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Free Interactive English Practice on Twitter

Practice your English for free everyday by using #SE4UChat on Twitter

I’m going to start using a new hashtag on Twitter that encourages student participation.  That means YOU!  I will use the tag #SE4UChat for any interactive tweets.  When you hit reply, make sure to use the same tag and I will always see it and respond.  Hopefully others will as well!

twitter

Using Twitter to Improve English

Twitter is a great place to practice your English.  In this article > English on Twitter, I list popular hashtags used by English teachers and students to communicate on Twitter.  Hashtags are a great way to find exactly what you are looking for.  If you are looking to chat, use #SE4UChat and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Follow people and topics that interest you and read the links they share in English.  This will help you to expand your vocabulary and improve your grammar structure.

Get Interactive

In order to truly improve your English skills (or any language) you have to USE the language.  Produce it.  Construct sentences using the vocabulary and grammar that you have previously learned.  Only reading things isn’t going to get you to the next level, you must get involved with using the language.

Make Mistakes

Making mistakes is all part of the learning process.  Nobody likes to make mistakes, but you just have to try! Reply to one of my tweets and if your sentence isn’t correct, I will correct it and then you will have learned from your mistake.  If you don’t try, you’ll never know if you are ‘doing it right’.  This is a very common mistake for language learners, they don’t try because they are embarrassed and therefore, never progress.

It’s FREE

There is no cost involved when you are practicing on Twitter or other social media platforms.  Take advantage of the tweets I send out and use them to improve your English skills and accomplish your goals.

I hope to see you on Twitter soon!  My user name is SkypEnglish4U and you can also find me by using  #SE4UChat

 

 

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Using English in the World of Information Technology

The world is changing at a very fast pace and the people working behind the scenes in the IT industry all around the world are making this possible.

When I started teaching, I was really surprised at the number of students I had that were software developers, programmers, project managers, etc… all in the bustling IT world.  As time went on, I learned more and more from my students about the industry and what their job responsibilities were.

The beauty of practicing Business English on Skype, is that I don’t have to know everything about YOUR job in order to have a conversation about it.  My responsibility is to get YOU talking about it and strengthen your vocabulary related to your job and general grammar structure.

Why do IT professionals need to know English?

I asked a few of my students to explain why it is important for them…

As a Software Developer you need to know English in order to keep up with cutting edge technologies: English is the “official” language for talks, conferences, summits, blogs, technical articles and documentation.

Nowadays, companies from around the world work together so you also need to know English to attend meetings and understand your colleagues. Finally, if you want to work for the best IT companies you might end up moving abroad to an English speaking country and then…you’d better speak English!   

Alberto Rodríguez de Lema

 

Having good English skills is very helpful for my daily work as an IT professional because most of the IT relevant books are only available in English. In my role as programmer it is also required from most of my customers to write the documentation of the program code in English. Many of my colleagues and customers are located in different countries and the common language for negotiating, chatting, training is also English.

Having English sessions on a regular basis with Jessica helps me a lot to stay fluent and to feel confident for my daily work as an IT professional.

Volker Tontsch

 

Being a software developer means learning something new everyday. Ability to speak English exposes you to the endless source of information and allows you to communicate to and exchange experience with professionals from all over the world.

Pavel Prokopenko

There you have it- The real deal from real life IT dudes.

 

Bustling  (verb) move in an energetic and busy manner
The Real Deal (idiom) The bare truth or facts of a matter.

*practice using these words in the comments section and I will check them and give you feedback*

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italki Instant Tutoring

Do you want to practice your English (or any other language) NOW?

Click here > Sign up to italki and once you are all logged in, you can find native speakers who are available to speak with you immediately, no scheduling in advance necessary.

You’ll see FIND A TEACHER on your top menu of your homepage.

italki instant tutor
There are different filters for you to select when searching for the right teacher.  The language you would like to practice is the first on you need to select and then there are some other optional filters such as where the teacher is originally from, what other languages the teacher speaks, price and tags (such as IELTS, TOEFL or business).

Another filter is Availability.  If you want to speak with someone NOW, click on Availability and select ‘Instant Tutoring Available Now’.

italki instant tutoring

You’ll see all of the teachers available at that time listed.  You can adjust the filters according to what you are looking for and then select the teacher for instant tutoring.  Perhaps you prefer to speak with someone from the UK who also speaks Spanish, you can enter that into the filter, but that particular combination may not be available at that exact time.  The instant tutor feature is something that teachers can turn on and off based on their schedule.

instant tutor

The request will be sent to the teacher and they have 10 minutes to accept it.

This feature is GREAT because it allows you to speak to a native speaker at your convenience.  So many of us have busy lives and scheduling in advance can be difficult.  Instant tutoring gives you the freedom to practice your speaking when YOU have time.

I’ve helped people prepare for job interviews, IELTS, TOEFL and even done some proof reading/editing while on ‘Instant Tutoring’.

Remember, the only way to improve your English is to use it, so go ahead, try it out!

 

 

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Understanding Suffixes : English Grammar

Suffixes are a letter or group of letters added at the end of a word which makes a new word.

Learning how suffixes are used in English, can help you to improve your understanding and comprehension of the English language.  There are two types of suffixes used in English.

Inflectional Suffixes 

Endings are added to a word for grammatical purposes, but they never change the word class.

ENGLISH INFLECTIONAL SUFFIXES

Derivational Suffixes 

Endings change the meaning and create a ‘new word’ and the word class changes.  Nouns can turn into verbs, verbs into adjectives and adjectives into nouns… it gets kind of crazy!  In the chart below you will find some basic examples, but there are many more out there.

Derivational suffixes English Grammar

 

This is a good video explaining the different types and showing examples.  Youtube is an excellent way to sharpen your grammar skills while practicing your listening.

[embedvideo type=”youtube” id=”pYdIjc85tRc”]

 

Something to try… when you are reading something in English (on paper) go through the text and look for all of the suffixes and circle/highlight them.  You will be amazed at how many you will find.  Use one color for the inflectional ones that you find and another color for the derivational suffixes.

LINDA’S PROFILE

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5 Common Mistakes with Prepositions

Prepositions (for example: on, at, in, to, for, and since) are one OF the most difficult things TO learn IN English.

Many people naturally want TO use the same preposition that they use IN their own language, but this results IN many mistakes! Here are 5 common mistakes that people make when using prepositions IN English.

  1. Listen TO (not ‘listen’): Many people forget to use the preposition ‘to’ with the verb ‘listen’. They say, “I like to listen music”, but the correct way to say this is, “I like to listen TO music”. Always remember to use the preposition ‘TO’ with the word ‘listen’!
  2. Downtown (not ‘in downtown’): The word ‘downtown’ is a word that tells us a location. I have often heard students say, “I am going to meet my friend IN downtown”, but this is not correct. Do not use the preposition ‘IN’ with ‘downtown’!
  3. Go TO, Been TO (not Go in, Been in):  We use the preposition ‘TO’ when we talk about places we visit. Do not use the preposition ‘IN’! So, for example, if you say, “I have been IN Paris”, this is NOT CORRECT. You must say, “I have been TO Paris”. Do not say, “I want to go IN theatre” (unless you want to go INSIDE the theatre and not stand outside), say “I want to go TO the theatre”.
  4. Discuss (not discuss about): Do not use the preposition ‘about’ with the verb ‘discuss’. It is not correct to say, “I want to discuss about this grammar point.” You must say, “I want to discuss this grammar point”.
  5. Go Home (not go at my home or go to my home):  A preposition is not necessary when you want to talk about returning to your house. It is incorrect to say, “I am going TO home after class.” You must say, “I am going home after class.” This is because we use the preposition ‘TO’ to talk about places that we visit, and when you go home, you are not visiting your house, you live there! You can use the preposition ‘TO” with the noun ‘house’ and ask a friend, “Have you ever been TO my house?” but home is home, no preposition!

There are of course many more prepositions to learn in English. Subscribe to my Blog (see sidebar or below) for more help in the future, or find out about learning English with me online or on an amazing Intensive Immersion Experience Course!

Andrea’s Profile

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Practice English on Snapchat

Practice English on Snapchat by chatting back and forth with me in English

Take advantage of social media and get free practice using English on Snapchat.  I will be posting daily ‘stories’ and sharing things from my life and English vocabulary.

  • Don’t know what Snapchat is?  Have a look here at this tutorial >> Snapchat 101

This is a great way for people to get practice USING English.  Over the years, I have learned that most of the students that I talk to have a great passive vocabulary, but are just missing the opportunity to speak and use that English they have stored in their mind.  From an early stage in language development, you can read and understand things, but producing language, especially in the spoken form, is more difficult and requires practice.

Enough of the boring stuff, onto the fun!  How can YOU use English on Snapchat?

First of all, follow me : SkypEnglish4U

English on Snapchat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Find your friends from contacts or by searching and you can also ‘friend’ many celebrities.  You and your friends can ‘snap’ back and forth as a normal messenger system, except that the messages disappear after a short time.

I will post ‘stories’ with different things and while you are watching them, you can swipe up and respond to me directly.  I encourage you to send me a snap, better yet a video snap so that you can practice speaking.  You can send me a question, respond to my ‘story’ or just tell me about something, ANYTHING really.  Get involved and active with your English.  I look forward to hearing from you!

tutorial (noun) a book, computer program, etc., that teaches someone how to do something by explaining each stage of a process
take advantage (idiom) to make use of something well; to make use of an opportunity
*practice using these words in the comments section and I will check them and give you feedback*
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Learn Real English: 9 Words for this Holiday Weekend

Learn Real English: 9 Words for this Holiday Weekend

Today, and this weekend, is a holiday in many countries. A friend and I decided to go on hike in the beautiful village of Deep Cove, near Vancouver. As a result of it being a holiday weekend, here are some words I was thinking about and want to share with you!

1. Long Weekend

A ‘long weekend’ is a 3 day weekend, instead of the normal 2 day weekend. This weekend the extra holiday day is today, Friday, so the weekend is Friday, Saturday and Sunday. People here LOVE long weekends!

2. Spring Break

‘Spring Break’ is usually one or two weeks where students do not have to go to class during the spring season. A ‘break’ is a time of rest from work, so this is a time when students rest from their work as students!

3. Get away

Get away (verb) - to escape or break free
Get away (verb) – to escape or break free

Many people who work or study love the long weekend or their spring break because they can ‘get away’ – which means to be free from their work and go far away from their work or the normal stress of their lives! Today there were many people on the hike who wanted to “get away”.

4. Escape the Rat Race

Definition of Escape
escape (Verb) – to be free from a place where you do not want to be, or run and be safe from danger
Definition of Rat Race
Rat Race (noun) – a word to describe the way that people work too hard to get money and power, and how they can not escape this circle of more, more, more….a comparison to rats in science experiments.
Image credit to artist Polyp.

Many people want to get away on long weekends to escape the rat race for a while. People work very hard and the opportunity to get away from their hard work is very welcome!

5. Unwind

Definition of Unwind
Unwind (verb) – to relax

People who are feeling very tired of the rat race and who need a break often say they need to ‘unwind’ (pronunciation of wind is not like the noun, the verb is pronounced,/waɪnd/ ) The idea of unwind is to relax a body that is feeling tight and stressed.

6. Crowds and Crowded

Definition of Crowds and Crowded
Crowds (plural noun) – Many many (maybe TOO many!) people
Crowded (adjective) – when there are too many people

When my friend and I were on the hike today, there were so many people that wanted to get away on their long weekend that the hike was VERY crowded!

7. Parking Spaces

Definition of parking space
Parking Spaces (Plural Noun) – The area where you can park (put) your car

It was not only the hike that was crowded! When we arrived to the village of Deep Cove we had to drive around for almost 30 minutes to find a parking space!

8. Traffic Jam

Definition of traffic jam
Traffic Jam (noun) – A time when cars can not move on the road because there are too many cars

We were lucky in one way. It was a very busy day, but we did not get stuck in any traffic jams. I am sure that in other parts of the city and other parts of the world there were many traffic jams on this busy long weekend, but we got away with no traffic jams!

9. Bumper to Bumper

Definition of bumper to bumper
Bumper to bumper (adjective phrase) – a description of cars in a traffic jam

 

Another adjective phrase we often use to describe a traffic jam is bumper to bumper. We did not experience a traffic jam today, or see any bumper to bumper traffic.

 

I hope you enjoyed this long weekend/Spring Break vocabulary lesson. Please share below on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus or wherever your friends are who need vocabulary help! You can also follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Google Plus to continue to get posts about English language learning. Thank you and I hope some of you can join me this summer on an English Language Intensive Travel Experience to learn more Real English!

 

This and more helpful articles can be found here > http://englishretreats.ca/learn-real-english-9-words-for-this-holiday-weekend/

Andrea’s Profile

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500 Most Common English Words

This list of 500 common words in English is a good place for beginners to start learning the foundation of the language or for advanced students to really test themselves.

Vocabulary is the foundation of language.  Without the words, you can’t make the sentences.  Many students get overwhelmed at the thought of learning ‘all of those words’.  Everybody learns differently, so you need to figure out what is best for you!  If you are an organized, laid-out-plan type of person, this list of the 500 most common words in English is a good place for you to start.  Do you prefer more of a random style of learning?  This list will be great for you as well.

  • Come up with a plan of attack: I’ve grouped the words into clumps so that it is easier to identify small groups of 10 words instead of looking at a list of 500 words.  Decide on a number that you want to focus on per day/per week.  3 a day seems to be a popular number with students or 15 a week if you have less time to spend on it.  You decide what works for you best.  If you miss a day it is not the end of the world, pick up where you left off.
    • Make paper note cards
    • Make electronic flash cards (Quizlet & Anki are both popular)
    • Use a whiteboard 
    • Have a notebook with the words ANDthe words used in sentences
  • Random sampling: Save this list and each day just point to a word and use it in a sentence.  Do not just say it in your mind and tell yourself, ‘Cool, I know this word’.  WRITE IT DOWN or record yourself saying it.

500-most-common-english-words.pdf

Pronunciation

Now that you KNOW the words, it time to pronounce them correctly!  Have a look at this link here > Pronunciation in English: 500 Common Words

As you look at the words, click on VIDEO in each column to watch video lessons on the sounds and word lists.  Soon you will be pronouncing 500 common words according to American English pronunciation. Plus, you will feel confident about American English sounds.

Practice

Practice makes perfect!  You have to use the words in order to really KNOW them.  Practice speaking with a native speaker and in no time, you will feel comfortable and confident with your English speaking>>  SkypEnglish4U Online Sessions

Plan of attack (noun) ideas or actions intended to deal with a problem or situation

 

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5 tools to help build your Daily English Routine

5 Tools to help Build your Daily English Routine

Many students ask for a Daily English Routine to help them to improve their English skills

Every student is different.  Learning a language is different for each one of us and your daily English routine should be suited to meet your individual needs.

Are you ready to create your own daily English routine?   Spend some time surfing the internet to find the sites that you like.  If you are really going to follow this routine, you need to like what you are looking at and doing.  Here are some sites that are interactive and encourage active learning (reading and listening alone is not going to help move forward at a fast pace).

1) Memrise 

http://www.memrise.com/home/

Memrise is an online learning tool with courses created by its community. Its courses are mainly used to teach languages, but are also used for other academic and nonacademic subjects.

*Memrise or another flashcard program should definitely be part of your  daily English routine.

2) Listen and Write – Language Dictation

http://www.listen-and-write.com/

Improve your listening skills and hear about the news as part of your daily English routine.

3) Using English Grammar Quizzes

http://www.usingenglish.com/quizzes/

Test yourself with 516 free English language quizzes covering grammar, usage and vocabulary for beginner, intermediate and advanced level English students. Simply answer all of the questions in the quiz and press submit to see your score and other statistics.

4) ESL Video Quizzes for Students

http://www.eslvideo.com/

Educational resources for English as a Second Language Students to improve their listening, speaking, grammar, and vocabulary skills.

 5) English Central 

https://www.englishcentral.com/videos

The EnglishCentral platform combines the web’s best English videos,  IntelliSpeech℠ assessment technology, an adaptive vocabulary learning system and live tutors, delivered seamlessly over web and mobile.

NOW that you have looked at all of these, decide on a plan.  Do you have 30 minutes a day?  Spend 10 minutes each on 3 of these sites.  Mix it up, make a Daily English Routine Schedule that works for you….

Daily English Routine Schedule

suited (adj) right or appropriate for a particular person, purpose, or situation.
*practice using these words in the comments section and I will check them and give you feedback*

Student Testimonial : Linda

One year ago, I was thinking how I could improve my English language, I was looking for an effective way to improve my speaking skills, I started asking friends & searching the Internet for something that could make me interested to try it.

Then I found one website for Skype English Lessons. It seemed like a great idea for me, I was looking for the teachers list and then I chose Linda.

In the first session, I introduced myself to Linda and I told her about my level of skills & what I was looking for, because she is a professional in her specialty, she knew exactly what she needed to do and from where to start.

Linda has about 35 years’ experience in teaching English, and I really felt that long experience during my sessions, she was sending me articles to read & to discuss in the next class. It gave me the ability to improve my reading and vocabulary skills plus my speaking skills.

Linda is a very supportive person & she knows exactly how to make you reach your goal. While I was speaking to her, she was always writing notes about my grammar mistakes & then explaining those mistakes to me & if needed she was able to send supportive documents to help me better understand the grammar rules. Not only for grammar, also when I was asking her about some new vocabulary or adjective meanings, she would search was the internet for something to help me better understand them.

I would say that Linda is a person who enjoys what she does, and that greatly helps to improve your language skills faster.

Thanks Linda.

Dia