Everyday English 1
Everyday English 1

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Everyday English 1

5.3 Finding and using information

For some texts it is obvious if and how you will use the information. When you buy a new phone or television, you may well need the instructions to help you set it up. You might not read every part in detail. You will select what to read carefully and what to skim over quickly.

What you do with a text often depends on if its purpose matches your needs.

Activity 34 Information to match your needs

Timing: Allow about 10 minutes

Read the following text and answer the questions.

QuickMail helps you keep in touch

Weight not overEuropeWorld Zone 1World Zone 2
10g£1.25£1.32£1.32
20g£1.42£1.78£1.78
40g£1.55£2.12£2.47

1. What is the purpose of this text?

a. 

To instruct readers how to weigh a letter


b. 

To inform readers about world postage prices


c. 

To describe how airmail helps keep people close


The correct answer is b.

2. Why would you need to read this text?

a. 

To find out where to buy stamps


b. 

To find out how much your letter weighs


c. 

To find out prices to post packages abroad


The correct answer is c.

3. You want to send a present to your brother in Germany. It weighs 36g. How much would it cost?

a. 

£1.55


b. 

42p


c. 

£1.05


The correct answer is a.

4. Your sister lives in Brazil, which is in World Zone 2. You send her the same present. How much would this package cost?

a. 

47p


b. 

68p


c. 

£2.47


The correct answer is c.

5. The package to your brother in Germany is actually 46g. How much would that cost?

a. 

60p


b. 

80p


c. 

The information is not there.


The correct answer is c.

Activity 35 Instructions

Timing: Allow about 15 minutes

Read the following text and answer the questions relating to it.

Instructions for building a garden wall

Foundations

By far the most important part of any wall is its foundations. If it is not possible to lay foundations you will have a hard job producing a stable and long-lasting wall.

Always cut your foundations horizontally. On sloping ground this may involve stepping them to accommodate the slope. Make each step equivalent to a whole number of bricks, plus mortar. Make sure the foundation is strong enough to bear the weight of the wall.

For a light garden wall, 30 cm deep should be sufficient if the soil is firm and well drained. On unstable or weak ground, make the depth 46 cm. Make the trench twice the width of the brickwork. Lay a concrete footing of about 1 part cement to 6 parts ballast to a depth of about 15 cm (6 inches) in the bottom of the trench.

1. What is the purpose of the text?

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Answer

To give instructions on how to build a wall.

2. Why would you need to read the text?

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Answer

If you were planning to build a wall.

3. What should you do with your foundations on sloping ground?

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Answer

Step them.

4. How deep in inches should your footing be?

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Answer

About 15 cm (6 inches).

5. Is there really enough detail in the text to build a wall? If not, what would help?

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Answer

There is probably not enough information. Some of the vocabulary is not explained - what is ’ballast’ or ‘stepping’? How do you make mortar? Pictures would help.

When you study a subject, you use texts to learn new information. You have to read carefully to ensure you understand all of the information you need. You are using this text to develop your English skills.

In both Functional Skills English and Essential Skills Wales Communication assessments (and other courses you might study), the questions you are asked about a text may not simply be a case of finding information. Sometimes you need to decide what is relevant to the question and judge how much you need to include in the answer.

Activity 36 Careful reading

Timing: Allow about 15 minutes

Below is a letter from a friend of yours. Read the letter and answer the question.

Yesterday I went to a job interview that had been arranged through the Job Centre. I went to the place I was told to go to, but when I arrived I was sent to a different building about 5 minutes’ walk away. I arrived just in time, to be told that the person who was going to see me had been called out and would be back shortly. I waited for nearly an hour!

When the interviewer finally arrived, I was ushered into an office where at least four people were working. Phones kept ringing and people kept interrupting. I found it really difficult to concentrate and answer questions.

I suggested that the interview be postponed to another time when the interviewer was less harassed. This did not go down well and the interviewer got really angry! I was accused of wasting time and told to get out if I didn’t want the job. I tried to reason but decided it wasn’t worth it.

Help! I’m really concerned I’ll lose my benefits for failing the interview. I need your advice – what do you think I should say to the Job Centre, who set up this interview for me?

If you were replying to your friend, what key points would you suggest she make when she reports back to the Job Centre?

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Discussion

You might suggest the following key points:

  • You were given incorrect information about the place and time for the interview.
  • The interview wasn’t private.
  • You made a positive suggestion for improving the situation, but got a hostile response.
  • You are worried about losing benefits.

You have had practice in this section with working out the purpose of different texts, recognising what is fact and what is opinion, and picking out important points. These are all really useful skills which you can try using in whatever you read.

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