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How to sharpen your professional English

How confident are you using skeleton words in English?

Words such as although, contrary, despite, nevertheless, notwithstanding, regard(s) and regardless.

I call them skeleton words as they’re the bones that support how clear-cut your message is.

They’re also the words that trip me up the most in French. I muddle them up or avoid them.

And you, in English?

Exactly. They’re harder to remember than test, treatment and tetanus, aren’t they?

But skeleton words smoothe communication by boosting quality and accuracy.

They express attitude, opinion and reservations. They help with comparisons and conditions.

Using them makes you sound more precise and professional.

So how to learn them?

Notice which skeleton words you need and then make model sentences for them (like I’ve suggested here, here, here and here).

Verify that the article (a, an, the), preposition (at, in, on) and the form of the following verb (+ing?) are correct.

In contrast to milk chocolate, dark chocolate has many health benefits.

On the contrary, dark chocolate has many health benefits.

Despite eating lots of chocolate, I never gain weight. (I wish!)

I never gain weight in spite of eating lots of chocolate.

Such personalised phrases help you to remember patterns more easily.

Email me your model sentences and I’ll check them for you.

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© Christina Wielgolawski