Is it too late for me to improve my English?

We hear this all the time. “I’m already <age>. Is it too late for me to improve my English?” Or something along those lines.

People thinking they’re just too old, or it’s too late to do something, to learn something, to improve on something, to start something new.

Just a little over two years ago, Aisya, Azimah and I came up with the idea to help Malaysians with their English. We wanted it to be fun, easy to understand and practical for Malaysians. And we wanted it to be online.

speaking with confidence
Our first Facebook post in 2016.

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Do you go blank when you’re asked to speak spontaneously? Try this technique.

Last weekend we had our Speaking English with Confidence LIVE workshop at TTDI! We had a total of 24 students and over the course of two days, we had our students practice speaking spontaneously, sharing stories and role playing. Here’s a photo of last weekend’s event with our amazing students:

students workshop english

One of the things we noticed was that most people struggle with speaking spontaneously in front of a group or audience. So today I want to share with you one of the speaking frameworks that Madam Azimah taught during the workshop.
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How to sound polite in your emails

polite emails

After my post last week about the difference between “Please advise” and “Please advice”, we received a question from a student on how to sound polite in emails.

I’ve personally received emails where the sender sounded rude even when they didn’t mean to. I’ve also sent emails in a rush and only realised they sounded rude after hitting “send”!

This is something that we may struggle with because 1) English is our second language so we may tend to be more direct in writing, and 2) when we write, people can’t hear our tone of voice and may interpret straightforward language as rude or impolite.

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“Please advice” or “Please advise”?

Do you use “Please advice” or “Please advise” in your emails? Well, the correct phrase is actually “Please advise”.

Some grammar experts say that “Please advise” must have an object after the phrase because advise is a transitive verb. But since it’s widely used in our emails, “Please advise” is grammatically accepted. Just take note that some may argue “Please advise” sounds impolite, so try to use it sparingly or check that the content of your email doesn’t come across rude or demanding.

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My experience teaching English to my children…

Today I want to talk about my experience teaching English to my children. I hope this can inspire you to speak English with your children, or even motivate you to improve your own English speaking skills.

Believe it or not, even though we teach English here at MEM, I actually speak in Bahasa Malaysia with my three boys. One of them is almost eight, the second is five and the third is two years old.

english for children

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Confidence is the willingness to try

confidence try

I hope you’re having a great Thursday morning. I recently came across a short video by Mel Robbins, a motivational speaker, talking about confidence. She says “Confidence is not a skill. Confidence is the willingness to try.”

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The difference between it’s and its

its kitten

I’m going to be teaching you the difference between it’s and its. This was a request by one of our subscribers who wrote to us on our Facebook page.

So when do we use it’s and when do we use its?

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The correct way to use “besides”

correct use of besides

Today I want to talk about the word “besides” and how it’s often incorrectly used, especially among second language learners. Many second language learners use the word to mean “in addition to that”. The correct way to use it is actually by adding “that” after it.

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The words we say to ourselves

positive self-talk

The subject of this post is “The words we say to ourselves” because so many of our students write to us saying they have low confidence in speaking English. And I know for a fact that low confidence has a lot to do with what we say to ourselves – whether out loud or in our heads.

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Farewell to our Papa…

We lost our father last week, on Wednesday, 8th August at 9:30 a.m.  Papa had been ill for 21 years but the news still came to us as a shock. Nothing really prepares you for losing a parent.

I had been mulling over what to write this week. I wasn’t sure whether to share the news, or to just write another post with English tips and lessons. But in respect of our father’s passing, I believe that a mention of him would be best. But I’ll keep this brief.

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