To be successful in this level and all the levels that follow:

1. Print out the Blue Level checklist.

2. Watch the video I made a few days ago. It explains how to use this website.

3. Look at the lessons and the reading selections for the Blue Level. Many of my intermediate and advanced level students admit that they have forgotten some of the basic lessons that they learned in the past. Some of these lessons are easy, but some of them are easily forgotten–yet necessary.

4. Buy a notebook for this online course. I always tell my students that they should write down the things that they have learned. Date each entry (Today’s day is 8 – 31 – 2012), and return to the website every day. Writing is better than just clicking on links. That’s why you’ll often see this image:

write by hand

This reminds you to write in your notebook!

5. Go to the Word of the Day section. This is updated daily. Even if you don’t understand all the words that I use to define the word, the daily habit of learning new words will help improve your vocabulary. English is a very big language, and you need to learn a lot of new words.

6. Bookmark the website. Put it on your bookmark toolbar so that you can easily find it and visit regularly.

That’s it! Good luck to you. I really hope you are able to learn English from this website. As a teacher, I find the internet fascinating and loaded with potential for teaching and learning.


The first lesson in the Blue Level is the most important lesson to understand in all of the seven levels in this program. Click here to learn about the verb "be" in the present tense.

There’s also a recent video that I made about this verb:

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

For intermediate and advanced learners:

Two words that are often confused in English are "lie" and "lay." Many Americans make mistakes with these words, so if you do the same, you’re speaking English about as well as an American speaks it. The word "lay" is the word of the day for today, and the word "lie" was the word of the day for yesterday.


Lesson Two in the Blue Level shows you how to make the verb "be" negative. The video included in this lesson shows you a few different ways to use "not" for this purpose.

Are you keeping track of your lessons with this checklist? If not, that’s okay, but it will help you to remember what you have worked on as we move forward through the course.

The word of the day is "lick."


Today’s lesson is on making questions in the present tense using the verb "be." The verb "be" goes before the subject. These are questions for which the answer is "yes" or "no."

on time?
the movie

Click here for Blue Level Lesson Three.

When you’re ready for a quiz, click here.

The word of the day is "taste."

Today is Labor Day. If you live in the United States, you might have this day off–or you’re working 🙁


In Blue Level Lesson Four, you’ll learn about nouns and pronouns.

The word of the day is "eat." This continues a series of words related to consuming food and drink. Yesterday, the word of the day was "taste," and the day before that it was "lick." The Word of the Day page is here. If you want to improve your vocabulary, I recommend that you bookmark this page and visit it regularly. I add a new word every day.

Don’t forget to keep track of your progress with this checklist.


I made this video for pronouns "you" and "I" with beginning students in mind. It’s very short, and so if you want to download it to your computer, just right click it and save it as a quicktime movie. It’s under 2 MB.

Today’s lesson is on the pronouns "this," "that," "these," and "those." These are called demonstrative pronouns. They’re important to learn about because they indicate distance and time. Pay special attention to the pronunciation of these words.

The word of the day is "drink." You probably already know the meaning of this word, but watch out for the past participle form of it.


Use the word "there" when describing the existence or location of something:

  • There is a sign on the corner.
  • There are three people at that table.
  • There is some mail for you.

Try not to confuse the word "there" with "it" or the contraction for "they are" which is "they’re."

  • There is a book on the table.
  • It’s a book about airplanes.
  • There are four airplanes on the runway.
  • They’re ready to take off.

Do you understand the differences in the sentences above? Click here to go to Blue Level Lesson Six to learn more about the word "there."

The word of the day is "spit." This is the opposite action of words like "taste," "eat," or "drink."


For intermediate and advanced learners:

Technically, the subject in the sentences above is not "there," even though "there" is in the position of the subject. Instead, many teachers will refer to "there" as a "dummy subject." The subjects in the sentences above are sign, people, and mail. You don’t know if the word "there" is singular or plural until you determine what the subject is.

There are a few more things to show you about the word "there:

In the sentences below, "there" is used after a preposition. You can’t always use "there" after a preposition, but you can after these:

  • From there to here it’s about 50 miles.
  • Right about there is where we found some big fish.
  • We told the kids not to go beyond there.

The word "there" is found in some popular expressions:

  • There lies the answer to the question.
  • There comes a time for every person to face death.
  • We’ll take it from there. (We will finish the job or the activity.)
  • There you go. (This is for you.)
  • Hey there. / Hello there. / Hi there. (The word "there" isn’t necessary in these examples, but some people use it anyway.)
  • Hold on there. (Wait. Stop what you’re doing.)


During my twenty-plus years as a teacher, I’ve found the simple present tense to be among the most challenging for new students. One way to help you with this is to show you sentences, questions, and negative statements for the verb "be" and for one or two other verbs in the present tense. Let’s use the verbs "walk" and "drive."

bewalk / drive
  • I am a teacher.
  • I’m not a student.
  • You are a student.
  • You are not a teacher.
  • Joe is a cook.
  • Joe is not a a full-time worker.
  • I walk to school.
  • I do not drive to school.
  • You walk to school.
  • You do not drive to school.
  • Joe walks to work.
  • Joe does not drive to school.

You might find this video to be helpful. It’s kind of old, but I think it’s okay. Blue Level Lesson Seven will give you additional help with the present tense. This is one of the most important lessons for you to complete in this level.

Are you using your checklist for the Blue Level. If not, I recommend that you print this out and use it to monitor your progress.

The word of the day is "edible." If something is edible, you can eat it.

Today’s lesson is on the present continuous tense. To make this verb tense, you need two things: the verb "be" and the main verb. The main verb has an "ing" ending:

subjectbemain verb

Use the present continuous tense to describe things that are happening now, things that are happening in your life, and things that might happen in the future.

Compare this to the present tense:

subjectmain verb

Use the present tense to describe things that you do every day.

Click here to go to Blue Level Lesson Eight. Don’t forget to complete the second part of this lesson, too.

The word of the day is "incredible."


The verb "have" is an interesting verb to study because it’s a main verb and it’s a helping verb. Click here to learn about it in Blue Level Lesson Nine.

There’s a new vocabulary exercise for basic words in English. How many of these do you know?

The word of the day is "comfortable."


Your lesson for today is an introduction to the use of articles (a, an, or the) Included in this lesson are three videos. If you are an intermediate or advanced student, this lesson might help you. There’s also a quiz for you. Remember, quizzes can be printed out, or you can write the answers in your notebook. I encourage students to write answers in complete sentences because it helps learners think in English.

The word of the day is "warm."


Here are the answers to the quiz I emailed to you today:

1. a; 2. the; 3. no article; 4. the; 5. the / the; 6. the; 7. an; 8. no article;  9. a / the; 10. an


In Blue Level Lesson Eleven, you learn about prepositions. It takes years of practice to know which is the best preposition to use, so try not to get too upset when you don’t use the right preposition. One way to learn how to make better choices for prepositions is through reading.

The word of the day is "cool."

There’s a new vocabulary exercise on the home page. If you haven’t found yet, it’s right here.

Sorry about the downtime yesterday. I use Godaddy as the host for this website, and apparently the company was attacked and taken offline yesterday by someone from the Anonymous organization. Everything should be okay now, but if you ever have problems with this website, please let me know as soon as possible. Thanks!


Students need a lot of practice in making the past tense. Look at the chart below:

was / were

The verb "be" uses two different words for the past tense. Your choice of "was" or "were" depends on the subject. Regular verbs have "ed" endings in the past tense, and irregular verbs can change their form completely or not at all.

Go to Blue Level Lesson Twelve to learn more about the past tense.

Click here if you think you are ready for a quiz on the past tense. If you are not ready, you should complete the lesson first.


Today’s lesson introduces information questions. Learn how to use words such as who, what, why, where, etc. If this is too easy, you can also look at this collection of questions and answers in the Orange Level.

Did you see the new video for making verbs negative in the past tense? This will help you review what you learned yesterday in Lesson Twelve:

The word of the day is "pain." This word came up during a class I taught last night, so I thought my online students also would benefit from an explanation of how it can be used.


Possessive adjectives go before nouns to indicate ownership. It’s important for you to learn how they coordinate with subject pronouns:

  • I cleaned my car.
  • You called your mother.
  • He finished his school work.

In addition to the lesson, I have a quiz for you. If you have signed up for email, you received this today:

Directions: Choose the possessive adjective that matches the subject.  write by hand Write the answers in your notebook.

  1. They have _____ own house.
  2. 2. We need _____ passports.
  3. The children brought _____ books into the classroom.
  4. I called _____ brother.
  5. The dog is chasing _____ tail.
  6. Maria lost _____ luggage.
  7. Bill takes _____ car to work.
  8. You passed ______ test.
  9. My wife and I always buy _____ tickets online.
  10. Theresa and Tom send _____ son to a private school.

(Answers: 1. their; 2. our; 3. their; 4. my; 5. its; 6. her; 7. his; 8. your; 9. our; 10. their)

What is the word of the day today? If you speak English, you probably use it over a hundred times a day.

It’s very important to learn the difference between possessive adjectives and possessive pronouns. Click here for today’s lesson, and then take the quiz at the end of the lesson.

The word of the day is "you."

There’s a new Think in English exercise for the word "dollie." This is a good word to know if you work in a warehouse or have to move heavy objects all day. Do you use a dollie?

In Blue Level Lesson Sixteen you’ll learn how to form the past tense for the verb "be." There are two different words to use for the verb "be" in the past tense. Your choice depends on the subject:

be – past tense

I was
We were
You were
You were
He was
She was
They were
It was

To make the negative for these words, add "not" to form "was not" and "were not." Most people use the contracted forms: wasn’t / weren’t.

Click here for today’s lesson, and don’t forget to complete Part 2. In the second part of the lesson, you’ll learn how to use "was" and "were" with the word "there."

The word of the day is "kiss."

Today’s lesson shows you how to say the time, day, and date correctly in English. This is a very basic skill. Of course, that’s what the Blue Level is all about–basic English skills.

The word of the day is "mark."

It’s interesting to note that several teachers and tutors have emailed me recently to say that they’re using this website with their students in school. The checklist really helps students follow their progress.

There’s a new vocabulary exercise for things found in offices and classrooms.


Lesson Eighteen includes a video about the months of the year. This will also help you with ordinal numbers (first, second, third, fourth, etc.)

The word of the day is "store." This word came up during a class I taught last night as we were discussing the places where we keep things at home. The verb "store" is similar to the verb "keep."


It’s important for you to learn about the difference between count and noncount nouns. Why? Knowing the difference will help you make good decisions when choosing verbs and adjectives.

Here are two exercises for you:

write by hand

Exercise 1 – Directions: Write the verb in the present tense.

  1. 1. This information _____ very important. (be)
  2. 2. Traffic _____ slow today. (be)
  3. 3. The trees ______ some water. (need)
  4. 4. The grass ______ some water, too. (need)
  5. 5. Your face ______ dirty. (look)
  6. 6. Your hair ______ clean. (look)

Exercise 2 – Directions: Write the words "much" or "many."

  1. How _____ time do you need?
  2. How _____ people did you meet?
  3. There weren’t ______ apples left in the basket.
  4. There wasn’t _____ food in the refrigerator.
  5. Too _____ energy is wasted.
  6. Too _____ people are in the car.

(Answers to Exercise 1: 1. is; 2. is; 3. need; 4. needs; 5. looks; 6. looks

Answers to Exercise 2: 1. much; 2. many; 3. many; 4. much; 5. much; 6. many)

There’s a new Think in English exercise for the word "grocery."

The word of the day is "jealous."


What day is it today? It’s Thursday. What’s the date today? It’s September 20. When someone asks you what day it is, you respond with "It’s" and then the day of the week: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, or Saturday. If someone asks about the date, you respond with the ordinal number.

Today’s lesson on the days of the week includes a video.

The word of the day is "sound."


In today’s lesson, two videos show your teacher reading numbers. If you have trouble with numbers, I suggest you practice reading along and read out loud as you watch the videos.

The word of the day is "smell."

How are you doing so far? Are you using the checklist as you complete your lessons?

schedule schedule2

The lesson for today is on addition and subtraction. I realize that you already know how to do simple math, but talking about it in English is not so easy for people who are first learning English.

Here’s a new YouTube video that will help you ask and answer questions about a person’s occupation.

The word of the day is "sight." This completes a series of pages for words related to the five senses: sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell. We learn about the world through our senses.

Lesson Twenty-three in the Blue Level introduces the modal verb, "can." If something is possible, or if someone has the ability to do something, consider using "can." The main verb that goes after that is in the simple form:

  • I can help you improve your English.
  • You can use this website to work on your English.
  • Anyone can learn many new things online.

The great thing about modal verbs is that they don’t change their form if the subject in the sentence is singular or plural. That makes things a little easier for you. To make "can" negative, just add "not." The contracted form of these two words is "can’t." Notice the vowel sound in the negative is different:

  • She can’t see the whiteboard from the back of the classroom.
  • We can’t wait until it starts snowing again.
  • They can’t start their car.

Click here for today’s lesson.

The word of the day is "create."


Today’s lesson on "have to" is in two parts. The first part show you how to use "have to" in the present tense; the second part shows you how to use "have to" in the past tense.

The word of the day is "open."


The verb "want" is very common in English. This video explains how to use "want" in the present tense. It’s included in today’s lesson:


The word of the day is "cute."

A student suggested that I create a Word of the Day quiz, and I thought that was a good idea, so here’s Quiz #1. Perhaps I should make a monthly or weekly quiz or test for the new words that you are learning.

Your lesson for today shows how to put the verb "want" into the past tense.

helping verbsimplepast
  • We wanted to see a movie earlier today, but it was sold out.
  • Yasmin didn’t want to go to the doctor, but her mother made her go.
  • What did you want to do today? I forgot what you said.

Do you see how the helping verb "did" is being used with the main verb "want"? This is how questions and negatives are formed for "want" in the past tense. Click here to learn more.

After you finish the lesson, click here for a quiz. Remember to write your answers in your notebook.

write by hand Write in your notebook!

The word of the day is "knot."

For intermediate and advanced students:

One interesting thing about this verb is that we often use it in the past tense for present situations. For example, a person walks into a store and asks for something….

Hello. May I help you?

Yes, I wanted to get some curtains for my windows.

The woman wants to get the curtains now, but when she uses the verb "want" in the past tense, it indicates her intentions before she walked into the store. This is very common among speakers of English.


The words "would like" are very similar to the verb "want," but these two words used together are often more polite. Let’s say you are ordering food in a restaurant and you tell the waitress….

  • I want a hamburger and fries, please.
  • I’d like a hamburger and fries, please.

Which one sounds better? The second request sounds much better. Notice that a contraction is used in the example above. In this case, "I’d" is a contraction for "I would."

Now take a look at how "want" compares to "would like" in the form of a question:

  • What do you want to do today?
  • What would you like to do today?

The second question does not sound less polite than the first; however, you should notice that the questions are formed differently.

In the negative, "want" and "would like" have different meanings. Substituting one for the other is not always possible:

  • She doesn’t want to see that movie.
  • She wouldn’t like to see that movie.

These two statements are very different. The second sentence assumes a person’s preference for something.

Click here to learn more about "would like."

The word of the day is "rare."


Today’s lesson shows you how to use the verb "need" in the present tense. We use "need" when something is necessary:

gas can
  • What does he need?
  • He needs some gas.
  • Does he need any oil?
  • No, he doesn’t need any oil — just gas.

In Blue Level Lesson Twenty-nine, you’ll learn how to use the verb "need" in the past tense. There’s also a brand new quiz for this lesson. (I just finished making it this morning!)


Today we’re finishing the Blue Level. You can always go back to it if you feel that’s necessary. In fact, I recommend that anyone who is helped by this website should consider going through all seven levels at least twice.

Click here for the Blue Level Review.

Click here for Blue Level Test #1.

Click here for Blue Level Test #2.

Click here to go forward to October 2012.

Click here to go back to August 2012.