Well, when you put it that way…

2016.10.21 English Tips

We use this phrase to admit to changing our opinion after listening to another person’s further explanation. It suggests that we are admitting that we made a mistake and can now see that the other point of view is correct. It can be used in fun, casual ways, too.

A: Why did you throw that plastic on the ground?
B: There were no trash cans around. Don’t worry. It’ll be fine.
A: What?! It could blow into a lake and a poor duck could choke on it!
B: Well, when you put it that way…I’ll pick it up. Sorry.

A: I shouldn’t eat any potato chips. I’m on a diet.
B: Hey, potatoes are vegetables, and vegetables are good for you.
A: Well, when you put it that way…can I have some?




IELTS勉強法:ライティングの秘訣#7: “ライティングでミスをしない”

2016.10.18 IELTS Tips



IELTSライティングセクションでご紹介する秘訣はたいていTask 1とTask 2に分かれています。それはそれぞれのタスクに特徴があり、それぞれに特殊の書き方でしっかりとした解答を書くことが求められるからです。しかしながら、今回のコツは減点されることを避けるための一般的なアドバイスに焦点をあてました。

IELTS Writing Tips General

The tips IELTS writing exam are usually separated into Task 1 or Task 2. This is because each task is unique and requires you to use specific techniques to write strong responses. However, this tip focuses on some general advice that will help you avoid losing marks.

In the IELTS test, markers award you points depending on how well you answer the question, and how smoothly you organize your response, and the level and accuracy of your English,.

However, you can also lose points. Markers will give you a penalty if:

#1. You don’t write enough words.
You need to write 150 words for Task 1 and 250 for Task 2. If you write less than that, you will lose points. You should aim to write a little more than the word count to be safe (e.g. 160 -180 words for task 1).

#2.Your handwriting is messy.
If the examiner has difficulty reading your handwriting, your band score can be seriously affected.

#3. You memorize an answer.
If you try to memorize an answer word for word, you will do poorly on the test. A memorized answer is easy to recognize because it will not answer the question correctly. You might even get a 0 band score.

#4. You only answer part of the question.
For example, if a Task 2 question asks you to talk about the advantages and disadvantages of an issue, but you only write about the advantages, you will not be able to score higher than band score 5.

So, what should you do to make sure you avoid these penalties?

First, you should do a lot of writing practice. It is best to use the official IELTS writing paper so that you can learn to judge the length of your writing.

You should also work on your handwriting skills. Under time pressure, you writing may become messy and difficult to read. The best way to avoid this is to practice writing with a time limit. You will get used to writing quickly and neatly.

Finally, read the questions carefully and make sure your answer each part. Don’t try to memorize answers or write only about a point you feel comfortable discussing.

This advice should help you avoid getting any penalties so you can achieve the highest score possible. Good luck and remember to ask if you have any question about improving your IELTS band score.


for good

先日お向かいの店舗が移転準備をされている際、「お向かいさんがいなくなると寂しいですね。」とGarryと話した時に、「Are they leaving for good?」と聞かれました。

“for good” と聞くと、つい“良い”と訳してしまいそうですが、この場合の【for good】は、「完全に閉店する」という意味になります。


Top 3 reasons English students fail (And how to avoid it happening to you)

2016.10.12 English Tips

Learning to speak English will benefit you greatly in many aspects of life. For example, the ability to communicate in a common language helps you enjoy vacations more, opens pathways for further study and lets you interact in the world of international business and research.

Unfortunately, many people struggle to learn English, but why? Well, the answer is simple: English is difficult. With its strange pronunciation and grammar rules (and exceptions to those rules), English can be very confusing.

The challenge of learning English can be a little easier if you avoid a few mistakes students often make.

#1 – Do not avoid English.
All students want to improve their English, but unfortunately, many of themhesitate to use it. It is important to make English part of your daily life (e.g. learn a new set of words every day or listen to an English podcast on the subway.) Also, try to speak as much as possible in and out of lessons. The more you do something the more comfortable it becomes. This is especially true for speaking and writing in English.

#2 – Do not set unrealistic goals.
You will learn English faster if you set clear goals because these help you stay motivated. However, it is very important that your goals are realistic. It is impossible to become a fluent speaker in one month! If you set goals that are too high, you can become frustrated when you don’t achieve them. It is much better to continually set and adjust small short-term goals. This way you can celebrate your success in achieving them!

#3 – Don’t waste time.
Becoming a good English speaker is a long journey. You don’t want to make that journey any longer by wasting time. You waste time when you 1) use poorly designed materials, and 2) have poor study habits. So, it is very important that you find high-quality materials that have been proven to assist students and adopt good study habits. For more advice on effective materials and study habits, please ask the counseling and teaching staff at Wordwise.

★open pathways: 道を切り開く
★Unfortunately: 不幸にも、不運にも
★hesitate: 躊躇する、ためらう
★realistic: 現実主義の、現実的な
★adopt: 採用する、(自分のものとして)取り入れる

Do it yourself!

I have always had an addictive personality. By this, I mean that I easily become addicted to things. As a young boy, I would stay up all night playing a board game; in high school, I played sport whenever I could; and when I discover a great new TV show, I watch as many episodes in row as I possibly can - the online streaming service Netflix is both a godsend and a curse. In the last few years, golf has become my passion with most of my free time spent practicing, playing or watching golf.

While these pastimes have all brought me a lot of enjoyment, there is generally little to show for them. It is this point that makes my new addiction to DIY (Do-it-yourself home improvements)
superior. I recently bought a house. It is an old house that had been renovated (or “reformed” in Japanese-English) before I moved in, and I love it! However, there are still a lot of things that I can do to make it even better. So far, I have only completed a few simple projects: installing a handrail for the stairs and building some toilet shelves. But I know that I have caught the DIY bug!

I am definitely not a master craftsman, and I make many mistakes that have to be thrown away. But each time I do something – good or bad -I learn a little more, and I get a lot of satisfaction from making something by myself. Also, I can customize everything to suit my specific purpose. So, now much of my free time is spent thinking of new projects for the house, such as new shelves and a workbench for the garage, and walking around home improvement stores. I’m lucky a Homac store is so close! And I’m already looking ahead to next spring when I plan to build a deck and much, much more.

Put simply, why spend time looking and money on cheap, poor quality items when you can do it yourself?


★addicted: 楽しくてしょうがないものなどに 「はまっている」時、または薬物などの「中毒になっている」時に使います、easilyと合わせるとすぐ何かにはまりやすい性格ということになりますね!みなさんも自分は今何にはまっているかを考えて“I’m addicted to~”と一文作ってみましょう!

★a godsend: 「天の恵み、思わぬ幸運」を表します。面白い新番組をどんどん配信してくれるNetflixに対して神様が自分に送ってくれた恵だと表現しているのですね!

★curse: 上記のgodsendに対して、自分を抑えられず連続で見てしまい、夜更かしをしてしまう「不幸[害悪]の元凶」でもあると言っていますね。

★superior: 名詞では「自分より上のもの」、また「上司」などを指すこのsuperior。形容詞ではこのように「優れた、 勝る」などの意味でも使います。反対のinferior「下の、劣る」も一緒に覚えておきましょう。

★caught the bug: (been infected with the virus/disease) 「 病気やウイルスに感染する」という意味にもなるこの表現ですが、ここでは中毒になりやすい性格の筆者が今度はDIYに「取り付かれてしまった」ということになりますね!

★customize: あまり器用な方ではないという筆者が、DIYをしていく中で少しずつ何かを学び、自分で何かを作る満足感を得られると述べ、それに加え、自分の目的に合わせて「直す、カスタマイズする」ことができるとDIYの良さを表現していますね!

IELTS勉強法:スピーキングの秘訣#4: “Task2 高いバンドスコアをとるために詳細を加える”

2016.10.04 IELTS Tips


今回は、スピーキングの秘訣#4“Task2 高いバンドスコアをとるために詳細を加える”をご紹介します!

IELTS Tip: Speaking Task 2 – Add details to get the high band scores


Many students ask, “What do I have to do to get a band 6 score in the IELTS speaking test?” The main difference between a score of 4-5 and 6+ is how fluently you can communicate. In other words, the interviewer wants to hear you speak comfortably - not just correctly. Of course, you do not need to sound like a native speaker to get a band 6 score, but you will need to show that you can continue speaking without too many long pauses.

One essential way to demonstrate fluency in part 2 is to add details to your answer.

First, let’s review. In Part 2, you are given a card that asks you a question and provides some prompts (ideas) on the type of information you should include in your response. You are expected to speak for between 1 and 2 minutes. A typical card is shown below:

Describe a place you have enjoyed visiting recently.

You should say:
where this place is
what this place is like
what you did there
and explain why you liked visiting this place.

Now remember, fluency is a key factor in determining your score. A student scoring band 5 or higher should have no problem speaking for the full 2 minutes. If you rush through each point and only give short specific answers, you will finish your answer in around 1 minute or less! On the other hand, adding details will make your answer much more impressive and will fill the two minutes.

To add details, try this simple technique:

For each point on the question card, say 1) a fact, and 2) an opinion or personal comment.

This technique will make your answer longer and more complete. And the great thing is it also encourages you to naturally use a variety of vocabulary and sentence structures – both important things that the interviewer is listening for. Compare the following responses.

Response A: Last week, I went to Busan. It is in South Korea..um.. It is quite a big city. It is a fun city. So, ..ah..I went to the beach and did some shopping. I also did a bit of sightseeing. And I went to a very old palace. I liked visiting there because it was a lot of fun. I ate a lot of great food and had a good time with my friend.

Response B: I’m going to tell you about a place that I visited recently. Last week, I went to Busan. It is a city on the southern coast of South Korea. We can fly there directly from Sapporo, so it took only 2 hours to get there. Um…what’s it like? It is quite a big city,…maybe 2 or 3 million people. So, there’s plenty of fun things to do. I think it is famous for its hot springs, beaches and temples. I thought it was a lively city and the people were friendly, too. While I was there, I went to the beaches and did some shopping. The beaches were more beautiful than the ones here in Sapporo. And there are some great bars next to the beach, too. The shopping was pretty good too…maybe a bit cheaper than in Japan. I also did a bit of sightseeing. We went to a very old palace near the city, which I thought was really amazing. So, um yeah, basically, I enjoyed visiting there because I could spend a whole week having fun with my best friend. And I could experience another country for a short time.

Response B is much better because it includes many details and opinions to support the facts from the first Response A. The extra details have been underlined for you. There is also:

  • a strong introduction sentence (I’m going to tell you about a place that I visited recently), and
  • some sentences to move between points (what’s it like?; While I was there, …), and
  • a clear concluding sentence (So, um yeah, basically…)

Hopefully, this example helps you understand what it takes to get a high band score. To help you understand further how details and comments can improve your answers, you may wish to click on the link below. This link gives you some great examples responses that were scored as band 7.


all square

先日Garryから、昨日借りた100円を金庫に戻すね。これでall square!と言われました。頭の中が“???”となり、聞いてみると、日本語でいうところの、「チャラ」との事でした。借りを返したので、これでチャラね!と言っていたのですね!^^


Top 3: Ways not to forget what you’ve learned

2016.09.28 English Tips

Learning English is fun and exciting as you discover new ways to say things and express your thoughts more clearly with “new” vocabulary and grammar. Unfortunately, it can also be very frustrating when you can’t remember those words a few days later.

Why does it happen? And why can it happen many times with the same word? The reason is that you have two kinds of memory: short-term and long-term. You remember the things you learned today in your short-term memory. But you can remember things stored here only a short time because tomorrow they will be replaced with new memories. On the other hand, once things are in your long-term memory, you can recall them anytime in the future. Now, here is the problem - things don’t automatically shift from short-term to long-term memory. They need help.

Here are the top 3 ways to help move the new English you have learned from your short-term memory to your long-term memory.

  • Review immediately. After your lessons, why not take a trip to a café and spend 5-10 minutes going over what you just learned? Or you could wait until later that evening at home. Doing this helps you check that you understand the new piece of language, and reduces the time needed to “relearn” it in the future.
  • Review regularly. To move information to long-term memory, you will need to review it often. It is best to review after 1 day, again after 1 week, and then after 1 month. You should schedule a regular time for review to make sure you remember to do it.
  • Sleep.Getting a good night’s sleep helps your memory. Studies show that people who sleep well remember more information, including a foreign language.

Obviously, there are other important factors that will help you remember English as you learn it (such as using the new words and grammar as often as you can), but review and sleep are
absolutely essential. Good luck and don’t forget, review!

frustrating: いらだたしい、もどかしい
stored: 【動】記憶させる、蓄える
get a good night’s sleep: 熟睡する
absolutely essential: 必要不可欠な

Join our 11th Conversation Group!

2016.09.25 ニュース




Join our 11th Conversation Group!

That’s it!

アメリカ滞在中、まず良く耳にしたのが、会話の途中に多く使われる“...,you know,...”でした。一番最初にこれを聞いたときは「私知らないけど...。」と思ってしまったのを覚えています。そして次ぐ2番目はこの“That’s it!”でした。活発に繰り広げられる英会話の中で、自分が言うより先に相手やグループの中の一人が「○○だよね!」とか「○○のこと?」とどんどんコメントがくるので「そう!それ!」と答える場面が多くなるのでしょうね。そしてお店で何かを注文したり、買ったりする時には「それで全部です。(他には注文はありません)」という意味で使います。