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  1. #1
    mehdi 100 is offline Newbie
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    Default Are the terms “By this I mean” and “Generally Speaking” informal/spoken?

    Hi, everybody. My new English teacher told me that “By this I mean” is not suitable for Academic writing because it is spoken. However, my previous English teacher told me that this one is appropriate. Actually he recommended me the book “Insight into IELTS”. According to the book, one can use “By this I mean” or “By … I mean” in academic writing. The book itself is published from Cambridge University and therefore is recommended for IETLS exam.

    Here is the example:
    In terms of animal races, the outcome is very clear. By this I mean, there is a vast range of animal races in the world. Naturally, there are many races of dogs in the globe compared to 19th century.

    There are some other similar terms that are subjected to such disagreements, like “here I’m referring to”.
    The new teacher suggested me to use “In other words”, “In simple words”, and “To illustrate this fact” instead of “By this I mean” or “here I’m referring to”. Because he told me that I should not personalize the text. Again it’s in contrary with the book.

    In the other case, I still find discrepancies between two teachers believes. My old teacher used the term “Generally Speaking” in the formal letter on IELTS exam-Task 1, however, my new teacher opposed and count “Generally Speaking” as spoken terms which is not meet the merits of formal writing.
    Here is an example form my previous teacher.
    … .The survey focuses on a course of 5 years. Generally speaking, as put forwarded in the figure, the number of people who owned mobiles in the given countries, has at least doubled. France, for instance, witnessed …

    What should I do? Should I rely on my new teacher or keep track of the old habits?
    I personally think that the what called “spoken” is normal in American Academic writings like TOEFL exam but may not highly recommended on IELTS exam. Please air your views on this issue very fast as I have IELTS exam on 24th of April!

    Thank you.
    Last edited by mehdi 100; 20-Apr-2014 at 19:00.

  2. #2
    konungursvia's Avatar
    konungursvia is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Are the terms “By this I mean” and “Generally Speaking” informal/spoken?

    I would say the opposite, in the sense that I only ever hear these two turns of phrase in standard educated discourse, not on the street.

  3. #3
    jwstesol is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Are the terms “By this I mean” and “Generally Speaking” informal/spoken?

    Quote Originally Posted by mehdi 100 View Post
    Hi, everybody. My new English teacher told me that “By this I mean” is not suitable for Academic writing because it is spoken. However, my previous English teacher told me that this one is appropriate. Actually he recommended me the book “Insight into IELTS”. According to the book, one can use “By this I mean” or “By … I mean” in academic writing. The book itself is published from Cambridge University and therefore is recommended for IETLS exam.

    Here is the example:
    In terms of animal races, the outcome is very clear. By this I mean, there is a vast range of animal races in the world. Naturally, there are many races of dogs in the globe compared to 19th century.

    There are some other similar terms that are subjected to such disagreements, like “here I’m referring to”.
    The new teacher suggested me to use “In other words”, “In simple words”, and “To illustrate this fact” instead of “By this I mean” or “here I’m referring to”. Because he told me that I should not personalize the text. Again it’s in contrary with the book.

    In the other case, I still find discrepancies between two teachers believes. My old teacher used the term “Generally Speaking” in the formal letter on IELTS exam-Task 1, however, my new teacher opposed and count “Generally Speaking” as spoken terms which is not meet the merits of formal writing.
    Here is an example form my previous teacher.
    … .The survey focuses on a course of 5 years. Generally speaking, as put forwarded in the figure, the number of people who owned mobiles in the given countries, has at least doubled. France, for instance, witnessed …

    What should I do? Should I rely on my new teacher or keep track of the old habits?
    I personally think that the what called “spoken” is normal in American Academic writings like TOEFL exam but may not highly recommended on IELTS exam. Please air your views on this issue very fast as I have IELTS exam on 24th of April!

    Thank you.
    There is a possibility that neither of your teachers were wrong. Your major problem appears to be the inappropriate use of these phrases. A common error for students taking the Cambridge or Ielts test is writing using inappropriate words or phrases . It would be interesting to see what assignment you had, and what specifically you were asked to write about. Generally speaking is acceptable if you are summarising oncoming or previously stated facts for example.

    Speaking of being inappropriate, We don't have animal races, but we do have animal species. We don't have many races of domestic dogs in the world, but we do have do have many domestic breeds of dogs in the world. And yes, we do have the human race.

    The major problem with students taking Cambridge writing tests is not answering the asked questions, and being inappropriate with the use of English words and phrases.All phrases you stated are acceptable if used in the appropriate time and place.

  4. #4
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Are the terms “By this I mean” and “Generally Speaking” informal/spoken?

    Quote Originally Posted by mehdi 100 View Post
    Because he told me that I should not personalize the text.
    Some people do argue that academic writing should be impersonal and shouldn't use I at all. I think that this may be a bit too far, but littering texts with I think and I mean adds little or nothing to the content. You could use this/which means, depending on the context, and save a couple of words.

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