Learn American English Online Blog
October 31, 2013
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!!
October 30, 2013
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."
October 29, 2013
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."
October 28, 2013
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."
October 27, 2013
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."
October 26, 2013
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.
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."
October 25, 2013
Purple Level Lesson Twenty-five is is focused on the verb "have."
The word of the day is "zigzag."
October 24, 2013
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."
October 23, 2013
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:
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."
October 22, 2013
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."
October 21, 2013
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.
Purple Level students study the verb "seem."
The word of the day is "urge."
October 20, 2013
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."
October 19, 2013
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."
October 18, 2013
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:
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:
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.
October 17, 2013
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
Infinitives function like nouns in a sentence or question. It’s important to distinguish an infinitive from a verb.
The word of the day is "quarter."
October 16, 2013
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."
The word of the day is "picture."
There’s a new Word of the Day quiz for October 2013.
October 15, 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."
October 14, 2013
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.
October 13, 2013
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."
October 12, 2013
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.
The word of the day is "lecture."
October 11, 2013
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.
The word of the day is "kite."
October 10, 2013
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.
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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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."
October 9, 2013
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."
October 8, 2013
Do you have problems using "much" and "many." These adjectives describe amounts, both large and small.
The word of the day is "heir."
October 7, 2013
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.
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."
October 6, 2013
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:
The word of the day is "fail."
October 5, 2013
Learn how to form questions with the helping verb "do" in Red Level Lesson Five.
The word of the day is "eager."
October 4, 2013
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.
Purple Level Lesson Four explains how to use the verb "use."
The word of the day is "daily."
October 3, 2013
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."
October 2, 2013
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.
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:
Hopefully, today’s lesson will help you avoid these kinds of errors.
The word of the day is "battle."
October 1, 2013
Red Level Lesson One focuses on the verb "do."
The word of the day is "ability."
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