Thursday, August 12, 2010

It Is a 5 Post Saga About Greeting in English (part III)

Please answer the following questions:
1.I write business letters ….
a. very often.
b. often.
c. rarely.
2. I devote….of my workday to correspondent.
a. 70%
b. 50%
c. 5%
3. Please choose the appropriate form of salutation (the line salutation is marked by red arrow).

Your result.
If you chose mostly a, this post was definitely written for you. This post covers not only fundamental issues, but also pitfalls of writing a formal letter and the salutation in particular.
If you selected c, we recommend you reading this post for basic understanding of business correspondence rules.

In our previous lessons we showed you how to choose a suitable formal or informal form of greeting. A
combined letter can either create a good impression on its recipients or spoil the business relationships with the writer's organization. It is time to give you some tips on ways of greeting in business letters.


  1. The first letter of the first word of the salutation is capitalized. So it could be Dear or To
    whom, not dear or to
  2. The most frequently asked question is what salutation to use when addressing different people (sex, age, occupation, etc.). There are no universally accepted forms to use. Traditionally, you should address

-a girl as Miss or Ms and respect the individual's preference if you know it. For girls younger than 13, Miss or Ms may be omitted.

-a boy as Mr for boys younger than 13, omit the title. (Master is now rarely used except with the names of very young boys)

-a married woman as Mrs.
-an unmarried woman as Miss.
-a woman whose marital status you don't know; also used to address an unmarried woman as Ms.
-if you know the person's name:
Dear Ms / Miss / Mrs / Mr / Dr + surname or Dear Mr Miller.
You can also write the person's full name. In this case, leave out the title (Mr/Mrs). This way of writing the salutation is very handy if you don't know the gender of the person.
Dear Chris Miller.
-several persons as Dear Mr Anderson, Mrs Brodsky, Ms Carmino, Mr Dellums, and Miss Eustace or Dear Friends (Colleagues, Members, or some other suitable collective terms).
-a married couple (if a wife uses maiden name) as Dear Mr (husband's surname) and Ms (wife's maiden name).
-a married couple (married couple-husband has special title) as Dear Dr and Mrs ... (husband's surname).
-a married couple (both have special titles) as Dear Drs (husband's surname) or Dear Major and Professor (husband's surname). -organization of women:
If there are "only" women, so Mesdames or Ladies.
If there are two or more women, so Dear Mrs Allen, Ms Ott, and Miss Day, Dear Mrs Jordan and Mrs Kent, Dear Mesdames Jordan and Kent (more formal), Dear Ms Scott and Ms Gomez.
Dear Mses (or Mss) Scott and Gomez (more formal) or Dear Miss Winger and Miss Rossi.
Dear Misses Winger and Rossi (more formal).
-organization of men:
if there are "only" men in the organization as Gentlemen.
two or more men as Dear Mr Gelb and Mr Harris.
Sirs (more formal).
-organization of men & women as Ladies and Gentlemen or Gentlemen and Ladies.
-name & Gender unknown as Dear Sir or Madam, Dear Madam or Sir or To Whom It May Concern. -name Known, Gender unknown as Dear Marion Parker, Dear R. V. Moore.

-name unknown, gender known as Dear Madam or Dear Sir.
-name and gender known as Dear Mr Smith, Dear Mrs Gray, Dear Ms Simpson, Dear Miss Wells.
Find detailed list of salutations here (
Webster's guide to business correspondence).

3. Did you pick the right form of addressing, but your letter still creates a wrong impression on a reader? The name of the game is…punctuation! Did you know that the British and Americans use different system of punctuation? Look at the list below.

British English

Dear Ms Wexley

Dear Jane Wexley

Dear Jane

American English

Dear Mr.Wexley:

Dear Jane Wexley:

Dear Jane:


Good chance to practise your listening skill along with your writing. Watch a short video on the discussed topic.
How to Address a Letter -- powered by

Dear Reader
We hope our tips help you in discovering ways of greeting in English.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

It Is a 5 Post Saga About Greeting in English (part II)

Nowadays, every formal and informal group of people coin their own way of salutation. The basic word "Hello" took different forms. You can see it on your own by looking at the list below.
How to use these phrases? Let's imagine two situations. In one of them you don't have time to stop and have a chat. In another situation, you can afford to spend few minutes for a conversation.


1.Slow down to greet someone you know.
2.Say an appropriate form of hello (look at the list above).

3. Don't forget to smile.

4. Sometimes you pass the same person a second time on the same day. You can say "hello again" or just smile.

5. So-called questions "How are you?" or "What's up?" don't necessary need a respond. They just mean "Hello". If you want to response, say "Very well, thank you. And you?" (formal) or "Fine / Great" (informal).

1.Stand near a person and say hello.
You can answer:
-Nice to see you.
-Long time no see (I haven't seen you in a while)
-What have you been up to?
-How are things?
-It's been a while (It's been a while since I've seen you)
-What's new?
-Not much (answer to What's new?)
2. Use an appropriate body language:
-Hug (between friends);
-Hand shake or a high-five.
3. Express happiness to see a person.
4. Ask a question or begin a conversation.


More? Do you remember that we promised to recommend different sources of information on a topic to you? Visit the site of British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), the largest broadcasting organization in the world, and listen to audio records on greeting.

Language Bar Muzzles Minister

New Delhi, Aug. 9: On Tuesday, minister M.K. Alagiri will have to forgo his big moment — the chance to reply to one of the most awaited Lok Sabha debates — because he speaks neither English nor Hindi.

The discussion is to be on the Bhopal gas tragedy and, as chemicals and fertilisers minister, M. Karunanidhi's son should have had the last word by right. But a combination of constitutional provisions and parliamentary convention stands in the way of the DMK minister from Tamil Nadu.

His deputy Srikanta Jena will fill in, a parliamentary affairs ministry source said. With Alagiri expected to be in the House, it will be the first time a deputy minister responds to a Parliament debate in his boss's presence.

Alagiri's presence in the House can lead to more embarrassment for the government if the Opposition decides to be mean and insists that he and not Jena take the microphone.

Alagiri had refused when he was asked if he would speak, saying he was fluent only in his mother tongue, Tamil. The government's floor managers had thought of asking environment minister Jairam Ramesh to stand in, but eventually decided on Jena.

The situation is ironical because the DMK's rise in Tamil Nadu politics owed much to its anti-Hindi movements before and after Independence.

Alagiri's plight had prompted the DMK to press the Centre to tweak the rules. Article 120 of the Constitution says parliamentary business should be transacted in English or Hindi but empowers the Chair to allow a member who "cannot adequately express himself in Hindi or in English to address the House in his mother tongue".

But officials said that traditionally, ministers were not offered the choice.

"The article is discriminatory. We'll insist on amending it because ministers who do not speak English or Hindi are disadvantaged by it. They don't get a chance to make an impact in the House," said Alagiri's sister and DMK Rajya Sabha member Kanimozhi.

Sources said the DMK was banking on Trinamul Congress support for its demand for amending Article 120.

The "English-Hindi bias" has been a thorny issue in Parliament. For instance, business rules say that question hour will be conducted in English and Hindi but add a proviso that some see as "unfair".

If an MP asks a question in English because he doesn't know Hindi, the minister can still reply in Hindi — whether or not the questioner understands the language. In 1978, a member, A. Bala Pajanor, had objected to junior minister Larang Sai replying in Hindi to a question he had asked in English, but was overruled by the Chair.

The Chair had also clarified that MPs could not ask questions in a third language because it would be impractical to try to translate from so many languages.

Parliament's computerised interpreter system is designed to translate proceedings simultaneously from English to Hindi and vice versa, and from other languages such as Assamese, Kannada or Tamil into Hindi and English. But the facility doesn't always work smoothly in these languages.

Alagiri, who had played truant from the House till the Speaker spoke to him, answered his first question as minister last week in the Lok Sabha, during question hour.

"Question number 161. A statement A to E is laid on the table of the House," is all he said, in English. Jena was left to field the supplementaries.

(source: The Telegraph: Author: Radhika Ramaseshan)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

It Is a 5 Post Saga About Greeting in English


Did you know that Maori, indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand, greet each other by rubbing or touching of noses? It is called "Hongi". The literal meaning of "Hongi" is "sharing of breath". Are you surprised or shocked? Don't be. It's something akin to the Western custom of kissing someone on the cheeks by the way of greeting. But along with non verbal signals, people from the West tend to use verbal language; they say "Hi", "How are you?" or "Good day, Mr." (of course, titles are different for men and women; and honorifics are based on status of a person in society or age).

Also the majority of our feelings and intentions are sent through non verbal communication (the spoken language makes up less than 35% of communication).We will discover the theme "non verbal greetings", e.g. wave, hand shake, eye communication in our next post.
Our today's topic of the blog is verbal greeting.
Let's check synonyms of the word "greeting"

English Collins Dictionary
noun greeting
1.address, hail, reception, salutation, salute, welcome wishes, compliments, devoirs, good wishes, regards, respects, salutations
(source: English Collins Dictionary-English Definition & Thesaurus )

Thesaurus noun greeting
Salutation, welcome, welcoming, reception, acknowledgment, address(source: Thesaurus )

Brief glance at different ways of greetings

Ave Atque Vale

The Romans used ave and avete by themselves for saying hello or goodbye. Later ave was a morning greeting, and vale was used when leaving someone in the evening. In classical Latin, ave
atque vale came to be a formulaic farewell to the dead (produced in accordance with a slavishly followed rule or style; predictable, e.g. much romantic fiction is stylized, formulaic, and unrealistic)

Chaire and chairete

Like ave were the classical Greek chaire and chairete, which were used both on meeting and on leaving a person. Their root meaning was "Rejoice! Be happy" (Feel or show great joy or delight, e. g. he rejoiced when he saw his friend alive or he rejoiced in her spontaneity and directness)


Hello appears to have arisen in its first instance as an imitation by hunters of a hunting dog's yowl. It is marked "echolic" in many dictionaries, which then add its early forms like halloo from medieval French halloer, to pursue game with shouts and cries. Compare, too, the Old High German verb halĂ´n, "to hail a ferryman by shouting halloo across the water." Halloo, hullo, hello are a few of many variants that include the reduplicated hullabaloo (source:


Do you want more information? We think that it is time to master your listening skill.

The first part of the saga "About Greeting" is finished. Now…practise your writing:)

Monday, August 9, 2010

An English professor gave his students the phrase: "A woman without...

An English professor gave his students the phrase: "A woman without her man is nothing." and asked them to punctuate it correctly.
All the males in the class wrote: "A woman, without her man, is nothing."
All the females proposed another option: "A woman: without her, man is nothing."


It is a very impressive example, isn't it? You could observe that the different punctuation can damage the flow of the idea and change meaning. Also, it can undermine the credibility of your experience as the specialist. As the day before yesterday we took responsibility for developing 4 skills of English, i.e. writing, reading, speaking, and listening, we need to concentrate our efforts on your writing skills. Otherwise, how can you write a clear comment on this or further posts?

From this moment we publish a material on punctuation. And today's tips explain you the whole concept of punctuation. Do you still remember that usually we check words before we use them?

Macmillan Dictionary "punctuation" noun
1.the use of marks such as full stops or commas in order to write in a clear style, e.g. 1. Mistakes in punctuation can be amended. 2.The letter was brief and had no punctuation.
2. punctuation marks:
2.1 Scare quotes (=the symbols ’ and ’)

2.2 Ampersand (the symbol &)
2.3 Apostrophe (the symbol ’)
2.4 Bracket:
• parentheses (the symbol ())
• square bracket (the symbol [])
• curly brackets (the symbol {})
2.5 Bullet/bullet point (the symbol -)
2.6 Colon (the symbol : )
2.7 Comma (the symbol , )
2.8 Dash (the symbol – )
2.9 Decimal point (the symbol ‘.’)
2.10 Ditto (the symbol ")
2.11 Dot
2.12 Ellipsis (the symbol …)
2.13 Exclamation mark (the mark !)
2.14 Full stop (the mark .)
2.15 Hyphen (the short line -)
2.16 Inverted comma (one of a pair of marks “ ”)
2.17 Parenthesis (one of the two symbols ( and ))
2.18 Point (the word for a decimal point)
2.19 Question mark (the symbol ?)
2.20 Quotation marks (the symbols ‘ and ’)
2.21 Semicolon (a punctuation mark (;))
2.22 Slash (a line / )
2.23 Space (an empty area).

(source: Macmillan Dictionary)

Don't be scared of such a big number of punctuation marks. Some of them you use in your daily life very often, whereas the others are used mostly by specialists from different domains of knowledge, e.g. the mark dot is practiced by mathematicians as decimal point or a symbol indicating multiplication, e.g. 2 · 4 = 8.Common units of punctuation include the comma, period, apostrophe, quotation mark, question mark, exclamation mark, bracket, dash, hyphen, ellipsis, colon, and semicolon. Each of these units indicates a different thing, and may have multiple meanings depending on context…
Stop, stop!
According to the phrase, "there is an appointed time for everything", there is a time for every event. Let's finish our introduction lesson; we pick marks some other time.


Grab additional information on this topic and improve your listening skills through the video lesson.


As you understand, we cannot participate in developing your speaking abilities directly. But it doesn't mean that we are going to give up without strike. We can suggest you short tips on pronunciation. As you noticed, today we cover all the themes very briefly. The speaking section will not be an exception.
Did you know that English is considered a stressed language while many other languages are considered syllabic? Meaning? In English only some words get stress while other words are quickly spoken (in other languages, such as French or Italian, each syllable receives equal importance). Look at the chart of stressed and un-stressed words.
Stressed words:
1. Nouns, e.g. pen
2. Verbs, e.g. write
3. Adjectives, e.g. interesting
4. Adverbs, e.g. carefully
Non-stressed words:
1. Determiners, e.g. the, a, some, a few
2. Auxiliary verbs, e.g. don't, am, can, were
3. Prepositions, e.g. before, next to, opposite
4. Conjunctions, e.g. but, while, as
5. Pronouns, e.g. they, she, us
In comparison with English, in other languages, such as French or Italian, each syllable receives equal importance. But we want to point out again that when you speak, you should concentrate on pronouncing the stressed
words clearly. Do you want to fix it? Video on this topic


We hope this short introduction part in punctuation and pronunciation will help you to improve your writing and speaking skills. It is time for training your writing skill.

Saturday, August 7, 2010


Very Brief History of Functional English

Or Manual How to Use a Material on a Page of This Blog Effectively

“It is essential to think of learners becoming functional in their English rather than thinking there is a vital body of knowledge known as functional English.”

If you have visited our center in Indore, observed our advertisments ot talked to someone from our 4Q Learning team, they probably must have paid attention to the phrase "We teach Functional English." What exactly does it mean? As we have the philosophy "If you don't know the meaning of a word, or have some doubts, look it up in a dictionary." Let's check the word ""functional.

Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary "functional" adjective
1. designed to be practical and useful rather than attractive (source)
Macmillan Dictionary "functional" adjective
1. practical and simple, with no unnecessary feartures or decorations, e.g. a house filled with functional furniture
2.operating in the correct way, e.g. The new hospital isn’t fully functional as yet but should be very soon.
3.relating to the purpose or function of something, e.g. A purely functional view of an organization
doesn’t work any more (source:
Macmillan Dictionary)

So, if someone tells you that you have a good level of Functional English, he will try to tell that your level of English is good enough to manage a variety of everyday situations. But it is not enough to...hmm...let’s compete with Shakespeare or Hemingway by writing poems, sonnets, and novels that capture the whole attention of the reader.
In other words, you are able to communicate in an English environment: introduce yourself, people, make appointments, pass through an interview, talk about plans, share you difficulties, answer questions, fill in forms, writing official and business letters, etc (Curriculum details). Do you want to be relaxed in an alien environment? Well…If your answer is “yes”, than you can not just polish your speaking abilities. All components of English must be developed, i.e. speaking, listening, writing, and reading.
4Q Learning took these skills into account when designed the courses. Because it shows success on the lessons in our center, and because this blog has an educational goal, we want to follow this tactic here, too.

How to Use a Material on a Page of This Blog Effectively
A daily post covers different topics (if you have any suggestion, please share it with us). Each post has 4 sections: reading, listening, pronunciation, and writing. If you feel that you need to get more information on a theme or not all questions were covered by the author, than write your comments and ask to clarify. We will provide you with more information or give hyperlinks to other web-sites where you will find facts.

More detailed manual

Reading skill
How could we help you to master it? Every day you will get a small chunk of a text (don’t think that we will post only short stories- it will be a variety of text types).
How could you benefit from this part?
1. Vocabulary developed through word-building skills.
2. Understand not only the total idea of the text, but also its elements.
3. Understand the difference between what is said and what it is not.

Listening and pronunciation
How could we help you to master it? We will give you an access to video or audio related to a topic of a post.
How could you benefit from this part?
1. Listen to and understand mp3 and video files.
2. Extract useful information.

Writing skills
How could we help you to master it? Short tips on a topic.
How could you benefit from this part?
Comments, comments, and comments.

In our first post we tried to demonstrate the approach; you read the text, you watched the video. Now it is your turn…to practise the writing skills ) Go ahead.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

4Q Learning Approach

Our solution is a seamless blend of innovative learning model, highly effective contents, personalized training services and Internet-based technology platform to instill confidence in the youth to use English as a second language and empower them with communication skills critical for success in the current economy.