Family Relationships

“The holidays are coming up.”

Americans say this before Thanksgiving. When we say “the holidays,” we are talking about all the special days at the end of the year – Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s Eve. “Coming up” means coming or happening soon. We spend a lot of time with our families during the holidays, so this week, we’re going to learn what we call our relatives. By the way, “relatives” is a general word we use for people in our families. All of your relatives are related to you.

Immediate Family

Your immediate family is very closely related to you. Immediate family includes parents (mother and father), siblings (brothers and sisters), and children (sons and daughters).

Pete Souza [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Pete Souza [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Do you know this family? Barack, Michelle, Malia, and Sasha Obama are immediate family.

Malia and Sasha are sisters. They are the daughters of Barack and Michelle.

Michelle Obama is the mother of Malia and Sasha. She is the wife of Barack.

Barack is the father of Malia and Sasha. He is Michelle’s husband.

Barack and Michelle are the parents of Malia and Sasha.

Immediate family can also include these people:

  • half siblings – A half brother or half sister shares one parent (mother or father) with you, but not both. Maybe you have the same father, but different mothers, or you have the same mother, but different fathers.
  • step siblings – A step brother or step sister has different parents from you, but one of his/her parents is married now to one of your parents. For example, Brian and Kate have different parents (different mothers AND different fathers), but Brian’s mother is now married to Kate’s father. Brian and Kate are step siblings. Brian is Kate’s step brother. Kate is Brian’s step sister.
  • step parents – A step mother or step father is not your biological parent, but is married to one of your biological parents.
  • step children – A step son or step daughter is not your biological child, but you are married to one of the child’s biological parents.

Extended Family

Your extended family is outside of your immediate family. It includes:

  • aunts
  • uncles
  • grandparents
  • grandchildren
  • cousins
  • great-grandparents (great-great-grandparents, etc.)
  • in-laws
  • and more

Here is a short description of each family member’s relationship to you.

  • aunt – the sister of your father or mother/the wife of your uncle
  • uncle – the brother of your father or mother/the husband of your aunt
  • grandmother – the mother of your mother or father
  • grandfather – the father of your mother or father
  • grandparents – your grandmother and grandfather
  • grandson – the son of your son or daughter
  • granddaughter – the daughter of your son or daughter
  • grandchildren – your grandsons and granddaughters
  • cousin – the son or daughter of your aunt/uncle
  • great-grandparents – the parents of your grandparents
  • great-great-grandparents – the parents of your great-grandparents (for each extra generation, add another “great”)
  • in-laws – the family of your spouse/the spouse of your family
    – The mother of my husband is my mother-in-law.
    – The husband of my sister is my brother-in-law.
    – My husband’s family are my in-laws.

Your Turn

Make a family tree to show the relationships in your family. Use this tree to start, but add more relationships and names. Ask your teacher for help if you need it. Then show the tree to your class and talk about your family. You can say:

  • I have ___ sisters and ___ brothers. Their names are…
  • My parents are ______________ and ______________.
  • My mother has ___ sisters and ___ brothers. My aunts’ names are…, and my uncles’ names are…
  • I have ___ cousins.

Tell as much as you can!

image by WTCC instructor ecparent

image by WTCC instructor ecparent

Academic Vocabulary – Difficult

This week, you will learn ten academic vocabulary words. Americans learn these words in school. You will see a word and then (n), (adj), or (v). If the word is a noun (thing), you will see (n). If the word is an adjective (describing word), you will see (adj). If the word is a verb (action), you will see (v). Then you will see the definition (meaning) of the word. Some words have more than one meaning. I will give you an example sentence with each definition.

If you are confused about a word, please ask your teacher to explain it. Your teacher can also give you more information about each word – plural forms of nouns, past forms of verbs, pronunciation, etc.

When you feel comfortable with a new word, try to use it in class or in a conversation outside of class. Practice two words each day until you are comfortable with all of them!

  • amaze (v) – to surprise or cause a strong impression / Noah amazed his parents when he started walking at only 8 months old.
  • arctic (adj) – very cold; related to the North Pole / Arctic weather in North Carolina is very unusual.
    (n) – the area around the North Pole (*Note: We always use “the” with this proper noun.) / American children believe that Santa Claus lives in the Arctic.
  • court (n) – a place where a judge listens to trials and makes decisions about the law; a large, flat area with markings for a game or sport; the home and advisors of a royal person / A member of the queen’s court had to go to court because of a fight on a basketball court.
  • elect (v) – to make a choice; to choose by voting / The American people recently elected a new president.
  • interval (n) – a period of time between events; the space between things / If you are expecting a baby, you should go to the hospital when there is about a 5-minute interval between your contractions.
  • league (n) – a group of sports teams that play against each other; a group of people that work together for a common purpose / The National Football League (NFL) is a group of professional football teams in the United States.
  • limit (v) – to prevent from going past a certain point (amount or distance) / The school board limits the number of children in each class to 30.
    (n) – a line or point that cannot be passed / The speed limit in a school zone is 25 miles per hour.
  • milestone (n) – an important event that shows growth, progress, or improvement; a rock that marks distance / Learning to roll over, sit up, crawl, and walk are important milestones for babies.
  • recreation (n) – anything a person does to have fun or relax / The Department of Parks and Recreation offers all kinds of classes and sports for the enjoyment of the city’s residents.
  • tackle (v) – to grab, pull to the ground, or get in the way of a person to stop them; to start or try to do a (usually big) project / Football players tackle each other during the game, which gets their uniforms dirty, so when they go home, they have to tackle the laundry.
    (n) – the equipment required for a task or sport (usually fishing) / Dan keeps everything he needs for fishing in his tackle box.

Word Families

When you learn a new word, it is helpful to learn other words that are related to it. For example, “amaze” is a verb, but there are at least four other words we use that are related to it – amazement, amazed, amazing, and amazingly. If you know the meaning of “amaze,” you can guess the meanings of the related words. This chart will show you several words that are related to the words in the list.

image by WTCC instructor ecparent

image by WTCC instructor ecparent

Ask your teacher to show you how to use each one in a sentence.

Your Turn

Write answers to these questions or discuss them with your classmates:

  1. Has anything amazed you recently? What was it? Why did it amaze you?
  2. Have you ever lived in a place with arctic weather? Do you prefer hot or cold weather? Why?
  3. How many sports can you name that are played on a court?
  4. Do you think the United States elected a good president last week? Why/Why not?
  5. Many American families have a new baby about two years after the first baby is born. Do you think this is a good interval between children? Why/Why not?
  6. What is your favorite sports league? What is your favorite team in the league?
  7. Do you think it’s a good idea or a bad idea for families to limit the number of children they have? What do you think is the ideal family size?
  8. I remember the first time I understood a joke in another language. What do you think are some important milestones in language learning?
  9. What do you like to do for recreation?
  10. Think about a big project you want to tackle. What step can you take today to get started?

Health Problems – Part 2

Used with permission from NY (http://nyphotographic.com/) under CC BY-SA 3.0 license

Used with permission from NY (http://nyphotographic.com/) under CC BY-SA 3.0 license

A couple of weeks ago, we started talking about health problems. This week, we’re going to learn some more vocabulary and practice some conversations. We will focus on accidents that children have. If your child has an accident, it is important to know how to talk to the doctor about it.

  • bump (v) – to hit, probably not hard (past = bumped)
    (n) – a raised area on the skin, probably where it was hit, especially on the head
  • whack (v) – to hit, probably hard (past = whacked)
  • cut (v) – to break or tear with something sharp (past = cut)
    (n) – a place where the skin is broken or torn and blood is coming out
  • scrape (v) – to rub (skin) against something rough or sharp (past = scraped)
    (n) – a place where the skin is red and irritated because it was rubbed against something rough
  • photo by WTCC instructor ecparent

    bruise photo by WTCC instructor ecparent

    bruise (n) – a red, black, blue, and/or purple place on the skin caused by hitting it against something
    (v) – to create a red, black, blue, and/or purple place on the skin by hitting it against something (past = bruised)

  • bone (n) – a hard, white part of the body inside the skin; a piece of the skeleton
  • fall (v) – to go down from a high place accidentally (past = fell)
    (n) – an accident when someone goes down from a high place suddenly
  • burn (v) – to injure the skin by touching something very hot (past = burned)
    (n) – a place on the skin that hurts because it touched something very hot
  • scald (v) – to burn with a hot liquid (past = scalded)
  • choke (v) – to be unable to breathe because something is stuck in the throat/airway (past = choked)

Practice Conversations

In these conversations, a parent (mom or dad) is talking to a pediatrician (doctor for a child). They are talking about a child. Practice these conversations with a friend or classmate.

Doctor: How did he scrape his knee?
Parent: He was running outside, and he fell.
Doctor: Did he bump his head when he fell?
Parent: No, he didn’t.

Doctor: What happened to her face?
Parent: She fell and whacked her face on the coffee table. Do you think she’s okay?
Doctor: Yes, it just looks like a scrape.

Doctor: What happened?
Parent: Well, he touched a hot pot on the stove and burned his fingers. Then he fell backwards and bumped his head on the dishwasher. I turned around quickly to help him, and as I was turning, I hit the pot, it fell off the stove, and the water scalded both of us.
Doctor: Oh no! At least there weren’t any knives.
Parent: No, thank goodness.

Use the words above to write another conversation between a parent and a pediatrician.

Discussion Questions

Talk about your answers to these questions with your classmates.

  1. What is the most dangerous thing in your home for a child? What can you do to make it more safe?
  2. What can a parent do to childproof (make safe for a child) the different rooms of the home? (kitchen, bathroom, living room, bedroom, laundry room, garage, yard)
  3. Do you have a first-aid kit at home? What is in it?
  4. Do you know the phone number for poison control? Why/When would you call poison control?
  5. How do you call an ambulance in your country? How do you call an ambulance in the United States?

For more information about emergencies and calling 9-1-1, read this post. It also has more discussion questions for you!

 

 

Academic Vocabulary – Medium

For ESL levels 4+

image by WTCC instructor ecparent

image by WTCC instructor ecparent

This week, you will learn ten academic vocabulary words. Americans learn these words in school. You will see a word and then (n) or (v). If the word is a noun (thing), you will see (n). If the word is a verb (action), you will see (v). Then you will see the definition (meaning) of the word. Some words have more than one meaning. I will give you an example sentence with each definition.

If you are confused about a word, please ask your teacher to explain it. Your teacher can also give you more information about each word – plural forms of nouns, past forms of verbs, pronunciation, etc.

When you feel comfortable with a new word, try to use it in class or in a conversation outside of class. Practice two words each day until you are comfortable with all of them!

  • ape (n) – a large, strong animal related to monkeys (includes gorillas and chimpanzees) / When I visit the zoo, I like to watch the baby apes with their mothers.
    (v) – to copy the actions or words of a person/thing; to pretend to be something / Young children often ape the actions of adults or older children.
  • brain (n) – the part of the body that controls the other parts; the gray matter made of nerve cells that sits inside the skull (head); the part of the body used for thinking / When I have a problem, I use my brain to think of a solution.
  • branch (n) – a part of a tree that grows out of the trunk (main part); any small piece of a large system, like a bank or library / While I was climbing the tree, the branch broke, and I fell.
  • cavern (n) – a large cave / My apartment is in the basement and doesn’t have many windows, so it feels like I’m living in a cavern.
  • chimney (n) – the tall piece on top of a house where smoke escapes from the fire inside / When the weather is very cold, you can see smoke coming out of many chimneys.
  • dozen (n) – twelve; a group of twelve / Charlie loves doughnuts. He eats a dozen doughnuts every week.
  • flame (n) – fire; the bright, hot, glowing gas we see when something is on fire / Each candle has one flame.
  • net (n) – a piece of material made of string or rope that is tied together, leaving even holes / Fishermen can catch many fish at one time if they use a large net.
  • spear (n) – a long stick with a sharp, pointed end / Fishermen can only catch one fish at a time if they use a spear.
  • torch (n) – a stick with fire on top, used for giving light / Before the Olympics, runners carry the Olympic torch around the world.

Your Turn

Do you want more practice with these words? Click here to hear the words, see pictures, and read more examples.

Click here to learn more words and play games!

Complete each sentence with the correct word(s) from the list.

  1. Before warriors had guns, they fought with knives, arrows, and __________________.
  2. In the U.S. government system, there are three __________________ – executive, judicial, and legislative.
  3. It’s important to wear a helmet when riding a bicycle or motorcycle because you need to protect your __________________.
  4. The explorer used a __________________ to help him see in the dark __________________.
  5. When the __________________ on the torch died, the explorer had to use his other senses to find his way in the dark.
  6. There are about a __________________ birds sitting on the __________________ of that tree.
  7. Emily got in trouble on the bus because she __________________ the bus driver’s southern accent.
  8. The circus performer is very brave. He performs without a safety __________________ below him.
  9. Before we use our fireplace, we need someone to clean the __________________.

Health Problems: Part 1

When you are sick, can you explain your problems? This is important! When you go to the doctor, you must give correct information. This week, we will learn different ways to talk about common health problems.

Head Pain

headache

By CDC [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

When you feel pain in your head, you can say:
– I have a headache. (Pronunciation: /hed-eik/)
– My head hurts.

A doctor might ask you:
– Did you hit your head?
– Did you bump your head?
(“Hit” and “bump” are the same.)

Stomach Pain/Discomfort

stomach ache

By CDC [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

There are different kinds of stomach pain. If you eat too much junk food, you can say:
– My stomach is upset.
– I have an upset stomach.
– My stomach hurts.
– I feel sick.
– I have indigestion.

If you feel like you need to vomit, you can say:
– I’m nauseous.
– I feel nauseous.
– I feel queasy.
– I am queasy.
– I feel like I’m going to throw up.
– I’m going to be sick.
– I feel sick to my stomach.
(We have many ways to say “vomit” – throw up, puke, hurl. Ask your teacher for more words and expressions.)

If you have a strong pain in a specific place, you can point to the place and say:
– It hurts here.
– I have a strong pain here.
– I feel a sharp pain here.

A doctor might ask you:
– What have you eaten recently?
– When was the last time you ate?
– On a scale of 1-10, how much does it hurt? (If you have only a little pain, you say 1. If it is the worst pain of your life, you say 10.)
– Have you had any diarrhea? (Diarrhea is very watery – liquid – poop.)

Cold/Flu

We always say:
– a cold
– the flu

I don’t know why we always use “a” with cold and “the” with flu, but we do. Always. Usually, you have a fever with the flu. You probably do not have a fever with a cold. The other symptoms are similar.

Congestion
This means that you have mucous in your head, nose, or lungs. If there is too much mucous in your sinuses, you might get a headache. If there is too much mucous in your nose, you will have trouble breathing. If there is too much mucous in your lungs, your chest feels tight. When the mucous comes out of your nose, we call it mucous or snot. When the mucous comes out of your lungs, we call it mucous or phlegm (pronunciation: /flem/).

You can say:
– I have sinus congestion. (In your head)
– I have chest congestion. (In your chest/lungs)
– My nose is stopped up.
– I have a stuffy nose.

Runny nose
When snot comes out of your nose like water, you have a runny nose. When you push snot out of your nose with air (into a tissue, usually), you are blowing your nose.

You can say:
– I have a runny nose.
– My nose is runny.
– My nose is running.

Cough
When your body wants to force mucous out of the lungs, you cough. You also cough when you are choking.

You can say:
– I have a cough.
– I’ve been coughing.

A doctor might ask you:
– When did you start feeling bad?
– What color is your mucous/snot/phlegm?
– Is your cough productive or dry? (Productive = mucous comes out. Dry = nothing comes out.)
– Have you had a fever?
– Are you feeling any chills (like you are cold)?
– Do you have any pain?
– Any nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea?

Academic Vocabulary – Easy

For ESL Levels 3+

By Tulane Public Relations (Studying with a view Uploaded by AlbertHerring) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Tulane Public Relations (Studying with a view Uploaded by AlbertHerring) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

This week, you will learn ten academic vocabulary words. Americans learn these words in school. You will see a word and then (n) or (v). If the word is a noun (thing), you will see (n). If the word is a verb (action), you will see (v). Then you will see the definition (meaning) of the word. Some words have more than one meaning. I will give you an example sentence with each definition.

If you are confused about a word, please ask your teacher to explain it. Your teacher can also give you more information about each word – plural forms of nouns, past forms of verbs, pronunciation, etc.

When you feel comfortable with a new word, try to use it in class or in a conversation outside of class. Practice two words each day until you are comfortable with all of them!

  • calf (n) – the back, lower part of the leg / I hurt my calf when I was running.
    (n) – a baby cow / The calf drinks its mother’s milk.
  • claw (n) – an animal’s sharp nail / The cat scratched me with its claws.
    (n) – the “hand” of a crab or lobster / The crab picked up a shell with its claw.
    (v) – to scratch or dig with fingernails or claws / The dog clawed the door because it wanted to go outside.
  • couple (n) – two of the same kind of thing / There are a couple of pens on the table.
    (n) – two people who do things together, probably romantically / The couple held hands when they walked through the park.
  • cushion (n) – the soft part of a chair or sofa; a pillow / I found 65 cents under the couch cushion.
  • flap (n) – a flat piece that is attached to something on one side / The top of the box has 4 flaps.
    (v) – to move (wings, hands, or arms) up and down / Birds flap their wings when they fly.
  • groom (n) – a person who takes care of horses / The groom took the horses to the stable and brushed them.
                 (n) – a man who is getting married / The groom was very nervous before he saw his bride.
                 (v) – to clean or make (a person) look neat / Cats groom themselves by licking.
  • share (n) – a part that each person gets of a whole / We can order one pizza, and each person can pay for his share.
    (v) – to use or enjoy (something) with other people / Let’s share a dessert.
  • shelter (n) – something that covers or protects / It started to rain while we were hiking, so we looked for a shelter.
    (v) – to cover, protect, or give safety / A large oak tree sheltered us from the rain.
  • yard (n) – the land (usually with grass) around a house / There are two trees in my back yard.
    (n) – a length equal to three feet, 36 inches, or 91.44 centimeters / My kitchen is about one yard wide.
  • zero (n) – the number equal to 0; nothing; none / There were zero students in class yesterday, so the teacher went home.

Your Turn

Do you want more practice with these words? Click here to hear the words, see pictures, and read more example sentences.

Click here to learn more words and play games!

Complete each sentence with the correct word from the list.

  1. The boys are playing soccer in the _________________.
  2. The meat of a _________________ is called veal.
  3. Sherry and her husband _________________ a bank account. They put all of their money into it, and they both take money out of it.
  4. I have _________________ new emails in my inbox.
  5. Jennifer pays someone to _________________ her dog every month. This person cuts the dog’s hair and gives it a bath.
  6. The _________________ on this old chair is very flat.
  7. Colin’s pet bird likes to sit on his finger. The bird wraps its _________________ around Colin’s finger to hold on.
  8. If you have food, clothes, and _________________, you are richer than 75% of the world.
  9. There are a _________________ of squirrels playing in the tree.
  10. When John was 6 years old, he wanted to fly. He climbed a tree, jumped out, and _________________ his arms. Then he hit the ground and broke his leg.

Transportation Vocabulary

For ESL levels 1+

In your class, you probably learned some words for vehicles (kinds of transportation – bus, car, airplane, etc.). This week, we are going to learn some important words to use WITH those vehicles. For example, we say that we get in a car, but we get on a bus. Do you know when to use “get in” and “get on”?

Get In vs. Get On

We use “get in” for smaller vehicles that carry only a few people – cars, trucks, small boats, etc. The opposite of “get in” is “get out of”. When you arrive at your destination, you get out of a car. Look at this picture. Ask your teacher about words that you do not know.

image by WTCC instructor ecparent

image by WTCC instructor ecparent

How many people can use these vehicles at one time? Probably not more than 10.

Now, let’s look at “get on”. The opposite of “get on” is “get off”. We use these phrases for bigger vehicles like buses, airplanes, and large boats, but we also use them for small vehicles for only one person. We use “get on/off” for bicycles, motorcycles, and horses because you sit on top of them. You can use “get on/off” for anything you sit or stand on top of (skateboard, surfboard, elephant, etc.). Look at this picture. Ask your teacher to explain words you do not know.

image by WTCC instructor ecparent

image by WTCC instructor ecparent

Ride, Drive, or Take?

Finally, let’s look at three words:

  1. ride
  2. drive
  3. take

We use these words with different vehicles.

image by WTCC instructor ecparent

image by WTCC instructor ecparent

We use “drive” or “ride in” for the same vehicles. Use “drive” if you are operating the vehicle. Use “ride in” if you are a passenger. In this old picture, a man is driving a car, and his family is riding in the car.

Sharpe family posing in their new car – See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Sharpe family posing in their new car – See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Your Turn

Finish these conversations. Practice with your classmates.

  1. A: How did you get here?
    B: I ______________ my car.
  2. A: Do you ______________ the bus to school?
    B: No, I usually ______________ my bike.
  3. A: Where do you ______________ the bus?
    B: There is a bus stop near my house.
  4. A: Can you ______________ a skateboard?
    B: No, but my cousin can.
  5. A: Do you ______________ a bicycle these days?
    B: No. I ______________ a bike when I was young, but now I ______________ a car.

Phrasal Verbs for Travel

For ESL Levels 4+

Are you confused by prepositions? My students always ask me, “Teacher, can you explain prepositions?” Some prepositions are not too hard. Prepositions of place and time, for example, are easy to teach. Prepositions in English are so difficult because we have many, many, many phrasal verbs.

What is a phrasal verb?

A phrasal verb is usually two or three words. The first word is a verb, and the other word or words are prepositions. Phrasal verbs are like idioms. When you use the words together, the phrase has a specific meaning. Often, the meaning is related to the meaning of the verb, but not always. For example, “blow up” can mean “to put air into something” like a balloon or a tire. With this meaning, you must blow air into something. However, “blow up” can also mean “to explode.” With that meaning, you don’t blow any air.

Phrasal Verbs for Travel

This week, we are going to learn some phrasal verbs related to travel. Here are 10 phrasal verbs and their definitions.

  • drop (someone) off – to take someone to a place and leave him/her there
  • check in – to tell someone at a hotel or airport that you are there for your reservation
  • check out – to return your key and pay your bill when you are leaving a hotel
  • get in – to arrive at a destination
  • go/come back – to return
  • look around – to explore / to walk through a city, museum, store, etc., and see what is there
  • pick (someone) up – to get someone from a place
  • see (someone) off – to go to the airport, train station, or bus station and say goodbye
  • stop off – to stop in one place for a short time on your way to another place
  • take off – to leave, usually when an airplane leaves the ground

Now look at this conversation and answer the questions.

image by WTCC instructor ecparent

image by WTCC instructor ecparent

  1. Who is going somewhere?
  2. How is the person traveling?
  3. Who is going to help him/her? How?
  4. When is the person leaving?
  5. When is the person returning?
  6. What do you think “that’s up to you” means?
  7. Do you think Mom will see this person off, or will she drop him/her off at the door?
  8. How does Mom respond to “thank you”? What other phrases can you use to reply to “thank you”?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the next conversation, a husband and wife are talking about their weekend travel plans. Read the conversation and answer the questions.

image by WTCC instructor ecparent

image by WTCC instructor ecparent

  1. Where do you think the couple is going? Why?
  2. What does the wife want to do on Saturday?
  3. What does the husband want to do on the way to the airport?
  4. What day/time can they arrive at their hotel?
  5. What day/time do they have to leave their hotel?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your Turn

Work alone or with your classmates. Try to complete each sentence with the correct phrasal verb.

  1. We want to ______________________ in Washington D.C. for one day on our way to Pennsylvania.
  2. You should arrive at the airport and ______________________ with your airline at least two hours before your flight.
  3. My flight should arrive at 3:30, so I told Karen to _________ me _________ at 3:45. That will give me time to get my bags and go outside.
  4. I’m leaving on Monday, and I’m ______________________ on Saturday.
  5. The scariest parts of flying for me are when the plane ______________________ and lands. The rest is fine.
  6. I didn’t get to see John at my going-away party, so he came to the airport the next day to _________ me _________.
  7. You look so tired! What time did you ______________________ from your trip last night?
  8. After my friend _________ me _________ at the airport this morning, I realized my trip is tomorrow! I had to call a taxi to take me home.
  9. We have to ______________________ of the hotel by noon, but our flight isn’t until 4:00, so we have plenty of time to eat lunch.
  10. I like to go to new cities and just ______________________. I don’t follow a guide book.

House Vocabulary and Problems (Part 2)

For ESL Levels 4-6

This week, we continue learning about problems in the house. We will talk about solutions to the problems and study some related grammar. We will start with the problems from Part 1 and give advice.

Asking for and Giving Advice

When you have a problem, you can ask your friends for advice or suggestions. There are many ways to ask for advice.

  • What should I do?
  • What would you do if you were in my situation?
  • What would you do if you were me?
  • I don’t know what to do. Can you help me?
  • What do you suggest?

There are also many ways to give advice.

  • I think you should…
  • If I were in your situation, I would…
  • If I were you, I would…
  • If it were me, I would…
  • I suggest that you…
  • Maybe you could…
  • Could you…?
  • You might need/want to…

Let’s look at some conversations about problems in the house. In these conversations, person A has a problem. He is asking person B for advice. Practice these conversations with a classmate.

plunger

plunger
photo by WTCC instructor ecparent

Conversation 1
A: My toilet is stopped up. What should I do?
B: I think you should use a plunger.
A: What’s a plunger?
B: It’s a thing that helps to unclog a drain.
A: Thanks!

Conversation 2
A: Help! My toilet is overflowing! I don’t know what to do!
B: You should turn off the water first. Then I suggest that you put some towels on the floor. After that, maybe you could use a plunger to unstop the toilet.
A: Thanks!

Conversation 3
A: The sink in my bathroom is leaking. There is water under the sink. What should I do?
B: If I were you, I would call a plumber.
A: What’s a plumber?
B: A plumber is a person who works on pipes and things that use water.
A: Thanks!

shower head

shower head
photo by WTCC instructor ecparent

Conversation 4
A: My shower is dripping. What do you suggest?
B: I suggest that you get a new shower head.
A: What’s a shower head?
B: It’s the part where the water comes out.
A: Where can I buy a new one?
B: You can buy one at Lowe’s or Home Depot.
A: How can I change it?
B: You should Google DIY shower head replacement.
A: What is DIY?
B: It means “do it yourself.”
A: Thanks!

Conversation 5
A: The floor in my living room is uneven. What do you suggest?
B: You might want to call a handyman.
A: What’s a handyman?
B: A handyman is a person who can fix a lot of things around the house.
A: Thanks!

WD-40

photo by WTCC instructor ecparent

Conversation 6
A: My front door is squeaking. It’s driving me crazy. What should I do?
B: If it were me, I would get some WD-40 for the hinges.
A: What’s WD-40?
B: It is a product that makes door hinges move more smoothly. You can also use it to clean the walls when your kid draws on them with crayons.
A: Really?
B: Yes!
A: Thanks!

Conversation 7
A: My apartment has cockroaches! What should I do?
B: Gross! You should call an exterminator.
A: What’s an exterminator.
B: It’s a person who kills pests, like insects or small animals in your house.
A: Like ants, roaches, mice, or rats?
B: Exactly.
A: Thanks!

Grammar Tips

I want to show you two things from these conversations.

  1. After should, could, would, might, and can, we use a base verb. We do NOT use “to + verb.”
    – should use
    – should turn off
    – could use
    – would call
    – can buy
    – should Google – We use “Google” as a verb. It means to use Google to search the internet.
    – might want
    – would get
    – should call
  2. The people in the conversations explained a lot of vocabulary with phrases to describe someone or something. These are called adjective clauses.
    – a thing that helps to unclog a drain
    – a person who works on pipes and things that use water
    – a person who can fix a lot of things around the house
    – a product that makes door hinges move more smoothly
    – a person who kills pests, like insects or small animals in your house

How to Make an Adjective Clause

If adjective clauses are new for you, you might want to ask your teacher for more instruction and practice. Here is the basic idea.

You have two sentences about one person or thing.

A handyman is a person. He can fix a lot of things around the house.

You want to put them together into one sentence. Follow these steps:
– Step 1: Remove the period in the middle.
A handyman is a person He can fix a lot of things around the house.;
– Step 2: Change “He” to “who.”
A handyman is a person who can fix a lot of things around the house.

Now let’s look at an example with a thing, not a person.

WD-40 is a product. It makes door hinges move more smoothly.

Remove the period in the middle, and change “It” to “that.”

WD-40 is a product that makes door hinges move more smoothly.

For more information online, check out this site. If you want to learn and practice in class, talk to your teacher!

Your Turn

Practice the conversations again, but change the phrases you use to ask for and give advice. Then write your own conversations and practice them. Think of other problems in the house. Write a conversation between two people. One person asks for advice, and the other person makes a suggestion. Try to use an adjective clause to explain a word in the conversation.

A: I have a problem in my house. _____________________________________
B: I think you should…
A: What’s _____________?
B: It’s a person/thing who/that…
A: Thanks!

House Vocabulary and Problems (Part 1)

For ESL Levels 1-3

Do you have problems with things in your house? Can you talk about these problems? This week, we will learn some words for things and problems in your house. You will see the name of a thing, a picture of the thing, and some common problems with it.

First, here are some important words about problems. All of the words are problems.

  • leaking – Water is coming out.
  • clogged/stopped up – Water is not moving down.
  • dripping – Water is coming out little by little.
  • overflowing – There is too much water. It is coming out and falling on the floor.

Toilet

 

toilet

photo by WTCC instructor ecparent

Problems:

  • The toilet is leaking.
  • The toilet is running. (I hear the water in the toilet for a long time. It does not stop.)
  • The toilet doesn’t flush. (NO water moves at all.)
  • The toilet is stopped up.
  • The toilet is overflowing.

Sink

sink

photo by WTCC instructor ecparent

Problems:

  • The sink is leaking.
  • The faucet is dripping.
  • There is no water.
  • The sink is overflowing.

Wall

The paint is peeling.

The paint is peeling.
photo by WTCC instructor ecparent

The paint is cracked.

The paint is cracked.
photo by WTCC instructor ecparent

Problems:

  • The paint is cracked.
  • The paint is peeling.

Refrigerator

refrigerator

photo by WTCC instructor ecparent

Problems:

  • The refrigerator isn’t working. / The refrigerator is broken.
  • The refrigerator is leaking.

Shower

photo by WTCC instructor ecparent

photo by WTCC instructor ecparent

Problems:

  • The shower is dripping.
  • The shower is leaking.

Door

door

photo by WTCC instructor ecparent

Problems:

  • The door is broken.
  • The door is sticking. (The door touches the area around it. It is difficult to open and close.)
  • The door won’t close.
  • The door is squeaking. (The door makes noise when it moves.)
  • The lock is broken.

Floor

door

photo by WTCC instructor ecparent

Problems:

  • The carpet is dirty.
  • The carpet is torn.
  • The floor is scratched.
  • The floor is uneven.

Light Bulb

lamp

photo by WTCC instructor ecparent

The lamp is on, but there is no light. What is the problem?

Problems:

  • The light bulb is burnt out.

Water Heater

The water heater is usually in a closet, basement, or attic. It looks like this.

Water Heater

By Tomwsulcer (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Problems:

  • The water heater isn’t working. / There is no hot water.
  • The water heater is leaking.

Air Conditioner

Your air conditioner has two big parts. One part is outside your house. The other part is inside your house. This picture shows the outside part.

Trane unit installation Richardson, TX

photo by Samms Heating and Air, Plano Air Conditioning Repair Company – www.sammsheatingandair.com/ – Used with permission

This picture shows the inside part.

Indoors trane air conditioning pic

photo by Samms Heating and Air, Plano Air Conditioning Repair Company – www.sammsheatingandair.com/ – Used with permission

Problems:

  • The air conditioner isn’t working.
  • The air blows, but it isn’t cold.
  • The air smells bad.
  • The air conditioner is frozen. / There is ice on the air conditioner.