April Vacation Week

If you have kids out of school this week, or just have extra time for yourself, here are some places to go – to see more of Boston and MetroWest, have some family fun, and practice your English:

Pronouncing Someone’s Name

If you don’t know how to pronounce someone’s name, or you have difficulty repeating their name, here is some help.

One good place to listen to the common pronunciation of many names is YouGlish.

  • Type in the name (first name or last name)
  • Choose “US”  to see only videos using American English
  • Below the video, you can change the speed to “slower”, to listen more carefully
  • Listen to the name pronounced as part of several videos

For example:

Visit YouGlish.com

Try to pronounce these names by yourself, and then try them in YouGlish, above:
Elijah, Genevieve, Zachariah, Reynolds, Holmes

Finally, if you would just like to hear the pronunciation of a lot of common names, you can try these:

Framingham Bookmobile

Your library is a great place to improve your English.  They have…  

  • books to borrow and read – to yourself or your kids
  • audiobooks
  • music and movies
  • videos on learning English
  • and so many more free resources

In Framingham there are two libraries – the main library near downtown at 29 Lexington Street; and the new  McAuliffe Branch Library in North Framingham at 746 Water Street

Beginning on Tuesday, April 9th, there will also be a Bookmobile, that will bring a piece of the library to neighborhoods, schools, and other places all around the city.  On Tuesday morning at 8:30 in front of the Memorial Building (City Hall), there will be a little celebration for the bookmobile’s first day, with some snacks until 10:00.  Later that day, the fist places that the bookmobile will visit will be:

  • Woodrow Wilson School
  • Brookdale Senior Community
  • Carmel Terrace Senior Community
  • Framingham YMCA

Baseball Idioms

   Baseball is one of the most popular sports in the United States.  The baseball team in Boston is the Red Sox.  They play their first game of the 2019 season on Thursday, March 28th.

There are many expressions – ‘idioms’ – used commonly that come from baseball A few examples:

  • Someone who is “on the ball”  is a person you trust to get something done.  They are knowledgeable and responsible.
  • Someone who “strikes out” fails at something (there are other meanings too).
    For example: He asked for her phone number, but he struck out.
  • If you “Go to bat” for someone, it means that you help or support them.

If you know the rules of how to play baseball, it can really help you to understand these idioms better – and also to watch a game on TV, or even better, at the baseball park.

Synonyms

A synonym is a word that has the same, or almost the same, meaning as another word.
Synonyms for “cold“:  chilly, icy, frigid, and frosty.
They are good to learn because:

  • They improve your vocabulary
  • They make your speaking and writing more interesting (not always using the same words)
  • They make your speaking and writing more clear (closer to what you really want to say)

One good place to find synonyms is Thesaurus.com   A ‘thesaurus’ is a synonym dictionary.  Type in a word such as delicious, or enjoy, and they will show you several synonyms – with the most common synonyms listed first.  You can also check the pronunciation and definition for each of these words. (It’s important to check the definition for words that you don’t know.)

There’s a popular thesaurus that’s part of the Dictionary.com App – available for free for IOS and Android.  After you install the app, you can switch to the thesaurus to find synonyms.  There’s also a special tab for English learners, with more explanation.

Here’s a basic list of synonyms for almost 100 very common English words.

Google Images as Your Dictionary

    There are some good, regular dictionaries for English language learners – including the Learner’s Dictionary, which explains 100,000 words and phrases in simple language, with sentence examples, and pronunciation.

However, there are many times when some pictures will help you understand a word better, and more quickly.  Perhaps the easiest way to see a word in pictures is with Google Images.  Here are some examples of words that are easier to understand with a picture, or a set of pictures…

Animal Idioms

  • Night owl –  A person who is more awake/active at night
  • Early bird – A person who is more awake/active earlier in the morning
  • Scaredy cat – Someone easily frightened by something
  • Average bear – An average/typical person
  • Get off your high horse – Stop acting like you’re better than other people
  • Busy bee – A person who is very active/busy
  • Social butterfly – A person who likes going to lots of parties and other social events
  • Fish out of water – A person who feels uncomfortable in a new place or situation
  • Eager beaver – Someone who is very enthusiastic and works hard
  • Sitting duck – Something/someone unprotected – easy to attack
  • Cold turkey – Stop doing something very suddenly (He stopped smoking cold turkey.)
  • Stool pigeon – An informant – someone who acts as a spy and reports to someone else (often the police)
  • Hornet’s nest – A situation that could produce a lot of trouble, anger

Yes/No Questions with ‘Does’

Don’t Say Say This
Does she has a car?
Does she have a car?
Does your father has an appointment? Does your father have an appointment?
Does he goes to Boston every Tuesday? Does he go to Boston every Tuesday?
Does the milk smells ok? Does the milk smell ok?
Does she likes pizza? Does she like pizza?

Remember

  • Present Tense – Use when something happens in the present in a usual/regular way.
  • Base Form of a verb – Same as the infinitive, without the ‘to’
    • Examples of base verbs: go (not – goes, going, went); like, have, do, eat, work, play
  • For he/she/it in present tense – Pronounce the sound of the S at the end of most verbs
    • He cooks every night.  She goes there often.  It looks good.
  • BUT – for questions, use the base form of the main verb
    • So… She has a new dress.    But… Does she have a new dress?
    • She goes to school every Tuesday.    But…  Does she go to school every Tuesday?
  • Answering these yes/no questions
    • Does she have a car?
      • Yes she does.  (or – Yes, she has a car.)
      • No she doesn’t.  (or – No, she doesn’t have a car.)
    • Does she like pizza?
      • Yes she does.  (or – Yes, she likes pizza)
      • No she doesn’t.  (or – No, she doesn’t like pizza.)
      • Don’t SayYes, she like. or – Yes, she likes.

Here’s another good explanation from Woodward English: