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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: 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 […]

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 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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Remember and Remind
31-10-2013

The words “remember” and “remind” are a bit similar in meaning: they imply “not forgetting”. The difference lies in the usage of each one. So, let’s take a look at some examples. 1) Remember: transitive verb; you remember something or somebody. a) Do you remember John? He used to be my neighbor when I was […]

malapropism. Mala…what?
29-10-2013

Have you ever heard of malapropism? This strange word defines what happens when somebody uses a certain word instead of another. The words in question usually sound similar, but have different meanings. This lapse can be intentional, especially in humorous contexts (TV shows or in jokes), or they can be unintentional. When it’s unintentional, the […]

Difference between “it’s” and “its”
14-08-2013

The difference between “it’s” and “its” is really simple. Take a look: 1) It’s  “it’s” = “it is” or “it has”. See the examples below: a) It’s getting late. (It is getting late.) b) Oh, it’s so beautiful here! (It is so beautiful here.) c) It’s been so hot lately that everybody is already dreaming […]

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 […]

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 […]

Moving Beyond the Intermediate Plateau
11-06-2013

I started learning English really young. When I finished my English course, my dad decided to send me to Australia for a year so that I could become more independent and responsible. Little did we know that I was far from being a competent speaker of the English language. The first months were challenging, but […]

Practice Your English with Songs
08-06-2013

Every teacher knows how important it is to use songs in the classroom. Why? Why do we learn so well through songs? Well, I assume it`s because it is fun, it triggers emotions, and it conjures up memories. When we enjoy a song, we usually do not mind listening to it many times, so learners […]

My English class is over. What do I do now?
25-04-2013

Some English students think they will learn English just by attending their two classes a week and that will be it. Well, not so much. According to research, we learn languages through the same processes every child around the world does. We first listen to a “gazillion” words for almost a year, then we start […]

The Phrasal Verb Machine
23-04-2013

What is a phrasal verb?  It is a combination of verb and one or more adverbial or prepositional particles functioning as a single semantic unit and often having an idiomatic meaning that could not be predicted from the meaning of the individual parts. And that’s what you’ll find if you look it up on the […]

TED Talks
22-04-2013

TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) is a global set of conferences put together to show “ideas worth spreading.”  TED talks are available online and they offer  the chance to listen to short talks delivered by inspiring speakers about many different topics. It’s a weekend ritual: I sit on my couch and watch a TED talk , […]

Movie Talk
21-04-2013

Iron Man III is coming up and that gave me a boost to look up what’s in store for this year, cinema-wise, I mean. There are some quite impressive movies to be released. Shall we take a look?!       This one is coming up some time in May and I can’t hardly wait. […]

Tips for Packing in your Next Trip
01-04-2013

When you travel, do you pack light or do you carry lots of bags? People sometimes tend to carry more than they should just because they haven´t prepared things a bit in advance. For your next trip, check some information about packing at http://www.onebag.com/list.html We can´t wait to hear more about your “packing style”, light or […]

13 Reasons Why
21-03-2013

  Have you read this book? If you haven’t, it is possibly because you haven’t heard about it. Well, ’13 Reasons Why’ is the debut novel of author Jay Asher. In this work of fiction he tells the story of the school boy Clay Jensen who arrives home and finds a shoebox-sized package by the […]