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Happy Valentine’s Day
12-06-2014

Normally, everything starts with a little crush on somebody (when you like a person and sometimes he/she doesn’t know). If you have the courage and invite the person you like to go out with you, you ask the girl/boy out. And then, anything can happen during this date, which is usually at a restaurant, or it is […]

Happy Valentine’s Day

by Magda Mendes

Normally, everything starts with a little crush on somebody (when you like a person and sometimes he/she doesn’t know). If you have the courage and invite the person you like to go out with you, you ask the girl/boy out. And then, anything can happen during this date, which is usually at a restaurant, or it is a “movie-restaurant” thing.

If the couple goes along well, we say they hit it off or they click, so there can be other dates. Maybe by then they are already boyfriend and girlfriend, or more informally, they are an item, or a twosome. So, our Portuguese word “namorar” is ‘to have a boy/girlfriend’, ‘to be seeing somebody'; ‘to be going out with somebody’, ‘to be involved with somebody’.
In the case of relationships that are not that clear, we use the word ‘a fling’. For example: ‘ele não é meu namorado; só um ‘ficante’ = He’s not my boyfriend; he’s just a fling.
Now, let’s take a look at these expressions related to “estar apaixonado”:
- to be in love with somebody;
- to be head over heels (in this case, you’re super in love!)
- to fall in love with somebody (to start loving the person)
- to have feelings for somebody; to care about somebody (when you like the person very much)
- to flirt with somebody; to check somebody out (like: ‘ele está te paquerando’ = ‘he’s checking you out’)
If the man/boy is romantic, he likes to:
- send flowers to his girlfriend;
- take his girlfriend out to dinner;
- send romantic cards/Valentine cards;
- declare himself to her
Have an incredible Valentine’s Day.

Tags: a date / a fling / be head over heels / be in love / dating / hit it off / valentine's /


About Magda Mendes

I am the kind of person who's addicted to books, movies and music - most of them in English, so it's not a coincidence that I've become an English teacher. I've been teaching for 23 years now and I guess the passion will not subside!


“Homework” or “Homeworks”?
31-05-2014

Unlike its Portuguese equivalent, “homework” is always uncontable in English. I know that you don’t feel like it’s uncountable, considering the amount of activities your teacher may assign to you! But, seriously, the word “homework” should always be used in the singular. Look at these examples: 1) My teacher always assigns too much homework over […]

“Homework” or “Homeworks”?

by Magda Mendes

Unlike its Portuguese equivalent, “homework” is always uncontable in English. I know that you don’t feel like it’s uncountable, considering the amount of activities your teacher may assign to you! But, seriously, the word “homework” should always be used in the singular.

Look at these examples:

1) My teacher always assigns too much homework over the weekend! It’s a nightmare!

2) I have a couple of homework assignments to do for tomorrow.

Have you noticed the use of ‘much‘ in example 1? It should be used before an uncountable word. One of our students’ typical mistake is to say:

“* My teacher always assigns too many homeworks…”

Also, have you noticed the verb ‘to assign‘? Normally the students want to use the verb ‘to pass’, which is wrong in this case.

So, if you want to quantify homework, you can use the word ‘assignments’. This will give the idea of how many activities, tasks, or projects you’ll have to do as homework. And, yes, you ‘do homework‘, not ‘*make homework’!

 

Tags: assign homework / efl / english / homework / learnenglish / thomastogo / uncountable /


About Magda Mendes

I am the kind of person who's addicted to books, movies and music - most of them in English, so it's not a coincidence that I've become an English teacher. I've been teaching for 23 years now and I guess the passion will not subside!


“Advice” or “Advices”
30-05-2014

Another very common mistake among students is to say “*advices” instead of “advice“. In English, “advice” is an uncountable word, so it is always used in the singular form. But how to quantify it? You can do this: 1) Let me just give you a little piece of advice: study hard! 2) My mom has […]

“Advice” or “Advices”

by Magda Mendes

Another very common mistake among students is to say “*advices” instead of “advice“. In English, “advice” is an uncountable word, so it is always used in the singular form. But how to quantify it? You can do this:

1) Let me just give you a little piece of advice: study hard!

2) My mom has always given me some very good advice, which has kept me away from a lot of trouble!

See? You can use “piece” or “some“, but never things like “*two advices”, or “*a good advice”.

 

In some magazines, you can find an “advice column”, to where people send letter in order to receive some help or advice related to certain kinds of problems.

 

Attention: don’t make confusion with the verb “to advise“, which means “to give advice”; “to recommend”.

Example: The boss advised all the employees to use the safety equipment at all times.

 

And also remember that “advice” has nothing to do with “devices“, which are “instruments, gadgets, machines” (like your cell phone, for example).

Example: You should avoid leaving your electronic devices in wet places.

 

So, have you ever given some very good advice to someone?

 

 

Tags: advice / advise / devices / efl / english / learnenglish /


About Magda Mendes

I am the kind of person who's addicted to books, movies and music - most of them in English, so it's not a coincidence that I've become an English teacher. I've been teaching for 23 years now and I guess the passion will not subside!


Are you rich or wealthy?
29-05-2014

When we say that a person is rich, we mean that he/she has material possessions and money. “Wealthy” means the same thing, but the word is less common than rich. So, we can say “My uncle is rich” or “My uncle is wealthy” with no change in meaning. Now, “a rich meal”, for example, implies […]

Are you rich or wealthy?

by Magda Mendes

When we say that a person is rich, we mean that he/she has material possessions and money. “Wealthy” means the same thing, but the word is less common than rich. So, we can say “My uncle is rich” or “My uncle is wealthy” with no change in meaning.

Now, “a rich meal”, for example, implies that it is nutritious or has a good choice of ingredients. But we can’t say “a wealthy meal”.

Here are some collocations with the word rich:

a rich family, man/woman, banker, country, food, cake, voice. (A rich voice would be a deep one).

 

Here are some collocations with the word wealthy:

a wealthy family, man/woman, banker.

 

Let’s take a look at two other synonyms of rich.

Affluent: it implies ‘to spend a lot’. We can say ‘an affluent existence, society, family’, for example.

Opulent: it implies ‘to show great riches’, ‘to show external signs of being rich’. We can say ‘an opulent residence, house, car, style, existence’, for example.

 

Here are some common expressions with ‘rich’ and its synonyms:

– to grow (or become) rich; to get rich;

– to acquire great wealth (formal)

– to live in great opulence.

 

Adapted from The words you need by B. Rudzka

 

 

 

 

 

Tags: affluent / efl / english / english tip / opulent / rich / tip / wealthy /


About Magda Mendes

I am the kind of person who's addicted to books, movies and music - most of them in English, so it's not a coincidence that I've become an English teacher. I've been teaching for 23 years now and I guess the passion will not subside!


Cleft sentences
24-05-2014

“Cleft sentences” is a very elegant term to a very simple structure in English. In fact, ‘cleft sentences‘ are a way to give emphasis to something we want to talk about, or to correct a piece of information. Examples: 1) Normal sentence, withouth ‘clefting’: I love teaching because I get to know different people every semester. […]

Cleft sentences

by Magda Mendes

“Cleft sentences” is a very elegant term to a very simple structure in English. In fact, ‘cleft sentences‘ are a way to give emphasis to something we want to talk about, or to correct a piece of information.

Examples:

1) Normal sentence, withouth ‘clefting’:

I love teaching because I get to know different people every semester.

With ‘clefting’:
What I like most about teaching is that I get to know different people every semester.

2) normal sentence:

I love Rick Riordan‘s books because they’re really fun and gripping.

With ‘clefting’:
What I love about Rick Riordan’s books is that they’re really fun and gripping.
The thing I love about Rick Riordan’s books is that they’re really fun and gripping.

3) I’m  always worried because I don’t want to get sick. I have to work! I have a family to support!
The things I worry about are getting sick, not being able to work or support my family.
What worries me most is getting sick (not supporting my family).

Other examples of ‘cleft sentences':

4) What makes me feel relaxed after a day at work is listening to music.

5) What my kids loved more about Disneyworld was Cinderella’s castle.

Now, let’s take a look at ‘cleft sentences’ to correct a statement or to express a different opinion from what has been heard.

1) person 1: Rio is the capital of Brazil.
person 2: No, it isn’t. It’s Brasília that is the capital of Brazil.

2) person 1: George W. Bush is the president of the USA.
person 2: No, he isn’t. It’s Obama who is the president of the USA. (Or: It’s Obama that is the president.)

3) person 1: Mary lives on the second floor of that building.
person 2: No, she doesn’t. It is John who lives on the second floor of that building.

All right! Ready to use cleft sentences with confidence?

Tags: cleft / cleft sentences / efl / english grammar / grammar / grammar tip /


About Magda Mendes

I am the kind of person who's addicted to books, movies and music - most of them in English, so it's not a coincidence that I've become an English teacher. I've been teaching for 23 years now and I guess the passion will not subside!


Vocabulary practice: “Until” and “Till”
22-05-2014

“Until” and “till” are the same thing. They mean “up to a time; before a specific time; to the point that”. Normally, ’till’ is more common in spoken English. “Until” is common both in spoken and written English. Let’s take a look at some examples: 1) Oh, only two days until/till Justin Bieber’s show in […]

Vocabulary practice: “Until” and “Till”

by Magda Mendes

“Until” and “till” are the same thing. They mean “up to a time; before a specific time; to the point that”. Normally, ’till’ is more common in spoken English. “Until” is common both in spoken and written English.

Let’s take a look at some examples:

1) Oh, only two days until/till Justin Bieber’s show in São Paulo! My daughter is so excited!

2) You can’t drive until/till you’re 18 years old in Brazil.

3) She talked to much until/till she lost her voice.

4) You can stay at the party until/till midnight.

 

Attention:

Note that we don’t use ‘until/till’ in these cases:

*I walked until W3 Avenue because I couldn’t find a taxi. (the correct sentence should be “I walked as far as W3 Avenue…”)

*This is such a big car! It can hold until 7 people. (the correct sentence should be “It can hold up to 7 people.”)

Tags: difference between till and until / till / until /


About Magda Mendes

I am the kind of person who's addicted to books, movies and music - most of them in English, so it's not a coincidence that I've become an English teacher. I've been teaching for 23 years now and I guess the passion will not subside!


Uses of ‘still’
21-05-2014

“Be still my heart, my heart be still” “To remind you how I still love you, I still love you” “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 1, episode 18: Foes step forward in preview and stills”   As you may have noticed, the links above all contain the word ‘still’ in some form. You have probably guessed that […]

Uses of ‘still’

by Magda Mendes

Be still my heart, my heart be still

To remind you how I still love you, I still love you

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 1, episode 18: Foes step forward in preview and stills

 

As you may have noticed, the links above all contain the word ‘still’ in some form. You have probably guessed that the meaning of  ‘still’ is different in each case, right?

Let’s take a look at each example.

1) Be still my heart

In this case, ‘still’ means ‘quiet/silent/not moving’. It’s functioning as an adjective here.

Other examples of ‘still’ with this same meaning:

– It was very early in the morning, so the house was completely still (=quiet)

– Keep still if you don’t want anybody to spot us (=quiet/not moving)

 

2) To remind you how I still love you

In this case, ‘still’ means ‘until now/ up to this moment’. It’s functioning as an adverb. In the example above, which is from a song by Queen, it can also mean ‘despite everything that has happened/said/done’.

Other examples:

– Do you still have that old photo frame I gave you years ago?

– People showed all the evidence against John, but he still denied having been involved in the case.

 

3) …in preview and stills

In this case, ‘still’ is a countable noun and it means the photo of a scene from a movie/series. It was used in the plural in the example.

Another example:

– Have you seen the new still from “The Fault in Our Stars“? It’s wonderful!

video stills

http://thefaultinourstarsmovie.com/

 

 

Tags: efl / english / movie / not moving / quiet / silent / still / synonyms / tefl / uses of still /


About Magda Mendes

I am the kind of person who's addicted to books, movies and music - most of them in English, so it's not a coincidence that I've become an English teacher. I've been teaching for 23 years now and I guess the passion will not subside!


“Wasn’t” and “Didn’t” Don’t Go Together
29-04-2014

In the post you´ll learn how to use the auxiliary verbs “Was” and “Did” in the negative form. You´ll also see them in context to realize that they never go together in a sentence.

“Wasn’t” and “Didn’t” Don’t Go Together

by Magda Mendes

Somebody asked me the other day: “why can’t I say ‘wasn’t go’? At first I thought, “Wow! This is so clear: it’s like water and oil – they don’t mix!’  But, to some learners this can be really confusing.

 So, we need to remember that ‘wasn’t‘ and ‘weren’t‘ are the past forms of the verb ‘be‘, in the negative.
Examples:
am here today, but yesterday I wasn’t.
They weren’t at the party because they weren’t invited.
John wasn’t a very good student a few years ago, but now he’s an outstanding one.
Notice that there isn’t another verb (like “go”, in the example above) after wasn’t/weren’t. The verb ‘be‘ is not an auxiliary verb to make negative sentences with other verbs, in the past simple. The auxiliary for that is ‘did‘. Observe the following sentences:
1) He didn’t go to the party because he was busy.
2) If I didn’t live in Brasília, I’d like to live in Orlando.
3) Mary didn’t pass her course, but she’ll do it again next semester.
After ‘didn’t‘, the main verb remains in its ‘base form‘.
Common mistakes: *’he didn’t went’/ *’I didn’t knew’, etc.
Another common mistake is to say *’I don’t went’, instead of ‘I didn’t go’.
So, try to remember: the auxiliary verb to make negative sentences in the past is DIDN’T.
WASN’T and WEREN’T are the past forms of ‘be‘. Hence, “*wasn’t go” do not go together – EVER!
Try to think about ‘natural enemies': Brazil and Argentina in the World Cup finals; dogs and cats (they normally fight; Fla x Flu; vampires and werewolves, and so on.
This is what happens to ‘wasn’t/weren’t’ and the other verbs like go/study/work, etc.

Tags: auxiliary verbs / confusing verbs / did / efl / grammartip / negative of past simple / past simple / verb tenses / was / were /


About Magda Mendes

I am the kind of person who's addicted to books, movies and music - most of them in English, so it's not a coincidence that I've become an English teacher. I've been teaching for 23 years now and I guess the passion will not subside!


Education – How to Use this Word?
29-04-2014

The word “educação” in Portuguese can refer to a person’s formal instruction, as in “educação básica; educação superior; sistema de educação”, etc. It can also refer to good manners, etiquette and social rules related to behavior. For example, ‘ele é bem educado'; ‘isto é uma questão de educação’, etc. In English, the corresponding words would […]

Education – How to Use this Word?

by Magda Mendes

The word “educação” in Portuguese can refer to a person’s formal instruction, as in “educação básica; educação superior; sistema de educação”, etc. It can also refer to good manners, etiquette and social rules related to behavior. For example, ‘ele é bem educado'; ‘isto é uma questão de educação’, etc.

In English, the corresponding words would be “education” to formal instruction; and “politeness” or “good manners”, for the second situation.
Here are some examples:
1) Nossa, que cara mais sem educação!
    Gee, what a rude guy! (And not: *what a guy without education! – that would be totally incorrect!)
2) Ela foi criada com muita educação.
    She has been brought up (raised) well.
   “Criar” in the sense of take care of somebody and teach him/her good manners can be ‘bring up’ or ‘raise’.
3) Foi assim que fui criado, então não consigo me acostumar com outra maneira.
    It was how I’ve been brought up (raised), so I can’t get used to any other way.
4) Ela se mudou para a cidade grande para ter mais acesso à educação.
    She’s moved to a big city to have better access to education.
5) Ele precisa se instruir.
    He needs to educate himself.
6) O problema mais sério do Brasil é a educação falha.
    Brazil’s greatest problem is its failure in education.
I hope the usage of “education” has become clear now.

Tags: bring up / educação / education / efl / english / good manners / inglês / instruction / politeness / spoken english /


About Magda Mendes

I am the kind of person who's addicted to books, movies and music - most of them in English, so it's not a coincidence that I've become an English teacher. I've been teaching for 23 years now and I guess the passion will not subside!


Some Troublesome Adverbs
27-04-2014

Adverbs have a rule, but some of them are unique, like the adverbs fast, hard and well. Learn how to use these adverbs and never get them wrong again.

Some Troublesome Adverbs

by Magda Mendes

When learning adverbs, the students normally remember that the rule is to add the suffix “-ly” to adjectives to form adverbs. For example:

– close – closely;

– easy – easily;

– permanent – permanently; etc.

 

However, as most rules have exceptions, we have to pay close attention to these cases:

1) Hard

The adjective is ‘hard’, and the adverb is also ‘hard’.

Examples:

This is a very hard test. (adjective; meaning ‘difficult’);

He works hard but his salary is not good enough. (adverb; meaning ‘a lot/arduously’)

2) Hardly

The adverb ‘hardly’ exists, but it means ‘almost not’.

Examples:

1) A: Did you have a good time at the party last night?

B: Hardly. The music was too loud and I didn’t know many people.

2) John hardly ever misses a soccer match on TV.

3) I hardly slept last night, though I was really tired.

 

3) Fast

‘Fast’ is an adjective and an adverb.

Examples:

My husband loves driving fast cars. (adjective)

When it rains, it’s dangerous to drive too fast. (adverb)

 

4) Well

This is the adverb of ‘good’.

She sings so well I could listen to her all day long!

 

5) Lovely

Now, attention because ‘lovely’ is NOT an adverb, although it ends in -ly!

“lovely” is an adjective.

Examples:

Mary is such a lovely girl. She’s polite and kind.

How was your vacation?

Lovely! The hotel was really charming and the city was great.

 

I hope this was not a hard topic to learn!

Tags: adjectives / adverbs / fast / hard / hardly / lovely / well /


About Magda Mendes

I am the kind of person who's addicted to books, movies and music - most of them in English, so it's not a coincidence that I've become an English teacher. I've been teaching for 23 years now and I guess the passion will not subside!