How to be assertive!

some useful words and expressions for being assertive

How to be assertive!

When was the last time you had to say “no” to someone? Who were you talking to? What were you talking about? Are you good at letting people know what you want? Give examples? Are you good at expressing your feelings? Give examples. What’s the best way to deal with people who are trying to pressurise you?

Being assertive
- I’m afraid I can’t do that.
- I’d rather not do it.
- I don’t feel like going today.
- I’d prefer not to have that one.
- Thanks, but I’d rather not do that.
- I don’t want to be associated with that.
- I’m not prepared to support that idea.
- I can’t make that a priority right now.
Being insistent
- I demand a refund .
- I ins ist that you get the manager.
- I know you’d like me to go, but I can’t.
- I’m sorry but 2pm won’t work for me.
- This one isn’t the one I was looking for.
- I won’t leave until I speak to the manager.
- I really need to change the t ime of the meeting.
- You’re going to have to respect my point of view.
Saying no
- Thanks, but no thanks.
- No, not at the moment.
- I’m afraid I can’t do that.
- I’m sorry but I won’t do that.
- Thanks, but I’m not interested.
- I’m sorry but the answer is no.
- I’m driving so I don’t want to drink.
- I’m sorry but I’m not comfortable with that.
- Thanks for thinking of me, but I th ink I’ll pass this time.
The broken record
This is a technique that involves repeating something over and over again. For example:
A: Do you want the blue one?
B: No, I want the red one.
A: The blue one’s much better.
B: Well, I want the red one.
A: It’s much cheaper.
B: I’m sorry but I want the red one.
Expressing displeasure
- That was extremely offensive.
- I felt offended by your comment.
- I really don’t appreciate your tone of voice.
- It’s annoying when things like that happen.
- I’m sorry but I’m not comfortable with that.
- Please respect my wishes, even if you disagree with them.

How to become a descriptive writer

how to become a descriptive writer

How to become a descriptive writer

Writing Example

The forest during the hunting season

The sun was hovering at its zenith. It seemed to Alwan that it was not moving. It seemed fixed in the sky emitting scorching rays. He hunched his head down between his shoulders and continued on his way. The forest stretched ahead of him in the distance, shrouded in its customary silence. To someone looking down from the air, it appeared square, dense, sealed at the corners. Trees were scattered haphazardly throught. Stripped of their leaves, they sent their roots into the ground so that it appeared to the onlooker that they would never die. Some of their roots had been exposed by the action of the rain which fell from time to time. In one of the corners was an old mud-brick house. Alwan continued to slog slowly towards it until he arrived, and hurried towards him. She took the alms from his hands and they entered together. Alwan took off his sandals and stretched out his cracked feet in front of him, while Zohra began to empty out the alms. Bread was scarce and there was no sugar with it.
“Only a little today?” she asked him.
“Today is Sunday. People give alms on Friday.”
“Do you always wait till Friday?”
“Friday this year are not like Fridays were last year.”
She remained silent. Alwan laughed, then spoke to reassure her, “This year there will be buckets of rain. It will make the ground blossom of us.”
She was not reassured. She laughed at his words and said, “And we shall become rich in this world.”
He understood what she meant and kept quiet. He leant on his arm and his gaze wandered through the window. The air was shimmering in the sun. The birds on the branches of the trees were chattering subduedly. Alwan turned to his wife saying, “You are a good wife, Zohra.”
She paid no attention to his words. She asked him, as if she was expecting him to break the silence, “Did you bring any money?”
“No, perhaps tomorrow or after tomorrow. Don’t let it depress you.”
She turned towards the wall. He felt wretched. He bent his head to the ground and did not speak. A heavy silence descended, broken from time to time by the sounds of the birds. A great tumult arose outside, shattering the silence once and for all. The house shook as if an earthquake had struck it.
“The hunters,” Alwan said to his wife.
He went to the window and poked his head out. There was no sign of the birds. They had all fled and headed off in the direction of the sun. The forest was empty now. Alwan turned his head towards her and said, “The hunters respect nobody’s feelings.”
“Why don’t you learn hunting? That way you can become rich without waiting for rain and tilling the soil.”
He felt humiliated. Alwan was more than sixty years old, and hunting required strength and accuracy, skill and cunning. When Alwan even walked the length of a street, fatigue quickly got the better of him and he would sit down to take a rest. Sometimes he slept, then he woke up and continued on his way. He headed towards the window once more and leant out. The hunter was among the bare trees, rifle under his arm. He aimed it carefully, from a kneeling position. Alwan poked his head out, his hand still on the window-sill. He said to his wife, “The rifle is pointing towards the windows. If he fires a shot, it will hit the middle of the house and destroy it.”
“What a wonderful development that would be. What are you doing here? It would be better if you died. We are ore wretched than those birds.”
“We are not that generous. Life is valuable to God.”
“What is it worth? You can’t do anything. It is better for you to die.”
“At least I bring you some bread, and sometimes some sugar and some money.”
She looked at him with great anger. Through her eyes, he touched the ferocity of the hunter. “I want to lean out, but I am afraid that a pellet will hit me.”
“I will lean out instead if your life is that dear to you.”
She leant out of the window. The lunar was not far from the house. As she stood at the window, she said, “This birdshot can’t kill. If you are afraid of it, you will die without it hitting you.”
The trees cradled no new growth. When a wind blew, they did not emit any smell. The forest was colourless. The tall trees conversed loftily the sky and the sun. The birds returned as if nothing had happened, settling once again on the branches. Zohra returned to her place, and Alwan remained standing. The hunter aimed his rifle, then blasted at them indiscriminately. Alwan turned to his wife, “All creatures love life and do not want to die. Praise be to the Eternal. Even birds flee when surprised by birdshot.”
“….”
“But the hunter always pursues them. He does not leave them for a moment.”
“….”
“It is strange that although the hunters become more numerous, the birds multiply.”
“….”
“Perhaps the birds are more numerous. Yes indeed, they are more numerous.”
There was a great distance between him and his wife. She had flopped down like rubbish on an empty pavement. The hunter moved deftly under the bare tree. He tried not to make a sound. He was afraid that the birds would flee. He aimed his rifle. He gripped is carefully. He aimed at a flock that were clustered together. Alwan smiled. Oh the joy of the hunter! A tasty dinner every evening. He can eat the flesh of birds. He can roast it over a flame. The eyes of the hunter were transfixed like those of a cat which has lost consciousness. A dog burst through the wood. It barked. The birds left the trees and circled in the sky. The hunter sent a shot after them. The silence exploded. Alwan lowered his head until the sound of the explosion subsided, then stood firmly on his feet again. The birds returned to their places. The movement was repeated automatically. They make love in the sultry heat. They give birth. They multiply. Alwan felt a sexual pleasure. A sensuous thrill ran through his body. He looked at the body of his wife, then out of the trees. The hunter’s eyes were shining. His face flooded with disapointment. He sat under a tree. The tree stretched up like a long street without an end. Another dog broke through the forest. It barked. The hunter aimed the rifle at the dog. He fired.
The silence was broken. Alwan lowered his head then stood up. The flocks followed one another endlessly. He looked at the hunter and felt his ferocity. The hunter was under the tree and above him were the birds. A dog broke through the forest. Dogs are alike. Birds are alike. The hunter had grown tired; the heat of the sun was intense. Alwan looked out of the window for a long time. The window contained the bare forest. He grew tired of standing, so sat down and stretched out beside his wife. She felt him come, and woke up. She went towards the window. The hunter had grown tired. He put down his rifle and slipped it under his leg. He leant his back against a tree-trunk and closed his eyes. Silence reigned over the forest, broken by the languid sounds of the birds. Zohra looked into the corner of the house and saw a piece of dry bread. She remembered the dogs anda flood of compassion filled her eyes.

Learning Points

  • Learn from the expert Cristina how to become a descriptive writer  :

The -ing form

The -ing form

The -ing form

A verb is a word that denotes a certain action done by somebody or something. It is also called a doing word.  A verb is also used to describe the state or condition of a person or thing. A verb not only tells us about an action, it also tells us about the time of an action. The tense of a verb tells us the time of an action.
A very common way of changing the form of a verb is by adding -ing to it.
1- Form the -ing form of a verb by adding -ing to the verb.
2- For verbs that end in -e, we drop the final “e”, before adding -ing to the verb.
3- In the case of some verbs, we double the last letter before adding -ing to the verb. In these verbs, the letter before the final letter is a single vowel.

Examples :
- keep – keeping, do – doing, sing – singing.
- close – closing, move – moving, share – sharing.
- fit – fitting, pin – pinning, drop – dropping.

Let us see the uses of the -ing form :
1- The -ing form of a verb, along with a helping verb, is used to form the continuous tense. It tells us that the action is in progress. The form of the main verb remains the same. Only the helping verb changes with every sentence. So, we must look at the tense of the helping verb to find out the tense of the verb.
2- The -ing form of a verb is used as an adjective to express something more about a noun, without using a helping verb. The -ing form of verbs which perform the work of adjective are called present participles.

Examples :
- Morgan is drawing a sketch.
- She was working hard.
- The setting sun looked beautiful.
- He caught the running train.

Subject-verb concord

The relation between subject and verb

Subject-verb concord

Concord refers to an agreement between two grammatical units. So, subject-verb concord refers to the agreement of the subject and the verb. The subject of a sentence is a noun, pronoun, group of nouns or a group of words acting as a noun. The subject may be plural or singular. If it is a pronoun, the subject may be first, second or third person.
If the subject is plural the verb must be plural.
If the subject is a pronoun, the verb must be in the same person as the pronoun.
Examples :
- The brothers are here.
- He loves art.

There are different rules of subject-verb concord. Let us take a look at what they are. In the case of pronouns, the third person singular (he, she, it) takes singular verbs in all tenses.
Examples :
- He works very hard.
- She has gone to London.

The rules for subject-verb concord of persons are the following :
- The first person plural “we” takes a plural verb in all tenses.
- The second “you” takes a plural verb in all tenses, even when it is singular.
- The third person plural “they” takes a plural verb in all tenses.
Examples :
- We ate our meal.
- We laeve today.
- You are coming with us.
- They mer on the beach.
- They wander the streets at night.

There is a different rule however, for first person singular “I”. “I” takes a singular verb with “am”, “am going” and “was” but takes a plural verb when we say “I go” or “I have gone”.
Examples :
- I am going to the market.
- I have gone to the market.

Where the sentence begins with “there”, the verb must agree with the real subject that follows it.
Examples :
- There is no way out.
- There are only two chairs left.

Nouns denoting food, clothing, furniture and stationery are singular. So they take a singular verb. And when we say, “a pair of …” we use a singular verb.
Examples :
- The furniture is old.
- A pair of black pants is essential.

When used for quantity, “a lot of”, “plenty of” take a singular verb. However, when quantity is given, both these take a plural verb. “News” is always in the singular.
Examples :
- A lot of time has been wasted.
- Plenty of kids are going for the picnic.
- This is great news!

If there are two subjects in a sentence, the verb will be plural. If the two subjects express one idea, then they take the singular verb. And if the subject and verb are separated by a group of words, the verb must agree with the subject.
Examples :
- Randa and Debby are best friends.
- Dal and rice is my staple meal.
- The boy with the pile of books is my little brother.

When the name of a country, a book or a film is denoted in a plural noun, it still takes a singular verb.
Collective nouns takes singular or plural nouns depending on their use in the sentence. Nouns like herd, class, crowd, etc. which refer to a group as a whole usually take a singular verb.
Nouns like people, police and cattle which refer to individuals of a group are always in the plural.
Examples :
- Chronicles of Narnia is my favourite movie.
- The crows was out of control.
- The cattle are grazing in the meadow.

Writing a paragraph using an outline

Learn to write a paragraph on a given topic or outline

Writing a paragraph using an outline

My pet
pet – goldfish – Goldie – colour – golden – orange – love my pet – beautiful fins – long tail – playful – naughty – jumps when fed – does not like to be dirty – change water twice a week.

My pet Goldie
I have a pet goldfish called Goldie. It is golden orange in colour. It has beautiful fins and a long tail. Goldie is very playful and naughty. It jumps up in the bowl when I feed it. It eats fish food. It does not like to be dirty and stops swimming when the water gets dirty. I clean it by changing the water in the bowl twice a week. I love my pet very much.

 

Learning Points

A paragraph is a group of sentences about a subject or part of the same subject. A paragraph is also called a short composition and it should start with the subject. It should not have more than eight to ten sentences. A composition may have mane paragraphs.
Before you begin writing a paragraph, you should first stop and think about the subject you are writing about. Let’s take a pet by way of example, and here are some questions you may ask yourself:
- Who is your pet?
- What is its name?
- What do you know about its habits?
- What are the things that you like or dislike about it?
- How do you take care of your pet?
To make a paragraph, write down all the ideas and points you have in one or two words to form a rough outline.
The first sentence of the paragraph should introduce the subject and tell the reader what the paragraph is all about.

The paragraph should be short (Do not have more than eight to ten sentences). To keep your paragraph short, you must not unnecessarily repeat the points or sentences.
Don’t forget to end the paragraph with a sentence that sums up the subject.