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English Guide: Practical Tips for Better English Communication

article thumbnailA rich vocabulary is an important indicator of a person’s command over the English language. That is one of the reasons why we keep offering tips regularly on how to improve your English vocabulary. However, building one’s vocabulary requires sustained effort to discover and add new words that can be used effectively in your communication. The process of enriching one’s vocabulary can be simplified into 4 key steps: read a lot of good English...
article thumbnailThe last two decades have been hugely transformational as digital technologies have disrupted every walk of life. This will only continue in the new decade, as machine learning, deep learning and artificial intelligence (AI) begin to play an integral part in our workplaces. As a result, workplaces will require very different skillsets than they needed until now. If you are a youngster looking for rapid career development in this new decade,...
article thumbnailIf you are planning to study, work or even immigrate to any western country (Australia, New Zealand, US, Canada, UK – to name a few), you will most likely be required to get a good IELTS score to get the requisite entry visa. Typically, this means that you should get a score of band 7 or higher to maximise the chances of getting the visa approval. The IELTS score contributes significant points to the points-system used by many countries for...
article thumbnailRecently, the former Union Minister and former top UN diplomat Mr.Shashi Tharoor was asked the secret of his exceptional English vocabulary. While he joked initially, he then gave the secret of his amazing and enviable vocabulary: Reading. Yes, the open secret to a strong and deep English vocabulary is as simple as that- a lot of reading of good English books.         Mr.Tharoor dispelled the notion that he moves around carrying an English dictionary....
article thumbnailEmotional intelligence (used interchangeably with emotional quotient) and social awareness are increasingly important attributes that have a bearing on how one is perceived in a social or professional environment. The words and phrases we use are manifestations of our social awareness and therefore, require careful thought. Following are 5 English phrases that people avoid for their likelihood of being misinterpreted.     We list below five of...
article thumbnailIf you are like most people, you would like to achieve professional growth and success in your career. Typically, career success would mean promotions, greater responsibilities and accompanying financial rewards. If you look around you, you will often find that the people who progress and move up the ladder are those who demonstrate passion at work, are proactive, and of course, perform on the job at hand with the desired or...
article thumbnailIt is never a pleasant task to call up the customer service of one of your service providers and complain about any issue you may have encountered, whether it is a faulty bill or inadequate service you have received. Nevertheless, making unpleasant telephone conversations to lodge a complaint is a part of life that one must be prepared for. How you go about making this conversation can go a long way in determining whether you get the desired...
article thumbnail  Let us say that your current English speaking skills aren’t great. You aren’t very confident of being able to communicate confidently and effectively in English with anyone, be it a small group or a large one. However, you are very determined to improve your spoken English skills rapidly and prove to yourself that you can do it, while making a good impression on those around you. Taking up an English speaking course is obviously one way to...
article thumbnailIf you are planning to take the IELTS test, you would be aware that the test comprises of four different modules: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. For many IELTS test takers, the speaking test is often the most difficult. This is not very surprising because it is akin to speaking in public. It is a known fact that ‘public speaking’ is one of the scariest tasks for people.      There are three sections in the  speaking test in IELTS. The...
article thumbnailThere is a quote attributed to the writer Stephen King that says that “if you want to be a writer, there are two things you must do: Read a lot and write a lot.” You can extend that quote to say the following:  “To be a fluent English speaker, you must listen a lot and speak a lot.” While there is no substitute to this mantra, we will give you some more details of how you could work towards becoming a more fluent speaker.          To start with, let’s...
article thumbnailIt is well known that the quality of communication between two or more individuals, impacts the outcome of business meetings. While the exact content of the meeting and its structure are critical, certain external factors like the energy and enthusiasm of the participants in a meeting, also play a very important role in the success or failure of a meeting. In this article, we will offer some simple tips on how you can improve the chances of a...
article thumbnailA career in sales can be very exciting and lucrative for people who do well in it. Sales brings  in revenues for any organisation, and revenues help companies move forward. As long as one is performing well and continues to bring in sales, one’s job is fairly secure because in times of adversity businesses slash costs, while trying to keep revenues high. Yet, success in a sales career isn’t guaranteed for everyone. It takes certain personality...
article thumbnailWhen it comes to learning spoken English, many people often mistake the purpose of the learning. They tend to think that acquiring English speaking skills is about speaking with a British or American accent. They couldn’t be farther from truth. The true purpose should be to learn to speak English correctly, fluently, confidently and in manner that the listener understands the communication without much difficulty.      Too much emphasis is laid on...
article thumbnail  In a recent article, we wrote about the difference between improve and improvise and how to use these two similar terms appropriately. Continuing this series on using similar-sounding English words correctly, let us consider the use of the words “affect” and “effect”.  Both terms  mean “impact” or “result” of something, but their usage  varies depending on the context in which they are being used.     Affect The word “affect” is generally used in the...
article thumbnailEnglish language has plenty of words that seem very similar but mean very different. It is quite easy to ignore the subtle difference in the words themselves and consider them to mean the same thing. This results in incorrect usage of the words when writing or speaking in English, which may confuse the listener or create a negative impression about your English Communication skills. Let’s focus on two words, improve and improvise; the former is a...
article thumbnailSomeone has rightly said, “In the mundane, nothing is sacred. In sacredness, nothing is mundane.” Mundane is boring. There comes a time when you feel saturated with the routine tasks you are doing and you feel like doing different and challenging things. Your ardent desire to take up additional work and prove your worth overwhelms you. But this needs to be communicated effectively to your boss. Your boss should be aware that you are geared up...
article thumbnailGratitude is of vital importance in human life. We need to thank people who have, directly or indirectly, explicitly or implicitly, made a positive change in our life. ‘Thank You’ is the least that we can say. So never shy away from that. In professional life too, gratefulness is of utmost importance, especially when someone has helped you climb up the career ladder.       It’s your promotion party and you have to give a thank you speech – this...
article thumbnail  We all have encountered situations wherein there were unavoidable or unforeseen circumstances because of which we had to extend our leave. For example, sickness, family issues, marriage etc. Now here comes the uncomfortable question – how to ask the boss for a leave extension. Quite tricky, huh?     When you are already on leave and then you have to request for extension of leave, it should be done in such a way that it is granted without much...
article thumbnailA few months back, a video of a job prospect venting out his frustrations on having to speak in English at job interviews, went viral. The protagonist of the video, a youngster, who could speak English fluently was angry that he was always asked to speak in English, and he let out his frustration with a series of expletives in Hindi. The fact that the video went viral and was shared by a large audience in the country, especially among...
article thumbnailMan is a social animal. We cannot survive in isolation. Also, we all crave for love and attention, no denying that. We are constantly expanding our social network. Be it personal or professional life, networking is of utmost importance to us: Social networking, for getting love and affection, and professional networking for career enhancement.       In this competitive world, we cannot lounge around waiting for opportunities to knock at our door. We...
article thumbnailSomeone has rightly said, “Good conversation starts with good listening”. Our teachers have often told us that we wouldn’t learn anything new from talking but we will definitely learn something new from listening. How true! There’s a lot of buzz about spoken English these days, but people tend to forget that English listening is also an integral and inseparable part of English communication, which cannot be overlooked.No wonder then the...
article thumbnailIndia is undergoing a digital revolution. The country has embarked on the ‘Digital India’ movement that has been officially promoted by the Indian government. It is therefore not surprising to see a jump in career opportunities in the field of digital marketing, especially search engine marketing (SEM). This field attracts a lot of freshers and young job aspirants. Having good English skills will enable a person to take advantage of the growing...
article thumbnailGood manners will open doors that the best education cannot.” Etiquette is the science of living. It embraces everything.People all over the world are judged, liked, disliked, remembered or looked down with contempt based on their manners. Good manners speak a lot about your personality.       It is imperative that you display your best behaviour when you are in a public place especially when eating out.  When you walk into a restaurant you don’t want to...
article thumbnailGood teamwork is essential not only for the growth of any organisation but also for the personal growth of individuals in the organisation. An essential component of achieving good team bonding is when team members express positive thoughts about fellow team members to them directly.  Sincere compliments and praise go a long way in making a person feel good and feel motivated to perform better for the team and the organisation.     There are a...
article thumbnailAt the outset, let us state that we hope you never have to apply for a compassionate leave. However, the reality is that most of us, at some stage of our life, end up having to request for such leaves. This article is written to specifically help you in case of such an eventuality.     Before we get into the mechanics of applying for compassionate leave, let us first understand what is compassionate leave. It is leave granted to an employee upon...

Heat and Temperature

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Introduction to Heat and Temperature

What is Heat?

heat_1Heat is the form of energy of an object that is due to the movement of its atoms and molecules. These are continuously moving around, hitting each other and other objects. When we add energy to an object, its atoms and molecules move faster, which increases its energy of motion or heat. Even objects that are very cold have some heat energy because their atoms are still moving. `Cold' is not a physical thing. It does not move from place to place, it is just the word for a relative lack of heat, just as dark is the word for a relative absence of light.



What is Temperature?

Temperature is a measure of the average kinetic energy of the particles in a body. Or, you could also say, temperature is a measure of the average heat or thermal energy of the particles in a substance. Since temperature is an average measurement, it does not depend on the number of particles in an object. In that sense, it does not depend on the size of the object. For example, the temperature of a small cup of boiling water may be the same as the temperature of a large pot of boiling water, even though the large pot is much bigger than the cup and has millions and millions more water molecules.

heat_2We experience temperature every day. When it is very hot outside, when we have a fever and feel hot, and when it is snowing outside and we feel cold. When we boil water, we wait for the water temperature to increase, and when we make popsicles, we wait for the liquid to become very cold and freeze.
                              
A heat flow diagram showing the heat flowing from the warmer water into the cooler ice  cube.

It is heat that will increase or decrease the temperature. If we add heat, the temperature will become higher. If we remove heat, the temperature will become lower. Higher temperatures mean that the molecules are moving, vibrating, and rotating with more energy.



Detecting Heat

There are many ways to detect heat. The method chosen often depends on what heat source we are trying to measure. For example, the way we detect heat in the air is different from how we detect heat from a fire or heat from objects in deep space.

Heat is measured in quantities called joules (pronounced the same as jewels) in the metric system, and in British Thermal Units (BTU) in the English system. Heat can also be measured in calories.



Measuring Temperature

Many devices have been invented to accurately measure temperature, which all started with the establishment of a temperature scale. This scale transformed the measurement of temperature into meaningful numbers.

If we want to understand what temperature means on the molecular level, we should remember that temperature is the average energy of the molecules that compose a substance. The atoms and molecules in a substance do not always travel at the same speed. This means that there is a range of energy (the energy of motion) among the molecules. In a gas, for example, the molecules are traveling in random directions at a variety of speeds -- some are fast and some are slow. Sometimes these molecules collide with each other. When this happens the higher speed molecule transfers some of its energy to the slower molecule, which causes the slower molecule to speed up and the faster molecule to slow down. If more energy is put into the system, the average speed of the molecules will increase and more thermal energy or heat will be produced. So higher temperatures mean that a substance has higher average molecular motion.


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