Learn American English Online Blog
May 30, 2010
May 29, 2010
It’s Memorial Day weekend in the United States. At this time we remember the men and women who have died in combat or served in the military. Many people visit cemeteries and lay wreaths or flowers on graves.
There’s a new quiz in the Purple Level. This is for the verb "see."
May 28, 2010
This is the last in the series of 20 essential verbs to learn in English, but this is the most important verb to understand well. Here are some video clips that will help you understand this verb:
May 27, 2010
Its most popular meaning you probably already know, but it has other common uses. Many people use "run" in place of "go."
You can also use "run" when in a discussion, particularly among people in business who review information:
May 26, 2010
Did you receive email from me this morning? If not, make sure to sign up on the homepage.
There’s a new webinar this evening. Click here to sign up.
May 25, 2010
When using a pair of scissors, the verb "cut" usually comes to mind first:
I cut some paper with these scissors.
She cut herself while using a pair of scissors.
However, "cut" also means to reduce something such as time or money:
His salary was cut when he reduced his hours at work.
You can cut your drive time in half by taking this highway.
May 24, 2010
This word is similar to "save," "store," and "put." Here are some examples:
I always keep my cell phone in my left front pocket.
Where do you keep your rice?
Ice cream that was kept out of the freezer too long melted.
They keep their money in the bank.
"Keep" is also often used in place of the word "continue." Something won’t stop happening, and often when using the word "keep," this describes a problem. Following "keep" in these sentences is a gerund:
She keeps coming to work late.
Why do you keep making that terrible noise?
We can’t keep staying up late at night.
The water keeps dripping from the faucet. It won’t stop.
I keep reminding myself to work on the blog earlier in the morning.
May 23, 2010
There’s a new addition to the Purple Level reading section: The Ant and the Grasshopper. This is one of Aesop’s best known fables.
May 22, 2010
Thanks to everyone who recently made donations for the website. It’s not necessary to make a donation to keep the website going, but it does help pay for website hosting fees, software, and the GoToMeeting webinars.
Thanks to Marianela, Bichnhung, Fesseha, Miguel, Ernestina, Jose, Galina, Massimo, Lydia, and Svet for their support. They helped make English language instruction available to people around the world who don’t have the money to pay for school.
I only ask for donations once or twice a year. If you’d like to help the website out, click here. Any contribution is welcome.
May 21, 2010
We use "tell" for indirect speech. It’s also used when describing a command (the imperative form). Here’s an example:
"Go to the store and get me some eggs," said my mother.
My mother told me to go to the store and get her some eggs.
Do you notice the use of an object pronoun after the verb "tell?" That’s important. Compare these two sentences:
My boss said that I could go on break.
My boss told me that I could go on break.
After the verb "say," there is no object pronoun, but there is one after the verb "tell."
The verb "tell" is also used with words such as "truth," "lie," "time," and "how."
Can you complete the sentences below? Use "say" or "tell." All of these sentences are in the past tense.
(1. told; 2. said; 3. told; 4. told; 5. said)
May 20, 2010
The video below shows how to use "say" when describing the words of another person. This video is included in the Orange Level, which we will study, next month in June, but it’s good to look at now. Sorry, the video is a little dark:
May 19, 2010
The verb "want" is used to describe desire. It’s different from the verb "need." Lessons for "want" and "need" are side by side so that you can see the differences.
"Want" is usually used in the present tense:
It’s also possible to put the verb "want" in the past tense:
May 18, 2010
This is not a difficult word to use or pronounce. "Need" expresses what is necessary:
These questions and sentences are in the present tense:
These sentences are in the past tense:
May 17, 2010
Don’t confuse the verb "come" with "go." Use "come" when you are at a location and you are talking about that location:
You are at home and talking to your son:
When are you coming home?
You live in New York and you are talking to a friend:
You should come visit me here in New York.
You are at work and talking to a coworker:
What time did you come in to work this morning?
The verb "come" is very idiomatic. Click here to see how it’s used as an idiom. It’s also often put together with other verbs, just as the verb "go" sometimes is: come play, come visit, come see, come eat, come work, come drive, come help, are just a few examples. When you use the word "come" with these other verbs, you are inviting someone to do something:
Please come eat with us. There’s an empty seat.
Why don’t you come work at my company?
Come drive the new Chevy Volt.
Come help me with this.
May 16, 2010
Here’s another fable from Aesop: "The Wind and the Sun"
May 15, 2010
I’m starting a new reading section for the Purple Level. The first page is an Aesop’s Fable: "The Man, the Boy, and the Donkey"
Be sure to click on the audio button to listen to the story as you read.
May 14, 2010
This word is often preferred over the word "cook" for food:
I’m making breakfast. (present continuous tense)
He made a sandwich for himself. (past tense)
She’s going to make lasagna for dinner. (future tense)
It’s also used for money:
How much money did you make last week? (past tense)
He makes good money at his job. (present tense)
That company made a huge profit in 2009. (past tense)
Plus there are many idioms that use this verb:
What do you make of this situation? (What is your opinon?)
I can’t make out her handwriting. (I can’t read it. It’s too messy.)
How did you make out at the track? (How much money did you win at the horse races?)
May 13, 2010
We often use the word "know" to express knowledge and skill:
May 12, 2010
Today’s lesson is on the word "look," but it’s also going to be about the subject of time.
If you have problems talking about time, this should help. Listen to the questions and then read the answers that follow. The verbs I’ve chosen for this lesson come from the Purple Level:
Questions and Answers in Talking about Time:
put in time
come on time
be on time
How do you manage your time?
Using Time Wisely or Unwisely:
He wastes his time. (bad)
He spends time wisely. (good)
She makes good use of her time. (good)
Talking about the Expiration of Time:
We’re out of time. (present tense)
We’re running out of time. (present continuous tense)
We ran out of time. (past tense)
We’re going to run out of time. (future tense)
May 11, 2010
The word for the day is "see." The common use for the verb "see" is for the function of the eyes: "I see it’s raining outside," or "Do you want to see a movie today?," but you should also learn a few other ways to use "see."
We use "see" when meeting other people:
We use "see" when in a romantic relationship:
We use "see" to express understanding:
"See" is also used when trying to make a decision:
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
Don’t forget to sign up for tomorrow night’s webinar. You can chat with your teacher live online. Sign up here.
May 10, 2010
The word for the day is "give." The meaning for this word is generally the opposite of "get," but it can have other meanings when adding nouns, pronouns, and prepositions:
give a hand: applaud, clap.
Let’s give them a hand for a job well done.
give someone a hand: help
Can you give me a hand with this? It’s really heavy.
give birth to: have a baby; originate an idea
Sara gave birth to twins.
give credit: identify the person who did a good job on something
I give you a lot of credit for your success this quarter.
give me a break: 1. don’t make me work so hard; 2. that idea is ridiculous. (this expression has different meanings.)
It’s common to hear "give" and "me" together. When Americans speak very quickly, sometimes it sounds like "gimme," as in "Gimme that," but I don’t recommend that you say it the same way.
May 9, 2010
Happy Mother’s Day! In the United States, this is the day when people give flowers and gifts to their mothers, grandmothers, and wives. Many people go out for breakfast or brunch, and phone lines across the country are very busy.
May 8, 2010
Here’s a new video for the verb "use." Notice the word order in most of the sentences go like this: Subject + verb + object + infinitive.
May 7, 2010
The word for the day is "take." It’s similar to "get" and "bring"–sometimes.
You can get some money out of that account.
You can take some money out of that account.
I brought an umbrella with me to work today.
I took an umbrella with me to work today.
In the sentences below "get" is different from "take." This mistake you see in red is fairly common:
He takes the bus to school. (okay)
He gets on the bus at the bus stop. (okay — use "get" + "on")
To learn about idioms that use the verb "take," click here.
May 6, 2010
The word for the day is "use." Do you know how to use the word "use"?
This is a hard word to explain. A video might help:
May 5, 2010
The word for the day is "put." This is used when moving objects from one place to another:
I put my keys in my pocket.
He put his car in the garage.
Put the bags on the counter.
The meaning of "put" changes with the addition of prepositions:
put up / put through / put in / put up with
You can go to this page to see more idioms that use the word "put."
May 4, 2010
One of the most useful verbs after "be," "do," and "have" is the verb "get." "Get" has many different meanings and it’s used in hundreds of idioms and slang. Here are just a handful of idioms that use a preposition after "get" and then the pronoun "it."
get on it / get into it / get with it / get over it / get to it
"Get" also has unusual applications in a sentence. These videos provide examples:
You can learn more about basic uses for "get" by clicking here.
You can learn more about idioms that use "get" by clicking here.
May 3, 2010
For the month of May, we will study 20 verbs that are extremely important to know for communicating in English: go, get, put, use, take, give, see, look, know, make, come, need, want, say, tell, keep, cut, play, run, and be.
We often use this verb to express movement to a location:
She’s going to work. / He went to a movie. / They’ve gone to Alaska. / Where did you go? / I went to get some milk.
It’s also a popular choice for information:
Your name goes here. / Your address goes on this line.
And we use it for giving directions:
Go left. / Go right. / Go straight ahead. / Go north. / Go west.
People use the verb "go" when giving directions online:
Go to Amazon.com to buy books. / Go to Expedia.com for tickets.
Go to learnamericanenglisholine.com to learn English.
They also use it to say that two people are romantically involved:
They’re going out together. / She went with him for a few months.
It’s even used for the use of a bathroom:
He has to go to the bathroom. / She’s going to the ladies’ room.
There are many idiomatic uses for this verb. Click here to see some idioms that use the verb "go."
If you haven’t seen it yet, click below to watch a video that show how to use the verb "go" and shopping.
May 2, 2010
I made this video because so many of my students have trouble using the word "go." They also have trouble using the word "go" and the word "shopping" together. Click the video below to see how sentences are made in the present tense, the past tense, and the future tense. (I should have included the present continuous tense as well, but I forgot to do that. Read the sentences after you watch the video.)
I go shopping every weekend. (present tense)
We went shopping yesterday. (past tense)
I’m going shopping right now. (present continuous tense)
I’ll go shopping tomorrow. (future)
I’m going to go shopping tomorrow. ("going to" future)
I must go shopping later this week. (modal verb: must)
I have to go shopping later this week. (idiomatic modal verb: have to)
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
There’s a new page for classroom verbs. Click here to learn about the verb "use."
May 1, 2010
Happy May Day! In the United States, this day usually goes unnoticed except in Minneapolis, where I live. There will be a big parade and celebration tomorrow which is put on every year by Heart of the Beast Puppet Theater. The parade is an inspiration for those of us who want to preserve the natural environment and clean up the Earth so that future generations of people will have a nice place to live.
Here are some pictures of flowers from my backyard. The first one is of some flowering weeds. I don’t know what they are, but they’re beautiful. The second is a picture of flowers from a lilac bush. I have a lot of lilacs in my backyard. Their scent (smell) fills the air. The third picture is of an apple blossom. I have many apple trees, and hopefully this fall I’ll have a lot of apples.
Click here to go to April 2010