Category Archives: Uncategorized

Huh? Whazzat?

In class, many people forget how to ask about the meaning of a word. Here are some phrases you can use:

  • What does ___A___ mean?
  • What is the meaning of __A___?

When you get to higher levels, these phrases can be helpful when you want to check synonyms:

  • What is the difference when I say ___A___ instead of __B___?
  • What do you understand when I say __A___?
  • How can I use __A__?

Look out for the common mistakes:

  • What means __A__?
  • How I say __A__?

Letter Sizes

The names of our letters came up in class the other day, so I thought I’d put up a little reminder.

  • THESE ARE CAPITAL LETTERS. these are small letters.
  • THESE ARE UPPERCASE LETTERS. these are lowercase letters.

Remember, we use capital letters to start the first word in a sentence and to start proper nouns.

  • “I like music,” not “i like music.”
  • “I am from Antarctica,” not “I am from antarctica.”

We also use them to start adjectives that are made from proper nouns.

  • “She is Canadian,” not “She is canadian.”

Funny English!

There are two joke types that came up in conversations at work today: “Knock knock” jokes and “Roses are red…” jokes. These both have a specific format, so let’s learn how to be funny in English!

Knock knock jokes need two people to participate.

Person A: Knock knock!

Person B:Who’s there?

Person A: [name]

Person B: [name] who?

Person A: [joke with name!]

Person A: Knock knock?

Person B: Who’s there?

Person A: Isabel.

Person B: Isabel who?

Person A: Isabel necessary on a bicycle? (Is a bell necessary on a bicycle?)

The best knock-knock jokes have a pun (a joke made from the sound of a word, not the meaning) that involves the name.

“Roses are Red” jokes are based upon a poem structure. The first two lines are always the same:

Roses are red,

Violets are blue.

After this, you add two more lines about something funny. The rhythm and the rhyme should match the first two lines.

I’m learning English,

And so are you!

We put the joke together like this:

Roses are red,

Violets are blue.

I’m learning English,

And so are you!

Most Canadians will be familiar with these kinds of jokes. Ask your homestay family or your Canadian friends to tell you some and post them here!

In The World

I see this phrase used in many essays where it doesn’t make sense.

Bad Example 1: In the world, there are many people who think pizza is delicious.
Where else would the people be? We don’t care about whether people in space like pizza or not!

Bad Example 2: Right now, there are many problems in the world.
There might be problems on Mars, but there are probably more of them on Earth. This is obvious!

When you write, avoid using “in the world” to refer to a location, unless you want it to be clear that you do not refer to space.

Good Example 1: Your English is the best in the world!
Yes! Your English is excellent – not only in your school, town, or country, but in every country. Here, “in the world” gives us a limitation that emphasizes our idea.

Good Example 2: In the world, people have to worry about gravity, but in space, everything is weightless.

When you write, be clear that you are using “in the world” to show the limits, not the location.

Google Documents Spellcheck

I use Google Docs in several classes. One problem that comes up a lot is the spell-checker. If my students’ Drive language isn’t English, their English spell-check won’t work. Here’s how to fix it:

With your document open in Google Docs,

Highlight all your text.

Go to the File > Language menu, and

Select English (United States).

Now you should be able to see any incorrectly-spelled English words (and, of course, correct them!)