Wednesday, February 1, 2017


Recently I was doing a fluency workshop with a group of C level executives. The first thing I asked them to do was to rate their abilities. They were all silent. Nobody seemed to know what to say. Finally one brave soul raised her hand and asked, “what does ‘rate’ mean?”

Out of the 12 highly intelligent women and men in the room, not one of them had any understanding of this common word. When you took the Fluency Questionnaire, you rated your abilities, but this word is not on the page because I know it’s challenging for English as a second language learners to comprehend.

So, as in the example you rated your abilities, the word means to evaluate, calculate, measure. The percentage your bank charges on the money you borrow to buy your home is called your mortgage rate (price). A parking garage charges an hourly rate (price). Your heart rate (speed) indicates to medical personnel if you are well or not. A movie can be well-rated (of a certain quality). You rate (deserve) a gold medal for your efforts. Something that is of high quality is first-rate whereas a second-rate product or service is really terrible.

At any rate, you rate high in my books!

Speaking of books, have you visited the ‘Speak English Once and for All’ facebook group lately? If not, why not drop in to like, share and say hi:

See you there,