Last Chance! 100s of Lessons for the Cost of 2!!

♠ ♠ This is your last chance English learners and English teachers! ♠ ♠

♠ You have only one day left to take advantage of the English Power Pack sale (see my previous post).

♠ Don’t miss this opportunity to boost your English levels in all skills: speaking, listening, reading, writing, and of course grammar! This pack of 7 Courses provides everything to help you become fluent in English. Think about how much two private lessons would cost you. The English Power Pack with hundreds of lessons is about the same cost and you get to keep the fantastic lessons and reuse them!

The sale ends Sunday December 4.  Check it out below.

Posted in Beginner (Level 1), ESL Teachers, Grammar, IELTS, Intermediate (Level 4), Listening, Speaking & Pronunciation, TOEIC, Upper Intermediate (Level 5), Videos | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

ENGLISH POWER PACK- $506.00 value for $97

Hello all you hard-working English students!!

I hope learning English is making more sense to you and becoming more fun. I have good news for you; more help is super-pack-1here!  I have recently discovered a fabulous English website Go Natural English that sells great products and courses and, for one week starting from November 28, it is making seven of them available to you at a very low price ($U.S.) These products have been put together by 7 of the top English as a Second Language teachers in the world.

The English Power Pack includes 7 full-length amazing courses from 7 different English language teachers.

The 7 products/courses include help for you in the following areas:

♣    English fluency using audio & visuals

♣    Phrasal verbs

♣    Grammar in action

 ♣   Listening and vocabulary skills using audio interviews

♣      English for travelbedtime

♣      English for life, business, and relationships

♣     Confusing words

∗∗ ∗∗ ∗∗ ∗∗ ∗∗ ∗∗ ∗∗

This wonderful offer from Go Natural English is only available for 7 days (Nov 28 – Dec 4).

Click here to go to the English Power Pack homepage. Then click on ‘Samples’ at the top of the page to get some free samples.

Click here to go to the more detailed ‘buy now’ page.

∗∗ ∗∗ ∗∗ ∗∗ ∗∗ ∗∗ ∗∗∗∗ ∗∗ ∗∗ ∗∗ ∗∗ ∗∗ ∗∗

Posted in Elementary (Level 2), ESL Teachers, Intermediate (Level 4), Listening, Pre-Intermediate (Level 3), Upper Intermediate (Level 5), Vocabulary | Leave a comment

How to ask better questions

 How to ask better questions by An Idea For You

Do you ever find yourself with people who you want to speak English with, but you can’t think of what to say?  Do you find yourself just listening, and not joining in the conversation? Would you like to have a ready stock of questions that are easy to use and remember?  Well, help is here! Continue reading

Posted in Advanced (Level 6+), Intermediate (Level 4), Reading, Speaking & Pronunciation, Upper Intermediate (Level 5) | Tagged | Leave a comment

A Song with Relative Clauses: #8, Noun Clauses & Adverb Clauses

Song: Stressed Out by 21 Pilots

As you know, songs are often short stories about real life experiences and emotions. As such, songs are an effective way to learn natural, everyday English collocation and usage. Even when the language seems simple and easy to understand, the grammar may be complex. In other words, complex grammar can be easy to understand.  That should make you feel better about learning English! Click on the picture below and watch the amusing youtube video of the song Stressed Out. I’m sure you’ll get the gist (main idea) of the story. Then, read on.

For this post, I’ve chosen the song Stressed Out by the band 21 Pilots to discuss the grammar typically found in songs and everyday English.  I have highlighted some of the lyrics in the following colours:
Relative Clauses – Red,
Noun Clauses – Pink, and
Adverbs/Adverb Clauses – Blue.

Under the lyrics, I will explain some of the grammar.

Stressed Out – 21 Pilots

I wish I found some better sounds no one’s ever heard.
I wish I had a better voice that sang some better words.
I wish I found some chords in an order that is new.
I wish I didn’t have to rhyme every time I sang.

I was told when I get older all my fears would shrink
But now I’m insecure and I care what people think.
My name’s Blurryface and I care what you think.
My name’s Blurryface and I care what you think.

Chorus
(I) Wish we could turn back time to the good old days
When our momma sang us to sleep but now we’re stressed out.
(I) Wish we could turn back time to the good old
days
When our momma sang us to sleep but now we’re stressed out.

Don’t be confused by all the grammar terms. We are looking at what makes up a sentence: a sentence must have at least one Independent Clause. If it also has a Dependent Clause, then it is a Complex Sentence. There are only 3 types of Dependent Clauses: Relative (adjective) Clauses, Noun Clauses, and Adverb Clauses.

 CLAUSES

♠ A Clause is a group of words which includes a Finite Verb. All sentences include a Finite Verb and it is the verb closest to the subject. Finite verbs are the following verbs only:

All Present Simple Verbs (positive form):
when I get older … what people think

All Past Simple Verbs (positive form):
when our momma sang us to sleep

All Auxiliary Verbs: am, is, are, was, were, has, have, had, do, does, did:
no-one’s (has) ever heard … I didn’t have to rhyme …

All Modal Verbs: can, could, would, should, may, might, shall, will, must, ought (to):
∗ all my fears would shrink … we could turn back time

∗∗ Note that Modal Verbs are always Auxiliary Verbs.

∗∗ Present Simple and Past Simple Tense Verbs are Finite Verbs in the positive form only. In negative sentences and questions, the auxiliary verb is the Finite Verb. For example,

∗ Some people don’t think … Our momma didn’t sing us to sleep

∗ What do you think? … Did your momma sing you to sleep?

∗∗∗∗ All other verbs are Non-Finite:

1) Infinitives (with ‘to’) & Base Infinitives (without ‘to’), 

2) … ING Participles/Gerunds,

3) Past Participles:

∗ The singer wants to turn back time. Infinitive: to turn

∗ I wish we could turn back time. Base Infinitive: turn

∗ What do you think? Base Infinitive: think

∗ ’21 Pilots’ have been singing some fabulous music lately.
  … ING Participle: singing;  Past Participle: been

Writing music is what they do best. Gerund: writing

Can you see that all verbs in English are either Finite or Non-Finite? Non-Finite Verbs have no tense. They need a Finite Verb to complete them. There are no other verb forms; just those I’ve listed above. Isn’t that good news?!

Have a look at the Peanuts cartoon and text below. (Click on the picture for more cartoons.) It is easy to understand. The language is simple but the grammar is complex. There are two noun clauses – so two subordinating conjunctions. There are two co-ordinating conjunctions. There are three Independent Clauses and two Dependent Clauses. There are five finite verbs and no non-finite verbs. Can you see all this grammar? If you can, it means that you will be able to write lovely complex language! So that you can check, I will write the answers at the bottom of this post.

Now, lets look at the Dependent Clauses in the song:

Relative Clauses

♣ Relative Clauses are just long adjectives. They give information about (relate to) the noun. They are introduced by a Relative Clause Marker: who, that, which, whose, or whom, but these can often be left out. As you can see in the above song lyrics, the singer wishes that he had found some better sounds. What kind of sounds? Sounds that no one’s ever heard. The Relative Clause (that) no one’s ever heard describes the sounds. It’s an adjective. Because it includes a finite verb (has), it’s an adjective clause. It’s a Relative Clause.

He wishes that he had a better voice. What king of voice? A voice that sang some better words. The Relative Clause that sang some better words describes the voice. It’s an adjective. It’s an adjective clause. It’s a Relative Clause.

He wishes that he found some different chords. What kind of chords? … chords (that are) in an order that is new. The Relative Clause in an order that is new describes the chords. It’s an adjective. It’s an adjective clause. It’s a Relative Clause. Because the marker ‘that’ and the BE verb ‘are’ have not been included, we call this a Reduced Relative Clause.

Did you notice that the Relative Clause (that are) in an order that is new is actually two Relative Clauses? That is new describes an order. So there is a Relative Clause inside another Relative Clause!

Adverb Clauses

♠ In the next line, I wish I didn’t have to rhyme every time I sang, the singer is not describing anything. He is talking about ‘when’ he sings. The answer to when? is an adverb. … every time I sang is an Adverb. It’s an Adverb Clause.

He wishes that he could turn back time. To when?to the good old days when our momma sang us to sleep. The answer to when? is an adverb. … to the good old days is an Adverb. …when our momma sang us to sleep is an Adverb. It’s an Adverb Clause. … to the good old days when our momma sang us to sleep is an Adverb and Adverb Clause together.

♣ Noun Clauses

♣ In the line, I wish I found some better sounds no one’s ever heard, the Noun Clause, (that) I found some better sounds, is the object of I wish. All the Noun Clauses written above are objects of verbs, mostly of the verb wish. He wishes for a lot of ‘things’, doesn’t he? ‘Things’ are nouns. The ‘things’ include a Finite Verb so the group of words is a Noun Clause.

The Noun Clause marker ‘that’ has been omitted in the ‘I wish … ‘ clauses. ‘That’ is the only Noun Clause marker that can be omitted and it often is. (However, it cannot be omitted when it is part of the subject and begins a sentence.)

All other Noun Clause markers must be included: … now I’m insecure and I care what people think. He wishes for things and he cares about things – nouns. There is a Finite Verb, think, so the group of words with the marker ‘what’ is a Noun Clause: what people think

♦ ♦  Answers to grammar questions

♦ Two noun clauses: 1) what happiness means   2) that it isn’t there
♦ Two subordinating conjunctions: 1) what   2) that

♦ Two co-ordinating conjunctions: 1) but   2) and

♦ Three Independent Clauses: 1) I’m not sure   2) I look in your eyes  
                                                       3) I know**  (I know that it isn’t there)

♦ Two Dependent Clauses: 1) what happiness means   2) that it isn’t there

♦  Five finite verbs: 1) am   2) means   3) look   4) know   5) is

** Because noun clauses are nouns, they can be the subject, object, or complement in a sentence. In the clause  ‘I know that it isn’t there’ the noun clause that it isn’t there is the object of ‘I know’. Even though I believe that the two words ‘I know’ are an Independent Clause, some grammarians might not agree. You can overcome this problem by just including the noun clause in your example of an Independent Clause. So, ‘I know that it isn’t there’ is an Independent Clause with a Dependent Clause inside it. That’s okay! It happens often.

Disagreement about such grammar occurs because of the type of verb. Is the verb ‘know’ transitive or intransitive? Does it sound okay without an object? The verb ‘sure’ is intransitive, so there is no problem with stating ‘I’m not sure’ without the noun clause. However, have a look at the following sentence which includes a noun clause.

Charlie Brown isn’t what Lucy wants.

If we take out the noun clausewhat Lucy wantswe are left with ‘Charlie Brown isn’t’. We can hardly call ‘Charlie Brown isn’t’ an Independent Clause. We need to include the noun clause complement ‘what Lucy wants‘.

For more information about Dependent Clauses, click here.

For practice exercises, click here.

Posted in Cambridge, Grammar, IELTS, Intermediate (Level 4), Songs, TOEIC, Upper Intermediate (Level 5) | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

TOEIC Listening Tests and More

If you are studying for a TOEIC test, or if you just want to improve your English, http://www.english-test.net has hundreds of listening tests, as well as grammar tests.Click here to start a listening test now.

Posted in Advanced (Level 6+), Cambridge, Grammar, IELTS, Listening, TOEIC, Upper Intermediate (Level 5) | Leave a comment

Learn English in the Shower!

You can dramatically improve your English listening starting now if you are serious! You can learn English in the shower. Think of how much time you spend in the shower. That can be FREE English time, fun and so easy. The shower is just the beginning.

Continue reading

Posted in Advanced (Level 6+), Intermediate (Level 4), Listening, Pre-Intermediate (Level 3), TOEIC, Upper Intermediate (Level 5), Videos | Tagged | 2 Comments

How to Write a Sentence: #4 Transitions

* First, read How to Write a Sentence #1,  How to Write a Sentence #2, and How to Write a Sentence #3.

Transitions are words or phrases that connect (link) ideas. The ideas may be in a sentence or in a longer text. Transitions help you to become a better writer (and communicator) because they help the reader (or listener) to follow what you are writing or saying. They help ideas flow smoothly and clearly. Transitions are often used to show:

contrast: however, nonetheless, on the other hand

cause and effect: therefore, thus, as a result

concession: of course, with this in mind, in view of …

example: to demonstrate, for instance, for example

addition: as a matter of fact, in addition, in the first place

(See below for links to extensive lists of Transitions.)

Now, have a look at the following two sentences:

Attitudes to drug usage in sport are shifting. Fewer athletes use them.

How are attitudes shifting? Is drug usage becoming more or less acceptable? Using a transition can help the reader follow your thoughts.

♦ Attitudes to drug usage in sport are shifting. However, fewer athletes are using them.

♦ Attitudes to drug usage in sport are shifting. As a result, fewer athletes are using them.

♦ Attitudes to drug usage in sport are shifting. In conclusion, fewer athletes are using them.

Transitions are not conjunctions. The punctuation rules are different. There are two usual ways* to punctuate them:

  1. (As above)                              Transition + comma + independent clause
  2. (See below) semi-colon + transition + comma + independent clause

♦ Attitudes to drug usage in sport are shifting; however, fewer athletes are using them.

♦ Attitudes to drug usage in sport are shifting; as a resultfewer athletes are using them.

♦ Attitudes to drug usage in sport are shifting; in conclusion, fewer athletes are using them.

By the way, there are many useful transitions for you to use apart from those you may see in Transition lists like the ones I’ve listed below. A lot of expressions you may think of to link your ideas may be transitions. Use the punctuation rules above and see what you can come up with.

I use transitions when writing posts for this blog. My aim is to make these posts as easy to read as possible! I have used three transitions in this post:

  1. First, – This is the first word in this post (above the picture). It connects my ideas in the post to the heading, and to previous posts about how to write a sentence.
  2. Now, – This word connects my transition examples to sentences which show how to use them.
  3. By the way, – This transitional phrase is a common way to add more ideas to what you have already said. After explaining the rules and giving examples, I wanted to add that you can find more examples of transitions if you are interested.

∗∗ As you can see, none of the transitions I used connected sentences. Transitions do not connect sentences. Transitions connect ideas.

* For more ways to punctuate transitions … Continue reading

Posted in Advanced (Level 6+), Cambridge, Grammar, IELTS, Intermediate (Level 4), TOEIC, Upper Intermediate (Level 5) | Tagged , | Leave a comment

How to get better English Pronunciation in 2 easy steps.

The ENGLISH ACADEMY in Madrid, Spain, has great English advice for Spanish speakers. First, read their post on Pronunciation, and second, watch my video lesson on the 20 English vowel sounds.

The English Academy

A common complaint from native Spanish people in their attempts to learn English is the various difficulties that come up when trying to pronounce certain words correctly. One of the main causes of this problem is the general focus in Spanish schools towards grammar and reading, and the neglect of oral and listening skills. Here we have a look at some common problems faced by Spaniards with regard to their pronunciation.

Vowels

Perhaps the single biggest pronunciation problem for Spanish speakers is that their language does not have a distinction between short and long vowels. They often stretch all vowel sounds out too much and confuse pairs of short and long English vowel sounds like “ship” and “sheep” both in comprehension and speaking. Relevant pairs include:

  • bit/beat
  • not/note and not/nought
  • batter/barter
  • pull/pool

As the pairs above are all pronounced with different mouth positions as well as different lengths, focusing on…

View original post 448 more words

Posted in Speaking & Pronunciation | Tagged | 2 Comments

Real Life English – See How To Better Communicate With The World

I’ve discovered a great English language website called Real Life English. On July 8, 2016, it featured a video/podcast about Global Citizenship. Chad from Real Life English introduced the podcast  and the following video:

“Imagine if the whole world could communicate through one unifying language… that day is coming very soon and you can be part of it!

If you don’t have time to listen to this whole podcast at least make the time to watch this amazing video about global citizenship, and the positive effects of expanding your empathy.”

Jason Silva Explaining Global Citizenship

“Please watch this video and leave a comment telling us what you thought about it.”

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Posted in Advanced (Level 6+), Listening, Upper Intermediate (Level 5), Videos | Tagged | Leave a comment

25 Easy & Proven Ways to Prepare for your TOEIC Test

♦ HOW to be SUCCESSFUL in the TOEIC Test ♦

Error recognition is an important part of the TOEIC Test. Why don’t you start practising here and now? With regular practice of these 25 Error Recognition Tests, which will encourage you to look for typical mistakes, you will feel so much more prepared for the TOEIC Test. Click here to start.

For vocabulary from the TOEIC Test – 600 Essential Words, click on:

Nouns

Nouns & Verbs  (same form/spelling)

Verbs + Preposition

Transitive Verbs

Adjectives

Adverbs

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Posted in Advanced (Level 6+), Cambridge, Grammar, IELTS, TOEIC, Upper Intermediate (Level 5) | Tagged , | Leave a comment