FREE English Newsletter

Making a schedule - setting time to study English

Hello to all my students, followers and friends. 
Today I want to show you why it's important to have a schedule:


Next I want to share with you a strategy that you can use to make your own schedule, and an app I use on my computer, smartphone and tablet PC to keep my schedule organized.

Very basic! How to make a schedule - WikiHow is a great resource and the language is simple making it perfect for English students. This link will take you to the WikiHow page explaining how to make a schedule:

Click for webpage

Last here is an app that I find really helpful to schedule my tasks. Work, exercise, shopping and of course my own language study! It's helpful and it's FREE. I hope it can be helpful for you too!

Click for webpage

Do you make a schedule? Please share your ideas or tips in the comment section below with your fellow language students :)

Listening practice - "Volunteering" news story

Listen to the audio and fill in the blanks.
*See yesterday's blog post for full story


Volunteering helps you live longer

   Volunteering can make you _______ and help you live longer, according to a new study. A research paper _______ on Friday in the journal BMC Public Health says doing good deeds for others boosts your mental _____ and increases your longevity. Researchers from the UK's University of Exeter _______ 40 academic papers into the effects of volunteerism on our health. They found that volunteers had _____ rates of depression, an ______ sense of well-being, and a 22 per cent reduction in the chances of dying within the next seven years. Australians ___ the way in volunteering, with an estimated 36 per cent of the _______ lending a hand.

   Lead researcher __ Suzanne Richards said: "Our systematic _____ shows that volunteering is associated with improvements in mental _____, but more work is needed to establish whether volunteering is ______ the cause." She added: "It is still unclear whether biological and cultural ______ and social resources that are often associated with better health and survival are also associated with a willingness to ______ in the first place." In a separate study from the University of Michigan, researchers _______ three reasons why volunteering may be beneficial. First, it involves _____ activity; second, the social connections we make help to ____ our stress; and third, it gives us a deep sense of ______.


English news story reading practice - improve vocabulary!


Volunteering helps you live longer

   Volunteering can make you happier and help you live longer, according to a new study. A research paper published on Friday in the journal BMC Public Health says doing good deeds for others boosts your mental health and increases your longevity. Researchers from the UK's University of Exeter reviewed 40 academic papers into the effects of volunteerism on our health. They found that volunteers had lower rates of depression, an increased sense of well-being, and a 22 per cent reduction in the chances of dying within the next seven years. Australians lead the way in volunteering, with an estimated 36 per cent of the population lending a hand.

   Lead researcher Dr Suzanne Richards said: "Our systematic review shows that volunteering is associated with improvements in mental health, but more work is needed to establish whether volunteering is actually the cause." She added: "It is still unclear whether biological and cultural factors and social resources that are often associated with better health and survival are also associated with a willingness to volunteer in the first place." In a separate study from the University of Michigan, researchers suggested three reasons why volunteering may be beneficial. First, it involves physical activity; second, the social connections we make help to reduce our stress; and third, it gives us a deep sense of happiness.

longevitynoun a long individual life; great duration of individual life:
“Our family is known for its longevity.”

lending a hand  – expressionhelping, being helpful:
“Hey Chris, this box is heavy. Can you lend me a hand to carry it to my car?”

establish – verb to show to be valid or true:

“The police have a suspect in the crime, but they need to establish a motive (reason) before they arrest him.”


DO/DOES Questions with WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, WHY & HOW

DO/DOES Questions with WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, WHY and HOW.

We use these 5 question words to ask questions. (WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, WHY and HOW) It's natural to we use the verb do/does

Who do you work for?
"I work for an advertising company called Impact Research."

What time does the movie start?
"I think it starts at 8:45."

Where do you want to go for your vacation?
"Hawaii is my first choice."

When do you think you will get to the party?
"If traffic is good I should get there by 7:00."

Why does the boss always yell at his computer?
"He does not get along with technology very well."

How often do you go skiing?
"I try to take a ski trip every 3 weeks."

"The boss is having computer trouble again!"


Yes or No questions with DO/DOES

Yes or No questions with DO and DOES

These questions use the basic form - "DO/DOES + subject + verb in the present simple tense."
DO - I / you / we / they like pizza?
DOES - he / she / it like pizza?
Questions that start with DO/DOES can be answered with Yes or No. Naturally we repeat DO/DOES or DON'T/DOESN'T at the end of our answer.
Do you watch soccer? Yes I do.
Does Walter like spinach? No he doesn't.
Do you know Brenda well? No I don't.

Does your coffee machine work? Yes it does.


English grammar - correctly using FOR, SINCE, AGO

Here is a quick guide to using FOR, SINCE and AGO.

FOR

For talks about a length of time (an amount of time) 10 minutes, 9 weeks, 25 years etc.

"I have known Dylan for 15 years."
15 years before ---------15 years----------- now

"Steven has been trying to catch a taxi for 30 minutes."
30 minutes before -------30 minutes--------- now

"When I was in University I lived in Toronto for 4 years."
2003---------------4 years-------------2007

SINCE

Since talks about a point of time in the past until now.

"I have known Dylan since 2009."
2009 --------------------> now

"Steven has been trying to catch a taxi since 6:30pm."
6:30pm ------------------>now

AGO

Ago means before now.

"I ordered the pizza 25 minutes ago, it should be here soon."
= 25 minutes before

A: "How long ago was your last dentist visit?"
B: "It was 7 months ago. I think it's time for another check-up!"


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English grammar - correctly using STILL

We use still when we talk about a situation or condition that continues, it hasn't stopped yet.

A: "Will there be a baseball game tonight?"
B: "I'm not sure. It's still raining." (It continues to rain)

Still often goes in front of have/has (usually the negative form has not/have not)
"I have lived in Japan for 5 years and I still haven't been to a Kabuki performance."

Still often has the feeling that a situation has continued longer than expected.

"I ordered my new computer 2 weeks ago and it still hasn't arrived!"

"I need my new computer!!"

Think in English - Brain teaser

There are three boxes on a table. One of the boxes contains Gold and the other two are empty. There is a message on each box. One of the messages is true and the other two are false.

The first box says 'The Gold is not here'.
The Second box says 'The Gold is not here'.
The Third box says 'The Gold is in the Second box'.


Which box has the Gold?



Answer below
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Are you sure?
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Try 1 more time!
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Answer:

Box number 1!



Remember 1 message is true and the other 2 messages are false.
If the gold is in box 1 let's look at our messages again.

The first box says 'The Gold is not here'. False
The Second box says 'The Gold is not here'. True
The Third box says 'The Gold is in the Second box'. False
Perfect! 1 message is true and 2 are false. We did it!

English grammar - correctly using ALREADY

Already is used when we talk about 
something happened before (earlier)

A: "Do you want to get some pizza?"
B: "No thanks, I've already eaten."

A: "Let's rent Monsters University tonight."
B: "I don't really want to watch that, plus I think Dad has already seen it."

A: "Junior! Clean your room before you go outside!"
B: "I cleaned it already! Check if you don't believe me."

"Hey boss can I go home a little but early tonight? I already finished those reports."


English grammar - correctly using NOT YET

We use not .... yet to talk about things that we think will happen but have not happened.

A: "Is the package from Head Office here?"
B: "No, it hasn't arrived yet." (B expects them to arrive in the future)

A: "Can I watch TV mom?"
B: "Did you do your homework?"
A: "I started but I haven't finished it yet. I need a break." (The homework is incomplete)

We can answer a question by simply saying not yet.

A: "Can I watch TV mom?"
B: "Did you do your homework?"
A: "Not yet."
B: "You can't watch TV until you do your homework!"

"I wonder why the bus hasn't arrived yet?"


English Idioms - Lose your way

From http://oald8.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/

lose your way

1 to become lostWe lost our way in the dark.2 to forget or move away from the purpose or reason for somethingI feel that the project has lost its way.

"I get lost very easily sometimes. It's easy for me to lose my way, especially in a big city that I am visiting for the first time."

Do you ever lose your way while you are traveling?

"I don't know where I am. Can you help me?"

English idioms - Be set in your ways

From http://oald8.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/

be set in your ways

to have habits or opinions that you have had for a long time and that you do not want to change

"As people get older they become more set in their ways."

"I told my father he should pay someone to cut his grass for him now that he is getting older but he likes to do it himself. He is very set in his ways."

"No one can cut the grass the way I like it!"

English idioms - Out of Whack

Out of whack is an expression we can use to describe something that is not working or acting like it is supposed to. 

"Foreign plants and animals can throw an ecosystem out of whack."

"My back is sore again today. It has been out of whack since I fell last week."

"I've been on painkillers all week!"
From:

IDIOMS

out of whack

 (informalespecially North American English)1 no longer correct or working properlyThe system is clearly out of whack.All the traveling had thrown my body out of whack.The spending priorities were out of whack.2 not agreeing with or the same as something elseExpectations and reality got out of whack.




February - Where does the name come from?

February is the shortest month of the year, but if you live in the North February feels long! It’s very cold!
At the start of the year we learned where January got its name.

Here is the story for February:

    The word February comes from the Roman festival called Februa where people were ritually washed. (This means washed in a set or specific way by a religious standard) Like the name January which comes from a god Janus, there is a Roman god called Februus. But unlike January the month of February is named for the festival Februa and not for the god. The god is named after the festival!


What's your favorite month? Why do you like it?
Write your answers in the comment section below! And don't forget to subscribe to the blog to get 5 new posts a week!!!

English writing practice - Winter Olympics! What are your feelings?


The 22nd Winter Olympics will start today in Sochi Russia! Do you like the Olympics? Does your country participate? What is your favorite event? Why? What do you do during the Olympics? How do you celebrate? Do you go to Olympics parties?

Do you think the Olympics are not so important? What is your favorite non- Olympic winter activity?

This is a great chance to write about your feelings and opinions! (and talk about if you have the chance!) You can refer back to these past blog posts for some example sentences to share your feelings.


http://808english.blogspot.jp/2013/09/giving-your-opinion-in-english_23.html

Write your answers in the comment section below! 

And don't forget to subscribe to the blog 
to get 5 new posts a week!!!
Enter your email address:


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English Brain Teaser - Can you figure it out?


Can you read this?

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Have you got it?
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Try once more! You're so close!
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Answer
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The first word is TRY. Where is the 2? The 2 is under STAND!
"Try to understand!"

Feb 2nd is Groundhog Day! Do you know what Groundhog Day is? (Audio too!)

Groundhog Day!!!


Listen below and read along! Listening is a great way to 
improve all parts of your English!



   Groundhog Day is celebrated on February 2. 
(In North America)

According to ancient (old) stories, if it is cloudy when the groundhog comes out of his home underground on this day, then spring will come early; if it is sunny, the groundhog will see his shadow and go back into his home, and the winter weather will continue for six more weeks.




   Do you have any winter traditions or ancient stories about the weather? Many cultures have traditions at springtime; spring is a happy time of year after a cold and gray winter. Practice talking about the traditions where you live in English. What is the story? Who is in the story? When does the story happen? How do you celebrate? Talking about your own culture in English is a great way to practice and make friends!

Read more about Groundhog Day! - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Groundhog_Day

Write about your spring traditions in the comment section below! Tell me what happens where you live! 


Share this English practice with your friends!


What City Should You Actually Live In? What can we learn pt.4

Today let's look at the last parts of the
What City Should You Actually Live In?
Online quiz...


This simply means what is your favorite alcoholic drink. We sometimes call a drink we like our 'poison' because of the many negative effects of alcohol!


This is a fun one! Your mate means your boyfriend/girlfriend or husband/wife. Let's take a look at some of the vocabulary that may be new for you.

Spontaneity - This means carefree and bold. Always ready to try something new without thinking or worrying too much.

Woo - verb - to romance someone.
"He wooed her with beautiful poetry."

Witty trumps pretty. = Clever and funny is more important than looks. 

And finally...

The new vocab here for some may be 'bloat.' 
Bloat means to swell up or inflate. This word is often used by women if they feel like their body is keeping lots of water (liquids) inside.

I hope my guide to this popular online quiz was helpful! If you have more questions or there is another popular online quiz that you would like me to help with please leave a comment below!

What City Should You Actually Live In? What can we learn pt.3


Today let's look at some more of the
What City Should You Actually Live In?
Online quiz...

The next question is:


The idea with this question is that Beyonce has gone through some changes in her music career. Each choice is from a different time and a different 'version' of her life. Do you know Beyonce? Do you like Beyonce? Do you think she had changed? 

Next is maybe a new one for ESL students:


Do you know what a 'bucket list' is? A 'bucket list' is a list of things you want to do before you die. Where does this expression come from?

Bucket List
*A bucket list is a list of things you want to do before you 'kick the bucket.'
Kick the bucket = die

Most people have exotic travel items (safari) or exciting adventures (skydiving) on their bucket list. How about you? What's on your bucket list?

What City Should You Actually Live In? What can we learn pt.2

Today let's look at the next parts of the
What City Should You Actually Live In?
Online quiz...

The next 2 questions from this quiz are easier ones.



It equals what's your favorite song?
We can call a song a 'jam' and a song that we like or we identify with is OUR 'jam.'





This means "What do you really like to eat?"
THIS wasn't too hard!!!
(I like pizza!)

Then this one can be a little more tricky...

A hashtag is this mark #
Sometimes this is called the number sign or the pound sign. The # is heavily used on Twitter.
I'll be honest! I don't know what all these #s mean, but you can check them out on Twitter to get some more info if you like.
Don't forget my great English808 Twitter account! https://twitter.com/ABCDEnglish808

More on Monday!


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