Learn American English Online Blog
June 30, 2012
We’re at the end of the Orange Level. The best way to review what you have learned is to complete the quizzes–if you haven’t done so already.
Tomorrow, we’ll start the Violet Level. Once you’ve finished the Violet Level and can honestly say that you have finished all seven levels on this website (Blue through Violet), you can print out your certificate.
June 29, 2012
Today’s lesson is just a list of different forms of punctuation.
The word of the day is "quiz."
June 28, 2012
In Orange Level Lesson Twenty-four, you’ll learn about appositives. Appositives rename a noun in a sentence with another noun. In this way, appositives are similar to adjectives.
June 27, 2012
Today’s lesson on the subjunctive mood is fairly new. I’ve added it to the Orange Level because so many students have emailed me with questions about it. There are many things to learn about the subjunctive mood. This video, for example, explains how the present subjunctive affects the verb "be."
The word of the day is "ship."
June 26, 2012
It’s difficult for some students to make questions with "have to," so I made this lesson. Make sure you complete the practice section by writing the answers in your notebook.
How are you doing with the Orange Level? We’re almost finished with it. There are some new lessons coming this week. Remember, if this level is too difficult, you can always start at the Blue or Red Level and work your way forward.
The word of the day is "familiar."
June 25, 2012
Today’s lesson is on question words that are used when asking for information. It’s fairly complete list. All you have to do is to read through the list and look at the examples. If I’ve missed any, let me know.
The word of the day is "ride." Over the years, I’ve noticed my students make mistakes with this word, often confusing it with the word "drive." Today you’ll learn the difference.
June 24, 2012
The word of the day is "brag."
June 23, 2012
In Orange Level Lesson Twenty you’ll learn about how to make an embedded question. This is a type of sentence or question that refers to a question or describes a question. The word order is important to pay attention to. Both the question and the sentence below are examples of embedded questions:
Did you hear what she said?
I didn’t hear what she said.
While it’s possible for someone to ask, "What did she say?" the embedded question is sometimes necessary. Click here to learn more.
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At this time of year, there are a lot of graduation parties for kids who are graduating from high school. Parents and other family members are happy that these young people have successfully completed this part of their lives and are ready to move on to college or the working world. Therefore, a good choice for the Word of the Day is the word "proud."
June 22, 2012
Tag questions are always an interesting thing for me to teach because they indicate how well a student understands grammar. A tag question starts as a statement and ends in a question. Look at this example:
He’s learning a lot in class, isn’t he?
The first part of this question is in the form a statement. It’s in the present continuous tense. The last part after the comma creates a question. Notice that only the helping verb and a pronoun are used at the end. As long as you can recognize the verb tense that’s being used, and you know which pronoun to choose, you should be able to handle tag questions without too much trouble. Click here for today’s lesson on tag questions. Once you finish the lesson, you can take this quiz.
June 21, 2012
In Orange Level Lesson Eighteen, you’ll learn the differences between the words "still" and "anymore."
Click here for the lesson and an exercise.
Here are the answers for today’s exercise: (1. Whose; 2. Who’s; 3. who’s; 4. whose; 5. Whose; 6. Who’s; 7. Whose; 8. who’s; 9. who’s; 10. whose)
June 20, 2012
Today’s lesson is on the word "nor." Use "nor" with "neither." We use "nor" in a way that’s similar to "or." Using these two words together means that both people or things are negative.
Learn more about the word "nor" by clicking here.
June 19, 2012
The lesson for today is on using "either" and "neither." These words act in a way that is similar to the words you studied yesterday. Click here to go to Orange Level Lesson Seventeen.
June 18, 2012
This week’s lessons are a lot easier than what you studied last week. Today you’ll start by learning the difference between "so" and "too."
Do you see the patterns in these sentences? The lesson for today is very interesting!
June 17, 2012
Today’s lesson is Orange Level Lesson Fifteen. Here you’ll learn how to use "wish" when talking about the present or the past.
This sentence describes something that a person wants now:
I wish I had more time.
Notice the verb after "wish" is in the past tense; however, the person speaking is wishing for something in the present. You can’t say, "I wish I have more time." That’s wrong.
In the next sentence, the wish is for something that happened in the past:
He wishes he had spent more time in school.
This sentence expresses regret. The person didn’t spend enough time in school and this sentence indicates that he feels unhappy about the situation. Notice the verb after "wish" is in the past perfect tense.
It’s important to learn how to use "wish." Click here to see more examples and watch a video that explains the differences between "wish" and "hope."
June 16, 2012
Here’s a new video that explains how the subjunctive mood is used when describing requests:
After you watch the video, try this exercise. It matches the instruction in the video.
June 15, 2012
Orange Level Lesson Fourteen continues this week’s focus on conditional sentences with the past conditional. These sentences describe something that was not true in the past, but the speaker considers an alternate situation. The sentence below is similar to the sentences from the last few days except that it’s in the form of the past conditional:
If we had gone to the zoo,
we would have seen a lot of interesting animals.
Did we go to the zoo? No, we didn’t. Did we see interesting animals? No. But it’s possible to talk about or think about what might have happened. Click here to learn more about how past conditional sentences.
June 14, 2012
Orange Level Lesson Thirteen demonstrates how to form present conditional sentences. These types of sentences describe a situation that is not true now, but it allows a person to consider a present possibility:
If we went to the zoo, we would see a lot of interesting animals.
This sentence is similar to the one we looked at yesterday, buy you’ll notice differences in the verbs. After "if" the verb is in the past tense, and "will" changes to "would." Click here for the lesson.
The word of the day is "crunch."
June 13, 2012
Today’s lesson is the first of three lessons that explain how to form conditional sentences. This is what a future conditional sentence looks like:
If we go to the zoo, we’ll see a of interesting animals.
The first part of the sentence begins with a dependent clause and starts with the word "if." The main verb in that clause (go) is in the present tense. The second part of the sentence is an independent clause and the main verb (see) is in the future tense. You can also reverse the order of this sentence:
We’ll see a lot of interesting animals if we go to the zoo.
Click here for more examples and a video. Tomorrow’s lesson is on present conditional sentences.
A student asked me to explain the use of "on my way," so here’s a video explanation:
June 12, 2012
Your next lesson is about the sequence of tenses. This is necessary to understand when learning about direct and indirect speech.
The word of the day is "set."
June 11, 2012
Today’s lesson is on adverb clauses. An adverb clauses provides information about how, when, and why something happens. Click here for the lesson.
Here’s a new video that contains some adverb clauses, but the main purpose is for you to learn how to make sentences that are symmetrical. There are two parts to the sentence. Each part resembles the other:
June 10, 2012
Adjective clauses are important for you to understand because they provide information about a noun in a sentence. Studying adjective clauses for just one day is not enough! Here’s another video about adjective clauses:
What’s the word of the day today? It’s a four-letter word that we use when describing that something has increased or improved. It rhymes with "rain." Do you know what it is? Click here to find out.
June 9, 2012
Orange Level Lesson Eight will help you learn about adjective clauses.
After you finish the lesson, you can find more videos about adjective clauses on this page.
The word of the day is "essential."
June 8, 2012
A clause in a sentence often begins with the word "that." You can use "that" for a thing or for a person.
If the word "that" doesn’t function as the subject in a clause, its use is optional. In the above sentences with the word "that" in parentheses (that), it’s not necessary to use "that" because it isn’t the subject in the clause.
However, in the other two sentences, "that" is necessary, and to omit it would be a mistake:
These are common mistakes in English. If you aren’t sure about the use of "that" in a sentence, click here to learn more about clauses that use "that."
June 7, 2012
Today you’ll begin a series of lessons about clauses that are commonly found in English. Orange Level Lesson Six is about noun clauses.
The word of the day is "haul."
June 6, 2012
Today’s lesson is on compound-complex sentences. These sentences are formed with two independent clauses and a dependent clause joined together with conjunctions:
Do you see where the dependent clause is? Do you see where the independent clauses are? This sentence is in three parts. To learn more about compound-complex sentences, click here.
I’ve received a lot of email recently from students who want more lessons on how to improve writing and punctuation. Thanks for your feedback! It helps to know what students want to learn when they visit here.
The word of the day is "easy."
June 5, 2012
A complex sentence is formed with a dependent clause and an independent clause. The dependent clause begins with words like "because," "before," "when," "after," and many others. The dependent clause provides information for the independent clause, which is also known as "the main clause." Many sentences in English are complex, so you must learn how to identify them.
Do you know where the dependent clause and the independent clause are in the examples below?
Click here to learn more about complex sentences.
The word of the day is "handy." If you go to the Word of the Day page every day, consider bookmarking it. Remember, this is updated daily. It’s designed to help you develop a good basic vocabulary in English.
June 4, 2012
In Orange Level Lesson Three , you’ll learn how to form compound sentences. A compound sentence is made up of two simple sentences joined by a conjunction. Here are some examples:
Notice that each of the sentences above is formed by two independent clauses. There’s a comma in the middle followed by a conjunction. Click here to learn more about compound sentences.
June 3, 2012
It’s a beautiful morning! The sun is up and there’s a cloudless blue sky, so it’s a good day to play some golf and take a little break from the website.
The word of the day is "earn."
June 2, 2012
Do you know the difference between a phrase and a clause? When most people speak English, they mix up phrases and clauses and don’t really pay a lot of attention to this difference; however, when you write, you really must know how to form a phrase and a clause and when to use each. Click on the link to go to today’s lesson.
The word of the day is "proper."
Thanks to everyone who has sent in a photo for the month of June. I’ll put together a photos page for this month sometime this weekend. If you want to be included, email me. Tell me your first name and the name of the country that you are from.
June 1, 2012
Your first lesson in the Orange Level is about the formation of a sentence. Unlike the previous level where you studied individual words, this level is about how to put words together to form meaning. It’s very important for you to follow the sequence of lessons, complete all the exercises, and watch the videos in this level.
A sentence has to have a subject and a verb. Can you find them? The answers are below, but try not to look at the answers until after you have identified the subject and the verb in each sentence.
The word of the day is "treat."
Click here to go to May 2012.