Speaking English As Much As You Can

  We all tell our students that 6 hours/week of class is not enough time to learn to speak English well and we encourage them to find opportunities to speak English beyond the classroom. Last term, I told my class how important it was to be exposed to English as much as possible. This is especially important if you are not in class now.

The students were assigned the homework below. Most of them did the homework and practiced speaking English with more people.


  1. Find someone who speaks English and whom you have never spoken to before.  For example: post office clerk, supermarket cashier, waiter, etc and try to speak to them in English for a few minutes.
  2. Write 4 or 5 sentences describing this experience – who, what, when where, etc.

— Thanks to Charlie for this article —

Very vs. Too


  • VERY = A lot, or extremely
    • It’s very cold outside.
    • That job is very difficult.
    • That restaurant is very expensive.
  • TOO = a lot, or extremely – but also with some problem or difficulty.  More than what is wanted or needed
    • It’s too cold to go outside.  (Colder than you can handle)
    • That job is too difficult. (You can’t do it.)
    • That restaurant is too expensive. (You can’t afford it.)

Here is another video with more detail:  Continue reading

You Want That Job! – Interview Tips

Is it a new and different job, or a promotion? Good for you!

At the end of the process of searching for a new job, you will probably have an interview with the hiring manager of the company or organization where you would like to work. The interview is a conversation during which you talk about yourself, your skills, knowledge and experience.

Here are a few ideas, or tips, for having a successful interview:

  1. Be on time—not too early and Not Late.
    When you think about the time you will need to get to, and be ready for the interview, remember to include extra time for:

    1. Unexpected traffic
    2. Possibility that you will get lost
    3. Time to find a parking space
    4. Time to find the building and room where you will interview
    5. Time to take a deep breath, and relax a little before the interview starts
  2. Dress appropriately – There is agreement that both men and women should wear a suit.
  3. Bring a few copies of your resume.
  4. Don’t talk too much or too little. Write down and rehearse your answers to typical interview questions in advance.
  5. Thank the interviewer(s) at the end.

There are many YouTube videos with more helpful information about interviews.  Here’s one from England (in the video “CV” is the same as resume).

And here are two more:
Continue reading

It’s Complicated— The final /s/ sound in English

Many English words end in the sound /s/. This final /s/ plays several important and quite different grammatical functions—and confuses new English learners. Sometimes the final /s/ indicates a plural noun (like girls or cats).  In other cases it signals a possessive noun or pronoun (as in Anna’s or hers). The final /s/ is also used for third person singular simple present tense verbs (she runs, he runs, it runs).

Plural nouns

The girls have cats.

Possessive nouns and pronouns

The girl’s name is Anna. This is Anna’s cat. Whose cat is this? It’s hers.

Continue reading

Acronyms for Texting

What do lol, idk, ty, and  imho mean?

You may see these online or when you are texting someone.

  • Acronyms are words made from the first letters of other words.  Sometimes acronyms are pronounced as a word. Sometimes you say each letter.
  • Abbreviations are short forms of words. They end with a period. You pronounce the original word, like “mister” for Mr.

Here are some popular acronyms and their meanings. They can be written in capital or regular letters.

  • LOL — laughing out loud
  • IDK — I don’t know
  • ty — thank you  (also thx)
  • imho — in my humble opinion or my opinion is
  • btw — by the way
  • np — no problem
  • ily — I love you (also ilu)
  • OMG — oh my God!

Here’s a website that lists many more common acronyms used in online chats, and here’s one more.

— Thanks to Devik for this article —

Visit a Large Farm – in Framingham??

Eastleigh Farm is a large (111 acres) historic farm in the northwest corner of Framingham.  It’s open to the public for free every Saturday and Sunday from Noon to 6:00.  There are free wagon rides and a few shops.  You can walk around, see the animals, and bring a picnic to have lunch there.

On Sunday, July 23rd from 10AM to 5PM, there will a special free event with some demonstrations about life during the Civil War.  There will also be an antiques flea market, an ice cream truck (from Uhlman’s in Westborough), and a food truck.

You can check their other upcoming events on Facebook, including their “Dinner on the Farm” from 4 to 8PM on August 12th.

The farm is located at 1062 Edmands Road.

Short YES or NO Answers = Survival English

Every day you are asked simple questions like:

“Are you…?”              “Is he…?”

“Do you have…?”      “Does he have…?”

Many of these questions can be answered with short YES or NO statements:

  • Are you …? — “Yes, I am.”   or  “No, I’m not.”
  • Is he …? —  “Yes, he is.” or  “No, he isn’t.”
  • Do you have…? — “Yes, I do.”  or   “No, I don’t.”
  • Does she have…? —  “Yes, she does.”  or  “No, she doesn’t.”
We need to practice these simple answers a lot.
This practice helps us speak English with confidence! 

— Thanks to Jen for this article —