Author: movingenglishlessons


5 Brilliant Writing Tips for TOEFL

Improving your TOEFL Writing Score

You are in the right place if your TOEFL writing score is lower than 25 and you don’t know why.  If you WANT to score 25 or above on the writing section of the TOEFL IBT exam, these 5 writing tips for TOEFL will help you increase your score. One of my students went from a 21 to a 27 on the writing exam using these easy, clear strategies. Read these brilliant ideas and put these techniques into practice to skyrocket your writing score and help you get into the university of your dreams.

A TOEFL IBT test taker writes down her sentences and uses variety and sentence variation
Utilizing sentence variation in your essays will strengthen your writing and your overall score on exam day.

Writing Tip for TOEFL #1: Vary Your Sentences

Avoid boring the reader by following the same, monotonous sentence pattern every time.  Study different ways to structure your sentences and practice varying your sentences in your introduction and body paragraphs. 

There are four different types of sentences in English: simple, complex, compound, and complex-compound.  

  1. simple sentences (one subject and one verb):➡️People ride bikes to work.
  2. compound sentences (a compound sentence has two or more simple sentences that are connected by one of the following conjunctions: and, or, or but) ➡️In Copenhagen, employees commute to work by bike, and cars are slowly disappearing from the roads.
  3. complex sentences (A simple sentence with an independent clause and a subordinate clause. A subordinate clause is indicated by “when, because, since, if…” and can’t stand alone in the sentence.  ➡️ Many citizens take the bus because they get to work faster.
  4. compound-complex sentences (a compound-complex sentence has two or more simple sentences (independent clauses) and one or more subordinate clauses.➡️Although the majority of people ride their bikes to work, some people take the bus, and other people go to work on foot.  

Test takers often think that in order to get a high score, they should use more compound-complex sentences because they perceive them as more impressive.  Why do they think this? One reason is that many people translate the sentence structure from their own language.  For example, in Spanish and Russian, longer sentences with multiple commas are standard.  However, when translated, those sentences are too long in English and need to be broken into multiple sentences.  

In English, it recommended to use sentence variety and vary between simple, complex, and compound, and keep the number of compound-complex sentences to a limit.

Sentence Variation within Paragraphs

Don’t write sentences in a  paragraph like this: ⛔️ 

Cars, long considered valuable by the human population, although expensive, are valuable assets to citizens, not only as great transportation methods but also because they are comfortable and luxurious (compound-complex). Firstly, cars help people, young and old, get safely from one place to another, and additionally are safer than bikes, especially for the elderly population (compound-complex) Vacations, on the other hand, require a lot of planning, by both family members and teenagers, making it difficult to make an action plan and foresee all of the unexpected risks, which can sometimes make traveling an exhausting endeavor for everyone involved (compound-complex). In this essay, I will defend these key arguments about cars (simple).

What is wrong with this essay? The sentences are too LONG, full of commas, and the ideas become convoluted and unclear when there are too many compound-complex sentences. 

Now, consider writing a paragraph following a pattern like this:

If I had to choose between spending money on a car and spending money on a vacation, I would invest in a vacation (complex).  Firstly, vacations create lasting memories (simple). Although vacations are sometimes expensive, they are transformative, and they help people unplug (compound). Cars, on the other hand, need constant maintenance (simple). In this essay, I will explore both sides and give reasons to support my opinion that vacations are the most worthwhile investment (complex). 

What did you notice about the sentence variety? How could you improve your sentence structure in the next essay you write? 

Exercise: Write a paragraph about the following essay topic and vary your sentence structure as much as possible. You could try writing 5 sentences using this structure: simple, complex, simple, compound, complex.

Some people prefer to prepare meals at home while other people prefer eating out at restaurants and food stands.  Which do you prefer? Use reasons and examples to support your answer: 

(suggested answer at the end of this post)


Using transition words on the TOEFL IBT helps guide the reader and creates more flow in your writing
Transition words are essential to guide your reader from one idea to the next.

Writing Tip for TOEFL #2: Use Transition Words in your TOEFL Essay

A well-crafted essay that is coherent uses transition words to help guide the reader.  These words help the reader stay interested in the essay and understand what arguments are coming next.  

Here are some transition words to use: 


  • An example that illustrates this point is
  • Specifically
  • For instance
  • In other words
  • To clarify

To Compare: 

  • Similarly
  • Likewise
  • Also
  • In a similar fashion
  • As well as

To Contrast: 

  • Nevertheless
  • Although
  • In contrast
  • On the other hand
  • However

Cause and Effect 

  • Consequently
  • As a consequence
  • Thus
  • Hence
  • For this reason

Adding more Information

  • In addition
  • Furthermore
  • What’s more
  • Moreover
  • As well as

Practice Using Transition Words in a Paragraph

Let’s practice! Add some transition words to the following paragraph to make it sound more natural and have better flow: 

People often say that loyalty is the most important quality for a good friend to have. (1) _______________, in my opinion, a good sense of humor is more important than loyalty.  I say this because sometimes loyal friends are too serious. (2) ______________ loyal friends are too clingy and call too often.  (3)________________ friends with a good sense of humor can turn a bad day into a joyful, silly day. (4) _____________ I would rather have a friend with a good sense of humor than a loyal friend.  

Exercise: Go through one of the practice TOEFL essays you have written in the past and add some transition words from the above list to the essay. Are you always using the same transitional language? Try to use a variety of transitional words in your word bank so that on exam day, you will easily remember them and won’t draw a blank.

A woman writing with an active voice in her TOEFL IBT essays
An active voice is my dynamic and emphasizes the agent who carries out the action.

Writing Tip for TOEFL #3: Use an Active Voice More Than a Passive Voice

Generally speaking, an active voice is used when the agent does the action and a passive voice is used when you don’t know who did the action or when the agent isn’t important.

🔥Active: Children learn manners from their parents.

🏬Passive: The building was constructed in 1899.

In your essay, you can vary your sentences by adding a passive sentence to your paragraph. In the social sciences, writing with an active voice is recommended more than writing with a passive voice because the writing is more dynamic. Sometimes in articles that describe science experiments, the passive voice is used more to describe how the research study was carried out.

An Example of Active Voice

Here is an example of a series of sentences you could write in the TOEFL essay:
Foreign movies depict the life of a country and they show us a little bit about the culture, the language, and the lifestyle. Movies that are made in Spain, for example, are interesting to watch because they show how people give two kisses when they greet each other. In addition, when I watch Spanish movies, I learn how people celebrate festivals in Spain.

Notice that all the sentences in the paragraph are active and the verbs “depict,” “watch,” and “learn” show a clear agent who carries out the action.

One Passive Sentence is Fine
*However, there is one passive sentence, “Movies that are made in Spain…” In that sentence, the director who made the movie isn’t important, hence, the passive voice is used. So, you could have one passive sentence in the paragraph to vary the structure to make a general claim.
Practice: Use the following prompt to craft your introductory paragraph. Use the active voice and experiment with one sentence with a passive construction.

Some people prefer watching foreign movies while others prefer watching movies that were made in the country they were born in. Which do you prefer? Use reasons and examples to support your answer:


three different types of adverb phrases that can be used to show strong, somewhat strong, and weak opinions about a topic
These adverb phrases are useful in your TOEFL essay because they are more formal and can be used to clarify your opinion.


TOEFL Writing Tip #4: Use Adverb Phrases in your Independent Essay

The TOEFL is testing your ability to use varied, rich vocabulary and academic language. Therefore, it is a good idea to have a notebook with synonyms and adverb phrases for your essays that you can easily reference and use in your practice essays. The more you use them, the more natural it will become to use them on the day of the exam and in your future academic writing assignments at the university of your dreams. Think about these phrases like frosting on a cake. The frosting makes the cake taste more delicious. These phrases make the sentences more pleasing to read.

Adverb Phrases in Use
Here are a few example sentences with adverb phrases that you could use in your TOEFL independent essay:

  • Perhaps some students prefer to live on their own in college, while others conceivably prefer having roommates. (expresses an opinion that isn’t very strong). ➡️Notice there is no comma after perhaps.
  • Presumably, other students prefer to live with a roommate so that they can have someone to talk to at the end of the day. (indicates a somewhat strong opinion)
  • The best experiences from college are definitely celebrated with other people rather than by yourself. (communicates a very strong opinion)
  • Undoubtedly, technology is changing the way the human brain works. (communicates a very strong opinion)


Paraphrasing is an important skill on the TOEFL IBT writing and speaking exams
There are many ways to practice your paraphrasing skills to prepare for the TOEFL exam.


Tip #5: Paraphrase on the TOEFL IBT Writing Section

It is crucial to learn how to paraphrase effectively on the TOEFL IBT writing and speaking exams for two main reasons:

    1. Putting sentences in your own words shows your advanced language skills.
    2. Paraphrasing is an essential skill to have for communication at the university level.

What you learn in this section will not only help you raise your score on the exam, but it will also help you excel in your academic program. Some people rely on apps like Quilbot to paraphrase in their day-to-day academic writing, but you can’t use your phone on the TOEFL exam, unfortunately.

paraphrasing should follow a specific protocol and this is a list of the dos and don'ts of paraphrasing
If you want to learn how to effectively paraphrase, make sure you follow these important steps to put the TOEFL passages into your own words.

If you say word for word and copy exactly what the lecturer said or if you repeat the words that are in the reading passage, you will lose points and your score on the TOEFL IBT will suffer. You could also get a zero on the exam. Check out UW Madison’s Writing Center’s great tips on paraphrasing! Also, you might find Purdue’s Online Writing Center’s example of paraphrasing useful as well.

Paraphrasing Means Putting Things in Your Own Words

If you can restate the text or the lecture in a slightly different way and use a variety of language and grammatical structures, you will get a higher score on the TOEFL. Paraphrasing requires practice and if you follow a clear, simple structure for paraphrasing, it will become so much easier and you will be ready to implement your paraphrasing skills on exam day.

To paraphrase, you can substitute the key words with synonyms by focusing on the most important information expressed in the sentence. It might help you to identify the subject and verb of the independent clause to get started. You can change the word order, change the voice from active to passive, and even eliminate some words if they aren’t essential to the meaning of the sentence.

this shows one way to paraphrase for TOEFL, which is to substitute key words with synonyms
The first step is to paraphrase is to underline the key words in the sentence. Then, you can substitute those words with synonyms.


Paraphrasing Practice Exercise 1a:

The first step in paraphrasing is to underline the key words in the sentence. Then, you can substitute the key words with synonyms. For this reason, it is helpful to generate some lists of synonyms as you write and prepare for the exam.

1a. “People tend to be healthier than they used to be because they are more aware of ways to follow a healthy diet.”
Step 1: Underline the key words:
1a. “People tend to be healthier than they used to be because they are more aware of ways to follow a healthy diet.”
Step 2: Generate a list of synonyms for the underlined words:
Step 3: Substitute the key words with synonyms:
“Members of society are likely to enjoy better health than they did in the past because they are more conscious of sticking to a well-balanced diet.”

this resource is available to help you practice paraphrasing for the TOEFL IBT exam
This is a google slides presentation with 44 slides that allow you to practice and master the skill of paraphrasing.


Practice with Paraphrasing for TOEFL: YOUR TURN

Practice paraphrasing the following sentence:
1b. Underline the key words in the sentence and paraphrase them:
“Parents take their children to museums in order to teach them about humanity and the history of our world.”

👀✏️An Important Tip: Some words can’t be paraphrased!!! Some words are absolutely essential to the meaning of the sentence and can’t be paraphrased. Words like “literature, math, the moon, keystone species…etc.” Also, proper nouns can’t be paraphrased. These words have a very specific meaning and there are few if any synonyms to replace them. For that reason, it is important to focus on finding synonyms for some, but not all of the words in the sentence.

This image shows ways to paraphrase the sentence by changing the sentence structure
Change the sentence structure and express the second idea first in the paraphrased sentence.

Step 1: Change the structure of the sentence
In this case, you can move the second clause to the beginning of the sentence and perhaps start with a transition word or start with the “ing” form of the verb.
Here is an example paraphrasing exercise using this method:

2a. Public transportation is an effective and cheap form of transportation because the costs are lower than owning your own vehicle.
Use transitional language to start the sentence such as:
As a result of….
Due to the fact that…

Start with the second idea first:
Due to the fact that many drivers have additional expenses that come with owning cars, public transportation is a viable and less expensive option.”

Paraphrasing Exercise with Answers 2b
Now, try to paraphrase the following sentence by changing the order of information in the sentence:

“Nowadays, people ride their bikes to work more than ever because bikes are a healthy option and an efficient form of transportation.”
(answer key at the end of the blog)

Paraphrasing Practice Exercise 3a: Change the Parts of Speech
Step 1: Change the parts of speech of words in the sentence.
These kinds of tables are really helpful for paraphrasing tasks on the TOEFL exam. Why? Because one way of paraphrasing a sentence is to use the same word, but in a different part of speech.

Why is this Rich Vocabulary Important for the TOEFL?

Knowing different parts of speech can help you describe a concept in a similar way by making small changes to the sentence.
Let’s practice:
Paraphrasing Practice Sentence 3a
“There is little scientific evidence that there are life forms on other planets.”
Let’s refer to the table above to help us use the adverb “scientifically” and substitute it for scientific.
For example,
“Life on other planets can’t be scientifically proven.

Paraphrasing Exercise 3b
Try using a different part of speech from the table above to paraphrase the following sentence:
“For women, the biological clock indicates when to have children.”
(answer key at the end of the blog)


Use these Clear Writing Templates:

Many TOEFL coaches recommend using a template to help you organize your answer. It is a great idea to follow a clear structure so that your essay is easy to follow and has a well-supported argument.  For the independent essay, create a thesis sentence that clarifies what you are going to argue in the essay. Then, create an outline sentence that describes what you are going to discuss in the body paragraphs.  The independent essay needs to be at least 300 words and you have 30 minutes to write it.

General overview sentence+ thesis statement + outline sentence:

➡️ Living alone or living with roommates is an important decision college students have to make. Some people think that it is best to have the support and companionship of roommates, while others believe people are more productive when they live alone. In my opinion, living with roommates helps students develop social skills, adjust to the university lifestyle, and prepare for life after graduation. (In the outline sentence, list the 3 main ideas you will discuss in your body paragraphs)

⭐️Each body paragraph should address 1 main idea with supporting details about that 1 main topic.  If you digress from the main topic or if your examples don’t match the topic of your paragraph, you will get a lower score.

Body Paragraph 1: (Living with roommates helps students develop social skills) + details and evidence

    • students learn to share chores
    • living with others pushes students to communicate with roommates about doing chores

Body Paragraph 2: (Adjusting to the university lifestyle) + details and personal example

    • roommates help each other adapt to the changes of going to school
    • friendly support to carry out tasks didn’t overwhelm me when I had roommates’ help

Body Paragraph 3: (Preparing for life after graduation) + details and explanation

    • entering the job force requires good social skills
    • working with others is a skill people strengthen by living with others

Conclusion : (Transition language … To summarize, to conclude, in summary….restate the thesis statement and the outline sentence by paraphrasing the key ideas you argued in the essay.

Transition words for the conclusion : To conclude, In conclusion, In summary, In closing, To sum up…


THE TOEFL Integrated Essay Template

The Introduction

  • The reading and the lecture both address _____.
  • The author of the article holds the opinion that ______.
  • The lecturer refutes the claims made in the article.
  • The lecturer upholds the argument that_____.

The Body Paragraphs

Use the following templates for the body paragraphs:

  • As stated by the author of the reading passage,   _____.
  • The article supports this with an example of____.
  • The lecturer opposes this specific argument and claims that ____.
  • Furthermore, the lecturer explains that ______.

  • Additionally, the author mentions ______.
  • In the article, the author posits that _____.
  • The lecturer, on the other hand, contends that ______.
  • He/she delves into this point by asserting ______.

  • Finally, the author claims that _____.
  • To support this point, the author explains that ____.
  • Nonetheless, the lecturer’s point of view is  _____.
  • He/she mentions that _____.

You don’t need a conclusion.

Your TOEFL integrated essay should be about 280-300 words in length and you have 20 minutes to write it.

    • Summarize the reading passage, then transition by explaining if the lecturer supports or disagrees with each point in the reading passage.


Watch An Instagram Live on the Independent Essay with Marina @wikimarina and I @movingenglish.



The Best TOEFL Writing Template for Any Prompt
TOEFL Writing Integrated Task Youtube Tutorial


It is essential to learn how to paraphrase effectively to succeed in the TOEFL writing and reading sections. If you follow some of the tips on this blog post, you are sure to get a higher score and avoid repetition. The truth is that nobody wants to read a boring essay. Remember you can: 1) Substitute the key words with synonyms. 2) Change the structure of the sentence and bring the second idea to the front of the sentence. 3) Use a different part of speech of the same word to creatively paraphrase the sentence.

Overall, if you take these five tips into account and start using these strategies to write a clear essay, it will help you tremendously to achieve your goals. Here are some more tips from the official ETS website about improving your writing skills
Do you have my freebie yet? Download the 2021 TOEFL speaking exam guide:


Sentence Structure
Some people regularly cook at home (simple). Others prefer enjoying the culinary options around town because they believe it is more adventurous (complex). I prefer making my own food at home (simple). Going to the local market with friends and looking up inspiring recipes motivates me to take care of my health (compound). Therefore, I will explain why it is more convenient and healthy to eat at home and why I use food preparation as an excuse to take care of my friends and family with the added benefit of socializing around the dinner table (compound-complex).

Transition words:
People often say that loyalty is the most important quality for a good friend to have. (1)However, in my opinion, a good sense of humor is more important than loyalty. I say this because sometimes loyal friends are too serious. (2) In addition, loyal friends are too clingy and call too often. (3) On the contrary, friends with a good sense of humor can turn a bad day into a joyful, silly day. (4) For this reason, I would rather have a friend with a good sense of humor than a loyal friend.

Practice question 1b)
“Parents take their children to museums in order to teach them about humanity and the history of our world.”
Here is a sample paraphrased sentence, although it isn’t the only option:
“Parents accompany their children to museums for the purpose of educating them about human society and global history.”
: Practice question 2b)
“Nowadays, people ride their bikes to work more than ever because bikes are a healthy option and an efficient form of transportation.”
Despite the fact that this isn’t the only option, is a sample paraphrased sentence:
“Due to the fact that bikes are fast and help riders stay physically fit, people are currently commuting to work in greater numbers.”
Practice Question 3b.
“For women, the biological clock indicates when to have children.”
Considering the fact that there are millions of ways to reword this sentence, this is one potential option:
“Biologically speaking, women often feel a sense of timing for having children.”

Check out these great links below related to ESL and education:

How to Develop Amazing Personal Connections

How to make Grammar Practice Fun in English

Ways to Make English Language Learners Feel Comfortable in your Classroom

Interested in blogging? Here are 7 Helpful Tips on How to Blog Like a Boss 


The Definite Article in English


When Do you Use the Definite Article in English?

➡️In English, there are two kinds of articles: definite articles and indefinite articles.  An article is a word that comes before a noun.  However, there is just one definite article: “the” in the English language. There are two indefinite articles: “a” and “an”.  Are you comfortable knowing when to use the definite article? It is actually very complicated and I notice that some of my students who are learning English who are from Russia or from countries in Asia have more difficulty with this concept because articles are used differently in their native languages. 

✅In simple terms, we use “the” in English in front of nouns that are singular and plural to describe something that is unique or when there is only one of something.  For example, “We live on the second floor of our apartment.” Also, if you are talking about a capital city you could say, The capital city of the United States is Washington D.C.” 

😁There are many differences in geography that you need to be aware of when using the definite article.  You can see in the visuals that I’ve created that the article is used for rivers: The Wapsi river, BUT NOT for lakes: Lake Monroe.  However, if it is plural, you use it: The Great Lakes.


When Not to Use the Definite Article in English 

For the most part, we DO NOT use the definite article in English when we talk in general about something and we DO use it when we describe specific and particular things or groups of people. 

🎸We use “the” for musical instruments.  “I play the piano and I have been playing the violin my entire life.” However, you could talk about musical instruments in general and use the plural form without “the.” Take this example: “The shop sells many different kinds of guitars and I am looking forward to buying an electric guitar. Nonetheless, I see the shop features the electric guitar in its catalogue.” In the previous example, the catalogue refers to the general type of musical instrument, while the one the person wants to buy is one particular guitar, which is why it doesn’t require the definite article.

🤖Also, we use the definite article in English when describing machines, appliances, and inventions.  You could say, “I really enjoy using the new vacuum cleaner.” Also, “Thomas Edison invented the light bulb.”

💦When you use “the” it provides more specificity to the item you are referring to. In fact, It describes a particular item.  Rather if you use “a” to describe the same machine, it is more general.  For example, “I really need to buy a new vacuum cleaner for my house.” This example contrasts with an example that talks about the particular machine/invention: “The vacuum cleaner is a useful invention that we use to clean our carpets.”

🦉When describing specific kinds of animals, we use “the.”  For example, the Great Horned Owl is a large owl native to the Americas.” However, if you mention animals in the plural, you would simply say, “cats, dogs, geese, or birds” without the article. Also, if you want to point out one particular animal that you see, you could use “a” or “an”: I went to the zoo last week and saw a giraffe eating a leaf from a tall tree.” 🦒


Examples of the Definite Article in English

💵You can also use “the” when talking about currency: the dollar, the yen, the peso, the real, the ruble.  For example, “The peso’s exchange rate is 2% higher this week.”  Compare that sentence which talks about a particular currency with this one: “I have a peso in my wallet and plan on buying a few candies at the candy store.”  Again, when I use the indefinite article, I am highlighting the fact that there is one particular peso in my wallet. 

🌎On the other hand, when you are talking about countries, continents, cities, towns, street names, squares, and names of avenues, you don’t need to use “the.” For example, It is my dream to visit Tokyo, Japan, which is located in Asia. I might visit  Yoyogi Park and Hachiko square.  ⭐️There are a few countries to be aware of.  Ukraine doesn’t need “the” anymore because it is no longer a republic of the Soviet Union.   Also, The Gambia is named after a river, so it does have the article.  

🏙The truth is that I lived in New York City for a number of years and I became familiar with some of the landmarks that make the city so unique.  I toured the Empire State building, I walked across the Brooklyn Bridge and ate at Giovanni’s for dinner. These are examples of buildings, monuments, and landmarks (article more often than not), and a restaurant named after a person (no article).

👵🏽👵🏽When we talk about groups of people, we use “the” as well.  Some examples to illustrate this point are: “The injured, the poor, the elderly, the young, the rich, the unemployed.”  However, if you talk about one person in that group, you would specify and say, “I saw an elderly man yesterday” or “Did you know that she is a poor girl?”

☘️The same rule applies to talking about different nationalities. For example, “The Irish are vibrant and funny people.”  However, you could mention one Irish woman and say, “Silvia is an Irish woman.”  Remember, though, that you have to say a Frenchman or a Frenchwoman because you can’t ⛔️ say “A French.”


A PDF about the Definite Article in ENGLISH

Here are some exercises with the definite article in English.  Write “the” if it requires the definite article or “x” in the blank if it doesn’t require the definite article.

  1. Do you play _____ trumpet? 
  2. Could you please pass ______ salt. 
  3. Have you ever been to _____Michigan?
  4. What is the exchange rate between ____dollar and ____peso?

Would you like to do more practice exercises.  I would like to direct you to my wonderful resource that explains the use of the definite article in detail.  You will finally understand this tricky grammar rule once and for all after you do the exercises. English


Watch a Video about the Definite Article

In this video, I provide you with some clear examples of when to use the definite article in English. I give some example of geographical features, places in the city, and names of hotels and buildings.


Would you like even more practice?

Check out the link to the BBC’s website about the definite article. You can complete a few dialogues that will allow you to better understand this concept.




Talk about your Favorite Movie IELTS Cue Card

One of the strategies I use with my students who are preparing for the IELTS exam is to create vocabulary lists related to the topics that they will surely encounter on the IELTS speaking exam.  One of the topics that could potentially come up is about films and movies.  Here is a great list of words that will help you crack the IELTS speaking exam.  You might get a cue card that asks the following:


Take Notes to Prepare your Answer

How could you better prepare for this question?  I would suggest taking the following steps to take notes and improve your response:

    • Step 1: Brainstorm your top 3 movie choices and quickly choose one that you could talk the most about.
    • Step 2: Write down the genre of the movie (science fiction, romantic comedy, drama…etc)
    • Step 3: Write down three key events from the plot and a few charming or memorable characteristics of the main characters.
    • Step 4: Use some of the adjectives on the above list to talk about why you love the movie so much
    • Step 5: Train your pronunciation and fluency with a language partner or with a teacher.

You could even consider creating a word web or using a table with columns to organize your keywords and notes that correspond to each of the questions on the cue card.

Sample Answer

“The best movie that I have ever seen is “The Shape of Water,” which won an Oscar in 2018.  The movie falls into the “romance” and “fantasy” genres and is about a mute cleaning lady who works in a high security government office.  She ends up falling in love with an amphibian creature that is held captive for research study in the government building.  She thinks of a plan to rescue the creature and help set him free. The main character is played by Sally Hawkins and she is gentle, caring, and determined.  The movie left a lasting impression on me because it showed the nature of human beings and their desire to research the mysteries of the planet.  However, these mysterious creatures and animals have feelings and we have to treat other beings with respect. The loving bond the cleaning lady and the creature develop is intense and beautiful and kept me on the edge of my seat.  I love movies with suspense and I also enjoy movies that are unpredictable. In conclusion, the Shape of Water held all the qualities that I look for in a good movie and more: mystery, fantasy, and love.”


Vocabulary about Movies and Films

The resource I have designed is a wonderful way for you to study advanced vocabulary for the IELTS test on your own.  These digital task cards are ideal for B2 (upper intermediate) and C1 (advanced) adult ESL language learners. These digital task cards help you learn common expression, collocations, and important vocabulary words for talking about movies. You can also listen to the audio recording of the word to practice pronunciation and select the correct definition.

vocabulary-cue-cards-ieltsWAYS TO TALK ABOUT FILMS


IELTS Speaking Part 3 Questions about Films

  1. Have movies become increasingly popular or decreasingly popular in recent years?
  2. Do you think movies will be replaced by television series?
  3. What are the advantages and disadvantages of basing movies on books?
  4. How important is it for a movie director to be creative and inventive when making a movie?
  5. Should movies be censored or should be we free to choose what we watch?
  6. What is your opinion about downloading movies illegally from the internet. Should there be a fine for this?
  7. What makes movies so appealing to watch?
  8. Do you think people will stop going to the cinema in the future?
  9. How has technology like CGI (computer generated imagery) improved movies? What are the disadvantages of too much technology in movies?
  10. How have films changed since you were a child?

Conversation Questions about Movies


Ways to Talk about Movies and Watching TV:



Phrasal Verbs with Give Quiz


To Give Away

  1. To give something away= to give something you no longer need to a person or an organization as a gift or a donation.

For example, “I am going to give some of my old clothes away this weekend.”

2. To give something away=to reveal a secret, often accidentally.

For example, “Jeff gave away the surprise birthday party and basically told everyone he knew about it.”

3. To give away someone= to hand over the bride to the groom on their wedding day, usually performed by the father of the bride.

For example, “Bradley gave his daughter away to Simon on their wedding day.”

4. To give yourself away= to accidentally tell or share some news that you wanted to keep private.  

For example, “Susana was pregnant, but she was keeping it a secret.  She gave herself away by rubbing her belly continuously.”

To Give Back

  1. To give something back to someone=to return something to someone.

For example, “Timmy gave his pencil back to Quin.”

2. To give back=to donate time or money to help society.

For example, “We decided to give back to the community and organize a tree  planting in the local park.”


To Give In

  • To give in= To agree to do something even though you don’t really want to do it.  For example, “My son always begs me to take him to the mall until I give in.”

To Give Out

  • To give out= To distribute flyers, papers, and worksheets to people. For example, “The workers gave out the flyers about the labor rights protest on Sunday.”
  • To give out on= to stop working. “My coffee grinder gave out on me last week.”

To Give Up

  • To give something up=to stop doing an activity that you regularly do. For example, “Brian gave up beer because it was giving him a stomach ache.”
  • To give up on someone=to no longer be concerned with a person and what they decide to do. For example, “I gave up on Seth because I realized he wasn’t going to take my advice about getting off drugs.”


To Give Off

  • To give off=to radiate or emanate. For example, “The sewage system is giving off a bad smell.”phrasal-verbs-give

To Give Forth

  • To give forth=to emit or release something. For example, “The roses give forth an uplifting fragrance.”

To Give Over

  • To give over=to deliver a person to the authorities. For example, “The teen gave over her neighbor to the authorities because he had been seen robbing someone in the street.”   
  • To give over=to transfer control or to hand over.  For example, “The small fruit company wasn’t doing well and was given over to the larger, international company.”

Phrasal Verbs with Give Quiz

Test your Knowledge of these Phrasal Verbs with Give


Do you want to learn more about phrasal verbs? Check out this awesome Youtube video: 

Conversation Questions with Phrasal Verbs:

1) Do you give up easily or are you persistent?
2) What kitchen appliance recently gave out on you (broke)?
3) Do you give in easily when other people want to do something that you don’t really want to do or do you “stick to your guns?” “Stick to your guns” is an expression that means you refuse to compromise or change your mind.
4) What is one bad habit you want to give up this year?
5) How often do you give clothes away?
6) Is it more likely for you to keep a secret or give away a secret?
7) Do you give back to your community and volunteer or donate money to local organizations?



6 Animal Idioms with their Meanings



Animal Idioms With their Meaning

Idioms are a wonderful way to study the English language and sound more natural and fluent in conversation.  Also, these idioms are playful, creative, and they make learning language more exciting.

To let the cat out of the bag means to reveal a secret.
For example, “Jessica let the cat out of the bag and told everyone about the surprise birthday party.”😼

An elephant in the room is something that is everybody knows about, but nobody wants to talk about.🐘For example, “The fact that sam was caught for theft was the elephant in the room at all of the family dinners.”

To be a chicken can mean to be scared of things. 🐓To “chicken out” means to be too scared to do something and to back out. For example, “Sam is such a chicken.  Last week he chickened out and didn’t go into the cave with us.”

To stop something cold turkey is to abruptly quit doing something. For example, “Suzy quit smoking cold turkey.” 🦃

A person who wouldn’t hurt a fly is a harmless person.🪰For example, “Jennifer wouldn’t hurt a fly. She’s so sweet.”

A rat is a person who is considered sneaky and who might tell others about someone’s mistakes or wrongdoings.🐀To rat someone out is to tell on them or tell the teacher/ authorities about what they did wrong.  For example, “Jim ratted me out and told the teacher that I stole his pencil.”

Your turn! What other animal idioms have you heard? Do you work like a dog? Are you a night owl or an early bird? Do you watch people like a hawk? Have you ever felt like a fish out of water? How do you kill two birds with one stone? Write down your favorite idioms in the comments.


Animal Idioms with their Meanings

Take this quiz to test your knowledge of the animal idioms.🐓

5 Tips for the IELTS Writing Task 2

Tip #1: Highlight the Keywords

I am going to share 5 tips with you to help you write the essay for the IELTs exam much faster.  These tips will also help you get a higher band score.  There are many words you should study to prepare for the IELTs writing task two.  These are words that are commonly used in English and that can strengthen your lexical resource score.

  On the IELTs exam, you will have 40 minutes to write more than 250 words.

An Example of an IELTS Task 2 Essay Topic:

The growing number of overweight people is putting a strain on the health care system in an effort to deal with the health issues involved.  Some people think that the best way to deal with this problem is to introduce more physical education lessons into the school curriculum.  To what extent do you agree?

  • Highlight the Key Words:The growing number of overweight people is putting a strain on the health care system in an effort to deal with the health issues involved.  Some people think that the best way to deal with this problem is to introduce more physical education lessons into the school curriculum.  To what extent do you agree?




Tip # 2: Substitute the key words with synonyms 

Some of the most common words can be substituted, which shows your ability to use lexical variety and to vary your word choice.  It is a terrible idea to restate the essay topic word for word. DON’T COPY THE TOPIC SENTENCE! 



You can use the highlighted words to brainstorm synonyms.  The more you practice creating graphic organizers like the ones you can see here, the more expansive your vocabulary will become. 



On the IELTS exam, you typically write about social issues on task 2 such as: environmental issues, health-related issues, and questions about technology to name a few.  Therefore, it is a great idea to master the type of vocabulary you could use to talk about problems.Click here for an extensive list of IELTs Writing Task 2 topics! 




Tip #3: Re-write the Introduction for the IELTS task 2 Essay:  

Here is an example of what your introduction might look like.  I italicized the words I changed :

The soaring number of obese people is putting an unnecessary burden on the health care system.  Many people hold the opinion that the best way to tackle this pressing issue is to add more physical education lessons into the school curriculum.  I completely agree with this statement and feel that creating healthy habits and routines is one of the best ways to prevent weight problems in youth early on, positively impacting future generations. 


Tip #4: Brainstorm Words Related to Obesity


  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Lack of exercise
  • Childhood diabetes/ heart disease 
  • future generations
  • Sports
  • Healthy habits 
  • School as a place to establish healthy routines and teach health


Tip #4: Structure your essay into paragraphs



In this essay, I might suggest writing the first paragraph about the causes of obesity and the second paragraph about the importance of routines and physical education classes to prevent obesity.  Then, move on to the conclusion.

Tip #5: Write a conclusion

Your conclusion can be your introduction, but paraphrased.  You could add words like:

  • To sum up,
  • To conclude,
  • In conclusion,
  • Finally,
  • In summary,

I would suggest changing the sentence order and using a few of the other synonyms like “manage” or “handle” or “address” in the conclusion.


Would you like additional practice with this topic? Get your IELTS essay writing resource today. 


This is a digital writing activity that I use with my students who are preparing for the IELTS and TOEFL IBT exam and who need practice with word choice and sentence structure in essay writing. Once you purchase the product, I will share a link with you so that you can make your own copy of the google slides activity.  The essay topic is about two environmental issues: global warming and deforestation. Students are given a structure to plan their essay and I help them brainstorm related vocabulary words. I give them a step-by-step process for writing their essay and constructing their paragraphs.

The goal of this lesson is to help students learn how to paraphrase. I use a two-step strategy: 1) word choice. Students are presented with a number of “drag and drop” activities to substitute words in the sentence with a variety of synonyms, which is fun and interactive. 2) sentence structure. Students learn to put the second clause of the sentence first, playing with paraphrasing ideas through sentence structure.

*There are audio instructions on every slide so students can do this independently

*There are transition words to help students use more transitional language in their paragraphs

Don’t Make these 5 Mistakes on the TOEFL IBT Speaking Exam


1. Don’t Use a Template

Some people who have no idea what they are getting themselves into with the TOEFL IBT exam.  They are new to the exam and go into the test center and expect an easier exam.  They may try to “wing it” and improvise.  Don’t go into the TOEFL IBT exam unprepared! In fact, you need to take notes. These are key and important things to keep in mind to prepare for the speaking exam:

  • Organize your answer in a template 
  • Write down key words and the main idea
  • Uses synonyms to rephrase the key ideas  

2. Forget to Cite your Source

The TOEFL IBT speaking exam has a few integrated tasks that require you to read a passage and listen to a lecture or read a campus proposal and listen to a speaker give an opinion.  Some people begin talking about the reading passage or about the lecture, but they don’t say who or where the information is coming from.  This is a BIG MISTAKE! 

  • Use phrases like, “According to the professor…”, “The reading explains…” “The professor mentions…”  “Based on the reading…” 

“Don’t repeat the same sentence structure too often.  Avoid saying, ‘The writer says that…, and the speaker says that…Moreover, the speaker says that…’  Grammar is not the only element of good language.  Variety is also a part of good speech (and writing), so alternate your sentence structure.”  -Kaplan Prep Plus 2021-2021



3. Avoid Transitional Language

Some students I’ve worked with use very few transitional words.  They are so nervous and they simply forget to use words like, “Firstly,” and “Furthermore…”  in their responses.  These words are helpful and will most definitely increase your score because they show that you have advanced linguistic skills.  

Also, transitional language helps you make connections and show important relationships that exist between the reading passage and the lecture.  The test examiners want to see if you can make these important links between the different sources.

If you need ideas and are looking for a guide to help you learn how to use transitional language correctly in your response, you can get it here! 

4. Don’t Pay Attention to the Evaluation Criteria 

When I ask students whether or not they know how they are being evaluated, they almost always say “no.”  So, I highly recommend looking at the evaluation criteria and seeing how you will be scored.  After you answer practice questions, you can go back and reflect on your answer and look at the check-list. It will help you improve your future answers.  If you download my guide, you can read the evaluation check-list.  


5. Think Negative Thoughts 

Students have told me that when they feel nervous, their minds go blank and they simply can’t focus and concentrate in English.  This causes many blocks and inhibits your ability to give the kind of great answer you are truly capable of giving.  Stay positive and repeat a positive mantra over and over again in your head.  According to the Barron’s TOEFL IBT exam preparation book, “Negative thoughts can interfere with your concentration, and you may not hear the questions correctly. Take deep breaths before each question and say this in your mind: ‘I am a good speaker. I am ready to speak.”


See Just How Easy it is to Teach Kids English Online

Teach Kids English Online Today!

I am going to show you some tips and tricks that will help you see just how easy it is to teach kids English online.  It is a job that is fun, easy, and engaging for both the teacher and the students.  First of all, the screen creates a kind of distance between the student and the teacher, so it is important to create connection between the learner and the teacher when teaching English as a foreign language online.  There are many ways to establish rapport at the beginning of class when you teach kids English online.

1. Use Puppets to Teach Kids English Online

Puppets are adorable, eye-catching, and funny.  The truth is that parents love seeing their kid’s teacher with a puppet at the beginning of class.  Personally, I use colorful puppets that have moving mouths that can talk and pronounce words or model sentence structures. When the puppet’s mouth moves, it comes to life and truly is a living character in your classroom.  The truth is that many young learners are too shy to speak English directly to you, but they will speak to a puppet.  I ordered my puppet from The Puppet Company on and I absolutely love how lively their puppets are. My toddler loves puppets and as a mom, I experience the magic puppets bring to my child every day!


2. 2D Props that Sparkle create Connection in Online Classes

In truth, when I first started teaching kids English online, I used mainly digital props on Manycam.  Then, I realized that the platform I teach on was so interactive and digital, that I needed to use more 2D printables in order to be more successful and create more connection with my students.  I use 2D props to reinforce vocabulary words, to spark conversation, to extend lessons, and to indicate when it is time for the student to speak.  Some of my “must-have” props are: a star, a big pencil, a large glitter magnifying glass, glitter emojis, correct/incorrect signs, “Hello” and “Nice to meet you” signs.  I also use pom poms, stuffed animals, and toys for fun.  I put glitter on as much as I can in the online classroom to make the colors explode. To top it off, I have a box of cookies as a prop to teach “eat” and “sweet.” You get get a set of the props I’ve made on my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

Gets Yours Today! 


3. Use bright, colorful props to teach kids English Online

When I first started teaching kids English online, I found myself drawing props and running around the house for hours searching for props.  After years of teaching children online, I decided to upgrade my props and make them brighter, more colorful, and more eye-catching.  These bright props increased my ratings and parent satisfaction.  Parents love to see a teacher who is well-prepared, professional, and on top of his/her game.  Now, I have full bookings and have to turn-down classes because I’m swamped with work. Want proof? Check out these before and after pictures of the transformation:

Watch this prop video!

Buy Yours NOW!


4. Play Games with Props when you Teach Kids English Online

There are many games that I play with kids to encourage student talk time.  One of the games that I love is to roll a gigantic red dice.  Whatever number it lands on dictates how many times the student says the word.  It is brilliant, colorful, and exciting.  Another game I play with kids online is a pinwheel game.  I put pictures of voices on a pinwheel and spin the colorful wheel around.  The kids have to pronounce the word with a “robot” voice or a “man” voice and it is very dramatic and it boosts engagement.  In general, spinners are a wonderful addition to the online classroom.  If you want to use digital spinners, you can make your own at this site and this site.

These games are available for download with one click!


5. Use Props as Extensions and to Facilitate Student Talk Time

Sometimes, when class finishes early, I review the concept we learned with an extension.  When I first started teaching online, I really didn’t have any extensions or 2D props and when I ended early, I had no idea what to do with the kids.  Nowadays, I might have a poster that displays a spinner with different images on it and I ask the kids, “How do you go to school?”  One student responds, “I go to school by bus.”  The poster encourages more improvisation with the English language and makes learning visually stimulating.

Check out my must-have props!

Check out this fabulous weather spinner extension! 

6. Make Kids Laugh when Teaching English Online

I try to use humor as much as possible to teach kids English online.  If you can break the ice and make kids laugh, you truly win their hearts.  Here are some ideas to make kids laugh: Put on funny glasses, wear a clown nose, cover yourself with a blanket at the beginning of class and then dramatically uncover yourself to surprise students, wear a costume or a colorful headband, show stinky socks/feet, use a spider prop to be silly, open a box with something surprising inside.  Students love funny props, especially after a long day of school.  Don’t underestimate the power of humor in the online classroom.

7. Use Flashcards to Teach Kids English Online

Flashcards are an indispensable part of my online teaching methodology.  When I taught in-person classes to kids, I used flashcard games creatively to encourage good pronunciation and repetition.  I use them to stimulate student output and to encourage faster language acquisition.  I am a visual learner and have always valued visuals in the language classroom.  Therefore, I find flashcards to be highly engaging and essential.  Not only that, I have a toddler at home who is learning the alphabet and key vocabulary words and I also use the flash cards with him at home, so I can kill two birds with one stone.  To teach kids English online, I put the flashcards on popsicle sticks and move them close to the webcam.  I like students to see a different image than the one they see on the screen in order to make further associations with the word. The more chances they can see the word in action, the more likely they are to use it and remember it.

I make my flashcards 8.5×11 so that you can print them out any size you want.  You can print them big, half-size, four on a page, or six on a page.  I do this because I want you to decide what is best for your own classroom and to give you the versatility to choose.  You can find my flashcard food and fruit freebies here! Download, print, and teach!


8. Using Manycam for Teaching Kids English Online

Manycam is a useful tool that can be a wonderful resource for motivating kids.  Nowadays, I use manycam for cool effects like putting a rain cloud over my head to teach the weather or I use the “tears” to show sadness when I say goodbye.  I tend to avoid using scary masks.  However, some of the animal effects are nice such as putting a frog on top of your head putting some pig ears on your face.  Manycam is also useful for adjusting lighting.  Not only that, I put on a welcome video before class in one of Manycam’s preset windows and I put a “goodbye” video at the end of the video.  There is a free version of Manycam that many teachers use when they are starting out.  However, I use the paid version because I use more presets to plan my classes.  There are some alternatives to manycam like Camtwist.

In this video, I teach you how to make an intro and goodbye video in canva and insert it into manycam!

9. Finding a Company to Teach Kids English Online

There are many great companies out there to apply for.  The bottom line is, find a mentor to help you navigate the onboarding process. As a matter of fact, you are more likely to be hired and to pass the interview process if you have a guide helping you who knows what is expected and required.  If you try to do it alone, it might become overwhelming.  You may not realize that this is a competitive industry and the expectations are high.

Magic Ears Online ESL: 4 Students in a Classroom

As you may know, I teach for Magic Ears.  SIGN-UP to TEACH with Magic Ears HERE! I highly recommend the company because there are four students in the classroom and the platform is fun and dynamic.  I can be your mentor if you want to apply.  The cancellation policy is flexible and the hiring process has just become easier because the staff gives you feedback and you can keep trying until you get hired. Consequently, it is the best online ESL company to work for and although the bookings are slow at first since they are determined by your rank, they do pick up quickly and now I can teach for them as much as I’d like.

I’ve been teaching with Magic Ears for 5 contract periods and am a seasoned Magic Ears teacher with a Senior Ranking.  My goal is to become a Magic Master! Teach with Magic Ears!


Download this free PDF with bonny images to decorate your background for your interview!

Do you want to teach at GOGOKID or Outschool? Also, if you want to try teaching at Itutorgroup to get your feet wet teaching, they have a less competitive hiring process and I would recommend Nikli Lubing as your mentor for all of those companies.  Not only can she mentor you at itutorgroup, she can also help you with outschool and GogoKid! 

Nikki Lubing, Online ESL Teacher

If you need lesson plans for going solo and teaching on your own website, I highly recommend using Daniel Didio’s online ESL curriculum for kids.

10. VIP KID and Using Rewards in the Classroom

As you may have heard, VIP KID is the most renowned online ESL company for kids out there and it is a fun company to work for with great opportunities for career advancement and leadership roles.  The curriculum is outstanding and the professional development is the best out there.  If you want to apply to VIP KID, I highly recommend contacting Amanda Panda to help mentor you and to give you advice about making an introduction video and creating an attractive profile.  You can download many freebies on her site and she also has a lovely Etsy store with a lot of wonderful props and fabulous rewards that have endless possibilities.  If you need help editing your video, please contact Classroom Pro edits on instagram or facebook. 

Amanda Panda: Your VIP KID MENTOR!

As you can see, teaching Kids English Online…

is feasible and accessible to anyone who reaches out to a mentor for help and is open minded and dedicated.  The benefits of teaching kids online are many such as: a flexible schedule, you can teach while you travel, you don’t have to deal with a ton of classroom discipline issues, you don’t have to commute to work, and you can make teacher friends online.  There are many perks, but I find the schedule to be conducive to pursuing my goals, family commitments, and to maintaining healthy exercise habits.




Unlock the Secrets of the Conditional Tenses in English

Is it hard for you to keep track of all the conditional tenses in English? Many of my students confuse the zero, first, second, third conditionals.  Maybe you need a quick review.  At last, I’ve come up with some amazing charts and tables to help you unlock the secrets of the conditional tenses in English.  I am eager to help you use these constructions effectively in conversation. Foremost, I want to give you some opportunities to practice them in the form of fun, engaging quizzes. I only ask that you share this epic blog post with your fellow language learners.

The Zero Conditional in English

We use the zero conditional in English to describe things that are always true or that happen often.  “If” and “when” mean “every time.”


The Zero Conditional Quiz

This quiz will test your ability to make zero conditional sentences. Remember, the zero conditional is used to explain things that are expected to happen. The structure is: If/when + present tense, present tense...


The First Conditional

We use the first conditional to talk about a possible future.  This may have to do with health, diet, studying for an exam, or activities that help you reach your goals.



The First Conditional Quiz

This quiz will test your ability to use the first conditional. You will find many great examples of when you can use this grammatical structure. Remember, the first conditional is: If + _____(present tense), ...___will.  Good luck!

The Second Conditional

We use the second conditional to talk about the future when we don’t expect something to happen.  In other words, the second conditional is used for hypothetical situations.


The Second Conditional

This is a quiz that will test your ability to use the second conditional effectively.  Remember that the structure is: If + ___(past tense) , would +verb. 

The Third Conditional

The third conditional is used to talk about an imagined past.  This construction could be used to talk about something you regret or something you would have done differently or a result that could have changed.


The Third Conditional Quiz

The third conditional is very tricky.  This quiz will test your ability to use the third conditional in a variety of situations.  The structure of the third conditional is: If + past perfect, would have + participle 

Mixed Conditionals

We used mixed conditionals to talk about something that happened in the past and that influences our lives now.  These situations are hypothetical and we can look at some specific examples to learn how to use them properly.


Mixed Conditionals

Mixed conditionals are used to describe hypothetical situations in the past that influence you now.  The structure is If + past tenses/ would...

Might, Could, and Would with Conditionals

We use might, could and would in second and third conditional sentences to express the probability of a hypothetical situation occurring.


Might is unlikely and unknown, could is unlikely, but possible, and would is the most probably option. I realize this could be tricky for non-native speakers, so we can work on some examples.  You could use any of these words, but it really depends on the likeliness of something hypothetically happening and you want to select the correct word to communicate that idea.



Might, Could, and Would with 2nd and 3rd Conditionals

We use might, could, and would to express the probability of something happening.  You can use any of them, but choose the one that aligns with the likeliness of a hypothetical situation.  

I hope these quizzes and visual descriptions have helped you become more comfortable with using the conditional tenses in English. Focus on practicing these and I’m sure you will have some important breakthroughs.  Please leave some examples of your own conditional sentences in the comments! If you would like me to add a quiz to this where I mix all the conditional tenses and you have to identify which tense it is, then let me know!

7 Phrasal Verbs with Blow


Phrasal Verbs with Blow

1. Blow Away

These phrasal verbs with blow are very fun to use in conversation.  In American English we use the word “blow” more often than you would think and it even as become popular in American slang.  In fact, you can say, “That blows” if you want to communicate that you really don’t like the outcome or to express disappointment.  In this post, I will discuss the different ways “blow” is used as a phrasal verb.  Maybe you are aware of some of these uses, while others are unfamiliar to you.  Nevertheless, I recommend studying phrasal verbs for about five minutes a day so that your English doesn’t get rusty.


There are many things in this world that blow me away.  Starbucks has a matcha latte that simply blows me away every time I drink it.  Apple products such as iphones, ipads, and Macbooks never cease to blow me away.  Also, my two-year-old son blows me away on a daily basis because he develops new reading, artistic, and communication skills so quickly.  What blows you away? Please share your ideas in the comments.

2. Phrasal Verbs with Blow: Blow Somebody Off


It feels terrible when somebody blows you off.  You set a time to meet and are waiting for that person in the coffee shop, wondering where they are.  You try to send them a message, but they don’t respond.  They didn’t stick to their promise to get together with you at the scheduled time.  They make you feel like you don’t matter and that is awful. I remember when I was in Brazil and a friend completely blew me off. I felt like such an idiot waiting for her to appear, but she never did.  Nonetheless, she had a good excuse and communicated that with me the next time I saw her.   Sometimes when someone blows you off, it can hurt your friendship. In the comments, tell me about the last time someone blew you off!

3. Phrasal Verbs with Blow=Blow Out


When you blow out the candles on your birthday cake, do you make a wish? I usually wish for things that aren’t material possessions such as: love, happiness, and an inner flame keep the passion in life burning.  This phrasal verb can also be used to describe a fire.  A gust of wind may come along and blow out the flames, leaving you only with a few hot coals.  For that reason, it is better to build a bonfire on a calm day when it isn’t terribly windy.  Do you build bonfires outdoors in the summer time? What do you typically wish for when you blow out candles on your birthday cake? Leave your comments below.

4. Phrasal Verbs with Blow:  Blow Up


I find American action films to be on the violent side.  It is typical to see cars, buildings and motorcycles blowing up.  Explosions sell when it comes to the entertainment industry.  Honestly, I prefer watching movies with good dialogue and an intelligent plot, but many people enjoy watching action movies where nearly everything blows up.  I have also heard “blow up” used in American slang to refer to getting bulky and big muscles at the gym while lifting weights.  My brother-in-law often says, “Let’s blow up!” when he goes to the gym, but it is used this way less often. How about you? Do you like to watch Hollywood action movies?

5. Phrasal Verbs with Blow=Blow Down


Have you ever read the story, “The Three Little Pigs?”  In the story, the wolf threatens the pigs by saying,  “I’ll huff and puff and blow your house down.”  He is essentially saying that he is going to use the strength of his breath to destroy their home.  This phrasal verb is often used to refer to storms such as hurricanes and tornadoes that blow houses and structures down.  I am originally from Iowa, so our house was nearly blown down by a tornado one summer.   Tornadoes are terrifying and you have to be very careful and hide in the basement of the house if there is a tornado nearby.  Have you ever seen a house get blown down in a storm?

6. Phrasal Verbs with Blow=Blow Over


We use this phrasal verb a lot in the Midwest in the United States because the weather is constantly changing and there are some very intense storms that hit our cities and small towns.  People look up to the sky and say with a sense of hope, “Don’t worry, this storm will blow over in a couple of hours.”  I’ve typically heard this phrasal verb with blow used to talk about weather, particularly about storms. However, you can also use it to talk about a bad situation.  Perhaps people got in a big fight in your house and to describe the tension you could say, “This will blow over soon.” How about you? Do you live in a place where there are many thunderstorms and snowstorms? Do they blow over quickly?

7. Phrasal Verbs with Blow=Blowout


This is a phrasal verb we use to talk about a car tire that has a hole or puncture in it.  You probably have to pull over to the side of the road and fix the blowout.  It isn’t a pleasant feeling when you are stranded on the side of the road having to call the insurance company or a tow truck to help you fix the problem. Have you ever had a blowout? How did you fix the problem? Did you replace the tire with the spare tire in the trunk? Are you good at fixing tires yourself? Leave your comments below.

I hope these phrasal verbs with blow are helpful! Take this quiz:

Phrasal Verbs with Blow

This is a quiz that will test your understanding of these tricky phrasal verbs.