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Must Read Dokkai Reviews (読解特急4 ビジネス文書編)

Here's the series of Dokkai reviews (読解特急4 ビジネス文書). The reviewer is the English learner I've been truly admiring for years. In each review he demonstrates how we can learn grammar and writing from one TOEIC Part 7 preparation book. I strongly believe anyone who’s learning English for whatever purposes can earn something from his thorough reviews and deliberate analyses.

DOKKAI 4 p.14 to p. 30

DOKKAI 4 p.38 & p.46

DOKKAI 4 p.54 & p.62

DOKKAI 4 p.70 & p.78 & p.86
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QW 102712 “It’s been a long time”

A week ago on Twitter, I learned how to use “It’s been a long time” and “since” in one sentence. The “since + present perfect” construction was what I was initially unsure of, and thus wanted to know more about. My thoughts, however, were getting more focused on how “It’s been a long time” can be used as my questions were answered by my friends’ feedback. Here’re the things I can share with you.

a) It’s been a long time since we last talked.
b) It’s been a long time since we’ve talked.
Both sentences basically mean “We talked in the past, but haven’t talked for a while.” The difference is a) refers to a specific action, but b) doesn’t.

For instance, when you’d like to refer to the specific occasion on which you and your friend talked last, use since + simple past. In fact, a) might make readers wonder when the last talk really happened.
e.g.) It’s been a long time since we last talked at our annual gyoza party.


*c) It’s been a long time since we met.
【been a long time + since + simple past】It means that we met some time ago, but haven’t met lately. I had thought it could ALSO mean “We met some time ago, and the friendship has lasted for a long time.”, but this is where my confusion started, I suspect. If you want to emphasize the long-lasting friendship, you might want to say “We’ve known each other for a long time.” It’s much clearer, and probably more precise. Again, c) doesn’t clearly state when the last meeting happened. Thus, it could be like;

c) It’s been a long time since we met at the gyoza convention held last year.


d) It’s been a long time since we’ve know each other.
【been a long time + since + present perfect】My confusion mentioned in the c) section might’ve made me interpret the sentence as that “we” got to know each other some time ago, and kept in touch since then. The sentence implies, according to my Canadian friend, that “we” used to know each other but don't any more. I didn’t see that coming, but I remembered that “It’s been a long time” goes hand in hand with absence of the action. “It’s been a long time” and “for a long time” might look similar, but are totally different in usage. Then, how about the following sentence?

e) It’s been a long time since we knew each other.
【been a long time + since + simple past】The fact that we know each other is already in the past and no longer exists, so it means “We used to know each other, but not any more.” Then I wondered. Can we quit knowing someone once you got to know them? My friend told me that we can become uncertain of someone anytime. Yes, point taken. You can even become uncertain of yourself. Then again, if you want to emphasize your long-lasting friendship, you say “We’ve know each other for a long time.”

(50 minutes / 519 words)

It's been a long time since I updated this blog. Thank you for coming back, readers.
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QW 101912 “Muteness”

I’ve become to like this muteness that I’ve been having for a couple of days. It’s not just that I lost my beautiful, soothing, yet seductive voice after having offered continuous lectures with a damaged and sore throat. The loss of my normal voice surely let me down both physically and mentally for sure. There were also the things that were beyond my control and capacity, but I had to deal with in very professional manners. Those things are energy-consuming on my side, but I kind of like this situation where I’d opt to remain silent, at least on the surface. Yes, on the surface.

Being mute, quiet, or to put it in a nicer way, “sober” helps you look back on what you’ve done to yourself, and what’s really important for you and what’s not. Given this calm submissive yet still positive energy, you’re more likely to see things critically and scrutinize yourself more thoroughly. It entails some risks, mind you, to be overly absorbed in your self-consciousness, soul-searching, or even self-loathing which serves you well while numbing your pains and averting your eyes from the problems you may have and the reality you need to face.

For now, however, I’m pretty much willing to enjoy this muteness that I have now, but who knows? It could be an incubation period in which the new-me will emerge sometime later. As the final note, readers, I’m always such an introverted, quiet, and contemplative person. Simultaneously I know full well that you’re not gonna believe my word. Cheers.

(20 minutes / 257 words)

I'll watch this movie this weekend, and go mute even more.
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QW 101612 “Arrogance”

When people say, “You need to be more considerate to others.” or “You should put your feet in someone else’s shoes.” or even “You’re lacking the ability to understand and respect what others are doing.”, they’d basically be hoping you to agree with what they’re doing, or they’d even be wishing you to act just the way they’d like you to behave. Well, I think it’s very selfish, silly, and arrogant to accuse anyone of lacking the ability to understand anything. Is he or she really lacking the ability to understand what they believe is right or reasonable? Is it really the matter of “ability”? I don’t think so.

I love this quote of Oscar Wilde’s: Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.

It's your arrogance that makes you think you understand who someone you think you know really is.

(15 minutes / 153 words)

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QW 101412 “Incentive and Reward”

I’ll start this QW piece by clarifying how these two words are defined in dictionaries.

incentive: a thing that motivates or encourages someone to do something (OED), something that incites or has a tendency to incite to determination or action (m-w. com) cf. incite: encourage, stir up

reward: a thing given in recognition of service, effort, or achievement (OED), something that is given in return for good or evil done or received or that is offered or given for some service or attainment (m-w. com)

Dr. Kenichiro Mogi tweeted about the reward of learning yesterday morning, saying in the world of economics betting paid may be the foremost incentive for working, but when “the act of working” itself has become the reward to be given for a person who works, he or she will achieve something truly great. He insisted that the same thing applies to learning, which means, in my understanding, passing exams or getting certain scores shouldn’t be the reward of learning, but “the act of learning” itself should be regarded as the reward to be given instead. Then you may say, “Come on! Dr. Mogi is a renowned scholar as well as a popular TV talent. He probably has earned decent of amount of money already. We, lay people, need to earn money from whatever we’ve done as a job. We need to obtain specific and “tangible” results from whatever we’ve learned sacrificing our precious time, effort, and energy.” Yeah, it could be a legitimate, and “honest”, comment that any of us can make, but is it truly okay for us to disregard what Dr. Mogi said about the incentive and reward of learning? Is passing exams, English proficiency tests like STEP Eiken, or getting certain points on TOEIC or TOEFL the foremost incentive and/or reward for learning English?

For me, learning English and teaching English are literally intertwined. I learn English by teaching it, and I teach English by learning it. Both acts are equally rewarding; rewarding in a sense that both acts make me feel very rewarded and happy. I’m not such a saint to say I can teach anybody anytime without getting paid or I’m always willing to provide a free English lesson, whether online or offline, to whoever wants it. What I want to say here is that I’m fully rewarded by teaching and learning English. Imagine that what you’ve learned while sacrificing your time, effort, and energy would be of use to somebody who’s learning what you’ve learned and could lead that person in any better direction. “Somebody” doesn’t have to be a student in classroom. It could be anybody. So, any learner can be a teacher to another learner. The incentive that we, English learners, need is the passion to be a better English speaker. The reward that we, English learners, will receive is the joy of learning something new that makes us a better English speaker.

(50 minutes / 486 words)

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Aya

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