Listening Exercises

   Seminole State College in Florida has a web page with many helpful listening exercises. There are three levels of difficulty.

Each activity has 10 questions.  For questions 1-5, listen to the audio and choose the sentence you hear.
Here’s an example:

  • That blue house was great!
  • That new house is great!
  • That new house isn’t great.

For questions 6-10, listen to the audio and choose the best answer that you see.
Here’s an example:

  • She pays every month.
  • He pays every month.
  • They pay every month.

To begin, try this exercise.  If you like it, here are many more.

Video Dictionary

To explain a word you don’t understand, there are good dictionaries especially for English learners – such as the Learner’s Dictionary There are picture dictionaries – such as on the website English for Beginners.  There is another website – called the Video Dictionary, or “Vidtionary” – that describes English words for you by using very short videos.

Here’s a sample video describing “vending machine” …


Newsela is a website and app that helps you improve your reading, with interesting articles in many subjects – science, politics, famous people, sports, etc.

There are five different versions of article, with different levels of reading difficulty.  Newsela is not just for people learning English, so you should start at the easiest levels of a story and go higher if you are able. You can also take a short quiz about the story.  There are hundreds of good articles – all freebut you must create an account and Sign in.  Here’s one about emojis.

For Spanish speakers, there are many articles written in Spanish, also with 5 different levels of reading difficulty, so you can read the same story in Spanish and English.


Time Traveler

  The English language is more than 1,000 years old, but new words are being added to the language all the time.  The website for Merriam Webster Dictionary has a new feature called Time Traveler, where you can enter a year and find out words first used in that year.

You can enter the year you were born, or the year you immigrated to the U.S. to find new words for that year.  For example, words first used in 1978 include: control key, eye candy, face time, frequent flyer, sticky note, and surrogate mother.

You can also look up the meaning of most words, and it will tell you the year the word was first used.  For example: helicopter parent.

For fun, take the Time Traveler Quiz – to see if you can guess which of two words was used first.

Verb Conjugation

  Here’s a website – called – that will help show you all the forms of most common English verbs.  For example, you can look up the conjugation of the verb EAT.  (I eat, he eats…; I ate, he ate…; I have eaten; etc. )
You can also translate each verb into any of 27 different languages.

If you have been studying English for a while, go to, look up the conjugation for a verb, and see how many of the verb forms you know.


A quotation, or quote, is something that a person says or writes, that is repeated by someone else.  Quotes are often used as a piece of advice or inspiration – learning from someone else’s life experience.

Famous quotes include these:

You can find a quote about almost anything on websites such as Brainy Quote.  For example, you can search for quotes about mothers.  Here’s one:  “God couldn’t be everywhere, so he created mothers.”  Here are many more quotes about mothers.

Here’s a quote from Maya Angelou:

Try answering a few questions on the meaning of this quote:

Continue reading

Google as a Quick Dictionary

For a quick definition of a word using Google use either “define:” or “definition” with the word you don’t understand.

For example, to get an explanation of the word “whisper”, go to Google and enter:  define:whisper  or whisper definition  (usually just “whisper def” will work)

Google will give you a lot of information, including:

  • Explanations of the word
  • Usually a sample sentence
  • An option to translate the word into other languages
  • On computers, you can also listen to pronunciation

For many words, seeing a picture can be very helpful.  Google Images is very good for that.

The Tooth Fairy

  In many countries, including the United States, the tooth fairy is  popular – somewhat similar to the Easter bunny or Santa Claus.  According to the custom, if a young child loses one of their baby teeth, and puts the tooth under their pillow, the tooth fairy will visit while they sleep and replace the tooth with a small gift.

There is a website called, which has descriptions of 22 children’s books about losing teeth and the tooth fairy that you can buy on Amazon. On another website, you can read about where children of other countries put their lost baby teeth.

There’s an old Disney family movie for free on YouTube called Toothless about a dentist who had to act as the tooth fairy so she could be admitted into Heaven.  Remember that on YouTube, you can turn on Closed Captions to read the words while you watch.