Today is a holiday in the United States. It’s Halloween. On Halloween children–and some adults–wear costumes and participate in activities to celebrate the holiday. This is not a religious holiday, and very few people are really serious about it, but if you want to learn more, click here.

Red Level students move forward to the Yellow Level tomorrow. Click here for the checklist to keep track of your progress.

Purple Level students move on to the Orange Level. Here’s the checklist for you. Keep the checklist next to your computer and note the lessons, quizzes, and exercises that you have completed.

The word of the day is "mask." Happy Halloween!!

Red Level students take two tests today:

There’s a new test for the Purple Level. If you have finished all of the lessons in that level, you can click here to give it a try.

The word of the day is "ghost."  ghost and cat

Red Level students click here for the Red Level review. Tomorrow I’ll post links to the test.

Purple Level students click here for dictation exercises.

The word of the day is "costume."

 

 

Have you tried any of the dictation exercises in the Red Level yet? The way this works is you listen to the recording, then write down exactly what you hear. Write the sentences in your notebook. I do this sort of thing with the students in my English classes here in Minnesota, and they really appreciate the challenge these exercises present.

Purple Level Lesson Twenty-eight shows how the word "work" can be used as a verb. This word is used for many situations other than for labor.

The word of the day is "wicked."

It’s very common to put a preposition after a verb in English. This creates a verb phrase or an idiom. Click here to learn more.

There’s a new Red Level exercise to match yesterday’s lesson on "go + verb." Was it helpful? Let me know.

Purple Level students click here to learn about the verb "set."

The word of the day is "terrify."

Your Red Level lesson for today is on the use of "go" + a verb. This is a common pattern with some–but not all–verbs in English.

Purple Level students study the use of the word "last" as a verb. In this case, "last" defines the length of time.

  • A: How long did the meeting last?
  • B: It lasted two hours.
  • A: How long will these batteries last?
  • B: They should last a few months.
  • A: How much more time does he have to live?
  • B: He won’t last past tomorrow. (He will die soon.)

Here’s a new video for "be able to." A few students emailed me recently and asked me to explain how the verb "be" changes in this verb phrase:

 

The word of the day is "glitch."

Red Level Lesson Twenty-five has a list of common adjectives and their opposites. This is useful in developing your vocabulary. The lesson includes this exercise.

Purple Level Lesson Twenty-five is is focused on the verb "have."

The word of the day is "zigzag."

Today’s lesson for Red Level students will look similar to yesterday’s lesson, but there is a big difference. Click here to find out what it is. If you didn’t complete yesterday’s lesson, make sure you do that also.

Purple Level students study the verb "do" today.

The word of the day is "yearn."

When talking about something that happened in the past a long time ago, we often use "used to." This is followed by the main verb in the simple form. Look at the chart below:

used to simple past
used to

be

eat

live

work

was / were

ate

lived

work

  • She used to be heavy. Now she’s thin. (She was heavy.)
  • They used to eat lunch at that cafe, but now they go somewhere else. (They ate at that cafe almost every day)
  • My neighbors used to live in Brazil. Now they live in the United States. I’m so happy to have them as neighbors! (They lived in Brazil.)
  • He used to work the third shift from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. until he was able to change his schedule to the first shift. (He worked the third shift last year.)

Click here to learn more about "used to." The lesson includes this video:

 

The verb "let" is the focus of your Purple Level lesson for today.

The word of the day is "wiggle."

 

Did you try the two new reading exercises that I posted yesterday? If not, the links are just below today’s entry.

Red Level Lesson Twenty-two is on multiplication and division. Understanding how to describe basic math functions is important, especially if you have children enrolled in schools that use English as the language for instruction.

Purple Level Lesson Twenty-two shows ways in which the verb "let" might be used.

The word of the day is "vandal."

There’s a new reading exercise for the Red Level. Click here to read Wally worked on his house last weekend. There’s also a new reading exercise for the Purple Level. This is an Aesop’s fable, one of which you may have read in your first language: The Boy Who Cried Wolf.

Red Level students study numbers and money today.

Purple Level students study the verb "seem."

The word of the day is "urge."

Reflexive pronouns refer attention back to the subject of a sentence. This video explains:

You might learn a few new things about the verb "be" by taking a look at Purple Level Lesson Twenty.

The word of the day is "tattle."

Red Level students go to Lesson Nineteen to study possessive pronouns.

Purple Level students study the verb "run."

The word of the day is "scale."

 

Gerunds are words that look like verbs but function as nouns in a sentence. Anyone who has ever had me as a teacher learns this lesson early. Many students confuse gerunds with verbs that are in a continuous tense. Look at these two sentences:

  • Riding a bike is not that hard to do.
  • Sharon is riding a bike.

The first sentence uses a gerund (riding). It functions as the subject of the sentence. The verb that matches the subject is singular (is). The second sentence is in the present continuous tense. The main verb in that sentence is "ride."

Here are a few more examples of sentence with gerunds:

  • Living in the United States was Rogelio’s dream. (The word "living" is a gerund and it’s the subject of the sentence.)
  • She likes eating cold cereal in the morning. (The word "eating" is a gerund and it’s the object after the verb "likes.")
  • He hates doing laundry. (Do you see the gerund?)
  • Getting the students to listen to the teacher was like pulling teeth. (This sentence has two gerunds.)

Click here to learn more about gerunds.

In Purple Level Lesson Eighteen, you will learn how to use the word "play."

The word of the day is "rank."

There’s a new Think in English exercise for apple pie. I haven’t been working very much on the Think in English section lately. Does it help you? The idea behind it is for you to think of any possible answer to questions that are related to the picture featured on that page.

How well did you do on the quiz I sent out yesterday? Many students sent me their results. Remember that you can check the answers for the quiz on the bottom of this page.

Red Level Lesson Seventeen shows you how to use infinitives. An infinitive looks like this:

to + the simple form of a verb

  • She needs to go to the store.
  • Marcus wants to be a doctor in the future.
  • To do a good job is its own reward.

Infinitives function like nouns in a sentence or question. It’s important to distinguish an infinitive from a verb.

Purple Level Lesson Seventeen is on the verb "cut." There are several idioms that use "cut."

The word of the day is "quarter."

Beginning level students working in the Red Level study time expressions today.

In addition to the lesson, here’s a video that may help you with words such as "early," "late," and "on time."

 

Purple Level students study the verb "keep." Afterwards, try this quiz.

The word of the day is "picture."

There’s a new Word of the Day quiz for October 2013.

Learn about conjunctions today in Red Level Lesson Fifteen.

The verb "tell" is the focus of Purple Level Lesson Fifteen. After finishing this lesson, click here to take a quiz on deciding between the verbs "say" and "tell."

The word of the day is "obligate."

Today’s word of the day includes a quiz. Click here to listen to your teacher talk about the word "noise."

Go to the home page to find your lessons for today.

Red Level Lesson Thirteen shows you some interesting ways in which the word "like" is used in English.

Purple Level Lesson Thirteen is on the word "want."

The word of the day is "man."

 

A popular way of talking about the future is to use the following:

(be) + going to + the main verb

He is going to meet us later.

The main verb is in the simple form when the "going to" future tense is formed. You can learn more about it in Red Level Lesson Twelve.

Purple Level Lesson Twelve is on the verb "need." You also learned how to use "need" in the Blue Level.

The word of the day is "lecture."

Red Level Lesson Eleven is on forming the future tense with modal verb "will." This is not a difficult lesson; however, some students have difficulty when using "will" in the form of a contraction. Click here to go to the lesson.

Today’s Purple Level lesson is on the verb "come." If you’re working in this level, almost all of the words have a quiz. Click here to work on the quiz for "come."

The word of the day is "kite."

The words "a lot," "some," and "any" are extremely important to understand when learning basic English. These words are used for amounts. They are so common that many speakers of English sometimes don’t pay attention to how or when they’re used.

  • 1. Joe went out to get some lunch.
  • 2. He didn’t have any lunch yesterday.
  • 3. The lunch he bought didn’t cost a lot of money.

The first sentence is affirmative, but "some" isn’t necessary. It’s just as easy to say, "Joe went out to get lunch." Why do we use "some" so often? I can’t explain that very well, but you should start using "some" more often in front of nouns if you aren’t doing so already.

The second sentence is negative. You can’t use "some" with a negative verb. The word "any" helps to reinforce (make stronger) the negative.

In the third sentence, you see the use of "a lot." We use "a lot" a lot. It’s probably overused, but these two words are commonly used with both negative and affirmative verbs: It cost a lot of money. / It didn’t cost a lot of money. Easy.

Click here for today’s Red Level lesson.

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Purple Level Lesson Ten shows you different ways to use the verb "make." Check out the idioms page for this word, too.

There’s a new video for "much" and "many." I took a look at the video I posted yesterday for these words and decided it was time to make a new one, so here it is:

 

much and many

The word of the day is "jaw."

Red Level Lesson Nine helps students understand how to use adjectives when describing small amounts. There’s also a quiz that goes along with this lesson.

It’s important to know the differences between count and noncount nouns when studying words like "much" and "many." This video might be helpful:

 

The verb "know" is explained in Purple Level Lesson Nine.

The word of the day is "ideal."

Do you have problems using "much" and "many." These adjectives describe amounts, both large and small.

Purple Level Lesson Eight shows ways in which the verb "look" is used. There are many idioms formed with this word.

The word of the day is "heir."

The verb "do" is a little confusing for people first learning English, but intermediate level students also have problems sometimes. This is because "do" can be used as a helping verb and as a main verb.

  • We’re going to do some shopping today. (do some shopping= go shopping)
  • Someone needs to do the dishes. (do = clean)
  • Do your homework. (do = complete)
  • What do you do for a living? (do = activity related to work)

Learn more about the verb "do" in Red Level Lesson Seven.

Learn to use the verb "see" in Purple Level Lesson Seven.

The word of the day is "gag."

 

Today’s Red Level lesson is about object pronouns. It’s useful to study subject and object pronouns at the same time. This video might help you:

 

Learn about the verb "give" in Purple Level Lesson Six. This verb is found in many different idioms.

The word of the day is "fail."

Learn how to form questions with the helping verb "do" in Red Level Lesson Five.

Your Purple Level lesson for today is on the verb "take." There are a lot of idioms that are formed from this verb. Don’t forget to take the quiz!

The word of the day is "eager."

Red Level Lesson Four teaches you how to use the imperative form. These are sentences that you use to request, direct, order, and tell other people what to do. These sentences are also known as commands.

  • Give me more time, please.
  • Deliver the boxes to the door.
  • Wait a minute.
  • Click on this link to go to the lesson.

Purple Level Lesson Four explains how to use the verb "use."

The word of the day is "daily."

What are the differences between the helping verbs "do" and "did"? if you don’t know, go to Lesson Three in the Red Level.

The Purple Level lesson for today is on the verb "put." The lesson includes this video:

The word of the day is "climb."

In Red Level Lesson Two, students learn how to make the present tense negative with the helping verbs "do" or "does." Beginning level students have problems with this at first, but once they get the hang of it, they appreciate the knowledge gained from the lesson.

  • She wants a new job.
  • She doesn’t like her present job.

Do you notice what happens to the main verb when the helping verb "does" is placed in front of the main verb, "like"? The main verb is in the simple form. The helping verb matches the subject, "she."

Let me show you a few mistake that I often hear students make when using the present tense negative:

  • She no like her job. (incorrect!)
  • She isn’t like her job. (incorrect!)
  • She don’t like her job. (incorrect!)

Hopefully, today’s lesson will help you avoid these kinds of errors.

The Purple Level lesson for today is on the verb "get." Idioms that are created with this verb are on this page.

The word of the day is "battle."

 

Red Level Lesson One focuses on the verb "do."

Purple Level Lesson One shows ways to use the verb "go." Don’t forget to look at the idioms that are associated with "go."

The word of the day is "ability."

Click here to go to September 2013.

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