Students studying in the Red Level go to Lesson Three to learn the differences between "do" and "did" when they are used as helping verbs to form the present tense and the past tense.
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February 2, 2016
Your lesson for today is Red Level Lesson Two, making the present the tense negative by using the helping verb "do."
The word of the day is "yank." When you yank on something, you pull it very quickly.
January 27, 2016
The word of the day is "wild." A thing that is wild lives according to the rules of nature and outside of human civilization.
Today's live chat will be held at 10 a.m. CST.
January 26, 2016
Blue Level Lesson Twenty-six shows how the verb "want" is used in the past tense. This is kind of an odd verb. Sometimes we use the past tense form of "want" instead of the the present tense. Here are some examples:
I notice you called me. What did you want?
What did you want to do later today?
Is this what you wanted?
Hello. I'm calling because I wanted to know what time your store closes.
Each question could easily use the present tense instead (What do you want to do later today?), but instead the past tense is chosen. I think this is because the desire for something (want) begins in the past and is still present now. That's my theory. Anyway you'll hear "want" in both the present and the past tense when talking about something a person wants now.
The word of the day is "plan." People make plans for future activities.
The word of the day is "rot." This includes a new quiz at the end of it.
January 20, 2016
The Blue Level has many lessons that include basic yet essential vocabulary and grammar. Today's lesson on the the days of the week is a good example of that. Many of you may know the days of the week, but based on my classroom experience as a teacher, some students don't pay enough attention to this basic vocabulary skill. At the end of this lesson is an exercise. Write the answers in your notebook.
I'm going to try to do another live event tomorrow, Thursday, January 21 at 10 a.m. CST.
January 19, 2016
The word of the day is "overwhelm." Thanks to Srinivas for the suggestion.
Here's the video recording from yesterday's live hangout on YouTube:
I feel like I've got some wiggle room.
Someone asked me about this expression today. It means that a person has extra time, extra space, or extra money when it comes to making a decision or doing something. I don't know where this expression comes from, but it's very popular.
January 18, 2016
If you are a Blue Level student, the lessons for this week are mostly about time and numbers:
The word of the day is "eager." When someone is eager to do something, he or she is very motivated to do it. This word is useful when describing someone who is ambitious and interested in learning or doing work. How eager are you to learn English?
As of today we are halfway through the Blue Level. Are you using the checklist to keep track of your progress? If not, I suggest that you print it out and use it!
January 14, 2016
For the next two days we will study pronouns and adjectives that show possession. Today's lesson is on possessive adjectives. These are words that go before a noun. In the example below, I'll show you how possessive adjectives coordinate with the subject in a matching sentence:
I have a car. It's my car.
You have a book. It's your book.
John has an idea. It's his idea.
Mary has a business. It's her business.
We have a classroom. It's our classroom.
You have a desire to learn English. It's your desire.
One of the most frustrating things about being a teacher is working with students who won't work hard to achieve their goals. It's not all of them, but it is a significant percentage. Somehow these students have convinced themselves that learning English should be easier than it is, and they don't understand why they aren't making any progress. They won't spend the time to study really basic concepts that are important to master. Instead, they will simply watch a video on TV or on YouTube and think that's enough. Then they give up. Well, that approach just doesn't work. I think students who are really serious about learning English need to spend at least two to three hours a day focused on lessons, reading, listening exercises, and writing exercises. Fifteen minutes every other day just ain't going to cut it.
End of my rant.
January 11, 2016
I'm going to do a live event on Google Hangout today, probably around 10 a.m. CST (16:00 GMT). Watch your Twitter feed for details. I'll get the word out through other forms of social media.
January 10, 2016
Learning about articles (a, an, the) can be a real challenge for English language students, especially if they don't really exist in the student's first language. There are a lot of rules and reasons for choosing "a" or "the" or for not using an article at all.
The word of the day is "high." You can use this word to describe your dreams for the future:
He has high hopes for the future.
She's aiming high within the corporation.
My students are highly ambitious.
January 9, 2016
The verb "have" is one of those essential verbs in English that you should be using all of the time. We use "have" to describe possession of a thing or possession of a quality.
I have ten dollars.
You have a book.
Ralph has a lot of strength.
Wendy has experience as a chef.
The students have an interest in learning English.
Be careful when forming questions or negatives with this verb. Most Americans use the helping verb "do" for the present tense. I recommend this.
Do you have a car?
No, I don't have a car.
No, I don't.
Does she have a license?
No, she doesn't have a license.
No, she doesn't.
The word of the day is "inspire." Are you inspired to improve your English? Where does your inspiration come from?
I'm experimenting with Google Hangout again to do live webcasts. If you want to see what I did yesterday, go to my channel. I'm not going to leave it online forever. I'll probably delete it after a few days.
January 8, 2016
You learn about the present continuous tense in Blue Level Lesson Eight. This tense is used to describe things that are happening now, things that are ongoing in your life, and things that are going to happen in the future.
Here's how you do it:
subject + be + (main verb)ing
If it helps to think that the main verb is in the simple form with an "ing" stuck on to the end of it, that's okay. It's also referred to as a present participle.
You are learning.
you + are + (learn)ing
The subject in that sentence is "you." The verb "be" is "are," which changes according to the subject. The main verb is "learn" in the form of the present participle: learning.
I'll see if I can do a live lesson today on You Tube covering the present continuous tense and yesterday's lesson on the present tense.
January 7, 2016
Blue Level Lesson Seven introduces you to the simple present tense. This is used for activities that happen every day, every week, every month, etcetera. This is a good tense to choose when describing your life or another person's life:
I work Monday through Friday.
My neighbor drives a Corvette.
She makes great cookies.
The students study many different subjects.
We don't have any extra time today. (This sentence is negative.)
Or you can use the present tense to describe objects and things:
This shirt fits.
These pants don't fit. (negative)
This computer makes a lot of noise.
Peter's car needs new brakes.
To make questions in the present tense, use the helping verbs "do" or "does" before the main verb.
Look at the lesson, watch the video, take the quiz, and then try this exercise:
Directions: Choose this, that, these, or those for each sentence of question:
1. Is __________ your jacket? (It's across the room.)
2. What is __________? (It's in my hand.)
3. __________ peanuts are making me thirsty. (I'm eating them right now.)
4. __________ wasn't a nice thing to do. (It happened last night.)
5. How are __________ new employees working out. (We hired them last week. They aren't here right now.)
The answers are below.
For new students, I recommend that you look at Aqua Level Lessons Four and Five. These are lessons on pronouns used for men and women.
Everyone: Blue Level reading exercise #5: Bob is a businessman. Remember, you may practice reading the exercise and listen to yourself using the recorder.
Here are the answers for the exercise above: 1. that; 2. this; 3. These; 4. That; 5. those
January 4, 2016
This is a new video for the word "decide."
Today's lesson is on nouns and pronouns. A noun is a word that represents a person, a place, or a thing; a pronoun represents a noun.
We bought a table.
It's made of oak.
In these two sentence, there are two pronouns and two nouns. Do you know what they are?
nouns: table, oak
pronouns: we, it
The word "it" refers to the table. It's extremely important for you to know all about how pronouns are used when you first learn English. That's why I created the Aqua Level. Students often study in this level at the same time that they study in the Blue and Red Levels.
It's the beginning of the week and the beginning of a new year. People are headed back to work and need to pay attention to many important details that are a part of their jobs. This is your word of the day.
January 3, 2016
To make a question with the verb "be," put it in front of the subject:
Is she tired?
Are you happy?
Where is the bathroom?
How high is the ceiling?
Am I next in line?
Do you see where the verb "be" is in each of these questions? For more help with this, go to Blue Level Lesson Three.
How are you doing with the reading exercises? Click here for exercise #3, This is a little boy.
In Aqua Level Lesson Three, learn how to use the pronoun "I" and other pronouns related to it. I especially recommend that new students look at this lesson.
The word "clean" is a very common word in English, but you can use it many different ways. Click here to listen to some examples.
January 2, 2016
Blue Level Lesson Two shows how to make the verb "be" negative when it's in the present tense. This is an easy thing to do. The lesson also show how to form contractions.
be + not
am not, is not, are not / isn't, aren't
After you take a look at the lesson, try this quiz. Remember to write your answers in your notebook, or print out the quiz and write the answers into the blank spaces.