The LAEO Blog – Learn English Here Every Day

March 31, 2009  


Did you have a chance to look at yesterday’s blog posting? If not, do so now and then come back up here.

Questions are often formed in English by putting a verb in front of a subject–but not always.

helping verb
main verb
Question word
helping verb
main verb
Question word
main verb
prepositional phrase
to work?


March 30, 2009

An understanding of how a sentence is put together will help you through the Orange Level. Let’s start with a very simple sentence: I drive.

prepositional phrase
to work
direct object
a car
direct object
prepositional phrase
a car
to work

This word order is the one that you learn when you first learn to make a sentence. As you continue to work through the Orange Level, you will learn about different kinds of sentences.


March 29, 2009

On Wednesday of this week we begin a new level. The Orange Level will help you understand word order and how to put a sentence together.


March 28, 2009

Here are some examples of how the preposition "with" might be used. This is part of a new section of the website that will feauture prepositions. So far I’ve only completed at, in, on, for, and this newest page–with.


March 27, 2009

The last lesson in the Purple Level provides examples of how the verb "be" is used. This is the most important verb to understand in English. It can be a main verb, or it can be a helping verb. Go to this lesson in the Purple Level.


March 26, 2009

Earth Hour is just a few days away. At 8:30 p.m. on Saturday night consider turning off your lights and as many electrical appliances as possible for one hour to show your support for the planet.


A new email went out this morning. Be sure to check your inbox!

Here are some new conversation questions on the subject of driving.

March 25, 2009

Herer’s a new video that shows how to use the modal verb phrase, (be) able to in the past tense:


Can you change the sentences below by using (be) able to? Rewrite these sentences:

Did he go to work yesterday?

Did they get their car fixed?

Did you see the doctor last week?

(Was he able to go to work yesterday? Were they able to get their car fixed? Were you able to see the doctor last week?)

Today’s verb of the day is "play." It’s not used ony for games:

We play a lot of music at home on the weekend.

I play guitar in a rock band.

Frieda Pinto plays a very interesting character in that film.

If you play around with it a little, you’ll figure out how it works.

More examples are in this lesson.


March 24, 2009

Here’s a web definition for the word "cut" from Google:

separate with or as if with an instrument; "Cut the rope"

That’s the first entry. But there are other meanings:

He was cut from the team because his performance on the field wasn’t very good. (taken off)

The company cut its staff by over 50% this year. (reduced)

We have to make some big cuts in our budget. (reduction–"cut" here is a noun)

Cut it out! (stop)

She needs to cut down on overeating. (reduce: cut + down)

I cut myself while I was shaving. (injure with something sharp, like a razor or knife)

Here are some more examples.

Here’s an interesting question I received from a student online. My response follows.

Sir plz help me in knowing the difference between the words CINEMA,MOVIE and PICTURE
Thanks and regards..

Hi Vishnu,

In the U.S. we go to see a "movie." The word "cinema" is sometimes used to describe the place where the movie is shown; however, "movie theater" is preferred:

Let’s go to the cinema to see a movie.

Let’s go to the movie theater to see a movie.

But the word "cinema" also refers to the art of film production:

I studied cinema in college.

"Picture" is an industry term. Few people outside of the business of film production use it:

Slumdog Millionaire won the academy award for Best Picture in 2009.

Hope that helps.

Your teacher,



March 23, 2009

Today’s featured verb is "keep." Most often it’s used to indicate where something is available until it is needed:

We keep extra batteries on hand in case we need them.

Where do you keep your silverware? (silverware = knives, forks, spoons, etc.)

I usually keep at least five dollars in my pocket.

But "keep" can have many different meanings. In the next set of examples, it means "to continue." Notice the use of a gerund after "keep":

She wants to keep working at that job, but with four children at home, it’s difficult.

The students kept talking until I asked them to stop.

If you keep eating junk food, you’ll gain a lot of extra weight.

There are other ways in which this verb is use. Click here to learn more.

This is an interesting list: 100 movies you must see before you die.


March 20, 2009

A new email went out this morning to all members. If you aren’t a member, please consider signing up for emailed lessons. This website is free to join.

March 19, 2009

The next two daily lessons will look at the difference between "say" and "tell." There’s also a video for this on YouTube.

My intermediate level class started to study the subject of commuting this week. Here’s a link to some conversation questions on this subject.

Here are some examples of how the preposition "at" is used. This new page is part of a new section of the website that I’m working on right now.


March 18, 2009

"Want" expresses desire. It’s not as strong as "need," but these two words are often used in the same ways. Here are some common examples of how it’s used:

What do you want to do today?

She became a nurse because she wants to help people who are sick.

Does he want anything to eat?

Have you ever wanted to travel to another country?

There’s more here.

In the news this week, AIG (American International Group) is under a lot of pressure to return money it paid to employees in the form of bonuses amounting to over $165 million. Many Americans want the company to return that money to the government because American taxpayers have helped AIG with billions of dollars in assistance so that the company won’t fail. These are difficult times for many people who are losing jobs and home, yet the distribution of wealth seems to continue going upward to those who have it and away from those who don’t.

There’s an expression in English which you probably have in your language:

It seems that the rich just get richer while the poor get poorer.

March 17, 2009

If something is important, you "need" it:

She needs to see a dentist because her tooth hurts. (present tense)

They needed a new car, so they got a good used Toyota. (past tense)

I’ve needed to go back to school over the last several years. (present perfect)

You’ll need to bring some money to the festival. (future tense)

We might need to get new toilet. (modal verb "might" + simple form "need")


You don’t normally use the verb "need" in the continuous forms, although you might hear it in the present perfect continuous:

She’s been needing more medication lately.

Here’s a link to Lesson 12: need

Today is St. Patrick’s Day. Click here to learn more about this holiday.

March 16, 2009

To use the verb "come," you must think about the location from which you are speaking. If you are at home and speaking on the phone, say this:

Would you like to come to my house?

She was watching TV when the mail came.

My neighbor likes to come over for coffee.

This is different from the verb "go," which you use when describing activity away from the place you are presently located. The sentences below might be used when a person is at home:

He went shopping yesterday. (past tense)

Do you want to go to a movie?

I have to go to school today.


March 15, 2009

This week we will look at verbs that are often confused: go / come, say / tell, need / want. If you want to see the schedule for this week’s lessons, go to the home page.

March 13, 2009

The tenth lesson in the Purple Level gives examples of how to use the verb "make."

What do you like to make for dinner? (make = cook)

They can’t make the meeting. (make = go to)

What is this made of? (made + of = constructed from)

The verb "make" can be used with a variety of prepositions to create idioms. Here are some examples of "make out."

She needs to make out a check for her rent. (make out = write)

Two teenagers were caught making out behind the school. (make out = kiss)

I can’t make out the teacher’s writing on the chalkboard. (make out = understand)

Click here to learn more.

March 12, 2009

A new email went out this morning. If you didn’t get it, please be sure to sign up for emailed lessons and updates on the home page. The word of the day is "know."

March 11, 2009

"Look" is the day’s featured verb, but you can use this one as a noun, too:

I want to take a look at that. ("look" is used as a noun in this sentence)

That’s a very cool look. (This also uses "look" as a noun. It means style or fashion)

This word usually functions as a verb:

Do you want to look at the menu?

He’s looking for a new girlfriend.

They’ve looked and looked but they haven’t found a new apartment yet.

There are some more examples if you click here.

This quiz is part of a new section I’m developing for reading skills.


March 10, 2009

The word of the day is "see." Here’s a new video for it:


Here’s a link to the lesson.

Here’s yet another new section of the website. This will become a collection of questions and prompts that students and teachers can use for starting conversations. The first subject I’ll start with is friendship.

March 9, 2009

"Give" is a verb you learn early on when studying English, so I won’t bother too much with the most common uses of the verb. Instead, let’s look at some that might be new to you:

We gave a going-away party for Theresa last week because she’s moving away. (give a party)

She gives a lot of her time to others. (give time)

How much are you able to give? (give money, contribute)

It’s often used in the passive voice:

The children were given something to eat for breakfast.

Money is given to those who need it.

There are also some idiomatic uses for this word:

It’s time to give in. (surrender)

I finally gave up smoking. (quit)

And some slang:

Give it up! (applaud), and Give me five! (slap my hand).


March 8, 2009

I’ve started a new section of the website. This will be for prepositions. The first page of this section show examples for the preposition "for." Click here to take a look.


March 6, 2009

When you go somewhere, you "take" things or people with you:

I took my kids to school this morning. (past tense)

She’ll take a sweater to the park in case it gets cold later. (future tense)

Do you take your cell phone with you when you leave the house? (present tense)

"Take" is also used for medicine:

Is he taking anything for his headache? (present continuous tense)

Don’t take medicine that is expired. (present tense, negative command)

And it’s used for photography:

This new digital camera takes great pictures. (present tense)

You should take a lot of pictures of your children when they’re little. (modal verb–should)

There are some more examples here.


March 5, 2009

I can’t teach my English classes without the word "use." In fact, look at my blog and see how many times the word comes up. When applying a machine, a tool, money, time–the word "use" is absolutely necessary:

How do I use this? (a machine)

She used all her money on food this week. (spend)

Can you use this for anything? I don’t need it. (a tool)

Do you know how to use the word "endless" in sentence? (language)

For more practice, go to this lesson in the Purple Level.

Here’s a video:



March 4, 2009

By now you should be familiar with the verb "put." It’s an easy word to pronounce and it’s essential when describing or directing the placement of an object:

Put the bags on the table.

He put on his shoes.

I need to put the milk in the refrigerator.

As with other verbs found in the Purple Level, it’s can be used with many different prepositions: put in, put on, put up with, put back together….

He put in 60 hours last week. (put in = work)

Are you putting me on? (put on = joke, kid)

I can’t put up with this! (put up with = tolerate, stand)

She having a hard time putting her life back together. (put back together = fix, make better)

March 3, 2009

If you look up the word "get" in a dictionary, you’ll see 50 or 60 different meanings. It’s often used with a preposition to create an idiom or phrasal verb: get in, get on, get at, get through, get off, get back, get into, get up, get with, etc.

Used alone, "get" means "to receive:" Did you get your mail yet today?

or "to obtain:" I need to get some food from the store.

It’s also used to make the passive voice: She got paid last week.

Here’s the lesson for today.

March 2, 2009

The word "go" is the first word featured in the Purple Level. After "be," "do," and "have," it’s probably the most commonly used verb. It’s regularly used for movement, but you can also use it for other purposes. Here are some more examples:

  • She goes to a very good school. (go = attend)
  • Do you go shopping on the weekend? (go = do)
  • I want to go see a movie. ("go" supports the verb "see" but isn’t necessary)
  • He’s going to the bathroom. (go = use a toilet)
  • Let go of my hand! (Release my hand!)
  • I asked her to go out with me and she goes, "No. I have to stay in tonight. (sometimes "go" means "say" in American English, particularly among young people (teens and 20’s).

For more practice, you can go to this Purple Level lesson.


Click here to go to February 2009