Blog CTJ

Tag: tips for Brazilian speakers of English

« Voltar para o Blog
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 […]

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: 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 […]

Accountants and Accountability
25-12-2014

So you got a job as an accountant. Great. According to Merrian-Webster`s dictionary, an accountant is someone whose job is to keep the financial records of a business or person. But what are accountability and accountable? Accountability is similar but not the same as responsibility because it involves transparency in the process. So in Some […]

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 […]

What do you mean?
18-12-2014

Say you overhear the following exchange: Why are you so mean? Mean? Me? What do you mean? … Yes, mean can be an adjective and a verb. Mean can be cruel, low, selfish, as in That was a mean thing to say, or The game has some really mean bad guys. It can also be […]

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 […]

Confusing verbs: Borrow vs Lend?
23-09-2014

Hi, Many are the verbs in English out there that confuse the eager language learner. As a fellow blogger of mine in these pages have already introduced you to lay/lie and raise/rise, I thought I could give my contribution so that you avoid the common pitfalls every student tends to fall into. Borrow vs Lend […]

Pronunciation in English – The Web Can Help You
23-05-2014

As you, dear reader, have realized by now, pronunciation in English is always a challenge. You never really know how a word should be pronounced unless you either check it in a dictionary or hear someone say it correctly. In English, the spelling and the pronunciation of a word are so at odds with each […]

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, […]

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 […]

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 […]

Pronunciation Tip #4
14-06-2013

In order to keep up with the pronunciation tip posts, I had to revisit some of the most common pronunciation mistakes my students make. After looking into my notes, I came across one of them that is still current in many of my classrooms, even in the more advanced ones: The mispronunciation of the initial […]

Yes, You Can Write!
26-05-2013

Whenever I ask  my students to write a paragraph, an essay or even a research paper, they come to me and say, “I can’t write. It’s too difficult!” Well, after all these years I have noticed that the majority of them could write really well. It was just a matter of giving them the right […]