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December 12, 2015


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Dear Simon,

I have a question about something you wrote in your letter "extremely friendly and obliging". You wrote so many times that use of words like "very, big, and etc." was not appropriate because it not show to the examiner our academic language and we need to use synonyms. I do not want to argue with you, because I believe that you are the person that knows better than me English, but I think in this case that using "greatly" is more appropriate than "extremely". What I mean is that "extremely" is using in cases that are dangerous or urgent. What do you think, is my argument have enough weight or it does not matter because they are synonyms and they only replace "very"?

Thank for your answer.


This is a letter, not a piece of academic writing, so using words like 'extremely' is completely appropriate.

As for your other comment, you need to understand how collocations work. Some words fit naturally together, and others don't. 'Extremely' in English is not only used in negative situations, but is also often used in positive meanings as well. Unfortunately, 'greatly' does NOT collocate (go with) 'friendly' so you definitely can't use it here. In fact, 'greatly' is only really used with verbs, such as 'greatly appreciate', and not adjectives such as 'friendly'.

Thanks for the full answer. This was the answer I was searching for.


Just to add to what sjm said, try searching for the phrase "extremely friendly and obliging" on Google (make sure you put speech marks around the phrase "...").

You should find thousands of examples of the phrase, and the first search results all come from the Trip Advisor website. You'll notice that these are comments from people saying how good the staff were in various hotels. In other words, it's very common for English speakers to use "extremely friendly and obliging" as a collocation / phrase in this kind of context or situation.

We would never say "greatly friendly".

"I suggested that we find...." is that right?
I think "find" => "found"

Thank you Simon, thank you sjm, thank you for your help.

Hi Simon,

I was wondering how restaurant could manage to seat 10 people in a table?


'Suggest' takes the infinitive form after it (it's actually a bit more complicated but you can think of it as the infinitive:



It's common for restaurants to fit in large groups by putting a few tables together.

Thank you so much, Sim.

Dear Sir,
First of all, I would like to tell you and your teaching staffs heartily thank you for your very informative teaching and guidance for my English skills in reading, writing, listening and speaking. After attending your English class, I think I have improved in my English subject.Because it is not my mother language, I had difficulties in studying English previously.Now, I can speak thoroughly in daily life .

3/10-12 Seascape st, clayton

Hi simon,I really looking froward to watchinhg your video courses for General training, because I have been waiting for it for some time. I have two exams in January, and I really in need of your video course general training.
Please make it as soon as possible, btw, can i know the approximate finish date of that filming?

Dear Simon,

Would you expain why the comma in front of 'and we not have chosen' on the third sentence is necessary? Is it an absolute phrase which modifies the whole sentence? Also, I am little confused of using 'and' there.

Best regards,

Chris Choi

Hi Simon,

Could I ask why you didn't use the past tense rather than the perfect tense for the sentence "The ceremony had taken place"?



Hi simon,
Is it ok to write yours faithfully???

Hi Simon,

In this sample essay, should it be "at very short notice" or "at a very short notice"?


Hi Sir, 

 I have to publish my articles on your website kindly tell me your guideline and per post price. 

Thanks & Regards.

 Email: [email protected]

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