Tutor profile: Yiqing Z.
How do I quickly come up with my argument for TOEFL independent writing test?
Everybody has a point of view. You need to put down your point of view on this specific question and give your reasons. Don't worry about whether those officers agree with your POV or not. What matters is whether your POVs are clear and whether your reasoning is convincing. So first and foremost, pick your stand. It's either yes or no. But what if things are not that simple, what if certain issues have their merits as well as downsides? Still, decide which side stands out, that's your stand. You can briefly talk about the other side later. Then spend a few minutes( which will be much shorter as you practice more) to brainstorm your argument. For example, if you think e-books have more influence on our society than traditional books, spend two paragraphs on the merits of e-books( e.g, they are portable, so you can carry thousands of e-books on a single device; they can be purchased online and be read instantly, which is so much more convenient than waiting for the shipment, etc.) You may want to write a bit about the influence of traditional books in the third paragraph even if you think e-books are more influential, so that your argument is more dialectical. You can say all the ancient wisdom was passed down to us via traditional books, generation by generation, and that cannot be replaced by e-books, etc. You need to read, and practice. This is just a framework of the writing. How quickly can you come up with ideas and the quality of your ideas depend on your knowledge. So read, read, and read, and then have a repertoire of topics to chew on in your spare time.
How do I learn the four tones in Mandarin?
This is TRICKY, because it's one of the hardest yet also one of the easiest part in mandarin. For the first tone, think about the sound "AH" when your doctor tells you to open your mouth and sticks out your tongue. It's that tone. Now you need to apply this tone to other sounds, but always keep in mind the "AH" sound you do in your doctor's office and you'll find it easy to do on other sounds as well. The second is easy too. Think about a question mark. You raise your pitch at the end of a sentence to make it a question, and it's the same with this tone. You raise your pitch as if to form a question. The fourth one, think about " Ha!" When you find something, or you win a bet with your friend. The pitch drops. Repeat " Ha" a few times and apply the tone to other sounds. You will get it. The third one is the most difficult. It's a "dipping" sound: you drop your pitch then raise it. You will need to combine the fourth and the second. If you find it difficult after trying for some time, you can play "mi-re-do-re-mi" on the piano, and sing along with it and find how it feels. Then connect each note and do it very fast with an "ah" sound. When you do it fast enough it sounds like the third tone.
Subject: English as a Second Language
How can I master the complicated tenses( especially past tenses) in English when my native language doesn't contain similar tenses?
First of all, it is not easy, but you can definitely master the use of tenses by practicing. Past tenses are more complicated than future tenses, and they are also used in subjunctives. When your native language doesn't contain similar tenses, you need an extra step of processing in your brain to form the sentences, meaning, in addition to putting the words together, you need to take into account of the tenses when you are putting in your verbs. Keep in mind the uses of the four past tenses( simple past, past continuous, past perfect, past perfect continuous), and draw a timeline. Then use differently-colored blocks to represent each tense and put them on the timeline. Then starting making sentences with them using this timeline. This will help you figure out which to use, and how using a different tense may change its meaning. You will need to practice with this timeline for quite sometime until this timeline sticks with you.
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