Category: Speak English Fluently

TOEFL SPEAKING EXAM

Speak Your Way to Success: 5 Tips for Acing the TOEFL IBT Speaking Section with Technology

If you’re a TOEFL IBT test-taker, you may be nervous about the speaking section of the exam. This is a normal feeling, but with the right strategies and preparation, you can improve your chances of success. In this blog post, I’ll provide you with 5 tips to succeed on the speaking section, and show you how technology can help you improve your speaking skills.

1. Practice, practice, practice

One of the most important things you can do to improve your speaking skills is to practice speaking as much as possible. You can practice speaking English with friends, family, or classmates, or even record yourself speaking and listen back to it. There are also many online resources available that offer speaking practice exercises and opportunities to connect with other English learners. I would encourage you to try using MySpeakingScore.com to practice since it provides over 15 unique TOEFL speaking exams. 

2. Time management

The speaking section of the TOEFL IBT exam is timed, so it’s important to manage your time effectively. You will have 20 seconds to prepare your response to each question, and 60 seconds to speak. Use the preparation time wisely by brainstorming ideas and organizing your thoughts. When you start speaking, try to stay focused and on topic, and avoid rambling or going off on tangents. If you pause too much, you will lose points. 

3.  Stay calm and focused

It’s normal to feel nervous during the speaking section of the TOEFL IBT exam, but it’s important to stay calm and focused. Take a deep breath and remind yourself that you’ve prepared for this moment. Avoid negative self-talk or dwelling on mistakes, and instead focus on doing your best on the next question. 

4. Use technology to improve your speaking skills

Technology can be a powerful tool for improving your speaking skills. There are many apps and websites available that offer speech recognition software, which can help you practice your pronunciation and fluency. You can also watch videos or listen to podcasts to improve your listening skills and learn new vocabulary. You could try using: MySpeakingScore.com, Elsa Speech Analyzer, and Chat GPT with the Google Chrome Extension Talk-to-Chat GPT. Ask Chat GPT to generate TOEFL IBT speaking questions. Record your response and ask for feedback and for ways to improve your response. 

You can analyze your responses and clearly see what your weak areas are and where your strengths are. Then, you can target those areas to improve your speaking scores. In Fact, one of my students went from a 24-scoring response to a 26 by improving her vocabulary and by increasing her speed.

 

5. Pay attention to your body language and tone

Your body language and tone can have a big impact on how you come across during the speaking section of the TOEFL IBT exam. Make sure you sit up straight and maintain eye contact with the computer screen. Speak clearly and confidently, but also try to vary your tone and pace to keep speaking at a quick pace.

In conclusion, the speaking section of the TOEFL IBT exam can be challenging, but with the right strategies and preparation, you can succeed. Remember to practice as much as possible, manage your time effectively, stay calm and focused, use technology to your advantage, and pay attention to your body language and tone. Good luck!

➡️If you’re serious about acing the speaking section of the TOEFL iBT, then join the waitlist for my upcoming speaking and writing intensive in May. This program is designed to help you improve your speaking skills, build confidence, and learn strategies to excel on the test. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to take your speaking skills to the next level. Join the waitlist today!

There are many websites that offer free TOEFL practice tests online for students preparing for the exam. Here are some options:

ETS TOEFL website: The official website of the TOEFL exam offers a free practice test for students to familiarize themselves with the test format and question types. The test is available online and can be taken on a computer or mobile device. URL: https://www.ets.org/toefl/test-takers/

TOEFL Resources website: This website offers a variety of free TOEFL practice tests, including full-length tests and section-specific tests. The tests are designed to mimic the format and difficulty level of the real exam. URL: https://toeflresources.com/

TST Prep: This website offers amazing speaking practice, video tutorials, PDFs, and tips for test-takers. https://tstprep.com/free-resources/

Magoosh TOEFL blog: Magoosh offers a free full-length TOEFL practice test on their website. The test includes all four sections of the exam and is designed to provide students with an accurate representation of the exam. URL: https://magoosh.com/toefl/

TestDEN TOEFL practice tests: TestDEN offers free practice tests for the TOEFL exam that are designed to simulate the real exam. The tests include all four sections of the exam and provide students with a score report and detailed feedback. Test Den

BestMyTest TOEFL practice tests: BestMyTest offers a variety of free TOEFL practice tests, including full-length tests and section-specific tests. The tests include detailed explanations for each question and provide students with a score report and feedback. URL: https://www.bestmytest.com/toefl/free-practice-test

It’s important to note that while free practice tests can be a helpful resource for TOEFL exam preparation, they may not be as comprehensive or accurate as paid practice tests or official exam materials. Students should also be cautious of websites that claim to offer “official” or “real” TOEFL practice tests, as ETS is the only organization that creates and distributes official TOEFL materials.

these are some useful fluency tips

5 Useful Fluency Tips

Do you feel like your speaking skills are getting rusty?  Are you looking for some fluency tips to help you sound more natural and confident when you speak the language you’re studying?  I am going to give you some examples from my own study routine.  

As many of you know, my first language is English and I am learning Spanish and Galician and I also speak Portuguese, so fluency is something I work on regularly.  When I don’t practice, I feel my speaking skills become weak and it quickly becomes tough to remember words and have good pronunciation.  Here are some tips I’ve come up with that you might benefit from. 

 

repeat the pronunciation of a native speaker
Repetition is key to improving your pronunciation

 

#1 Repeat Quickly to Improve Pronunciation 

Repetition is essential when you are learning new words.  You need to repeat the word and say it many times before you become able to remember it and use it in conversation.  

Listen to a native speaker say the word and then practice saying it slowly, then speed it up to mimic the intonation of the native speaker.  Try to repeat the native speaker’s musicality.  You can do this with audio books, podcasts, TV series, or with the audio that comes with language textbooks. 

 


For instance, I recently took a 1v1 Skype Spanish class with one of my Spanish teachers on italki, Salvador in order to practice vocabulary for an interview.  After the class, my notes looked like this: 

write notes from a 1v1 lesson and then listen to the audio to practice your speaking skills.
Ask your teacher to make an audio for you to listen to and practice during the week.

I was staring at my notes the next day and realized that it wasn’t going to be too useful to study these notes in order to improve my speaking.  So, I asked the teacher if he could make an audio for me in order for me to practice the sentences and possible answers on my own.  

That way, I could practice the sentences while I walk the dog and keep listening to the sentences over and over again.  I listen to a sentence, pause the audio, then repeat, first slowly, then more quickly. The technique was effective, efficient, personalized, and highly motivating because it applied to my situation, my level, and my needs.  My friend Shayna offers wonderful courses to improve your pronunciation on her site, Espresso English. 

speak with native speakers and non-native speakers
Speak as much as possible with as many people as you can.

#2 Speak with Native Speakers and Non-Native Speakers

I recently spoke to a student who told me she didn’t like to practice speaking English unless it was with a native speaker.  I truly disagree with this mentality because, despite who we are speaking with, we learn by speaking. 

So, the more you speak, whether it be with a native speaker or a non-native speaker, you will improve your fluency.  You may be surprised that you learn more from non-native speakers than from native speakers because they understand the language from a different perspective. In my opinion, we should copy the intonation and pronunciation of native speakers, but when it comes to practicing our skills, it is best to practice with anyone you can, as often as you can. 

A young girl came to live in my city in Spain from the United States and she wanted to speak Spanish with me, instead of English because she wanted a true immersion experience and really wanted to improve her speaking skills in Spanish.  I thought this was a smart decision on her part because most people would speak with me in English if that was their first language.  

So, I came to this realization while participating in a Spanish-speaking club.  In the club, we speak with a partner in Spanish and practice weekly vocabulary about a theme we are focusing on.  While working with partners, I got to speak with Alex, a guy who lives in the United States, but who speaks Spanish very well.  So, I actually became even more inspired by speaking with him because I realized you can become fluent even if you don’t live in a Spanish-speaking country. 

One thing to keep in mind, though is that you might find yourself comparing yourself to other non-native speakers.  If someone speaks much better than you, you might find yourself getting down on yourself and feeling frustrated because you wish you spoke that well.  Before you start getting stuck in that mentality, you have to realize that comparing yourself to others only impedes your language growth.  You don’t know how long that person has been studying that language or what their situation is.  Try to cultivate an energy of hope and of positivity.  Look at the person and think to yourself, “That is awesome and they speak so well!”  Then, envision yourself speaking the language really well and getting compliments about your speaking abilities.  It is better to think about how much you have grown and on your own goals.  Think about what steps you need to take next in order to improve your language goals. 

write first, then speak
Writing can be an entry point into practicing speaking with more confidence.

#3 Write first, then Speak to Improve Fluency  

I’ve written a long blog post about the “Write Speak, Speak Right” method that I’ve coined from working with one of my students.  The method helped my student break through the C1 barrier to reach the C2 level. She has been able to process information through writing and translate the words to her spoken English.  She told me that the writing method we used gave her time to think about how she wanted to express herself. Our focus during class was on writing, but she also said the sentences out loud and noticed an impressive jump in her fluency.  Writing can be an entry point into clear, effective communication.  

The “write first” method can be especially useful when it comes to exam preparation because you have a chance to brainstorm vocabulary from a variety of topics that will surely help you on the speaking and writing sections of your exam under pressure.  

You can write a paragraph response based on a writing prompt, potential ways to respond to questions at a job interview, or practice telling a story in your target language.

read comics out loud
Since comics have natural language, they are useful tools to practice speaking.

#4 Read Comics Out Loud for Greater Fluency

Reading comics out loud is a brilliant language learning tip that you probably have never thought of.  Comics show real dialogue and the characters use slang, common expressions, and authentic language. If you practice reading what the characters say out loud, your fluency will see a big leap forward. 

I thought of this while working on Galician.  I have a book that shows some natural, colloquial dialogue between characters in comics.  I started reading the sentences out loud and I realized how nice the method was to improve my Galician fluency skills.  Then, I tried it with Spanish and Portuguese and I found a comic in English and looked in the speech bubbles and mimicked what they were saying.  I started using this skill more with students in my English classes and it worked incredibly well. My students started feeling emotions while they read because comics show sadness, happiness, joy, anger, and surprise. 

netflix can help your fluency and speaking skills
Watch series in your target language, pause the audio, and repeat phrases and sentences with better intonation and pronunciation.

#5 Pause the Audio on Netflix, Repeat

 Recently, I got a great fluency trip from a friend who uses an approach that seems obvious, but that few people actually use.  He said he watches his favorite show in Spanish, La Resistencia with subtitles, pauses the audio, and practices saying the expressions out loud.  I find this to be extremely motivating and brilliant. I started trying it in my target languages and realized how effective it is because, first of all, you’re learning real expressions that are commonly used. Secondly, you’re repeating the intonation and pronunciation just like native speakers.  Thirdly, it is a fun way to improve your fluency because it is pleasurable to watch Netflix. Below, you will see a recent Reel on instragram I made using this method!

 


These five tips will help you move towards speaking more naturally and confidently in your target language.  Don’t forget that you actually have to open your mouth and speak to improve your fluency.  Listening isn’t enough.  In fact, think of ways you can transform a listening activity into a speaking activity or a writing activity into a speaking activity.   Finally, try to design your study routine where everything you do leads to speaking. 

language learning integrating all of the skills
Make an effort to integrate the four language skills into your training and connect every activity with speaking and fluency

If you’re looking for more information about the conversation club I offer in English, you can find it here! 

 

 

ielts-vocabulary-movies

IELTS SPEAKING VOCABULARY: MOVIES

 

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:

ielts-cue-card-movies

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-give

Phrasal Verbs with Give Quiz

phrasal-verbs-give

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.”

give-back-phrasal-verb

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.”

phrasal-verbs-give

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?

 

idioms-animals

6 Animal Idioms with their Meanings

idioms-with-animals

 

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.🐓

Common Idioms with Body Parts: Practice Exercises

Add Flavor to your Conversations with Idioms

Idioms are common expressions used in everyday life in the United States.  They are fun expressions to use in spoken English because they add creativity and vibrancy to your conversations.

They demonstrate your fluency skills and help you sound more like a native speaker. Today, we are going to practice 6 idioms with body parts.  In fact, I’ve designed a fun quiz for you to take to test your knowledge of these idioms and practice them a bit more.

twist someone’s arm

get off someone’s back

see eye to eye

pick someone’s brain

bare bones

play it by ear

 

idioms-practice-body-parts-exercises-quiz

 

Take this Fun Quiz on Idioms and Practice Using them in Everyday Conversations

Welcome to your Idioms Practice

1. 

I'm not really sure what we are going to do this weekend. Let's just ___________________ and not try to plan too much stuff.

2. 

I don't really want more apple pie, but if you _________________, I might indulge and eat another slice!

3. 

I know you don't like the way I live my life, but can you please just ____________________ and give me some space.

4. 

We have different political beliefs.  She's conservative and I'm liberal and we don't _______________________ on the health care issue.

5. 

I need some serious motivation to figure out how the business world works.  I am going to talk to my sister and __________________ about some marketing strategies.

6. 

I am confused about where we are going with this massive project. Can you please give me a _______________ description of the plan?

 

Here are some more great videos and links with more idioms practice:

Idioms practice for IELTS

Idioms video on Youtube

 

 

 

Online English Classes

Online English Classes are for YOU!

Busy Schedule? English Classes Designed for You! 

online-english-classes

Are you busy and do you have the weight of the world on your shoulders?  You have to make choices to maximize your time and to focus on improving in the areas of your life that are important to you.  Do you want to reach the goals you’ve set for yourself?  You often start going to in-person English classes and then easily give-up after you realize that you can’t dedicate 3 hours a day to language study. Or, you decide not to sign-up for in-person classes at all because you have a very complicated schedule.  You travel for your job and find yourself unable to maintain a normal routine and take classes at a language school.  You want to continue dedicating time to your language goals, but you need to fit the classes into your busy schedule.  What is the solution? Online English classes that fit your busy schedule.  

 

Private Classes Help you Learn English FAST

learn-english-fast

Many students are nervous about learning English online and are a bit uncomfortable about the idea of taking a class online.  Most people are used to the conventional approach to learning a language: sitting in a big classroom with 20 other people with the teacher in the front of the room.  Although these traditional classes can be fun and personal and a great way to meet new people, they don’t offer the language student an efficient way to improve their language skills.  Online English classes offer a comprehensive approach that will help you improve your speaking skills very quickly.   

 

How do Online English Classes work? 

I teach online English classes on both Zoom and Skype.  We will also login to a platform where we will access the lesson and materials for the class. We then connect through live video and live chat.  I try to create a warm, friendly environment and make an effort to make the student feel comfortable.  I introduce myself and we do a warm-up for the student to start thinking in English.  We might talk about a recent news article from the top headlines we might share a story from our day-to-day experience.  After that, we look at the students’ writing assignment in google docs.  We read the assignment aloud and the teacher and the student brainstorm ways to improve the writing.  

I then ask the student many questions about a video I assigned the student to watch at home.  We might talk about their opinions and their reactions about the video. We use the rest of the class to speak English, review key grammar points, study idioms and common expressions.  It is so important for students to listen to native English speakers and to also have conversations with native English speakers.  Many students complain they live in a rural area and don’t have access to native English speakers. These conversations help the student speak English more accurately.  The student learns to express him/herself freely and talk about a variety of topics.  These speaking opportunities help expand their vocabulary.  Also, since the student wrote about the topic at home before the class, they are already learning and embodying the new words, which they retain in future conversations.  I use interactive lesson plans from Off2Class, fluentize and ESL library that are well-designed and comprehensive, covering the 4 language skills: listening, reading, writing, and speaking. 

 

Online Classes Motivate you to Speak English 

online-english-speaking

Many traditional English classes focus on grammar, writing, listening and reading and may dedicate the last 5 or 10 minutes of the class to a speaking activity.  This doesn’t give students the amount of time they need to practice speaking the language.  The truth is, speaking English is the most important and practical skill that will serve you in many different situations.  However, you need the kind of class structure that prioritizes speaking and communication. In my online English classes, I prioritize speaking and help you reach your goals for improved fluency. 

What is your English level?

Before you begin taking classes with me, it is important that I test your overall level and see how fluent you are in English.  I do this by testing your grammar, speaking, listening, reading and writing skills in a 90 minute test that you take on your own at home.  The test will tell you what level your English is, based on the European framework for language proficiency or CEFR, which organizes language proficiency in six levels, A1 to C2, which can be categorized into three broad levels: Beginner, Intermediate, Upper Intermediate and Advanced. You can try to determine your own level by doing this self-assessment.

The level test then helps determine your learning program.  I create an individualized program for you that is designed to strengthen your weaknesses and challenge you at the level you are currently at, without frustrating you with lessons that are either too difficult or too easy. If you sign-up for a consultation with me, I will send you the placement test to complete before we meet.

Corrections Help you Learn from your Mistakes  

Making mistakes is a very natural part of language learning.  However, many times you don’t realize you make a mistake and native speakers are too polite to correct you.  So, you keep making the same mistakes over and over again.  You don’t improve very quickly and reach a kind of plateau with your language learning.   Online classes are very effective because I can give you live corrections if you make any mistakes.  I can correct you verbally and I also write your corrections in the chat bar. You can save these corrections and practice saying the words and sentences throughout the week.  Sometimes, you have to make the mistake many times before you stop making it again, but the native speaker can help you realize you are making it and quickly help you correct it.   By using this live method, you will feel your fluency advancing very quickly.  

speak-english-online

 

Shy Students Excel in a Live Classroom 

I’ve noticed in large classroom contexts, shy students tend to listen more than they speak.  The talkative students dominate the conversations and the shy students say very little.  This prevents the shy students from practicing as much as they need to.   Learning English online gives these students the opportunity to practice speaking, to improve their pronunciation, and to benefit from a more personalized learning experience.  

Improve Pronunciation with Audio Feedback 

After the class, I will record my voice saying the words and sentences that you said incorrectly.  These corrections will help you learn efficiently because you can focus on pronunciation, repetition, and accuracy.  Not all teachers leave audio feedback for their students and many times the students forget the words they said incorrectly.  So, the audio feedback pushes students to review what they learned in the class and become more aware of their language production.  Audio feedback is brilliant and I have noticed that my students retain the words I teach them and make faster progress towards fluency in English.  

 

The Google Classroom as the Ultimate Learning Tool

I use the google classroom to organize the class materials, homework, writing assignments, and audio feedback.  The google classroom is an excellent tool that will help you visualize what we have completed. The classroom also shows the homework you need to complete.  Many times, teachers just send students homework via email, but they don’t see how much progress they have made and they can’t remember the kind of activities they completed in previous classes.  The google classroom has so many innovative tools that will always keep you excited about learning. Tracking your progress is essential and will help you maintain movement forward.

How can I schedule classes and how much do they cost?

You can sign-up for a free 30 minute consultation and then we can discuss the class package that would be best suited for you.  You can take classes 1x, 2x or 3x a week with me and I offer availability from 18:00-21:00 Beijing time.


 

english-teacher

 

 

fluency

 

A Youtube VIDEO INTERVIEW ABOUT THE ADVANTAGES OF LEARNING LANGUAGES ONLINE IN SPANISH: (Una Entrevista conmigo sobre las ventajas de aprender un idioma online con Blabla Español)

Get-guide-practice

The Ultimate Get Guide

Improve your Speaking Skills with the Get Guide

Are you studying the English language?  You will definitely want to get your hands on the “Ultimate Get Guide.”

Get-guide-practice

 

Are you confused by “get away” and “get over?” Are you unsure of how and when to use these tricky phrasal verbs?  Americans constantly use “get” in everyday conversations. However, “get” is considered informal and shouldn’t be overused in academic writing or in essays. Do you hear “get” a lot in TV series and movies?  Maybe the characters say it so fast and you aren’t sure how to use it when you speak English? Here is a blog post I wrote about using “get” in English that you might want to read as well! In this guide, you can play the audio many times and imitate my voice.  By imitating my voice and repeating the rhythm and cadence of my speech, you can improve your speaking skills in English.  In this guide, I give you some practical phrases that are commonly used in American English. 

 

Practice Pronunciation with the Phrasal Verbs

Speaking English is one of the hardest skills in language acquisition.  Speaking requires integrating everything you have learned from the grammar books. You have to open your mouth and produce spoken words that you hope are understandable.  You feel insecure about our accent and people look at you like they don’t have any idea what you just said. Speaking a second language takes you from being a passive learner to being an active participant in the conversation. GET THIS GUIDE NOW! 

pronounce-get-properly

Anyone who is reading this blog knows the feeling of making a big mistake when you speak a second language or feeling nervous about mispronouncing a word or writing a verb incorrectly.  It all seems so easy on the page when you read it, but then when it comes out of your mouth it is even more of a challenge. Since pronunciation is such a struggle and such a challenge for English language learners, I have made an audio that accompanies the guide.  You can stop the audio and listen to the pronunciation of the phrasal verbs and common expressions with the verb “get” and practice them aloud, with emotion and repetition. If you want to improve your spoken English, it is very important to repeat phrases and sentences many times until they start feeling more comfortable.  You can practice some common expressions and common ways to agree in English at this link.  

Visuals Help you Learn Phrasal Verbs

get-ways-to-use-englishIn this guide, I have made a number of visuals and graphic organizers to help you make associations and categorize the different ways “get” is used in English.  I guide you through these graphic organizers and I provide examples of how you can use the verb when you speak. Learners retain information longer if the information is taught with visuals.  For example, I have grouped together the different ways “get” is used for work, for travel, for illness, and to show transformation.  These types of visuals can help you remember how to use ‘get’ in spoken English, especially when you are under pressure and having a conversation.   Also, when we break down the information into smaller pieces, it is easier to grasp and learn.  

I’m ready to download the Get Guide now! 

 

Story as a Language Learning Tool 

story-phrasal-verbs-quiz

Most language learners enjoy reading stories that help them contextualize the language.  Stories entertain us and help us see what life is like in someone else’s shoes. Also, stories help us remember language and engage with language in a fun way.  In the Ultimate Get Guide, I have written a story about a vacation to the lake, which I read aloud so you can follow along the story to the sound of my voice.  The story is simple.  A family goes on a road trip and one of the kids gets sick in the car.  The story is full of common expressions, phrasal verbs, common uses of “get” and some tidbits about American culture. 

 

How can I Learn English on My Own?

Nowadays, we have less time to go to an English school.  We can’t afford to sit in a classroom with a big group of students and study English.  Each person has limited time to dedicate to learning language.  For this reason, I wanted to make the Ultimate Get Guide for the independent learner, who wants to do interactive activities with phrasal verbs that are practical and enjoyable.  There are quizzes, multiple choice questions, and True or False questions, all of which you can check in the answer key at the end of the guide.  

 

Common Expressions in English

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English has so many idioms and expressions that native speakers commonly use.  While writing the story, I added many common sayings to the narration. You can use the context of the story to help you answer the questions in the quiz.  I use “hustle and bustle” and “jam packed” in the story, which are common expressions that we use in daily life in American English.  If you understand these common expressions, you will not only understand more complex conversations in English, but you can use them when you speak English. 

 

The Ultimate Get Guide Check-Lists: 

check-lists-verb-getI created check-lists with the different expressions with get that you can read and check-off.  If the statement is true for you, you can check it off.   If you ‘get coffee with your friends once a week, then you can check it off. Then, you can use your answers as a discussion starter with your friends.  You also can practice conversation with your English teacher or with a conversation partner.  Personally, I love check-lists because they are a self-discovery tool.  You can  use the check-lists to check your understanding of phrasal verbs and common expressions and see if they apply to your own, personal situation. 

 

The Ultimate Get Guide Quiz: 

You can also test your knowledge of “get” with a special bonus quiz at the end of the activity. The quiz has multiple choice answers and you can write your answer in the blank to practice spelling.  The quiz is the final activity in the guide and it isn’t a typical, boring quiz. I incorporated questions are from everyday life and show different ways to use “get” in common situations.  

How can I get this guide? 

 

 

 

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5 Ways to Agree in English

How Can I Express that I Share the Same Feelings and Opinions?

When you agree with someone, you hold a similar opinion.  When we agree, we affirm that what someone says is correct and in alignment with our way of thinking.  Many times, we tend to just say, “yes,” especially if English isn’t our first language. In this blog, I share with you some common expressions in English that will help you sound more natural and more like a native speaker when you speak English.  These expressions are in the EBOOK I wrote on 100 Common Expressions in English that you can download on my website. These are just a few of the expressions about agreement, but in the EBook, you can find a plethora (a lot) of ways to agree in English.  

 

How do I correctly pronounce these affirming expressions in English? 

Some of these expressions are hard to pronounce, which is why I’ve added audio to the blog, so that you can listen to each phrase many times and repeat it aloud, perfecting the pronunciation.  It is important to practice saying these expressions with emotion.  

#1) How do I agree with someone in English in just one word? 

Listen to the word and Repeat it aloud 3 times with emotion:

 

Listen to the dialogue and practice responding:

Definitely can be used in many different speaking scenarios.  Perhaps you want to firmly agree with someone about a political decision a politician made or maybe you want to simply reiterate the fact that you also love pepperoni pizza!  Definitely is versatile and commonly used. You will sound confident and positive when you use this word in conversation. You can find additional ways to agree at this link. 

 

#2) How can I agree with someone with emotion and feeling?  

how-do-you-agree-absolutely

Absolutely happens to be one of my favorite words in English.  It is full of feeling and passion and it sounds so beautiful when it comes out of your mouth.  If you add it to your vocabulary repertoire, you will impress native speakers and make heads turn because you sound like you know what you’re talking about.  I remember having a conversation with an English teacher in Spain who wasn’t a native speaker and I said to her, “The quality of life in Galicia is so high and I love the fact that you can drink clean water out of the faucet.”  Without any hesitation, she responded, “Absolutely.” I loved her fast reply and I admired her fluency in English as a second-language learner. I also want to help you sound impressive when you speak English.  

Listen to the word and repeat it several times with emotion:

 

Listen to the dialogue and practice responding:

 

#3) How can I show someone I am a good listener in English?

exactly-agree-english-common-expressions

Listen to the word and practice pronouncing it many times:

 

Listen to the dialogue and practice responding in a natural way:

Exactly is a word that you can throw in conversation to show someone that you are listening, following along, and agreeing with what they are saying.  I recommend using it while nodding your head up and down and maintaining good eye contact. You can even add your own two cents to the conversation and make a follow-up point.  This word helps the conversation flow naturally and is a fabulous way to show someone you are paying attention to what they are saying and interested in their thoughts.  Consider more ways to agree by reading these additional ideas from my friend Shayna at Espresso English.

 

#4) How Can you Show Someone you Agree with them? 

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“That’s for sure” expresses agreement in English in a positive, encouraging way.  In conversation, it is always useful to add some emotion and emphasis to what you are saying to spice things up.  In fact, when you say this, the last thing you want to do is sound really dry and monotone. You want to say this statement with enthusiasm and energy to spice up the conversation.  Furthermore, you can use some hand gestures or maybe a “thumbs up” to add some movement to your words.

Listen to the expression and repeat it several times:

 

Listen to the dialogue and respond using the key expression:

#5) Bonus Expression to Show Agreement in English: 

“I couldn’t agree more.” 

Likewise, I love this expression because we commonly use it in debates, dialogues, and conversations in American English.  If I were talking to someone who shared the same opinion about gun control, I could use this statement. Someone could say, “I think gun sales should be banned in the United States.”  I would respond by saying, “I couldn’t agree more.” 

Listen to the common expression in English and practice it several times:

 

Practice the dialogue and the response:

 

If you start using these expressions today in your spoken English, I guarantee you will feel a noticeable jump in your conversation skills.

 

Take the quiz below to test your knowledge of these expressions:

Do you Agree with Me?

This quiz will test your use of these fabulous, common expressions in English to show you share the same opinion as a fellow human being. 

the verb get in English

The Verb Get in Spoken English: Key Expressions

One of the most commonly used verbs in English is the verb “get.”  Many of my students come to me looking confused by the verb “get.” They realize it is used constantly in spoken English with prepositions, nouns and adjectives, but they aren’t quite sure how to use “get” confidently when they speak English.  I wrote this post to help my English language students understand how to use “get” just like Native English speakers when they speak English. 

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Get for Personal Change 

#1: We use “get” to describe a change of state or a transformation

Get is used to describe a change and the word “become” is a synonym for the way “get” is used in many of these cases. You can use the verb to describe a change of emotions or a state of being. For example, “I got really  tired yesterday after lunch.” or “I get angry when I watch the news.” You might hear, “I usually get fat in the winter” or “I get skinny in the summer,” both examples show some type of physical change. 

Also, when you go through the transformation of being a single person to getting married, you would use “get married” to describe the change in relationship status.  The same would be true for divorce because we “get divorced,” but I want to stay positive here and focus on all of the love in the air.  

 

how to use the verb get

 

Get for Friendship

#2 We use “get” for describing common activities with friends. 

When I first came to Spain, I noticed people commonly said, “Let’s take a coffee.”  They were directly translating from Spanish, where the verb “take” is employed for drinks, coffee, and snacks.  However, Native English speakers use “get” to invite someone for a coffee. For example, “Would you like to get a coffee?” or informally, “Wanna get a coffee?”  In this case, “want + to” is strung together in spoken English and pronounced “wanna.”  In addition, my students also ask for ways to talk about meeting up with their friends. For informal encounters with friends, you can use “get together.”  “I am going to get together with my friends after work.” Or, it can be used as a noun and you can say, “We are going to have a little get together with some of our friends,” which is like a small gathering of people.  

 

 

Get for Work

#3 We use “get” to describe hiring, firing, and promotions.

When we improve our position at work, we get a promotion.  It is always great news when this happens and we tend to call our closest friends and family members and tell them about the promotion we got.  On the other end of the spectrum, if we get fired, we have to share some unfortunate news to our family and friends because we lost our job.  Even this could be the worst turn of events in our life, we could get hired at a different company and as one door closes, another door opens.  

 

Get for Travel

#4 We use “get” for transportation and for moving from one place to another. 

You can get a bus or get a train or a plane. You can also get a taxi or a boat.  When you enter these vehicles, you “get on” them.  You get on a bus when you enter and step inside.  The same applies to planes, trains, and cars. 

We often use “get” informally, but oftentimes there are more exact words for these same actions.  For example, you can get a cab or you can hail a cab, which would be a more specific way of describing waving a cab down.  You can also “catch a bus” or “board a plane,” which is just like getting a bus or getting on a plane.

It is always better to be as specific as possible to describe what you are doing and where you are going when you travel, but when in doubt, use the verb “get” and when you reach your destination you could consider getting a hotel for the night and staying a few days in a warm, exotic place.

 

Get for Illness and Recovery   

#5 In English, we use get to describe all sorts of ailments and illnesses. 

As I write this blog, we are experiencing one of the worst pandemics in history (The Coronavirus: COVID 19).   Everyone around me is staying inside to avoid the disease from spreading even more.  In this case, nobody wants to get sick.  People are afraid of getting ill and getting the virus.  People who have the virus often get a fever and they sometimes get a dry cough.  The good thing is that a high percentage of people who get ill from the virus also get over the illness and recover.  Despite this fact, the rising death toll is shocking and disturbing.  I hope we get through these tough times not only as a country, but as a global community as well. 

You can read and learn more about phrasal verbs with Get here.

You can read about how to use “got it” to show you understand something here.

In conclusion, there are so many great ways we can use “get” to improve our fluency.  I didn’t even mention using get to talk about obtaining items at the store.  Many times, we ask someone, “What did you get?” instead of “What did you buy?” So, consider incorporating this important verb in your life, your English lexicon, and your daily routines.  When you get up tomorrow morning, consider getting a cup of coffee and adding a little “get” into your life. 

I invite you to add a comment to the comments section. How do you use “get” in other ways in English? Don’t hesitate to ask any questions you have about using this verb correctly!

 

TAKE THE GET QUIZ NOW!

Get for Fluency

Take this quiz and see if you know how to correctly use the verb "get" accurately in spoken English.