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  • Hello and welcome everyone. This is Minoo at Anglo-Link.

  • First of all, I'd like to thank all of you who have posted comments and

  • questions for me on YouTube,

  • Facebook and on Anglo-Link's forum.

  • If you're watching this video on YouTube, and you would like to enable subtitles,

  • click on the button

  • at the bottom of this video.

  • Today, I've chosen some questions that you've posted for me on YouTube. There are a couple of

  • general questions and then a few specific questions that I will be answering.

  • Many of you have asked how you can improve your listening and speaking skills.

  • I have chosen three questions to read out for you.

  • Ricardo says: "I need to understand when I watch a movie.

  • What can I do?"

  • Hogiartha says:

  • "I really want to improve my English.

  • I'm not confident enough to use it

  • because I'm very embarrassed when I make mistakes while speaking.

  • Is there any advice for me?"

  • And, Ali Ismail says:

  • "I live in an Arabic country and there is no-one near me who can speak English,

  • but I need to practise it.

  • What can I do?"

  • Let's start with 'listening',

  • because I do believe that improving your listening will naturally improve your

  • speaking.

  • As I have said before,

  • in order to improve your listening, you have to do listening activities.

  • Now, there are two types of listening activities you can do:

  • global listening and detailed listening.

  • Global listening is when you just listen for the gist, for the main ideas.

  • I would recommend that you choose easy,

  • familiar, interesting

  • videos

  • or YouTube clips,

  • and just watch them without trying to understand every single word.

  • If it helps, you can watch

  • with subtitles, English subtitles first,

  • and then watch the same thing several times without subtitles. So, that's

  • global listening and it's really really important.

  • Now, the other activity you can do, which is also very useful, is detailed

  • listening, and that is when you

  • listen and write down everything that you hear.

  • It's a dictation or a transcription exercise. I have done a video for you on improving

  • your listening skills.

  • I recommend that you watch that first to know what are the difficulties that you

  • might encounter when doing transcription exercises,

  • and then do whatever transcription exercise you can find.

  • There are some videos in our channel that you can use. Now, as I said, improving

  • your listening will naturally improve your speaking.

  • But if you want to accelerate your speaking abilities, you need to work

  • specifically on your pronunciation and on assimilating the grammar, the

  • structures of the language.

  • Turning to speaking now.

  • As I've just said,

  • improving listening skills will naturally improve your speaking skills.

  • However, if you want to accelerate that,

  • what you need to do is to work on your pronunciation and on assimilating the

  • structures that you're learning. You can assimilate structures by repeating

  • phrases that include those structures. In order to help you with that, we have

  • introduced a certain level of membership on our website. It's called

  • Premium Plus membership

  • and that gives you access to the recording of all the exercises, the

  • questions and the answers.

  • So you can

  • listen and repeat

  • for your pronunciation and for assimilating the structures.

  • Right, now turning to Ali's and Hogiartha's questions about the

  • confidence to speak

  • and the opportunities to speak.

  • Once you have improved your pronunciation and your listening,

  • and you have assimilated structures,

  • it's time for you to go and use what you're learning.

  • Okay, it's true, you will be making mistakes,

  • but please don't be afraid of making mistakes.

  • Making mistakes gives you feedback on what you need to improve next.

  • Remember that English is not your mother tongue. You're learning it, and it's

  • absolutely normal

  • to be making mistakes. So, have confidence. Go out there and speak

  • and you will learn more.

  • As Ali says, sometimes, you may not have the opportunity in your immediate

  • environment to speak English.

  • In that case, I would strongly recommend that you find someone online to practise

  • with

  • and from time to time, occasionally,

  • have a lesson,

  • a 'small group' lesson

  • or a private lesson with a teacher face-to-face or online,

  • to get feedback on how you're doing,

  • what's good and what needs improving.

  • Okay then, let's move on to some specific language questions.

  • I have chosen three questions about conditionals.

  • The first question's from Elnur,

  • who says: "I was taught at university that there is actually a fith type of

  • conditional called mixed conditional.

  • Why didn't you include that in your tutorial?"

  • You're absolutely right, there is a mixed conditional, but it's not as common as the

  • other four, and that's why I didn't include it in the video on conditionals.

  • This conditional is when

  • the past action has a consequence in the present.

  • For example: "If I had seen him yesterday,

  • I wouldn't be here today."

  • So, the action is in the past, but the consequence is in the present.

  • Therefore, you have a mixture of the third conditional in the 'if' clause,

  • and the second conditional

  • in the 'consequence' clause.

  • Thank you for pointing that out.

  • The next question about the conditionals was about the second conditional,

  • and it comes from Robert,

  • who says:

  • "Can we swap 'were' for 'was' in conditional

  • No 2, or would it be wrong?

  • Some people regard it as correct and acceptable.

  • So, can we say: "if I was" instead of "if I were?"

  • Grammatically speaking, 'were' is the correct form. So, if you're taking an exam or

  • you're doing an interview, use 'if I were', 'if it were', 'if he were',

  • 'if she were'. Use 'were'.

  • Also, for me, if it's completely hypothetical

  • like in sentences:

  • "If I were you ..."

  • or "if I were twenty years younger ...", you should stick with 'were'.

  • In low probability situations like: "It's not a nice day. If it were

  • nicer, we would go out."

  • You could say:

  • "If it was nicer, we would go out." That's acceptable.

  • The last question on conditionals comes from Saad,

  • and it's about the third conditional, he says:

  • "Sometimes, I hear Americans use the past simple in the 'if' clause in the third

  • conditional,

  • where past perfect should be used.

  • For example:

  • If I had time last week,

  • I would have visited you.

  • Is that correct?"

  • Gramatically, it's not correct, but

  • in America, in American English, the third conditional is not always well-formed.

  • Sometimes, they use the past simple,

  • like in Saad's example.

  • And sometimes, they might even use 'would have done' twice. So, 'would have done'

  • in the 'if' clause

  • and 'would have done'

  • in the consequence clause, like "if I would have had time last week, I would have

  • visited you."

  • Personally, I would avoid this structure, but it's common and acceptable in America.

  • And the last question I'd like to deal with in today's video, is about the

  • futures.

  • I've had several questions about the futures from you because they are a little

  • tricky.

  • I'm going to read

  • Akhilesh's question for you.

  • He says: "In the sentence 'I will drive to work this time tomorrow.' we should use

  • 'will be driving'.

  • Why? Is it because it's a future arrangement without a specific time?

  • Please explain it to me."

  • I'd like to answer this question by reminding you of the usages of

  • the three future forms that are often confused with each other. One is

  • the 'Going to' Future:

  • 'I'm going to do.'

  • The other one is the Future Continuous: 'I will be doing'

  • And the other one is the Present Continuous used for the future: 'I am doing'

  • plus a future time marker.

  • Now, really in most situations,

  • all three are correct.

  • It's only when you want to insist on a specific connotation

  • that you need to separate them.

  • For example, if you want to show that you have an arrangement with someone, you

  • should use

  • 'I am doing'.

  • So, it would be something like "I am driving John to work

  • at eight o'clock tomorrow." That says that you have an appointment, an arrangement

  • with John.

  • If you want to say that you have made a decision, or you've made a plan, then

  • use 'I'm going to'.

  • "I'm going to drive to work tomorrow.