To complete the Violet Level make sure you read the stories in the Violet Level Reading Room beginning with "Rabbit Problems."

The word of the day is "agony." The reason why I chose this for the word of the day is because the Olympic Games create a lot of agony for those who don’t achieve their goals during competition.

Here’s the last lesson for the Violet Level.

The word of the day is "record." Yesterday’s word of the day now has audio if you want to listen to it.

I’m going to experiment with new ways to make videos. Here’s one for the verb "be." This is very basic English, but some who watch it might benefit by listening to the pronunciation of the words.

The word of the day is "medal." For some people, the medals are what the Olympics are all about. I personally don’t pay too much attention to that. Instead, the thing that I find fascinating is that there are so many people who gather from around the world to do something that doesn’t involve killing each other. There’s hope for us yet.

There are just two more lessons to complete in the VIolet Level and then we will move on to studying prepositions in the month of August. Today’s lesson is on "now that."

As the Olympic Games continue for the next couple of weeks, the Word of the Day will probably be related to something that happened on that day or the day before. The word of the day for today is "ceremony." Wasn’t that an interesting opening ceremony?

Learn how to use the word "whenever" in today’s lesson. This word can be used to describe anytime or a specific time:

  • You can complete this work whenever your want. (anytime)
  • She can come over for a visit whenever. (anytime)
  • Whenever it rains, I have to close all the windows. (specific time)
  • Sheila goes to the bank whenever she needs money. (specific time)

The word of the day is "edit."

The lesson for today is on the word "nevertheless."


You can find the lesson here.

The word of the day is "oath."

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I’m definitely not risking my life, but I do risk some of my fortune and possibly my reputation with this website, so if you could take a minute and consider a nomination for this website, that would be awesome! Thanks.

In Violet Level Lesson Twenty-five, you’ll learn how to use the word "besides." This word is very similar to "in addition to." You can use "besides" as an adverb or as a preposition.

  • Besides working every day at his regular job, Bill volunteers at the local hospital almost ten hours a week.
  • We’re not quite ready to buy a house at this time; besides, real estate is still not a good investment in this city.
  • What are some things that you like to do besides learning English?

The word of the day for today is "nanny."

The word "meanwhile" is used when an action takes place at the same time that something else is happening:

  • The American economy continues to show some improvement. Meanwhile, millions of people are still without a job.
  • Tanya is out with her friends tonight. Meanwhile, her boyfriend is at home wondering what she’s doing.
  • A severe drought is causing some farmers to give up home on their crops; meanwhile, businesses are beginning to prepare for higher prices on grain.

Do you know what a goal is? If not, this is the word of the day.

What are your goals for learning English? In which area or areas do you want to improve? Is it in grammar? Pronunciation? Reading? Or do you just want to be able to have a simple conversation? You could have many goals. The important thing, however, is to work on achieving your goals every day.

If you want to improve your English, make time to study regularly and try to follow a routine when you study. People who go to my website, for instance, work on the lesson for the day, read and listen to the Word of the Day, and work through the pronunciation exercises. I know this because I can see where visitors go. What do you like to do when you come for a visit? Whatever it is, try to be consistent and spend at least 30 minutes to one hour each time you go online. Use your time wisely.

When you learn something new or when you are completing the exercises, write your answers in a notebook. Writing is better than clicking on answers because the act of writing should help you remember what you are learning. Date each entry. Later, you can look back at your notebook to see how much you have accomplished. If you have a goal, it’s important to have some evidence that you are working on reaching it.

When you choose one thing over another thing, or when an activity occurs in place of another activity, you can use the word "instead":

  • Instead of just watching TV tonight, let’s go walk around the neighborhood to see what’s happening.
  • Eunice thought about getting a new car, but she bought a used car instead.
  • The shopping mall will be too crowded today. Instead, lets’ go to the beach.

You can find more examples of how to use the word "instead" here for your lesson of the day.

The word of the day is "happen."


Your lesson for today shows you how to use "as soon as." These three words together are similar to "when."

The word of the day is "upper."


A day after the shootings in Colorado, it’s probably a good idea to examine the differences among the words "fear," "afraid," and "scare." Click here for the word of the day.

In Violet Level Lesson Twenty-one, you’ll learn how to use "as." When used as a subordinating conjunction, the word "as" is similar to "while."

  • As Linda was walking to school, she saw her friend, Miriam.
  • While Linda was walking to school, she saw her friend, Miriam.

Your lesson for today will help you understand how to use "as long as" when describing conditions. This phrase is similar to the word "if."

Click here for more examples.

The word of the day is "intense."


The word of the day is "appropriate."

Use the word "while" to explain that two things are happening at the same time.

  • It rained while I was sleeping last night.
  • While you were working on your homework, the teacher was correcting tests.
  • While John is at work, his wife stays at home and takes care of the kids.
  • What do you do while you are waiting for the bus?
  • What do you do while you drive to work?

Because it’s been so hot outside lately, the word of the day is "sweat." I’ve never seen a summer so hot before. What do you think is going on?

Your lesson for today is on the word "since." You’ll learn how to use "since" as a subordinating conjunction. That’s different from the use of "since" as a preposition.

Your lesson for today is on "even if."

Do you do as you are told? Do you follow the rules? Or do you like to break the rules? The word of the day is "obey."

In Violet Level Lesson Sixteen you’ll learn how to use the word "unless" as a subordinating conjunction:


After you watch the video, you can go here for additional practice.

Do you know how to use "furthermore"? This video might help:

Click here for the lesson in the Violet Level.

Click here for the word of the day.

If you really want your English to sound good as you are speaking, I recommend that you start using "in addition" in place of the conjunction "and." It’s not always a perfect substitution; however, it works well between sentences or at the beginning of a sentence:

  • In addition to being fluent in French and English, Carla can also speak a little Arabic and Farsi.

Compare that to….

  • Carla is fluent in French and English, and she can speak a little Arabic and Farsi.

Click here for more.


This new video explains several different ways to use the verb phrase "go by."


Today’s lesson shows you how to use "on the other hand." This is a useful phrase when explaining that there is more than one side to an issue or a situation.

  • It’s nice to own a new car; on the other hand, you can save a lot of money by owning a used car.
  • Having children is a big responsibility that requires a lot of sacrifice; on the other hand, it can be a very rewarding experience that lasts a lifetime.
  • Tracy is happy to have the opportunity to do her job from home; on the other hand, she misses the social interaction at the office.

Today is Friday the 13th. In the United States, this is a very unlucky day for those people who are superstitious and believe in luck. Some people even stay home the entire day because they believe something bad will happen if they leave the house. Do you believe in luck or magic? Are you a superstitious person? Here are some common superstitions in the United States:

  • It’s unlucky to walk underneath a ladder.
  • It’s unlucky if a black cat walks in front of your path. (The area where you are walking.)
  • Spilling salt on the table is unlucky. If you do this, you have to shake salt over your shoulder three times.
  • Breaking a mirror brings seven years of bad luck.
  • Opening an umbrella inside the house is bad. Do it outside.

In Violet Level Lesson Twelve you’ll learn how to use the word "otherwise" when it appears between two clauses.

The word of the day is "grind."

Here’s a new video to show you how to use "ly" endings on words that describe time:

Your lesson for today is on the word "although." You can use this word when describing contrasting situations. Click on the link above for the lesson, or click on the video below:

The word of the day is "hot."

In Violet Level Lesson Nine you’ll learn how to use "such" and "that" together. There’s also a quiz.

A student emailed me and requested that the word "manage" be the word of the day, so here it is.


Today’s lesson is on "so that." We use these two words together when explaining why something happens:

  • We bought a big dog so that we could scare away intruders.
  • Congress passed new laws so that more people would have access to affordable health care.
  • He goes online every day so that he can improve his English.

"So that" usually goes between two clauses, but it’s also possible to put it at the beginning of a sentence.

  • So that more people would have access to affordable health care, Congress passed new laws.

The word of the day is "odd."

Today’s word of the day is the opposite of what it was yesterday.

hollyhocks I was finally successful in growing hollyhocks this year. Here’s the proof! These flowers are native to Asia, so some of you out there might recognize them.

Your lesson today shows you how to use the word "both." Be sure to watch the video, too.

During my class last night, we studied several different ways of using the word "pull" as part of a verb phrase. These words were applied to the subject of driving. Here are the verb phrases:

  • pull into: enter — We pulled into a gas station to get some gas.
  • pull out of: leave — Ron pulled out of the garage very carefully.
  • pull up: move forward and stop — Rhonda pulled up to the window at Burger King to get her food.
  • pull over: go to the side of the road and stop — A police officer pulled a car over for speeding.

There are many other meanings that can be created by adding a preposition to the word "pull." Click here for the word of the day: pull.

The words "due to" are used in a way that is similar to "because of." You can learn more about these words in Lesson Five in the Violet Level.

The word of the day is "farm."

Today is the Fourth of July or Independence Day in the United States. It’s on this day that we celebrate the decision to separate from England with the publication of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.

In the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence–the part that is the most famous and most often quoted–Thomas Jefferson writes…

 We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Ideas about equality among people and the right to live your life the way you want to live it are exceptionally strong in American culture. I think that’s what makes this country such an attractive place to live. Despite a bad economy, the opportunities here to live your life still hold true. No matter your economic circumstances (rich or poor), your religious faith, your gender, your political views….you can live your life here without worrying about being persecuted, and you can be successful. Whatever success and happiness looks like to you, you can have it! Happy Fourth of July!

The word of the day is "free."

Your lesson for today is on the word "consequently." Use this word between two independent clauses when explaining why something happened.


In Violet Level Lesson Two you’ll learn how to use the word "therefore." This word is similar to "as a result" and "so."

  • Lars wants to get into a good college; therefore, he must improve his grades.
  • There have been a lot of complaints about the people living in that apartment; therefore, the building manager is not going to renew their lease.
  • Wildfires in this forest are burning out of control; therefore, the state has closed down highways leading to the area.

Notice the use of a semicolon (;) before "therefore" and a comma after it. The word "therefore" is placed between two independent clauses.


 Today we begin the Violet Level. The first lesson is on the word "however."

Most of the words that you study in this level are either conjunctive adverbs (transition words that join whole sentences together) or subordinating conjunctions (transition words that join clauses together). Whatever they may be called, the important thing for you to do is to study how these words function in sentences and paragraphs in order to express ideas.

The word of the day is "voice." Are you going to the Word of the Day page every day? It’s a good place to work on your vocabulary and it’s updated daily .

Click here to go to June 2012.