By paying more attention to corruption can improve the welfare of a country.
Yet another Indonesian structure that doesn’t translate directly into English!
If you really must begin with ‘by‘ then you need…
- By paying more attention to corruption, a government can improve the welfare of a country.
By + [name of solution] + subject + verb (+ etc):
However, native speakers would probably just say “Goodbye to ‘By’” and go straight to the solution as the theme in the sentence:
- Paying more attention to corruption can improve the welfare of a country.
Full-day school becomes an important issue because it concerns a wide range of people, especially parents.
This is the influence of Bahasa Indonesia. In English ‘become‘ is used to describe a change, rather than a constant:
- People become sleepy when they drink a lot of beer.
- Most knives become dull after a while and need to be sharpened.
- When there’s a problem, Clark Kent becomes Superman.
In each of these three cases, a change is implied, from alert to sleepy, from sharp to dull, and from newspaper journalist to superhero. They are all familiar, recurring situations, and so we use present simple tense to describe them.
If we say “Full-day school becomes an important issue,” a change is indeed implied (from non full-day school to full-day school), but since this is a unique, rather than a recurring situation, then we need a time frame.
If the change happened in the past, but we’re not sure exactly when, then we use present perfect tense:
- Full-day school has become an important issue.
If the change is happening right now – continuously – then we can use present continuous tense:
- Full-day school is becoming an important issue.
However, if we are analysing a situation that is true now, constant and without change, as though we are looking at it under a microscope, then we use present simple tense:
- Full-day school is an important issue.
When I was living in the desert I lost my weight.
Indonesians for some reason like to use the possessive here. But there are problems with this. If you include the possessive then it sounds as though you lost something that you own.
Of course it is possible to own a ‘weight’ (countable thing – definition 1, items 2a and 2b), but not many people are owners of a single ‘weight’, and it’s unlikely anybody would worry about losing one!
If you’ve been living in a desert then it’s possible that you have experienced weight loss (weight uncountable – definition 2), and so if you’re talking about body weight, you need:
- When I was living in the desert I lost weight.
Giving a challenge for human workers to involve in controlling machines is a good idea.
Involve as adjective
You got the preposition right, but the wrong form of ‘involve’. This is nearly always constructed as an ‘ed’ adjective phrase:
- Giving a challenge for human workers to be involved in controlling machines is a good idea.
‘Get’ also collocates strongly with ‘involved in’, as does the more formal ‘become’:
- Giving a challenge for human workers to get/become involved in controlling machines is a good idea.
It’s not always necessary to mention the activity that someone is involved in:
For Indonesians there are easy translations for involved as adjective:
- involved – terlibat
- (to be) involved in – terlibat dalam
Involve as a verb
If you want to use involve as a verb, usually there is an indirect object:
- I rarely involve myself in politics.
Again, for Indonesians there is an easy translation.
- to involve + someone + in + something – melibatkan … dalam …
Several audiences left before the film finished.
Audience is indeed countable but it is a ‘collective’ noun, and so an (=1) audience can comprise many people. If you want to focus on a subgroup of an audience then it is common to refer to these people as ‘members of an audience’: Continue reading
I am a staff at the Ministry of Religious Affairs.
Although you will occasionally find an example of staff as a countable noun, it is extremely rare.
Used as an uncountable noun, staff refers to people who work for a particular organisation: Continue reading
In this post we’ll do two things. First, you will read a text and complete (draw) a bar chart based on the text. Next we’ll think about the use of ‘stood at’ in this kind of text, which is very similar to the writing you do in IELTS Task 1. Continue reading
In 2020, sales of all devices will increase.
In IELTS Task 1 writing candidates are often required to make future predictions based on data in graphs, tables, and charts.
This can be an opportunity to display some sophisticated grammar, in particular the future perfect tense!
In a previous post I showed you how to use a phrase beginning by + time expression to build a sentence using past perfect tense. In fact we can take the same approach with other perfect tenses:
In this example we can say:
By 2020, sales of all devices will have increased.
Here I used the structure:
by + future time expression + subject + will + have + V3
We can then add other information in the usual manner using will for prediction:
By 2020, sales of all devices will have increased. Sales of the PS4 will be double sales for the Xbox One, which will in turn be three times sales for the Wii U.
Future perfect is very rarely used by native speakers because there are very few opportunities to use it! This is one of the reasons why future perfect, and indeed the other ‘perfect’ tenses, helps to increase your IELTS score for grammar in both writing and speaking.
Pay careful attention to the structure of future perfect and good luck with your future predictions in IELTS task 1!
My friends advised me change my performance, so I went to the salon, bought some new clothes and smart shoes. My friends agree that my performance is much better now.
This looks like an Indonesian student trying to translate ‘penampilan‘!
Before a clown goes on stage, he must first of all change his appearance. This usually involves changing clothes and applying makeup. When he goes on stage, the audience will laugh at the clown because he looks funny.
When the clown is on stage, the audience might also laugh at the clown because of his performance. For example he might walk in a funny way, or he might do funny things, like throw custard pies at people.
Notice also that appearance and performance have different meanings in their countable and uncountable forms:
- appearance uncountable: clothing, makeup, grooming, etc.
- appearance countable: Let’s say the clown goes on stage in London tonight, and in Jakarta tomorrow night. That’s two appearances.
- performance uncountable: This is usually for machines, in particular cars. A high-performance car, for example a Ferrari, can move very fast.
- performance countable: Let’s say the clown goes on stage in London tonight, and in Jakarta tomorrow night. That’s two performances.
You can see that in their countable forms, appearance and performance generally have the same meaning. However, you need to be careful with the uncountable forms of appearance and performance!
Indonesians usually write performance when they mean appearance.
I’ll give you a text that features these different meanings. For each example, can you guess which meaning I’m using?
Clowns are not usually interested in the performance (1) of cars because that’s not funny. Instead they ride unicycles as part of their on-stage performances (2). They also change their physical appearance (3) before they go on stage to make sure they look funny. A travelling clown makes up to 100 appearances (4) a year in different locations.