basics of english

English Basics: 101

We’ve all studied English in school. But after the basic education, we pretty much forget about this beautiful subject and language though we pretty much use it every day. Today we will take a look at some grammar basics that will help you make your English speaking and writing that much better. Learning never stops!

 

Sentences

Sentences are made of two parts: the subject and the predicate.

The subject is the person or thing that acts or is described in the sentence. The predicate, on the other hand, is that action or description.

Complete sentences need both the subject and the predicate.

 

Clauses

Sentences can be broken down into clauses.

For example: The boy is going to the school, and he is going to eat there.

This is a complete sentence composed of two clauses. There are mainly two types of clauses: independent clauses and subordinate clauses.

Independent clauses act as complete sentences, while subordinate clauses cannot stand alone and need another clause to complete their meaning. For example:

Independent clause: The boy went to the school.

Subordinate clause: After the boy went to the school…

 

Phrases

A group of two or more grammatically linked words that do not have subject and predicate is a phrase.

Example of a complete sentence: The girl is at home, and tomorrow she is going to the amusement park.
Example of a clause: The girl is at home

Example of a phrase: The girl… You can see that “the girl” is a phrase located in the first clause of the complete sentence above.

Phrases act like parts of speech inside clauses. That is, they can act as nouns, adjectives, adverbs and so on.

 

Parts of Speech

A word is a “part of speech” only when it is used in a sentence. The function the word serves in a sentence is what makes it whatever part of speech it is.

For example, the word “run” can be used as more than one part of speech:

Sammy hit a home run.

Run is a noun, direct object of hit.

You mustn’t run near the swimming pool.

Run is a verb, part of the verb phrase must (not) run.

Traditional grammar classifies words based on eight parts of speech: the noun, the pronoun, the adjective, the verb, the adverb, the preposition, the conjunction, and the interjection.

 

In our next blog, we will explore the different parts of speech, how they function and their proper usage. Until then, make sure you get your basics right and be ready for the next lesson!

 

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English is a Funny Language

‘English is a funny language.’ This phrase has been used so often that it has become clichéd. But how funny is English actually? Let’s check out some examples and then you can decide.

Homonyms: Same spelling. Same pronunciation. Different meaning. *scratches head in confusion*

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These words by far have to be the most annoying ones, having to think which meaning to use every single time. ‘Bow’ would mean to bend forwards, the front part of a ship, a weapon (bow and arrow), and a ribbon among others. Phew!

Silent letter: An alphabet in a word that doesn’t correspond to any sound in the pronunciation of that word. *head scratching intensifies*

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Why have alphabets if they are of no use to how those words sound?! Why unleash such confusion on the common masses L. ‘Christmas’ has no ‘T’ sound, ‘phlegm’ has no ‘G’ sound. Oh the horror trying to spell this based on the word sound!

Homophone: Different spelling. Same pronunciation. Different meaning. *screams in horror*

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He killed a bear with his bare hands. The phonetic for both is /bɛː/. Don’t you love us mortals?! -__-

Onomatopoeia: imitation of a natural phenomenon (ex: bird song) by phonetic means.* rolls eyes*

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Clink. Meow. Thump. Moo. Like they got tired and just named the words as they sound. *shakes head in disapproval*

These are some of the many things that complicate the English language. But the beauty of the language is its complication, providing numerous ways to interpret and use words to express different ideas and emotions. Yes, it’s a funny language. But it is also the most widely used language and the de facto communication standard across the globe.

If you want to explore more facets of the English language, learn new things about it and increase your command over it, head onto www.learnsocial.com and learn English and related skills from expert instructors.  Happy learning!

 

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Why English Matters

English is very well the best thing that came out of the British Colonial invasion and settlement. It unified the world and gave a common voice and language to everyone. It is considered one of the most expressive and eloquent languages for communicating. Some of the world’s best literature, speeches and art has been written in and translated in English so that their beauty reaches one and all. It is truly a language of the masses with about 340 million native speakers and another 510 million who speak it as a second language. It is the second most spoken language of the world and one of the few language which has more people speaking it as a second/foreign language than native speakers!

In a multilingual and multinational setup of the current commerce and business, English is a link language, giving the ability to people of different linguistic backgrounds to interact and exchange ideas and thoughts. In countries where there are more than two languages spoken by the population, it provides a common platform for communication and expression. In an age where the world is a global village, where thoughts and ideas need to be excghanged on a continual basis for effective work flow, English provides the equal and communal footing needed for a smooth process advancement. It removes the linguistic barriers created by cultural, social and national boundaries.

Currently, many of the top films, books, music, journals, news reporting and any content in general is generated using English as the language medium. Being versed in English allows a person to explore the multitude of content present on the internet, and everywhere else too. Most cross border business communication happens in English, and it is also the official language of numerous international organizations such as UNO, WHO, UNESCO, NATO, EU among others. This sure does establishes its position as the most important language of the world.

It might seem like an uphill task to learn English, but it is most definitely worth the time and effort expended to accrue English proficiency. It opens up avenues of opportunities in education, business, commerce, trade etc., giving a definite advantage to people with great command over the English language.

Stay ahead of the race, and explore amazing English learning opportunities at LearnSocial.

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One-on-One Training for Efficient Learning

 

Our education system revolves around the classroom setup and that is how all the formal learning has been imparted till date. But many educators and pedagogists have suggested that this might not be the most optimal model to follow. While classroom offers the advantage of interacting with fellow students and enables peer based learning, it reduces the face time a student gets with a teacher. And to alleviate this challenge, One-on-One learning model steps in like a much needed respite.

One-on-One learning and training provides a more personal and hands on approach to learning new things, be it the arts, languages or science. This is even more applicable in the online learning/eLearning mode as this brings the advantage to personal training with the comfort of taking the class from anywhere. The best of both worlds! One on One online classes are mostly customizable courses which are uniquely designed for each learner. It provides a sole learner with an expert instructor dedicated to him/her, wherein the focus will be on giving individual attention, say like being tutored at home. This model provides students with a list of trainers/instructors to choose from, based on the different criteria of tariff, experience, proficiency, timings etc. A learner can choose to study from whomever they want and for however long they want to. This provides a flexibility and ease of learning to anyone who wants to learn just about anything as per their convenience.

Most one-on-one online training classes charge on a pay-per-hour model i.e. a learner pays only as much as he/she needs to learn, without it being too heavy on the pocket. The biggest advantage of this learning model is the freedom to frame a custom study plan and learning goals, which are specific to each learner. This way, each learner can rest assured that the class will go exactly as per his/her pace and learning needs. On-demand learning at its best! Also, who wouldn’t want to have unlimited options when it comes to learning anything of their choice.

So go on, see for yourself. Explore this amazing learning opportunity and take on new horizons at www.learnsocial.com!

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Exploring the Power of Excel

Who amongst us hasn’t used the trusted Excel spreadsheet application from Microsoft? It is one of the most widely productivity tools and is part of the Microsoft Office Suite. Excel has the incredible feature of using formulas, which makes it an excellent tool for report making and data manipulation. By using formulas, you can crunch data, analyze it and get answers to most complex questions. While anyone can use a simple SUM or IF formula, an advanced user of it would be able to seamlessly write & combine formulas like SUMIFS, SUMPRODUCT, INDEX, MATCH, LOOKUP formulas. Apart from knowing the formulas, advanced Excel users know how to debug them, audit them, know how to use which formula for which occasion, and they also know few alternatives for any given formula problem.

Using Excel, one can create tables, graphs, charts, reports, simulations and much more. Tables can be used to structure & present data so that looks impressive, and create awesome Excel workbooks. Conditional formatting is a powerful feature in Excel using which you can tell Excel to highlight portions of your data that meet any given condition. By using charts, we can communicate effectively and present results in a stunning manner. Pivot tables & pivot reporting allows us to analyze massive amounts of data & answer questions with just a few clicks. Excel has its own language – VBA, which allows a user to give instructions to Excel to get things done. It is a simple but extremely powerful way to extend Excel’s functionality. Using VBA, you can write macros to automate the day to day work, saving time & money.

Excel has many powerful & advanced features packaged in to it. Data tables help us model practical problems & analyze massive amount of data for a solution. Solver helps us model practical problems & find a solution by iterating thru all possibilities. With Simulation we can simulate real world data & situations in Excel using various functions & statistical methods. We can use built in functions & charting features to understand trend & forecast future values from available data. It is popular for a reason! Combining the awesomeness of Excel with flexibility of other applications like MS Access, Outlook or PowerPoint, can achieve wonders!

An advanced Excel operator knows all the above tools and methods and also how to optimize an Excel workbook to make it fast. If you want to become an advanced user, then you will need to know all the tips and tricks of Excel to leverage its power. Go ahead, explore the power of Excel.

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Selenium: The Cool Kid of the Automation Testing World

Software testing involves the quality check and review of the product being tested and providing that information to the concerned stakeholders. Test techniques comprise the process of executing a program or application with the purpose of finding software bugs. In today´s fast moving world, it is a challenge for any company to continuously maintain and improve the quality and efficiency of software systems development. In many software projects, testing is neglected because of time or cost constraints. This leads to a lack of product quality, followed by customer dissatisfaction and ultimately to increased overall quality costs. This is where Automation Testing comes in.

Automated software testing is a process in which software tools execute pre-scripted tests on a software application before it is released into production. It increases the effectiveness, efficiency and coverage of the software testing. Manual software testing is performed by a programmer sitting in front of a computer and going through all the application screens, using the different usage and input combinations, comparing the results to the expected behavior and recording their observations. Manual tests are repeated often during development cycles for source code changes and other situations, making it a cumbersome process for the programmer. Automation testing eases this process by employing automation methods which considerably reduce the complication and man hours spent in going through the entire code multiple times. It has become critical for any software development project and is used by most organizations these days, instead of manual testing.

One of the most well-known and efficient automation testing tools is Selenium. It automates web browsers and is primarily for automating web applications for testing purposes but can do much more. Selenium is at present the most powerful Open Source Automation tool available. It is based on java scripting to a large extent. It is more suited for the agile methodology of coding and testing. Selenium tests run directly in browsers, just as real users do. And they run in Internet Explorer, Mozilla and Firefox on Windows, Linux and Macintosh. No other test tool covers such a wide array of platforms. Selenium uses a unique mechanism which allows it to run on multiple platforms. Installed with your application webserver, Selenium automatically deploys its JavaScript automation engine, called the Browser Bot, to your browser when you point it at the Selenium install point on your webserver. Selenium uses JavaScript and Iframes to embed a test automation engine in your browser. This technique should work with any JavaScript-enabled browser. Because different browsers handle JavaScript somewhat differently, we usually have to tweak the engine to support new browsers.

If you want to create robust, browser-based regression automation suites and tests, and wish to scale and distribute scripts across many environments, then Selenium WebDriver, a collection of language specific bindings to drive a browser, is the tool for you. If you want to create quick bug reproduction scripts and create scripts to aid in automation-aided exploratory testing, you can opt for Selenium IDE, a Firefox add-on that will do simple record-and-playback of interactions with the browser. The biggest advantage is that since Selenium is an open source tool, there are no Licensing costs associated with it and it can be customized as per user. Disadvantage would be we cannot be assured of any add-ins which would be required if Selenium fails to recognize objects. Also Support provided for Selenuim would be very less in such case.

The look, feel and performance of a web application needs to be tested across many web browsers to deliver flawless user experience and Selenium delivers amazingly well when it comes to this. Learn Automation Testing with Selenium and see your career soar as a Software Tester. Learn now!

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