Expector Smith's Posts (219)

Why are those blogs featured?

Yes, a blog mod or the admin may try to feature some of the blogs posted here every day.

You may have wondered why your blogs failed to be featured or why some of the blogs are featured!

A blog mod may tend to feature the blogs that are readable, interesting, with few or no grammar mistakes. Yes, you bet the blogs must be written by MyEC members themselves, not copied from the Internet or plagiarized. Featured blogs may not be related to English learning or teaching but there are some taboos (sex, curses, ads, etc).

You should refrain from writing blogs about politics or religion. You don't need to be a native English speaker, though it's true that so many blogs written by native speakers are featured.

It's up to the blog mods or the admin to choose the blogs to feature, though - it may sound unfair:)

I suggest you keep writing, even though none of your blogs is/are featured - the more you write, the better your English will be.

Keep blogging!

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Onee, the other blog moderator

OneeYes, Onee is now a blog moderator. Congratulations!

It makes sense we have an additional blog moderator -  there are so many blogs posted here on MyEC every day, and sometimes I have difficulty adding comments or moderating blogs.

Onee has been an active member here - she enjoys reading and commenting on blogs, and she has also published a lot of interesting blogs. I really appreciate it!

So, I'm sure Onee will make a great moderator. Do you think so?

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Add Comment - Technical Help

Yes, I've been having difficulty adding comments. You may have experienced the same issue.

It may have something to do with NING by which MyEC is powered - it seems NING has always been making some changes here.

Sometimes I need to click on the 'Add Comment' twice or more times before I can see the comment. It can be so frustrating, though - I hope everything will be back on track again!

That's why I suggest you 'strike while the iron is hot' - in other words, I suggest you enjoy writing blogs or adding comments when there's no technical problem like this.

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I bet you know what I'm trying to convey. Yes, I mean you can try to express the same idea in English with a different way, instead of the way that you may think is the only natural or right way.

For example, you can use 'amazing', 'excellent', 'fantastic', 'terrific', 'well down' or 'good job', instead of 'good' or 'nice'. You can say 'an extremely hot day' instead of 'a sweltering day' if you can't remember the word 'sweltering', which is what you really want to use.

It can be so monotonous, dull or boring to use the same thing all the time - that is to say, you should try to change from time to time when you are writing or speaking. You can use another word, sentence structure, expression or a synonym instead - don't repeat the same one again and again.

The thing (or the problem) is, you are not always so sure if an expression is as natural or acceptable as the one you are familiar with. You may tend to use what is said or used by native English speakers - you may think it's safe to do that.

You have to risk making mistakes, though, because you can't make sure every sentence you made is natural. Chances are, you've been helping create sentences or exprssions that are never used by native speakers - you should try to make sentences that are at least grammatically correct when in doubt.

Be creative or confident - try to express whatever you're trying to say the way that comes to mind.

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I can't imagine life without MyEC

Yes, I'm so addicted to blogs here on MyEC - I bet you can tell, can't you?

For me, no day is complete without checking on the blogs! I enjoy being the blog moderator of MyEC - such an honour! As the blog mod, I'm supposed to keep an eye on the blogs. 

Most of the time, the Blogs are so enjoyable or inviting, though sometimes the Blogs are not so comfortable - lots of spams, ads for 'essays' or 'dissertations'. 

I enjoy reading blogs and comments. You may have noticed that some of the blogs were not written by experienced bloggers, but they had a good idea and you can tell they were trying to express themselves in a language that was not their mother tongue. I truly appreciate it!

In addition to encouraging other members to write more, I've published a large number of blogs here - I hope you enjoyed some of them. I'll be so flattered if you say my blogs have helped you improve your writing skills:)

Bear in mind that it takes a lot of time and effort to be fluent in English. Keep learning, blogging and commenting here, and I hope you'll agree it's worth it!

I can't imagine life without MyEC. How about you? 

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Short blogs with a lot of comments

Yes, what I'm trying to say is, it will be more enjoyable if MyEC is full of short blogs, on which a lot of comments are added. 

Why short blogs? It seems nowadays people tend to read what is short - they no longer enjoy lengthy articles or blogs. It takes time to read something long, but they can't find the time to read among the hustle and bustle

Then, why a lot of comments? It's no fun writing blogs with no or only a few comments added - the blogger will be so disheartened or disappointed or discouraged that they will lose interest in writing.

So, why not try to comment on any blog you just read? Don't miss any chance to practise writing. Most of the time, you don't really need to write a blog or article - you may just want to leave a comment on them to communicate with others, though.

Chances are, you'll perform very well in the chat room if you're good at writing comments. Comments are everywhere - people keep commenting, whether here on MyEC or on their smartphone. 

Let's comment, comment, comment!

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Yes, I'm trying to say that a blog may occur if you really know what you want to share or express. 

A blog is just about what you really want to tell us or talk about.

You may want to share an interesting story or experience; you may want to express an idea or feeling; you may want to tell us you are trying to understand what just happened, or you may want to talk about something so popular yet controversial.

Three things should be kept in mind when you try to write:

First, the title of your blog should be clear or concise enough - that is to say, we'll know what you want to convey just by reading the title. 

Second, try to tell your story in just a couple of paragraphs. Be careful, short paragraphs are preferred or reader-friendly. No one really enjoys lengthy paragraphs. 

Last but not least, try to make it clear what's your attitude to what you just shared - are you for or against it?

So, it can be so easy to write a blog.

Don't try to write, though, if your mind is a blank or when you aren't so sure what to write. 

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Yes, a smartphone is a mobile phone that can be used as a small computer.

A smartphone that connects to the Internet can be so versatile that you don't really need a desktop or laptop. It seems eveybody here in China has such a smartphone - they read, watch or write on their phone whenever they have leisure or spare time, whether on the underground or metro, or in the line or queue, or even walking. 

That is to say, they have spent so much time learning or playing on their phone. They no longer use their computer that much. The thing is, a smartphone may not be that user-friendly when you are trying to read or write on a social networking website such as MyEC. So, it may have something to do with the smartphone that the number of blogs published here on MyEC each week or month has been dropping.

I, too, have got a smartphone and enjoyed it so much - no day is complete without finishing all the routine activities on my phone. Nevertheless, I can find the time to read and write on my laptop instead of smartphone, especially when I need to write a blog on MyEC or leave a comment on a blog by other members. Sometimes I'm just not so sure what to write. 

That said/Having said that, I could have written more blogs but for my smartphone. Obviously, if you really want to improve your English-writing skills, you need to spend more time reading or writing on MyEC on a computer that is more reader- or writer-friendly than a small hand phone. 

'have something to do with'  =  'something is related to something else'

'but for' = 'something would have happened if something had not prevented it'

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One blog per week

Yes, I mean we should try to write at least one blog each week - the more the better, though.

It makes sense because only when you write can you know you still need to make an effort to learn English - chances are, you'll still make mistakes when writing in English. It may seem there is nothing more to learn when you don't write. 

Why not write one right now while you're still here or still hanging out on MyEC? I assume you may have run out of ideas - you're not sure what to write; you're still afraid of making mistakes, or you may even have tried to write something perfect or flawless; or you don't think you can express yourself clearly when you do have an idea for a blog. 

If that's the case for you, you're not alone - most of us may have tried to write one but failed to, just because of the aforementioned reasons. Unfortunately, the best way to improve is to practic/se - there's no shortcut. 

In fact, English can be used to express any idea effectively or nicely, just as your mother tongue does. Try to write more and appreciate English's charm. So, why not write a blog now to see how well you can use it, with all the new words you just learned somewhere else?

Yes, I suggested you write when you really feel like writing, but you may lose interest in writing if you don't keep doing it. I suggest you write one blog a/per week!

Tell me why you have failed to write one - I'm looking forward to reading your blog soon!

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Yes, 'but' can be followed by an infinitive without 'to', when 'but' means 'except', for example, 'We did nothing but read the book', or 'There is nothing to do but take a rest'.

You can say 'I can't (help) but laugh', instead of 'I can't help laughing'. 

However, 'no choice/alternative' can be followed by the 'to'-infinitive, so you say 'I have no choice but to quit'.

You need to use the 'to'-infinitive when 'but' doesn't mean 'except', for instance, 'Our goal isn't to pass the quize, but to be fluent in English'.

By the way, some other words, such as 'and', 'or', 'except', 'than', 'as', or 'like', can be followed by an infinitive without 'to'. You can say 'It's easier to encourage others to do it than do it yourself' or 'You can do something useful like teach them English'. 

You could make a sentence by using the pattern [but + (to) infinitive] in the comments!

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I bet you still miss Tara

Yes, Tara is no longer the administrator of MyEC, but she never really leaves MyEC. Did you notice 'English Club Latest'? Yes, that's where you can 'Listen to News'!

I've noticed so many members here mentioned Tara in their blogs, which may imply they still miss her. They have reason to do so. Tara is a great teacher - we have learned a lot from and enjoyed her writing. You may find yourself still using some of the words or expressions Tara loves using, such as 'cheers', 'amazing', 'come and go', etc. Yes, what she did here was inprinted on our memory. What impressed you most?

To my surprise, Tara commented on my blog this morning encouraging us to keep blogging. It really made my day! Tara is still here, just as Josef and other teachers and active members are. So, don't be so sad when a member leaves MyEC - you just keep learning here. In fact, you are not alone - Expector is still learning here on MyEC!

I bet you still miss Tara, don't you?

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Yes, I have noticed some of our active members have left MyEC. The thing is their English still needs improving; that is, they quit too early. 

Our members have reason to leave or stay. Some members may have left just because they tired of learning English here. It can be so frustrating when you find your English hasn't improved so much as you may have expected. It takes a lot of time and effort to master English, though - having learned English a long time doesn't mean you have a mastery of English. Chances are, you'll still make mistakes when you speak English or write in it. 

Some may have felt they were not popular any longer with other members here. They may have found themselves getting no comments on their wall or blogs - their blogs were not featured any more or other members failed to read or leave a comment on what they just wrote. 

They may have noticed some of the active members left and they may have wondered if something was wrong with MyEC. However, they should have known most of the members are still here - our active members just come and go!

In fact, MyEC is still one of the most attractive places where you can learn or improve your English. That is why some of our active members have returned after leaving a peroid of time. We need MyEC, as MyEC does! 

Why leave MyEC while you're still making mistakes when writing in English or while you still have difficulty writing something grammatically correct, while you don't really want to give up so early or while English proficiency is still your concern? 

Why not keep writing blogs or adding inspiring comments on blogs by other members? You deserve something better than leaving unsatisfied!

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Try guessing the meaning of the word

Yes, I mean you could try guessing the meaning of a word that is unfamiliar to you. In fact, that is one of the reading skills. That is, you can try to understand what a sentence or paragraph means without looking up the unfamiliar words in the dictionary. 

Try guessing the meaning of the words highlighted in bold:

1. 'The patient's care may be jeopardized, and the patient may be harmed.'

2. 'The health professional has a right to financial remuneration from the patient.'

3. 'No one at that time could have predicted the tumultuous changes in health care.' 

Although you may not be familiar with the three highlighted words, you may have guessed what they mean. Yes, the meaning of 'jeopardized' is similar to that of 'harmed'; 'remuneration' may mean money or something related to 'finance'; 'tumultuous' changes may mean great or exciting changes. 

So you can guess the meaning of an unfamiliar word in the context. That is to say, you don't need to look up every unfamilar word you encounter - don't stop your reading just because you need to consult a dictionary for the meaning of a new or rarely-used word. 

It makes sense because you don't need to recognize every word in a blog or article. Chances are you'll fail to recognize the word next time even though you have looked it up in a dictionary. Don't try to memorize all the new words, some of which you may come across just once in a lifetime.

Avoid reading something that is full of such unfamilar words - it's no fun reading something which is too difficult for you. Sometimes, though, you have to guess the meaning of a word when you're taking an English test, during which you may not be allowed to look up words in a dictionary. It helps, though, if you know how to guess what a word means:))

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Blog Challenge: Sentence Structure

Yes, it makes sense to know sentence structure since a blog or an article is made of sentences - only when you can make sentences can you compose a piece of writing. 

Indeed, there are just 4 types of sentences: simple sentence, compound sentence, complex sentence, compound-complex sentence. For example:

1. Expector is a doctor. (simple sentence)

2. Expector is a doctor and he loves English. (compound sentence)

3. Expector, who is a doctor, is also a moderator of MyEC. (complex sentence)

4. Expector is a doctor and he is also a moderator of MyEC, where you can write blogs. (compound-complex sentence)

There are a large number of coordinating, subordinating conjunctions and relative pronouns that you can use to make a compound, complex or a compound-complex sentence. It's a good idea to use different kinds of sentences in your writing, which means you should vary your sentences.  

An example paragraph by Expector

Some members may argue that we shouldn't keep challenging our members to write. They think what really matters is what or how well our members write, not how many they can write. That is, quality is preferred to quantity. I wonder, however, whether they agree there is not a shortcut and more practice is necessary for anyone to excel at writing. Only when our members begin to write can they recognize that knowing all the grammar rules doesn't mean they can write skillfully. Besides, taking part in a writing or blog challenge makes it possible for others to read or even correct our members' blogs, from which they will benefit.

Sorry I used only the structure 'complex sentence' - please read a better example paragraph in the comments below. 

Why not give it a try - I'll correct you if you really mean 'correct me' by 'correction'!

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Yes, I'm going to talk about 'the passive of perfective verbs'. 

The passive or passive voice is formed with the different tenses of 'be' and the past particle of a verb, for example, we can say 'My bike was stolen'. You may wonder if you can say 'My bike is stolen'?

Good question! My answer is yes. If you use the past tense 'was', you're emphasizing the action - you mean your bike was stolen by someone, yesterday or any day in the past. When you say 'My bike is stolen', you just mean the 'result or state', and you may have to take the bus or by Metro to school or work, instead of biking. 

Yes, you can also say 'My bike has been stolen' instead of 'My bike is stolen'. They mean the same thing because the verb 'steal' is just such a 'perfective verb' - 'perfective verbs are verbs which refer to actions that produce a finished result'. 

So, you can say 'The problem is solved', instead of 'The problem has been solved'. More examples: 'The shop is closed', 'The house is destroyed', 'The website is blocked/banned', etc. 

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Yes, I'm talking about 'participle clauses'. Don't confuse 'participle' with 'particle', though - participle is the form of a verb that ends with '-ed' or '-ing'. 

Adjectival participle clauses are like relative clauses, for example, "Anyone trying to move the stone will get injured." (= Anyone who tries/is trying to move the stone will get injured.)

What I really want to convey, however, is that 'adjectival participle clauses can only be used to talk about actions that happen the same time as the main verb'. That is, participles can't be used when there is a time difference - perfect participles (having left, having lost, etc) are never possible in adjectival clauses.

So, you can say "Do you know the members who have just left MyEC?", but not "...the members having left...".

'Being' is not used in adjectival clauses either, except in passive verb constructions. You say 'the members being banned won't be welcomed back' - you don't say 'the members being active should help add comments on the blogs'.

In adverbial clauses, on the other hand, perfect participles can be used, and 'being' can be used in an active sense, for instance, "Having learned English for such a long time, I can understand it very well.", "Being an active member here, I'm supposed to leave a comment on the blog."

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Yes, I mean you shouldn't use any other language here. 

I know your first language is not English, and your first language or mother tongue may even be considered to be the most beautiful language in the world. Besides, you may be so good at it or you may think your language is so effective in expressing a complex or subtle thought. Nevertheless, don't be tempted to use it here on MyEC - since MyEC is a website created for you to learn or teach English.

If you can't write something in English, then don't write until you can. Be careful, anyone here who wants to improve English will find it intolerable for someone to write a blog or comment in a language rather than English. 

In fact, English can be used to express any idea effectively. Try to learn and use it!

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EC's ESL Forums

Yes, 'EC' is the abbreviation for 'Englishclub', while 'MyEC' stands for 'myEnglishclub'.

I used to spend so much time learning English on EC until 'MyEC' was created by EC's founder Josef Essberger- I really enjoyed the time spent on EC, which is probably the best website to learn English. 

I'd recommend EC's ESL Forums to you. Some of our members here may have already been so familiar with the forums - 'ESL' is the short form of 'English as a second language'. You can ask a question related to English learning in one of the forums, such as 'Grammar Help', 'Help Each Other with English'. Alan, EC's English teacher, will answer your questions about English Grammar there. 

So, don't forget to visit EC while you're enjoying MyEC, especially when you have some questions to ask about grammar or anything related to English learning or teaching. 

By the way, Expector (me) will try to give you some tips on English usage from time to time. And, some of the native English speaking members here, like Danny, may want to help you learn English here on MyEC. 

Nevertheless, I still suggest you ask Alan if you really want an authoritative answer to your question about English grammar. 

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Yes, you say 'the whole of London', not 'the whole London'. 

You should use 'the whole of', not 'the whole', before proper nouns and pronouns, for example, you say 'the whole of Europe', 'the whold of it', etc. 

So, if you say 'I've eaten the whole cake', I may ask 'Have you really eaten the whole of it?' - not 'the whole it'. 

You also use 'the whole of' before another determiner, such as 'my', 'this', 'the'. You say 'the whole of my life', 'the whole of the winter' or 'the whole of this course'. 

The word 'whole' can be so tricky to use. You can say 'a whole year', 'the whole afternoon' or 'my whole life' instead. 

Yes, you could use 'all of' instead of 'the whole of'. You can say 'all of London' or 'all of it'. You use 'all the' with uncountable nouns - you say 'all the advice', not 'the whole advice'. 

You could try to make some sentences by using the word 'whole'. I'll try to correct you if you really want me to correct the mistakes. 

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