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April is poetry month
18-04-2016

This year, Americans and Canadians are celebrating their 20th and 18th anniversary of National Poetry Month, respectively. It is a initiative from the Academy of American Poets and the League of Canadian poets to increase awareness and nurture appreciation of poetry in their countries, but everyone is invited. It involves poets, publishers, booksellers, libraries and […]

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, […]

Discovering new accents
24-04-2015

When I ask students why they have decided to learn English, many say that it’s important for their careers, for their future job prospects, so on and so forth. It upsets me a little bit, because for me, the incentive to learn English is because it’s a beautiful language. It takes something from practically every culture […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Animal sounds
02-04-2014

Do you know what an animal sounds like in English? No, I am not suggesting that animals can talk. What I’m saying is that the sound an animal makes in English is most likely different from the sound the same animal makes in your language. Take Portuguese, for example. In Brazil, a dog says au, […]

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 […]

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 […]

What is “AIN´T”?
13-06-2013

Casa Thomas Jefferson´s Teacher Magda, in her post about the contraction “ain´t”, mentions that the contraction is not generally found in any textbook. “Ain´t” is very informal and typically spoken on the streets. So, here´s Magda´s tips about it: Ain´t can mean “doesn’t” in the following case:  She ain’t no brothers or sisters. = She doesn’t have […]

What Do Good English Learners Do?
31-05-2013

What do successful language learners do? Well, some years of experience in the classroom have taught me that there are some characteristics and habits that do help a person acquire a language. But what are they? Can you name a few? I am sure you must have thought about studying a little on regular basis […]

American and British English
06-05-2013

Did you know… that American English and British English differ in a bit more than just pronunciation and accent?! Like many countries that share a mother tongue, due to ancestry or colonization, the USA and the UK have been evolving and modifying the language in different ways. I don’t mean that they have problems communicating […]