Learn American English Online Blog
November 29, 2014
Once you complete the review, you may take the Yellow Level Test.
Orange Level students who have taken the test for their level and done well on it might want to take a look at the Write in English section of the website. I don’t focus too much on writing here, but some students asked for lessons in writing paragraphs and essays, so here they are.
The word of the day is "burn."
November 28, 2014
Here’s a new video for the adverb "only."
November 27, 2014
Today is a holiday in the U.S.
November 26, 2014
Did you receive today’s email? If not, sign up for emailed lessons and updates on the home page.
November 25, 2014
The word of the day is "yack."
There’s a new vocabulary page for the subject of sleep.
Yellow Level students study the future perfect tense today. This is kind of tricky tense because it’s used to describe activities completed in the future.
Orange Level students learn about punctuation today. This is good to know for those interested in developing writing skills.
November 24, 2014
The featured lesson for today is Yellow Level Lesson Twenty-four: intensifiers. These are words that increase or decrease the value of an adjective. It’s important to understand the differences among various intensifiers because many students of English mix them up. When this happens, your English sounds a little off. Here are some examples:
Orange Level Lesson Twenty-four demonstrates the use of appositives. This is especially good to know when working on your writing skills.
The word of the day is "xylophone." It’s hard to find words that begin with the letter "x." The "x" in this word sounds like a "z."
November 23, 2014
The word of the day is "wake."
November 22, 2014
The word of the day is "vaccinate."
I’ve moved the U.S. Citizenship link on the home page. It’s now down at the bottom of the home page. The information found there is intended for people who live in the U.S. now and are ready to take the U.S. citizenship test.
Can anyone tell me why I’m getting so much traffic to my website from Israel and Palestine? If you are from either of those two areas in the world and you found this site recently, did you come here though a particular link on a website? I’m curious to know, and if you could tell me, that would be enormously helpful. My email is [email protected] — Thanks!
November 21, 2014
The word of the day is "umbrella." As the Word of the Day section grows and takes on the character of an online dictionary, I’ll continue to add obvious words like "umbrella." it’s basic English, but it’s one of those words that people automatically think of when asked for a word that begins with the letter "u."
Yellow Level students learn about the function of adverbs today.
Orange Level students learn about question words.
While teaching at my regular classroom assignment yesterday, I was pleased and quite honored to receive gifts and cards from some of my Vietnamese students. It was a teacher appreciation day, which is a big day in Viet Nam for students to pay tribute to their teachers. I also received some nice notes of thanks from online students. You’re welcome and thank-you! That was so nice of you.
November 20, 2014
The word of the day is "tender."
Yellow Level students study height and weight today.
Students working in the Orange Level learn how to form embedded questions. An embedded question involved talking about another person’s question. The speaker isn’t making a question, so the word order is important. For example:
A common mistake in this case would be for a person to say something like, "She asked what time is it." Learn more in Orange Level Lesson Twenty.
November 19, 2014
There’s a new reading exercise for the Blue Level: Saying goodbye.
The word of the day is "sense."
November 18, 2014
How did you do on yesterday’s quiz? Were you able to find the answers? If not, let me know.
The word of the day for today is "rain." I know this is kind of an easy word, but look at the sentences in which the word is used. Not only do you want to know the definition of a word, you also want to learn how the word is typically used.
November 17 2014
Today’s Yellow Level lesson shows you the differences between the present perfect continuous tense and the past perfect continuous tense.
Orange Level Lesson Seventeen explains how you can use the words "either" and "neither."
The word of the day is "queen."
November 16, 2014
The word of the day is "package."
I’m using a new forum for the chat rooms. Take a look and see what you think. For those who prefer the old Blue Level chat room, I’ll see if I can purchase a new domain for it and operate it as a separate site. There were just too many bad actors in the old chat rooms, particularly the Blue Level chat.
November 15, 2014
The Yellow Level lesson for today is on the past perfect tense.
Orange Level students learn how to use the word "wish" for situations that are not true now. Go to Orange Level Lesson Fifteen.
The word of the day is "only."
Here’s a new video on the subject of time:
November 14, 2014
To talk about something that did or did not happen in the past, you can use the following formula:
modal verb + have been + __________ing (main verb)
The modal verbs in this case are limited to the following choices: could, would, should, might, may, and must.
You can learn more in Yellow Level Lesson Fourteen. Make sure you go to the listening exercise located on the right-hand side of the page.
Orange Level Lesson Fourteen is on the past conditional. This is similar in some ways to today’s Yellow Level Lesson. How are they different? Look at both lessons and you’ll see!
Below are some examples of the past conditional. Some teachers refer to this as the "third conditional," and others call if the past unreal or the past contrary-to-fact. Whatever you call it doesn’t matter to me.
The word of the day is "name."
November 13, 2014
Today’s word of the day is "method."
You probably noticed that the chat rooms are gone. They were causing too much trouble, so I’m looking for something that will replace them. If you have any ideas for something that will allow students to communicate directly with each other on the website, let me know. Thanks!
November 12, 2014
You probably noticed that the home page has gone through some changes over the last few days. In response to students requests, I’m going to organize lessons for each level on the home page so that they’re easier for everyone to find.
There’s a new reading exercise for the Red Level: Dan has to do his laundry today.
The word of the day is "laundry."
November 11, 2014
The word of the day is "kink."
Yellow Level Lesson Eleven is on the creation of verb phrases with take the place of modal verbs. These "idiomatic modals" are important to learn because they are commonly found in everyday speech.
Orange Level Lesson Eleven shows you how to describe what another person said. This is known as indirect speech or reported speech.
November 10, 2014
The word of the day is "jelly."
If you’re working in the Yellow Level, today’s lesson is an introduction to modal verbs. These verbs are important to understand because they change the quality of the main verb. The meaning of the verb changes depending on the modal verb that you choose. For example….
Students studying in the Orange Level learn about the sequence of tenses. This knowledge will become important for upcoming lessons this week.
November 9, 2014
The word of the day is "ill."
There’s a new reading exercise for the Violet Level: Staying at a Hotel.
Yellow Level Lesson Nine shows you the differences between the past and the past continuous tenses. I sent you an email lesson yesterday on this topic. Did it help you?
Orange Level Lesson Nine is on adverb clauses. These are clauses that describe when or why you do something.
I added a language translator to the home page above the search box, but I’m not sure if the quality of the translation is any good. Let me know if you think it’s helpful, especially for people whose first language is really different from English, such as Chinese, Arabic, Khmer, etc.
We always have to try new things, don’t we? I’m going to develop a new section of the website that features a different country each month. It’ll be like a Country of the Month section, or something like that. If you have pictures or interesting information regarding the country that you are from, just send it to me and I’ll use it in the future as I create pages for each of the 180+ countries around the world. Thanks!
November 8, 2014
The word of the day is "hack." There are several different way to use this word. Generally, it means to break into or cut into something, or a person does something in a way that goes around the rules, sometimes breaking the rules.
This is the audio recording included in today’s email lesson:
Remember, you can download Soundcloud recordings to your mobile device and take them with you while you are traveling.
November 7, 2014
Superlative adjectives describe people and things that are the best, the worst, the biggest, the smallest, the most interesting, the least difficult, etc. Don’t confuse superlative adjectives with comparative adjectives:
Go to Yellow Level Lesson Seven to learn more.
There’s a quiz to determine your knowledge of comparatives and superlatives.
The Orange Level lesson for today show examples of clauses that begin with the word "that."
The word of the day is "grow."
November 6, 2014
Yellow Level students study comparative adjectives today.
Orange Level students learn about noun clauses.
There’s a new reading exercise for the Blue Level: Oscar took his dog for a walk.
The word of the day is "function." This word comes as a suggestion from one of my regular classroom students. Thanks Yussuf!
November 5, 2014
I’m now accepting photos for the month of November if you want to be included in the Photos section of the website. Why send in your photo? You don’t have to, but it helps everyone who visits the website to realize that this is a website free and open to anyone, anywhere in the world. The photo collection goes back to 2008! If you send in your photo please include your first name only and the name of the country that you come from. Thanks! It makes the website more fun when students participate.
The main lesson for today is on the formation of questions in the present perfect tense.
Students in the Orange Level study compound-complex sentences. This is one of the most popular pages on this website.
The word of the day is "exist."
November 4, 2014
Students studying in the Yellow Level this month learn how to make present perfect tense verbs negative today.
Orange Level students learn about complex sentences.
There’s a new audio recording for proverbs that begin with the letter "d." Notice how many of them begin with the word "don’t." I guess it’s natural to tell other people what not to do.
There’s also a new audio recording for the preposition "without."
The word of the day is "deliberate."
Did you receive today’s emailed lesson? If not, sign up for lessons on the homepage. Here are the answers for the exercise:
November 3, 2014
Students learn about the present perfect tense today. This is an extremely important verb tense to understand because it covers a range of possibilities when talking about time. Form the present perfect tense like this:
S + has or have + the past participle
The main verb is in the form of the past participle, which means you really have to remember how verbs change from one form to another. Regular verbs and an "ed" ending when they are in the form of the past participle, but irregular verbs change their form completely, or they don’t change at all. Here are some examples:
Orange Level Lesson Three is on the formation of compound sentences. A compound sentence is made up of two independent clauses joined together by a conjunction.
The word of the day is "conserve." When you conserve something, you save it.
November 2, 2014
The word of the day is "bounce." When something bounces, it hits up against a surface or a situation and then it returns.
Today Yellow Level students learn about the differences between the verb "have" in the present tense and the past tense. This is extremely important to understand before learning about the present perfect tense, which students will study in tomorrow’s lesson.
Have you printed out the Yellow Level checklist yet? Keep the checklist next to your computer and mark off lessons as they are completed.
There’s a new Think in English exercise: stove.
Orange Level students study the differences between clauses and phrases.
Orange Level students also have a checklist to print out.
Hey, if you use the checklist and complete all of the lessons that are listed, could you take a picture of it and send it to me? This gives other students a good example of how to track progress made on this website. Thanks!
November 1, 2014
It’s a new month, so students move forward to the next level. If you were studying in the Red Level and did well on the review and the tests, you can on to the Yellow Level. If you didn’t do well on the review and the tests, I think you should repeat the Red Level.
The Yellow Level focuses on perfect tenses, continuous tenses, comparatives and superlatives.
Yellow Level Lesson One is a review of question formation in the past tense. The reason for this review is so that students understand some of the key differences between the past tense and the present perfect tense and other perfect tenses.
Students who were working in the Purple Level move to the Orange Level. In the Orange Level, students learn about sentence formation. The first lesson is about simple sentences.
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