Thursday, April 26, 2012

TT4BS /I/ (hit) & /i/ (heat)

Hello, folks! In this TongueTwisting4BetterSpeech, we will practice both the short vowel sound /I/ and the long vowel sound /i/. It's always good to practice the sounds separately especially if it's a bit challenging, so you can go to our April 3, 2012 post to practice /I/ and to our April 10, 2012 post for /i/.

If you're ready, we can begin with the words:
/I/ mit, fit, grit, dip, wit
/i/ meet, feet, greet, deep, wheat

/I/ chip, slick, rim, slip, sin
/i/ cheap, sleak, ream, sleep, scene

Now for the sentences. As always, we'll do it slowly first.
1. He took a chilly dip six feet deep in the sea. He says it keeps him fit.
2. Strict vegans eat beet chips with bean dip, and keep meat and fish dishes out of reach.
3. He thinks he's slick in his sleek wheels meeting and greeting the elite.

Alright, folks. Thanks for practicing with me. I hope you come back regularly to practice and to learn something new. My name is Joe. You can follow me on Twitter @joeyu2nd and be a fan of the small guide site on Facebook for more small & quick lessons there. See you around.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

New exercise at the small guide site

Our story continues with our newest exercise at the small guide site. Our main characters, John and Kate, are back from their quick jaunt (short trip) to Chicago. Click the TryThis! link above and head over to the small guide site to read about how their trip went.

Try the new exercise and practice the following idioms and vocabulary words: be fond of, a cinch, gear up, irrepressible, take on, drenched, on tap, and run the gamut.

Enjoy, and good luck!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Lie vs lay

The English verbs lie and lay are tricky and are often confused even by native speakers. I hope this blog post will clear up this confusion for you, and perhaps you can bookmark this page so you can return to it and brush up on the rules if you forget them.

The first thing to remember is that lie is an intransitive verb, which means it is not followed by an object. We usually lie down, lie in bed, or lie motionless, but we don't lie anything--remember, no object.

The second thing to remember is that lie is an irregular verb, which means its past tense and past participle don't end in "ed".

Lie, lay, lain
Lying (present participle)

Here are some examples.
1. She's lying in bed.
2. She lay down 30 minutes ago. She's probably asleep by now.
3. She has lain down for the night.
4. She likes lying on the sand and listening to the surf.
5. She lies on the couch for 30 minutes everyday at noon.

On the other hand, lay is a transitive verb, so it's followed by an object. We usually lay something down or on a surface. Lay is also an irregular verb, but it's probably easier to remember because its past and past participle forms are the same.

Lay, laid, laid
Laying (present participle)

Here are some examples:
1. He laid the books on his desk.
2. She lays out his clothes on the bed every morning.
3. They've laid his body to rest.
4. She likes to lay her head on his shoulder.
5. They go to the cemetery and lay flowers on his grave

There is another verb to lie, which you probably know, which is completely different from the verbs above, and it means not to be honest or not to tell the truth. This verb is a regular verb.

Lie, lied, lied
Lying (present participle)

Here are some examples:
1. They lied to their parents. They said they hadn't gone to the party when they actually had.
2. The students are lying again. They said they had done their homework when they actually hadn't.
3. They've lied to us several times.

Alright, folks. Thanks for reading and listening. This is Joe. Have you signed up to receive our lessons by email? Just enter your email address on the side. Also, like the small guide site on Facebook, and follow me on Twitter @joeyu2nd for more quick English lessons. Catch you later.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Free grammar cards!

Our second giveaway is ready at the small guide site. Download this free grammar card for yourself or for a friend who needs to organize & get a better grasp of the verb tenses and the conditionals. Good luck, and enjoy!


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

TT4BS /i/

In this TongueTwisting4BetterSpeech pronunciation lesson, we will practice the long vowel sound /i/. As usual we practice the words first, then we'll practice the sentences. You should exaggerate the sound when you practice to give your vocal apparatus a chance to get used to making the sound.

Listen carefully and repeat the following words:  
Feel, veal, beach, reach, mean
Please, leash, lease, tear, leave
Machine, detour, serious /'si ri ə
s/, ravine, breathe

Now, let's practice the tongue twisters.
1. Feel the heat, breathe, reach your peak, win the meet.
2. Please take heed. Being weak at the knees near a ravine is serious. Don't be a geek.
3. Pieces of meat get stuck in his teeth when he eats veal steamed with sesame seeds.

Great, folks. Nice job. Come back often to practice. If you're consistent, you will be producing the sounds of English easily and clearly. Good luck. Thanks for listening and practicing with me. This is Joe. You can follow me on Twitter @joeyu2nd and you can also be a fan of the small guide site on Facebook

Monday, April 9, 2012

A giveaway at the small guide site!

This is one of three greeting cards that you can download at the small guide site. Simply print them out, fold or cut, and add your own message inside. The other two say, Break a leg! (Do your best.), and You can do it! 

Encourage a friend or family member with your own funny, poetic, or inspirational words. The cards feature a list of English idioms and vocabulary words. They're perfect for anyone learning English or for any friend you want to say a quick hello to. So, download, print, fold (or cut), write your message, and make someone smile. Enjoy!

greeting card with English idioms and vocabulary

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Making it to somewhere

The expression making it to somewhere means being able to get to or arrive somewhere.
Let's take a look at the following examples.
1. Did you make it to the party?
2. The manager says if she doesn't start making it to work on time, they might have to let her go.
3. They never made it to the park; they went in a few stores on Fifth Ave and ended up doing some shopping.
4. Let's hurry and make it home in time for dinner.
5. They thought we'd be late, but we ran from the train and made it there in just 5 minutes.

If you notice in examples 4 and 5 above, when you use home or thereyou don't use the preposition to. The same goes for the words here, or back,  So you simply say, make it home, make it there, or make it here.
Here are more examples.
1. We hurried and made it home in just 10 minutes.
2. They decided to leave early; they wanted to make it back by Friday.
3. We caught an express train and made it there 20 minutes early.

In addition, if you're talking about a specific event, activity, or schedule--not a place--make can also be followed simply by the specific event. In other words, we don't use the prepositions it or to.
Like this:
1. He didn't make his flight; he overslept.
2. He left work early; he had to make his doctor's appointment.
3. If we don't make the last bus, we'll have to call a cab, and it'll cost us a fortune.
4. He regretted not making his daughter's graduation.
5. We almost didn't make our train. We got there just in time.

Alright, folks. You just learned three similar sentence structures. Make sure you come back, review, and get a lot of practice. If you have any questions? Leave me a comment here, on Facebook, or on Twitter. You can also click here to drop me a note at the small guide site. My name is Joe. Thanks for studying and practicing with me here at the small blog.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


This TongueTwisting4BetterSpeech pronunciation lesson is on the short vowel sound /I/. As usual, we'll begin with the words, then we'll practice the tongue twisters. Slowly first, then faster as you get used to making the sound.

the words:
Fit, sit, rich, bid, tin
Spin, trip, slip, cringe, bliss
Admit, pity, mistake, remiss, pillow

the tongue twisters:
1. His sis kicks pillows when she's pissed, spins at the gym to stay slim, and cringes when she wins.
2. Pity Jill's not fit; she admits she simply sits and knits.
3. Bill still slips, trips, and makes mistakes when he mixes a gin and mint in the sink. 

Alright, folks. Practice as much as you can. Come back anytime and try to memorize at least one of the tongue twisters so you can practice it anytime and wherever you are. Share us with your friends if you know anyone who could benefit from our lessons. This is Joe. You can follow me on Twitter @joeyu2nd. You can also be a fan of the small guide site on Facebook.

psyched (adj)

Psyched is a slang (very informal) word that means excited or ecstatic. Basically, you can be psyched to do something, be psyched about something, or you can just be psyched.

Let's take a look at these examples:
1. I'm so psyched about the long weekend coming up.
2. Tom's psyched that this girl at work that he likes is coming to the party.
3. I think the kids would be so psyched to learn we're spending an extra week at the beach.
4. The manager seemed psyched to tell everyone that they were getting a raise.
5. We don't have homework for the weekend. I'm so psyched!

So what are you psyched about right now? Let us know here or on our Facebook page. You can also let me know on Twitter @joeyu2nd. Catch you later.