Category Archives: Grammar Lessons

Practicing the Verb Tenses

Studying verb tenses and American accent with Sharon.  It's a very hot day in the Philippines, but learning English is cool!
Studying verb tenses and American accent with Sharon. It’s a very hot day in the Philippines, but learning English is cool!

I am having my third session with my English teacher, Chris Delacruz.  Today, we practiced the verb tenses: past tense.

PAST TENSE

Simple: +d, +ed, +ied, irregular
Example: baked, walked, studied, ate
Exercise: Tell me about your weekend

Last weekend, I was so busy because I prepared a lot for my immigration to Canada.  I had many visitors at my house.  My brother and sisters stayed at my house for their vacation and will stay until my husband arrives from Canada.  That is why every weekend busy.  On Saturday, I woke up at about 7 in the morning.  I prepared breakfast for my kids and my visitors.  After I cooked breakfast, I called them to join me in the kitchen at our dining table.  We had fried eggs, fried hot dogs, fried tilapia, and of course rice and coffee.

When we finished eating, I gave my kids a bath, and I took a bath as well after them.  Then I went to the market by myself while my sister looked after my kids and her own kids and while my brother, who is a police officer, prepared to go to work.  I bought groceries that would last as the next few days, such as sugar, coffee, vegetables, meat, and fish.  After buying the groceries, I went home, and I placed my groceries in the refrigerator.  Then I prepared pork sinigang, a sour-based soup with vegetables, for lunch while my sister was helping me to take care of the children.

Past Progressive: was/were + verb-ing
Example: was eating, were eatingExercise: Tell me about last night.

We had dinner at about 8 p.m. last night.  I started preparing dinner, dalagang bukid with sarsiado sauce, steamed fished in tomato based sauce, at about 7 p.m.  While I was preparing, my mother arrived from a three-hour trip from my home province of Nueva Ecija.  She was traveling on the bus when I was shopping for groceries for dinner at the market.  I was very happy to see her, but she will stay only until after Holy Week.  We were talking last night about my migration to Canada, and I know that she was very happy for me.  She had always wanted the best for me.  While we were talking, my children were watching TV and playing with their tablets, and my sister was preparing the bed.

I wastalking to my mother for an hour or so until my sister joined us.  The three of us were all reminiscing the past, and it brought happy tears to my mother.  I will miss my sister, brother, and especially my mother very much, but I know I will visit them in about a year.  Last night, we were all laughing about my stay in the province when I visited them.  Every time I was cooking for the family, they told me I was very talkative.  I told them I just wanted all the ingredients to be prepared perfectly so that it would taste delicious.

Past Perfect: had + past participle
Example: had eaten, had walked, had sung
Exercise: Tell me about your last trip.

My last trip was in my home province Nueva Ecija when I visited my family and relatives.  I had bought (buy-bought-bought) a lot of pasalubong or gifts a few days before I traveled with my children there.  When I bought the gifts, I had gone (go-went-gone) to several markets and malls.  I had searched and searched (search-searched-searched) for different gift items until I found the perfect ones for my mother and relatives.  When I had found (find-found-found) the items, I was very happy because I was very tired already.

I had had (have-had-had) several bus stops before I reached my home town of San Antonio near Cabanatuan City.  I had had (have-had-had) several snacks from different towns because of these bus stops.  Before I reached my hometown, I had seen (see-saw-seen) the beautiful rice fields and mountains in the distance, while looking through the glass window.  While enjoying the sometimes bumpy ride, I had imagined (imagine-imagined-imagined) my childhood days, and how I will soon leave this beautiful province.  When I finally got to my home town, I had realized (realize-realized-realized) that I will always miss and never forget this place, my home town, San Antonio.

Past Perfect Progressive: had + been + verb-ing
Example: had been eating, had been talking
Exercise: Tell me about this morning.

This morning, I woke up at about 7 a.m..  I had been preparing breakfast when my children woke up and walked into the kitchen.  We had a good breakfast, and I had been talking about my husband when one of my kids told me how much he missed him.  My children had been missing their father since he went back to Canada last year.  I, too, miss him a lot, but I need to show to my children that I am strong, and that we will be together soon.  I had been planning for my husband’s vacation in May of this year, and we are all excited.  We had been eating breakfast when my mother and niece joined us.  They woke up a little later than us.

While we were practicing past tenses, my teacher noticed several accent errors common to Filipinos.  I know that I need to practice them over and over in order for me to improve.

ADDITIONAL PRACTICE FOR AMERICAN ACCENT

When I talk to my husband, I will ask him to practice with me.  I know I can say these phrases slowly, but my assignment is to do it naturally, that is, faster and without thinking about it.  This should be fun because I am doing it with my husband.

  1. F/P – I prepared breakfast for five people.
  2. F/P – Perfect Philippines.
  3. F/P – I’m a Filipino from the Philippines.
  4. V/B – Beaver Vibration
  5. V/B/F/Sh – Five Feverish Vibes
  6. TH – Bath, wrath, Cathy.  I gave Cathy a bath.
  7. SH/F/V – Wash, Fish.  I washed the fish five times.

 

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How to Improve your English

How to Improve your English
by Fatima Fatouhi

Fatima (Filipina) and her husband (Iraqi).
Fatima (Filipina) and her husband (Iraqi).

I have worked in Dubai for four years, and I just recently married and came home to the Philippines. I am now studying at the American Institute for English Proficiency, and I need to improve my English first before I migrate to Australia where my husband resides.

English is the international language and  also the primary language of several countries where we Filipinos are seeking to be employed or migrate to.  In fact, English is in the Constitution as the national language of the Philippines.  English is the foundation in which we are able to communicate with everyone regardless of their national origin.

For us Filipinos, English is our second language, but our parents and teachers urge us to be as fluent as possible in English for various purposes.  Fluency and knowledge in the English language could change our lifestyle; it is the key of success for our career.

Here are some tips on improving your English:

  1. Read. Read. Read.  Yes, I typed that word “read” thrice because I cannot emphasize enough how important reading is.  Read anything from books to magazines and newspapers
  2. Listen.  And I really mean listen, not just hear.  Listening requires the heart and the mind, not just the ear.  Pay attention.  Focus.  Concentrate.  Talk to English speakers and listen.  When you have great listening skills, you improve.
  3. Watch.  If you don’t have anyone to converse with, watch movies as much as you can.

These could be the steps that can improve your English better.  It will develop your thinking skills and expand your vocabulary.  English is the great armor and weapon to bring all over the world.  Enhance yourself  and be a smart English speaker.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Fatima Fatouhi is currently a student at the American Institute for English Proficiency.

Migrating to Canada and Improving my English – Verb Tense – Past Tense

Migrating to Canada and Improving my English
by Sharon Regalado

Sharon is a student at the American Institute for English Proficiency.  She is preparing for her migration to Canada, and she wants to improve her English and communication skills first.
Sharon is a student at the American Institute for English Proficiency. She is preparing for her migration to Canada, and she wants to improve her English and communication skills first.

Hello everyone.  I am Sharon, and I am studying at the American Institute for English Proficiency because I am going to migrate to Canada very soon.  My husband has already been living there for five years, and my papers will soon be completed this year.  After five long years of having a long distance marriage, I am so excited to finally join him.  My two kids can’t wait to see their father as well.

But before we go to Canada, my husband told me that I needed to improve my English and communication skills because he wants to make sure that we will adjust more easily and quickly to the environment there.  I can easily adapt to things, but English is one of the things I don’t do so well.  Now that I am studying at The American Institute, I feel a little more confident day by day.

I am writing here on my teacher’s blog as part of my assignments to improve my English and communication skills.  I will be practicing my sentence structures, subject-verb agreement, and verb tenses.

Verb Tenses
Click on image to enlarge.

First, I will focus on my verb tenses, especially the past tense, because during class, I had difficulty being in the right tense.  When I talked about an event in the past, I always switched to the present tense.  You may wonder why my writing is like this, but of course, my teacher has already corrected this.

So on to the past tense.  I need to make sure that when I describe something in the past, I am writing in the past tense.  My teacher, Chris Delacruz, taught me that there are four past tenses: simple, progressive, perfect, and perfect progressive.  Here’s a quick explanation of the four past tenses:

Simple: Verb +d (baked), +ed (cooked), +ied (studied), irregular (ate)

  • I baked a cake with my kids yesterday.
  • I cooked pakbet for lunch, and my kids loved it.
  • I studied my English lessons, especially the verb tenses.
  • I ate with my kids at the mall.

According to my teacher, the simple past tense is used to describe an event that happened in the past.  It is used to generally describe a completed event or situation.

Progressive: was/were + verb + ing (was/were eating)

  • I was eating when you called me.
  • They were eating when I called them.

According to my teacher, the past progressive tense is used to describe an event that started in the past and continued.  It was ongoing.  The action was moving.  It was not completed yet.  In Filipino, we say, “tuloy, tuloy.”

Perfect: had + past participle (had eaten)

  • I had eaten my breakfast before I went to school.
  • I had eaten my breakfast with my kids at 8 a.m. before I went to school at 9 a.m..
  • I went to school at 9 a.m. after I had eaten my breakfast with my kids at 8 a.m..
  • After I had eaten my breakfast with my kids at 8 a.m., I went to school at 9 a.m..

According to my teacher, the past perfect tense is used when we have at least two events or situations that were completed in the past.  For example, in this case, “eat breakfast” and “go to school.”  So instead of saying it with two simple past tenses like, “I ate breakfast.  Then I went to school,” we can also use the past perfect form like, “I had eaten breakfast before I went to school.”  This would make the speaker sound more sophisticated.

In Filipino, the past perfect tense is equivalent to “naka,” as in “Nakapagluto ako ng tanghalian bago ako pumunta sa eskwelahan.”  I had cooked lunch before I went to school.

Perfect Progressive: had + been + verb + ing (had been eating)

  • I had been eating when you called.
  • My kids had been watching TV when I talked to my husband.
  • They had been listening to the teacher when it started to rain outside.
  • I had been cooking lunch when doorbell rang.

According to my teacher, it is similar to the past perfect form, except that the first event or situation is still ongoing when the second event happened.  The activity is still moving when the second event completed.

My assignment is to write more examples in the comment section of this article.  My teacher will be monitoring my progress here.  Please feel free to practice here with me, so that we can learn from each other.  I am still learning, and I know that I have a lot to learn.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sharon is a student at the American Institute for English Proficiency.  She is migrating to Canada, and she would like to improve her English and communication skills first before going.

How to Put your Adjectives in Order

A Philippine colorful, old, slow,  beautiful, passenger boxy jeepney.  A what???  That’s right.  What happens when you have several adjectives to describe something?  Do you know how to correctly put them in order?  It’s so much easier when you only have a two adjectives, but it gets very confusing when you have more than that.  Here’s your guide on how to put the adjective in order:

Study English at the American Institute for English Proficiency: www.aiepro.com
Study English at the American Institute for English Proficiency: http://www.aiepro.com
  1. Determiner – a, an, the, my, your, few, several
  2. Observation (Opinion) – beautiful, fast, colorful
  3. Physical Description (Size) – big, small, tiny, huge
  4. Physical Description (Shape) – rectangular, round, square
  5. Physical Description (Age) – new, old, young, ancient
  6. Physical Description (Color) – red, white, blue, yellow
  7. Origin – Filipino, Philippine American, Spanish
  8. Material – gold, wooden, metal
  9. Qualifier – Purpose Adjective, Limits the Noun  such as basketball player, sleeping bag, birthday party
  10. Noun – What you are describing

Here are some examples:

  1. I met a beautiful, petite, young, tanned Filipino woman at the birthday party.
  2. I would like to buy a fast, big, red, Italian sports car for my birthday next year.
  3. I ate a delicious, round, white, Filipino, street food they call squid or chicken ball.

Now let’s try describing the jeepney again using the royal order of adjectives.  Can you do it now?  One easy way to memorize the order is to put it into an acronym or initialism: DOSSACOMQ.  Can you create a sentence out of that?  Hmmm.  Let me try making one.  I’ll be back to update this blog when I come up with one.  In the meantime, keep practicing and you’ll eventually get it without using a cheat sheet.

Easy Way to Remember the PARTS OF SPEECH

Image Source: GrammarKnot
Image Source: GrammarKnot. Click on image to enlarge.

To master English, one must have a very good foundation of the English language, which begins with understanding the categories the different words belong to.  These categories are called “Parts of Speech,” which are the building blocks of forming sentences.  Each word in the English language belongs to eight different categories:

  1. Verb
  2. Adjective
  3. Noun.  Person (Chris, that’s me), place (American Institute for English Proficiency, that’s where I teach), thing (English, that’s what I teach), or an idea (freedom, that’s what I want to have).  You can proper nouns (specific names of people like Chris and places like Makati or Quezon City) or improper nouns (general names like mom or places like school).
  4. Conjunction
  5. Adverb
  6. Pronoun
  7. Preposition
  8. Interjection

To make it easier for you to remember, look at it as an acronym:
VAN (Automobile), CAP (Hat), PI (In math, it’s roughly equal to 3.14.  For Filipinos, it’s the Philippine Islands).  To make it even easier to remember, create a sentence out of it.  I drove my VAN, put on my CAP, and thought about the PI.  Trying playing around with it.

Okay, I know this post is not complete.  I will come back to give definitions to the rest of the parts of speech.  Let the picture above guide you for now.  In any case, this should be very basic for you.  Come back often because I will soon be posting intermediate to advanced writing and grammar tips.

Who Wants a Cock? A What???

A woman should never shout out loud that she wants a “cock” unless she is looking for some pure unadulterated fun in the bedroom, or in public if that is her preference.  Unless it’s a mistake, and she meant, Coke, the sodapop, and not cock, the rooster or the you-know-what-I-mean.

Pronunciation can be very tricky, and if we’re not careful, it can get messy and get you in trouble.  The English teacher here (I’m guessing she’s Korean), pronounced Coke with the schwa (German) sound instead of a long O, the same sound in oval, okra, or Oprah.

Do you want to improve your English and American accent?  Join us at the American Institute for English Proficiency: www.aiepro.com.

Why Filipinos Don’t Speak English Well

AIEPPhilippinesUSFlagIt is no secret that most Filipinos want to speak English very well.  To most Filipinos, not only will it give you more opportunities, it will bring you a perceived higher social status and a perceived better social life or lifestyle.  In fact, many Filipinos go as far as believing that an English speaker with an American accent is more intelligent than the average Pinoy.  Therefore, perceived or not, speaking English well can be very advantageous.

So why then do most Filipino not speak English well?

Feel free to post your comments about the reasons why, and I will compile them so that I can share them with all of you later.  Thanks.

Most Common Verbs Every Beginner English Learner Should Know

Source: Google Images
Source: Google Images

The VERB, or action word, is the most important part of the sentence?  Why?  The verb gives life, motion, and color to the subject.  It gives the subject meaning and movement.  Otherwise, the subject just sits there and does nothing.  Here are some verbs that every beginner English language learner should know.

Go down the list and check to see if you already know how to use some of them.  If not, it’s time to practice.  Feel free also to add other “verbs for beginners” in the comment section so that I can update this list.  Cheers!

  1. accept
  2. account
  3. achieve
  4. act
  5. add
  6. admit
  7. affect
  8. afford
  9. agree
  10. aim
  11. allow
  12. answer
  13. appear
  14. apply
  15. approve
  16. argue
  17. arrange
  18. arrive
  19. ask
  20. attack
  21. avoid
  22. base
  23. be
  24. beat
  25. become
  26. begin
  27. believe
  28. belong
  29. borrow
  30. break
  31. bring
  32. build
  33. burn
  34. buy
  35. call
  36. can
  37. care
  38. carry
  39. catch
  40. cause
  41. change
  42. charge
  43. check
  44. choose
  45. claim
  46. clean
  47. clear
  48. climb
  49. close
  50. collect
  51. come
  52. commit
  53. compare
  54. complain
  55. complete
  56. concern
  57. confirm
  58. connect
  59. consider
  60. consist
  61. contact
  62. contain
  63. continue
  64. contribute
  65. control
  66. cook
  67. copy
  68. correct
  69. cost
  70. could
  71. count
  72. cover
  73. create
  74. crop
  75. cross
  76. cry
  77. cut
  78. damage
  79. dance
  80. deal
  81. decide
  82. deliver
  83. demand
  84. deny
  85. depend
  86. describe
  87. design
  88. destroy
  89. develop
  90. die
  91. disappear
  92. discover
  93. discuss
  94. divide
  95. do
  96. draw
  97. dress
  98. drink
  99. drive
  100. drop
    eat
    enable
    encourage
    end
    enjoy
    examine
    exist
    expect
    experience
    explain
    express
    extend
    face
    fail
    fall
    fasten
    feed
    feel
    fight
    fill
    find
    finish
    fit
    fly
    fold
    follow
    force
    forget
    forgive
    form
    found
    gain
    get
    give
    go
    grow
    handle
    happen
    hate
    have
    head
    hear
    hear
    help
    hide
    hit
    hold
    hope
    hurt
    identify
    imagine
    improve
    include
    increase
    indicate
    influence
    inform
    intend
    introduce
    invite
    involve
    join
    jump
    keep
    kick
    kill
    knock
    know
    know
    last
    laugh
    lay
    lead
    learn
    leave
    lend
    let
    lie
    like
    limit
    link
    listen
    live
    look
    lose
    love
    make
    manage
    mark
    matter
    may
    mean
    measure
    meet
    mention
    might
    mind
    miss
    move
    must
    need
    notice
    obtain
    occur
    offer
    open
    order
    ought
    own
    pass
    pay
    perform
    pick
    place
    plan
    play
    point
    prefer
    prepare
    present
    press
    prevent
    produce
    promise
    protect
    prove
    provide
    publish
    pull
    push
    put
    raise
    reach
    read
    realize
    receive
    recognize
    record
    reduce
    refer
    reflect
    refuse
    regard
    relate
    release
    remain
    remember
    remove
    repeat
    replace
    reply
    report
    represent
    require
    rest
    result
    return
    reveal
    ring
    rise
    roll
    run
    save
    say
    see
    seem
    sell
    send
    separate
    serve
    set
    settle
    shake
    shall
    share
    shoot
    should
    shout
    show
    shut
    sing
    sit
    sleep
    smile
    sort
    sound
    speak
    spend
    stand
    start
    state
    stay
    stick
    stop
    study
    succeed
    suffer
    suggest
    suit
    supply
    support
    suppose
    survive
    take
    talk
    teach
    tell
    tend
    test
    thank
    think
    throw
    touch
    train
    travel
    treat
    try
    turn
    understand
    use
    used to
    visit
    vote
    wait
    wake up
    walk
    want
    warn
    wash
    watch
    wear
    will
    win
    wish
    wonder
    work
    worry
    would
    write

My First Book – Working Title: Competitive Grammar for Global Speakers

GrammarScreenShotI have always wanted to write a book, and each time I tried (and I even went to Palawan for a week to start it), I couldn’t pour anything out of my mind.  I thought about many different things, such as my inspiring experiences in life to self-help type of books.  I couldn’t come up with anything.  I felt that I wasn’t ready for such a big feat.  Now, I find my “Eureka!” moment.  I have been teaching English for the last seven years.  So why not an English and grammar book?