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The word of the day is...

 

 

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Reflexive pronouns refer back to the subject of a sentence or question.

  • Jim cut himself while he was shaving.

The word "himself" is a reflexive pronoun. It refers back to the subject of the sentence, "Jim." Jim is a man.

  • Rachel taught herself how to cook.

The word "herself" is a reflexive pronoun. It refers back to the subject of the sentence, "Rachel." Rachel is a woman.

To learn more about reflexive pronouns, click here.

Possessive pronouns show ownership:

  • Whose phone is this?
  • It's mine.

The word "mine" is a possessive pronoun. Learn more by clicking here.

The word of the day is "tall."

This new video is for the phrasal verb "run into."

Red Level students are studying infinitives and gerunds this week. It's very important to know what they are and how they are different.

Here's a link to the What's the Question section. Lately, I've been revising these exercises and realized there wasn't a good way to get to it from the home page. I'll have to change that and put a link there.

In Red Level Lesson Fifteen, students learn about conjunctions. Conjunctions join together words, phrases, and sentences:

  • Joshua and Isabel are married.

The conjunction "and" joins together two proper nouns, Joshua and Isabel, which is the subject of the sentence. The subject is plural thanks to the conjunction.

  • Joshua works as a chef, and Isabel works as an accountant.

The conjunction "and" joins together two independent clauses to form a compound sentence.

The word of the day is "sugar."

I sent out an email to subscribers today. Did you get it? If not, make sure you sign up for free emailed lessons and exercises.

I'm sorry I didn't have time to post anything to the blog yesterday. Busy busy. Yesterday's word of the day was "catastrophe." Today's word of the day is "personal."

Students following the Red Level lessons this month are currently studying the future tense. You can talk about the future many different ways. Here are some examples:

  • I'll see you tomorrow. (simple future tense)
  • Where are you going to be tomorrow? (going to be + main verb)
  • What will they be doing next week? (the future continuous tense)
  • Henry is leaving early tomorrow morning. (the present continuous tense)
  • We have to be at an important meeting next week. (have to + main verb)

This new video provides some more examples of ways to ask and answer questions for future situations:

 

When talking about amounts, you can use the words some, any, and a lot for just about anything.

  • I have some money in my pocket.
  • I don't have any money in the bank. (Use "any" with negative verbs.)
  • Joe has a lot of time to study today.
  • Joe doesn't have a lot of time to study tomorrow. (The words "a lot" or "a lot of" can be used with affirmative or negative verbs.)

You can learn more about using these words in this lesson.

A person who is ignorant is unaware of certain types of knowledge or important facts. It's not good to be ignorant. Learn more about this word by clicking on the link.

When something really bad happens, you can use the word "horrible." This is the word of the day.

Did you receive the email I sent out this morning? If not, you should sign up to receive email with free exercises, quizzes, and videos. You can sign up here.

Here's a new video for the past tense. If you have a conversation with me, how would you answer?

 

Your Red Level lesson of the day is on forming questions using the verb "do."

Today's reading assignment: Luke and Sandra are going to have a baby.

The word of the day is "sharp."

A command begins with a verb and tells a person to do something. Here are some examples:

  • Throw the ball.
  • Open the door.
  • Please, give me that.
  • Don't do that.

Notice that a command does not include a stated subject. The subject is "you."

Learn more about commands in Red Level Lesson Four.

Red Level reading assignments are a little more difficult than the reading assignments in the Blue Level. Click here to read about a farm.

It's important to know the difference between the verbs "do" and "did" in order to form the present tense and the past tense.

  • What do you do every day?
  • What did you do yesterday?
  • I don't see my neighbors every day.
  • I didn't see my neighbors yesterday.
  • Harriet does her shopping on the weekends.
  • Harriet did her shopping for the week on Saturday.

In Red Level Lesson Two students learn how to make the present tense negative with the verb "do."

Here's a link to the Red Level Reading Room. You may start with the first reading assignment.

Students who move on to the Red Level today will study Lesson One which introduces the verb "do" as a helping verb and as a main verb. It's very important to know the difference between these two things.

  • I do many things during the day.

In this sentence, the verb "do" is a main verb.

  • What do you do during the day?

In this question, the verb "do" is a helping verb (the first one), and it's a main verb (the second one). The verb "do" helps to form a question in the present tense.

  • He doesn't do very much at work.

In this sentence, the verb "do" is made negative by using "does" and "not" together to form a contraction, "doesn't." The main verb is in the simple form, "do."

If you have been working in the Blue Level, you should take the Blue Level tests.

If you do well on the tests, move forward to the Red Level in October. If you don't do well on the tests, you should repeat the Blue Level.

In Blue Level Lesson Twenty-nine, you can learn how to use the verb "need" in the past tense.

Tomorrow many of you will probably be finished with the Blue Level. There's a Blue Level Review and two tests:

Blue Level Test #1

Blue Level Test #2

Your reading assignment for today: It rained all day.

Here's a new video for students who need help with the present tense:

 

 

Use "need" when talking about something that is necessary:

  • Everyone needs food, clothing, and shelter.
  • My friend, Maria, needs to take medicine every day.
  • Isaac needs to go to the store to get some milk.
  • What do you need to do today.

Notice that "need" is often followed by an infinitive.

Here's the next reading assignment: Kimberly has a pet rabbit.

 

Use "would like" to talk about things that you want in the future:

  • I would like to visit China someday.
  • Tom says he'd like to get married.
  • Sheri would like some more coffee.
  • What would you like to do today?

Notice that "would like" is often followed by an infinitive but not a gerund. You can also put a noun after "would like."

"Would like" sounds a little more polite than "want."

You can practice your reading today with this Blue Level reading exercise: My son bought a goldfish.

The past tense of the word "want" is "wanted." Click here to see today's lesson.

Today's reading assignment: It's baseball season.

The word of the day is "recommend."

When you want something, you desire it. Click here for Blue Level Lesson Twenty-five to learn about the word "want" in the present tense.

Learn how to use "have to" when talking about obligations and responsibilities. This lesson is in two parts. This is the second part of the lesson.

The modal verb "can" is used when talking about a person's ability or possibility.

  • I can meet you for coffee at around noon.
  • You can learn English on this website.
  • Mario can play the guitar.
  • Sheila can speak Japanese.

To make this verb negative, just add "not."

can + not = can't

  • We can't find our cat.
  • The students can't write without pencils.
  • The grass can't be cut because it's too wet.

To learn more about using "can," click here.

Your reading assignment for today: Dana works as a nurse.

The Blue Level lesson for today is on addition and subtraction.

Here's your reading assignment for today: Mr. Jefferson is a math teacher.

The word of the day is "swamp."

Some of my students have trouble when it comes to reading numbers. That's why I created this lesson for numbers and ordinal numbers.

This new video can help you talk about the weather in English:

 

Today's lesson is very simple. Click here to learn about the days of the week.

Patricia and Graciela are returning to school. This is your reading assignment for today.

The word of the day is "protect."

Knowing the difference between count nouns and noncount nouns will help you make good decisions when it comes to using adjectives such as many, much, few, and little. It also makes a difference when choosing between singular and plural verbs.

How well do you know the months of the year? This is a simple drill for beginning level students.

Practice your reading here: Our neighbor just had a baby.

This week, most of the lessons will be about numbers and words used when keeping track of time. Today's lesson is on time, day, and date. This represents really basic English, but if you don't know it, you must learn it.

Your reading assignment for today is about Leonardo and Rachel's cats.

The verb "be" takes two different forms when it's used in the past tense: was and were.

  • I was at home last night.
  • Where were you?
  • Ted was at a friend's house.
  • Maria was at home.
  • It was warm last night.

All of the examples above are in the past tense. Notice that nouns and pronouns in the first-person singular, Ted, Maria, and it, use "was." The pronoun "I" also uses "was."

When nouns and pronouns are in the plural form, use "were."

  • We were all together.
  • You were on my website yesterday.
  • The people were happy about the celebration.

You can learn more about using was and were in Blue Level Lesson Sixteen.

Your lesson for today is on possessive adjectives. These are words that appear before a noun and indicate he owns something, or possessive adjectives indicate relationships:

  • You are my student.
  • I am your teacher.
  • You have your book.
  • John has his computer.
  • Mary has her cell phone.
  • We have our goals.
  • You have your goals.
  • They have their responsibilities.

All of the words in bold print are possessive adjectives. You can learn more by clicking on the link.

The word of the day is "vivid."

Here's a new video:

 

Your lesson for the day is on information questions.

To talk about things that you did yesterday, last week, last year, or just a few hours ago, use the past tense.

There are two different ways to do this. For the verb "be" use "was" or "were."

  • I was at work last night.
  • You were at home this morning.
  • Joe was in Chicago a few days ago.
  • The students were on their computers.

For almost all of the other verbs, use the past tense form of the verb.

simple past
live
lived
hope
hoped
cut
cut
go
went
fight
fought
  • You lived in Mexico ten years ago.
  • We all hoped for a good outcome.
  • I cut myself this morning.
  • The students went on a field trip yesterday.
  • Two dogs fought over a bone.

You reading assignment for today: Tigist needs a new place.

Prepositions are those small words such as in, at, for, with, etc., that come before nouns and appear with verbs and adjectives.

In addition to the lesson above, there's an entire section of the website dedicated to prepositions. You can read and listen to examples of how prepositions are used. On this page, you will also find quizzes for prepositions.

Today's lesson is on articles: a, an, and the.

The verb "have" is a common main verb. It's also a helping verb, but you won't study how to use "have" as a helping verb until you get to the Yellow Level. Let's look at some examples of "have" as a main verb:

  • I have a bike.
  • Do you have a bike?
  • George has a bike.
  • Cindy doesn't have a bike.

The sentences and question above are all in the present tense. Notice the use of "have" when forming a question or a negative statement. In British English, you might hear this:

  • Have you a bike?

Most Americans won't make a question this way. It sounds unusual. That doesn't mean it's bad; it's just not very common here to form a question that way with "have." Instead, Americans use the helping verb, "do."

  • Do you have a bike?

You can learn more about the verb "have" by clicking here.

Your reading assignment for today is Jim and Darryl work together.

You can learn about the present continuous tense in English in Blue Level Lesson Eight. This tense is different from the present tense. What are the differences?

The present tense is used for daily or routine activity. This was yesterday's lesson. The present continuous tense is used for much more than that.

Use the present continuous tense to...

  • describe what you are doing right now.
  • describe something that you do regularly.
  • describe a future activity.

Here are some examples:

  • I am working on my blog. (This is something that I am doing at this moment.)
  • You are studying English. (You are doing it now, but this is also an ongoing activity that you do regularly.)
  • We are going to a movie later tonight. (This is a future activity.)

The word of the day is "grin."

One of the most popular lessons on this website is Blue Level Lesson Seven: The Present Tense.

This lesson helps students understand why and how to form the present tense. It's not really that hard, but because "do" is used as a helping verb, it causes some confusion.

Here are some examples:

  • I ride a bike to school.

This is something I do every day or regularly. It's part of my daily life. What do you do every day? Do you go to work every day? Do you visit your friends or family regularly? Do you study English?

Let me tell you about a friend of mine. Her name is Maria.

  • Maria works at a hospital.
  • She doesn't work at a store.
  • She likes her job.
  • She doesn't like to work at night.
  • Why doesn't she like to work at night?
  • She likes to spend time with her family.
  • Does she work on the weekends?

In the sentences and question above, the main verbs are "work" and "like." The helping verb is "do," which changes to "does" because the subject is singular. Is that confusing?

I urge you to study this lesson if you are having trouble with the present tense.

Today's reading assignment: Tom has a question.

The word "there" is an important word to use when introducing facts. Many students don't use "there" often enough. Are you using the word "there"?

  • There are 21 students in the class.
  • There is a bowl of cereal on the table.
  • There are many reasons to study English.
  • There's a man at the door.

Today's reading assignment: Jacob and Matt are studying.

If you think you are ready, you can try the Blue Level dictation exercises. Listen to what you hear, and then check to see if you are correct in writing the words that you hear.

The word of the day is "dumb."

 

As you have noticed, the day of the month matches the number of the lesson for each level. Today is the fifth of September, so you will study Lesson Five in the Blue Level. or whatever level you are studying.

This lesson shows you the differences among this, that, these, and those.

If one thing or one person is close to you, use "this."

If one thing or one person is far from you, use "that."

If two or more things or two or more people are close to you, use "these."

If two or more things or two or more people are far from you, use "those."

The fifth Blue Level reading assignment is Bob is a businessman.

The word of the day is "exercise."

Here are your assignments for today:

Blue Level Lesson Four: nouns and pronouns

Reading assignment #4: This is a young girl

Make sure you keep track of the work that you complete with the Blue Level checklist.

The third lesson in the Blue Level shows you how to form questions in the present tense using the verb "be." This is a fairly easy thing to do. Just put the verb "be" in front of the subject:

(be) + subject

The verb "be" will change depending what the subject is. Here are some examples:

Singular

  • Am I late?
  • Are you at home?
  • Is he at work?
  • Is she happy?
  • Is it hot outside?

 

Plural

  • Are we in agreement?
  • Are you in a classroom?
  • Are they in the car

You can learn more about forming questions with the verb "be" by clicking on this link.

In today's lesson, you will learn how to make the verb "be" negative. To do this, add the word "not" to the verb "be."

The following examples show how contractions (two words together) are formed with the word "not."

singular

I am not thirsty. / I'm not thirsty.

You are not tired. / You aren't tired. / You're not tired.

He is not here. / He isn't here. / He's not here.

She is not hungry. / She isn't hungry. / She's not hungry.

It is not wet. / It isn't wet. / It's not wet.

plural

We are not cold. / We aren't cold. / We're not cold.

You are not at work. / You aren't at work. / You're not at work.

They are not angry. / They aren't angry. / They're not angry.

To learn more about how to make the verb "be" negative, click here.

To practice your reading and listening skills, click here for Blue Level reading assignment #2: This is a young couple.

The word of the day is "ball.

Today many of you, my students, are going to start learning English in Lesson One in the Blue Level. This is a very important lesson because it's about the verb "be" in the present tense.

In the examples below, I'll show you how you can use the verb "be" in questions and answers:

  • A: Who am I?
  • B: You are a teacher.

Understanding the differences between "you" and "I" is extremely important. In the example above, I (your teacher) ask a question, and you answer it.

 

  • A: Who are you?
  • B: I am a student.

In the example above, I ask another question about you, and you answer it. In all the examples that follow, I ask a question, and you answer it. You can get more help with "you" and "I" in the Aqua Level.

 

  • A: Who is he?
  • B: He is a friend.

 

  • A: Who is she?
  • B: She is my sister.

 

  • A: Who is it?
  • B: I don't know.

In the plural, it's likely you are going to ask a question about a group of people, so I'll just provide one example here:

  • A: Who are they?
  • B: They are my neighbors.

Write these questions and answers in your notebook. Date the entry. Today i September 1, 2018. You should also complete the lesson for today, Blue Level Lesson One.

In addition, there is a reading exercise for you: This is a family.

That's all for now. Check the blog tomorrow for more instruction. You will also receive emailed lessons from me next week.

Each course level on this website has a checklist. Print out and keep the checklist next to your computer, tablet, or phone and use it to track your progress as you move through the lessons:

PRINT:

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