes

Apart from your English, don’t forget to communicate with your body language and mood! It is important to portray positivity during your job interview. Show them that you are the right person for the job by being upbeat and cheerful. Smiling is contagious:) It will help you create a positive dynamic with your interviewer.

Strengths and weaknesses

It’s always a good idea to prepare for certain questions. Good or bad, the “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” question is a classic one. There’s no perfect way to answer this question, but here is a strategy. 

For the strengths, what are things that you can do that would make the company (or team) stronger? Frame your strengths as ways you can help your new company and your answer will seem more compelling.

For the weaknesses, less is more:) Reframe the question as “What are the challenges ahead in this new job?” so that it’s less about your perceived personal weaknesses. Discuss how you think you’ll be able to overcome them so that you end up talking more about your strengths!

Don’t forget to ask questions 

At the end of an interview, most times your interviewer will ask “Do you have any questions?” Always ask a few questions when given the opportunity. Asking good questions: 1) shows you are interested in the job, 2) allows you to demonstrate your analytical skills and 3) gives you an opportunity to bond with your interviewer. You are more likely to get the job if your interviewer likes you. A thoughtful question can help you seal the deal.

Need help preparing for interviews?

As we said before, most students use Lingoloop to help them improve their English for their careers. Want to practice interview skills with an expert tutor? Try Lingoloop… you won’t believe what our students are saying about us.

 

Cuter or More Cute?: Comparative Adjectives

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When you are comparing the cuteness of two things, is it correct to say one is more cute or cuter? If you’re thinking it depends on how cute the items are, you are… WRONG! The answer is that “cuter” is correct. It seems like both could be correct, but there is actually a grammar rule. It has to do with something called comparative adjectives.

 

What’s a Comparative Adjective?

Better Faster Stronger Daft Punk GIFs | Tenor

A comparative adjective is the form of an adjective used to compare two things. Think of words like harder, better, faster and stronger (Does that remind you of a song?). Let’s use some comparative adjectives in a sentence. For example:

 

“This mattress is definitely harder than the one we have at home.”

 

“Michael Jordan and Lebron James are both great players, but I like Lebron better.”

 

“Michelle ran faster than me in the last race.”

 

“I feel stronger than I did last year.”

 

For the most part, the rules of comparative adjectives are straightforward. If we are talking about regular comparative adjectives, all you have to do is consider the number of syllables (we’ll discuss the difference between regular and irregular comparative adjectives later). 

 

If it is a one syllable adjective, just add “er.”

 

Adjective Comparative
loud louder
soft softer
round rounder
tall taller

 

If it is a regular two syllable adjective, in most cases you can either add “er” to the end or use “more” before the adjective. If you are modifying an adjective that ends in “y” change the “y” to “i” before adding the “er.” See below:

 

Adjective Comparative
happy happier or more happy
crunchy crunchier or more crunchy
narrow narrower or more narrow
simple simpler

 

Got an adjective with three or more syllables? It’s best to just add “more” before the word.

 

Adjective Comparative
exciting more exciting
gigantic more gigantic
reputable more reputable
dangerous More dangerous

 

What’s an Irregular Comparative Adjective?

So of course there is an exception to the rule. After all this is the English language. Rules were meant to be broken! So there’s a category of adjectives (irregular) that don’t follow the typical (or regular) rules of comparative adjectives. Here is a short list of the major ones:

 

Adjective Comparative
much / many more
far further / farther
bad worse
good better

 

So, how much have you learned today? Have you learned more than you thought? I hope you thought it was a good article. I don’t think we could have done a better job!

 

Well I hope  we didn’t confuse you too much:) Now that you know to use “cuter ” instead of “more cute,” do you have other grammar questions? If you want to perfect your English grammar, sign up a Lingoloop free trial class. Meet with one of our qualified teachers today. During the trial class we’ll assess your speaking skills and develop a plan to help you feel good speaking English!

 

 

English Prepositions Quiz by Lingoloop

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Knowing how to use English prepositions is key to becoming a fluent English speaker. Before we get to the Lingoloop Prepositions Quiz, do you even know what a preposition is? Let’s review!

A preposition is a word (usually a small one) that is used to show a relationship between a noun and a pronoun in a sentence. Common prepositions include the following words: “to”, “at”, “by”, and “of.”

Even though these are little words, English learners can struggle with the right way to use them. Take our Prepositions Quiz below to see how much you know!

 

How did you do on the Prepositions Quiz?

Hopefully it wasn’t too bad!

Like we said before, knowing the proper way to use prepositions can really take your English fluency to the next level. Want to practice your prepositions with our Expert tutors? Click here to sign up for a Lingoloop free trial class!

To be or not to be: the grammar quiz

 

It is, what it is… the verb “to be”

 

Our Lingoloop students tell us that the verb “to be” is the most complicated verb there is. It’s true! There are many rules and forms of the verb depending on the subject, verb tense etc. Truthfully though, “to be” is complicated in most languages, not just English.

If you have a moment give our simple “to be” grammar quiz a try. These are some pretty common uses, so it shouldn’t be too tricky. Can you get a perfect score?


We hope you got them all right! Whatever your score, if English is your second language and you want to improve your ability to speak it confidently, sign up for a Lingoloop Free Trial Class to learn more about the Lingoloop method and why our students love it!

The Battle of English vs. Math (the 1 rabbit 6 elephants riddle)

English vs. Math riddle

 

At Lingoloop we care very much about words. Words are important… even when you are doing Math! Take for example this simple (yet complicated) riddle. It is sometimes described as “the battle of English and Math” or “the 1 rabbit 6 elephants question.” Some versions even have 9 elephants:)

 

1 rabbit saw 6 elephants while going to the river.

Every elephant saw 2 monkeys going towards the river.

Every monkey holds 1 parrot in their hands.

 

How many animals are going towards the river?

 

Take some time to think and then scroll down for the correct answer.

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The battle of English vs. Math… who wins?

 

If you answered “5” you are CORRECT! Let’s break it down:

 

Sentence 1: 1 rabbit saw 6 elephants while going to the river.

In sentence 1, there are 7 animals, but only 1 (the rabbit) is going to the river. The word while is modifying rabbit, not elephants. Think about it this way: if we changed the sentence to: ”The rabbit saw a plane while going to the river.” we would not say that the plane was going to the river. 

 

Sentence 2: Every elephant saw 2 monkeys going towards the river.

Since we see the word every, we know that all of the elephants saw 2 monkeys going towards the river. The trick here is that sometimes people assume that each of the 6 elephants saw 2 discretely different (or separate) monkeys. The sentence does not say that, so we cannot make that assumption. All we know for sure is that 2 monkeys are going towards the river.

 

Sentence 3: Every monkey holds 1 parrot in their hands.

This isn’t that tricky as long as you know the right number of monkeys! So if there are 2 monkeys going to the river, there must only be 2 parrots if every monkey is holding just 1 parrot.

 

1 rabbit + 2 monkeys + 2 parrots = 5 animals

So as you can see… every word counts! Very simple words can have a dramatic effect on meaning. Even native English speakers can struggle with communication if they don’t choose their words carefully. 

Are you struggling with getting your point across? Or maybe you are having trouble listening to what people are saying. If you need to improve your English communication skills, try Lingoloop. Sign up for a Lingoloop free trial class to get your English skills assess by an expert tutor!

Common grammar mistakes that native English speakers make

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Guess what? Even native English speakers make grammar mistakes when speaking their own language! So if you are learning English as a second language (or foreign language), don’t feel so bad about making mistakes. As we say in our Lingoloop online English classes… nobody is perfect!

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Here is our list of common English grammar mistakes that even native English speakers make:

 

Should have vs. should of

 

Have you ever heard someone say “should of” in a sentence? Well, they are wrong. What they mean is “should have.” The tricky thing is that they both sound kind of similar. That’s why people get it wrong! If you say “I should of studied harder in school.” people will absolutely agree with you:)

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Effect vs. affect

 

Again these two words are easy to mix up since they sound so similar. “Affect” is usually a verb and it means to make something change. “Effect” is usually a noun and it means the result of change. Here are some common ways the two words are used.

 

“Adding more cold water will affect the timing of the recipe.”

“What effect do you think adding cold water will have on the timing of the recipe?”

 

“He was really affected by that movie.”

“I think that movie will have a positive effect on people.”

 

By accident vs. on accident

 

Have you ever said “on accident” by accident? I don’t know how it started, but native English speakers definitely do this all the time. The fix is easy… just don’t do it! Always use “by accident” instead. 

 

It’s vs. its

 

This is more of a writing mistake, but still very tricky. Normally using an apostrophe “s”  (or ‘s) indicates possession. For example, “That is Mom’s coffee mug.” or “Where is Pete’s jacket?” As most of you know, adding an “s” to the end of a noun usually indicates plural (or more than one) like “Look at all those dogs.” However, when it comes to the word “it” the rules are completely different. The word “it’s” is short for “it is” and the word “its” is the possessive form. See the examples below:

 

“The cat licked its paws.”

“It’s a shame that we missed the beginning of the show.”

 

Intents and purposes vs. intensive purposes

 

Have you ever heard someone say “intensive purposes?” It sounds really urgent right? Well, what they really mean is “intents and purposes.” When someone says “For all intents and purposes” they mean in every practical sense or in most ways. For example:

 

“For all intents and purposes, regular exercise is a good thing.”

“San Francisco, for all intents and purposes, is just as expensive as New York City.”

 

One and the same vs. one in the same

 

Ugh… here’s another phonetical mistake that native English speakers get wrong all the time. The correct phrase is “one and the same.” When you use this phrase you mean that two things are alike. For example:

 

“This year’s model is no different than last year’s. They are nearly one and the same.”

 

Case in point vs. case and point

 

You say “case in point” when you want to emphasize a supporting fact of your argument. For example: 

 

“Ruby hates vegetables. Case in point, she didn’t eat any of her carrots tonight.”

“All dogs chase love to chase cats. My neighbor’s dog is a case in point.”

 

You say “case and point” when you forget that you meant “case in point.” Just kidding! 

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Couldn’t care less vs. could care less

 

My wife makes this mistake all the time! She’s from the South, so maybe it’s a Southern thing:) The right phrase is “couldn’t care less.” The idea is that you absolutely don’t care! You can’t care any less because you are at zero level of caring. For example:

 

“I couldn’t care less about what he thinks! I have no respect for him.”

“That dog couldn’t care less about obeying his owner’s commands.”

 

He did well vs. he did good

 

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a native English speaker get this wrong. Often times, people say “he (or she) did good,” knowing that they are making a mistake. I think saying someone “did good” has become a casual way of expressing it. People think they are being cute when they say things like: 

 

“The team played hard today. They played good.”

 

But really they should say:

 

“The team played hard today. They played well.”

 

Want to know more examples of common grammar mistakes? Come try a Lingoloop online English class. Practicing real English conversations with our expert tutors is going to improve your skills and boost your confidence quickly. Sign up today!

 

Contractions: When You Can and When You Can’t

Contractions are the same as their longer forms, just shorter!

Contractions are wonderful, and we use them when speaking English all the time.

We don’t often hear: “I am going to the store later, but I cannot take you with be because you will need time to do your homework.”

Even when we read it, it sounds like a robot!  You’re more likely to hear: “I’m going to the store latter, but I can’t take you because you’ll need time to do your homework.”

How do contractions work?  In one of three ways:

Don’t do it!
  1. Negative contractions

Negative contractions are for when we need to use the “no” version of something.  The “not” part of the sentence gets pushed together, usually with a helping verb, and we exchange the “o” for an apostrophe [‘].  Negative contractions are words like:

  • Can not = Can’t
  • Do/Did not = Don’t/Didn’t
  • Would not = Wouldn’t
  • Could not = Couldn’t
  • Will not = Won’t
  • Should not = Shouldn’t
  • Might not = Mightn’t

Even though you see a lot of modal verbs in this list, there is no “may not” contraction: just say “That may not work” and use both words.

We’re going shopping, and she’s getting a new dress!

2. Be-verb Contractions

You probably heard a be-verb contraction before you even knew what a contraction was!  These are very common, and we use them all the time.  They give us words like:

  • I am = I’m
  • You are = You’re
  • She/he is = She’s/He’s
  • We are = We’re
  • They are = They’re

Be-verb contractions are only used for present tense verbs.  There is no “I was = I’s” contraction.

I’d love to go on an adventure! I’ve never been on an adventure before!

3. Helping verb contractions

Helping verbs like “have” and “will” and modal verbs like “would”, “could”, or “should” can be contracted with their subjects.  Be careful though!  Sometimes they can look the same, so be sure to read the whole sentence before you decide which verb has been contracted!

  • I would = I’d
  • Also: I had = I’d
  • You have = You’ve
  • She will = She’ll

Remember that usually* you can only use one contraction per subject.  “I have not” does NOT become “I’ven’t“.

* The only exception to this is “would + have”, which can sometimes be contracted in speaking to “She’d’ve”, for example:

She would have gone home, but she was having too much fun! 
She’d’ve gone home, but she was having too much fun!

Remember, only use this double-contraction in speaking, and try to avoid it in writing!

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Want to learn more about how contractions can help you feel more confident speaking English?  Contact LingoLoop today to speak with a tutor!

 

How Should I Order My Adjectives?

One of the hardest things about English is knowing the correct way to order adjectives in a sentence. Sometimes we need more than one adjective to describe something. We may even need more than two or three adjectives to give an accurate description. Is it a big, brown, fuzzy bear or is it a brown, fuzzy, big bear? To the untrained ear, these examples may sound similar, but if you are a native English speaker one definitely sounds weird!

Ordering adjectives is a common pain point for most English learners. You may be asking yourself “What is the right order of adjectives in a sentence?” There is a solution.

Using multiple adjectives to describe something

Let’s look at an example. Imagine there are three cars:

  • All three cars are silver
  • One car is old, and two are new
  • One of the new cars is German, and the other is American

If I ask, “Which car is yours?” you would need more than one adjective to answer the question.

If you answered, “It’s the silver car,” I would be confused because there are three silver cars.

If you answered, “It’s the new silver car,” I would be confused because there are two new silver cars.

If you answered, “It’s the new silver German car,” I would not be confused because there is only one of those!

So, using more than one adjective can avoid confusion by creating a more specific answer.

When in doubt, NOSASCOMP

When we use more than one adjective, we can remember how we order them with the acronym: N.O.S.A.S.C.O.M.P (it kind of sounds like “nose-as-comp”).

Number
Opinion
Size
Age
Shape
Color
Origin
Material
Purpose

So, for example, let’s take an easy noun, like “desk”. You might have:

Number – one
Opinion – ugly
Size – big
Age – old
Shape – round
Color – brown
Origin – American
Material – wooden
Purpose – classroom
………………..desk!

We almost never need more than three adjectives to describe something, but it’s good to know the order we should put them in if we do.

 

The trickiest part about ordering adjectives

Most problems occur with the last three types of adjectives: Origin, Material, and Purpose.

Origin is where the noun comes from. Maybe you have a “Swiss watch” or a “Korean cell phone” or a “German car.”

Material is what the noun is made of. Maybe it’s a “metal chair” or a “porcelain dish” or a “plastic toy.”

Purpose is what we use the noun for. Sometimes, this adjective becomes so important we actually add it to the noun: this is where we get words like “teacup” (a cup used for tea) or “bathroom” (the room you go to for a bath). So you might have a “paint brush”, or a “coffee mug” or “snow boots.”

Origin, material, and purpose can be tricky because all of these things can be nouns on their own.

Try to remember: when one word describes another, the word that IS is the noun, and the word that DESCRIBES is the adjective. Do you have boots, or do you have snow? You have boots, but they are made for the snow. So, you have “snow boots.”

 

Need help with more than adjectives?

By the way, the answer to the question above is B. “Beautiful” is an opinion, “new” is an age, and “silver” is a color. Did you get it right?

Knowing the right order of adjectives is just one aspect of mastering conversational English. If you need help with your English skills for work or life in general, try Lingoloop online English classes. Use Zoom to connect with our expert teachers over video chat. After just a few classes you’ll be on your way to feeling good about your English.

Click HERE to try sign up for a free trial class today!

What’s a Gerund?

Learn English Online Gerunds

Although the term “gerund” may sound unfamiliar, we use them in English everyday.

A gerund is simply a verb that acts as a noun.

Gerunds are fairly easy to find because they always end in “ing

Here are a few examples –

 

Learning English is hard.

I enjoy running.

John likes singing in the choir.

Have you ever thought about flying an airplane?

In each of these examples, the words ending in “ing” are acting as nouns, not verbs.

 

Can you find the gerunds in these sentences? (Hint: some of the words that end in “ing” are verbs, not gerunds!)

I go swimming every summer.

Driving a car is difficult.

Thinking about reading makes me tired.

She is enjoying baking.

 

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