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Tag: Brazilian Speakers of English

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Have something done
19-09-2016

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 […]

Review: Second Conditional
12-03-2016

The second conditional is used to talk about hypothetical situations in the present. Suppose I think I’m too short to play basketball. I would probably say: “If I were taller, I would play basketball.” What I mean is that I don’t think I can play basketball because I’m not tall enough. I use the verb in the […]

A vitória do “Basic English”
22-02-2016

Quando a gente começa a aprender inglês, às vezes vêm aqueles sentimentos conflitantes – de animação e de frustração. De animação por que subitamente você começa a se comunicar em outra língua; onde antes não havia nada, agora há muito. De repente você começa a reconhecer palavras, entende uma fala aqui e ali nos filmes, […]

A bit of Brazil everywhere in the English speaking world
06-05-2015

There are Brazilian immigrants  everywhere throughout the world, it seems. If you go to London, for example, you may find a “churrascaria” and even a restaurant that sells “bife com batata frita”. But what I believe is the most interesting and comforting thing is being able to see similar traditions and habits across different cultures. For example, […]

Pronunciation Tip #1
25-04-2015

After listening to many of my students mispronounce the “Th” sound in words like “Think,” “Thought,” “Through,” “Thigh,” “Thief,” and “Theft,” as if it were an “S” sound, I kept thinking about a way to improve their pronunciation and reduce the misunderstandings caused by such mispronunciation. Thinking about the “Th” sound goes beyond we, Brazilian Engish […]

Review: Present Perfect vs Simple Past
06-02-2015

Hello, dear reader, Here is the second part in our review series. There’s great confusion among language learners when they have to differentiate between the Present Perfect and the Simple Past. Most of these problems originate from the need a student might have to translate these tenses into his/her own language to better understand how […]

Review: Past Perfect
05-01-2015

Here’s my third piece of review, and it’s a good one. The Past Perfect is an interesting verb tense. It does not happen alone. It comes together with the Simple Past. As the saying goes, they go together like a horse and carriage Look at this sentence: “When I got home, my wife left for work.” In this sentence […]

Review: Zero Conditional
01-01-2015

Conditional sentences are sometimes confusing, so I am going to try to make them as clear as possible to you, reader. Let’s start with the first one. It’s called zero conditional. You only use the present tense in this time of sentence. “If you don’t eat, you get sick.” “If you eat a lot, you put on weight.”  As you can probably […]

Review: First Conditional
29-12-2014

Hello again, dear reader, The first conditional is one of the most common in the English language. We use the simple present after if and the simple future in the next clause. “If I get home early, I will do my homework today.” As you can see, the first conditional is used to express a future action that depends on another […]

What kind of movies do you like?
22-12-2014

Hello, dear reader, In this post, I propose we talk about vocabulary that is commonly used in English to talk about movies. Many are the words used to describe how we feel about a movie, how it was made, the kind of movie it is, etc. Without further ado, let me jump right in and […]

Numbers vs Periods & Hyphens
13-11-2014

Hi, dear reader, The title of this post might sound puzzledly mathematical, but its content does not require prior knowledge of advanced calculations. In English, periods and hyphens are frequently used when numbers need to be set to paper: Periods:  Periods are used to separate the number from its decimal ($ 3.35) . This period […]

Résumé, summary and resume
12-11-2014

Some words tend to cause confusion among students. For instance, resume, résumé and summary. Let’s start with the last one: summary is a brief statement that gives the most important information about something. Say, she was called by the police and gave them a summary of the accident.As an adjective, summary is the same as […]

Confusing verbs: Been or Gone?
10-11-2014

Hi, dear reader, Two verb forms that are often confused is been and gone. They are the past participle of the verbs be and go.  I ask you, what’s the difference between,  he’s gone to Africa and he’s been to Africa? Well, use gone when someone visits a place but has not come home yet. “Michael can’t come […]

Confusing words: all together vs altogether / aid vs aide
05-11-2014

Hello, dear reader, Here are two pairs of words that are often confused. What is the difference between altogether X all together and aid X aide ? Well, they are really different: Altogether  is an adverb that means completely, totally. “His latest business plan for the second trimester is an altogether new approach to our deficit problem. All together means […]

Really=Pretty=Very?
03-11-2014

Hello, dear reader, Yes, I know that this blog post title may seem confusing. After all, we have different words which are, according to the tile of this post, the same? Don’t fret over it. Let me explain what I mean. Obviously, really, pretty, and very  are different words. For example, “That test was very difficult!” “Sophia […]

Confusing prepositions (at, in, on)
22-10-2014

Hello, dear reader, It’s a week-know fact that prepositions in English can be tricky. Sometimes their use is quite simple, as when they are used to show placement, e.g. The book is on the table. However, there are times when their use can be quite a challenge as in He’s on a bus to Portland. Why is he on a bus […]

Pronunciation tip: Silent L
20-10-2014

Hello, reader, The English language has plenty of silent letters, and one that is often forgotten by speakers of Portuguese is the silent l. It’s common for people who speak Portuguese to overlook that because in Portuguese silent letters are not common. Take for example the following words: Salmon, half, calm, talk, would and should […]

Lost in Translation
10-10-2014

We, Portuguese speakers, sometimes get confused with some words that render different translations into English. Take manga, for example. It may be translated as sleeve, when referring to a part of a shirt; or mango, when it’s a fruit. Or even mock or make fun of, if you take it with a pinch of regionalism. […]

How do you say that here?
26-07-2014

How do you say that here?   In English, as in other global languages, there is more than one word to describe the same action, object, feeling, etc. Let’s look at the word bucket. The dictionary defines bucket as a “deep , cylindrical vessel, usually of metal, plastic, or wood, with a flat bottom and […]

Review: Will vs Going to
04-02-2014

Hi, dear reader, As the year is coming to an end, I think it’s high time we reviewed some of the basics about English grammar. First, I would like to talk a little about the differences between using will and going to when talking about the future. Basically, what you should know is: Use will when you want […]

Idioms – Colors
22-07-2013

When learning a new language, I believe one of the goals is to get as close as one can to a native speaker. Therefore, we try to minimize our accent and practice as much as we can to improve our fluency. However, there is a much bigger challenge: first language interference. I say this because […]

The Difference between Do and Make
15-07-2013

Many students have a hard time using make and do correctly , and it`s not  complicated if we understand the basic difference and also understand a little about collocation.Many of my Brazilian English students get confused because in Portuguese, both verbs can be translated as “fazer”. In Brazil, we usually say “fazer um favor”. So, […]

Learn Words about Soccer
08-07-2013

Even though there has been many protests on the streets in Brazil, they are not necessarily  against our beloved national sport. We love soccer, and this post is meant to help learners talk about our most popular sport. In English, there are many specific words one should learn to be able to talk about soccer […]

Pronunciation Tip #5
21-06-2013

What do the words “numb,” “thumb” and “debt” have in common? Well, they each have a silent “b.” Yes, we do not pronounce the “b” in these words, and that has been another pronunciation challenge for us Brazilian speakers of English. So, in order to help you identify more words in which the “b” is […]

There to Be X Have – The Difference
20-06-2013

I usually hear the question “Have homework today?” many, many times. All teachers do, and it sounds really bad because it is incorrect, but what`s wrong with it? Why do English learners make this mistake over and over? In English, we do not start a sentence with the verb have when we mean exist. We have […]

Present Perfect
19-06-2013

The present perfect is the verb tense that puzzles us Portuguese speakers the most, due to the fact that we have no equivalency in our language. It is usually at this point that I tell my students that we have reached the point where the languages divorce each other; and that they have to forsaken […]

Multitasking to Boost Learning
18-06-2013

Are you a busy person who has to work a lot and does not find time to practice your English? Are you? Well, I happen to understand what you are going through. I have been trying to learn Hebrew, but I just cannot find the time to devote to studying. I am motivated, but I […]

Pronunciation Tip #3
24-05-2013

I kept thinking about pronunciation difficulties since our last pronunciation tip. Then, I started to notice how some of my students mispronounce the following past participle forms: Caught Bought Thought Sought Brought Many of them do not pronounce the /ɔː/ sound as they should. Instead, they pronounce them as if they had the following diphthongs […]

Pronunciation Tip #2
19-04-2013

After seeing that students were glad to be able to practice the correct pronunciation of the “Th” sound in words like “Think” and “Theft, ” I came across the mispronunciation of the “Th” sound in other words like “That,” “Those,” “This,”  “These”and  “The.” So, I began searching for ways to assist my students on that, […]