What is WorkinEnglish TOOLS

WorkinEnglish is an Italian-based language training company founded by professional language trainers who share an ideal way of passing their experience on to learners. What makes us different from the others is our know-how, our enthusiasm and our hands-on experience.

Monthly we publish the WorkinEnglish TOOLS magazine, which is sent to our client-companies as well as to those who have signed up to it through our website www.workinenglish.it.

To allow greater and easier access to the material we put together, we set up this blog. We hope you enjoy!

mercoledì 2 ottobre 2013

How to....- Rephrase a concept in a business environment.

Using language diplomatically can be a challenge, even when speaking our mother tongue, but it is especially difficult when speaking a foreign language since we often lack the appropriate vocabulary, and a knowledge of alternative grammatical structures.

1. Softeners

‘I’m afraid’ is commonly referred to as a ‘softener’, a linguistic tool used to soften the tone of our content or convey politeness when we speak. Softeners often occur at the beginning of a sentence to prepare us for bad news: I’m afraid, so sorry, to be honest, unfortunately, with all respect

·         To be honest, I think we need to rethink our marketing strategy.
·         With all respect, I don’t agree with what you just said.

2. Modal Verbs

Modal verbs such as would, could, may or might are great for softening a request or giving a command:

- I want more time to finish this presentation.

·         I could use more time to finish this presentation.
·         It would be nice to have more time to finish this presentation.

- Hand me the telephone, please.

·         Would you hand me the telephone, please?
·         Could you hand me the telephone, please?

3. Rephrasing a Negative Sentence

Negative sentences can be rephrased in order to make them appear more positive. Our very first sentence can be made even more diplomatic in this way:
- I’m afraid I haven’t finished the report.

·         I’m afraid I haven’t been able to finish the report yet.

Using ‘be able to’ here places emphasis on your attempt to finish the report rather than your failure to do so.
The addition of ‘yet’ at the end of the sentence reinforces the idea that you are still working on the report and it is almost completed.

Negative sentences that are formed with can’t and won’t make the speaker sound particularly negative and unhelpful and can often be rephrased with be able to, or a similar expression:

 -  I can’t give you a better deal than that.

·         I am not able to give you a better deal than that.
·         I am unable to give you a better deal than that.
·         I am not in a position to give you a better deal than that.

Similarly, affirmative sentences containing words with a negative meaning can be rephrased in order to soften the message and achieve a more indirect effect:
- I am unhappy with this agreement.

·         I am not entirely happy with this agreement.
·         I am not totally happy with this agreement.

Here the negative adjective unhappy is replaced with its positive counterpart happy, modified with an adverb such as entirely, totally or completely, and the sentence is changed to the negative form.

Of course, to achieve the best results we’ll need to combine these techniques to make sentences that contain several of these elements.

Grammar- Although/ Though / Despite / In Spite of

As conjunctionsalthough and though are interchangeable. Although is generally considered more formal than though, though both forms appear regularly in both formal and informal writing
In these examples, although and though are the same:
·         Growth in Europe is maintaining momentum, though the risks related to peripheral economies have increased. [Globe and Mail]
·         Although the birds are just a small part of his business, carefully raising the pheasants from delicate eggs to beautifully feathered birds is clearly a passion. [The Age]
After although/though we use a subject + verb:
·          Although it rained a lot, we enjoyed our holiday.
·          I didn't get the job although I had all the necessary qualifications.
 Though is also an adverb meaning however or nevertheless. In this sense, though is not interchangeable with although, which is only a conjunction.
In these examples, though is an adverb and hence not interchangeable with although:
·         People are spending less on entertainment.  This weekend, though, theaters were packed. [Los Angeles Times]
·         There was another twist to come, though, as Pavlyuchenkova defied her flagging fortunes to win three games in succession. [Independent]
In spite of and despite in meaning are basically the same.  After in spite of or despite, we use a noun, a pronoun (this/that/what etc.) or -ing:
·         I didn't get the job in spite of having all the necessary qualifications.
Compare although and in spite of / despite:

·         Although the traffic was bad. I arrived on time. (not in spite of the traffic was bad)
·         In spite of the traffic, I arrived on time. (not in spite of the traffic was bad)
·         I couldn’t sleep although I was very tired (not despite I was tired)

·         I couldn’t sleep despite being very tired (not despite I was tired)

sabato 21 settembre 2013

Joke - Write it down!

Better Write it Down....I always say!!

An elderly couple went to the doctor complaining about their memory
 loss. The doctor explained it is normal, and suggested they try and
 write things down.
In the evening the husband said, “I’m going to get something to snack on.
 Do you want something?”
“I’ll take some ice cream please,” said the wife.
He started off and she said, “Better write that down.”
He said, “No need.”
She added, “Put some strawberries on top, and write this down.”
He said, “No need.”
Again she added, “I need some nuts on that too. Better write it down.”
He gave her a look. Much later he returned with bacon and eggs. “I told you to write it down, ” she said, “...You forgot my toast!" 

martedì 27 agosto 2013

Joke - I'm the Boss

The boss was concerned that his employees weren’t giving him enough respect, so he tried and old fashioned method of persuasion: He brought in a sign that said “I’m the Boss” and taped it to his door. After lunch, he noticed someone had taped another note under his. “Your wife called. She wants her sign back!”

Quote - Fools...

A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.

~ Douglas Adams 

Buzzwords: Adminisphere

The upper levels of management where big, impractical, and
counterproductive decisions are made.

lunedì 26 agosto 2013

Quote- Up and Down...

Be nice to people on your way up because you meet them on your way down.
~ Jimmy Durante