There, Their, or They’re?

These groups of words sound the same, or similar to each other.  It can be confusing to know which one to use when you write.  Examples:

  • I’m going to Boston.
  • I’m hungry and she is too.
  • There is too much snow.
  • I have two daughters.
  • She bought some groceries and then she went home.
  • My car is older than your car.
  • Plum Island is a pretty place and I’m going there tomorrow.
  • They’re very excited kids.
  • Their car is in front of my car.
  • Can I use your phone?
  • You’re my best friend.
  • They were at the beach yesterday.
  • We’re happy that you can come to visit us.
  • Where are you going?

There are many more commonly confused words.

— Thanks to Pat for suggesting this article —

Storybird Poems

Storybird is a free website to help you practice your creative writing.  They have thousands of pictures to go with your writing. The easiest to start with is a Storybird Poem:

  • Go to and create a free account
  • Choose a picture and “Use This Art” to create a “Poem”
  • Move some words onto the picture to make a little poem
  • “Publish” your poem


You can press the  button to get more word choices.

If you like your poem, please share it with us by emailing to

Writing Practice: Write or Die

We usually talk about being careful with your writing – using correct grammar, punctuation, capitalization, etc.  This is an exercise that does the opposite.  It simply encourages you to write continuously – from your thoughts straight through to your fingers – without worrying about mistakes.  The website is called

You’re pushed to keep typing, because if you stop – the screen starts turning red, and then starts making some irritating noises – until you start typing again. 

This is easiest to use on your computer.  You can use it on a tablet (iPad).

To try this –  you don’t have to pay, or login.  Below the BUY button, just click on the TRY button.


Conversations with Tutor Mike

tutor-mike  Tutor Mike is a robot who is happy to have a conversation with you.  First, tell him your name (such as by writing: “Hi Mike.  My name is Marian.”).  When you press Enter, he will write back to you.

You can write anything you like to Mike (“How old are you?”; “Where do you live?”; “I like your hair.”) and he will try to answer you. He can also help you with your English if you make a mistake. (Try to ask him: “What is a apple?”) And lots more.

For smartphones and tablets, there is a free Tutor Mike app for Apple (called “ESL Robot”) and Android (called “ESL Robot Pro”).