During the month of June, you’ll learn how to form sentences in English in the Orange Level. You can preview the lessons by clicking here.

The word of the day is "plump."

Do you ever go to the Think in English section of the website? The exercises here require you to write out the questions and the answers. I recommend that you write the answers in your notebook, and then compare your answers to the possible answers that I have posted. This should help you to think in English.

Here’s a new video for the word "until."

If you have finished all of the lessons in the Purple Level, go to the Purple Level Review.

Lesson Twenty-eight is the last lesson in the Purple Level before the review. The verb is "work." This is a very common verb, but it’s also important to know how to use properly. The examples in the lesson should help you with certain prepositions that we use with "work."

The word of the day is "gloomy." How do you feel today? I’m feeling a little gloomy.

There’s a new lesson for the verb "set." Click here to see it.

Today is a holiday in the United States. On Memorial Day, the nation honors those who have died while serving the country. It’s a day off for many people–except for those who work in restaurants, hotels, and shopping centers.

The Purple Level is becoming a popular section of the website, so this week I’m expanding it. Click here for Purple Level Lesson Twenty-six to learn about the verb "last."

The word of the day is "bud."

It’s a dark and stormy day here in Minnesota. This is a good day to stay inside and work on the old website.

Click here for a new Think in English exercise.

The word of the day is "slide."

There’s a new reading exercise for the Blue Level: Leonardo and Rachel each have a cat.

In Purple Level Lesson Twenty-five, you’ll learn about the verb "have." This is also one of those verbs that you can use as a main verb or a helping verb. See the chart below:

helping verb simplepastpast participle
has, have, had

If you use "have" as a helping verb, it’s matched with the past participle, "had." Take a look at this question and answer:

  • A: Have you had anything to eat yet today?
  • B No, I haven’t.

This question is in the present perfect tense. The helping verb is "have" and the main verb is in the form of the past participle, "had." The short answer to the question is, "No, I haven’t." An affirmative answer would be, "Yes, I have." The short answer uses the helping verb.

Of course, you can use verbs other than "have" as the main verb:

  • They have finished their work.
  • He has seen this movie ten times.
  • I have been to New York twice.

Now look at this sentence:

We had a very nice time at the picnic.

In this sentence, the main verb "have" is in the past tense. To make this negative, use the helping verb "do" in the past tense (did) and add "not."

We didn’t have a nice time at the picnic.

The main verb is "have." It’s in the simple form. The helping verb is "did."

I could probably build an entire website around the use of the verbs "do," "be," and "have" as main verbs and helping verbs. Do you know the difference now? After this week, I hope you have a better understanding of how to use all three.

Click here for a basic explanation of "have" as a main verb.

The verb "do" is one of the most important verbs for you to learn, especially if you’re having trouble with the present tense and the past tense. Take a look at this chart:

helping verb simplepastpast participle
do, does, did

It’s very important for you to recognize that "do" can be a helping verb or a main verb. Students who have trouble with their English fail to see the difference sometimes.

  • A: What did you do last night? (past tense question)
  • B: I didn’t do anything. (past tense, negative)
  • A: What do you usually do in the evenings? (present tense, question)
  • B: I usually watch TV. (present tense)

Look carefully at these questions and answers. Do you know where the helping verbs are? Do you know where the main verbs are? For more help with the verb "do," click here.

The lesson for today is on the word "send." For those of you follow this blog every day, I hope you are able to find the quizzes. There’s a quiz for almost every lesson in the Purple Level. Here’s a link for today’s quiz.

The word of the day is "eager."

When asking another person to do something, it’s very popular to use the word "let’s." This is actually a contraction of "let" and "us," but it’s rarely used in an uncontracted form. Here are some ways in which you might hear it:

  • Let’s go to the beach tomorrow.
  • Let’s try to remember not to drive down this road next time.
  • Let’s get some new furniture.
  • Let’s leave. This movie is boring.
  • Let’s turn to page 34.

As a teacher, I use "let’s" often when telling students what to do in class.

There are some other uses for the word "let." Click here to find out what they are.

The verb "seem" is similar to the verb "be." It’s a linking verb that expresses a person’s impression of something or someone:

He seems very happy.

Is he happy? Perhaps. That’s one person’s idea about another person. He might not actually be happy, but that’s the impression he leaves on other people. Here are some other examples of how to use "seem."

  • This seems like a nice place to live.
  • The people at the party all seemed very nice.
  • She doesn’t seem pleased with her new job.
  • Katie seemed upset about the score on her test.
  • Working the night shift might seem strange at first, but soon you’ll get used to it.

Click here for today’s lesson on the verb "seem."

One of the most important verbs for you to learn how to use is the verb "be." It changes in many unexpected ways. Click here to take a look.

The word "run" is used to describe a person who’s traveling fast on two feet, but there are other ways to use it. This is your lesson for today.

When used as a verb, it looks like this:

past participle
  • Water is running from the faucet. (run = come out)
  • The Mississippi River runs south into the Gulf of Mexico. (run = flow)
  • The little boy’s nose is running. (run = the emergence of mucus)
  • We’ve run out of milk. (run out of = deplete the supply)
  • I have to run to the store. (run = go)
  • Mitt Romney is running for President of the United States against Barack Obama. (run = try to get elected)
  • I ran into an old friend at a baseball game. (run into = meet; see again)

Have you checked out the new pronunciation section of the website yet? I hope you can try it out. If you have any suggestions for new words, send them to me.

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

The word of the day is "yank."

Today’s lesson is on the verb "cut." The thing that makes this word difficult is its irregular form:

past participle

Here are some examples of things that are cut:

  • You can cut paper with a pair of scissors.
  • A watermelon is cut with a knife.
  • Steak is cut with a steak knife.
  • Wood is cut with a saw.
  • Trees are cut down with a chainsaw.
  • Surgeons use a scalpel when they cut into skin during an operation.
  • Sometimes I cut myself while shaving with a razor.
  • Governments cut budgets to reduce spending.
  • Schools cut staff because they don’t have enough money.
  • Athletic teams cut players who don’t perform well.
  • Rude people cut in line because they lack patience.
  • Students cut classes when the weather is nice. (cut class = don’t go)

Your lesson for today is on the verb "keep."

Go to Purple Level Lesson Sixteen if you want to see more examples of how this verb is used and conjugated. You’ll also find a quiz on that page.

The word of the day is "hose."

Here’s a preview for a new section of the website on pronunciation. Over the years, students have sent in questions about the meanings or the pronunciation for various words, so I’m going to make it easier for you to contact me and ask for help. If there’s a word you don’t know how to pronounce, just email me at [email protected]. In the subject area, write "I need help with the word _______," and enter the word you are having trouble with. I’ll add it to a list of words and eventually you should see it appear with the meaning and pronunciation. There’s a lot that I can do with this part of the website, but I need your participation.

The lesson for today is on the word "tell." Make sure you take this quiz after you finish the lesson.

In Purple Level Lesson Fourteen you will learn how to use the verb "say." This is an interesting word for a couple of different reasons. First, we use it when describing the spoken or written words of another person:

  • A: What did he say?
  • B: He said he was going to meet his friends after school.

It’s also worth noting the pronunciation of the word "say" in the present tense and the past tense as this video explains:


Today is Mother’s Day in the United States. If you’re a mom, then Happy Mother’s Day! In the United States, it’s popular to go out for brunch on this day, so "brunch" is the word of the day.

The lesson for today is on the verb "want." After you finish it, you can take a quiz which determines your knowledge of the difference between "want" and "need."

What do you need to do this weekend? Use the verb "need" for necessary activities or things that are essential. You can also use "need" as a noun.

Click here for today’s lesson.

Click here to see "need" in a Word of the Day exercise.

Here’s an extra video for need. I’ve spent a lot of time on this word because it’s really important for you to know how to use it!

In Purple Level Lesson Eleven you’ll find examples for the word "come." There are also many verb phrases formed with this verb.

The word of the day is "accent." Listen to your teacher talk about accents by clicking here.

Here’s a new video for the verb phrase "get along with."

Your lesson for the day is on the verb  "make."

This is the tornado season here in the midwestern part of the United States, so the word of the day is "alert."

Your lesson for today is for the verb "know." I hope you’ve been taking the quizzes as you look at the lessons this month. There are 26 different quizzes for the Purple Level. Here’s a link for today’s quiz.

There are a lot of mean people in the world. We call them "bullies." Do you know a person who is a bully? Click here to listen to your teacher talk about what a bully is.

bully This guy is a big bully.

Your lesson for today is on the verb "look." There are also many idioms that make use of this verb.

There’s a new video for the verb phrase "run out of."

The lesson for today is on the verb "see."

How are you doing today? I hope you are doing well. I’m feeling a little tired this morning because it stormed all last night and I couldn’t get to sleep because I kept wondering if I had rolled up the window on my car or not. So I’ll find out soon enough if my minivan is full of water.

In Lesson Six, you’ll learn about the word "give." This has many different meanings, and it’s found in many idioms.

In Purple Level Lesson Five, you can read and listen to examples for the word "take." Make sure you also look at the idiomatic uses for this verb. Afterwards, you can take this quiz.

Happy Cinco de Mayo to my friends from Mexico who celebrate this national holiday. My students tell me that the celebration is actually a little bigger here in the United States than it is in Mexico. Oh well. Any excuse to have a party is good enough for me.

Mexican flagHappy Cinco de Mayo!

The word of the day is "essential."

Today’s lesson is on the word "use." I’m also going to make this the word of the day because language teachers use it so often in explaining how language works.

Have you visited the new social network for this website? If not, you should consider signing up while it’s still free. I might start to charge a small fee for students to access it. This site will always be free. The social network site might not. Why? In the future, I’d like to do this work full time, but I have to figure out how to make a living at it.


Purple Level Lesson Three provides examples of how to use the word "put. There are also many idioms that make use of "put." It’s a good verb to know well.

The word of the day is "wild."

I’m collecting photos for the May Photos section if you want to send in a picture of yourself. Please include your first name and the name of the country that you come from. Thanks!

I created the Purple Level several years ago because I had a belief that a person could speak and understand basic English with just ten verbs. Possible? No. But included in that list was the verb "get" which has many, many different meanings if you look it up in the dictionary. Today I’d like yo to go to Lesson Two to read and listen to the examples there, and then go to the matching idioms page for "get."

I’m going to try something a little different for the pronunciation section of the website. Click here to listen to me ask questions related to shopping. There’s enough of a pause for you to practice after each question. I’ll include a recorder on the page as well if you want to give it a try.

If this becomes popular, I’ll make it a regular feature on the site.

Happy May Day! Around the world today, workers will pay homage to all those who have struggled to gain basic protection and improved conditions in the workplace.

Today you’ll begin Lesson One in the Purple Level. This is all about the verb "go." This is an interesting verb because it can be used in so many different ways. Make sure you also look at the idioms page that match this verb.

Here are a few videos that explain ways to apply the verb "go."

How did it go?

How much is it going for?

Where does your money go?

go + verb

go + gerund

go + infinitive

Click here to go to April 2012.

There’s still time to catch up to the rest of the class!