About Cecilia

I am Cecilia McGuire from Glasgow, Scotland. I worked in the arts before becoming an English teacher and Communications trainer in Sri Lanka, Andalucia (Spain) and Vietnam. I'm now back in Edinburgh, enjoying long-distance online work for LLV.

How To Make Smoother Conversation

Learn to speak English fluently at Language Link VietnamQuestions are a terrific way of opening talk up. After all, we often open conversations with easy questions – How are you doing? Hey, how’s it going?

Today I want you to think about some techniques for making communication go more smoothly. About that…and about tennis.

Think of conversation like a friendly table tennis match: I hit a question to you; you hit me an answer right back. But you need to be relaxed about this. You don’t want to sound as if you’re a policeman questioning a suspect!

Here’s how to promote ‘give and take’ when you talk to someone. The secret is: be aware of question tags, and how they’re used in conversation.inflatable football tunnel

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Making Sense of Tenses

Learn more about grammar at Language Link VietnamUgh, grammar. Does anybody like grammar? I sure don’t. However, if you want to learn English properly, you can’t ignore the basics. And grammar is a BIG basic!

This is the first article in what we hope will be a series of monthly posts on grammar. We’re going to take one grammatical headache each month and shed a little light on how you can make it work.

Understanding Time
One of the key points about English is that for every verb we use, for every action we describe, we need to be clear about WHEN it happens. English language learners often say things like:

I go Lenin Park.

This drives listeners crazy. WHEN DOES THE ACTION OCCUR? Did you go in the past? Do you go every week? Are you planning to go next weekend? You must make the time clear: is it past, present, or future? Your listener NEEDS to know.

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Three Tips for Turning Mistakes Into Opportunities

Learn to speak English confidently at Language Link Vietnam
Is it necessary to get English correct every time?

The short answer is NO! Speaking English correctly every time is a great goal, but it can give students a problem – especially when speaking English.

The problem is that too many students are scared of getting something wrong and this shuts them up. Bad move. Don’t be scared of making mistakes when you speak. You don’t have to be right all the time – you only need to communicate.

Here are three tips that will help you speak with confidence, even if your English skills are not 100%.

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Five Reading Skills for Academic and Professional Success

Improve your reading skills at Language Link VietnamWhy do you read in English? Do you do it for pleasure? For work? Or do you read because you need to answer a question – from your teacher or on an English test? For many students, this last reason is most common.

People use different reading skills for different situations. For example, if you’re bored and looking through a magazine, you’re going to read differently than if you’re trying to answer questions on the IELTS.

In this post, we’re going to look at the kind of reading you do when you’re taking a test, such as IELTS or TOEFL. Understanding the kinds of questions you’re going to be asked will help you understand the strategies you need to answer them.

To put it another way, knowing why you’re reading can help you understand how to read.

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Listening’s Easy, Right?

Listening is supposed to be easy, isn’t it? Actually, it’s not. Hearing’s easy; listening is waaaayyyyy more difficult.

First off, it’s exhausting! Until you are an advanced student – and sometimes not even then – the effort to listen can be very tiring. You have to concentrate very hard. After awhile, it becomes easy to shut off your mind. And this is not useful…or polite to the person who’s talking.

Fear not! You can train yourself to listen more productively. You can learn to focus.

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Reading is Everywhere

Many students think of reading as a classroom activity. But you can read anywhere! First, let’s look at why reading is a good thing:

  1. You discover new English words (vocabulary)
  2. You notice how sentences work in English (grammar)
  3. You recognize the rhythm of English sentences, and notice when things don’t “sound” right
  4. You can find out about other cultures
  5. You feel confident about your reading skills!

Here are some easy tips for getting better at reading.

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