Thursday, January 28, 2010

The very best of British

A highly recommended site to learn English Language. You may differentiate between American and British English.


Penpals (pen friends) are a great way to learn about another language or culture. It doesn't matter what level you are at in your second language. Here, you can find international penpals quickly and easily!


Learning is a skill and it can be improved.
Your path to learning effectively is through knowing
  • yourself
  • your capacity to learn
  • processes you have successfully used in the past
  • your interest, and knowledge of what you wish to learn
Motivate yourself
If you are not motivated to learn English you will become frustrated and give up. Ask yourself the following questions, and be honest:-
  • Why do you need to learn/improve English?
  • Where will you need to use English?
  • What skills do you need to learn/improve? (Reading/Writing/Listening/Speaking)
  • How soon do you need to see results?
  • How much time can you afford to devote to learning English.
  • How much money can you afford to devote to learning English.
  • Do you have a plan or learning strategy?
Set yourself achievable goals
You know how much time you can dedicate to learning English, but a short time each day will produce better, longer-term results than a full day on the weekend and then nothing for two weeks.
Joining a short intensive course could produce better results than joining a course that takes place once a week for six months.
Here are some goals you could set yourself:-
  • Join an English course (and attend regularly).
  • Do your homework.
  • Read a book a month.
  • Learn a new word every day.
  • Visit an English speaking forum every day.
  • Read a news article on the net every day.
  • Do 10 minutes listening practice every day.
  • Watch an English film at least once a month.
  • Follow a soap, comedy or radio or TV drama.
A good way to meet your goals is to establish a system of rewards and punishments.
Decide on a reward you will give yourself for fulfilling your goals for a month.
  • A bottle of your favourite drink
  • A meal out / or a nice meal at home
  • A new outfit
  • A manicure or massage
Understanding how you learn best may also help you.
There are different ways to learn. Find out what kind of learner you are in order to better understand how to learn more effectively..

The visual learner

Do you need to see your teacher during lessons in order to fully understand the content of a lesson?
Do you prefer to sit at the front of the classroom to avoid visual obstructions (e.g. people's heads)?
Do you think in pictures and learn best from visual displays including: diagrams, illustrated text books, overhead transparencies, videos, flipcharts and hand-outs?
During a lecture or classroom discussion, do you prefer to take detailed notes to absorb the information?
!Learning Tip - you may benefit from taking part in traditional English lessons, but maybe private lessons would be better.

The auditory learner

Do you learn best through verbal lectures, discussions, talking things through and listening to what others have to say?
Do you interpret the underlying meanings of speech through listening to tone of voice, pitch, speed and other nuances?
Does written information have little meaning until you hear it?
!Learning Tip - you may benefit from listening to the radio or listening to text as you read it. You could try reading text aloud and using a tape recorder to play it back to yourself.

The Tactile/Kinesthetic learner

Do you learn best through a hands-on approach, actively exploring the physical world around you?
Do you find it hard to sit still for long periods?
Do you become distracted easily?

Learning Tip - you may benefit from taking an active part in role plays or drama activities.
Here's How:
    1-Remember that learning a language is a gradual process - it does not happen overnight.  2-Define your learning objectives early: What do you want to learn and why?  3-Make learning a habit. Try to learn something every day. It is much better to study (or read, or listen to English news, etc.) 10 minutes each day than to study for 2 hours once a week.  4-Remember to make learning a habit! If you study each day for 10 minutes English will be constantly in your head. If you study once a week, English will not be as present in your mind. 5-Choose your materials well. You will need reading, grammar, writing, speaking and listening materials  6-Vary your learning routine. It is best to do different things each day to help keep the various relationships between each area active. In other words, don't just study grammar.  7-Find friends to study and speak with. Learning English together can be very encouraging.  8-Choose listening and reading materials that relate to what you are interested in. Being interested in the subject will make learning more enjoyable - thus more effective.  9-Relate grammar to practical usage. Grammar by itself does not help you USE the language. You should practice what you are learning by employing it actively.  10-Move your mouth! Understanding something doesn't mean the muscles of your mouth can produce the sounds. Practice speaking what you are learning aloud. It may seem strange, but it is very effective.  11-Be patient with yourself. Remember learning is a process - speaking a language well takes time. It is not a computer that is either on or off!  12-Communicate! There is nothing like communicating in English and being successful. Grammar exercises are good - having your friend on the other side of the world understand your email is fantastic!  13-Use the Internet. The Internet is the most exciting, unlimited English resource that anyone could imagine and it is right at your finger tips.
Remember that English learning is a Process Be patient with yourself. Practice, practice, practice

Tongue Twister

Six sick slick slim sycamore saplings.

A box of biscuits, a batch of mixed biscuits

A skunk sat on a stump and thunk the stump stunk,
but the stump thunk the skunk stunk.

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.
Did Peter Piper pick a peck of pickled peppers?
If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,
where's the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?

Red lorry, yellow lorry, red lorry, yellow lorry.

Unique New York.

Betty Botter had some butter,
"But," she said, "this butter's bitter.
If I bake this bitter butter,
it would make my batter bitter.
But a bit of better butter--
that would make my batter better."

So she bought a bit of butter,
better than her bitter butter,
and she baked it in her batter,
and the batter was not bitter.
So 'twas better Betty Botter
bought a bit of better butter.

Six thick thistle sticks. Six thick thistles stick.

Is this your sister's sixth zither, sir?

A big black bug bit a big black bear,
made the big black bear bleed blood.

The sixth sick sheik's sixth sheep's sick.

Toy boat. Toy boat. Toy boat.

One smart fellow, he felt smart.
Two smart fellows, they felt smart.
Three smart fellows, they all felt smart.

Pope Sixtus VI's six texts.

I slit the sheet, the sheet I slit, and on the slitted sheet I sit.

She sells sea shells by the sea shore.
The shells she sells are surely seashells.
So if she sells shells on the seashore,
I'm sure she sells seashore shells.

Mrs. Smith's Fish Sauce Shop.

"Surely Sylvia swims!" shrieked Sammy, surprised.
"Someone should show Sylvia some strokes so she shall not sink."

A Tudor who tooted a flute
tried to tutor two tooters to toot.
Said the two to their tutor,
"Is it harder to toot
or to tutor two tooters to toot?"

Shy Shelly says she shall sew sheets.

Three free throws.

I am not the pheasant plucker,
I'm the pheasant plucker's mate.
I am only plucking pheasants
'cause the pheasant plucker's running late.

Sam's shop stocks short spotted socks.

A flea and a fly flew up in a flue.
Said the flea, "Let us fly!"
Said the fly, "Let us flee!"
So they flew through a flaw in the flue.

Knapsack straps.

Which wristwatches are Swiss wristwatches?

Lesser leather never weathered wetter weather better.

A bitter biting bittern
Bit a better brother bittern,
And the bitter better bittern
Bit the bitter biter back.
And the bitter bittern, bitten,
By the better bitten bittern,
Said: "I'm a bitter biter bit, alack!"

Inchworms itching.

A noisy noise annoys an oyster.

The myth of Miss Muffet.

Mr. See owned a saw.
And Mr. Soar owned a seesaw.
Now See's saw sawed Soar's seesaw
Before Soar saw See,
Which made Soar sore.
Had Soar seen See's saw
Before See sawed Soar's seesaw,
See's saw would not have sawed
Soar's seesaw.
So See's saw sawed Soar's seesaw.
But it was sad to see Soar so sore
Just because See's saw sawed
Soar's seesaw!

Friendly Frank flips fine flapjacks.

Vincent vowed vengence very vehemently.

Cheap ship trip.

I cannot bear to see a bear
Bear down upon a hare.
When bare of hair he strips the hare,
Right there I cry, "Forbear!"

Lovely lemon liniment.

Gertie's great-grandma grew aghast at Gertie's grammar.

Tim, the thin twin tinsmith

Fat frogs flying past fast.

I need not your needles, they're needless to me;
For kneading of noodles, 'twere needless, you see;
But did my neat knickers but need to be kneed,
I then should have need of your needles indeed.

Flee from fog to fight flu fast!

Greek grapes.

The boot black bought the black boot back.

How much wood would a woodchuck chuck
if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
He would chuck, he would, as much as he could,
and chuck as much wood as a woodchuck would
if a woodchuck could chuck wood.

We surely shall see the sun shine soon.

Moose noshing much mush.

Ruby Rugby's brother bought and brought her
back some rubber baby-buggy bumpers.

Sly Sam slurps Sally's soup.

My dame hath a lame tame crane,
My dame hath a crane that is lame.

Six short slow shepherds.

A tree toad loved a she-toad
Who lived up in a tree.
He was a two-toed tree toad
But a three-toed toad was she.
The two-toed tree toad tried to win
The three-toed she-toad's heart,
For the two-toed tree toad loved the ground
That the three-toed tree toad trod.
But the two-toed tree toad tried in vain.
He couldn't please her whim.
From her tree toad bower
With her three-toed power
The she-toad vetoed him.

Which witch wished which wicked wish?

Old oily Ollie oils old oily autos.

The two-twenty-two train tore through the tunnel.

Silly Sally swiftly shooed seven silly sheep.
The seven silly sheep Silly Sally shooed
shilly-shallied south.
These sheep shouldn't sleep in a shack;
sheep should sleep in a shed.

Twelve twins twirled twelve twigs.

Three gray geese in the green grass grazing.
Gray were the geese and green was the grass.

Many an anemone sees an enemy anemone.

Nine nice night nurses nursing nicely.

Peggy Babcock.

You've no need to light a night-light
On a light night like tonight,
For a night-light's light's a slight light,
And tonight's a night that's light.
When a night's light, like tonight's light,
It is really not quite right
To light night-lights with their slight lights
On a light night like tonight.

Black bug's blood.

Flash message!

Say this sharply, say this sweetly,
Say this shortly, say this softly.
Say this sixteen times in succession.

Six sticky sucker sticks.

If Stu chews shoes, should Stu
choose the shoes he chews?

Crisp crusts crackle crunchily.

Give papa a cup of proper coffee in a copper coffee cup.

Six sharp smart sharks.

What a shame such a shapely sash
should such shabby stitches show.

Sure the ship's shipshape, sir.

Betty better butter Brad's bread.

Of all the felt I ever felt,
I never felt a piece of felt
which felt as fine as that felt felt,
when first I felt that felt hat's felt.


Don't pamper damp scamp tramps that camp under ramp lamps.

Swan swam over the sea,
Swim, swan, swim!
Swan swam back again
Well swum, swan!

Six shimmering sharks sharply striking shins.

I thought a thought.
But the thought I thought wasn't the thought
I thought I thought.

Brad's big black bath brush broke.

Thieves seize skis.

Chop shops stock chops.

Sarah saw a shot-silk sash shop full of shot-silk sashes
as the sunshine shone on the side of the shot-silk sash shop.

Strict strong stringy Stephen Stretch
slickly snared six sickly silky snakes.

Susan shineth shoes and socks;
socks and shoes shines Susan.
She ceased shining shoes and socks,
for shoes and socks shock Susan.

Truly rural.

The blue bluebird blinks.

Betty and Bob brought back blue balloons from the big bazaar.

When a twister a-twisting will twist him a twist,
For the twisting of his twist, he three twines doth intwist;
But if one of the twines of the twist do untwist,
The twine that untwisteth untwisteth the twist.

Untwirling the twine that untwisteth between,
He twirls, with his twister, the two in a twine;
Then twice having twisted the twines of the twine,
He twitcheth the twice he had twined in twain.

The twain that in twining before in the twine,
As twines were intwisted he now doth untwine;
Twist the twain inter-twisting a twine more between,
He, twirling his twister, makes a twist of the twine.

The Leith police dismisseth us.

The seething seas ceaseth
and twiceth the seething seas sufficeth us.

If one doctor doctors another doctor, does the doctor
who doctors the doctor doctor the doctor the way the
doctor he is doctoring doctors? Or does he doctor
the doctor the way the doctor who doctors doctors?

Two Truckee truckers truculently truckling
to have truck to truck two trucks of truck.

Plague-bearing prairie dogs.

Ed had edited it.

She sifted thistles through her thistle-sifter.

Give me the gift of a grip top sock
a drip-drape, ship-shape, tip-top sock.

While we were walking, we were watching window washers
wash Washington's windows with warm washing water.

Freshly fried fresh flesh.

Pacific Lithograph.

Six twin screwed steel steam cruisers.

The crow flew over the river
with a lump of raw liver.

Preshrunk silk shirts

A bloke's back bike brake block broke.

A pleasant place to place a plaice is a place
where a plaice is pleased to be placed.

I correctly recollect Rebecca MacGregor's reckoning.

Good blood, bad blood.

Quick kiss. Quicker kiss.

I saw Esau kissing Kate. I saw Esau,
he saw me, and she saw I saw Esau.

Cedar shingles should be shaved and saved.

Lily ladles little Letty's lentil soup.

Amidst the mists and coldest frosts,
with stoutest wrists and loudest boasts,
he thrusts his fist against the posts
and still insists he sees the ghosts.

Shelter for six sick scenic sightseers.

Listen to the local yokel yodel.

Give Mr. Snipa's wife's knife a swipe.

Whereat with blade,
with bloody, blameful blade,
he bravely broached his boiling bloody breast.

Are our oars oak?

Can you imagine an imaginary menagerie manager
imagining managing an imaginary menagerie?

A lusty lady loved a lawyer
and longed to lure him from his laboratory.

The epitome of femininity.

She stood on the balcony
inexplicably mimicing him hiccupping,
and amicably welcoming him home.

Kris Kringle carefully crunched on candy canes.

Please pay promptly.

On mules we find two legs behind
and two we find before.
We stand behind before we find
what those behind be for.

What time does the wristwatch strap shop shut?

One-One was a racehorse.
Two-Two was one, too.
When One-One won one race,
Two-Two won one, too.

Girl gargoyle, guy gargoyle.

Pick a partner and practice passing,
for if you pass proficiently,
perhaps you'll play professionally.

Once upon a barren moor
There dwelt a bear, also a boar.
The bear could not bear the boar.
The boar thought the bear a bore.
At last the bear could bear no more
Of that boar that bored him on the moor,
And so one morn he bored the boar--
That boar will bore the bear no more.

If a Hottentot taught a Hottentot tot
To talk ere the tot could totter,
Ought the Hottenton tot
Be taught to say aught, or naught,
Or what ought to be taught her?
If to hoot and to toot a Hottentot tot
Be taught by her Hottentot tutor,
Ought the tutor get hot
If the Hottentot tot
Hoot and toot at her Hottentot tutor?

Will you, William?

Mix, Miss Mix!

Who washed Washington's white woolen underwear
when Washington's washer woman went west?

Two toads, totally tired.

Freshly-fried flying fish.

The sawingest saw I ever saw saw
was the saw I saw saw in Arkansas.

Just think, that sphinx has a sphincter that stinks!

Strange strategic statistics.

Sarah sitting in her Chevrolet,
All she does is sits and shifts,
All she does is sits and shifts.

Hi-Tech Traveling Tractor Trailor Truck Tracker

Ned Nott was shot
and Sam Shott was not.
So it is better to be Shott
than Nott.
Some say Nott
was not shot.
But Shott says
he shot Nott.
Either the shot Shott shot at Nott
was not shot,
Nott was shot.
If the shot Shott shot shot Nott,
Nott was shot.
But if the shot Shott shot shot Shott,
then Shott was shot,
not Nott.
the shot Shott shot shot not Shott --
but Nott.

Six slippery snails, slid slowly seaward.

Three twigs twined tightly.

There was a young fisher named Fischer
Who fished for a fish in a fissure.
The fish with a grin,
Pulled the fisherman in;
Now they're fishing the fissure for Fischer.

Pretty Kitty Creighton had a cotton batten cat.
The cotton batten cat was bitten by a rat.
The kitten that was bitten had a button for an eye,
And biting off the button made the cotton batten fly.

Suddenly swerving, seven small swans
Swam silently southward,
Seeing six swift sailboats
Sailing sedately seaward.

The ochre ogre ogled the poker.

If you stick a stock of liquor in your locker,
It's slick to stick a lock upon your stock,
Or some stickler who is slicker
Will stick you of your liquor
If you fail to lock your liquor
With a lock!

Shredded Swiss chesse.

The soldiers shouldered shooters on their shoulders.

Theophiles Thistle, the successful thistle-sifter,
in sifting a sieve full of un-sifted thistles,
thrust three thousand thistles through the thick of his thumb.

Now.....if Theophiles Thistle, the successful thistle-sifter,
in sifting a sieve full of un-sifted thistles,
thrust three thousand thistles through the thick of his thumb,
see that thou, in sifting a sieve full of un-sifted thistles,
thrust not three thousand thistles through the thick of thy thumb.

Success to the successful thistle-sifter!

Thank the other three brothers of their father's mother's brother's side.

They both, though, have thirty-three thick thimbles to thaw.

Fred fed Ted bread, and Ted fed Fred bread.

Cows graze in groves on grass which grows in grooves in groves.

Brisk brave brigadiers brandished broad bright blades,
blunderbusses, and bludgeons -- balancing them badly.

Tragedy strategy.

Selfish shellfish.

They have left the thriftshop, and lost both their theatre tickets and the
volume of valuable licenses and coupons for free theatrical frills and thrills.

English and IPA

English is a West Germanic language related to Dutch, Frisian and German with a significant amount of vocabulary from French, Latin, Greek and many other languages.
English evolved from the Germanic languages brought to Britain by the Angles, Saxons, Jutes and other Germanic tribes, which are known collectively as Anglo-Saxon or Old English. Old English began to appear in writing during the early 8th century AD.
Approximately 341 million people speak English as a native language and a further 267 million speak it as a second language in over 104 countries including the UK, Ireland, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, American Samoa, Andorra, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Botswana, British Indian Ocean Territory, British Virgin Islands, Brunei, Cameroon, Canada, Cayman Islands, Cook Islands and Denmark.

English alphabet

English alphabet


The sounds represented here are those of British English spoken with an R.P. (Received Pronounciation) accent. Other varieties of English differ considerably in pronunciation, especially the vowels and diphthongs.

English vowels and diphthongs

English consonants

To download a free IPA with Sounds:
Source: BBC

International Phonetic Symbols Chart with Sounds

Download this chart and start practicing your pronunciation. 
Resource taken from: BBC

Monday, January 25, 2010

Guide to Writing a Basic Essay

How to Write an Essays

Many students need help writing an essay. If you don’t know how to write an essay, it can be a very difficult thing to do. Here is an approach to making writing an essay a more manageable task.

Getting started on your essay

Before you start writing an essay, you need to decide three things. What are you writing about? Who do you imagine will be reading your essay? What do you want to tell them? A popular kind of essay is to offer your reader an opinion or argument.
You can write a successful essay by starting off with a plan. The key to doing a successful essay is to break the writing down into short, simple steps.

Pre-writing for your essay

Begin by brainstorming. Brainstorming doesn't involve writing complete sentences or paragraphs. Brainstorming involves coming up with ideas in words or short phrases.

  • Main idea for your essay
    Write down the main idea of your essay. To express your main idea, write only a few words.

  • Brainstorming “for” your main idea
    Write a word or a phrase that relates to your main idea. This should be something about your main idea that you agree with.

    Next, write another word or phrase relating to your main idea. This should also be something about your main idea that you agree with.
    Now, write a third word or phrase relating to your main idea that you agree with.

  • Brainstorming “against” your main idea
    Write a word or a phrase that relates to your main idea. This should be something about your main idea that you disagree

    Try writing a second or phrase relating to your main idea. This too should something about your main idea that you disagree with.
    Now, write down a third word or phrase relating to your main idea that you disagree with.

    Building an outline for your essay

    Building an outline is like drawing a map of your essay. The job of an outline is to sum up each paragraph in your essay. Outlining doesn’t involve writing complete paragraphs. But outlining is a good time to write a few sentences. Think of these as your topic sentences.

    • Introductory paragraph of your essay
      Reread your main idea. Now, write a complete sentence about your main idea.

    • First part of essay body
      Reread your words or phrases that you agree with. Write a complete sentence using each.

    • Second part of essay body
      Reread your words or phrases that you disagree with. Write a complete sentence using each.

    • Finally, reread your whole outline. Finish organizing your thoughts. Decide if you like the order of your topic sentences, or need to change the order a little.

    Writing a draft of your essay

    A lot of people get nervous when it’s time to write. Don’t worry. This is going to be your first draft. The important thing is to add more to your topic sentences.

    • Introductory paragraph of your essay
      Reread your introductory sentence. Add a one or two more sentences explaining your main idea. Remember that the job of your introductory paragraph is to get your reader’s attention.
    • Essay body
      Reread your topic sentences. Each topic sentence now becomes the first sentence of a new paragraph.

      Add to the first sentence of each paragraph. Write two or three more sentences to each. Use these new sentences is to support and explain your ideas. You can do this by offering facts, details, or examples.
      Remember that the job of your essay body is to share ideas with your reader. See if you can convince your reader to share your opinions.

    • Conclusion
      It’s time to write a final paragraph—your conclusion. A conclusion restates the main idea of your essay, and sums up what your essay is about. Do this in one or two sentences. Remember that the job of your conclusion is to leave your reader with something to think about.

    Reviewing and revising to improve your writing

    Are you happy? You’ve almost completed an essay. But you’re not done yet. You can always improve your writing. The way to complete a successful essay is by looking over your work.
    Try reading your draft aloud. Ask yourself questions. Do you like the order of your essay? Do you need to add words so your sentences make better sense? Do you need to add any sentences so your paragraphs connect? Do you have ideas that you’d like to add more to?
    Do you like your introduction? Your essay body? Your conclusion? Make at least three changes that could improve your essay. Remember that even professional writers make lots of changes!

    Proofreading your essay to improve your writing

    It’s time to check your work. Read your improved essay aloud slowly. Look at details of punctuation and grammar in your writing. Are your sentences complete? Do your verbs go with your nouns? Do you need to add any missing punctuation? How’s your spelling?
    Remember that the job of proofreading is to catch and change anything that would stop your reader from enjoying your essay. Try catching and changing at least six mistakes.

    Publishing your writing
    Congratulations on completing your essay! Finish by saving it on your computer, and by printing it. Share your essay with a family member, friend, classmate or teacher.
    Remember that you can always improve your essay for any assignment or test by first brainstorming, then breaking your writing down into short steps.

    Links you might find of interest

    These links may help you improve your essay writing

Dictionary Skills Slide Presentation


Sentence Structure Slide Presentation