If you don't think bad grammar can cost you, think again. In this case, one teeny, tiny, little comma actually cost one company five million dollars. That's one expensive comma! The Serial Comma Strikes Again An Oxford comma, also known as a serial comma, refers to the final comma in a list of items. It … Continue reading The $5 Million Comma: The True Tale of the Oxford Comma Lawsuit
Alternate Endings The pronunciation of words ending in -ed in English can be really confusing. For every -ed word, there are three alternative ending sounds to choose from: Add an extra syllable /-ed/ Make a stopped sound /t/ Make a stopped sound /d/ Alternate endings might be great for TV series, but alternate pronunciation in … Continue reading Target Pronunciation: How To Pronounce -ED Words in English
Every seasoned ESL teacher knows the good old -ED pronunciation rules. When a word ends in |t| or |d|, an extra syllable is added and pronounced as |id|. When a word doesn't end in |t| or |d|, the pronounced ending is truncated to a stopped |t| or |d| and no extra syllable is added. If … Continue reading Happy -ED Endings: A Story About Pizza, Pets, and -ED Pronunciation
I recently transitioned to online teaching again, so I really needed a way to showcase my original deck of 72 irregular verb flashcards in a digital format. I uploaded them digitally and I now have a fantastic set of digital flashcards to use in my classes and share with ESL teachers around the world. Irregular … Continue reading Digital Flashcards Are Here, and I’m So Flipping Excited!
Happy Women's Month! I am marking the occasion with an English lesson devoted entirely to menstruation. It's not a fun topic, but we do need to talk about it. It comes every month, and usually at the worst possible time. To the poor men who are still reading this, don't leave yet! Talking about periods … Continue reading How To Talk About Your Period in English. Yes, That Period.
Breaking News! ESL Students prefer playing games to studying grammar. Thanks, Captain Obvious. Now, let's really drive it home: Hello, students! Raise your hand if you want to study grammar. (crickets.) Raise your hand if you want to play a game. (48 hands are up in a class of 24.) What have we learned from … Continue reading Variations on 4 Card Games ESL Students Will Flip Over
Let's face it. If our ESL students aren't reading now, what's going to change that? ESL teachers know that reading is essential to language acquisition, and the science backs it up. So how can we encourage students to find fluency through fiction?
If you know how to use flashcards in online ESL classrooms, they can be fantastic for memorizing irregular verbs. And they don't have to be boring, either! Here are my favorite flashy ways to use flashcards in online ESL classrooms. Why Flashcards? Let's cut straight to the obvious: flashcards are for memorizing. As a veteran … Continue reading 8 Flashy Ways To Use Flashcards for Online ESL
Can I really improve my English in 30 days? Yes, you can! The 30-Day English Challenge is designed to improve your speaking, writing, fluency and confidence by following simple, yet meaningful daily tasks. How does it work? The idea behind a 30-day English challenge is simple. Your English will improve quickly because you will be … Continue reading The 30-Day English Challenge
Do you want to know a secret? Learning English is nearly impossible if you don't have the right people to speak it with. This may come as a surprise, but practicing English with an English teacher just isn't enough! Yes, an English teacher will understand everything you say. English teachers use simple, clear language that … Continue reading Conversation Club: December 18, 2020
This month's post teaches you how to pronounce the -gh sound in English. You've probably seen it lurking in words like enough, through, and sigh. You might try your best to pronounce it, or, you might avoid it completely. Through? Furlough? Cough. Ugh. What is that sound?!
It might sound simple, but taking 3 to 5 minutes to write a daily reflection following each Zoom lesson is one of the most important ways to boost language acquisition in online learning environments.
The preposition back generally means to return. But there are many different ways you can return something or somewhere! By using phrasal verbs like go back, get back, and come back, you can increase your vocabulary and be more specific in communication. Let's look at a few of these phrasal verbs with back in a fun short story about a trip to a tropical island. At the end of the story, there's a short quiz you can take to see if you really know how to use these return expressions like a pro.
When you have a strong understanding of how to use used to and usually, we can talk about 2 more similar phrases that students find confusing: be used to and get used to.
Learn the difference between yet and still with a quick video lesson.
Listen and hear are two verbs commonly confused by English students. Many times, we use both words in the same conversation. It's important to know what the difference is. Look at this example: A: Hi! Can you hear me? What are you listening to? B: I'm listening to Hotel California by The Eagles. Have you … Continue reading Listen vs. Hear: What’s the difference?
With Valentine's Day coming up, I wanted to share some great expressions and idioms for talking about love and relationships. Whether you're single, married or something more complicated, there's surely a phrase or two here that will tickle your fancy. You may find yourself falling head over heels with this lovey-dovey vocabulary! Once Upon a … Continue reading English Expressions You Can Fall in Love With