Learn American English Online Blog
November 30, 2013
Students who studied in the Yellow Level this month have a test to take today. Here it is. If you don’t feel ready to take the test yet, try the review first. After the test, move to the Green Level. Here’s the checklist.
Do not move to the Green Level unless you understand all of the lessons in the Blue, Red, and Yellow Levels. You might have to repeat those lessons.
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The word of the day is "select."
November 28, 2013
Today is the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States. On this day, people get together with family and friends to share food and give thanks for everything that they have.
The word of the day is "grateful."
November 27, 2013
Yellow Level students will benefit from reviewing verb tenses before taking the Yellow Level test and moving on to the Green Level. You really need to know the differences among the present, past, future, continuous, and perfect tenses. If you don’t, you will get very confused when studying the passive voice in the Green Level.
Orange Level students practice reading and listening with these reading exercises.
The word of the day is "gift."
November 26, 2013
Understanding the eight parts of speech and how words can change from one part of speech to another is an important skill for you as a learner of English. Click here to learn about the eight parts of speech in English.
Dictation exercises are helpful in improving listening and writing skills. Orange Level students click here to listen to your teacher and write in your notebook exactly what he says.
The word of the day is "decorate."
November 25, 2013
There’s a new Red Level reading exercise: Exercise #23 I used to drive.
Yellow Level students learn about the future perfect tense today.
Orange Level students study punctuation.
According to my records, a lot of students didn’t go to the word of the day yesterday, so here it is again. The word "follow" is a very important word to learn! Thanks to Srinivas for the suggestion.
November 24, 2013
This will be a busy week for many people in the United States because Thanksgiving is on Thursday, and the holiday shopping season has already begun. I know many of you who follow this website work in hotels, restaurants, stores, etc., that are affected by the holidays in November and December.
Click here to take a look at the lesson on intensifiers in the Yellow Level. These are adverbs that strengthen the meaning of adjectives and other adverbs.
Appositives are words that rename or provide additional information for nouns. Click here to learn more.
The word of the day is "follow." I can’t remember who suggested this word, but it was a good suggestion.
November 23, 2013
Today’s lesson for the Yellow Level is similar to yesterday’s lesson, but it’s on superlative adverbs.
Orange Level students learn about the subjunctive mood. This is a very strange usage in English, but it exists, so you should learn about it.
The word of the day is "wage."
November 22, 2013
Students studying in the Yellow Level learn about comparative adverbs today.
Lesson Twenty-two in the Orange Level continues yesterday’s lesson on question words by showing how "have to" is added into a question.
The word of the day is "verb."
November 21, 2013
Adverbs are words that describe verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs. You can learn about them in Yellow Level Lesson Twenty-one.
Most of the question words you’ll ever have to know in English are found in Orange Level Lesson Twenty-one.
The word of the day is "uncle."
There’s a new short video that shows how "will be able to" can be used when describing future events.
November 20, 2013
Do you know how to talk about height and weight in English? If not, Yellow Level Lesson Twenty will help you with that. It includes this video:
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Orange Level Lesson Twenty provides instruction in the formation of embedded questions. These are questions that are part of a statement or a question. Here’s an example:
The last part of that question is the embedded part. When students make mistakes with embedded questions, they might say something like this:
A person answering that question might say this:
This is a very good thing to practice. Go to Orange Level Lesson Twenty to learn more.
The word of the day is "tinker."
I’ve been tinkering around with a new section of the website that you might find helpful in learning about conversation skills. Here’s a new page to take a look at.
November 19, 2013
Go to the homepage to see your scheduled lessons.
The word of the day is "sake."
November 18, 2013
What is a prepositional phrase and how is it used in a sentence? Learn about it in Yellow Level Lesson Eighteen.
The words "still" and "anymore" are useful when talking about activity that continues or does not continue. The video below explains the differences between these words. You can also go to Orange Level Lesson Eighteen.
The word of the day is "rag."
November 17, 2013
Today’s lesson in the Yellow Level shows you the differences between the present perfect continuous and the past perfect continuous tenses. This is hard stuff!
The word of the day is "quarantine."
Here a link to a new section of the website that I’m working on. It’s for students who want to develop conversation skills.
November 16, 2013
Yellow Level students learn about direct and indirect quotations today. Click here.
Orange Level students learn about the differences between the words "so" and "too."
The word of the day is "patient."
November 15, 2013
There’s a new Word of the Day quiz for November.
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The past perfect tense is one of the most difficult tenses for students of the English language to learn. It looks like this:
had + past participle
The past perfect applies to a past situation that comes before another past situation, so there are two things that happened in the past. The past perfect tense is used for the event that happened first:
So what happened first? She had learned how to read. What happened after that? She entered kindergarten. Click here to learn more about the past perfect tense.
This video explains the differences between the past tense and the past perfect tense:
In Orange Level Lesson Fifteen students learn a few important things about using the word "wish" in a sentence.
The word of the day is "obsess."
November 14, 2013
Yellow Level Lesson Fourteen shows how perfect modal verbs are used in the continuous form. The formula looks like this:
modal verb + have + been + _______ing
Orange Level Lesson Fourteen shows students how to form past conditional sentences. This requires a good knowledge of the past perfect tense. Perhaps you have noticed that lessons from the Orange Level and the Yellow Level often overlap.
The word of the day is "nausea."
November 13, 2013
Today’s lesson for the Yellow Level is on the present perfect continuous tense. I’ll be teaching this to my regular Saturday class this weekend. Here’s a video:
If you thought the video was helpful, here’s another one that explains how to make questions in the present perfect continuous tense.
Orange Level students continue their study of conditional sentences with the present conditional.
The word of the day is "meal."
November 12, 2013
To describe a situation in the past with a modal verb, the formula looks like this:
modal verb + have + past participle
However, you are limited to the following modal verbs when doing this: might, must, could, would, should, and ought to.
Perfect modal verb phrases are useful when describing past possibility or when forming conditional sentences. I recommend you learn more about them in Yellow Level Lesson Twelve.
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A future conditional sentence describes a future possibility:
Is it guaranteed that you will improve your English? No. The condition is that you study really hard! If you don’t study, you won’t improve. Orange Level Lesson Twelve has more examples for future conditional sentences. Don’t forget to take the quiz at the end of the lesson.
The word of the day is "lumber."
November 11, 2013
Certain verb phrases are used in place of modal verbs. These verb phrases, or idiomatic modal verb phrases, are especially common in spoken English. Let me give you an example, and below each example I’ll show you the modal verb that could have been used instead.
In each pair of sentences, the first version of the sentence sounds more relaxed or conversational, but both communicate the same meaning.
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Orange Level Lesson Eleven shows you how to change direct speech into indirect speech. This is extremely important to know how to do when you want to describe what another person has said. If you don’t know the differences among the verb tenses, you won’t be able to do this successfully. Instruction in verb tenses on this website is found in the first four levels: Blue, Red, Yellow, and Green.
The word of the day is "kindly."
November 10, 2013
There’s a new reading exercise for the Yellow Level: Janice is a careful shopper.
This week Yellow Level students will study modal verbs. These are important helping verbs that students of English must learn.
Orange Level students will study lessons this week which require a knowledge of the sequence of tenses.
The word of the day is "jeopardy."
My deepest condolences go out to the people of the Philippines who were struck by a typhoon in the last couple of days. The numbers of people dead continues to grow. It must be a heart-wrenching ordeal for the residents there.
November 9, 2013
Today’s Yellow Level lesson provides more instruction and practice for students who want to learn the difference between the past tense and the past continuous tense. There’s also a quiz at the end of the lesson.
Orange Level Lesson Nine teaches you how to use an adverb clause.
There’s a new Think in English exercise featuring one of my cats.
The word of the day is "imagine."
November 8, 2013
The past continuous tense is used to describe activities that took place over a period of time in the past. For example…
You could also say, She worked when she lived in Florida, but the past continuous tense emphasizes the passage of time, so it’s often preferred over the simple past in certain circumstances. I recommend you study this lesson and take this quiz.
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Adjective clauses are explained in Orange Level Lesson Eight. These clauses are commonly used when describing a noun. The pronouns "who," "that," and "whose" often come at the beginning of the clause:
After completing the lesson, try this quiz.
The word of the day is "hearty."
November 7, 2013
Students studying in the Yellow Level learn about superlative adjectives today.
Students studying in the Orange Level click here to learn about how to use "that" with a clause.
The word of the day is "gender."
November 6, 2013
The Yellow Level lesson for today is on comparative adjectives.
The Orange Level lesson for today is on noun clauses.
The word of the day is "fund."
November 5, 2013
Students working in the Yellow Level learn how to make questions using the present perfect tense in Lesson Five.
If you are studying in the Orange Level, today your lesson is on compound-complex sentences. Remember, this level is intended for intermediate and advanced students.
The word of the day is "excess." The response that I have received to my offer of help through Helpouts on Google was in excess of what I expected. I’ll do my best to respond to requests, but keep in mind, I’m one person and I have a regular teaching job. On a daily basis, this website receives between 3000 to 5000 visits, so you can figure out for yourself how busy I would be if I attended to each individual request. Thanks for understanding!
Tomorrow the Helpouts I’m offering are free, but after that should I charge a fee? What do you think?
November 4, 2013
Your Yellow Level Lesson for today will help you make the present perfect tense negative.
Orange Level students learn about complex sentences. A complex sentence is composed of an independent clause and a dependent clause.
The interesting thing about complex sentences is that the order of the clauses can be reversed:
Click here for your lesson.
The word of the day is "double."
November 3, 2013
Students can learn how to form and use the present perfect tense in Yellow Level Lesson Three. This is a very common tense that we use for a few different reasons. The main reason is when describing something that was true in the past and is still true now in the present:
She started at the company ten years ago and she’s still there. The verb "have" is used as a helping verb and the main verb, "be," is in the form of the past participle (been).
There’s a new reading exercise for the Orange Level. Click here to see it.
The word of the day is "can."
November 2, 2013
Yellow Level Lesson Two shows you how to use the verb "have" in the present tense and the past tense. This is extremely important to understand well before you learn about perfect tenses, which we will study for a few days next week.
Orange Level Lesson Two explains the differences between a clause and a phrase. Understanding this basic distinction will improve your writing and speaking abilities.
The word of the day is "buck."
November 1, 2013
The Yellow Level shows you how to use the perfect tenses. I don’t recommend that students go to the Yellow Level unless they have finished the Blue and Red Levels. Today’s first lesson in the Yellow Level is a review of how to form questions in the past tense.
The first lesson in the Orange Level is on simple sentences.
The word of the day is "absent."
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