Make us homepage
Add to Favorites
FAIL (the browser should render some flash content, not this).

Main page » Coursebooks » Proficiency English: Language and Composition - Book 1

Proficiency English: Language and Composition - Book 1


by W.S. Fowler ... Proficiency English is a four book course which expands the students' knowledge of English and helps them to progress from competence (a level roughly indicated by the Cambridge First Certificate) to fluency in English. The material in the books has been thoroughly tested and its use has produced a very high pass rate in the new examination.

This is the core book of the course, covering essential structures and connecters, sentence construction and various types of modern English, including popular journalism.

The fact that you are beginning to study this book shows that you are no longer what is called an Intermediate student of English but can be considered Advanced - that is to say, it can be assumed that you can express yourself quite well in English, both in speaking and in writing. This book is intended to help you to improve still further so that you can reach the point where people will say that your English is fluent - a level measured by the Cambridge Proficiency examination, for example.


You will see my personal opinion of the difficulties ahead of you and how you can best solve them in Lesson 4 of this book. But it may he helpful for me to make the main points of my argument here, before you start. In the first place, there is still quite a long way to go before you can feel sure that your English is fluent. You have probably noticed yourself that while you can express your ideas in English clearly enough, you only know one way of saying or writing them. You would like to be able to vary this a little, depending on the company around you or the situation you find yourself in, just as you would in your own language.


In the same way, while you understand your teacher perfectly, you may sometimes not find it so easy to follow ordinary English or American people who do not choose their words so carefully. One object of this book is to "expose" you to as many variations of modern English as possible and help you to use them yourself in the appropriate circum­stances.


The second main point I want to make here is that becoming fluent in English does not really depend on learning a lot of more complicated structures than you have studied already. Good mod­ern English is not made up of long, complicated sentences. It largely depends on the correct use of structures and the connecting words and phrases that link sentences together. You will find some of these In the paragraphs above - "that is to say," "for example," "in the first place," "in the same way," and so on. This book tries to demonstrate by examples the use of such phrases so that you will be encouraged to try them out for yourself in your own speech and writing.


Up to now most of the English you have learnt has been selected lor you, especially if you have studied in your own country, rather than in England. You have learnt the most useful and necessary vocabulary in order to communicate with people in English, and the examinations you may have taken, up to and including Cambridge First Certificate, have been limited to the most commonly used words and expressions. From now on there is hardly any theoretical limit to your vocabulary, though you may find it comforting to know that even the best-educated English people use only 30,000 of the half-million or so words in the language! The most important point about new vocabulary, however, is the context. There is no point in looking up words in a dictionary and using them if native English speakers will not understand you. But when you come across a new word three or four times the context should tell you more or less what it means and the fact that you have seen it three or four times automatically suggests that it is fairly common, and therefore use­ful.


Of course you will not come across new vocabulary or begin to sense the natural order of words and use of structures in English unless you read. And this does not mean just reading a text-book, like this one. No author can possibly include all the words and phrases that will be useful to you in such a book, however hard he tries to cover the most important structures. At the same time no teacher can possibly teach you everything you need to know in order to become fluent in a language in the two or three hundred lessons you will have before you take an examination like the Cambridge Proficiency. You must help yourself to some extent - by talking to English people, if you can, and trying to copy the way they speak in general, not copying just their individual phrases, and by reading as much as possible.


Here I would like to offer a word of advice. Shakespeare is undoubtedly the greatest writer in English and one day you may want to read his plays for yourself in English. But close study of them at this stage would not help you to com­municate. On the other hand, good modern journalism, such as you will find in newspapers like The Times, the Guardian, the Daily Telegraph, the Sunday Times or the Observer, or magazines like New Society, New Scientist, The Economist and so on, is much more likely to help you - even more than modern novels, which in many cases have been written by people whose style is so individual that it cannot be applied in general conversation (for example, James Joyce).


George Orwell, incidentally, one of the best models in English for a student because he expresses himself in such a clear, straight­forward manner - said that "The English language has two out­standing characteristics ... a very large vocabulary and simplicity of grammar." He also said that "the greatest quality of English is its enormous range not only of meaning but of tone. It is capable of endless subtleties." This really describes the challenge ahead of you. You have already mastered the basic grammar and vocabulary. If you read enough, and above all, are not afraid to experiment with what you have learnt from a text-book like this in your own speech and writing, you will be able to recognise these subtleties for your­self and employ them. I very much hope that this will give you pleasure and satisfaction.

Proficiency English - Proficiency English Series

Proficiency English: Language and Composition - Book 1

Not registered yet? We'll like you more if you do!


Proficiency English: Reading Comprehension - Book 2

Not registered yet? We'll like you more if you do!

Proficiency English: Use of English - Book 3

Not registered yet? We'll like you more if you do!


Proficiency English: Listening Comprehension - Book 4

Not registered yet? We'll like you more if you do!


Proficiency English: Interview - Book 5

Not registered yet? We'll like you more if you do!


Purchase Proficiency English: Language and Composition - Book 1 from
Dear user! You need to be registered and logged in to fully enjoy We recommend registering or logging in.

Tags: English, yourself, phrases, complicated, structures, sentences, Proficiency