Category Archives: ESL

Information and tips for English language learners.

GIVE THE GIFT OF ENGLISH THIS HOLIDAY

It’s the little things that matter. Articles, pronouns, commas, and colon: how to use them, why bother?

They aren’t important if you aren’t going for perfection. But, if you are, knowing where to place a comma is essential. I was taught to use it in a sentence in the space where I would take a breath, or was making an introduction, or to separate independent clauses. The teacher explained when to use a comma, but the concept eluded me. But, that’s not all.

Don’t fight the articles. I went to the best art school in town. I went to an art school in town. Did you go to the best, or just one of many?

Pronouns: she, me, we, thee, it, just for starters, make sentences less cumbersome.  We could say, Ruby teaches English. Ruby teaches all levels. Ruby teaches little kids as well as adults. Or, we could say, Ruby teaches English. She teaches all levels, including little kids and adults.

Ah, the colon. When’s the last time you used one? Why did I use one to introduce the pronouns?

Have fun learning English with me. Language is a gift that never goes out of style.

Happy holidays, everyone!

My Christmas cookies.

 

 

 

 

End of the year bargains on classes.

Friend and former student, Alessandro, & me at the Trevi Fountain in Rome

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Recently, my friend from Kazakhstan told me that in her ESL class the students didn’t understand why American women complained about their rights, because we have more than most countries.

Yes, we do have many rights, but we fought hard for them, and we are still fighting. In the early l900’s, the suffragettes died to get women the right to vote. During the past 100 years we have fought to be equal with men, to have control over our bodies, to earn equal pay for equal money, and many, many other issues. It seems that for each advance we make, there’s someone  who wants to strike it down. Men fight hard to keep women dependent on them. It will be an ongoing issue. It’s about power.

Would you like to continue this discussion, or strike up another one? Take advantage of my year end prices and lets talk. -ruby

Phrasal Verbs: Can you think of a phrase that is a verb?

Phrasal verbs are verbs and particles paired to make special meanings.

I was helping my friend from Kazakhstan practice for her drivers license. “Pull into that

Bartenders in Puerto Narino

driveway, and turn around.”  She looked at me, confused. It took a few minutes for me to explain the phrase ‘pull in.’ Because it doesn’t make sense.

 Why? Pull is a verb that usually means to move something in the direction of ones self, like pulling a sled up a hill, a tee shirt over our head.   But, there’s more. We could pull a muscle, (meaning sprain), pull out: of a place, or person as in sex), or pull off, such as successfully tell a lie, or execute a caper, pull up might mean to move forward, or what the cops say when they stop you. They might also say, pull over, or pull off to the side. Someone might say you’re pulling their leg or they could pull a fast one on you, which are idioms that use pull. 

So now that the lesson is over I think I’ll have the bartenders pull me a beer. 

Get down with your phrasal verbs. Converse and learn the easy way.

 

 

Teaching & Learning Another Language

imageLearning a language can be compared to dieting. I takes effort, consistency, and time. If you don’t stay on it, your effort is wasted. Learning is forever. It’s an easier process if you have someone to help you along. I mean, how do you have conversations with yourself? And, conversing is the key.

Words are just words if you can’t use them to express yourself. Grammar is only important when you have enough words to put sentences together. If you were a mechanic you would need  to know the proper placement of the parts: such is grammar. It just tells you how and where to put the words so they make sense.

When I was teaching in ESL schools, I urged the students to use only English during class, because, as they readily admitted, when the class was over they tended to hang out with other students from their own county, who spoke their native language.

Alessandro & me in front of the Trevi Fountain in Rome

Alessandro & me in front of the Trevi Fountain in Rome

Most online English classes have set agendas. They aren’t much fun. In my online classes you  are free to discuss whatever subjects you want or need to discuss-well legal stuff. Maybe you are preparing for the TOEFLand need to identify key words, maybe you are writing an essay, and need to proof it, or discuss the content, maybe you need to understand some academic language that just doesn’t make sense because you don’t understand the reference. Maybe you just met a beautiful person whom you would like to date, and you need a few pointers, or ideas. In my classes, you will learn the grammar painlessly while discussing subjects you care about.

imageAs a storyteller, stand-up comic, writer, world traveler, mother and Jack-of-all trades, I have vast experience (and the perspective that goes with it), Email me for rates and payment information, or any questions. Read some of my blogs to get a better feel for who I am and what I write. Hope to hear from you.