タグ別アーカイブ: 英検

Happy New Year, plus events in January

Happy New Year to you!

Welcome to my blog in 2015 with a new title image and pages now in Japanese to help you get around the site.

Coming up at NELS this month is our New Year Party on Jan 17th. Click here for more information in Japanese.

Check out photos from last year’s party.

Join us for more mulled wine and fun and games!

Also, I’ll have my monthly pronunciation lesson on Jan 25th. This month the focus is on the sounds /f/, /h/ and /w/. Find out more here.

I hope to see you soon at NELS!

The easy way to understand tenses in English

Strictly speaking there are actually only 2 tenses in the English language: present tense, and past tense. However, there are 16 different aspects of tense which makes it difficult for English learners to work out if they should be using the past perfect simple, the present perfect continuous, or any of the 14 others!

But don’t worry! Look at these easy to understand tense charts which show you simply  the situation in which we use each of the tense aspects. Study the image, read about it below, then click the arrow on the right to study the next.

Then, why not write your own sentences for each of the 19 situations presented in the charts! Good luck!

Being able to use tenses well in English will help you get a good TOEIC score. It will also help you in 英検 and TOEFL tests in understanding written texts.

Confusing words

Would you like to know the difference between

  • start & begin
  • close & shut
  • end & finish
  • listen & hear?

Find out here.

And go here for a superb bank of confusing words that you can watch, listen and read on videos on YouTube.

The advice that comes with learning confusing words is not just to learn the rules, but also to see lots of examples of HOW the words are used, and then, of course, to start using them yourself. I’ll begin by saying how often I see the word ‘close’ instead of ‘closed‘ on shop doors here in Japan! I’ll finish by writing

The end.

I’m sure you can do much better with your examples! Please share them with me.

 

 

 

 

Which sport are you made for?

I found this fun and interesting quiz today about which sport your body is best suited to. You just have to rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 10 in 13 categories.

It has some great expressions and idiomatic phrases in, so why not kill two birds with one stone and take the quiz? You’ll not only find out which sport you are best suited for, but you’ll also be studying English at the same time!

I got squash, weightlifting and judo. What about you? Do the think the results are accurate?

Take the quiz here.

Click here to find out more about NELS classes.

Collocations with the word ‘goal’

To commemorate the end of the World Cup, let me share with you a page where you can learn some great collocations using the word ‘goal’.

As I’m sure you know, goal has two meanings: one in sport and the other with a more general meaning.

Learn 20 collocations with ‘goal’ here.

To find out more about NELS courses, please visit our homepage here.

How to learn vocabulary

Recently, A student told me about this website which gives good advice for building (increasing) your vocabulary.

It talks about how best to use a learner dictionary, gives handy hints for learning new words, and offers techniques to help you organise your learning.

On the same page are lot of links for advice about exam skills, so whether you are going to take a writing, speaking, listening or reading exam, or if you are just interested in improving your English, check out this BBC Learning Languages site. It’s great!

A, an, the or nothing?

These tiny little words are not only quite important in English, but also quite confusing for many English language learners, right?

You will learn about them in our A2 General English course. To find out more about our 英会話 courses, click on the link.

For a guide in how and when to use  a, an, the or nothing, check out this video.

 

‘t’ and ‘d’ pronunciation class homework sentences

This month my pronunciation lesson was about ‘t’ and ‘d’. Students learnt about strong ‘t’s at the start of words (e.g. to, top), and in clusters (e.g. st- stop, -tch watch); about silent ‘t’s and ‘d’s (e.g. Christmas, Wednesday); and about held ‘t’s and ‘d’s when the full sound of the letter is not pronounced. ‘t’s and ‘d’s can be held at the end of words (e.g. ‘what’ becomes whaʔ, ‘good’ becomes gooʔ), in /tli/ words (e.g. ‘recently’ becomes ‘recenʔly’, ‘lately’ becomes ‘laʔely’), and in the pattern t + vowel + n (e.g. ‘written’ becomes /rɪʔən/, ‘certain’ – /sɜːʔən/). They also learnt about how, in -nd words (e.g. ‘and’), the ‘d’ is cut which is why we write rock ‘n’ roll, and fish ‘n’ chips.

At the end of the lesson, I gave some homework to review some of the rules and patterns that we’d covered.

‘t’ and ‘d’ sentence practice

How do you pronounce the ‘t’s and ‘d’s in these sentences?

1. What time tomorrow?       2. How about meeting at eight?       3. I was sent home.

4. I slept well last night.       5. Don’t do that.         6. He doesn’t want it.                  7. I wanted to know.

 

Answers

– = words linked

1. Whaʔ time tomorrow?       2. How abouʔ meeʔing aʔ eighʔ / at-eighʔ / ad eighʔ?       3. I was senʔ home.

4. I slept well last nighʔ.       5. Don’ʔ do thaʔ.         6. He doesn’ʔ wanʔ it / want-it / waniʔ.                  7. I wanted to know.

Actual pronunciation will depend on the speaker, and as you can see, there are a number of alternatives. Native English speakers may use a lot of ‘held’ sounds, but sometimes this does not mean that their English is good! For example, in British English, saying ‘waniʔ’ instead of ‘want it’, or ‘wanid’ instead of ‘wanted’ is not considered ‘nice’ English!

Practice saying the sentences above using ‘holds’ and ‘cuts’ so your ears will more easily recognise these patterns when you hear them. It is probably not such a good idea to try and speak ‘bad’ English!

Remember your goals: To speak so that others understand you; to be able to understand what others are saying.

Why not record yourself and then listen to how you sound? You may be surprised how native like you have become!

Have fun cutting and holding those ‘t’s and ‘d’s!

 

You CAN understand the news in English!

Understanding the news in another language can be difficult, right? But what if you got a little help with vocabulary? And what about if you could listen to the text too? And how about if you could do a quiz about what you had read? That would make it not only easier, but more interesting and fun too, right?

Well check out this article about super giant squid by the BBC Learning English website, and enjoy understanding the news in English.

You need to be able to understand text like this for 英検 and TOEFL. For more information about NELS classes, click on the links.

Irregular plurals of nouns

 

If you would like to find out more about NELS in 日本語, click here.

Now I’m sure you all know that to make most nouns plural (more than one) you just add -s, right? One pen, two penS. Easy, isn’t it? And I’m sure you know that after one potato, you get two potatoES. Also, that man becomes mEn, and  woman becomes womEn (be careful of the pronunciation though – /ˈwɪmɪn/), and a child becomes childREN.

But do you always remember what happens to  a sheep, a deer and a mouse?

And what about more uncommon words like fungus and crisis? And actually, WHY do they have special plural forms?

Find out here, and you can also practice your pronunciation too.