Learn American English Online Blog
March 31, 2015
Here’s a new listening exercise for the listening lab: modal verbs, passive voice.
March 29, 2015
A few students requested a video explanation for the verb "owe," so here it is:
March 28, 2015
The word of the day is "miss."
March 27, 2015
The word of the day is "wheel."
March 26, 2015
Did you receive today’s email? If not, make sure you sign up for emailed lessons, quizzes, and exercises on the home page.
March 25, 2015
The word of the day is "why."
March 24, 2015
There’s a new Word of the Day quiz for March. Click here to give it a try.
March 23, 2015
A student named Antonio wrote to me recently to ask if I could help him understand some of the differences between the verbs "be" and "do."
The verb "be" is used as a helping verb for continuous tenses and the passive voice. The verb "do" is used as a helping verb for the simple present tense and the simple past tense.
Example: What time is she working until? This question is in the present continuous tense. The verb "be" (is) is the helping verb and the main verb (work) has an "ing" ending.
Example: What time does she work until? This question is in the present tense. The verb "do" (does) forms the question with the main verb (work) in the simple form.
Example: Flour is worked into the dough. The dough is given time to rise. The verb "is" is the helping verb for the main verbs "work" (worked) and "give" (given) which are in the form of past participles. These two sentences are in the passive voice, present tense.
To practice what you have learned, it’s necessary for you to do the exercises that are in the lessons (Blue through Green), but here’s one that you can do rather quickly. Remember, I recommend that you write your answers on a piece of paper, or write in the notebook that you use when you study on the website.
Directions: Choose a form of "be" or "do" to complete each sentence or question. These are all in the present tense or the present continuous tense.
1. He ______ doing a great job.
2. The dishes ______ done by hand.
3. The offices ______ cleaned at night.
4. Who _______ you work with?
5. The car ________ checked by a mechanic every six months.
6. She _______ cleaning the office.
7. More information _______ needed.
8. What _______ this word mean?
9. These cars ________ driven by professional drivers.
10. How _______ they get to work?
The answers are below.
The word of the day is "thick."
Answers: 1. is; 2. are; 3. are; 4. do; 5. is; 6. is; 7. is; 8. does;
9. are; 10. do
March 22, 2015
There’s a new Listening Lab exercise for be supposed to. This will be added to Green Leven Lesson Seven which helps students understand how to use "be supposed to" when describing a person’s obligations and responsibilities.
The word of the day is "voice."
March 21, 2015
The word of the day is "upper."
March 19, 2015
We use possessive pronouns to show who owns something. Some possessive pronouns look like possessive adjectives, so you have to be careful when choosing the right word.
possessive adjectives: my, your, his, her, its, our, your, their
possessive pronouns: mine, yours, his, hers, its, ours, yours, theirs
Other than the word "mine," possessive pronouns end in an "s." However, possessive pronouns may be singular or plural within a sentence.
Example: My car is red, but hers is yellow. (Her car is yellow. She has one car.)
Example: Your answers are correct, but mine aren’t. (My answers aren’t correct. The word "mine" represents a plural word: answers.)
Example: Your family is on vacation, and so is theirs. (Their family is on vacation. The word "theirs" is a plural possessive pronoun, but it represents the word "family," which is singular.)
Try this exercise.
Directions: Choose the pronoun that fits each situation. Hints are provided at the end of each sentence or question:
mine yours (singular or plural) his hers its ours theirs
1. It that __________? (I’m talking to you.)
2. Her work is finished, but _________ isn’t. (a man)
3. Our teacher is a man; _________ is a woman. (Someone is talking about other students who are not present)
4. Your order is ready; so is _________. (I’m talking about myself.)
5. Is this yours or __________? (a group of people)
6. Maria says that the books are __________. (a woman)
7. There are so many minivans in this parking lot, it’s hard to tell which one is __________. (We’re looking for a van that belongs to us.)
8. Hers is smaller than __________. (a man)
9. His is bigger than __________. (a woman)
10. His English is not as good as __________. (I’m talking to you.)
The answers are below.
The word of the day is "safe."
1. yours; 2. his; 3. theirs; 4. mine; 5. theirs; 6. hers; 7. ours; 8. his;
9. hers; 10. yours
March 18, 2015
The word of the day is "record."
March 17, 2015
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
The word of the day is "obey."
March 16, 2015
bedroom and bathroom
While teaching a class last week, some of my students told me that they have a little bit of difficulty with the words "bedroom" and "bathroom." These two words sound the same, and some students pronounce each word in about the same way. Perhaps you need help with this, too.
A bedroom is a place for sleeping. It has a b ed and an area for storing clothes.
A bathroom is place for washing up and "going to the bathroom" (eliminating human waste).
The word "bedroom" uses a short "e" sound for the first vowel.
The word "bathroom" uses a short "a" sound for the first vowel.
When talking about a house or an apartment, we often describe the number of bedrooms or bathrooms that are available.
Listen to these examples:
Notice that when the words "bathroom" or "bedroom" are used as adjectives with a number, no plural form is used. (no "s")
Try this listening exercise:
Directions: Choose from among these four words:
bathroom bathrooms bedroom bedrooms
1. The house has three __________.
The word of the day is "pant."
March 15, 2015
There’s a new Listening Lab exercise for sentences that use the verb "get" instead of the verb "be" when forming the passive voice.
The word of the day is "oath."
March 13, 2015
I got an email from a student recently who asked for help with the words "much" and "many" in front of the adjective "more." I hope this short lesson helps. I’ll also post this in the blog.
Remember, we use "many" with count nouns and "much" with noncount nouns; however, there are some instances when there isn’t a noun.
Example: How many more apples do we need? The word "apple" is a count noun. The plural form helps you make that determination.
Example: There is much more work to be done today. The word ‘work" is a noun count noun. That’s why you use "much" in front of it.
Example: That movie was much more interesting than the one we saw last week. Use "much" in front of comparative adjectives that require "more."
Do you need to refresh your knowledge on the differences between count and noncount nouns? If so, click here. Otherwise, go to the exercise below:
Directions: Choose "much" or "many" to complete each question or sentence:
1. There are ________ more places for us to visit.
2. There’s not ________ more for us to do here.
3. How ________ more broccoli should she buy?
4. How ________ more people are coming over?
5. Cars are ________ more expensive now than 20 years ago.
6. You don’t need to do that too ________ more times.
7. That job required ________ more time than we expected.
8. Living in the country is ________ more relaxing than living in the city.
9. You’ll see ________ more deer early in the morning than in the afternoon.
10. This street can’t stand ________ more traffic.
The answers are below.
Remember, if you have any suggestions for lessons or exercises, send them to me and I’ll try to create something if it doesn’t already exist.
The word of the day is "mud."
There’s a new Listening Lab exercise for the future perfect tense.
8. much; 9. many; 10. much
March 11, 2015
There’s a new Listening Lab exercise for the passive voice. This one provides practice for the future tense formed by be going to.
The word of the day is "kidnap."
March 10, 2015
Here’s a new video for the future tense in the passive voice:
The word of the day is "jog." It’s such a nice day today, I think I’ll go for a jog.
March 9, 2015
There’s a new listening lab exercise for the future passive voice.
The word of the day is "intense."
March 8, 2015
The time changed here in the United States last night. Time was moved ahead one hour, so now we’re on Daylight Savings Time.
The word of the day is "happen."
March 7, 2015
A little fat in your diet is okay. In fact, it’s natural. However, when you eat food that has a lot of fat in it–such as pizza, hamburgers, and fried chicken–it can be really bad for you. The word of the day for today is grease."
March 6, 2015
The word of the day is "freak."
There’s a new Listening Lab exercise for the past tense in the passive voice.
March 5, 2015
Here’s a new video that explains what verbs look like when they are in the present tense and the passive voice. It’s important to understand this. If you don’t, you might believe that a verb is in the past tense.
Remember: the verb "be" indicates the verb tense and the main verb is in the form of a past participle.
March 4, 2015
There’s a new listening lab exercise for the present tense, passive voice.
The word of the day is "dental." This adjective is used when talking about teeth.
March 3, 2015
There’s a new reading exercise for the Yellow Level: Kevin wants to become a basketball player.
The word of the day is "camp."
March 2, 2015
The word of the day is "become." This is a good work to use when describing how a thing or a person develops over time.
March 1, 2015
Here we go with a new month. Are you keeping up with the schedule on the home page? Remember, if you fall behind in your goal of completing the course, you can always start over.
I recommend that you print out the checklists for the lessons. This is the checklist for the Blue Level.
The word of the day is "assist."
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