Learn American English Online Blog
January 31, 2017
The Blue Level ends with two tests:
You can check your answers by clicking here.
If you do well on the tests, or if you believe you have a good knowledge of basic English grammar, move on to the Red Level. You can always return to the Blue Level if you think you missed something. In fact, I encourage students to repeat any one of the seven levels of instruction on the website.
Tomorrow, most students will move on to Red Level Lesson One. Are you ready to move forward?
January 30, 2017
Students working in the Blue Level will find a review of this level by clicking here. If you completed all of the lessons, exercises, and quizzes for the Blue Level, the review will help prepare you for the two Blue Level tests.
There’s a new video for the modal verb "can." You can find it here on my YouTube channel, and I’ll post it here on the blog:
The word of the day is "if."
January 29, 2017
Happy Chinese New Year!
January 28, 2017
The word "need" can be used as a verb or as a noun. We use this word when talking about things that are really important or necessary.
The word "need" can also be used as a noun:
You can learn more about the word "need" in Blue Level Lesson Twenty-eight.
Here are some other things that you might find useful today:
January 27, 2017
Instead of using "want" when expressing desire, you can use "would like."
Learn more about using "would like" in Blue Level Lesson Twenty-five.
January 25, 2017
In Blue Level Lesson Twenty-five, you’ll learn why and how the verb "want" is used in the present tense. In most cases, this verb is used when there is a desire for something:
The word of the day is "uphold."
January 24, 2017
Use "have to" before a main verb when expressing some sort of obligation. "Have to" is very similar to the modal verb "must."
There are two new videos for possessive pronouns.
Here’s the first one:
Here’s the second one:
January 23, 2017
Today’s lesson is on the modal verb "can." Use this helping verb to indicate ability or possibility.
To make "can" negative," add "not."
can + not = cannot / can’t
If you are following the reading assignments in the Blue Level, today’s reading assignment is here: Diana works as a nurse.
Just a reminder: Beginning level and intermediate level students should be visiting the Listening Lab regularly.
January 22, 2017
Today’s word of the day is "time."
How are you doing on your lessons so far? After we finish the Blue Level at the end of January, we’ll move forward to the Red Level in February.
January 21, 2017
In Blue Level Lesson Twenty-one, students practice reading numbers. This is a basic but necessary skill for beginning level learners of English.
January 20, 2017
The word of the day is "sorry."
January 19, 2017
It’s necessary to pay attention to whether a noun falls under the categories of count noun or noncount noun. These categories determine which verb or adjective to use with a noun. For example…
In the first sentence, you must use the singular form of the verb "be" (is) because the word "lettuce" is a noncount noun and noncount nouns are always singular.
In the second sentence, you must use the plural form of the verb "be" (are) because the word "apples" is a count noun which happens to be plural in this case. Count nouns may be singular or plural.
Here’s another example:
Use the adjective "much" with noncount nouns, and use the adjective "many" with plural count nouns. You can learn more about count and noncount nouns in Blue Level Lesson Nineteen.
There’s a new Word of the Day quiz for the month of January. You can take it by clicking on the link above.
January 18, 2017
Today’s lesson is on the months of the year. I realize this is a very simple thing to study, but you really must know the names of the months and how to pronounce them properly in English.
The reading assignment for today is Blue Level reading #18: Our neighbor just had a baby.
The word of the day is "rant." A person who goes off on a rant is very angry about something and complains loudly about his or her situation.
I went to the movies last weekend and saw La La Land. I highly recommend it if you like music and dancing in a film, or if you like romantic comedies, or if you like Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. They’re terrific in their respective roles of an aspiring actress and a jazz pianist who fall in love.
It’s interesting that the phrase "la la land" can be interpreted in a few different ways that fit the film. First, it can be viewed as a reference to Los Angeles, which is often abbreviated to L.A. Secondly, the words "la la" refer to singing or the sound a person make when singing. Lastly, a person who is in la la land is daydreaming. This is a type of slang and a good play on words.
January 17, 2017
Students new to the English language must learn how to talk about the time, days, and dates. Blue Level Lesson Seventeen provides some help in learning how to do that.
Do you like cats? The reading assignment for today is about cats: Leonardo and Rachel each have a cat.
The word of the day is "prepare."
January 16, 2017
The verb "be" takes two different forms in the past tense: was and were. Use "was" for a man, a woman, a thing, and for yourself (I), and use "were" for everything else. The table below shows an example of this:
If you make a mistake with the verb "be" in the past tense, it’s very noticeable. If, for instance, you say, "They was at school," or "You was at school," it sounds awful.
Your reading assignment for today is Blue Level reading assignment #16: Brian went to the doctor.
I think it’s a good idea for beginning level students to start using the Purple Level for learning about basic verbs in English. These pages include audio, so you can read and listen at the same time.
It’s a holiday in the United States today. We’re celebrating the life of Martin Luther King, Jr., who was a civil rights leader and a person who represented the struggle of African Americans and other oppressed people during the 1950s and 1960s.
The word of the day is "outrage."
January 15, 2017
Don’t confuse possessive adjectives with possessive pronouns. This is today’s Blue Level lesson.
Possessive pronouns may function in the same way that a noun does. It can be singular or plural, but you must be very careful when using possessive pronouns. They require that you keep in mind the thing or things that the pronoun is replacing. Here are some examples:
When using the words "yours" and "mind," I’m thinking about the oranges.
The possessive pronouns, "his" and "hers," represent the athletic shoes.
Here’s one more example. This is kind of tricky, so pay close attention:
At first glance, the words "ours" and "theirs" might seem plural. They represent a plural noun and a plural pronoun, but they function as singular subjects: Ours is….Theirs is….
Is that confusing?
January 14, 2017
Here’s a new video for possessive adjectives. This replaces the one that I made about seven or eight years ago on this subject.
In Blue Level Lesson Fourteen, you can learn about possessive adjectives. These are adjectives that go in front of a noun to indicate possession.
The word "my" is a possessive adjective. It goes in front of the word "website." The word "my" indicates the owner of the website.
The word "your" is a possessive adjective. It goes in front of the words "goal" and "English," which are nouns.
The words "his," "her," and "their" are possessive adjectives.
It’s very important to know the difference between possessive adjectives and pronouns. Tomorrow’s lesson will be on possessive pronouns.
Today’s reading assignment: Ming is talking on her cell phone.
Today’s word of the day is "north."
January 13, 2017
Blue Level Lesson Thirteen helps you choose the correct question word to use when asking questions for information.
I sent out a quiz today on the subject of question words. Did you receive it? If not, make sure you sign up to receive email from your teacher.
The word of the day is "math." This is not a difficult word to understand, but some of my students might want to listen and practice forming the unvoiced "th" sound at the end of that word.
According to Quantcast, a company that measures the size of a website’s audience, this website is now ranked #89 in Egypt. Wow! If anyone from Egypt is reading this blog, perhaps you can drop me a line and let me know what I’m doing right! Thanks!
January 12, 2017
Beginning students learn about the past tense today. This lesson shows how regular and irregular verbs change when they are used for actions that happened yesterday, last night, last year, or just an hour ago.
Here are some sentences in the past tense. The verbs in these sentences are regular, so they have an "ed" ending:
The verbs in this next set of sentences are irregular:
When forming questions or negative verbs in the past tense, add the helping verb "did" to the simple form of the main verb:
The only time you don’t use the helping verb "did" for the past tense (questions and negatives) is when the main verb is "be."
Learn more about the past tense in Blue Level Lesson Twelve.
January 11, 2017
Today’s lesson is on prepositions. Prepositions are those small words that show relationships, distances, directions, and movement.
You can click here to see a list of prepositions and how they are used. Most of these pages include audio.
The word of the day is "jar."
January 10, 2017
Learning when and why to use articles in front of a noun takes years of practice. If your first language doesn’t have articles, learning about them can be hard. Blue Level Lesson Ten is an introduction to the use of articles.
One good way to learn about articles is through reading. Your reading assignment for today is about a dental appointment.
Do you go to the dentist on a regular basis? I go to a very good dentist. He works in an office located on the sixth floor of a mid rise building in Minneapolis. He works with a dental assistant. She has a lot of experience as an assistant.
How many articles do you count in that short paragraph? If you said "nine," you’re correct. Do you know why each one of those articles is used? If not, that’s okay It just requires practice.
January 9, 2017
Today’s lesson is Blue Level Lesson Nine. Use the verb "have" for ownership and possession.
Pay attention to the way "have" changes in the third person, singular. He has…She has….It has…
When the verb "have" is negative, or if there is a question, add the helping verbs "do" or "does" to the simple form of the verb "have."
The word of the day is "important."
January 8, 2017
Learn how to form the present continuous tense in Blue Level Lesson Eight. We use this verb tense to describe activity that is happening now and in the future:
The word of the day is "happy." This represents basic English, but you can use this word in a number of different ways, so it’s a good idea to take a look at it.
This video provides you with examples for how you can talk about yourself:
January 7, 2017
One of the most important lessons on this website shows you how to form the present tense. I say this is one of the most important lessons because you really have to understand it well before you move on to other, more difficult lessons. Without a good understanding of the present tense, your English is going to sound wrong.
Verbs in the present tense change a little in the third-person singular by adding an "s."
If you miss the "s" after "she," the sentence sounds bad. Really bad.
When making the negative and questions, you add an "s" sound to the helping verb.
Once again, if you make a mistake here it sounds terrible:
Click here to learn more about the present tense. This is Blue Level Lesson Seven.
January 6, 2017
Are you regularly using the word "there" when describing things and people? I have noticed many of my students forget to use "there," of they use "it" or "they" when "there" is a much better choice.
Learn more about how to use the word "there" in Blue Level Lesson Six.
There’s a quiz that follows the lesson.
You can also try two different Red Level quizzes that are related to today’s lesson:
The word of the day is "fraud." We use this word to describe a person whose actions or words are not truthful. People are victims of fraud every day. In the United States, a person guilty of fraud may even go to jail! Do you know anyone who is a fraud? Do you know anyone involved in fraudulent activities?
January 5, 2017
The words this, these, that, and those are extremely important when talking about singular or plural things and people. This is Lesson Five in the Blue Level.
Use "this" for something that is close to you:
Use "that" for a thing that is far from you:
Use "these" for plural things that are close to you:
Use "those" for plural things that are far from you:
The word of the day is "east."
January 4, 2017
Are you ever confused by the differences among nouns and pronouns? If so, Lesson Four should help.
A noun is a word that represents a person, a place, a thing, or an idea. The words woman, Wyoming, car, and responsibility are examples of nouns.
A pronoun can take the place of a noun. These are short words which you must learn when you begin to learn English. The words I, me, you, him, them, anyone, who, and yourself, are some examples of pronouns. There are five main categories for pronouns, which you will learn about in the Blue and Red Levels over the next two months.
After you complete Lesson Four, you can print out this quiz on pronouns. Write your answers on the paper, or write the answers in your notebook. It’s important that you write in order to remember what you have learned.
Blue Level reading assignment #4 includes examples of nouns and pronouns. Can you identify the nouns and the pronouns as you read?
The Aqua Level is a good source on this website for learning about pronouns if you ever need additional help in this area.
The word of the day is "doze." A person who dozes, enters into a light sleep. Dozing is a period of time that exists somewhere between wakefulness and sleep.
January 3, 2017
In Blue Level Lesson Three, you learn how to form questions with the verb "be" in the present tense. This is an easy thing to do. Put the verb "be" in front of the subject. Note that the voice often rises at the end of the question:
Here’s a link to Blue Level reading exercise #3: This is a little boy.
The word of the day is "cost."
January 2, 2017
In Blue Level Lesson Two, you will learn how to make the verb "be" negative. This is a simple thing to do. Just add the word "not." The sentences below show examples of this.
Here’s what the verb "be" looks like in the form of a negative contraction:
The word of the day is "batch." We use this word when describing groups of things.
January 1, 2017
Happy New Year!
Welcome to another year! I expect many new students to join us this month. My recommendation to new students is to begin with the Blue Level and complete lessons in order. Each lesson should match the date on the calendar.
You can download a list of lessons, quizzes, and exercises by clicking here. Keep this list by your computer to track your progress.
Today is January 1, so go to Blue Level Lesson One. This lesson is on the verb "be in the present tense.
The verb "be" is the most important verb to understand in English. Without understanding how it works as a main verb and as a helping verb, your English won’t sound right.
It’s important to remember that the verb "be" changes according to the subject with which it is used. Look at the chart below. The words am, are, and is are forms of the verb "be."
After you complete the lesson, go to the first reading assignment for the Blue Level. Listen, read, and then practice your reading skills out loud. A recorder is available so that you can listen to the way your voice sounds. Practice reading this several times until your voice sounds like mine.
The word of the day is "another." This word is used when asking for one more thing or when describing something different.
Each course level on this website has a checklist. Print out and keep the checklist next to your computer, tablet, or phone and use it to track your progress as you move through the lessons:
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