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Blog April 2008

The LAEO Blog – Learn English here daily.

April 30, 2008

   

I just discovered this website today and plan on adding it the links page. It’s really nice for students who want to work on their pronunciation. Go to thefreedictionary.com

April 29, 2008

There’s a new page for people preparing for U.S. citizenship. Click here.

Here’s a video I made showing the future tense made with "will." It also shows contractions.

April 29, 2008

This week in my intermediate level class, we’re studying long-term relationships. Family relationships, courtship, marriage, and the end of marriage are the subjects for vocabulary development and discussion. Today we’re going to talk about falling in love.

fall in love  /  fell in love  /  fallen in love

Have you ever fallen in love? How did it make you feel? Was it a good experience or a bad experience? It is, perhaps, one of the most common experiences among people worldwide, but what happens as a result of falling in love with someone? That would depend on the culture and the country a person lives in. In some countries where prearranged marriage is practiced, love is just an afterthought. In the U.S., love may be a weekly infatuation. Wherever you live, it’s a sujbect that seems to interest everyone.

infatuation = extreme passion. You can’t stop thinking about the person you are in love with. We also use the word "crush" which is a little easier to put into a sentence: He has a big crush on her.

April 28, 2008

A new email went out this morning. If you didn’t get it, please go to the home page and sign up for regular email delivery of lessons.

The last part of the series, American Citizenship Test Questions and Answers, is finished. Now if you go to YouTube, just do a search and you will find all of them.

April 26, 2008

By request from my friends out there in cyberspace, I’m going to start featuring dialogues. Click here for an example of what this will look like. If you’d like your photo to be included in any of these dialogues, please send me your picture. I’ll also include it in the Photos section of the website.

Here’s a link to a new video I made on using comparatives. Click here.

April 25, 2008

There’s a new quiz in the Red Level. See if you know the difference between using "much" or "many." Click here.

April 24, 2008

I read an interesting article online today about the number of people in China who use the internet. It’s now equal to the U.S. at 221 million users. But the article also pointed out that the Chinese people still do not have uncensored access to the internet, especially to sites such as YouTube. This must be why some students who visit here say they can’t see the videos I’ve posted.

So far I’ve been able to respond to people who write to me, but lately it has been more difficult because I’ve received so many email responses. If I don’t answer you right away, that’s the reason. I’ll do my best to write back to you.

April 23, 2008

I’ve posted Part 2 of the American Citizenship Test video on You Tube. You can find it here.

April 22, 2008

Today is Earth Day. The first Earth Day event in 1970 intended to raise awareness of the environmental problems facing the planet, and now, more than ever, we all have to pay attention to how we treat the planet. Do something good today for Planet Earth. Leave the care at home. Ride a bike. Take the bus. Walk. Many of you probably do that already, but people in the U.S. really have to change their habits–fast.

awareness = understanding, knowledge. This is a noun. As an adjective, it’s "aware."

Example: He has very little awareness of how much trouble he has created. (He doesn’t understand what he did)

Or…  She is not really aware of the problems that global warming is creating around the world.

This blog is getting too big. I’ll have to start a new page soon. If you have trouble downloading pages because they are too big or have too many pictures, please email me. Thanks!

April 21, 2008

Welcome to my blog. Scroll down a little and you will see a video I made for people studying U.S. history and government in preparation for the American Citizenship test. You will also notice that I post updates and tips for improving your English. This blog is intended for beginning and intermediate level learners of English. If you arrived here after receiving today’s email, feel free to email me and tell me how I can make the blog better. Your ideas are important to me.

April 20, 2008

Some new lessons have been added to the Orange Level. Lessons 12, 13, and 14 demonstrate sentences that are conditional. It’s important to understand how the verb tenses act in the future, present, and past conditional because these kinds of sentences are necessary to describe reality–things that happen or don’t happen. Click here for Lesson 12 and then look at the other two lessons. Comparisons will improve your understanding. Here’s a comparison below:

If I make enough money this year, I will buy a car. (future conditional)

If I made enough money, I would buy a car. (present conditional)

If I had made enough money last year, I would have bought a new car. (past conditional)

Notice that the present conditional uses a past tense verb after "if," but the situation is present. Also, the past perfect is used in the past conditional after "if," but the situation is past. Confusing? Yes. But most Americans know how to do this without realizing in; however, you will meet many who don’t use conditional sentences properly.

April 19, 2008

I believe that the United States is a country where you can realize your dreams. What are your dreams? Write to me and tell me about your dreams for the future. I will read what you have to say and respond to all.

Here’s Part 1 of a three-part series of videos for the American Citizenship test:

 

April 18, 2008

For students learning about U.S. citizenship I found a pretty good site. Click here. Also, I’m putting together a three-part video series for the question and answers for the citizenship test. It should be out this weekend.

April 16, 2008

Here’s a link to some English proverbs and idioms. There are pictures drawn by children to help demonstrate the ideas. Very nice.

A proverb is an expression of popular wisdom. One of my favorites is, "The early bird catches the worm." If you wake up early (before everyone else) and get to work, you will be rewarded for the effort.

Here’s a link to a new YouTube video I made today for pronouncing regular past tense verbs. Click here.

April 15, 2008

The Orange Level on this website is new. I hope it shows students how to make better sentences, whether the sentences are in writing or spoken. Click here for the first lesson in the Orange level.

Today is the deadline for filing taxes with the federal government. There will be a lot of people staying up late tonight.

deadline = the time and date when something must be finished.

April 14, 2008

When you visit this website, be sure to have a pencil and a piece of paper handy. Instead of simply clicking through the lessons, it’s probably going to be better for you to write down answers to exercises and quizzes. And if you come across any new vocabulary, you should write that down as well. Get yourself a notebook and use it for this website daily or weekly. Writing improves memorization!

April 13, 2008

Here’s a new video I made for irregular verbs in the simple form, the past tense, and as past participles. The pictures somewhat match the verbs, but some were hard to find pictures for. What kind of a picture do you use for "put?"

This video is also found in the Yellow Level, Lesson 17

April 12, 2008

Adjective clauses are a little difficult to create but if you understand how they work, your English will improve quickly. Click here to learn about adjective clauses. This will also allow you to take a look at the next level of Learn American English Online–the Orange Level–which should be finished within the next week or so.

April 11, 2008

Does this blog help you learn English? It’s intended for intermediate level students, but beginning students certainly can benefit from it as well. If it does help you, send me an email and tell me how it helps, or tell me what I can do in the blog every day that would make it more interesting for you to return to.

By the way, did you try the quiz that I posted yesterday? I think it was a little more difficult than I had expected it would be. Here’s another link to the same quiz, but this time I’ve included the answers at the bottom. If you haven’t seen the quiz yet, cover the bottom of the page with your hand.

April 10, 2008

Today in one of my classes we practiced making compound sentences with auxiliary verbs after the conjunction "and." This is hard to explain, so the best thing to do is simply to give an example:

I went to New York, and my brother went to New York. Change this to…..

I went to New York, and so did my brother.

or….

I went to New York, and my brother did, too.

The auxiliary verb used in the second part of the sentence matches the verb tense in the first half. To practice more of this, I just made a quiz which you can practice if you click here.

April 9, 2008

Yesterday’s Sentate hearing on Iraq made quite clear why Barack Obama has the good judgement to be the the next U.S. President. From Obama:

We all have the greatest interest in seeing a successful resolution to Iraq," Obama told Petraeus and Crocker.

"I continue to believe that the original decision to go into Iraq was a massive strategic blunder, that the two problems you pointed out, Al-Qaeda in Iraq and increased Iranian influence in the region are a direct result of that original decision.

"That’s not a decision you gentlemen made. I will not lay it at your feet. You are cleaning up the mess afterwards."

In other words, George Bush made a huge (very very big) mistake by invading Iraq, and we all have to fix this mistake after Bush is gone. Al Qaeda is now in Iraq–which was not true before the war–and Iran is increasing its strength in that part of the world. Good job, Georgie! Good job, Republicans!

April 8, 2008

Here are some more baseball metaphors. By the way, metaphors are commonly used in English. It’s a comparison between two things that are not alike, and somehow the comparison expresses meaning. Look at the examples below:

She hit a homerun in her business presentation. (a homerun in baseball is the best way to score a run–or a point– and all the players try to do this. When you say someone has hit a homerun, he or she is successful in somethng.)

He never even got to first base. (first base is important in baseball because from there you can score runs, or points. If a person doesn’t get to first base, he or she doesn’t have a chance or opportunity to achieve a goal. This expression is often used by men who talk about their relationships with women. First base might be a kiss.)

April 6, 2008

Students in my intermediate level class at the Mall of America will study vocabulary related to recreation and sports this week. We’ll look closely at baseball and study a variety of sports metaphors which are often used in American English. For example:

She wanted to get a job at that company, but she struck out in the intereview.

In baseball, a strike out results when the batter (the person trying to hit the ball) misses the opportunity to hit the ball three times. "To strike out" is a popular sports metaphor. You don’t have to know the rules of baseball to understand that striking out is not a good situation.

April 5, 2008

I sent out a new email this morning. There’s an error in one of the links. Sorry about that.

The subjects covered in this email are reflexive pronouns, sports, and persistence.

April 4, 2008

Today is the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. He was killed outside of a Memphis, Tennessee motel room on April 4, 1968. To learn more about him, click here.

Martin Luther King Jr. and his supporters outside of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. This picture was taken just moments after he was shot.

April 1, 2008

Today is April Fool’s Day. In the United States, there are many people and organizations that will go to great lengths to make someone believe something is true when it is not. Here’s some vocabulary related to this day. (And it’s all true!)

pull a prank, trick, fool someone, pull the wool over (one’s) eyes,

pull (one’s) leg, joke around

Examples:

  • The students pulled a prank on the teacher by stealing his chair.
  • We fooled Bob into thinking that today was Wednesday.
  • I tried pulling the wool over my sister’s eyes by telling her that it was snowing outside. She didn’t believe me.
  • The newspaper tricked its readers with some fake headlines, but then the readers got mad.

 

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