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All the time or Every time???

Some time ago, in one of my classes, a student was sharing a story about his daily routine in the office and he was doing a great job at that. At one point, he made the following statement: “I use the stapler every time.” To which I responded by correcting him and telling him that […]

Have something done

It is common to hear things such as “I cut my hair / I washed my car / I repaired my car”. Brazilians might understand what you mean, but probably a native speaker of English would be surprised. Let me tell you why: we only say these things when we actually did them. So, did […]

Knock, knock. Who’s there?

You may have heard one of these jokes in movies or series, they are a “call and response” type of joke. It starts when one person pretends to knock on a door and the other person (supposedly inside the fictional place) has to ask “who is there?” and the fun of it consists in having […]

Has the cat got your tongue?

After writing about “dog days”, I started thinking, are there “cat days”? Well, there aren’t, but there are many expressions involving “cats”. We have some which are similar to the ones we have in Portuguese, for example: “all cats are gray by night”, or “has the cat got your tongue?”. Others are just a little […]

Be prepared

Imagine you are visiting the US and someone offers you ‘a pop’. Would you know what that is? This situation happened to me when I first visited my husband’s host family in Nebraska. My first reaction was to smile. Then, I admitted that I really did not know what that was. A pop is what […]

1337 sp34k

h3y, h4v3 y0u 3v3r 533n 50m30n3 7yp1n6 l1k3 7h15?   Could you read that sentence? That is called 1337 sp34k – leet speak. It originated back in the 1980’s Internet bulletin boards and became really popular in the end of the 1990’s and the beginning of the 2000’s. It was created by hackers to cryptograph […]

Fast or Quick?

When you’re really late for school, do you take a quick shower or a fast shower? Well… Is there a difference? Yes, there is. Maybe not in terms of meaning, but in terms of collocation. Collocation happens when two or more words and phrases together sound more correct to the people who have spoken the […]


Imagine you call a friend and he can’t answer you at the moment. Then, he texts you: CMB L8R Would you understand his message? We are always in a hurry and abbreviations are here to help writing, specially in casual conversation contexts. They are easy to type and, most importantly, they save time. However, they […]

Carnival & Stereotypes

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 […]

Make your own word using prefixes – “over-“

When I first think of the word “over”, I remember Brazilian fashion experts talking about an outfit that is a little too extravagant. An American teenager might use the word to say that they are “done” with something, that they can’t take it anymore – “I’m so over high school!” But the most interesting thing about […]

Make your own word using portmanteaus

Do you know anyone who is just ‘adorkable’? The word has just been included in the Collins English Dictionary. A combination of “adorable” and “dork”, this word is a good example of the rise of the portmanteau.  Portmanteau is “a word or morpheme whose form and meaning are derived from a blending of two or more distinct forms (as smog from smoke and fog)” (according […]

Learning English At Home

Our Executive Director Lúcia Santos learned about this site to practice English through videos at a conference for educators. The “Connect With English” series is fantastic for those students who are eager and motivated to practice English. On the platform, there are videos with stories that last an average of ten minutes. After you watch […]

Free Conversation Club at Café do Chef

Every Friday a group of language learners meets at Café do Chef in Asa Norte to sharpen their language skills. This is a nice opportunity if you are looking to put your language skills to the test. This informal encounter has been aptly named “Torre de Babel” as English is just one of the languages […]

MailVU – Unleash the Power of Videos

  I sometimes need to answer many mails, and I found an easy way to do it more meaningfully in no time. Have you heard of mailVU? This simple site lets you record messages really easily and send them via email. It can be used to improve your English too. You can just record a […]

Practicing Listening with Podcasts

Most students learning English say that one of their biggest problems is listening. There are many reasons they give: English speakers speak too fast, or they use too much slang, or they don’t pronounce words clearly enough, or… The list of reasons is endless, but the truth is that most people have a lot of […]

Brazil News — in English!

Everyone knows that exposure plays a central role in the learning of a foreign language. And thanks to the Internet, access to authentic materials and resources in English is at the click of a mouse. However, the seemingly unlimited number of resources can be very intimidating at times! Besides, it can be difficult to know […]

Communication Strategy – Circumlocution

Circumlocution?  What does it mean? Well, if you are not a language teacher,  my guess is that you have never heard this word before in your life! But if you have been to an English speaking country and do not master the language completely, you must have used this communication strategy many times. You know […]

Produção das Crianças nos iPads

  Criança adora desenhar. Criança adora expressar a sua criatividade por meio de traços e cores. Criança adora explicar o que desenhou. Com isso em mente,   resolvi fazer um pequeno projeto com os alunos do Junior Course. Depois de trabalharmos o vocabulário e a estrutura linguística em questão, pedi aos alunos que desenhassem e […]