Friday, March 22, 2019

Week of March 25

Image result for tell me and i forget

This will be the last blog post until after spring break. Take your time off to to do the activities in previous posts.

Review from last week

WOD: cut down on (reduce; decrease the amount of something); drop in on (visit someone unexpectedly)

POD: give someone the cold shoulder (be intentionally unfriendly towards someone; ignore); 
let the cat out of the bag (reveal a secret, usually by mistake)

Quizlet Review

Practice all of the words of the day and phrases of the day from the last six weeks.

Coordinating Conjunction Review

2-Part Activity (submit your answers to check)

Unstressed Vowel Sound - Schwa

The Schwa Sound (video and audio practice)

Heroes and History: First Ladies of the U.S. (Reading and Listening)

Make sure you take home a newspaper so you can follow along with the audio. You will find the article "First Ladies of the U.S." in the March Easy English News newspaper. Listen to the audio as you read along.

Speaking English Conversation Practice

In the video below, you will hear several short conversations in English about different topics. You can listen and pause the video to practice "shadowing", or repeating, what you hear. This is an excellent way to work on your stress and intonation.

What are Extreme Adjectives in English? 

These are words that can make your speech and writing more interesting and complex.

Extreme Adjectives in English
“Cold” is a regular adjective, and “freezing” is an extreme adjective.
Adjectives are words that describe the qualities of something. Some adjectives in English are gradable – that means you can have different degrees or levels of that quality. For example, the weather can be a little cold, rather cold, very cold, or extremely cold.
Extreme adjectives or non-gradable adjectives are words that mean “extremely + adjective” – for example, “freezing” means “extremely cold.” The weather can’t be “a little bit freezing” or “very freezing” – because the word “freezing” itself automatically means “extremely cold.”

Regular & Extreme Adjectives List

Regular AdjectiveExtreme Adjective
badawful, terrible, horrible
bighuge, gigantic, giant
goodwonderful, fantastic, excellent

Special Rules For Extreme Adjectives


With regular adjectives, we can use comparatives and superlatives to compare two or more things:
  • My house is big.
  • My neighbor’s house is bigger than mine.
  • My parents’ house is the biggest house on the street.
With extreme adjectives, we don’t use comparatives and superlatives:
  • My parents’ house is enormous.
  • My parents’ house is more enormous / the most enormous.


With regular adjectives, we can use these adverbs:
  • a little, a bit, slightly, fairly, rather
  • very, extremely, immensely, intensely, hugely
  • I’m rather hungry. / I’m very hungry.
  • This room is a bit dirty. / This room is extremely dirty.
  • We’re a little tired. / We’re immensely tired.
With extreme adjectives, we CANNOT use these adverbs:
  • I’m rather starving. / I’m extremely starving.
However, there are other adverbs we can use to give additional emphasis to the extreme adjective:
  • absolutely
  • completely
  • utterly
  • I’m absolutely furious.
  • We’re completely exhausted.
  • The movie was utterly terrifying.
The words pretty and really can be used with both regular and extreme adjectives:
  • This room is pretty dirty. (regular)
  • This room is pretty filthy. (extreme)
  • The party is really crowded. (regular)
  • The party is really packed. (extreme)

Absolute Adjectives

Another type of extreme adjective is called an “absolute” adjective. 
These are words that are either “yes or no.” For example, dead – you can’t be “a little bit dead” or “very dead” – either YES, you are dead, or NO, you’re not dead.
Here’s a list of absolute adjectives and their opposites (this list is not complete; it only shows some examples):
Absolute AdjectiveOpposite
essentialnon-essential; extraneous
fatalnot fatal
firstlast / final
idealnot ideal
marriedsingle / divorced / separated / widowed
pregnantnot pregnant
uniquenot unique
universalnot universal

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Week of March 18

Image result for happy spring

Wednesday is the first official day of spring!

Review from last week

WOD: check out (to investigate; take a look at); come up with (produce or create and idea or plan)

POD:  spring fever (a feeling of restlessness/excitement after a long winter); no spring chicken (a person who is not young anymore)

      Image result for saint patrick day           Image result for saint patrick day

Count and Non-Count Nouns

In class, we learned that some nouns can be both countable and uncountable. Below is a list of other nouns that fall into this category:

VOA English offers a good explanation of non-count nouns and two songs you can listen to with examples. 

Pronunciation - Tricky Vowel Sounds

Practical English: Responding to Bad News 

I’m So Sorry To Hear That.

Say “I’m so sorry to hear that” when you hear about sickness, death, divorce, job loss, financial trouble, big disappointment, and other serious problems or pieces of bad news that can make a person very sad.
  • “My father’s in the hospital. The doctors say he only has about a month left.”
    “I’m so sorry to hear that.”

That Must Have Been Awful.

Say “That must have been awful.” when someone tells you about a bad experience they had. This phrase can be use for a serious bad experience (like the first example) or a less serious bad experience (like the second example):
  • “After the accident, I couldn’t work for two months, and I got really depressed because I felt so useless.”
    Wow. That must have been awful.”
  • “I had to wait in line for three hours at the bank today – and there was no air conditioning.”
    “That must have been awful!”
An alternative (only used in more serious situations) is
“It must have been really hard for you.”
  • “It must have been really hard for you to have two deaths in the family within a year.”

Oh No…

You can say “Oh no…” as an initial reaction to bad news. It’s common to say “Oh no” and then another one of the phrases:
  • “My sister just got the results of the tests – she has cancer.”
    “Oh no. I’m so sorry to hear that.”
  • “My computer crashed, and I lost all my data.”
    “Oh no – that stinks.”
“That stinks” is usually used when something is annoying, not sad.
If the bad news is surprising or funny, you can say “Oh no!” as an exclamation.
  • “I was talking about how much I hated the name ‘Shelby,’ and then I found out that it was their daughter’s name.”
    “Oh no! What did you do?”
To react to the bad news and ask for more information, you can say “Oh no, really?”
  • “What are you doing here? I thought you were on vacation!”
    “We had to cancel our trip because my daughter got sick.”
    “Oh no, really?”
    “Yeah, she’ll be OK, but she’s really disappointed she couldn’t go to Disneyland.”

That’s Rough

We generally say “that’s rough” to respond to bad news that is difficult or unfortunate, but not very emotional:
  • “I’m going to have to work overtime every day this week.”
    “That’s rough.”
  • “Our dog died yesterday. We’re all devastated – he was like a member of the family.”
    “That’s rough” – incorrect, because this bad news is emotional.
    “Oh, I’m sorry to hear that.”

Anytime You Need To Talk, Just Call Me.

Say this if you want to offer to listen to your friend. It’s common to use this phrase when someone is going through a current difficulty.
  • “My husband and I have been arguing a lot lately. It’s gotten so bad that I hate going home every day after work, because I know we’ll probably have a fight.”
    “I’m really sorry to hear that. Anytime you need to talk, just call me.”
It’s also common to use this phrase not as a direct response to bad news, but instead as a form of “goodbye” at the end of a conversation after bad news was discussed.

If There’s Anything I Can Do, Just Let Me Know.

Say this if you want to offer help:
  • “I’m so stressed out. I have a million things to do and not enough time in the day.”
    If there’s anything I can do, just let me know, OK?”
When responding to bad news, the tone of voice (the emotion when you speak) is important in how you say these phrases. Don’t say them in a happy or excited way. Instead, speak in a quiet, compassionate way to show that you care about the other person’s feelings.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Week of March 11

Image result for daylight savings

Don't forget to turn your clocks ahead before bed Saturday night!

Review from last week:

WOD: act up, call off

POD: go the extra mile, vanish into thin air


This past week we began studying our unit on housing. Below are additional activities you can practice.

Count and Non-Count Nouns

Learn English in 3 Hours

I do not think it is entirely possible to learn English in 3 hours, but the video below is great for improving your listening skills, learning new vocabulary, and improving your knowledge of idioms and special expressions. Have fun!

Friday, March 1, 2019

Week of March 4

Have you ever wondered how maple syrup is made? The first step is to "tap" a maple tree, and this is done in the north when the weather begins to warm up. 

You can visit the Cleveland Metroparks to take a tour and see how maple syrup is made. The tours are every weekend during March. Practice your listening skills by watching the videos to learn more about "tapping" a maple tree and making maple sugar. 

Here Comes the Sun - song by the Beatles

Yes, it has been a long, cold winter. Listen to the song and complete the quiz below it afterwards.

Articles - a, an, the

Our next grammar topic and review will be on articles. Articles are 3 small words that drive people crazy. In order to understand articles, you have to be confident in your knowledge of singular and plural nouns.

Below is a video that explains basic rules surrounding the use of a, an, and the. (British English)

Pronunciation - Tricky Vowels