How important is your accent?

In India, I have met a few people who speak with an American accent. I have noticed that not all the words they pronounce have this foreign accent. An Indian accent on a word slips in, here and there. And then, their ‘American’ accent sounds artificial. 😦

Does one have to speak like a native speaker? The short answer is: no. There are many kinds of English out there. We have Japanese English, Spanish English, and of course, Indian English. All these different kinds of accents are fine. Your accent reflects the place and culture you belong to. In the US, there are many accents. All these accents are fine. And so is yours.

What is important is that your pronunciation should be understandable. To better pronounce a word, you can focus on syllable stress and the phonemic chart. Do check out the other blogs on this page relating to pronunciation.

Here is a charming song on the differences in how we pronounce words:



Some advice on IELTS

Many candidates find IELTS to be challenging. If you prepare well, you can do well. Here are some tips:

  • Practice your paraphrasing skills. This will especially help you in the writing section.
  • Use simple language. You do not have to use fancy words to do well. If you do use advanced vocabulary, make sure that you know what it means.
  • Read the question! Many times, candidates start answering the question they are expecting, and not the question that has been asked. When you do this, you go completely off topic.

Here are some websites which can help you:

IELTS Tips from British Council





When do I use a semicolon?


When do I use a semicolon?

This is a good question. And before I answer it, we will have to revise what an independent clause is.  An independent clause:

  • has a subject and a verb;
  • makes complete sense on its own.

Here is an example of an independent clause:

Atul made a presentation. This simple sentence is an independent clause. There is a subject (Atul) and verb (made). And it makes sense on its own.

How about this sentence? Although we finished. This is not an independent clause. Yes, there is a subject (we) and a verb (finished). However, it just does not make any sense! It’s a phrase.

Good. Now that independent clauses are out of the way, let’s get back to semicolons. Here are two common uses of the semicolon:

  1. We use a semicolon to connect two independent clauses:

Atul made a presentation; the client decided to accept our offer.

This is painfully incorrect:

Although we finished; I was not able to upload the file.

A semicolon is used for sentences that are closely related to each other. If the sentences are not closely related to each other, you can always use a full-stop.

  1. We can also use a semicolon to divide a list which has other punctuation marks in it.

Here is a list of the attendees: Mrs. X, CEO of Kaboo; Dr. L, University of Row; Mr. O, COO of Bow Wow.

Now imagine we replace the semicolons with commas.

Here is a list of the attendees: Mrs. X, CEO of Kaboo, Dr. L, University of Row, Mr. O, COO of Bow Wow.

Are you as confused as I am? I hope so… I don’t know whether the CEO of Kaboo, is Mrs. X or Dr. L or whether the CEO of Kaboo is another person altogether.

Semicolons are elegant and useful punctuation marks. Use them properly 😉