We saw in the last post that it is necessary to consider countability when choosing between (a) few and (a) little.
In this post we look at how to express positive and negative attitude with (a) few. Continue reading
Only some students hand in their homework on time.
Elsewhere on GuruEAP we’ve looked at alternatives to ‘some’, which tends to be overused by Indonesians translating from ‘beberapa’, or, in the example above – ‘hanya beberapa’.
In this post we look at other alternatives to ‘some’ that are especially problematic for Indonesians because they are awkward to translate: few, a few, little, and a little.
As with all quantifiers, we need to begin by deciding whether the noun we’re quantifying is countable or uncountable. Continue reading
Unemployment has increased in recent years for some reasons.
In this post, Indonesian students of English will discover more appropriate ways to say ‘beberapa’ or berbagai’ in IELTS and in general academic writing.
First of all ‘for some reasons’ appears odd because there is a very similar lexical phrase – for some reason (reason without ‘s’) – meaning that there may be a reason but it is presently unknown. Clearly this is not what the writer intended in the opening example!
Secondly, there is a slightly different lexical phrase that is often used in this situation – for several reasons – meaning ‘there are several possible reasons’. Surely this is what the writer meant to communicate? Reasons are known and the writer is going to share them with us.
What better way to illustrate the alternatives than to see them in a text?
The workforce at DJ Computers has become smaller in recent years for several reasons. First of all the company has been forced to make staff redundant following financial recession. Certain staff will not lose their jobs because their work is essential to the company. Various other staff, however, are less essential, and management will consider a number of different criteria when deciding who will stay and who will go.
So there you have it:
Use these alternatives flexibly in your IELTS writing and you will improve your score for LR (Lexical Resource) and possibly also for TA/TR (Task Achievement/Task Response). If you’re not sure what is meant by LR, TA and TR, take a look at the IELTS public band descriptors for Speaking and Writing. Links to these can be found here.
By the way you might also notice that ‘staff’ is used here as an uncountable noun, which it is, most of the time. I talk about ‘staff’ in more detail in a previous post.