All topics of Maria

Maria, Creative Director:

Maria Loginoff1.thumbnail.gif

Hi everybody! Welcome to the English Communication Club! ECC is a place where you can feel at home, have a drink, relax and speak English! We'll take care of everything else: places, drinks, topics, vocabulary lists, friendly atmosphere and even parties every now and then. Come and have fun! Have fun and speak English!

Christmas and New Year Wishes

If you like to send greeting cards for Christmas and other big holidays, this block is for you! Follow the link and find dozens of nice greeting phrases and wishes.

Letter To Say ‘Thank you!’

It is very pleasant to receive a letter of gratitude. Just a couple of lines may make your day. But do you often think of writing one? We rarely write letters of gratitude because Thank you! is too short, and we can’t find the right words to say more not to be pretentious. Read three rules of saying thank you in a form of a letter.

Letter To Say ‘No’

How often do you say ‘No’? Do you explain why? Do people always take it normally or do they get frustrated with your ‘No’ or rather with the way you say it? Read more to find out how to make your refusal polite and constructive.

Refusal should not necessarily bear a negative connotation. defines it as the opportunity to reject or accept; option. So our task it to make it as nutral, business-like and not personal as possible.

Polite or Imperative?

In English: Would you be so kind as to give us your reply no longer than in five days of today.
Same in Russian: Reply in five days.

You might have seen pairs of phrases in English and their twice of three times shorter translation into Russian. Which is the best way? Should you be three times more polite writing in English (esp. official letters)?

Four polite ways to end a letter

Your letters look abrupt? You want to end your letter on a positive note? See four polite ways to do so.

Coherence is what makes sentences a text [2]

You may find lots of words and phrases in the dictionary, but the most important is to realize what you are writing about and structure and shorten the phrases and paragraphs to make them as clear as possible.

Coherence is what makes sentences a text [1]

A well-structured text reads easily and graciously elaborates the main idea. A little bit of coherence is what any group of sentences need to become a nice and neat letter. It is achieved by dividing a text into paragraphs and adding parenthetical words and phrases, and enumerations. Learn more about them following the link.


Your business partner wrote you RSVP ASAP! and you are thinking, what on earth could that mean? Abbreviations in correspondence are widly used and it’s better to follow the likn to know more about them. FYI!

Deadline Reminders

It usually makes you feel uncomfortable to ask your colleagues about their part of the project being done/ partly done/ or sometimes even untouched. You do not want to be rude or demanding, but the situation asks for definite measures. Here are a few ideas of how to write a letter reminding that the deadline is sooner than somebody has thought.

Information inquiries

Your small business is soaking in debt and you still can’t find the right words to ask your partners to pay for the services provided? Follow the link, man! There is something you must know how to do!

To Live and Survive in the Office

1. Do you believe that in the office there are sharks, donkeys, jackals and other animal-prototype employees? What kind of workers do you notice in your office? In which spheres you can find them in abundance?

2. What are the skills/traits of character that annoy you most in your colleagues? What do you like in your colleagues? What kind of colleagues do you ignore? What type are those colleagues?

3. How to survive in a company: common rules and general practices?

Greetings for St. Valentine's Day

You get lost when it comes to expressing your feelings? Don’t know what to write on a Valentine card. That link is for you! Find the one special wish among dozens of St. Valentine's greetings on our web-site!

Date Format

When we speak with a foreigner about an appointment we understand each other perfectly. But when it comes to writing a confirmation letter we often realize that we are not sure of a correct and clear date format. Follow the link to make sure you understand what’s the difference between 9/11/11 and other possible combinations of these figures.

Christmas and New Year Wishes

New Year is the most anticipated holiday of the year. See useful phrases for your New Year greeting cards. Happy New Year!

Is it easy for you to say "No"?

Questions for discussion:

  1. Is it easy for you to say “No”? In what situations it’s particularly easy? In what situations it’s quite easy? In what situations it’s particularly difficult?
  2. Is it easy for you to say " I don't know"?
  3. Is it easy for you to say " I don't understand"?
  4. Is it easy for you to say " I don't care"?
  5. Is it easy for you to say that you’ve changed your mind?
  6. Is it easy for you to admit your mistakes?

Living abroad

Questions for discussion:

  1. Would you like to live abroad? Would you like to leave for good or for a cetain period of time? 
  2. Do you think it's right or wrong to leave your country? Is there any ethical or patriotic basis, in your opinion?
  3. Do you know someone who's left for good? For a long business-trip? How do they find it there?
  4. Do you think anyone can leave the country and be happy in a new place?
  5. What is the best age to leave the country?

Dealing with stress

Questions for discussion:


1. How can you describe happiness? What is it related to or what does it depend on?
2. Do you think the same things can make people happy at different ages?
3. Is it true that only simple things make one happy? Can happiness be unconditioned? What makes happy you?
4. What's the opposite state of happiness? Is there a big gap between being happy and unhappy?
5. Can you be happy when somebody close to you is not?
6. Can happiness be long? How can you prolong it?
7. Why some people are happy all the time and others very rarely?

Relationship at Work

Questions for discussion:

  1. Why do love affairs at work happen so often?
  2. Why do love affairs rarely end up as a marriage?
  3. Have you ever been in love or dated with your colleague? Or do you know such a story? Did it end up well?
  4. Why do many companies prohibit love affairs between the workers of the company and between the workers and clients/ partners? Is it only because the bosses want their employees be lonely and spend all their time at work?

Gender Stereotypes

  1. Men are stoic.
  2. Men express more anger.
  3. Men show emotion to communicate dominance.
  4. Men are overwhelmed by women's expressions of emotion.
  5. Unlike women men are not obsessed with getting maried.
  6. Men are more obsessed with sex.
  7. Men do not care about cleaning up - they can live in a pighouse full of cigarette stumps and beer.
  8. Men are more careful drivers.
  9. Men seldom cry, unlike women.
  10. Men generally do not take care of babies. They pass it on to women.

Gender Roles

Vocabulary Gender role - a set of behaviors that indicates one's gender, specifically the image projected by a person that identifies their femaleness or maleness; an overt (open) public presentation of gender identity. (

Questions for discussion:

Social nets

Questions for discussion:

Progress and gadgets in our everyday life

  1. Can you imagine your life without gadgets and electric appliances?
  2. Do you think we are weaker in the world where you can't do simple things on your own (like making dough or communicating in person, writing paper letters)?
  3. Will artificial mind conquer the world of humans?
  4. Where would progress go next? (medicine, aerospace sphere, robots, food growing and processing, etc.)
  5. Would you like to live in the world where you can walk anywhere (not drive or fly)?
  6. What new gadgets does the world need?

Writing a CV

1. Why do you need a CV? Can you get a job without one and how?
2. Why do you need a covering letter? What do you write in a covering letter?
3. What should a student write in a CV? What should they put first? What should they hide?
4. What should one write in a CV of a person with a 1-2 years’ experience? 3-4 years’ experience?
5. What should you write in a CV if you want to change your professional sphere radically?
6. What should you write in a CV apart from working experience?
- contact info (cell ph #, email, address)
- personal info (marital status, kids, etc.)

Building a career

Questions for discussion:

  1. What’s a career in your opinion? What do you think of career-oriented people? Is it good or bad?
  2. Do you consider a successful career only the one that ends at the very top of a career ladder, like CEO or President of a company?
  3. What do you think of a person who has spent all their life in one and the same company? Or at the same post?
  4. Does one need to be ambitious to build a career? What do you think of ambitious people? What’s the attitude to ambitions abroad?


1. What is feminism? What do you know about it?
2. What's your attitude to feminism?
3. What's the attitude to feminism worldwide?
4. What's the history of the feminist movement?
5. Is it the same everywhere? What's it like in Russia, the US, other counties?
6. Do you know a true feminist? What does she look like? How does she behave?
7. Where can you meet a feminist?
8. Does feminism spoil men?
9. How would an English gentleman from the 18th century behave if he met a feminist?
10. Should all women become feminist? Will it be paradise for men?


Questions for discussion:

  1. What's your attitude to jewellery? How often do you wear it?
  2. Who wears more jewelry - men or women? Now and back in time.
  3. Do you have family jewellery and traditions related to it?
  4. Do you think there is fashion or style in wearing it? Do you have your style? What are the standards for wearing jewellery in office?
  5. Would you like to become a jeweller? Do you know a jeweller?
  6. Who would you give jewels as a gift? On what occasion?

Time Management

Questions for discussion:

  1. What's time management for you? Do you think it's really useful and needed? What are the good and bad sides of TM, in your opinion?
  2. Are you often late? Are you annoyed when somebody else is late? What are the drawbacks of losing time on waiting for somebody? Do you think being late depends on the person or on the situation?
  3. In your opinion can TM be applied only at work? Do you need it in your everyday life?
  4. How do you proiritise tasks when there is a lot to do?

Present Day Life of Winnie-the-Pooh and All

Winnie's friends

As a warm-up exercise: in turns say a few words about the Pooh story and the characters, whatever you remember from books, cartoons, etc.

  1. Who’s your favourite character? Why? Winnie-the-Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, Kanga, Baby Roo, Rabbit, Eeyore, Christopher Robin, Owl. Do any of your acquaintances resemble these characters?
  2. Can you imagine what kind of characters they would have been when grown adults?

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