Don’t and Doesn’t

Don’t say: 
– He don’t like pizza.
– She don’t want to go.
– It don’t work.
– Maria don’t understand.

Say this:
– He doesn’t like pizza.
– She doesn’t want to go.
– It doesn’t work.
– Maria doesn’t understand.


  • I don’t; You don’t; We don’t; They don’t
  • He doesn’t; She doesn’t; It doesn’t
  •  Don’t = do not
  •  Doesn’t = does not

– Victor doesn’t know how to dance.
– My dog doesn’t feel well.


What’s Up?

  What’s UP?

There is a two-letter word that has perhaps more meanings than any other two-letter English word, and that is the word “UP.”

It’s easy to understand “UP” as meaning “toward the sky” or “moving to the top” of something, but why do we wake UP in the morning (just before we get UP)?

  At a meeting, we must speak UP in order to bring UP a topic.  Then it’s UP to the secretary to write UP a report (unless she can think UP an excuse).

We call UP our friends and ask them to come UP for dinner.  For them, we brighten UP the room, and we polish UP the silver, hoping they’ve worked UP an appetite.  We mess UP the kitchen cooking UP a meal and using towels to soak UP spills.  Afterward, we have to clean UP, and the next day, we warm UP the leftovers. Continue reading

Can My Phone Understand Me?

  Smartphones can listen to you speak, and display your words.  So can iPads and computers.  If your phone can understand you, other people will probably understand you.

Practice your speech on iPhone or iPad

  • Open the Notes App    and create a new note     
  • Press the Microphone icon next to the Space Bar on the keyboard
  • Start talking – and see what words are shown
  • Are they the same words that you spoke?  If not, try again.

Practice on Android phone or tablet

  • Install the Google Keyboard app from Google Play
  • Then open your email app, or use a free notes app like Evernote
  • Press the Microphone icon next to the Space Bar on the keyboard
  • Start talking – and see what words are shown
  • Are they the same words that you spoke?  If not, try again.

When your phone can understand you, you can use your voice for … email, text messages, Siri questions on iPhones (“Hey Siri“), Google searches (“OK Google“), and more. Continue reading

Humans of New York – and Other Places

   Humans of New York is a website, and Facebook page, that has lots of interesting pictures of people – and a very short story about them.  Brandon (the publisher) started with pictures and short stories just about people in New York City. But then he started including personal stories from people in other places around the world – such as Pakistan, Iran, India, Vietnam –  and some longer stories on subjects such as refugees and people in prison. The latest set of stories is about people in Brazil.  Here is an example:

“He fell in love with me the first day he met me. He kept calling me princess. He said we were meant to be together because our feet were the same size. Look how embarrassed he’s getting!” (São Paulo, Brazil)

— Thanks to Pat for suggesting this website.  She uses it for reading practice in her English class. —



  Dictation is listening to someone speaking and then trying to write what you hear.

Practicing dictation can help improve your:

  • English listening skills
  • Grammar
  • Writing and Punctuation
  • Spelling
  • Speaking and pronunciation (if you speak the words you hear – out loud – while you’re writing it)

The EnglishClub website has a good collection of dictation exercises, at 3 different levels of difficulty.  Here’s an example:

1. Listen to the dictation at normal speed (just listen; don’t try to write it).

2. Listen again at slow speed and try to write/type what your hear (with a smartphone, you need to use paper).
Include capitalization and punctuation.

3. Listen again at slow speed if you need to.
4. Listen at normal speed for a last check.
5. When you’re ready, click/press Show Answer and compare the answer to your writing.
    (The mailbox is just behind the big water fountain.)

Lie vs Lay

Don’t Say: 
– Please lie the book on the table.
– I’m going to lay down in bed.

Say This:
– Please lay the book on the table.
– I’m going to lie down in bed.


  • You lay something down.   I’m going to lay the baby down for a nap (laying him down – not lying down yourself).  My daughters lays her clothes on the bed each morning.
  • People lie down by themselves. Every night I fall asleep as soon as I lie down in bed.  He lies down on the sofa to watch TV at night.
  • Lie – not lay – is also used when you mean saying something that is not true.  Don’t lie to me.

Continue reading