Monday, April 15, 2013

Simple, Compound, and Complex Sentences

Today we learned about three different sentence types: (1) simple, (2) complex, and (3) compound sentences.  In this video, Jennifer Lebedev reviews these three types and adds one more: (4) compound-complex.

Friday, April 5, 2013

The Past Progressive

Today we learned how to use the past progressive (also called the past continuous) tense. Here's a very nice video that shows you many examples of this tense. It's about seven minutes long.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Song: Send in the Clowns

This is one of my favorite songs. It was written by Steven Sondheim and sung by Judy Collins. Sondheim wrote the song for the musical play A Little Night Music. The words describe how two people in love are not free to get married. You can use it to review questions--or just enjoy it!

Note: "ought to" means "should."

Monday, April 1, 2013

001 Grammar Review: Present and Past Tenses

Jennifer Lebedev has some more advanced videos about verb tenses. Can you understand these?

  1. Overview (7 minutes)

2. Simple Present (12 minutes)

3. Present Progressive (17 minutes)

4. Simple Past and Past Progressive Part 1 (13 minutes). We haven't studied the past progressive yet, so let Jennifer introduce this tense to you.

5. Simple Past and Past Progressive Part 2 (9 minutes)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Present Progressive for Future Meaning

Here's one little British English video about using the present progressive to talk about planned future events.

Here is another explanation about using the present progressive to talk about planned future events. This one is also in British English.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Song: I'm Gonna Miss Her

Here's a song by country singer Brad Paisley. It's about a man who loves fishing more than he loves his girlfriend!  Notice the pronunciation of -ing as 
/ɪn/ (instead of /ɪŋ/); this is common in certain kinds of spoken English.  Also, the word lookee instead of look is a typical of certain kinds of speakers. "Catch hell" means that she will be very angry with him. "I've got a bite" means that he has a fish on his line.

Here are the lyrics:

"I'm Gonna Miss Her"

Well, I love her,
But I love to fish.
I spend all day out on this lake,
And hell is all I catch,
But today she met me at the door (and)
Said I would have to choose;
If I hit that fishing hole today,
She'd be packing all her things,
And she'd be gone by noon.

Well, I'm gonna miss her
When I get home,
But right now I'm on this lake shore,
And I'm sitting in the sun.
I'm sure it'll hit me
When I walk through that door tonight.
Yeah, I'm gonna miss her
Oh, lookee there, I‘ve got a bite!

Now there's a chance that if I hurry,
I could beg her to stay,
But that water's right,
And the weather's perfect.
No telling what I might catch today!

So I'm gonna miss her
When I get home,
But right now I'm on this lake shore,
And I'm sitting in the sun.
I'm sure it'll hit me
When I walk through that door tonight.
Yeah, I'm gonna miss her
Oh, lookee there, another bite

Yeah, I'm gonna miss her
Oh, lookee there, I’ve got a bite.

Talking About the Future: BE + GOING + TO + VERB

Watch this very short video on Real English. The top video has no captions; the bottom video has captions. Watch either, or both.

In the Learn American English Online series, there is a 5-minute lesson on BE + GOING + TO + BE. It includes some information about pronouncing GOING + TO.

This 3-minute video gives examples of using BE + GOING + TO + VERB, BE + VERB + ING (present progressive) and VERB(s) (simple present) to talk about the future, and shows how they are all a little different. It is more advanced.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Song: Tom's Diner

This song is written and performed by Suzanne Vega. It has many examples of the present progressive! The song is about a few minutes in a woman's life when she goes to a diner for a cup of coffee. (A diner is a kind of simple restaurant.) 

Suggestion:  First, watch the video. Then play the video while you read the lyrics. Notice the verbs! Finally, watch the video again.

Here are the lyrics:

I am sitting
In the morning
At the diner
On the corner

I am waiting
At the counter
For the man
To pour the coffee

And he fills it
Only halfway
And before
I even argue

He is looking
Out the window
At somebody
Coming in

"It is always
Nice to see you,"
Says the man
Behind the counter

To the woman
Who has come in
She is shaking
Her umbrella

And I look
The other way
As they are kissing
Their hellos and

I'm pretending
Not to see them
And instead
I pour the milk

I open
Up the paper
There's a story
Of an actor

Who had died
While he was drinking
It was no one
I had heard of

And I'm turning
To the horoscope
And looking
For the funnies

When I'm feeling
Someone watching me
And so
I raise my head

There's a woman
On the outside
Looking inside
Does she see me?

No, she does not
Really see me
'Cause she sees
Her own reflection

And I'm trying
Not to notice
That she's hitching
Up her skirt

And while she's
Straightening her stockings
Her hair
Has gotten wet

Oh, this rain
It will continue
Through the morning
As I'm listening

To the bells
Of the cathedral
I am thinking
Of your voice...

4-5 Simple Present vs. Present Progressive AND 4-6 nonaction verbs

After you study the chart on page 106, watch this screencast. Then do exercises 20, 23, and 24 (pages 107 - 110).

After you study the chart on page 111, watch this screencast. Then do exercise 27 (page 112).

Monday, March 11, 2013

Present Progressive: Negatives and Questions

Here is a screencast for Chart 4-3 (p. 99), about making negative sentences with the present progressive.

And here is a screencast for Chart 4-4 (p. 102), about making questions with the present progressive.

After you study the charts and listen to the screencasts, please do exercises 12 (pp. 99-100) and 15 (p. 102) for homework.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Daylight Savings Time Begins

Tomorrow morning at 2 a.m., we lose one hour as we turn our clocks forward to Eastern Daylight Time. Most timepieces and computers do this automatically, but you may need to change your watch or clock yourself. You can do this before you go to bed tonight, or after you wake up tomorrow morning. Don't be late to class on Monday!

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Present Progressive Tense (BEG 4-1)

Here is a link to the screencast for Chart 4-1, BE + -ING: The Present Progressive Tense.

Please watch the screencast and study the chart on page 92 of your book. We will do the exercises in class on Monday.

Spelling Rules for VERB + ING (BEG 4-2)

Here is a link to the screencast for Chart 4-2, Spelling of -ING

Watch the screencast and study the chart on page 97 of your book. We will do the exercises in class on Monday. The present participle (V+ing) form of all verbs is regular, but you need to know how to spell it, so you must memorize these four spelling rules. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

(Mostly) Irregular Past Tense Forms

The first video models the simple and past forms of common irregular verbs. 

This 6-minute video works like flashcards. First, you see the simple form of a verb. You say or write the past form. Then you see the past form on the screen. There are some irregular verbs that are not in the 7 groups in BEG, and there are a few regular verbs (to keep you on your toes).

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Podcast: Talking About Food

Listen to this week's podcast, and find out what's in my refrigerator, what's on my shopping list, and what's for dinner tonight.

Here's the script, with the count nouns in blue and the noncount nouns in red:

Hello, and welcome to the 001 podcast. This is Nina Liakos, and today I’d like to talk about food. In class this week, we studied count and noncount nouns. We also learned how to use the words A, AN, THE, MUCH, MANY, A LITTLE, A FEW, A LOT OF, SOME, and ANY with count and noncount nouns. Talking about food is a good way to practice these things, because many foods—but not all—are noncount nouns.

There isn’t much food in my refrigerator today.  There are some eggs and some almond milk. There’s a head of lettuce. There are a few tomatoes, half a cucumber, some carrots, some celery, a kiwi, an apple, a grapefruit, a very ripe banana, and some lemons. There’s some bread, and I made a pot of bean soup this morning. We had some soup for lunch, but there’s a lot of soup left.  We will eat it this week. There’s some garlic and there’s some cheese, some yogurt, some butter, some margarine, and some sliced turkey. My husband likes to eat turkey sandwiches for lunch.

We need to go grocery shopping! This is what we need to buy: a bag of onions,  some spinach, one or two bunches of  kale, and a head of green cabbage;  a lot of fruit—probably kiwis, grapefruit, apples, and a bunch of bananas. My husband wants some feta cheese, my daughter wants some blueberry muffins for breakfast, and I want some hummus. I love to eat celery with hummus.

What’s for dinner tonight? Maybe a quinoa salad.  You mix some quinoa with lightly cooked carrots, broccoli, and peas. Mix in some chopped tomato and cucumber, and add some nuts and dried fruit, like raisins, cranberries, or chopped apricots. Make a dressing with some olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. It’s really good!

That’s all for today. Thanks for listening!


Here is a video about using some and any.  It's in British English, so it uses the word rubber for eraser. Also, remember that it's OK to use some in questions.

You can learn some words for different kinds of fruit in this video:

They are not pronounced for you, but if you don't know how to pronounce them, look them up in your dictionary!

If your favorite fruits are not named here, look them up in an Arabic - English dictionary (or use Google Translate) and learn them.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Using THE

Today's quiz was long, so we didn't have time to do Section 7-6 in BEG. Please study the chart on page 199 and listen to this screencast.

You can also watch this screencast from the BEG PowerPoint.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Counting Noncount Nouns: Using Expressions of Measure

How do you count milk, chocolate, meat, rice, paper, or tennis? These words are all noncount nouns, so we can't *drink 2 milks, *play a tennis, or *eat a meat. Visit this website to practice choosing the right "measure word." Be sure to do the 2 exercises (Click on Continue with the exercises at the bottom of the page).

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Count and Noncount Nouns

Here is an introduction to count (countable) and noncount (uncountable) nouns.

Next, try this 3-minute video in British English.

This video may be difficult for you because the teacher uses some advanced vocabulary, but he gives some useful information about different kinds of noncount nouns.

Articles: A, AN, and THE

in this 5-minute lesson, Jennifer explains how we use articles (a, an, and the).

The second video is about the indefinite article (a, an) and "zero article" (no article, as in "I like apples." This video may be a little difficult for some of you to follow. Don't worry!

Preposition Review

Thanks to Ms. Draganescu for sharing this with me!
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Simple Past

Watch Jennifer explain when we use the simple past tense:

Review with Part 3:

Now practice making questions and practice pronunciation with Part 4:

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Past Form of Regular Verbs

The first video is on pronouncing the -ed ending.

The second video is a lesson by Jennifer Lebedev. (8 minutes)

The third video is some excerpts from songs with examples of the past tense.

The last video is the song "You Needed Me," sung by Anne Murray. The lyrics follow.


I cried a tear;
You wiped it dry.
I was confused;
You cleared my mind.
I sold my soul;
You bought it back for me
And held me up 
And gave me dignity. 
Somehow you needed me. 

You gave me strength
To stand alone again, 
To face the world 
Out on my own again. 
You put me high 
Upon a pedestal--
So high that I could almost see eternity. 
You needed me. 
You needed me. 

And I can't believe it's you; 
I can't believe it's true.
I needed you, and you were there. 
And I'll never leave; Why should I leave?
I'd be a fool 'cause I finally found someone who really cares. 

You held my hand
When it was cold.
When I was lost, 
You took me home. 
You gave me hope 
when I was at the end, 
And turned my lies 
Back into truth again. 
You even called me "friend." 

You gave me strength 
To stand alone again, 
To face the world 
Out on my own again. 
You put me high 
Upon a pedestal,
So high that I could almost see eternity. 
You needed me, you needed me. 
You needed me, you needed me.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Past Forms of BE (WAS, WERE)

Watch these videos about the past tense of BE:

  1. Learn English with Jennifer, Lesson 45 (9 minutes; affirmative & negative sentences)
  2. Learn English with Jennifer, Lesson 46 (8 minutes; questions)
  3. Real English Lesson 42Were you good at school? (Scroll down for the video with captions.) There are 4 exercises. Try them! (The 5th one needs you to install some software. I didn't install it.)

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Podcast: A Trip to the National Gallery of Art

This week's podcast features an interview with Meshari Alkhuzaee about our field trip to the National Gallery of Art.

Transcript of the Interview

NL: This is Nina Liakos with the third 001 podcast. Today I’m speaking with your classmate, Meshari Alkhuzaee. Thanks for helping with the podcast, Meshari.
MK: Hi Mrs. Liakos. I'm glad to talk to you.
NL: This week, we went to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. Your assignment was to describe a painting. We looked at a lot of paintings of different places and people. You took pictures of paintings that you liked. The next day in the lab, you started to write a paragraph describing your painting. Meshari, did you enjoy the field trip?
MK: Yes, I did. It was a good day with my teachers and my classmates.
NL: What did you like the most?
MK: I liked everything in the museum. It was an interesting day.
NL: Was it difficult to choose a painting to describe?
MK: Yes, it was difficult to choose a specific picture because there are  a lot of pictures, and all of them are beautiful.
NL: Which painting did you finally choose?
MK: I chose Claude Monet's Sainte-Adresse.
NL: Why did you choose that painting?
MK: Because when I looked at this picture, I remembered my hometown, Jeddah.
NL: What was it in the painting that reminded you of your home town?
MK: The painting shows fishing boats on a beach. When I was young, my family lived near the sea. 
NL: After we looked at the paintings and took photos, we had lunch in the National Gallery cafeteria. What did you have for lunch, Meshari?
MK: I had white rice and a piece of fish.
NL: How was it?
MK: It was delicious. I liked it a lot.
NL: Would you like to go back to the National Gallery some day?
MK: Yes, I would like to go back to the National Gallery with my family.
NL: Thank you very much for speaking with me today!
MK: You are welcome. I appreciate the opportunity.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Reflecting on Week 5

At the end of each week, we think back (reflect) on what we have learned. This week, you will complete an electronic survey.

Please finish Chapter 6 in Basic English Grammar before you take the survey.

Click here to take survey

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Singular and Plural Nouns

Listen and watch the PowerPoint. Study the rules for regular noun plurals and examples on page 168 in your book. Then do the exercises.

Here is the PowerPoint for the last chart. After you listen and watch, study the rules for irregular noun plurals on page 173

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Plural Nouns

Jennifer explains how to make nouns plural here

She explain irregular noun plurals here


Here is an easy video to review where adjectives go in a sentence (2 minutes).

And here's a short video about adjectives and nouns that describe people.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Subject, Verb, Object

Watch this review of subject, verb, and object. Here is Part 1 (7 minutes):

and here is Part 2 (8 minutes). In Part 2, the teacher introduces the predicate ("the rest" of the sentence after you find the subject).

So to find the subject, ask, "Who or what is the sentence about?" 
To find the verb, ask "What does (or did, or will do...) the subject do?" 
To find the object, ask, "Who or what does (or did, or will...) the subject see/like/want/learn...?" 

Finally, watch a short video about prepositional phrases. We will learn about object pronouns tomorrow.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Podcast: A Description of My Living Room and Dining Room


I want to describe my living room. It’s a combination of a living room and a dining room in the shape of a capital L. We call this kind of dining room “a dining ell (L).”

In the first photo, I am standing in the living room, looking at the dining ell. The door to the kitchen is on the right. On the far wall between two chairs, there is a very old china closet which belonged to my grandmother. In the china closet, there are plates, cups, bowls, glasses, and other things. On top of the china closet, there are three decorative plates and two candlesticks with candles in them. To the left, there is a window which looks out on the deck and the back yard. My dining room table and four chairs are on that wall.

In the second photo, I am standing in the dining room, looking at the living room. You can see the dining room table on the right.  Between the table and the living room wall, there is a double French door which looks out on the deck and the back yard. In the corner next to the French doors, there is a flat-screen television set. To the right of the TV, there is a large orange exercise ball. To the left of the TV, there is a glass-fronted bookcase. There are pictures and photographs in the bookcase and on top of it.

In the third photo, you can see the glass-fronted bookcase on the right. There is a floor lamp next to the bookcase. On the wall next to the floor lamp, there is a copy of a painting by the French artist, Odilon Redon. In the background, you can see two hallways. The hallway on the right goes to the bedrooms, and the hallway on the left leads to the front door and the kitchen. On the left side of the photo, there is a green couch.

 In the next photo, you can see the front door in the background on the right. You can also see the couch. Behind the couch, there is a low wall, and behind the wall, there is a staircase leading down to the lower level of the house. There are two embroidered pictures on the wall above the staircase. My mother made these pictures. To the left of the sofa, there is a small end table with a blue lamp on it. There is a coffee table in front of the sofa. On the left, there is an armchair, and above the armchair, there is a print of a painting by Amadeo Modigliani on the wall.

In the last photo, you can see the dining ell again. On the wall over the dining room table, there is a copy of a famous painting by the Dutch artist, Johannes Vermeer. The name of this painting is “Girl with a Pearl Earring.” I like this painting very much.

"Would Like" and "Like"

Review the difference between would like and like:

This video is for children, but I like it! Do you like it? Leave a comment below.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Prepositions of Place

We did not have time to learn about prepositions of place in class today, but you already know many of these prepositions.  Now listen to Mohamed explain prepositions of place to you on this video.

Here is a fun children's song to help you review prepositions:

And here are the words. The prepositional phrases are bolded.

Like a butterfly or like a bee
Like an ant as busy as can be
These little words we call the busy Ps:
Nine or ten of them do most all of the work
Of, on, to, with, in, from, by, for, at, over, across--
And many others do their job,
Which is simply to connect
Their noun or pronoun object
To some other word
In the sentence.
Busy Ps, if you please
On the top is where you are
(top relates to “where”)
With a friend you’ll travel far
(With a friend you'll go)
If you try you’ll know that you can fly over the rainbow
(Over the rainbow is where you can fly)
Busy prepositions,
Always on the go
Like a bunch
Of busy bees
Floating pollen on the breeze
Buzzing over the meadows
Beyond the forestthrough the trees
Into the beehive--
Busy, busy Ps
Into, beyond, over, on, through!
Busy prepositions always out in front
On the edgesin the crack,
Around the cornerfrom the back,
In between the action,
Stating clearly to your satisfaction
the location and direction.
Prepositions give specific information.
Though little words they are,
They never stand alone
Gathering words behind him you soon will see
How they have grown into a parade:
A prepositional phrase,
With a noun or at least a pronoun bringing up the rear
A little phrase of 2 or 3 or more words.
Prepositions! Attention! Forward--march!
Busy prepositions, always on the march,
Like a horde
Of soldier ants
Inching bravely forward on the slimmest chance
That they might better their positions.
Busy, busy prepositions,
In the airon the ground, everywhere--
The sun sank lower in the west.
In the west it sank,
And it will rise in the morning and will bring the light of day.
We say the sun comes up in the east every day.
In the east it rises.
Busy prepositions
Busy busy busy
On the top is where you are.
(On the top)
If you try you know that you can fly
(Fly where?)
Over the rainbow.