Author: michael medlock

A Quota or a quote

Several students mixed up the meaning of quota and quote this week. It is easy to see why as the spelling is almost the same. Here’s some clarification. A quota is a limit or a fixed number of people or things, or a fixed requirement. Here are a couple of examples. A government may put an annual quota of foreign 250,000 cars that can be imported into the country. This means that no more than 250,000 cars can be imported each year. You company might have a sales quota of $1000 per salesperson per week. This means that each salesperson is required to achieve at least $1000 in sales. A quote means either to repeat or copy what someone says or write, or to give someone a price. Here are some examples. When trying to prove an argument, people often quote the words of famous thinkers or politicians. When a firm wants to buy new equipment, it will as several suppliers to give a quote. This means that the firm wants to suppliers to tell them the price of the...

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How to use the immune

How do you use the adjective immune? This sentence came up in a student’s answer this week. This does not mean that the German economy is future-proof or immune against a slowdown. This is a case of using the wrong preposition. The correct phrase in this case is immune from. Some of you may be wondering about the meaning of immune to. You should use immune to when talking about a particular disease. You use immune from when talking about a situation or process.  The origin of the students mistake comes from confusing immunise (immunize in American English).  and to be immune. In the case of immunise, people or animals are immunised against a...

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I work for… or I am working for..?

This question came up this week. My first semester Dual Programme students were writing an short introduction to their employers. More than half of them started with a phrase similar to the this.. The company I am working for is called… What’s wrong with this? The grammar is fine. However, there this is subtle difference in meaning between “I am working for” and “I work for.” The first phrase gives the impression that this is a temporary situation. In other words, you won’t be working for them in the long term. Whereas, “I work for” gives the impression that you will work for the company for a long time, perhaps for...

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Headquarter or Headquarters?

A student recently wrote this sentence in an essay: The headquarter is in Stuttgart. This is a common mistake. The correct word is headquarters. Even when people choose the right word, they often get the grammar wrong. The company’s headquarters are in Stuttgart. The problem is that there is only one headquarters, so using “are” is incorrect. We are fooled by the “s” at the end (native speakers included by the way). The correct sentence is: The company’s headquarters is in Stuttgart. What if there is more than one company or more than one headquarters? The companies’ headquarters are...

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A New Beginning For Medlock English

It’s been a long time since I spent any time on developing the website or posting anything on Facebook. After many months of thinking about what to do, I ‘ve finally decided to reboot the website and start making updates on Facebook. I spend my working life teaching English for Business Studies as well as teaching topics in International Management. So, this is where I will be concentrating all my future posts. In the next few weeks I will be experimenting with various ideas to find out if my students find them useful. Here are some of my ideas: Common mistakes – using samples from my own students writing, they will be anonymous of course, I will highlight and correct errors that I tend to see very often. Bear in mind that most of my students are either German or Spanish, so the mistakes that are highlighted will come from these lanaguages. The type of mistakes made by speakers of other languages might be different. Key vocabulary and phrases – in the coming semester (Winter 2017/18) I will be teaching three topics in my university lectures and seminars. These are Introduction to International Business, Cross-Cultural Communication and Cross-Cultural Management. I’ll be highlighting the most important phrases and concepts used in these courses. Reading comprehension – I will post some the material that I use in lectures and course work....

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