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July 29, 2008
Thanks to all my friends who write to me when they detect that I’ve made an error on my website. It really helps me make the website better. The fact is, I type about as quickly as I talk, so I don’t always catch the mistakes that are made.
July 28, 2008
This is a video I made of a trip I took to Mackinac Island in Michigan.
Michigan is an interesting state because it’s surrounded by four of the five Great Lakes: Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, and Lake Erie. The fifth Great Lake is Lake Ontario. If you live in the midwest in the United States, chances are good that you have visited at least on of these big inland lakes. They’re very popular tourist destinations. It feels like you are visiting an ocean! And because these are fresh-water lakes, you can actually drink the water. It’s not salty.
July 27, 2008
For those students who are new to this website….there are some pages that don’t load correctly, and you will find some mistakes in the content, but I rely on help from my students and others to point out those errors and report them to me. Thank-you! I also welcome suggestions for content and videos. If there’s something you need help with, just email me and I’ll try to point you to the part of the website that might answer your question, or I’ll create new material in an effort to help you out.
July 26, 2008
Here’s a new page of idioms for the letter "O." Click here.
July 23, 2008
The past tense in English causes some problems for beginning and intermediate level students, so it’s necessary to review regularly. There are two main categories of verbs: regular and irregular. The regular verbs add "ed" to the end of the verb in the past tense, while irregular verbs may change their form completely or not at all. Let’s concentrate on regular verbs today.
Martha moved to Chicago last month. (statement)
Martha didn’t move to Los Angeles because she thought it was too expensive. (negative)
Did she move to Chicago to get a job? (question)
To make the past tense negative, add "did + not" to the simple form of the verb. You can also use the contraction: didn’t. To make a question, put "did" before the subject and then use the simple form of the verb. So, that’s not too hard. But the pronunciation of past tense verbs is a little tricky. Here’s a YouTube video that can help you out with that:
July 21, 2008
July 19, 2008
There’s a new addition to the Purple Level: the verb "come."
July 18, 2008
I have a new email address for anyne who would like to have his or her picture posted in the Photos section. Send your picture as an attachment to:
Please include your first name and the name of the country you are from. Thank-you!
July 16, 2008
The girl has dark hair. She is sitting in front of me.
The girl who is sitting in front of me has dark hair.
The clause in the middle of the sentence is an adjective clause. It describes the girl. Adjective clauses are important to learn because they help provide information about a noun. We could simply say "The girl has dark hair," but in a classroom full of dark-haired girls, it might be difficult to identify the girl that the speaker is thinking of.
Here’s another example:
The tomatoes are delicious. I got them from my garden.
The tomatoes that I got from my garden are delicious.
You may also say this: The tomatoes I got from my garden are delicious. The word "that" is not necessary because it isn’t a subject in the clause. I recommend you use "that" because it’s a little easier for students who are learning about adjective clauses for the first time.
July 15, 2008
We’re kind of at the halfway mark for summer now that it’s July 15. I use the idiom "kind of" to mean "in a certain way." "Kind of" is one of the idioms explained on the latest addition to the idioms section. Click here for that.
Actually, summer is just three weeks old. Are you enjoying your summer? In some parts of the United States, people try to do as many outdoor activities as possible during the summer because they remember how it felt to be inside when it was cold and snowy. That certainly is the case here in Minnesota. The winter season begins around November and lasts through March. That’s about five months or cold weather!
Today it’s going to be almost 92 degrees here. Thinking about winter helps me keep cool.
July 14, 2008
As we get closer to the general election in the U.S. this November, I’ll post information about what’s happening and I’ll try to answer questions about why things happen. Many of my students are confused by the process of electing a President. Right now, all the talk is about who each candidate will choose for vice-president. This is important because it’s the first big decision that a future President makes. It’s also important because the person chosen becomes politically influential very quickly and may one day be a President himself or herself.
July 12, 2008
If you haven’t seen this video before, check it out. This guy went all around the world, did some crazy dance steps in various locations, and got other people to join in. The message is pretty clear. Good job, Matt!
July 11, 2008
I’ve added new material to both the Purple and Violet levels and to the idioms section. Be sure to check those areas of the website regularly, and if you have ideas regarding how I can make these sections better, or if you have questions about meanings, or if you don’t understand something, just email me and I’ll try to respond within a day or so.
July 10, 2008
Newly added to the idioms section of the website….this is for the letter "G."
July 9, 2008
This video was made in response to a request from a student online. It’s for idiomatic modal verbs in the passive voice.
July 8, 2008
To my regular students at the Mall of America: We’re moving to a new location on the fourth floor. It’s an old nightclub not far from from the Hooters restaurant. I think it will be a good location for us because it’s close to parking, it’s close to the bus terminal, and it’s really big! Change is a good thing, but I’ll miss the old location.
July 7, 2008
There are two new sections to the website that I’m working on at the same time. One is the Purple Level which focuses on essential verbs for speaking and writing in English, and the other level is the Violet Level which will probably be the last level for this website. The Violet Level will feature words useful in making transitions from one idea to another. Each level will be available as it’s being developed, rather than waiting for each of them to be completed before they are released. This way I can take feedback from students who want to make suggestions for improvement as the webpages are written. I expect intermediate and advanced level students to be able to participate in this. Understand? Good! You know a lot of English if you understand all of what I’ve just written!
July 6, 2008
I took a few days off from working on the blog because of the holiday weekend, but now it’s back to work. Here’s a video that I made for the passive voice using modal verbs. Click here.
July 3, 2008
Here’s the first lesson for the Violet Level. I still have a lot of work to do on it, but if you think it’s useful, email me and let me know, or give me some ideas for improving it.
July 2, 2008
I’m working on a new section of the website for idioms. This is very rough, but it should look something like this. Notice the navigation bar to the left is a little different. New levels will be coming out in July or August.
July 1, 2008
A new email will be going out today for you to practice "(be) supposed to." Although it’s a little complicated for beginning students, everyone should learn it because it’s so common in spoken English.
You can practice using it with a quiz. Click here.