Feb 14th

Verbs with "-ing"

By DUMBO .............

You've probably seen a lot of verbs with -ing at the end of them, like sleeping, talking, or walking. There are two basic reasons to add -ing to the end of a verb: to form one of the progressive tenses, or to make a gerund.

We use the progressive tenses to talk about on-going actions. There are progressive tenses for the past, present, and future. For example, the present progressive looks like this: "I am walking to work right now." Progressive tenses are formed with be + main verb + -ing, as in, "Joe stopped by while I was watching a movie."

Verbs ending in -ing can also be gerunds, which act like nouns in a sentence. In the sentence, "I do the cleaning and my wife does the cooking," for example, both cleaning and cooking are gerunds. Gerunds often follow other verbs, as in, "I can’t stop thinking about you," or, "I love skating."

Feb 14th

You're vs. Your

By DUMBO .............

Even though you're and your sound the same, they mean two very different things.

You're is actually a contraction of "you are," as in "You're cute" (or "You are cute"). Contractions like this are especially common in spoken English.

Your is a possessive adjective. It describes a noun by telling us to whom it belongs, as in, "I love your new dress!" (The dress belongs to you.) Other possessive adjectives are: my, his, her, their, and our.

A good way to make sure that you are using the correct one is to replace the word you're not sure about with "you are." If the sentence still makes sense, use you're. If it doesn't, use your.

Feb 13th

A Love message to Humanity

By DUMBO .............
Dear Humanity,

I have been thinking about you a lot lately and I just want to say thanks. I think you are awesome and I feel the need to let you know how much I appreciate you.
 
Humanity, I know that you often get a bad rap. Sometimes people say that you are mean, greedy and even insane. People sometimes think that you, Humanity, are our enemy. But I disagree. Because Humanity, we are you. All of us. And I believe that even though most people understand that all of humanity is interconnected, we often forget that that connection can really never be broken whether by violence, theft or hatred.

We say that the mean ones, the greedy ones, the insane ones are somehow different from us and therefore are not us. That sounds suspiciously the same as “us” being disconnected from “them”. And it seems to me that in differentiating between us and them, we create an impermeable barrier against growing together.

Humanity, you do so many things to amaze me. When I spend time with you I cannot believe how beautiful, talented, wise, generous and loving you are. I love what you are capable of. You sing songs, make babies and create art. You dance, you laugh, you cry. You love.

Everyday, while some people stew sadly in resentment toward you, others watch you play at manifesting beauty in the world. Beauty that, though sometimes inspired by nature, can only be created by humans. And often it is your own self that inspires. It is your own children, friends, family, partners, lovers, gurus and teachers who move you.

You are the phenomenon of art, dance, literature, poetry and gastronome (yes, I am throwing around fancy words to impress you). You recognize suffering and move toward those in pain to offer soothing words, an embrace, material needs.

Wow. Seriously, wow. Also, can I just mention how awesome it is that you know how to make up cool stuff such as: sidewalk chalk, bubbles, chicken tacos, Hello Kitty, bikes, Peanut M&M’s, modern plumbing, sledding, jokes, coffee, digital technology, etc, etc,..I seriously better not even get started on the cool stuff.

When I think of you in the context of a growing child, I remember that you are doing the best you can with what you know and have at any given moment in time. We all are. I feel tenderness toward you. You are very literally only doing what you have been conditioned to do. On top of it you’re trying pretty hard to undo a lot of that conditioning, following your intuition and your heart and making the world better.

I want you to know, Humanity, that I wouldn’t change a thing. I am so glad that you are who you are. I embrace and support you so that we can both be better in the world. I am both proud and humble to be one of you. Yeah, this is me saying thanks. You are comprised of a pretty rad bunch of people Humanity. I love you.
Jan 13th

Can, Could, May, Might, Must

By DUMBO .............
Can
Can – for ability
I can dance Tango.
She can't sing.
Can you speak English?
Can – for permission
Can I sit here?
Can we leave now?
Can I play some music?
Can – for requests or suggestions
Can we have more coffee?
Can I have the bill?
You can go wherever you like.
Could
Could – past ability
I could run ten kilometres when I was younger.
We could see the ocean from our hotel room.
I could see that Danny was angry.
Could – for permission (polite)
Could I have another coffee?
You could sit here if you like.
Could you repeat that again?
Could - for possibility
This holiday could be really good.
You could go to the hairdresser tomorrow.
Could this really be true?
May
May – for formal permission.
May I come in?
May I make a suggestion?
May he ask a question?
May – to suggest a possibility
It may rain this evening.
They may be late.
He may agree with you.
Might
Might – for possibility
The electrician might be finished by tomorrow.
It might be bad weather tomorrow.
Peter might come to the party.
Must
Must – to express a formal request or necessity
I must finish the report today.
Each individual must help to stop pollution of the environment.
Every car must have seat belts.
He must give us a reply this morning.
Must – to show that something is very possible
She must be very intelligent.
There must be a lot of traffic. That's why they're late.
You must be tired after your journey.
Jan 13th

Do you speak 'British' English?

By DUMBO .............
I’m sure you know there are many types of English. Each English speaking country has its own unique vocabulary, grammar structure and pronunciation.
Today I take a look at ten words which are used in natural British English, but are not really used in American English. All of these words are very common and are used in casual spoken-English.
Bloke
(noun) synonym: man.
We use bloke to describe a man whose name is either not known or not important. It implies that the man is ordinary:
‘I heard a bloke on the train say that tomorrow's trains will be delayed.’
Fag
(noun) synonym: cigarette.
In British English a cigarette is known as a fag, but in American English fag is a slang word for a 'homosexual'! So be careful where you use it!
‘Tom went outside for a fag. I think he smokes too much!’
Fancy
(verb) to want to do or have something/ to be sexually attracted to someone.
To want to do something: ‘Do you fancy going to the cinema on Friday?’ To be sexually attracted to someone:
‘I fancy the new guy in my office. I think he’s hot!’
Hoover
(verb/noun) synonym: to vacuum/vacuum cleaner.
Hoover is a company that makes vacuum cleaners. The company is so well known that the brand name is often used instead of vacuum cleaner.
‘I need to buy a new hoover. Mine is broken.’
‘The carpet is dirty. When was the last time you hoovered?’

Mate
(noun) synonym: friend
Widely used in British and Australian English. It simply means ‘friend’: ‘We’ve been mates since we met in high school.’
Pint
(noun) synonym: beer
A pint is 568ml using the Imperial system. In British bars and pubs pints of beer (or half-pints) are served. We use pint to mean a beer in a pub.
‘Do you want to go for a pint after work?’
Quid
(noun) synonym: pound (£).
Just as Americans use the slang word 'buck' for a dollar ($), British people use quid to mean a British pound (£).
‘Forty quid for a ticket to the game? That’s too much!’
Reckon
(verb) synonym: to think, to suppose.
Reckon is very widely used in British English. It has the same meaning as ‘to think’.
‘I reckon it will rain tomorrow.’
Rubbish
(noun/verb) synonym: Noun= garbage, trash,waste/ low quality,untrue. Verb= criticise Rubbish can be used in a few ways. It can be used to describe garbage/trash:
‘Throw the empty coke can into the rubbish.’
‘After the festival was over the field was covered with people’s rubbish.’

It can be used to describe something you think is not good:
‘I don’t like Green Day. I think their music is rubbish.’
It can be used to say that something is not true or a lie.
‘Did you read that article in the newspaper? What a load of rubbish! I don’t believe it.’
It can be used as a verb meaning ‘to criticise’:
‘I don’t want to rubbish your plan, but I don’t think it will work.’  
Wicked
(adjective) synonym: cool, great, excellent.
 young persons word meaning 'great' or 'cool'. Wicked also has the formal (old-fashioned) meaning of 'bad' or 'evil'. These days it has a positive meaning. Remember, it’s very casual and mostly used by young people: ‘Look at that jacket. It’s wicked! I’m going to buy it.’
Dec 16th

Describing people in good way

By DUMBO .............
When we like somebody we want to say nice things about them. When another person asks 'What's she like?', it's useful to have some positive adjectives to describe them.

1. Warm-hearted / friendly
2. Good-looking
3. Hard-working
4. Bright
5. Generous / Kind
6. Full of energy / energetic
7. Thoughtful / Considerate
8. Easy-going
9. Reliable / responsible
10. Truthful / honest

How To Use These Phrases In Your English

1. Adjective 1 describes somebody who can be friends with other people easily.
2. Adjective 2 describes somebody who looks beautiful - either women or men.
3. Adjective 3 describes somebody who does a lot of work.
4. Adjective 4 describes somebody who is intelligent.
5. Adjective 5 describes somebody who often gives things to other people or is happy to help them with their problems.
6. Adjective 6 describes a person who is always moving, never gets tired and has a lot of energy.
7. Adjective 7 describes somebody who thinks carefully about other people before they do things.
8. Adjective 8 describes somebody who is relaxed and calm and doesn't get angry with other people easily.
9. Adjective 9 describes a person who always does what they say they will do.
10. Adjective 10 describes somebody who tells the truth and doesn't steal or take things from other people.
Dec 16th

Asking about health / life

By DUMBO .............
When we meet somebody we know it's polite to ask a question or two about their health and their life. There are many different phrases in English for doing this. Here are ten of them.

1. How are you?
2. How are things?
3. How's things?
4. How's it going?
5. How are you getting on?
6. How have you been?
7. What have you been (getting) up to?
8. I hope everything's okay?
9. Alright?
10. How have you been keeping?
Dec 16th

Ten Expressions to Use In Speaking And Writing

By DUMBO .............
1. I remember...

2. I can (clearly) remember...

3. I'll never forget...

4. As far as I can remember...

5. As I recall...

6. If I remember correctly...

7. If I'm not / Unless I'm - mistaken...

8. Now I come to think of it...

9. I have a vague recollection of...

10. It's on the tip of my tongue.
Dec 16th

Beautiful places for Christmas celebration

By DUMBO .............
Global festival “Christmas” is celebrated in different styles all over the world each year. Every corner of the world looks like a magical place in the presence of Santa, lights, gifts and trees. People participate in this festival regardless religion or location, they lit their homes, streets and towns with lovely lightings, decorate Christmas trees as well. These days, everyone is looking for a destination where he can spice up his Christmas season in an exotic way. Here, I have chosen some beautiful destinations on the globe where you can celebrate your Christmas festival in a traditional way with flavors and aromas of delights. Let’s discuss these destinations in detail.

San Juan, Puerto Rico
If you pick up Puerto Rico as your Christmas destination, you are definitely going to make your celebration memorable and unique. You can enjoy the true magic of Christmas lights, amazing dazzling decor and aromas in Puerto Rico. When Puerto Rico’s Christmas special cuisine comes to the table, its aromas and flavors attracts everyone to itself. People love to eat spit-roasted pig. It’s a great place for shopaholic. You can also get special Christmas gifts for your love and a great bottle of rum during this season. “Three Kings” is a world famous place of Puerto Rico. This place adds some spiritual magic to your celebration with salsa beat. During your stay in this marvelous place, attend a Misa de Aguinaldo, conduct in churches and celebrate Nochebuena.

Amsterdam, Dutch
A place turns into lively beauty during the Christmas season, a place that is a birthplace of Saint Nicholas, yes! It’s beautiful Amsterdam, the capital of Dutch. This place sparkles like twinkling lights during Christmas Eve and when these twinkling lights reflecting off the water, turn the whole environment into a magical world. In December, on Christmas, couples or friends who come here to celebrate this occasion enjoy warm drinks in this wintertime to keep themselves warm. World Christmas Circus is a source of pleasure for all ages, including almost all international circus acts. This city is decorated with millions of twinkling lights, these lights are everywhere even along the footpaths and canals therefore, people enjoy walking tour. These illuminated artworks provide stunning views in the presence of Santa Claus and canal houses.
Lapland, Finland
Lapland is a dreamy place what can make your Christmas celebration colorful. It’s an ideal wonderland where people celebrate white Christmas. Enjoy a traditional Christmas in Lapland and meet Santa in the beautiful Santa Claus village. There’s a lot to enjoy in this magical place such as thrilling dog sled ride, gifts, decorated trees and cultural reindeer farm. There are stunning glass igloos to make your Christmas holidays more special. At the glass-top roof, you can enjoy lovely Northern lights sights.

Zurich, Switzerland
Zurich is a pretty, elegant and charming place to celebrate Christmas Eve. The main attraction of Zurich on this Eve is delicious chocolates with traditional flavors that are world famous. Snow, cobbled streets, Christmas Market, Christmas treats and mountains add more spice to its beauty. Fairy lights, enchanting lights and twinkle star roads at night look stunning. For kids, there’s special arrangement in the form of Fairytale Tram. Hiking and sledding on snow hill is a great activity to enjoy with all friends or family members. Jungfrau is a best place to get more fun. The attractive Zurich lights up and provide true fantasy views over Christmas.

Munich, Germany
Traditional style Christmas flavor of Munich, attract thousands of visitors every year. For a real treat, Munich is a good choice of Christmas travelers. On this occasion, the whole city is decorated in a sparkling and romantic way. Everything thing springs up on this holy festival such as churches, cathedrals, shopping streets and homes. There’re many more activities to enjoy in Munich on Christmas including, Christmas music, Munich Ice Magic, Pink Christmas and Christmas village. Tollwood Winter festival is one of the visitors’ main attractions. I recommend you to visit Hofbrauhaus while markets come alive during Christmas holidays, you would definitely enjoy it.

Quebec, Canada
Warm feelings while walking through the twinkling and snowy streets of Quebec on Christmas Eve, make December holidays in this city more enjoyable and relaxing. Traditional style decorating trees in Ancient Square, make the city alive. Quebec is a quaint and wonderful place to celebrate Christmas. Petit Champlain is a pretty place to enjoy Christmas warmly. Cafe du monde, Musee de la civilisation, Chateau Frontenac are the places to enjoy dramatic sights, stay and for meals. Take full advantage of rides, theatres and gifting markets during your stay in this city.

Prague, Czech Republic

The most festive day that is celebrated in Czech Republic is Christmas. People exchange presents, enjoy traditional Christmas meal, and beautifully decorate their homes as well as streets. Light up city add charm and beauty in the environment along with snow and heavy frost nights. For visitors there’re plenty of entertainment and activities to enjoy. For adults, there’re bars and midnight mass. Restaurants offer traditional Christmas meal everywhere. The old town is the special reason to choose Prague as Christmas destination that is simply a magical place.

New York, United States

New York is a splendid place to see and enjoy Christmas beauty. Visit Rockefeller Center Plaza, FAO Schwartz, Macy’s Elaborate Santa land and enjoy Christmas shows in theaters. Enjoy exciting Ice-skating, skiing, carolling, and carriage ride through the Central Park, laser light show in Grand Center Terminal. Big Apple is a luxurious place to enjoy Christmas Eve in an enthusiastic way.

Vienna, Austria

Get the unique flavor of Christmas in enchant Austrian capital Vienna. Decorated trees in Maria Theresien-Platz are worth seeing. City Hall, marketplaces with woody shops, hot spicy mulled wine, Christmas special roasted dishes are waiting for you. Don’t forget to enjoy Christmas classical shows in theatres. Eye-catching beautifully decorated trees in front of the Schonbrunn Palace depict magical sights.

Dublin, Ireland
People celebrate Christmas in Ireland in a more spiritual way. By spending your Christmas in this city in the off-peak season, you can truly save money on this special occasion. Landscapes, coastlines and ancient monoliths look stunning in winter season. Blarney Castle, Cahir Castle, King John’s Castle, Bunratty Castle and Folk Park are the best places to visit while you are here on Christmas trip.
These are some beautiful places of the world, which look more stunning and stupendous during Christmas season. You can pick up any one of these mentioned spots to make your Christmas trip memorable and enjoyable. Good Luck!
Oct 22nd

Some rules to learn English......

By DUMBO .............
1. Don't study grammar too much

This rule might sound strange to many ESL students, but it is one of the most important rules. If you want to pass examinations, then study grammar. However, if you want to become fluent in English, then you should try to learn English without studying the grammar. Studying grammar will only slow you down and confuse you. You will think about the rules when creating sentences instead of naturally saying a sentence like a native. Remember that only a small fraction of English speakers know more than 20% of all the grammar rules. Many ESL students know more grammar than native speakers.

2. Learn and study phrases

Many students learn vocabulary and try to put many words together to create a proper sentence. Sometime people cannot create a proper sentence. The reason is because they didn't study phrases. When children learn a language, they learn both words and phrases together. Likewise, you need to study and learn phrases. If you know 1000 words, you might not be able to say one correct sentence. But if you know 1 phrase, you can make hundreds of correct sentences. If you know 100 phrases, you will be surprised at how many correct sentences you will be able to say. Finally, when you know only a 1000 phrases, you will be almost a fluent English speaker. The English Speaking Basics section is a great example of making numerous sentences with a single phrase. So don't spend hours and hours learning many different words. Use that time to study phrases instead and you will be closer to English.

3. Reading and Listening is NOT enough.

Practice Speaking what you hear! Reading, listening, and speaking are the most important aspects of any language. The same is true for English. However, speaking is the only requirement to be fluent. It is normal for babies and children to learn speaking first, become fluent, then start reading, then writing. So the natural order is listening, speaking, reading, then writing. First Problem Isn't it strange that schools across the world teach reading first, then writing, then listening, and finally speaking? Although it is different, the main reason is because when you learn a second language, you need to read material to understand and learn it. So even though the natural order is listening, speaking, reading, then writing, the order for ESL students is reading, listening, speaking, then writing. Second Problem The reason many people can read and listen is because that's all they practice. But in order to speak English fluently, you need to practice speaking. Don't stop at the listening portion, and when you study, don't just listen. Speak out loud the material you are listening to and practice what you hear. Practice speaking out loud until your mouth and brain can do it without any effort. By doing so, you will be able to speak English fluently.

4. Submerge yourself

Being able to speak a language is not related to how smart you are. Anyone can learn how to speak any language. This is a proven fact by everyone in the world. Everyone can speak at least one language. Whether you are intelligent, or lacking some brain power, you are able to speak one language. This was achieved by being around that language at all times. In your country, you hear and speak your language constantly. You will notice that many people who are good English speakers are the ones who studied in an English speaking school. They can speak English not because they went to an English speaking school, but because they had an environment where they can be around English speaking people constantly. There are also some people who study abroad and learn very little. That is because they went to an English speaking school, but found friends from their own country and didn't practice English. You don't have to go anywhere to become a fluent English speaker. You only need to surround yourself with English. You can do this by making rules with your existing friends that you will only speak English. You can also carry around an iPod and constantly listen to English sentences.

5. Study correct material

A common phrase that is incorrect is, "Practice makes perfect." This is far from the truth. Practice only makes what you are practicing permanent. If you practice the incorrect sentence, you will have perfected saying the sentence incorrectly. Therefore, it is important that you study material that is commonly used by most people. However, the language sometime people  speak is more formal and the content they use is more political and not used in regular life. It is important to understand what they are saying, but this is more of an advanced lesson that should be studied after learning the fundamental basics of English. Studying English with a friend who is not a native English speaker is both good and bad. You should be aware of the pros and cons of speaking with a non native speaking friend. Practicing with a non native person will give you practice. You can also motivate each other and point out basic mistakes. But you might pick up bad habits from one another if you are not sure about what are correct and incorrect sentences. In short, study English material that you can trust, that is commonly used, and that is correct.