Did you know?

This is wild! The pigeon, a bird we think of as the ‘sky rat’ in most urban cities in the US (have you seen some of the sidewalks in New York?), can actually be very beautiful! Check out this picture:

Pink-Necked-Green-Pigeon

The pigeon in the picture above is called a Pink-Necked Green Pigeon and is found in Southeast Asia. It is truly beautiful to me compared with the image I see every day:

pigeon6n-1-web

Though now that i see the unique features of both birds I think they are both pretty in their own way! What do you think?

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Everyday or Every Day?

Hello!

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and are starting your Monday well!

I received a very good question over the weekend on when to use everyday versus every day, so here’s a post (short and sweet) to clarify the two uses of the word and the expression:

Everyday

1) Everyday is an adjective and it is used to describe things that occur on a daily basis (every day), or that are ordinary (i.e. an everyday dress, an everyday recipe, everyday low prices, etc.).

Every Day

2) The expression every day (2 words), is made up of an adjective (every) that modifies the a noun (day).

Examples:

I have coffee every day. (I have coffee Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc.)

I walk my dog every day. (I walk my dog Monday, Tuesday, etc.)

Having coffee and walking my dog are everyday activities. (i.e. daily activities, commonplace activities)

***If you’re still unsure, here are some helpful synonyms:

every day = each day

everyday = daily, commonplace, ordinary

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I hope this helps; keep those questions coming!

Happy learning,

Anca

Happy Independence Day, America!

America was declared independent from the British Crown by a handful of men (The United States Congress) on July 4th in 1776. The first celebration of Independence actually happened on July 8th, a few days later, as the document was read out loud to the colonists in the public square. People celebrated with shouts, bonfires and fireworks.

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Reading Hint: the underlined parts can help you figure out the topic and main idea of the passage; as you read ask yourself “what is this passage about?”

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Fun Fact: Did you know that fireworks were actually used in England to celebrate the King’s birthday? Ironic, right? Well, in America, the newly independent people of the 13 colonies used fireworks to celebrate the king’s so-called (not real) funeral.

For more interesting facts check out this video on the History of the Fourth of July here: http://www.history.com/topics/holidays/july-4th/videos/fourth-of-july-history

Keep in mind too that in America, we have many different ways of wishing people Happy Independence Day! And anyone can join in! Here’s what you can say:

Happy 4th of July!

Happy July 4th!

Happy 4th!

Happy Independence Day!

Have a happy one, America!

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Useful Vocabulary:

to declare = to announce something publicly

independence = freedom

a handful of = a small amount

to read out loud / to read aloud = reading loud, for other people to hear

bonfire = a very large fire

keep in mind = to be able to remember something

join in = to do as others do

Read about it! Part 2

Good morning! What a gorgeous day in San Francisco! The sun is shining and the sweet smell of summer is in the air…I could not ask for a better way to spend this last day of June 2015 and I hope it’s the same for you!

I had a lot of questions on yesterday’s reading post, Read about it!, so here is an example that will help clarify the process. If you still have any questions, send them to LearnEnglishinAmerica@gmail.com!

Sam Speaks English

Sam is learning how to speak English. He is from Mexico and moved to California a few weeks ago. He practices every day and goes to school at night to take English speaking courses. He likes to work on his pronunciation. He also studies at home. During the day, he works at the grocery store. Sam is a very busy man.

First, pre-read the passage. Try to identify the main topic or main idea of the passage and spend about 2 minutes pre-reading.

1) What is the topic?

Remember, this is most likely found in the title and/or first sentence. In this case, the subject of the passage is Sam. The title and the first sentence are the same so you can get a pretty good idea that this passage is about Sam.

2) What is the main idea? To find this ask yourself the following: What about Sam? What important information are we told about him? Sam is learning how to speak English, right?That is the main idea!

To summarize,

What is the topic? Sam.

What is the main idea? Sam is learning how to speak English.

Next, actively read the passage. Use your writing utensils (pen, pencil, highlighter, etc.), as I have done in the picture below, to label unknown vocabulary, key words, and put question marks (?) next to confusing parts or make any other notes that will help you understand what you are reading (I have made a list).

Untitled

Finally, check that you truly understand what you have read. Happy reading!

Read about it!

from the film Matilda

                 Film still from Matilda

I get this question a lot: how can I improve my reading comprehension?

Many language learners have difficulty grasping meaning from reading a passage, especially if it has to be done quickly (ex: on a test). Here are 3 tips the can help you improve your reading comprehension:

1) Pre-read

-make sure you read the title because this will give you a hint about the topic of the paragraph or essay

-look at what you read: take note of images and length of the paragraphs

-read first and last sentences of every paragraph or first and last paragraphs if you are reading longer passages (this is because in written, formal English we put our main ideas in the first paragraph or sentence, and reiterate them in the last)

-glance at key words

2) Read actively

-underline the title and the main topic (or what you believe the main topic is)

-underline any and all words you don’t know and put question marks (?) next to unclear parts

-take notes (jot down questions, ideas, comments, etc.)

3) Make sure you Understand 

-summarize or outline what you have read

-answer questions about the reading

-give your opinion on the topics

-get feedback if possible

If you practice these steps you will surely become a better reader!

Vocabulary

Useful Vocabulary:

comprehension = understanding

grasp = in this sense, understand

tip = in this sense, advice

hint = clue, indication

reiterate = repeat

glance = to look at something quickly

jot (down) = to write something quickly

feedback = information that other people can give such as comments, advice, etc.

San Francisco City Hall Centennial

(IMGUR)

Well, it’s been a hundred years for ‘ye olde’ City Hall in SF – if you can believe it – which is fantastic because this is one of the most beautiful buildings in the city!

The original structure was apparently built in the late 1800’s but the 1905 earthquake and subsequent fire destroyed it. So they built a new one, still standing today and that is what we will celebrate tonight!

Check out this link to see more information about the celebration if you live or are visiting SF: http://www.sfcityhall100.com/celebration.html.

There will be a concert, I am sure there will be food in a foodie city, so I hope you go if you’re in SF!

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Words to know:

centennial – meaning 100 years

apparently – as far as I/you/etc. (one) know(s)

subsequent – coming after, following

celebrate – to observe or commemorate, often with a party

foodie – high interest in food

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New Meet-up in San Francisco

I just published a new meet-up for all those of you who read my blog and live in San Francisco; come one, come all, no matter what your English level #speakEnglisheverydamnday!

See you there!

Anca

Speak English and Meet New People!

Thursday, May 7, 2015, 6:30 PM

Location details are available to members only.

3 soon-to-be English pros Attending

Hello soon-to-be-English-pros (and current English pros) :)I had so much fun at our meet-up last night! You are all such interesting, super nice, and SUPER great English speakers! I loved all our activities and getting to know you, so I want to do it again!Let’s meet on the rooftop and watch the sunset while talking to new friends! English spea…

Check out this Meetup →

So many words! So little time!

Hello world!

I am so excited today! I hosted my first English meetup in San Francisco last night and met some amazing English speakers and learners! We talked, laughed, and learned a whole bunch of new words. For everyone who was not there, here are those words. I call them ”favorite words in English”. Enjoy 🙂

going forward

=a phrase meaning to instill a process for doing something a certain way from the present time to an unknown future date

Going forward, we will have a company review every month.
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art

*Everything everywhere is art.*
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applaud

=to praise, to congratulate respectfully; to clap

I applaud the courage of people who fight against injustice.
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refraction

We will learn about refraction today and see how we can manipulate light waves.
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entrepreneur

=someone who does something differently, and better

Silicon Valley is full of entrepreneurs, like the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, whose initial goal was to connect people in different ways.
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awesome

=something that makes you feel extremely good

Today was awesome, I got a new job!
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queue

I wanted to get some coffee, but when I saw the long queue outside the cafe I changed my mind.
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comprehensive

=something that should cover all aspects

“I will say,” announced the police officer, “that we will perform a comprehensive review to see what happened.”
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knowledge

=a collection of everything a person knows

They can take everything form me, but they can never take my knowledge.
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pizza

I am super hungry, I could definitely go for some pizza right about now!
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food

=sustenance, a collection of items that you consume to live

I can never go on a diet, I love food too much.
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fire

My mother always cautioned: don’t play with fire!
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amazing

=something that provokes awe, surprise, and other emotions; it can be used to mean something positive and negative

(positive) The concert was amazing! I loved it!
(negative) It’s amazing how little some people care about helping others.

Hey! I’m learning English!

If you are in San Francisco and are an English learner check out my meet-up, freshly organized!

San Francisco Learn English Meetup

San Francisco, CA
49 soon-to-be English pros

Are you trying to learn or improve your English? Are you struggling with vocabulary and grammar, or prepositions and articles? Well, I am here to help! I am an English as a Se…

Next Meetup

Speak English and Meet New People!

Thursday, May 7, 2015, 6:30 PM
3 Attending

Check out this Meetup Group →

I hope to see you next Wednesday!

Have a super duper fun week!
-Anca