FREE Google Hangout Lesson – Limited to 5 People

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Some of you may be wondering if you can take a free Google Hangout lesson with me to try things out. Well, on Sunday, 30th March you can. All times Japan Standard Time (GMT + 9:00). Each hangout is limited to 5 people. You can only take one of these hangout lessons. To book, email me telling me which level you’d like to try. You need a Google Account (i.e. the one you use for Gmail/Google Drive/Google+).

Elementary (15:45-16:15)

Buying Train Tickets

Useful posts: Understanding Time and How to Buy Train Tickets)

Intermediate (16:20-16:50)

Describing Places

Useful posts: Describe places and Comparing Things

Upper-Intermediate/Advanced (17:00-17:30)

Talking About Movies

Useful posts: How to Talk About Movies and Books and Tell Stories Easily Using 4 Parts

Use ‘To’, ‘At’ and ‘In’ with Locations

Terrible picture showing in, at and on.

The prepositions of location ‘in’, ‘at’ and ‘to’ are quite difficult for beginners to use and even some advanced learners make mistakes with the words. Here are some examples to show how they are used when talking about locations.

To

Use with destinations.

Let’s go to London.
Come to my house.

Don’t use with the verb ‘visit’.

Let’s visit to London.
Visit to my house.

Don’t use with ‘here’, ‘there’, ‘somewhere’, ‘anywhere’ or ‘nowhere’.

Come to here.
Let’s go to somewhere.

At

Use after a ‘be’ verb or gerund (~ing) phrase and before businesses, educational places, amenities

I’m at Harrods.
She was at school.
They’re meeting us at the park.

Don’t use with ‘here’, ‘there’, ‘somewhere’, ‘anywhere’ or ‘nowhere’.

I’m at here.
She was at there.
There meeting us at somewhere.

In

Use with cities and large buildings.

I was in Dublin last week.
I’m at the coffee shop in Suncoast Mall.

It can be used with ‘here’, ‘there’ and in some unusual cases with ‘somewhere’ and/or ‘anywhere’.

He’s in here.
You can’t go in there.
I tried to get in somewhere for university but I couldn’t get in anywhere.

If this was helpful, why not leave a short comment to let me know or pass the link on to a friend.

Describe difficult colours using things

Vocabulary

Sometimes there are colours you want to describe but don’t know how to. It is even difficult for native speakers to describe colours exactly. Instead, we describe difficult colours by comparing the colour to another thing.

For example, imagine you have a rug that is a very light brown, but not exactly beige.

“My rug is a kind of camel colour.”

This only works if you choose a thing that is always, or usually, one colour.

“Her car is a grape colour” could mean green or purple.

“Her car is purple like a grape” is fine.

The basic patterns you can use are:

(Subject) is/are a kind of (thing) colour.

(Subject) is/are kind of (thing) coloured.

It is a (thing)-coloured (object).

Why not add your own examples in the comments to share with other students?

Starting to Read English

Books

This post is for beginners. It may be useful for others, too.

For good English you need to read English. Reading English is hard. Sometimes there are words you don’t understand. Don’t quit. You need to do more work when you are starting to read English.

Sometimes you choose to read, sometimes you have to read for work or study. This post will help make your reading more effective.

If you are reading a book, magazine or newspaper, write notes in the book or make copies of the pages and write on the copies. If you are reading a web page, print it out.

  1. Read the part you need to read. Don’t worry about it. Just get to the end.
  2. Get a highlighter pen and a pencil. Use the pen to highlight words you know a little but not 100%. Use the pencil to black out words that you do not know at all.
  3. 20140215-003553.jpg

  4. Try to think of words you might know to replace the blacked out words. Does the sentence make sense? If not, or you still have problems…
  5. Check the highlighted words. Can you remove them and have the sentences still make sense? If not…
  6. Erase the pencil from your unknown words. Use an English dictionary to check the meaning. Try not to use a bilingual dictionary. If you do not own an English dictionary, you can buy this one
    or use this website.
  7. Write notes for the new words. I think word cards are the best.
  8. 20140215-003958.jpg

If everything is still too hard, put your reading away, take a deep breath, and try it another time.