Summer Homework!

The blogs are going on vacation for the summer. **** I’ve  refreshed an earlier post with great ideas for  your summer homework. Click on the blue links to learn and practice until we return with new lessons in the fall!

Confusing Word Choices

image by WTCC instructor ecparent

image by WTCC instructor ecparent

In these blogs, we teach you the differences between two (or more) confusing words or phrases. Click each one to learn more.

Speaking/Pronunciation

In these posts, we teach you how to pronounce or say something.

Grammar

Here are the answers to some of the most common questions I hear from students.

Practical English

These articles will help you with the English you need every day.

Summer Homework!

*** Refreshing  an earlier post that has some ideas for homework to do  over the summer. There is one activity per week. In July, explore the blog — look at these links or these sites to practice your English online!

 

Level       Week 1     Week 2      Week 3       Week 4
1 & 2  Learn Signs  Practice months and seasons  Practice body parts with your kids  Practice Pronunciation
3 & 4  Practice Simple Present vs. Continuous  Practice colors  Practice the weather Practice irregular past tense verbs
5 & 6  Practice Pronunciation  Learn to Complain  Read a Recipe  Practice past tense pronunciation
ERV  Read more!  Take a vocabulary test  Practice your spelling  Stay abreast of current events

Have a great summer! See you in the fall!

Weather on the Mind

We’ve had some crazy weather in January.  If you want to  talk about the weather with others, use the blog for some activities that will help your with your vocabulary, speaking and listening skills.

Screen shot by M.Yanez

 

First, click on “Online Resources” on the top menu bar under the English Blog Header

Then  click on “Practice Sites”  – a page that has activities for MANY topics

 

 

 

 

 Finally scroll down to the bottom of the page and look for the “Weather” heading   and then try some of the items there. 

 

 

 

If you like learning using  videos, click on “Fun Stuff” on the top menu bar. 

Then click on  “Great Video”s. 

 

 

Again scroll down to the bottom of the page and look for the “Weather” heading. 

How to use ‘work’ and ‘job’ correctly

Men at Work (photo permission from flickr via codey's453) For educational purposes only.

Men at Work
(photo permission from flickr via codey’s453)
For educational purposes only.

What is the difference between work and job?

The biggest difference is that work is both a verb and a noun, but job is only a noun. But let’s look at both words to see other differences.

Work

When you work, you use effort or energy, usually to achieve a goal, finish a task, or make money.  In one way, it is the opposite of play because work is not usually a lot of fun. However, work and play both require energy. Work is really the opposite of rest because work uses your energy while rest does not. Here are some examples of how we use work as a verb:

  • Lisa works for Wake Tech Community College.
  • Jamal works in a café.
  • Kyle worked in his yard all weekend.
  • Right now, Andrea is working on her university degree. She will graduate next year.

office

By Phil Whitehouse (Flickr: New office) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

In these examples, we do not know exactly what the person’s duties, activities, or responsibilities are. Jamal works in a café, but we do not know if he cleans the tables or cooks the food. Lisa works for the community college, but we don’t know if she is a teacher or a secretary or the president. Kyle worked in his yard, but we don’t know if he was mowing the grass or building a dog house. And we can guess that Andrea goes to classes, studies, and does homework, but we cannot be sure.

You can also see in these examples that we use work to talk about things you do to earn money AND things you do when you aren’t paid. If you are using energy, you can probably say that you are working.

People don’t do all the work in the world. I don’t want to use my energy to wash my clothes, so I put them into my washing machine. When we talk about machines, we use work as a verb to mean “function.” If my washing machine is broken, I say, “My washing machine doesn’t work.” If I have a new DVD player, I read the instructions to learn how it works.

Work is also used as a noun in two ways:

Van Gogh's Starry Night

Vincent van Gogh [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

1. to talk about the things that you do or make. If you look at a painting, you are seeing the artist’s work (a finished product). If your boss tells you that your work is good, he/she means that you are doing well. When we talk about a finished art product (painting, symphony, sculpture, etc.), we often call it a “work” of art. When we use this meaning of “work,” it is a countable noun. For example:

  • His favorite works include Mozart’s Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, and Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet.
  • None of Van Gogh’s works were famous when he was alive.

2. to talk about your place of employment or the activities you do there. For example, we say, “I go to work every morning.” That means you go to the place where you are an employee. If someone asks you, “What do you do for work?” they want to know what you do as an employee.

Job

Job is similar to this last meaning of “work.” It usually means the name for the work that you do to earn money. For example:

  • Jamal has a new job. He is a handyman in a small restaurant.
  • My job is to teach adult students how to speak, read, write, and understand English.
  • Katherine has two jobs. She is trying to earn more money so she can buy a computer for her son.

We can also use “job” to talk about a task. Sometimes, I will say to my husband, “I have a job for you.” I am not going to pay him, but I have a task that I hope he will do.

Lessons on States

Here is a map of the United States of America. We are going to use this map for several different lessons. Find the lesson for your level, and let’s get started!

image by Wikimedia Commons user:Wapcaplet, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Levels 1 and 2 – Prepositions of Place

Next to” and “beside” are the same. They mean “on one side” or “to the side of.”

  • North Carolina is next to Tennessee.
  • North Carolina is beside Tennessee.
  • Tennessee is next to North Carolina.
  • Tennessee is beside North Carolina.
  • Illinois is next to Indiana.
  • Indiana is beside Illinois.
  • Colorado and Nevada are next to Utah.
  • Nevada and Arizona are beside California.

Between” means “in the middle” (side to side OR up and down).

  • Utah is between Colorado and Nevada.
  • North Carolina is between Virginia and South Carolina.
  • Iowa is between Missouri and Minnesota.

In” means “inside.” The states have borders (lines where one state stops and a different state starts). Cities are in states.

  • Raleigh is in North Carolina.
  • North Carolina is in the United States.
  • We live in the United States.
  • We live in North Carolina.
  • We live in Raleigh.

Practice with a partner. Person A will ask a question. Person B will answer the question. Take turns asking and answering.

  1. A: Where is Durham?
    B: Durham is in North Carolina.
  2. A: Where is Oklahoma?
    B: Oklahoma is next to Arkansas.
  3. A: Where is Montana?
    B: Montana is between Idaho and North Dakota.
  4. A: Where is New Jersey?
    B: New Jersey is beside Pennsylvania.
  5. A: Where is Hawaii?
    B: Hawaii is in the Pacific Ocean.
  6. A: Where is Alaska?
    B: Alaska is next to Canada.
  7. A: Where is Alabama?
    B: Alabama is between Georgia and Mississippi.
  8. A: What is next to Massachusetts?
    B: New York is next to Massachusetts.
  9. A: What is beside Missouri?
    B: Illinois and Kansas are next to Missouri.
  10. A: What is between New York and New Hampshire?
    B: Vermont is between New York and New Hampshire.

Talk with your classmates.

  1. Where do you live? (I live in __________.)
  2. Which state do you want to visit? Why?
  3. Do you like to travel? Why/Why not?

Levels 3 and 4 – Compass Directions

image by WTCC instructor ecparent

A compass shows the direction you are traveling. There are four main directions on a compass – north, south, east, and west. When we compare the locations of two places, we can use the compass directions and “of.” Here are some examples:

  • Virginia is north of North Carolina.
  • California is west of Nevada.
  • Texas is south of Oklahoma.
  • New Jersey is east of Pennsylvania.

In those examples, the states are touching, but they don’t have to touch. Look at some more examples:

  • California is west of North Carolina.
  • Florida is south of New York.
  • Minnesota is east of Washington.
  • South Dakota is north of Texas.

If you want to show clearly that the states are touching, you can use “just” with the compass direction.

  • Virginia is just north of North Carolina.
  • California is just west of Nevada.
  • Texas is just south of Oklahoma.
  • New Jersey is just east of Pennsylvania.

If a place is not exactly north, but not exactly east, we say it’s north-east. For example, Kentucky is north-west of North Carolina. Here are some more examples:

  • North Dakota is north-east of Wyoming.
  • Texas is just south-west of Arkansas.
  • New Mexico is just south-east of Utah.

Talk with a partner. Look at the map, and take turns asking and answering questions.

  1. What is just west of Georgia?
  2. What is east of North Carolina?
  3. What is just north of Florida?
  4. What is west of Oregon?
  5. What is just north-west of Missouri?

Now practice asking your own questions. Your partner will answer.

Levels 5 and 6 – Abbreviations and Internet Research

Study the easier lessons to make sure you understand. Then search the internet for the answers to these questions.

  1. Where is the Grand Canyon?
  2. Finish this sentence: Barstow, CA is ___________ miles ____________ of Wilmington, NC on I-40.
  3. Where was Abraham Lincoln born?
  4. Where are the Great Lakes? What are their names?
  5. Where is the biggest state? Where is the smallest state? (Don’t just say their names. Describe where they are.)

Every state has an abbreviation that is used for sending mail and writing the name of the state in a short way. Each abbreviation has two letters. We write them with capital letters and no periods. Here are all the state abbreviations.

image by WTCC instructor ecparent

When we read a state’s abbreviation out loud, we usually say the full name of the state. For example, when I see “Portland, OR,” I will say, “Portland, Oregon,” NOT, “Portland, O-R.” This is especially important when you are talking about Louisiana. If you say, “L-A,” people might think that you are talking about Los Angeles, CA. Read these cities and states out loud to practice saying the full name of the state.

  1. New York, NY
  2. Boston, MA
  3. Los Angeles, CA
  4. New Orleans, LA
  5. Raleigh, NC
  6. Atlanta, GA
  7. Austin, TX
  8. Detroit, MI
  9. Chicago, IL
  10. Las Vegas, NV

This, That, These, and Those

This week, we are going to learn about 4 words:

  1. this
  2. that
  3. these
  4. those

We will begin with an easy lesson, and then we will continue to some more difficult lessons. You can choose your lessons.

Lesson for Levels 1-3

Look at the chart, and read the explanations for each word.

image by WTCC instructor ecparent

THIS – Use for 1 thing close to you.
**Example** I am touching a book, or I can touch it because it is near me. It is only one book. I say, “This book is good.”

THAT – Use for 1 thing far away.
**Example** A book is far away. I cannot touch the book because it is far from me. I point with my finger and say, “That book is good.”

THESE – Use for 2+ things close to you.
**Example** I am touching 4 books, or I can touch them because they are near me. There are many books. I say, “These books are good.”

THOSE – Use for 2+ things far away.
**Example** Four books are on the book shelf. I am not near the book shelf. I cannot touch the books because they are far from me. I say, “Those books are good.”

Your Turn

Write a short sentence with each noun. If the noun is singular (near), add “this.” If the noun is singular (far), add “that.” If the noun is plural (near), add “these.” If the noun is plural (far), add “those.”

Example 1: table (near) – This table is tall.
Example 2: tables (far) – Those tables are old.

  1. cup (near)
  2. dog (far)
  3. sofa (near)
  4. babies (near)
  5. buildings (far)
  6. jacket (far)
  7. toys (far)
  8. bags (near)
  9. shirt (near)
  10. pants (far)

Lessons for Levels 3-6

First, make sure you understand the easy lesson. Now I will add some more information.

Lesson #1
Some things are near or far in space. For example, I can touch something because it is close to me, or I cannot touch something because it is far away.

Things can also be near or far in time. For example, I am listening to music. The music is playing now. “Now” is close to me in time, so I can say, “this music” or “this song.” When the song is finished, I will probably say, “that song” because it is not so close to me in time now. Here are some more examples:

  • I am watching a movie with my friend now. I say, “This movie is exciting!”
  • I watched a movie with my friend yesterday. We are talking about the movie now. I say, “That movie was exciting!”
  • I am at a party. I say, “This party is fun!”
  • I am planning to go to a party on Saturday. I say, “That party will be fun!”

Lesson #2
When we introduce people in English, we usually say “this” or “these.” We do not usually say “he,” “she,” or “they.” I know it’s strange because we usually use “he,” “she,” or “they” for people, but in the case of introductions, we use “this” or “these.” For example:

  • These are my parents, Don and Sheila Mosby.
  • This is my friend Kyle.
  • This is Ashley.
  • These are my sisters, Michelle, Angela, Shelley, Kathryn, Rebecca, Denise, and Lisa.

Lesson for Levels 5+

This is an advanced grammar lesson. First, make sure you understand the easier lessons. Now I will give you some more information.

Lesson #1
This, that, these, and those are called “demonstratives” in English because they demonstrate (show) which thing/things we are talking about. We can use these words as adjectives or pronouns.

  • When a demonstrative is an adjective, it has a noun after it. – this book, these people, those rooms, that song
  • When a demonstrative is a pronoun, it includes the noun, so it does not have a noun after it. – That is my coffee. This is your shirt. These are our plates. Those were my friends. – You don’t have to say, “This shirt is your shirt.” It is only necessary to say “shirt” one time.

Maybe you noticed that we use demonstrative pronouns when we introduce people.
– This is my friend Kyle.

You can also use a demonstrative adjective in an introduction if you add a noun.
– This man is my friend Kyle.

In general, Americans speak very efficiently. We say things as clearly as we can with short sentences and words. If your sentence is clear with a demonstrative pronoun, it is not necessary to use a noun with a demonstrative.

Lesson #2
When you use a demonstrative adjective, you never need these words:

  • a/an
  • the
  • my/your/his/her/our/their/its

Your Turn

You can practice using “this,” “that,” “these,” and “those” on this website. Click an exercise to take a quiz. Have fun! I hope THIS lesson helps you!

Past Simple Song Lesson – The Fools Who Dream

Today we are going to learn some grammar with a song from the movie La La Land. Maybe you have seen the movie, or maybe you have heard about it. The main actress in the movie, Emma Stone, won an Oscar (Academy Award) for her performance. It is a beautiful movie with great music. In this scene, Emma Stone’s character, Mia, is telling a story about her aunt. Mia’s aunt was an actress, and Mia also wants to be an actress.

Here are some words that might be new for you. If you have questions about them, please ask your teacher.

image by WTCC instructor ecparent

Mia is telling a story about the past, so many of the verbs in this song are in the past tense. Here are the verbs, their past simple forms, and their meanings.

image by WTCC instructor ecparent

One more thing before I give you the song:

You will hear the phrase “here’s to” many times. We use this phrase when we are celebrating. Imagine that someone is holding up a glass of champagne at a wedding. The person is celebrating the couple who got married, and they say, “Here’s to the happy couple!” It is a phrase for celebration.

Now, read the words to the song.

My aunt used to live in Paris. I remember, she used to come home and tell us these stories about being abroad, and I remember she told us that she jumped into the river once, barefoot. She smiled…

Leapt without looking
And tumbled into the Seine.
The water was freezing.
She spent a month sneezing,
But said she would do it again.

Here’s to the ones who dream,
Foolish as they may seem.
Here’s to the hearts that ache.
Here’s to the mess we make.

She captured a feeling,
A sky with no ceiling,
The sunset inside a frame.

She lived in her liquor
And died with a flicker.
I’ll always remember the flame.

Here’s to the ones who dream,
Foolish as they may seem.
Here’s to the hearts that ache.
Here’s to the mess we make.

She told me,
“A bit of madness is key
To give us new colors to see.
Who knows where it will lead us?
And that’s why they need us!”

So bring on the rebels,
The ripples from pebbles,
The painters, and poets, and plays.

And here’s to the fools who dream,
Crazy as they may seem.
Here’s to the hearts that break.
Here’s to the mess we make.

I trace it all back to then –
Her and the snow and the Seine.
Smiling through it,
She said she’d do it again.

Listen to the song, and read the words again.

Your Turn

Talk about the song with your classmates. Answer these questions in a small group. Remember, when the song talks about “dreaming,” it is not about sleep. In this case, dreams are the things that you want in life. Some people have simple dreams, and some people have BIG dreams. Some people want to live a simple, happy life, and some people want to change the world. These are the kinds of dreams we’re talking about.

  1. Do you have big dreams for your life? What are they?
  2. In some cultures, people are not encouraged to dream about their futures. What do you think about this? Do people in your culture dream about the future? Why/Why not?
  3. Do you think dreaming is foolish? Why/Why not?
  4. Think about a dream you have. Why do you have it? When did this dream start in your mind? Trace the dream back to its beginning.
  5. Do you think we need a little craziness in life? Why/Why not?
  6. Think of a person who inspires you. Tell us about him/her.
  7. What do you think about this song?
  8. Have you seen the movie? If so, did you like it? If not, would you like to see it? Why/Why not?

 

Other, Another, and Others

Many students are confused by these words:

  • other
  • another
  • others
  • the other
  • the others

Do you know the difference? I will try to explain them simply. All of these words show that something is different or separate from something else.

image by WTCC instructor ecparent

Other

“Other” is an adjective. Adjectives describe nouns. We use “other” before plural and non-count nouns.

  • other people
  • other countries
  • other rice

I will put these phrases into sentences. You will see that I am separating things in each sentence.

  • Some people love cats, but other people love dogs. – I am separating people based on the animals that they love.
  • There are 3 students in my class from China, but there are 15 students from other countries. – I am separating countries and people who are from different countries.
  • If you don’t like this kind of rice, I have other rice that I can cook. – Maybe I have brown rice, basmati rice, and wild rice. I am separating different kinds of rice.

Another

“Another” is also an adjective. We use it before singular nouns. It means “one more” or “one different.”

  • another cookie
  • another person
  • another country

Now, I will put these phrases into sentences. You can see that I am talking about one more or one different thing/person.

  • I ate 4 cookies, but I want another cookie. – I want one additional cookie.
  • There are 10 people in this room, and another person is arriving now. – One more person is arriving. Soon we will have 11 people in the room.
  • I’m from France, but my friend is from another country. – My friend is from a different country, not my country.

Others

This word is a little more difficult. “Others” is a pronoun. Pronouns – like “he,” “she,” and “it” – take the place of nouns. We can use pronouns very simply:

  • Jim is tall. He is tall.

Or we can use them in the place of very long, complicated nouns:

  • The students who have been playing soccer all day look tired. They look tired.

We use “others” in the place of “other + a plural noun.”

  • Some people love cats, but others love dogs. – In this sentence, “others” means “other people.”

We can only use “others” when the noun is very clear. We usually use it because we don’t want to repeat the noun. When we use “others,” we are speaking generally. We are not talking about a specific group.

Another (as a pronoun)

It is also possible to use “another” as a pronoun. Again, we use it when the noun is clear (because we already used it), and we don’t want to use it again. It still means “one more thing” or “one different thing.”

  • I ate 4 cookies, but I want another. – I don’t want to repeat “cookie,” and it is clear that we are talking about cookies, so I don’t need to repeat it.
  • There are 10 people in this room, and another is arriving now. – It is clear that I am talking about people, so I don’t need to say “person.” You can understand that I mean “another person.”

The other

In general, we use “the” when:

  1. we are talking about something specific
    AND
  2. both the speaker and the listener understand which specific thing we are talking about.

We can use “the other” with any kind of noun (singular, plural, or non-count).

  • the other cookie
  • the other people
  • the other furniture

Now, I will put these phrases into sentences for you.

  • I ate the other cookie. – In this situation, there was one more cookie. I know that there was only one cookie because “cookie” is a singular noun. The speaker and the listener both understand which cookie we are talking about because we were sitting together. We both saw the plate with one remaining cookie.
  • These people arrived 5 minutes ago, but I don’t know when the other people arrived. – In this situation, there are two groups of people. One group of people arrived 5 minutes ago. The second group of people arrived at some other time. We are talking about a specific group of people, not all people in general.
  • We will take some of our furniture with us when we move, but we will sell the other furniture. – We have a lot of furniture. We want to keep some of it, but we want to sell some more. In my mind, I have separated my furniture into two specific groups. The first group will move with me. The second group will be sold.

It is also possible to use “the other” as a pronoun (not include the noun when it is clear which noun we are talking about). However, we can only use is as a pronoun for singular nouns. Here are some examples:

  • You ate one cookie, and I ate the other. – There were two cookies. You had one, and I had one. I don’t need to repeat “cookie” because it is clear.
  • That student is from France, and the other is from South Korea. – There are two students. One student is from France, and one student is from South Korea. I don’t need to repeat “student.”
  • You clean this bathroom, and I will clean the other. – We have two bathrooms, and we will each clean one. I don’t need to repeat “bathroom.”

You can also write all of these sentences with “the other one.”

  • You ate one cookie, and I ate the other one.
  • That student is from France, and the other one is from South Korea.
  • You clean this bathroom, and I will clean the other one.

The others

Finally, we have “the others.” You can probably guess the meaning. We use “the others” as a pronoun to talk about a specific group.

  • These people arrived 5 minutes ago, but I don’t know when the others arrived. – In this situation, there are two groups of people. One group arrived 5 minutes ago. The other people arrived at a different time. It is clear that I am talking about people in this sentence, so I don’t need to repeat the word “people.” However, I must use “the others” (plural) because “people” is plural.

Your Turn

Now, it’s time to practice! Click here to take a quiz. Ask your teacher if you have questions about the answers.

Clothes for All Levels

This week, we will look at clothes. We will learn the names of clothes. Study the vocabulary for your level:

  • Easy – Level 1 and Level 2
  • Medium – Level 3 and Level 4
  • Difficult – Level 5 and Level 6

If you have questions about the words, you can ask your teacher.

Photo #1

Dress

photo used with permission from Amaris Photography – http://amarisphoto.com/

In this picture, we see:

  • a woman
  • a dress
  • shoes

Easy – The woman is wearing a dress. The dress is blue.
– She is wearing shoes. The shoes are red.
– She is wearing a blue dress. She is wearing red shoes.

Medium – This woman is wearing a blue, knee-length dress and red, high-heeled shoes.

Difficult – This woman is wearing a blue, knee-length dress with cap-sleeves. She’s also wearing red heels with t-straps.

Photo #2

Vicky's Dress

photo by WTCC instructor

In this picture we see:

  • a woman
  • a dress
  • pantyhose
  • shoes

Easy – The woman is wearing a dress. The dress has flowers on it.
– She is wearing shoes. The shoes are black.
– She is wearing pantyhose. The pantyhose are black.
– The woman is wearing black shoes, black pantyhose, and a dress with flowers on it.

Medium – This woman is wearing a long-sleeved, flowered dress, black pantyhose, and black dress shoes.

Difficult – This woman is wearing a long-sleeved, black, flowered dress, black hose, and pointy-toed, black dress shoes.

Photo #3

Lane's Summer Clothes

photo by WTCC instructor

In this picture, we see:

  • a woman
  • a tank top (or sleeveless shirt)
  • shorts

Easy – The woman is wearing a tank top. The tank top is blue.
– She is wearing shorts. The shorts are blue.
– She is wearing a blue tank top and blue shorts.

Medium – This woman is wearing a light blue tank top and long, dark blue shorts.

Difficult – This woman is wearing a light blue tank top with embroidery at the neckline and long, dark blue, denim shorts with cuffs.

Photo #4

Beth's Coat

photo by WTCC instructor

In this picture, we see:

  • a woman
  • a coat
  • a scarf

Easy – The woman is wearing a coat. The coat is black.
– She is wearing a scarf. The scarf is purple.
– She is wearing a black coat and a purple scarf.

Medium – This woman is wearing a hip-length, black coat and a large, purple scarf.

Difficult – This woman is wearing a hip-length, hooded pea coat and a large, purple scarf with tassels.

Photo #5

photo by WTCC instructor

In this picture, we see:

  • a woman
  • a t-shirt
  • sunglasses
  • earrings

Easy – The woman is wearing a t-shirt. The shirt is pink.
– She is wearing sunglasses. The sunglasses are dark.
– She is wearing earrings. The earrings are silver.
– She is wearing a pink t-shirt, dark sunglasses, and silver earrings.

Medium – This woman is wearing a light pink, short-sleeved t-shirt, dark sunglasses, and silver hoop earrings.

Difficult – This woman is wearing a light pink, short-sleeved t-shirt, dark sunglasses, and silver hoop earrings. The t-shirt is nice and would be appropriate for work in many places.

Photo #6

By Official White House Photo by Pete Souza (P120612PS-0463 (direct link)) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

In this picture, we see:

  • Barack Obama
  • a shirt
  • a tie
  • a jacket

Easy – Barack Obama is wearing a shirt. The shirt is white.
– He is wearing a jacket. The jacket is dark blue.
– He is wearing a tie. The tie is royal blue.
– President Obama is wearing a white shirt, a dark blue jacket, and a royal blue tie.

Medium – President Obama is wearing a white, button-down shirt, a dark blue jacket, and a royal blue tie with white spots.

Difficult – President Obama is wearing a white, button-down, collared shirt, a royal blue tie with white spots, a dark blue suit jacket with an American flag pin on the lapel, and a watch.

Photo #7

By May Lee [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

In this picture, we see:

  • a man
  • a t-shirt
  • a jacket
  • jeans
  • boots

Easy – The man is wearing a t-shirt. The shirt is gray.
– He is wearing a jacket. The jacket is gray.
– He is wearing jeans. The jeans are blue.
– He is wearing boots. The boots are brown.
– This man is wearing a gray t-shirt, a gray jacket, blue jeans, and brown boots.

Medium – This man is wearing a gray graphic t-shirt, a dark gray jacket, blue jeans, and brown ankle boots.

Difficult – This man is wearing a gray t-shirt with a skull design, a gray denim jacket, cuffed blue jeans, and brown ankle boots.

Photo #8

photo by WTCC instructor

In this picture, we see:

  • a woman
  • a jacket
  • shorts
  • socks
  • shoes

Easy – The woman is wearing a jacket. The jacket is black.
– She is wearing shorts. The shorts are pink.
– She is wearing socks. The socks are tall.
– She is wearing shoes. The shoes are for running.
– This woman is wearing a black jacket, pink shorts, tall socks, and running shoes.

Medium – This woman is wearing a long-sleeved, black jacket, hot pink shorts, tall, striped socks, and purple running shoes.

Difficult – This woman is wearing a long-sleeved, black jacket, hot pink shorts, striped knee-socks, and purple running shoes. The dog is wearing a collar with a leash.

Your Turn

What are you wearing? Describe your outfit (clothes that you are wearing together). Describe the outfits of your classmates.

Confusing Pairs – What’s the difference?

This week, we are going to look at pairs (2) or groups of words that students often confuse. For example, do you know the difference between “borrow” and “lend”? What about “dead” and “died”? Many students are confused by these pairs. Let’s look at them (and more!) to learn the differences.

Dead vs. Died

“Dead” is an adjective. We use it to describe a person who was alive before, but is not alive now. “Died” is a pas verb (present is “die”). We use it to describe what a person does. For example, my grandmother died many years ago. She is not alive now. She is dead.

We also use these words for electronics and appliances when they stop working. For example, “I’m sorry I didn’t call you last night. My phone died.” Here, we mean that the battery died, so the phone had no power. Here’s another example: “We need a new refrigerator. Ours is dead.” This means the refrigerator does not function any more. There is something wrong with it, and we cannot repair it.

Borrow vs. Lend

  • borrow (v) – to take for a short time
  • lend (v) – to give for a short time

I do not have a pencil. I need a pencil. You have a pencil. I want to take your pencil for a moment. I want to borrow your pencil. I ask, “Can I borrow your pencil?” I can also ask, “Would you lend me your pencil?”

Meet vs. See

When I go to a new place with new people, I meet new people. I say, “It’s nice to meet you.” I only say that the first time. When I see someone I already know, I say, “It’s nice to see you.”

(first meeting, at a party)
Ana: Hi, I’m Ana.
Kyle: It’s nice to meet you, Ana. I’m Kyle.
Ana: Nice to meet you, too.

(one week later, at the supermarket)
Kyle: Ana?
Ana: Oh hi, Kyle! It’s nice to see you again.
Kyle: Nice to see you, too.

Remind vs. Remember

Remember only requires one person. When an idea or thought comes into my mind again, I remember. For example, I think, “I need to wash the towels. I will get the towels from the bathroom and put them in the dirty laundry.” Then I go into the bathroom and think, “Why did I come into the bathroom?” Then the thought comes into my mind again. “Oh yes, I need to wash the towels. I will get the towels and put them in the dirty laundry.” When the thought comes into my mind the 2nd time, I remember why I came into the bathroom.

Remind might require two people. When someone helps me to have an idea or thought again, that person reminds me. For example, I think, “I need to wash the towels. I will get the towels from the bathroom and put them in the dirty laundry.” Then I go into the bathroom and think, “Why did I come into the bathroom?” I say to my husband, “Why did I come into the bathroom?” He says, “You are going to get the towels.” Then the thought comes into my mind again. “Oh yes, I need to wash the towels. I will get the towels and put them in the dirty laundry.” When my husband says, “You are going to get the towels,” he reminds me that I am going to wash them. He helps me to remember.

You can put an appointment in the calendar of your phone, and your phone will remind you about the appointment. Your phone helps you to remember.

See vs. Look vs. Watch

  • see (v) – to use your eyes / to take information into your brain with your eyes
  • look (v) – to put your eyes in a specific direction on purpose / to direct your eyes to something / to try to see something
  • watch (v) – to put your eyes on something that is moving / to direct your eyes to a moving object, show, game, etc.

If your eyes function normally, you can see. Light comes into your eyes, and your brain understands images. You do not do this on purpose. It is simply normal if your eyes work normally.

“Look” and “watch” are actions that you do on purpose. You move your eyes because you want to see something (you want your brain to take information in and understand the image). When you put your eyes on something, you look. When you put your eyes on something that is moving or changing for some time, you watch.

Here is an example. A father and his daughter are at a park. The father receives a text message while daughter goes down the slide.

daughter: Dad! I went down the slide! Did you see me?
dad: No, honey, I’m sorry. I wasn’t watching.
daughter: Watch me this time!
dad: Ok!
(Dad receives another text. He looks at his phone.)
daughter: Look, Dad! Watch me!
dad: I saw you that time. Great job!

“Look” and “watch” are like “paying attention” with the eyes. When you move your eyes in a specific direction, you are looking. When you pay attention for a period of time (long or short), you are watching.

Discuss vs. Argue

  • discuss (v) – to talk about
  • argue (v) – to fight with words

You can remember the difference because Argue and Angry both begin with A. Is it possible to discuss something angrily? Yes. We call that arguing.

Your Turn

Choose a pair/group of words you want to practice. Write some sentences or a conversation with them. Ask your teacher if you used the words correctly. You can also write your sentences in a comment, and I will tell you if you have used the words correctly.