“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”
– William Shakespeare, Hamlet
It’s generally not a good idea to view things in black and white—entirely good or entirely bad. Nothing illustrates this point better than the story of one of my favorite students, Osnat. She told me about her expat life in New York, and I am here to share it with you.
Continue reading “Expat Life In New York – What It’s Really Like”
You hear the term ex-pat a lot.
I’ll be honest. I never really knew what it meant until I started teaching ESL. I associated the term with retirees sipping piña coladas on islands in the Caribbean. Just in case you are like me and don’t know the definition, the Oxford Dictionary defines an ex-pat as a person temporarily or permanently residing in a country other than their native country.
Come to find out, the term actually applied to me. Who knew? My guess is that it might apply to you, too. You see, I’ve lived in Germany twice in my life. I lived their temporarily while studying and later while doing an internship. And, let me tell you…
I did not make a good expat. There was neither piña colada drinking nor much enjoyment at all for that matter. In fact, I was terribly homesick both times.
Continue reading “Expat Homesickness – 3 Ways to Deal with it and Heal from it”
One of my most motivated students is an advanced ESL student, and we work exclusively on idioms. She’s obsessed with idioms, so much so that now I’m obsessed with idioms. I collect them like people collect stamps or seashells. Every time I hear one or use one that she and I have not yet talked about, I type it into my notepad on my phone. So, by the time I see her each week, I have a treasure trove of idioms to share with her.
We get giddy talking about idioms—their history, their usage, how they differ between her native language and English, and how the idioms differ between American English and British English. Needless to say, it’s a lot of fun for a couple of lovers of English.
With that in mind, here is a handful of phrases that she and I recently discussed.
Continue reading “7 great idioms every language learner needs to know”
What is typically one of the first tenses taught in English classes but one of the last to be fully and correctly integrated into speaking and writing?
It’s the often misunderstood (and sometimes dreaded) present perfect tense.
From the perspective of an ESL teacher who speaks English as her native language, the correct use of the present perfect tense sets you apart from other ESL learners.
In fact, it’s a critical component in making you an advanced English speaker.
Continue reading “Why learning this one English tense will make you sound like a pro”
I love it when there are similarities between the English language and the native language of the student I am teaching. This happens sometimes with my German-speaking students. We are both excited because we know the word, grammar construction, or idiom that is being introduced is more likely to stick since it is the same or similar in German.
But learning English can’t always be rainbows and unicorns.
There are differences between German and English that can’t be ignored.
One such difference is the use of the word genau in German and exact/exactly in English. In German, genau can be either an adverb and adjective.
Continue reading “5 Simple Rules for Mastering the Difference between Exact and Exactly”
There is a lot of pressure that comes with speaking a language expertly and articulately.
But that’s true for most things; once you become a master at something, people tend to expect great things from you. The pressure is on; there is no room for mistakes.
Or, at least that’s how it feels.
Continue reading “3 Ways to Take Your English to the Next Level”
We’ve all been there—at least anyone who has attempted to master a new language has. You are in a conversation with some English-speaking friends or co-workers, and you have this brilliant, well-articulated idea to express. The problem is the idea lives only in your mind…and in in your native language. You attempt to articulate it, but your verbal translation just doesn’t do your original thought justice.
Continue reading “Do You Want To Build Your English Speaking Confidence? Use Idioms”