Friday, April 13, 2018

Why is Friday the 13th unlucky? ~ English practice! (2018!)

Friday the 13th ESL English study

This year April the 13th was a Friday. In the west some people believe that Friday the 13th is bad luck. They believe that this day has some special or magic power to cause bad things to happen.

This kind of belief is called a superstition in English.

Friday the 13th

superstition (noun) the belief that particular events happen in a way that cannot be explained by reason or science; the belief that particular events bring good or bad luck

“According to superstition, breaking a mirror brings bad luck.”


Superstitions about the number 13 and Friday may have started in the Middle Ages. (The middle ages refers to a time in European history between the 5th and 15th centuries) 13 was considered unlucky for a long time. The number 12 represents a complete cycle. 12 moths in a year, 12 hours on a clock, 12 signs of the zodiac. 13 feels like 1 too many!

The story of Jesus' death is said to have happened when he was surrounded by 13 of his followers. His death is also said to have happened on a Friday. There are also other stories about bad events that are said to have happened on a Friday, on the 13th day of the month. Some stories are religious and some are popular culture.

 Both the number 13 and Friday were said to be unlucky, but it seems they weren't combined into a single unlucky day (Friday the 13th) until the 19th century. Several authors helped to spread the idea that Friday the 13th is an especially unlucky day in stories and books written in the 19th century. There are many legends and ideas about why we think of Friday the 13th as unlucky.

Friday and the number 13 are not unlucky for everyone. According to singer Taylor Swift was born on 13th of December and turned 13 on Friday 13th. Her first album also went gold in just 13 weeks! Great!

Info from ~

Different parts of the world have different religious stories, traditions and even their own unlucky days and numbers. Even different countries in Europe think another day of the week is "unlucky," not Friday. How about your country? What is an unlucky day where you live? How about an unlucky number? Please teach me about your culture in the comment section below!

Friday the 13th is a popular horror movie series in North America. The original movie in this series is "Friday the 13th" (1980) and the latest is "Friday the 13th: Legacy" (2017). They have been making horror movies using Friday the 13th for more than 30 years! Do you know these movies? Are they popular where you live?

Unlucky means not lucky. The prefix un can change
 the meaning of a word to the opposite of the original meaning. Watch this video I made in March 2013 to explain the prefixes un and re


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English grammar Wear VS Put On
Correctly use the verbs WEAR and PUT ON 
in English! 
・Don’t confuse these words anymore! ๐Ÿ‘
・Sound like a native speaker! ๐Ÿ’ฌ
・VIDEO and more at my blog! ๐Ÿ“บ

Learn to use the conditional IF in natural English
Learn to use the conditional IF in natural English!
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Monday, April 09, 2018

How to use Neither and Either (Interactive QUIZ too!)

QUIZ and infographic link 
at the bottom of the page!

In our last post we looked at the phrases me too and me neither and we learned how to use them in natural English conversation. The word either has a similar meaning to neither when both words are used as adverbs:

neither (adverb) used to show that a negative statement is also true of somebody/something else

"He didn't remember and neither did I."

A: "I don't like spicy food." 
B: "Me neither."

either (adverb) used after negative phrases to state that a feeling or situation is similar to one already mentioned

"Pete can't go and I can't either."

A: "I don't like spicy food." 
B: "Me either." 
*For me personally, I prefer using neither in this situation, but either is acceptable in informal North American English.

~ but different meanings when they are used as determiners or pronouns:

neither (determiner, pronoun) not one nor the other of two things or people "Neither answer is correct." (both answers are wrong)
A: "Which do you like?"
B: "Neither. I think they're both ugly." (I don't like the first choice, I also don't like the second choice)

either (determiner, pronoun) one or the other of two; it does not matter which
"You can park on either side of the street." (it doesn't matter which side of the street you park on, both sides are OK)
"You can keep one of the photos. Either of them—whichever you like." (you can choose one of the two photos to keep, it doesn't matter which one. Each of the two possible choices is OK)

~ each of two
"The offices on either side of the hall were empty." (the offices on the left side and the right side of the hall were both empty)

interactive quiz!

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How to use "Me too" and "Me neither" in natural English conversation! (2018)
・Learn this grammar with lots of examples! ๐Ÿ“
・Many images to help too! ๐Ÿ–ผ
・More than 4 minutes of AUDIO! ๐ŸŽง

English question ~ What's the difference between an athlete and a player?
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・Clear explanation! ๐Ÿ“‘
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Friday, April 06, 2018

How to use "Me too" and "Me neither" in natural English conversation! (2018)

Do you know when to use me too? How about me neither? One of my private students asked me how to use these two words naturally in English conversation. They weren't confident on which word to use to agree with a statement, so I created this lesson to help them communicate in English with confidence! Thank you for being part of the World English 808 community so I can share it with you too!
*Blog Audio at the bottom of this post! ๐Ÿ‘‚

A: Do you watch football?
B: Yes.
A: Me too.

A: Do you watch baseball?
B: No.
A: Me neither.

We use the adverbs too and neither to show that a statement is also true for someone or something else.

Too is used for affirmative or positive statements. (do, can, often etc.)

A: Do you watch football?
B: Yes. (I do)
A: Me too.
(I also watch football)

Neither is used in negative statements. (don't, can't, never etc.)

A: Do you watch baseball?
B: No. (I don't)
A: Me neither.
(I also don't watch baseball)

More examples:

A: I like sushi.
B: Me too!
(I also like sushi.)

A: I don't like natto.
B: Me neither.
(I also don't like natto.)

ferment = to experience a chemical change because of the action of yeast or *bacteria, often changing sugar to alcohol; to make something change in this way

"Grapes are fermented to make wine."

*bacteria are the simplest and smallest forms of life
Foods like natto, yogurt and pickles all have bacteria that is good for you!

A: I can't speak German.
B: Me neither.
(I also can't speak German.)

In English conversation it's common for the word neither to start a sentence. Please look at these examples:

A: My grandfather won't use a computer.
B: Neither will mine.
(My grandfather also won't usa computer.)

A: I have never been to France.
B: Neither have I.
(I have also never been to France.)

A: I can't speak German.
B: Neither can I.
(I also can't speak German.)

๐Ÿ•ฎ Dictionary definitions ๐Ÿ•ฎ

too (adverb) one way we use the adverb too is to mean ~ also; as well
'I just watched the new Star Wars movie, I liked it.' 'Me too!'

neither (adverb) used to show that a negative statement is also true of somebody/something else
‘I can't understand these instructions.’ ‘Neither can I. They're too complicated.’
(informal) ‘I just watched the new Star Wars movie, I didn't like it.' ‘Me neither.’

Let's use this grammar with more examples where the subject is different than I, me, mine.

Greg hadn't been to New York before and neither had Jane. It was their first trip.
(Greg had never been to New York, Jane had also never been.)

We were talking about politics at work yesterday. Louis likes the new Prime Minister and Joe likes him too. I was surprised! I think he's terrible!
(Louis likes the new Prime Minister, Joe also likes him.)

A: Adam hasn't been to that new club on Queen St. yet.
B: Neither has Gus. We should all go there on Saturday, I'll be fun!
(Adam hasn't been to the new club on Queen St., Gus also hasn't been there.)

It snows a lot in Toronto in February. It snows a lot in Sapporo too.
(It snows a lot in Toronto in February, it also snows a lot in Sapporo in February)

A: Fred isn't good at soccer.
B: Neither are Mike and Spencer.
(Fred isn't good at soccer, Mike and Spencer are also not good!)

They all need more practice!

๐ŸŽง Listen to the audio from this post here ↓

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Confusing English vocabulary ~ 
See/Watch/Look at
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・10 example sentences ๐Ÿ–บ
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English Grammar ~ Do you know the difference between Tired OF and Tired FROM?
・Use this grammar correctly! ๐Ÿ‘
・Updated March 2018!
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Wednesday, April 04, 2018

How to make a 'TH' sound! (video included!) - 2018

Learn how to make a 'TH' sound 
when speaking English!

This post is new, this video was made in 2014!

Here is the sentence from the video:

"This month is my brother's birthday."

After you watch the video and practice the shape that your mouth makes, try these sentences:

①Is this the thing? - Yes, this is the thing.

②Father, mother, sister, brother - hand in hand with one another.

③They threw three thick things.

④Three thin thieves thought a thousand thoughts. Now if three thin thieves thought a thousand thoughts how many thoughts did each thief think?

๐Ÿ‘Thank you to Language Avenue 
for the 'TH' tongue twister ideas! ๐Ÿ˜œ

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The preposition IN (Other uses) 
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・Learn some common ways to use this English grammar ๐Ÿ•ฎ

The preposition ON (Other uses)
・VIDEO and more at my blog! ๐Ÿ‘€
・Learn some common ways to use this grammar ๐Ÿ‘

Monday, April 02, 2018

6 English Phrasal verbs with CUT! 17 examples! 6 custom images! (+PDF download)

Phrasal verbs with CUT 

Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries dot com lists 24 different uses for the verb CUT!

Many uses have a meaning that is easy to imagine, but some are not so common. In today’s post I want to share 6 phrasal verbs with CUT. I’ll explain the meaning and then help you understand it with lots of helpful examples! Are you CUT OUT to master these English expressions?

be cut out (for) - to have the qualities and abilities needed for something
"He's not cut out for politics."
"He's not cut out to be a leader."

- I guess I’m not cut out for the track team. (I lack the ability to run fast. I wouldn't be a good track athlete.)
- Maybe I’m not cut out for this job. (I don’t think I have the qualities to do this job properly.)
- I’m just not cut out for flying. (I don’t have wings that can fly.)

cut out - if a motor or an engine cuts out, it suddenly stops working
"I was driving home after work and my engine suddenly cut out. Now I have to take my car to the shop. I hope it’s not going to be expensive!" (My car [engine] suddenly stopped working.)
*A phone or other electronic audio communication can CUT OUT.

cut across - to go across something in order to make your route shorter
"If we cut across the field, it'll save time." (The distance from here to where we are going will be shorter if we walk through the field)
"I usually cut across the park on my way home."
*Cut through is also natural ~
"I usually cut through the park on my way home."

cut back - to reduce something
cut (something) back ~ (also cut back (on something))
"The company wants to cut back on spending. No more flying first class for business trips."

cut down - to reduce the size, amount or number of something
"We need to cut the article down to 1000 words." (reduce the size of the article.)
(Cut down can also have a similar meaning to cut back)
"The doctor told him to cut down on his drinking." (reduce the amount of alcohol that he drinks. Drink less.)

cut off - cut (somebody) off - to interrupt somebody and stop them from speaking
"The president's speech was cut off by loud protests."

 cut off - cut (something) off  [often passive] to stop the supply of something to somebody
"Our water supply has been cut off."
"They were cut off for not paying their phone bill."

Download this blog post as a PDF! 
Use it for extra study, anywhere! Anytime!

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English pronunciation practice. 
Similar sounding numbers…
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Correctly use the verbs 
LEND and BORROW in English! 
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Saturday, March 31, 2018

Spring Vocabulary pt.2 - Talk about Spring in English! (2018)

We learned how to talk about ๐ŸŒธSpring flowers blooming and seeing beautiful blossoms in my last post. Spring is a season of renewal. (Things become new again) ๐ŸŒผPlants and ๐Ÿ‡animals become active again as the weather gets warmer. It's a happy time of year. 
UNLESS… you have allergies!!!๐Ÿ˜ท

Trees and flowers are beautiful but they also create a lot of pollen in Spring.

Pollen is a fine powder, usually yellow, that is formed in flowers and carried to other flowers of the same kind by the wind or by insects, to make those flowers produce seeds.๐ŸŒบ

An allergy caused by pollen is called hay fever in English. The characters used in Japan for this allergy mean pollen and illness.

่Šฑ็ฒ‰ pollen ็—‡ illness ~ ่Šฑ็ฒ‰็—‡ = hay fever

People who suffer from hay fever sneeze a lot, and have watery eyes during Spring. 

      Click for pronunciation
sneeze (verb) to have air come suddenly and noisily out through your nose and mouth in a way that you cannot control, for example because you have a cold

      Click for pronunciation
watery (adjective) of or like water; containing a lot of water
His eyes were red and watery. (When we say someone’s eyes are watery, it means they have water in their eyes. Usually from air conditions or allergies. This is different from crying)

In Japan there are many Cherry trees that have beautiful blossoms and also many cedar trees around Tokyo. (My first apartment was in a city called Cedar Row! ๆ‰ไธฆ) Many trees make a lot of pollen, so people with hay fever have a hard time in March and April.

Birds come back in Spring, or they become active in Spring. We can hear their singing and chirping more often than the winter months.

     ↙  Click for pronunciation
chirp (noun) a short high sound made by small birds (and some insects) ๐Ÿค๐Ÿž

chirp (verb) to make short high sounds
“I can hear birds chirping in the trees.”

Some other signs of Spring are bees and mosquitoes!


↘Click for pronunciation↙

How about where you live? Is there lots of pollen in the air? Do you have allergies? 
Lots of bugs? (Bugs is a casual way to say insects) Tell me about Spring where you're from in the comments below!
Use your new English!

All Spring vocabulary definitions are from:

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English blog - Spring vocabulary pt.1! (2018)
・Learn new Spring vocabulary!๐ŸŽ
・Natural example sentences!๐Ÿ“
・Lots of images too ๐ŸŽจ

Learn to use the English Phrasal Verbs 
Break IN and Break UP!
・Updated for 2018! ๐Ÿ 
・10 example sentences ๐Ÿ“
・Video & Interactive quiz!๐Ÿ“น⨹❔

Why is Friday the 13th unlucky? ~ English practice! (2018!)

This year April the 13th was a  Friday. In the west some people believe that Friday the 13th is bad luck. They believe that this day has ...

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