There's a new vocabulary page for the subject of sleep.
Yellow Level students study the future perfect tense today. This is kind of tricky tense because it's used to describe activities completed in the future.
Orange Level students learn about punctuation today. This is good to know for those interested in developing writing skills.
November 24, 2014
The featured lesson for today is Yellow Level Lesson Twenty-four: intensifiers. These are words that increase or decrease the value of an adjective. It's important to understand the differences among various intensifiers because many students of English mix them up. When this happens, your English sounds a little off. Here are some examples:
I'm really tired.
You sure are hungry!
This is extraordinarily good.
He certainly likes his classes.
She has a very interesting job.
Orange Level Lesson Twenty-four demonstrates the use of appositives. This is especially good to know when working on your writing skills.
The word of the day is "xylophone." It's hard to find words that begin with the letter "x." The "x" in this word sounds like a "z."
I've moved the U.S. Citizenship link on the home page. It's now down at the bottom of the home page. The information found there is intended for people who live in the U.S. now and are ready to take the U.S. citizenship test.
Can anyone tell me why I'm getting so much traffic to my website from Israel and Palestine? If you are from either of those two areas in the world and you found this site recently, did you come here though a particular link on a website? I'm curious to know, and if you could tell me, that would be enormously helpful. My email is email@example.com -- Thanks!
November 21, 2014
The word of the day is "umbrella." As the Word of the Day section grows and takes on the character of an online dictionary, I'll continue to add obvious words like "umbrella." it's basic English, but it's one of those words that people automatically think of when asked for a word that begins with the letter "u."
I'm getting a lot of traffic from the Middle East today. If anyone knows why that is, I'd love to find out. Email me if you have any insight into this.
Yellow Level students learn about the function of adverbs today.
While teaching at my regular classroom assignment yesterday, I was pleased and quite honored to receive gifts and cards from some of my Vietnamese students. It was a teacher appreciation day, which is a big day in Viet Nam for students to pay tribute to their teachers. I also received some nice notes of thanks from online students. You're welcome and thank-you! That was so nice of you.
Students working in the Orange Level learn how to form embedded questions. An embedded question involved talking about another person's question. The speaker isn't making a question, so the word order is important. For example:
She asked what time it was.
A common mistake in this case would be for a person to say something like, "She asked what time is it." Learn more in Orange Level Lesson Twenty.
How did you do on yesterday's quiz? Were you able to find the answers? If not, let me know.
The word of the day for today is "rain." I know this is kind of an easy word, but look at the sentences in which the word is used. Not only do you want to know the definition of a word, you also want to learn how the word is typically used.
I'm using a new forum for the chat rooms. Take a look and see what you think. For those who prefer the old Blue Level chat room, I'll see if I can purchase a new domain for it and operate it as a separate site. There were just too many bad actors in the old chat rooms, particularly the Blue Level chat.
Orange Level Lesson Fourteen is on thepast conditional. This is similar in some ways to today's Yellow Level Lesson. How are they different? Look at both lessons and you'll see!
Below are some examples of the past conditional. Some teachers refer to this as the "third conditional," and others call if the past unreal or the past contrary-to-fact. Whatever you call it doesn't matter to me.
If he hadn't been so impatient, he could have made a lot of money on that stock. (He sold his stock too early and he missed out on a big profit.)
If you hadn't said something, I would have forgotten all about the meeting. (You reminded me and I made it to the meeting.)
If I'd woken up earlier, I could have gotten to work on time. (I woke up late and I arrived late at work. Purists might not care for this example because of the verbs chosen--woken and gotten. I don't care. It's American English. Deal with it.)
You probably noticed that the chat rooms are gone. They were causing too much trouble, so I'm looking for something that will replace them. If you have any ideas for something that will allow students to communicate directly with each other on the website, let me know. Thanks!
November 12, 2014
You probably noticed that the home page has gone through some changes over the last few days. In response to students requests, I'm going to organize lessons for each level on the home page so that they're easier for everyone to find.
If you're working in the Yellow Level, today's lesson is an introduction to modal verbs. These verbs are important to understand because they change the quality of the main verb. The meaning of the verb changes depending on the modal verb that you choose. For example....
Bob can make it to the meeting. (He has the time or the ability to get there.)
Bob can't make it to the meeting. (He has a conflict with his schedule. )
Bob will make it to the meeting. (He has the meeting on his calendar and intends on being there.)
Bob must make it to the meeting. (Something important is going to happen.)
Bob might make it to the meeting. (There's the possibility that he won't be there. He has other things to do.)
Bob should make it to the meeting. (There are some very good reasons for him to show up.)
Bob may make it to the meeting. (The modal verb "may" is similar to "might" in this example.)
Students studying in the Orange Level learn about the sequence of tenses. This knowledge will become important for upcoming lessons this week.
Yellow Level Lesson Nine shows you the differences between the past and the past continuous tenses. I sent you an email lesson yesterday on this topic. Did it help you? Let me know.
Orange Level Lesson Nine is on adverb clauses. These are clauses that describe when or why you do something.
I added a language translator to the home page above the search box, but I'm not sure if the quality of the translation is any good. Let me know if you think it's helpful, especially for people whose first language is really different from English, such as Chinese, Arabic, Khmer, etc.
We always have to try new things, don't we? I'm going to develop a new section of the website that features a different country each month. It'll be like a Country of the Month section, or something like that. If you have pictures or interesting information regarding the country that you are from, just send it to me and I'll use it in the future as I create pages for each of the 180+ countries around the world. Thanks!
November 8, 2014
The word of the day is "hack." There are several different way to use this word. Generally, it means to break into or cut into something, or a person does something in a way that goes around the rules, sometimes breaking the rules.
This is the audio recording included in today's email lesson:
Remember, you can download Soundcloud recordings to your mobile device and take them with you while you are traveling.
November 7, 2014
Superlative adjectives describe people and things that are the best, the worst, the biggest, the smallest, the most interesting, the least difficult, etc. Don't confuse superlative adjectives with comparative adjectives:
This cell phone is better than my old cell phone. (comparing two things)
This is the best cell phone I have ever owned. (evaluating several things in a group)
The word of the day is "function." This word comes as a suggestion from one of my regular classroom students. Thanks Yussuf!
November 5, 2014
I'm now accepting photos for the month of November if you want to be included in the Photos section of the website. Why send in your photo? You don't have to, but it helps everyone who visits the website to realize that this is a website free and open to anyone, anywhere in the world. The photo collection goes back to 2008! If you send in your photo please include your first name only and the name of the country that you come from. Thanks! It makes the website more fun when students participate.
Did you receive today's emailed lesson? If not, sign up for lessons on the homepage. Here are the answers for the exercise:
November 3, 2014
Students learn about the present perfect tense today. This is an extremely important verb tense to understand because it covers a range of possibilities when talking about time. Form the present perfect tense like this:
S + has or have + the past participle
The main verb is in the form of the past participle, which means you really have to remember how verbs change from one form to another. Regular verbs and an "ed" ending when they are in the form of the past participle, but irregular verbs change their form completely, or they don't change at all. Here are some examples:
He has finished his work. (regular verb: finish)
They have lived there for two years. (regular verb: live)
How have you been? (irregular verb: be)
I've put on a lot of weight. (irregular verb: put)
The students haven't written anything. (irregular verb: write)
Orange Level Lesson Three is on the formation of compound sentences. A compound sentence is made up of two independent clauses joined together by a conjunction.
Bina works in New York, butshe lives in Connecticut.
The word of the day is "conserve." When you conserve something, you save it.
November 2, 2014
The word of the day is "bounce." When something bounces, it hits up against a surface or a situation and then it returns.
Today Yellow Level students learn about the differences between the verb "have" in the present tense and the past tense. This is extremely important to understand before learning about the present perfect tense, which students will study in tomorrow's lesson.
Have you printed out the Yellow Level checklist yet? Keep the checklist next to your computer and mark off lessons as they are completed.
Orange Level students also have a checklist to print out.
Hey, if you use the checklist and complete all of the lessons that are listed, could you take a picture of it and send it to me? This gives other students a good example of how to track progress made on this website. Thanks!
November 1, 2014
It's a new month, so students move forward to the next level. If you were studying in the Red Level and did well on the review and the tests, you can on to the Yellow Level. If you didn't do well on the review and the tests, I think you should repeat the Red Level.
The Yellow Level focuses on perfect tenses, continuous tenses, comparatives and superlatives.
Yellow Level Lesson One is a review of question formation in the past tense. The reason for this review is so that students understand some of the key differences between the past tense and the present perfect tense and other perfect tenses.