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What City Should I Live In? - What English can we learn from this popular game?

There is a popular online quiz from Buzz Feed that is everywhere on Social Media. Have you seen it?

Click the picture for the game-

There is a lot of popular culture references here and some expressions that are meant to be fun, but as a non native speaker they may be hard to understand.

Let's look at the questions from the quiz and what they mean. Today's question from the quiz is "How Do You Take Your Coffee? -


3 of the answers may be a little difficult for non native speakers. The answers are all meant to be funny, they are not serious at all. This game is just for fun, that's why it has become so popular. Let's look at them now-

By The Pot - This is a clever way to say you drink a lot of coffee! Coffee is made in a pot, and a pot of coffee usually holds many cups of coffee. If I say "I drank 4 cups of coffee today." that is a lot, but not so bad. BUT if I say "I drank 4 pots of coffee today." that is too much coffee!

Pour Over - This phrasal verb means to study something very carefully. "I poured over the report before I gave it to my boss. I wanted to make sure there were no mistakes." We pour drinks out of a bigger container (like a pot!) into a cup or glass so that's why they included it with the coffee question. The literal meaning is to pour something on top of something else. We pour chocolate sauce over ice cream for example.

Black, like my Soul - Some people drink their coffee with no cream, we say they like their coffee black. If someone has a black soul it means they are a terrible person!

Tomorrow is part 2 from this quiz

ESL - Think in English - Brain Teaser

Two girls are born to the same mother, on the same day, at the same time, in the same year and yet they're not twins. HOW CAN THIS BE???!!

*Twins are two offspring (children) produced by the same pregnancy.


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One more try!
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Answer:
The 2 girls are part of triplets!

*Triplets are three offspring (children) produced by the same pregnancy.



English Listening Practice! - "One-dollar charity app "

Listening Practice!
Listen to the audio and fill in the missing words:



You can easily pause the audio and take time to write your answers. When you are done look at Friday's blog post to see the complete story and check  your answers.

Google starts one-dollar charity app 

The search engine giant Google has started a new app that lets people give just $1 to different ______. Its 'One Today' app shows users a _____ of charities every day. The home page says: "Open the app, and you're presented with several projects to which you can _____ $1 with one click. It's that simple. And most people can _____ the occasional $1 donation." At the moment, it is only available in the USA to people with Android _____ phones. Google hopes to start providing the service around the world soon. Google spokeswoman Maya Amoils blogged: "We look forward to continuing to _____ the One Today experience and to growing our dynamic community with _______ [non-profit organisations]."

The One Today website ______ that: "Google has a long-standing commitment to supporting non-profits and to _____ good. One Today makes fundraising easy for non-profits; it also makes giving simple and fun for users." Google believes the app will mean people can ____ more about non-profits. It also hopes people will share their favorite projects on ____  _____ sites so that more people donate. It adds: "Do good daily! Engage with hundreds of non-profit projects each year and help contribute to their ______." Ms Amoils wrote: "We're amazed by the great work non-profits do on a daily basis to make the world a better place, and we're ________ to provide a new ________ which helps [them]."



A Helpful News Story - learn new vocabulary buy seeing it used



Google starts one-dollar charity app 

The search engine giant Google has started a new app that lets people give just $1 to different charities. Its 'One Today' app shows users a variety of charities every day. The home page says: "Open the app, and you're presented with several projects to which you can donate $1 with one click. It's that simple. And most people can afford the occasional $1 donation." At the moment, it is only available in the USA to people with Android mobile phones. Google hopes to start providing the service around the world soon. Google spokeswoman Maya Amoils blogged: "We look forward to continuing to improve the One Today experience and to growing our dynamic community with incredible [non-profit organisations]."

The One Today website explained that: "Google has a long-standing commitment to supporting non-profits and to doing good. One Today makes fundraising easy for non-profits; it also makes giving simple and fun for users." Google believes the app will mean people can learn more about non-profits. It also hopes people will share their favorite projects on social media sites so that more people donate. It adds: "Do good daily! Engage with hundreds of non-profit projects each year and help contribute to their success." Ms Amoils wrote: "We're amazed by the great work non-profits do on a daily basis to make the world a better place, and we're thrilled to provide a new platform which helps [them]."

app – application for smart phone or mobile device (tablet PC etc.)
“I downloaded a Japanese language app for my iPhone yesterday.”
long-standing – existing for a long time
“I have known Fred since I was 10 years old, we have a long-standing relationship.”
thrilled – excited
“I was thrilled to watch my first Kabuki show last year.”
platform – an opportunity to connect with the people
“Play Station 3 is the latest gaming platform that connects players to each other using an Internet connection.”

Common English Idiom - Beggars can't be choosers

Idiom:
"Beggars can't be choosers." = If you get something for free you can't complain about it.
(If you begged, you don't get to choose what you are given)
choosers - CHOO-ZERZ

"It was cold so I asked Bill if I could borrow a sweater and he lent me a real ugly one! At least it was warm, so I can't complain. Beggars can't be choosers."



Increase your listening ability! - Polymer (plastic) money in Canada *news story*



Listen to the audio and fill in the missing words from the news story. 
You can easily pause the audio and take time to write your answers. When you are done look at yesterday's blog post to see the complete story and check  your answers.
This is difficult! Good Luck!!!
New cash is coming. Are you ready?


The Bank of Canada (BoC) _______its new polymer $5 and $10 bank notes on April 30, 2013. They will soon be in _______ says the bank. During November 2013 to be precise.  _________, the Bank has recently posed the question to businesses, “Is my cash-handling equipment polymer-ready?”
The BoC says that the new lower ___________ will be used, “Extensively in vending, self-serve retail checkouts, as well as parking and transit machines.” The Bank will be adopting the same gradual _______ as it did for the $20 polymer notes. However, BoC is ______  acceptors not to delay any upgrades that may be required to accept and _______ the new notes when they are circulated. The Bank says that, “If you have machines with note acceptors, contact your supplier to find out if there are any ________ necessary.”

The BoC says that by _________ the final two denominations of polymer notes at the same time that it is helping the cash-handling industry to plan machine upgrades and the Bank says that it has provided ________ as to the type of equipment adjustments that may be required. “Several months in advance of the notes _______ circulation, the Bank offered manufacturers and suppliers advance bank notes to test on their _________,” said the BoC in a statement. The Bank also says that there are test notes ________ to equipment manufacturers and in the introductory stage of the new notes both paper and polymer $5 and $10 notes will ________ together.




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Increase your vocabulary! - Polymer (plastic) money in Canada *news story*



New cash is coming. Are you ready?


The Bank of Canada (BoC) revealed its new polymer $5 and $10 bank notes on April 30, 2013. They will soon be in circulation says the bank. During November 2013 to be precise.  Furthermore, the Bank has recently posed the question to businesses, “Is my cash-handling equipment polymer-ready?”

The BoC says that the new lower denominations will be used, “Extensively in vending, self-serve retail checkouts, as well as parking and transit machines.” The Bank will be adopting the same gradual approach as it did for the $20 polymer notes. However, BoC is urging acceptors not to delay any upgrades that may be required to accept and dispense the new notes when they are circulated. The Bank says that, “If you have machines with note acceptors, contact your supplier to find out if there are any upgrades necessary.”

The BoC says that by introducing the final two denominations of polymer notes at the same time that it is helping the cash-handling industry to plan machine upgrades and the Bank says that it has provided information as to the type of equipment adjustments that may be required. “Several months in advance of the notes entering circulation, the Bank offered manufacturers and suppliers advance bank notes to test on their machines,” said the BoC in a statement. The Bank also says that there are test notes available to equipment manufacturers and in the introductory stage of the new notes both paper and polymer $5 and $10 notes will circulate together.


circulationnoun – The passing of something, such as money or news, from place to place or person to person.
“Old and damaged bank notes are usually taken out of circulation.”

furthermoreadverb – In addition; moreover
“Video games are getting cheaper all the time; furthermore, their quality is improving.”

denominationnoun –  One of a series of kinds, values, or sizes, as in a system of currency or weights.
“Cash registers have compartments for bills of different denominations.”

urgeverb – To force or drive forward or onward; impel.
“I know you have decided but I urge you to reconsider.”

acceptorsnoun –  One who accepts (something). *This word is not common in spoken English. It's only useful in understanding the story.
“The Bank of Canada is urging acceptors not to delay any necessary upgrades.”

dispenseverb – To deal out in parts or portions; distribute.
“At a drug store the pharmacist dispenses medicine.”

The current five-Canadian dollar features a picture of Canada's seventh Prime Minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier
The current ten-dollar note is features a picture of Canada's first Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald

The Canadian $20 note is the most common banknote of the Canadian dollar. The newest version, the polymer note, was released on November 7, 2012.

English thinking skills - Another Brain teaser - Think in English


Two mothers and two daughters go to a pet store and buy three cats. Each girl gets her own cat. How is this possible?
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Are you sure?
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Try one more time!
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Answer!

There are only 3 ladies.
A grandmother,
a mother
and a daughter.
The mother of the daughter is also the daughter of the grandmother, so she is a mother and a daughter.
3 ladies but 2 mothers and 2 daughters!

How to use TO and FOR - graphic with video!

A video version of my TO and FOR infographic. I hope it's helpful!





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Fire - Learn how to use this word like a native speaker


Fire can be used as an uncountable noun. When we talk about fire as a 'thing' it doesn't need an article (a, an or the).
"Fire is hot."
- We are not talking about something burning, we're just talking about fire itself.

Fire can also be used as a countable noun. When we talk about something that happened fire is countable and needs an article.
"There was a big fire at my neighbor's house. Many firemen came."
- This means my neighbor's house was burning.

"Did you hear about the fire downtown last night? Luckily no one was hurt."
- Last night a building was burning downtown.

*It can also be a planned event.

"We had a nice fire last night by the lake."


Phrasal verb - ON fire
-This means something is burning right now.

"My greenhouse is ON fire!"

Phrasal verb - Burn down
-This means burn completely; be destroyed by fire.

"That old cabin in the woods burned down last weekend."

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2013 The Year of the Horse - 3 idioms with the word Horse

In honor of the year of the horse let's learn some new idioms that use the word horse.

beat a dead horse
To waste time doing something that has already been tried.

"Do you think it's worth sending my manuscript to other publishers or I am just beating a dead horse?"

get something straight from the horse's mouth
To get information directly from the source of information.

"I heard that Kyle will quit school but I don't believe it, it's not like him. I won't believe it until I hear straight from the horses mouth."

(put) the cart before the horse
To do something before you should have. Specifically when it is smart to wait.

A: "I heard the city has approved construction of the new baseball stadium."
B: "Really? The pro team hasn't even agreed to come to our city! I think their putting the cart before the horse."





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2013 - A year in review *REVIEW!


Review! 

Reviewing your new language practice is very very important! Remember when you were a child? You were hearing and using 1st language every day, that’s how you learn. You learn it, and then you use it. You talk with people,

 you read books or magazines,

 listen to music,

 read directions, watch TV etc. 


This is review. Learning a 2nd language is not different. Try and talk with people, read a book or magazine, listen to music, read directions, watch TV in English.

What makes me an expert? My job is teaching English as a 2nd language, I have been teaching since the early 1990s (Martial arts) and I have been teaching English since 2006. I have lots of practical experience and I understand the challenges of studying English as a 2nd language. One of my greatest strengths is that I am not only a language teacher but I’m also a language student! I understand the challenges of studying a new language because I am also learning Japanese. I live in Tokyo so experiencing communication challenges happens every day! This unique combination of being a creative and focused teacher and also a language student have helped me take my teaching to the next level.

I have lots of personal experience but I would love your feedback as well! Listening to the needs of my students and finding new and creative ways to meet those needs has been my greatest tool. Please leave any questions or comments below :) Have a great day and as always let’s enjoy learning English!

Social media can be another great tool for review!

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English thinking skills - Brain teaser


If there are fifteen crows on a fence and the farmer shoots a third of them, how many are left? 

A third = 1/3


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Answer

NONE! After the first birds are shot the rest fly away!
OF COURSE!!!

2013's most popular trending YouTube video and the English we can learn from it

2013 – A year in review

Hello my happy English learners! Let’s look back at 2013 and improve our English skills at the same time.

YouTube’s most watched (trending) video of 2013 was:

Ylvis - The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?)



In this song the lyrics use a very common English expression when we talk 
about a sound made by an animal. 

“Dog goes woof.” = ‘woof’ is the sound that a dog makes.
“Cat goes meow.” = ‘meow’ is the sound that a cat makes.
When are talking about an animal’s voice or the noise they make, we use the verb GO.

*In Canada we say a pig goes ‘oink oink’ but in Japan they say a pig goes ‘buu buu.’ How about your country?

-We can also use GO for reported speech – reporting something that was said by another person – but this is very informal. I used it when I was much younger with my friends, usually telling an exciting or emotional story.
“I was standing outside the bathroom and a teacher goes ‘Shouldn’t you be in class?’ and I go ‘This is my lunch period, why are you bothering me!’ and then I went to the library.”
“The movie was so cool! Arnold Schwarzenegger looks at the cop and then he goes ‘I’ll be back.’ “



It's January, a New Year! Learn what January means (Updated for 2018!)

Welcome to a new year! A new beginning! 
A fresh start!


January is the first month of the year. It's a time for serious thoughts. We look back at the year behind us, we can see all of our experiences and everything we learned. We also look forward to the coming year. We plan and work to improve our lives. 


So we look at our past year and use what we have learned to prepare us for the new year. We look forward and back, a little bit like the Roman god Janus. Janus has two heads that face in opposite directions. One looks back to the past year and one looks forward to the New Year.

It's good to look behind us 
to see where we came from.

Janus' name name comes from a Latin word that means “door.” Doors can symbolize opening and closing, beginning and ending, so it's a good meaning to use at the end of one year and the beginning of the next! I wish you all the best this year!

symbolize (verbsymbolize something to be a symbol of something
synonym represent

"The use of light and dark symbolizes good and evil."


So the first month of the year is called 
January, a name that comes from Janus. 
A god who looks ahead and behind!

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