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Practice using English articles A, AN and THE with this news quiz


Remember this news story we learned from this week?

Today I want you to fill in the blanks with the correct article. Please place A, AN or THE in the blank space.
This is hard! Good luck! Find the answers on the May 27 post here:


__ humble rice cooker from Taiwan tries to conquer __ world


TAIPEI -- Ever hear of Tatung? __ Taiwanese company used to make steel but in 1960 started selling rice cookers that to this day accounts for 95% of all rice cooker sales on __ island.

     And now it wants to conquer __ rest of __ world.

     What's so special about __ rice cooker? This one is multitalented. It also steams dumplings and simmers stews, making it __ must-have gadget in __ land where many women continue working after marriage. And where steamed, meat-filled buns are __ specialty.

     The rice cooker has __ unique double-layer construction that cooks indirectly. Indirect heating is said to preserve nutritional value; it also helps to prevent overcooking.
     An outer pot holds and boils water, which heats food in __ inner pot. When __ water in __ first chamber evaporates, __ device shuts itself off, keeping __ ingredients in __ second chamber at __ warm 70 C. According to __ Tatung representative, __ cooker steams rice more evenly than other cookers.
     Tatung's electric cooker is especially good for reheating steamed dumplings and similar dishes because it tends to preserve __ original flavor and texture, which are often lost when reheated in __ microwave or convection oven.
     Tatung introduced __ cooker more than half __ century (50 years) ago because it wanted to sell more steel.
     Tatung had __ technical alliance (partnership) with Toshiba back then and got its inspiration for __ rice cooker's design from its Japanese partner.

     The current best-selling rice cooker at __ mass-retailer in Taipei is __ 4-liter Tatung that sells for around 2,330 New Taiwan dollars (about US$78). It is available in green, pink or other colors.

     According to the store manager, the shop sells around 100 of these devices per month. Newlyweds are big fans. It is also a must-have among students and business people heading abroad.

PDF printable sheet download:



English prepositions - When to use 'FOR' in natural conversation

In English we use the preposition FOR when we wait...

"I'm waiting for the bus. It's late today."

"Whenever I go out with my wife I have to wait for her to get ready! She seems to take forever!"

We also use FOR with the verb look if we are trying to find someone/something...

"I've been looking for Scott all morning. Have you seen him today?"

"Those new furniture 'Super' stores are too big! I went to one on Sunday to look for a new couch and I got lost in the store!"

Click the headline to read the whole story:





"Humble rice cooker tries to conquer the world" - English Listening practice

music-29375_640.png
Click here to listen to or download the MP3.

Listening practice


- Listen to the audio and fill in the blanks.

Ever hear of Tatung? The Taiwanese company used to ____ steel but in 1960 started selling rice cookers that to this day accounts for 95% of all rice cooker sales on the _____.

     And now it wants to _____ the rest of the world.

     What's so special about a rice cooker? This one is _________. It also steams dumplings and simmers stews, making it a must-have ______ in a land where many women continue working after marriage. And where steamed, meat-filled buns are a _______.

     The rice cooker has a ____ double-layer construction that cooks indirectly. Indirect heating is said to ______ nutritional value; it also helps to prevent overcooking.
     An outer pot holds and boils water, which heats food in an inner pot. When the water in the first chamber ________, the device shuts itself off, keeping the ingredients in the second chamber at a warm 70 C. According to a Tatung representative, the cooker steams rice more evenly than other cookers.
     Tatung's electric cooker is especially good for reheating steamed dumplings and similar dishes because it tends to preserve the original flavor and texture, which are often lost when reheated in a microwave or ______ oven.
     Tatung introduced the cooker more than half a century ago because it wanted to ____ more steel.
     Tatung had a technical ______ with Toshiba back then and got its inspiration for the rice cooker's design from its Japanese partner.

     The _____ best-selling rice cooker at a mass-retailer in Taipei is a 4-liter Tatung that sells for around 2,330 New Taiwan dollars (about US$78). It is _______ in green, pink or other colors.

     According to the store manager, the shop sells around 100 of these ______ per month. Newlyweds are big fans. It is also a _________ among students and business people heading abroad.
____________________________________________________

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Full text at yesterday's blog :) LINK ← Click here 

Improve English vocabulary - News story "Humble rice cooker tries to conquer the world"

A humble rice cooker from Taiwan tries to conquer the world

Nov. 25 2013

Ever hear of Tatung? The Taiwanese company used to make steel but in 1960 started selling rice cookers that to this day accounts for 95% of all rice cooker sales on the island.

     And now it wants to conquer the rest of the world.

     What's so special about a rice cooker? This one is multitalented. It also steams dumplings and simmers stews, making it a must-have gadget in a land where many women continue working after marriage. And where steamed, meat-filled buns are a specialty.

     The rice cooker has a unique double-layer construction that cooks indirectly. Indirect heating is said to preserve nutritional value; it also helps to prevent overcooking.
     An outer pot holds and boils water, which heats food in an inner pot. When the water in the first chamber evaporates, the device shuts itself off, keeping the ingredients in the second chamber at a warm 70 C. According to a Tatung representative, the cooker steams rice more evenly than other cookers.
     Tatung's electric cooker is especially good for reheating steamed dumplings and similar dishes because it tends to preserve the original flavor and texture, which are often lost when reheated in a microwave or convection oven.
     Tatung introduced the cooker more than half a century (50 years) ago because it wanted to sell more steel.
     Tatung had a technical alliance (partnership) with Toshiba back then and got its inspiration for the rice cooker's design from its Japanese partner.

     The current best-selling rice cooker at a mass-retailer in Taipei is a 4-liter Tatung that sells for around 2,330 New Taiwan dollars (about US$78). It is available in green, pink or other colors.
     According to the store manager, the shop sells around 100 of these devices per month. Newlyweds are big fans. It is also a must-have among students and business people heading abroad.

New vocabulary:

multitalented - adjective - have many talents.

must-have - adjective - something you need to have.

evaporate - verb - to change from a liquid or solid state into vapor.

preserve - verb - to keep

newlyweds - noun - A couple that are just married. Newly married.

overcooking – we use the word over as a prefix that means too much. Over is often used with verbs or gerunds (verbs with ~ing endings that act as nouns)
“I like working.” Working is a gerund, in this sentence it acts as a noun.
overcooking = cooking too much (this is a noun)
overcooked = cooked too much (this is an adjective)
overwork = work too much
overeating = eating too much (this is a noun)
overdo = do too much
*overlook = fail to notice – “You seem to have overlooked one important fact.”

Common English expression - "You can't miss it." (Updated with audio!)


🎧Listen to the audio by 🖰 clicking here↓




Or 👀watch the video below



There are lots of common English expressions. Today let me show you one that I used 2 days ago when I gave someone directions to a new cafe. Please look at the following conversation:


A: "Why don't we meet at the new coffee shop that opened on Sunday? It's brand new so I don't think too many people will be there."

B: "Okay, but I've never been. Can you tell me how to get there?"

A: "Sure, it's easy. When you get to the train station take the South exit and turn left. There is a huge sign hanging from the roof. You can't miss it!"

Can you guess what you can't miss it means? If you miss something/someone it can mean you didn't see something/someone.

Carl: "Did you see Bob this morning?"
Spencer: "No, he left right before I got to the office. I just missed him."

And we know that if you can't do something it isn't possible.
"I can't stop eating donuts! They are too delicious!"



So.... We can easily imagine something that we can't miss is impossible not to see. 2 negatives in a sentence sounds odd here (impossible + not see) so a perfect definition of can't miss is very easy to see.


There’s a huge sign, you can't miss it!


Practice giving directions and use the phrase You can't miss it! when you describe something that is easy to see!

"I'm having a big garden party this weekend, 
bring all your friends! I live at 328 Main St. I'll tie some 
colorful balloons to my patio gate. You can't miss it!"

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Might have (might've) 
VS Should have (should've)
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3 English Phrasal verbs with BACK

Yesterday we learned some of the different forms (noun, adjective, & verb) of the word back. Today let's look at some common English phrasal verbs with back.

We can see from these examples that phrasal verbs with back all have the feeling of changing our position or moving (backing) away from something.

back down (on/from something)


to take back a demand, an opinion, etc. that other people are strongly opposed to; to admit defeatShe refused to back down on a point of principle.

back out (of something)

 to decide that you are no longer going to take part in something that has been agreedHe lost confidence and backed out of the deal at the last minute.

back off

1 to move backwards in order to get away from somebody/something frightening or unpleasantAs the riot police approached, the crowd backed off.2 to stop threatening, criticizing or annoying somebodyBack off! There's no need to yell at me.
A: "This project is already started, we can't back out now!"
B: "You need to stop shouting! Back off and cool down, then we can discuss the problem."


Click the headlines for the full story!





All helpful definitions on my blog are from The Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary:


4 forms and common uses of the English word BACK


The word BACK has 4 different 

forms in English.

If an English word has a few different uses it can be confusing for my clients. It's confusing for me in my study of Japanese and it's probably confusing for many English students too! I hope this post is helpful for your English study!

BACK - 4 word forms


All helpful definitions are from  


 
noun - the part of your body opposite your chest-

"I fell last weekend playing tennis and I hurt my back." ~ This usually refers to the muscles in your back.


OR - the spine, the row of bones in the middle of your back

"Wendy broke her back in a motorcycle accident. It's serious but the doctor says with surgery she should be better in 12~14 weeks." = Wendy broke the bones in her back (her spine)

② 
adjective - located behind or at the back of something

"I couldn't hear the movie well because I was sitting in the back row." = my seat was at the back of the theater

OR from the past

"I love GQ magazine. I have a subscription and about 75 back issues too." = I also have 75 past issues



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verb - to move or make something move backward 

"I always back the car into my garage." = I drive my car backward into my garage


OR To give help or support to something/someone

"This peace plan is backed by the United Nations." = the plan is supported by the UN

adverb - away from the front

"It’s Saturday! Time to kick back and relax." = time to move away from the front (where the action is)


OR at a distance

"Security kept the crowd back." = security kept people away from the front

OR to or into the place or condition someone/something was before

A: "Mom! Can I you buy these candies for me?"
B: "No, please put them back where you found them." = return the candy to where they were before (before you took them)


OR in return or reply

"Throw me the ball and I'll throw it back." = I'll return the ball to you

"The defenders in football are sometimes called 
the fullbacks and the wingbacks.
They stay back to defend the goal."

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English vocabulary for the 'World Cup' Let's CHEER for our favorite teams!

The word cheer can be used as a noun:

cheer

 noun
a shout of joy, support or praiseA great cheer went up from the crowd.

Or as a verb:

cheer

 verb
to shout loudly, to show support or praise for somebody, or to give them encouragementWe all cheered as the team came on to the field.

BUT...

Sometimes we don't want to cheer, we want to do the opposite. Do you know the opposite of cheer? It's boo!
Boo also has 2 forms:

boo

 exclamation, noun
a sound that people make to show that they do not like an actor, speaker, etc‘Boo!’ they shouted, ‘Get off!’We also shout 'Boo!' when we want to scare someone.

Or as a verb:

boo

 verb
to show that you do not like a person, performance, idea, etc. by shouting booThe audience booed as she started her speech.



All helpful definitions on my blog are from The Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary:



More 'World Cup' English vocabulary "Make the cut"

Yesterday we learned the meaning of qualify. Today I want to teach you an idiom with the same meaning. 

Please look at the following example:

A: "Will Canada be in the 2014 FIFA World Cup?"
B: "No. Canada didn't make the cut again this year."


Athletes train many hours a day so they can make the cut for the Olympics.

You can guess the meaning from these sentences and from yesterday's post. Make the cut means to qualify for a team or a competition. Here are a few headlines with this idiom. Click the images for the full articles:


Women battle to make the cut as top chefs


English vocabulary for the 2014 World Cup! ~ "Qualify"


The World Cup is starting in a few weeks! 
Are you a fan? Do you call it football or soccer in your country?

This week I want to teach you some words that we can use to talk about the World Cup.

I'm from Canada but now I live in Japan. Canada didn't qualify (they never qualify) for the World Cup but Japan did. Let's look at the verb qualify today:

Qualify has a few meanings. 

It can mean reach a standard of ability to do a job, for example by completing a course or passing a test - "My sister qualified as a doctor last year. She passed her medical exam."

It can also mean to have or give somebody the right to do something - "If you live in the area, you qualify for a parking permit."

Or it can mean to have the right qualities to be described as a particular thing - "It's an old building, but that doesn't qualify it as an ancient monument!"

*For competitions like the World Cup qualify means to be of a high enough standard (level) to enter a competition

So... Canada's national soccer team is not at a high enough level to enter the World Cup but Japan's team is. How about your country? Who do you cheer for?


2 English idioms that use the word HIGHWAY

2 idioms that use the word HIGHWAY

Highway robbery = Prices that are very expensive (too expensive).
"$9.00 for a cup of coffee!? That's highway robbery!"

"How much!?!?"
My way or the highway = Do something the way I say (my way) or leave. There is no choice but to do it the way I say.

"I told my Dad that I don't want to rake the leaves this weekend, I want to go camping with my friends. He said as long as I live in his house it's his way or the highway."



Remember that music is great for vocabulary but the grammar is often strange! In this song 'imma' is a contraction of 'I'm going to." Enjoy!


3 Idioms with the word 'ROAD'


Here are some common English idioms that use the word road.

Let's get this show on the road = let's get started
"Okay, the equipment is set up and the audience has arrived. Shall we start the concert?"
"Yeah! Let's get this show on the road!"




Hit the road = leave the place you're at 
"It's getting late, I'd better hit the road." OR
Sometimes hit the road can mean "get out of here" (this is a strong command)
"We don't need you here anymore. Hit the road!" = get out of here


Many songs use incorrect grammar, so be careful!


Somewhere down the road = in the future
"My apartment is great now, but somewhere down the road I may want to leave the big city and live in the country."
 From the news-

Melting proof

-Two reports released this week revealed that parts of the giant western Antarctic ice sheet are melting and that such melting is likely irreversible and ultimately will lead to a dramatic increase in sea levels.

It might happen in as little as 200 years, or it could take much longer, but somewhere down the road the earth is going to look much different than it does today. Research conducted in 2012 indicated that cities such as Miami, New Orleans, New York and Boston would be vulnerable to a sea level increase of four feet. NASA’s report puts the future potential sea level increase as high as 10 feet.

For the full story click here:

Useful English vocabulary - straight


In English we can use the word straight in a few different ways. Let's look at them today with examples:

straight -

1. Not in a curve or at an angle. In a direct line.

"When you talk to your boss you should look him straight in the eye. It shows you can be trusted."

"Bill trained in the military for many years but he still can't shoot straight."

"It's hard to draw a straight line without a ruler."
2. By a direct route; immediately

"I went straight home after work."

"Walter was very tired. After dinner he went straight to bed."
3. In a level or vertical position.

"Many girls pay a lot of money to curl their hair but I think straight hair is very sexy."

"My teacher always told me to 'Sit up straight!'"
4. Honestly and directly.

"Donovan doesn't like Christopher. He told him straight to his face."

5. Continuously without interruption

"On Monday my wife had to work for 14 hours straight at her job."

"The water's warm! I drove straight in."

Learn 50 common English phrasal verbs! + Lots of real examples!

📚 Learn  50 common English phrasal verbs  What is a phrasal verb? ~ In English, a phrasal verb is a combination (mixture) of ...

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