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The Differences Between Academic English and Conversational English

December 5, 2017

The Differences Between Academic English and Conversational English

 

When choosing English classes, students are often confused about the difference between Academic English and Conversational English. Do you know the difference? Understanding the advantages of both will help you decide which course is right for you!

Academic English vs. Conversation English: What’s the Difference?

Conversation English: Overview

The goal of conversational English classes is to improve one’s ability to communicate. Therefore, conversational English classes focus on all aspects of learning English: improving listening, speaking, grammar, reading, and writing. There is typically a strong focus on vocabulary, idioms, and phrasal verbs.

The Differences Between Academic English and Conversational English

Who should take Conversational English classes?

Conversation-focused English classes are for everyone! Most students feel that their communication in English could be improved: these classes are an excellent opportunity for students of any level to improve their confidence and skills.

When choosing a conversation-based English class, the most important thing to remember is to choose a reputable school with qualified teachers. Make sure that your classes have a clear structure, that goals are outlined, and that the class syllabus is followed.  

The Differences Between Academic English and Conversational English

Academic English: Overview

Academic English classes are designed to improve a student’s English skills that are needed in the college classroom. Therefore, the classes will focus on improving English skills (listening, speaking, writing, and reading) for the university classroom. Vocabulary lessons focus more on academic English skills (and less on idioms, slang, and phrasal verbs). Academic English classes tend to focus more on writing, specifically research, essay practice, and citations. Listening lessons focus on listening to lectures and improving note-taking skills.

The Differences Between Academic English and Conversational English

Who should take academic English?

Academic English is great for many language learners, including students who:

  • Want to attend college or university in the U.S.
  • Plan to use English in a more formal or business setting
  • Would like a more rigorous workload than they receive in a conversational English class
  • Plan to take the TOEFL, IELTS, or other English proficiency exam
  • Would like to teach English in the future

The Differences Between Academic English and Conversational English

Do you still need help deciding which course is right for you? Contact CISL!

Converse International School of Languages has provided quality English instruction since 1973. CISL’s small class size (maximum 8 students per class) and effective curriculum help students reach their English learning goals quickly, and in two of the best cities in the U.S.: San Francisco and San Diego! Contact CISL for information on its Standard course, English for Academic Purposes course, or other programs such as Academic Year Abroad, Career English, and University Pathway.

Featured Grammar Learning Materials Lessons

Grammar Lesson of the Month: Transitive vs. Intransitive Verbs

December 1, 2017

Transitive vs. Intransitive Verbs in English

Do you know the difference between transitive and intransitive verbs? Understanding the difference will improve your English speech and writing.

Grammar Lesson of the Month: Transitive vs. Intransitive Verbs

Types of Transitive Verbs

Transitive verbs use an object. The object can be a noun, a phrase, or a pronoun.

Transitive verb with a noun

A noun is a person, place, thing, or idea. A transitive verb works with the noun.

  • I see the car.
  • I love ice cream.
  • He wants hot chocolate.
  • Have you tried eggnog?

Transitive verb with a phrase

A phrase is a group of words. These words work together as a unit to mean something. There are many types of phrases. Transitive verbs can be used with phrases.

  • I see why you wanted to live in this neighborhood.
  • I love taking long walks by the sea.
  • He wants less now that he’s older.
  • Have you tried talking to your roommate about his dog barking?

Transitive verb with a pronoun

A pronoun is used in place of a noun (usually because we already referred to the noun).

  • Can you see Sarah? Yes, I see her.

 

Examples of Common Transitive Verbs

Here are some common transitive verbs in English.

  • Buy
  • Cost  
  • Give
  • Leave
  • Lend
  • Make
  • Offer
  • Pass
  • Sell
  • Show
  • Take
  • Wish

Intransitive Verbs

Intransitive verbs do not work with an object.

  • What time does your plane arrive?
  • I love to sit on the beach and relax.
  • Today at the gym I stretched and I ran.

 

Examples of Common Intransitive Verbs

Here are some common intransitive verbs in English.

  • Act
  • Come
  • Cry
  • Die
  • Do
  • Go
  • Grow
  • Laugh
  • Respond
  • Smile

Verbs that are Transitive or Intransitive

Some verbs can be both transitive or intransitive, depending on their use. Within the context of the sentence, you can see if the verb is transitive or intransitive.

  • Studying abroad will change you in wonderful ways. (transitive) 
  • This neighborhood has really changed! (intransitive) 
  • Can you close the door, please? (transitive) 
  • When did this cafe close? (intransitive) 
  • Please write an email to Jim and thank him for dinner. (transitive) 
  • When did you learn to write? (intransitive) 

 

Why is this important?

Knowing if a verb is transitive or intransitive will help you properly use each verb: using a transitive verb without an object will of course be a major grammar mistake!

  • Can you see Sarah? Yes, I see. (incorrect)
  • Can you see Sarah? Yes, I see her. (correct)
  • I love to sit on the beach and relax myself. (incorrect)
  • I love to sit on the beach and relax. (correct)
  • Today at the gym I stretched and I ran myself. (incorrect)
  • Today at the gym I stretched and I ran. (correct)

 

Academic English EAP Featured San Francisco University Pathway

Meet our CISL Pathway Partner, California College of the Arts!

November 22, 2017

California College of the Arts International Students

“Make art that matters” is the motto of our CISL Pathway Partner, California College of the Arts. Are you looking for a career in the arts? A degree from this college might be for you!

Meet our CISL Pathway Partner, California College of the Arts!

California College of the Arts (CCA) was founded in 1907 as a private college. Today, the college has 21 undergraduate and 13 graduate majors in many fields, including:

  • Fine arts
  • Architecture
  • Design
  • Writing

California College of the Arts International Students

Why CCA?

CISL selected CCA as a Pathway Partner because of its dedication to student involvement. Students do not just attend class and then go home and study: both of the campuses (in Oakland and San Francisco) also host events, lectures, and talks from esteemed artists. The college believes it is important for students to receive this inspiration and motivation from others in the industry: these are the valuable experiences that cannot be taught in the traditional classroom!

California College of the Arts International Students

About CCA

CCA has campuses in Downtown Oakland and in SF’s Portrero Hill neighborhood. Its small student population provides students the opportunity to work closely with their professors: on average, courses have an average of only 13 students per class and the school has an 8:1 student/faculty ratio.

California College of the Arts International Students

CCA also prides itself in offering students real-life skills. Students are offered more than 600 internships per year and classes focus on teaching students skills that can be used in the workplace. CCA is also a great value: in 2016, it was voted “Best Value School” by PayScale, a website which ranks the value of colleges using the world’s largest database of salaries and tuitions.

California College of the Arts International Students

Attending CCA as an international student

With CISL’s Pathway Program, CISL students can attend California College of the Arts without taking the TOEFL. Students simply need to complete CISL’s English for Academic Purposes Course and apply to CCA. With the help of CISL’s Pathway Advisor, students receive guidance throughout the application process.

To learn more about CCA or CISL’s Pathway Program, visit the CISL website.

 

Featured Lessons Student Life

Why Your English Isn’t Improving

November 20, 2017

Why Your English Isn't Improving

Do you study and study English but feel like your language skills are not improving? Perhaps you are making some of these very common mistakes.

Why Your English Isn’t Improving

You aren’t getting enough practice speaking

Speaking skills can be some of the most difficult to improve, mainly because it requires many hours of speaking practice to see real improvement. Are you interacting with native English speakers in real-life environments?

Why Your English Isn't Improving

You aren’t making it a part of your daily routine

Change your phone’s language to English. Follow English speaking accounts on Instagram. Always watch movies or TV shows with English subtitles. In short, make sure that English surrounds you!

Why Your English Isn't Improving

You aren’t thinking in English

A common (and understandable) mistake that many English learners make is trying to translate exact sentences and phrases into their native language (or vise versa). Once you realize that English will never directly translate to your native language, you will begin thinking in English. This will greatly help you improve your skills.

Why Your English Isn't Improving

You’re too nervous

It is also common to be nervous to speak English, but this feeling will only hurt your progress! Remind yourself that language learning is a process and that it is OK to make mistakes. Be sure to surround yourself with people who support your language learning and provide you with constructive criticism.

Why Your English Isn't Improving

You aren’t fixing fossilized errors

“Fossilized errors” are mistakes that we make again and again. Is there an English tense that you struggle with? Or a sound that’s difficult to pronounce? Perhaps you have a difficult time with certain irregular verbs? Or maybe phrasal verbs make your head spin? Identify your weaknesses and then work hard to fix them. Speaking without worrying about these mistakes will allow you to communicate confidently!

Converse International School of Languages has provided quality English language instruction to international students in San Francisco and San Diego since 1973. To learn more about our intensive programs and our small classes (no more than 8 students per class; 4 students in our premier programs) contact CISL.

 

Featured Student Life

5 Common Mistakes International Students Make

November 13, 2017

5 Common Mistakes International Students Make

Moving to the U.S. to study English is an exciting opportunity. For many, it’s also a once-in-a-lifetime experience! Make the most of your time in the U.S. and avoid these 5 common mistakes international students make. After 45 years of providing English instruction, we at CISL continue to see these mistakes made again and again!

5 Common Mistakes International Students Make

Speaking their native language

It’s very easy to speak your native language, especially if there is some in your residence hall or at your school who speaks your language. Remind yourself DAILY why you are here: to learn English! This means speaking English to everyone, not just people who do not speak your native language. Remember: every conversation you have is a chance to improve your speaking skills.

Not going on activities

5 Common Mistakes International Students Make

At CISL, we provide organized activities nearly every day of the week. These activities are an excellent way to see more of San Diego and San Francisco; they are also a wonderful way to meet other students from the school and interact with the CISL staff. Activities often provide access to museums, parks, and events at a discounted rate. Check with the Front Desk and see what’s planned for this month, and don’t miss out on the fun!

Missing local events

5 Common Mistakes International Students Make

Sometimes, students are so overwhelmed with moving to a new city that they forget to really enjoy it. Don’t just learn the public transportation systems and where to buy groceries: learn about the fun things happening in your new neighborhood! Check out the Instagram pages of local neighborhoods, search online for local events, and visit local cafes and look for flyers. Immerse yourself into your new environment and you will soon feel like an important part of your new community.

Not disconnecting

5 Common Mistakes International Students Make

With today’s technology, we are always connected: WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat are just some of the many ways we stay in touch with friends and family! But don’t forget that you sometimes need to disconnect from the digital world in order to truly enjoy the world around you. It would be a shame to look back on your time in California and remember being on your phone instead of remembering being in a place.

Not exploring the new city

5 Common Mistakes International Students Make

Your new city will have many new neighborhoods to explore: see them all! Don’t get stuck staying in your new community; remember to explore everything the city has to offer. With public transportation and ride services such as Uber and Lyft, you are connected to all parts of your new place. Explore!