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How to Learn Any Language in 6 Months

21 Mar

Watch this TEDx Talk to get some good ideas for learning English in a short amount of time. You can also read the transcript here:

PDF Transcript

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Noun Clauses

15 Jan

Please review Independent and Dependent Clauses before you start the following presentation about noun clauses.

Once you’ve reviewed the basics, press the play button to load the presentation.  Then, press the play button in the bottom left corner to listen to and watch the explanation about noun clauses.


Picture by mei2008 on Flickr

After you watch the presentation about noun clauses, write some sentences using noun clauses. Give me some information about being a student. What’s easy? What’s difficult? What do you like? What don’t you like? It doesn’t really matter what you tell me. Just practice using noun clauses as subjects, objects, and objects of the preposition (and maybe all three in the same sentence if you’re brave!). Leave your sentences in a comment!


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Adjective Clauses

7 Jan

Before learning about adjective clauses, you’ll want to review Phrases and Clauses as well as Independent and Dependent Clauses first.

To learn about adjective clauses, view the following PowerPoint presentation.  It will help you create adjective clauses step-by-step.

After you look at the PowerPoint, write some sentences to describe the people and the things in the room around you. Use adjective clauses to help identify which people and things you’re talking about and also to add extra information about each person or thing. Use each of the five relative pronouns at least one time: who, whom, which, that, whose.

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Adverb Clauses

23 Mar

Before learning about adverb clauses, you’ll need to read about Independent and Dependent Clauses first.

Remember that clauses always have a subject and a verb. Independent clauses are clauses that don’t need any help. Dependent clauses do need help and usually begin with some sort of connecting word. The type of connecting word is different for each of the different types of dependent clauses. Today we’re focusing on adverb clauses, so let’s look at the connecting words we use at the beginning of the dependent adverb clause. These are called subordinating conjunctions.

Subordinating Conjunctions

We talked about coordinating conjunctions when we talked about making Compound Sentences with Conjunctions. Coordinating conjunctions combine two independent clauses. “Co” means “together,” so the two independent clauses work together. They’re equal.

Subordinating conjunctions, however, show that the dependent clause is not equal to the independent clause. “Sub” means “under,” which shows us that these connecting words will begin a clause that is not as important as the main, independent clause.

Another important point about subordinating conjunctions is that they show many types of relationships including time, cause/effect, compare/contrast, and condition. Here’s a list of common subordinating conjunctions with some examples for each of those categories:

time cause/ effect compare/ contrast condition







even though




even if

in case


I stopped at the store to buy some bread before I went home.

Since I was already at the store, I picked up a cooked chicken to take home for dinner.

Even though he didn’t want to have chicken for dinner, he still ate it.

If I decide to bring dinner home again, next time I will call him.

While I was shopping, I decided to also buy some milk and fruit.

However, my husband didn’t want to eat the chicken because he had had chicken for lunch.

He didn’t enjoy the chicken although it tasted good to me.

I won’t bring chicken for dinner unless he has eaten something different for lunch.


When you look at the examples above, you should notice the punctuation in the sentences. When the adverb clause is at the beginning of the sentence, you need a comma (,). When the adverb clause is at the end of the sentence, you do not use a comma.

I stopped at the store to buy some bread before I went home.

Before I went home, I stopped at the store to buy some bread.

making dinner

Photo by Chewonki Semester School on Flickr

Write some sentences to describe the picture above using adverb clauses and different subordinating conjunctions. Put some of the adverb clauses at the beginning of the sentence, and put some at the end. Use correct punctuation.

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Independent and Dependent Clauses

21 Mar

You should first go read about Phrases and Clauses so that you can better understand the information in this post.

Remember that clauses must have a subject and a verb. Any group of words with a subject and a verb is called a clause. In English, we have two main categories of clauses: independent and dependent.

Independent Clauses

We have already learned about Simple Sentence Patterns. If you missed this post, you will probably want to go back and read about simple sentences because

simple sentences = independent clauses

That’s right. An independent clause is just another name for a simple sentence. Independent means that it doesn’t need any help. It’s a complete idea, a complete thought. So our examples from the Simple Sentence Patterns post are also examples of independent clauses:

The young boy and girl ran quickly.

The young girl and the boy threw the red ball back and forth.

The young girl threw the ball to the boy.

There are two children in the park.

The two children became tired.

(See the post about Compound Sentences with Transitions and Compound Sentences with Conjunctions to learn how to combine two independent clauses into one sentence.)

Dependent Clauses

A Dependent Clauses is a group of words with a subject and a verb, BUT it is not a complete idea, not a complete thought. It needs help. It needs to be connected to an independent clause, so usually, a dependent clause is a group of words with a subject, a verb, and a connecting word. (However, in English, there are times when we can drop/omit the connecting word because it’s understood.)

There are 3 types of dependent clauses:

  1. adverb clauses – They help show relationships like cause/effect, time, compare/contrast, condition, etc.

  2. After I learn about adverb clauses, I will use them in my writing.

  3. adjective clauses – Just like adjectives, they describe nouns.

  4. Adjective clauses, which can be difficult to learn, are used to provide extra information or help identify a person or thing.

  5. noun clauses – These work like nouns in a sentence, which means we use them as subjects and objects.

  6. I think that you already use noun clauses in your writing and speaking.

Look for more about each of these types of dependent clauses in future posts!


Photo by Jeremy Simpson on Flickr

Look at the picture above. Write a few sentences with independent and dependent clauses to describe what’s happening in the picture. Write your sentences in a comment!

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