Michelle's independent resources for ESL Students at Vancouver Community College

This is a Canadian ESL blog for Intermediate and Advanced Students who want to learn and improve their English. Each PAGE above contains thousands of free English lessons, tutorials and practice exercises to help you learn and improve your English grammar, reading, listening, pronunciation, speaking, writing and editing. Some of the resources are Canadian. Others are from around the world.

The resources on this Canadian blog are all free, and I spend a lot of my time working on it, so please consider becoming a SUPPORTER. I appreciate all the support I get. It is the fuel that keeps me going.

Membership is FREE.

NOTE: To leave a comment, click on the word "comment" at the bottom of the page. A comment page will pop up.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Free ESL Classes

To all my V.C.C. Students, 

Starting next week, April 2012, your ESL classes will be FREE. The government has decided to eliminate tuition for immigrants and citizens taking classes in English as a Second Language.  Although this news has not been officially announced, teachers at the college have been asked to tell their students that they will no longer have to pay tuition

This is an incredible opportunity for many of you, so please  take advantage of it. Feel free to tell your friends and relatives. They can also attend our ESL classes without having to pay any tuition. 

Report Cards and Registration

As you know, you will be getting your report cards tomorrow. Please come to class at 6:30 instead of at 7:00 so that I can give you your report cards and discuss various options with you before you register for next term.  Make sure you bring your citizenship, landed immigrant, permanet resident or working visa papers with you. The registration office will only be open until 7:30, so that does not give you much time if you come to class after 7:00.  

If you have questions, leave a comment below, or email me at atomick1@gmail.com 


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Time On Your Hands? Idioms of Time

Time is very important in North America. We spend a lot of time thinking about time, talking about time, and even losing track of time, especially if we are having a good time. Most us don't have enough time to do the things we'd like to do and wish we had more spare time.  Instead of feeling like we have a lot of time on our hands, we frequently complain that we're out of time, or pressed for time.

If you have spent any time with North Americans, you may have noticed just how many expressions and idioms we have that use the word "time" or that relate to time in one way or another. It's worth your time to learn a few of them.  Every time you use one of these expressions, you'll sound more fluent and natural, so  it won't be a waste of your time to  put in the time practicing how to use them in conversation.  

Expressions of Time: 
time on your hands: When you have time on your hands, you are not busy. You have some free time and are available to do something. Sometimes we say people have too much time on their hands.
Example: " Let me help you with your project. I've finished all my work and I have some time on my hands." 

spare time: The expression "spare time" means the same thing as "free time." This is the time when we are not busy with school, work, or doing chores. 

Example: In my spare time, I enjoy reading books, or working in my garden. 

to save time:
We save time when we do something the fast way instead of the usual way. 
Example:  "It will take us an hour to walk home. Let's save time and take the bus". 

time for a change It is time for a change when you need to stop doing what you are doing and do some thing else with your life.

Example:You've been working at that company for ten years. It's time for a  change.

Time flies::
We say time flies when we want to say time passes surprisingly quickly.  We are surprised that so much time         
" I can't believe your daughter is in university. How time flies"   "I never seem to finish my work. The time just flies."  
"Time flies when you're having fun." is one of the most commonly used expressions in English. 

to lose track of time: 
We lose track of time when we are unaware of what time it is because we are too busy doing something else.
Examples: I always lose track of time when I'm on the the computer. I even forget to eat. 
I'm sorry I was late for dinner.  I was so busy at work that I completely lost track of time

it's about time:
The expression "it's about time" means " Finally something you wanted to happen, or expected to happen as happened. You are happy about it.    

Example: It's about time  you two got married! You've been together for 10 years. 

on time: 
Being on time means not being late. You arrive at the right time.
Example: Most of my students arrive on time for their classes, but a few come in late. 

Run out of time
You have run out of time when there is no time left to finish the activity you are doing. We frequently use the expression  you're running out of time when we want to warn people that there is very little time left to finish something.
Example:  I'm sorry , we've run out of time on the exam. Please hand in your papers.

to make time:
We make time when we find time in our busy schedule to do something. We make sure we are not doing anything else at that time. 

Example:My boss said he would make time to see me about my proposal at four o'clock.

time is money:
This is a famous expression that means your time is very valuable,                               

 Example:    Let's finish this meeting as quickly as possible. Time is money. I'm a busy an and I have a lot to do today.

behind the times:
If you are behind the times, you are old fashioned, not modern. You don't think or behave the way most people do now.  

Example:  My dad is completely behind the times. He still listens to the Beatles. 

in the nick of time:
You are in the nick of time when you do something just before it is too late.  

Example:  We got to the departure gate for our flight just in the nick of time. The plane was about to take off without us. 
to kill time 
When we kill time, we do something that is not very interesting or important just to pass the time while we are waiting for something more interesting to do. We often do this while we are waiting for something to happen.

Example:   The movie doesn't start for another hour. Why don't we kill time by doing some window shopping.

to hit the big time: You hit the big time when you become unusually successful. rich or famous..

Example:My friend John used to be a waiter, but he finally got a job in a successful movie and now he's hit the big time. He's going to be star. 

to be pressed for time: You are pressed for time when you don't have much time to do something You are in a hurry.

Example: I can only talk to you for a few minutes because I'm pressed for time. I need to be at the doctor's office by four o'clock. 

to make up for lost time: We make up for lost time when we feel we have wasted time and need to hurry in order to achieve or finish something.

Examples: They  married late, but made up for lost time by having children right away.
                    We're behind schedule. We'll have to make up for lost time by working late. 

to have the time of one's life: 
You have the time of your life when you have a fantastic experience.
Example: My children had the time of their lives when we went to Disneyland

for the time being: This means  temporarily, for the present moment. 

Example: We have no extra money, so for the time being, we can't move to a nicer apartment.

to live on borrowed time:
This expression means you live a dangerous lifestyle, or do things that are dangerous to your  heal
Example:   " People who smoke a lot are just living on borrowed time. They could get cancer any time.  . 

a waste of time:
We say something is a waste of time, or that we waste time if we don't spend our time on something useful. 

Example:  Stop wasting time playing those video games. It's time to do your homework.

to lose time: 
We use this expression to say we spent too much time doing something, so we couldn't finish something else, 

Example:  We lost time trying to find a colour that matched the house, so now we’re behind schedule..

from time to time: This expression means occasionally, once in a while.

Example:  I like to get together with my friends from time to time and go out for a drink.

the time is right:
We say the time is right when it is a good time to do something. 
Example: The time is right to invest in a house because real estate prices are low now.

time off: 
This is a time when we don't have to work.

Example: I asked my boss for some time off so that I could pick up my mother up at the airport.

Put in time: 
When you put in time, you spend a lot of time doing something important.

Example: He is such a good pianist because he puts in the time practicing. 
                The house looks beautiful after all that time you put in renovating it.

Worth one's Time: 
We use the expression it's worth your time when we want to say you won't be sorry, or you won't regret it. You will be get some benepfit from spending your time this way.

Example: If you want to learn more abouot what is going on arond the world, it's worth your time to read the newspaper or watch the news on TV.  

Time Out:
When you take time out, you pause, or stop from doing something( such as work, or a sport to have a break.

Example:  When the score in the hockey game was tied, the coach called for a "time out" in order to talk to his players. 

When the time is ripe:
 We say "when the time is ripe" when we mean something will happen at the correct, or time that it should happen.

Example: I told my daughter to stop worrying about getting a boyfriend and that she would find one when the time was ripe

Practice with an online quiz    
 Idioms of Time Quiz 1 

Can you make your own sentences or questions with some of these idioms?     
 Write a few on the comments page.

Monday, March 19, 2012

A Creative Way to Generate Writing Topics

Many of you have told me that you want to improve your writing. I can't think of a better idea, other than to try to improve your speaking. 

Today I want to tell you about a terrific website called Tag Galaxy, which can provide you with an infinite list ideas and topics to write about  in your journal - all through pictures. 

How does it all work? 
This site asks you to enter a keyword and then assembles a planet of images using photos. 

When I entered the word marriage, a group of three dimentional planets appeared, each bearing a word that might be associated with marriage.( wedding, dress, portrait, couple, kiss, groom, bride)

Then, I clicked one of the planets called "kiss"  and 12,227 photographs from Flikr floated in to form a planet such as the one you see above

Each time I clicked on an image,  a specific photograph floated forward. Sometimes there was something written next to it. Other times there was no message, only a picture. Each image can prompt an idea, a title or single word to write about
This is a creative and fun way to generate ideas and topics for your writing journal. Try it out and let me know what you think.  

I love to hear your comments and suggestions. Simply click on the comment box below.  

ESL Writing Topics:English for Everyone?

 The world map below displays nations that use English as an official language
or as the predominant language 

 Picture licensed by Wmitchell, in the Public Domain
  • Click on the map to enlarge it. Then, look at it carefully.
  • What do you notice?
  • Can you name any of the specific countries that use English as an official language? What are their names? 
  • Which part of the world are these countries located in?
  • Why do you think these areas and countries are those in which English is used as the official or the main language.  

Write about any or all of the following topics: 
Writing Fluency Journal Tips: 
Remember you are practicing and learning how to think and write in English,how to get over your fear of writing and how to look at a blank page on a writing test without immediately freezing up.
  • make sure you you keep writing. 
  • Don't go back and correct. 
  • Don't stop and think before every word or phrase. 
  • think in English
  • If you are having problems doing that, speak your words and sentences out loud. 
  • Keep your pencil moving forward at all times - even if you think you have nothing to say. 
Possible Topics: 
1.  What are the reasons these countries,
      or areas of the world use English as
      their official language? 

2   Should other countries in the world be
      using English as an official language?
       Why or why not? 

3.  Since English has become a global
     language of business, should every child   in  the world be be required to learn  English English starting at the age of five? Why or why not?

4.  Should English become the official language of every country in the world? Why or
       why not?

5.  Can you remember the first time you ever heard someone speak English? Describe
     that time. How did you feel? 

6.  Many of you had to learn some English when you were in school, but never really
     learned very much. How to you feel about that now. Do you regret not trying
     harder? Has it caused you problems?  Explain

7.  What cultural changes might occur if English became the official language in countries
     where the majority of speakers are not English?

8   Should there be a new English developed: a "world English" that had different
      grammar and spelling rules than the current specific English language does? Why or
      why not? Explain your reasons.

9.  What are the advantages and disadvantages of learning English well?

10.  Can you say you have truly learned English if you can only read and write in English,
       but barely speak it?

11  How well can you learn English if you never practice it outside of class? Explain.

12. Do you need to go to a foreign country in order to truly master the English language?

13  Can you learn English without ever taking formal English lessons in a classroom?

14  To what degree has the Internet provided opportunities for people from non-English
      speaking countries to learn improve their English.,

15  Can you truly learn English if you ONLY use online learning methods?

16.  How much English should immigrants know before they can be accepted to live in a
       new country? Explain. 

17.  Many children born in an Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom .the United States
       etc. do not learn one word of English until they start attending school. This then
      causes extra problems at school. Do you think this right, or do you think their parents
       should expose their children to English before the age of 5. Explain.  

18.  What English skill can you learn improve the most through online learning and

19. Which English skill is the most important one to learn: reading, writing, listening,
         speaking, or pronunciation?  Explain your reasons.

20.  Many people can live in an English speaking country, live next door to English
       speaking  neighbors for 25 years and never learn more than 200 words of English. 
       Explain the reasons for this and some of the consequences it can result in. 

Writing Topics Project: 

These writing topics are part of an ongoing project to come up with as many writing topics as possible for your writing journals, practice compositions or essays.

They could also be equally good conversation topics, especially if you use them as discussion questions before writing.

If you can think of more questions to add to this list, add your suggestions in the comment box at the bottom.

If you can think of general topics, you would like me to break down into more specific topics or questions, add your suggestions at the bottom in the comment box. 

As you know, I appreciate any and all feedback.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

ESL Time Change or Time for a Change?

How many of you remembered to turn your clocks an hour ahead last night? I didn't.        I completely forgot.

Last night, I went to bed at my usual time, and this morning I woke up at what I thought was my usual time.

I had invited some good friends over for breakfast, so as I was walking down stairs, I began to think about what I should cook. Unfortunately, before I had even hit the bottom stair, I heard a knock on the door.  There stood Hilda and Fernando, an hour early. This was a first for them. I could usually count on them being at least a half hour late.    

"What are you doing here so early, I asked.

" What do you mean...early ? We're here just in time. You did say to come for nine o'clock, didn't you, " my friend Hilda replied.

 " Yeah, but it's only eight o'clock," I said. "I haven't started making breakfast yet."
That's when it hit me. Of course. Last night we moved to Daylight Savings Time. Every spring,  we move our clocks an hour ahead on the second Sunday in March. We gain an extra hour of sunlight, but we lose an hour of sleep.

Then, each fall, on the second Sunday in November, we move our clocks back an hour. At that time, we lose an hour, but do get an  extra hour of sleep.

We even have an expression to help us remember the fact that we have two time changes a year. We spring forward in the spring,and we fall back in  the fall.

After my friends and I had a good laugh, we all pitched in and made breakfast together. We had a great time, but I confess, I am feeling a little more tired than usual.

Around a quarter of the world's population marks Daylight Savings Time, with all of Canada except Saskatchewan participating. Doctors said the fatigue that comes with an hour's less sleep can be dangerous for drivers.

"It's pretty scary, especially for the people who have untreated sleep apnea, they're tired to start off with and they're more likely to get involved in a car accident," Dr. Les Premier told CTV news.  

"They've done research to find that the two days after daylight savings time, there's a big spike in the number of car accidents."

According to the same newscast,a McMaster University study said there's a 17 per cent increase in collisions the day after a spring forward, with most of them coming in the afternoon. 

So, how about you?  Did you remember the time change? Do you think having an hour less in your day will affect you in any way? 

Since time is on my mind these days, tomorrow I will be posting some common expressions we use with the word time.  If you have some time on your hands check it out. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

35 ESL Writing Topics about Women

As I just said in my earlier post, today is International Woman's Day. This makes the subject of women a great topic to write about today. Women have come a long way in the past 100 years, but they still have a long way to go in order to reach equality with men.  Still, we have much to celebrate. 

There are many different types of topics you could write about in your journal. Many of these suggestions could later be turned into complete formal paragraphs or essays. But in keeping with my idea of improving your writing by writing every day in a journal for five or ten minutes, try sticking to this method. Remember, this is a fluency exercise - a way to get you comfortable with writing in general: 

Here are some possible topics you can write about: 
  • Write about what your mother was like when you were ten years old.
  • Write about your earliest memories of your mother
  • Write about your attitude towards women when you were a child    
  •  What is the difference between women of today and the women of your grandmother's time? 
  • Write about a woman had a big influence in your life. 
  • Write about a famous woman you admire
  • What influence did World War 11 have on he role of women?
  • What are the advantages of being a woman today? 
  • What are the disadvantages of being a woman today? 
  • Which would you prefer to be: a man or a woman? Why? 
  • What does the expression "women's liberation" mean to you? 
  • How far have women come in your country, your culture? 
  • Discuss the effects of the Women's liberation movement 
  • Are there any changes you would make to t he role of women in your culture? Describe.
  • Has the women's liberation movement made any significant changes in the role of women in society?
  • What's it like being a woman in your culture today?
  • What role do women play in the family today? Has this changed? Why or why not? 
  • Should women work full-time? Why or why not? 
  •  Should women do all the housework and child raising? Why or why not? 
  • What advice do you have for teenage girls?
  • Do you think women have too many rights? Why or why not? 
  • Who is smarter men or women? 
  • Who are better drivers: men or women?
  •  What might happen if women ruled the world? 
  • Should women be in the army? Why or why not?
  • Have female actresses influenced the way we think of women?
  • Would you have enjoyed being a woman 100 years ago? 
  • What is your opinion about women who fought for women's rights in the early 1900s? 
  • What female politician has had the biggest impact on the world?  Why?
  • Do women make good leader? Why or why not?
  • Have the goals of female teenagers changed in the past 30 years, or have they remained the same as they used to?
  • Do you think the women of today take some of their "rights" for granted? Why or why not?:  
  • Are women any better off today than they were ten  years ago? Why or why not? 
I could probably think of more topics for you to write about,  but I think this list gives you a good choice.
Remember,  you are not writing for a teacher, or for marks. You are writing in order to get over your fear of an empty piece of paper. You are writing to improve your fluency and comfort level. This is just a practice exercise for yourself. It is your private journal.

Start writing and don't go back and edit. Keep your pencil on the paper at all times and keep moving forward.  You can write on your computer if you find it easier. Nowadays even grandmothers have become used to working on computers. 
Do not stop until you have written for ten minutes. If you feel li8ke continuing go ahead, but limit yourself to 20-25 minutes and stop. 

Some vocabulary you might want to look up0 and use could include:
independent                gain             restricted         marital status          equality             significant                   fight             protest             courageous              exclude                  stgruggle                    rights           respect            partner                      belong    
improvement              role             role model        sexism                    discrimination  

Here is a good link for more vocabulary on the topic of women:         

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Happy International Women's Day

March is International Women’s Month and today is International Women’s Day. 

All around the world countries are celebrating the gains made by women in business, politics and education

The day, which originally began on February 28th, 1909 was  started as a campaign for better working conditions by women in New York. In those days, working conditions were so bad that many women got sick and died. The first official International Women's Day was held on February 28, 1909. No one knows for sure why the date changed to March 8, but this is the date when thousands of women started annual marches in New York’s streets.

This was also the time when women all over the world were beginning to fight for a wide number of women's rights - including the right to have the vote. 
The idea of an International Women's Day quickly spread around the world. The first 

international women’s conference took 
place in 1910, in Denmark. Since then, International Women's Day has spread around around the world.
Today it is an important day to highlight the economic, political and social contributions women have made to our world. Women can now be happier that things are moving in the right direction. In some countries, however, the day has become more of a day mixture of Mother's Day and Valentine's Day when men show their appreciation and love to all the women in their lives.  ( from Sean Banville) 
International Women's Day is an official holiday in many countries, including Algeria, China, Cuba, Italy, Poland, Vietnam, and Zambia.  Unfortunately, it is not an official holiday in Canada, the United States, Britain, Australia or New Zealand - countries where women seem to have made some of the biggest gains.
All across the world, men give flowers and other gifts to the women in their lives - mothers, wives, girlfriends, sisters, teachers, etc. In Portugal and Romania, women celebrate by having "women-only" dinners. International Women's Day in India, where people hold celebrations throughout the day. Indian men want to show how important women are to their society.
Although women around the world are becoming more powerful in entertainment,. business and politics, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki moon says those gains are not enough.

Add caption
In a statement today,  the U.N. chief warned that the world still has a long way to go before women and girls universally enjoy the same  basic rights and freedoms as men. The secretary-general said the disparity  is especially troubling for women and girls in rural areas, who make up about one quarter of the world's population. 

Gender Equality Progress 
  • Women make up over 40 per cent of the world's labour force.  
  • Primary educationr gaps  gaps have closed in almost all countries. Secondary education gaps are closing rapidly and have reversed in many countries (i.e. more girls are attending high school than boys).
  • Since 1980, women have been living longer than men. 
  • In many low and middle-income countries, females are more likely to die, relative to males than their counterparts in in rich countries. 
  • Women are more likely than men to do housework and child care work at home. 
  • For women in many low and middle-income countries, sizable gender gaps  remain including in productivity and salaries. 
  • In many countries, women, especially poor women, have less say over decisions and less control over household resources. Source: World Bank
The UN says that the almost half-billion women who work as small farmers or landless workers continue to rank at the bottom of all economic, social and political indicators indicators. Officials there say that if women had equal access to resources, agricultural production around the world would rise by 4 per cent. 

They also say that providing women in rural areas with equal access to resources would help make a major contribution the fight against hunger.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pilolay, also urged governments to do more. She said the failure to recognize and take advantage of women's potential  is a global problem. 

In the United States, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and first lady Michelle Obama are presenting International Women of Courage Awards to women from 10 countries - including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Burma, Sudan and Colombia. The other winners are from Libya, Saudi Arabia, Maldives, Turkey, and Brazil. ( taken from the Voice of America News)

Meanwhile, you may be in for some surprises if you go the CBC site to find out  How Canada's Women Rate Among the World's Best Places for Women. 
  • For example, Ruwanda  with 56.3 % of women in parliament, has the highest percentage of  women legislators in the world. Canada only stands at 44th in he world, with 24.8 % female members of parliament.
  •  Women still make 15 % less than men in developed countries, with Sweden earning about 80% of men's salaries. In Canada,  women on average make 65% of what men make. Still, compared to Saudi Arabia, where women make about 17% of what men make, developed countries are still far ahead of underdeveloped countries. 
  •  Finally, women in Japan are the ones who live the longest at an average of 87%. Canadians women have an average life expectancy of 83 years. 
 To learn more about women's rights, Women's Month and  International Women's Day visit some of the following links:

Let me know what you think.  I appreciate your comments.

Writing: Signs of Spring in Vancouver

I love living in Vancouver!  Where else in Canada can you see signs of spring in early March? Although we still have snow on the mountains, snowdrops and crocuses have joyfully begun to stick their heads out of the ground down in the city itself. People have begun to exchange their winter jackets, for heavy sweaters and vests. Everywhere you go, you see people smiling, yet another sign that spring is well on its way. Winter rains do not bring out smiles. However, cool, but sunny spring-like days do. Of course, this is Vancouver. We will get a lot more rain before we get the constant bright sunny days that make this city such a desirable spot to live in. 

But, let's face it. There is nothing quite like walking out your front door and seeing those dainty, bright purple and yellow flowers waving their tiny buds in the breeze. Just seeing them, brings such as feeling of  hope, and a sense of rebirth and renewal. Everything seems possible in the spring. No wonder you see so many smiles.  

 Keep a Writing Journal 
 One way to improve your English writing is to write in a daily journal. Limit your writing time to five or ten minutes only. Do NOT go back and reread, or edit while you are writing. Keep your pen on the paper and keep moving forward. At the end of the ten minutes, you can go back and edit, or revise. Even better, save the editing until the next day when you can look at what you have written with a fresh eye.

Writing for 5 or 10 minutes every day will help you build your fluency and comfort with writing in English. It will help you remove your fear of a blank piece of paper, and give you more confidence about writing when you actually have to write for formal marks. It will also help you use some of the new vocabulary you are learning.  

Journal Writing Topics  
In my next few posts, I will suggest a series of topics you can write about. 

Here are two topics for today: 

1.   Do you like spring? What do you like 
      about it? How does it make you feel? 
      What can you see and do that you 
      can't  do at other times of the year?  

  2.  What is your favourite season? Why do you prefer that season over the other three? What can you see and do during this season  that you can't do or see in the other seasons?

Here are a few verbs you can use to write about things that happen in spring. You might have to look up the meaning of some of them. 

wake up

 Also, here are a few sites you can go to find even more vocabulary you can use for spring.

Vocabulary and activities about spring
Spring flower pictures and vocabulary

Feel free to comment below. I enjoy reading what you have to say.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Happy National Grammar Day!

Grammar Matters  
Tomorrow, March 4th, is National Grammar Day, and thousands of grammar lovers around the world will be celebrating the beauty of the well-constructed sentence. 

An increasing number of people think grammar doesn't matter - especially as English becomes an increasingly global language.  Lately, I've been reading English Language instruction blogs that make statements such as the following, "If you really want to learn how to speak English, you should forget about grammar and simply concentrate on listening to other people."  or "Learning too much grammar actually gets in the way of your ability to speak English." 

I wish this were true. If it were, it would save you years of having to learn how to use English verb tenses, use correct English word order, or how to use structures such as adverb and noun clauses to convey complex ideas. Unfortunately it is is not true. Without a good knowledge of vocabulary and grammar, you will continue to sound like the people in the cartoon below. . 

If you are still in the process of improving your English. you and your teachers will constantly struggle between whether you should focus on fluency or accuracy. But, the fact remains BOTH fluency AND accuracy matter. You will need to practice both, and need to pay attention to both.

You may not need to use good grammar if you are only planning to visit an English-speaking country for a week or two. But, if you want to go to an English university, or live, work and prosper in an English speaking country, you will have to know how to use grammar properly. Even if you want to stay in your own country, and do business in English, you will need some knowledge of grammar. 

Why is Grammar Important?
Knowledge of grammar is bridge to communicatio
Along with vocabulary, grammar is the essential tool that that allows us to put words together into simple or complex thoughts. In other words, grammar offers us the building blocks to communicate real ideas that actually mean something. Without grammar, we have word salad, where all the ingredients are separate. We all use grammar every time we speak or write, We also use it to help us understand what we are listening to, or what we are reading. We just don't realize that we're doing it. We would, however, notice that something was wrong if we heardor read sentences such as these:"I am giving the patient his medicine last night,"  or "The room entered the boy quietly."  

Of course as new learners of English, you are aware of grammar and its many rules and exceptions. For many of you, it is the most boring part of learning English. But, try thinking of it as the bridge between your being able to understand only a small amount of the English around you versus almost all of it . . 
Lisa McLendon has written an excellent article on  Why We Need Grammar that expresses my feelings about the importance of grammar. If you want to understand why it is so necessary in your life, I recommend that you read it. 

In  meantime, let's get back to the whole idea of celebrating Grammar Day in a positive way. Visit National Grammar Day hosted by Mignon Fogarty. the author of several books as well as the popular Grammar Girl blog for all sorts of fun grammar facts, activities, poetry, a free-card, and a terrific interactive calendar with explanations for some of the more confusing issues.
.Grammar Girl  regularly has podcasts on a variety of grammar issues that many of you would enjoy, so while you visit her site, check out some of her pod casts. 

Also, enjoy the Grammar song "March Forth"  ( This is a play on the words March fourth).

Here is a copy of the lyriucs to the grammar song  and a  quiz on the Grammar song. 

Also, I know that many of you are struggling with when to use or not use the apostrophe.  Here's a lovely song, called the Apostrophe Song that will help you remember the rules. 


Finally, how do you feel about the following questions?

1.   Do do you think grammar is important in speaking?  Why?  

2.    How do you think you can improve your spoken grammar? 

Please reply in the comment box below. Simply click on the word comment, write yojr opiunion, preview it to proofread and make corrections. When you go to the POST AS box, scroll down to the bottom to name and URL. You do not need to have a URL, all you need to do is type in your name. Of course, if you do have a link, please include it.

If you do not know how to post a comment, read the post HOW TO LEAVE A COMMENT on the right hand side.