The correct way to say “is it?”

In this week’s post, we’re going to talk about the correct way to use “is it” and “isn’t it”.

If you’ve been reading my posts for a while, you may know that I’m also a translator for Malay and English shows.

The other day, I was translating a Malay show into English. I realised that in the Malay language, we frequently end questions with “kan”.

In Malay conversations, “kan” can be used in almost any situation. For example:

“Mesti kakak mimpi tentang lelaki yang jahat tu, kan?”
“Saya comel, kan?”
“Makanan ni sedap, kan?”

So when Malaysians speak English, we tend to use the words “is it” or “isn’t it” to replace “kan” at the end of questions.

These are called question tags. For example:

This is delicious, isn’t it?
The parcel isn’t arriving today,
 is it?

However, they should not be used all the time!

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How I helped my friend write a better email

Today I’m going to share with you how I helped a friend write a better email.

For as long as I can remember, people have always asked me to help with their English.

The other day, I received a nice comment on Facebook from an old friend:

“Amnah, I still remember that you always used to help me with my assignments back in university. You corrected my English, and sometimes you even translated my sentences. Thanks. I still remember it till today.”

It was nice to read that, because I didn’t remember that particular incident! SO many friends have asked for my help, especially in their writing.

I’ve always loved writing. I used to write stories as a kid, and now I continue to write emails for you here at My English Matters.

And it’s something I will share more of in our online course, Communicate with Confidence (CWC), as a bonus! We can’t wait to have you join us when we open registration again in 2020.

Now, if you enjoy reading the emails I send, I’m going to share with you one VERY important tip to help you write better emails.

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Resources to help you improve your English

express your true self at work

We’ve had a lot of people ask us to share what we read, watch or listen to. So I thought I’d share some resources to help you improve your English here!

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The difference between “famous” and “infamous”

Today, we’re going to talk about the difference between these two words: “famous” and “infamous”.

We see many people make the mistake of using these words interchangeably. However, the meanings are different!

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Feel nervous every time you need to speak?

In this post, I’m going to share with you my own experience of feeling nervous when it comes to speaking.

I’ve just returned from a four-day trip to West Sumatera, Indonesia with my family. It was a wonderful trip–we enjoyed breathtaking views, learned about the Minangkabau history (my late grandmother migrated to Malaysia from Sumatera when she was a little girl), ate delicious Padang food and so much more.

So last week I wrote a post about my interview experience with a local news station!

If you missed it, you can read it here on our blog.

We received dozens of emails from that post. Some asked us how to overcome feeling nervous and self-doubt and so I thought it would be great to address that here.

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My experience of saying “yes” when I wanted to say “no”

Last Saturday night at 10PM, after I had just put my three-year-old to sleep, I received a message.

The sender was a reporter for a local news station. She said that she wanted to interview me the next morning (Sunday) for a short segment on the news. It was going to be recorded on camera!

My first reaction in my head was: “But tomorrow is Sunday! I just want to wake up late and have brunch with my family at our favourite roti canai restaurant!”

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Here’s why you need to express your true self

express your true self at work

In this week’s post, I want to talk about why it’s important for you to express your true self and speak fluent English if you’re working in an English-speaking environment.

If your work requires you to speak English every day, you NEED to be a fluent speaker.

Because if you don’t, it’s going to be frustrating to not be able to express your TRUE self at work. And we spend eight hours a day there (sometimes even more)!

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Why I don’t say “practise makes perfect”

Today I want to talk about the phrase “practise makes perfect”.

But before we begin today’s post, I want to give a shout-out to our awesome workshop students from last weekend! We had absolute fun teaching and watching how much each student was transformed by the end of the second day.

Now, back to our post!

Have you heard of the phrase “practise makes perfect”? If you haven’t, it’s what people say to encourage others to keep practising so that they get better at something.

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How to be more decisive

Do you want to be more decisive? About two weeks ago, I wrote about habits and how forming good habits can make achieving our goals easier. You can read the post here:

Start being more confident through your habits

From that post, we received an email from one of our subscribers. She asked us what habits she could start so that she could become a more decisive person.

Before we begin, let’s get you on the same page here. Decisive in this context means “having or showing the ability to make decisions quickly and effectively”. 

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Start being more confident through your habits

If you’ve been reading our posts for a while, you would know that we don’t just talk about English.

We also talk about working on our personal development so that we have better self-confidence. From that self-confidence, we can, in turn, become more confident in speaking.

If you know me well, I LOVE learning about personal development and listening to podcasts and videos about it. So I thought I’d share what I’ve learnt from all my hours of learning.

It’s about habits.

Continue reading “Start being more confident through your habits”