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June 2013 BlogLAEO

Blue Level students need to do two things before they move on to the Red Level.

  1. Complete the Blue Level Review. If you think this is not necessary, you can go directly to the tests.

As always, I recommend that you write your answers out by hand in your notebook. Have you been using a notebook with this website? Writing answers by hand helps you remember what you learn. This is one of the reasons why my students are so successful in learning English 🙂

After you finish the test, go to the Red Level. Don’t forget to print out the Red Level checklist. Keep the checklist by your computer to keep track of your progress.

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Orange Level students should complete their lessons and all of the quizzes before moving on to the Violet Level.

I’m in Helsinki, Finland today. Tomorrow I’ll be back in the United States. I’ll tell you what I’ve been working on when I return.

Blue Level students study the verb "need" in the past tense today.

Orange Level students are ready to move on to the next level. If you have finished all of the Orange Level lessons, I’d like you to preview the Violet Level and print out the Violet Level checklist.

The word of the day is "nasty."

Because I’m traveling right now, updates for the next day or so might be a little off.

When you order something from a restaurant, go shopping, or make a request for any kind of service, you can use "would like" and then the main verb is in the simple form.

  • I would like a large coffee, please.
  • I’d like to get a new pair of shoes.
  • She’d like to find a new place to live.
  • He’d like to have someone come to his house to fix the roof.

Learn more about the use of "would like" in Blue Level Lesson Twenty-seven.

When something is absolutely necessary, use "need" as a main verb.

  • Joe needs a new job.
  • Helen needs to go shopping.
  • We need to leave immediately.
  • I need some coffee. (If I don’t drink coffee in the morning, I get a headache–so I really need it.)

Click here to learn more about the use of the word "need" in Blue Level Lesson Twenty-eight.

Orange Level students should take a look at the conversation questions page. I use these questions with the students in my regular classroom. If you are a teacher or a tutor, you’re welcome to print out these questions and use them with your own students.

The word "want" can be used in the past tense:

  • You called earlier. What did you want?
  • Is this what she wanted?
  • Kevin wanted some new basketball shoes, but he couldn’t find any that he liked.
  • I really wanted you to do well on this test. What happened?

Click here to learn more about using the verb "want" in the past tense.

Orange Level students practice dictation exercises today. Listen to the exercises carefully and write what you hear in your notebook.

The word of the day is "hate." (I’m sorry about the quality of the recording. Things will be back to normal in a few more days.)

The verb "want" is useful when a person desires something. Click here to learn more.

Orange Level students click here to learn about punctuation.

As I mentioned before, updates and communication with students will be reduced until I return from a trip that requires extensive travel.

Today Blue Level students study the use of "have to." This is similar to the modal verb "must" with a few differences. Use "have to" when some sort of action is necessary:

  • I have to go shopping today. (I must go shopping.)
  • You have to practice your English.
  • He has to see a doctor.
  • They have to leave early in the morning.
  • What do you have to do today?

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Orange Level students study appositives today in Lesson Twenty-four.

The word of the day is "insult."


The word of the day is "link."

Blue Level students study the modal verb "can."

Orange Level students study the subjunctive mood.


Lesson Twenty-one in the Blue Level contains two videos on numbers. The instruction is very basic, but beginning level students usually find the videos and the pronunciation of the words to be helpful. Ordinal numbers (first, second, third, etc.) are especially necessary to learn because they indicate sequence.

When talking about addition and subtraction in English, there are a few vocabulary words and points of grammar that are important to learn in Lesson Twenty-two.

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Orange Level Lesson Twenty-one is a review of question words, and in Lesson Twenty-one, I’ll show you how to use question words with "have to." The use of "have to" when making a question is very common.

The word of the day is "aggravate."

In Blue Level Lesson Twenty, learn to pronounce the days of the week.

Orange Level students work on embedded questions in Orange Level Lesson Twenty. (You should complete Levels Blue, Red, Yellow, and Green before you go to this lesson.)

Because I’m currently on the road, updates to the website will be less frequent, but they will continue. The word of the day is "rest." There’s a new word of the day quiz for the month of June here.


It’s extremely important to know the difference between count and noncount nouns. The reason for this is because of adjectives like much, many, few, and little.

Intermediate and advanced level students go to Lesson Nineteen: tag questions.

Beginning Level students should know how to spell and pronounce all of the months of the year in English. Click here if you need help with this.

Orange Level students study the words "still" and "anymore" in Lesson Eighteen. This completes a short series of lessons on words that are used with negatives.

The word of the day is "save."

Learn how to talk about time, day, and date in the Blue Level Lesson for today.

Orange Level students study the words "either" and "neither" today. It’s a good idea to contrast this lesson with yesterday’s lesson on "so" and "too."

The word of the day is "lag."

I’m currently on the road right now (traveling) and collecting material in the form of video and pictures for this website and another website, so updates will be a little off for the next week or so. Keep checking for new material because I’ll be adding to the website as I travel.

Did you watch the video that I posted yesterday? When studying possessive pronouns and possessive adjectives, it’s a good idea to look at subject and object pronouns as well because there are so many similarities among them all. Click on the link above to go to today’s lesson, Blue Level Lesson Fifteen.

Students studying in the Orange Level also move on to Lesson Fifteen and learn how to use the verb "wish" when describing something that a person doesn’t have.

The word of the day is "anxious."

Possessive adjectives appear before nouns and indicate who owns something. Click here for today’s Blue Level lesson.

The video below explains the differences among pronouns and how they are different from possessive adjectives:

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Today, students working in the Orange Level study the most difficult of all the conditional sentences–the past conditional. This is also know as the past unreal or the past contrary-to-fact. It doesn’t really matter too much what you call it. These sentences describe things that did not happen in the past, or they did happen and someone wants to express regret.

The word of the day is "cap."

Today’s Blue Level lesson is on information questions.

Are you keeping track of your progress in this level. If not, click here for the Blue Level checklist.

The Orange Level lesson for today is on present conditional sentences.

The word of the day is "breath." Notice the difference between today’s word and yesterday’s word, "breathe."

There are a few important things to remember when making the past tense. First, it’s absolutely necessary to know the difference between the simple form of a verb and the past tense form. Look at the chart below:

simple past past participle
was / were

The past tense form of a verb in English often looks like the past participle form–but not always! You’ll learn more about past participles in the Yellow Level.

To make a sentence in the simple past, use the past tense verb:

  • He lived in Brazil for 29 years.
  • She studied German last year.
  • I read the newspaper this morning.
  • They went shopping.
  • You were here yesterday. (The main verb is "be")

But when making the negative or when making a question, use the helping verb "did" with the main verb:

  • He didn’t live in Mexico. (did + not = didn’t)
  • She didn’t study Spanish.
  • I didn’t read the newspaper yesterday.
  • They didn’t go shopping.
  • You weren’t here last week. (were + not = weren’t. Don’t use "did" with the verb "be.")

To make a question in the past tense, use "did."

  • Did he live in Brazil? Yes, he did.
  • Did she study Spanish? No, she didn’t.
  • Did I read the newspaper today? Yes, you did.
  • Did they go shopping? Yes, the did.
  • Were you here last week? No, I wasn’t.

To learn more about forming the past tense, click here.

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Orange Level students click here to begin a serious of lessons on conditional sentences. In Lesson Twelve, you’ll study future conditional sentences.

  • If you go to Paris, you’ll see the Eiffel Tower.

In future conditional sentences, you describe situations that have not happened yet. In the dependent clause that uses "if," the main verb is in the present tense (go); in the independent clause, the main verb is put into the future tense (will see).

The word of the day is "breathe."


Today’s lesson for the Blue Level is on prepositions.

Orange Level students study reported speech today. This lesson will show you how to describe what another person said.

The word of the day is "breed."

Almost all of my students have problems when choosing articles. The words "a," "an," and "the" have specific applications. Watch this video….

…and go to the lesson here. When you feel like you’re ready, you can take a quiz.

Today, Orange Level students are introduced to something called the sequence of tenses. Understanding this will be important as students study the lessons that follow on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

The word of the day is "tag."

Blue Level Lesson Nine teaches you how to use the verb "have." In addition to the verbs "be" and "do," this is an extremely important verb to understand because it can be used as both a main verb and as a helping verb.

Learn about adverb clauses today in Orange Level Lesson Nine.

The word of the day is "observe."


It’s a good idea to study the present continuous tense after studying the present tense because these two tenses cause a lot of confusion. You form the present continuous tense like this:

S + (be) + ________ing

The main verb has an "ing" ending. The verb "be" changes, depending on the subject:

  • I am working on my website.
  • What are you doing?
  • He is driving to Texas.
  • They are going on a long trip.

It’s important for you to know that there are other words that have "ing" endings. In this Red Level lesson, for example, gerunds have an "ing" ending.

Today’s Blue Level lesson is in two parts. The link to the first part is above. The second part of the lesson shows you how to make questions using the present continuous tense.

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Orange Level Lesson Eight is for intermediate and advanced level students who are studying the formation of sentences and questions in the month of June. Today the lesson is on adjective clauses. The checklist for tracking progress in this level is found here.

The word of the day is "journey."

Students who are working in the Blue Level study the present tense today. The important thing to learn in this lesson is the use of the verb "do" to make the main verb negative and to form questions. These examples are in the present tense:

  • Bill works almost every day.
  • He doesn’t work on Sunday.
  • Does he work on Saturday?

The helping verb "does" matches the subject, "he," and appears before the main verb which is in the simple form. Click here to go to the lesson. You can take this quiz after you finish the lesson.

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If you are working on the lessons in the Orange Level, today you’ll study the use of the word "that" at the beginning of a clause. Click here for Orange Level Lesson Seven.

The word of the day is "damp."

It always surprises me to learn how many of my students forget to use the word "there," or they misuse it and use a different word such as "it" or "they." Use "there" when explaining the existence of something or someone:

  • There’s someone at the door.
  • There are many good doctors in this city.
  • Is there a problem with your computer?
  • There isn’t anyone in the classroom.

We also use "there" when referring to a place.

  • We went to the party, but no one was there.
  • Put the boxes down over there.
  • Go to the hardware store. There you’ll find someone who can make keys for you.

I hope today’s lesson helps you understand the word "there."

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Orange Level students study noun clauses today.

The word of the day is "fade."

Do you have trouble with words like this, that, these, and those? Blue Level Lesson Five can help you.


In Orange Level Lesson Five, students learn about compound-complex sentences.

The word of the day is "upkeep."

There’s a new video. This is for students who need practice forming questions in the present tense using the verb "be."

Learning about the different parts of speech in English is necessary because some words change their form, depending on how they are used in a sentence or a question. Today, Blue Level students learn about nouns and pronouns.

If you are an Orange Level student, today you’ll learn about complex sentences. A complex sentence is formed with an independent clause and a dependent clause. The dependent clause uses a subordinating conjunction at the beginning of it. (What is a subordinating conjunction?)

The word of the day is "aware."

Blue Level Lesson Three shows you how to make questions with the verb "be." In addition to the lesson, look at the questions below:

  • Are you a student?
  • Is your computer okay?
  • Are the students online?
  • Am I your teacher?

In each of these questions, the choice of the verb "be" (am, is, and are) depends on the subject.

There’s a new exercise for the Blue Level. In this exercise, write a short, negative answer followed by a description of the picture.

For example:

  • Is this a bowl of strawberries?
  • No, it’s not. It’s a bowl of cereal.

Click here for the exercise.

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Students who are working in the Orange Level study compound sentences today. A compound sentence is formed by two independent clauses. Look at this sentence:

Bob would like to go to the beach, but he doesn’t have a car.

Do you see where the two independent clauses are? They’re joined together by a coordinating conjunction (but). After the first clause there’s a comma. The comma comes before the conjunction.

The word of the day is "reach."

Lesson Two in the Blue Level shows you how to make the verb "be" negative in the present tense.

Have you printed the Blue Level Checklist yet? I recommend that you print this, keep it by your computer, and track your progress daily.

Students working in the Orange Level learn the difference between clauses and phrases in Lesson Two. While working with students yesterday during an early morning class, I noticed that about half of the class did not know about clauses and phrases. If you want to be able to write and form good sentences and questions while, speaking, this lesson and the ones that follow this week will be important for you to understand.

See if you can tell the difference between a phrase and a clause:

  • Walking along the river on a hot summer afternoon.
  • The man was walking along the river in the afternoon.

The first example is made up of two phrases. The second is made up of a clause and two prepositional phrases. If you knew that, that’s great. If not, take a look at Lesson Two.

(If you are a beginning level student, I don’t recommend that you do the lessons in the Orange Level. Complete the Blue, Red, Yellow, and Green levels first.)

The word of the day is "plant."

Are you ready to learn some English? Today you’ll start the Blue Level with a lesson on how to use the verb "be." Click here for Blue Level Lesson One.

Students who have moved on to the Orange Level will study the formation of sentences and questions this month. Click here to learn about simple sentences.

The word of the day is "foreign."

Click here to go to May 2013.

Click here to go to the LAEO Blog Archive.

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