As the month of June winds down, students should be preparing to move on to the next level. If you do well on the Blue Level review and tests, you will move forward to the Red Level. If you don't do well on the review and the tests, I strongly suggest that you repeat all of the lessons in the Blue Level. Then go to the Red Level.
The word of the day is "violent." Considering the events of recent days, I thought this was a good choice.
June 27, 2015
I'm developing a new level for verbs. You can preview one of the lessons here for singular verbs. It includes a new video.
How are you doing so far this summer? If you are studying with everyone else here, remember to keep track of your progress with the Blue Level Checklist. Each level has a list you can use to monitor your progress.
Students working in the Blue Level learn aboutthe verb "want" for today's lesson. Use "want" when describing desire.
What do you want?
June 24, 2014
The use of "have to" is very popular as a modal verb phrase. It's similar to "must," but it's more popular than "must" despite being more difficult to use. Use "have to" when talking about responsibilities and obligations.
If you feel confident about your ability to use "have to," try the exercise below.
Directions: Use "have to" with the main verb for each sentence or question. Some of these are in the present tense. Some are in the past tense. Some are negative. The verb in parentheses is the main verb.
1. ______ you ______ _______ _______ to work today? (go, present tense)
2. My son _____ _____ _____ for a test. (study, present tense)
3. What _______ you ______ _____ ______ yesterday? (do, past tense)
4. The tenants _______ _______ _______ their rent on time. (pay, present tense)
5. He _______ _______ _______ _______ at the airport until 9 o'clock. (be, past tense, negative)
Today's lesson is on addition and subtraction. I have little doubt that you already know how to add and subtract, but it's an entirely different matter when talking about math in English. Click here to go Blue Level Lesson Twenty-two.
Knowing the difference between count and noncount nouns will help you make good decisions in choosing certain words that sound good with those nouns. Click here to take a look at Blue Level Lesson Nineteen on count and noncount nouns.
Count nouns are nouns that have both a singular and a plural form: car / cars, egg / eggs, child / children, street / streets, fish / fish.
Noncount nouns are nouns that don't have a plural form and are not ordinarily easy to count: water, rice, information, air, money (Of course, you can count money, but the word is still a noncount noun.)
Important things to remember:
- Words like many and few are used with count nouns.
- Words like much and little are used with noncount nouns.
- Count nouns take either singular or plural verbs.
- Noncount nouns always take a singular verb.
Would you like to try an exercise? Okay.
Directions: Choose the correct word to complete each sentence or question.
1. She doesn't have very ________ bread. (many / much)
2. We have a ________ good ideas. (few / little)
3. ________ people have seen that movie. (Few / Little
4. Bruce has been to New York a _______ times. (few / little)
5. I'm sorry, I have ________ time to waste today. (few / little)
6. How ________ people showed up for class today? (many / much)
7. There isn't ________ time left on the parking meter. (many / much)
8. There wasn't very ________ action during the game. (many / much)
9. Maria has a _________ aches and pains in her body. (few / little)
10. We did a __________ fishing last weekend. (few / little)
Talking about the time, day, and date is a basic skill when you learn English. I have found over the years that even advanced students make mistakes when giving the time or when talking about the days of the week.
The word of the day is "report." Thanks to Srinivas for this suggestion.
June 16, 2015
The word of the day is "poke." There are many different ways to use this word. When you go to see a doctor, for instance, you might get poked in the arm by a nurse who gives you a shot.
The nurse poked me in the arm with a needle.
June 15, 2015
If you study today's lesson on possessive pronouns, you'll notice that these words are different from possessive adjectives, which was yesterday's lesson. Contrast the sentences and questions from yesterday with the one that are below:
That lawn mower is mine.
Is that car yours.
Are those ideas his?
My grades weren't as good as hers.
(It's hard to use "its" as a possessive pronoun. Don't worry too much about this.)
Those things are ours.
These books are ≥÷ to use.
We had our dinner, but the children didn't have theirs yet.
From today's emailed lesson here's an exercise:
Directions: Choose the correct possessive pronoun or possessive adjective for each sentence or question. Hints are provided for gender and number.
1. Is that ________ jacket. (a man)
2. I wish that were _______. (matches the subject "I.")
3. That property isn't _________. (I'm talking to you.)
4. Is this my pen or ________ pen? (I'm talking to you.)
5. Your garden looks great. ________ garden needs some work. (The garden that belongs to me and my family.)
6. The students love ________ brand new tablets. (students)
7. The dog is chasing ________ tail. (the dog)
8. Sheila is talking to ________ parents on the phone. (Sheila is a girl.)
9. Are those yours or _________? (a woman)
10. The people who live down the street says that the canoe is _________. (the people)
The answers are in today's email. Have you signed up yet to receive emailed lessons, quizzes, and exercises? You can do that here.
June 14, 2015
If you are following daily lessons posted on the home page, your lesson for the day is on possessive adjectives. These words go before nouns and show ownership:
This is my lawn mower.
Is that your car?
His ideas are good.
Her grades were great last semester.
The dog has its own house.
We have our things.
Bring your books to class.
The children want their dinner.
June 13, 2015
Question words help you find information: who, what, where, when, why, and how much are basic question words. Blue Level Lesson Thirteen provides instruction in using them.
The word of the day is "lot." This word is a little confusing for students. It appears as lot, lots, a lot, a lot of, and lots of. Each use of the word is different
Students working in the Blue Level this month learn how to form the past tense today.
June 11, 2015
The first annual fund drive has begun.
As you know, my website is free as a resource for anyone to use when learning English. However, it also depends on donations and advertising to pay for monthly expenses. Lately, we haven't received enough money in donations to support the website, so I'm asking those who have not made a contribution in the past to consider doing so now.
If you aren't able to pay anything, that's okay! I want the website to remain free to people who don't have the means to pay for access to education. My website is similar to the way public radio and public TV are supported in the U.S. Those who want to make contribution do so because the information service is important to them. How important is LearnAmericanEnglishOnline.com to you? Has it helped you at all?
I use Paypal as a way of accepting payments, but if you don't feel comfortable with that, you could also write out a check and send it to:
Any dollar amount is acceptable, but most people send in ten or twenty dollars when writing out a check.
I rarely ask directly for money. It's just not something I do well. But in the real world--which is where I work--things cost money. Anything you can afford will help us to stay online.
June 10, 2015
The use of articles (a, an, and the) causes confusion for some students. There are rules you have to follow when choosing an article, but they're hard to remember. The best approach is to learn to use articles through reading, but you can also get immediate help from this Blue Level lesson.
The word of the day is "junk." Some students who choose to practice reading this out loud might need to practice the "j" sound first.
Someone sent me this great picture of buddhist monks studying something. Perhaps it's English.
Here's a link to a story about students here in the U.S. who are struggling to learn English. You see, it's not just you who is having a hard time with it.
June 9, 2015
The word "have" is one of those simple verbs that many students have trouble with. I think this is because of the way it changes to "has" from "have" in the present tense. It's also because "have" is used to form the present perfect tense. Today's lesson on "have" is found in Blue Level Lesson Nine.
Remember: the present tense is used to describe what you do every day. The present continuous tense is used for...
...what you are doing right now.
...what you are doing in your life.
...what you are doing later on (the future)
Right now I am working on an email to send out to my students.
I'm working as a teacher at his point in my life.
Later today I'm meeting some friends for lunch.
Do you understand the differences in the sentences above? If not, go to Lesson Eight.
To form the present continuous tense, use a form of the verb "be" that matches the subject. The main verb will have an "ing" ending. Sometimes you'll hear teachers say that the main verb is in the form of the present participle.
The formula looks like this:
S (be) + ______ing
For the helping verb, use "am," "is," or "are," depending on the subject.
Do you want to try an exercise? Okay!
Directions: Choose the correct form of the present continuous tense for each sentence or question. The verb is provided. Some verbs are negative.
Example: What _are_ you _doing__? (do)
1. How _____ they ________? (feel)
2. The refrigerator _____ _________. (run)
3. She ______ __________ today. (work -- negative)
4. The men _______ _________ in the street. (fight)
5. ______ I ________ with you? (go)
6. Everybody ______ _________ lunch right now. (eat)
7. This tree _______ _________ fruit. (produce--negative)
8. Members of the audience ______ ________. (laugh)
9. When _____ we ________? (leave)
10. They ______ ________ cooperative. (be -- negative)
How did you do? The answers are in today's email. If you haven't signed up to receive email, click here and sign up. It's free.
What do you hope to do this summer? Summer is filled with hope. We hope to form new friendships, start a new romance, find new interests, develop our skills, visit new places, make more money, or--in my case--just grow more tomatoes.
As schools let out in the U.S. and around the world, I hope you have a good summer.
June 7, 2016
We moved to a new server over the weekend, so I hope that didn't cause too much trouble for you if you tried to connect to the website.
June 6, 2015
Today's lesson is on the word "there." This is a very important word to learn how to use. Unfortunately, beginning and intermediate level students forget to use it, or they use the word "it" instead.
Use "there" when describing the existence of a thing or when describing a location:
There's a new playground in our neighborhood.
Your jacket is over there.
How many student are there in the classroom?
There isn't enough time to finish the job.
There you are.
This new video for the word "well" shows how the word is used to introduce a statement or a question:
In Blue Level Lesson Five, you'll learn when to use the pronouns this, that, these, and those. There are some specific reasons for choosing pronouns. If you make a mistake with these words, your English might sound a little strange.
These words require a voiced "th" sound. You can practice it by clicking here.
In Blue Level Lesson Three, students learn how to form questions with the verb "be" in the present tense. This is not very hard to do. Just put the verb "be" in front of the subject:
next in line?
The word of the day is "cinema." It's worth noting that most Americans prefer the words "movie" or "movies" when talking about a film made for entertainment. The word "cinema" sounds as though the production is artistic.
With the start of a new month and the beginning of summer, you have the opportunity to learn English all over again, starting with the basics. This is what I want you to do:
1. Download and print this checklist. Keep it next to your computer and use it to track your progress on lessons, quizzes, reading assignments, etc.
2. Visit the Word of the Day section every day. Even if you don't know all of the words that are used, it still helps you to listen to English as it is spoken by your teacher. The word of the day for today is "art."