I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For – Intermediate Grammar/Listening Practice

For ESL levels 3 and up.

This song is by a band called U2. Maybe you have heard about them. They have been making music for a very long time. Most of the verbs in “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” are in the present perfect tense. This chart shows how to make present perfect verbs:

image by WTCC instructor ecparent

image by WTCC instructor ecparent

If you are confused about subjects and don’t know which one you need, please read the explanation in the last post.

Past Participles

Now let’s talk about past participles. Every verb has several different forms. One form is the base form. This is the verb with no changes – no -s, no -ed, no -ing at the end, no “to” at the beginning. “Be” is a base verb. “Go” is a base verb. “Eat” is a base verb.

Another form is the past simple form. We use this to talk about action in the past. “Was,” “went,” and “ate” are past simple verbs.

  • Yesterday, I was hungry. I went to a restaurant. I ate some food.

Another form of a verb is the past participle. Many times, the past simple form and the past participle form are the same. If the past simple form of a verb ends in -ed, the past participle is usually the same.

  • walked (past simple) – walked (past participle)
  • shopped (past simple) – shopped (past participle)
  • wanted (past simple) – wanted (past participle)

However, many verbs in English are irregular. That means they don’t have an -ed ending in both the past simple and past participle forms. There are MANY irregular verbs in English. Click here to see and download a chart of many common irregular verbs.

Here is the song.

The verbs are in parentheses ( ). Write the verbs in present perfect tense. Don’t forget to use have/has and the past participle form of the verb. Then listen to the song. Click here to download and print the words.

I  _________________________ (climb) highest mountains
I ___________________(run) through the fields
Only to be with you
Only to be with you

I ___________________(run), I ___________________________(crawl)
I _______________________(scale) these city walls
These city walls
Only to be with you

But I still ___________________________(not find)
What I’m looking for
But I still ___________________________(not find)
What I’m looking for

I __________________________(kiss) honeyed lips
___________________(feel) the healing fingertips
It burned like fire
This burning desire

I __________________________(speak) with the tongue of angels
I __________________________(hold) the hand of a devil
It was warm in the night
I was cold as a stone

But I still ___________________________(not find)
What I’m looking for
But I still ___________________________(not find)
What I’m looking for

I believe in the Kingdom Come
Then all the colors will bleed into one
Bleed into one
But yes I’m still running

You broke the bonds
And you loosed the chains
You carried the cross
And all my shame
All my shame
You know I believe it

But I still ___________________________(not find)
What I’m looking for
But I still ___________________________(not find)
What I’m looking for

Now listen to the song.

What questions do you have?

  • Do you have questions about the vocabulary in the song?
  • Do you have questions about present perfect verbs?
  • Do you have questions about past participles or irregular verbs?

Ask your teacher or leave a comment!

Your Turn

Discuss your answers to these questions with your classmates:

  • Did you like this song? Why or why not?
  • What do you think the man is looking for? Do you think he will find it?
  • What are you looking for in life? Have you found it?

Without You – Beginning Listening/Grammar Practice

For ESL levels 2 and up.

This song is from a musical play called Rent. It is about a group of friends in New York City in the 1990s. A man and a woman sing this song together. All of the verbs in “Without You” are in the present simple tense. This chart shows how to make present simple verbs:

Present Simple Verb Chart

image by WTCC instructor ecparent

Some students are confused about some of these subjects. I will explain a little.

  • We use “they” for all plural nouns (people or things).
    – brothers = they
    – telephones = they
    – teachers = they
    – cities = they
  • We use “it” for singular and noncount nouns (things only). We sometimes use “it” for animals (when we don’t know if the animal is male or female).
    – telephone = it
    – city = it
    – grass = it
    – coffee = it
    – dog = it
  • We use “he” and “she” for singular people. We sometimes use “he” and “she” for animals (when we know an animal is male or female, like a pet). We RARELY use “he” or “she” for things.
    – brother = he
    – sister = she
    – teacher = he (man) or she (woman)
    – dog = he (male) or she (female)

The subject of each verb is in italics. You must decide how to write the verb – with s or without s. Click here to print the song.

Without you,
The ground _________________ (thaw),
The rain _________________ (fall),
The grass _________________ (grow).

Without you,
The seeds _________________ (root),
The flowers _________________ (bloom),
The children _________________ (play).

The stars _________________ (gleam),
The poets _________________ (dream),
The eagles _________________ (fly)
Without you.

The earth _________________ (turn),
The sun _________________ (burn),
But I _________________ (die)
Without you.

Without you,
The breeze _________________ (warm),
The girl _________________ (smile),
The cloud _________________ (move).

Without you,
The tides _________________ (change),
The boys _________________ (run),
The oceans _________________ (crash).

The crowds _________________ (roar),
The days _________________ (soar),
The babies _________________ (cry)
Without you.

The moon _________________ (glow),
The river _________________ (flow),
But I _________________ (die)
Without you.

The world _________________ (revive),
Colors _________________ (renew),
But I _________________ (know) blue, only blue,
Lonely blue,
Within me, blue.

Without you.

Without you,
The hand _________________ (grope),
The ear _________________ (hear),
The pulse _________________ (beat).

Without you,
The eyes _________________ (gaze),
The legs _________________ (walk),
The lungs _________________ (breathe).

The mind _________________ (churn),
The heart _________________ (yearn),
The tears _________________ (dry)
Without you.

Life _________________ (go) on,
But I _________________ (be) gone
‘Cause I _________________ (die)
Without you.

Without you
Without you
Without you

Now listen to the song.

What questions do you have?

  • Do you have questions about the vocabulary in the song?
  • Do you have questions about present simple verbs?
  • Do you have questions about subjects – I, you, we, they, he, she, it?

Ask your teacher or leave a comment!

Talk to me!

  • Did you like this song? Why or why not?
  • Do you want more music on the blog?
  • Do you want more grammar on the blog? What do you want to learn?

Leave a comment, and tell me how I can improve the English Language blog!

Winter Break Practice

(image from Wikimedia Commons)

(image from Wikimedia Commons)

Dear Students,

Can you believe it? The semester is almost over! This post will be the last blog post until January 2016. In this post, you will find links to previous posts. Click on the links in the box and practice and review what you learned in class.

This post is also the last post I will write. I started writing for the blog in January 2013. I have written a lot of posts in the past almost-3 years! It was very fun to write for the blog and to receive feedback and comments from all of you students. Thank you! A new writer for the English Language blog will start in January 2016. That person will have a lot of good, new ideas to help you all learn more English.

Enjoy the post, and have a great vacation!


Jaimie Newsome, Wake Tech ESL Blog Team

Level Listening Speaking Reading Writing
1 & 2  Where are you from?

What are you doing?

 Common Words  Reading  Writing by Hand

(watch the video)

3 & 4  The Word “Ain’t”  Phonics Stories  The Kiss That Missed  Writing Advice
5 & 6  A Taxi Drive  Stress and Intonation  Long Distance Call  Speaking or Writing?
ERV  President Obama’s Addresses

NPR Story Corps

 Perfect Pronunciation  Many Stories  Writing

Listening Practice for Beginners!

(image by "Breakfast of Champions" by Alisdair McDiarmid)

(image by “Breakfast of Champions” by Alisdair McDiarmid)

What time do you wake up? Do you eat breakfast?

Here is a listening activity to practice morning routines.

Use this link: http://www.soundsenglish.com/routine.html

You will need this vocabulary. Click on the word for a picture.

Listen to the woman talking. Write the words you hear.

Is your morning routine similar to hers?

Listening Practice for Intermediate & Advanced Students

(photo by "Credit-cards" by Lotus Head)

(photo by “Credit-cards” by Lotus Head)

Are you ever nervous when you have to talk on the telephone? It is one of the most difficult things to do in another language. Most communication in the real world is non-verbal, so when we talk on the phone, we have to rely only on words. This is difficult when English is not our first language!

Today, let’s practice listening to a telephone conversation. This is from a video by English with Elizabeth. In it, you can listen to a conversation about an incorrect charge on a credit card.

As you listen to the conversation, try to discover the reason Mariam is upset.

Listen carefully to the dialogue.


Do you know why she is upset?

Listen again, and fill in the blanks:

Customer Service: Hello, Visa Card services. Can I help you?

Mariam: Yes, I need to talk to someone about a _________ on my card.

Customer Service: Ok, I can help you with that. I need your _________and ____________ number.

Mariam: My name is Mariam Jones. My account number is _____________ _______ 5555

Customer Service: And for verification purposes, Mariam, could you please tell me the last four digits of your social security number?

Mariam: _____

Customer Service: Thank you. How can I help you today?

Mariam: There is a charge for $_______ dollars on my statement that I didn’t _______.

Customer Service: I see. I can help you with that. What’s the date of the ________________?

Mariam: It was made on January __________. The store is Acme Supermarket.

Customer Service: And you did not _________ at Acme that day?

Mariam: No, I didn’t.

Customer Service: Ok. I’m going to put your card on _________, and you will not be ___________ for the charge of $150. We’ll be sending you a new card in the _________. Is there anything else I can help you with today?

Mariam: How long will it take for me to get my new card?

Customer Service: Um, a week to 10 days.

Mariam: Ok, ______ _____ then thank you.

Customer Service: You’re welcome. Have a nice day.


We hope you never have to call about an incorrect charge on your credit card, but if you do, now you know what vocabulary you can use when you talk on the phone in English!

Reading Pronunciation (Levels 1-3)

Van (image by 天然ガス)

Van (image by 天然ガス)

Is it difficult to read in English? Sometimes, we write and pronounce words differently. For example, you read, “I walked to school” like “I walkt to skool.” Sometimes the spelling and the pronunciation is not the same.

But there is good news! You can learn pronunciation rules that can help you pronounce words correctly. About 80% of English uses pronunciation rules. The other 20% are exceptions.

There is an order to learning the 44 sounds of English.


  • consonants (b, c, d, f, g, h, j, k, l, m, n, p, q, r, s, t, v, w, x, y, z)
  • 5 short vowels (a, e, i, o, u)
  • words with short vowels (cat, leg, lip, mop, rug)
  • consonant blends (brush, grass, smart, etc.)
  • 5 long vowels (a, e, i, o, u)
  • words with long vowels (late, meet, like, smoke, flute)
  • exceptions to the rules

If you want to start with the letter sounds, click here. (This website is for children, but is the best one for hearing different sounds!)

Today we will look at short A.

Click on this link to hear a story. Practice reading the story. Repeat after the narrator. Does your “a” and his “a” sound the same?


Listen to the story again and write the word.

  1. Dan has a ____________.
  2. The _________ is for work.
  3. He has a _________ in his van.
  4. He looks at the _______ a lot.
  5. He _________ go west.
  6. He _________ go east.
  7. He _________ go north.
  8. He _________ go south.
  9. Dan is ___________ to have a ________ in his van for work.

For more stories, click here.

Next week, we will look at more difficult pronunciation and spelling. See you then!

Parts of Speech: Interjections

(photo by WT instructor JLN)

(photo by WT instructor JLN)


Mmmmm! That smells delicious! What is it?






Yuck! What IS that? It looks disgusting!



We use a lot of interjections in English. Interjections are small words or sounds. They can be loud exclamations or noises you make with your mouth closed.

Here are some interjections we use in English. Usually you hear these more than you write or read them.

Word Meaning Example
Oh! Surprise Oh! It’s 8:00! I’m late!
Uh . . . Hesitation Uh . . . I think . . . uh . . . the answer is . . . uh . . .
Uh-huh Yes, agreement “Did you like the movie?” “Uh-huh.”
Uh-uh No, disagreement “Did you like the movie?” “Uh-uh.”
Ouch! Pain Ouch! You stepped on my toe! That hurts!
Hmmm Hesitation, thought “What’s your opinion on global warming?” “Hmmm. I’m not sure.”
Um Hesitation Hi, my name is, um, Jaimie.

You can see another list here. Enjoy!

This video is a recording of what you just read. Listen to it so you can know how to pronounce the words.


Many times my students ask me, “Teacher, what is ‘so’? How can I use it?”

That’s a great question!

“So” has many meanings. Look at these sentences:

  1. I love you so much! I want to give you so many kisses!
  2. He is so rich that he can buy 50 BMWs.
  3. He was hungry, so he ate a sandwich.
  4. So what? I don’t care.
  5. So long! Talk with you later!

“So” is a little different in all of these sentences.

1. A LOT

“So” is similar to “a lot.” You can say, “I love you a lot” or “I want to give you a lot of kisses.”


He is so rich! How rich? So rich that he can buy 50 BMWs. I am so sad . . . how sad? So sad that I could cry.

3. THEREFORE, NEXT (connection)

He’s hungry, so he eats. I’m tired, so I’ll sit down. It’s hot, so I’ll open a window. “So” connects two ideas.


  • You can use “So?” or “So what?” to mean “I don’t care.”
  • “So long” means “Goodbye.”
  • “I think so” means “I agree.”

This website has more explanation comparing “so” and “such.”

PRACTICE. Listen to these songs. What does “so” mean in each song?

1. Pink, “So What?”

2. Hank Williams, “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” (lonesome = sad, lonely)

3. The Police, “Don’t Stand So Close to Me”

4. The Dixie Chicks, “So Hard”

Preparing for an Emergency

Recently, we have had a lot of bad weather in Raleigh. It has snowed a lot. Some people lost power (electricity). When we lose power, we can’t use anything that needs electricity – no TV, no internet, no stove, no oven, and most importantly, no heat!

When you are home and can’t leave, what do you do? Do you watch TV? Do you cook? Do you talk with your family? Do you feel cabin-fever? Cabin-fever is a bad feeling you have when you are inside your house for a long time. Some people stay inside their houses for a long time and feel angry or sad because they can’t go outside. It’s not good!

Sometimes snow is a surprise. But sometimes we have a warning. When we have warning, we can prepare for emergencies.

Some things we can do to prepare for emergencies are:

  • buy food and water
  • get a flashlight and batteries (be careful with candles!)
  • get blankets and pillows

Here are two videos about preparing for bad storms. In the videos, they talk about an emergency kit. You put important things (first aid kit, band-aids, food, water, medicine, etc.) in your kit. Here is a list of things to put in a kit.

Both videos have more exercises you can do. Enjoy!

(more difficult) http://www.esl-lab.com/emergencykit/emergencykitrd1.htm

(easier) http://www.esl-lab.com/emergencykit/emergencykit-video.htm

(Notice in this video, the man uses “store” as a verb. “Store” means to put something in a special place so you can use it later.)

New Year and New Apps to learn from

Welcome back everyone! I hope you had a great break.  It’s the start of a new year – 2015 and a new semester at Wake Tech.

Many of us start a new year by making “resolutions” – usually self improvement goals that we want to meet ( like losing weight ).  Did you make one about improving your English? maybe speaking more English?  Using these apps on your phone or IPad may help you to make your resolution a reality.

Otterwave Screen Capture by WTCC Instructor M.Yanez

Otterwave Screen Capture by WTCC Instructor M.Yanez

English Pronunciation – Otterwave uses “speech recognition software”to help you with your pronunciation. Huh? What does that mean?

  •   First you select a common  sentence from different topics ( like a telephone conversation or a travel situation). You listen to the sentence being spoken.
Photo by WTCC Instructor M.Yanez

Photo by WTCC Instructor M.Yanez

  • Next, you use your phone or IPad microphone to record the same sentence
  • Right away, the app compares how your speech to the sample. It compares how you pronounced the words and the timing of your speech. Often students can pronounce words but have trouble linking sounds together or getting the rhythm  of English. This gives you a visual comparison using sound waves of any part of the sentence.
Photo by WTCC Instructor M.Yanez

Photo by WTCC Instructor M.Yanez

  • You can repeat and practice your pronunciation as much as you would like.

Another app that you can use to improve your English is ” Help with Words and Sentences” by KKR Software. It’s focus is on words (spelling, meaning ) and  sentences (structure and comprehension) .

You can choose 7 levels of difficulty. If you choose to work with words, you can pick exercises to help you spell and recognize words.

Photo by WTCC Instructor M.Yanez

Photo by WTCC Instructor M.Yanez

If you chose to work with sentences, you will need to supply missing words, structure the words for a correct sentence, and check if you understood the sentence’s meaning.

Photo by WTCC Instructor M.Yanez

Photo by WTCC Instructor M.Yanez

Try using these apps and improve your English ( and maybe complete your resolution for this year).