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How often do you exercise your mind?
25-04-2016

“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.” Joseph Addison There are many ways in which you can keep your brain fit. – challenge yourself. Try out new experiences and provide your brain with new information and stimuli. – switch up the things you normally do – try to use your left […]

How often do you exercise your mind?

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“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.” Joseph Addison

There are many ways in which you can keep your brain fit.

– challenge yourself. Try out new experiences and provide your brain with new information and stimuli.

– switch up the things you normally do – try to use your left hand to brush your teeth, if you’re right-handed, for instance.

– take a different route when going to work or school – this is one of the easiest ways to break routines.

Now, if you enjoy action adventure, here is a suggestion you will love:

You will probably have a great time reading the series The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins. The story takes place in the future, in a post-apocalyptic world that comprises 12 small cities, all of them controlled by the ruthless Capitol. Since the book has been adapted into a film, you can try listening to its soundtrack while reading the book. Are you ready for a workout?

Tags: books / brain / culture / learning / reading / tips /


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Money Idioms
25-02-2016

Idioms are expressions that are natural to a native speaker of a language and they are typically metaphorical. They make our point clear and they are an economical way of getting the point across. Also, idioms are very widely used in spoken English by native speakers and because of that it is very important to […]

Money Idioms

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Idioms are expressions that are natural to a native speaker of a language and they are typically metaphorical. They make our point clear and they are an economical way of getting the point across. Also, idioms are very widely used in spoken English by native speakers and because of that it is very important to be aware of them and know how to use them appropriately.

Take the idiom “foot the bill“, for instance. If you say you will foot the bill, it means you’ll pay for everyone.  Here are some useful money idioms:

 

1. To cost an arm and a leg:  When something is extremely expensive.

“Can you believe John’s paid U$3.000 for his new computer? It definitely cost him an arm and a leg!”

2. To throw money down the drain: To waste money.

“In times of national crisis, we can not throw money down the drain. We have to spend our money wisely.”

3. To make ends meet: To have enough money to pay for your basic expenses.

“Jane works at two jobs to make ends meet.”

4. To save money for a rainy day: To keep an amount of money for a time in the future when it might be needed.

” She has a couple of thousand dollars in the bank which she is saving for a rainy day.”

5. To be loaded: To be rich.

“Rock stars like Madonna, who have been around for many years, must be loaded.”

 

Remember! Time is money! Use the time you have wisely to learn English effectively!

Tags: english tip / expressions / idioms / learn english /


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Carnival & Stereotypes
18-02-2016

February! Time for Brazilian people put on their shiniest carnival costumes and dance samba all week long, right? Right. For some of us. Stereotype is the result of believing that everybody in a particular group share the same characteristic/habit. This is such common practice that we do it without even noticing. Stereotypes have become a […]

Carnival & Stereotypes

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February! Time for Brazilian people put on their shiniest carnival costumes and dance samba all week long, right? Right. For some of us.

Stereotype is the result of believing that everybody in a particular group share the same characteristic/habit. This is such common practice that we do it without even noticing. Stereotypes have become a standard feature of many jokes to a degree that we often do not notice how offensive it can be.

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We often complain about foreigners thinking that every Brazilian person likes carnival, soccer, and caipirinha. However, do we pay attention to other international stereotypes we reinforce? Just because you are a Brazilian woman, that does not mean you have a sculptural body that you enjoy exposing with tiny bikinis. Just because a person is Asian, that does not mean that he is a martial art master. Muslims are not terrorists, Canadians are not submissive, Irish people are not alcoholics, Germans are not violent, the list goes on and on…

Learning English gives you the ability to speak to the whole world. That is an ability that packs-in great responsibilities. Being able to communicate is not the only thing to learn before getting in touch with other cultures. Do not use English as a tool to expose your shallow stereotyped opinion about someone’s culture. Use English as the key that gives you the opportunity to learn about many other cultures in a sensible manner.

Tags: culture / Stereotype /


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Confusing words: Assure, Ensure or Insure
30-10-2015

Do you know the difference between the verbs ensure, assure and insure? It’s easy! Study the following definitions and examples: TO ASSURE – To tell someone that everything is or will be ok. The doctor assured me that my health was good and that I had nothing to worry about.  My boss assured me that, even […]

Confusing words: Assure, Ensure or Insure

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Do you know the difference between the verbs ensure, assure and insure? It’s easy! Study the following definitions and examples:

  • TO ASSURE – To tell someone that everything is or will be ok.

The doctor assured me that my health was good and that I had nothing to worry about. 

My boss assured me that, even in times of economic recession, my job  would be preserved.

  • TO ENSURE – To ensure is to guarantee  something, to make sure that something will (or won’t) happen.

The new measures were taken in order to ensure the employees’ safety.

The procedures ensure that women will be given same labor opportunities.

  • TO INSURE – To buy or provide insurance (monetary protection) for property or health.

Jenny paid a lot of money to insure her new car.

Even though we pay a lot of taxes in Brazil, it is highly recommendable that you insure your health with a private insurance company.

 

Tags: assure / confusing verbs / ensure / insure / tricky verbs /


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Confusing words: in or into, on or onto?
07-10-2015

In/Into and On/Onto can be used as prepositions of place. What’s the difference between them? In and On indicate position. Onto and Into indicate movement and direction. Analyze the following sentences: IN/INTO 1.1. Joe is walking into a Japanese restaurant now (Here into shows movement from the street to the restaurant). 1.2. He’s going to have lunch in […]

Confusing words: in or into, on or onto?

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In/Into and On/Onto can be used as prepositions of place. What’s the difference between them?

In and On indicate position. Onto and Into indicate movement and direction.

Analyze the following sentences:

IN/INTO

1.1. Joe is walking into a Japanese restaurant now (Here into shows movement from the street to the restaurant).

1.2. He’s going to have lunch in the restaurant. (Here in shows Joe’s position – the restaurant)

ON/ONTO

2.1. There is a cat on the roof of my house. (Here on shows the cat’s position – the roof)

2.2. Can you get onto the roof to rescue it? (The rescuer will have to go up to the roof in order to save the cat. There is movement involved)

MORE EXAMPLES

Mary is in the office.

The student is putting the pen into the pencil case.

The cat jumped onto the table.

Rick is in the teachers’ room.

Katy threw her clothes onto the sofa.

REMEMBER:

IN/ON – No movement, indicates position

INTO/ONTO – Indicate movement, direction, destination

Cheers,

Rick

Tags: confusing words / in / into / on / onto /


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Confusing Verbs: Lie or Lay?
28-09-2015

There are some verbs in English that can easily confuse students. LIE and LAY are examples of that. Do you know the difference between them? First of all, let’s analyze the verb LIE, which has two different meanings. The first one means “not to tell the truth” and it’s a regular verb (lie-lied-lied). Check the example: […]

Confusing Verbs: Lie or Lay?

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There are some verbs in English that can easily confuse students. LIE and LAY are examples of that. Do you know the difference between them?

First of all, let’s analyze the verb LIE, which has two different meanings. The first one means “not to tell the truth” and it’s a regular verb (lie-lied-lied). Check the example:

      Peter lied  to his dad about his grade on the test. He said he had gotten a 90, but, in reality, it was 55. His father was very upset and grounded him for a week!

Now, let’s compare the second meaning of LIE (which has nothing to do with the first one) and the verb LAY.

Let’s check the verb forms and the meanings of the verbs, according to the Cambridge Online Dictionary.

LIE – LAY – LAIN

Lie is a verb which means ‘to be in or put yourself into a flat position’. It is an irregular verb and it doesn’t take an object.

I love to lie on the sandy beach of Copacabana.

Missy had a very tiring day yesterday. When she got home, she lay in bed and fell asleep immediately.

LAY – LAID – LAID

The verb lay means ‘to put something down carefully in a flat position’. It must have an object. It is a regular verb, but note the spelling of the past simple and  past particple forms: laid not layed.

Chickens lay eggs. (What do chickens do? They lay eggs. Eggs is the object.)

 We had a dinner party last night and my mother laid the table beautifully. (What did my mom do? She laid the table. Table is the object.)

REMEMBER!

LIE – NO OBJECT

LAY – REQUIRES AN OBJECT

Stay Tuned!

Cheers,

Rick

Tags: confusing verbs / intransitive / lay / lie / transitive /


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Delicious pork chops for 2
25-09-2015

You can’t go wrong with this tasty recipe. Apart from being very easy to prepare, it’s incredibly flavorful! INGREDIENTS 2 pork chops; 1 clove of garlic, minced; 2 tablespoons of soy sauce; 100 ml of orange juice; a pinch of ground pepper; a pinch of salt; careful, because the soy sauce already contains salt! 1 […]

Delicious pork chops for 2

by admin

You can’t go wrong with this tasty recipe. Apart from being very easy to prepare, it’s incredibly flavorful!

INGREDIENTS

2 pork chops;

1 clove of garlic, minced;

2 tablespoons of soy sauce;

100 ml of orange juice;

a pinch of ground pepper;

a pinch of salt; careful, because the soy sauce already contains salt!

1 tablespoon of brown sugar.

DIRECTIONS

Prepare a marinade with all the ingredients. Mix everything really well. Put the marinade, together with the pork chops, in a plastic bag and let it rest in the fridge for around 60 minutes. If you can’t wait that long, 30 minutes will do!

Lay the chops, with the marinade on top, in a rectangular baking tin. Put it in a pre-heated oven (200 degrees) for around 20 minutes or until the chops are golden brown. Remove from oven, eat and have a blast! It’s really delicious!

P.S. If you want to ease your conscience, serve the chops with a healthy green salad! LOL!

Cheers,

Rick

Tags: cooking / cooking for 2 / food / gastronomy / marinade / Pork chops /


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Which is Which: Connotation vs Denotation
28-08-2015

Novice English learners usually try to relate the meaning of new words to their equivalent in Portuguese, but sometimes the definition of some words are confusing even in their own native language.  Connotation and denotation are examples of such problem. They are similar words used to describe related topics. Connotation is the meaning of a word which depends […]

Which is Which: Connotation vs Denotation

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Novice English learners usually try to relate the meaning of new words to their equivalent in Portuguese, but sometimes the definition of some words are confusing even in their own native language.  Connotation and denotation are examples of such problem. They are similar words used to describe related topics.

Connotation is the meaning of a word which depends directly on context. The way people interpret a word depends on their own cultural background or personal references. On the other hand, denotation is the standard meaning of a word, the one you will find in a dictionary.  A little example to make it easier to understand: the word cheap. Its denotation implies that something does not cost much, as in “That watch is cheap”. However, depending on the context, its connotation implies that something is of bad quality, as in “That watch looks cheap”.

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One simple way to avoid such misunderstanding would be to use the word inexpensive instead. Being proficient in English is not only a matter of knowing the meaning of a large number of words, but also being able to identify contexts in order to communicate in a successful way. Can you think of other examples?

Tags: connotation / Denotation / english tip / vocabulary /


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Google cardboard As Learning Experiences
29-07-2015

Google Cardboard and its apps offer the easiest way to experience virtual reality today.

Google cardboard As Learning Experiences

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Google Cardboard and its apps offer the easiest way to experience virtual reality today. It’s a useful tool for English language learners and teachers, for they can take advantage of this technology to boost learning experiences. Whether you want to immerse yourself in an animation, go back in time, or stand on stage with a legend, Cardboard has hundreds of options to choose from.

GOOGLE PLAY STORE

Cardboard consists of a low-cost, DIY virtual reality headset that everyone can make, and a software platform that makes it easy for app developers to add VR support to their creations.

Once you’ve got your cardboard, you’ll want some experiences to try out. Here’s our pick of the ten best VR-enabled apps you can find in Google Play right now to learn English.

YOUTUBE

Experience your favorite artist’s new music video as if you’re right there on set, base jump off a cliff from the comfort of your armchair, and so much more, with 360 video content and your Cardboard viewer.

WATCH 360 VIDEOS

EXPEDITIONS

Expeditions lets teachers take students on field trips to anywhere.  If you’re an educator, learn more about bringing Expeditions to your school.

LEARN MORE

TILT BRUSH GALLERY

View creations made with Tilt Brush, a painting application made for virtual reality. Load pre-made sketches and watch them draw in as they were originally created.

GET IT

PAUL MCCARTNEY

Experience musical legend Sir Paul McCartney performing “Live and Let Die” in 360 degrees, with stereo 3D and immersive audio in Jaunt’s first publicly released VR experience.

GET IT

THE OFFICIAL CARDBOARD APP

The official Cardboard app is your first stop for virtual reality on your Android or iPhone. The Cardboard app lets you use your Google Cardboard viewer with any Cardboard app, and includes a variety of immersive demos like the amazing Windy Day, an interactive animated short from Spotlight Stories.

ANDROID

  IOS

 

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Verbalizing nouns
22-05-2015

How making use of nouns as verbs is a reality.

Verbalizing nouns

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Languages change. The thousands different editions of dictionaries are not just a matter of releasing a better-looking cover every now and then. This is not something exclusive to the English language either. If we go back in time to analyze Brazilian Portuguese, we can notice the evolution of our equivalent to the subject pronoun ‘you’ (Vossa mercê > Vossamecê > Voismecê > Você). Such evolution process happens even more often with English being a universal language, exposed to many different cultures. One of such phenomena is what we call verbalization.

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Verbalization is the process of using nouns as verbs, either in oral or written form. As many other changes that occur in the English language, this happens in order to make things easier, more practical in our daily basis. For example, when talking to your friends and you can’t remember the name of a famous actor, would you rather say “Look for this information on Google” or simply “Google it”? If you have something important to share with someone, would you prefer “sending them a text message” or “texting them”? You can skateboard in the park, you can access a website, you can medal in a competition, you can friend someone on Facebook, and so on…

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This type of change creates a negative chain of reaction, making the language poor, according to some people. However, it is important to remember that all the big changes cause a strange effect when it is still something new. What would you say if someone told you 15 years ago that people would use cameras on their portable phones to take pictures of their own food?

Tags: english tip / nouns / verbs /


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