Have you just relocated to the United States?

Today we have a guest on the show who will give you 3 smart tips to have a great experience during your first few months in the United States.

3 tips for a newcomer:

  • Always have a solid expat legal plan: You should always have your legal paperwork in order and be prepared. Understand the laws of the country. Understand the limitations of your visa and what you are allowed to do.
  • Continue to contribute your unique skills: Remember that people are people, regardless of culture. We respond to hard work, honesty, and integrity. Keep doing your work while you are here.
  • Learn to take rejection and move on: It will be challenging when you move abroad. Be prepared to get rejected and then to stand back up and keep trying.

 

Portia’s Bio:

Dr. Portia Ndlovu is an author, Associate Professor, a business woman and a lawyer.

She comes from Durban South Africa and she is now based in Cape Cod, MA.

In her consulting and teaching she inspires others to pursue their dreams in both the legal field and in business.

Check out her publications on Linked In

Learn more about Massachusetts Maritime Academy

 

On IELTS Writing Task 2 do you struggle to find ideas?

Do you know where to put your ideas when you come up with them?

Today we’ll show you how to brainstorm for Writing Task 2 and how to organize your ideas into your paragraphs in Writing Task 2.

How to brainstorm your ideas for IELTS Writing Task 2:

  • Write down anything that comes to mind
  • Go beyond the 2nd, 3rd idea- write down 4, 5, 6 ideas
  • Don’t stop brainstorming until you get an interesting angle, concept, point
  • Draw two columns, agree and disagree and write down everything you can think of
  • Don’t over-complicate it by trying to be too specific, it can be broad such as “Many people agree with X for the following reasons.”

How to organize your ideas:

  • Go back and circle the best ideas and then you are ready to write
  • In the body paragraph, the first sentence needs to have the topic sentence
  • In the next sentences, use more complicated sentences and build out your idea

A final tip:

  • Journal every day- close your eyes, point to something in the newspaper, take ten minutes to write about that topic

What other questions do you have about IELTS Writing Task 2?

Let us know in the comments below.

Today we’ll talk about delayed gratification versus instant gratification.

You’ll find out how you can use delayed gratification for better English skills and a better life overall.

Here is today’s quote:

“Today I will do the things that others won’t so that tomorrow I can do the things that others can’t”- Jerry Rice

 

What are the things that you could do to get ahead with your English?

Do you work every day. Don’t just show up when you feel inspired or motivated. You will get better if you set a regular time to work on your English every day.

 

What do you think?

What are you working hard on every day? Do you show up every day?

Tell us your story in the comments.

Do you have questions on your mind about the IELTS exam?

Today you’ll get 3 answers to 3 questions from a current IELTS student.

Question 1: Where can I take the IELTS?

Go to IELTS.org. Click on “find a test.” Choose your city.

Book your test at least 3 months in advance to be sure that you get your spot.

Test centers get booked very far in advance. Don’t miss your opportunity to take the test.

Question 2: The test seems so “daunting.” What should I do?

Yes, the test is huge and quite long.

The biggest issue is timing.

You need strategies for getting the timing right and to complete each test section.

Find an IELTS professional to give you the strategies that you need and then practice them.

Question 3: It seems hard to do all of the test subjects on the same day. What should I do?

Make sure you have enough energy for test day. Eat a good breakfast. Your brain and body need energy and calories.

Have a plan for what you are going to do between the Writing test and your Speaking test.

Your Speaking test could be scheduled for any time in the afternoon.

During that block of time you should be able to get some food.

Maybe do some casual English listening practice.

Plan to go watch a movie or get some exercise.

What are your questions about IELTS?

Leave them in the comments section below!

In today’s episode you’ll get the difference between “suppose” and “to be supposed to.”

What is the difference between the two terms?

  • “I suppose”= I think, I guess, I assume, I believe, I imagine (verb)
  • “I am supposed to”= I should, I need to, I am expected (adjective)

 

Examples:

What are you going to do if your students don’t show up to class? I suppose I’ll stick around and wait for them.

People are supposed to pay for the subway in Boston but sometimes they don’t.

 

english native teacherAre you looking for a professional, native English teacher online?

Get a native English teacher online in seconds at italki.

Lindsay and Michelle recommend italki as our #1 English-learning solution online. Choose from more than 400 teachers to work on your business English or to pass your next big exam.

Get our special offer before it runs out! Go to italki and claim 10USD to go toward a FREE second English lesson at italki!

 

Now write your sample sentence in the comments.

Let us know if you understood today’s lesson!

Should you memorize when it comes to IELTS?

What happens to your score if you memorize an essay topic and use that to respond to the essay instead of answering the actual question that you receive?

This is a very bad idea. Don’t do it. Answer the actual essay question that you are given.

Is it always bad to memorize for the IELTS?

There are some situations where memorizing for the IELTS is good. Here are some examples:

  • You can memorize the essay structure. Memorize what kinds of structures you need for each type of essay on the IELTS Writing test.
  • You can memorize step-by-step systems for each part of the test. These systems will keep you from panicking.
  • You can and should memorize high level vocabulary, phrasal verbs, and idioms for the IELTS

Do you have any questions about today’s episode?

Ask us in the comments below.

Jennifer Tarle from Tarle Speech and Language, Minute of Speech

Today we have a special guest on the show!  You’ll find out the 3 mistakes you are making with your American English vowel sounds and how to solve your problem today!

Jennifer Tarle from Tarle Speech and Language is here to show you 3 actions steps that you can take to immediately solve your problems with American English vowel sounds.

Jennifer believes that listening is key to pronunciation. It’s more important than learning phonetic symbols and studying a pronunciation chart.

You need to work on your listening and then put it into practice.

Here are 3 things you can do today to improve your American English vowel sounds:

  • Long versus short vowel sounds (“Eat” versus “it”): Listen to the difference in vowel length. These sounds are used often in American English. Make the “eat” sound long and make the “it” short.
  • Open vowels: Watch a TV program with the sound off in your native language and then watch a TV program in English with the sound off. Watch the person’s mouth, lips, and jaw. Americans move their mouths a lot when they speak compared with other languages. English has a lot of vowels. Consider the word “fantastic.” You have to open your mouth wide to say that word.
  •  Movement vowel:  A lot of students keep their mouths closed and don’t move their mouth from one sound to another. You need to focus on moving your jaw and your lips. Don’t cut off the sounds and shorten them. Continue the sound.

 

english native teacherAre you looking for a professional, native English teacher online?

Get a native English teacher online in seconds at italki.

Lindsay and Michelle recommend italki as our #1 English-learning solution online. Choose from more than 400 teachers to work on your business English or to pass your next big exam.

Get our special offer before it runs out! Go to italki and claim 10USD to go toward a FREE second English lesson at italki!

 

 

Jennifer’s Bio:

Tarle Speech and Language was founded in 2005 by Jennifer Tarle in order to empower individuals at all stages of life through better communication skills. Jennifer is a Certified Speech Pathologist with over 19 years of experience in speech-related training and  pathologies. Jennifer earned a BS degree and an MA degree in Speech Pathology from Kent State University. She is licensed in CA, IL, & OH, is certified with the State Boards of Education in IL and OH, is certified by the IL early intervention system, holds the Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA), and has earned several AHSA ACE Awards for continuing education.

Jennifer is a self-published author of accent workbooks, audio CDs, DVDs, and iBooks.  Materials are designed to be easy and effective.  Products are all downloadable so that you can practice on the go!  She distributes her pronunciation materials solely through www.tarlespeech.com and iTunes. Introductory through advanced classes on foreign accents are taught throughout the city of Chicago, via video conferencing, and throughout the world.  To help even more people, she launched a video podcast, The Minute of Speech, in 2007.  It is available on iTunes, YouTube, and at www.tarlespeech.com.  She implemented her Tarle Speech pronunciation and accent reduction program at the Nanjing University of Science and Technology, Nanjing, China and at E4TG in Tokyo, Japan.  Contact her to schedule a consultation or class.

Jennifer strives to help individuals to improve their lives through better communication.

Today you’ll get 4 ways to craft a life that you love!

Here is today’s quote: “Life is like a combination lock. Your job is to find the right numbers in the right order so you can have anything you want.”

-Brian Tracy

We like this quote because it means that we don’t have to live the way that others tell us we have to live.

We have the ability to create our own life and create our dream life.

How can we do this?

  • Don’t focus on improving your weaknesses. Focus on making your strengths or your unique genius better and become exceptional in one core area. In school we are taught a different strategy. We are taught to focus on the things that we aren’t good at.
  •  Find a mentor. Get someone who can steer you in the right direction. Successful people always have mentors.
  • Surround yourself with people who have big dreams. Jim Rohn says, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”  You can also create a peer group through listening to podcasts.

 

What do you think?

Which of these steps are you currently taking?

Let us know in the comments below.

Today you’ll get four nonverbal ways to bump up your IELTS speaking score!

A few weeks ago we had Mark Bowden, body language expert on the AEE podcast and he told us that we need to know what messages our nonverbal communication is sending to others.

Your nonverbal communication will affect your scores on the speaking test.

Why? We all make subconscious judgments and when your body language is sending a message that you lack confidence or that you aren’t trustworthy, this may bring down your score because examiners are human.

Four ways to bump up your speaking score:

  • Smile consistently– it puts people at ease and makes them trust you.
  • Don’t slouch– don’t sit with your shoulders hunched over, with your head down. This does not make you look confident. Imagine there is a line going from the back of your neck to the ceiling.
  • Don’t sit with your legs wide open- This looks very rude for both men and women. If you are sitting up straight, this probably won’t happen. Crossing your legs is ok.
  • Use open gestures- Mark told us that when we have our hands open, out in front of us and at navel height, the person trusts us because they can see our hands. That makes us appear to be a safe, trustworthy person. On the Speaking test, don’t hide your hands in your lap. Don’t have them out of view of the examiner. Don’t put your elbows on the table, it’s informal. Use your hands to give emphasis to your speech. Use your hand gestures to show more meaning. This will help your pronunciation sound more natural too.

Here is another speaking test hint!

Have you used any of these nonverbal gestures on the speaking test?

Leave us your comments below!

Sean Watson International Business English Coach

Do you want to know how to thrive in the international business world?

Today you’ll meet our guest who helps students succeed in the world of international business.

Our guest Sean Watson will show you exactly how to become successful in business across cultures. You’ll get 3 tips to succeed in business across cultures.

How to succeed in business across cultures:

  • Be curious- do your homework before doing business abroad: Learn about the culture.  Learn a few words in the client’s language. Find out what nonverbal gestures are acceptable. If you want to be interesting, be interested. Be curious about other people and other cultures. You won’t get very far in business without making a genuine connection and it starts with understanding your client’s culture.
  • Be tolerant- keep an open mind: Learn to not judge people too quickly. This will go a long way to creating lifelong friendships and business partnerships.
  • Remember that nothing you learn is a waste of time: Don’t only focus on the things that you think you need to learn. It’s not just about the vocabulary, the grammar, and the pronunciation. There are many more angles to business than just the words. Try to learn from every situation you are in. Read other material and let it inform you when it comes to your business career. This is also important to generate ideas for small talk.

 

Sean’s Bio:

In today’s episode we have a special guest. Sean Watson has been in the English-teaching world since 1997.

Sean has traveled to 25 countries and has worked with CEOs from companies like Reuters, KPMG, Deloitte and Philips in Hungary.

He now specializes in teaching business English with a special focus on International Trade and advanced English conversation.

Sean is also a musician.

 

How to work with Sean:

  • Step 1- Register on this page to get $10 USD off your second lesson (*** If you don’t register here, you won’t get 10USD for free)
  • Step 2- Find Sean’s profile on italki and schedule a lesson: italki.com/teacherSean

“Say it once and say it well.” This is a great mentality that you can use when it comes to the IELTS Writing test.

Why?

Today you’ll find out how to take casual English phrases and turn them into academic phrases to get a higher IELTS score on the writing and the speaking.

Here are 3 casual sentences transformed into academic language:

  • Casual: I think traveling abroad is good.
  • Academic: I am of the opinion that undertaking exotic adventures is highly beneficial.

Rule#1: If you are using a word that you learned in your first year of learning English like “good” then it’s too basic.

Exchange it for a new one.

  • Casual: Too many people are fat today.
  • Academic: A growing number of individuals would be labeled as obese nowadays.

Rule #2: Make sure you know what words are considered rude such as “fat” and exchange these words for different, more polite ones.

  • Casual: Writing in cursive is not needed.
  • Academic: Pupils are wasting valuable time in learning an extinct skill such as writing in cursive.

Academic vocabulary from today:

  • Studious: To be intelligent, academic, well-read
  • A considerable amount, a great deal: this is better than saying too many or many

What questions do you have from today’s episode?

Please leave your questions in the comments!

In today’s episode you’ll find out if you should use cursive or printing on the Writing test on the IELTS.

If your handwriting is messy, it can impact your score negatively.

Practicing the timing on the Writing test is the key to making sure that your handwriting stays neat and easy to read.

Don’t make it hard for the examiner to read your essay.

If you have messy handwriting when using cursive, then try to print in block letters.

Warning!

Some teachers might ask you to type out your essay for your IELTS practice.

Typing out your essay is not good practice.

If a teacher asks you to do that, don’t trust that teacher!

It is not valid test practice because on test day you will have to write your essays by hand.

Don’t skimp on your preparation:

You cannot skip steps.

Learn from an IELTS professional who is teaching you correctly and who is not wasting your time.

It’s not enough just to read an example essay, learn an outline and jump into the test.

You need to sit down, write out your practice essays, and get feedback.

Leave us your questions in the comments now!

Let’s have a conversation.

Do you want to command more respect when you share your opinion?

Do you want people to listen to you?

There are 4 phrases in English that you can use when you introduce an opinion that you feel strongly about.

Here they are:

  • “Look,…”
  • “Listen,….”
  • “Here’s how I see it,…”
  • “Here’s what I think….and here’s why….”

These phrases are especially useful if you work in the legal field or any field where you need to have a point of view and have people listen to you.

They could help in any field where you are an authority and you need to convince people of something.

These phrases could also be useful if you want to get a point across in your personal relationships.

Listen to the podcast for examples of how we use these phrases in conversation.

Have you ever used these phrases?

Let us know in the comments.

Italki TroyLeeUSA

Today we have a former Silicon Valley hiring manager and professional in the high-tech industry.

Troy Lee will show you the exact changes that you need to make to get your resume noticed and to get an interview in the United States.

Troy specializes in interview strategy, resume writing, and personal statements.

He helps people get the job of their dreams!

Troy says there are three common mistakes that international professionals make on their resumes.

Here are the three mistakes:

  • They don’t use spell check on their resumes: Make sure your spell check is set to American English, not to your home country’s language. Check for grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

 

  •  They don’t know how to “market themselves”: Write your accomplishments. Quantify them. What specific value did you deliver to your former company? How did you help them increase their bottom line? Highlight your leadership experience. This is not the time to be humble. Silicon Valley and the rest of the US is competitive. You really need to stand out.

 

  •  They don’t study the company before they apply:  Make sure you study the company. Get some background information. Make them feel special. Learn about new projects that they working on or new products that they are introducing. Use the same words that they use in their job description. There is a program called Resumix. It’s a keyword finder where they search for everyone who used specific words in their resume. It is important to be very intentional about what keywords you put into your resume in order to get selected by this program.

 

italki sponsorship trial 2Are you looking for a professional, native English teacher online?

Get a native English teacher online in seconds at italki.

Lindsay and Michelle recommend italki as our #1 English-learning solution online. Choose from more than 400 teachers to work on your business English or to pass your next big exam.

Get our special offer before it runs out! Go to italki and claim 10USD to go toward a FREE second English lesson at italki!

 

 

Idiom from today:

“Good ole’ boy network”= your personal and professional network, who you know

Also remember, there is no need to put your photo on your resume and it’s good to leave some white space on your resume.

 

Troy’s Bio:

Troy is a certified, native English teacher, born and raised near Stanford, California, about 30 min. away from San Francisco, USA, and has been teaching on Italki since October 2009.

When he is not teaching students business English or helping them with their IELTS or TEOFL test on weekends and evenings (California Time), he works a full-time day job at a major Silicon Valley software company as a product manager. He has been in the high-tech industry for over 11 years.  He is well-versed in business English.

Troy has worked in many high-tech industries including healthcare, hardware, and software and has had a role as a hiring manager. He enjoys mentoring people to best position themselves, be contacted by hiring managers, succeed in interviews, and win the job of their dreams.

He even continues to help his students into their job by explaining the different cultural differences ESL students should be aware of that may differ from the work culture in the students home country.

Troy’s most popular course on Italki is Interviewing Strategy, Resume/CV, Cover Letter Wording & Layout, Personal Statement.  You can find him at http://www.italki.com/troyleeusa

Are you going to waste your money and time preparing in the wrong way for the IELTS speaking test?

Many students are wasting money and time doing the wrong things and we want to show you what NOT to do today.

To get the speaking score you need, you can’t just practice general conversation.

You can’t just grab a native speaker and try to speak with them.

What should you do differently?

You should learn the speaking strategies and understand the exam when you prepare for the speaking test.

You need to know the rules and the strategies so that you are not practice incorrectly.

You want to know what the examiner wants before you begin your speaking test practice.

The formula for success is to have two types of speaking preparation: Get a speaking partner, chat with them a few times a week to get your fluency up AND learn the format, rules, strategies of the speaking test and if you can, do some speaking test practice where you are pretending to be in the exam.

Even native speakers don’t always get a perfect score because they don’t have the strategies.

They usually get a 9 for pronunciation but they may not get a perfect score on vocabulary, fluency and coherence because they don’t know the rules of the exam.

In Part 1:

You must answer in complete sentences and you can’t give one-word answers.

Your fluency and coherence score will go way down if you do that.

In Part 2:

You are given a topic card and you have a minute to take notes and think about your answer.

People who have not studied for the test think they have to answer every question on the card.

That’s not the case.

The examiner doesn’t care if you answer every question on the card.

The questions are meant to guide you.

Click here to learn more about your goals for IELTS Speaking Part 2.

In Part 3:

A good rule of thumb is to organize your answer in the same you organize an academic essay.

Put an introduction, examples, details, and the conclusion.

Use the same structure for every question on Part 3.

Learn the linking words that you need to use.

Then you need to practice, practice, practice.

Read more about how to use idioms on the speaking test.

Leave us your comments below.

What questions do you have about preparing for the Speaking test?

What are you most nervous about?

Are you stressed about vocabulary on the IELTS exam?

You need a brain box to get a high score on the IELTS but do you feel that your brain box is empty?

Do you feel that you don’t have enough vocabulary for the IELTS?

Do you have a hard time coming up with words that relate to a specific topic in English?

Today we are going to show you how to brainstorm for new vocabulary words based on the topic.

You already have the words in your first language so you need to transfer the words into English.

Get 5 guaranteed ways to increase your speaking score.

Get the 4 rookie mistakes that many IELTS test takers make

Get your free IELTS checklist, click here.

How to create your “brain tree”:

  • Step 1- Start with your first language. Think of a common IELTS topic like food. Draw a tree with branches. On each branch write out all of the words that you know that are related to food in your native language. Get as specific as you can. Write down everything you think of. Go from general to specific. Give yourself a time limit for each brain tree. Do it for 5-10 minutes.
  • Step 2-After you finish your brain tree, go back and translate everything into English. This will increase your IELTS vocabulary and will show you that you already have the vocabulary but you just need to translate the words into English.
  •  Step 3- Put these English words into your vocabulary notebook. Organize your vocabulary notebook by topic.

How can you find a topic for your brain tree?

Check out IELTS courses online and look at the topics that they teach. Use those topics for your brain tree.

Click here to learn how to get a 7 for vocabulary when you speak or write about age.

Have you tried this activity?

Let us know in the comments. How did it work for you?

Mark Bowden, body language expert

Today you will meet one of the world’s top experts in body language, nonverbal communication, and human behavior.

You’ll get 3 simple things that you can do to establish trust with anyone using body language.

Mark says that our primitive brain makes quick, snap decisions about whether or not someone is safe based on their body language.

We need to understand this because if we do not use the right body language people will never listen to what we are actually saying.

Although some gestures vary across cultures, there are certain basic body language gestures that are universal and signal specific things in every culture.

How can we build trust using body language?

  • Smile: Mark says that when we smile we allow the people around us to relax and to think that it’s safe to interact with us.  When we smile we say “it’s good now.” We send a message that the relationship is good. Mark says that as much as you practice your English, you should also practice your smile!
  • Gestures with open body language: Open palms, not closed palms signal that you don’t have any weapons and it’s especially effective if you open your palms at the height of the belly button.
  • Keep your gestures consistent: Keep your hands at belly button height, keep your palms open. If you change your gestures often your brain gets confused. If the brain gets confused it will start to skew what you say in a negative direction.

 

When we do these 3 things that we have mentioned above, people are more likely to trust what we say and to take what we say and skew it in a positive direction.

 

Mark’s Bio:

Today we have Mark Bowden on the show. He is an expert on body language and human behavior.

He is ranked #1 in the Top 30 Body Language Professionals for 2014 by globalgurus.org and is the creator of Truthplane, a communication training company and methodology for anyone who wants to communicate with more impact.

In addition to being a TedX speaker, Mark has written the best-selling book, Winning Body Language and is the resident body language expert on CTV’s daily talk show, The Social.

Check out Mark’s TED Talk and his work at Truthplane

Also check Presentation Genius

 

What did you think about today’s episode?

Leave us a comment below and let us know if you have tried these tips.

You MUST use English idioms to get a 7 on the IELTS Speaking test and the IELTS Writing test.

If you use these idioms you will get those extra points because the examiner will realize that you have skills beyond the textbooks.

We have already done episodes on how to use idioms when you talk about happiness, art, and parties and celebrations.

Today you’ll get four idioms on different topics that you can “copy and paste” into your IELTS exam.

Get our free IELTS checklist

Find out how to save time and increase your IELTS score.

Click here to download it for free.

Four idioms to use on common Speaking and Writing topics:

Topic 1:  Questions about the home: “To make yourself at home”

I like to have my guests make themselves at home.

Topic 2: Questions about school or studies: “To hit the books”

I have really been hitting the books, trying to read some Spanish poetry.

Topic 3: Questions about food: “To eat and run”

My friends eat and run. They jump up and grab a banana and go.

Topic 4: Travel: “Off the beaten track”

I like to go off the beaten track and see things that most tourists don’t see.

Give us your sample sentences in the comments below!

Michelle took a Spanish class last year.

Today you’ll find out about the program that she used and the good points that helped her learn. You’ll also find out why she was not able to continue and how she quickly lost motivation.

The good points of the program:

The program was set up online and she had to build sentences using the foundation of a word such as a verb.

She would use translated words and create new combinations of words and new ways of saying things.

 

What went wrong:

She got too excited too fast. She watched 10 videos per night.

She quickly got overwhelmed and did not absorb the information.

She started “binging” on the information. She thinks that this was a setup for failure because she quickly burned out.

 

What was missing:

The human aspect.

It would have been better if she had combined the learning videos and an opportunity to practice with someone. You need to have a mix of different methods when you learn a language.

She also didn’t build momentum. She couldn’t measure and see her progress quickly.

 

What language learning programs do you use?

Do you ever binge on programs or podcasts to learn English?

Tell us in the comments below

In IELTS Writing Task 1 you’ll get Change Over Time questions.

Are you ready to use time prepositions in English to describe these charts and graphs?

Find out how to do it today.

A lot of students make mistakes with these prepositions on Task 1 questions:

  • During: Use only one word after it- The price of soda increased during the summer of 2012
  • From… to : The price of soda increased from June 2012 to September 2012
  • Between…and: Between May and February the price of soda went from $2.12 per can to $2.50 per can

How to practice these:

  • Look at a newspaper and look for graphs, tables, charts
  • Look in business or finance sections of magazines and newspapers
  • When you spot an accurate sentence describing change over time graphs and charts, write it down
  • Practice what you have written down on your own

Our free checklist will show you how to prepare in a step-by-step, clear way.

Find out how to maximize your time and increase your score.

Click here to get your free checklist.

Learn more about IELTS Writing Task 1:

Leave us your practice sentences in the comments below

Good luck and start practicing here!

We hear mistakes for English learners with “almost” and “most” all of the time!

Are you making this mistake?

Today, find out the difference between these two words and how to use them correctly and naturally.

Most Versus Almost:

Most: This means the majority. It is an adjective.

What do you do most mornings? Most mornings I roll out of bed. Most mornings I drink coffee. Most of the time I leave my apartment without eating breakfast. Most of the time I have breakfast on the go.

Most of the people in New York are busy and rushed all of the time. Most of the people are stressed out.

What do you have for lunch most days? Most days I have a peanut butter sandwich for lunch.

What do most people do on the weekends in New York? Most people walk outside or go to the park.

 

Almost: This means nearly. It’s an adverb.

Are you almost done with your wedding preparations?

I am almost done but I am still looking for someone who does hair and makeup.

We are almost ready to launch our new IELTS course!

 

english native teacherAre you looking for a professional, native English teacher online?

Get a native English teacher online in seconds at italki.

Lindsay and Michelle recommend italki as our #1 English-learning solution online. Choose from more than 400 teachers to work on your business English or to pass your next big exam.

Get our special offer before it runs out! Go to italki and claim 10USD to go toward a FREE second English lesson at italki!

 

Leave us your sample sentences in the comments section using “most” and “almost”!

 

Is this your first time taking the IELTS? If so, you are an “IELTS newbie” but don’t worry!

In today’s episode we are going to show you exactly what to do if you are an IELTS newbie!

We’ll give you three easy steps to follow. Check out today’s episode!

We’ll show you what to do if you have a month to prepare or if you have a year to prepare.

Get this free checklist and stop wondering what you should do next.

Learn how to prepare the right way. Save time. Get your target score.

Click here to download it for free.

If you have 1-2 months:

  • Step 1- Go to a bookstore and look at some of the practice tests. Get a sense of how hard this test will be for you.
  • Step 2- Find someone to help you. Don’t choose a general English conversation teacher. Work with someone who specializes in IELTS (not every ESL exam, just IELTS) and who has systems and strategies that work. Ask to talk with some of the teacher’s former students.
  • Step 3-Make a study plan and get started

If you have 6 months to one year:

  • Step 1- Do not start practicing the test right away! Focus on your general English skills. Take 3-4 months to improve your English. Listen to the All Ears English Podcast. Get a teacher on italki.
  • Step 2- Find good materials and a good course

Be smart about how you use your plan.

Don’t attempt to prepare for the IELTS without a plan.

Work for a few hours each day and you will do fine.

What questions do you have?

Leave your questions in the comments!

If you have a good study plan that you have created, please tell us about it in the comments or email us at Lindsay@allearsenglish.com

Mother’s Day was yesterday in the United States.

When is Mother’s Day in your culture?

Today you’ll find out how we celebrate Mother’s Day and you’ll find out what you should say to your mom today.

 

 

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Get our special offer before it runs out! Go to italki and claim 10USD to go toward a FREE second English lesson at italki!

 

Here are some things you should say to your mom today from :

Some of these ideas came from an article by Megan Walgren on Family Share

  • Show your appreciation: “You’re the best mom in the world.” or “You’re the greatest mom in the world.” or “You mean so much to me.” or “I appreciate everything you do.”
  • Learn how to do things: “What is your recipe for potato salad?” – Your mom has a lot of wisdom so ask her how to do things!
  • Learn about your childhood: “Tell me about the day I was born.”

 

What do you want to say to your mom today?

Tell us in the comments!

Today you’ll find out exactly what happens on IELTS exam day.

The Listening test is first.

You listen for 30 minutes and then you have 10 minutes to transfer your answers.

Next you start the Reading test.

The Reading test has 3 passages, 40 questions, and you have to do it in 60 minutes.

There is no extra time for transferring your answers.

Next comes the Writing test. At this point you might be tired but you need to keep going. It’s important to eat a good breakfast before the test.

The Writing test is 60 minutes, 20 minutes for Task 1, 40 minutes for Task 2.

When you prepare, be sure to practice the timing for the Writing test.

After Writing, find out when your Speaking test is. It’s usually that afternoon.

Sometimes it’s at another time during the week.

During the time between the Writing and the Speaking tests, you may have a huge amount of time.

Have a plan for how you are going to fill those hours if you need to.

You can listen to a podcast in English during that time but also get some fresh air, go outside and take a walk. Give your brain some down time.

Which part do you think will be the hardest section on the test?

Let us know in the comments and tell us how you are preparing for that section.

Today we have a quote!

“Holding back is so close to stealing.” – Neil Young

To hold back means to withhold or to not do something or to not give something.

This episode is about taking chances in our lives.

You may feel like you can’t be yourself in English.

Maybe you are funny in your native language but you don’t know how to be funny in English so you hold back.

But if you do that then you are “stealing” from the moment as this quote says.

 

What do you think?

When have you erred on the side of perfection and protection by protecting yourself and when have you erred on the side of connection by taking a chance?

Let us know in the comments below.

It can be stressful when you get started preparing for the IELTS exam.

Maybe you don’t know where to start. You don’t know how to choose an IELTS course.

Today we’ll show you what you are probably missing when you get started with your IELTS prep.

 Most students make this mistake. They do one of these things:

1- Only focus on test strategy and practice

or

2- Only focus on general English skill building

Doing only test prep or only general English and not both is a huge mistake.

This is a test of your English skills and not just your ability to take the test.

You need to get exposure in all different ways including speaking, reading, writing, listening.

Also, you need to study the test and understand how to use strategies to get a high score.

The way to make sure that you balance your practice is to have a daily study plan that helps you do both.

What’s the problem with a lot of IELTS schools?

At many IELTS schools you have young teachers who have online resources and fun activities but the teacher often does not know the test.

On the other hand, you could get a teacher who knows the test and who has been teaching IELTS for many years and will only do test practice with you but is very inflexible and boring.

These are the two types of teachers that you will find at many IELTS schools.

Unfortunately both of these types of teachers won’t help you get the score you need.

It’s possible to spend a lot of money and not get the skills that you need when you finish the course at an IELTS school. Don’t let this happen to you!

If you really want to attend a traditional IELTS class, make sure you have the option to get your money back after your first class or if you are studying online, try to get some sample lessons before you have to buy the whole course.

What resources have you been using in your IELTS prep?

Let us know in the comments below.

Do you think it’s important to obsess over something to become successful at it?

Another way to say it is ” to have tunnel vision.”

Another word for obsession could be “focus” but it has more of a positive connotation.

When we get really focused we have to be careful of burnout.

We could get exhausted.

When it comes to learning English you should chunk down the learning into bite-sized pieces and be sure that you are learning in a way that is fun for you.

 

What are you focused on?

What are you obsessed about?

Let us know in the comments below.

When it comes to the IELTS Speaking or Writing tests you may get a question about age groups.

Do you have the right vocabulary to talk about age groups in English?

Today you’ll get the vocabulary you need.

Here are some terms that you need to know:

  • Infant or baby: Under age 1
  • Toddler: Age 1-3
  • Child, kid: Age 3-12
  • Teen, teenager, adolescent: Age 13- 20
  • Young adult: age 18-30
  • Twenty-something: Someone who is in their twenties
  • Thirty-something: Someone who is in their thirties
  • Middle aged: 50’s/60’s
  • Elderly, elders: Age 70/80/90/100

Here’s another bonus vocabulary word:

“Mid-life crisis”: A time in your life when you become confused and distressed about the direction your life is going in and your life goals.

Use these vocabulary words to sound natural enough to get a 7 on your Speaking and Writing tests.

Practice!

Describe the age groups of people in your life!

Get ready for your IELTS exam.

Do you know how to leave a great voicemail in English?

Today you’ll get the 5 steps that you need to follow to leave a great voicemail.

Listen to the sample role plays in today’s episode to hear what your message should sound like.

Here are the steps:

1) Greeting: “Hi it’s Lindsay” or “Hey it’s Michelle”

2) Why are you calling: “I just wanted to talk with you about tomorrow’s meeting” or “I’m calling to catch up.”

3) What they should do next: “Would you get back to me when you can” or “Give me a call whenever you’re free”

4) Your phone number: “My number is 359-284-9856” or “You can reach me at 617-593-0952

5)  Say goodbye: “Hope you’re having a good day” or “Take care” or “Have a great one”

 

Here are a few other tips:

1) Make sure they know how to get back to you

2) Don’t ramble, don’t go on and on, don’t leave a long message, make it concise and tight and to the point

3) Do leave a message- don’t call and hang up, it’s better to leave a message with some grammar mistakes than it is to not leave a message and not connect with the person

 

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Get our special offer before it runs out! Go to italki and claim 10USD to go toward a FREE second English lesson at italki!

 

Have you left any successful English voicemails lately?

Let us know in the comments below!

Native speakers use the verb “to want” in the past tense when we are making a request in the present tense.

For example, you might call a colleague and say ” I wanted to confirm our lunch appointment for today.”

This makes the message a bit more polite and more indirect.

We think it’s also used more commonly for women.

 

italki sponsorship trial 2Are you looking for a professional, native English teacher online?

Get a native English teacher online in seconds at italki.

Lindsay and Michelle recommend italki as our #1 English-learning solution online. Choose from more than 400 teachers to work on your business English or to pass your next big exam.

Get our special offer before it runs out! Go to italki and claim 10USD to go toward a FREE second English lesson at italki!

 

How can you add this speech pattern into your conversations?

Give us some examples in the comments.

Did you know that your cultural IQ can affect your Speaking score on the IELTS exam?

It’s true!

Today you’ll find out how.

There are questions that can be traps on the IELTS exam.

Examiners are human and when they hear your response to a question like “what’s the difference between activities that men and women do?” they will have a negative gut reaction to your answer if you respond in a way that shows a lack of cultural sensitivity.

If you come from a culture where there are certain activities that women can’t do or that men can’t do and if you don’t articulate that you understand that this is different in different cultures, your score may be marked down.

The test is not completely objective.

You need to show that you understand cultural differences.

You can use these phrases:

  • “In my culture, this is what happens..”
  • “I know it’s not the same everywhere but this is how it is where I am from.”
  • “My culture is different from the West but…”
  • “In my experience.”
  • “This is what I’ve seen:…”
  • “I know it’s different here.”

Another important part of cultural differences is understanding points of view when you talk about ages across cultures. Listen to this episode for more information: How to Get a 7 When You Speak or Write About Age

What do you think about this topic?

Have you made any cultural IQ mistakes in the IELTS exam?

Let us know in the comments!

Are you preparing for IELTS in a way that works with your personality?

Do you assume that because you’re an introvert, you can’t succeed on the Speaking test?

What’s the difference between an introvert and an extrovert:

  • Introvert:  You lose energy from being around people and stimulation
  • Extrovert: You can get energy from outside stimulation like interaction with people, music, crowds, etc.

How should you change your study plan based on your personality?

The important thing is to realize your personality style and do what works for you.

If you are an introvert, you may have an easier time focusing and working by yourself at home.

You can focus more time on the Reading test and the Writing test.

If you are an extrovert, you may want to spend more time increasing your skills in your area of strength, like the Speaking test.

You know that you need human interaction to absorb concepts or to stay focused so go out and form a study group.

Talk about the strategies with your study group.

Don’t waste time trying to be what you’re not.

If you are an extrovert, don’t block out two hours to study by yourself.

If you are introvert, don’t push yourself to go out and find people to talk to all of the time. Try learning online. You don’t have to use the video and you can do it from home.

What is your personality style?

How does it affect your study plan that you follow?

Let us know in the comments below.

What makes you come alive?

To “come alive” means to become energized and excited about something.

Here is the question:

“Each day wake up and ask yourself, what will make you feel most alive that day.”

What makes you feel happier?

What makes you feel smaller or less alive?

We all owe it to ourselves to think about this every day.

 

Leave a comment for us today.

Tell us what makes you come alive?

Are you living in the US?

Have you avoided setting up your voicemail in English because you aren’t sure what to say?

Today we’ll show you exactly how to set it up and what to say.

If you don’t have your voicemail set up and you get a business call, most likely the person will not try to call back again so you will miss an opportunity.

What to say in your voicemail message (personal):

  • Part 1: Greeting- “Hi, it’s (name) or ” “Hi you’ve reached (name)” or “You’ve reached (name’s) mobile.”
  • Part 2: Explain the situation: “I”m not available now” or “I can’t come to the phone right now” or “I’m not here right now.”
  • Part 3: Call to action: “Please leave your name, number and a brief message and I will get back to you as soon as I can.” or “Please leave a message and I will get back to you.”

 

Business voice message in English:

  • Part 1: Greeting- “You’ve reached the desk of Michelle Kaplan”
  • Part 2: I am either away from my desk or on another call.”
  • Part 3: “For immediate assistance, please contact (name) and (number)” or “Please leave a message”
  • Part 4: “Thank you and have a great day.”

 

 

Have you set up your voicemail yet?

What questions do you have about how to do it?

Ask us your questions in the comments.

We have a HOT new IELTS video training out! Get it here and learn how to get a 7 or higher on your IELS exam.

This morning one of our listeners just took the Speaking test and we got a great question from her.

She had two questions:

1- “Is it bad that the examiner asked me to speak louder?”

2- “Is it ok that I took a quick sip of water during the test?”

Neither of these issues is a problem that will affect your grade.

But you must speak loudly enough that the examiner can hear you of course.

Also, it’s a great idea to record yourself when you practice the IELTS Speaking test and then go back and listen and note down if you are using any language crutches or making other mistakes.

What other questions do you have about the IELTS exam?

Ask us in the comments section below!

When someone has a bad idea and you don’t agree or you don’t want to accept the invitation, how can you say it in English without offending the person?

Today you will find out exactly how to do it.

Here are some nice ways to reject someone’s idea without being rude (how to validate someone’s idea):

  • “That’s a great idea but what do you think about….(another suggestion)”
  • “Hmm good thought. I think… (another suggestion)”
  • “Interesting idea. What about…”
  • “Unfortunately I don’t think that would work. Let’s…”

 

What other phrases do you use to validate someone’s idea in English?

Share your ideas in the comments below.

 

Are you using crutches when it comes to the IELTS Speaking test?

Today you’ll find out why crutches can be deadly on the IELTS exam.

Language crutches in English are “like,” “um,” “uh” and words like those. When you use those on the IELTS Speaking test you lose points for both fluency and vocabulary.

You lose fluency points because you are repeating yourself and you lose vocabulary points because it sounds like you don’t have the vocabulary words that you need.

You have to stop using them on the exam even though you hear native speakers using them all of the time and they are natural.

How to break this habit:

Record yourself speaking. Listen to the recording. If you hear “like” and  “um” too many times, you need to keep focusing on reducing those language crutches.

You can also join Toastmasters. When you join the group, your colleagues will listen to your speeches and will note down how many times you have used these filler words.

Do you use language crutches?

How do you plan to break this habit for the IELTS?

Let us know in the comments below.

Do you struggle when it comes to dating in English?

It can be quite a challenge to try to find the “love of your life”!

In today’s episode, our dating consultant, Jessica Coyle will show you how to deal with it when you become discouraged or disappointed.

Here is Jessica’s advice:

  • Don’t be afraid to give in to sadness by crying. It’s good for your body to cry and it makes you feel better. In American culture it’s often not accepted for men to cry but it’s a healthy thing to do.
  • Get active! You don’t have to go to the gym. Get outside. Get the endorphins going. This also releases the toxins and makes you feel much better.
  •  Learn a new skill. Stretch your mind. Teach yourself to play the guitar. Set a personal goal. Use an app like Duolingo.
  • Get someone to talk to. Talk to a friend or a therapist or a coach. It always helps to talk it out. Other people can give you a sense of perspective.
  • Try meditation. Work on your breathing because our thoughts can become repetitive. You may have negative thoughts about your dating life. This could really change your outlook on things.

 

Jessica suggests this podcast: Invisibilia

 

headshot (1)

Jessica Coyle is our dating consultant at All Ears English.

She lives in New York City and writes a dating blog called Hopeful Disasters.

Check out her latest article called Punching Sadness Where It Hurts and It Hurts Everywhere

 

 

What did you think about today’s show?

Tell us your response to this question: Is it accepted for men to cry in your culture?

Let us know your thoughts!

Do you ever run out of things to say on the IELTS Speaking test?

What should you do in this situation?

This happens a lot in Part 2 of the Speaking test.

Follow two steps if your mind goes blank and you run out of ideas:

  • Be honest. Say something like “That’s all I can think of to say on that topic.” “I can’t believe it’s not two minutes yet.” This will also help with your anxiety. If you say what you are experiencing, you will feel much more relaxed.
  • Next, think of something else to say. Think of anything in your personal experience that connects to the topic in any way.

Click here to learn how to come up with creative ideas for IELTS Writing.

Follow these two steps the next time you run out of ideas on the Speaking test and let us know how it goes.

Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Do you know what the biggest myth about writing and speaking on the IELTS is?

What should you do if the questions that you get on the IELTS speaking test are too broad?

You should talk about examples from your personal life.

Tell your own stories. Think about your most recent experiences from the topic.

For example:

Q: Do you enjoy exercise?

A: Yeah just yesterday I was going on a bike ride and I saw cherry blossoms.

Don’t be afraid to “boast” about yourself.

Also use linking phrases to get a higher fluency and coherence score. Examiners listen for them.

Use linking words like:

  • “In fact…”
  • “Indeed”
  • “Actually”

What questions do you have about the IELTS exam?

Let us know in the comments below.

Do you have a 5-year plan?

Do you think it’s important to have one?

Today we’ll talk about why sometimes it’s good to let your plans go and relax into life a bit.

 

Today we talked about a great quote:

“It is always wise to look ahead but difficult to look further than you can see.”

-Winston Churchill

You can make as many plans as you want in life but you never know what’s going to happen.

 

Here is another great quote:

“Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans.”

-John Lennon

 

What do you think?

Should you have a 5-year plan?

Do you plan for the future?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

 

Did you know that you should spend LESS time on grammar when you prepare for the IELTS exam?

Does that sound strange to you?

If it does then you should listen to today’s episode.

Why shouldn’t you focus on grammar for IELTS?

It’s not worth the time and it’s almost impossible to improve your grammar score for the speaking section quickly. Don’t waste your time on grammar textbooks.

Instead of doing grammar exercises, you should try reading a newspaper to improve your reading score.

In speaking, you are graded on 4 things:

  • fluency and coherence- keep talking and don’t use “ums” and “uhs’
  • vocab- use exaggerated language, slangs, and idioms to get a 7
  • pronunciation- get a 7 by using intonation and emotions
  • grammar- this will be much harder to improve

Remember, your speaking score is an average. You can still get a speaking score of 7 without focusing on grammar.

 

What do you think?

Are you focusing a lot on grammar?

Are you going to change your strategy after today’s episode?

Let us know below.

English acronyms are fun and easy when it comes text messaging and emailing but you need to know what impression you give the person when you use them!

Today we’ll show you some common English acronyms and what impression they create. We’ll also give you some alternatives.

Here are some common acronyms in English when we send text messages:

 

  • BRB (“Be Right Back”) – This could sound relatively young. Some alternatives are “back in a minute” or “be back soon”
  • LOL (“Laughing out loud”)- A lot of people get annoyed by this one. This could be used in a text message. A good alternative is “haha”

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  • TTYL (“Talk to you later”)- This one also sounds really young. A more mature alternative is “talk soon” or “talk to you soon” or actually writing out “talk to you later”
  • SMH (“Shaking My Head”)- This is a newer acronym. You can use this when you disapprove of something that someone has done.
  • OMG (“Oh my gosh”)- This can also be annoying. Other options are: “Oh wow” or “I can’t believe it.”

 

Which acronyms have you used?

Let us know in the comments below.

It was long, cold, and tough winter and now we want to talk about spring!

Do you know how to talk about spring in English?

This is a great way to start English conversations these days.

In today’s episode you’ll get a bunch of ways to talk about it with a native speaker.

 

Here are some expressions from today’s episode:

  • 300x257_web-FINALTo spring into action: To get going, to move into action, to act quickly, to get started quickly
  • To have a spring in your step: To have energy, to move easily and quickly, to be light on your feet
  • Spring cleaning: To clean out your home or space after the winter, to get rid of things that you don’t need anymore
  • To spring up: To come up, to arise spontaneously
  • To spring ahead: To advance
  • To spring something on someone: To surprise someone about something, to put someone under pressure with a surprise
  • To spring for something: To buy something that is slightly out of your budget

 

Do you love springtime?

What do you like to do in the spring?

Let us know in the comments!

Are you worried about the IELTS Listening test?

Do you think it’s stressful to answer questions and listen at the same time?

You don’t have to listen to every word and understand everything on the IELTS Listening test.

There are 3 different listening skills and you only use one of them on the IELTS:

  • Listening for detail: Listening for every word that the professor says and taking notes on everything they say. You might do this when you watch a movie and you need to hear every line. You don’t need to do this on IELTS. You do listen for details but you don’t listen to every word.
  • Listening for gist: Listening for the main idea. You don’t do this on the IELTS exam.
  • Listening for specific information: This is the skill that you need for the IELTS Listening test. This is a test strategy. On the test you look at the question, underline key words and then listen for those specific key words and the answer that is right next to them.

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Remember, you don’t have to understand every word on the IELTS exam.

Use listening quizzes that you can find for free online. Try esl-lab.com

When you use these listening activities you should approach it the same way you would on the test.

That means that you should read the questions before you listen. Focus on the key words like names, numbers, special verbs and nouns.

Also, predict an answer. Know what to listen for- is it an adjective or a verb to go before one particular word.

Click here to learn more about how to listen, read, and write at the same time on the IELTS Listening test

What aspect of IELTS Listening are you struggling with?

Did this episode answer your questions?

Let us know other questions that you have below in the comments.

Do you know what to say to someone after a good or a bad date in English?

Today you will find out from our favorite dating consultant, Jessica Coyle.

You’ll also get some new English dating vocabulary and terms that you can use in the real world!

What should we do if we have just had a good date:

(1) Send a text message that evening and say:

  • “I had a really nice time.”
  • “Had a great time tonight. (I) Would like to see you again.”
  • “It was really nice meeting you, let’s hit up (go to) the MOMA.”
  • “Thanks so much for a great time.”
  • “I enjoyed meeting you.”

 

(2) Jessica likes to research the person online after a good first date to find out more about the person.

 

If you had a bad date you can say:

  • “I didn’t feel any chemistry but best of luck.”
  • “I got more of a friend vibe.”

 

Key vocab from today:

  • To ghost someone: To disappear and stop communicating after you have been on a date
  • To do the fade-away: Similar to ghosting (see above)
  • A vibe: A general feeling or impression
  • To go Dutch: To split the bill

 

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Jessica’s Bio:

Jessica Coyle has been teaching English since 2007.

She received her Master’s in TESOL in 2013, finishing with a professional project researching the use of improvisational comedy teaching techniques to teach English as a second language.

She has studied and performed improv comedy all over Korea, China, Canada and the United States.

She writes a dating blog called Hopeful Disasters.

Today you’ll find out why staying in the same place will never get you to where you want to go and how to make an effective change quickly and easily.

Here it today’s quote:

“To get something you never had you have to do something you never did.”

-Unknown

 

“If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.”

-Tony Robbins

 

It’s so easy to get into a habit but we have to step back and ask ourselves if our habits are creating the results that we want.

Time goes by fast.

We often realize that we have been doing the same thing for years and we haven’t achieved our goals.

Here are some examples of our goals:

  • Michelle’s new goal: She wants to build upper body strength. How is she working towards the goal? She is using resistance bands at her home a few times every week.
  • Lindsay’s new goal: She wants to deepen her meditation practice. She has started going to her meditation center every morning.

 

 english native teacherAre you looking for a professional, native English teacher online?

Get a native English teacher online in seconds at italki.

Lindsay and Michelle recommend italki as our #1 English-learning solution online. Choose from more than 400 teachers to work on your business English or to pass your next big exam.

Get our special offer before it runs out! Go to italki and claim 10USD to go toward a FREE second English lesson at italki!

 

What about you?

What are you going to change after listening to today’s episode?

What change do you want to create in your life?

Tell us in the comments below

Today we have our dating consultant, Jessica Coyle, back on the show!

Today Jessica is back to talk about the concept of chemistry in dating in urban US culture.

Jessica is going to tell us how to know if we actually have chemistry with someone.

Chemistry: A magnetic pull between two people where you seem to understand the other person and something is different about that person to you.

 

 Two different types of chemistry:

  • Slow burn chemistry: You start out as friends and then chemistry and attraction gradually builds over time. Features of the other person that seemed strange or unattractive initially start to become endearing and attractive.
  • Quick chemistry/limerance: This is more of an infatuation. Jessica thinks that online dating and set ups reward this type of attraction. These connections can be really intense at first and then can fizzle out and not end well. At the same time, sometimes these attractions can work in the long run.

 

What about in your culture?

What are your deal breakers when it comes to dating?

In your culture, how much influence do your parents and family have when it comes to your choice of a partner?

 

Here are some dating vocabulary words that we talked about today:

  • Limerance
  • Lukewarm feelings
  • Slow burn chemistry
  • Quirks (personality and physical)
  • Deal breakers
  • Red Flag

 

headshot (1)

Jessica Coyle has been teaching English since 2007.

She received her Master’s in TESOL in 2013, finishing with a professional project researching the use of improvisational comedy teaching techniques to teach English as a second language.

She has studied and performed improv comedy all over Korea, China, Canada and the United States.

How to find Jessica Online:

Her dating blog: https://hopefuldisasters.wordpress.com/

 

Let us know your thoughts on this topic.

What are your deal breakers?

How important is chemistry when it comes to dating in your home culture?

Are you STILL making this English mistake?

We hear a lot of intermediate learners still getting confused between “I would like” and “I like” in English.

Today you’ll get two examples of how to solve this mistake.

 

english native teacherAre you looking for a professional, native English teacher online?

Get a native English teacher online in seconds at italki.

Lindsay and Michelle recommend italki as our #1 English-learning solution online. Choose from more than 400 teachers to work on your business English or to pass your next big exam.

Get our special offer before it runs out! Go to italki and claim 10USD to go toward a FREE second English lesson at italki!

 

 

1) “Do you like coffee?” This means do you enjoy coffee?

2) “Would you like a coffee?” This means that someone is inviting you to have a coffee or is offering you a coffee.

 

Listen to the role plays in the episode to hear how Lindsay and Michelle use “Do you like” versus “Would you like.”

 

 

Are YOU still making this mistake?

Leave us a sample phrase or question in the comments below!

Today we have a special guest on the show!

Our guest will challenge your assumption that SPEAKING is the most important part of learning English.

Julian sees learning languages as a simple, two-step process:

Step 1: Learn the language that we need for our specific situation

Step 1: Apply the language and use it

Julian’s tips are useful not only if you are just working to improve your communication skills but also if you want to get a high score on the IELTS Exam or another big test.

You need a balanced study plan where you use all four skills to work toward that higher score.

Keep reading to get Julian’s tips!

 

Julian’s 3 Tips- How to Keep it Practical:

  • Try to do many different kinds of things in the language: English is a process. Spend time with it. You can’t HAVE it. You can’t GET it. You need to constantly maintain it.  Julian says that there is no difference between “experiencing” the language and “learning” the language, as far as your brain is concerned. By experiencing the language in many different ways, we can acquire chunks of English which will help us to sound more native-like. You should try to encounter the language through reading, speaking, listening, writing, etc. Get a more well-rounded experience of the language instead of just focusing on speaking.

 

  •  Try to get a balance between intensive activity and relaxed exposure: Some of your work should be deliberate, focused, practical, intensive study. At the same time, some of your work should be a more relaxed encounter with the language. You need to take it in in a way that is enjoyable and easy. You could try listening to music in the language or watching TV. The key is getting a balance between the two forms of learning.

 

  • Focus on things which are useful to YOU: Exclude things that aren’t useful to you. Don’t bother to learn things that you won’t need to use. According to Julian, we don’t become fluent in English. We become fluent in specific topics such as cooking, law, politics, art, etc. Choose your focus and pursue English in that area. Drop the idea of becoming “fluent” in English in general.

 

Julian’s Bio:

Our guest today is an English teacher from England, living in Japan. He is the father of three bilingual children, is halfway through a PhD program in Psycholinguistics and used his insight about language learning to go from speaking poor Japanese in 2008 to being a translator in 2010. Our guest today is Julian from DoingEnglish.com

 

What do you think?

Have you focused down on one specific area of English learning?

What area are you focusing on?

Let us know in the comments!

Do you have any enemies?

Do you have any “frenemies”?

Here is today’s quote for a Deep Thoughts Thursday: “Always forgive your enemies. Nothing annoys them so much.”

– Oscar Wilde

 

What does this quote mean?

This quote is somewhat “cheeky” and it says that if we want to annoy our enemies even more, we can forgive them.

Also, the quote is telling us that it’s better for us to forgive.

It helps us lead healthier lives.

When you have an enemy you carry a lot of negative energy around and it takes up space in your body and in your brain.

 

According to Mayoclinic.org, the benefits of forgiveness include:

  • Stronger immune system
  • Less anxiety
  • Lower blood pressure

 

A few great vocabulary words from today’s episode:

  • Frenemy: “Friend” + “enemy”= someone that you care about and you are there for them but you can’t get along with them on an everyday basis and many things about that person bother you.
  • To hold a grudge: You keep thinking about something that someone did to you, you hold on to your anger. You don’t move on.

 

 

Do you have someone to forgive?

What is holding you back from forgiving that person?

Share your experience in the comments.

This is our 300th episode!

We are happy to be able to continue All Ears English for our amazing listeners!

Today let’s talk about how All Ears English got started, what we do to publish each episode, and what it means for you if you want to put your creative vision out into the world!

 

Today we’ll talk about:

  • The idea: Lindsay was feeling frustrated with what she had seen in the ESL field. English learning didn’t seem to be working for many students. She was also listening to podcasts at the time and she felt an intuitive voice saying that maybe it was time to start a podcast so she found a partner to work with and got started. If you aren’t hearing any voices in your heart of mind about your creative project, look at what’s needed in the world and go out and investigate that idea.
  • The background research: We tried our best to avoid “analysis paralysis.” We did a little bit of research to see that other people were doing this and that people were downloading these types of podcasts. When you get started on your creative vision, don’t let “research” hold you back because it may be a form of procrastination. Research is a way of staying safe and not taking the risk of launching.
  • Production/recording: We kept in mind Seth Godin’s philosophy of “the dip.” We hit a dip in our first three months of producing this project. All Ears English almost failed.  We couldn’t get the audio right. There was a learning curve, especially with the technology. We had to throw out an entire day of work because it wasn’t good enough. If you are creating something, you are going to hit a dip. You need to keep pushing beyond the dip because in the long run you will be happy that you did.
  • Editing: Quality is king. This may sound contradictory to “Connection NOT Perfection” but it’s not because we consider our work to be art. We don’t seek perfection but we do seek the highest possible quality that we can reach. Remember, people want to see that you are human. You make mistakes and it’s fine but quality also matters. Find a balance. When you put out your vision keep this in mind.
  • Publishing: This is the crucial moment. You have finished your project and now it’s time to show your “art” to the world. In this moment a lot of people don’t publish or they don’t “ship” because they get scared. Why is it scary? It’s scary because you are vulnerable at this time and anyone can come and criticize what you have done. Reid Hoffman says, “If you aren’t embarrassed by the first version of your product then you have launched too late.”
  • Rinse and repeat: Four times per week we publish episodes. You need to put your work out into the world on a regular basis, not just once. This builds up a sense of resilience and self confidence. No matter what you’re working on, there is always going to be someone who doesn’t like your work but that doesn’t matter.

 

** Get a chance to meet with Lindsay on Skype for 15 minutes!

If we get 300 comments we will choose one person to meet with Lindsay on Skype and practice English.

 

What are YOU working on?

What is your creative art or vision that you are putting out into the world?

Answer these questions:

1) What are you working on?

2) What challenges have you had?

3) What have you learned?

When you meet someone for the first time in English, whether it’s a date or just a first-time meeting with a friend or colleague, there are certain topics that you should NEVER discuss.

Today you’ll find out what they are with our favorite AEE dating consultant, Jessica Coyle.

A few weeks ago we talked about what four things you SHOULD talk about on a first date in English or at a first meeting but today we’ll show you what you should avoid.

 

4 Topics to AVOID on a first date or first meeting in English:

  • Politics: You can casually mention your political interests but don’t get drawn into a political debate or discussion. Jessica calls this “quicksand” because you can start to sink and you’ll get stuck and you won’t be able to get out of it. It’s better to bring up this topic once you already know someone well and after you know their triggers well.
  • Age:  You should definitely avoid asking the person their exact age. Also, this means that you should not ask people about their timeline in terms of when they want to get married or have kids. It’s too direct and too intense for a first date or first conversation. You might terrify the person if start asking these questions too early.
  • Religion: You probably have a rough idea of your date’s religion and it will be important later but it’s too personal to get into during a first date. It’s ok to share your own religion if you want to but don’t ask the person directly what their religion is.
  •  Education:  This is tricky. Jessica says that the goal in not asking this question is to avoid coming off as arrogant or judgmental. If you ask the person where they went to school or how many degrees they have, it will be clear that you are fishing for information regarding their intelligence or social status. You might make the other person feel bad if you ask this question. Try to figure out if there is an intellectual connection instead.

 

 

english native teacher

Are you looking for a professional, native English teacher online?

Get a native English teacher online in seconds at italki.

Lindsay and Michelle recommend italki as our #1 English-learning solution online. Choose from more than 400 teachers to work on your business English or to pass your next big exam.

Get our special offer before it runs out! Go to italki and claim 10USD to go toward a FREE second English lesson at italki!

 

 

Jessica’s Bio:

headshot (1)

Jessica is the author of Hopeful Disasters where she explores dating in New York City.

She is also an ESL teacher in New York City.

Check out her blog here!

What is the difference between “come” and “go” in English?

This is a big mistake that a lot of English learners make!

Are you making this mistake? Let’s stop it today. Today you’ll get a simple strategy to use when you choose between “come” and “go.”

 

english native teacherAre you looking for a professional, native English teacher online?

Get a native English teacher online in seconds at italki.

Lindsay and Michelle recommend italki as our #1 English-learning solution online. Choose from more than 400 teachers to work on your business English or to pass your next big exam.

Get our special offer before it runs out! Go to italki and claim 10USD to go toward a FREE second English lesson at italki!

 

Here is the trick to remember “come” versus “go”: Where is the speaker?

If the speaker is in the place that he is talking about, he says “why don’t you come to New York?”

In this case, the speaker is in New York.

If he says, “I plan to go to Boston” then he is not in Boston.

Keep it simple! Stick to this rule and it will clear up your confusion every time.

 

Phrasal verbs with “come” and “go”:

  • To come around: To visit (at someone’s home) or to get better, to return to normal. Here is an example, “You are in an argument with a friend now but I hope your friend comes around.”
  • To come to: To regain awareness and consciousness after fainting or after passing out. “In hot yoga, if you faint and then you come to, everyone will be standing over you and staring.”
  • To go through: To deal with something, to struggle with something that is hard, maybe a break up, a divorce, a hard time financially. “Are you going through anything difficult these days?”
  • To go into: To enter something, to start to talk about something, an idea, a topic. “Today we went into a lot of great topics.”

 

 

Write a sample sentence below to show us that you understood today’s episode!

We hope to read your example soon!

What is the difference between being original and imitating?

Which one will get you further in life?

Today is a Deep Thoughts Thursday so we have a quote:

“It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.”

-Herman Melville

 

What does this mean for English learners?

Don’t follow a formula.

Be creative with your words.

Don’t focus too much on being perfect.

Get creative with your tone of voice.

Learn different ways to say different things.

 

Check out this episode about the Zone of Genius.

 

Where does this quote resonate with you?

Let us know in the comments.

We want to hear from you!

Do you feel like you never get a chance to speak English?

Even when you attend an English class or work with an English tutor do you leave the class feeling like you haven’t spoken at all?

If so, then you are not alone.

A lot of students feels this way.

Today we have a guest, Jason Newnum, who is an American English teacher.

He teaches on the italki platform and he is available for lessons now!

Jason has a special class called “Student Speaks, Teacher Listens.”

 

Why did Jason create this class?

Jason created this class because when he took Spanish classes he noticed that he was not getting much speaking practice at all.

He felt discouraged and didn’t get much better.

He realized that the same problem was happening with English students.

Jason wants to solve this problem.

 

Why is Jason’s class different?

  • He makes sure that students talk more, about 80% of the time
  • He feels comfortable being quiet, he doesn’t get nervous like other teachers do sometimes when they are nervous so he doesn’t fill that space with meaningless chatter

 

A typical class with Jason:

  • He asks you what’s new with you
  • He gives you a short article or video clip and asks for your opinion
  • He asks great follow-up questions- directly related to YOU and YOUR experiences
  • He writes out your mistakes in the Skype chat box so that you have a record of your mistakes

 

Get $10 off your second lesson with Jason

 

 

Jason’s Bio:

Jason Newnum teaches English as a second language, in Bariloche, Argentina, and lives there with his family. Although he received his university degree in Spanish and now lives in a Spanish speaking country, his Argentine wife speaks English and Spanish equally. So it’s difficult to force himself to practice Spanish, when it’s easier to speak English with his wife. So he understands the frustrations of having to force ourselves to practice a foreign language everyday.

 

Do you have this problem with your English class?

Are you planning to try Jason’s class?

If so, let us know when you are going to get started with Jason.

Do you ever want to get the status of someone’s progress on a project or an assignment but do you get confused about how to ask without making the person feel pressured?

Today you’ll find out how to do it successfully in English.

 

english native teacherAre you looking for a professional, native English teacher online?

Get a native English teacher online in seconds at italki.

Lindsay and Michelle recommend italki as our #1 English-learning solution online. Choose from more than 400 teachers to work on your business English or to pass your next big exam.

Get our special offer before it runs out! Go to italki and claim 10USD to go toward a FREE second English lesson at italki!

 

Ways to check on progress:

  • “How’s it going? I look forward to receiving the files.”
  • “Any updates?
  • ” How are things progressing?”
  • “How are things moving forward?”
  • “How are things going?”
  • “Do you need any feedback on anything?”
  • “Do you want me to check your work?”

 

Slightly more direct ways to check on progress:

  • “What’s your timeline?”
  • “How’s your timeline looking?”
  • “I just wanted to check in. When do you think you’ll be able to get that done?”

 

What other phrases do you use when you want to check on someone’s progress?

Let us know in the comments below.

April Fool’s Day is coming up later this week.

Are you ready for it?

How do you celebrate April Fool’s Day in your culture?

Today you’ll learn what many Americans do on April Fool’s Day and you’ll get a few new vocabulary words for this day.

It’s common to play jokes on friends and colleagues at work or at college in the United States.

It’s especially common in colleges because students live together with their friends in dormitories.

Vocabulary for April Fool’s Day:

  • Gullible: To trust people and believe things that people say, even if those things are not true.
  • Practical Joke: A joke that you play on someone (not a spoken joke). You act out this kind of joke.
  • A prank: A practical joke, a joke that is acted out
  • Gag gift: A silly gift that is not meant to be serious but is meant to be a joke

 

Are you looking for a professional, native English teacher online?

english native teacherGet a native English teacher online in seconds at italki.

Lindsay and Michelle recommend italki as our #1 English-learning solution online. Choose from more than 400 teachers to work on your business English or to pass your next big exam.

Get our special offer before it runs out! Go to italki and claim 10USD to go toward a FREE second English lesson at italki!

 

What should you do if someone plays a joke on you?

Don’t take it too seriously.

Laugh at it.

Have a good time.

 

 

Leave a message in the comments.

How do you celebrate April Fool’s Day?

Let us know.

Today is a Deep Thoughts Thursday and we have an inspiring quote for you!

Let’s talk about success.

 

Here is the quote:

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”

-Winston Churchill

 

We can apply this quote to a lot of different aspects of our lives like learning English, dating, and our career paths.

We have to keep going and take on new challenges with a positive attitude even if we have failed many times in the past.

Try to avoid feeling bitter when you take on a challenge and try again.

 

What do you think about this quote?

Do you keep your heart open and stay enthusiastic when you try again with something?

Leave us a comment below and let’s discuss it!

 

What is your fashion style?

Would you like to be able to talk about fashion in English in a more sophisticated way?

Today you’ll get to expand your English fashion vocabulary in this episode with Lindsay and Michelle.

 

Fashion Vocabulary:

 

1) Umbrella term= Bag

  • Purse
  • Backpack
  • Satchel
  • Handbag
  • Pocketbook
  • Evening bag
  • Clutch
  • Wristlet

 

2) Umbrella term= Shoes

  • Sneakers
    • Tennis shoes
    • Walking shoes
  • Boots
    • Hiking boots
  • Heels
  • Flats
  • Sandals
      • Birkenstocks
  • Flip Flops

 

3) Umbrella term= Shirt

  • T-shirt
  • Blouse
  • Tank Top (Spaghetti straps, sleeveless)
  • Sweater
  • Sweatshirt
    • Hoodie (hooded sweatshirt)

 

4) Umbrella term= Jacket

  • Coat (heavier than a jacket)
  • Ski jacket
  • Leather jacket
  • Peacoat

 

 

What do you think?

How do you know when someone is fashionable?

What is your fashion style?

Share it with us in the comments.

In today’s episode you’ll find out how to use the words “crazy” and “insane” as slang words in conversations.

How to use the word “crazy” in a slang form:

  • “I know someone who’s totally crazy because he still hitchhikes.”
  • It was crazy for us to hitchhike. Those were my crazy days.”
  • “Are you crazy about your boyfriend?”
  • “What is the craziest thing you have ever done?”

 

The slang words “crazy” and “insane” mean wild and out of control.

They could also mean unexpected or out of control.

The words are also used a lot in song lyrics, especially love songs.

If you use these words in a literal way to describe someone who is mentally ill it is rude.

Instead you could say that they are “mentally disabled” or “mentally handicapped” or “mentally challenged.”

 

 

Are you looking for a professional, native English teacher online?

english native teacherGet a native English teacher online in seconds at italki.

Lindsay and Michelle recommend italki as our #1 English-learning solution online. Choose from more than 400 teachers to work on your business English or to pass your next big exam.

Get our special offer before it runs out! Go to italki and claim 10USD to go toward a FREE second English lesson at italki!

 

 

Have you ever tried using these slang words in your English conversations?

Share your questions with us in the comments below.

Let’s talk!

Are you busy?

In your home culture, is it considered “cool” to be busy?

In American culture everyone is busy and it’s almost in style to be busy.

We think that’s crazy! Today we are going to give our opinion on this article from the Washington Post called Exhaustion Is Not a Status Symbol.

In American culture, especially in large cities like New York and Boston, things move fast and we often define ourselves based on the things that we do.

We also measure our worth based on what we achieve.

We end up valuing perfectionism and accomplishing things over just living.

Americans don’t take much time off for vacation while in other cultures people take much more vacation time.

 

 

english native teacherAre you looking for a professional, native English teacher online?

Get a native English teacher online in seconds at italki.

Lindsay and Michelle recommend italki as our #1 English-learning solution online. Choose from more than 400 teachers to work on your business English or to pass your next big exam.

Get our special offer before it runs out! Go to italki and claim 10USD to go toward a FREE second English lesson at italki!

 

 

How do we know that this is a problem? People in the US always say:

  • “I’ve been crazy busy.”
  • “I have so much going on.”

 

What can we do about this?

  • Avoid checking emails every three minutes
  • When you complete a task, sit back and reflect, get feedback (this was a suggestion from the article)
  • Take more vacation time

 

What do you think?

Is being busy considered cool in your culture?

Let us know in the comments.

Are you getting ready for your IELTS exam?

One big challenge on the IELTS is timing on the Writing test.

Today we’ll help you with a great time-management strategy.

You have a total of 60 minutes to do the whole Writing test. Task 2 is 250 words and Task 1 is 150 words so you need to spend more time on Writing Task 2.

We recommend 20 minutes for Task 1 and 40 minutes for Task 2.

However, don’t start with Writing Task 2. Do Task 1 first.

You also need to allow time for planning.

It really depends on you and how you prefer to write but we recommend that you practice and see what’s right for you in terms of planning time.

As a general guideline, you could spend 4 minutes planning and then spend a few minutes after to check your work.

When you practice brainstorming and coming up with ideas in the planning step, don’t forget to write down everything you think of.

In Task 2, spend 5 minutes planning, 30 minutes writing, 5 minutes to check.

You need to practice the timing for all of these steps and adjust it based on what you need.

Practice is the key with time management.

The biggest mistakes that people make with time management on IELTS Writing is when they skip both planning and checking at the end.

When you check, look for spelling, grammar, vocabulary, etc.

Listen to this episode to learn more about how to check your own IELTS Writing test.

What other questions do you have about IELTS Writing?

Let us know in the comments below.

Today let’s talk about how to sound more natural in English when you use the phrase “by the way.”

Michelle and Lindsay will show you some great examples of how to use this phrase.

 

This phrase is useful to do two things:

  • Bring up a random, unexpected topic
  • To continue with the same topic, to add an idea linked to a previous idea

Listen to the episode for a few great examples of how to use “by the way” in English conversations with Lindsay and Michelle.

 

How have you used “by the way” in the past?

Let us know in the comments!

Did you know that being imaginative and creative can get you a 7 on the IELTS exam especially for Speaking Part 3?

This is especially true when it comes to the IELTS Speaking test. Your ideas don’t need to be 100% realistic. What’ more important is the way you deliver your ideas. You can make stuff up and have fun with it!

Today we’ll show you how!

What should you do when you get a Speaking question about the future and you don’t know how to answer the question?

You need to open your mind and be willing to make up your own ideas quickly.

In Part 3 of the Speaking test, they often ask you to guess or predict the future. For example, they might ask, “How might the way people travel change in the future?” With this question you need to make up a creative answer.

A good response is this: “I predict that by 2025 we will all be riding in flying cars.”

This is also useful because when you make up a funny idea, it makes you laugh, which makes you relax and makes you speak more like a real person.

This will also help your vocabulary because you will end up using less common vocabulary when you make up ideas about the future.

If you aren’t used to coming up with your own ideas or if you haven’t learned this in school you can train your mind to be creative.

You already have the ability but you just need to practice it.

Creativity is a muscle.

Flex your imagination!

Try this:

Look at the news and look at the topics in the newspaper. Come up with a prediction for each article headline that you read. Predict what will happen with that specific topic in the future.

Try to entertain the Examiner.

The Examiner is going to give you your score right after Part 3 of the Speaking so it’s good to leave them on a funny and positive note because this could influence your overall Speaking score.

If you are already a naturally funny person then you should amplify that in the Speaking test.

Don’t be afraid of your own ideas and your own personality.

If you are enjoying yourself during the test then your Examiner is probably having fun too.

Next learn how to tell a story in IELTS Speaking Part 2.

Do you have other questions about the Speaking test?

Let us know in the comments below.

Do you ever get confused about whether or not you should tip in an American restaurant?

Do you wonder how much to leave?

When to leave it?

Today you’ll get insider information from Michelle, who used to be a waitress at an American restaurant.

In the United States you MUST tip in a restaurant. Servers only make a few dollars per hour.

They rely on your tips.

How much should you tip?

You should tip 18-20%. However, you do have a choice when it comes to leaving a tip. If you have bad service then you can tip less.

If the waitress is slow or has a bad attitude then you don’t have to leave a lot of money as a tip.

It’s up to you.

 

When should you leave the tip?

If you pay with a credit card they take your card and come back with a receipt and the receipt has a place to write in the tip and the total and then you need to sign the receipt before you leave.

If you are paying in cash it’s ok to leave the cash on the table but put it under a cup or a plate.

 

What if you are with a large party? (A group of 6 or more people):

In this case gratuity (tip) is usually included.

It’s added into the bill before you get the bill.

Make sure you ask if you don’t know if it has already been included.

 

In other episodes we will talk about tipping in a bar, a cafe, the hair salon, a taxi, etc.

 

What is your opinion when it comes to leaving tips in the US?

Have you ever made a mistake with this?

Do you have any additional questions? Please ask us in the comments below.

Are you nervous about the IELTS Speaking test?

Most people get super nervous about this part of the test!

Part of why you are nervous is because you don’t know what kind of questions to expect from the Examiner.

Today we’re going to show you what questions the Examiner is likely to ask on the Speaking test.

We’re also going to show you how to prepare for these questions.

On Part 1 of the Speaking test you will always have to talk about:

  • Work
  • Study
  • Home

 Sample questions for Speaking Part 1:

  • Do you like your apartment?
  • Are there many shops near your apartment?
  • What are you studying? Why did you choose this subject? What will you do when you finish?
  • Clothes
  • Driving a car
  • Excercise
  • Food
  • Health
  • School- what do you remember about your high school? Who was your favorite teacher? What do you like to read? Do you enjoy reading before you go to bed?

** Remember! You can’t give one-word answers. You must expand on your ideas. Give complete sentences or you will get marked down.

When the Examiner asks, “What are you studying?” don’t say “English” instead you can say “At the moment I am studying English at the university downtown.

You can practice Part 1 with a language exchange partner.

Speaking Part 2 and Speaking Part 3:

Questions in Part 2 and Part 3 will always be linked to each other.

Topic: Movies

Part 2: Describe your favorite movie (who, what, when, where, why). You can practice this part by yourself to get comfortable speaking for two minutes.

Part 3: What makes a movie successful? Do you think the director or the actors are more important?

For part 3, you should have 3 things in your answer:

  • Give your opinion
  • Give an example of your opinion
  • Give a concluding sentence

When you prepare for the test, you should write out your answers ahead of time. Later, when you get comfortable with that you can stop writing them out and get better at responding quickly.

Remember, planning ahead and preparing is the key to getting more confidence.

Final tip- check out the NY Times and look at the newspaper sections- those are typical IELTS Speaking topics.

 What other questions do you have for the Speaking test?

Please ask us in the comments below!

Do you ever get into trouble during English phone conversations?

This is one of the biggest challenge for English students, especially at work.

Today we will show you how to get out of trouble if you aren’t understanding someone on the phone.

We’ll give you 8 things to do before or during the call to get the help you need.

 

 How to Rescue Your Phone Call:

  •  Practice to listening to natives as much as possible in your daily life (podcasts, sitcoms, the news on TV)
  • Ask the person to help you:
    • “I’m sorry. I’m having trouble understanding you. Would you (be able to ) say that again?”
    • “Could you repeat that (for me) please?”
    • “Would you mind slowing down a bit? It’s hard to hear you.”
  • Ask the person to follow up with a summary of the conversation by email
  • See if it’s ok to record the conversation
  • Breathe deeply before you get on the call with a native speaker

 

It’s important not to be ashamed if you can’t understand someone in English on the phone.

Don’t pretend to understand when you don’t.

Use one of our strategies above to save your English conversations on the phone.

 

What other tactics have you tried to rescue your English conversations?

Share them with us in the comments!

Norman Viss Expat Coach

Are you going abroad sometime soon?

Have you set an intention for your time abroad?

In today’s episode Lindsay talks with Norman Viss, an expat coach who helps his clients make the most of their time abroad by setting intentions.

How can setting intentions make your life abroad more fulfilling?

  • Think about what kind of expat you are and decide how that will shape your expat life:
    • Are you a foreign assignee? Has your company moved you abroad to work?
    • Are you an international student or former international student?
    • Are you a “love-pat”? (someone who has gone abroad because they have met a partner, are you a traveling spouse?
    • Are you a “greener pastures expat”? This is someone who has gone abroad to find a better place to live including retirees.

 

  • Set goals and don’t just “go with the flow”

    • Do you want to learn a language? Be realistic about what will be possible based on the amount of time that you will be abroad.
    • Be intentional about what kinds of friendships you want while you are abroad.
    • What are your areas of interest? Do you like desserts? Sports? Do you like history? What kind of focus will you have during your time abroad? Will you create a theme for your life abroad?
    • What about your work? What professional goals do you want to accomplish while you are abroad?

 

  • Consider how your life will look after your time abroad:
    • What do you want your life to look like after you return from abroad?
    • What about retirement? If you are going abroad in your 40’s or 50’s then it’s a good idea to think about the future after your time abroad.

 

The key to a happy life abroad is being intentional!

Let us know in the comments below if you have been intentional in your life abroad and how it has affected your experience abroad.

 

 

Norman Viss put down roots in Nigeria (10 years) and the Netherlands (22 years).

He has worked for mission organizations, churches and in the public sector for the City of Amsterdam.

He holds B.A. and Master’s degrees, with majors in cross-cultural and urban studies and theology; he is also an ICF- credentialed coach.

Currently he runs an online business coaching expats around the world (Expat Everyday Support Center) and serves part-time as a clergyman in the Philadelphia area in the USA. Norman is a thankful husband, father and grandfather.

Visit Norman’s coaching website at expateverydaysupportcenter.com

Today get some strategies for how to cultivate more gratitude in your life in English!

Today’s quote:

“When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.”

– Willie Nelson

 

Vocabulary from the quote:

  • To count your blessings: To pay attention to the good things in your life
  • My whole life turned around: My whole life got better, changed direction

 

How can you cultivate more gratitude in your life?

  • Keep a gratitude journal every day, write down your “blessings” and what you are grateful for
  • Focus on the good things that you have in your life, not the bad things
  • Set an alarm on your phone. When the alarm goes off you can think about what you are grateful in that moment.

 

What do you do to cultivate gratitude in your life?

Let us know in the comments.

Today find out how to get a 7 on all 4 sections of the IELTS!

In the Speaking Section:

The examiner looks for four things:

  • Fluency and coherence: Use linking words, don’t pause, don’t repeat yourself
  • Vocabulary: Use a few slang words, a few idioms, a few phrasal verbs- get away from the textbook
  • Grammar: It’s hard to get a 7 in grammar. The only way you can do it is if most of your sentences don’t have mistakes but it’s ok not to get a 7 in grammar because the score is an average. Think about where your strengths are and if they are not in grammar then focus on other areas. Read more about our grammar strategy for IELTS.
  • Pronunciation: This is the easiest one to get a 7. You can do it! Show some personality. Use some intonation. Use drama! You don’t need “perfect English pronunciation.”

The Writing Section:

  • Task 1: Task achievement- you have to include all of the important numbers and you have to have an overall trend. For example, “Overall, numbers increase in this period.”
  • Task 2: They grade you on task response. Did you answer the question? Answer every single part of the question. Also, cohesion and coherence are important. Use linking words and have clear paragraphs. Have an obvious main idea.
  • Vocabulary: You need to use academic phrases and academic linking words.
  • Grammar: It’s hard to get a 7 on this. You need a variety of sentence structures and not a lot of mistakes.

The Reading and Listening Sections:

  • At least 27 correct answers out of 40 will get you an “acceptable” score

Now you know exactly what you need to do to get a 7 on all 4 sections of the IELTS.

Now go get started on your preparation and you will be ready to get that 7!

Let us know your questions in the comments section.

Today you’ll get 3 sentence structures to improve your grammar grade on IELTS Writing Task 1.

On IELTS Task 1 you are shown a graph, table, pie chart, or bar chart. They have numbers and you have to compare and contrast how they change.

You will see a graph that shows “Change Over Time”

The examiner wants you to use different sentence structures for this category.

Here they are:

1) Subject + verb + adverb : “The numbers increased dramatically in 2008.”

2) There was + adjective + noun: “There was a dramatic increase in 2008.”

3) Before +verb-ing: “Before increasing in 2008, the number of surfers experienced a decline.”

Where can you find graphs to use to practice these sentences?

  • Find IELTS forums
  • Go to IELTS.org
  • Go to a bookstore and write down some sentences with your notebook
  • New York Times and USA Today
  • Google Images, type in “bar chart” or “pie chart”

Where else have you found resources like pie charts or graphs to practice these sentence structures for Writing Task 1?

Let us know your ideas below!

Knock-kock jokes are super common in American culture.

Today you’ll find out how to tell a joke like this and make people laugh to build great connections with English speakers in your life.

These kinds of jokes are often told by kids.

They are fun, innocent and clever. They are a play on words.

Joke #1:

“knock knock”

“Who’s there?”

“Canoe”

“Canoe who?”

Can-oe (can you) help me me with my homework?”

 

Joke #2:

“Knock knock”

“Who’s there?”

“Orange”

“Orange who?”

“Orange-ya (aren’t you) gonna let me in?”

 

Joke #3:

“Knock knock”

“Who’s there?”

“Harry”

“Harry who?”

“Harry up (hurry up) it’s cold out here”

 

What knock-knock jokes do you know in English?

Tell us your joke in the comment section below!

Are you nervous about your IELTS Speaking test?

Did you know that there are some easy things that you can do to increase your chances of a higher score on the Speaking test?

The IELTS exam is not completely objective because another person is giving you the score.

Yes, they are trained and there are very specific requirements for each score but they are still human and you can influence the examiner in a positive way to increase your score.

How to build a rapport with the examiner or get their attention:

  • Don’t shake the examiner’s hand. This is not a business deal.
  • Do follow their instructions about where to sit and be respectful.
  • Don’t try to negotiate with the examiner to get a better score.
  • Don’t ask the examiner how you did right after the speaking test is over. The final few minutes before you leave the room are very important so don’t make the examiner angry.
  • Do use your personality. Do Tell personal stories. Don’t say what you think the examiner wants to hear.
  • Do relax, smile, laugh a little bit.
  • Do be polite.
  • Do make eye contact if you can. If you can’t do that then you can look beyond the examiner.

Approach the Speaking section like a formal interview but also show a positive attitude.

It’s supposed to be formal but relaxed.

Final tip! Use these 5 phrasal verbs to impress the examiner on your Speaking test!

Do you have any other questions about the Speaking test on the IELTS?

Please ask your question below.

How can you quickly change the subject in an English conversation and get out of trouble when someone seems uncomfortable?

It’s important to know how to do this if you want to be able to make great connections with people.

How do we know when someone’s uncomfortable in American culture?

  • Their shoulders tense up
  • They don’t make eye contact
  • Their tone of voice changes
  • They hesitate
  • They use “um,” “ya know” and other filler words

 

Today let’s find out how to save the interaction when you have brought up a topic that makes someone uncomfortable.

What questions can you ask to change the topic?

  • “So how’s work going?” (ask about the person’s job or work projects)
  • “How are your parents doing?” (ask about the person’s family)
  • “It’s freezing today, isn’t it?” (or another weather comment)
  •  “Do you have any vacations coming up?’
  • “Have you seen any good movies lately?”

 

What questions do you use in your culture to change the topic if someone is uncomfortable?

Share your ideas in the comments below!

Today, learn 6 phrases to help you enter into conversations with confidence!

 

Entering into a conversation with native English speakers can be difficult.  They often speak fast and might not seem to offer you a chance to speak.  Instead, they will expect that you are going to jump in and speak if you have something to say.

This means that you need to show confidence if you want to get into a conversation.  You need to be able to assert yourself and use the phrases that signal to them that you have something to say.

 

Here are six phrases to help you do that:

“I see what you mean.”: This shows that you agree with the other speaker.  It also gives you the opportunity to follow it up with something extra that comes from you.  You could also say, “Yeah, I totally agree.”

“Actually, I think…”: If you want to disagree, this is a polite way to do it.  You don’t want to show too much disagreement if you’re trying to get into a conversation with a stranger, but polite disagreement might make for a deeper conversation.

“Hey, I have an idea.”: As it suggests, this phrase would help you express a new thought. You could also say: “What about this?”

“Me too!”: This can help show commonality and is a good way to start telling a story. It’s also a very relaxed phrase that sounds natural to Americans.

 

Do you find it intimidating to jump into conversations with English speakers?

Tell us what you think in the comments section below!

Are you nervous about talking for two minutes in speaking section 2 of the IELTS?

Today, get some note taking strategies you can use to ace the IELTS speaking section!

In the IELTS speaking part 1, the examiner asks you about three topics.  But in part 2 you are given a single topic card.  No matter what this topic is, you cannot change it. You have one minute to prepare to speak for two full minutes. How you spend that minute is important.

Because you will have such a specific topic, and such a short amount of time, it’s probably best to write everything you can think of about the topic.  You could do this in a bullet list, or as a mind map.  But you need to have enough to say for those two minutes.

If you do not have practice brainstorming like this, you may want to practice.  Use a topic from a newspaper as an example.

Give yourself a minute (or more) to make a list of notes on the topic.

Then, see if you can use them to speak for two minutes.

Other tips:

  • Practice brainstorming/note-taking every day if possible.  You’re training your brain for thinking, speaking and writing in English.
  • Take all of these notes in English, not your native language!
  • Ideally, your notes will provide you enough to tell a story. Telling a story will enable you to speak for the full two minutes, and help you remain coherent.

Do you have much experience brainstorming?

How do you think it would go for the IELTS speaking section part 2?

Let us know in the comments section below!

Today, meet Kathleen from Canada, and get 3 phrases to connect with locals in the capital city, Ottawa!

 

Canada is a multicultural and diverse country, and Ottawa is a micro version of that.  It’s a city of one million inhabitants and numerous languages.  It is also a city in touch with nature.  With four distinct seasons, Ottawa has something for everyone.

Though Canada and the United States have some similarities, they also have many differences.  Among these are some subtle differences in using the English language. This includes pronunciation and some commonly used phrases.

 

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Here are Kathleen’s top Canadian phrases to help you blend in when you’re in Ottawa!

  • I’m sorry: Canadians are known for being very polite.  In fact, the culture can be so polite it becomes apologetic.  Sometimes Canadians will begin a sentence, “I’m sorry,” even if they did nothing wrong and aren’t apologizing for anything.
  • Out and About: This means to go exploring or to check something out. A Canadian might say “Let’s go out and about,” or “I was out and about.”
  • Eh?: Often, this word is used the way an American might use the words “right?” or “huh?”  It shows agreement or clarification with other people.  You might hear someone say, “That was a great show, eh?”

 

Are you going to Ottawa, or Canada?

Have you ever been there?

Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

 

Kathleen Kuracina italki teacher AEE gues interviewKathleen is a native English speaker from Ottawa, Canada. She has been teaching and tutoring students in  English and beginner French for over three years in Asia, Latin America and Canada. She also speaks French and Spanish, and so understands the challenges and joys of learning a new language. In her experience, conversation is the best way to improve language skills.

Kathleen has worked and continues to work in the areas of community development, and is currently completing her Bachelor of Education.  This summer she will be teaching in Ulaanbataar, Mongolia. She loves meeting people from different cultures and learning new languages.

Today, we welcome back dating expert Jessica Coyle to give you four easy topics for conversation when dating!

 

Conversation can be tricky on a first date.  You might be nervous, and it can be hard to know what’s safe to talk about.  Jessica has a great acronym to help you with simple, safe discussion topics.  It’s FORD, and it stands for:

  • Friends: If you have mutual friends, ask how your date met them.  Or, if you don’t have mutual friends, ask if your date knows anybody in the area where you’re meeting.
  • Occupation: Asking about another person’s job is usually a good conversation starter.  You might say, “What do you do with your time?”  That way, if your date happens to be unemployed, they are still able to give an answer.
  • Recreation: Ask about what somebody likes to do for fun. You might follow up by asking, “How often do you get to do that?”
  • Dreams: This is good for asking hypothetical questions. You could ask things like “Where do you see yourself in ten years?” or “What would you do if you had a billion dollars?”

 

People love talking about themselves, so being interested in others is what might make you more interesting to them.  When starting a conversation, don’t just ask a list disconnected questions.  Follow-up with the other person’s answers to show that you are listening to what they are saying.

 

Are you dating in English?

What are your experiences?

Tell us how it’s going in the comments section below!

 

headshot (1)Jessica Coyle has been teaching English since 2007. She received her Master’s in TESOL in 2013, finishing with a professional project researching the use of improvisational comedy teaching techniques to teach English as a second language. She has studied and performed improv comedy all over Korea, China, Canada and the United States.

 

How to find Jessica Online:

Her dating blog: https://hopefuldisasters.wordpress.com/

Her comedy podcast: NY Pacific

What’s the difference between the IELTS and the TOEFL?

Today, learn what makes these two tests distinct, and how to choose between the them!

The IELTS and the TOEFL have some significant differences.  But that doesn’t mean one is easier than the other.  Many universities will accept either test, so you might be able to choose which one works best for you.  That means it’s a good idea to know how each is unique.

Here is are some points of difference between the two tests:

  • The IELTS exam is completed on paper and by speaking to a person. The TOEFL is done entirely on a computer (even the speaking portion).  For some people, IELTS might feel more “natural.”
  • The listening section in TOEFL uses only North American accents.  IELTS, on the other hand, uses a range of English accents from around the world.  If you have trouble with accents, you might find IELTS more difficult.
  • But IELTS is more predictable.  For example, the test has three reading passages every time.  TOEFL, on the other hand, always has a different number of reading passages.  It also might have longer listening and reading sections.
  • With TOEFL, on one section you have to listen to a conversation and give your opinion.  This means it’s both a writing and speaking section.  IELTS only has distinct listening and reading sections.

Learn more about IELTS and TOEFL differences:

Check out our episode series with Jamie Miller form English Success Academy.

Learn about IELTS and TOEFL writing differences

Which exam sounds easier to you?

Let us know why in the comments section below!

In Part 2 of today’s episode, Lindsay and Mo break down their unrehearsed, first time meeting from Part 1, and talk about what it means to you learning English!

 

In Part 1 of this episode, Lindsay met Mo.  They hadn’t met before and didn’t know what was going to come up in their spontaneous conversation.  Now, in Part 2, the two of them discuss what worked, and what didn’t.

 

Some of the discussion points in Part 2:

  • How can you feel confident in English conversations?
  • How can you be respectful about gender and other differences when meeting someone new?
  • How can you allow your true curiosity about the other person come out even though your English isn’t perfect?

 

What did you get out of this conversation?

Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

In Part 3 of today’s episode, Mo will show you three ways to develop authentic, bulletproof confidence when you speak English with his unique method!

 

In Part 1 and 2 of this episode, Lindsay and Mo had an authentic English conversation and analyzed what worked, and what didn’t.  Now, in Part 3, Mo discusses Be in English, his method for learning how to have the best conversations possible in English.

 

Here are the main principles of the Be in English system:

1. If you know enough English to listen to this podcast, you can discuss anything in English!  By using creativity, you are capable of joining a conversation and having a voice.

2. Be aware of your self-consciousness and shame about not speaking perfect English.  Accept it, realize that your English will never be “perfect,” but don’t get too close to the idea.

3. Work with “naked listening.”  That is, listen closely to a recording of English.  Listen several times if necessary until you can distinguish every sound.  Practicing this will change your orientation to listening.

 

You can find and work with Mo Riddiford and his Be in English system on italki.

 

What do you think about the Be in English system?

Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Today, listen to Part 1 of a real, authentic example of two people using English to get to know each other! 

 

In Part 1 of this episode, Lindsay meets Mo.  Mo is from New Zealand but has lived all over the world.  He currently lives in Germany and teaches English.  The two of them talk about this, and about learning a language and living in a different culture.

 

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Some of the discussion points in Part 1:

  • Why do people want to learn English?
  • How can they be relaxed enough to learn it?
  • Is it okay to accept that you’ll never be a native speaker?

 

What did you get out of this conversation?

Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Today, Lindsay and Michelle discuss the top taboos to look out for in American workplace culture!

 

A taboo is something that is improper or unacceptable based on culture or region.  Different companies might have their own taboos, but most American workplaces probably have many of the same ones.

An article by Barbara Mason outlines the biggest of these taboos.  Here are a few of them, and how to avoid them:

  • Spreading rumors: To spread a rumor is to make up an untrue story about somebody, and tell it to others.  Americans tend to look down on people who do this.  If you want to be trusted and have positive relationships, avoid gossip!
  • Taking credit for another’s work: This means telling others that you did the work or achieved a success when, in fact, somebody else did.  Again, Americans won’t trust anybody suspected of doing this, so don’t do it.
  • Falling asleep at work: It may not be natural to be completely energized for 8 straight hours, but at minimum your boss will expect you to be awake.  Try taking a break from your desk, going for a short walk or stepping outside to refresh yourself.
  • Lying about an academic background: Honesty is very important to American bosses.  If you lie about your academic background, you’re likely to be fired when you get caught. The best thing to do is to present the academic background that you do have in the best possible way.

 

What are the top workplace taboos where you live?

Tell us all about them in the comments section below!

How can you increase your vocabulary range for the IELTS? 

Today, learn 3 steps for building a more dynamic vocabulary for the IELTS exam!

You need to have words that are useful for academia and formal situations, but also with your friends on the street.

This is key to having a more natural sounding English.

But how do you build this range of vocabulary?

Jessica has three steps for building it.  They include:

Step 1: Getting the vocabulary: Newspapers are a great resource for this.  A newspaper like the USA Today is more understandable, while the New York Times is written at a higher level.  A magazine like the Economist is even higher.

Step 2: Recording it: For every article you read, choose maybe five new words to learn.  Keep them in context. Maybe write a summary of the article that uses these new words.

Step 3: Remembering it: Develop a system for studying these new vocabulary words.  Try to review the words at least two or three times a week. Also, try to use these new words in conversation.

Don’t stop here! Keep learning!

For more awesome vocabulary episodes, check out work idioms for IELTS and happiness idioms for the IELTS Speaking test.

What are you doing to build a range of vocabulary?

Tell us what you’re doing in the comments section below!

Are you worried about losing energy and focus on IELTS test day?

Today you’ll find out why some students lose focus and energy easily and quickly on the IELTS and why others are able to stay awake and energized throughout the entire exam.

How to Keep Your Energy High for IELTS Day:

  • Eat Breakfast: You need protein that will stick with you all day like eggs as well as carbohydrates that will give you the energy that you need like oatmeal. You can also try almond milk, nuts, fruit, etc.
  • Bring Water to the Test: Remember that when you bring your water bottle into the IELTS exam, you cannot have a label on the bottle. Tear the label off before you go in. Prepare for this ahead of time.
  •  Get Fresh Air and Exercise: This is a great way to keep your focus alive and to keep your mind awake. Ty to get in a short, brisk walk before you check in and at noon after you finish the Writing section. This will help you be ready for the Speaking test in the afternoon.

Do you have great strategies to maintain your energy on IELTS test day?

Let us know your ideas in the comments below!

Today you’ll find out which accents will be on the listening section of the IELTS and where you can practice those accents for free.

Are you confused about which English accents will be on the IELTS?

There are a variety of accents on IELTS. If you buy books from a British publisher then you will hear mostly British accents.

However, on the test you will hear a variety of accents from around the world. Still, you need to get used to British English and other accents.

You can find British accents on Luke’s English Podcast.

Here are a few other resources with a mix of accents but also a lot of videos from England:

** You can also view transcripts and take quizzes on these sites.

More Hot Resources!

Have you found any other great resources to prepare with a variety of accents?

Please let us know in the comments section below!

Today, learn three tactics to remember names in English, and why it’s important to do so!

 

A name is a person’s most basic possession and part of their identity.  It’s the sweetest sound to their ears.  For this reason, Alan believes it’s important to get a person’s name right, and to show an interest in it.  But it’s not always easy to do that, especially with names you are unfamiliar with.

 

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Get our special offer before it runs out! Go to italki and claim 10USD to go toward a FREE English lesson!

 

Here are Alan’s tips for remembering new names:

  • If a name is unfamiliar, ask them to repeat it.  This helps you learn their name and also shows a respectful commitment to learning it.  Simply say, “Your name is a little difficult for me, but I’d really like to get it right. Could you say it again?”
  • Ask for their business card.  This works best in a business context, though students may also have business cards.  Reading the name might make it easier to remember.
  • Make up a mnemonic, or memory aid.  Think of what the unfamiliar name sounds like in your native language and use that to help you remember.  This is a way to bridge your language and English.

 

Alan suggests you also learn common names in the English-speaking world, and that you try asking others if their names have any special meanings or significances.

 

How do you deal with learning new names?

Share your experiences in the comments section below!

 

Alan Headbloom is an intercultural trainer, a professional English teacher and a talk show host. He frequently appears as a speaker on topics such as cultural diversity and workplace inclusion. He lives in Michigan, USA where he and his wife produce the show Feel Like You Belong, a show about immigrants creating a new life in the United States.

Visit Alan’s Website: Feel Like You Belong and Alan Headbloom- Cross Cultural Communication

 

Today you’ll learn what grammar risks you should take on IELTS to get a 7 and when to play it safe with your grammar choices.

Do you know how complex your grammar needs to be to get a score of 7?

For a 7 you need a mix of sentence structures for the IELTS.

To get a 7 you need simple (subject + verb “I go to the store”) and compound sentences (two simple sentences put together using conjunctions “I go to the store and I like to shop”) and complex sentences (adding a dependent clause such as “I go to the store which is near my house because I love to buy the food that they have”).

However, you also need to be sure that you don’t have a lot of mistakes.

It’s ok to make some mistakes. You can make mistakes up to a band score of 8.

You should play it safe on the IELTS and use the grammar structures that you are comfortable with.

Don’t try using rare grammar tenses like the past perfect.

Don’t experiment with new tenses on the IELTS exam.

To sum up, to get a 7 you need 80% of your sentences to have no mistakes. You should get comfortable with relative clauses because it’s a great way to mix in the more advanced grammar that you need and they are easy.

How can you add these more complex grammar points?

Try to make it relevant to you when you practice.

What tenses have you used on the IELTS exam?

Tell us in the comments!

Today, learn 3 ways to do it with italki teacher Arianne!

 

Arianne believes that reading is critical to learning English.  It’s a great way to expand your vocabulary and learn the grammar.  It’s also visual learning, and something you can do by yourself.

 

Here are Arianne’s 3 tips for improving your English with reading:

  • Choose something that interests you. Follow your interests and passions.  There are endless possibilities on the internet, whether blogs or news websites.  Make sure you’re connecting with the material you’re reading.
  • Read with a dictionary.  Reading is a great activity for building your vocabulary.  You may not want to look up every new word, but be active about learning words you see over and over.
  • Make reading a routine in your daily life.  Reading doesn’t have to be work.  In fact, it is one of the least stressful activities you can do.  Try to give it 15 or 30 minutes a day if possible.

 

Do you make reading a part of your English learning?

How do you do it?

Let us know in the comments section below!

 

Arianne is a CELTA certified professional teacher with seven years experience teaching ESL and other subjects.  She has worked with both adults and teenagers from around the world, and has taught in several different countries outside the US, including New Zealand and Spain. Arianne uses a very relaxed teaching style which she believes helps students learn English in a way that is both natural and enjoyable, while still being informative and useful.  She speaks Spanish and French, and so understands firsthand the difficulties of learning a second language.

 

Today, learn how interruption is a part of American speaking culture, and how you can participate!

 

Americans often interrupt each other.  It can appear rude, and can cause frustration, but it happens.  Don’t take it personally.  Instead, learn how it works so you can take part in this aspect of spoken American English culture.

 

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There are many phrases you can use when being interrupted, or when interrupting others.  Some of them include:

  • Sorry or Oops: These might be said not only by the person doing the interrupting, but also by the person who is interrupted.
  • Go ‘head (ahead) and No, you go: These phrases permit the other person to interrupt you.
  • No problem: This indicates that you are okay with the interruption that just occurred.

 

Other common interruption phrases include:

  • What was that?
  • Uh huh.
  • Oh?

 

What other ways have you heard Lindsay and Michelle interrupt each other on past episodes of All Ears English?

Tell us in the comments section below!

Today, returning guest Jessica Coyle talks about some of the obstacles, and shares 3 tips to improve your odds of success!

 

Jessica doesn’t consider herself a relationship expert.  However, she goes on many dates, and blogs about her experiences.  She has found that there is no perfect solution to dating in a big city.  But you can increase your chances of finding someone you like by doing three things.

 

Here are Jessica’s suggestions:

Make Time!  Nobody has time in a big city.  Or, maybe nobody makes time.  It might be a matter of priorities.  If a relationship is a goal of yours, you need to treat it with the respect and effort that you would with any goal.  Approach it like a new job, or like learning English!

Join Groups and Be an Organizer!  It’s not easy to make friends in a new city when you don’t know anybody.  But there are many social activities available to you.  Make it your job to try something new every week, especially activities in which you can meet people.  Also, become a person who plans things.  Give people a reason to meet up with you.

Stay Local or Move Closer to the City!  Transportation can be an issue in the city.  It might take an hour to get across town to meet a potential date.  Consider searching for dates in your local area so meeting them isn’t such a hassle.  Or, think about where you live, and if you could afford to live closer to the center of the city.

 

Have you tried dating in a big city?

Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below!

 

headshot (1)Jessica Coyle has been teaching English since 2007. She received her Master’s in TESOL in 2013, finishing with a professional project researching the use of improvisational comedy teaching techniques to teach English as a second language. She has studied and performed improv comedy all over Korea, China, Canada and the United States.

Check out Jessica’s dating blog at https://hopefuldisasters.wordpress.com/. Her comedy podcast is called NY Pacific.

Can’t find anyone to correct your IELTS writing practice?

A lot of people have this problem but it doesn’t mean that you can’t do some great preparation for the test by yourself!

Today you’ll find out exactly how to create a checklist for your writing to grade it yourself.

When you create your checklist you should organize it based on the descriptors. Descriptors are what the examiner looks at in order to give you a grade.

What to look for when you correct your own writing practice tests:

  • Task achievement/task response: Do you complete the required task? Do you actually answer the question? For Task 1, you need to include all the key points. You need a summary or overall trend. You need to say what happens to the numbers in general. For Task 2, did you stick to the topic and fully answer every part of the question. For example, if it’s an argument essay, did you talk about every part of the question?
  • Organization: Does every sentence connect to the topic? Are you repeating anything? Are you being direct and concise?
  • Coherence and Cohesion: Do you have good paragraphs? Do you use linking words between every sentence? Examiners look for the linking words! Don’t forget them. They are important! Don’t let your writing be choppy. It needs to flow with linking words.
  • Do your ideas make sense?
  • Vocabulary: Look for repeated words and circle them. Try to think of different ways to say words when you have repeated them.
  • Grammar: Look for a variety of sentence structures. Underline the complex sentences. Make sure you included them in your writing. A complex sentence is where you use a dependent clause with a simple sentence. Here is an example: “I like writing which has a lot of linking words.”
  • Mistakes: Make a list of the most common errors. Look at verb tenses, circle the different tenses. Make sure you are using them correctly.

It’s better to have a real person correct your IELTS writing but if you can’t do that, try using this checklist above.

Set up a very specific study schedule. Work on it every single day. Leave yourself plenty of time ahead of the test to prepare and you can do it!

Leave us a comment below!

Have you tried correcting your own IELTS writing?

How did it go?

Cathey-Armillas_headshotIn this episode you’ll learn how to get out of your head and how to get as confident as you can for the speaking section of the IELTS Exam!

Today our guest is Cathey Armillas.

Cathey is a professional TEDx speaker, a marketing professional, and she has been the leader of a Toastmaster’s public speaking organization in Portland, Oregon.

Today Cathey is going to offer us 3 tips for how to handle the IELTS Speaking test.

  • Step 1: Practice and prepare! Try recording yourself with audio or video and then go back and listen to the recording. This will help you start to see your patterns and pick up on problems that you could improve on.

 

  • Step 2: Get out of your head! Don’t get in your own way. Relax. The Examiner wants you to succeed. The test is designed for you to do well. Get into a confident mindset. Don’t focus too much on yourself. Try striking a “power pose.” Check this TED Talk to learn more.

 

  • Step 3: First, recognize your current emotions, be aware of them and then ignore them for the moment. Next ask yourself what your goal is. Remember your goal and don’t let your emotions take over!

 

To learn more about Cathey and her books and speaking philosophy, please go to her website here

 

 

 

What is the IELTS?

Who takes it, and why?

Today, Lindsay and Jessica discuss all the basics of the IELTS exam!

The IELTS is an exam that’s usually taken by non-native English speakers.  The academic version of the exam is for students who want to study in a English-language university. A more general IELTS exam is taken by job candidates who want to work in English-speaking countries. The two versions are very similar – the only difference is that the academic test has more difficult reading and writing sections.

IELTS is completed with pencil and paper, and by speaking with a real person.  This is very different from something like TOEFL, which is computerized. However, the IELTS does have very specific rules.  This means that knowing what to expect can help you get a better score.

If you’re at intermediate level and you’re planning to take the exam, you should begin preparing for it least 3-6 months ahead. Also, be aware that the IELTS is very popular, so seats fill up fast.  Ielts.org has a list of where and when you can take the exam.

Many people who take the test don’t get the score they need the first time.  Don’t worry, you can take it again!  The best way to improve your chances is to know what to expect, and to prepare.

More details are coming soon about our 3 Keys IELTS System! Stay tuned to learn more!

Are you going to take the IELTS?

Tell us why, and how you’re preparing for it!

How can you achieve English fluency where you live?

Today, find out why you don’t have to live in an English-speaking country to become fluent in English!

 

Beth Donaghue taught herself Chinese without ever having visited China.  Her experience has shown her that it’s possible to learn a foreign language without leaving home.  But to do it, you need to get yourself “stuck”, or immersed, in the language. That can be difficult when you’re not surrounded by native speakers.  But it’s not impossible.

 

Here are 3 ways to get stuck in English wherever you are:

  • Read English: Spend as much time as possible doing this, whether it’s books, magazines or online articles.  It’s great for your vocabulary and your grammar, and allows you to explore not only the language, but the culture.
  • Small vocabulary list: Try focusing more intensely on ten words instead of loosely on fifty words. Don’t just learn new words – learn to use them! You have to really know a word so you can use it.
  • Use online tools: Consider something like Anki. It’s a space repetition software that can tell how well you’re remembering vocabulary, and force you to revisit it. Anki would also be useful to help you build vocabulary for the IELTS Speaking test.

 

Beth’s Bio:

I’m Beth, 37 years old and I’m from a little village in South England called Knaphill, where I currently live. I have also lived in London and Manchester. I live with my 2 boys and I teach English and Chinese as second languages on Italki. I started tutoring on Italki in 2011, and I have taught over 1000 lessons in that time. I majored in Chinese studies at the world renowned School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London, and use many of the techniques I learnt there studying Chinese in my English and Chinese classes. I’m a keen student of languages and can speak to varying degrees: Chinese, Japanese, Korean, German, and Spanish. ”

 

How are you getting stuck in English?

Tell us what you’re doing in the comments section below!

Today, learn how they’re not the same, and how to use them like a native speaker!

 

The words “by” and “until” are often confused.  Both deal with time, and both can send the same message.  However, they do have some subtle differences.

 

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Until is used to talk about how long a situation continues.  If something happens “until” a particular time, then it stops when that time is up.  Americans often pronounce the word as ’til.

  • It snowed from Monday until Wednesday.
  • I’m going to work ’til I’m old.

 

By is used to say something must happen at or before a specific time.  It often indicates a deadline.

  • My report is due by 5PM.
  • I have to be home by midnight.

 

Let us know how you can use the words “by” and “until”!

Leave us a message in the comments section below!

Today, learn 3 reasons you might be talking in circles when it comes to business English, and how you can get your point across more precisely!

 

Is it common in your culture to be indirect when you speak to others?  Is it better to be direct and use the active voice in English?

 

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When Americans speak to each other, they often get to the point quickly.  This may feel uncomfortable or even rude to a person from another culture.  But if you aren’t direct, there’s a danger of never getting to the point, and talking in circles.

Another problem is, if you don’t have the necessary vocabulary, you may be trying to go around what you really mean.  The only way to correct this is to find the precise words you need by expanding your vocabulary.

A third reason for talking in circles is nervousness.  Speaking another language can fill a person with anxiety, and when we’re nervous we might easily end up talking without getting to the point.  Fixing this is as simple as taking a deep breath and relaxing.

 

Have you had trouble with talking in circles?

Tell us about it in the comments section below! 

Do you want to impress the examiner in the IELTS speaking section?

Today, find out why exaggerating will give you a better score!

If you want to stand out in the IELTS speaking section, you need to energize the English you’re using.  You can’t just say something boring like “I’m hungry” when you can get more attention by saying “I’m starving – if I don’t eat now, I’m gonna die!”

Of course, you don’t need to exaggerate all the time when you speak English, but doing it during your speaking exam will definitely impress your teacher.

Use adverbs to magnify your adjectives, and use idioms and metaphors to add color to what you’re saying.  Also, use excited and dramatic intonation to show emotion.  Doing these will make you a more interesting and natural-sounding speaker, and get you a better score.

Here are some examples:

  • “I totally love my bedroom.  It’s by far the best room in my house!”
  • “The couch is so soft it’s like sitting on a cloud.”
  • “I like days when the sun’s beating down on me in total brilliance.”

How can you talk like a drama king or queen?

Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

On today’s Deep Thoughts Thursday, hear a quote that will inspire you to be specific in your career choice!

 

Actress and comedian Lily Tomlin has made many clever observations on life.  Among the most popular is the following: “I always wanted to be somebody, but now I realize I should have been more specific.”

 

To “be somebody” is to have a purpose, or be famous, which makes your life important and special.  But Lily is also using “be somebody” in a joking way, as if she should have picked some specific person to be (instead of being nobody).

It’s important to be intentional about where you want your life to go, and to think about who it is you want to become.  Here are some things that might help:

  • Consider finding a mentor or coach.  Usually this is someone who is older than you and who is willing to listen and maybe give good advice.
  • It’s good to have a process of narrowing down ideas about your life so you don’t spread yourself too thin.  Think about how you do that
  • Surround yourself with a supportive community.  Especially seek out people who are intentional about what they want, as well as people who want the same things as you.

 

Are you trying to “be somebody”?

Who do you want to be?

Tell us about it in the comments section below!

Are you in danger of making a cultural mistake in writing?

Today, learn the biggest cultural mistake people make in Writing Task 2 of the IELTS!

Your cultural and educational background influence how you organize your ideas.  When it comes to the IELTS, this can potentially affect how you score on the test.  The grading is not welcoming to cultural differences.  You must express your ideas in a way that fits western expectation.

This means getting straight to the point when writing your Writing Task 2 essay.  A common mistake test-takers make is saving the main idea of their essay for the end.  But the western expectation is that you state your main idea at the beginning, in the first sentence if possible.

Here is an example:

  • “In this essay, I am going to talk about why I think professional athletes are overpaid.”

Does your writing fit western expectations?

Why or why not?

Tell us what you think in the comments section below!

Today, Lindsay talks with TEDx speaker and ESL expert Mindy Young about how to use music, painting and poetry in learning English!

 

It can be hard to get out of your head when learning English.  Mindy suggests you start by getting out of your textbook and into the world.  If you’re enjoying learning and interacting, you’re no longer just learning — you’re communicating.

The arts are a great way to do this.  Consider the following:

  • Music: Learning song lyrics will probably be more fun than a textbook, and you’re likely to discover some new vocabulary.  A song can be listened to more than once.  It can stick in your head.  Singing can also help you with pronunciation and intonation.  Dancing with the music will make it easier to remember.
  • Poetry and scripts: Check out poems by Shel Silverstein or Jack Prelutsky.  They’re short, silly and fun, and are written at an easy English level.  But they’re also intelligent and play with jokes and double meanings in English words.  If you have friends who are learning English, try reading a script from a television show.  Take on the role of a character and practice being a native speaker.
  • Visual art: Observe the image of a famous painting.  Write as many descriptive words about it as you can.  Then, try to make sentences using all of those words.  Write down what the painting makes you feel, and why.  Go deep.

 

To learn more about Mindy’s school go to ESL Arts Advantage

 

Do you use the arts in your English learning?

Let us know how in the comments section below!

 

 

Should you call them Dr., Mrs., Ms., or y’all? This can be tricky because there are so many possible titles and situations.

 

 

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The best thing to do is watch what others do. In America today, things are often very relaxed, and most people (even bosses) prefer you to call them by their first names. Here are some tips:

  • Calling someone Mr. or Mrs. is not wrong, but you are likely to be told “Please, call me John.”
  • With doctors or professors, call them Dr. and their last name.
  • When shopping, address a young woman as Miss, an older woman as Ma’am and a man as Sir.

 

 

Don’t worry about making a mistake. Nobody’s going to be too upset, though they might correct you.

Do you want to know more about this topic? In the comments section below, let us know your questions.

What should you bring to your IELTS exam?

When should you go, and what should you watch out for?

Today, Lindsay and Jessica discuss how you can be prepared to succeed on your IELTS test day!

On your IELTS exam day you should try to arrive 45 minutes early.  It’s critically important that you get there on time.  If you are late, you will miss the first section and can’t make it up.  Missing an entire section will make it impossible to get a good overall score.

You should plan to bring your passport for identification.  It is also okay to bring a bottle of water, but you must remove the label.  Your belongings will be stored in a separate room while you take the test.

Usually all four sections of the exam occur in a single day.  In the morning you will have the reading, writing and listening sections.  In the afternoon, you will have the speaking section.

It’s important to understand that the morning will probably be more stressful because it will be so busy.  On the other hand, you will likely have time to wait in the afternoon.  Some speaking sections are scheduled as late as 6PM!  For this reason, it is a good idea to know if there’s anyway near the test station where you could pass the time – a park, for example.

What else do you want to know about the IELTS exam?

Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Are you looking for English phrases to start a conversation?

Today, get 10 English conversation starters to fill the silence at your next dinner party!

 

Awkward silences can kill a dinner party. Nobody wants to sit in silence, but people must have something to talk about.  Creating this opportunity is as easy as asking a simple question.

 

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There are many kinds of questions that can be asked, but for a dinner party, the obvious topics are the food and the home where the party is being held.  Open-ended questions are also good because they provoke others to respond.  Here are some common questions for each of these categories.

 

Food

  • “Did you make this?”
  • “Do you cook often?”
  • “What else do you cook?”

 

Home

  • “How long have you lived here?”
  • “Did you make that?” or “Where did you get that?”

 

Open-ended Questions

  • “How do you spend your days?”
  • “What are you into?”
  • “What’s new in your life?”
  • “Are you reading anything interesting?”
  • “How did you two meet?” (for couples)

 

Have you been to any dinner parties lately?

What kind of questions do you ask to start conversations?

Share with us in the comments section below!

Should you speak American English or British English on the IELTS?

Today, Jessica and Lindsay talk about accents, and what you can expect on the exam!

The IELTS was developed in Cambridge, United Kingdom.  So does that mean you should speak English with a British accent when you take the exam?

The answer is no.  English is now a global language, and the IELTS is a global exam.  On the IELTS listening test, you are likely to hear American, British, Indian and other kinds of English accents.  And it doesn’t matter which you use when you speak – as long as your pronunciation is clear!

It’s a good idea to get used to different accents so you don’t have trouble understanding them on test day.  Consider listening to podcasts from the different places, and don’t be afraid to work with a teacher from anywhere.

Which English accents are you used to hearing?

Which ones are difficult for you to understand?

Let us know in the comments section below!

Why does the IELTS examiner stop you on the speaking test?

Today, Jessica and Lindsay talk about why this happens, and why you shouldn’t worry about it!

It can be frustrating if the IELTS examiner asks you a question, and you begin answering it, and then they stop you while you’re speaking.  You might think that you made an English mistake, or the examiner doesn’t like your answer.  But that’s not what’s happening.

Timing is the issue.  The examiner has only a certain amount of time to ask you about specific things.  As part of their job, they must stop you – and it has nothing to do with the quality of your English, or your answer.

Don’t let an abrupt interruption like this cause you extra anxiety!  Expect it to happen, and don’t take it personally.  All tests have to follow their timing.

Do you think being interrupted while you’re English speaking might cause you anxiety?

What do you plan to do about it?

Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Today, Lindsay and Michelle discuss a tip to help you be a better self-guided learner!

 

A recent study on self discipline suggests that bribing yourself makes it easier for you to accomplish a specific goal.  So, if you indulge in enjoying a latte while you study English, you might not only enjoy the experience more, but it might also improve your chances for long-term success.

Bribing yourself can mean many things.  As said, you might enjoy a treat while you learn.  Or, if you’re listening to a podcast, maybe you can go outside for a walk in a beautiful place instead of sitting in a stuffy room.

 

Classrooms can give us discipline.  But we can also give ourselves discipline.  Studying doesn’t have to be miserable, and using a reward system might even make it something you look forward to.

 

Are you trying to take control of your learning?

Let us know how it’s going in the comment section below!

How do you talk about love in English?

Today, Lindsay and Michelle give you 8 English prepositions to use when discussing romance and finding the right person!

Everyone knows it’s important to say the right thing when you talk about love.  There are so many aspects to it, and so many ways to go wrong.  And while you might not think that having the right grammar is exactly romantic, it can only help!

Here are 8 prepositions that can be useful when talking about love:

  • Married to: “When are you getting married to him?”
  • Afraid of: “You shouldn’t be afraid of falling in love.”
  • Think about: “You might want to think about taking it slow.”
  • Interested in: “It helps to be interested in the same things.”
  • Focus on: “You need to focus on what you have in common.”
  • Depends on: “It depends on the connection you have with each other.”
  • Concentrate on:Concentrate on communicating so you understand each other.”
  • Apologize for: “Don’t apologize for who you are.”

What’s your advice on love?

Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Did the IELTS examiner ask you a difficult question?

Did your mind just go blank?

Today, Lindsay and Jessica share 6 phrases to help you fill that time void!

If you get asked a question that you can’t immediately answer during your IELTS exam, you don’t want to go silent.  It’s important to keep speaking even if you need a moment to decide how to answer the actual question.

Native English speakers use many different phrases to help them do this. It’s important to understand that using a time-filling phrase won’t hurt your score.  In fact, it’s likely to improve it!

Here are a few phrases to use if you need a moment to think about how to answer a question during your IELTS exam:

  • “Honestly, I am a little bit nervous right now and my mind just went blank.”  This says that you’re being honest, and trying. “My mind went blank” is also an idiom.
  • “Frankly, this isn’t something I’m used to talking about.”  Again, this is honest, and sounds like something a native speaker would say.
  • “That’s a good question.”  This welcomes good intonation, and that will help your pronunciation score.

Other simple and common English time-fillers:

  • “Wow, let me think about that.” 
  • “I’ve never thought about that before.” 
  • “Let’s see.”

Which phrases do you plan to use, and why?

Tell us what you think in the comments section below!

Today, Lindsay and Michelle share 6 phrases to buy you some time in a rushed, stressful situation!

 

Sometimes it seems like everyone’s in a hurry.  People want an abrupt answer even if you’re not ready to give it.  This can be intimidating, especially if you’re still learning English.  But it doesn’t need to be.

The person trying to rush you needs to understand that you’re still making your decision, and that they can do something else for a moment while you decide.  There are several phrases in English that can convey that message.

 

Here are 6 phrases that can calm down a rushed person and give you some time:

  • “Gimme a second.”
  • “Hold on a second.”
  • “I’m still deciding.”
  • “Just a second, please.”
  • “Sorry, I need a minute.”
  • “I’m not quite ready yet.”

 

Have you ever been rushed while in the US?

Tell us your story in the comments section below!

Do you write English emails at work or to your friends and acquaintances?

Do you ever wonder if you are making any big mistakes in your emails?

There is one mistake that I see a lot in emails from students and I want you to stop making this mistake today!

In this video I will show you what that mistake is and three good alternatives.

Please watch the video below.

 

Are you making this mistake with your emails?

 

 

Instead of using “bye” at the end of your emails, you should try:

  •  “I hope to hear from you soon.”
  • “Take care.”
  • “All the best.”

 

Do you want to practice your email writing with a native speaker online? Get $10 USD off your second lesson at italki now!

What should you wear for the IELTS exam?

Today, Lindsay and Jessica talk about how to dress for success on exam day!

Our clothes affect how we feel, and how we conduct our behavior.  Other people can sense if we appear confident and comfortable.  Not only that, they might even reflect what they see in us.

On test day, it’s important to project an image that says you’re intelligent, that you take the exam seriously, and that you’re relaxed.  You want to be comfortable while sitting through the Writing and Reading sections of the test, but you also want to show your best self to the Speaking section examiner.

In order to do both, consider the following “business casual” items:

Slacks: These are the formal pants that would go with a suit.  If they’re black, they can go with almost anything.

Boots and leggings: For women, remember to stick with something comfortable — no high heels.

Blouse or collared shirt: For men, there’s probably no need for a necktie, but a nice button-up shirt can allow you to look and feel relaxed while appearing professional.

You might want to stay away from:

Sweat pants or suits: These might look lazy, even if they are comfortable.

Blue jeans: While jeans are better than sweat pants, you might look better and feel just as relaxed in a nice pair of slacks.

T-shirts: This might come off as too casual — especially if its a t-shirt with images or text on it.

What are you thinking of wearing for your IELTS exam?

Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

On today’s Deep Thoughts Thursday, learn the secret to success, and how you can apply it to learning English!

 

Mark Twain is one of the great heroes of American literature, a man who is famous for combining humor and wisdom.  One of his more popular statements was, “To succeed in life, you need two things: Ignorance and Confidence.”

By ignorance, Twain doesn’t mean stupidity.  He means something closer to innocence.  Children think they can succeed because they don’t know how difficult achieving success will be.  They don’t think about it, and so they don’t become paralyzed with fear.

Don’t let your self-consciousness paralyze you.  Change your perspective and stop worrying about the reasons behind the rules, or about how much you still have to learn.  Be confident, and seek connection, not perfection!

 

What do you think of Twain’s quote?

Does it make sense to you?

Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Should you connect not perfect when it comes to the IELTS exam?

Today, learn how to connect with the examiner, and something you probably don’t know about the exam day schedule!

In the IELTS, you’re not graded for being perfect.  You’re graded for communication ability.  It’s important to understand that this is connection, not perfection.

After you complete the Reading and Writing sections, there will probably be some waiting time before the Speaking section of your test.  While you’re waiting, don’t get nervous!  Instead, keep in mind that the examiner is not expecting you to be perfect.  He or she only wants you to communicate your ideas the best you can.  They want you to be able to connect with them.

Does connection not perfection work for you and your English learning?

How will you use it with your IELTS examiner?

Tell us about it in the comments section below!

Today, Lindsay and Michelle discuss how to go from obsessing over the rules, to freeing your mind to get more creative with your English!

 

Learning English can be a lot like learning a musical instrument.  In the beginning, you might focus intensely on the rules.  You have to, because you need a foundation — you can’t improvise without that.

But once you know the basic rules, you need to think about exploring and experimenting, and fluency.  Think about learning English as a creative process.

Also, remember that connecting to other people isn’t a matter of rules.  It’s a matter of fluid interaction. For that, you need to put down the grammar book and be willing to make mistakes.

 

Are the rules holding you up?

Tell us what you think in the comments section below!

Do you want that extra edge or advantage to push your score to a 7 on the IELTS exam?

You need some English phrasal verbs to stand apart from the crowd!

Today, Lindsay and Jessica share 5 English phrasal verbs you can use to stand out and get the score you need!

You will probably be asked to talk about the topics of home, shopping, food and studying in Part 1 of the IELTS Speaking Section.  You need to prepare for this.  One way you can do that is have some phrasal verbs.

Phrasal verbs are a way to sound more natural and native when speaking informally.  Though there are many of these to choose from, you only need to use of a few to stand out.

Here are five that are easy to use and will impress your examiner:

Bone up on: This means to learn.  It’s not only a phrasal verb, but also an idiom.  “I had to bone up on my English studies.”

Figure out: This means to learn the details of something, or discover how it works.  “I figured out how to fix the television.”

Goof off: When you are having fun, but not working or studying, you can say “I spent the afternoon goofing off.”

Clam up: This is another phrasal verb and idiom.  It means that you’re so nervous you couldn’t think of what to say.  “I clammed up when she asked me to answer the question.”

Catch up: If you’re behind, and you’re trying to shorten the distance, you might need to catch up.  This can be used physically, like you’re chasing someone, or with your studies.  “I fell behind in my homework and have to catch up.”

Do you have any other phrasal verbs you’d like to use in the IELTS exam?

Let us know what they are in the comments section below!

On today’s Tear Up Your Textbook Tuesday, learn when to (and when not to) use the verb “arrive” with native speakers!

 

For a native English speaker, “arrive” is not always the most natural-sounding word to use.  It probably fits best in formal situations, such as a job interview or a speech.

 

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Instead of “When did you arrive?” a native speaker might ask “When did you get here?” or “When did you get in?”  Both mean the same thing as “arrive”, but are more common.

 

How can you use “get” instead of arrive?

Show us what you’ve got in the comments section below!

Today, Lindsay and Michelle discuss why a few towns in the United States are banning a common winter activity for kids!

 

Most Americans live in places that get snow in the winter.  As children, they probably went sledding at least a few times. But today, some places are trying to ban sledding because it can be dangerous!  Towns with sled hills are afraid somebody will get hurt, and the town will be sued.

 

PrintAre You Ready to Practice? Get a Private, Native English Teacher Now!

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Some lawsuits are justified, but there is such a thing as a “frivolous lawsuit,” which is a lawsuit that has little merit but is being pursued for money, rather than justice.

 

What do you think about banning sledding?

What do think about suing a “haunted house” park because it’s too scary?

Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Do you try to speak fast to sound like a native English speaker?

Today, Lindsay and Jessica discuss why you shouldn’t leave your heart behind on the IELTS Speaking Section!

Nobody expects you to sound exactly like a native speaker.  People just want to understand you.  So if you’re talking too fast and trying to sound like a native, you might actually become more difficult to understand.

Speed is not important.  If you speak with clarity and confidence, you will always sound better than if you’re in a rush.  You have to be able to relax, pause between sentences, and use intonation and emotion.

If you want a high score on the Speaking Section, the examiner must be able to understand what you’re saying.  Intonation is important — practice expressing your feelings so you DON’T sound like a robot!

Varied Intonation is Key for IELTS Speaking

You can’t have a monotone. 

If asked about fun, exciting things, you should sound excited and happy.

  • How often do you hang out with friends
  • What’s your favorite food or restaurant
  • Describe one of your hobbies

Let emotion sound in your voice.

It would sound strange if you answered these with a serious, formal tone.

Speaking Part 1 and Speaking Part 3 should sound different!

You should sound very different answering more serious Part 3 questions.

  • How can we reduce air pollution?
  • Are companies more likely to create environmentally friendly policies now than in the past?
  • What are some of the drawbacks to the increased use of technology?

 Watch the video now!

Strategies to improve intonation

Practice shadowing and mimicking.

Record yourself and listen to it back

Can you hear the emotion?

Is the tone appropriate for the question type?

How are you going to speak English with your heart?

Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Maybe you want to try to use phrasal verbs when you speak with natives?

In today’s lesson you’ll find out how to invite someone to spend time with you using 3 common English phrasal verbs.

Watch the video below to learn more!

 

3 Phrasal Verbs to Invite Someone Out

 

 

3 Phrasal Verbs to Invite Someone Out:

  • “Let’s catch up next week.”
  • “Do you want to hang out on Saturday?”
  • “Would you like to meet up on Friday?”

 

What other English phrasal verbs do you know to invite someone out?

Please share them with us in the comments section below!

On today’s Wisdom Wednesday, Lindsay and Michelle talk about why it’s important to pace yourself so you don’t get overwhelmed!

 

It’s hard not to want to do everything.  But it’s important to know when to slow down.  Doing as much as you can, as fast as you can, makes it nearly impossible to retain information.

Maybe you’re watching Youtube videos in English.  You might discover that you can learn more watching one per day than ten per day.  This is because watching only one allows you to learn in quality, rather than quantity.

When learning new words, don’t try to learn 50 or 100 new words at a time — it won’t work!  Instead, consider learning around 5-10 new words at a time.  Remember Aesop’s fable about the tortoise and the hare: “Slow and steady wins the race!”

 

Do you try to learn too much at one time?

Does it cause you problems?

Tell us your story in the comments section below!

Are you afraid of being asked an unfamiliar question in the IELTS speaking section? Find out what to do in this situation!

Today, Lindsay and Jessica tell how NOT to handle it, and give you two tips on what you can do to unfreeze!

What happens if you get to the speaking section of the IELTS and the examiner asks you a question that you don’t know the answer to?

First, DON’T ask the examiner to switch topics!  They can’t do that for you.  So whatever question you are given, you must give some kind of answer even if you are feeling shy or confused.

Here are Jessica’s tips on what you can do so you don’t freeze:

Make something up! As said in a previous podcast, IELTS doesn’t care about the truth of your idea, only about your English.  Think of anything in your life that relates to the subject so you can answer the question.

Prepare for an unfamiliar topic: Memorize a phrase like, “I apologize, but I’m unfamiliar with that topic.”  Then you can answer the question by discussing how little you know about it, and why.

Go here to learn more about scoring for each section of the IELTS exam.

Are you prepared for the speaking section of the IELTS?

Tell us if you’re ready, and what you still need help with, in the comments section below!

Today, learn 3 places where you can find compelling, interesting content to move you to the next level!

 

We live in a time of abundant online resources for learning English.  In fact, there are so many that it can be overwhelming!  But Thaddeus believes finding the right ones are the key to keeping your interest so you stay motivated.

 

Here are Thaddeus’ 3 top resources to help you be an inspired English learner in 2015:

  • TED.com: TED stands for Technology, Education and Design.  The website features discussions on a wide variety of subjects, and includes transcripts.  Much of the language is academic, so it prepares listeners for education in English.
  • Storycorps.org: This site features real English conversations between people who share experiences.  Common themes are love, friendship, education and role models.  The conversations are usually short, and include transcripts.
  • Newsela.com: This site presents common news stories in English. The unique aspect is that allows you to adjust the difficulty level of how the story is written.

 

Have you explored any of these resources?

What did you think?

Share your experiences in the comments section below!

 

SAMSUNG CSCThaddeus is an Advanced English teacher with over five years of experience, an M.Ed. in TESOL, and an undergraduate degree in International Business.  He offers conversation practice and test preparation lessons through italki, and publishes free English learning resources on his website: www.enupgrade.com.

To get $10 off your second lesson with Thaddeus go to allearsenglish.com/italki, register on that page, then search for his username: English Upgrade

On today’s Tear Up Your Textbook Tuesday, find out how to stop using “if” all the time and start using “as long as”!

 

The phrase “as long as” is a connector similar to “if”, or “provided that”.  It means that meeting certain conditions will allow something to happen.  The emphasis is on the importance of meeting the conditions.

 

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Here are a couple ways “as long as” might be used:

  • When do I have to be home?
  • Whenever you want, as long as you bring the car back in good condition.

 

  • “Is your landlord nice?”
  • “He is, as long as we pay the rent on time.”

 

How can you use “as long as”?

Write us a sample sentence in the comments section below!

Are you prepared for the IELTS Writing Task 2?

Today, Lindsay and Jessica give you 3 strategies to help you take charge!

Writing Task 2 of the IELTS requires you to be creative.  But don’t let that scare you.  If you practice ahead of time and approach it with a plan, you can stay focused and do well.

You might be asked a question like, “Why is living in the city better than living in the country?”  Jessica has three tips to help you be able to answer that:

  • Practice brainstorming: You need to be able to think creatively to gather a list of ideas about the topic.  This is a skill you can improve.  Don’t worry about bad ideas, just practice coming up with a lot of ideas, so you have many to choose from.
  • Learn a four-paragraph essay format: After you get your ideas, you need to be able to organize them.  This format is simple and easy to follow.  It includes an introduction, a thesis statement, a paragraph body, and a conclusion.
  • Make stuff up!  IELTS doesn’t really care about your whether your ideas are true or not.  It’s only interested in your English abilities.  You can make things up, or use personal experience.  Focus on having good sentence structures.

Are you preparing for the IELTS Writing Task 2?

What are you doing to get ready?

Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Today, Lindsay talks with teacher and author Douglas Amrine about three key differences, and why these matter for you in a job interview!

 

Douglas has spent half his life in the United States and half in the United Kingdom, so his accent is somewhere in the middle of the two.  His experience has given him clarity about the differences in how Americans and British speak, and how speech is perceived in each country.

 

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Here are three key differences between American and British English that Douglas believes are important for you in a job interview:

  • Accent: Both countries have many regional accents, but pronunciation of the consonants “t” and “r” distinguish between British and American.  In-between vowels, Americans pronounce “t” as “d”, so a word like “matter” might sound like “madder.”  Americans also pronounce “r” more strongly.  While they would pronounce “better” as it is written, a British person might say it like “betta.”
  • Vocabulary: The US and the UK occasionally use different words for the same object.  For example, Americans use the word “elevator,” but British say “lift.”
  • Temperature: Americans like to show enthusiasm and exaggeration, but Britons are masters of understatement, often describing something as smaller or less impressive than it really is.  Even if they are thinking the exact same thing, an American might show his emotions while Briton will be reserved.

 

Have you encountered these differences between British and American English?

Do you know any others? Let us know in the comments section below!

 

Douglas AmrineOur guest today is not only a CELTA-certified English teacher but also an award-winning travel guide editor and publisher. He has worked on titles and series such as Eyewitness Travel Guides and Top 10 Travel Guides as well as Where to Go When and The Road Less Traveled.
As an English teacher, our guest helps his students with business English, general conversation, and IELTS preparation. Our guest today is Douglas Amrine. Welcome Douglas!

Feeling anxious about the IELTS exam?

Today, Lindsay and Jessica talk about four tactics for overcoming fear and finding calm before test day!

It’s natural to be afraid when going into a test as difficult as the IELTS exam.  But you can’t let fear and anxiety dominate you.  Remember that your goal is to learn English, not just pass the test.  You need to let this goal strengthen and motivate you.

There are many ways to do this.  Jessica has four suggestions that might help:

  • Take a day or two off in which you don’t think about or work on IELTS.  This allows you to recharge and avoid burn out.
  • Make a realistic schedule about where you are in your English, and when you should really be taking the test.  You don’t want to take the exam before you’re truly ready.
  • When practicing, make sure you include practice materials that you enjoy.  These might be movies or podcasts that interest you.  Look at it as an exploration, not just as work.
  • Know what the examiner wants before you take the test.  This will help you do better and feel more confident.

Will these tips help you reduce your anxiety before taking the IELTS?

Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Do you ever attend English-only meetings at work but sit there with a great idea but not knowing how to enter the conversation politely and how to get people’s attention?

If you just sit there and don’t contribute your idea, you will miss your opportunity and your reputation at work might be in jeopardy.

Today we’ll show you how to speak up and get people to turn their attention toward you when you have something to say!

Watch the video below to get 3 useful phrases

Practice these phrases with a native speaker now and get 10 USD off your second lesson

-Click here-

3 Phrases to Speak Up in a Meeting:

  • “I’d like to share something.”
  • “Can I say something?”
  • “Could I add something?”

Let’s have a conversation in the comments section!

What other phrases do you know that you can use to speak up?

Have you used them before?

Let us know.

Today, Lindsay and Michelle discuss these two words, and how ‘false friends’ from other languages might cause trouble when translating!

 

False friends are words from two different languages that appear to come from the same source (and thus have the same meaning), but are actually completely different.

A good example is in the Spanish estoy decepcionada, which sounds like it might translate into the English ‘I am/feel deceived’.  Decepcionada reads like a Spanish version of the English word ‘deceived’.  But the actual meaning is ‘disappointed’.  So if you translate this false friend, you’re saying something complete different from your intention.

 

  • To be disappointed means to have an expectation of something, and then it doesn’t happen, so we’re sad.
  • To be deceived means we are being tricked or lied to about something.

 

When was the last time you felt disappointed?

When was the last time you felt deceived?

Share your stories with us in the comments section below!

Today, Lindsay talks with Tyler Lockett from Austin about why that city is unique and “weird,” and how you can connect with locals using three phrases!

 

Texas is a U.S. state that’s bigger than France, and Austin is probably the state’s most unique city.  Unlike most of the rest of Texas, it’s very young, politically liberal, and filled with culture.  Keep Austin weird is the local motto.

Tyler believes that if you’re going to Austin, you may as well speak the language.  Though English does tend to be spoken by Texans, three southern phrases might help you sound more like a local.

 

Here are Tyler’s 3 phrases:

  • Howdy: This is an older or cowboy way of saying ‘Hello’.  It’s casual, but common across Texas and even other parts of the United States.
  • Y’all: This is contraction of ‘you all’ that refers to a group of people.  It might be used as “Are y’all going to the movies?”
  • Fixin’ to: This means you are about to, or intend to, do something.  You might say “I’m fixin’ to go to work.” or “She’s fixin’ to move to Austin.”

 

Have you ever heard Americans use Howdy, Y’all, or Fixin’ to?

Would you like to visit Austin?

Tell us what you think in the comments section below!

 

 

Tyler Lockett- ESL TeacherTyler Lockett is a professional ESL teacher living and working in Austin, Texas. He has been teaching ESL for over 5 years and has lived in China and Japan. He graduated from Houston Community College with an A.A. degree and lived in New York City for 7 years where he graduated from Parsons School of Design In New York City with a B.A. degree. In addition, he received his Cambridge CELTA certification at International House in New York City. He has backpacked around France, Mongolia and Thailand and is hoping to travel to Istanbul, Vietnam, and Chile in the next two years. He loves Teaching ESL, making connections with his international students, and can’t wait to have more adventures abroad in his career.

ITALKI USERNAME: tyler lockett

Do you need resources to prepare for the IELTS exam?

Today, Lindsay and Jessica talk about three creative practice recommendations, and three textbooks to help you prepare for the IELTS exam!

Preparation for the IELTS can feel overwhelming.  It’s difficult to narrow down the best ways to practice, and the best textbooks for studying.  However you decide to do it, remember that you need to integrate both real skills practice and test practice.

Practice Resources: A native English speaker is definitely best for practicing for the speaking and listening parts of the test.  If you live in a large city, opportunities to talk to native speakers might be all around you, in the form of either students or ex-patriots.

  • For speaking, you want structured practice.  Look for opportunities at local libraries or universities.  Consider advertising for a language exchange or a skills exchange.  Practicing English while teaching a native English speaker something is a great way to gain confidence.
  • For listening, podcasts are excellent for improving your comprehension.  Find a topic that interests and motivates you.  There are podcasts about virtually every subject!
  • For writing, again check out local libraries or universities for writing lab opportunities.

Textbook Test Preparation: With a textbook, you want something interesting that includes brainstorming and vocabulary activities that help you come up with ideas.  Here are three good examples:

  • Introduction to Academic English (Ann Hogue, Alice Oshima).  This book has nice visuals and word maps to help give you ideas, but also to focus you so you don’t feel overwhelmed.
  • Cambridge IELTS Series.  This series contains the best examples of what you will see on IELTS.  It’s not skills practice, only test practice.
  • IELTS Foundation Series.  This series is a good resource for middle-level skill building and preperation.

What resources have you used in preparing for the IELTS exam?

Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Or do you sound like a textbook when you speak?

Today, get 7 tricks to update your English and sound more natural by using real talk instead of textbook talk!

 

Speaking natural-sounding English can be difficult when you only work with textbooks.  While what your textbook says may be technically correct, some of the phrases might sound outdated or odd to native ears.

 

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Here are 7 ways your textbook might tell you how to say something, as well as the ways a native English speaker would really say it.

 

  • Textbook: Hello.
  • Real: Hi!, Hey!, or What’s up?

 

  • Textbook: Are you having a good day?
  • Real: Having a good day?

 

  • Textbook: How are you?, How do you do?
  • Real: How’s it going?, How you doin’?, or How’ve you been?

 

  • Textbook: I’m fine, thanks.
  • Real: Doin’ well., or Not bad.

 

  • Textbook: What are your hobbies?
  • Real: What do you like to do?, What are you into?, or What do you do for fun?

 

  • Textbook: I wish to (do something).
  • Real: I wanna (do something), or I’d like to (do something).

 

  • Textbook: See you.
  • Real: See ya., Take care., or Bye.

 

Do you speak textbook English?

Do you know any other differences between what your textbook says and how native English-speakers speak?

Let us know in the comments section below!

Today, learn how to take action and bet on yourself with an amazing opportunity!

 

Every challenge you face is like putting a bet on yourself.  But the only way to really lose is if you don’t even try.

This month, the italki.com Language Challenge can help you improve your English in a serious way.  A $10 sign up fee gets you into the game.  If you can complete 20 lessons (20 hours) with an online teacher by the end of February, italki will pay you $40 back in credit.

This comes out to 3-4 lessons per week.  Can you handle that?  Essentially, you are placing a bet on your commitment to learning English!

 

Three reasons to participate in a language challenge:

Motivation: All of us need to be pushed sometimes, and there’s never better time than NOW!

Defining your goal: Learning English is a lifetime project, but having defined goals will bring clarity to your progress.

Social experience: Even though you could do this by yourself, being accountable to others will focus you and help you follow through to the end.

 

Ready for the challenge?  Sign up at allearsenglish.com/italki.

 

Are you signing up for the challenge?

Share your goals in the comments section below!

 

Kevin Chen is an entrepreneur based in Shanghai, China.  He is co-founder of italki.com, a language learning community marketplace that connects students and teachers from around the world for online language lessons.  italki has over a million users, thousands of teachers, and thousands of language classes are scheduled through the site every day.

Kevin is also an organizer of Techyizu.org, a non-profit group that organizes startup and technology events in Shanghai, including Barcamp Shanghai and Designing Shanghai.

Kevin previously co-founded Famento, a startup focused on recording family history.  Before that, Kevin worked in the finance industry as a research analyst for Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch.

He has a masters degree from the London School of Economics, and a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University.

 

Today, Lindsay and Michelle talk about why it’s important, and give you three ways to be charismatic in English!

 

A lot of a person’s success in America depends on their personality.  If you’re confident and people want to be friends with you, you’ll probably do better.  Charisma is the ability of an individual to attract, influence or inspire others.  Some are born with it, but most of us have to learn it.

President Barack Obama has a lot of charisma.  This makes him likeable and powerful at the same time.  You want to learn English, but you also want others to find you pleasant and even magnetic.  Charisma is behind those connections.  So it’s important to understand how you can make yourself as charismatic as possible.

 

italki5Are You Ready to Practice? Get a Private, Native English Teacher Now!

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You’ll get your English mistakes corrected immediately!

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Here are a few ways you can express charisma:

Exude joy: Be cheerful!  To do that, find what you’re excited about or what you love, and do as much of it as you can.  This can come out in your intonation: “I’m so excited to meet them!” or “I can’t wait to go!”

Appear confident: Show your strength in your abilities and don’t disparage others.  This is not the same as being cocky, which is being overly confident and disparaging of others.  Confident people say things like: “I’m on it.” or “I’m sure you’ll figure it out.”

Be a great storyteller: People naturally love stories.  Use your voice and inflection to create drama and intrigue.  Also, use the present tense to talk about something that happened previously — this puts your listeners in the story as it’s being told.

 

What does charisma mean in your culture?

Does it matter as much there as it does in America?

Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Many many students ask us this question, “How can I speak English as fast as a native?”

That is the wrong question!

The question that you should be asking is this: “How can I speak clearly so that natives can understand me?”

The most important thing is not speed. The most important thing is to speak clearly.

 

Here are two tricks to speak clearly in English:

1- Separate your sentence into thought groups or “chunks”

2- Emphasize the last word in the thought group

 

Watch my video below to learn more!

 

Click here to get $10 off your second lesson with a native teacher at italki

 

So guys, go out there and don’t try to speak quickly. Try to speak clearly by using the two pronunciation tricks that I have taught you today.

Good luck with your pronunciation in 2015!

 

Today, get two quotes by two famous entrepreneurs, and learn how to talk about the impact you want to make on the world in 2015!

 

To impact, or make a difference, doesn’t require money or a stage.  Everything you do has some effect on the world around you.  Even a smile can make a huge impact on somebody else’s day.

But some people do want to change things in a bigger way.  Below are two quotes about making impacts; one big, the other not necessarily so big.

 

“I want to put a ding in the universe.”  Steve Jobs

A ding is like a dent, so what Jobs is saying is that he wants to have left a mark that remains when he is gone.

“Go make a ruckus.”  Seth Godin

A ruckus is a noise, so Godin is suggesting that you try to be heard.  Do something with your life, don’t just live quietly and disappear!

 

How are you going to put a ding in the universe?

How are you going to make a ruckus?

Let us know in the comments section below!

Today, Lindsay chats with Marianna Du Bosq, a bilingual educator who has three ways to help you raise your child to speak more than one language!

 

The benefits of raising a bilingual child are many.  Not only will knowing more than one language open career opportunities for the child when they grow up, research is also finding significant positive cognitive advantages to having a bilingual brain.

 

Marianna believes bilingualism (and even tri-lingualism) is definitely achievable if parents are focused enough.  Here are Marianna’s three main points to focus on:

Expose your children to quality language input.  Read books, or even use audio books.  This way, your child is hearing voices other than those of their parents.

Create a need to use the language. If the child doesn’t have to use the language to get what they want, they’re naturally going to fall back on using the dominant language.  Ask your family members help by only speaking one language or the other.

Keep it fun! Children will be far more involved in the language if they are doing the kinds of things they already love to do.

 

Are you a parent interested in raising bilingual children?

Share your thoughts or experiences in the comments section below!

 

Marianna Du Bosq is a bilingual mother, former bilingual educator, and lifetime language learner.  She is the host of the Bilingual Avenue podcast and blog where she interviews parents and experts raising and teaching multilingual children, and provides an excellent collection of tips and strategies for anyone choosing this journey.

She is originally from Venezuela, has spent the last twenty years in the United States, and is currently on a one year adventure in the Black Forest in Germany with her husband and two year old daughter.

Click here to get “7 Ways to Increase Exposure in the Target Language” a free PDF guide

On today’s Tear-Up Your Textbook Tuesday, Lindsay and Michelle talk about four situations for using the term ‘even’, and how to use your tone of voice to make it work in an English conversation!

 

italki1Can’t find native speakers to practice English with you?

Can’t get your English corrected by your native-speaking friends?

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For a limited time, italki is offering 10 USD in free English lessons. Click here to get your 10USD in italki credits before this offer runs out!

 

The word ‘even’ has many uses in English and can be confusing.  To make it even more confusing, in some cases the intonation is as important as the word itself!  Here are the four most common ways to use ‘even’:

For something that’s surprising.  When using it this way, stress the word ‘even’.

  • “I get lost even when I have a map!”
  • “I went to class and didn’t even remember my notebook!”

To compare and emphasize.  Using it this way, stress the comparative word.

  • “That coat is on sale for a great price but will be even cheaper next week.”
  • “There are a lot of people here but there were even more last night.”

To be in balance.  This means to be equal, or potentially to get revenge.  In this situation, ‘even’ does not require any intonation.

  • “We’re even now.”
  • “I have to find a way to get even with my brother.”

To talk about a kind of number.  The even numbers are 2, 4, 6, 8, etc.  The odd numbers are 1, 3, 5, 7, etc.  Again, ‘even’ does not require intonation when used this way.

  • “Eighty four is an even number.”

 

Can you tell us something about yourself using the word ‘even’?

Share with us in the comments section below!

Today, Lindsay and Michelle discuss five easy English phrases to use for your intentions in the new year!

 

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What are you going to do different in 2015?  A New Year’s resolution is your intention to change something about yourself from the previous year.  It’s not always easy to stick to changes, and often people don’t, but the point is to recognize that the new year is an opportunity to strengthen your resolve to be a better person than you already are.

To declare your intentions, it’s helpful to have the right words.  Here are five examples of how to talk about your resolutions:

  • I would like…  “I would like to travel to India.”
  • I hope to…  “I hope to stop biting my nails.”
  • I want to…  “I want to move into a new apartment.”
  • I’m going to…  “I’m going to start working out more.”
  • I will…  “I will speak more English.”

 

What are some typical New Year’s resolutions in your country?

Do you have any New Year’s resolutions for yourself?

Tell us about it in the comments section below!

How can you prepare for the Reading Section of the IELTS?

Today, Lindsay and Jessica discuss two strategies to help you answer questions quickly and correctly!

Timing and strategy are important for success on any test.  For a reading test, you need to be able to figure out answers quickly without having to re-read.  Jessica has two suggestions to help you with this.

  • Skim: Take one minute to skim the title, subtitle, and beginning of each paragraph.  This opens your “brain box,” and prepares you to understand what the passage is about.  If you can follow the passage more easily, you will be able to answer the questions faster.
  • Scan: When you read the text, look for names and key words, and underline them.  For many taking the IELTS exam, the most difficult part of the Reading Section are the matching questions.  Scanning for key words and underlining them is an active behavior that will help you answer these faster.

Do you use the strategy of skimming and scanning?

Let us know how it works for you!

Today, Lindsay chats with Jessica Coyle about some of the ways the art of improvisational technique can help you use your body to improve your English!

 

Improv is an art form in which a person uses their body to appear more spontaneous.  It’s a skill, a learned ability, and Jessica believes it can be powerful in learning English because most communication is nonverbal.  By taking care of this nonverbal part, the verbal part (the English) is more free and relaxed, which allows you to learn and use what you know.

 

Three ways improve can help you learn English:

  • Open up and use your body.  Think of your body as an instrument that needs to be fully extended.  Pull your shoulders back and lengthen your spine.  Take up space and be aware of how you look.  Open people are more approachable.  A person who is folded up appears uninterested in others.
  • Mirror your conversation partner.  Pay attention to what they’re doing.  Have a complete and solid idea of what your partner is feeling, and be conscious of what you’re doing in response.  Get a sense of what the person is trying to say about themselves.
  • Initiate with an action.  Comment on or use the environment around you.  Or, literally initiate with an action.  Do something that’s more an activity than a situation that requires a lot of speaking.  Activities can bring people closer together.  You don’t have to sit in a café trying to speak English to become friends with an English speaker.

 

How do you use your body to learn English?

Tell us all about it in the comments section below!

 

 

headshot (1)Jessica Coyle has been teaching English since 2007. She received her Master’s in TESOL in 2013, finishing with a professional project researching the use of improvisational comedy teaching techniques to teach English as a second language. She has studied and performed improv comedy all over Korea, China, Canada and the United States.

 

How to find Jessica Online:

Her dating blog: https://hopefuldisasters.wordpress.com/

Her comedy podcast: NY Pacific

 

Jessica’s Top 10 Podcast Recommendations:

1. Stuff You Should Know
2. Radiolab
3. The Moth
4. Thrilling Adventure Hour
5. The Truth
6. How To Do Everything
7. 60 Minutes
8. This American Life
9. Savage Love
10. Global News Update

How do you build a “Brain Box” for the IELTS Listening Exam?

Today Lindsay and Jessica talk about two strategies to make the listening part of the IELTS exam easier!

 

If you have a strategy or a system to approach the IELTS Listening Exam, you’ll probably do better.  Your first step should be to listen to the introduction.  It will tell you who will be talking, and what they’re talking about.

Many people who take this exam skip the introduction because they think they don’t need it.  This is a mistake, because the context will help you understand.  The “brain box” concept is that your brain puts topics in “boxes,” and accessing a specific box will put a conversation into context, and make it easier to comprehend.

After you’ve listened to the introduction, you will then have about ten seconds to read the questions before you hear them.  Use this time to circle the key words before they’re read aloud.  Making note of these key words will prepare you to answer the question quickly.  Speed is important, because you don’t want one question mix you up on the next one, and then the next one.

How do you plan to prepare for the listening portion of the IELTS exam?

Tell us about it in the comments section below!

In today’s Tear Up Your Textbook Tuesday, Lindsay and Michelle discuss 5 weird ways Americans use English, and how to understand what they’re saying!

 

It can be frustrating to watch a Hollywood movie in English and not understand what’s being said.  Often, this happens because of some of the distinct ways Americans use English. For example, Americans tend to:

 

  • Pronounce the letter ‘t’ as if it were a ‘d’.  This happens when the ‘t’ is between two vowels: ‘water’, ‘later’, ‘better’ and ‘daughter’ end up sound like ‘wader’, ‘lader’, ‘bedder’ and ‘daughder’.  It can even happen between two words: ‘I have a lot of time’ might sound like ‘I have a lada time’.

 

  • Use casual phrases. These include ‘like’ and ‘um’, but also ‘I was like’ (which reports from a previous conversation), or ‘you know’ or ‘I mean’. Note that these are not used in formal occasions.

 

  • Drop vowel sounds. This usually occurs when the last letter in the word is an ‘n’, and the previous vowel is dropped.  ‘Manhattan’ drops the final ‘a’ and sounds like ‘Manhattn’; ‘button’ drops final ‘o’ and sounds like ‘buttn’.  The same happens with words like ‘gotten’, ‘forgotten’, ‘eaten’ and ‘gluten’.

 

  • String words together. This happens in cases like ‘wanna’ (want to), ‘gonna’ (going to), ‘coulda’ (could have) and ‘woulda’ (would have).

 

  • Make a statement we believe to be true, then question it.  Sometimes you will hear Americans add a ‘huh?’ after saying something they know is true.  They probably aren’t really questioning it.  Examples include: ‘So you live in Manhattan, huh?’ and ‘It’s cold out today, huh?’

 

Have you heard Americans using any of these weird speech habits?

Let us know in the comments section below!

What’s so difficult about the IELTS Speaking Part 1?

What can you do to prepare?

Today, Lindsay and Jessica discuss some tactics for avoiding the dangers and allowing yourself to stand out!

Speaking Part 1 of the IELTS includes questions about yourself.  You will be asked about three topics, and though it may seem like simple stuff, the danger is that you might become too relaxed and start using one-word answers.

You want to do better than that.  In fact, ideally your answers will be 2-4 sentences each!

How can you do come up with that?  Do some brainstorming.  Think of the question words.  Question words can help you think of better answers.

Vocabulary is also important in Speaking Part 1.  If you want to achieve a higher score, you will need to use a range of vocabulary, including slang and idioms.  The examiner wants to hear that you know more than what’s in your textbook.  A good strategy is to have a short list of slang and idioms ready to use.

What are some good English slang words or idioms that might be helpful to have for Speaking Part 1 of the IELTS test?

Let us know in the comments section below!

Are you a multi-tasker?

Today, Lindsay and Michelle talk about the famous “to do” list, and whether or not it really moves you forward in your life or your career!

 

It’s hard to make decisions.  But it’s important to choose one thing to focus on in your day or even your career.  Trying to do more is not the same as accomplishing more.  In fact, it might lead to more disappointment than success.

In school, you were probably trained to multi-task, but not how to prioritize.   This might lead a person to being a “jack of all trades and master of none.”  But even if you can’t choose only one thing, it may be wise to at least choose the most important thing, and do that first.  If possible, find and focus on an objective that makes the others irrelevant.

 

Do you think it makes sense to focus on one thing?

Or is it better to be a jack of all trades and a master of none?

Let us know in the comments section below!

Do you expect it to ever get easier?

Today, learn how a New York-based painter went from poverty to riches by sticking with it, and how you can achieve success by following his example!

 

A New York painter was so poor, he had to go to a public gym if he wanted a shower.  But he was talented, and he kept painting for years and trying to show his work.  Today, his paintings sell for $25,000 each!  His style is unique, and there is little competition at his level.  People want to buy his work.

 

Daniel Webster said, “There’s always room at the top.”  As you reach higher levels in life, things get easier.  There’s little competition among the highly successful.  But most people get stuck in the middle.

As an intermediate or advanced English learner, you are at a crucial point.  In learning English, what can you do to become the best?  How can you stick with it, until it gets easier?

 

How can you keep up your goals in the coming year?

Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below!

 

Today, find out why mimicking phrases from movies can make it difficult to have natural-sounding English conversations!

 

Hollywood is drama.  Its stories are fiction.  This means that the language used by characters is often unrealistic.

Because of the unnatural dialogue, you don’t want to quote from movies unless it’s understood that you are quoting.  Native English speakers do it all the time by slightly changing the tone of their voice.  Even then, such quotes are usually made in a context that makes it clear that the usage is a little joke.

 

Some popular American movie quotes:

  • “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” – Forrest Gump
  • “May the odds be ever in your favor.” – The Hunger Games
  • “May the force be with you.” – Star Wars
  • “Houston, we have a problem.” – Apollo 13

 

While it can be fun to directly quote movies, you want to try to sound more like a real English speaker, not a fictional character.

 

Do you have any favorite movie quotes in English?

Share the ones you love in the comments section below!

 

Do you need a plan for Writing Task 1 on the IELTS exam?

Today, Lindsay and Jessica share two clear steps for helping you beat it!

The IELTS exam’s written section is divided into two tasks.  Task 1 requires you to interpret a map or chart in approximately 150 words, while Task 2 is about 250 words on your own thoughts.  Even though it is longer, Task 2 is often easier for test-takers.  Task 1, because of the vocabulary needed, can be much more difficult.

The Task 1 chart is usually some kind of line or graph that shows a change over time.  To give yourself the language needed to discuss this chart, a good tactic might be to read the business section of the newspaper and pick up the vocabulary you need – words like that describe change, like increase, decrease, decline and skyrocket.

In writing your answer for Task 1, keep it clear and simple.  A good plan might be to discuss increases in paragraph one, and decreases in paragraph two.  That way, your answer is organized.

How are you preparing for the IELTS exam’s Task 1?

Share your thoughts in the comments section below! 

Today, Lindsay and Michelle give you three crazy role-plays to understand when to use should, could and would!

 

Correct use of modals like should, could and would can be confusing.  All three deal with time and possibility, and all three involve telling or asking someone to do something.

 

 

Get a 5- step lesson guide for Episode 241!

cover for modal lesson guide 241Learn how to use modals like “could,” “should,” and “would” in everyday English conversations.

By the time you finish this lesson you’ll be able to: Know when, where, and how to use the correct modal with native speakers.

You’ll get:

  • Step 1: A short video lesson, going into more depth on how to use these modals
  • Step 2: The full episode without sponsor messages
  • Step 3: A comprehension quiz to check your understanding
  • Step 4: The full transcript from Episode 241
  • Step 5: Conversation questions to practice modals with a native
  • Bonus step: 3 REAL vocabulary words that we used in the conversation

Get the 5-step lesson guide now!

 

Should describes the strong possible likelihood of something.  It is also used to give advice.

  • “I should arrive on time.”
  • “You should apply for the job.”

 

Could describes a possibility in the past or the future.  It can also be used as a polite request.

  • “She could have eaten dinner already.”
  • “Could you pick me up at the airport?”

 

Would is most commonly used to make a polite request.

  • “Would you like to come with me?”
  • “Would you ask him about the book?”

 

How can you use should, could and would?

Give us some examples in the comments section below!

Are you preparing to take the IELTS exam?

Today, Lindsay and Jessica discuss what you need to know to pass with the score you want!

There are lots of questions about the IELTS exam.  It’s not an easy test to take, but it is the most widely accepted test for getting into universities and even for immigration and work visas.

One reason for this is that the test is face-to-face with another person, which makes it more real.  Though this might sound intimidating, many testers actually find it more relaxing when the examiner is another person, rather than a computer.

When students take the test and don’t get the score they wanted, it’s usually because they didn’t have enough real-life speaking practice – they only worked out of textbooks.  You need to practice speaking with an actual person.  You also need to be honest with yourself about where you are with your English abilities so that you have an obtainable goal.

How are you preparing to take the IELTS exam?

Let us know in the comments section below!

Do you have trouble writing an email in English?

Do you worry about what kind of impression you’re making?

Today, Lindsay and Michelle share four common email mistakes made by non-native English speakers, and how to correct them!

 

Communication involves more than words.  But when you send an email, your poise and facial expression do not come through.  Only your words matter, and that can be stressful when you’re still learning the language.

Everybody emails these days.  The ability to write a good email  is as important as the ability to speak proper English.

Fortunately, the four most common email mistakes non-native speakers make are easy to fix.  They are:

  • Your greeting is inappropriate.  Who is the email for?  Sometimes ‘Hi’ is appropriate, but ‘Dear’ might be more appropriate if you are applying for a job.  ‘Dear’ implies formality and distance.  Using ‘Hi’ or ‘Hey’ is more for colleagues and friends.
  • You get to the point too quickly.  In American culture, you need to include some small talk.  Start your email with a ‘thank you’ for a previous message, or ask how their new project is going, or how their previous weekend was.  Jumping right into your point might feel aggressive or rude to Americans.
  • Your email is unorganized.  Keep your email short, sweet, and to the point.  Nobody likes to read a long and unfocused email.
  • You don’t tell people what you expect them to do.  Be clear so your reader knows why you are writing them and what you expect from them.

 

Have you made any of these mistakes when writing emails in English?

Tell us about it in the comments section below!

On today’s Test Talk, Lindsay and Jessica talk about using prediction in testing, and how it can help!

 

When getting a bank account, cell phone, or internet connection in a foreign country, you need to be able to ask questions and know the right structures of conversation.  If you don’t, you might not be told all of the information you need to know.

By practicing, especially if you’re able to do so with a partner, you can learn to anticipate what might be said by the other person.  Doing this is learning to predict, and see what you’re missing.  It might make you a better test-taker.

 

Learn How to Avoid Common Traps on TOEIC Part 1

TOEIC 1 guide artGet this 5-step lesson guide and find out how to use your Powers of Prediction to not get tricked during the TOEIC.

In this 5-step lesson you’ll get:

  • The full strategy tip
  • A written summary of the strategy
  • A practice exercise
  • 3 independent resource ideas
  • 3 real practice questions

 Get the 5- step lesson guide for TOEIC Part 1

 

 

A practice conversation might go like this:

  • “I need to open a bank account.”
  • “Okay, to open an account, please complete this form.”

 

  • “Where should I take the form?”
  • “Give it to the woman in the office down the hall.”

 

  • “When can I have my account?  Today?”
  • “No, it takes two weeks.”

 

  • “Do you need my passport?”
  • “Yes, and your birth certificate.”

 

If you would like to learn about this strategy, hear advice on how to strengthen it with resources that are free online, and get a practice guide written by Jessica, purchase the full episode.

 

Are you taking the TOEIC Part 1?

If so, let us know in the comments section below!

Or do you let your critics decide what you will do?

On today’s Deep Thoughts Thursday, Lindsay and Michelle consider a quote from Teddy Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States.

 

When he was a child, Teddy Roosevelt was weak, sickly and asthmatic.  He had poor eyesight, too.  Yet he grew up to be one of America’s greatest symbols of achievement and individual strength.  His attitude continues to inspire today, and is summed up in the following quote:

 

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

 

Roosevelt suggests that we overcome trying to be perfect and instead develop a bias toward action.  Put emphasis on doing something, not fear of what others will say.  Don’t let critics overcome you or have power over you.  The critic is not taking a risk, and so they are weaker than you.

 

Do you think about this attitude?

How have you behaved this way in your life?

Share your story with us in the comments section below!

Today, Lindsay introduces Jessica, the Examiner of Excellence, who’s here to help you excel at your English tests!

 

Test preparation doesn’t have to be boring.  In fact, it should be interesting.  When you’re studying for an English test, it isn’t the same as studying for a math test.  You need to activate your emotions so you can remember more.

Reading or watching movies in English can help, but you can also practice writing essays on subjects that are interesting to you, or go out and speak English with native speakers.  Think of it as test preparation.

 

As for taking the actual test, Jessica has four essential tips to give you an advantage:

  • Be proactive.  Take an active approach that involves your brain.  Try to think about and predict answers.
  • Trust yourself.  Don’t start doubting yourself when answering questions.  Often, your first answer is the correct one.
  • Follow directions.  Tests are written by smart people.  Don’t start looking ahead and trying to race the clock.  If you do, you might miss an important instruction.
  • Don’t rush.  Don’t worry about timing.  Instead, focus on your English and do what the test asks you to do.

 

Have you done any testing in English?

How did it go?

Tell us about it in the comments section below!

Today Lindsay and Michelle talk about how to proceed when life feels overwhelming!

 

Whenever you aren’t sure what to do, always take the next easiest step. This advice is as useful for climbing a mountain as for any decision in life.

Adults tend to be more afraid in learning than children are because they look at the big picture.  Children focus on each step, and so don’t have fear.

 

Make small goals in English learning, don’t look at the entire mass of work ahead!  Break it down into manageable pieces.  Think about what you should do first, then second, then third.  Know your final goal, but focus on the steps.

 

How can you apply this to your English learning?

What do you need to do in the short term?

Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Do you ever need to comfort others in English? Do you know how to make people feel better in English or to how to boost their ego?

On today’s Tear Up Your Textbook Tuesday, Lindsay and Michelle teach you a simple trick for boosting egos and helping others see the brighter sad of unhappy situations!

 

When someone you know tells you something sad, but not too serious, there’s a trick in English to help make them feel better.  By putting ‘though’ at the end of a sentence, and raising the intonation, you can emphasize something positive about the situation in order to make the speaker feel better

 

 

Do you want to learn more about how to use “though” at the end of your sentences?

cover for though lesson guide 237Do you want to know how to make someone feel better in English?

Get our 5-step lesson guide for Episode 237!

You’ll get:

  • A short video lesson
  • The full episode without sponsor messages
  • A comprehension quiz
  • Conversation questions to practice this language tip
  • The full transcript
  • * Bonus- 3 REAL vocabulary words highlighted from the episode

Get your 5-step lesson guide here!

 

 

Some examples of this include:

  • “My apartment’s too small.”
  • “But it’s such a great neighborhood though!”

 

  • “I made tacos, but I’m not a good cook.”
  • “But they’re really fresh and crunchy though!”

 

Have you used ‘though’ to boost someone’s ego?

How and when?

Tell us about it in the comments section below!

Today, Lindsay and Michelle have a natural English conversation about how information addiction can affect your life, and what you can do to unplug!

 

Electronics rule modern life.  Not only is it difficult to get away from them, many of us tend to not want to get away from them.  We’re addicted!

Like all addictions, this can cause anxiety and restlessness, and it can negatively affect your life.  Often there is a fear of missing out, or that something might happen and we won’t find out about it soon enough.

Of course this is almost never the case.  Email and the internet can wait.  So how do we overcome the feeling, and unplug?

 

Here are three ways that might help:

  • Recognize that there is a problem. Define the problem, then seek out solutions that work for you.
  • Give yourself turn-off time. Turn off not only your devices, but also their auto-notifications and the email capability on your phone.
  • Step away from the machines. Distance yourself physically!  Go outside, get into nature, or meditate.

 

Is information addiction a problem for you?

How do you overcome it?

Let us know in the comments section below!

On today’s Deep Thoughts Thursday, Lindsay and Michelle talk about the biggest decisions in life, and how to make them!

 

The American comedy actor Milton Berle once said, “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.”

The suggestion is, if opportunities in life do simply come to you, then you should go out and look for opportunities yourself.  But which ones should you pursue, and which should you let go?

The worst would be to not explore an opportunity that attracts you, and then have regrets about it later.  Sometimes you’re afraid, and sometimes others get in the way of opportunities.  Life’s short, so don’t let that happen!

Find a quiet place to think about opportunities when you encounter them so you don’t pass up something good.

 

Have you had to make your own opportunities?

Share your story in the comments section below!

Are you looking for a way around it?

Today, Lindsay and Michelle share a story about one student who overcame his fear of speaking English by being an expert at something else!

 

An English student in an American business course had little confidence in his English abilities.  But when the other students in his course discovered that he understood their subject better than any of them, he was asked to be their tutor.  Of course, they wanted him to tutor them in English.

This turned out much better than expected.  As a tutor, he had to be in the moment and focused.  He couldn’t worry about his inhibitions or nervousness, or making mistakes.  And because of this, he was able to take control.

 

A classroom is a safe place to learn English, but you are expected not to make mistakes, and so you must focus on your own perfection rather than connection.  Connecting with others is more natural.  Try to get out of the classroom and overcome your inhibitions.

 

How do you practice English outside the classroom?

Does it help make you less self-conscious about speaking English?

Let us know in the comments section below!

On today’s Tear Up Your Textbook Tuesday, Lindsay and Michelle tell you how to talk about the future the way native speakers do!

 

Usually English textbooks tell you to talk about the future using ‘will’ and ‘going to’.

These work, but native English speakers also do it by using the progressive tense.

To native ears, this is a more natural and conversational way to talk.

 

Get a 5-step Lesson Guide on How to Use this Future Form in English Conversations

how to talk about your future plans in English

Do you want a step-by-step lesson guide on how to use this form of the future when you have natural conversations?

Do you want to have confidence when you speak about your future plans?

Get a 3-minute video lesson from Lindsay on this topic, get the transcript, get a comprehension quiz, 15+ conversation questions to use this language point, and more!

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Click here to get it now before the price goes up: Download this Lesson Guide Now

 

 

Here are some examples of conversation about the future using the progressive tense:

  • “What are you having for dinner?”
  • “Tonight I’m having chicken.”

 

  • “Are you bringing anything?”
  • “I’m bringing wine.”

 

  • “What are you doing tomorrow?”
  • “I’m going to see a movie.”

 

Note that all of these conversations are talking about the future, not the immediate moment.

 

What are you doing tomorrow?

What are you doing next week?

Let us know in the comments section below!

Do you want to get a job in the US?

Today, Lindsay and our guest, Brad C. discuss what you need to know to excel at an American job interview.

We’ll also find out how American job interviews are different from job interviews in your country.

Job interviews everywhere focus on skills and training.  But in the US, employers are usually interested in character as well.

They want to know whether you’re a team player, what your potential is to be a leader, and how you will grow in your job.

As such, they might ask some questions focused more on your behaviors than your skills.

It would help to think about these questions ahead of time, so you can be prepared.

Some American job interview questions might include:

  • “Tell us about the most difficult/frustrating individual you ever had to work with, and how you managed to work with them.”  By asking this, they’re seeing whether you can rise above a problem and keep it from affecting the company.
  • “Give an example of how you’ve broken out of a routine or when you’ve successfully developed a new approach.”  Here they’re asking you to show flexibility.
  • “How do you schedule your time/prioritize time when you have a tight turnaround?”  With this, you might want to explain how you ask others for help or delegate your work.

In answering all of these questions, try to tell a story from conflict to resolution, and keep it under three minutes if possible.

Do employers ask questions like these during job interviews in your country?

Tell us about it in the comments section below!

Brad received his undergraduate degree at New York University in 1984, and spent the next 15 years in the business world focused on sales and marketing.  After spending a year testing the English teaching waters in Korea, he returned to the USA and got a Masters degree in TESOL from Seattle University in March 2001.

Since then Brad has worked in London for a summer, spent a few years in Ireland writing TEFL materials for the Wall Street Institute and other companies, and has worked in Germany and Austria as an in-house Business English trainer for companies like Siemens, Deutsche Post/DHL and EADS.

He has also taught many seminars and workshops for various companies on skills like presentations and business correspondence, as well as a business course for two years at the University of Ulm, Germany.

How to Work with Brad on italki:

Step 1- Go to italki to get $10 off your second lesson. You must go through this link to get your special deal!

Step 2- Search for “Brad C” in the teacher search bar after you have registered with the above link for our special promotion.

I know what you are afraid of!

You are afraid that you will begin a conversation with a native English speaker and then the native speaker will say something that you don’t understand.

You are afraid that you will stand there, feeling embarrassed and awkward, right?

You don’t have to be afraid of this anymore!

Remember, having the right vocabulary words and phrases will build your confidence.

Today I will build your confidence for these situations by giving you 5 ways to ask the native speaker to repeat.

Check it out!

 

5 Ways to Ask a Native English Speaker to Repeat:

  • “I’m sorry. What was that?”
  • “Could you say that again?”
  • “Would you mind repeating that?”
  • “Say it again?”
  • “One more time?”

 

 

 

What other English phrases do you know when it comes to asking for repetition?

Let us know in the comments section below!

 

 

Or would you rather be ordinary and routine?

Today, Lindsay and Michelle discuss how not being a play-it-safer can help your English grow!

 

Lindsay has a quote on her wall from Sir Cecil Beaton, an English photographer and painter.  It goes:

“Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary.”

-Cecil Beaton

 

A person who plays it safe is somebody who doesn’t take any risks or do anything out of the ordinary, but who only follows the rules.  Creatures of commonplace are regular people who only live in a routine and accept the limitations that others put on them.

Not playing-it-safe when learning English means that you have to push beyond your limits.  The best way to do that for your English is to try to make friends with other English speakers.  This might not always be easy. But remember, nobody wants to be just a tool for your English practice — try to make a friend instead!

 

Are you a play-it-safer, or are you more daring?

Tell us about it in the comments section below!

Today, San Francisco native Sarah Honour talks about how you can go local with your English in the City by the Bay!

 

San Francisco is one of the most unique and amazing cities in the United States.  It’s residents are technology-centric due to their proximity to Silicon Valley, as well as health-centric and nature-centric due to the progressive philosophy that has long been part of the spirit of the city.

Sarah believes that these traits are found in some of the language that San Franciscans use, and that knowing this terminology can help you fit in just a little better.

 

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Here are Sarah’s three top terms for your visit to San Francisco:

  • “Is there an app for that?”:  App is short for application, as in for your phone.  Because the Bay Area is near the center of a major technological development region, there are apps for almost everything in the city — from calling a taxi to getting your groceries delivered.
  • Organic, Local, Sustainable and Seasonal: Food quality is really important to San Franciscans.  Organic means that no pesticides have been used, local means the food was grown nearby, and sustainable means the environment was not harmed to produce it.  Seasonal simply means that it is the natural time of year for the food to grow.
  • “Where’s the wiggle?”: San Francisco is a great city for biking, but it is also a city with lots of hills.  The ‘wiggle’ is the route for biking with the least amount of hills to go up.

 

Have you ever been to San Francisco?

Would you like to go?

Tell us why in the comments section below!

 

Sarah HonourSarah is a 31 year old American who was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, studied Communications in Seattle, Washington, and worked for almost 10 years as a nanny (or babysitter) in San Francisco, California.  She now splits her time between San Francisco and Sardinia, Italy where her boyfriend lives. She is an English teacher on italki, and is learning Italian and sampling as much of the amazing food and wine from Italy as she can.

Have you ever met someone on the phone or the internet before you met them in person?

Today, Lindsay and Michelle discuss tag questions in English, and how they can help you confirm what you think you know, but aren’t sure about!

 

A tag question helps you to confirm a piece of information that you think is true, but that you want to clarify.  Though they are used as a tool for clarity, they can also be a great way to create conversations.

Tag questions tend to begin with the statement to be clarified, and then end with the question.  There are many possible combinations.

 

Some common examples of tag questions include:

  • “You’re from Washington, aren’t you?”
  • “You used to live in New York, didn’t you?”
  • “He can play the piano, can’t he?”
  • “Her birthday is in July, right?”

 

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Do you ever use tag questions?

What kinds of things do you need to confirm or clarify in others?

Let us know in the comments section below!

 

popcorn

Do you want to start a conversation in English?

Today, Lindsay introduces and talks about conversations with Michelle Kaplan, the new All Ears English co-host!

 

Michelle was born in Washington DC but now lives in New York City.  She’s musical, likes basketball, and has some unusual tastes in food.  Most importantly, she’s the new All Ears English co-host.

In her premier episode, Michelle talks with Lindsay and offers some simple conversation starters in English.

 

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In conversing with someone new, it’s good to look for things you have in common.  But first you need some basic information.  Here are some great starter questions that might lead to larger discussions:

    • Where are you from (originally)? Is your family still there? Do you visit them often?
    • What are you into? What do you do for fun? (this is like asking, What are your hobbies?, but more natural)
    • Did you go to college? Where?
    • Do you watch any sports?

 

Do you have any other conversation starters?

Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Everyone is getting started on their holiday shopping.

Are you going shopping this weekend?

If you are, you’ll need a few useful phrases to make sure that you can communicate smoothly with the shop owners.

In this video I will give you three useful phrases for shopping  in English on Black Friday.

 

3 Useful Phrases for Shopping on Black Friday in the US:

 

  • “Can I try it on?”: To “try something on” means to put it on to see if it fits. You try things on in the fitting room or in the dressing room.

 

  • “Do you have size ___?”: If the sizes are different in your country then you’ll want to get a chart to translate your size into your US size.

 

  • “What’s your return policy?”: It’s important to know what will happen if you decide that you don’t want the item when you get home or if it doesn’t fit. Find out if you can return the item. Most places in the US do allow you to return an item for a refund or store credit.

 

 

Watch the Video Lesson Now!

 

 

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Let’s have a conversation in the comments section!

Did you go shopping on Black Friday?

Where did you go?

What did you buy?

 

Is conversation a science?

Find out today as Lindsay talks with Travis Wolven about the poetics of conversation!

 

Travis believes that a core principle of conversation is that, when two people are talking, they’re cooperating.  That is, they’re working together to make the conversation possible.

Mastering English conversation requires mastery of 4 maxims of the poetics of conversation.  These are:

  • Quantity: Be as informative as possible, but don’t give out too much information.  If someone asks you “How are you doing?”, don’t tell them all of your problems.
  • Quality: Be truthful and stay within the context of what you are talking about.
  • Relation: Make sure that what you are saying is relevant to the other person.
  • Manners: Be clear and brief so you are not wasting the other person’s time, and avoid obscurity.

 

Do you see the poetics of conversation in your own conversations?

How does it come up?

Tell us about it in the comments section below!

 

Travis Wolven, Poetics of Conversation, EnglishTravis Wolven was raised in Georgia, and in his early twenties decided to become an ESL instructor in South Korea.

After realizing his passion for teaching and improving ESL education, he studied storytelling at East Tennessee State University.

Today, Travis resides in Boston where he teaches English with the Harvard Bridge Program.

He plans on doing research on the effects of collaborative storytelling in intermediate language learners.”

Get in touch with Travis at esltravisteacher@gmail.com.

 

How can you make the most of the time you invest in studying?

Today Lindsay talks with Nick Vance about the 80/20 principle, and how it can improve your English conversations!

 

Nick believes that 80% of the positive benefits of something come from 20% of the input.  In business, some customers are more valuable than others.  With friends, though you may have many, only a few are truly close.

In learning English, most of the grammar mistakes a new learner makes are really the same mistake over and over.  Correcting these most common 20% of mistakes would eliminate 80% of all grammar mistakes.  The best way to identify these is by working with a teacher who can help point out your mistakes.

 

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Another way to work with the 80/20 principle is to prepare answers to the most common questions you might get from native English speakers.  This will help you comfortably get conversations started — which is probably 80% of the work!

You might prepare answers to questions like:

  • Where are you from?
  • How long have you lived here?
  • What do you do for a living?

 

Do you see the 80/20 principle working in your life?

How so?

Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!

 

 

How to book a lesson with Nick!

Step 1: Go to our special italki link to get $10 USD off of your second lesson.

Step 2: After you have enrolled through the promo page to get your discount, search for Nick Vance in the teacher search bar.

 

1

Nick Vance is originally from Kentucky and has lived in North Carolina, Washington DC, San Diego and Portland.  He has been living in Berlin, Germany for 2.5 years.  Nick’s degree is in math but he left that field when he realized how much he enjoyed helping others learn English.
Nick has been helping people improve their English for 4 years and has been teaching online via italki for about one year.

What do employers want and expect?

Today, Lindsay and Kristy talk about 3 things an employer in the U.S. might look for in a job candidate!

 

If you’re applying for a job, it’s important to know what your potential employer is looking for.  Like any other country, the U.S. has a professional culture which places more value on some individual qualities than others.  These qualities may be very different from what employers look for in your home country!

Presentation1All Ears English Transcripts!

Check your understanding of today’s episode.

Learn the sounds of American English and new vocabulary words.

Click here to download the transcripts now.

 

 

Some qualities American employers seek in employees:

Proactive attitude: Show that you are autonomous and energetic – the opposite of passive.  It means to show up early, confirm the time you will meet, and say thank you.

Positive attitude: Americans like smiles.  But it’s also important that you get along with others and not be pessimistic.

Communication: When you actively communicate it shows you are engaged.  A big part of this is simply that you let the boss know what is going on.

Be a “Giver”: Show that you believe in the vision of the company and are personally invested in its success.  In other words, it’s more than a job to you.

 

Are these the same traits that employers look for in your country?

Do you have them?

Let us know in the comments section below!

 

Today, Lindsay talks with Sarah Scala about the importance of persistence, both in life and in learning English! 

 

Resilience is the ability to pick yourself up after a setback, and keep going.  It’s an important ability, and it’s also something we can improve in ourselves.

But Sarah believes that grit is even more important.  Grit is your ability to stay focused, over the long term.  It enables a person to be nimble and accept the ups and downs without losing focus.

 

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Sarah has three suggestions for developing your own grit and resilience in learning English:

  • Be meaningfully interested.  Find a way to connect to English in a way that is not superficial.
  • Have a growth mindset.  Your brain has the ability to change and evolve, and that will make it easier to succeed and harder to fail.  Attune your thinking to this inherent ability.
  • Practice.  The only way to become an expert is to work at it.

 

How much resilience and grit do you have?

How does it show?

Tell us about it in the comments section below!

 

 

SarahScala

As a dynamic consultant, coach, and educator, Sarah Scala has over 15 years of experience in supporting organization development, leadership, and change management.

Sarah brings high energy, adaptability, and openness to new challenges. She has substantial experience in global leadership development, executive coaching, learning design, and team effectiveness.

Sarah has led development initiatives for start-ups to Fortune 500 companies in industries such as global manufacturing, financial services, legal, consumer packaged goods, pharmaceutical, medical, consulting, and education.

Visit Sarah’s Website Here

 

Learn More About Grit and Resilience!

 

 

 

Do you find yourself looking for new ways to start a conversation in English?

Are you running out of ideas?

Do you feel like you repeat the same questions and sentences every time you start a conversation?

The weather is a great way to start a conversation and build a connection with someone.

You don’t have to make the whole conversation about the weather but it’s a great topic to get started with the person.

Do you want to know three ways to do it?

Watch today’s video!

 

3 Ways to Start an English Conversation with a Cold Weather Comment

 

 

 

3 Ways to Start an English Conversation with a Weather Comment:

 

  • “(It’s) chilly isn’t it?”

 

  • “It’s getting cold, huh?”

 

  • “I can’t believe how cold it is these days.”

 

Let’s have a conversation in the comments section!

What other weather phrases do you know that you can use to start a conversation in English?

Let us know in the comments below!

Is there a connection between tennis and learning English?

What can it teach us?

Today, Lindsay and Kristy talk about what they’ve learned about language learning from tennis lessons!

 

In tennis, as in many other sports, it’s critical that you persist.  You have to keep trying.  You have to show up for practice, and be consistent.  Mental toughness is also important.  You want to have the upper hand and be offensive, rather than defensive.

When learning a new language, sometimes we get stuck on a negative thought or an embarrassment.  This can lead us to lose the upper hand, and our confidence.  But when we sound good, we feel more in control.  The point is to practice, and to try to keep the ball in your court.  Stay in the game and take a deep breath!

 

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Do you think tennis (or any other sports) offer lessons to language learning?

What are some examples?

Let us know what you think in the comments section below?

Today, Lindsay and Kristy continue to discuss the Zone of Genius concept, and what you can do to find success in English and in life by discovering it in yourself!

 

The Zone of Genius is where your innate talent and your greatest passion come together, in a way that matters to you.  It is not about improving weaknesses, but rather amplifying strengths.

Inhibitions can hold us back in life.  That is why it’s important to seek out your Zone of Genius and how it applies to your life, your relationships, and your careers.  If you feel afraid, you might be on the right track.

 

What is your Zone of Genius?

How do you know?

Tell us about it in the comments section below!

Today, in #1 of the Top 15 Fixes series, we discuss the most common article in the English language, ‘the’!

 

Use of the definite article ‘the’ can be confusing.  However, there are some rules that can help you get it right most of the time.

 

The first requires that you consider whether the focus is on something specific, or something more general.

When focused on specific items, use ‘the’.  If you’re sitting at a table, talking about the food that is actually in front of you, you might say:

  • “Do you like the turkey?”
  • “Yes, the turkey is great!”
  • “Could you please pass the salt?”

When focused on more general terms, you don’t use ‘the’.  If you’re discussing food in general, you might say:

  • “Do you like turkey?”
  • “Have you tried pumpkin pie?”
  • “Cranberries are too tart for me.”

 

Geographical terms can also be tricky for ‘the’.  In most cases, large, well-known geographic places will have ‘the’: the continent, the Pacific Ocean, the moon.

With specific countries, a country’s formal name might require ‘the,’ while a less formal name might not: the United States, the Russian Federation; America, Russia.

 

Roleplay

Lindsay and Michelle are sitting next to each other at Thanksgiving dinner.

Lindsay: Can you pass the rolls, please?

Michelle: Sure! Do you have butter?

Lindsay: No, I don’t. Can you pass me the butter as well?

Michelle: No problem. How are the rolls? I haven’t tried them yet.

Lindsay: Delicious! These are homemade, but the ones I brought are from the store.

Michelle: That’s funny that you aren’t eating the rolls you brought.

Lindsay: I didn’t have time to make them!

Michelle: I did the same thing. I was asked to bring cranberry sauce, and the sauce I brought is store-bought.

Lindsay: I don’t think I’ve ever tried homemade cranberry sauce!

Michelle: It’s delicious, but it takes a long time to make! I had to make stuffing as well, so I couldn’t do both.

Lindsay: Oh, I’ll have to try it! Can you pass me the stuffing?

Michelle: It’s the same recipe I used last year, and everyone seemed to like it. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

 

Other Entries in the 15 Fixes Series:

 

What have you found difficult about ‘the’?

Tell us all about it in the comments section below!

How can you access it?

Today Lindsay talks with Laura Garnett, creator of the Zone of Genius Assessment, about how you can discover your own zone of genius!

 

The Zone of Genius is your innate talents combined with your purpose.  Your talent is what you’re naturally good at, and it is unique to you.  Your purpose is your main challenge in life – this may not be so unique.  In fact, many others may have the same challenge, and there may be an opportunity for you to help them while helping yourself.

 

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Laura offers four tips to finding your Zone of Genius:

  • Identify your talent: Ask your colleagues what they see as your unique approach to the work you do. You may have overlooked something about yourself!
  • Identify your challenges: Look at your past. What did you struggle with? What was hard? What did you overcome, and how did you help others?
  • Ask yourself weekly: What are you excited about at work? Are you bored or interested? Why or why not?
  • Look back on your past week: What impact did you have? Does it satisfy you?

 

What do you think of the Zone of Genius concept?

Let us know in the comments section below!

 

 

Laura Garnett, Performance Strategist

Laura Garnett is a Performance Strategist, speaker and the creator of The Zone of Genius Assessment — a powerful process that clarifies your unique talent and purpose, to produce greater impact, results and fulfillment at work.

She speaks at events and conferences across the country, including TEDx, and is a regular contributor to Inc.com, The Huffington Post and the Zappos Delivering Happiness blog.

Prior to launching her own New York-based consultancy, Laura honed her marketing, branding and mission-refining skills at companies like Capital One, American Express, IAC and Google.

Visit Laura’s website, sign up for her newsletter and take an assessment to see if you are living and working in your Zone of Genius!

 

 

 

 

Do you occasionally need to ask for a favor in English?

Maybe you want your colleague to help you with a project or you want to ask a friend to help you move!

When you ask for a favor in English, you need to be sure that you use the right words so that your message doesn’t come across as being offensive, pushy, or demanding.

Today I will show you how to politely ask for a favor in English.

Please watch my video below.

 

3 Ways to Ask for a Favor in English

 

 

 

Now go out and practice your new phrases this week with a native teacher!

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Or are you afraid?

Today, learn how freedom comes with fearlessness!

There are so many things to be afraid of: loneliness, lack of money, professional failure or meaninglessness. Fears can overwhelm you.  But what if you have a vision that’s bigger than fear?

To accomplish anything, you have to get out of your head and into your body. Action means letting go of your thoughts.  But to do that, you need the freedom to be fearless.

 

Presentation1All Ears English Transcripts!

Check your understanding of today’s episode.

Learn the sounds of American English and new vocabulary words.

Click here to download the transcripts now.

 

Freedom to be fearless means:

  • Questioning everything
  • Avoiding “perfectionist paralysis”
  • Having goals, but knowing that goals are not always the most important thing
  • Being able to communicate effectively with others when the stakes are high

 

Are you free and fearless?

How does it come out in your life?

Tell us your story in the comments section below!

Today, Lindsay talks with All Ears English blog writer Jay Bethke about what you can do to be a better writer!

 

English literature is filled with non-native English speakers who’ve been successful English writers: Joseph Conrad, Vladimir Nabokov, Chinua Achebe, Nurrudin Farah, Salman Rushdie, Haruki Murakami and Roald Dahl, to name a few. They bring a fresh perspective to the English-speaking world, and so their work is powerful.

But nobody is born a great writer. Like with everything else, the more you practice, the better you will be.  Imagination and natural talent are part of it, but they’re not enough for success!

 

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In addition to practice, here are Jay’s top three tips for being a better writer:

  • Read more.  A good writer is a good reader. Reading attunes your mind to the written language and naturally builds vocabulary.  It can also be fun and interesting, so it doesn’t have to feel like work!
  • Strive for beauty with economy. Try to say as much as possible with as few words as possible. Because of the internet, people today often skim rather than read if things are too long.
  • Seek emotional engagement. Find connection to what you’re writing, and think deeply about how to connect it to readers. You’re writing to elicit response in a reader, not to create perfection of text: Connection not perfection!

 

Do you write in English?

 What kind of things do you write?

Tell us all about it in the comments section below!

 

 

Profile PicJay Bethke is a freelance writer, editor and ghost-writer, and was a runner-up for the 2013 International Three Day Novel Contest. He is available as a professional consultant on all kinds of English writing and editing projects, and would be happy to chat with you about questions or resources for writing in English.  Contact Jay at jsbethke@hotmail.com.

Do you say By Yourself or On Your Own in English?

Today, in #2 of our Top 15 Fixes series, we discuss these two phrases and how to use them when you’re doing something alone!

By yourself and on your own are two phrases that may look different, but their meanings are essentially identical.  Both are used to say that you’ve done something alone, rather than with others.

  • Are you completing this project by yourself?
  • Are you completing this project on your own?

Even though their meaning is the same, you want to be careful that you don’t mix up the prepositions between these phrases. The best way to avoid that is to learn each one as a chunk.  And the best way to do that is to practice!

Roleplay

Michelle and Lindsay are discussing what they do when they have some free time.

Michelle: I’m going to be on my own this weekend since my family is out of town.

Lindsay: What are you going to do with all your free time!

Michelle: Well, when I’m by myself, I love to curl up with a good book. I’ll have some more time though, so maybe I’ll meet up with some friends. What do you do when you’re on your own?

Lindsay: I’m the same- I love reading when I’m by myself. I also spend time meditating, and it’s easier to focus when I’m on my own.

Michelle: Do you like spending time on your own?

Lindsay: For sure. I think everyone needs time with their own thoughts.

Michelle: Yeah, when I’m by myself in a car or on a walk, sometimes I love that time to just think.

 

Other Entries in the 15 Fixes Series:

What do you like to do by yourself?

What do you like to do alone?

Let us know in the comments section below!

Did you know that American culture discourages this?

Today, find out why Americans feel compelled to move out of their family home at age 18 – even if they don’t have enough money to do so!

 

In many countries, adult children might continue living with their parents for many years. But in America, the cultural expectation is that children will move out at around age 18, or after university.

The reasoning behind this is that, in American culture, it is viewed as very important that children be mature and self-sufficient. Independence is seen as more important than having a cozy home.

 

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How long do adult children live at home in your country?

Do you still live at home?

Tell us about it in the comments section below!

Sometimes English gets confusing, right?

The verbs seem so similar.

It’s hard to know which verb to use when.

It’s especially hard with these two verbs: “Figure out” and “Find out.”

Well today I am going to end your confusion and I am going to show you exactly how to use these verbs in a natural, real American English conversation!

 

“Figure out” versus “Find out”

What’s the difference?

Get the answer in this video!

 

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Now you have a chance to practice these verbs with a native teacher!

If you go to italki now, you’ll get 10 free USD to apply toward a lesson with native English teacher.

Go to italki and get your 10USD now

 

 

 

 

 

Is it important to spend time with others who appreciate your dreams?

Today, we talk about why it’s a good idea to hang out with people who can do and dream, and one action you can take to build a supportive social circle!

 

A great tactic for overcoming fears is to surround yourself with positive people. Doers, dreamers and those who can see greatness within you are naturally supportive and can make you a stronger person.

Avoid people who block or ridicule your dreams. Instead, look for mentors and like-minds.  They’ll help you and you’ll help them.

 

Do you surround yourself with doers and dreamers?

How does it make a difference in your life?

Tell us about it in the comments section below!

Do you link your English studies to your big goals?

Today, learn about one All Ears English listener who has an incredible goal and dream for his English – and why it’s making all the difference in his life!

 

Sergen is an All Ears English listener in Turkey. He listens to English conversations 4-8 hours every day!

His goal is to become an actor and move to Hollywood.  That may sound like an ambitious dream, but it is possible.

Dreaming big is the only way to achieve big things.  And it’s important to have a goal that you care about.

What you’re doing must inspire you and hold your attention.  Find what you want to do in life, not just what you should do!

 

Do you have any big dreams or goals connected to learning English?

Tell us all about them in the comments section below!

Do you make something, or do you do it?

Today, in #3 of our Top 15 Fixes, we talk about the difficulty of distinguishing when to use these two verbs!

 

Many English learners have difficulty using do and make, often because they are directly translating from their own language. But native English speakers make it even more difficult.  Even though there are some basic rules for using these verbs, native speakers tend to break them.

 

Make usually means to create something, from the ground up. Some examples include:

  • Making food, a drink, or anything requiring ingredients
  • Making friends (creating friendships)
  • Making the bed or table (putting things together)
  • Making a phone call, or making mistakes

 

Do usually relates more to a responsibility, an action or a job. Some examples include:

  • Doing dinner, coffee or drinks (something you do together, with others)
  • Doing homework, or doing the dishes (doing a job or work)
  • Doing someone a favor
  • Doing your best

 

Roleplay

Michelle and Lindsay are on a Caribbean cruise and are discussing some of the activity options.

Lindsay: Can you do me a favor? Help me pick some activities from this list.

Michelle: There are so many options! I heard there are tennis courts on the ship. Have you seen them?

Lindsay: No, but that’s definitely something I want to do. Maybe tomorrow morning!

Michelle: And there’s a cooking class scheduled for tonight- let’s do that!

Lindsay: Yes! It looks like we’re going to learn how to make cream puffs. My pastry skills could definitely use some work!

Michelle: Same! I love making cookies, but pastry dough is way harder!

Lindsay: What else do you want to do? There’s so much on this list!

Michelle: Seriously! It’s hard to choose. And there’s so much extra time when we don’t have to make dinner or do the dishes.

 

Other Entries in the 15 Fixes Series:

 

What do you make?

What do you do?

Let us know in the comments section below!

What do you need to know?

Today, we discuss one little part of making it in the Big Apple!

 

Kristy has lived in New York for awhile.

She knows that New Yorkers aren’t always patient.  But she also knows that they’re usually friendly and open to meeting new people – maybe more so than where you live.

 

Here are Christie’s 3 top tips for meeting new friends in New York:

  • Know that you’re not alone! Many New Yorkers are transplants – they were born somewhere else and moved to the city. That means they’re as open to meeting new friends as you are.
  • Explore online community groups and meet-up events. With so many people in one place, there are likely to be many others you can connect with.
  • If you sense a connection, don’t be afraid to invite the person to do something. Go for coffee or check out some part of the city together. This might seem odd where you live, but it’s normal in a city full of transplants!

 

Is it easy to meet new friends where you live?

Are people there like New Yorkers?

Let us know in the comments section below!

What are you afraid of?

Today is Halloween!

Tonight all of the ghosts and goblins will be out in Boston.

But it’s not the ghosts that I am afraid of.

I am afraid of things like failure, making too many mistakes, and looking silly.

What about you?

What are you afraid of?

Watch today’s video to find out how to look past your fears and focus on your vision to achieve your goals in English and in life.

 

 

 

 

So tell us in the comments below.

What are your fears?

What’s your vision?

How will you use your vision to overcome and step past your fears?

 

Do you know how to celebrate Halloween like an American?

Today, we discuss how Americans celebrate this strange holiday, and how learning English will allow you to celebrate Halloween all year!

 

Halloween is a popular traditional American holiday. For many Americans, it is their favorite holiday.

Among the many activities Americans engage in, the most important for celebrating Halloween is dressing up in a costume.

Adults might dress up for parties, and kids might dress up for trick or treating. This is a chance to be somebody different and to reinvent yourself!

Learning a new language can also allow you to take on a new personality. A new culture and language might mix with your unique personality to make you into someone ‘different’.  Speaking a new language is thus like Halloween all year!

 

Do you celebrate Halloween in your country?

What do you do?

Tell us all about it in the comments section below!

Today, we talk with Steve Kaufmann, founder of LingQ about how your English learning goals are closer than you think!

 

Steve’s an expert language learner – he speaks 14 different languages. So he knows it’s possible for you to learn English.  With modern technology he believes it’s easier than ever before.

 

Presentation1All Ears English Transcripts!

Get the transcripts for this episode!

Use the transcripts to move your English from intermediate to advanced.

Learn native pronunciation and vocabulary.

Click here now to get the transcripts.

 

Here are Steve’s tips:

  • Learning depends on you, not your teacher or school. Be motivated.  Language learning takes time, so stick with it!  Your attitude is 80% of the battle.
  • Put your emphasis on comprehension. If you can speak but you can’t understand, you don’t know enough.  Do lots of listening and reading.  Transcripts of audio are helpful because there’s less pressure.
  • Don’t be hard on yourself. You’re pushing you’re limits, so it shouldn’t be easy!  But tension and pressure are the enemy of success, so be persistent, not stressed.

 

Can’t find native speakers to practice English with you?

Two Free English LessonsCan’t get corrected your English corrected by your native-speaking friends?

Get a professional, native English teacher in seconds at italki.

For a limited time, italki is offering 10 USD in free English lessons. Click here to get your 10USD in italki credits before this offer runs out!

 

Do you think learning English is up to you?

Where do you put your emphasis?

Let us know in the comments section below!

 

Steve Kaufmann is a graduate of L’Institute D’Etudes Politiques in France (1966) and a former Canadian Diplomat and forest industry executive.

He is co-founder (with his son Mark) of LingQ.com, an online language learning system and community.

Steve speaks 14 languages, has written a book called, The Way of the Linguist, a Language Learning Odyssey, and has a You Tube channel under the name of lingosteve.

Click here to Try LingQ now!

 

Learn 3 easy ways to speak English like an American with Amy Gillett

 

 How did you like today’s episode!

Please leave a comment for us or ask a question!

What did you learn from Steve? Let us know!

Today, in #4 of the Top 15 Fixes series, we discuss using the words ‘much’ and ‘many’ when discussing quantities!

 

It’s important to think of the meaning of the words much and many, and how each is used differently in counting.

 

If you’re counting something as a mass that can be spilled on the table so that it goes everywhere, you would use the word ‘much’. Examples include:

  • Grainy or powdery substances like sugar or flour
  • Liquids, semi-liquids or semi-solids like milk, honey or butter
  • Money (when considered abstractly, as in “too much money”)

 

If you are counting individual pieces, use the word ‘many’. Examples include:

  • Grains such as sugar counted individually
  • Groups of items, like chocolate chips, marshmallows or berries
  • Countable units, such as cups, teaspoons or bags

 

Roleplay

Aubrey and Lindsay are grocery shopping, and discussing amounts needed for a chocolate chip cookie recipe.

Lindsay: How much flour do we need?

Aubrey: The recipe calls for 2 cups, so that small bag will work.

Lindsay: Ok, perfect. And how many teaspoons of vanilla? I have a tiny bit left, but it might not be enough.

Aubrey: We need 2 teaspoons, so let’s buy a new bottle.

Lindsay: This recipe calls for both baking powder and baking soda, right?

Aubrey: Yes. How much of each?

Lindsay: It looks like 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1 teaspoon of baking soda.

Aubrey: You probably have salt, right? How much do we need?

Lindsay: Just 1 teaspoon. Yes, I have plenty of salt at my place.

Aubrey: Ok, so just chocolate chips. How many do we need?

Lindsay: 2 cups, so one bag should do it.

Aubrey: We’re all set- let’s go make cookies!

 

Other Entries in the 15 Fixes Series:

 

Do you have any examples for using much and many in your baking or cooking?

Share with us in the comments section below!

Do you wish you did?

Today, learn 3 ways to sound a little more like an American when you speak English!

 

Author and English teacher Amy Gillett believes in working to perfect your American English accent.  According to her, the more you put into it, the better your accent will be.

 

Are You Ready to Practice? Get a Private, Native English Teacher Now!

Two Free English LessonsTry italki to learn to speak like a native. You’ll get your English mistakes corrected immediately!

For a limited time you’ll get 10UD to use towards private English lessons on italki.

Visit italki now to claim your 10USD in free English lessons.

 

Here are Amy’s 3 tips to sound more like an American:

Build vocabulary by learning idioms. Because idioms cannot be translated directly, they must be learned in chunks.  This is an opportunity to both sound more natural in the language you use, and to learn new words.

Work on you American pronunciation. Practice forming your mouth so that you can imitate native speaker’s vowels and consonants.  Also, pay attention to the rhythm of native English speech patterns.

Practice! Get out and talk to people, and let others know you want to be corrected.

 

Presentation1All Ears English Transcripts!

Get the transcripts for this episode!

Use the transcripts to move your English from intermediate to advanced.

Learn native pronunciation and vocabulary.

 

Click here to get the transcripts

 

Have you tried to speak English more like an American?

What’s worked for you?

Tell us about it in the comments section below!

 

agillett-photoAmy Gillett is the author of the best-selling ESL books Speak English Like an American, Speak Business English Like an American and several other books on speaking conversational American English. She teaches business English to international executives, most recently for ICBC, the world’s largest bank. She has taught at Charles University in Prague, Cornell University, and the University of Michigan. Find her at Language Success Press.

Get Amy’s Book Here:

You have been studying English for years, right?

Are you fluent yet?

Are you confident yet?

If you answered “no” to these questions then why not?

It’s because you aren’t learning “natural” English.

Today I’m going to show you 3 strategies to speak natural English, the way that natives speak it.

Watch the video to learn more!

 

3 Ways to Speak Natural English

 

Go to italki to speak with a native and get $10 for free

 

 

3 Ways to Speak Natural English

 

  • Link Your Words: Native speakers don’t pronounce every word evenly. They link words together. Try to mirror the way that natives speak. Don’t try to say what you read in your textbook.

 

  • Listen Every Day: You need to listen to good English material but you don’t have to listen to ESL podcasts. You can listen to podcasts and radio shows in English about any topic that you love.

 

  • Speak with Natives: You know why this is important! Today you can get 10USD in free credits to speak with a native if you go to italki

 

Claim your $10 free now because this offer runs out in a few days!

Go to italki and start speaking now!

 

 

Do you run your day, or does your day run you?

Today we discuss how planning your day can help you accomplish your priorities!

 

If you don’t decide how you’ll manage you time, someone else will. It’s simple to understand but easy to forget.

 

Here are some tips for planning a day focused on your priorities:

  • Spend time planning for tomorrow. Consider your priorities, write them down, plan ahead how you will achieve what you want the next day.
  • Set up a work space that is conducive to your priorities. Prepare what you need and keep the area clean so you can focus.
  • If you’re trying to finish reading a book in English, leave it out where you can see it. This way, you are reminded to read it.
  • Reduce the number of decisions you need to make on small things. Save your mental energy for bigger, more important decisions.

 

Preparation sets you up for success.   Take initiative over your time so that you can accomplish what you want.

 

Do you run your day?

What do you do right, and what could you do better?

Tell us in the comments section below!

 

If you take the bus or train, what do you say when you discover it has already come and gone without you?

“I lost the bus,” is a common mistake.  The problem with saying this is that it suggests you owned the bus, but no longer know where it is.  A person can lose their keys or their wallet, but they can only lose their bus if they’re a bus driver!

 

The correct statement is, “I missed the bus,” or “I missed the train.”

It is important to understand that “to miss” someone or something can mean two things. As with buses and trains, it can mean you didn’t arrive on time to get a ride.

But another meaning of “to miss” is to have an emotional regret at the absence of someone or something.  An example of this is, “I miss my sister,” or “I miss having a car.”

 

Two Free English LessonsAre You Ready to Practice? Get a Private, Native English Teacher Now!

Try italki to learn to speak like a native.

You’ll get your English mistakes corrected immediately!

For a limited time you’ll get 10UD to use towards private English lessons on italki.

Visit italki now to claim your 10USD in free English lessons.

 

Do you take the bus or the train?

Do you ever miss it?

Tell us a story in the comments section below!

How do you talk about people in English?

Is the word “people” plural or singular?

Today, in #5 of the Top 15 Fixes, we discuss a mistake you might be making when you translate your native language into English – and how to fix it!

 

In some languages, the word for “people” is singular. But it’s important to remember that, in English, this word is plural.

  • People are interesting.
  • NOT: People is interesting.

 

The singular term for “people” is “person.” This is similar to the situation with the words “children” and “child.”

  • The children are good.
  • The children are energetic.
  • The child is good.
  • The child is energetic.

 

Roleplay

Lindsay and Aubrey are discussing a fundraiser they are planning.

Aubrey: How many people are attending?

Lindsay: About 2,500 have purchased tickets, so we’ll definitely have a good turnout!

Aubrey: We should talk about the entertainment.

Lindsay: Yes, we’ll have a lot of kids there and we want to make sure the children are having fun!

Aubrey: I think we have plenty of booths set up for them, but we may want to add a few more staff members to help out if needed.

Lindsay: Great idea. Anytime a lot of children are present, it’s a good idea to have extra help.

Aubrey: Definitely! And when the kids are happy and engaged, people are able to look over the silent auction items.

Lindsay: For sure. Ok, that sounds like a plan!

 

Other Entries in the 15 Fixes Series:

 

 

 

Have you had trouble with the plural and singular of these words?

Does it come from translating from your own language?

Let us know in the comments section below!

Today, we talk with Tony from italki.com about 3 outside-the-box ways to improve your English!

 

Tony’s had a lot of experience learning and teaching languages. His experience has convinced him that language learning is a natural process best approached the way children learn their native languages.

 

Are you looking for a professional, native English teacher online?

Speak English Now (2)Get a native English teacher online in seconds at italki!

We recommend italki as our #1 English-learning solution online. Choose from more than 400 teachers to work on your business English or to pass your next big exam.

Get our special offer before it runs out! Go to italki and claim 10USD to go toward a FREE English lesson!

 

Here are Tony’s 3 tips for improving your English:

Ask yourself, What do I want to say? And to whom?  It’s easy to become overwhelmed by vocabulary, so keep it simple.  Start by learning what you need – not by trying to learn every single word.

Learn a little, Use a lot. Practice using small phrases with many different people and learn from the responses you get.  Connect your new vocabulary naturally.  This is the opposite of rote memorization.

Language teaches itself. It is easier to learn grammar from language, than language from grammar.  Grammar patterns will become apparent when you begin learning, so don’t try to learn every grammar rule in the beginning.  Learn to speak first, and the grammar will come.

 

Have any of these tips worked for you in learning English?

Tell us about it in the comments section below!

Welcome to 2 Minutes to Confidence with All Ears English!

Do you ever wonder what you should say when someone invites you out to a party or to take part in an activity?

In today’s edition of 2 Minutes to Confidence with All Ears English, I am going to show you 3 ways to accept an invitation.

Check out the video below!

 

 

 

 

Have you used any of these phrases in English before?

Do you know any other phrases to use to accept an invitation?

Please leave your comment below! Let’s have a conversation!

 

Today we talk about how spending 15 minutes on one specific action could save you hours of work later!

 

Reflection is critical to growth and development. It could also save you a lot of time in learning English.

Even though life is busy and it doesn’t always feel like we have time to stop and reflect, investing in reflection could save you much more time later.  Through reflection, you can become more efficient by discovering what is not working, and how to improve what is working.

 

Some questions for reflection:

  • How did my English learning go this week?
  • What is going well?
  • What is not going well, and what can I do to improve it?
  • What help or resources do I need?

 

Do you reflect on learning English, or life in general?

Does it help?

Let us know in the comments section below!

Today, learn what poses can make you more comfortable and powerful!

 

Social psychologist Amy Cuddy says body language affects how we think, and how others think about us. When people are slouched and closed-in on themselves, they not only feel less powerful, but they appear less powerful to others.

Consider: Are your shoulders  slouched?  Or are they back, with your chest open?  Are you spreading yourself out physically?  Are you smiling?  Is your body upright?

 

Are you looking for a professional, native English teacher online?

Get a native English teacher online in seconds at italki!Speak English Now (2)

We recommend italki as our #1 English-learning solution online. Choose from more than 400 teachers to work on your business English or to pass your next big exam.

Get our special offer before it runs out! Go to italki and claim 10USD to go toward a FREE English lesson!

 

Tips for power-posing your way to confidence:

  • Stand with your arms up, legs spread out, shoulders back and chest out.  Take up space and breathe deeply!
  • If you can’t do this at the moment, imagine you’re doing it, or do it in the bathroom before your important interview or presentation.  You can even do it while talking on the phone.
  • Yawn! By yawning, we are naturally bringing oxygen to our brain, which makes us feel more alert and confident.

 

Get Amy Cuddy’s TED talk here: Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are

 

Have you tried power posing?

Has it worked for you?

Tell us your story in the comments section below!

Today, in #6 of the Top 15 Fixes, we discuss the correct way to tell others what you want to do, whether in the immediate future or many years from now!

 

 

Presentation1All Ears English Transcripts!

Check your understanding of today’s episode.

Learn the sounds of American English and new vocabulary words.

Click here to download the transcripts now.

 

“Will” and “going to” are interchangeable in meaning, but native English speakers tend to use them for slightly different purposes.

 

Will is often used in the context of a big plan or dream, often in the far future:

  • I will get married, eventually.
  • “Someday, people will live on Mars.”

 

However, Will can also be used if you have just spontaneously made a decision, at this very moment, or for promises:

  • “Maybe I will go out to lunch.”
  • “I will always love you.”

 

Going to is used for more specific decisions about your immediate future:

  • “I’m gonna (going to) go biking tomorrow.”
  • “She’s going to call later tonight.”

Roleplay

Lindsay and Michelle are talking about their upcoming plans.

Michelle: What are you going to do this weekend? Anything fun?

Lindsay: Yes! I’m going to a music festival all day Saturday. I think it will be really fun.

Michelle: Oh, wow! What kind of music?

Lindsay: It’s a bluegrass festival. I haven’t been to one in awhile so I’m super pumped!

Michelle: Are you going to spend the whole day there?

Lindsay: No, I doubt it. We’re going to catch a couple of bands in the afternoon. We’ll probably grab lunch there, too.

Michelle: I love festival food! They usually have some amazing food trucks.

Lindsay: Yeah, I’m excited for that. We’re definitely going to check out the food trucks.

Michelle: So fun! I want to hear all about it after!

Lindsay: I will absolutely let you know how it went.

 

Other Entries in the 15 Fixes Series:

 

What will you do in the future?

What are you going to do?

Tell us about it in the comments section below!

Today, we discuss what you should and shouldn’t ask Americans about money!

 

Americans tend to think it rude to discuss personal finances and financial decisions.

This may be due to the basic American value of faith in an egalitarian society.

But whatever the reason, money is a touchy subject, and questions about it alienate or even upset an American.

 

Presentation1All Ears English Transcripts!

Check your understanding of today’s episode.

Learn the sounds of American English and new vocabulary words.

Click here to download the transcripts now.

 

When talking about money, be careful that you are not asking for personal information with these questions:

  • How much did it cost? Asking how much a person paid for something is generally viewed as bad manners in America.
  • How much do you make? Though some Americans might answer this question for you, again, many will find it bad manners to ask.
  • How much do you have in the bank? This question will likely be considered both rude and intrusive.

 

It is okay to talk about money in other ways. If you are clear that want to buy something, then it is acceptable to ask the cost.  The difference is that it is not a question of personal financial information.

 

How can people talk about money in your culture?

Is it anything like American culture?

Let us know in the comments section below!

Welcome to today’s edition of 2 Minutes to Confidence with All Ears English!

Are you planning to go out for dinner this weekend with a native English speaker?

Maybe you are worried about awkward silences!

Are you wondering how to fill those silences in English?

We are here to help you with that today.

 

2 Minutes to Confidence with All Ears English

 

 

 

Do you want to learn more phrases to connect with American people?

We are re-launching our course, The Keys to Connecting with Americans!

Learn how to start conversations and connect with native speakers at a restaurant, at a baseball game, at a networking event or at a party!

Find out how to respond to common questions that Americans ask

Get confident and comfortable for your next event in English!


Are you a perfectionist when it comes to learning English?

If you are, then you are not alone!

Today we have an awesome guest! Today Jun from Hapa Eikaiwa is here to talk about how you can beat this problem.

Do you feel like you are afraid of making mistakes or that everything that you say has to be perfect?

Jun has found that a lot of his students rehearse their sentences in their heads and can’t jump into a conversation and express themselves because of perfectionism.

Do you think more than you talk?

 

Jun’s Tips for Beating Perfectionism:

  • Remember that you are learning English as a second language and you are going to make mistakes. People won’t judge you for that. People aren’t waiting to judge you. People are worried about their own mistakes, not yours.
  •  Learn from your mistakes
  •  If you are a perfectionist, be aware of it and try to get rid of that feeling of fear by speaking more and more every day

 

Speak English with natives!

Speak English Now (2)Do you want to get a professional teacher in a few seconds online?

Do you need to prepare for an exam or improve your business English?

Do you want to practice and learn English from home, online?

Click here to get 10 USD in italki credits to start practicing NOW!

 

 

Jun from Hapa Eikaiwa

Visit Jun’s site at Hapa Eikaiwa

Hello! My name is Jun Senesac.

I run a language school in Orange County.

I am a writer, blogger, entrepreneur, but a teacher at heart.

I love to travel, meet and interact with new people and explore new things.

 

Share your thoughts in the comments!

Are you a perfectionist?

How do you plan to overcome this challenge?

 

Are you an English amateur or a pro?

Today we talk about the work from author Steven Pressfield and what it means for your English learning.

 

Who’s a Pro?

The pro artist or English learner or entrepreneur will show up every day and will do the work.

He will move past the thoughts that tend to make him get side-tracked.

The pro is present in his studies and his work. He doesn’t repeat negative thoughts or make excuses.

Are you a pro when it comes to learning English?

 

Who’s an Amateur?

He  might make excuses for not being fluent in English.

The amateur might decide that his lack of English skills is because he doesn’t have a good teacher, or good resources, or the right opportunities.

Are you an amateur English learner?

 

 

Can’t find native speakers to practice English with you?

Two Free English LessonsCan’t get corrected your English corrected by your native-speaking friends?

Get a professional, native English teacher in seconds at italki.

For a limited time, italki is offering 10 USD in free English lessons. Click here to get your 10USD in italki credits before this offer runs out!

 

 

Tell us in the comments!

Are you an English amateur or an English pro?

Why?

Can you share a strategy to help other AEE listeners “turn pro”?

Do you know who pays for lunch when you go out with English speakers?

This might be a source of serious confusion for you if you are making the mistake of translating the word “invite” from your native language to English!

Today you’ll learn how to avoid one of the most awkward possible misunderstandings when you go out for lunch!

Today is number 7 of our Top 15 Fixes to tune up your English!

 

What does it mean when you “invite” someone out for dinner or for lunch?

The verb “invite” just means to extend an invitation to someone to go out and do something together. It does NOT mean that you will pay for the person’s meal.

Are you translating this verb and its meaning from your native language into English?

A lot of people make this mistake!

In English when we invite someone to dinner we aren’t sure who is going to pay.

 

If you do want to pay for someone you can say:

  • “I’ve got this”
  • “I got this”
  • “Let me get this”
  • “This one’s on me”
  • “I’ll take this”
  • “My treat”
  • “Don’t worry about it. I’ve got this”

Roleplay

Michelle invited Lindsay to dinner, and the check has just arrived.

Lindsay: It was so nice to meet for dinner. We should do this again sometime soon!

Michelle: I agree! It was lovely to catch up. It’s been way too long.

Lindsay: I know- it’s so easy to let life get in the way and suddenly it’s been months since we’ve chatted.

Michelle: Let me get this. My treat!

Lindsay: That’s so nice of you! I’ll get the next one.

 

Other Entries in the 15 Fixes Series:

 

 

How do you deal with paying for the bill in your culture?

Is it ok to refuse when someone offers to pay for you or should you accept?

How do you think your culture is different from American culture in this sense?

Leave us a message in the comments and let’s have a conversation!

Do you want to maximize your English learning and get fluent in English faster?

Today you’ll learn how to maximize your English learning by using spreadsheets with Jane Lawson from Daily Step!

You’ll also learn two other very cool tips to speak English like a native.

 

 

Presentation1Get the transcripts for this episode!

Use the transcripts to move your English from intermediate to advanced.

Learn native pronunciation and vocabulary.

 

Click here to get today’s transcripts!

 

 

How to Maximize Your English Learning:

  • Learn to Think in English:  Talk to yourself aloud or in your head while you are walking around the house, walking down the road, or watching TV. Describe exactly what you are doing each day in English. This is a great way to highlight any gaps or missing pieces in your vocabulary.  Talk to yourself about your plans and what you are going to do that day. This is a great way to keep your mind at the right speed to speak with natives. Eventually you will start to dream in your native language!
  • Get Transcripts: Get the words if you are listening to an audiobook or if you are listening to a podcast get the transcripts. Speak along while you read the words on the script. Look at the words that you aren’t pronouncing clearly but are actually in the conversation. Get the transcripts for All Ears English here!
  • Keep a Record of What You Learn: Use a spreadsheet. Copy and paste the words that you have already learned into the spreadsheet. Categorize them according to grammar topic, type of vocabulary, etc. This will help you build momentum and will keep you motivated. This will also help you see what your active vocabulary and what your passive vocabulary is.

 

Are you looking for a professional, native English teacher online?

Speak English Now (2)Get a native English teacher online in seconds at italki.

Lindsay and Michelle recommend italki as our #1 English-learning solution online. Choose from more than 400 teachers to work on your business English or to pass your next big exam.

Get our special offer before it runs out! Go to italki and claim 10USD to go toward a FREE English lesson!

 

 

Bio for Jane Lawson from Daily Step

Jane Lawson

Jane is a London-based teacher, with over 20 years of experience teaching English to all levels and in a range of specialist subjects. Jane started her website, Daily Step to try to bridge the gap in level between the reading and writing skills of her students, and their speaking and listening skills, which were often much lower.

She saw that even advanced students who did well in exams could often not fully join a real conversation between native speakers. Jane’s philosophy is that it’s better to learn a little each day and remember it clearly. We all need a sense of achievement and most of us are too busy to spend a long time each day studying.

Visit Jane at Daily Step!

 

Let’s have a conversation in the comments section!

Have you tried thinking in English today? What’s your biggest challenge with that?

Have you tried using spreadsheets to mark what you have already learned? How did it go?

Would you like to sound more American when you speak English?

Today we talk about four common slang combinations you can use to sound more like a native!

 

As with other people and languages, Americans tend to bridge words and speak quickly.

This can have the effect of shortening and even creating entirely new words.

 

Here are four slang combination-words that you are likely to hear when around Americans:

  • wanna (want to): “I wanna go out tonight.”
  • shoulda (should have): “I shoulda told the truth.”
  • gonna (going to): “He’s gonna go to a movie later.”
  • gotta (got to): “She says she’s gotta work.”

 

Presentation1All Ears English Transcripts

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Learn the sounds of American English and new vocabulary words

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It’s important to understand that these terms are more casual and should not be used in formal situations.

The best way to gauge how to use these or any other slang terms is to listen to native speakers and mirror their usage.

 

Learn more about American communication styles.

Get the key differences between American and British English.

 

Have you used wanna, shoulda, gonna or gotta?

There are other words like them in English — have you heard any of them?

Let us know in the comments section below!

 

Today, we discuss why this might be a mistake!

 

Language exchanges are a big topic in language learning.

They’re popular because they’re both fun and free.  But they do have some downfalls and sometimes a real teacher is better.

 

Here are three aspects of language exchange that could cause you trouble:

Training: The average native speaker of English may be able to speak the language, but they may not be able to clearly explain the difference between Past Perfect tense and Simple Present.

Time: A short-term arrangement may be good for conversation exercise, but it is not ideal for something like a grammar review.

Intention: What is the intention of the native speaker?  Are they just doing it for fun?  Their intention may not be to give you the serious, scheduled help that you really want and need.

 

This isn’t to say that language exchange is bad, or that you can’t learn from it!  But you do need to understand that it is no substitute for what a qualified teacher and a structured course can provide.

 

Have you ever done a language exchange?

What was your experience?

Share it with us in the comments section below!

Today, in #8 of our countdown of the Top 15 Fixes in English series, we’ll be talking about the difference between these two similar verbs!

 

You don’t want to let grammar get in the way of giving to or getting from your friends.  But the verbs borrow and lend are tricky because they both mean to temporarily give — and yet they are different.

 

The key to using these verbs is understanding that they follow perspective.  Consider who is doing the giving, and who is doing the receiving.

  • Lend focuses on the one who is giving (the one doing the action).
  • Borrow focuses on the one receiving (the one upon whom the action is done).

 

Here are some examples:

I asked her if I could borrow some money.

I asked her if she could lend me some money.

Did you borrow it from her?

Did she lend it to you?

Roleplay:

Lindsay and Aubrey are college roommates, and Aubrey needs to borrow Lindsay’s car.

Aubrey: Hey Lindsay, I need a favor!

Lindsay: Sure, what’s up?

Aubrey: I need to borrow your car again! I need to pick up my mom from the airport.

Lindsay: Sure, I can lend you my car. When is she flying in?

Aubrey: Thank you! She gets here Friday night. I think last time I borrowed your car it was a Friday night, too. Random!

Lindsay: I don’t even remember that! When did I lend it to you?

Aubrey: This was a few months ago. I borrowed it to pick up groceries.

Lindsay: Oh yeah, that’s right. I don’t mind lending it to you- I trust you to take care of it.

Aubrey: For sure. And I’ll return it with a full tank of gas! I try to do that when I borrow a car.

Lindsay: Thank you! I appreciate that.

 

Other Entries in the 15 Fixes Series:

 

Have you had trouble with borrow or lend?

Tell us your story in the comments section below!

 

Does it always have to be boring?

Today we talk with Chris Colin about how you can generate great small talk!

 

Many of us are afraid of small talk.

We fear it will be dull or pointless, or just another conversation that we’ll have to muddle through.

But Chris says it doesn’t have to be that way.

He believes we should view small talk is an opportunity for something interesting to happen.

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All Ears English Transcripts!

Check your understanding of today’s episode.

Learn the sounds of American English and new vocabulary words.

Click here to download the transcripts now.

 

 

Here are Chris’s top three tips for making small talk interesting:

  • Don’t “mirror” the person you’re talking to. Answering and then repeating the exact same question is a mistake. Instead, try responding with another question, like “How did you get here?” or “”What do you think of this place?”
  • Ask for stories, not answers. Don’t ask “Where are you from?”   Instead, ask “How did you get to be where you’re from?” This enables an opportunity to share more than just a place name.
  • Be curious! Be quiet and listen actively to the other. A great question you can ask to show your interest is “And then what?”

 

Next, find out why your English language exchange isn’t working.

 

Chris ColinChris Colin is the author most recently of What to Talk About, as well as What Really Happened to the Class of ’93 and Blindsight, named one of Amazon’s Best Books of 2011.

He’s also written about chimp filmmakers, ethnic cleansing, George Bush’s pool boy, blind visual artists, solitary confinement, the Yelpification of the universe and more for the NewYorker.com, the New York Times Magazine, Wired, Mother Jones, McSweeney’s and Afar, where he’s a contributing writer.

He lives in San Francisco.

Get Chris Colin’s book here:


Do you have trouble with small talk?

Have you used any of Chris’s tactics?

Tell us how it went in the comments section below!

Can you get success by asking for it?

 

Don’t assume that you can’t have everything in life. A lot of times, you might be surprised what you can get by just asking.

A good strategy is to find ways to negotiate a win-win situation out of something you want.  Everything is negotiable and nothing is set in stone.

Of course, what you’re asking for has to be reasonable, and you need to be able to support your request. If you are asking for something fair and not too bold, you may be surprised to get what you want.  And if not, the very worst that can happen is you receive a No!

Three times to ask for help

#1 Help with English

Don’t hesitate to ask for help with your English. You can ask a colleague to look over emails or slides for a presentations.

Natives do this as well, getting a second set of eyes for proofreading or grammar mistakes.

#2 Lead a project at work

Don’t assume that because you’re a language learner, you can’t lead a project!

Ask to be the lead instead of a team member.

#3 Better work schedule

You may be struggling with the demands of your schedule, and your supervisor doesn’t even know it!

Don’t be afraid to ask for a change.

If a more flexible or different schedule would help, ask for it!

Roleplay:

Lindsay: I was hoping to talk to you about the project I’m working on.

Aubrey: Sure, what’s up?

Lindsay: I know this is due Friday and I really want to make that deadline, but I’ve run into some snags!

Aubrey: Ok

Lindsay: I’d like to ask if I can have a little additional support.

Aubrey: Sure! What do you have in mind?

Lindsay: If we could add a couple of team members to the project so I can delegate a few of these tasks, that would be extremely helpful.

Aubrey: That is a great idea. I think Mark has some bandwidth this week.

Lindsay: He would do a great job. I can assign him to create some of the videos.

Aubrey: Who else would be able to help?

Lindsay: How about Samira? I could use help prepping the Q&A and I think she’d do a great job.

Aubrey: You got it. I’ll email them both today.

Lindsay: Thank you!

Next, find out what to do if you never get to speak English.

Have you ever achieved success by just asking?

Tell us about it in the comments section below!

How about improvement in 24 hours?

Today, we talk about how you can go from zero to a million in English in only 24 hours!

 

We all want to be fluent and sound like a native speaker. But we all want it fast! What can you do to get you closer to your goal in only 24 hours?

One thing is to break you bigger goal into smaller, actionable steps that you can actually accomplish. Think about all the little things related to your goal, and what you can do to make them work for you.  Think small, but think hard. There are opportunities for improvement everywhere.

Think also about how you can connect, whether it be to people or the language itself. What small connections can you find or make in a very short time?

 

How will you get closer to your goal in 24 hours?

Any ideas?

Share them with us in the comments section below!

Today, in #9 of our countdown of the Top 15 Fixes in English series, we’ll be discussing how to handle past experiences and accomplishments in English!

If somebody says, “I have done that,” how is it different from saying “I did that?”  The difference can seem tricky but the key is the context.

Here is a simple way to think about this:

  • When using have done, you are zooming out, outside of yourself and to a big picture.  You might be talking about your entire lifetime, or the distant past. What is more important is what happened rather than when it happened.
  • When using did, you are zooming in to something more recent and maybe more simple.  You may also be talking about a specific time period that is now over. The time is more important here.

Presentation1All Ears English Transcripts!

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Learn the sounds of American English and new vocabulary words.

Click here to download the transcripts now.

Here are some more examples:

  • “I did go to Paris last week.”
  • “I didn’t watch any TV yesterday.”
  • “I have been to Paris, but not since childhood.”
  • “I have watched a lot of TV in my lifetime.”

Roleplay

In this roleplay, Lindsay and Michelle are chatting about their bucket lists.

Michelle: What is something you have done that was on your bucket list?

Lindsay: I always wanted to get certified to scuba dive, so I did that last year.

Michelle: I have done that too- it was amazing!

Lindsay: I thought it might be frightening to be in such deep water, but I didn’t feel scared at all.

Michelle: I have thought about trying base jumping. Have you done that?

Lindsay: Yes, I did go base jumping! I went a couple of years ago. It was scary though- now that I have done it, I’m good.

Michelle: I have been afraid of heights since I was a kid so that would probably scare me.

Lindsay: I did feel scared, even though I don’t usually have a fear of heights.

Michelle: I’ll have to try it!

Other Entries in the 15 Fixes Series:

Tell us some of your experiences or accomplishments in the comments section below!

If so, what does it take?

Today, we talk with Michael about what you can do to live every day like a vacation!

There are many ideas about how to achieve happiness.

Getting in touch with yourself, others, or higher powers is often suggested.

So is living a conscious life, being aware of your own thoughts and feelings so that you live in the moment.

But these are a little abstract.  Michael, an expert on happiness, has some concrete actions that you take to find more happiness every day.

 

Michael’s Tips for Happiness:

  • Practice Being Present.  Try doing nothing for at least ten minutes every day.  If you don’t want to meditate, get out into nature, or simply go for a walk.
  • Play Once a Day.  Don’t focus totally on work.  Allow your “inner child” to play, so you can avoid burnout.
  • Make an Integrity List.  Write out your thoughts, words and actions about what you want to do.  Then, see if they are in alignment and look for negatives.  For example, if you think about and want to do something, but don’t do it, that is negative.  Until you have alignment, you do not have integrity in this part of your life.

 

Michael Miller is an author, professional life and executive coach, and motivational speaker. He lives in NY and has lived in Suzhou, China, Hong Kong and has traveled to over 30 countries.

Check out The Vacation Never Ends and take a look at Michael’s coaching service!

Michael also wrote a book called “Four Weeks to Your American Dream Job” and you can check that out on his site called Culture Adapt.

 

 

What do you do to achieve happiness?

Tell us your tips in the comments section below!

Or are you waiting for us to give you better English skills?

Today we talk about how improving your English is about what you do, not what we do!

A teacher can only support you and give you the tools you need to help yourself. But improving your English is your responsibility!

Never say “I hope you can improve my English.”

Instead ask yourself, “How can I use All Ears English as a tool to improve my English?

 

Presentation1All Ears English Transcripts!

Check your understanding of today’s episode.

Learn the sounds of American English and new vocabulary words.

Click here to download the transcripts now.

 

Three things to consider:

  • Be active. There is no time to be passive.
  • Have a positive mindset. Don’t say things like “my bad English,” because this focuses on limitation and failure.
  • Thoughts create reality. Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right.”

 

Next learn how to rescue your English telephone calls.

 

What are you doing to help yourself learn English?

Is it working?

Let us know in the comments section below!

Today we chat with Drew Badger, host of English Anyone, about 3 tips to help you achieve fluency!

We become fluent in our native language by connecting to others.

Drew believes we should use the same behavior to get fluent in other languages.

In other words, be a speaker, not just a learner!

 

Presentation1All Ears English Transcripts!

Check your understanding of today’s episode.

Learn the sounds of American English and new vocabulary words.

Click here to download the transcripts now.

 

Drew’s three tips to help achieve fluency:

  • Listen to native content. Try to find something which you understand 80%, then work on learning the other 20%. Learning like a native is building upon what you already know.
  • Practice new constructions with words. Don’t repeat the same phrases all the time – mix things up! Use repetitive events like introducing yourself as an opportunity to expand your language usage. This puts you in control and builds confidence.
  • Get out into the community.  Don’t spend all of your time on English-learning forums if you can meet and talk to real people right outside your door!

Now check out another great guest episode about how to use Facebook groups to learn English!

 

drewgravatar

Drew Badger is an author, English fluency and speaking confidence expert with more than 10 years of experience, teacher-training.  He’s also the co-founder of Englishanyone.com and creator of Shaberry Sensei.

His more than 200 online videos lessons have been viewed over five million times, and he’s been featured by some of the biggest companies in language education. He lives and continues to teach English to the world from Nagasaki, Japan. You can find Drew on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

Get Drew’s special ebook offer here!

 

What are you doing to be a speaker and not a learner?

 Tell us about it in the comments section below!

 

What’s the difference between “interested” and “interesting” in English?

Today, in #10 of our countdown of the Top 15 Fixes in English series, we’ll be discussing when to use the -ed and -ing endings! 

To be interested is not the same as being interesting.  The same applies to other English phrases such as bored and boring, or excited and exciting.  Here is a general rule to help you remember the difference:

  • When talking about yourself or your feelings, use the –ed ending.  “I am interested in music.”
  • When talking about others or something outside yourself, use the –ing ending.  “That music is interesting.”

 

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Here are some more examples:

  • “She’s excited by travel.”
  • “Travel is exciting.”
  • “They’re bored by soccer.”
  • “Soccer is boring.”

 

Roleplay

In this roleplay, Lindsay and Michelle are discussing their hobbies.

Michelle: So Lindsay, I know you are a very interesting person. What do you like to do in your free time?

Lindsay: I love playing tennis, hiking, camping and just being outdoors. I’m also very interested in psychology and I love to read!

Michelle: What is a hobby that you find very boring?

Lindsay: I’m not very interested in sewing or crocheting. I would be bored doing anything like that.

Michelle: What is something exciting that you’d like to do someday?

Lindsay: Maybe cliff jumping. I get excited and nervous just thinking about it, but I think I’d be up for it.

 

Other Entries in the 15 Fixes Series:

 

What do you find interesting, boring or amazing?

What isn’t interesting, boring or amazing?

Tell us in the comments section below!

Do you have so many learning resources you’re overwhelmed?

Today we discuss why you need to stop trying to do it all and start creating an English plan!

 

We live in a time when there are so many resources to help you learn English — and that’s great!

But it’s easy to get distracted when you don’t have a plan to guide you.

 

Presentation1All Ears English Transcripts

Check your understanding of today’s episode.

Learn the sounds of American English and new vocabulary words

Click here to get the transcripts now!

 

A good plan includes:

  • Your Goal: This is where you want to be.  It should be ambitious, but reasonable. Try to choose one goal and go deep.
  • A Deadline: Deadlines give you a sense of urgency and accountability.
  • Focus: Think of any distractions you can eliminate so that you can focus more clearly on your goal.

 

What’s your current English-learning goal?

Do you have a plan to achieve it?

Tell us all about in the comments section below!

Or is your life controlled by all of the work, responsibilities and people you know?

Today we talk with Stephen Warley from Unstuckable about how take back your life by getting unstuck!

Sometimes life can make you feel “stuck” when you don’t have the time or energy to do what you want to do.  Stephen says it doesn’t have to be this way, if you know how to get unstuck.

Three tips for getting yourself unstuck:

  • Hang Around Like-Minded People: An old American saying goes, “You are the company you keep.” Being around people who you wan to be like (online or offline) can naturally motivate you to make changes.  They can also support you in ways your family maybe can’t.
  • Awareness: Recognize when you complain during the day.  After paying attention for a week, identify what makes you unhappy, and think about how you can change it.  Or, if you just need time to think or calm down, take a walk!  A walk is a way to hear your own voice and process thoughts.
  • Get Ahold of Your Morning: Get up early and focus on the thing you really want to get done. Don’t go directly to your email!  Doing that only allows others to control what you want to do first.

 

Stephen WarleyStephen Warley is the co-founder of Unstuckable, a podcast uncovering the habits that help people find their path and work on their terms.

His podcast is available on iTunes and Stitcher.

New online courses to help get you unstuck are coming soon at Unstuckable.co

 

 

How do you get unstuck?

Do you use any of Stephen’s tips?

Tell us all about it in the comments section below?

Today we talk with successful New York entrepreneur Kristy Oshita about how starting a business  can compare to learning English!

Entrepreneurs must to work at least as hard as English learners for success.  They have to know how to use their time, focus their energy and maintain their sanity.

 

Kristy’s three entrepreneurial tips to help improve your chances for English success:

  • Know how to find your happy place. A “happy place” is where you go to rest and recharge. It can be both a physical and mental place, but the important thing is that you relax so you don’t burn out.
  • Find out what works. Stop and ask yourself, which way did I learn fastest? To improve clarity and efficiency, try focusing on one goal at a time.
  • Build and Strengthen Your Team. It is very important for language learners to connect with people. Think about all of the people you are connected to as you learn English, and invest time in those who can help you.

 

Kristy cover photo sq2

Kristy’s mantra is to be a beacon of love while building something great.

A serial entrepreneur she strives to do this through creating businesses that help people. In her first business, BumbleBee Tennis, she drew upon her background as a competitive tennis player, and brought affordable tennis lessons to the tennis players of NYC.

In addition to being a real estate investor she is currently in the startup phase with Alana Life and Fitness. The vision for Alana is to be a peaceful and loving health club for women to reconnect with themselves and feel ready to take on the world.

Her message to you is, “We can do this. It’s scary but we can.”

 

How have you learned English like an entrepreneur?

Do you have any tips?

Share them below in the comments section!

 

Today, in #11 of our countdown of the Top 15 Fixes in English series, we’ll be discussing the most common mistake with the future tense of English!

When you want to talk in English about something you will do in the future, remember that one “will” is enough.

If you are going to meet your friend tomorrow, and you want to tell them you will call them when you arrive, you should not say, “When I will be there, I will call you.”  This is too many “wills”, but also two separate ideas.

The rule for a sentence like this is: Present Tense + Future Tense.  A correct version of the sentence would read, “When I arrive, I will call you,” or “When I am there, I will call you.”

Roleplay

In this roleplay, Lindsay and Michelle are discussing what they will make for dinner.

Michelle: I think I will make some pasta tonight. Does that sound good to you?

Lindsay: I actually had pasta last night when I went out with friends. I will eat it again if you want, but I’d rather not.

Michelle: No worries! I will make something else. What about a Thai salad with grilled chicken and peanut sauce dressing?

Lindsay: That sounds amazing! It will be a lot of work, though! Are you up for it?

Michelle: Yeah, I can do it if you will help chop veggies!

Lindsay: I will for sure help. While you grill the chicken, I will prep the vegetables.

Michelle: Perfect! When I’m at the grocery store, I will call you to see if we need anything else.

Other Entries in the 15 Fixes Series:

Have you had any trouble with the future tense of English?

Tell us about in the comments section below!

Today we discuss six common ways native English speakers mistakenly speak their own language!

Language creates culture, and people talk the way they want to be seen.

Sometimes this means being loose with the language, whether using slang or speaking in a way that is more comfortable than right.

 

Here are six rules that native English speakers break all the time:

  • Double Negatives: As in the phrase, “I can’t get no satisfaction.” Though it isn’t intended, a double negative would actually mean a positive! “I don’t want no more coffee” is the same as saying “I want more coffee.”
  • “Got” instead of “Have”: You might hear someone say, “Yeah, I got a car,” or “I got no money.” These are wrong because they use “got” to replace “have.”
  • “Ain’t”: Americans are usually told as children that “ain’t” is not a word, but many of us use it anyway. If someone says “I ain’t going,” or “I ain’t sure about that,” they usually mean to say “I’m not.”
  • “If I Was/Were”: In most cases, this should be “If I were,” but not always. When someone says “If I was wrong, I apologize,” the statement says the speaker accepts that he or she was wrong. But when someone says “If I were wrong, I would have apologized,” the speaker is saying that would have apologized if they were wrong, but they weren’t!
  • Past participle avoided: When someone says “I have went to all those countries,” they are using the simple past form of “went.” The correct form would be “I have been to all those countries.”
  • “Would Have” in a Past Conditional: It is wrong to say “If I would have had more money, I would have gone,” because Would Have cannot be used in a past conditional. Instead, the correct form is “If I had had money, I might have (or could have) gone.”

 

Have you ever heard native English speakers use grammar incorrectly?

Does it happen in your own language?

Tell us about it below in the comments section!

Are there strategies you can use to improve productivity in language learning?

Today we talk with productivity expert Thomas Frank about three ways to learn English faster!

Thomas believes a big part of success in learning a language has to do with how you manage your time.

By using certain strategic behaviors, he says that you can get more and better learning, faster.

 

The top 3 three tips for improving English learning productivity:

  • Induce Momentum: Start with small and easy things. Successfully accomplishing minor tasks will warm you up for larger, more difficult tasks.
  • Use Mini-Missions: Give intense focus to improving on specific areas by treating them as “missions” that must be accomplished by a certain time.
  • Increase Motivation with the Procrastination Equation: The Procrastination Equation is Motivation = (Expectancy x Value) / (Impulsiveness x Delay). In other words, the expectations and value you place on a goal are always going to be divided by all potential distractions and delays between you and your goal, so you need to make a habit of choosing the right goals and avoiding things that will slow you down.

 

face2Thomas Frank is the writer, podcaster, and productivity nerd behind College Info Geek, a web resource that helps students be awesome at college.

When he’s not working, reading, or trying to convert his life into a video game, you can probably find him climbing a tree or enjoying good whisky (not simultaneously).

You can connect with him on Twitter here.

 

Do you use any of these strategies to increase your English learning productivity?

How does it work?

Let us know in the comments section below!

Video GameCan you learn English like a game?

Can it be fun and addictive rather than just work?

Today we talk with Geremie, an entrepreneur who says that gaming can show us how to make learning English more interesting and enjoyable!

Geremie says we can learn from the psychological incentives that video games give us to keep playing, and that these lessons can help with motivation and ultimate success in learning English.

 

Three lessons that gaming provide us about motivation and learning are:

  • Find a way to make it fun: This is a key to motivation as well as seeing English learning as something pleasurable, not exhausting.
  • Immerse yourself in something you’re interested in: This will not only keep your attention, it also has the practical benefit of teaching you how to talk about yourself.
  • Use a system of advancement: As in a game, or even the martial arts, find a way to acknowledge your progression to mastery of English.

 

Do you use any of these to learn English like a game?

How do you do it?

Tell us about it in the comments section below!

 

GeremieGeremie is an entrepreneur and media professional with extensive experience across education, movies, music and gaming.  Geremie’s passion is applying engaging content and game intelligence to education.  His game Poptok let’s you play your way to learning 11 languages.

 

Today, in #12 of our countdown of the Top 15 Fixes in English series, we’ll be discussing what is polite (and not so polite) about doing this in America!

In some cultures it is important to know another person’s age, but an old American saying is “Never ask a woman her age or weight.”

It’s often unusual and unnecessary to ask about age, and doing so might raise suspicions that you are really asking about something else.

But this cultural aspect is not the only thing that can go wrong.  There’s also a common grammar issue!

Many English learners use the verb to have for age, and often this comes from a direct translation from their native language.

But in English, we use to be for age, as in, “I am 30 years old” or “He is 30 years old.”

 

Presentation1All Ears English Transcripts!

Check your understanding of today’s episode.

Learn the sounds of American English and new vocabulary words.

Click here to download the transcripts now.

 

It’s also interesting to note that in English we use the verb “turn” with age.

  • I turned 30 last year.
  • She turns 28 next year.

Roleplay

In this roleplay, Lindsay and Aubrey are planning a friend’s 40th birthday party.

Lindsay: I can’t believe James is 40! Time really flies.

Aubrey: I know! When he turned 39, we all started feeling ancient!

Lindsay: Is he the oldest of our friends?

Aubrey: Well, let’s see. Jane is 37 and Martha is 38. What about Brooke?

Lindsay: I think she’s 38 too. And Sam turned 38 this year as well.

Aubrey: Oh I didn’t know that! I thought he was younger!

Lindsay: He graduated from high school the same year as my brother.

Aubrey: Gotcha, so they’re both 38. What about Simon?

Lindsay: Simon and Melanie both turned 39 this year.

Aubrey: Looks like we’re going to have quite a few 40th birthday parties to plan!

 

Other Entries in the 15 Fixes Series:

 

How do you talk about age in your language?

How do you talk about it in your culture?

Tell us all about it in the comments section below!

Singer Lydia Lyon does not speak Arabic.  But when she sings in Arabic, she sounds just like a native speaker.

Today we talk to Lydia about how she learned the pronunciation without knowing the language!

Like with many language learners, Lydia’s interest in Arabic began as a passionate interest connected to Arab friends and culture.  Though she learned many words, she never became fluent, but that didn’t stop her from singing.

Lydia says some specific habits helped her to improve her accent, as well as her ability to the language speak with authority.  These include:

  • Imitate and repeat: Immerse yourself in the culture and try to imitate how native speakers say things.
  • Learn in chunks: Attach meanings to entire phrases, not just single words.
  • Activate your emotions: Feel what is being said, and how it comes out when you say it.
  • Give yourself learning deadlines: Urgency adds a pressure to learn.

Have you tried any of these tactics for improving your pronunciation?

How have they worked?

Let us know in the comments section below!

 

Nature's ArtDo you know how to craft your art through English?

Have you thought about what your legacy will be?

Today we talk about how your learning English a part of how people will remember you when you’re gone.

An average human life is 28,000 days long.  That’s a long time to develop yourself and define who you are.  But it’s not forever.

Your art is not only what you create (as in music or painting), but also what you do — how you treat people and how you will be remembered.

Learning English is part of your art.

It is important to think about how connecting with others in a different language can be a positive part of your individual legacy.

Not only that, it’s urgent!  You only have 28,000 days — or maybe less!

Do you think of learning another language as part of the art of living your life?

How so?

Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Today, we talk with Shayna Oliveira from espressoenglish.net about three levels to start thinking your way to fluency!

Many language learners believe that you must be advanced or even fluent before you can think in that language.  Shayna believes you can start developing that skill when you are a beginner.

The way it works is by habit — training your mind to become used to connecting English to the world around you.

 

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Here are Shayna’s three levels for thinking in English:

  1. First, start thinking in individual words.  Take a moment to look around you and see what objects you can name in English.  This will connect the language to reality, and will also show you some of your vocabulary gaps — items you see in life but can’t yet name in English.
  2. Second, form very simple sentences, such as “That car is red.”  The sentences do not need to be complicated or perfect.  The point is to be working with English in your mind.  Again, this will show you what vocabulary or verb forms you are missing.
  3. Third, start turning your normal internal thoughts into English.  This is not translating your thoughts so much as trying to use English to say them to yourself.

These steps may not be easy in the beginning.  However, over time, they are likely to help your English be more smooth and natural.

Have you tried thinking in English?

 How well has it worked?

Tell us all about it in the comments section below!

 

Shayna Oliveira is the creator of EShaynaspresso English, where you can improve your English even if you don’t have much time to study- the lessons are short and sweet!

Students love Shayna’s pleasant voice and practical teaching style.

Shayna is originally from the U.S. and how lives in Salvador, Brazil.

 

 

 

Wish and Hope in English are similar, but not exactly the same. What is the difference between these two words in English?

Today, in #13 of our countdown of the Top 15 Fixes in English series find out how to correctly use the verbs Wish and Hope!

Check out our most recent episodes in this series:

Wish is usually used before a verb in the past tense.  It often talks about regrets or wants.

  • “I wish I hadn’t made that mistake.”
  • “I wish I had started sooner.”
  • “I wish I had a dog.”

We use it to express that we want something to happen, but we have no control over it.

  • Is your dad going to buy you a new car?
  • I wish!

In fairy tales and children’s stories, some form of magic makes wishes come true.

Knowing this helps you to remember to use “wish” when you can’t control the outcome or about something in the past you can’t change.

 

Hope works more for future tense, though it can also be used for the present tense.  It often focuses on aspirations.

  • “I hope to find love.”
  • “I hope I get a good TOEFL score.”
  • “I hope you enjoyed the show.”

Pro-tip: If we don’t know the outcome of something, we use hope. Once we know the outcome and we can’t change it, we use wish.

  • I hope I get a good score on my exam.
  • I wish I had gotten a good score on my exam.

Roleplay

In this roleplay, Lindsay and Aubrey are students working together on a group project.

Lindsay: Ok, the deadline is Friday. What do you hope to accomplish in the next few days?

Michelle: I wish we had started earlier! I’m such a procrastinator!

Lindsay: I was absent the day this was assigned. I wish I had been in class that day!

Michelle: No use worrying about that now. I’m hoping we can finish the artwork and most of the slides by tomorrow.

Lindsay: Sounds good. I asked to borrow my friend’s laptop because mine is broken. I hope he says yes!

Michelle: Maybe you’ll get a new laptop for Christmas!

Lindsay: I wish!

What are your wishes?

What are your hopes?

Tell us in the comments section below!

Transcript

Lindsay McMahon :

This is an All Ears English podcast episode 173, wish versus hope in English. What’s the difference? Welcome to the All Ears English podcast, where you’ll finally get real native English conversation and fluency for business and life. We believe in connection, not perfection when it comes to learning English. Now, here are your hosts, Lindsay McMahon, the English adventurer and Aubrey Carter, the IELTS whiz coming to you from Arizona and Boston, USA.

Michelle :

In this episode, Lindsay and Michelle show you the next most common mistake in our top 15 mistake series. What is the difference between wish and hope and how do you know which one to use? Find out today.

Lindsay McMahon :

Hey Michelle. How’s life in New York today?

Michelle :

Hey Lindsay. Hey Lindsay. It is good. It is good. I hope the weather stays nice for a while though.

Lindsay McMahon :

I know. I know. Yes. The weather is always the key in New York. Life in New York is so exciting, but it’s so much better when it’s warm and sunny.

Michelle :

Yeah. I kind of wish that like, it would be winter, but only for the months of December and January. Maybe like end of November, December, a little bit of January, and then it’s done.

Lindsay McMahon :

Yeah, totally.

Michelle :

I like some cold, but that’s pretty much it for me.

Lindsay McMahon :

I understand what you mean. Because it’s a real subway culture, right, in New York, a lot of walking and it’s hard to through the snow.

Michelle :

It is. It is. Yes. You don’t want to have to do that, but whatever.

Lindsay McMahon :

Yeah, no, no, no. But another thing that our listeners don’t want to do is make the most common mistakes in English, right? We want to avoid these big mistakes. I just did a little transition. Did you see what I did there? I’m not sure how successful that was.

Michelle :

I what you did. No, you did. It was wonderful.

Lindsay McMahon :

I don’t know, but we’ll move on anyway. So guys, we’re in a series here of the top 15, most common mistakes and you’ve heard me and Aubrey record a couple of episodes about the first two. And now we’re counting down. We’re on number 13 out of 15. So what is the common mistake that we’re talking about today, Michelle?

Michelle :

Okay. Today we’re talking about the words wish and hope. Now I just used them. I don’t know if you realized what I was doing.

Lindsay McMahon :

Oh my God. I was too busy trying to make my transition,

Michelle :

Oh, you actually didn’t?

Lindsay McMahon :

And I didn’t even hear you use them. What did you say?

Michelle :

Oh, maybe. Oh, so maybe you were like, why are you like, what are you doing? Well, first I said, I hope that the weather stays nice.

Lindsay McMahon :

Oh, you did.

Michelle :

And then I said, I wish that it would be cold only for a couple months.

Lindsay McMahon :

Yeah.

Michelle :

Oh, you didn’t realize. Oh, see I was so sneaky.

Lindsay McMahon :

No, it went right over my head. It went right over my head. That’s my fault. That’s my fault. That’s a good one. Clever though.

Michelle :

Thank you. Thank you.

Lindsay McMahon :

Let’s pick apart that example then, right? You said, I wish. What was it again? You said, I wish.

Michelle :

I said, I wish that it would only be cold in New York for a couple months.

Lindsay McMahon :

Okay. Yes. And then I hope.

Michelle :

I hope that the weather is nice for a long time, basically.

Lindsay McMahon :

Yeah. Okay. So what is the typical, if you just think real quick, Michelle, as a native speaker, what is the difference between wish and hope?

Michelle :

Okay. Well wish is more like a specific thing that it may be likely to happen, like I wish to have three wishes, like in fairy tales or whatever. Right. And hope is I think more realistic.

Lindsay McMahon :

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And then another thing that I think, I think the biggest angle I would say is that wish is usually used more so for something in the past. Right. I mean, you said, I wish it wouldn’t snow or I wish that it would not be winter. There would not be so much winter in New York is basically what you said. Right. And that’s good too. That’s a hypothetical.

Michelle :

Right.

Lindsay McMahon :

I wish there weren’t so much winter in New York.

Michelle :

Something Like that. Right. But you’re right. So we do have kind of like that fairytale feeling for wish. Oh, If I had three wishes, the first one would…

Lindsay McMahon :

Yeah.

Michelle :

But also, if you’re looking for another, I mean that was like a very broad explanation I gave, but if you’re really looking for a succinct one yes, often it’s used in the past tense. Right. So you can’t say, I hope about the past.

Lindsay McMahon :

No, you really can’t at all. So this is the clear dividing line between the two, right? No. Yeah. You definitely can’t. You can’t say, like let’s give some examples about how to use wish in the past.

Michelle :

Right. Okay. So like I wish I hadn’t made that mistake.

Lindsay McMahon :

Exactly. So you would never say, I’m not even going to say it because it doesn’t make sense. We don’t want to teach you guys poor English. So can’t use hope in that example. You just can’t. It’s not functional. I wish I had started studying sooner. Right. Because the exam is tomorrow. Definitely can’t use hope. Right, Michelle?

Michelle :

Right, right, right. No.

Lindsay McMahon :

And now here’s the kind of the fairy tail thing that you were pointing to before. This is like a dreamy thing.

Michelle :

Yeah.

Lindsay McMahon :

Right. What do you wish you had? Do you wish you had any pets?

Michelle :

Oh yeah. I wish I had a dog. I really do.

Lindsay McMahon :

Yeah, because you had a dog as a kid, right? You had a beagle. You told us.

Michelle :

Right. I had a beagle named Petey.

Lindsay McMahon :

Aww so cute. Beagles are really cute. Sometimes they’re kind of like yippity though. Aren’t they? They bark a lot or no?

Michelle :

They bark and they bite. Well at least mine did. He bit.

Lindsay McMahon :

Oh my gosh. Oh, was he a bad dog? No, just nervous.

Michelle :

I think he had like, he was a rescue dog.

Lindsay McMahon :

Okay.

Michelle :

And we think that he had had like, when they rescued him, he was only four pounds.

Lindsay McMahon :

Oh no.

Michelle :

No, no, no, he was, well, it was actually, all right, well now there’s a whole story, but he was like at the shelter and it was going to be his last day. And then this woman came to rescue him and he was four pounds at the pound. So I don’t know how much he weighed when they got him, but.

Lindsay McMahon :

Okay.

Michelle :

Anyway, the moral of the story is I loved having him, but he had some troubles, but I adored him.

Lindsay McMahon :

Oh yeah. You got to love your family dog. I love that. Yeah. I mean, I wish I had two dogs. I have one. I wish I had two, but I can’t. They’re expensive. Having two dogs is a lot. It’s a lot.

Michelle :

Yeah. I am sure.

Lindsay McMahon :

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And then there’s, just to finish off wish guys, I hope you’re taking notes here. This is really good stuff. There is one other way that we use I wish in a very emphatic way. What would that be Michelle?

Michelle :

Well, let’s do a little role play.

Lindsay McMahon :

Okay. Is your dad going to buy you a new car?

Michelle :

I wish.

Lindsay McMahon :

I love your intonation there. It’s very clear. So what are you trying to say with that intonation and using, I wish here?

Michelle :

It’s like, oh, I would love that, but it’s very unlikely.

Lindsay McMahon :

Yeah, exactly. Exactly. So generally what’s the general rule here with wish Michelle, would you say?

Michelle :

The general rule is it can be used in the past tense or in a fairytale kind of emphatic expression.

Lindsay McMahon :

Yeah. And talking about the past, things you can’t change that have already happened, when you don’t control the outcome. Or again it’s something you really want, but you know is never going to happen. I wish. Right.

Michelle :

Right. I wish.

Lindsay McMahon :

Yeah.

Michelle :

It’s fun to say that.

Lindsay McMahon :

I think I hear teenagers say that kind of thing a lot. Are your parents going to extend your curfew? I wish.

Michelle :

I wish. Yeah, for sure.

Lindsay McMahon :

Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Let’s go to hope now. Let’s flip it over to hope. What is hope, I hope?

Michelle :

Hope is also, I mean, in general, it’s better for future tenses. I have something in my head as like an exception, but,

Lindsay McMahon :

Oh, sure.

Michelle :

In general, it is better for the future. You don’t really, like in those we gave, hope just wouldn’t work. So it focus on more of like aspirations.

Lindsay McMahon :

Yeah.

Michelle :

And it can be used also for the present tense, but again, it works more for the future tense. So like I hope to find love. So this is talking about the future.

Lindsay McMahon :

Yeah. So now we’re future focused, future or present focused. Before with wish we were focusing on the past and the things we can’t control. Now we’re focusing on the future and the present. So another one is I hope I get a good TOEFL score or I hope to get a good TOEFL score. Both would be okay, right?

Michelle :

And then this one, so this is an exception.

Lindsay McMahon :

Yeah. Oh, those exceptions, they just kill us. We try to set a rule and then we have the exception right in front of us right, Michelle?

Michelle :

Right. Guys, we’re focusing on the basic general way of thinking of these things. So we’ll give you the exception, but don’t freak out. Right. It just happened. I hope you enjoyed the show. That’s kind of a good chunk. But today we want you to focus on this idea of future and past. So that’s what we want to focus on. Obviously there are going to be times when there are exceptions, because I don’t know that there is ever a moment in English where there isn’t an exception. Okay.

Lindsay McMahon :

Exactly. So I think one really good pro tip that could kind of make this really clear guys, is this, if you don’t know the outcome of something use hope. Right. Because it’s uncertain. It’s unsure. But if you know the outcome and it can’t be changed, use wish. Because wish has a sense of, oh, there’s not really anything I can do about it.

Michelle :

Oh I wish. Yes, yes, yes.

Lindsay McMahon :

No control.

Michelle :

That’s a good point.

Lindsay McMahon :

Yeah. No agency.

Michelle :

That is a good pro tip. Yes, exactly. I like it. Well, let’s do this role play Lindsay.

Lindsay McMahon :

Okay. Yeah.

Michelle :

And we’ll go through it.

Lindsay McMahon :

Okay. Let’s do it. So, all right. So, okay. The deadline is Friday. What do you hope to accomplish in the next few days?

Michelle :

Oh, I wish we had started earlier. I’m such a procrastinator.

Lindsay McMahon :

I was absent the day this was assigned. I wish I’d been in class that day.

Michelle :

Well, there’s no use worrying about that now. I’m hoping we can finish the artwork and most of the slides by tomorrow.

Lindsay McMahon :

Sounds good. I asked to borrow my friend’s laptop because mine is broken. I hope he says yes.

Michelle :

Well, maybe you’ll get a new laptop for Christmas.

Lindsay McMahon :

I wish.

Michelle :

Okay.

Lindsay McMahon :

So by saying I wish there, I’m basically saying I’m probably not going to get one, right?

Michelle :

Right, right, right. Exactly.

Lindsay McMahon :

It’s important. Right. Because that’s important to say that too. Right. So this is coming back to the lack of agency. If I had said yeah, I hope I do. It’s a possibility and it’s probably a real likelihood. Right, Michelle?

Michelle :

Right, right, right. And I did want to bring something about hope, right, again, like we said, it can be used in the present tense. So actually the example of, I hope you enjoyed the show. You are still hoping in the present tense.

Lindsay McMahon :

Exactly.

Michelle :

So I just wanted to make that point to clarify.

Lindsay McMahon :

Yeah. That’s a good point, because right now you’re hoping, even though the show happened before, it’s right now that you have the emotion of hope.

Michelle :

Yeah. So I wanted to just make that point.

Lindsay McMahon :

That’s a good point, Michelle. Let’s go back to this role play and just rehash it a little bit for our listeners. So the first thing I said was what do you hope to accomplish in the next few days? Again, forward looking. That’s a perfect example.

Michelle :

And then I said, I wish we had started earlier, right? I wish, thinking about the past. Right. I couldn’t say, I hope we had started earlier. That wouldn’t work.

Lindsay McMahon :

Perfect. So again, things you don’t have control over anymore because they’re done and looking backwards. And then I said again, I’m looking backwards and I can’t change it now. I’m saying, I wish I had been in class that day. Can’t change it. Right, Michelle?

Michelle :

Right, right, right, right. You can’t change it. And then I said, I’m hoping we can finish the artwork and most of the slides by tomorrow. So that’s more future looking.

Lindsay McMahon :

Exactly. I love that. And then I said, I asked to borrow my friend’s laptop because mine’s broken and I hope he says yes. Right. I hope again, forward looking guys, looking ahead. He probably, he might, there’s a good chance. So I hope.

Michelle :

And then I said, well maybe you’ll get a new laptop for Christmas. And you said, I wish.

Lindsay McMahon :

Yeah.

Michelle :

It’s like, that would be great. But there’s very little chance of that.

Lindsay McMahon :

Yeah. This is a great role play because I like how at the end we use that example of the, how sometimes teenagers will use that, right, when they don’t think there’s a chance of something. So that’s really good. Very cool. This has been good, Michelle. So this has again, number 13. Guys, there’s 13 more top mistakes, all right, that we’re going to or 12 more. So make sure you hit follow on All Ears English. Right, Michelle? Because they don’t want to miss these.

Michelle :

Don’t miss it. Why would you do that?

Lindsay McMahon :

Yeah, don’t miss it. Don’t miss it. So we’re looking forward to the next one. And Michelle, thanks for hanging out and talking about wish versus hope. Good topic.

Michelle :

All right. Thanks. I hope to talk to you again soon.

Lindsay McMahon :

I hope so too.

Michelle :

All right. Bye Lindsay.

Lindsay McMahon :

All right. Take care. Bye.

Michelle :

Bye.

But understanding them can help push your English to the next level.

Today we chat with Tim Torkildson, an ESL blogger who was fired from his job for blogging about homophones!

A homophone is a word that has the same pronunciation as another word, but a different spelling and meaning.

Though not all languages have homophones, English has a lot of them.

 

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Learn the sounds of American English and new vocabulary words.

Click here to download the transcripts now.

 

Homophones can be confusing for non-native English speakers because they might follow two different rules of spelling.

The reason for these differences is that English comes from many distinct languages, including French, Latin and old Celtic and Germanic languages.

When Tim was writing an ESL blog entry on homophones for a school he worked for, the school decided the word homophone was too controversial because of its similarity to homophobe (fear of gay people), or homosexual (a person who is gay).

The words do not mean the same thing (only the root word homo-, which means “same”), but the word was viewed as controversial and Tim was fired.

Here are some examples of common English homophones:

  • Ant; Aunt
  • See; Sea
  • Pause; Paws
  • Air; Err; Heir
  • Wrapped; Rapt; Rapped

Have you encountered other examples of homophones while studying English?

Share with us in the comments section below!

 

Tim TTim Torkildson was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  He first went to Thailand in 1974 as a missionary, and returned there again in 2004 as an English teacher for 5 years.  You can find out more about him here:  http://www.gofundme.com/cmbn6w

Today we talk to food blogger Grace Lentini about the food of New England, and how to eat it!

We’ll also talk about American eating habits.

When in New England, you’ve got to try the seafood.  Boston had a huge fishing industry, Maine is famous for lobster, and Rhode Island is a great place to find calamari.

You want to try all of these, but if you don’t want to gain weight while doing it, Grace says to consider three things:

  1. Portion Sizes: Restaurants in the U.S. will sometimes bring an overwhelming amount of food to your table.  Think about sharing a portion with a friend, ordering a half-portion, or taking some of your meal to go.
  2. Fried Food is Fattening: It might be better to order a meal that has been baked, boiled, broiled or grilled.
  3. Raw Seafood: Experience local seafood raw if possible!  Oysters on the half shell are a New England favorite.

 

Next, learn how to get better at English the way a chef gets better at cooking.

 

Have you ever tried any of these?

What would you order in a New England Restaurant?

Tell us about it in the comments section below!

Grace Lentini is a food blogger, editor, photographer and a lover of all things nature.  She writes the blog Graceful Dining (www.gracefuldining.blogspot.com) and can be found on Twitter (@gracie_nomnom).

Two things Grace loves most in this world are science and food. She went to school for science (BS in Wildlife and Conservation Biology) and started a food blog (www.gracefuldining.blogspot.com). After writing Graceful Dining for about a year, a local magazine, Providence Monthly, caught onto her blog and she started writing cover stories for them about food. Then, an editor position opened up, she interviewed, and got the job. Now, she is an editor for four lifestyle magazines. This life is crazy and you never know where you’re going to end up. Her advice to you is to do what you love, and hold on to the ride!

Do you approach your English like a doctor would?

Today we share five tips to keep your English healthy by thinking like a doctor!

A good doctor has many qualities.  Here are five that can be applied to learning English:

  • Triage: Doctors have to prioritize problems, or triage. Similarly with English, you have to figure out what your biggest challenges and problems are, and focus on them first.
  • Diagnose: Once you have your problem, you have to examine it closely. If your problem is speaking, is the main cause pronunciation, confidence, vocabulary, or opportunities to speak with others?
  • Regular Checkups: Check up on your English improvement every few months to see if you are progressing. Create an action plan to overcome problems and improve even more. Reflect on where you are and your goals.
  • Think on Your Feet: Be spontaneous, make decisions with a clear head under pressure. When speaking, you must be able to respond to others thoughtfully – not memorized.
  • Find Appropriate Treatment: If you are unable to correct your own mistakes, look for help. Sometimes you can self-correct, but other times you need a referral.

Next, find out why you should learn English the way a chef prepares a meal.

Do you use any of these in your English learning?

Tell us about it in the comments section below!

Today, in #14 of our countdown of the Top 15 Fixes in English series, we’ll be discussing how to correctly use the verbs Speak, Talk, Tell and Say, and how to think about them so you don’t mix them up!

Speak, Talk, Tell and Say all mean almost the same thing: to communicate verbally.  But even though they seem to be interchangeable, their meanings are different.  It’s important to use them correctly!

 

 

Presentation1All Ears English Transcripts!

Check your understanding of today’s episode.

Learn the sounds of American English and new vocabulary words.

Click here to download the transcripts now.

 

To Speak: This is the most formal of these verbs.  A person might say, “May I speak to you?”  Often this verb talks about language, as in “Do you speak English?”

To Talk: This is less formal and usually refers to conversation, such as “Let’s talk about it,” or “Talk to me.”

To Tell: This verb is used to inform or tell a story, but can also be used to command.  A person might say “Tell me what happened,” or “I told you to call me.”

To Say: Usually this verb is used to quote someone or something, as in “What did she say?” or “What did the President say he would do?”

Can you come up with sentences that correctly use all four of these verbs?

Show us what you’ve got in the comments section below!

Do you know how to socialize in English?

Have you been to any social events lately?

Today, we discuss three phrases that will help you be a smooth communicator at your next social event!

Socializing is an art.   It’s important to be smooth and confident, but also to say the right thing.  Here are three common phrases to help you get started:

  1. “So, are you planning any trips this summer?”  This is a great question to ask because travel connects to so many other subjects.
  2. “How do you know the host/hostess?” Answers to this might include, “We met in college,” or “We met at work.” If you’ve known somebody a long time and are very familiar with them, you might answer, “We go way back.”
  3. “So, how do you keep yourself busy?” or “What do you do in your free time?” This is a broad and casual question that asks about hobbies, lifestyle and work.

Have you had any experiences socializing in English?

How did it go?

Tell us in the comments section below!

If so, why do we feel so vulnerable when we admit them?

Today we talk about why your brain is still stuck in caveman days, and how it affects your English success!

Brene Brown researches vulnerability and how it comes up in the process of learning something like a new language.

Teachers sometimes use shame to make their students work harder.  Shame can motivate.  But it doesn’t allow you to take risks and grow as a person.

Mistakes aren’t shameful – they’re powerful opportunities to learn.

They are memorable and allow us to grow.  Focusing on the negative part of shame comes from the primitive part of the brain.  It is a fear response to a threat.

But if we recognize this, we can use shame to help us remember and learn.

Do you think it’s harder for men to see their mistakes/shame as power?

Are there expectations in society or in families that make this difficult?

Tell us what you think in the comments section below!

 

Today we discuss 3 ways your apartment can make you successful in the U.S.

Dr. Anne Copeland studies what makes international professionals and families successful when they live abroad.  Her research study “At Home Abroad” looked at 130 people living in 48 countries to see how changes in the physical layout of where they lived affected their happiness and relationships.

Architecture has a lot to do with use of space and feelings of privacy.  Anne found that homes with more rooms, more televisions, and more space tended to push people apart.

However, smaller homes with fewer rooms tended to encourage people to spend time together – and people who lived in homes like this were happier.

Anne also found:

  • It is important for a home to have a central room for its inhabitants to connect.
  • Connecting with neighbors can make a person feel happier in their home.
  • Hanging pictures in a new home can make it easier to adjust to.

Next, learn what to do when you return home after some time abroad with Cate Brubaker.

Do you think the layout of a house affects the people who live there?

How so?

Tell us what you think in the comments section below!

 

Dr. Anne Copeland is a licensed Psychologist focusing on cultural transitions and clinical psychology and is the founder of The Interchange Institute.

She provides cross- cultural training programs for international professionals and their families to prepare for assignments abroad.

She also offers training programs to prepare new cross-cultural trainers to enter the field.

Anne has written several books, newsletters, and publications including the Newcomer’s Almanac as well as more than 90 research articles.

 

Today, in #15 of our countdown of the Top 15 Fixes in English series, we’ll be discussing the difference between listen and hear, and how to think about them so you don’t mix them up!

Listen and hear seem to mean the same thing.

They can be used interchangeably and still make sense, but their meanings are slightly different.

When you understand the difference between these similar words, you can push your English to the next level.

You’ll be able to get a higher score on exams such as TOEFL or IELTS and you’ll be able to use your English at work.

Hear is more about your senses.  It’s passive and suggests your ears are working.  You hear sounds even if you aren’t paying attention to them.

Listen is more of an action.  You are actively hearing, with intention.  You are focused and trying to understand or give thought when you are listening.

Here are some examples:

  • “Do you like to listen to music?”
  • “Did you just hear that fire truck?”
  • “Is he still listening to the radio?”

What kind of music do you like to listen to?

Are there any sounds you don’t like to hear?

Tell us below in the comments section!

Dining is a great time to socialize and connect.

But you can’t just listen to yourself chewing food – you have to be active and engaged with others!

But what do you talk about?

How should you start?

 

Here are three great phrases to create conversation while dining:

  1. “Have you eaten here before?” This is a great way to begin. If the other person has eaten there before, you might follow up with, “What do you recommend?”
  2. “Do you know what you’re going to have?” Say this after you have received the menu, to help keep the conversation moving.
  3. “How’s your meal?” You can use this phrase after the food has arrived and you have had a chance to taste it. If your food is good, you might offer, “Would you like to try some?”

Have you had experiences dining in English?

How did it go?

Tell us about it in the comments section below!

Today we talk about the five qualities of a chef, and how you can apply these to learning English.

A great chef develops his skills over many years of hard work – much like a student of English.

Here are five other ways chefs compare to English learners:

  • Chefs aren’t afraid to mix in new ingredients! Don’t be afraid to try new things with your English. Inspiration often comes from trying something different.
  • New chefs start with recipes! A structured English course might help give you a foundation for learning English. After you become more confident, then you can improvise.
  • Chefs have good taste! The way the food is presented on the plate is very important. It is also important for an English learner to know how to present themselves with their words.
  • Chefs like to share their skills! Share your English skills. The more people you speak to, the more practice you’re getting.
  • A great chef focuses on quality! Quality takes time and effort. Just like with learning English, success requires the best ingredients and the skill to put them together.

Next, learn how to improve your English by acting like a salesman.

How do you mix it up like a chef while learning English?

Tell us in the comments section below!

Today we talk about this interesting question, and new research presented in Wired Magazine that says it may be possible!

Scientists conducted an experiment with German students who were studying Dutch.

The students studied a series of Dutch words.

Then, half of the students went to sleep and the words were played back to them while they slept.

The other half of the students had to stay awake and listen as the same words were played back to them.

In the morning, the students who went to sleep early remembered the new words better than the students who had stayed awake.

Presentation1Get today’s transcripts!

Ready to use this episode to become fluent in English?

Make sure you understood every word we said on the podcast!

Get our transcripts now

 

It would be nice to think we can learn a new language while we sleep!

  But the lesson from the experiment is probably that it is better to study enough, but also get enough sleep.

You probably aren’t learning while you’re sleeping.  The thing to remember is that your brain simply works better when you get your 6-8 hours of sleep!

How do you balance studying and sleeping?

Do you think it’s possible to learn while you sleep?

Tell us below in the comments section!

Do you worry about losing control when the question and answer session comes up?

Are you worried that you won’t be able to understand the questions from the audience?

For non-native English speakers, the question and answer period of your presentation can be the most difficult part.

Today we discuss five tips to help you take control – and stay in control – while taking questions during a presentation.

Four tips for control:

  • Tell people when they can ask questions (at the end of the presentation, anytime)
  • Tell them how they can ask questions (maybe you want them to submit written questions, or to send email or Twitter questions to you)
  • Anticipate what might happen and be proactive (think about what you can control).
  • If you’re having difficulty hearing a question, ask the person to “Speak up” or “Speak a little louder.”

What if you hear the question but don’t understand it?  Try these:

  • “I’m not sure I understand.”
  • “Could you repeat/rephrase that?”
  • “Could you clarify?”
  • “Could you be more specific?”
  • “Could you give an example?”

If you try and still can’t understand, move on!

Tell the person “Please contact me later.”

Remember, you’re in control, and other people in your audience might also have questions.

 

Have you ever given a presentation in English and taken questions from the audience?

How did it go?

Tell us below in the comments section!

Do you go to networking events?

What do you say after “Hi, how are you?”

Networking can be difficult in any language.  Today we talk about some phrases you can use to make networking in English easier.

Here are 3 phrases that can help you start a discussion:

  • “What are you working on right now?”
  • “Fill me in on what’s going on in your career right now.”
  • “How did you end up in your current position?”

Any of these phrases can be followed up with other questions, such as “Tell me more about that.”

Have you experienced difficulty networking in English or speaking English in the business world?

Have you had success?

Tell us about it in the comments below!

Do you have no energy?

Today we talk about three ways to become a more motivated English speaker!

A recent Time Magazine article says that feelings are important to motivation.

So, to stay motivated in learning a new language, your emotions must support it.

You must make it personal and be passionate!

One way to do this is to connect the language to something you already love: music, cinema, literature or friends.

Here are three more ways to help you stay motivated:

  • Get positive!: Focus on being happy as you study English. The more optimistic you are, the more you are likely to learn.
  • Reward yourself: If you do something good, give yourself a treat. Buy yourself a gift, go out to dinner, or just give yourself some free time.
  • Use peer pressure: Let the people around you reinforce your goals! Spend time around people you want to be like.
  • Set a practical goal: Take an exam such as the IELTS or the TOEFL to keep yourself motivated and continue pushing to the next level.

How can you motivate yourself to be a better English learner?

What do you plan to do?

 Tell us in the comments section below!

Kevin_Ninja, how to use Facebook groups to become fluent in English

Learning a new language is not easy!  Books and classes can help.  But without real conversation, you might work very hard to make slow progress.

This is because our brains learn language naturally through conversation.  Conversation is the key!

Today we talk with Kevin, creator of inglesninja.com, a site that helps people learn HOW to learn English in more effective ways.  Kevin has been teaching English in Brazil for several years.

Integrating his background in Psychology with teaching, he seeks to improve the student’s relationship with English.

He believes that once one discovers how to enjoy the process of learning, progress comes naturally.

You can also find Kevin on You Tube, where he posts short, humorous (or not) videos on the most common mistakes Brazilians make in English.

 

Presentation1Get transcripts for this episode!

Use the transcripts to move your English from intermediate to advanced.

Learn native pronunciation and vocabulary.

 

Click here to download the transcripts now!

 

 

Kevin’s three ways to connect with people for real English conversations, no matter where you live:

  • Facebook Groups: Join a Facebook group with an interest in something you love (photography, cooking, sports, travel). This is an opportunity to connect with something you have in common. You could also join an expatriate group and meet other foreigners who live in an English-speaking country. Like you, they want to practice speaking English! Also in our IELTS course called 3 Keys IELTS Success System we have a lively and support Facebook group. Some of the members even practice English conversation together there.

 

  • Italki.com: If you are looking for a teacher, it is important to find a teacher that works for your needs. This website connects English teachers and non-native speakers from all around the world who work with all levels of English. Think about what you want and need. There are many choices here.

 

  • Practice with yourself: Listen to conversations you hear in English. Repeat them in your head, when nobody else is around. Repetition and review are a way your brain internalizes the language.  Don’t be afraid to talk to yourself in English!

 

Check out another awesome guest episode with AEE and AJ Hoge.

 

What are you going to do to connect with real people for genuine conversation?

Have you tried any of these?  What happened?

Leave us a comment below!

 

Every Tuesday from August until November, we will talk in-depth about one of these mistakes. 

We will discuss why it is a problem and give you the tools you need to fix it.  Our weekly discussions of the top 15 biggest mistakes in English will focus on these topics:

  1. Using the verbs “listen” and “hear”
  2. Whether to use “say” or “tell” or “speak” or “talk”
  3. Using “wish” or “hope”
  4. Do you use “to have” or “to be” to tell your age?
  5. Using the verb “will” correctly when talking about the future
  6. Are you “bored” or “boring?”
  7. Should you say “I have been” or “I was?”
  8. Do you “lend” or “borrow?”
  9. What does it mean to “invite over?”
  10. “I will” or “I’m going to?”
  11. “People is” or “People are?”
  12. When to use “much” and when to use “many”
  13. The difference between “make” and “do”
  14. Are you “by yourself” or “on your own?”
  15. When to use the article “the”

 

Have you had problems or made mistakes with the words or phrases above?

 What have you done to make your English run better?

Tell us about it in the comments below!

Do you like to watch sports?

Do you want to be able to talk about sports with your English-speaking friends?

If you are taking an exam such as the IELTS you may want to work on building some vocabulary to describe your favorite sports.

It’s great to be able to discuss this topic if a question about sports comes up in the IELTS Speaking test.

Today we introduce three useful English phrases for talking about sports.

Sports are international.  They can help you connect with people from anywhere.  But you need to know how to talk about them!

Here are three great phrases to help start your conversation:

  • “Have you been to a Red Sox game before?” – Change the team name to any you like.
  • “What sports and teams do you follow?” – This asks about a general interest in sports.
  • “Did you play any sports growing up?” – This is a great way to get to know more another person.  Follow up with the question, “How about now?”

Are you interested in sports?  Do you watch or play any?

Tell us about it below in the comments!

Today we talk to Joe Menninger, host of StartupRadio.de!

Joe is an entrepreneur from Germany who studied in Texas and China.  Living in three very different countries has given him many experiences.  These experiences have helped him as an entrepreneur.

Joe’s top three tips for learning a new language and culture:

  • You can learn more outside the classroom, so include yourself in the community.
  • Observe cultural behaviors – don’t assume behaviors in one cultural have the same meaning in another culture!
  • Remember that idioms from your language might not translate, so always speak in plain English.

 

Do you have any advice about learning a new language or culture?

Have you had experiences like Joe’s?

Tell us about it in the comments below!

What’s the biggest mistake you can make in English without even talking?

English is not something you can buy.  You must work for English skills and your English success.

In today’s episode we talk about thinking of English as part of life, not a commodity.

It’s easy to purchase a certificate course for English.  But if your heart and mind are separated from your learning, the certificate means nothing.

In the end, your skills in English are what is important – not the certificate!

You must be responsible for learning a language if you are to have any power over it.

Here are two strategies for learning English through living:

  • Go out with English-speaking colleagues after work
  • Use your other interests to explore English

When you meet a native speaker, do not think of them as an English practice object.

Instead, think of them as a potential friend!

 

Next, get the top 15 mistakes in English.

 

What can you do to change the way you think about learning English?

How have you tried to live the language instead of trying to own it?

Share your experiences in the comments section below!

Stop translating your idioms!

Today we’ll be talking about some of the dangers of translating “false friends.”  These are words that sound the same between two different languages, but aren’t.

We’ll also talk about translating idioms.  They can cause huge problems!

Many big businesses have made big mistakes translating English idioms into foreign languages. Here are two examples:

  • “Turn it loose” or “Let loose”: in English, this means “to completely relax”. A direct translation of this idiom into Spanish means “to suffer from diarrhea”!
  • “Finger-licking good”: in English, this means “delicious”. A direct translation into Chinese means “Eat your fingers off”!

Here are many more examples.

 

It is impossible to directly translate idioms, so don’t try!  But if you do make this mistake, it’s okay to laugh!

Have you made any mistakes using “false friends” or translating idioms? 

Tell us how in the comments below! 

Are people who study or work abroad smarter?

A recent Time magazine article says yes!

 Today you’re going to learn how living in a different culture can make you more intelligent.  You will also learn some ways to do this in your own country!

 

How can living in another culture make you smarter?  What are the benefits to your mind?

According to the article, it can make your thinking more:

  • Creative
  • Flexible
  • Complex

 

How can you get these benefits without going abroad?  What can you do where you live?

  • Host a foreign student
  • Look for a group of people to practice speaking English
  • Find music, movies or television to immerse yourself in another culture
  • Practice talking to yourself in English when alone

 

Caution: Going abroad is not what makes you smarter!  Experiences living in a different culture make you smarter.

 

Are you going to try living in a different culture?

Are you going to make yourself smarter?

Has living in another culture already made you smarter?  Tell us how in the comments below!

 

Do you like to tell jokes at parties?

Would you like to be able to tell a few jokes in English?

Today you’ll learn how to play with words and have a lot of “pun”!

What is a pun?

It’s a creative use of the language, usually using the literal meaning of the language and then a more creative, idiomatic use of the word.

 

Pun #1

What is acupuncture? Acupuncture is a “jab” well done?

“To jab someone”: to poke someone

“A job well done”: You did a great job

 

Pun #2

Once you’ve seen one shopping center, you’ve seen the mall

“You’ve seen them all”: They are all pretty similar

“You’ve seen the mall” : The mall is the shopping center

 

Pun #3

Bakers trade recipes on a knead to know basis

“On a need-to-know basis”: An exclusive secret, something that is not told to everyone, only those who need the information

“To knead”: To work with dough

 

What English puns do you know?

Share them here in the comments!

 

http://www.buzzfeed.com/patricksmith/really-really-bad-puns?bffb

Today you’ll learn how to let go of your grammar mistakes and your obsession with perfection and you’ll learn how to finally speak like a native!

Today we have Idahosa Ness who is the founder of the Mimic Method and he helps learners reach fluency through song lyrics and mimicking the language.

 

What does it mean to “mimic” English speakers?

To “mimic” means to copy.

When you learn English, don’t learn from the written word. Learn from what you hear.

Try to surround yourself with the language and repeat back what you hear.

Don’t think about conjugating verbs in your head or making a mistake.

When you focus too much on conjugating, it restricts your ability to take in new sounds in your head.

There will be no space in your mind.

 

Presentation1All Ears English Transcripts!

Check your understanding of today’s episode.

Learn the sounds of American English and new vocabulary words.

Click here to download the transcripts now.

 

What are the mistakes that learners make when they learn?

They approach the language through the written language., not the spoken language.

The problem is, we actually communicate through sound, not writing.

English is different in paper than in real life.

Idahosa created the Mimic Method to learn his own new languages because he was frustrated with the old methods of learning languages on paper.

 

What if you can’t travel to an English- speaking country?

Consume as much media as you can.

Media include TV and movies.

You can also connect with native speakers online while you are in your home country.

 

What if you do want to learn academic English?

Start with “street English” using the mimic method and then it’s easy to move into learning academic English.

 

Listen to another episode about learning English grammar!

 

Idahosa’s Bio:

Idahosa Ness is an educator, entrepreneur and founder of The Mimic Method- a language-learning program where you can master the pronunciation of English and other languages through song- training and personalized feedback.

Idahosa speaks five languages fluently (Spanish, French Portuguese, English, and Mandarin) and is currently learning his sixth one- Japanese- by making friends and “mimicking” people in Tokyo.

Home Page

 

 

What do you guys think? Have you tried mimicking a native speaker?

How did it go?

Do you think this could work for you? Let us know!

 

Yesterday we asked the question, “should you apologize?” and we asked you if you are apologizing and saying sorry too much.

Today we want to give you some practical, alternative phrases for saying “I’m sorry” if you decide that you are in the right place and situation to offer an apology.

Why should you learn different ways to say the same thing?

It makes you a more flexible and natural English speaker and it will get you a higher score on exams such as the IELTS or the TOEFL.

You’ll see a comparison of 3 typical ways to apologize and 3 creative, new ways to apologize.

 

Presentation1Get today’s transcripts!

Ready to use this episode to become fluent in English?

Make sure you understood every word we said on the podcast!

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Situation 1: You are late

  • “I’m sorry I’m late.”
  • “I got held up.”
  •  “I didn’t realize it was already so late.”

 

Situation 2: You make a mistake

  • “Sorry I messed up.” or “Sorry I made a mistake.”
  • “There was an error.” (this is useful if the mistake wasn’t yours)

 

Situation 3: You make someone upset

  • “Sorry you’re upset. It’s my fault”
  • “I see you’re upset.”
  • “I understand you’re upset.”
  • “What can I do?”
  • “How can I make it right?”

 

What other ways do you use to say sorry?

Let us know in the comments!

Let’s talk!

 

In today’s episode you’ll find out why you might not want to always say “sorry” and you’ll hear from Lindsay and her co-host about their different opinions on how and when to say sorry.

Do you use the word “sorry” often in your native language?

 

Common reasons to use “sorry” in English:

  • If you accidentally hurt someone (if you step on their foot)
  • If you are late to an important meeting (Gabby and Lindsay disagreed on this- listen to the episode to get more details)
  • If you made a mistake or sent the wrong information in an email
  •  If you upset someone or made them feel bad

 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzL-vdQ3ObA&feature=kp

 

 How about you?

When it is appropriate to say sorry in your culture?

Can you find power in your English mistakes? Find out here.

Today you’ll hear our personal examples and find out what this means for your English learning.

If something is not amazing in your life then you should let it go and wait for something better to come along.

This can be hard.

It can be scary to sit in the open space after you let something go.

Here is today’s quote:

“If you are not willing to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary.”

-Jim Rohn

 

Lindsay’s example:

She had been working with someone and getting some coaching and she had hit a wall with this person.

She realized that it was time to move on.

Now that she has moved on, she feels that there is a lot of open space in her life for the next great thing to come along.

 

What does this mean for you?

Maybe it’s time to move on to a new teacher, new materials, or a new class.

It’s ok to let go even if you don’t have anything to move on to.

Sit in the empty space and be ok with that.

 

Next, here are 4 mistakes you are making with your emails in English.

 

Tell us your story!

Do you have something that you need to let go of that is “good” for something that is “great”?

Do you agree with us in this podcast episode?

We want to talk with you in the comments!

Let’s find out today with our special guest Turgay Evren.

Turgay is an English instructor from Turkey and also an author of more than 60 best-selling ESL books.

Turgay is going to tell us about the differences between learning English in a traditional classroom versus learning English online.

Consider the location:

  • Are you going to be in a traffic jam commuting to your class? When you learn online you don’t need to sit in traffic to get to a physical school. Sitting in traffic can be a waste of time. You can also consider this when it comes to test preparation such as IELTS or TOEFL.
  • Choose your location based on your everyday needs and your life.

 

Does online learning work better in terms of psychology?

  • If you feel shy or awkward when you are learning with a teacher in person then maybe online education is a better option for you. You will feel more confident.
  • If you learn online you can visit different websites or podcasts. You’ll have more access to real English.

 

Learn more about Turgay

Turgay EvrenTurgay Evren is a lecturer, editor, poet, songwriter, translator and author who has written, retold, edited, or translated over 55 storybooks, 5 textbooks, several songs and many poems and essays.

His stories and poems have been read and recorded by several famous story- tellers and authors from different countries. Some of his songs have been arranged and sung by Jason R. Levine, the American RAP singer.

He has worked in various colleges and universities as an English teacher in Ankara, Istanbul, Toronto and Montreal. He has a bachelor’s degree in the field of English Language Teaching and a master’s degree in English Language and Literature with a focus on Post- colonial Literature. The online contents Turgay Evren has created are followed, shared, and used by thousands of ESL learners and teachers across the world. Visit him online at  turgayevren.wordpress.com or http://turgayevren.podomatic.com/ or youtube.com/turgayevren

 

 

What do you think? Let us know in the comments!

Do you prefer to learn online or in person?

Which do you think is better for your life and your personality?

Send us a comment!

It’s time to stop and fix this common error with “yes/no” questions.

Today you’ll hear a real conversation between Lindsay and her co-host where they use “yes/no” questions and answers and you’ll see how to do it right in English.

If someone asks you this: “Do you have any other questions?”

The incorrect way to respond: “Yes I don’t have any other questions”

The correct way to respond: “No I don’t have any other questions.”

 

Here’s the general rule:

Say “yes” or “no” to match the answer, not to match the question.

 

More examples:

Q: Do you have any other questions?

A: No I don’t.

 

Q: You can type 100 words per minute, right?

A: Yes I can/No I can’t.

 

Q: Hey you listen to the AEE podcast? Don’t you love it?

A: Yes I love it.

Q: You don’t want to listen every day?

A: Actually I do. Yes.

 

One more tip:

Use the words “actually” or “really” or “in fact” to redirect the question and give a different answer than the person is expecting.

Don’t translate from your native language!

 

Are you making mistakes with your emails in English?

 

Talk to us in the comments!

Have you ever made this mistake?

Was today’s tip helpful?

Let us know!

Today Josh Plotkin from Brazilian Gringo is going to show you how copying a celebrity and creating an English character can help you improve your English.

You’ll also learn how to learn more about the culture as well as the language when you try to become fluent in English.

If you want to get fluent in a language you have to think about the people with whom you’ll be using the language.

Josh’s tips for learning culture and language:

  • Think about the culture within the larger culture: Do you want to understand office culture or dance culture or hip-hop or entrepreneurial culture within the United States? Don’t just learn “American culture” but break it down into small cultures that you need to learn and communicate within.
  • Look for materials made by people within the sub-culture that you have chosen: If you are an entrepreneur and you want to learn enough English to do business in the United States you should download podcasts and get materials that discuss entrepreneurship in the US.
  • Model someone in your target language:  Choose a TV or movie character that you can relate to. Stop being your normal self in the new language and become the character that you are modeling. This is also helpful when you switch between languages.

 

Don’t be afraid to play with your personality and develop new characters to feel more confident when you speak a new language.

You could also try this trick in the IELTS Speaking test.

By pretending to be someone else, you can reduce some of the pressure and self-consciousness that you might be struggling with.

 

 

Josh PlotkinJosh’s Bio:

Josh is a language teacher from California who is fascinated with exploring other cultures.

He helps the world discover Brazil and learn Portuguese with his site: Braziliangringo.com

Say hi if you’re planning on going to Brazil.

 

 

Let us know your opinion!

Have you tried using a celebrity character when you speak English?

Do you think it could work for you?

Which celebrity would you choose?

Today you’ll learn how to respond to a typical Fourth of July invitation and you’ll find out what most Americans usually do on the Fourth of July.

What is special about July 4, 1776?

It was the day that we signed the Declaration of Independence to become independent from Great Britain.

What do Americans usually do?

  • Barbecues: It’s common to have a barbecue all summer but especially on the 4th of July.
  • The beach: Even in Boston we have beaches.
  • Fireworks: Every US city has fireworks. Find out where they’re showing them and invite your friends. Bring a blanket and choose a specific meeting place to meet up with your friends.
  • Go to a parade: This usually happens during the day
  • Special menus or events at restaurants or bars
  • Camping and hiking: It’s a great opportunity to take a 3-day weekend this year because the Fourth of July is on a Friday.

 

How do you respond to a typical Fourth of July Invitation?

G: I’m going to catch the parade tomorrow do you want to come?

L: Really? That would be cool. What time does it start?

G: Let’s meet at 11am.

L: That sounds great where should I meet you?

G: Let’s meet near the MIT bridge.

 

Next, learn about St. Patrick’s Day in the US.

 

What are you doing tomorrow for the Fourth of July?

Are you going to celebrate?

Do you have any questions for us? Ask us here!

In this episode you will hear a role play between Lindsay and her co-host where they have a misunderstanding when it comes to scheduling a time to practice English online.

Here are some mistakes that you are making when you try to meet Americans online:

  • You aren’t setting a specific time: If you aren’t setting a specific time with someone then you are saying to the person that you are rude and that you don’t actually care about practicing. It also makes you appear flaky. Flaky means that you are not reliable. Only schedule a time that you KNOW you can meet the person and that there won’t be any other conflicts.
  • You aren’t giving enough advance notice: Are you emailing your English partner to ask them to help you only one hour in advance? This is completely rude. It’s disrespectful. Instead, give the person at least 24 hours of advance notice for scheduling and for cancelling any appointment.
  • You are treating a Skype meeting as different from meeting in person: Remember that across the screen there is a real person who has given up something else to meet with you. Treat them well. Cancel in advance or if there is an emergency contact them as soon as possible. The worst thing you could do is not show up and not let them know.

 

Success means understanding what your colleagues, friends, and partners are thinking even if they are from another culture.

Success comes from empathy!

Think about your cultural point of view when it comes to time.

Tell us in the comments!

How do you handle scheduling in your culture? How do you think it’s different from the US?

Learn how to politely end a boring conversation in English today!

Here are some phrases that you should NOT use:

  • “Ok bye.”
  • “See you later.”
  • ” I have to go to the bathroom.”

 

Presentation1All Ears English Transcripts

Check your understanding of today’s episode.

Learn the sounds of American English and new vocabulary words

Click here to get the transcripts now!

 

 

Here are some phrases to get out of the conversation:

  • “Ya know what? I really gotta get going.”
  • “I’d love to hear more but I gotta run.”
  • “I have to be somewhere.”
  • “It was great talking to you but I want to talk to someone else over there.”

 

Keep building your English conversation skills!

Find out how to use “by the way” in English.

 

Talk to us in the comments!

Have you tried to use these phrases?

Did you successfully get out of the conversation? Tell us what happened!

Do you know how to start your presentation in English?

Today you’ll find out 3 awesome tips from our guest Carl Kwan!

Carl has been on our show a few times this year!

He is a presentation expert and he told us why it’s important to know your audience when you present and how to end your English presentation.

Today he’s here to show you how to get your presentation started!

 

Presentation1All Ears English Transcripts!

Check your understanding of today’s episode.

Learn the sounds of American English and new vocabulary words.

Click here to download the transcripts now.

 

3 Ways to Start your Presentation in English:

  • Start with a surprising fact: After you state the interesting or surprising fact, tell people what they should do with it. This gets their attention and this makes it easy for you to show them what they are going to learn. This is a more effective way to start than saying your name or “thanks for coming to my presentation.”
  • Use a story: Talk about what you were doing at a specific time when you thought about your presentation topic. For example, “Recently I was having a conversation with a friend when she told me about a really interesting method she is using to learn English.” With this strategy you should use a time reference. Talk about a situation and the action that was going on at the time. Use the word “when.” Using “when” is a good way to introduce the topic that you are about to talk about. This will get your audience interested.
  • Use a question to talk about a problem and your solution: Start by asking “have you ever…?” Then say, “well, here’s…” Here is an example from Carl: “Have you ever wondered how you can use CNN to learn English? Well here’s a 5-step process for using CNN to learn English.” To do this you have to know your audience and your question has to speak to them.

 

Carl’s Bio:

 

Carl was born in Hong Kong and immigrated to Vancouver, Canada at age 3. Like many immigrants, his parents always struggled with English.

This eventually led him to pursue teaching English to help people like his mom and dad.

Since 2009 he has produced presentations videos. Currently, his YouTube Channel has more than 120 videos on presentations.

Carl lives in Seoul, South Korea with his wife and son. He offers presentations workshops and consulting, he produces live and animated videos for business owners and works as a professional voice actor and radio personality.

He believes that everyone deserves a chance at success. To learn more about Carl, please visit his website at www.carlkwan.com, check out his videos on YouTube or connect with him on LinkedIn.

Here is Carl’s most recent website: Carl’s English

And check out his photos on Instagram at instagram.com/thecarlkwan.

 

Talk to us in the comments!

Have you tried any of these techniques?

How did it work? Let us know!

Do you feel confident when you present in English?

Congratulations to Gabby!

She completed a half Ironman in June 2014!

The Ironman is an endurance race that includes a bicycle, run, and swim section.

Gabby did a total of 70.3 miles.

This is a HUGE accomplishment and there are 4 things that Gabby learned that can help you improve your English and your life.

Find out what they are today!

 

4 Things You Can Learn for Your English:

  • Take it one step at a time: It’s too overwhelming to think about the full distance. Instead Gabby asked herself if she had the energy and ability to take one more step. She put one foot in front of the other. She took a lot of little steps and eventually those added up to a huge distance. If you are learning English, don’t focus on everything you need to do to reach your goal. Focus on the next, smallest action that you can take. You will see that over time the little steps add up to the full goal. Keep it moving.
  • Make a small deposit into the “training bank” each day: Gabby trained every day for 6 months. She didn’t skip training days. She deposited the training into her training account and she was able to withdraw the skills from the account when she had to perform. For English learners, if you work on your English every day for 15 minutes and you make that deposit into your account, you will be able to withdraw from that account when you get into a conversation situation. Practice creates confidence. Luck does not create confidence.
  • Go it alone: Gabby went to the race alone. Her friends and family supported her but they did not come to the race. That was ok with her. Even if you don’t know other people who are learning English you can do it on your own. You can find information and programs online to support you.  Maybe your friends are still learning in a traditional way. You can “go it alone” by being a more proactive learner and learning in your own way.

 

Leave us a comment!

Do you train for athletic events? Do you play sports?

Have you noticed that other aspects of your life have improved as well with more hours of training?

Today we have Ana Luiza from Ingles Online.

She is going to offer you three tips to make it work from home.

 

 

 

Presentation1

All Ears English Transcripts!

Check your understanding of today’s episode.

Learn the sounds of American English and new vocabulary words.

Click here to download the transcripts now.

 

3 Ways to Learn English from Home:

  • Don’t only read, start with audio: Don’t invest too much time in just reading if you don’t know the sounds of English. It’s common for people to start with just reading but they don’t use the audio to go with what they are reading. These students end up having strange pronunciation because they use the sounds of their native language. If you do this, it will be a huge waste of time.
  • Listen to things that you understand: Start with English audio that you understand but can’t use quite yet. Don’t focus your time on English that you don’t understand. Once you understand something once, you need to see it again and again and review it. You need to see it used in different contexts and see it being used by different people. It takes time to acquire the language. It’s a process.  Don’t jump ahead and skip over words that you think you already know.
  • Start small: If you are busy and don’t have a lot of time consume English in small chunks. Fifteen minutes a day is great.  Take small steps. Listen to English while you are doing something else like cooking.

 

Ana Luiza has shown us that it is possible to get better at English even if you can’t travel to an English-speaking country.

Go get started with some of these tips and techniques today!

Check out another great guest episode from ESL Hip Hop.

 

Ana Luiza’s Bio:

Ana Luiza Bergamini is the founder of http://www.inglesonline.com.br,  a website that teaches English to Portuguese speakers with a focus on comprehension and speaking, and features weekly tips and a podcast, and a multimedia course of basic English.

Ana has taught English for over ten years and she now lives in London, UK.

 

 

Talk to us in the comments!

Have you tried using any of these tips?

How did they work?

Today you’re going learn a few phrases, questions, and vocabulary words that you can use in any conversation to make people enjoy your company more.

 

 

 

Presentation1All Ears English Transcripts!

Check your understanding of today’s episode.

Learn the sounds of American English and new vocabulary words.

Click here to download the transcripts now.

 

Phrases to make people like you:

  • “How about you?”: This is better in the middle of a conversation. People want to talk about themselves and share their opinion on a topic so give them a chance to do it. This shows that you are interested in the person and that’s why they’ll find you interesting.
  • Use the person’s name: This shows that you care enough to remember the person’s name. Use their name to show that you care. Try to insert their name at the beginning or the end of a conversation. Don’t be afraid to ask for their name again if you forget it.
  • Do NOT use “sir” or “ma’am” in the US: This is too formal in the Northeastern United States or on the West Coast (Boston, NY, Portland, Washington State). It can also make you sound submissive or like you are putting yourself below the person.
  • “You’re welcome” instead of “no problem”: When you say “no problem” you are saying that what you just did for that person was easy and it didn’t mean anything to you. “You’re welcome” doesn’t make a judgment about what you have done for the person. It’s simple and polite.
  • “What would you like me to do?”: This allows the person to be direct if they are trying to hint at something and it gives you a chance to help someone.

Some of these phrases might also help you get a higher Speaking score on the IELTS Exam.

Click here to learn more about the IELTS Exam.

 

Have you tried any of these phrases?

If so, how did it go? Do you know another phrase that will make you more likeable?

Let us know in the comments section!

 

Source: Inc Magazine 19 Words That Will Make People Like You More

Lisa is from the Pacific Northwest region of the United States.

Lisa is going to introduce us to Seattle and the Pacific Northwest and she is going to show us 4 things that are different or unique about her region.

4 Things That Are Unique About the Pacific Northwest:

  • People enjoy the outdoors: People are focused on the environment and spending time outdoors. Even though it rains a lot, people like to get out and when it’s nice out, people spend a lot of time sailing, boating kayaking, hiking, etc. The temperatures are mild throughout the year and it’s not “painful” to be outdoors.
  • They value local, organic food: A lot of people in this area value organic and local food, grass-fed beef, etc. There are a lot of farmers’ markets that people go to regularly. There is a huge market for this kind of natural food.
  • A vibrant coffee culture: Starbucks started here! Starbucks brought the coffee culture to Seattle but in Washington there are tons of local coffee roasters and local cafes. The local shops often roast their own blends and have followers. If you are visiting the US, it’s a great idea to go into a cafe or the same cafe every day for several days. You can meet real local people at these places. Try starting a conversation with them.
  • A progressive political culture: A lot of people value things like the environment, gay marriage, and other social issues. Medical marijuana is now legal. The minimum wage has just been increased from $9 per hour to $15 per hour. This is considered a “living wage.”

 

 

Bonus vocabulary term: “Crunchy”

This term can be used as an adjective and it means that people like to spend time in nature.

It’s an American English slang term.

 

Lisa BiskupLisa’s Bio:

Lisa Biskup is the founder of English Fluency Now, Inc. and the creator of the English Fluency Now podcast.

She works as a private English language coach, helping motivated adult learners reach their fluency goals.

Her audio immersion program “Success with Stories” trains learners to become powerful English speakers, so that they can speak English with confidence and ease. Lisa is a certified Bilingual/TESOL teacher who has enjoyed working with English learners for over 20 years.

Visit Lisa’s website at http://www.englishfluencynow.com

 

Have you visited the Pacific Northwest? What did you like about it?

Could you live there? Does the culture match your personality?

Let us know in the comments!

You work hard to accomplish that goal every day.

But what is the final thing that is holding you back? Why haven’t you reached your goal yet?

Is it fear of failure? Maybe not.

We think it’s fear of success!

Do you struggle with fear of success? It’s good to talk about your fears!

We’ll help you with this in today’s episode.

 

A lot of you guys have said you want to sound like a native speaker.

But what happens when you start to sound that way?

You might start to feel like you are losing your identity!

Your actions, your gestures, your way of life might change when you become fluent in English.

 

Presentation1Get today’s transcripts!

Ready to use this episode to become fluent in English?

Make sure you understood every word we said on the podcast!

Download the transcripts instantly!

 

How do you know if you are afraid of success?

  • You procrastinate with English learning: You might have an opportunity to join a language club, to go abroad, or to work with a great teacher but you put it off. You sabotage your success because maybe you feel that you don’t deserve that opportunity. You don’t set up a proper study plan for your IELTS or TOEFL exam.

 

  • You enroll in classes and then you quit: You don’t follow one English course from step A to Z. Instead you skip around. You work with different teachers, take different courses, but you never go very deep into any of them. You are always second- guessing the course or the teacher. You know that if you followed one course from the beginning to the end, you might have a better chance of success and that’s scary.

 

How can you get past this?

  • You can have two identities if you speak two languages. Enjoy the different identities. Play with this concept for a while and see if it works for you.
  • Make yourself accountable: Create a system where people will check in with you to see if you are progressing toward your English goal. Don’t keep your goals private. Make them public if you want a better chance of reaching them.

 

Source: Thanks to Internet Business Mastery Podcast for the inspiration for this episode.

 

Are you afraid of success? How do you know?

How do you plan to overcome it?

Let us know in the comments below.

Throw away your typical way of learning pronunciation and listen up!

This special tip will also help you get a 7 or higher on the IELTS Speaking test.

Learn where to pause!

Today we’re looking at tongue twisters and we’re going to show you how to use rhythm and tone and pauses to pronounce a really tough phrase.

The phrase for today:

She sells seashells on the seashore.

The shells she sells are seashells I’m sure.

For if she sells seashells on the seashore,

Then I’m sure she sells seashore shells.

 

Presentation1Get today’s transcripts!

Ready to use this episode to become fluent in English?

Make sure you understood every word we said on the podcast!

Get the transcripts now!

 

You also need to learn how to correct your own pronunciation.

Listen to the episode to see how we demonstrated chunking and pausing in this episode.

Give this a try and let us know how it works for you!

Today we have special guest Stephen Mayeux on the show.

Stephen teaches English through hip hop and he’s here today to share some of his best ideas with us!

 

 

Presentation1All Ears English Transcripts!

Check your understanding of today’s episode.

Learn the sounds of American English and new vocabulary words.

Click here to download the transcripts now.

 

3 Songs You Can Use to Get Better at English:

  • “Push It” by Salt-n-Peppa: This song is good because you won’t have to remember too many lyrics. It’s repetitive and it’s fun. This song has energy. Enjoy it!
  • “I Left My Wallet in El Segundo” by A Tribe Called Quest: This song has great lyrics and is great for storytelling and is also repetitive so it’s great for learning.
  • “Sound of da Police” by KRS- One: This song is great to learn the difference between “F” sound and “V” sound. You can get more materials to learn this on Stephen’s website. In this song KRS-One tells a story. He shows his anger at the police by weaving in messages about the way that he saw abuse from the police in his music. He makes a comparison between the police and slave “overseers”.

 

“Sound of da Police” by KRS-One

 

 

Remember, when you use music to learn, only focus on a few vocabulary words or sounds.

You don’t need to be able to understand every word in the song.

What do you think?

Do you have any favorite hip-hop songs to learn English and practice your pronunciation?

Which songs do you use? Tell us in the comments.

 

 

 

steve (4)Stephen Mayeux is the founder of ESLhiphop.com.

He teaches private English lessons on Skype.

He’s also a worldwide ambassador of peace, love, and hip-hop for Gallery Languages.

 

Today we will show you how to do it.

Today you’ll find out what NOT to do if you don’t want to look like a tourist.

  • Don’t go to Times Square: If you MUST see it, run through it in 15 minutes and then go to local spots like West 4th or the East Village near St. Mark’s Place. Definitely don’t eat there! You will get expensive food that is not typical of New York.
  • Check out Brooklyn: Brooklyn has become a hot spot. Check it out to meet local people.
  • Check out Queens: Queens is so diverse! Take the 7 Train to Flushing. You will experience so many different cultures just in Queens.
  • Don’t get scared of the grittiness of New York: Parts of New York are dirty. There are rats in the subway. There are garbage bags on the street all of the time.  People don’t move to New York to have a “clean” and “neat” lifestyle. New York is gritty! It’s messy. Get used to it and see it for what it is!
  • Don’t ask for a “piece” of pizza: Instead ask for a “slice” of pizza. This will make you sound much more like a local than a tourist. Learn more about this here.
  • Realize that New Yorkers don’t pay much attention to the rest of the US: When someone moves to New York, they often don’t leave unless they get a great job or need to move for education or some other really compelling reason to leave. Understand the mentality of a typical New Yorker to connect with him or her.

 

What do you think?

Have you ever visited New York?

Did you go to all of the touristy places or did you find some local spots?

Let us know!

Today you’ll learn how to avoid embarrassing situations when you are not sure whether to hug, handshake, or wave.

We had a question from a Chinese student.

She wasn’t sure how to greet American men.

It’s common for young American women or men to hug you as a greeting.

This student can’t hug a guy because of her culture.

What should she do?

Presentation1Get today’s transcripts!

Ready to use this episode to become fluent in English?

Make sure you understood every word we said on the podcast!

Download the transcripts instantly!

 

Here are some things to think about when you decide on a greeting:

  • Where are you?
  • Who are you greeting?
  • How close are you to the person?

 

We usually don’t hug people when we greet each other for the first time.

We shake hands when we meet someone for the first time.

After spending a few hours with the person you can give the person a casual hug to say goodbye.

 

What should you do if this is strange in your culture?

Just give a “light” hug and keep it distant.

Also try to watch the other person and follow their lead.

 

It also depends on the location/situation.

In a formal situation we might not hug the person.

Context is key.

We don’t hug clients, colleagues, managers, bosses, students, etc.

 

Don’t take it too seriously.

Don’t tighten up if you aren’t comfortable with the hug.

Stick your hand out first to initiate the handshake to avoid the hug.

You could also wave.

This would be a good way to keep some distance between you and the other person and to avoid the hug.

 

Learn how to talk about money in American culture!

 

Leave us a comment!

Have you ever been in an awkward hug situation?

What happened and how did you handle it?

Let us know in the comments below! We want to chat with you

 

Mau Buchler is here to give is some hints and ideas.

Mau thinks that traveling is the best way to learn English.

But before you travel you need to prepare and you can use online tools to get ready.

Mau’s Tips:

  • Prepare: Mau’s platform is called Tripppin and it can help you get ready for your trip by learning the language and about the culture.
  • Don’t go to big chain hotels: You will not be able to connect with local people if you stay at these hotels. You can use couchsurfing.com to find people to stay with. You can also use meetup.com to find local groups and meetups.
  • Volunteer when you are abroad: This is a great way to stay busy, meet local people, and practice your English. This is a way to see a new aspect of the country that you wouldn’t see otherwise.
  • Go to internet cafes: At an internet cafe you’ll find a lot of people who are willing to be social and make friends at these places.

 

Can’t travel abroad? Learn how to get better at English without traveling abroad.

 

MauMau’s Bio:

Mau has been teaching all levels of English, around the world, for 20 years. He’s also an instructional designer, conference speaker, and the creator of http://www.tripppin.com

 

 

 

What are your strategies for starting conversations while you are traveling?

Let us know in the comments below

Do you want to know some great strategies?

Today we have TOEFL expert Bruce Stirling.

Bruce will show you the thinking techniques that separate the winners from the losers on the TOEFL.

 

Bruce’s Tips- What Makes Someone Do Well on the TOEFL?

  • They prepare: Those who get high scores have taken courses, have bought books, and have prepared. You should not be surprised by what’s on the test because of your preparation.
  • They know it’s not a vocabulary test: The TOEFL is an argument- based test. Those who get high scores can develop and analyze arguments in the speaking, and writing sections.
  • They know how to manage their time: The TOEFL is all about time management. You need to practice time- management strategies in addition to practicing the test content.
  • They can write a good independent essay: The secret is being able to write an independent opinion essay. If you can write an essay you will have the foundation that you need to construct an argument in the speaking section and other sections.

 

Click here to learn about the differences between TOEFL and the IELTS and which one should you take.

 

Bruce Stirling is an American university professional with 30- years teaching experience at the BA, MBA, and non credit ESL and ESP levels in the United States and Japan.

He has published nine books, including four TOEFL books.

 

Let Bruce Help You Pass the TOEFL Now!

Do you want to get a high score on the TOEFL?

Do you need great practice and a smart strategy to do it?

Bruce Stirling knows how to lead you to success on the TOEFL.

Why should you get this book?

  • Get speaking and writing strategies that will give you the extra points that you need
  • Learn the strategy of “argument mapping” and how to use it to succeed
  • Learn how to think like a TOEFL rater so that you can pass the exam
  • Get step-by-step help with speaking and writing

What is your TOEFL experience?

What is the most challenging thing about the TOEFL for you?

Please share it with us in the comments!

 

Do you want to be able to pronounce your English words like a native but are you not sure how to do it?

Today you’ll meet Mandy Egle from Pronuncian!

Mandy is a pronunciation expert and she is going to help you find out if you have a pronunciation problem in English!

Mandy has three tips for you today.

 

Mandy’s tips:

  • Do an inventory of the sounds of English: This allows you to self correct more often. This will help you to be a more independent learner. You need to recognize when you have a pronunciation problem.
  • Use a minimalistic method of creating a sound: Don’t try to exaggerate when you practice saying the sounds of English. Instead, learn to make the sound in a minimalistic way. This will help avoid embarrassment and will help you start to speak more naturally and with confidence.
  • Get a native rhythm: Learn how to reduce sounds that should be reduced. We don’t pronounce every sound with the same emphasis. It’s important to study natural rhythms and know how certain syllables need to be stressed and how they fit in with other syllables that are not stressed.
  • Don’t be afraid of sounding like someone else: A lot of students feel nervous when they hear themselves speak naturally, like a native. They seem to lose a sense of identity. They are afraid that people will look down on them. This is an example of being afraid of success. Don’t let it happen to you!

 

Get more episodes about American English pronunciation here!

 

MandyMandy’s Bio:

Mandy has been teaching English as a Foreign Language with a focus on pronunciation and accent reduction since 2005 at Seattle Learning Academy, an English language school she founded in Seattle Washington, USA. Her courses and teaching materials are used by Fortune 100 companies and individuals worldwide. She is also the teacher behind the highly ranked American English Pronunciation Podcast. She uses her experience with intermediate to advanced students to create podcast topics that most affect students living and working in the United States and can help them communicate better and more clearly.

 

 

What do you think?

Have you ever been afraid to sound like a native speaker?

Is pronunciation a big challenge for you?

Let us know!

 

Don’t be lonely when you travel in the United States!

Today we’ll give you 4 phrases to use when you come to the US and you want to make some American friends.

One of our listeners asked us this question so please send in your questions if you have one!

 

Situation 1- We are at a cafe:

Key phrase: “Have you tried the ____?”

Please listen to the episode to get the full conversation!

 

Situation 2- You are at a local party:

Key phrase: “Hey I’m new to Boston. What should I see while I’m here.”

Listen to the episode to get the conversation

 

Situation 3- We are on a day tour:

Key phrase: “What brings you to Boston.”

Listen to the episode to get the conversation

 

Situation 4- At a bed and breakfast:

Key phrase: “What or where have you been exploring?” “Do you have any suggestions?”

Listen to the episode to get the conversation

 

 

Leave a comment!

Which phrase have you tried using while traveling?

How did it go?

Let us know your strategies for starting a conversation while traveling!

A lot of Americans tend to see the “bright side” of things.

Why is this?

Where does optimism show up in American English?

Where does it show up in our intonation and our expressions?

Optimistic expressions in English:

  • To look on the bright side: “Hey don’t be sad. Look on the bright side, at least you are healthy.”
  • To stay positive: “Things are tough right now but let’s stay positive”
  • Chin up: “Come on, chin up, everything is going to be ok”
  • At least… : “You lost your job but at least you still have your house.”
  • To see the world with rose-colored glasses: “This guy sees the world with rose- colored glasses.”

 

Optimism is sometimes connected with comfort with ambiguity.

Hofstede is a Dutch researcher who studied uncertainty avoidance in different cultures.

Uncertainty avoidance means that you don’t feel comfortable with not knowing what’s going to happen or with an unclear situation.

 

Presentation1All Ears English Transcripts!

Check your understanding of today’s episode.

Learn the sounds of American English and new vocabulary words.

Click here to download the transcripts now.

 

Hofstede’s findings on uncertainty avoidance:

1- Japan (high uncertainty avoidance, most comfortable with clear and certain situations) = 92

2- France

3- Brazil

4- Italy

5- US

6- China

7- Singapore

 

Here is a quote for today:

“The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The realist adjusts the sails.”

– William Arthur Ward

 

What do you think? Are you optimistic or pessimistic?

Where does your culture fall on the uncertainty avoidance scale?

Let us know- let’s have a conversation!

 

Citation: Geert Hofstede

Do you ever ask this question?

Today you’ll find out how to figure out your English level and you’ll hear what we have to say about the importance of knowing your level.

We got this question from one of our listeners.

Remember you can ask your question too! Please leave a question at the bottom of any blog post.

So how do you know your level? It’s a tough question because you need to remember WHY you are learning and why you are wanting to know your level or your test score.

Presentation1All Ears English Transcripts!

Check your understanding of today’s episode.

Learn the sounds of American English and new vocabulary words.

Click here to download the transcripts now.

 

But why are you actually learning?

If you’re like most people, you are learning for the purpose of communicating and connecting and not just to pass a test.

Language can’t always be based on level.

You start as a beginner and you need some basic skills but after you reach the intermediate level, your growth becomes organic.

It’s not a direct path to improvement.

The bottom line is, how well can you communicate in a given situation.

You might know a lot of vocabulary words or phrasal verbs but can you use the right words at the right time?

That is the thing that you should be trying to measure, not your test score or any number or level.

Remember that level and scores are relative to your situation and you are NEVER a number. You are much more than that.

Focus on connecting with people and developing your speaking and communication skills.

Also, focus on learning based on the situation. Can you order a coffee in Starbucks? Great, now can you use more advanced and sophisticated and natural expressions to order that same coffee?

Our advice is this: Don’t focus on your level or your score. Focus on what you can do THROUGH or WITH your English skills.

 Learn how to become a more self-disciplined English learner.

Please leave a comment for us.

What is your opinion about this topic?

Do you think test scores and levels are important? Why or why not?

Please let us know! We want to hear from you.

Today Chad from Real Life Radio Podcast is here!

Chad is going to show us how to live English and not just learn it.

Chad has three keys to real life English fluency that he is going to share with us today.

Listen to this interview with Chad to change the way you learn English.

Three keys to real life English fluency:

  • Don’t just learn the language but live it: Don’t just take an English class. Don’t make it separate from your life. Don’t make it a school subject. Connect your English learning to your life. Chad did this when he was learning Portuguese and he started learning Capoeira and he got active in the community. He had to sing in Portuguese. It made the learning process easier and more fun.
  • Don’t focus on grammar: Build vocabulary first and start using the language. Don’t make grammar the main focus of your studying. Don’t get paralyzed. Don’t make it right or wrong. Make your goal to communicate rather than get the grammar 100% correct. Get into a routine of listening to real, natural English the way that natives speak it. Also be comfortable with not understanding everything. Even native speakers don’t understand 100% of what they hear.
  •  Have a community that can support you: You could create a community of colleagues or other English listeners on the internet or in real life. Try to connect with both English learners and native speakers. Don’t be afraid to speak English with them if you are not in a class. You have to take your English learning outside of the class.

 Chad’s Bio:

Chad was born in Perth Western Australia but currently lives in Belo Horizonte Brazil. He has been a qualified English teacher and language learner for the past 10 years.

He is also the co-founder of RealLife English which is an English learning experience that connects people through English, both online and in-person.

Find out more about the RealLife Community at their website (realifegobal.com) where you can also see their vast range of articles, videos, and podcasts. Aw Yeah!!

In the United States, we spend a lot of time with our phones when we are out in public like on the train, on the street, or in a cafe.

How can you start a conversation in the United States? Eye contact is the first step and then you have to move fast.

You have to hold the eye contact for another second and then start the conversation.

How can you start a conversation if you have your ear buds in or if you are starting at your email on your phone?

How would your life be different if you had one conversation with a new person each day?

Remember, there is a time to use your device for learning but there is also a time to connect with people.

Don’t forget your bigger goal.

It’s not to learn English.

Your goal is to connect with people!

 

 

Next, learn about the American workplace taboos.

 

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Please click here to leave us a review in iTunes! What do you think of our show?

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Today you’ll meet Luke from Luke’s English Podcast!

Luke is a funny guy and a comedian and he’ll teach you how to be funny in English.

Learn three different kinds of humor in English and how to avoid the embarrassment of telling a bad joke in English.

How to execute a joke in the US versus England:

  • In the United States we use a lot of sarcasm and upbeat humor. We like to “stay positive” and “put on a happy face.”
  • In England it’s common to make fun of yourself when you are making a joke. British humor is sometimes hard for Americans to read. A British person might seem quite serious when he is actually joking. There is ambiguity in the jokes. They like to give each other some space for the joke to succeed or fail. Humor is used to make sure no one gets offended in different situations.

Presentation1Get today’s transcripts!

Ready to use this episode to become fluent in English?

Make sure you understood every word we said on the podcast!

Click here to get the transcripts now.

Luke’s advice on how to tell jokes in English:

  • Be careful about telling jokes in social situations
  • Know when it’s appropriate to tell a joke. Sometimes there might be an informal joke-telling situation with your friends. That’s a great time to try your joke.
  • Be careful about the subject of the joke. Don’t make jokes about race, age, weight, gender or sexual orientation (especially in the United States)
  • Try to tell a spontaneous joke rather than a preplanned joke. The joke is more of an attitude than a specific joke. Instead, develop an attitude that is funny and lighthearted.
  • Make sure that you know the joke well when you are telling the joke so that you don’t forget the punchline.
  • Keep it short and sweet.
  • It should sound natural.
  • Don’t laugh too much at your own joke.
  • Be prepared if your joke doesn’t work, but don’t worry about it too much.

Check out another English teacher who uses humor and jokes when he teaches here.

If you want to learn how to tell jokes in English, go out to comedy clubs and learn about how a good joke is told. Enjoy the comedy scene!

Luke’s Bio:

Luke's English Podcast

Hello! I’m Luke from “Luke’s English Podcast”.

I’m from London and at the moment I’m living in Paris.

I love teaching English, meeting people from around the world, and recording episodes of my podcast.

I’ve been teaching for 12 years, and I’ve been doing the podcast for 5 years now. I’m also a stand-up comedian, so I like to use humour in my English teaching.

I’m really pleased to be featured on Gabby & Lindsay’s podcast, and I hope you enjoy the interview. Cheers! Click here to visit my website – http://teacherluke.wordpress.com

Do you like to tell jokes in English?

Tell us your best joke in the comments section below!

They don’t have the same meaning!

In today’s episode you’ll learn the difference between these two English vocabulary words and you’ll learn how to use them like a native.

Fun versus Funny:

  • Fun: Something enjoyable, exciting, a walk with a friend, a good conversation
  • Funny: Something that is comedic, something that makes you laugh

 

Presentation1Get today’s transcripts!

Ready to use this episode to become fluent in English?

Make sure you understood every word we said on the podcast!

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It is also important to pay attention to intonation.

If you use a specific intonation, it could mean “weird” or “off.”

At the beginning of the episode, Lindsay said, “You seem funny today.”

Lindsay meant that her co-host appeared strange and she was asking if something was wrong.

Pro tip: You can call someone fun and/or funny but the two words don’t mean the same thing.

 Get more common English mistakes here.

Do you know anyone in your life who is both fun and funny?

What’s funny to you?

What’s fun?

Tell us in the comments!

AJ Hoge explains how to learn English with emotionDo you know why it’s important to learn English with emotion?

Today we have a special guest on the show who is going to show you a new way to learn English to finally succeed!

AJ Hoge is the founder of Effortless English.

AJ believes that you need three things to make your English learning work.

You need to learn with emotion, you need to listen as much as possible, and you need to use REAL English materials. AJ is one of many awesome guests that we have had on AEE.

AJ’s tips today are great for anyone who wants to reach a level of confidence in English conversation or anyone who wants to increase their score on the IELTS or the TOEFL.

 

AJ’S Tips for Success:

  • Learn with emotion: AJ thinks that emotion is 80% of success. You can’t be passive when you learn. You need to bring your mind to life and put some energy and power into your English learning by using emotions. What should do if you feel embarrassed? Use your body and stand up straight, breathe deeply, and speak louder. These are the first steps to get active and emotional with your learning!
  • Start with listening: AJ reminded us that you need to listen before you speak. Babies learn by listening for months before they ever try to say a word. Let your brain absorb the sounds of English. Listen to people around you. Listen to podcasts, TV shows, movies, and other real materials. Don’t pressure yourself to use what you hear right away. It’s ok if your listening ability is higher than your speaking ability. Just keep listening!
  • Listen to REAL English: Don’t focus on the small, grammatical points of the language. Focus on real American English and listen to people who are talking about topics that grab your interest. Don’t rely on textbooks. You will never have a conversation with someone about grammar points. No one wants to talk about that. Look on You Tube and iTunes for interesting listening material. Focus on your own interests and hobbies.

 

Presentation1Get today’s transcripts!

Ready to use this episode to become fluent in English?

Make sure you understood every word we said on the podcast!

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“You have to take control. Instead of letting a textbook company give it to you, just go search and find it yourself.”

– AJ Hoge

 

AJ’s Bio:


A.J. Hoge is the founder of Effortless English and host of The Effortless English Show and Podcast.  

He is known for creating powerful English speakers who become successful international leaders…

…. without using boring grammar books, textbooks, or old school methods.

A.J. Hoge has a Masters degree in TESOL and has been teaching English as a Foreign Language since 1996.

Visit Effortless English at: http://www.effortlessenglishclub.com

Do you know what to say to your friends when they need some motivation and some help?

Today you’ll get 6 ideas that you can use today.

 

Here are the phrases that you need:

1- “Get out there and do it”

2- “You can do it”

3- “Do the best you can”

4- “Do your best”

5- “Break a leg” (this doesn’t mean that we want the person to actually break their leg)

6- “You’ll do great” or “You’ll be awesome” or “You’ll be great”

 

Next, get 6 phrases to buy yourself time in English.

 

Please give us your opinion in the comments!

What do you want to learn on Thursdays?

Do you want a quote to motivate or inspire you or do you want to learn phrases and listen to role plays (more like a Teaching Tuesday)??

Please leave your comment below!

 Thanks! We can’t wait to get your feedback!

Do you feel like you’ll never be able to learn or remember new grammar or vocabulary words?

Well, when you feel this way, you need to remember that it’s all about science!

Today you’ll learn three things that you need to do to train your brain to learn English.

You need to make a pathway, connect, and use the language.

 

Presentation1All Ears English Transcripts!

Check your understanding of today’s episode.

Learn the sounds of American English and new vocabulary words.

Click here to download the transcripts now.

 

1. Make a pathway:

Build a bridge between the receptors in your brain.

Imagine having two cliffs that are separate and you want to build a bridge to bring the two cliffs together.

This is not easy because you have old thinking patterns but you need to keep working hard to create the pathway.

How should you create the neural pathways? Think about your learning style and use the 80/20 rule.

How do you learn best?

Do you learn by listening?

Then spend your time listening! Do you learn through physical movement? Do more of that while you are learning English.

 

2. Make connections

Connect what you learning in English with someone else that you know well.

Create a mnemonic device.

A mnemonic device is something that you use like an abbreviation to remember words.

Everyone creates their own mnemonic devices in their own way. It might take more time initially, but you’ll save yourself a lot of time in the end.

 

3. Use what you are learning

Don’t just listen or read. You need to write, speak, and use the language.

You need to analyze what you are learning. Don’t focus on English just to use English.

Use English to learn about something else going on in your life.

 

Remember, build the pathways, connect, and use the English that you want to learn!

What do you think about this advice?

Have you used this advice in your learning? How has it worked?

Let us know and let’s talk about it.

Today you’ll learn 8 phrases to start a conversation in English with someone new about their pet.

Yesterday we talked about why Americans are crazy about their pets.

To start a conversation with someone new, you can make a comment about their pet if you see them walking their dog.

This is a very common and easy way to start a conversation with someone and maybe make an American friend.

 

Presentation1Get today’s transcripts!

Ready to use this episode to become fluent in English?

Make sure you understood every word we said on the podcast!

 

Click here to download the transcripts now!

 

Here are some phrases to use:

  • “Oh how cute!”
  • “Oh how adorable!”
  • “How old is he?”
  • “When did you get him/her?”
  • “How long have you had him?”
  • “Is he friendly?”  or “Can I pet him?” (it’s important to ask the owner for permission if you want to pet the dog)
  • “What breed is he?” or “What kind of dog is she?”

After you have started the conversation about the dog, you can transition into other topics.

 

Quiz for today!

What is one question that you should NEVER ask a dog owner (when you first meet the person)

A- “How much did he cost?”

B- “Where did you get him?”

C- “Is he trained?”

 

Please write your answer in the comments!

Have you noticed that Americans love their pets and spend a lot of money on them?

They even consider them a part of the family. Luckily, this makes the topic of pets a great way to start a conversation in English with an American person!

Today you’ll learn about American pet trends and why Americans are so close to their pets!

Presentation1All Ears English Transcripts!

Get the transcripts for this episode!

Use the transcripts to move your English from intermediate to advanced.

Learn native pronunciation and vocabulary.

Click here now to get the transcripts.

 

How do Americans feel about their pets?

They are just like a family member.

The dog is not considered a farm animal that is separate from humans.

Most pets live inside the house in the United States or at least they spend the night inside the house. The pet might go out during the day.

Some people in the US might feel lonely.

Maybe that’s why they like to have a pet around the house to keep them company.

We also use dogs as service dogs for blind people.

People in big cities also use their dog as a way to start a conversation with other dog owners, especially in a large city.

 

What is a designer dog?

Designer dogs are bred to be a combination of certain types of dogs. Some people have “puggles.”

A puggle is a combination of a beagle and a pug. Some people have “labradoodles.”

A labradoodle is a combination of a labrador and a poodle.

These dogs are expensive. Some people pay between $500 and $1,000 for a designer dog.

 

Americans like to dress their dogs up

We put sweaters, boots, and even raincoats on our dogs sometimes.

We also dress our dogs up for Halloween.

Some people buy health insurance for their dog.

Some people send their dog to “doggie daycare.”

 

There are no wild dogs in the US

Most dogs have a home in the US.

If there is a wild dog (very rare), the animal control professionals come and take the dog to a shelter.

 

What is the attitude toward dogs in your country?

Please share your point of view in the comments?

Let’s have a conversation!

Do you say mean things to yourself such as “I can’t believe I just made that mistake in English” or “I am so stupid that I’ll never learn English”?

Do you say these things to yourself?

Today we want you to ask yourself, what would your friends say about your English?

A good friend would never say the mean things that you say to yourself, right?

So why do you do it to yourself?

 

What can you do if you have this problem? (everyone has this problem)

  • Recognize when you are allowing negative voices in your head
  • Try to stop the negative thoughts or at least choose to focus on something else but remember that it’s hard to STOP having certain thoughts. Instead, you can re-frame the thought or add a positive thought on top of the negative thought or just focus on something that is real, like your breath.
  • Try to replace the negative thoughts with positive thoughts

Next, find out if you need a native teacher.

 

Do you struggle with negative voices in your head when you speak English?

Share it with us in the comments and let’s have a conversation!

We think it is!

Join an English mastermind group!

What’s a mastermind group?

A mastermind group is a group of high-achieving people who care about accomplishing their goals and get together to share ideas, strategies, to hold each other accountable, and to push each other to move toward their goals.

 

How often should I meet with my English mastermind group?

You can meet once a month or once every 3 weeks.

 

Where can I find people to join my group?

Look for self-motivated learners.

Do you know anyone who is a self-starter?

Someone who takes on the responsibility of improving and works together his goal without having an authority figure push them?

Do you know any polyglots?

Invite these types of people and you will have an awesome mastermind group.

Reach out to people online. Find them through your friends, your coworkers, or your colleagues.

Set up a free chat room, Google Hangouts, Google Documents.

 

How should I structure it?

One person is in the “hot seat” every time.

That person needs to share his results and say what kind of progress he has made that month.

He can also share his struggles and the members can make suggestions about how to solve current problems and challenges.

 

Remember, you DON’T need a teacher to learn English!

You need to take action.

Set up a mastermind group and learn in a new way!

We’ll get you participating right away with these phrases!

Yesterday we were talking about why you have to participate in class or a business meeting in America.

 

 

Presentation1All Ears English Transcripts!

Check your understanding of today’s episode.

Learn the sounds of American English and new vocabulary words.

Click here to download the transcripts now.

 

 

Here are the phrases that you can use to participate:

  • To jump in: To quickly enter a conversation, to interrupt and to quickly say something without a long introduction. You can say, “Could I jump in here?”
  • To chime in: This also means to contribute something to a conversation spontaneously. “Let me chime in here.”
  • To jot down: To write something down. “I’ll jot down notes for our group.”
  • It goes back to: Use this phrase to connect ideas. You can link your current idea to an idea that was mentioned before. “Today’s episode goes back to the episode from yesterday when we talked about why you have to participate.”

 

Today’s Quiz- please leave your answer in the comments!

 

When you say, “I’ll jot things down” what do you mean?

a) I’ll write down what we say

b) I’ll be the facilitator of the meeting

c) I’ll get everyone in the meeting to quiet down

 

What’s the answer? Leave your answer in the comments thanks!

 

Want to know how to succeed in class and meetings in America?

The key is participation!

You HAVE to participate.

Today we’ll tell you why Americans believe that it’s important to participate and how you can do it more often.

What can you do to make sure you participate?

  • Write down 4 or 5 ideas or questions that you can share in class or the business meeting before you go into it
  • If you have an outgoing, confident friend in your class, you can jump in and respond to his or her comment when he speaks in class so you don’t have to come up with your own point to contribute
  • Ask a colleague or a classmate to invite you into the meeting conversation

Why is participation important?

  • Teachers will judge how well you understand the material based on the level of participation that you have
  • In a business meeting, the only way to get respect from your boss and colleagues is to participate

What other topics do you want to learn about?

We can teach you how to be successful in the business or academic space in the US!

Please leave your question in the comment section!

We will show you why you need to focus on your specific goals.

Why are you learning English?

Do you want to be a medical translator?

Do you want to be a doctor?

Do you need to take an exam?

 

Here’s our advice:

Start with a very specific focus and try to learn that specific set of vocabulary. You’ll become fluent in that area of English and you’ll feel a sense of satisfaction.

So start with your goal first and then decide how you are going to learn those vocabulary words.

 

What should you do?

Don’t overdose on English. Today you have tons of free resources available on the web, but do you really need them?

Sit down right now and write down your goal.

How are you going to use your English?

Then seek out resources to help you move toward that goal.

 

Don’t get overwhelmed

Focus on what matters to you now.

 

Next, get one super conversational way to talk about your plans in English.

In today’s episode you’ll five gems of wisdom to show you what to do when you feel clueless in a group of native English speakers.

How to deal with situations where you feel clueless:

  • Take a deep breath and relax: Remember that you are ok no matter what happens
  • Get comfortable with ambiguity: Ambiguity is part of life so accept the fact that you might not be comfortable or sure about what’s happening all of the time
  • Consider the context: Try to figure out what people are talking about based on what’s happening around you and their body language
  • Get help: Quietly ask the person next to you what people are talking about
  • Build humility: In the US we admire humility so consider this a chance to build a strong character
  • Don’t feel pressured to participate: You don’t always need to speak. You can sit back and absorb the conversation if you can’t speak that day. One day in the future, you will be able to participate.

 

What strategies do you use when you don’t understand what’s happening around you?

Let us know in the comments!

Today we will show you when NOT to use the verb “to meet” in English.

 

To Meet:

  • You use the verb “to meet” when you are introduced to someone for the first time, this is someone new, who we didn’t know before
  • You use the verb “to meet” when you make a plan to meet someone at a specific location, for example “Let’s meet at the movies at 3pm” or “Thanks for meeting me at the coffee shop”

Are you making this mistake?

Most students make the mistake of using the verb “to meet” someone when they run into someone unexpectedly, on the street or at school. When it’s a surprise encounter like that, you should say:

  • “Oh it’s nice to see you”
  • “It’s great to run into you”
  • “It’s great to bump into you”

 

Listen to the podcast to hear three different role plays to see how the verb “to meet” can be used correctly!

Next, learn how to use “coming” versus “going” in English.

 

Take today’s quiz!

Finish the sentence:

Let’s ______ on the corner of Broadway and 13th Street tomorrow at noon.

a) run into each other

b) meet

c) see each other

Please write your answer in the comments below!

 

seinfeld close talker biggest mistake in EnglishWhat is the biggest mistake that you can make in English without even talking?

Can you guess what it is?

It’s close talking! Body language is super important not just in everyday conversations but it even matters in exams like the IELTS Speaking test.

How close should you stand when you talk with an American?

You should leave at least an arm’s length of distance between you and the person you are speaking with.

Do not stand any closer than that.

 

 

How does it feel for an American person when you talk close?

We feel awkward, intimidated, and we want to escape! We might start to sweat, we might back up and try to get away from you.

We also will have a hard time saying to you that you should move back or back off because that’s too direct.

 

Presentation1All Ears English Transcripts!

Check your understanding of today’s episode.

Learn the sounds of American English and new vocabulary words.

Click here to download the transcripts now.

 

Remember the “personal bubble”

Americans have a “personal bubble” and you should not move into that space unless you are in a romantic or a family relationship with an American.

On the other hand, don’t stand too far away because it will appear that you are trying to avoid the person or that you want to create distance between the two of you.

 

Next, learn how to avoid talking in circles in English.

 

Let’s have a conversation! Do people in your culture talk by standing closer than Americans do?

Have you ever made a mistake of standing too close while talking with an American?

Let us know! Leave your message in the comments.

You’ll also learn how to find motivation and purpose after your life in the US.

Are you going home soon after living in the US?

Today we’ll reflect on yesterday’s episode with Cate Brubaker on how to create a new global life when return home after living abroad.

 

Today is a Deep Thoughts Thursday so we’re going to look at a quote.

Here it is:

“When I let go of who I am, I become what I might be.”

-Lao Tzu

 

What does this quote mean for you?

When you let go of the idea of “the expatriate” as a strong identity that you own, you will create room to actually be who you are when you are back in your home country.

You will create space to re-create a new life that consists of the activities that you loved about your life abroad.

This different point of view will empower you and will help you realize that you don’t have to live abroad to be who you are.

 

What do you think?

Do you have an “expat identity”?

How has that made it hard for you to go back to your home country?

How have you created a global life back in your home country?

Give us some examples of your ideas and experiences!

We want to hear from you!

 

Get 3 expert tips from re-entry expert Cate Brubaker from Small Planet Studio about how to survive your journey home and your transition back into your new life.

How to Survive Going Home:

  • Consider your mindset: Going home can be more challenging than you expect. Don’t think about re-entry as an illness and don’t be afraid of it. Think of it as an opportunity. You have a chance to step back, think about what matters to you and then you can create a new, global life that is right for you. You can work with a professional to go through these things or with friends and family.
  • Allow yourself to feel what you feel: You will feel a huge mix of feelings when you go home. Don’t try to cover up those feelings and don’t think that anything is wrong with you if you feel sad or a little depressed when you first get home. It’s ok to have mixed feelings about your experience abroad. You might be happy to be back, but you might miss your life abroad at the same time.
  •  Create a new global life at home: Think about what you loved about your life abroad. Was it the challenge? Was it the constant traveling and visiting new places? Was it meeting new people every day? You can create a life at home that involves a lot of those same things.

 

Cate’s Bio:

Cate Brubaker, re-entry intercultural trainingCate Brubaker is a part-time nomad who helps travelers, expats, and students relaunch themselves into their next great adventure after being abroad.

Cate also teaches at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and works with international schools around the world.

Cate grew up in Oregon, lived in Germany for four years, and has traveled and worked on four contents.

Visit Cate online at Small Planet Studio

 

Let’s talk about it! Leave us a comment!

What aspects of your life in the United States will you bring back home with you? How will you set up a global life at home?

What’s your plan? Please share it below and we’ll respond

Today you’ll get 3 phrases to tell your story in English like a native speaker.

When you tell a story, you have to know how to keep your listeners engaged and intrigued!

Today you’ll learn some tips on how to do that.

These phrases would also increase your vocabulary score on the IELTS Speaking test if you could work them into your answers.

Listen to the audio to hear our story about what we did for our lunch break.

 

Presentation1Get the transcripts for this episode!

Use the transcripts to move your English from intermediate to advanced.

Learn native pronunciation and vocabulary.

 

Click here now to get the transcripts!

 

3 Phrases to Tell Your Story:

  • “To start off with”/”To start out with”: To begin something, to start something. Here is an example: “We went out for lunch and to start off with, we tried find a pizza place.”
  • “To be about to do something”: To be getting ready to do it. Here is an example: “We were about to go into the pizza shop and we realized that it was closed.”
  • “In the end”: You can use this phrase when you say what finally happened in your story. Here is an example: “In the end we decided to have Thai food and it was amazing.”

 

Today’s Quiz-

Please write your answer in the comments!

How did we know that the Snack Bar was closed?

A- There was a “closed” sign on the door

B- It was dark inside

C- It was dark inside and all of the furniture was gone

What’s the answer? Write it in the comments and we’ll tell you if you got it right!

Andrea Giordano, Guest InterviewWhat do you know about Appalachian English and the culture of Kentucky, USA?

You probably know a lot about California, New York, or maybe even Texas, but did you know that there are other interesting regions in the United States like Appalachia?

Today you’ll meet our guest Andrea Giordano, an English teacher from ESL Basics. She is based in Kentucky, USA.

You’ll hear why Kentucky might be a great choice if you are planning to move to the US to learn English.

You’ll also get 3 popular phrases from that part of the United States.

 

What you need to know about Kentucky:

  • It’s beautiful with green, rolling hills
  • The people are friendly and welcoming and warm. You say hi to everyone you pass on the street

 

Where is Appalachia GraphicWhy should you consider studying and living in Kentucky?

  • If you want to just focus on your studies, there aren’t a lot of distractions so you have more opportunities to learn English
  • People are friendly and open so you have lots of chances to practice with local people
  • You might feel less lonely because there is a strong sense of community and it feels like a family

 

What are 3 phrases to communicate with locals?

  • “Y’all”: This means “you all.” This is also used in the southern United States like Texas, Georgia, South Carolina
  • “Fixin’ to”: This means “to be about to do something.” Here’s an example. “I am fixin’ to go to the bank”
  • “Reckon”: This means “to think or to be pretty sure about something.” Here is an example: “I reckon he’s coming over later.”

 

Andrea’s Bio:

Andrea is the founder of ESLbasics.com and the author of 21 Ways to Jumpstart Your English Skills.

She loves teaching ESL at Campbellsville University and living the good life with her husband and two sons.

For information on how you can sign up to join Andrea’s weekly classes, go to ESLbasics.com/email.

You’ll find out how to do it today in this episode!

Today you’ll get 4 things that you can learn from a salesman to become a better English learner and speaker.

 

 

Presentation1All Ears English Transcripts!

Check your understanding of today’s episode.

Learn the sounds of American English and new vocabulary words.

Click here to download the transcripts now.

 

Four Qualities of a Salesman that Can Make You A Better English Speaker:

  • Arrogance: Even though this term has a negative connotation, in this case it’s good to be arrogant. If you are arrogant, you are overly confident, even if you might not really have the skills. Tell yourself, “I am the best English speaker” and believe it!
  • Empathy: If you have empathy, you can feel what the other person is feeling in any moment while you are communicating with them. You have to think from the point of view of your conversation partner or the people you are speaking with. This will change the way you speak to people.
  • Resilience: When you are resilient, you keep going. You don’t give up. You experience setbacks, but you don’t stop.
  • The hunter’s mentality: A hunter is someone who goes after what they want. You should be willing to go through the details or the tough moments to reach your goal. Figure out what it takes to get to your goal and just do it. Don’t let anything stop you.

 

Do you have these characteristics?

Do you think you could display them to become better at English?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Today we have IELTS expert Jack Askew on the show and he is going to give us 3 tips to help you pass the IELTS in order to achieve your dreams in English.

Jack Tips:

  • Start focusing and preparing early: Get as many sample papers as you can. Don’t cram. Start preparing up to a year in advance if you can. Don’t put it off! Also you’ll need to know if you are doing the general or the academic IELTS in advance because the writing section is different on both tests.
  • Focus on listening: The listening section only comes once  on the exam, you won’t get a chance to listen again so spend a lot of time preparing and improving your listening skills. You can fill your smartphone with listening material such as TED Talks, All Ears English Podcast and other podcasts. You have to start with this way in advance.
  • Do read-to-write: Don’t think in your own language and try to translate. Instead, study model answers. Jack uses Space Repetition Software. This helps you internalize the correct structure for written English. Remember, you shouldn’t memorize, you should internalize. Jack recommends ANKI

 

Jack’s Bio:

Jack is an English language coach and IELTS expert. He’s originally from Preston, England, but now lives in the USA with his wife, son, and three dogs. He has been teaching online for seven years and has helped many learners reach their goals.
You can get more tips from him on his website, To Fluency.

 

Are you taking the IELTS exam soon?

Get more IELTS help here!

 

Of course you do!

We all want friends!

Today you’ll learn how to make friends using 3 English phrases.

 

Here are the key phrases:

  • “To get a hand”: To get help from someone. Asking for help is a good way to meet people and make friends. People like to help! Here are some examples: “Can I get a hand with my suitcase?” or you could offer your help by saying this: “Would you like a hand with your suitcase?”
  • “Would you be interested in”: This means “Do you want to do something.” Here are some examples: “Would you be interested in getting a coffee with me? or “Would you be interested in going to the park with me this weekend?”
  • “What do you think?”: This is a way to ask someone for their opinion. People always feel appreciated when you ask for their opinion so try this phrase.

 

Presentation1All Ears English Transcripts!

Check your understanding of today’s episode.

Learn the sounds of American English and new vocabulary words.

Click here to download the transcripts now.

 

 

Check your understanding!

Take this quiz and leave your answer in the comments!

Here is the question:

Why do we use “would” when we ask “Would you be interested in going to the movies with me?”

A- It shows respect and it’s less direct

B- It is a softener

C- It is casual

D- It shows respect, it’s less direct and it’s a softener

E- It is casual and it’s a softener

 

Want to check your answer?

Write your answer in the comments section below and we’ll tell you if you got it right!

In today’s 100th episode we are going to tell you what they are and how you can use them in your conversations!

Today you will hear a few of the phrases used but you can get the full eBook with all 100 phrases including examples of how to use them.

-Get the full eBook here-

 

Situation 1: How to Check In at a Hotel:

A: Hi miss, how are you today? Are you checking in?

B: Yes, I had a room reserved under the name “—”

A: Oh ok, let me check. Oh great I found your reservation, you are in room 207.

B: Great so here are your keys and we have a complimentary continental breakfast between 7am and 10am in the lobby. Would you like a hand bringing those bags up to your room? Our bellhop can take those for you.

A: Sure, that would be great.

B: Enjoy your stay with us.

 

Situation 2: How to Introduce Yourself to an American in Your Home Country:

A: Hi, what’s your name?

B: I’m Jenny. You?

A: Oh I’m Akiko. It’s great to meet you. So where are you from?

B: I’m from New York. I am in Tokyo for a 10-day work trip.

A: How do you like Japan so far?

B: Oh my gosh, I never imagined the food would be this great and I’m having a blast.

A: Cool!  Are you getting a lot of time to explore outside of work?

B: Yeah, I am in the office during the day, we have a Tokyo office but I get out around 5pm every evening so I have been going all around the city on my own.

A: Well some friends and I are having a cherry blossom party this weekend at Yoyogi Park. Would you be interested in joining us?

B: That sounds awesome. Do you want to send me a text later in the week and let me know the time and the address?

A: Will do.  See you this weekend!

 

 Situation 3: How to Ask for More Information:

A: Lindsay, what are you doing?

B: Oh I’m trying to figure out how to make this microphone work better. It sounds kind of strange.

A: What do you mean?  I think it sounds fine.

B: Do you know what my friend said? He’s an audio expert and he said that we need to improve it. I don’t know, what do you think?

A: I think it’s OK.

 

-Get 100 Most Common English Phrases Here-

 

 

Academic research conducted by:

Biber, Johansson, Leech, Conrad, & Finegan (1999)

Biber, Conrad, Cortes (2004)

Special thanks to Viviana Cortes at Georgia State University

Learn how to uplift your heart, rewire your brain, and improve your English with this one, simple activity.

Having a gratitude journal means that you reflect on what you are grateful for or what you are thankful for every day.

You can also do this by speaking with someone or by sending a regular email to a gratitude buddy.

If you do this in English, this is not only a great way to improve your English, but you could also keep your mind feeling great and connect on a deeper level with your gratitude buddies.

This isn’t ‘woo-woo,’ which means that it’s not founded on a lack of scientific evidence.

Science now backs up the idea that a regular gratitude practice can change the structure of your brain.

Check out the science here.

 

Presentation1All Ears English Transcripts!

Check your understanding of today’s episode.

Learn the sounds of American English and new vocabulary words.

Click here to download the transcripts now.

 

What are you thankful for in your English studies?

  • Your tutor?
  • Your classmates?
  • All Ears English?
  • Your study schedule and discipline?

 

Different Ways to Do a Gratitude Practice:

  • Text message
  • Apps
  • Email
  • Letter
  • Journal, electronic or on paper
  • Speaking, in person
  • Voice recorder
  • Use websites like vsnap.com

 

Next, learn how to get motivated for your English with Thomas Frank.

 

Share your gratitude here!

What are you grateful for in your English-learning life and in your life in general?

Share your ideas to inspire other AEE listeners! Leave a comment please.

Would you like to know how to use your favorite music to improve your English?

In this post you’ll get 3 practical tips to do that!

Susanna’s Tips:

  • Step 1- Find music that you like. Listen to the lyrics and just enjoy them. Don’t try to understand every word.
  • Step 2– Listen to the lyrics. Write down the lyrics that you think you hear and compare your lyrics to the actual lyrics. Try lyrics.com to get all of the lyrics for your favorite song. Choose a song that is older and that has clear lyrics and clear pronunciation.
  • Step 3– Go on You Tube to find karaoke versions of your favorite songs. Bring your native speaking friends out to a party and try karaoke with them!

Great Singers to Try:

  • Adele
  • U2
  • Frank Sinatra

 

What Songs Should You Avoid?

Avoid rap and hip hop because the singers don’t sing very clearly.

With these songs, you will end up learning and using derogatory language and other forms of slang.

 

Susanna-Zaraysky

Susanna Zaraysky is an expert on learning languages via music. She is the author of Language is Music ( El Idioma es Música  in Spanish), Idioma é músicin Portuguese, Легкий способ быстро выучить иностранный язык с помощью музыки  in Russian.

She has studied 11 languages and speaks eight of them (Russian, English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Ladino, Serbo-Croatian and Italian). In May 2014, look for Susanna’s TEDx talk about saving endangered languages and language learning through songs. Susanna is co-producing, Saved by Language, a documentary about how the endangered language of Ladino/Judeo-Spanish saved a boy’s life in the Holocaust.  Follow Susanna on Facebook.

Yesterday we had personal branding expert Peter Sterlacci on the show to talk about why personal branding matters for you as an English speaker.

Four phrases to talk about yourself as a personal brand:

  • Uniqueness: What stands out, what is different, what is not like everything or everyone else. Example: Show them your uniqueness.
  • To differentiate: To show the differences between one person and another person. To highlight the things that are different. Example: You need to differentiate your skills from the skills of your competitors.
  • To point someone towards something: To show someone the way, to move someone in a particular direction. Example: My website points my visitors towards my email list.
  • To dig into: To delve into, to enter on a deep level, to get into, to explore, to examine, to look into, to go deeper than a surface view. Example: Let’s dig into the advice.

 

What is your personal brand? Let us know below.

Today you’ll meet Peter Sterlacci, an expert who can help you move your personal brand forward with two practical and free tools.

What is a personal brand?

A personal brand is your unique promise of value. A city or a product could have a brand and an individual could have one too.

For example, the brand and value promise for Boston is education and tradition.

We all have unique value that we deliver to the people around us. This value separates you from someone else who is doing the same thing.

These days we need to differentiate ourselves and stand out.

Our economy is constantly changing and it’s important to show people what you offer.

 

Where is personal branding popular?

It’s extremely popular in the United States. This make sense because Americans value individuality.

In Japan and other Asian cultures, the concept of personal branding is starting to catch on.

 

Here are Peter’s tips:

  • Find out how people see you: Sit down and write down 5 words that you would use to describe yourself. Then choose one of them that you want to be known for. Then ask your friends and colleague to do the same thing. Look at the similarities to understand what the aspects of your brand are. Be sure that you are describing your character using adjectives.
  • Be careful what you are posting about yourself online. Employers will look!

 

Do you want to know more about Peter’s work?

Peter Sterlacci, Be Your Own Brand 

Known as “Japan’s Personal Branding Pioneer”, Peter Sterlacci is a sought-after speaker, trainer, and consultant about using personal branding to enhance career and life success. As a long-term resident of Japan—where “fitting in” is the cultural norm—Peter intimately understands the challenges facing Japanese to “stand-out” and is dedicated to leading a ‘culture-shift’ in Japan by empowering people to uncover their unique promise of value and be remarkable. Peter is one of only 15 Master level Certified Personal Branding Strategists in the world. He is an active blogger on personal branding and was Editor-in-Chief of one of the largest personal branding newsletters in the world. He also capitalizes on his 21-year career in cross-cultural training consulting in his powerful messaging. He lives in Kyoto and can often be found cycling around town or in the countryside.

 

Chat with us in the comment section!

So what is your personal brand now? What 3 adjectives describe you?

What are you going to do as a result of what you learned today?

Please let us know.

It’s not just about learning grammar and vocabulary.

It’s an opportunity to take on a new identity and a new personality if you want to do that.

It’s a chance to reinvent yourself.

How cool is that?!

We think it’s refreshing and fun!

 

Here is today’s quote:

❝To have another language is to possess a second soul.❞
‒Charlemagne

 

Here Are Some Examples:

  • Lindsay: When Lindsay speaks Spanish, she feels less shy than she does when she speaks English. She feels more confident, takes more chances in terms of speaking with new people and she has more fun!

 

Find out how to learn English the way a child learns to walk.

 

What about you? We want to know! Please leave a comment below.

How does your personality change when you speak English?

How is it different from your personality in your native language?

How do you feel when you make the change?

Is it OK to work with a non-native English teacher or tutor? This is a common question for many students!

Today we will explain the pros and cons of both options.

This is a very individual question. There is no “hard and fast” rule.

The best solution for you depends on your goals and your level. Also, what are you planning to do with your English?

Are you going to go abroad or work within your home country?

 

Why Should You Hire a Native English Teacher?

  • Get challenged: If you are intermediate, upper-intermediate, or advanced and if you want to be inspired or motivated, a native teacher will challenge you and show you five different ways to say one phrase. With a native teacher you can really build a broad vocabulary and this could be great for a higher level student.
  • Learn the culture: If you are planning to use your English abroad or with English speakers in your home country, you can’t just learn sentence structure and grammar. You need to learn culture. But the “culture” that you learn has to go deeper than baseball and small talk. You need to understand the nuances of the American communication style. When do Americans add indirect messages into their sentences? How should you react to that? A native English teacher can explain this clearly for you.
  • Learn real, natural phrases: In your country, your English teacher might not be teaching you “real” phrases that are actually used in the US. For example, Lindsay heard the phrase “see you” being used by English teachers in Japan but this phrase isn’t used by Americans so you shouldn’t learn it. A native teacher wouldn’t teach you “see you.” They would teach you “see ya later” or “take care” or “talk to you soon.”
  • Get the right pronunciation: A native English teacher will be able to recognize and model the correct pronunciation for you. They might not be able to teach it better, but they’ll be able to tell you if you are pronouncing something correctly.

 

Why Should You Hire a Non-Native English Teacher?

  • Get grammar explained in your own language: If you are a beginner, you might need a speaker of your own language to explain things to you in your own language. It can be really hard to jump right into English.
  • Get culture explained by comparing it to your home country: If you work with a non-native teacher, he or she might be able to explain American culture by comparing it to your home culture. That could be an effective way to learn about it and to succeed when you come to the US.
  • Use learning methods that you are familiar with: What is your cultural learning style? Your tutor will be able to teach you in the way that you are used to learning but be careful with this! Sometimes the way that you have been learning languages in your home culture has not been working so you need someone who teaches in a different style.

 

Here Is What Any Teacher Should Be:

  • Professional and educated with an advanced degree (certificate or academic degree in TESOL)
  • A serious teacher, not a hobbyist. If you hire someone who teaches or tutors full time, they will give you a higher quality class than someone who just teaches on the weekends to make some extra money.
  • Someone who has lived in an English-speaking country. There are some things that you can’t understand about a language unless you have been immersed in the culture.
  • Someone who has learned another language. This person will understand what you are going through and why you are struggling to learn.
  • Someone who has taught English before. Do they have testimonials and examples of happy students in the past?

 

Next, should you speak as fast as a native? Find out.

 

What do you think? Please leave a comment below.

Have you learned with a native or non-native teacher?

What was your experience like?

In your opinion, what are the pros and cons?

 

We’ll show you 5 ways to do it in today’s episode.

Yesterday in our American role play conversation we talked about how you can know whether or not the invitation is real if someone says, “We should hang out sometime.”

Using the phrase “sometime” is not the only way to end a conversation. There are other great ways to do it.

Today you’ll learn some better ways to end a conversation with an American person.

 

Presentation1All Ears English Transcripts!

Check your understanding of today’s episode.

Learn the sounds of American English and new vocabulary words.

Click here to download the transcripts now.

 

5 Ways to End an English Conversation

  • “It was great talking to you.” or “It was nice talking to you.”
  • “Get home safe.” or “Get home safely.”
  • “I’d love to hear more about (your work) or (your art) or (your project). Would you like to get a coffee?”
  • “Maybe we could get a coffee sometime?”

 

Leave a comment for AEE!

Have you used any of these expressions?

How did it go?

Let us know!

Americans can be confusing if you aren’t used to their communication style!

How do you know if someone’s invitation is real or if they are just being polite?

Many times, at the end of a conversation, Americans will say, “let’s get coffee or hang out again sometime,” but they often don’t actually mean what they say! They might not really want to see you again.

How confusing is that??!!

Listen to today’s episode to tell the difference between a real invitation and when someone is just being polite and trying to end the conversation.

 

Conversation 1:

We finish a conversation and Lindsay says that she wants to hang out sometime, but she doesn’t actually mean it! She is only looking for a way to get out of the conversation.

 

Conversation 2:

We finish a conversation and Lindsay’s co-host invites Lindsay out for coffee the following week.

They talk about specific times and days for the following week and they also say what they want to talk about the next time they meet up.

 

How do you know if the invitation is real?

  • When an American says “we should hang out sometime” they might be just ending a conversation, but it might not be sincere.
  • Pay attention to the person’s tone of voice and look for enthusiasm in the voice. If they sound excited, they are probably being genuine.
  • If they talk about a specific time or day to get together, they are probably really interested in seeing you again.
  • If they mention something specific that they want to talk about in the next conversation then they probably want to see you again

 

 Next, get top do’s and don’ts for Skyping with American English speakers.

 

Have you ever gotten confused by an American’s invitation when they used the phrase “let’s hang out sometime”?

Were they being sincere?

Did you misread their signals?

Let us know your story in the comment section below.

Time is your most precious resource.

How can you use it more effectively to get the best results with your English?

Here is the idea that we want to think about today:

80/20 principle: “80% of your results come from 20% of your actions.” -Vilfredo Pareto

 

What does this mean for your English?

  • Sit down and write out all of the things that you are doing to improve your English
  • Look at your list and think about which of those things are really helping you improve quickly and which things are a waste f of time
  • Focus more time on the useful actions/activities and eliminate or reduce the other activities

 

What about you?

What is your 20%? How are you going to change your daily routine so that you can do the most useful activity more often to get faster English improvement?

 

Please leave a comment below and tell us what your 20% activity is!

Is your language exchange working as well as you thought it would?

Today you’ll learn 3 ways to make your language exchange work better than it is now!

 

What is a language exchange?

Find someone who speaks the language that you want to learn (English) as a native.

You should speak their target language as a native too.

You meet with the person and speak for part of the time in your native language and part of the time in your target language. That is a language exchange!

 

Presentation1All Ears English Transcripts!

Check your understanding of today’s episode.

Learn the sounds of American English and new vocabulary words.

Click here to download the transcripts now.

 

Three mistakes you are making with your language exchange:

  • You don’t have a regular, weekly meeting time: Try to be consistent and expect to meet your partner at least once a week. Don’t cancel. Show up. Make it happen.
  •  You are not as motivated as your partner (or vice-versa): You should be equally motivated and you should also be at the same language level, more or less. Both of you should be either intermediate or advanced.
  • You aren’t picking a specific conversation topic: It’s important to choose a topic and not just have small talk about easy topics every time. If you just do small talk, you don’t push yourself to learn new vocabulary words and to improve. You should choose the topic in advance and study the vocabulary words that you are going to use in your language exchange.

 

Just remember, you always get what you pay for! Because a language exchange is free, it might not be as effective as you want, but give it a try and see what happens!

If you want a conversation program that is better and more reliable than a language exchange, you can try Lindsay’s program called Speakative Conversation Program

Do you ever say “what??!!” when you don’t understand or when you don’t hear someone? Stop saying it!

When you say “what?!” it’s too direct and it’s rude.

When an American person hears you say this they might feel offended or step back and they might prefer not to speak with you. So stop saying it!

What can you say instead?

 

 

Presentation1All Ears English Transcripts!

Check your understanding of today’s episode.

Learn the sounds of American English and new vocabulary words.

Click here to download the transcripts now.

 

How to ask for repetition:

  • “Can you say that again?”
  • “Pardon?”
  • “Come again?”
  • “What was that?”
  • “One more time?”
  • “Excuse me?” (listen to the episode to learn the correct intonation)
  • “Sorry?”
  • “Could you repeat that?”

 

Try these phrases instead of saying “what??!!” the next time you don’t understand what someone says!

Next, learn how to be charismatic in English.

 

Good luck and be sure to keep practicing!

 

Let us know your feedback on today’s episode in the comments section below.

Do you feel like the daily schedules here in the US are quite different than the typical schedules in your home country?

Gabby got a shock when she visited Spain and tried to go out for dinner at 6pm (listen to the episode to hear the story).

What’s a typical eating schedule in the US? Lindsay eats breakfast at 6:30am, lunch at noon and dinner between 6pm and 7pm.

What about a typical work schedule?

 

 

Presentation1All Ears English Transcripts!

Check your understanding of today’s episode.

Learn the sounds of American English and new vocabulary words.

Click here to download the transcripts now.

 

Most people who work in a corporate or office job work from 9am to 5pm. A common phrase is “I work a nine-to-five” that means that I work a full time job.

Do Americans go out drinking with colleagues after work like they do in Japan? Not really. It is common to sometimes go to happy hour with your colleagues for a few hours if you are young and maybe single, but most people really want to get back home to see their families.

Sometimes if there is a special event, like someone’s retirement or birthday, you might all go out and celebrate together.

It is common to set up a business lunch if you want to build a relationship with a client or colleague.

If you move to the US or come here for business, just remember that the schedule might be a bit different. Talk to your American friends or colleagues to get to know the local schedule!

Now learn how to set intentions for your life abroad!

 

What do you think about the schedule in the US?

Is it similar to your home country or completely different?

Share your thoughts in the comments below.

If so, today we have a quick tip to show you how to learn English faster. You might want to try living in a home stay or an international house to practice your English more often.

Here is today’s quote:

You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore. –Christopher Columbus

What does this quote mean for your English? To learn a new language you have to “lose sight” of your native language- that means that you have to avoid speaking your native language.

Lindsay did this in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She lived with a few Europeans and Latin Americans and the language of the house was Spanish.

Her roommates refused to speak English in the house.

Lindsay “lost sight of the shore” and the safety of her native language (English) to learn Spanish.

And what happened next?

She became fluent in Spanish after about 3 months in that house.

 

Have you ever lived in an international house? Let us know in the comments.

In today’s episode we’ll tell you about a visual and artistic way to reach your English goals.

What is a vision board? A vision board is a visual representation of your goals.

Take your goals and put them into a visual format.

Your vision board should be in a place where you will look at it every day.

You can also include quotes on your vision board to remember philosophies of the people that you admire.

 

What do you want to do with your English? What can you put on your vision board?

  • What English-speaking place do you want to live in? Put a picture of that city on your board
  • Do you want to give a successful presentation at work in English?
  • Do you want to take a road trip across the US?

 

Next, go behind the scenes of All Ears English.

 

So go and get started on your vision board.

Having a vision board will make it easier for you to see your goals every day and keep working toward them.

In yesterday’s episode, we talked about idioms for being happy. Go back and check it out if you missed it!

Unfortunately, we’re not always happy.

We also have many idioms and expressions for expressing negative emotions.

Today we are going to share some opposing idioms.

These are native, natural phrases for expressing sadness and a feeling of being unwell or sick.

 

#1: Down in the dumps

This idiom means you feel sad.

You can use it if you’ve received some bad news or are just feeling out of sorts.

  • “I just feel a little down in the dumps today.”

the dump: a place in the United States where garbage and trash is ‘dumped’

It would be a terrible thing to literally be down in the dump!

Idiomatically, it’s also not fun.

Use it anytime you feel sad or depressed.

#2: Down in the mouth

This idiom is very similar to ‘down in the dumps,’ so you’d think the meaning would be very similar.

However, it is used specifically to mean we feel sick or unwell.

It is usually used for minor illnesses, such as a cold or cough.

  • “You don’t look so great. Are you feeling ok?”
  • “I actually feel a bit down in the mouth. I should go home and rest.”

These two idioms are so similar, with only one word different.

However, there is a big difference in meaning!

Use them correctly, as one means ‘sad’ and one means ‘sick.’

 

Presentation1All Ears English Transcripts

Check your understanding of today’s episode.

Learn the sounds of American English and new vocabulary words

Click here to download the transcripts now.

 

 

 

#3: Feeling blue

This idiom also means to feel sad or depressed.

It can be seen often in songs, such as “Blue Christmas” by Elvis.

Now that you know it, you will likely hear it everywhere, as it’s quite common.

  • Television shows
  • Films
  • Podcasts
  • Songs

In English, we associate the color blue with the emotion of sadness.

 

#4: Not a happy camper

In the previous episode, we taught the idiom ‘happy camper.’

This is used to describe anyone that is happy.

It doesn’t actually have anything to do with camping.

We also use this idiom to describe someone as ‘NOT a happy camper.’

This means someone is upset, sad or angry.

  • “Uh oh, she is NOT a happy camper. What happened?”

With this idiom, we emphasize the word “not.”

 

Takeaway

There are many great idioms for feeling both happy and sad.

Use these to boost your English level and sound more native and natural.

Instead of saying, “I’m sad,” say you feel blue or you’re down in the dumps.

Using idiomatic language is a great way to connect with people!

Practice using one of these today!

 

When is the last time you felt blue?

Share your thoughts with us in the comments!

Have you listened to the new song by Pharrell Williams called Happy?

If you haven’t heard the song yet, watch the video at the bottom of this post. It will change your mood for the entire day!

We promise.

 

 

Presentation1All Ears English Transcripts

Check your understanding of today’s episode.

Learn the sounds of American English and new vocabulary words

Click here to get the transcripts now!

 

Today you’ll learn 6 idioms in English that are related to happiness:

  • “To be a happy camper”: Someone who is in a good mood, someone who is content. “That kid is a happy camper when he has an ice cream in his hand.”
  • “To be slap happy”: To be really happy, hyper, and excited. You might become “slap happy” when you haven’t slept enough and you feel exhausted so you become silly and lighthearted.
  • “Happy hour”: Happy hour is a time when drinks are available for a lower price at the bar, this is usually earlier in the evening, between 5pm and 7pm.
  • “To be happy as a clam”: You might feel happy as a clam when you have had a good meal with friends or you are spending time with your family.
  • “To be happy-go-lucky”: Someone who is always looking on the bright side, who is easily pleased, who seems to be happy all of the time, who is always really positive
  • “To strike a happy medium”: To find a balance between two things or two points of view

Listen to the podcast to hear about our opinions on what is changing in American culture these days with happiness.

 

 

Read about more ways to be happy like every day is a vacation.

 

What do you think?

Have you ever used these idioms to get a message across in English?

When do you feel happiest?

What makes you happy?

Tell us your thoughts in the comments.

Welcome! Do you want to know how to speak English at a professional event or at a party?

Do you panic in these situations?

We can help you today.

Today you will get a handful of phrases that will make you sound interested in the person you are speaking with and therefore, make you a more interesting English speaker!

We’ll show you how to speak English at a professional event or even at a party.

Here is today’s quote:

Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value. –Albert Einstein

Presentation1All Ears English Transcripts

Check your understanding of today’s episode.

Learn the sounds of American English and new vocabulary words

Click here to download the transcripts now.

 

What does this quote mean for you?

Take the spotlight off of yourself. Put the spotlight on other people by trying to help them. This will make you valuable to other people.

Remember that people love to talk about themselves!

Here are some questions that you can use:

  • “How are you?”
  • “How’s work?”
  • “How’s school?”
  • “How’s your family?
  • “Are you enjoying the event?”
  • “What’s it like to ____?”

 

Now learn how to fill awkward silences at a restaurant in English.

 

Have you used these phrases at a party?

How did it go?

What other useful questions or phrases do you know for a party?

Let us know in the comments below.

Today let’s talk about risk!

Do you avoid risks?

Today you will learn how to think about risk in a new way, for both your English skills, your experiences abroad, and your life!

In terms of your English, what improvement opportunities are you losing by avoiding the feeling of risk?

Today’s episode was inspired by a blog post from Seth Godin.

 

Presentation1All Ears English Transcripts!

Check your understanding of today’s episode.

Learn the sounds of American English and new vocabulary words.

Click here to download the transcripts now.

 

G took a risk by going to Japan to teach English.

She had a great life in the US. But she wanted some adventure in her life.

She wanted to grow as a person and see what else was out there for her in the world! So she quit her job, sold her condo and went to Japan. It was the right decision.

She learned a lot about a new language and culture.

 

Lindsay has also taken some risks. She left her affordable apartment in New York City because she heard a deeper voice inside of her that told her that she needed to see Latin America and learn Spanish.

Just like her co-host, she also wanted to explore and see a new part of the world. Because Lindsay took this risk, she can connect with new people here in the US from that part of the world.

This wouldn’t have been possible without this experience.

 

What does this mean for you? Sometimes taking a risk is the right thing to do!

Take some calculated risks and think about the cost of avoiding a risk!

What will you miss out on if you don’t take that risk!

Yesterday we talked with presentations expert Carl Kwan. Check out Carl’s interview part 1 and part 2.

How can you connect with your audience?

Find the thing that you have in common. Show that you empathize with them. Here is an example:

“We understand that technology might be a little scary. We know that you are looking for a new way to reach your students.”

“We are teachers too. We know how you feel.”

Presentation1All Ears English Transcripts!

Get the transcripts for this episode!

Use the transcripts to move your English from intermediate to advanced.

Learn native pronunciation and vocabulary.

Click here now to get the transcripts.

How can you show the audience that you want to solve their problem?

“What I’m going to give you today is a solution to your problem.”

How can you talk about the Q and A format?

“Please hold your questions until the end”

Cultural tip!

If you are giving a presentation in the US, you might get some questions in the middle of the presentation so be prepared for that and let the audience know if you want to take the questions at the end. Listeners might also challenge your points and directly disagree with you. Be prepared for that. Know your material. Be confident, but be open to input from others.

Please leave a comment below.

Do you have an English presentation coming up soon?

Are you well prepared?

Let us know if you have any questions!

Get Carl’s final 2 tips to help you end your presentation with a bang! You can also learn how to start your presentation in English with Carl here.

 

What should we try to do when we are presenting?

Figure out what the challenge is that your audience is facing. What is their problem? Structure your presentation in this way:

  • Introduce your problem or challenge
  • Show the consequences of not solving it
  • Show how to solve the problem

 

How can we deal with questions?

  • Prepare in advance for the possible questions that may be asked. Prepare for questions like you would prepare for a job interview.
  • At the beginning of the presentation, let people know when they should ask questions. Should they ask during the presentation or will you take questions at the end?
  • Don’t end the presentation with Q and A (questions and answers). Why? When you do that, you don’t get a chance to end the presentation properly. End the presentation with your call to action. What should the audience do? How can they implement what you have presented?

Carl was born in Hong Kong and immigrated to Vancouver, Canada at age 3. Like many immigrants, his parents always struggled with English.

This eventually led him to pursue teaching English to help people like his mom and dad.

Since 2009 he has produced presentations videos. Currently, his YouTube Channel has more than 120 videos on presentations.

Carl lives in Seoul, South Korea with his wife and son. He offers presentations workshops and consulting, he produces live and animated videos for business owners and works as a professional voice actor and radio personality.

He believes that everyone deserves a chance at success. To learn more about Carl, please visit his website at www.carlkwan.com, check out his videos on YouTube or connect with him on LinkedIn.

Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/25031050@N06/

Do you sometimes have to deliver presentations in English at work and are you wondering how to do it better?

In this post you’ll get the first of three key tips for how to present in English from presentation expert and native English speaker, Carl Kwan!

Carl’s tip: Know your audience

  • Know what your audience wants to hear, what their problem is, what they need, etc.
  • Keep your language simple- don’t use fancy language. Don’t worry about big, long sentences or big words. Pretend that there is a ten year old child in the back of the room and they have to understand what you are saying.
  • Don’t try to memorize your presentation. Write down the points that you want to mention and then practice them.  Know your material well so that you can just discuss it.
  • Don’t talk at your audience, talk to your audience.

 

Get part 2 of this interview with Carl Kwan later today!

Carl was born in Hong Kong and immigrated to Vancouver, Canada at age 3. Like many immigrants, his parents always struggled with English.

This eventually led him to pursue teaching English to help people like his mom and dad.

Since 2009 he has produced presentations videos. Currently, his YouTube Channel has more than 120 videos on presentations.

Carl lives in Seoul, South Korea with his wife and son. He offers presentations workshops and consulting, he produces live and animated videos for business owners and works as a professional voice actor and radio personality.

He believes that everyone deserves a chance at success. To learn more about Carl, please visit his website at www.carlkwan.com, check out his videos on YouTube or connect with him on LinkedIn.

 

How do you plan to apply this information to your next presentation?

Let us know in the comments below!

Find out what St. Patrick’s Day is and learn to spot an Irish person in Boston or New York!

What should you do on St. Patrick’s Day in Boston or New York?

  • Go to the St. Patty’s Day parade in South Boston and celebrate with Bostonians!
  • Wear something green- green jewelry, green t-shirts, green accessories, green shoes, etc.

In this episode we will explain a little bit about the history of St. Patrick’s Day.

 

Presentation1All Ears English Transcripts!

Check your understanding of today’s episode.

Learn the sounds of American English and new vocabulary words.

Click here to download the transcripts now.

 

 

If you are in Boston or New York, be sure to get out and enjoy this day!

You will get a special chance to get a taste of an interesting part of Irish and American culture.

Learn more about English for American holidays here.

Tell us about your St. Patrick’s Day experience in the comments below.

Here is today’s quote:

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” –Maya Angelou-

Presentation1All Ears English Transcripts!

Check your understanding of today’s episode.

Learn the sounds of American English and new vocabulary words.

Click here to download the transcripts now.

When you are talking with native speakers, what kind of atmosphere are you creating? Are you making them feel uncomfortable by being self- conscious about your mistakes?

Don’t be so hard on yourself. If a native speaker sees that you are trying hard, that will make them feel great and they will respect you a lot.

It’s not about the little mistakes that you make. It’s not about good or bad pronunciation.

It’s just about having a great exchange and that can go beyond words with your warmth, your smile, and your nonverbal signals,

Listen to today’s episode to learn more!

Next learn how to connect with a local Canadian using Canadian English.

Do you agree with what we said today?

Leave your comments below and let’s have a conversation!

 

guatemala and volunteering in EnglishIn today’s episode you will hear Lindsay’s story about how volunteering in Guatemala helped her become fluent in Spanish way faster than any grammar textbook could.

Learn how you can get out of your head and into your heart by volunteering in English in this episode.

If you are living here in Boston here are two possibilities:

Why should you consider volunteering?

When you volunteer your time in the US, you will be around English speakers, but you won’t be focused on yourself or on your mistakes. Instead you will be giving.

You will be giving your time, your energy, and your love to help other people who need your help.

Give it a try! What do you have to lose?

Are you afraid of success in English? Find out here.

 

Have you volunteered in English? Where did you go? What did you do?

Share it with us below.

Yesterday Lindsay and her co-host argued about this question: Should you choose a career based on your passion or your strengths?

 

 

 

Presentation1All Ears English Transcripts!

Check your understanding of today’s episode.

Learn the sounds of American English and new vocabulary words.

Click here to download the transcripts now.

 

Here are four phrases to bring to your next argument in English:

  • “To find middle ground”– This means to find a place where you agree with the person that is between your opinion or the other person’s opinion
  •  “I mean, I see what you mean”- This shows that you are offering a concession, that you hear what the other person is saying and that you respect what they are saying. This is a good way to prepare the person for a contradicting opinion.
  • “(It) makes sense”- This is a way to show that you understand or that you have heard what the person said, but you might say this before you say a different opinion.
  • “My question would be”- This is a way to challenge the other person’s point of view, but when you use “would” here, it is a way of being more indirect, stepping back and using the conditional form.

Use today’s phrases in your next friendly argument if you want to maintain a great relationship with the person!

Good luck!

Find out how to argue about this topic in English today.

Listen to the English phrases that we use in this argument to improve your vocabulary.

In the US, a lot of people spend a lot of time thinking about their careers and their choice of a profession.

Lindsay and her co-host have different opinions on this question.

Here is today’s question:

When you choose a career, should you choose the thing that you love or should you choose the thing that you are naturally talented in?

Lindsay’s co-host: You should choose the thing that you love, that you are naturally talented in.

She talked about Bill Brown the Chocolate Man.

She said that Bill Brown found his passion after many years in the corporate world by starting a chocolate shop.

She thinks that passion is super important when it comes to choosing a career.

 

Lindsay thinks: You should find out what your strengths are.

Take some kind of assessment to figure out what you are good at and choose a career where you can use as many of those strengths as possible.

Lindsay talked about the movie Rudy. Rudy decided to pursue his “passion” of football but he wasn’t very talented at football. It wasn’t one of his strengths.

Therefore, he had no chance to become an amazing football player one day, regardless of how much work he put into it.

Instead, it would have been smarter for Rudy to find something that he loved and that was also one of his strengths so that he could work on it and become exceptional.

 

Listen again tomorrow to learn some specific phrases that we used in this argument.

http://www.smartpassiveincome.com/passion-profit-online/

 

What do you think?

Do you follow your strengths or your passions?

Leave a comment below!

Today is a Deep Thoughts Thursday so we have a quote for you:

“The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity.” –Emelia Earhart

When the All Ears English podcast first began, we ran into a lot of challenges:

  • We didn’t understand audio equipment and how to use it
  • We didn’t know how to edit audio
  • We didn’t have the skills to build a website

But we pushed through those problems and kept moving toward our goal. Now, four months later, this podcast has been downloaded 1 million times, thanks to you all!

What does this mean for your English? What obstacles have you faced as you have tried to improve your English:

  • Do you have trouble finding practice opportunities?
  • Do you not have enough money for a class?
  • Do you get frustrated easily?

These are all just obstacles.

Don’t let them get in your way and keep moving toward your goal.

Next, go behind the scenes with All Ears English

Are you investing your time to develop your English skills?

How much time are you spending on your English every week?

Why is it a safer investment?

Listen to the episode to find out.

Next, find out how to rescue your English conversations.

In today’s Teaching Tuesday, we talked about yesterday’s episode, where Lindsay met her co-host’s roommates.

Lindsay used some conversational strategies that are common in American culture such as:

  • Confirm the links between people in the group: The co-host introduced Jay and Morgan as her roommates, but Lindsay confirmed and said again, “so you’re roommates?” when the conversation got started because it’s an easy way to get the conversation going. This allowed the co-host to jump in and add more information if needed.
  • Ask about a shared situation: Lindsay asked her co-host’s roommates how they like the neighborhood. This is a situation that all three people (co-host, Morgan, and Jay) shared so it was easy for anyone to participate. This is another great way to keep the conversation moving.
  • Ask about someone’s job: This is very common, especially in the United States. It’s usually totally fine to ask about this because people work hard and create their identity based on their careers in many cases.

 

Presentation1Get transcripts for this episode!

Use the transcripts to move your English from intermediate to advanced.

Learn native pronunciation and vocabulary.

 

Click here to download the transcripts now!

 

Here are four specific phrases that Lindsay used to carry on the conversation while she was meeting her co-host’s roommates.

Four Phrases to Meet Someone:

  • “What do you do?” – In the US, it’s really common to ask someone what they do for work when you first meet them
  • “How did you get into that?” – This is another follow-up question after “What do you do?” Here you are asking the person how or why they began their particular career path
  • “How do you like that?”- This is a great follow up question to “What do you do?” It keeps the conversation going and allows the person to talk about themselves a bit.
  • “We should all hang out sometime”- You might use this phrase at the end of a conversation to say that you would like to see the other person again or build some kind of friendship with them.

Get more fun role plays like this one here.

 

Leave a comment for us

What did you learn from this episode?

Are you going to try any of these new phrases soon?

What are your thoughts?

Would you like to feel more confident when you do this?

Find out how to meet someone new in today’s episode.

Today Lindsay will meet two new people, Morgan and her boyfriend, Jay.

Listen to this real conversation to find out how native speakers meet new people!

Your hosts today will also talk about how adults these days can make new friends, and their own experiences meeting new people and building personal connections.

Meeting new people is daunting, especially in a language that is not your own.

That’s why today’s episode is so important!

Phrases to start the conversation:

  • I’d like to introduce you to my roommate, Morgan.
  • Pleasure to meet you!
  • The pleasure is all mine.

In the next episode, you’ll dive deeper into Lindsay’s conversation from today.

But first, let’s look at some other phrases we can hear in the conversation, and some new ones you can use when answering a new friend’s questions.

Phrases to keep the conversation going:

  • I’ve been doing this kind of work for a number of years.
  • 4 years and counting
  • How about you, how do you two know each other?

Phrases to end the conversation:

  • I’m just going to put this out there, what are you guys doing this weekend?
  • How about meeting at the park for a little playground time?

Listen to the whole episode to hear the hosts’ role play at the end, with today’s new vocabulary phrases.

Then, remember, listen to the next episode to learn more about starting conversations and making new friends in English.

For extra learning and fun English vocabulary, find out how to use “by the way” in English.

What is your biggest challenge when it comes to meeting new people in English?

Let us know in the comments below.

In today’s episode you will learn how to take control of your English by doing it your own way.

Today we have a quote:

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”

–Steve Jobs

When you “live someone else’s life,” as an English student, you might follow a teaching methodology that the teacher likes, but maybe it’s not right for you.

How can you own your English life?

Identify what’s important to you- do you want to learn conversational phrases or expressions? Do you want to be able to speak with native speakers?

You could also try learning through your passion. Learn based on what you are interested in.

Follow your learning style. How do you learn best? Is it by listening? Is it visual?

Do you like to learn by watching movies or listening to music? Do you prefer to learn by using the language?

Make English your OWN- make it part of your life.

I bet they don’t!

Why is that the case?

Today we talk about why Americans won’t correct you.

The reason is that they don’t want to embarrass you.

It’s not acceptable in American culture.

It can seem hostile or rude.

So what can you do to improve if no one is correcting you?

You need to find a language exchange, a tutor, or a conversation program and listen to podcasts like All Ears English.

 

Have you found a language exchange partner yet?

Let us know in the comments below.

Yesterday, on Meeting Monday, we talked about why you shouldn’t give too much detail when you respond to “How are you?” when you speak with an American.

Today we are going to role play two greeting situations:

 

Presentation1All Ears English Transcripts!

Check your understanding of today’s episode.

Learn the sounds of American English and new vocabulary words.

Click here to download the transcripts now.

 

In the office:

A: Hi Lindsay how are you?

B: I’m doing well, thanks how are you?

A: Oh I’m doing well thanks. Thank you for asking.

 

A: Hi how are you, Lindsay?

B: Good, how are you (G)?

A: I’m good. Thank you

 

On campus (at your college or university)

A: Hey (G). How’s it going?

B: Great, what’s up Lindsay?

 

A: Hey (G) how are you?

B: I’m ok. How’s it going with you?

A: Very good, thanks.

 

Have you ever used the vocabulary words that we learned today?

What is your biggest challenge when it comes to meeting and greeting colleagues in English?

Tell us in the comments below.

Today you will find out how to answer this American greeting in English.

Americans usually don’t expect an in-depth response or answer when we ask “how are you?”

Of course, if you are close to the person, if the person is your best friend, then they might want to know those details, but if you are greeting someone quickly and casually, don’t share private details or too much information.

 

Presentation1All Ears English Transcripts!

Check your understanding of today’s episode.

Learn the sounds of American English and new vocabulary words.

Click here to download the transcripts now.

 

Some people think this is fake, but it’s not fake because it’s just a greeting.

Americans value their time and their privacy. They don’t expect to spend the time hearing about everything that’s happening in someone’s life when you just say “hello, how are you?”

Listen to today’s episode to get more information about how to communicate with American people.

Now try this article: Update Your English- Greetings in English

 

Credits:

The ‘How Are You?’ Culture Clash by Alina Simone, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/20/opinion/the-how-are-you-culture-clash.html?_r=0

https://www.flickr.com/photos/hamillianactor/

 

Learn how to take back your English power today and to stop using these excuses!

Here is our quote for today:

“I attribute my success to this: I never gave or took any excuse.” –Florence Nightingale

Presentation1All Ears English Transcripts!

Check your understanding of today’s episode.

Learn the sounds of American English and new vocabulary words.

Click here to download the transcripts now.

Here are the most common excuses that we hear:

  • “I don’t have any opportunities to practice my English with native speakers”: If you want to solve this problem, there are some online sites that you can visit. Lindsay’s program called Speakative is a way to practice English conversation with native speakers. You can also try mylanguageexchange.com
  • “I have no time”: Think about your priorities- what’s really important to you? Look at your daily schedule. Whatever is most important, do it first.
  • “I have no money”: There are a lot of free resources available like this podcast and other online platforms, shows, apps, etc. Check them out and see what works best for you.
  • “I can’t understand everything that people say”: You feel afraid to enter a conversation because you are afraid that you will miss something and not be able to continue the conversation. Don’t let those fears stop you!
  • “No one corrects me”: This is not a reason for not improving your English. Go out and find a tutor or conversation program and get them to correct you.

 

What do you think about today’s episode?

Write your comments below and let’s have a conversation!

We have four key steps that you can take to have fun, be entertained, and learn at the same time!

Don’t miss out on the movie!

 

 

Presentation1Get today’s transcripts!

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Make sure you understood every word we said on the podcast!

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Here is the 4- step formula:

  • Step 1- Watch the movie in small pieces or in chunks: Choose a 10-minute segment or one scene (a clearly defined part of a movie), just watch that and then pause
  • Step 2- Aim to understand 70% of that piece that you have chosen: How can you do that? Use the English that you already know, but also use clues from the context, from the situation that is happening in the scene. Look at the tone of voice of the actors, the background sounds, the nonverbal signals of the characters (remember that these vary in meaning from culture to culture)
  • Step 3- Go look up the meaning of words or phrases: Remember that the words are details- that’s why we don’t do this first. Don’t get paralyzed by feeling like you have to look up every single word. Just look up the words that you think are important (key words).
  • Step 4- Watch the same scene again and try to understand slightly more (80%): Don’t try to get 100% comprehension. Perfection doesn’t exist.

 

Can you understand Hollywood movie?

What are your tricks?

Let’s have a conversation in the comments section.

Today you will find out how to follow up after a job interview and how to find out about the status of your application.

Yesterday, during Meeting Monday, we met Jo from EnglishwithJo. Jo worked for the Royal Family in England.

She told us about her interview process.

She had to wait about 3 months to find out about her job.

Today we want to show you how to call and find out about the status of your application after you have interviewed.

Listen to the episode to get the role play!

Presentation1All Ears English Transcripts!

Get the transcripts for this episode!

Use the transcripts to move your English from intermediate to advanced.

Learn native pronunciation and vocabulary.

Click here now to get the transcripts.

Key phrases from today’s role play:

  • “i just wanted to follow up on our interview”
  • “I wanted to thank you for your time”
  • “At this point we are checking up on your references”
  • “We will get back to you within the next 10 ten days”
  • “Is there are any other information that you need from me?”

What did you learn from this role play?

Leave your comments below!

Are you currently looking for a job in the US? Tell us how it’s going.

English with Jo and the Royal FamilyToday you will learn how an English teacher from Australia got a job working in England for the Royal Family!

Today is Meeting Monday and we are here with Jo from Englishwithjo.com.

This site has some great lessons for teachers to use in class, as well as collections of vocabulary for students.

Jo tells us a bit about her experiences living and working in the UK. She worked for Prince Charles, Prince Harry, and Prince William.

It’s such a great peak into the lives of the British Royals!

Here are some expressions that Jo is going to teach us from her time with the Royal Family:

  • “To Live the High Life”: To have a luxurious way of living, to have an easy life
  • “To be given things on a silver platter”: To receive something without having to work for it
  • “Pomp and ceremony”: This expression can be used to describe big, exciting state celebrations like the Royal Wedding that observe a lot of formal traditions and fancy customs

 

Jo is an online English teacher who ran the website englishwithjo.com. She grew up in Sydney, Australia, where she studied Education Psychology, and spent 5 years teaching language, cognitive, and social skills to children with autism.  In 2006, she moved to London where she worked for the British Royal Family for nearly 5 years.   She then moved to Greece, obtained a Teaching English as a Foreign Language certificate and started up an online English teaching school.  Jo has now taught students from more than 20 different countries, including: Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Spain, Uruguay, Hungary, South Korea, and many more. Jo teaches all kinds of English lessons including grammar lessons and exam preparation lessons. However, the most popular lessons are the conversation lessons where students learn how to speak ‘real English’ in a fun and natural way.

 

Leave your comment below!

What did you think of today’s interview?

What additional questions do you have for Jo?

 

All Ears EnglishLearn how to make negative comments your motivator to improve your English.

Today is a Deep Thoughts Thursday so we have a great quote for you:

“The best revenge is massive success.” — Frank Sinatra

Has anyone ever told you that your English isn’t good.

The best way to deal with these comments is to “get back at” them by improving your language skills. You could structure your goal by setting a target IELTS or TOEFL score and going after it.

A “naysayer” is someone who tells you that you can’t do something. Remember that a naysayer’s comments are more about him or her than they are about you.

The comments are about their own insecurities and disappointments about what they feel that they can’t do.

Next find out how to read your way to advanced English.

Let their comments motivate you to improve your English!!

Good luck!!

How do you go out and meet local people in the US for friendship and not for romantic dating?

If you are a woman living in the US and learning English, maybe you are tired of men hitting on you when you go out to meetups to try to practice your English!

If you have this problem, this episode is for you!

 

Presentation1All Ears English Transcripts!

Check your understanding of today’s episode.

Learn the sounds of American English and new vocabulary words.

Click here to download the transcripts now.

 

4 great tips to meet American same- sex friends who are native English speakers:

 

1- Choose a specific class or group: Join a fitness class. Cross-fit is popular for women right now. Other classes like yoga, pilates, etc. would be great places to meet American women. You could also take a cooking class through a grocery store or through an adult education class. Learn how to cook American dishes with ingredients that you can easily find in American grocery stores.

2- Volunteer: You could work for a food bank, a soup kitchen, teaching, etc.

3- Create your own situation: Email 5 friends in the US who live in your city, invite them for a potluck dinner. Ask your guests to bring 3 of their friends and share dinner with the whole group. This will not be a dating scene. You will meet great people and enjoy good food and practice your English at the same time!

 

Next, find out how to decide between a free language exchange and a language lesson.

 

What other methods do you use to meet friends to practice English with?

Share your ideas in the comments section!

In this episode, learn 3 phrases for dating in English in America. 

Today is a teaching Tuesday! You are going to learn 3 phrases to use when you are talking about dating in the US.

You heard these phrases yesterday in Episode 58: “The Unspoken Rules of Dating in America.”

Listen to today’s episode and check out the role play below to get the English vocabulary skills you need to date in America.

 

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Learn the sounds of American English and new vocabulary words.

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1- “Set someone up”: To arrange a date between two people who you think may end up having a romantic connection.

2- “Better half”: The term many people use to talk about their life partner.

3- “To ghost someone”: When you go on a date with someone and then they disappear without saying why they stopped communicating. 

Roleplay

Lindsay and Michelle are on a phone call and Lindsay is asking Michelle about her current love interest.

Lindsay: So tell me about your date last night!

Michelle: Oh it was just a last-minute thing. Mike invited me out for a quick drink on Saturday night.

Lindsay: Hmm you have been seeing this Mike guy for a few months now. How did you meet him?

Michelle: Melissa set us up. She arranged for us to both be at an art gallery opening a few months ago.

Lindsay: So are things getting serious?

Michelle: Not really. I didn’t hear from him for a whole week after we went out the first time. I thought he was ghosting me, but he eventually got in touch.

Lindsay: Jeez. Oh well I guess time will tell. My better half is calling. I gotta run.

Michelle: Okay we’ll catch up later.

Lindsay: Bye

Michelle: Bye

What are your thoughts on dating in the US?

Tell us a dating story in the comments below.

Does that girl or guy love you?? Dating in America can be confusing especially if you are learning English.

Today we are going to answer some questions from our listeners about dating rules in the United States.

You can also get 3 phrases to use when dating in the United States here.

1. How do you tell someone that you like them?

You can say:

“I like spending time with you” or “I enjoy your company.” These phrases are better than directly saying “I like you.”

2. How do you know if someone likes you?

This can be different in different cultures!

In American culture, if the person sends you a personal text message often or if they return your text message quickly, they might like you.

Also if you go out for dinner or coffee and the person wants to pay for you, that could be a sign that they have a romantic interest in you. But if the person suggests that you
“Go dutch,” then that might mean that they aren’t interested. However, in some business situations, a colleague might pay for you so don’t get confused!

If the person invites you out for dinner or a coffee then they might like you.

When the person listens to what you are saying- the day that you have an interview, when your birthday is, etc. and if they call you or text you on a special or important day, that might mean that they like you.

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3. How do you know when someone is NOT interested in you romantically?

In the US, if someone doesn’t text you back for a long time after you write them a text, they are probably not interested. If they wait for 2 days to write you back, that might be a signal that they don’t want to date you.

If they wait until the last minute to ask you out, you are their last resort, their last choice. If they really liked you, they would plan ahead and think about weekend plans with you on a Tuesday or a Wednesday.

If they avoid extended eye contact with you they might not be interested. In the US, extended eye contact can mean romantic interest. BUT be careful! In some situations like an interview, you also need to make extended, direct eye contact and that does not mean romantic interest.

However, it is still true that if someone is interested, they will look you directly in the eye for a longer period of time. If they aren’t interested, they might avoid eye contact with you.

If they suggest a group date after you ask them out on a solo date, it’s possible that they are trying to avoid time alone with you because they aren’t interested in you.

One more tip!

It’s very rare to ask someone to be your girlfriend or boyfriend after one date! It usually takes at least 4-5 dates before you might ask someone to date you, exclusively.

Episode 13- How to Date in America

Tell us about your dating experience in the United States?

What challenges have you encountered? Let’s talk about it in the comments section.

All Ears English and learning EnglishLearning English isn’t always exciting and interesting, is it?

Unfortunately sometimes it’s a lot of work and it’s not very easy.

Today you will learn where most of your success with English comes from.

Unsexy= not exciting, not interesting, not mysterious, something that is plain and simple

What is the unsexy truth about learning English?

Here is our quote for today:

80% of success is showing up. — Woody Allen

What is showing up?

To show up means to be present, to be prepared, to put in the work on a regular, consistent basis.

You should study consistently every day- just break it up into small chunks and do a little bit every single day.

Next, find out how to improve your English by acting like a salesman.

Are you immersing yourself in English?

Today you’ll learn 5 awesome strategies to avoid burnout as an English learner!

What is burnout?

Burnout is when you hit a wall and you can’t go any further.

Lindsay experienced burnout when she was a teenager, as a tennis player because she had been playing too much!

She felt tired, bored, and had to take some time off.

 

 

Presentation1All Ears English Transcripts

Check your understanding of today’s episode.

Learn the sounds of American English and new vocabulary words

Click here to download the transcripts now.

 

How can you avoid burnout?

  • Reward yourself- recognize what you have done well: Measure your improvement and give yourself some credit if you have reached your goal. Sit back and relax for a bit and reflect on all of your hard work.
  • Set your focus on very specific goals or the reason that you are learning English: What exactly do you want to do? Do you want to be able to lead a meeting in English? Give a presentation? Read a book? Once you have set your goals, put blinders on. Don’t worry about other English goals. Focus on one specific goal to avoid burnout.
  • Take a day off: Forget about your goals for a day. Hang out and put your feet up! Maybe hang out with people from your home country and don’t speak English.
  • Set realistic expectations: Push yourself, but be reasonable. Make sure you get the right balance between pushing yourself and being kind to yourself.

 

Read more!

Find out why ignorance is bliss when it comes to learning English.

 

Are you ready to go to the next level!

What are you doing to avoid burnout?

Share your thoughts with us in the comments and we’ll write back.

Jason from Fluency MC and All Ears EnglishToday you will get 4 English phrases to find love on Valentine’s Day!

Yesterday, during Meeting Monday, we had Jason from Fluency MC on the show! If you missed it, be sure to go back and listen to Jason’s song. We had a great time!

4 English Phrases:

  • To catch a movie: To go see a movie, “Let’s catch a movie” or “Do you want to catch a movie?”
  • To be a perfect match: To be meant for someone romantically, you get along well with someone
  • To play hard to get: To appear that you are not interested in someone in order to make the person want you more
  • To go out on the town:  To go out in the evening, to do something in the city, to see a movie, to have dinner, etc.

Have you tried to use these phrases yet?

Leave us a comment below and let’s have a conversation.

Today we are going to learn English with Fluency MC!

Jason is here to do some rapping for us and to teach us some new phrases for Valentine’s Day!

We asked Jason what he thinks about Valentine’s Day.

We also talked a bit about what it was like being a kid in an American school on Valentine’s Day.

Next, Jason did a super fun rap for us! This song will help you learn some new phrases and idioms in American English that are related to this romantic holiday.

Sweetie pie– cute name for someone you love

Main squeeze– boyfriend / girlfriend

Soul mate– the perfect person for you

A good catch– person that is good to be in a relationship with, because they are attractive, rich, etc.

Turn you off– something that stops you from being attracted to someone

Turn you down– say no

Learn more about Jason:

Jason R. Levine (Jase, for short) has fifteen years of experience in ELT as a teacher, teacher trainer, and materials writer. He is the creator of ColloLearn, an approach to English language learning based on the songs he writes and performs as Fluency MC.

After earning an MA in TESOL from Hunter College in 1999, Jase taught at several schools before becoming the director of curriculum development for Embassy CES. In 2002, he co-founded a TOEFL preparation school for international students in New York City.

In addition to maintaining the popular ColloLearn YouTube channel and Fluency MC Facebook page, Jase is an active administrator of over a dozen Facebook groups for English language teachers and learners, including Innovative Teachers of English.

 

 

AEEArtworkToday you will get the inspiration you need to go the extra mile with your English so that you can really achieve your goals!

You’ll find out why you must overshoot your English goals to achieve them.

Today is a Deep Thoughts Thursday!

“If you would hit the mark, you must aim a little above it; Every arrow that flies feels the attraction of Earth.” — Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth

What does this quote mean for you as an English learner?

It means that you must set big goals because things like reality, negative people, or a lack of time could bring you down or could make it longer to achieve your goals.

Now, learn how to be truly free with your English goals and your life.

 

So what is YOUR English goal?

Make it bigger than you think you can handle and push yourself!

Go get started now!

Right your goal in the comments now!

 

AEEArtworkWhat should you do when you just can’t learn English anymore or you can’t move past your current IELTS score?!

Today we’re going to talk about 3 effective strategies to use when you hit a wall with your English and you can’t keep going!

Here is what you can do:

  • Get away from your native language! Spend more time with people who speak English. Read English books, watch English TV, listen to podcasts like this one! If you are living with roommates from your home country, think about moving out and find a home with native English speakers. You can also get an internship or volunteer in English.
  • Get a teacher to guide you and move you to the next level: Your teacher should be giving you new ways to say phrases and expressions to expand your vocabulary. But remember, it’s not just the responsibility of your teacher to push you.  Don’t be afraid to ask your teacher to challenge you more if you need it!

 

Next, find out how to become fluent in English without leaving your home country.

 

Do you feel like you can’t learn anymore?

Have you hit a limit?

Tell us about your experience below.

Today you will learn 4 English food vocabulary terms that you definitely don’t know!We talked about these terms in our last episode, Breakfast Success in the US- How to Avoid Gaining Weight

You can’t learn these terms in a classroom!

Are you ready??

 

Presentation1All Ears English Transcripts!

Check your understanding of today’s episode.

Learn the sounds of American English and new vocabulary words.

Click here to download the transcripts now.

 

4 English Food Terms (from episode 50):

  • “Heavy food”: Food that has a lot of calories. Pancakes are heavy. They make you feel full.
  • “Staple”: A food that is traditional or typical and a fundamental part of the diet.
  • “Black coffee”: Nothing is added to the coffee (no sugar, no cream). “How do you take your coffee?” “I take it black”
  •  Carbs (carbohydrates): Foods such as bread, flour, potatoes

 

AEEArtworkToday you will learn how to eat a smart breakfast and how to avoid gaining weight while you are living in the US!

We have a breakfast culture in the US!

We both love to eat breakfast.

What are some typical breakfast foods in the US?

  • Pancakes
  • Waffles
  • Bacon
  • Eggs
  • Sausage
  • Oatmeal
  • Muffins
  • English muffins
  • Bagels
  • Toast
  • Coffee and juice
  • Omelets
  • French toast
  • Hash browns

 

Strategies for staying healthy and eating a good breakfast in the US:

  • Avoid the drive-thru– it’s disgusting and dangerous! Instead, get out of your car, go into a cafe or convenience store
  • Get your coffee “black” – with no sugar and no cream
  • Eat protein- get eggs, yogurt, etc. don’t eat carbohydrates. Try oatmeal. It keeps you full all day long!
  • Take lunch for breakfast- Order a lunch item for breakfast if all of the options are too greasy

 

It’s very common to have coffee with you at any time during the morning or afternoon in the US. It’s usually OK to take it into your workplace.

It’s common for Americans to walk around with a coffee in their hands in the morning.

Learn how to talk about money in American culture here.

 

In today’s episode we mentioned Lindsay’s conversation program called Speakative!

Try Speakative now!

All Ears English English skillsFind out how to become a better English speaker by overriding negative mind patterns!

Learn how your English skills can be improved based on your the way you think.

Today is a Deep Thoughts Thursday!

Here is the quote:

“All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think, we become.”- Buddha

This quote is so important for English learners! Do you focus on the fact that you can’t speak English?

If you are telling yourself that you can’t speak, that will become your reality!

Remember that our minds are wired to focus on bad experiences and mistakes.

But did you know that you can change this?

What can you do as an English learner? After you have had a conversation in English, think about what you have done well!

Take a minute to enjoy the fact that you have done great things with your English and that you are improving every day.

Don’t reflect on your mistakes.

So try this the next time you have a conversation! Let us know how it goes!

Get more Deep Thought Thursday episodes here.

Get the transcripts to get the to the next level with your English!

 Source: Rick Hanson, Nueroscientist, http://www.rickhanson.net/

Are you having trouble with your English?

Are you shy?

What can you do if the problem is YOU?!?!

Today you will learn how to get over your shyness if you are trying to learn English in the US if you aren’t seeing the progress that you want.

 

AEE Transcripts 42All Ears English Transcripts!

Check your understanding of today’s episode.

Learn the sounds of American English and new vocabulary words.

Click here to download the transcripts now.

 

What should you do if you are shy and passive and you are having trouble finding opportunities to practice?

We have different points of view on this.

Lindsay’s co-host says: It’s ok if you are shy.  Just be who you are and find other ways to learn like through listening to a podcast, by watching TV, etc.

Practice speaking on your own. Read the transcripts out loud and practice by yourself at home where you will feel more comfortable.

You can also record yourself and listen to your own speaking. Don’t get down on yourself and keep practicing on your own!

 

Lindsay says: English is a spoken language.

Yes, you DO need to be who you are even if you are shy, BUT you also need to push yourself out of your comfort zone if you aren’t getting the results that you want.

So speak! Push yourself to speak.

But choose the right context. Speak in a place where you can feel comfortable. Choose the Boston Coffee Shop Meetup (small, intimate) instead of the Boston English Language Meetup (big and noisy with a lot of people). Think about the context in which you are going to speak.

 

Step 1- Admit that YOU might be the problem

Step 2- Take action to practice first, then get out and speak

 

We have told you about their different opinions- what do YOU think is the best way to learn?

Leave a comment below please!

Do you want to know how to order street food including pizza and coffee like a native English speaker when you visit cities like New York City?

Don’t go hungry when you are in the United States.

Listen to today’s podcast and role plays while we pretend to order pizza and coffee in English on the street in New York.

In this episode you will get four key vocabulary terms that are perfect for ordering pizza or coffee on the street in English.

This episode is related to yesterday’s episode where talked with Michael about New York English slang!

Michael talked about street food and it made us hungry! So we decided to show you how to order street food in English.

 

AEE Transcripts 42Subscribe to the All Ears English Transcripts!

Check your understanding of today’s episode.

Learn the sounds of American English and new vocabulary words.

Click here to download the transcripts now.

 

 

Role play one- Lindsay orders a coffee with four sugars and two creams plus a toasted blueberry bagel with butter from a street vendor in New York City

Vendor:  How ya doin’? (How are you doing?)

Lindsay: Great thanks

Vendor: What can I get you?

Lindsay: I’ll take a small coffee. Four sugars.

Vendor: Any cream in that?

Lindsay: Yep two creams please.

Vendor: Here you go.

Lindsay: Oh could I also have a blueberry bagel with butter?

Vendor: Sure. You want that toasted?

Lindsay: Yeah that’d be great.

 

 

Role play two- Michelle orders a slice of pizza.  She chooses a slice of pepperoni! She also asks for extra napkins. She gets an orange soda to drink – medium size with no ice.

Michelle: Hi can I get a slice of pepperoni?

Vendor: Sure. You want that heated?

Michelle: Yes please.

Vendor: Okay that’ll be $5.35

Michelle: Oh can I get a few extra napkins? 

Vendor: Sure they’re in the bag.

Michelle: Perfect and can I also get a medium orange soda but hold the ice?

Vendor: Here you go ma’am. It’s $8.20.

Michelle: Okay here you go. Thanks.

Vendor: Thank you. Have a great day.

Key Vocabulary:

  • What can I get you?
  • I’ll take ____
  • Can I get a ____
  • Hold the ____

Listen to the podcast to get the role play and vocabulary words!

Leave us a comment about today’s episode.

Was it helpful?

What questions do you still have?

Today you’ll learn some New York City English slang with Michael from Happy English!

We are so excited to have an awesome guest on the show for you today.

Michael will teach us 4 “street” English words from New York City plus you’ll learn how to pronounce your English words like a New Yorker.

Pronunciation- New Yorkers pronounce coffee like “kaw-fee.”

Listen to the episode to hear Michael’s New York pronunciation.

4 New York City English Slang Words:

  • Ajita (A-ji-duh): This could mean heartburn (if you eat spicy food or pizza) or it could mean that you are stressed out because you are annoyed by a person or a situation such as the train being late. “My friend Johnny is always givin’ me ajiduh.”
  • Fughedaboudit!  (forget about it):  1- No way!
  • Not Fuh Nuttin’ (not for nothing): We use this phrase when we want to give our opinion about something that we believe is true, but the listener doesn’t know or doesn’t realize it. “Not Fuh Nuttin’ but you guys have the best English podcast.”
  • A Skooch: Someone who is annoying “My dog can be such a skooch sometimes.”

Micheal says these are very common phrases in New York City. He hears them in daily conversations on the subway, in Central Park, all over!

So, if you go to New York for any reason, you’ll understand locals, and make some new American friends!

Listen to the episode for Lindsay and Michelle’s role play using today’s vocabulary! You won’t get this in any textbook!

If you enjoyed listening to Michael on the podcast today, please visit his website at Happy English

 

All Ears English speak real English train your brainWant to speak real English?

Want to move your IELTS score from a 6 to a 7 in Speaking?

Do you want to reach your target score on the TOEFL?

Want to connect with real native speakers?

You can do all of these things but first you need to change the way you learn English.

You have to change the way you think about learning.

Forget about the way you learned English in school when you were young.

You need a new approach!

Today is a Deep Thoughts Thursday so here’s our quote:

 

“Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think.”

Albert Einstein

 

Did you memorize facts (grammar) when you were in school?

Now you need to try a new way!

At All Ears English we want to help you immerse yourself in the language, have fun, and pick up some great study and learning habits!

 

Say hi in the comments below!

What do you think about this quote?

Do you agree? Disagree?

Tell us what you think.

AEEArtworkYou start a conversation with a native English speaker and all of a sudden your heart starts to beat fast.

Your hands get sweaty.

Your mouth gets dry.

You are in a panic!

It’s the English-learner’s panic!

Why is this happening to you and what can you do?

How can you deal with panic when you speak English?

Today you will get 6 ways to stop panicking in English-speaking situations.

 

What is panic?

When you panic, you start to feel nervous. You might feel intense anxiety.

 

6 Strategies to Deal with Panic:

  •  Breathe- take 5 deep breaths
  • Ask the representative to wait. Put the phone down and count to 20. Pick it up again and start from the beginning.
  • Clarify- repeat what you heard to be sure that you understood the rep. Ask the rep to confirm and explain more. You could say this: “Oh so you mean I get a 10% discount. Is that right?”
  • Ask the representative to explain in other words. You could say, “Can you say that in other words? I am not sure if I am understanding.”
  • Role play similar situations with your tutor

 

Do you experience panic when you learn English or try to speak English?

Tell us your story below.

English phrasal verbs goToday we are going to help you with those tricky phrasal verbs!

Learn three phrasal verbs in English using “go” and find out how to finally master phrasal verbs in a game!

Three Phrasal Verbs with “Go”

  • “To go over” : To cover, to talk about, to go through, to discuss, to explain
  • “To go through” : To explain something in detail, to practice something
  • “To go for” : To choose, to select, to take action
  • “To start off” : To begin, “Let’s start off with an appetizer.”

Get another way to use phrasal verbs by inviting someone out. 

 

Presentation1 All Ears English Transcripts

Check your understanding of today’s episode.

Learn the sounds of American English and new vocabulary words

Click here to get the transcripts now!

 

 

Leave a comment for us!

Have you tried using these English phrasal verbs with “go”?

Leave us some sample sentences of your own in the comments below.

 

Today you’ll get 18 ways to end a business, academic, or personal email in English.

Learn how to write great emails in English with All Ears English.

Stop making the common email mistakes that a lot of students make.

Business emails:

  • “Best regards”
  • “Best”
  • “Regards”
  • “Warm regards”
  • “Respectfully”

Academic emails:

  • Any of the business endings above
  • “Thank you”
  • “Thanks so much”

Friends/Family/Casual

  • “Take care”
  • “All the best”
  • “Hugs”/ “Love”/ “XO” (very close relationships)
  • “Talk soon”
  • “Speak soon”
  • “See you (ya) later”
  • “Later”
  • “Cheers”
  • “Ciao”

If you aren’t sure which ending to use, choose a more formal ending or just say “Thank you.”

Get today’s transcripts!

AEE Transcripts 42Ready to use this episode to become fluent in English?

Make sure you understood every word we said on the podcast!

Get today’s transcripts now!

What NOT to Do:

  • Do not use abbreviations like “CU” (see you)
  • Don’t end an email with “bye” or “goodbye”- it’s only spoken English

 Find Gabby’s ESL Troubleshooting Course mentioned in the episode HERE

Note about today’s blog post title:

“Like a Boss” is a pop culture reference that comes from the Saturday Night Live Lonely Island skit with Andy Samberg and Seth Rogan, click here to watch

AND the original song “Like a Boss” by Slim Thug

All Ears English learn EnglishAre you a loser? If so, that’s great because you will probably be successful at learning English!

Here is today’s quote:

“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

— Michael Jordan

Why has Michael Jordan been so successful?

He has tried so many times! He has failed so many times. That is why he has become successful.

How often are you making mistakes with your English? Push yourself to make mistakes every single day. If you do this, you will be closer to making real improvement!

 

AEE Transcripts 42All Ears English Transcripts!

Check your understanding of today’s episode.

Learn the sounds of American English and new vocabulary words.

Click here to download the transcripts now.

 

Don’t forget: “Today is a great day to make a mistake!”

Here is another episode to get you thinking deeply! Learn how to make your mark  in the world.

 

Leave a comment below!

What do you think about this quote?

In your experience, is this true?

Tell us about your mistakes and your journey to English improvement!

AEEArtworkToday you will get 3 ways to take control of your English learning just like an entrepreneur!

Think like an innovator and make English your business!

Here are the top 3 ways to be an entrepreneurial English learner:

  • Be picky about who you spend time with! Be selective about the people you hang out with. Spend time with people who are native English speakers or who are learning English and are motivated. Your close friends need to support your goal of learning English. They need to be committed just like you. Remember, you become like the people that you spend time with so choose wisely!
  • Pivot if something isn’t working: Make small changes if something isn’t working. You could try listening to a podcast or use another method and then measure the results. If the method isn’t working, find something new!
  • Say It Even if You Don’t Believe It: Say that you speak English even if you don’t believe that you are fluent. You want people to speak with you in English and if you tell them (with confidence) that you speak English, they will speak with you! You don’t have to know every word in the English language.

 

Get today’s transcripts!

Ready to use this episode to become fluent in English?

Make sure you understood every word we said on the podcast!

Get the transcripts from today’s episode here.

 

This episode and some of our ideas came from Lindsay’s blog at English and Culture: How to Become an Entrepreneurial English Learner

 

 Are you an entrepreneurial English learner?

Tell us how in the comments below.

Do you feel awkward in English?

Today you’ll see how to take control and start a great conversation in English AND you’ll learn two ways to use the verb “get.”

 

Here’s a cultural tip on conversational English:

When someone asks you how you are doing, you can say , “I”m doing (well), (great) (ok)” and then you can add some information about the weather.

In the Meeting Monday, Episode 38, Lindsay used this trick and she said that there was a lot of snow in Boston.

When you immediately make a comment about the weather, it makes it easy to lead into the conversation.

This will help you eliminate any awkwardness that you might feel at the beginning of a conversation.

Here’s another way to jump into an English conversation.

 

Presentation1All Ears English Transcripts!

Check your understanding of today’s episode.

Learn the sounds of American English and new vocabulary words.

Click here to download the transcripts now.

 

Other phrases from Meeting Monday (Episode 38):

  • “To get (snow), (rain),”: You can say this to sound more natural. In school, you probably learned to say “It is snowing ,” but that is more formal, written English. Here is an example of how to use this: “Boston is getting a lot of snow.”
  • “Mishmash” (noun): A combination of many different things. Example- “This language is a mishmash of many others.”
  • “To get rid of”: To eliminate something, to remove something. Example- “I want to get rid of my old clothes.”

 

What questions do you have about today’s episode?

Ask us in the comments and we’ll get back to you.

AEEArtworkToday you will get survival English tips and phrases for your next vacation to an island nation!

The tips are from our special guest who is from Trinidad.

English from Trinidad is a mix of English, French, Spanish, and a few other languages that have been mixed together and the language has evolved over time.

There are so many kinds of ‘Englishes.’ When we think of English speaking countries, we think of America, England, etc., but English is spoken in many more nations, like South Africa, Nigeria, Singapore, and Trinidad.

Here are the phrases that Matt taught us:

  • “Allyuh”: “All of you”
  • “Aye-yai-yai”: “Wow”- this word can be an expression of extreme pleasure of pain (Spanish speakers and some Americans say this too!)
  • “Ent”: “Isn’t it?”- this is a tag question that is used at the end of a sentence to look for agreement from the listener

We all become lazy when we speak, often combining words. For example, instead of “allyuh”, in Texas they say “y’all” or “all y’all”.

Another good example is saying “dunno” instead of  “I don’t know.”

There is also an American English equivalent of  “ent.” We often add “yeah” at the end of questions to check for agreement.

Listen to the episode to hear how Matt pronounces these Trinidad English phrases, and also here Lindsay and Michelle do a role play for their American English synonyms.

Conquer your English perfectionism in this guest episode with Jun from Hapa Eikawa.

 

What did you think about this episode? Have you tried to use these phrases yet?

Let us know what’s on your mind in the comments below.

enthusiasm English learnersToday you’ll learn 2 key ways to bring more enthusiasm into your English learning!

Today is a Deep Thoughts Thursday, so here’s today’s quote:

“Enthusiasm is the mother of effort, and without it nothing great was ever achieved.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Don’t let anyone tell you that enthusiasm is cheesy!

Try to have some energy around your goals to get an extra boost and motivation to get moving with a new project or to chase your goals.

If you aren’t feeling enthusiastic about your English, ask yourself why:

  • Are you using the wrong materials?
  • Do you need different people in your life to inspire you?

Lindsay’s co-host loves watching TED Talks. They help her to get inspired, enthusiastic, and to put effort into what she is doing.

Lindsay gets inspired when she connects with people. When you learn a new language, you get to connect with people from a new part of the world, that you never would have connected with otherwise.

How could these ideas help you to get inspired and enthusiastic about learning English?!

Stay inspired- find out how to learn English with your heart and not with your head!

Thank you so much for listening and thanks for being enthusiastic about All Ears English!

Put your ears into English!

Tell us what you think about the All Ears English Podcast. Leave a message for us in the comments below.

Ron English FuncastToday we are so excited to bring you a guest! We have Ron from English Funcast on the show.

Ron is an English teacher from Canada and he is also a comedian! He created the English Funcast to teach English through jokes.

Though he is not publishing new episodes, there are still 146 episodes available on his website. Each episode explains 2-3 jokes in English. You can read these jokes as well, so you can understand them completely, and laugh at humor in English!

Why should you lean English with humor?

It’s exciting! It gets you focused and once you understand, you’ll start laughing and you’ll know that you are improving.

 

Here is one of Ron’s jokes:

“Last night I went to a 24-hour grocery and when I got there, the guy was locking the front door. I said, ‘Hey, the sign says you’re open 24 hours.’ He goes: Not in a row.”

Do you understand this joke? The meaning of “in a row” means without stopping. Most of the time, when you see a sign that says “Open 24 Hours,” you assume that it means 24 consecutive hours, but not in this case.

 

Go visit Ron and add some humor to your English-learning routine at English Funcast and on Facebook at Learn English Funcast

 

Learn how to tell a knock-knock joke in English.

 

Did you like this episode with Ron?

Have you made up your own jokes in English?

Share them in the comments section!

 

English at workToday we’ll show you how to answer a key question about your performance at work in English plus 3 other common English expressions!

Yesterday we talked about your New Year’s English reverse resolutions.

The key phrase from this episode was:

“How did it go?”

What does this phrase mean? It means “what happened?” When someone asks you this, they want to know if something went well or not.

Ways to answer this question:

  • “Great!”
  • “Awesome”
  • “Amazing”
  • “It went so well”
  • “It was all right”
  • “Not bad”
  • “OK”
  • “More or less”
  • “I’m sure next time will be better.”
  • “It could have been better.”

 

Three bonus phrases:

  • “To give yourself credit” : To recognize your efforts, to get recognition
  • “To put a spin on something” : To give something your own unique perspective or thoughts, making something slightly different, to take a reverse point of view on something
  • “To take off” : Meaning 1: To succeed, Meaning 2: To leave the ground (airplane), Meaning 3: To leave a place or an event, Meaning 4: To remove clothing (hat, shoes)

 

Thanks for listening and reading today!

Good luck in the new year!

Have you tried these phrases at work yet?

Let us know if you try them and tell us how it goes!

AEEArtworkWhat is your English reverse resolution? Learn how to set one in today’s episode by asking three key questions!

Today we want to put a spin on a typical New Year’s resolution. Let’s go back and look at 2013 and ask these questions:

1- What were your English goals?

2- What did you actually do? What actions did you take toward those goals?

3- Did you achieve your English goals?

Think about what methods helped for your English learning. Did you listen to this podcast? Did it help? Did you take a class? Did you try a language exchange?

Remember, if something isn’t working, stop doing it! Make the change that you need. The reverse resolution is the first step to setting New Year’s resolutions.

Do this with a partner! If you have an English tutor or a friend who can help you do this, that would be great too!

Use a spreadsheet to document your year. Check out this resource from Chris Guillebeau on the Art of Non-Conformity.

Get some ideas for how to spend your New Year’s Eve if you are going to be in New York City!

 

Please help AEE by leaving a review in iTunes now!

We want to know what you think about the All Ears English Podcast! Let us know!

start studying EnglishWhen is the best time to start studying English?

Today you will find out when the perfect time is to start studying English.

Today’s Quote:

“Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.”

If you always wait until everything is just the right, you aren’t going to reach your goals!

Do you tell yourself that you will study when you have more time? Or do you say that you will enroll in a class when you have more money?

Don’t put things off. Don’t delay. Think about whether or not you are taking the right action, but do take action. If studying is important, take the 5 minutes that you have and start studying.

Just go for it now! Good luck

Here’s another great study tip to help you start to speak English like a native.

 

What do you think about this quote?

Is it true for you?

Let us know in the comments below and let’s have a conversation!

study EnglishFind out how to get a 2-for-1 study experience where you will double your English learning!

Here’s the tip: Change the place where you study.

Where can you go?

Try going to a cafe to study. You can eaves- drop and listen to English around you while you spend time with your notes and books.

Where else could you go?

Try a public library, go to the park, a bookstore, a university library, or study on the train

Take in the material in different ways, at different times, in different places. Make your studying more dynamic and more interesting.

Remember you need to stay motivated and inspired so choose your next study location and get going!

 

Do you plan to try this tip?

What challenges do you think you’ll have? Let us know and let’s talk about it in the comments below.

how to ask like a native English speakerLearn how to ask about someone’s New Year’s Eve plans like a native English speaker!

Here are some phrases that you heard in yesterday’s Meeting Monday:

  • To ring in the New Year (expression): To celebrate the beginning of a new year. “How are you going to ring in the New Year this year?”
  • Iconic (adjective): Traditional, typical. An “iconic” image of New York city is the Statue of Liberty
  • Must-see (adjective): Something that must be seen for a visitor or is mandatory because it is so important or famous. Times Square is a must-see place in New York if you are a visitor.
  • To deal with (verb): To take action with something (this has a negative connotation). “I don’t want to deal with the crowds in New York on New Year’s Eve”

 

If you tried these phrases, tell us how your conversation went.

Leave a message for us in the comments and we’ll respond to you!

 

new years even in the USGet four different ideas for what to do on New Year’s Eve in New York City.

Today we are talking about what people do in New York on New Year’s Eve!

Here are some things that you can do in New York!

  • Watch the ball drop in Times Square: Be sure to plan ahead and have a strategy. You will have to stand in the same place for several hours. Prepare for the cold! Dress warmly. What does it mean to dress warmly? Wear long-johns, wear a wool hat and mittens, wear heavy jeans, and boots, and thick socks with wool!
  • Go to a house party: This is the best way to get to know native English speakers in the US and make new friends. Don’t forget to bring a bottle of wine and/or a snack for the host. Sometimes New Year’s Eve parties are formal so find out ahead of time whether it’s formal or casual. A lot of people think that New Yorkers aren’t friendly but that’s not necessarily true!
  • Do a fixed- price meal at a restaurant: This will be expensive, but it could be a nice way to celebrate with friends.

Happy New Year!

 

What is your favorite way to celebrate the New Year in your home country? Let us know in the comments below!

English goalsLearn how to start taking action with your English today and how to set English goals that are SMART!

Today’s episode will also help you if you want to score a 7 or higher on your IELTS Exam.

Quote for today:

“Action is the foundational key to all success.”

-Pablo Picasso

It’s very easy to get stuck in your head with planning.

Stop planning and thinking and start taking action.

When you spend time thinking and not doing, you waste energy.

What is the key action that you are going to take tomorrow?

If you have a big goal, try breaking it down into smaller steps.

Use SMART goals

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Reasonable
  • Timely

By setting the right goals you will learn to be truly free to achieve and enjoy your life.

Write your SMART goal in the comments section below!

Let’s talk about it.

 

expand English vocabularyToday you will find out how you can expand your English vocabulary by doing what you enjoy!

Throw away your boring textbooks and have more fun!

Focus on your interests.

You need to do this so that you can stay motivated and keep moving forward.

Also, remember that if you want to score a 7 or higher on IELTS Speaking and IELTS Writing then you need to have specific vocabulary words.

If you are interested in food, try to learn the vocabulary of ingredients. Try cooking in English.

You can also focus on playing sports with native English speakers.

See you tomorrow for Deep Thoughts Thursday!

 

What activities and hobbies do you love?

How do you plan to learn English through those activities?

Let’s have a conversation in the comments below!

English phrases for holidaysToday you will learn some key English vocabulary that you can use during the Christmas holiday or at a cocktail party with your American friends!

In our last episode we gave you advice on how to celebrate the holidays in the United States.

Today is a teaching Tuesday!

Key terms:

  • Fancy (adjective): Upscale, nicer, less casual, ornate, expensive
  • Watch out! (verb): Be careful! Be aware of, keep an eye out, look for
  • Gathering (noun): A smaller, more relaxed party, intimate party, not a huge party
  • Heels (high-heels) (noun): Nice shoes that women wear with a dress

 

Ask us your questions below.

Let’s have a conversation in the comments section!

AEEArtworkToday you will get 5 wonderful ways to enjoy the holiday if you are spending Christmas in America.

Are you going to be away from home and in the US during the Christmas holiday this year?

How can you enjoy the holiday?

What to do for fun at Christmas in the US:

1- Go ice skating: In Boston, try the Boston Common and in New York go to Central Park, Rockefeller Center, or Bryant Park

2- Go to a company Christmas party or  another Christmas-themed event in your town

3- Go to a cocktail party

Two tips for a cocktail party:

a- Remember to bring something (a bottle of wine is perfect) or a snack or dish (ask the host what he or she needs if you aren’t sure what to bring). Prepare a few English vocabulary words and phrases for a Christmas party.

b- It’s common to wear red if you are a woman, but you don’t have to. Cocktail parties are fancy (formal). Don’t wear jeans to a cocktail party. Women should wear heels and a dress or nice pants. Guys can wear a suit jacket, maybe a tie. If you are at a party, watch out for mistletoe. It usually hangs in doorways and if you walk under it with someone else, you have to kiss that person. That is a typical Christmas tradition in the United States.

4- Christmas tree lighting: Most cities have a public Christmas tree lighting. You can usually attend for free, drink hot chocolate, and join in the ceremony. In Boston you can find this in the Boston Common.

5-Volunteer your time: You can also try volunteering at a soup kitchen. You can serve food to homeless people on Christmas. You can practice your English this way and we guarantee that you will forget about your loneliness and homesickness if you do this.

 

What to do if you are feeling lonely or missing your home country:

Keep in mind that you are here temporarily so take advantage of it!  If you are a university student, connect with other international students through your school, if you are a professional, try InterNations.

Merry Christmas and enjoy the holiday!

 

Share with us what you are doing for the holidays in the comments section!

English inspirationDo you know how to learn English with your heart?

Find out why you haven’t reached your English goals yet in today’s episode!

Are you an inspired English learner?

Here is today’s quote:

“You have to go wholeheartedly into anything in order to achieve anything worth having.”

What does wholeheartedly mean?

This is an adverb and It means to put your whole self into something without holding back.

More examples:

1- We wholeheartedly work on this podcast to make it awesome for our listeners.

2- A successful person strives wholeheartedly toward his goals.

Are you putting yourself into your English study wholeheartedly or are you holding back?

Wholeheartedness is the only way to reach fluency!

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Why are you trying to improve your English?
  • Are you doing it because other people want you to do it?
  • Are you doing it because you feel like you should?
  • Are you saying that you want to improve your English, but not really putting in the time to make that goal a reality?

Doing (taking action) is very important!

What are you actually doing every day to improve your English?

 

Leave us a comment or ask a question!

English language exchangeToday you’ll learn how to study languages smarter and faster.

You’ll also find out how to use your own native language to help you learn English!

Try a language exchange! A language exchange works like this: find someone in your local city who speaks your target language (English) as a native and who is also learning your native language.

Sit down with them in a cafe once per week and split the time speaking in your language and their language.

This is free and it’s a great way to practice!

Two important thing to remember about language exchanges:

1- Your partner must correct your mistakes immediately- be sure to ask them to do that!

2- You should use some kind of materials to go deeper than small talk. Read the newspaper today, work through discussion questions from a podcast or talk about a recent movie or TV show that you watched

Before you get started, read these tips on common language exchange mistakes.

Here are some places to get your language exchange online:

1- Live Mocha

2- My Language Exchange

3- The Mixxer

4- Craigslist

5- Meetup

6- Your local university might have a language exchange program

 

Now that you know what a language exchange is and how to set it up, go get started!

Practice, practice, practice!

Good luck!

Leave a comment and tell us how your language exchange is going.

what Ivy League means in EnglishToday you will find out what “Ivy League” actually means in the world of colleges and universities in the United States. In yesterday’s episode, we talked about how to get accepted at a university in the US.

Here are some phrases that you can learn from yesterday’s Meeting Monday (episode 22). If you haven’t listen to yesterday’s episode, go back and listen before you study these phrases!

  • To stay on top of: To manage something, to meet a deadline, to do what you should be doing. Here’s an example: “I’m on top of my work.”
  • Ivy League: Technically, the “Ivy League” is a league of sports teams that compete against each other on the East Coast of the US. They include Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, University of Pennsylvania, and Yale University. But in conversational terms, we think of an “Ivy League” school as a school that is extremely competitive, selective, and elite.
  • To make sure: This phrase means to check on things or to double check. Here’s an example: “I am not sure if I turned off the oven, I am going to go back and make sure that I did.”
  • The right fit: Something that feels comfortable and appropriate for you (this could also be clothing, shoes, etc.). In this context we talked about a university that is “the right fit” – that is a school that feels good for your personality, your academic goals, and your lifestyle.

 

Have you ever tried applying to a university in the US?

Did you get accepted? Tell us about your experience!

American university how to get inToday you will find out 10 things that you MUST know to get accepted at a university in the United States!

Check out today’s episode!

What are the tips?

  1. Clean up your social media accounts: 30% of American admissions counselors check applicants out online. It could happen to you so you want to be on the safe side!
  2. Stay on top of deadlines: Make a checklist and keep track of dates that you need to remember for the SAT, the TOEFL, college essays, applications, letters of recommendation, etc. There are so many things to remember, so make it easy on yourself and keep a calender!
  3. Find the right fit: Don’t assume that a school is right for you just because it has a great reputation or because it’s in the Ivy League! Be sure to visit the school to see firsthand what it’s like to be a student at the school. Going to college in the US is not just about the classes and the reputation- it’s about the entire experience- so make sure you choose the right one.

Learn more! Find out what “Ivy League” really means.

Leave a message for us!

Have you tried to apply to a university in the US?

What challenges have you faced?

What tips would you give to other students who are trying to apply?

English mistakesLearn how to stop worrying about making English mistakes!

Today is a Deep Thoughts Thursday!

Today we have a great quote for you that we hope will help you get inspired with your English!

Today’s quote:

“You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching, love like you’ll never be hurt, sing like there’s nobody listening and live like it’s heaven on earth.”

William W. Purkey

Why does this matter for you as an English learner? You will have more success if you can find a way to forgot about the opinions of others while you are speaking English.

As an English learner, you are in a vulnerable position- what if someone hears you make a mistake? Well, what’s the worst thing that could happen if you make a mistake??!!

Forgetting about the opinions of others is not an easy thing to do- but if you can do it, you will have more fun learning English and you will improve much faster because you will take more risks!

Ready to read more?

Learn how to find power in your English mistakes.

 

Give it a try this week and see what happens!

Let us know in the comments below!

AEEArtworkAre you looking for a new way to practice your English for free?

In today’s episode, you’ll get an interesting tip about how you can do this on the telephone!

Welcome to a Wisdom Wednesday!

Here’s the tip:

Find a household product, look at the label, get the customer service phone number, call and offer suggestions or comments about the product or how to improve it. Try to maintain a conversation with the customer service representative.

This could be a great way to practice your phone skills without feeling too much pressure! Pay attention to the vocabulary that they use during the phone call.

Give a try- good luck!

When you practice your English on the phone, you’ll need the right phrases to use. Learn 3 ways to speak English like an American with Amy Gillett.

ARTWORKAll Ears English Transcripts!

Get the transcripts for this episode!

Use the transcripts to move your English from intermediate to advanced.

Learn native pronunciation and vocabulary.

Click here now to get the transcripts.

 

Leave a comment for us!

Did you try this method?

If so, how did it go?

Let us know!

We want to hear from you.

 

American English slangDo you want to know how to learn and use American English slang terms?

Find out about one website where you can look them up in today’s episode!

Learn how to use these terms in today’s podcast!

  • Get around (by car), (by bike), (on the subway)
  • A Headache
  • Cruising (Be careful! There are two meanings for this!)

 

Here’s a great place to look up common American English slang!

Urban Dictionary

 

All Ears English Transcripts!

Get the transcripts for this episode!

Use the transcripts to move your English from intermediate to advanced.

Learn native pronunciation and vocabulary.

Click here now to get the transcripts.

 

Want to learn more American slang? Learn New York City English slang in this episode.

 

What American English slang words do you know?

Tell us what you know in the comments below.

Transportation is changing in urban centers in the United States!

Many Americans are selling cars and buying bikes to save money.

Why is this happening?

In this episode you will learn about an alternative to hailing a cab in Boston and New York.

How is transportation different in the rural and urban areas of the United States?

Listen to today’s episode to find out.

If you are taking the IELTS Exam, a cultural trend topic like this may be a question for IELTS Speaking Part 3.

Listen to the episode a few times then practice discussing the topic with an IELTS professional.

 

ARTWORKAll Ears English Transcripts!

Check your understanding of today’s episode.

Learn the sounds of American English and new vocabulary words.

Click here to download the transcripts now.

 

Bike Rental Programs:

Learn more about the American lifestyle in this episode: Learn How to Hack Your American Eating Habits

Please leave a comment!

What is your preferred method of transportation in your city?

Are there any changes currently happening in your city or country around transportation?

 

shop in English on black fridayLearn how to shop American style and get a bargain on Black Friday in the United States! Today is a special bonus episode!

Are you wondering what Black Friday is and what Americans do on Black Friday?

Black Friday is the official start of the holiday season. You can find huge discounts. Check out the Wrentham Outlets near Boston.

In today’s episode we will talk about our own Black Friday shopping habits and we will give you some advice on how you can get the most out of Black Friday.

Check out this website for special coupons that you can use on Black Friday.

 

 Get 3 phrases to shop in English on Black Friday.

 

Leave us a comment!

How did you celebrate Black Friday last year ?

What did you do?

Did you get any good deals?

 

See results and improvement with your English faster and stay present in each moment. Find out how you can do that in today’s episode.

Welcome to a Deep Thoughts Thursday!

Today is also Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! What are you doing to celebrate today?

 

AEE Transcripts 1-17All Ears English Transcripts!

Check your understanding of today’s episode.

Learn the sounds of American English and new vocabulary words.

Click here to download the transcripts now.

 

Today’s quote:

“Your future is created by what you do today, not tomorrow.”

Why does this matter for English learners?

Learning English can be joyful if you try to be present in each moment!

Enjoy the connections that you can make with another person through learning a language.

Website suggestions:

 

Another way to improve your English is by acting like a salesman.

 

 What are your thoughts about today’s quote?

Please leave a comment for us below.

Tell us what you think!

Learn how to bring native English speakers to you!

Today is a Wisdom Wednesday!

Here’s the tip:

Try wearing something “off the wall” or strange to get people to talk to you.

You could also wear a t-shirt from your favorite sports team!

This is a great way to get native English speakers to start a conversation with you.

 

AEE Transcripts 1-17All Ears English Transcripts!

Check your understanding of today’s episode.

Learn the sounds of American English and new vocabulary words.

Click here to download the transcripts now.

 

This tip was inspired by a blog post by Benny Lewis from the Fluent in 3 Months blog

Want to prepare more for your conversations with natives? Get 5 ways to ask native English speakers to repeat.

 

Leave a comment for us!

What do you do to bring native English speakers to you?

Have you ever tried any of the tricks that we suggested in today’s episode?

If so, how did it go?

4 phrases for dating in EnglishToday you will learn four phrases that you need to talk about dating in American English!

Learn more English dating vocabulary and phrases here.

Today’s phrases:

  • “to go dutch”
  • “the tab”/”the check”/”the bill”
  • “to get out”
  • “commitment”

 

Websites and recommendations:

 

AEE Transcripts 1-17All Ears English Transcripts!

Get the transcripts for this episode!

Use the transcripts to move your English from intermediate to advanced.

Learn native pronunciation and vocabulary.

Click here now to get the transcripts.

 

Thanks for listening to today’s episode.

If you liked this episode, please leave a rating and review in iTunes so that we can keep the All Ears English Podcast going!

dating in America, All Ears EnglishLearn how to date in America and in American culture today in our Meeting Monday!

In today’s episode you will learn how to date Americans or how to date American style with confidence!

We are going to answer your questions about dating in American culture and we will look at why and how it might be different from dating in your home culture!

In today’s episode we will talk about:

  • Online dating in the United States
  • Urban dating culture in the US
  • Do Americans date several people at once?
  • What is the typical “dating progression” in the United States?
  • When does a couple become “exclusive?”
  • Who pays when you go on a date?

 

Here are some popular dating sites:

 

Want to learn more about dating in the United States? Learn the unspoken rules of dating in America!

 

Please leave a comment for AEE:

– What is still confusing to you about dating in the US (after listening to the episode)

-What are the main differences between dating in the US and dating in your culture?

-Did you like this episode? Why or why not?

English mistakesToday is a Deep Thoughts Thursday! Thanks for joining us!

What can Einstein teach you about learning English?

Here is Einstein’s quote:

“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.”

-Einstein

When you study English, you should try to make mistakes!

You can also try to find power in your English mistakes.

If you aren’t making mistakes, you aren’t learning!

Watch this video about why you should make more mistakes!

The Perfectionism Cure

 

AEE Transcripts 1-17All Ears English Transcripts!

Get the transcripts for this episode!

Use the transcripts to move your English from intermediate to advanced.

Learn native pronunciation and vocabulary.

Click here now to get the transcripts.

 

Please leave a comment for us. Please tell us:

-Are you a perfectionist?

-How does it hurt your English learning?

– Do you agree with Einstein?

– How do you feel when you make a mistake in English?

Welcome to Wisdom Wednesday! Do you want to expand your English vocabulary??

Today you will learn some tricks that Lindsay and her co-host have used to expand their vocabularies in other languages.

Learn what you can do to quickly expand your English vocabulary and speak like a native for an exam like the IELTS or the TOEFL or just for better everyday conversations with natives.

Want a great vocabulary topic to start with? Try English food vocabulary!

 

AEE Transcripts 1-17All Ears English Transcripts!

Check your understanding of today’s episode.

Learn the sounds of American English and new vocabulary words.

Click here to download the transcripts now.

 

What can you do?

  • Try putting vocabulary flashcards in different areas of your home.
  • Put them on the wall.
  • Put them in the bathroom.
  • Put them on your toaster.
  • Label items around the room.
  • Write quotes and phrases that you like.
  • Make a stack of flashcards and put them on your key chain. Flip through them when you are on the train or walking to work.

Most importantly, try to make the vocabulary a central part of your daily life.

What ideas do you have?

Have you ever used flashcards?

Tell us in the comments below!

In today’s episode you will learn how to express yourself like a native English speaker!

Remember, to express yourself like a native English speaker you need to get over your fear of talking to native speakers.

Here are the phrases that you will learn:

  • “tongue-in-cheek”
  • “rich” experience
  • “I’ve been meaning to do something”
  • “to get to a place or an event”

AEE Transcripts 1-17Get the transcripts for this episode!

Use the transcripts to move your English from intermediate to advanced.

Learn native pronunciation and vocabulary.

Click here to get the transcript from today’s episode now!

Remember!

The phrases that you have learned today are great in everyday conversation and they are also expressions to use on the IELTS Speaking test to get a 7 or higher.

Leave a message in the comment section below for Lindsay and her co-host.

Have you used any of these phrases?

What other phrases do you know that are very typical “native” English phrases and expressions?

Share your ideas and we’ll write you a message back!

Welcome to the All Ears English Podcast!

Is it dangerous to fall in love abroad?

Today you will get our top 3 websites for making friends in your home country who are native English speakers!

Listen to Lindsay and her co-host talk about how you can get to know the culture that you are living in and “fall in love” with a new place!

How can you immerse yourself into your new culture?

You could try taking dance classes, living with local people and attending parties with local people.

Keep a journal and record your experiences while you are abroad so that you don’t forget the memories!

Resources to immerse yourself in the culture:

AEE Transcripts 1-17All Ears English Transcripts!

Get the transcripts for this episode!

Use the transcripts to move your English from intermediate to advanced.

Learn native pronunciation and vocabulary.

Click here now to get the transcripts.

Try another AEE episode! Is college in the US worth the price?

Talk to us in the comments section below!

Have you made international friends through any of these events/meetups?

Was it a good chance to practice your English?

Did you improve your English?

Tell us your story and practice your English!


Are you afraid of talking with native English speakers?

We’ll show you how to get over your fear of talking with native English speakers in today’s episode.

Here is today’s quote:

Life is inherently risky. There is only one risk you should avoid at all costs and that is the risk of doing nothing.”

Why should you take risks with your English?

The best language learners take risks every day. They enter conversations. They answer questions in class.

They put themselves outside of their comfort zone.

AEE Transcripts 1-17Get the transcripts for this episode!

Use the transcripts to move your English from intermediate to advanced.

Learn native pronunciation and vocabulary.

Click here to get the transcripts!

Here are some ways to take more risks:

  • Ask for directionsrisk quote
  • Ask for a restaurant recommendations
  • Attend specific events such as meetup.com
  • Find a way to draw attention to yourself so that people start conversations with you
  • Create an alter-ego. Think of yourself as an actor on stage. Make your “English-speaker persona” social and outgoing

 

We want to hear your ideas! Please answer this question in the comments section below:

What risks have you taken the last 1-3 months to speak with native English speakers?

Tell us what you did and tell us if you were successful.

What did you learn from taking that risk?

Do you want to speak with native English speakers every day?

Do you know how to use the TV to start more English conversations? This is a great way to get conversations going. It’s also a great way to expand your English vocabulary.

Today’s tip is this: Turn on the TV and listen to English to become more comfortable with the language.

Here are some places to start:

News Channels:

AEE Transcripts 1-17All Ears English Transcripts!

Get the transcripts for this episode!

Use the transcripts to move your English from intermediate to advanced.

Learn native pronunciation and vocabulary.

Click here now to get the transcripts.

TV Shows/sitcoms

It’s your turn! Practice your English here.  Please leave us a comment.

Which of these shows have you watched?

What was your favorite episode?

What English word or phrase did you learn from the show/news broadcast that you could never learn in a textbook??

We are waiting to hear from you!

Today is a teaching Tuesday! Today we’ll show you four English vocabulary words to discuss college in the United States.

Did you listen to episode 5? In Episode 5 we debated whether or not college in the US is worth the price.

You heard these in episode 5, now find out what they mean and how to use them!

 

New Expressions:

  • Prohibitive (adjective): Something that is too expensive to be able to purchase. Examples:  “Living in New York City can be prohibitive.” or  “The cost of education in the US has become prohibitive.”
  • To be worth it (expression): The reward justifies the cost of doing something. Examples: ” Is it worth it to eat that piece of chocolate cake?”
  • Advantageous (adjective): Something that puts you ahead of others, gives you extra help Examples: “Going to college can be advantageous” or “Learning a language is advantageous”
  • To pound the pavement (idiom): To work hard to reach your goals. Examples: “To get what you want in life you need to pound the pavement”

 

AEE Transcripts 1-17Get transcripts for this episode!

Use the transcripts to move your English from intermediate to advanced.

Learn native pronunciation and vocabulary.

 

Click here to download the transcripts now!

 

If you are thinking about working or studying in the US, remember to check out our episode on how to interview in the United States.

Thanks for listening to today’s episode!

Please leave a comment below and let us know if you have tried to use these phrases in English.

How did it go for you?

Today we ask the question: Is college in the United States worth the price?

In this episode Lindsay and her co-host will give their perspectives on this question.

How can you reduce your tuition at a US college?

In this episode Lindsay’s co-host talks about how she got money for school during her undergraduate and graduate degrees.

You’ll find out how you can do it too!

Is college in the US worth the price?

Lindsay: A degree might not be worth it, depending on your field. You need to consider opportunity cost. What could you be doing instead of spending your time in school? Think critically about whether or not your field requires a degree.

Lindsay’s co-host: Getting a Master’s degree is always a good investment. It’s always a way to get ahead and move forward in your career, but you should start your higher education at a younger age, don’t wait or delay.

AEE Transcripts 1-17

All Ears English Transcripts!

Get the transcripts for this episode!

Use the transcripts to move your English from intermediate to advanced.

Learn native pronunciation and vocabulary.

Click here now to get the transcripts.

Tips for making higher education cost less:

  • Ask your employer if they have a tuition assistance program
  • Apply for scholarships and grants and financial aid (you’ll need the FAFSA form)

So there are ways to find money for school, but think critically about whether or not it’s right for you!

What do you think?

Is higher education right for you?

Let us know in the comments below.

All Ears English Podcast, American English, English conversation podcastDo you know how to forget about your English mistakes to keep learning as quickly as you can?

In this episode you will:

Find out how to stay inspired with your learning and forget about making mistakes in today’s episode.

Quote:

“One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way.”Frank Smith

Corridor (noun): A hallway

 

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Use the transcripts to move your English from intermediate to advanced.

Learn native pronunciation and vocabulary.

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How can you forget about your English mistakes and stay inspired?

  • fist pumpWhen you learn a new language you can get closer to the local people.
  • Don’t expect perfection from yourself. Native speakers expect you to make mistakes!
  • It’s not just about learning English! You can also learn about the culture through the language.
  • Throw yourself into the experience. Live in an international house or with American people while you are living in the United States.

 

Thanks for listening today.

Let us know in the comments section below if you are forgetting about your English mistakes quickly!

If so, how is that helping you to learn faster?

We want to hear from you! Leave us a comment now!

Hi everyone!

When should you study English?

Do you know the time of day to study?

In this episode you will:

Learn the best time of the day to study English

When should you study English?

Study in the morning. Why? Your willpower will be stronger!

The night before, write down what you want to do the next morning.

Willpower is a muscle.

If you get up early, your willpower depletes throughout the day.

Start with a small task in the morning that you can complete.

Make English a part of your morning!

Put your ears into English as soon as you wake up

AEE Transcripts 1-17Get the transcripts for this episode!

Use the transcripts to move your English from intermediate to advanced.

Learn native pronunciation and vocabulary.

Click here now to get today’s transcripts!

When your favorite time to study?

Please let us know in the comments!

When do you have the most energy?

Are you interviewing in the United States in the future?

Today you will learn:

How to answer the most common interview question in the United States

Key phrases

  • To fill out: To complete an application. Example: “Please fill out this application if you are interested in the job”
  • The key: Something that unlocks an opportunity. Example: Education is the key to freedom”

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Ready to use this episode to become fluent in English?

Make sure you understood every word we said on the podcast!

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  • Tell us about yourself”: This phrase is used a lot in interviews and can also be used in casual conversation, or at a party. Example:  “Thanks for coming to today’s interview. Tell me about yourself.”
  • “What do you do”- whad-daya do? : This means “what do you do for work?” Example:  “It’s great to meet you. What do you do?”

Leave us a comment below! Are interviews in English hard for you?

Let us know what your biggest interviewing challenge is!

Let’s have a conversation in the comments section.

Welcome to the All Ears English Podcast! It’s a meeting Monday! Today you’ll meet your English teachers.

We are so excited to have you here on the All Ears English Podcast! We will be creating new podcast episodes for you every week.

We want to help you learn English through natural, authentic conversations.

We will also teaching you idioms, expressions, and phrasal verbs so that you can speak like a native!

Come hang out with All Ears English and make your English learning fun!

In this episode you will:

Learn how to introduce yourself like a native English speaker (American style) Please click on the audio player above to listen to the episode.

AEE Transcripts 1-17

Get today’s transcripts!

Ready to use this episode to become fluent in English?

Make sure you understood every word we said on the podcast!

Get the transcripts from today’s episode now!

Please introduce yourself!

If you are new to the All Ears English Podcast, please introduce yourself in the comments below. We want to get to know you!

Tell us:

  • What country are you from?
  • Why are you learning English with this podcast?
  • What are your English goals?
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