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Jun 29 2017

English Lessons Houston – Countable and Uncountable Nouns

Nouns – Countable and Uncountable

 

Hi Students!  Here is a lesson on countable and uncountable nouns.  Please study these so that you will understand the differences.

Countable

Countable nouns are the names of objects you can count. You can use a/an with countable nouns. Countable nouns also have plurals.

Examples:

  • I would like to eat an orange
  • This material weighs three grams
  • I am familiar with a few cultures in Africa.
  • My wife wants to buy several acres in Arizona.
  • Last year, volunteers planted a million trees in California.

Uncountable

Uncountable nouns are the names of objects that you cannot count. They may represent mass nouns (such as oil), abstract ideas (such as leadership) or general words (food, etc.). We cannot use a/an with uncountable nouns and there in no plural form.

Examples:

  • I need to buy some flour to make cookies.
  • Please cut the grass
  • The new iPhone features the latest
  • I would like to have some more
  • When there is rain, sometimes you can see lightning in the sky.

Countable and Uncountable

A bit of, a lot of, some, any, and the can be used with countable and uncountable nouns. Advice, equipment and information are uncountable nouns. We do not use these nouns with a/an, and they have no plurals.

Examples:

  • I could give you a lot of advice on that topic for your interview.
  • Could you give me any information?
  • She brought some equipment with her.

You can use a countable noun before an uncountable noun if you want to quantify it.

Examples:

  • Could we buy two bags of flour?
  • We need a new piece of information.

Some nouns have countable and uncountable forms with different meanings.

Examples:

  • I love chocolate.

(uncountable – chocolate in general)

  • That store sells healthy chocolate.

(countable – varieties of chocolate)

 

  • She ordered a coffee.

(countable – referring to one cup of coffee)

  • Would he like to order coffee?

(uncountable – coffee in general)

 

  • There is no truth in those rumors.

(uncountable – quality/state of being true)

  • The fundamental truths about food and digestion are simple to understand.

(countable – referring to facts/beliefs that are accurate)

 

Some nouns tend to be uncountable in general usage and are often used as countable nouns in more of a technical sense.

Examples:

  • new radiation technologies
  • We produce music.

Often, the countable noun and its uncountable equivalent are completely different words.

Examples:

  • We’ve got to make rolls before our guests arrive.

(countable)

  • We’ve got to make bread before our guests arrive.

(uncountable)

 

  • Lighting was spotted crossing the sky at 4 o’clock in the morning.

(uncountable)

  • A flash of lightning was spotted crossing the sky at 4 o’clock in the morning.

(countable)

 

Good luck with your practice of countable and uncountable nouns!

 

If you are in Houston and would like to have private English lessons in your home or office, please contact Julie at julie@englishlessons-houston.com  or call 713-993-6511.  We also offer SKYPE lessons.  There are many qualified American tutors at Worldwide English!

Jun 18 2017

English Lessons Houston – What is the Difference between Will and Going To?

Talking about the Future – Will vs. Going to

Hi Students!  Many of you ask me about when to use will and when to use going to, when you are talking about the future.  So, here are the rules for will and going to and I have given you some examples to help you understand the differences.

Here are the rules for using going to:

Use going to for intentions, plans and decisions that have been made before the moment of speaking.

Examples:

  • I’m going to have lunch with my supervisor on Thursday.
  • Next week, I’m going to fly to Barcelona for a convention.
  • My colleagues are going to start the project on June 21st.
  • What are you going to do this weekend?
  • Today, I’m going to talk to you about the new budget for 2018.

Use going to when you are making a prediction based on present evidence.

Examples:

  • My boss isn’t going to be happy when he hears about the delay in the shipment.
  • Our gross sales are going to be very good this year.
  • We have a lot of items to talk about on our agenda, so let’s get started.

 

Students, there are several rules for using the word will.  The first rule is the most important one.

 Here are the rules for using will:

*Use will for sudden or quick decisions made at the moment of speaking.

Examples:

  • Will you help me finish this report?
  • I will call you back in a few minutes.
  • I’ll send you all the details in an e-mail.

Use will for arranged events that are not personal.

  • Our CEO will speak at a conference this afternoon.
  • The meeting will be at 3:00 p.m. today in the large conference room.
  • My flight to Japan will leave at 7:00 p.m. this evening.

Use will when you want to confirm something, like a call or a meeting.

  • So, you’ll contact me next Friday and let me know your decision?
  • Don’t worry, I won’t forget our meeting next Thursday.
  • Yes, I’ll do it right away.

Use will for predictions with the verbs think and expect.

  • I don’t think I will go to the basketball game tonight. I’m not feeling well.
  • I think our project budget will be very high this time.
  • I expect that she will leave the company at the end of the year.

I expect that these rules will help you to know when to use going to and when to use will to talking about the future.  Also, listen to how native English speakers use will and going to and that will help you a lot?  Good luck, students!

 

Students, I wish you great success.  If you would like to have SKYPE lessons or if you live in the Houston area and would like to have private lessons, please contact Worldwide English at julie@englishlessons-houston.com or give us a call at 713-993-6511.

Jun 14 2017

Business English – Phrases for Presentations

English Lessons Houston – Phrases for Presentations

Hi students of Business English!  Here is a lesson on transition words and phrases that you might use in your job, especially for presentations.  These phrases are common in the American business environment.  They will help your English speaking and writing to be more professional. When you use transitional words and phrases, your presentation will flow more smoothly.

To introduce a presentation or outline a structure:

I’ve divided my talk into…..

First of all, I’ll….

After that, I’ll…..

I’ll conclude with…..

Here’s an example of how to use these phrases:

I’ve divided my talk into three sections.  First of all, I will give you a current update on how the project is going so far.  After that, I’ll discuss the changes that the head office has suggested.  I’ll conclude with our timeline and will take questions and answers after that.

Beginning the presentation:

I’d like to start by saying…..

Example:   I’d like to start by saying that the project is running on time and the head office is very happy with the work we’ve done so far.

I’d like to start by saying that our supervisor, Mr. Chu, couldn’t attend the meeting today in person, but he will be joining us by teleconference.

Talking about the future or past in a presentation:

As I said earlier…..

Example:  As I said earlier, we will be adding three employees from our finance department to help us develop the budget.

I’ll return to ……… later

Example:  I’ll return to the discussion about the timeline later.

I’ll say more about ……. in a moment

Example:  I’ll say more about the McDermott  reorganization in a moment.

Just to digress for a moment…..  (digress means to change the subject)

Example:  Just to digress for a moment, I will explain the recent budge changes.

Going on to a new section of the presentation:

Ok, moving on……

Example:  Ok, moving on to the issues of transporting goods to Sudan.

Turning to……

Example:  Turning to the diagram of the well-flow over the past six months, I will explain the situation and how we will solve the issue.

That brings me to……

Example:  That brings me to my next section, which is the change in the deadline for the year-end reports.

Concluding a presentation:

And this is my key point……

Example:  And this is my key point, that the new equipment will increase production and enable us to meet our delivery dates.

To sum up…..

Example:  To sum up, I believe we can finish this project on time if each of you can work until 6:00 p.m. this week.

I’ll be happy to take any questions now.

 

Students, I wish you great success.  If you would like to have SKYPE lessons or if you live in the Houston area and would like to have private lessons, please contact Worldwide English at julie@englishlessons-houston.com or give us a call at 713-993-6511.

 

Jun 11 2017

Tipping in the USA

Here is a lesson on tipping in the USA from Worldwide English, a company that offers English lessons in the Houston area.

 

If you are living in the USA, you will need to understand the practice of tipping.  Sometimes it can be confusing.  Tipping in the USA is voluntary; that is, you do not have to leave a tip if you don’t want to.  Leaving a tip is a way of saying “thank you”.  The word tip is both a noun and a verb.

Here are examples of how to use the word “tip”.

As a noun:  It’s a good idea to give your waiter a tip.

I left a big tip for my waiter because he did a very good job.

As a verb:  In a restaurant, Americans usually leave a tip for the waiter.

At Starbucks, I sometimes leave a tip in the glass jar.

There is another meaning for the word tip.  Tip can also mean “extra information” or “advice” that is helpful.  But in this lesson, the word tip is a small amount of money that you leave as a “thank you” for service.

How much should you tip?

In a restaurant where you receive full service:

In most areas of the USA, 20% is considered acceptable for good service.  If you feel that you did not receive good service, for example, if your waiter was slow or rude, you can choose to leave less.

Here’s a tip on tipping in a restaurant:  Be careful not to tip on the “total”.  Look at the “subtotal”, which is the total before the tax is added.  That is the total that you should figure the tip on.

For example, If your total bill is $20.00, look at the total before the tax is added.  The actual amount of your food and drink might actually be $18.50, so you would pay 20% of 18.50, not 20% of $20.00.

Also, if the number of people in your party is more than five or six, the tip might already be added to your bill, so be sure to check and if so, you do not need to leave more.

At a restaurant where there is a buffet:

A restaurant that has a buffet, does not offer full service.  But the waiter will usually bring you a drink and remove your dishes when you are finished.  So the typical tip for service at a restaurant with a buffet would be about 10 %.

At a bar:

When you are service by a bartender or waiter, the usual tip is $1.00 for each drink that you order.

 

 

For a taxi driver:

The usual tip for a taxi driver is 15-20%.    

 

 

 

 

For a hotel (for the person that cleans your room):

The usual tip is $3.00 per person per night.  On the day you leave the hotel, you can leave the tip in your room and the maid will pick it up when he or she comes to clean the room.

For a valet that parks your car:

Most valet service is free, but the tip is usually $3.00-$5.00.

At the airport, for someone who helps you with your bags:

The usual tip is $1.00 for each bag.

For places that have a tip jar:

Many places, like Starbucks or small sandwich shops, have a tip jar near the cash register.  In this case, you are free to leave any amount, but most people leave $1.00 or less.

Other places that you can tip:

Your barber or hairdresser, restaurant delivery, tour guides.  A good rule for tipping is 10-15% of your bill.

There are several “tip calculator” apps that you can download to your mobile phone. This will make it easy for you to figure the amount you should tip.

 

 

 

If you’re interested in SKYPE or private classes, give us a call at Worldwide English (713) 953-6511 or visit us online at http://www.englishlessons-houston.com.    We are based in Houston, Texas teaching English worldwide.

 

 

 

Dec 05 2016

Business English Expressions and Idioms – Talking about Business Success: English Lessons Houston

Business English Lessons Houston

Business Expressions and Idioms – Talking about Business Success

Hi Students,

Here are some examples of idioms and expressions that you will sometimes hear when people are talking about success in business.

  1. Recording breaking

    – to do better than one has done before

Examples:  Verizon Wireless had a record-breaking first quarter.  The sales were the highest in the company’s history.

Business Success 1

  1. Pan out – to have a good result

Example:  Wells Fargo encouraged its employees to open new accounts and it panned out.  Four hundred new accounts were opened last month!

 

 

 

  1. A pat on the back – words of gratitude or encouragement

Example:  The boss gave Rodrigo a pat on the back for his hard work last month.

Business Success 2

  1. Kudos

    – compliments for a job well done

Example:  Kudos to the employees of Bank of China for bringing in a lot of new customers.

 

  1. Through the roof

    – very high amounts

 

Example:   The number of sales of the new Apple IPhones are through the roof!  The number of phone bought is much higher than we expected.

 

  1. Share the credit

    – to mention that you had help from colleagues

Example:  Thank you for the pat on the back!  But I want to share the credit with my colleagues who worked with me on this project.

Business Success 4

  1. Make a killing

    – making a lot of money

 

Example:  I bought stock in AT&T when the price was low, and I made a killing.  The price is very high now.

 

  1. Break even

    – when expenses are equal to profits

Example:  We had a lot of expenses in our first year in business, so we just broke even.  Next year, we will make a profit.

Business Success 3

  1. To have the lion’s share

    – to have the largest share in the market

Example:  Chevron Corporation has the lion’s share of service contracts in the oil and gas industry.

  1. Hit pay dirt – make money

Example:  After breaking even for three years in a row, we finally hit pay dirt in 2016 and made very high profits.

 

 

Students, practice using these idioms and expressions so that you will become more fluent in American English.  Good luck!

 

If you’re interested in online or in-person classes, give us a call at Worldwide English (713) 953-6511 or visit us online at Worldwide English.   We are based in Houston, Texas teaching English worldwide.

Nov 28 2016

Business English Expressions and Idioms – Talking about Scheduling

Business English Lessons in Houston
Business Expressions and Idioms – Talking about Scheduling.

Hi Students,
Here are some examples of idioms and expressions that you will sometimes hear when your colleagues are talking about scheduling.

schedules-3
1. Ahead of schedule– doing something faster than expected
Example: The engineering department is ahead of schedule on the drawings for the new bridge. They will probably finish earlier than we expected.

2. Behind schedule – doing something slower than expected.
Example: FedEx is rarely behind schedule on its deliveries. They are almost always on time.
3. Crunch time – When there is not very much time left to get something done.
Example: It’s crunch time! The financial analysis for the project in the Permian Basin is due tomorrow. We should hurry!

 

4. Down to the wire – To complete work just before something is due
Example: In order to finish the model on time, we will need to work down to the wire. We will all work late tonight. The project is due tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m.  schedules-2

5. Fast track – to try and finish something quickly

Example: The client wants this completed by next Friday. We will have to fast track the project to get it done on time.

6. Mess around – waste time
Example: We are behind schedule on the Janus project. We need to quit messing around and get back to work!

schedules-4

7. Get up to speed – to learn the latest information about something

Example: Mr. Chu, please bring us up to speed on the project for Berkshire-Hathaway.

8. Working against the clock – to try to do something in a short amount of time
Example: In order to fill these orders for Walmart by December 1st, we will be working against the clock to get it done.

9. 24/7 – to do something 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
Example: In order to complete the project, everyone is working 24/7 to get it done on time.

schedules-1
10. Cutting it close– to complete something with not enough time
Example: Jerry has to deliver the contract to before 5:00 p.m. today. He will be cutting it close and I’m not sure he can do it.

 

Students, practice using these idioms and expressions so that you will become more fluent in American English. Good luck!

 

If you’re interested in online or in-person classes, give us a call at Worldwide English (713) 953-6511 or visit us online at http://www.englishlessons-houston.com. We are based in Houston, Texas teaching English worldwide.

Business English Lessons

Oct 09 2016

Private English Lessons in Houston – Business Idioms and Expressions for Financial Issues

 

Hi Students,

Here are some examples of idioms and expressions that you will sometimes hear when people are talking about financial issues.

  1. Ballpark figure – a guess about how much something will cost that could be more or less, but will be close.

Examples:  Anadarko Petroleum Company is asking its financial department for a ballpark figure of what it would cost to build a new refinery in Algeria.

A Ballpark Figure

A Ballpark Figure

  1. Crunch the numbers – to perform financial calculations

Example:  Devon Energy is planning to invest in new equipment for off-shore drilling.  The Vice-President has asked the Financial Department to crunch the numbers so that they can include the equipment in their 2017 budget.

 

 

 

 

  1. In the red – when expenses are higher than company revenues

Example:  For the past six months, our expenses have been higher than our income and now the company is in the red.

 

  1. In the black – when revenues are higher than expenses

 

Example:  Our first quarter sales were great!  We will be in the black for all of 2016.

In the Black

In the Black

 

  1. Break-even – when revenue equals expenses; a company doesn’t lose money and doesn’t make money.

 

Example:   When Ben and Jerry first began their ice cream company, they broke even for the first two years.

 

  1. A Pretty penny – a high price

Example:  The new warehouse purchased last year close to the ship channel cost the Hess Corporation a pretty penny.

Nickel and dime

Nickel and dime

  1. Nickel and dime someone – making a company pay for small expenses

 

Example:  I don’t think we should sign the contract to do business with our client.  They are nickel and diming us over every small detail.  We won’t make any money from this deal.

 

  1. Break one’s budget – to cost more than one can afford to pay

Example:  The cost of investing in Peru at this time will break our budget.  We will have to wait until 2018.

 

  1. To get more bang for the buck – more return on one’s money, more value for an investment

Example:  If we use the vendor from Norway, we will get more bang for our buck.

  1. Back -of-the-envelope calculations – approximate calculations done quickly
    Back of the envelope calculations

    Back of the envelope calculations

Example:  Based on back-of-the-envelope calculations, Royal Dutch Shell should be able to build four new off-shore drilling rigs in 2018.

 

Students, practice using these idioms and expressions so that you will become more fluent in American English.  Good luck!

 

If you’re interested in online or in-person classes, give us a call at Worldwide English (713) 953-6511 or visit us online at http://www.englishlessons-houston.com.    We are based in Houston, Texas teaching English worldwide.

Business English Lessons

Copyright©2012 by The Worldwide English Company.  All rights reserved.

Aug 24 2016

English Lessons Houston – Make and Do

English Lessons Houston- Do and Make

Hello Students!

In today’s lesson, we will learn about when to use “do” and when to use “make”.  Make and Do can be very confusing for students learning English.  In this lesson, we will go over the rules about Make and Do and when to use each one.

Make is for creating or building something new.

Make a date or appointment or date

John and I made a date to have lunch together.

“Make a plan” –   Make a trip

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We made plans to visit New York City this summer.


“Make noise” –

Turn down the music.  You are making too much noise!

 

 “Make a promise”-

I made a promise to finish the project by Friday at noon.

 

Make the bed” –

It’s a good habit to make the bed every day.

 

Make a phone call” –

Jing made a phone call to her mother in Beijing.

Make a decision” –

I made the decision to buy the Porsche.   Confused about the word By

 

 

 

 

 

Make an improvement” –

You’ve made a big improvement in your work!

Make a meal, food or drink”-

I made lunch for my wife today.  I made Italian food.

 

make food

 

Do is used when talking about a job or task.

Do business”

Last year, we did business with Petrobras.

“Do household tasks like cleaning, dishes, laundry” –

My wife did the dishes last night while I did the laundry.

Do laundry

 

 

 

“Do exercises” –

Nicole did exercises at the gym today for two hours.

 “Do your best”-

My children do their best to make good grades.

 

Do a job” –

Last month, our team did a job for NASA.

 

Do the wrong/right thing” –

My husband told me that I was doing the right thing.

 

Do homework” –

I like to do my homework on the weekends. 

 

TOEFL 1

Do for a greeting” –

How are you doing?  I’m doing fine.

 

That’s our lesson on DO vs. MAKE!  I hope you do well this week in your lessons!

If you are in Houston, Texas please call us for private English lessons.  For more information, visit http://www.englishlessons-houston.com or write to julie@englishlessons-houston.com    (713) 993-6511  We also offer SKYPE lessons.

Copyright©2016 by The Worldwide English Company.  All rights reserved.

Business English Lessons

Mar 27 2016

English Lessons Houston -American Idioms using Similes

American Idioms

Idioms using Similes – Lesson 5

 

Hello Students!

In today’s lesson, we will learn more about idioms. Americans use lots of idioms, especially in movies and at the office.  The more you use and understand them, the greater your English speaking skills will be.  You will “fit right in”!

Today, we are looking at American idioms that use similes.

What is a simile?  A simile compares two things that are not alike.

They contain the words, “as…….as a/an ……” or  “like”.

Most similes are idioms. They are used to emphasize something.  (very tired, very hungry, very busy, etc.)

Here are some examples of American idioms from similes.

simile 6as hungry as a bear”very hungry

After running three miles in the park, President Obama was as hungry as a bear.

 “eats like a horse” – eats a lot

For lunch, President Obama ate two plates of spaghetti, three pieces of bread and two bowls of ice cream.  He ate like a horse!

 

 


“as sick as a dog” – to be very sick Similes 5

After eating all that food, President Obama was as sick as a dog!

 “as fit as a fiddle”- to be fine, to be healthy

So he took a nap after lunch, and after that, he was as fit as a fiddle.

similes 4as busy as a bee” – very busy

In fact, he worked in the Oval Office until 7:00 p.m.  He was as busy as a bee.

 

 

as cool as a cucumber” – to be very calm, to think and speak calmly

The President made some very important decisions, but he was as cool as a cucumber.

as fresh as a daisy” – very rested, wide awake and alert  simile 7

After a good night’s sleep, the President woke up at 5:00 a.m. as fresh as a daisy.

 

 

as regular as clockwork” – to do something at the same time every day, or to be on the same schedule

He had breakfast at 7:00 a.m. and went to the Oval Office at 8:00 a.m., as regular as clockwork.

Here are a few others:

  • as big as house,
  • as stubborn as a mule
  • as weak as a kitten
  • as high as a kite
  • as free as a bird

 

Similes 1

That’s our lesson on Idioms from Similes!  I hope you don’t have to work like a dog this week!

If you are in Houston, Texas please call us for private English lessons.  For more information, visit http://www.englishlessons-houston.com or write to julie@englishlessons-houston.com

Copyright©2016 by The Worldwide English Company.  All rights reserved.

Business English Lessons

Mar 26 2016

English Lessons Houston – Passing the TOEFL Integrated Speaking Tasks

Passing the TOEFL Integrated Speaking Tasks

from Worldwide English in Houston, Texas

 

TOEFL int speakingAre you getting ready to take the TOEFL test?  As you know, there are four parts to the TOEFL test and one of those parts is a speaking test.  In this lesson, I will give you some hints to help you do very well in the Speaking test so that your score on this test will improve.

There are six tasks on the TOEFL Speaking test.

There are four integrated speaking tasks on the TOEFL test: two of the tasks have reading, listening and speaking.   For each task, you have 45 seconds to read, you have 30 seconds to prepare your answer and write notes, and 60 seconds to speak.  There is one speaking task that is about two students talking, or a counselor or professor talking to a student.  The other integrated speaking test is a university lecture.  You may not understand the content of the lecture, but there is enough information so that you will be able to answer the question.

In this lesson, we will look an an integrated speaking task that has reading, listening and speaking.  For these tasks you have 45 seconds to read, 30 seconds to prepare your answer and 60 seconds to speak. TOEFL int speaking 3

Here is an example of the reading, listening and speaking task:

  • The reading is an announcement about a work/study program for students. (45 seconds to read)
  • The listening part is about two students discussing the announcement. (you may take notes)
  • Here is the speaking assignment:

One student wants to be in the work/study program.  What are the requirements necessary and what are the advantages of the program?

Before you start, it’s good to know that:

  • The purpose of the reading is to give you a chance to read the vocabulary used before you listen to a conversation or lecture. It helps you to recognize the vocabulary when you hear it.
  • Usually, you need the information from both the reading and  listening parts in order to answer the question in the speaking part.
  • In this example, you are asked to talk about the requirements and the advantages of the work/study program. You have one minute to do this.

TOEFL int speaking 2Sample answer:

Introduction:

There are requirements and advantages for students in the work/study program.

Requirements

One requirement is that a student must be enrolled full-time in the university.  Also, students must be able to prove that they have a financial need and must fill out paperwork about their finances. Students can apply if they have a lot or just a little financial need.  Not all students qualify to participate in the work/study program because they do not need financial help.

Advantages:

One advantage of the work/study program is that students can earn up to $3,000 per year.  This will help students with their educational expenses. Also, the work/study program can give students valuable job experience in their major area of study.

Conclusion:

For these reasons, the work/study program can be very helpful for students who have financial needs.

Now, let’s put it all together:

There are requirements and advantages for students in the work/study program.    One requirement is that a student must be enrolled full-time in the university.  Also, students must be able to prove that they have a financial need and must fill out paperwork about their finances. Students can apply if they have a lot or just a little financial need.  Not all students qualify to participate in the work/study program because they do not need financial help.

One advantage of the work/study program is that students can earn up to $3,000 per year.  This will help students with their educational expenses. Also, the work/study program can give students valuable job experience in their major area of study.  For these reasons, the work/study program can be very helpful for students who have financial needs.

Time:  58 seconds

TOEFL int speaking 4

More helpful hints:

  • In these integrated speaking tasks, you have more time available to answer. So you can give more details.
  • Be sure to speak slowly so that the listener understands what you are saying.
  • Remember to include your introduction and conclusion. This shows the listener that you are organized.
  • Use transition words. This also shows the listener that you are able to organize your thoughts.
  • If you are listening to a lecture and you don’t understand the topic, don’t worry. Just take notes and look back to the reading to help you answer the question.  Some of the lectures are about topics that you’ve never seen before.  That’s okay because you can still answer the question if you take good notes and organize your answer.

If you are in Houston, Texas please call us for private English lessons.  For more information, visit Worldwide English or write to julie@englishlessons-houston.com

Copyright©2016 by The Worldwide English Company.  All rights reserved.

Business English Lessons

English Lessons Houston