Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Fact & Opinion

In this topic, we discuss what facts and opinions are, and why students must distinguish between them. Students are constantly faced with problems of distinguishing between facts and opinions. They must be able to distinguish between them because it might affects on how you deal with anything you are told and also how you deliver and pass the information


A fact can be defined as something said to have happened or supposed to be true. In addition, a fact is also something that can be tested or proven.

Clues to identify fact:

  •  The use of dates and year
E.g.     Walt Disney was born on 5th December 1901, and died on 15th December 1966.
  • The use of statistics/ figures/ precise numbers or quantities
E.g.     Since Edmund Allary and Tenzing Norgay reached the summit of Mount Everest in 1953 more than 1000 climbers from 20 countries have also conquered the 8848 metre mountain.
  • The use of definition
E.g.     Adolescence can be defined as the stage in a person's life when one develops from a child into an adult.
  •  When stating a geographical or scientific fact
E.g.     The earth is round.


Opinions are different from facts. An opinion is a conclusion reached by someone after looking at the facts. Opinions are based on what people believe to be facts. Hence, opinion cannot be proven true or false

Clues to identify opinions:

  • The use of adjectives which show your point of view or emotions (exciting, fun, excellent, worst, ugly, pretty)
E.g.     The climb up Gunung Ledang was exciting.
  • The use of comparison words which show a comparison between two or more things (more, most, better, best, worst, least)
E.g.     Siti Nurhaliza is the most talented singer in Malaysia.
  • The use of other words which show frequency, possibility, advisability and necessity ( probably, likely, perhaps, may, should, must, always )
E.g.     Sheela is probably still angry with her boyfriend for not remembering her birthday.
  • The use of phrases which show a belief, a suggestion, a feeling or an opinion (it appears that, in my opinion, I believe, I suggest, I feel, I think)
E.g.     It appears that, Jasmin and Ayu are both interested 
            in the same

Effective Listening Skills

TO BE SUCCESSFUL AT OUR job or study, we must be able to write, speak, and listen effectively. Of these three skills, effective listening may be the most crucial because we are required to do it so often. Unfortunately, listening also may be the most difficult skill to master.

Effective listening is challenging, in part, because people often are more focused on what they're saying than on what they're hearing in return. According to a recent study by the Harvard Business Review, people think the voice mail they send is more important than the voice mail they receive. Generally, senders think that their message is more helpful and urgent than do the people who receive it.

Additionally, listening is difficult because people don't work as hard at it as they should. Listening seems to occur so naturally that putting a lot of effort into it doesn't seem necessary. However, hard work and effort is exactly what effective listening requires.

In order to understand and implement this matter, below is the basic aspects, methods and some additional information about the skills for our concern:

1) Four (4) basic aspects of effective listening:

  • attitude
  • attention
  • comprehension
  • evaluation

2) Methods of effective listening:

  • Identify the purpose of listening. Try to distinguish between useful information and that which is not.
  • Not look at the surface meaning of what is being said. Rather, you should look for feelings or the real intention of the speaker. This can be done through familiarising yourself with real spoken language such as the use of  in complete sentences, slang, repetitions and others.
  • Try to guess the meanings of words which are not familiar to you by focusing on the context in which they appear.
  • Understand that in real life, most of what you listen to is not repeated. In such cases, you are advised to just get the gist of the information and grasp the main ideas presented.
  • Listen for details or specific information when you listen for the second time to any repeated information such as announcements.
  • Refrain from immediately responding or answering question. Listen to everything that is being said without unnecessary interruptions.

3) Basic skills of effective listening (additional information)

    i - Listening for specific information
  • This requires us to listen for specific details related to certain incidents, situations or activities.

   ii - Listening for main idea
  • Find out the general idea or the gist of a listening material

Reference Words

This section explains the system used to refer forward or backward from where you are in a text to other words or concepts. You use reference words to show the connections between ideas, giving greater cohesion and clarity to your writing.
You will already be familiar with the word ‘reference’, meaning conventions for acknowledging authors or documents you have used in your research and reading. You ‘reference’ these authors when you quote them or paraphrase them.

However, the term reference is also used to refer to a system of creating cohesion in a text. Reference words point backwards or forwards to other words or concepts that have already appeared in the text or are about to appear in the text.

In the majority of cases, the word has already occurred in the text i.e. the reference word is pointing backwards.

  • In this sentence, “these” is a reference word pointing back to “phases” in the preceding sentence.
  • In this sentence, “those” is a reference word pointing forwards to the changes requiring only a moderate level of financial support.
Reference words are important because they are another way you can strengthen the connections between different elements of your text and clarify the progression of ideas.

Categories of Reference Words
1. Personal pronouns
  • The personal pronouns are I, you, she, he, it, we, they.
  • Because an impersonal style of writing is strongly favoured by most academic disciplines, you may rarely find yourself using pronouns like I, you and we.
  • The most commonly used personal pronouns in academic writing are it (referring to things) and they (referring to either things or people). In academic writing, ‘things’ are usually phenomena and abstract nouns, and people are usually previous researchers. 
  • He and she may also be used, usually to refer to authors previously mentioned in the text.

2. Possessive pronouns
  • The possessive pronouns show a relationship of ownership or ‘belonging to’. They are: my, mine, your, yours, his, her, hers, its, our, ours, their, theirs.
  • As with personal pronouns, my and our are not commonly used in academic writing. The most commonly used possessive pronouns in academic writing are its, their, his, her.


3. Demonstratives
  • Demonstratives are similar to personal and possessive pronouns in that they refer to nouns usually already present in the text. 
  • However, they have a stronger pointing quality – they identify (point at) exactly which thing or things are being referred to. 
  • The most common demonstratives are: this, that (singular), these, those (plural), such.


4. Comparatives
  • Comparatives are sometimes used as pronouns and sometimes as adjectives. You do not need to be able to distinguish the two because, in both cases, they are being used to refer to something or someone in the text.
  • Comparatives include words like: another, other, both, similar, the same, better, more, earlier, later, previous, and subsequent.


5. The definite article ‘the’
  • The definite article the is often used to refer back to something which has already been mentioned in the text and is now occurring for the second (or perhaps the third or fourth) time.

  • The definite article can also be used to point (refer) forwards, although this is less common.
  • Note that the definite article is not always used referentially.

6. General reference
  • Usually a reference word is tied to a word, phrase or other grammatical element which is clearly identifiable in the preceding or subsequent text.
  • However, sometimes a reference word refers back to an entire stretch of text – perhaps even a paragraph or two - without referring to any one particular component of it. In this case, the reference word has the function of summarising the preceding information.
  • The words most commonly used to do this are the demonstrative pronouns this and these.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Part of Speech

Learning about the parts of speech is the first step in grammar study just as learning the letters of the alphabet is the first step to being able to read and write.  From learning the parts of speech we begin to understand the use or function of words and how words are joined together to make meaningful communication.

Miss Zu has taught us on how to use the parts of speech. It consists of 9 parts include Nouns, Verbs, Adjectives, Adverbs, Pronouns, Prepositions, Conjunctions, Interjections and Articles. To ensure all students are really understood about this lesson, we are required to make a presentation about this topic. We have been divided into 8 groups and each group needs to present any parts of speech. My group members are Marini and Nurdalila. We have been assigned to present about prepositions. 

A preposition is a word shows relationships among other words in the sentence. The relationships include direction, place, time, cause, manner and amount.  In the sentence, “She went to the store”, to is a preposition which shows direction.  In the sentence, “He came by bus”, by is a preposition which shows manner.  In the sentence, “They will be here at three o'clock”, at is a preposition which shows time and in the sentence, “It is under the table”, under is a preposition which shows place.

A preposition always goes with a noun or pronoun which is called the object of the preposition.  The preposition is almost always before the noun or pronoun and that is why it is called a preposition.

The preposition and the object of the preposition together are called a prepositional phrase. The following chart shows the prepositions, objects of the preposition and prepositional phrases of the sentence above

Object of the Preposition
The store
To the store
By bus
Three o’clock
At three o’clock
The table
Under the table

Prepositional phrases are like idioms and are best learned through listening to and reading as much as possible. Below are some common prepositions of time and place and examples of their use.

Prepositions of Time:

- at two o'clock
- on Wednesday
- in an hour, 

  in January; in 1992
- for a day

Prepositions of place: 

- at my house
- in New York, in my hand
- on the table
- near the library
- across the street
- under the bed
- between the books