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  • 2017-11-08 08:22 Business English, How to series, Language

    A guide to writing reference letters in English


    Writing a great reference can be very time consuming. It needs to be personal and to strike the right note if it is to have the desired effect. It’s even harder if you are not writing in your own language. We’ve put together a short guide to writing a reference letter in English and have included a number of phrases which we hope you find helpful.

    Addressing a reference letter
    If you don’t know to whom the reference should be addressed or if the reference is general, you can write “To Whom it May Concern”.

    Starting a reference letter

    If the reference is for a specific position you could write “I would like to recommend Jane Bloggs for the position of … with your organisation.” If the reference is general you could write “I would like to recommend Jane Bloggs as a candidate for a position with your organisation.”

    20 useful phrases for references

    • a creative problem-solver
    • always cheerful and dependable
    • always meets his deadlines
    • always behaves professionally
    • her significant contributions to the company include…
    • a broad range of skills
    • always demonstrates integrity
    • pays careful attention to detail
    • exceeded expectations
    • has an excellent understanding of …
    • highly professional
    • greatly respected by colleagues and clients
    • has an excellent approach to …
    • is always willing to offer assistance with …
    • effectively managed …
    • has an excellent rapport with colleagues /suppliers/ customers
    • shows great work ethic and dedication
    • devoted an enormous amount of time and energy to the project
    • her enthusiasm is genuine and contagious
    • demonstrates unwavering commitment

    Be specific

    If possible, use numbers to quantify successes. For example, you might explain how much money the person made for your company, or how many customers the person interacted with on a daily basis.

    Final paragraph
    If the reference is for a specific position you could write “I can strongly recommend John for the position of …”. If the reference is general you could write “I am confident that Jane will make a fine addition to your organisation”. Alternatively “Jane would be an asset to any employer and I wholeheartedly recommend her for any endeavour she chooses to pursue.”

    You can finish off the letter with one of these sentences
    • Should you have any questions, I invite you to contact me.
    • If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me
    • You are welcome to contact me if you require any further information

    Signing off

    Sign letters addressed personally with 'Yours sincerely' and letters addressed impersonally with 'Yours faithfully'. Thus, if your salutation is “Dear X”, the corresponding valediction would be 'Yours sincerely'. If you start the letter with 'To whom it may concern' the corresponding valediction would be 'Yours faithfully'.

    We hope you find this advice useful. If you need further assistance with communication in English, please do not hesitate to contact us for editing services or English tuition.

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2017-10-26 07:51 Business English, How to series

    10 new expressions for giving positive feedback

    Is your positive feedback to your colleagues limited to a single expression such as “Good work”? Here are a few more you can use to add a little variation to your communication and to make a distinction between different degrees of praise.

    1. Well done!
    2. Nice work!
    3. Good stuff!
    4. Great job!
    5. Very professional!
    6. Impressive work!
    7. First class!
    8. Cracking performance!
    9. Excellent contribution!
    10. Tremendous/brilliant/magnificent work!

    We hope you find these expressions useful. Watch out for our upcoming article on writing references in English.

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2017-09-06 13:55 Business English, How to series

    How to translate your job title

    Translating your job title to English is often far from straight forward. Not only can it be tricky to find an exact equivalent, it can also be quite a loaded question politically. Status issues and other problems often arise when people inflate their titles in translation, whether deliberately or unintentionally.

    Creative thinking or playing it safe?
    Receptionist or help desk manager? MD's assistant or Chief Operating Officer? For the sake of clarity,  what you call yourself is usually best aligned with the norms of the sector you work in, both nationally and in the international market(s) that are relevant to you. A little time spent doing some research is usually time well spent.

    New jobs - new challenges
    Innovation brings its own set of translation challenges. A lot of jobs that people have today just didn't exist 10 year ago, leaving a lot of room for creative thinking and translation. LinkedIn is a wonderful resource for benchmarking and discovering job titles.

    35 new job titles for the Higher Education sector
    A good example of translation challenges is the work carried out on the new digital  Swedish- English dictionary by the Swedish Council for Higher Education (Universitets- och högskolerådet) which recently confirmed 35 new job titles  for the Higher Education sector. The dictionary was commissioned by the government to assist with the internationalisation of higher education. New job titles confirmed in this dictionary included:

    Företagsdoktorand – Externally employed doctoral student
    Vice dekan – Vice dean
    Timlärare – Part-time fixed-term teacher

    International variation
    It's good to be aware of variations in the use of titles between English speaking countries. America, for example has a strong preference for the term "Vice President". A Vice President of Marketing in the USA is more likely to be a Marketing Manager or Marketing Director in England.

    Some standard translations
    Here's a list of some common translations which we hope you find useful but please do not hesitate to contact us if you need help.

     Account Manager = Kundansvarig
     Art Director, AD = Reklamformgivare
     Business Analyst = Affärsanalytiker
     Chief Executive Officer, CEO = Verkställande direktör, vd
     Chief Financial Officer, CFO = Finansdirektör, ekonomichef
     Copywriter, Copy = Reklamskribent
     Creative Director, CD = Konstnärlig ledare, kreativt ansvarig
     Chief Marketing Officer, CMO = Marknadschef, marknadsdirektör
     Chief Communications Officer, CCO = Kommunikationschef
     Chief Investment Officer, CIO = Investeringsdirektör
     Chief Information Officer, CIO = IT-chef, informationschef
     Chief Innovation Officer, CINO = Innovationsdirektör
     Chief Operating Officer/President = Operativ chef
     Chief Technology Officer, CTO = Utvecklingsansvarig
     Director of Development = Utvecklingschef, utvecklingsansvarig
     Director of Finance = Ekonomichef
     Human Resources Director, HR Dir = Personalansvarig, personalchef
     Internal Auditor = Internrevisor
     Information Technology Director = IT-chef
     Key Account Manager, KAM = Storkundsansvarig
     Managing Director = Verkställande direktör, vd
     Production Manager = Driftchef
     Sales Manager = Säljansvarig, säljchef
     Senior Administrative Officer = Byrådirektör
     Senior Clerical Officer = Byråassistent
     Senior Legal Adviser = Chefsjurist
     Systems Engineering Consultant = Systemingenjör
     Systems Manager = Systemadministratör
     Tele Communications Administrator = Teleadministratör


    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2017-08-08 13:07 Language, How to series

    How to speak rib- the essential English barbecue glossary

    Know your ribs
    Planning a barbecue this weekend?  Read on to learn more about rib types and don’t forget to check out part 1 of our essential English glossary for barbecue enthusiasts.

    Baby backs: Loin ribs (approximately 11-13) connected to the backbone
    Spare ribs: The larger section of ribs (approximately 10-13) that run from the ends of the baby back bones to the belly/breast bone area. A whole slab of spare ribs includes part of the sternum (breast bone) and a strip of cartilage and meat (aka rib tips).
    Rib tips: The meaty, belly-side strip of cartilage and meat that runs along the bottom end of spare ribs
    St. Louis-style ribs: Spare ribs with rib tips removed
    Shiners: When ribs are cut too close to the bone and the bone "shines" through

    The bigger picture

    Have a look at this diagram of pork cuts for clarification.

    The art and science of grilling
    Is there really such a thing, as many barbecue enthusiasts maintain? Courses in grilling and barbecue science certainly lend support to this argument. If you'd like to get certification, you will be delighted to hear that not only are there grill academies, but Ohio State University has been offering courses in barbecue science since 2012. And if ut certificate doesn't convince, you can always settle the argument with a barbecue cook-off.

    Happy grilling!


    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2017-06-27 13:04 Culture, How to series

    How to be a great guest in English

    Have you been invited to an English speaker’s home? Knowing the appropriate responses makes for a much smoother visit and will greatly boost your chances of receiving a second invitation.

    We’ve listed some key phrases you should know and will point out potential pitfalls you can easily avoid in our next article.

    Do say

    “Thank you for inviting me”

    “How nice to meet you” (if you are meeting other family members for the first time)

    “You have a lovely home”

    “You have a charming family”

    “Could you pass me the salt/x please?” (When sitting at the table and in need of something out of reach)

    “Thank you, that was delicious”

    “It was delicious but I really couldn’t eat any more”

    “You shouldn’t have”/ “You shouldn’t have gone to so much trouble”

    “Thanks for your hospitality/ a delicious lunch/ a lovely evening”

    “You’ve been a wonderful host/hostess”

    “I hope we meet again soon”/ ”You must come over to our place sometime”

    We hope you find these phrases helpful. In our second article on how to be a great guest in English we will cover some common mistakes that Swedish guests often make, both from a language perspective and also in terms of cultural differences.

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2017-06-20 08:22 How to series, Language, Culture

    How to speak grill - the essential English glossary for barbecue enthusiasts


    Mmm...BBQ. If just thinking about barbecue brings a smile to your face, this glossary is a must-read for you.


    Indulge your passion in all things barbecue by learning to hold forth on an international level with some barbecue bravado. Our glossary covers all the essential terms you will need to speak fluent grill this summer (or year, depending on how hardcore you are!).

    Barbecue basics

    Any self-respecting barbecue expert should be familiar with the following equipment:

    • Charcoal or gas cylinder (fuel)
    • Fork
    • Tongs
    • Spatula
    • Scraper  
    • Skewers
    • Basting brush/grill brush
    • Steak thermometer
    • Gloves
    • Apron

    Barbecue types

    As far as the equipment is concerned, there are two basic types:

    • Gas barbecue
    • Charcoal barbecue

    What type are you?
    When it comes to the person manning the barbecue, you get to decide what type of griller you are. This is usually one of highpoints of barbecue bravado and self-proclaimed barbecue titles commonly include:

    • Classic griller
    • Grill innovator
    • Grill expert
    • Griller extraordinaire

    Key words for boasting about your barbecue equipment

    • Quality
    • Performance
    • Value
    • Durability
    • Proven success

    Bonus points
    For bonus points as a barbecue expert, you need to be able to describe your meat. Watch out for our next article on "How to speak rib".

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2017-06-15 00:00 How to series, Business English

    Nice ways to say no & offload before your holidays


    Feeling overextended and under pressure as you try to get on top of things before your summer holidays? Here are some helpful tips on how to politely say no at work. At the very least, they should help you win some time, allowing you to postpone until after the summer.

    1. My plate is really full with x and y at the moment. Let me know if you want me to re-prioritize.

    2. I’m so sorry. I’ve already committed to another meeting that day.

    3. I'm afraid I can't volunteer for that as I'm over-committed at the moment but let's see if we can delegate or outsource this.

    4. If you email me the details, I can get back to you with a more definite time frame.

    5. Unfortunately this is a really hectic time for me at the moment and I cannot take on any more commitments.

    6. I'm sorry but I make it a rule to prioritize my family over the holidays.

    7. I can't do this but I can do x (a lesser commitment).

    8. I would love to help you out but it wouldn't be fair to other projects I've already committed to.

    9. I'm afraid that's not my area of expertise but I can connect you to someone who can help.

    10. I really appreciate you thinking of me but I'm not in a position to give that project the attention it deserves at the moment.

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2017-05-31 14:27 How to series, Language

    How to offer your congratulations in English


    Are you invited to a student graduation party this week? Or has one of your colleagues got a new job or promotion? Whether the occasion is a new baby, a major anniversary or recognition of an achievement, it’s always good to be able to offer your congratulations with a suitable expression or phrase.
      
    Congratulate “ON” something

    Examples: Congratulations on your
    • accomplishment
    • achievement
    • anniversary
    • graduation
    • new baby
    • new home
    • new job
    • promotion
    • success
    • victory

    Short and sweet

    Congratulations!
    Congrats!
    Way to go!
    Well done!
    Keep up the good work!
    Such wonderful news!

    Being Specific

    Good work on that project
    Great job on the new account
    Well done on your exam results
    Congratulations on this wonderful recognition of your research

    Some useful expressions

    1. I love to see good things come to good people. This is one of those times.
    2. Just when we thought you couldn’t impress any more, you did it again.
    3. We are very happy for you and wish you the very best for the future.
    4. Your success is very/so well deserved.
    5. A just reward for all the hard work you put it.
    6. It is a success you truly deserve.
    7. It is an achievement you have really earned.
    8. Your hard work has finally paid off.
    9. Your dedication (commitment/hard work/ talent/ enthusiasm/insight) is really inspiring.

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2017-05-17 00:00 How to series, Business English

    How to ace your interview in English


    Congratulations! You have applied for a new job and been called to interview. But the interview is going to be in English!!! Being interviewed in another language is a challenge for most people. The good news, however, is that it’s all in the preparation. Here are our top tips for preparing for your interview.

    1. Practise answering questions out loud
    This is crucial. How something sounds in your mind and how it actually sounds when you say it can be very different.

    2. Check pronunciation
    Make sure you know how to pronounce keywords related to the job and industry and check out the word stress of important words so you really sound like you know what you are talking about. If you mispronounce important words, it gives the impression that you are not familiar with the topic. Google translate offers a very useful tool for this which allows you to listen to the word you have written.

    3. Prepare well for standard questions
    Most interviewers use a fairly standard list of questions. This is your biggest advantage as it is easy to prepare and have the perfect answer ready. Prepare a detailed list of answers to all the standard interview questions you can think of, for example
    - Tell me about yourself
    - What are your strengths and weaknesses?
    - Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?

    4. Remember, relevance is key
    Let’s take the classic interview question of “Tell me about yourself”. The perfect answer to this question focuses on education, experience and skills, not personal history, hobbies or interests. In preparing for this question from a language point of view, you also have the opportunity to really craft the right answer in terms of relevant content.

    5. Work on detail

    You might be shy about saying complicated things in English. However, this is absolutely necessary as the employer is looking for an employee who knows his or her job. It is more important to the employer that you can describe the job in detail in English than that you make a few language mistakes.

    Best of luck with your interview and watch out for the second part of this article with more interview tips.

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2017-05-02 08:20 How to series, Language

    6 ways to deal with the gender neutral “hen” in English

    Unfortunately there is no direct translation of the new Swedish gender neutral personal pronoun “hen”. Attempting to write English in a unisex way has always been tricky and work-arounds are required.

    Some argue that a perfectly fine neutral pronoun already exists – “they”. This option is increasingly popular. However, in the case of single individuals this is grammatically inaccurate as pronouns should match both gender and number.

    Without getting into complicated grammatical explanation, here are 6 tactics you can employ to translate “hen” to English. They aren’t perfect, but unfortunately an ideal option does not currently exist.

    1. He or she

    This is the most straightforward option i.e. Use both he and she.
    Example: He/she would like to try out his/her new computer.

    2. They
    Example: It’s best to give the customer exactly what he or she wants, especially when his or her patience has already been tested.
    Rewrite: It’s best to give customers what they want, especially when their patience has already been tested.

    3. One
    Example: Sometimes he/she wonders what his/her response should be.
    Rewrite: Sometimes one wonders what one’s response should be.

    4. Use the passive form

    Example: He/she should take his/her medicine as prescribed.
    Rewrite: Medicine should be taken as prescribed.

    5. Remove the possessive form altogether (where possible)
    Example: The average student is worried about his/her finances.
    Rewrite: The average student is worried about finances.

    6. Reverse the order (where possible)
    Example: If an employee works hard he or she will succeed.
    Rewrite: Employees who work hard will succeed.

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.

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  • 2017-04-06 09:51 How to series, Business English, Language

    Backtracking and backing down in English

    Following on from our article The art of denial, we’ve put together a short guide and some useful phrases to help you communicate in English when you need to back down or backtrack, difficult situations which sometime arise when mistakes have been made or a situation has been misjudged.  

    Backtrack

    Meaning: To reverse a position.
    Example: He was forced to backtrack on previous statements.

    Distance
    Example: She is trying to distance herself from the problem to avoid further complications.

    Offer
    Example 1: I have offered to clarify my previous comments.
    Example 2: Of course we will offer to look into the matter.
    Example 3: They are going to offer a full explanation.

    Retract

    Meaning: To take back.
    Example: He is willing to retract his previous claims.

    Tone down
    Example 1: It would be a good idea to tone down your argument in this situation.
    Example 2: She tried to tone things down by calling their reaction a simple misunderstanding.

    Upcoming articles


    Look out for our upcoming article “How to come clean in English – the art of confession”.

    Previous articles


    You may also be interested in the following articles:
    Nice words for mistakes
    Nice words for problems
    Alternative words for alternative facts

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2017-01-11 09:16 How to series, Language

    15 ways to “Start over” in 2017


    2017 offers endless possibilities and new chances.  Why not start the New Year by expanding your English vocabulary and learning some synonyms for new beginnings. We’ve put together some expressions to help you express new starts like a native English speaker.

    Starting for the first time


    1. Starting out
    Example: She’s just starting out in this business
    2. Starting from scratch
    Example: Starting a new business from scratch can be quite challenging
    3. Building from the ground up
    Example. He’s starting with just the basics and plans to build from the ground up

    Starting again


    4. Starting over

    Example. He’s starting over in a new business
    5. Starting afresh/ making a fresh start
    Example: She’s making a fresh start in a new location
    6. Rebuilding
    Example:  Rebuilding your CV to appear as relevant as possible for the job you are interested in is highly recommended
    7. New beginnings
    Example: New beginnings are always exciting
    8. Laying new foundations
    Example: Voluntary work experience is one way of laying new foundations if you want to change industry.
    9. Taking a new direction/Embarking on a new path
    Example: Embarking on a new path takes courage

    Recovering after a fall and starting again


    10. To rally

    Example: The ability to rally after a fall is essential
    11. To bounce back
    Example: It’s not how hard you fall that counts, but how high you can bounce back
    12. To pick yourself up
    Example: When things go wrong, you just have to pick yourself up and start again
    13. To dust yourself off
    Example: This new job offers you a chance to dust yourself off and start over.
    14. To make a comeback
    Example: Everyone is keeping their fingers crossed and hoping that you will make a comeback
    15. To turn things around
    Example: With the right people in place, we can easily turn things around

    Good luck!

    Best of luck with all your new goals and plans for 2017!

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level

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  • 2016-11-01 15:17 How to series, Language

    A lot of people get “compliment” and “complement” mixed up. It’s not surprising as they are both pronounced the same way and have very similar spellings. They do, however, have completely different meanings:

    Complement/Complementary

    This word is used when saying that something goes well with something else.
    E.g. “The addition of garlic complements the use of ginger in this dish” or “The wine complements the meal”. When ingredients (or foods, clothes, personalities etc.) work well together they are said to be complementary.

    Compliment /Complimentary

    Compliment has two common meanings:

    1. When someone expresses something nice about someone
    E.g. “It’s always nice to get compliments” or “She made some very complimentary comments about you”.

    2. When something is free of charge or done as an act of courtesy
    E.g. “This airline always provides complimentary drinks”

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-10-10 10:52 How to series, Business English

    How to ask for a salary increase in English


    Have you an annual performance review or salary negotiation coming up soon? If not, perhaps it’s time to book a meeting to discuss your compensation. Make sure you prepare properly for the meeting by planning exactly what you are going to say to negotiate a pay increase.

    Arrange a meeting

    If performance appraisal meetings aren’t usually scheduled at your workplace, write to your boss to request such a meeting. You could word this request as follows:

    “I would appreciate the opportunity to meet to discuss a performance review. Could you please let me know when might be a convenient time for you?

    Make your case
    Outline why you deserve extra pay. Have you helped make a profit for your company? If so, this is usually the best basis for negotiating a pay rise. To make your case, highlight exactly how you have contributed. Perhaps you can claim some of the following sample contributions:

    • I have brought in new customers
    • I have helped improve productivity
    • I have taken on extra responsibilities
    • I have achieved/exceeded my budget goals
    • I have successfully completed key projects for the company

    Be specific
    Not only should you clearly outline the reasons you deserve a higher salary, you should also request a specific amount to help guide your boss in the right direction.
    Example 1: I’m looking for an increase of X kr or X %.
    Example 2: I believe that an increase/ a bonus of X kr or X% would be appropriate.

    Justify the amount you ask for

    Once you have made your case and specified how much you are looking for, you can end your proposal with one of the following statements or something similar.

    • It reflects the extra profit I have made for the company
    • My proposal reflects the savings that I have made
    • I think this would be fair recognition of the new accounts I have brought to the company
    • I believe this is appropriate as it is in line with current pay levels for someone in my position in   this business/industry.
    • I have done some research and someone in my position usually earns about xxx

    If you get a negative response
    If your boss does not or cannot agree to your new salary proposal, try to negotiate non-salary benefits or to agree a new meeting at some point in the future. Here are some suggestions: by using some of the following suggestions.

    • I understand that company finances are rather stretched at the moment. Can we discuss non-salary perks?
    • Can we discuss other benefits in lieu of a pay increase?
    • Is it possible to look at other forms of compensation instead?
    • What can I do over the next few months to make myself eligible for an increase?
    • What do I need to do to be considered/to be eligible for a pay increase?

    Practise makes perfect

    It pays to practise before your performance review to prepare yourself for any questions that may arise, preferably by practising with another person.  Practising in advance will also make you feel more confident and increase your chances of a positive outcome.

    Good luck with your salary negotiations!
    If you would like professional help with preparing for your performance review or any other form of negotiation, please do not hesitate to contact us.

    Are you responsible for holding salary appraisals?
    Leading performance appraisals, salary negotiations or holding disciplinary meetings in English can be a huge challenge for non-native speakers. We have extensive experience of coaching managers and HR staff at large and small companies on the many challenges they face and how to deal with them effectively and diplomatically in English. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition.

    You may also be interested in:
    10 negotiation terms you should know in English
    How to win over your international negotiation partners - a free webinar by the London School of International Communication, tomorrow, 11 October, 3pm CEST. Learn how to minimise resistance and increase your chance of a successful international negotiation.
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  • 2016-10-03 19:52 Language, How to series

    How to soften bad news in English


    Do you have some bad news to communicate in English? Cancellations, scheduling clashes or perhaps cutbacks? Wondering how best to soften the blow? We’ve put together some language tips which should help you.

    1. Choose positive phrasing instead of negative

    Examples
    Negative phrasing: “The damage won’t be fixed for a week.”
    Positive phrasing: “You can pick up your car next week.”
    Negative phrasing: “The enclosed statement is wrong.”
    Positive phrasing: “Please recheck the enclosed statement.”

    2. Avoid negative words – use positive words in a negative form instead


    Examples
    Don’t say: “I think that’s a bad idea.”
    Say: “I don’t think that’s such a good idea.”
    Don’t say: “It’s too expensive for us.”
    Say: “It’s not as reasonable as we had hoped “

    People react better to positive sounding words, even if they are used with a negative auxiliary.

    3. Use modifiers to make things seem less or smaller

    Examples
    “That may cause a slight problem for us.”
    “We have a bit of a problem with the accounts.”

    Using ‘slight’ here helps the speaker to be softer. Phrases like “a bit of”, “sort of”, “kind of” have the same effect.

    4. Use phrases to signal bad news for the listener

    Examples
    Unfortunately….. / I’m afraid….. / I’m sorry but….. / With respect…..

    These phrases can soften bad news

    5. Use negative questions to make suggestions to improve the situation

    Examples
    “Wouldn’t it be better to…….?”
    “Couldn’t we……..?”

    These questions carry the speaker’s opinion in a diplomatic way and ask for a reaction.


    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-09-14 06:56 Language, How to series

    Nice ways to say B***S***


    It’s easy to resort to crude words and profanity but language skills are required for creative put-down material. Here are some alternative words and expressions for calling something absurd, ridiculous or complete nonsense. Using these words will not only showcase your language skills – it will probably give greater effect to your argument as they are not used as often.

    1. Drivel

    Example: That’s a complete load of drivel

    2. Gibberish

    Example: Such gibberish

    3. Codswallop

    Example: I think that's a right load of old codswallop

    4. Rubbish

    Example: What utter rubbish

    5. Balderdash

    Example: That is balderdash

    6. Hooey
    Example: What a load of hooey

    7. Poppycock
    Example: That’s absolute poppycock

    8. Hogwash

    Example: That’s just hogwash

    9. Tripe

    Example: That’s a load of old tripe

    10. Twaddle

    Example: That’s complete twaddle


    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-09-12 06:53 How to series, Language

    How should Hilary Clinton be addressed if elected president?


    A new etiquette dilemma will have to be ironed out if Hilary Clinton is elected president of the United States - concerning her official title and how she should be addressed. A number of forms of address are possible.

    Possible alternatives

    • President Clinton
    • President Hilary Clinton
    • President Rodham Clinton

    How to address her directly?


    The most likely form of direct address is “Madam President”. Other options, however, could technically include “Mrs President” or even “Ms President”.

    What will Bill Clinton’s title be?

    The matter is further complicated by the fact that U.S. presidents retain their titles for life and all former presidents are referred to as President (last name). An equally interesting question therefore is how her husband should be addressed. Will Bill Clinton have to demote himself from “President Clinton” if Hilary Clinton is elected president? Possible variations of his new title include the following:

    • Former president Clinton
    • President Bill Clinton
    • The first gentleman

    Presidential precedents

    There are some precedents of presidents from the same family:

    • Theodore Roosevelt (26th president) was a cousin of Franklin Delano Roosevelt (32nd president). Both of the former President Roosevelts are most commonly called by their nicknames: Teddy and FDR.
    • George H.W Bush (41st president) was the father of George W. Bush (43rd president). They are usually distinguished by "H.W or W" or by "41 or 43."

    How to address a letter to the president


    One aspect, however, remains clear. A letter to the president should be addressed as follows – we’ve even provided the address:

    The President
    The White House
    1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
    Washington, DC 20500

    What salutation should you use on your letter?

    Standard etiquette would dictate the following salutations:

    • The Honorable Hilary Clinton, President of the United States
            (Note: British English uses the spelling “Honourable”)

    Or alternatively

    • President Clinton
    • Dear Madam President (if Madam President becomes the accepted form of address)

    It will certainly be interesting to see what their new official titles will be if she wins the election.

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.


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  • 2016-08-22 09:40 Language, Business English, How to series

    How to clarify things on a phone call in English


    It’s easy to get confused or even slightly panicked if you are not used to speaking English on the phone and you need to have an important conversation. Communicating and listening on the telephone can be particularly challenging if the quality of the connection is poor or if the person you are talking to speaks quickly or has an accent that you are not used to hearing. It’s also normal to feel slightly thrown by a new word that you do not understand. Here are some phrases you can use if you run into difficulty.

    Difficulty hearing?


    “I’m sorry, but could you speak up a little?”
    “I didn’t quite hear that, sorry, can you say that again?”
    “I didn’t catch that last bit. Can you say it again please?”

    Difficulty understanding?


    “Could you speak more slowly, please?”
    “Could you repeat that, please?”
    “Would you mind spelling that for me, please?”
    “Could you explain that in another way, please?”
    “I’m afraid I didn’t get that”

    Wondering how to clarify spelling in English?


    See our previous article on how to spell in English about the NATO phonetic alphabet, also known as the ICAO phonetic or spelling alphabet and the ITU phonetic alphabet.

    Need to get end a conversation?


    If you are having severe problems, you might want to give up and try again later. But how do you do that without losing face and/or causing offence? Here are some ways to end a telephone conversation quickly, which also leave it open for you to have another attempt at a later point or to try communicating in writing instead.

    “I’m afraid the connection isn’t very good”
    “I’m entering a tunnel and will probably lose the signal”
    “I’m afraid the battery is about to run out on my phone so I may lose you”
    Followed by
    -“May I call you back another time/a bit later?”
    Or
    -“Could you please confirm what you just said in writing/by email?”

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-07-14 11:47 Culture, Language, How to series

    Neutralising Boris Johnson

    As you are no doubt aware, there has been quite a lot of political turbulence since the Brexit referendum and the UK now has a new PM with a new cabinet of ministers. As with most politicians, many of the new ministers are relatively unknown outside their own country, but few observers can have missed the former Mayor of London and leading Brexit campaigner Boris Johnson, who has now been appointed to the post of Foreign Secretary.

    Few currently active UK politicians divide opinion as much as Johnson, and most opinion articles are negative or positive in tone. In the interest of balance, here are some useful adjectives that are descriptive but more neutral - perhaps not great for clickability, but infinitely better in terms of diplomacy.

    Loquacious
    Verbose
    Provocative
    Contentious
    Controvsersial


    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-05-26 12:43 Culture, Language, How to series, Business English

    How to weigh in on the Brexit debate


    There is no escaping the subject of Brexit
    It’s the second time the British electorate has been asked to vote on the issue of European Union membership: the first was held in 1975, when it was known as the EEC. Membership was approved in that referendum by 67% of voters. On 23rd June, it’s up to the British voters again to decide their relationship with Europe.

    Taking sides in English

    Discussing politics in another language is usually a lot harder than other subjects. Whatever your opinion, it’s important that you can express it clearly. The easiest way of doing this is to take the lead from what has already been said and to agree or disagree with this. There are numerous different ways of doing this and this article outlines some ways of weighing in and sounding good in the process.


    1. In favour of vs Against
    E.g. I am in favour of Brexit/ I am against Brexit

    2. Pro vs Anti
    E.g. I am pro- EU/ I am anti-EU

    3. Supporters vs Opponents
    E.g. I am a staunch supporter of Brexit/ I am a staunch opponent of Brexit. Alternatively, I support/oppose Brexit

    4. To Welcome vs To find unacceptable
    E.g. I welcome the proposed terms/ I find the current terms unacceptable

    5. Accept vs Reject
    E.g. I  accept the idea of a unified Europe/ I reject the idea of a unified Europe

    6. Agree vs Disagree
    E.g. I agree with most of what you said but…../ I completely disagree with you because…..

    7. Praise vs Criticise
    E.g. I praise the new initiatives/ I am very critical of the new initiatives

    8. Applaud vs Condemn
    E.g. I applaud David Cameron’s stance on Europe/ I condemn his stance on Europe

    9. Celebrate vs Denounce
    E.g. I think the new proposals should be celebrated/denounced

    10. Allies vs Detractors
    E.g. Allies of Brexit would agree with that /EU detractors would slam those proposals

    Check out our previous article: How to talk Brexit – 10 Rs that you should learn

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-05-18 13:48 How to series, Language, Business English

    How to talk Brexit – 10 Rs that you should learn

    Where does the word come from?
    Brexit is an abbreviation of "British exit" and mirrors the term Grexit ("Greek exit"). It refers to the possibility of Britain's withdrawal from the European Union, currently a hotly debated topic in both the UK and the rest of Europe.

    10 R’s that will get you through any discussion in English on Brexit
    Brexit is a complex subject which we plan to address in a series or articles. First up is an easy glossary list that should help you participate in any discussion or debate that you happen to get involved in.

    1. Renegotiation ( e.g. Renegotiating terms)
    2. Referendum (e.g. A referendum has been promised)
    3. Redefining ( e.g. Redefining Britain’s relationship with Europe)
    4. Relationship (e.g. Relationship with other European countries)
    5. Reform (e.g. Reform of legal rights)
    6. Realism/Reality /Realistic (e.g. How realistic is Brexit?)
    7. Risk (e.g. Leaving the European Union is not without risk)
    8. Retention (e.g. Retaining/retention of national sovereignty.)
    9. Rights (e.g. What rights would be lost?)
    10. Repercussions (e.g. What would be the repercussions of Brexit?)

    Bonus points for alliteration
    An added benefit to learning these 10 R’s is that they also combine well, which will give you additional style points for alliteration.

    E.g. A referedum raises the issues of reform and redefining and renegotiating Britain’s relationship with the rest of Europe. It also raises the questions of rights, risks and repercussions.

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-03-18 09:03 How to series, Language

    Nice ways to say you’re broke


    Telling people that you’ve no money can be a little embarassing. Here are some alternative phrases that should come in handy if you have to explain your situation or turn down an invitation  for financial reasons.

    1. I’m running a little low on funds
    2. I’m feeling the pinch at the moment
    3. I’m temporarily in the red
    4. I’m nearly running on empty
    5. My resources are a little depleted
    6. My bank balance is little bit strained
    7. My finances are a little strained at the moment
    8. I’m a little cleaned out at the moment

    English language tip for talking about money
    A typical Swedish mistake is to use the word “economy” instead of “finances”. The word “economy” in English is used to describe finances on a national or international scale. “Finances” is the word used to describe an individual’s financial situation. Example: Rather than translating directly from Swedish and saying “I have a good economy”, say “I am in a good position financially” or “I am comfortable financially”. Alternatively, you could say "I am not in a good position financicially" or "I am not very comfortable financially".  

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-02-02 11:57 Business English, Language, How to series

    Nice ways to say you're wrong in English


    Making mistakes is a normal part of life but how this is communicated can build or break relationships. Learning how to diplomatically point out that someone is wrong, or has made a mistake, is challenging, to say the least. We've put together some useful tips including synonyms for mistakes and smart tactics for softening the blow.

    Nice words for mistakes and problems

    • oversight

    • slip up

    • hiccup

    • confusion

    • bump

    • hurdle


    Always use modifiers to make things seem less or smaller

    • slight

    • little

    • a bit of

    • minor

    • a few


    Examples

    • This may create a slight hurdle for us

    • There's been a little confusion about x

    • It seems there was a bit of an oversight regarding x

    • It looks like we may have hit a bump with x

    • There are a few sections of the report that need to be changed

    • A minor slip up has surfaced

    • There have been a few hiccups along the way


    Avoid saying "you" to the person who made the mistake

    • There's been an oversight

    • There may have been some confusion

    • It seems like we've hit a bump


    Make positive suggestions instead of directly pointing out the mistake


    • Let's recheck the statement together

    • Let's look at it again later as it needs a little revision

    • We'll need to make a few minor adjustments/amendments


    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2016-01-28 14:45 How to series, Language

    Nice ways to describe body shapes and sizes in English


    Do you struggle with politely describing what people look like? Body shapes and sizes can be a very sensitive subject and an absolute minefield.

    If fat, skinny, short or giant are the first terms that come to mind, try to memorise some of the following diplomatic terms for describing appearance.

    Overweight

    plus-sized
    well-built
    Rubenesque (usually used for women)
    sturdy
    generously built
    rotund
    well padded
    plump (usually used for women)
    ample
    curvy (usually used for women)
    portly
    well upholstered
    full figured
    built for comfort, not for speed

    Underweight
    slender
    delicate
    fragile
    slight

    Short
    compact (usually used for men)
    petite (usually used for women)
    diminutive

    Very tall

    statuesque
    imposing
    stately

    Keeping politically correct - Even Barbie has a new body
    You might also find the following article on Mattel's iconic doll 'Barbie' an interesting read. Barbie, who has courted controversy since her creation, has a new body. Mattel has responded to pressure and made Barbie available in original, curvy, tall and petite.

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2015-11-02 10:19 Language, How to series

    How to talk to your hairdresser in English and avoid haircut horrors

    Getting a haircut when you’re abroad can be a daunting experience if you don’t have the vocabulary to describe what you want to have done. We all have bad hair days but more permanent damage can be done from misunderstandings with your hairdresser.   We’ve put together some helpful tips to help you achieve the style that you want.

    Booking an appointment

    Your first task will be to make an appointment. Barber shops are hairdressers for men whilst hair salons can specialize in women’s or men’s haircuts or be unisex. When you call to make a booking, ask when they have any openings or say that you would like to make/schedule/book an appointment.

    Your choice of stylist

    A hairdresser can also be called a hair stylist (for men and women) or a barber (for men only). Perhaps you have already received a recommendation in which case you can say that (stylist’s name) has been recommended to you by (your contact). Alternatively you can ask for a recommendation. You might also want to ask for a colour specialist or colourist.

    Common questions

    Your stylist will probably start by asking “What would you like to have done today?” Other common questions are:

    How much would you like taken off?
    Would you like layering/your hair layered? (when longer hair is cut to different lengths)
    Would you like your hair blow dried (dried with a hair dryer) or leave it to dry naturally?
    Would you like to have your hair straightened/curled?
    Where do you usually have your parting? (the line that separates the way your hair falls e.g. a side parting or a middle parting)

    Standard requests

    I ‘d like to keep the same style
    Could you please take off the split ends (where hair is worn and split at the ends)
    Please just give my hair a trim (not cut very much)
    Can you try to keep the length as far as possible please (if worried the stylist might cut too much)
    I’d like to go for a new look. What would you recommend?
    I’d like to have a fringe please (Hair cut shorter at the front to fall across the forehead, usually to about eye brow length. Note: This is called bangs in American English)
    I’m trying to grow out my fringe/layers
    I’d like a crew cut/buzz cut (usually for men – when hair is cut really short, military style)
    I’d like to hide/cover the grey

    Hair Treatments

    You might also want to order one of the following services:

    A Perm (curling hair on a permanent basis)
    Colour treatments such as toning (can be permanent or non- permanent) , highlights (adding colour that’s lighter than your base hair colour on selected strands of your hair)  or lowlights (adding colour that’s darker than your base hair colour on selected strands of hair)

    Hair products

    Used when washing: Shampoo, conditioner

    Used to protect and nourish hair, usually when still wet: hair oil, hair serum

    Used for styling hair:  mousse, gel, spray, wax

    Hairdressing Tools


    The most commonly used hairdressing tools are scissors, hair dryers, flat irons (for making hair flat) and curling iron/curling tongs (for making hair curly)

    Tipping your hairdresser

    Don’t forget that in the UK and many other countries, it is customary to tip your hairdresser if you are pleased with the job they have done. The amount that you should tip will vary by country.

    Now you have the vocabulary you need to successfully get a haircut – good luck. If you need help with communications in English, please do not hesitate to contact us on tel.  +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se
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  • 2015-04-28 15:42 Business English, How to series

    How to ace your interview in English- Part 2

    Following on from the first part of this article last week, here are five more of our top tips for preparing for your interview in English.

    1. Learn phrases
    Don’t just look up words. Learn how to put new words in appropriate phrases. There is nothing impressive sounding about complicated words used incorrectly.

    2. Check your material
    Make sure that the material you study is correct. Practise does not make perfect if you are learning and repeating mistakes. Enlist the help of a native English speaker if you can.

    3. Prepare “why you are a perfect fit for the job”

    This is a list of points (achievements and skills) you want to make sure you put across during the interview, even if the question isn’t asked directly.

    4. Submerge yourself in English before the interview
    Try to submerge yourself in English before the interview to get in the zone. The best way to do this is by speaking English, preferably with a native speaker. If this is not an option, surround yourself by English media.

    5. Body language

    For all our emphasis on language skills, about 70% of what we communicate comes from our body language. Preparation of what you are going to say is key for building interview confidence, but filming yourself is also extremely valuable. A great video to check out on this subject is Amy Cuddy’s Ted Talk on “Your body language shapes who you are”.

    Best of luck with your interview!

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000 or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2015-03-30 12:12 Culture, How to series

    How to be a great guest in English (II)


    The second part of our 'great guest' article offers advice on what NOT to say or do if you’ve been invited to an English speaker’s home? Part 2 covers some mistakes that Swedish guests often make, both from a language perspective and also in terms of cultural differences.

    Don’t say

    “May I have a look around your house?”
    This is a cultural difference. English speakers will not necessarily expect to show you around their homes, especially upstairs and may not wish to. Never ask if it is not offered.

    “How big is your house?”
    Again, this is a cultural difference. Swedes have a penchant for quantifying things. English homes are usually described in terms of house type and number of bedrooms e.g. a 3 bed semi-d or a 4 bed bungalow. Even if the host knows the exact square footage, it’s unlikely he/she will know the area in metres squared which raises a further round of unnecessary complications.

    “I’m satisfied”.

    This is not the appropriate answer if asked if you would like some more food. To say” I’m satisfied” sounds like a judgement on the quality of the food.” It was delicious but I really couldn’t eat any more” is the best way of declining more food.

    “Is there coffee?”

    Unlike Sweden, coffee is usually served after dessert. Expecting coffee to be served simultaneously may stress your host.

    “It was nice to see how you have it”
    This direct translation of a common Swedish phrase can come across as rude, as it gives the impression that seeing the host’s home was as/more important than spending time in the host’s company.

    Just don’t


    -Forget to RSVP. This acronym (which comes from the French “répondez s'il vous plait”) is used in English as the equivalent of OSA).

    -Arrive early, or even bang on time if you can avoid it. Few things stress a host more than guests arriving early. Unless specifically requested to come on time, it is usually considered polite to come 10 to 20 minutes late.

    -Expect to make eye contact with everyone in the room/at the table if a toast is offered, as is the Swedish tradition.

    -Look puzzled if your host asks more than once if you would like a second helping or “if you are sure” if you decline more food. In some societies, it is considered polite to refuse when first asked and you should wait until the host offers a second or third time before accepting.

    -Forget to mind your Ps and Qs. English speakers generally make more frequent use of the words “please” and “thank you” than Swedes.

    -Forget to send a thank you card/email/text the following day

    You can read the first part of this article here

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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  • 2017-06-27 12:25 How to series, Language

    How to be a great guest in English

    Have you been invited to an English speaker’s home? Knowing the appropriate responses makes for a much smoother visit and will greatly boost your chances of receiving a second invitation.

    We’ve listed some key phrases you should know and will point out potential pitfalls you can easily avoid in our next article.

    Do say

    “Thank you for inviting me”

    “How nice to meet you” (if you are meeting other family members for the first time)

    “You have a lovely home”

    “You have a charming family”

    “Could you pass me the salt/x please?” (When sitting at the table and in need of something out of reach)

    “Thank you, that was delicious”

    “It was delicious but I really couldn’t eat any more”

    “You shouldn’t have”/ “You shouldn’t have gone to so much trouble”

    “Thanks for your hospitality/ a delicious lunch/ a lovely evening”

    “You’ve been a wonderful host/hostess”

    “I hope we meet again soon”/ ”You must come over to our place sometime”

    We hope you find these phrases helpful. In our second article on how to be a great guest in English we will cover some common mistakes that Swedish guests often make, both from a language perspective and also in terms of cultural differences.

    The London School of English offers high quality English language training for motivated adults from all professional backgrounds. We give you the tools and skills you need to communicate successfully in your field of expertise and to expand your business and career opportunities. Call us on +46 8 5999 4000or email us at info@londonschool.se for more information about our tailored tuition or simply take our online test to check your English level.
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