Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

St. Patrick’s Day is also called St. Paddy’s Day. It is a day to celebrate the patron saint of Ireland. It’s celebrated on March 17, every year. It’s celebrated in many more countries than only Ireland. It is a very fun day in the United States. Even though it is an Irish Catholic holiday, almost everyone celebrates it these days.

In this post I’m going to concentrate on how we celebrate it in the United States. First of all, you should wear green or some kind of Irish clothes. If you don’t wear green you might get pinched. I remember this from when I was in elementary school and got pinched one year by many classmates because I forgot to wear green on St. Paddy’s day.

There are lots of Irish Pubs in the states and this day is huge for them. They have gigantic parties and everyone drinks beer, even green beer. these parties last into the wee hours of the night. They are so big that the parties don’t stay in the pub, they overflow into the streets.

For youngsters, they can buy green ice cream or shakes at many of the fast food restaurants.

Many cities, including mine, have big St. Patrick’s Day parades. Also, cities dye their rivers or water fountains green.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

For more information on this holiday go to: http://entangled.com/2010/03/14/st-patricks-day-in-ireland-vs-the-united-states/

Saying “I’m sorry!”

Saying “I’m sorry” is a useful phrase to know in any language. In this post, I will teach you a few other ways of saying, “I’m sorry.”

I’m so sorry.
I’m very sorry.
Excuse me.
Pardon me.
Please forgive me.
I regret what I did or I regret what I have done.
I wish I could change things.
I’m sorry for your loss. (You can use this when someone dies.)
I owe you an apology.
I apologize.
I’m sorry to hear that. (You can use this when someone tells you bad news, like they lost their job.)
Opps or Whoops, sorry
My bad. (Slang – teenagers use it a lot.)

And guys – if you are saying sorry to your girlfriend or wife, make sure you bring some flowers. Flowers are a good way of saying, “I’m sorry!”

Spring forward…

It’s that time of year to Spring forward! What does that mean? It means that in the USA and many other countries, time will move one hour forward on March 14th, Sunday morning at 2am. It’s called Daylight Savings Time (DST).

It starts every year on the 2nd Sunday of March and it ends every year on the first Sunday in November at 2am, which it reverts to standard time. When we change in November, we say we: “Fall back.”

There are 2 states that don’t observe Daylight Savings Time in the US and one province in Canada. The states are: Hawaii and Arizona. Also, these US territories don’t observe it: American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands. The Canadian province is Saskatchewan – most of the province does not follow Daylight Savings Time.

Why do we have Daylight Savings Time? Why do we change our clocks 2 times a year? Because it saves electricity. It gives us an extra hour of sunlight. This means we don’t need to use lights in our house, as much during this extra hour. Also, the government says that it prevents car accidents. There are fewer accidents in the daylight.

In 2007 they increased Daylight Savings Time by 1 month, this way we can save even more electricity.

So, if you ever hear someone say: “Spring forward, and Fall back,” now you know what they are talking about.

Using Capital Letters in English

All languages capitalize different words. As an English learner you should try to remember when to use a capital letter. Here are some places where you capitalize words:

1. At the beginning of a sentence.

My dog is tired and hungry.

2. The word ‘I’.

You and I are best buds.

3. The first letter of people’s names:

My name is Yvonne Crawford.

4. Cities, states, countries, continents or major geographic locations.

I live in Charleston, South Carolina.

5. Days of the week and months.

Today is Thursday, March 11th.

6. At the beginning of the letter and at the end of a letter.

Dear Sally,

Love, Yvonne

7. Languages and nationalities.

French is spoken by the French.

8. Holiday, religious holidays, religious scripture and religious dieties.

A lot of Christians like to celebrate Christmas.

9. Titles of people

Mrs., Mr., Capt., Sister, etc.

10. Capitalize the first letter of all of the words in a title of a book, movie, article and other similar items. Except, do not capitalize prepositions, articles or conjunctions (unless they are at the beginning of the title).

The King and I

Giving Compliments

In American society it is very normal and nice to give compliments to friends or to anyone. Women especially love to hear compliments. (I know I do.) Here are a few expressions and situations that might help you learn when and how to give compliments.

Friend to Friend:
You can give compliments on clothing or other things.
“I love your sweater, where did you buy it?” – You ask where did you buy it not because you want to go out and buy the exact same one, but more out of interest.

“Your hair looks great, did you style it differently?”
“Wow, you look great. Have you been exercising?” or “You look really fit. Have you lost weight?” – You have to be careful with these. You don’t want to offend the person by implying that they are overweight or that they never exercised before. I also think that a man shouldn’t say these to women, because the woman might be offended.

“You’re my best friend.” “You’re sweet!” “You’re the greatest!” “You’re the best” – These are used when you want to comment on someone’s personality and how they act towards you. Or perhaps they just did you a favor.

“Your presentation was wonderful!” “I love the book you wrote.” “These cookies you made are delicious!”

Parents to children or teachers to children:
“I’m so impressed with you!” “Wow, look what you did!” “I’m so proud of you.” “You did great!” “Way to go”

Children to parents and teachers:
“You are a wonderful mom/dad! I love you!”
“You are my favorite teacher.” “I’m glad I’m in your class.”

Man to a women:
“Your eyes are beautiful.” “You are so gorgeous.” “Your hair is so silky.” “You have a beautiful complexion.”

Women to men:
“You’re handsome.” “You are so hot!” “You’re good-looking!”

Responses to compliments:
Thank you (so much)
That’s so kind of you to say so.
I’m glad you like (liked) it.
It was nothing.

What American kids do after school

After school in the USA there are tons of activities in which boys and girls can participate. There are sports, clubs, academic competitions, and band. These activities are called extracurricular activities.

The first category is sports. Children can start participating in sports as early as they would like. They can play these sports in high school: football, golf, tennis, swimming, basketball, baseball, track, volleyball and a few others. Football is by far the most popular sport. But, not all schools offer all of the sports. Some of the poorer and smaller schools don’t have as many sports offered. Then you compete with schools in nearby towns. And if you win enough competitions, you an compete in a state event and win scholarships for college.

There is also cheerleading. It is considered a sport. But, the life of a cheerleader is for a whole other post.

There are many clubs kids can participate in as well. There is Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. And cub scouts and brownies for younger kids. In those groups, they learn how to go camping, fishing, tie knots and do a lot of outdoor activities. They earn patches that they can then put on their vests or other clothes. For fundraisers, Boy Scouts sell pop corn and Girl Scouts sell cookies.

There is also a club called 4H. Me and my siblings were in this club when we were younger. They have activities and contests for cooking, sewing, growing vegetables and more. It’s a club for all ages of children.

There are also academic competitions. They have lots of contests for kids from kindergarten until their last year in high school. The youngest students have a competition called story telling. They are told a story and then they have to tell the story back to the judges as best as they can. They have contests like: music memory – where you have to listen to and memorize classical songs, who composed them and their titles. They have spelling and math contests. They also have poetry reading contests, as well as debate contests. You compete for a place on the team in your own school and then you go to competitions with other schools.

Band is another activity that kids can participate in. Depending on the school, you can start band at different ages, the norm is about 5th grade. You get to choose the instrument you want to play. You can then either buy the instrument or rent one. Practice takes place during 1 period during the school day, but also there are times outside of the school day where the kids will have competitions. You start doing marching band when you are in high school. This is where you learn how to march in the middle of football field during a football game.

There are other extracurricular activities as well, but these are the most noteworthy ones.

Knock Knock…

Time for some English fun!

Have you ever heard of Knock Knock jokes? Do you know what to say when a person who speaks English says “Knock knock?”

Here’s what you do…
Person A: Knock knock…
Person B: Who’s there?
Person A: Abe
Person B: Abe who?
Person A: Abe c d e f g h i j k l….
Now this is where Person B can laugh at the wonderful (bad) joke that Person A just told.

Here are a few more knock knock jokes that you can tell your friends…

Knock knock
Who’s there?
Abbott who?
Abbott time you answered the door! (Get it? Abbott sounds like ‘about’)

Knock knock
Who’s there?
Bean who?
Bean fishing lately? (Bean sounds like been.)

Knock knock
Who’s there?
Leaf who?
Leaf me alone! (Leaf is like leave.)
Yes, these are ‘bad’ knock knock jokes, but that is the point. The sillier the joke the better!

Gerunds vs. Infinitives

Another grammar point that goes with gerunds is using infinitives (ex. to sleep). The big question is, when do you use an infinitive and when do you use a gerund??? There are lots of rules and cases where you use one or the other, for this post, I will give an overview and go into more detail in future posts.
Both gerunds and infinitives can be used as the subject of a sentence:
Surfing at the beach is fun.
To surf at the beach is fun.

Both can be used as the object of a sentence:
I like surfing at the beach.
I like to surf at the beach.

Only gerunds can be used as the object of the preposition:
I like speaking about surfing at the beach. – correct
I like speaking about to surf at the beach. – incorrect

Here are a few generalizations when deciding to use one or the other:

Gerunds are used when the actions are finished or they are real.
I finished surfing.
I stopped surfing.
(I have completely finished surfing.)

Infinitives are used when the actions take place in the future or they are not real.
I stopped to surf.
(This means I was doing something else, like walking and I stopped doing that and then soon I will begin to surf.)

Beach Vocabulary

I went to the beach the last 2 days and I took some pictures in order to teach some English beach vocabulary! It’s useful because Spring is just around the corner!

The beaches I went to were on Isle of Palms and Sullivan’s Island. This first pictures is a group of beach toys for playing in the sand. There are some buckets (or pails depending on where you live in the United States), shovels, a rake, sand castle molds and more. Here is a picture of my finished sand castle. Not a bad job, not a great job either. Here is a picture of a sand dollar that my son and husband found on Isle of Palms. Here is a picture of a seashell. There are oodles and oodles of perfect seashells on both beaches!My house is the one in the middle! (Okay, only in my dreams!) These are beachfront houses. Only worth a several million each. You can see the sand dunes too (the grassy part). We are not allowed to walk on the dunes because they protect the beach from eroding. Here are some sea gulls. This is a picture of a working lighthouse. It’s not your normal shape of a lighthouse, which makes it unique.

Here is the beginning of the sunset. A beautiful ending to a beautiful weekend!


Gerunds are verbs that are used as nouns.
First, you take the base of the verb and you add –ing to it. Like this:Try making these verbs into their ‘ing‘ form: sleep and drink.

Now, you can use these verb forms as the subject or direct object of sentence. They will act like a noun.
As you can see, skiing is not the verb of either sentence. ‘Is’ is the verb in the 1st sentence and ‘like’ is the verb of the 2nd sentence. Skiing is the subject of the 1st sentence and the direct object of the 2nd sentence.Try making your own sentences with ‘dancing’ and ‘fishing’ as gerunds to get more practice!

Remember not all verbs that have an ‘ing’ ending are gerunds. They must be used as a noun. For example: I am skiing. This is the present progressive of ‘to ski,’ so it is not a gerund.

Can you see the difference?