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Why do you study English? - Results so far...

Why do you study English?

For business.520%
For a hobby or for fun.624%
To make friends around the world.416%
Because I love to travel.416%
To watch foreign movies.312%
Because I'm bored.00%
All of the above312%

Take the survey HERE! Tell me why you study :)

Number of daily resposnse

English Learning strategy

English Learning strategy

Have a schedule.

Set a regular schedule for English practice. Think about when you were a child, how did you learn your native language? How often did you use it? Every day. How often did you listen to it? Every day. How often did you read or see something new? Every day.

Now we are adults, we are busy and English is our 2nd language. That’s okay. Can you study, listen to, read or use English 15 minutes a day? That will help, a lot! Because you are exposed to English every day you will improve, for sure :)

Maybe Sunday is your free day, or Monday, or whenever and you want to study for 1 hour or 90 minutes. That’s great. But try to get at least 10 or 15 minutes every day, and make a plan. Some people like to study in the morning when they wake up, so they plan to read or listen to some English when they wake up or when they have their morning coffee. I like to read Japanese before I go to bed. Many of my students study on the train while they go to work. Using an English podcast, or even reviewing my blog on the train with their smart phone. The point is there are many things you can do, just make a schedule and be creative!

Did you make an English schedule already? Share it in the comment section below so others can get some ideas!

My 3 best tricks for learning English - BONUS TIP

My 3 best tricks for learning English


I have been giving you tips for learning English all week, here is one more that I don’t want to forget.

Use your favorite English movies to help you improve. I often tell my students to watch their favorite English movie (or TV show) on DVD with English subtitles. This way you can read while you listen. (I often do the same with Japanese cartoons on TV.)
If the movie is one you really like it is helpful to already understand the story, that way you can understand the words more easily.

Use your favorite English music to help you improve.
Visit YouTube and type "songs with lyrics" in the search bar.
You will get about 13,100,000 results!
OR type "(your favorite singer) with lyrics"
OR type "(your favorite song) with lyrics"

This is a fun to practice English while you enjoy music that you like!
There are many many songs with the words written in English on in the video.
Give it a try!

My 3 best tricks for learning English #1

My 3 best tricks for learning English

My number 1 trick for great English practice

Here is my #1 secret for learning a new language. Are you ready?

Talk! Talk a lot! Talk about what you know, what you do, what you did, what you will you do and what you want to do. Talk about things that interest you and things you are involved in. Talk about yourself and things that are interesting to you. 

When you start using a new language don’t spend time learning vocabulary that you rarely use in your native language. With more practice and more time you will learn many new words, but they will come naturally when you talk to people. In the beginning learn how to say things that you want to talk about.

I’m an English teacher, but I’m also a language student. (Japanese) Because I’m a teacher I have lots of experience finding helpful and simple ways to improve my student’s English level. Because I’m a student I have lots of experience practicing my own new communication skills, I can share with my students what has worked for me.

Talk as much as you can and also; don’t be afraid to make a mistake! Making mistakes are part of learning, I make lots of mistakes when I try to use Japanese but I always learn from them. Just go for it and you will be amazed at how fast you will improve!

"Do you like movies? Me too! What's your favorite movie? Mine is the Matrix."
"Have you ever been to Thailand? I went last year, let me tell you about it!"
"I like Brazilian music, how about you?"

My 3 best tricks for learning English #2

My 3 best tricks for learning English

Number 2
Tips for Reading/Listening

Choose topics that are interesting to you. Follow your hobbies, interests or job topics. If you listen to English audio but you can’t connect to the topics, you will get bored. If you are bored you won't want to study. If you read English books or English news stories that aren’t about topics you like, you will be bored.

Read about things and listen to things that are interesting for you. If you like gardening, don’t listen to a podcast about car repair. If you like sports don’t read a news story about a classical music concert. 
2 reasons to do this:
a) You won’t get bored.
b)  You will have things to write and talk about in English :)

You can find podcasts and videos online that discuss any topic you can think of. You can find news stories or discussion groups that cover many subjects. If you find a story that looks interesting but the English level is too difficult  take your time and learn 1 or 2 sentences a day. There are many free translating services online and translating stories that you are interested in will get easier and will help you get to the next level. Try to Google something interesting for you in English today! 

My 3 best tricks for learning English #3

My 3 best tricks for learning English

Number 3
Using English text books and writing practice tips

Your grammar text book can teach you helpful grammar points, but if the example sentences it uses aren't interesting for you, the grammar is easy to forget. When you practice writing sentences to practice new grammar, you should write about your own experiences. Even as a beginner in Japanese I practiced basic sentences that I could use with my friends in Japan. My grammar improved because I had things to talk about.
For example:

You learn the verb "GO" and the past tense "WENT" from a text book, the book may have an example sentence like: "Jim and Angela WENT to France."  

We learn the past tense of the verb, and a basic English sentence pattern, BUT if you make your own example sentence with a real experience it is easier to remember. For example:

"My friend and I WENT to Kyoto." - this is something I really did. It's based on a real memory so it is very easy to remember. I don't know 'Jim' or 'Angela' and I've never been to France! So.... it's good for me to use the new grammar in a sentence about me. If I use my own experiences I can remember the grammar easily.

Tell your own story in English!
"Last weekend I went to...."
"I really want to....."
"I like...."
"How about you?"

English survey answers - August 26

Only 3 answers so far. Take the survey and tell me why you study English!

Useful English vocabulary – “even” II

Useful English vocabulary – “even” II

We often use even with the comparative form of adjectives. (bigger, more intelligent) This gives the feeling that we are surprised by the difference.

For example:
“I worked until 10:00 last night, but Danny worked even later than me!”

"Everyone had to work late last night. Even my boss."
“I was surprised at how cold it was yesterday, the middle September is usually warmer. But I was even more surprised at how many people were still wearing tee shirts and shorts!”

When we use conditions we can say even if/even when/even though

“My brother always wears shorts, even if it’s cold out.”

“My brother always wears shorts, even when it’s cold out.”

Even though it’s cold out my brother will wear shorts.”

"There are icicles hanging from the roof, please put long pants on today!"

Useful English vocabulary – “even”

Useful English vocabulary – “even”

One of the ways we use even is to say that something is rare or unusual; surprising.

For example:
“Jason loves his Play station portable. He plays it all the time, even when he’s in the bathroom!” – 
It isn’t usual to play video games when you are in the toilet.

"Not in the bathroom please!"
“Everyone had fun at the party last night. Even Bob and he usually hates parties.”

It is also common to say not even to mean that whatever did not happen was rare or unusual.

“Lilly had a very small wedding, she did not(didn’t)  even invite her sister.”

“No one liked the cake that I made. Not even Jeff and he eats anything!”

"Jeff is like an eating machine. He just pours food in his mouth!"

Useful English vocabulary – still

Useful English vocabulary – still

Today we’ll look at the word still and how we use it in English. ‘Still’ has a few meanings but today we’ll look at how it compares to yet.

still is an adverb and means – an action is continuing, it hasn’t stopped. Still usually comes before the verb that hasn't stopped yet.

"I want to go to the store, but it's still raining." - The rain hasn't stopped, it is continuing to rain.

“Yesterday was so tough! At 10:30 pm I was still working!” – At 10:30 working hadn’t stopped. 

Compare to ‘yet.’

“Yesterday was so tough! At 10:30 pm I hadn’t finished working yet!”

"Look out the window, it's still raining."

Useful English vocabulary - Reader question "Yet"

Useful English vocabulary - Using the adverb YET

A follower on my English Facebook asked me about the word “YET” and how we use it in English. Let’s look at the meaning with a few examples -

the adverb YET

A: Are you ready to go?
B: Not yet. I need 5 more minutes.

Yet is an adverb and can mean – up to now (until now); thus far

We often use yet in negative sentences (do not, is not etc.) and usually yet comes at the end of a sentence. Yet shows that the person speaking expects that something will happen. Read the following examples:

“I just moved into my new house yesterday so I haven’t met my neighbors yet.” – I expect to meet my neighbors in the future, but up to now, I haven't met them.

“I am saving money to buy a new car, but I don’t have enough yet.” – Someday I will have enough money, but thus far I still don’t have enough.

the adverb YET
Keep saving!

Yet is also used in questions:

“Have you met Mike’s new girlfriend yet?” – You will probably meet her sometime in the future.

How’s your English study? Is it fun yet?

the adverb YET

↓ MORE English here! ↓

Other phrasal verbs with IN and OUT

Other phrasal verbs with IN and OUT

Phrasal verbs - A verb plus 1 more word that has a new meaning.

Phrasal verbs are very common in English. Today let’s look at more phrasal verbs with IN and OUT.

Drop in = to visit someone for a short time with no plan
“If I have time tomorrow I may drop in to see Bill on my way home from school.”

Plug in = connect a machine to supply of electricity or a device to another machine

“Can you plug in the cell phone charger for me? I need to charge my phone.”

*The opposite of "plug in" is unplug. (Not plug off)

Fill out = to write information on a form or an application
“If I want to get a store credit card I have to fill out this form first.”
 Cut (something) out = to remove something from a magazine or newspaper
“I like this photo of George Clooney so I cut it out of an old magazine.”

More "OUT" phrasal verbs at:

Phrasal verb week! – INTO and OUT OF

Phrasal verb week! – INTO and OUT OF

 Phrasal verbs - A verb plus 1 more word that has a new meaning.

Phrasal verbs are very common in English. Today let’s look at phrasal verbs with INTO and OUT OF.

When you use INTO or OUT OF you need to follow it with a noun.
For example:

“When my boss came INTO the room everyone was silent.”
"Our boss is very strict!"
“I don’t have any neighbors now, they moved OUT OF the building yesterday.”

“My plane left Chicago at 4:00 but it didn’t get INTO New York until 9:30.”

"My plane is always late!"

“I slipped when I was climbing OUT OF the pool and hit my knee.”

Phrasal verb week! – OUT

Phrasal verb week! – OUT

Phrasal verbs - A verb plus 1 more word that has a new meaning.

Phrasal verbs are very common in English. Today let’s look at phrasal verbs with OUT.

Verbs describing movement use the preposition OUT when we talk about exiting something.

Come out = leave a room or building
“I saw Brad this afternoon, he came out of the bank just as I was going in.”

"Hi Brad!"
"Hi Dave!"
Move out = to move your things out of your current place to live
“The apartment next to mine is empty, the people moved out last week.”

Get out = to exit a place or a situation
“There is too much smoke in this bar, I need to get out and get some fresh air.”

"It's too smoky in here."
Climb out = to leave a place by climbing over the edge
“The water in this pool is too cold for me! I’m going to climb out and get my towel.”

Phrasal verb week! – IN

Phrasal verb week! – IN

Phrasal verbs - A verb plus 1 more word that has a new meaning.

Phrasal verbs are very common in English. Today let’s look at some phrasal verbs with IN.

Verbs describing movement use the preposition IN when we talk about entering something.

Come in = enter a room or building
“Hi everyone, welcome to my housewarming party! Please come in.”
* housewarming party = a party in a new house

Move in = to move your things to a new home, a new place to live
“Sorry my apartment’s messy, we just moved in on Saturday.”

"We have boxes everywhere."

Get in = to arrive somewhere
“I’m tired this morning, I didn’t get in until last night until 1:30 am. My plane got in late.”

Dive in = into the water
“The lake is nice and warm, go ahead and dive in!”


Root word practive - "SWEET"

Here is a look at how one word can become many others. This is a great way to grow yuor vocabulary.

Great English practice! How to use "So & Such" for English conversation.

So and Such

So is used with adjectives:

“Andy gave me some chocolate, he is so nice.”
“Josh is so tall! He grew 5 cm this summer.”

And adverbs:

“Nick runs so quickly.”
“I kiss my baby’s head so gently.”


Such is used with nouns:

“Steve is always complaining about everything. I don’t like to spend time with such people.”

And adjectives + nouns:

“Eric is such a nice person.”

*When we use such and so before an adjective, it makes it stronger.

“Can I borrow a sweater? It’s so cold today.” = very cold.
“Thank you for inviting me to your party, I had such a good time!” = a very good time.

"The trees are lovely but it looks so cold!"

Helpful English practice! Using adverbs - Lately and Hardly

Lately and Hardly

Lately is an adverb that means recently.
“Have you been to the shopping mall lately? 4 new stores opened 2 weeks ago.”
“I lost 3 kilograms! I stopped eating chocolate and lately I have been riding my bicycle to work.”

Hardly is an adverb that means only just, almost not.
“Jerry must not be feeling well. He hardly ate anything at lunchtime.”
“I’m not sure why Chris told me such a personal story, we hardly know each other.”

Do you study English hard? = Do you try your best?
Do you hardly study English? = Do you try very little?

"I need to study."

"I'm too tired to study."

Useful English practice! Adjectives and Adverbs II

Adjectives and Adverbs II

We use the adjective good with nouns.
“The movie we watched on Saturday was good.” Movie is a noun.

The adverb form is well.
“David Beckham plays soccer well.” Play is a verb.

Sometimes we use well as an adjective when we talk about our heath.

A: “How are you today?”
B: “I’m well thanks.”

“My Uncle is not well, he has been in the hospital for the last 3 days with stomach pain.”

More examples of words that are both adjectives and adverbs:
Fast – “Tom is a fast runner.” Tom is a noun
Fast – “Tom runs quite fast.” Run is a verb

Hard – “Basketball is hard.” Basketball is a noun (the adj. hard = difficult)
Hard – “I want to improve my jump shot so I practice hard every day.” Practice is a verb (the adj. hard = really try)

Late – “Scott was late for work this morning.” Scott is a noun
Late – “Scott woke up late this morning, his alarm didn’t go off.” Woke up is a phrasal verb (past tense)


English vocabulary practice! How to use Adjectives and Adverbs

Adjectives and Adverbs

We use adjectives to add information to nouns.

  • That dog is big.
  • It's late.
  • William looks hungry.

We use adverbs to describe verbs.

  • That dog ran away quickly.
  • William never works on Saturdays.
  • I only had coffee for breakfast. 
Some adverbs are just adjectives with an extra –ly. These usually tell us how something is done.

quiet - quietly
bad - badly
perfect - perfectly 

  • “My brother is quiet, he talks very quietly.”
  • “Richard is a bad singer, he sang badly at karaoke last night.”
  • “Soon your English will be perfect! You'll be able to speak English almost perfectly!”
But be careful! Some adjectives also end in –ly.


English phrasal verb – Break down

Phrasal verb – Break down

Break down has several meanings.

1.      Stop working. (for a machine)
“I was driving to work today and my car broke down." - my car stopped working.
“I have 2 rice cookers at my restaurant, if one breaks down I always have a spare.”

2.      Become very upset, very emotional.
“Clark's mother broke down after hearing the news that he was in jail.”

"Please don't call my Mom!"

3.      To divide into smaller parts (break something down)

“Learning English was difficult at first, but my teacher broke the grammar down and gave many examples so it became easy to understand.”

English prepositions, IN, AT & ON with places (video and infographic - updated Dec. 2017)

Learn the meaning of the prepositions IN, AT and ON and practice some of their uses! Read and listen to natural preposition sentences that we use to describe what's around us and where things are. 

Video text below!
Learn the English prepositions IN AT and ON with places
In means inside
We say:
in a room
in a store
in a city
in a lake
in the sea
for example:

Doug loves to scuba dive in the ocean.

I live in Japan where do you live?

At equals beside or close to
We say:
at the door
at the intersection
at the bus stop
for example:
Jim is waiting at the front desk.

Turn right at the traffic lights.

On means surface or contact
We say:
on the floor
on the desk
on his nose
on a page
for example:

I will hang this map on the wall.

Sometimes it's helpful to think of on meaning on top of.
This has the same feeling.

There is a glass of wine on the table.

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