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.
The number of students in 2001 was accounted 33,438 students.
This writer has learned, or noticed, that the word ‘account‘ is often used to describe numbers in IELTS Task 1 writing.
Well, that’s a step in the right direction, but he or she now needs to do some more noticing. And to speed up noticing, we need examples! Take a look at (print?) these examples. Then answer the following questions.
What word nearly always follows accounts when accounts is a verb)? (answer)
Answer: ‘Accounts’ is always followed by ‘for’.
What kind of data always follows accounts for when accounts for is describing data? (answer)
Answer: The data that follows ‘accounts for’ is a percentage.
Now that we know more about account (we have noticed more), we can see that the use of account in the opening example is inappropriate because the data being described is the wrong kind of data. We cannot use accounts for to give an objective description of a number in a graph, table or chart.
We saw in the examples that accounts for is part of the structure:
Something accounts for something.
X accounts for Y.
Look at the pie chart below. Refer again to the examples and see if you can make a sentence about Firefox using accounts for. As you write, think also about the time frame and what tense you need to use. If you like what you’ve written, please add it as a comment below this post!
Yes, I like my jobbecause it matches my education.
In IELTS you will often be required to express opinions about topics that you may not have thought about very deeply or discussed in daily conversation with friends. Not only do you have to give opinions, you also have to give reasoned support for these opinions.
The opening statement can be expressed:
Claim: I like my job.
Support: My job matches my education.
Fine. But let’s say you studied chemistry at university and you now work as a chemist. Then you could say:
I like working as a chemist because I studied chemistry at university.
I studied chemistry at university because I wanted to work as a chemist.
But then it is possible to say:
I enjoy working as a chemist because I studied chemistry at university because I wanted to be a chemist because I was studying chemistry because I wanted to be a chemist.
This is known as a circular argument. You say you like your job, and since you chose to study chemistry, we assume that you like that, too. So we still don’t know why you like chemistry (your job)! You might as well say “I like it because I like it!”
There are much better reasons why a person might like their job:
the job pays a good salary
the job involves travelling (which you enjoy)
the job involves meeting interesting people
the job presents opportunities for career development
the workplace is situated conveniently close to your home
So, when you’re preparing for IELTS, think – more deeply than usual – about the things you like (or don’t like). And then think about why you like (or don’t like) them.
Let’s practice right now. Here is a list of things people either like or don’t like. Choose one item and add a comment below, saying why you either like or don’t like the item. Try to give two reasons, and avoid those circular arguments!
Americans rose steadily, while Indonesians fell dramatically.
Well, maybe. Something like this?
With a sentence like the one above you are unlikely to communicate anything meaningful about a graph, table or chart. If there was a rise or a fall, then you need to state precisely what it was that rose and what it was that fell – What is the subject?
The divorce rate in Americarose steadily, while the divorce rate in Indonesiafell dramatically.
Here there are 2 subjects:
the divorce rate in America
the divorce rate in Indonesia
Some of you will complain about the repetition in this sentence (‘the divorce rate‘). However, it’s better to repeat words and phrases and communicate something meaningful than to avoid repetition and communicate nothing.
Actually in this example repetition can be avoided:
The divorce rate in America rose steadily, while thatin Indonesiafell dramatically.
* Many thanks to Diro, Nando and Ari for the ‘falling Indonesians’ photo – You guys rock! 🙂