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Feb 19 2018

English Lessons Houston: Present Tense vs. Present Continuous

Hi Students!  Here is a lesson from English Lessons Houston on when to use the Present Tense and the Present Continuous Tense.

Present Simple Tense

Use the present simple tense

  1. To talk about routines

I usually read the paper in the morning.

I go to the gym every night.

  1. To talk about states

The Yellow River runs through China.

Canada borders the United States.

  1. To talk about things we think of as permanent

Brazil is part of South America.

A square has four sides.


  1. To talk about future time introduced by when, as soon as, after, if, etc.

When I speak with my boss tomorrow, I’ll tell him about the new project.

If I talk to my brother, I’ll invite him for dinner tonight.

  1. To talk about “timetable” events

My train leaves at 4:00 p.m.

I travel to Paris on Friday.

Common phrases used with the present simple tense are:  as a rule, generally speaking, on the whole, every day/week/month/year, once a week/day/year, most of the time, etc.

Present Continuous

Use the present continuous tense

  1. To talk about an action happening at the moment of speaking

Mr. Yu is giving his presentation to his colleagues.  

I am eating dinner with my family right now.

  1. To talk about things we think of as temporary

I am working in Houston for a few weeks.

I am living in an apartment until my house is finished.

  1. To talk about a project that is “ongoing” and unfinished

I am writing a book about American politics.

We are waiting for the bus to arrive.

  1. To talk about a gradual change or development

Because of global warming, sea levels are rising.

Due to the heavy rain, people are driving slowly on the streets.

  1. To talk about an appointment or an arrangement in the future.

I am traveling to Belgium on Thursday.

She is having lunch with her boss later today.

Common phrases used with the present continuous are currently, for the moment, at the moment, for the time being, tomorrow, right now, etc.


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.


Sep 17 2017

TOEFL Grammar PRACTICE -Reflexive Pronouns

TOEFL Practice for Grammar; Reflexive Pronouns

Private English Lessons Houston



He, She ,It -Himself/herself/itself



They – Themselves

The reflexive pronoun is used


  1. To emphasize the subject noun or pronoun it refers to and to emphasize the fact that the subject did the action alone.

He does the work himself.  OR   He himself does the work.

  1. As the object of a verb when the subject and object are the same.

They travel together to work to save themselves the high cost of gas.

  1. As the object of the preposition when the subject did the action alone.

My elderly father is unable to dress himself.

Complete the sentences with the correct reflexive pronoun.

  1. University students push ____________ to make better grades.
  2. To protect ________________ from a lawsuit, the doctor asks her patients to sign a release form.
  3. The professor rides his bike to and from his classes by _________________.
  4. A young baby penguin is not able to feed ______________.
  5. Unlike animals that live in cold weather and have heavy fur, we cannot protect _________ from the cold without wearing protective clothing.
  6. I enjoy going by ____________ to the beach on Saturdays.
  7. I know you can learn to play guitar by ____________ if you will lessons on YouTube.
  8. Students, I know you can find your way to your next class by _________________.


  1. Themselves – students is plural
  2. Herself – we know that the doctor is a female because of “her patients”
  3. Himself – because the professor rides “his bike”.
  4. Itself – because a penguin is an animal and the gender is not known.
  5. Ourselves – because “we cannot” is plural
  6. Myself – because “I enjoy”
  7. Yourself – because of “you” and “your” in the sentence. Note:  we don’t know if the speaker is talking to one person or more than one person, so “yourselves” would also be correct.
  8. Yourselves – because the teacher is talking directly to the “students”.

Please continue to practice with reflexive pronouns, because they will be on the TOEFL test.

If you would like SKYPE lessons or live in or near the Houston, Texas area, please contact Worldwide English for lessons at (713) 993-6511.


Good luck to you on your TOEFL Test!

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


  • 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 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


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

Some nouns have countable and uncountable forms with different meanings.


  • 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.


  • new radiation technologies
  • We produce music.

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


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


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



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


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



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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.

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. 



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

Feb 26 2014

English Lessons Houston Phrasal Verbs 5 for Business English

Phrasal Verbs 5, More Business English Phrasal Verbs

Welcome to the world of English phrasal verbs!  There are lots of them.  In these English lessons, we are going to be looking at phrasal verbs used in Business English.  Some of these phrases are also idioms.   When you become accustomed to using English phrasal verbs, they will be easy for you.  So, let’s get started!

  • Call it a day – to stop doing something

When I finish this report, I’m going to call it a day.

  • Cough up – to pay money

My boss is going to have to cough up and buy a new computer.  The old one is broken.

  • Put someone’s cards on the table – to tell all the facts, to tell the truth  Phrasal Verb Business 4

The management at Petrobras finally put their cards on the table and told us they were going to use another vendor.

  • Put two and two together – to come to understand something

This morning my colleague was very upset and after lunch, I saw him carry his computer out to his car.  I put two and two together and decided that he lost his job.

  • Weather the storm – to go through a difficult time or period

Phrasal Verb Business 1In 2010, Toyota lost a lot of money.  But they weathered the storm and last year they did very well.

  • Turn over a new leaf – to make a big change

After a year of big software problems, our company is going to turn over a new leaf and hire a new group of IT engineers.




  • To talk turkey – to talk openly and directly

The meeting went very well.  The managers were willing to talk turkey and we got a lot done. 

Phrasal Verb Business 2

  • Throw in the towel – to quit something because it’s too difficult

We’ve been trying to fix the problems with this old software.  But I think it’s better to just throw in the towel and start over on a new program.


  • Smell a rat – to believe that something is not right, to be suspicious of something    Phrasal Verb Business 3

When the group from another company visited our warehouse, everyone smelled a rat and decided that our company was being sold. 




Worldwide English teaches private lessons to expats and their spouses in their home or office.  For more information visit http://www.englishlessons-houston.com/  or write tojulie@englishlessons-houston.comor call (713) 993-6511. 

Feb 23 2014

English Lessons Houston Part 4 “Business Phrasal Verbs”

English Lessons Houston, Business Phrasal Verbs 4

business phrasal verbs 3

Hi Students!  Welcome to Part 4 of English lessons on Phrasal Verbs.  In this English lesson, we will be studying phrasal verbs that are used in the American business culture.



Power ahead:  To do what needs to be done to get something done.

  • The Chinese government has powered ahead and the economy has grown stronger.
  • Come on!  Let’s power ahead and get this project finished on time.

Break even:  When a company breaks even, they make enough money to pay their bills, but not enough money to make a profit.

  • In 2012, my first year in business, I broke even.  But last year, I made a good profit.  business phrasal verb 4

Get the ball rolling:  To get started.

  • It’s time to start the meeting.  Mr. Yu will get the ball rolling and give us an update. 

Turn around:  When there is a change in business, for example a business begins to make a profit.

  • Last year our company lost money, but this year I think we can turn it around and make a profit.

Join forces:  To work together to get something done.

  • Last week, the software experts and the engineers joined forces to complete the project on time.

Table a discussion or project.  To stop talking about or stop working on something temporarily.

  • My manager agreed to table the discussion about the new budget and talk about it again next month.

phrasal verbs business 1  Scale down:  To slow down or to make smaller.

  • When BP realized that the reservoir project would be very expensive, they decided to scale it down and make it smaller.

Take action:  To do something suddenly.

  • When I realized that the computer system wasn’t working, I took action and called the IT department.

Deal with:  To do business with someone, or to do something about a situation.

  • Davi was coming in late every morning and our supervisor finally dealt with it and told him to be on time or find another job.
  • CNPC is dealing with many vendors in Sudan.

Get behind:  To support something, an idea or a thing.

I want to work for Tricon Energy.  That’s a company I can get behind!phrasal verb business 5

Stress out:  To feel nervous and anxious.

Last week, I had so many projects that I got stressed out and felt sick.

Look ahead:  To think about and plan for the future.  (also “plan ahead”)

The purchasing department is looking ahead and working on the budget for 2015. 


Worldwide English teaches private lessons to expats and their spouses in their home or office.  For more information visit http://www.englishlessons-houston.com/  or write to julie@englishlessons-houston.com 

Feb 09 2014

English Lessons Houston, Phrasal Verbs 2 “Turn”

English Lessons Houston, Phrasal Verbs 2 “Turn”

English lessons Houston turn 1Hi Students!  Let’s continue studying English phrasal verbs.  This lesson, we will be studying phrasal verbs that contain the word “turn”.  There are lots of phrases with the word turn and they mean different things.

Let’s get started!



  1. The word “turn” means to change direction or to go a different way.  Twist, spin, rotate are other words for this meaning of turn. Turn 3
  2. It can also mean to change into something.  To become is another word for this meaning of turn.
  3. It can mean that it’s time for you to do something.  Chance or opportunity are other words for this meaning of turn.

Turn up and turn down:  To make an electrical device go up or down.  Turn up is the opposite of turn down.

  • It’s cold in here!  Please turn up the heat.
  • That music is very loud.  Please turn it down.

Turn in:  When you complete a test, report, or project and you give it to the person who asked for it.

  • Last week, I turned my project in late to my boss.
  • I need to turn in my test by 10:00 a.m. this morning.

Turn 4

Turn in:  When you go to bed.

  • I’m very tired.  I think I’ll turn in now.

Turn into:  When something turns into something else, it becomes that thing.

  • Bruce Wayne turns into Batman when the commissioner needs help.
  • A small tree can turn into a large tree if it gets lots of water and sunshine.

Turn off and turn on: When you stop something or start something that is electrical, you turn it on or off.

  • Please turn off the light.  I’m trying to go to sleep.
  • Turn on the television.  I want to watch the soccer game.

Turn on and turn off:  When there is something or someone that you like or don’t like.

  • I like John, but men who smoke turn me off.
  • Maria is beautiful!  She really turns me on.

Turn 2

Turn out:  A situation or person that changes.

  • Jesus was going to buy a Ferrari, but it turned out to be too expensive.  He’s going to buy a Ford instead.
  • Petra was a little mean to me at first, but she turned out to be a nice girl.

Turn out:  A result or conclusion.

  • How did the pictures of your wedding turn out?
  • I cooked for two hours this afternoon, but the meal didn’t turn out well.  Everything was too dry!

Turn over:  To turn something so that the bottom is now on the top.

  • John turns over a lot when he is sleeping.
  • Turn the hamburgers over so that they can cook on the other side.

Turn over:  Something that changes.

  • There has been a big turnover at our company.  Many employees have left and there are new employees.
  • The factory has a low turnover.  People like to work here so they don’t leave.


These are the basic phrasal verbs using the word “turn”.  Practice using the phrasal verbs so they will become part of your English vocabulary!

Worldwide English in Houston, Texas teaches private lessons to expats and their spouses in their home or office.  For more information visit  http://www.englishlessons-houston.com/  or write to julie@englishlessons-houston.com



Jan 04 2014

English Lessons Houston – Phrasal Verbs 1 “Up”



English Lessons Houston – Phrasal Verbs 1

Welcome to the world of English phrasal Verbs!  There are lots of them.  In these English lessons, we are going to be looking at the most common ones.  When you become accustomed to using English phrasal verbs, they will be easy for you.  So, let’s get started!photo for up blog 2

An English Phrasal Verb is made up of a verb and a particle.


Inseparable phrasal verbs – the verb and the particle must stay together.

Examples of inseparable phrasal verbs:

  • Break down – stop working properly

My car is making a noise.  I think it’s going to break down soon.

  • Get together – meet

Let’s get together at Starbucks this afternoon at 2:00 p.m.

  • Run out of – not have enough

Can you lend me $25.00?  I have run out of money!

  • Look after – take care of

I need to look after my mother.  She is not feeling well.

Separable phrasal verbs – the verb and the particle can stay together or be separated.

Examples of separable phrasal verbs:

  • Call someone back – to return a phone call

I need to call Robert back.  He is waiting for my call.

  • Do something over – to do something again

I’ve made many mistakes on this essay.  I will have to do it over.

  • Fill something out – complete a form with information

phrasal verbs 1There are several pages for my visa application.  I need to fill them out.

  • Figure something out – to think about something until you understand it

Mathematics is difficult.  It takes me a long time to figure it out.


Let’s look at phrasal verbs using the word “up”.photo for up blog 3


  • Call someone up – to call someone on the phone

Tonight I’m going to call my father up and speak to him.

  • Back up – to go in reverse (backwards)

To drive away, I need to first back my car up

  • Catch up – to finish the work you have or to move faster to come up to someone or something.

I have so much work to do.  I’m not sure if I can catch up

My boyfriend is walking too fast.  It’s hard for me to catch up to him.

  • Wrap up – to finish

I am about to wrap my project up

  • Run up – to go high

My credit card balance is very high!  Last month I really ran it up!

  • Turn up – to appear

I wonder when my girlfriend will turn up.  She’s been gone all day!

  • Hurry up – to go faster

Hurry up!  The movie is about to start!

  • Look up – to find something

If you don’t know the meaning of these words, look them up in the dictionary.

  • Bring up – to talk about

When I was talking to my boss this morning, he brought up the fact that I have been late two times this week!

  • Take up – to spend time

I have more than 50 e-mails.  They are taking up too much of my time.

  • Grow up – children getting older

My sister is already 15.  She is growing up fast!

  • Keep up – to continue

I’m tired of running, but I want to run for 30 minutes so I am going to keep it up.


There are more English phrasal verbs using the word “up”.  Some of them are inseparable and some are separable.  A phrasal verb is conjugated just like a regular verb. 

Do you have any other questions about tipping in the USA?  Just send me an e-mail at julie@englishlessons-houston.com   If you are in Houston and need English lessons, give us a call or e-mail.  (713) 993-6511

Dec 04 2013

How is the Word “By” Used in English?


How is the Word “By” Used in English?


Hi Students!  There are many uses for the word “by”.  In this article, we will look at some of the ways that we use the word by in American English.

By is used in many expressions.  It can be used as a preposition and it can be used as an adverb.  confusion about by

When it is used as a preposition, it is followed by a noun.

  • My cell phone was ruined by the water.   (what caused it)
  • I was treated at the hospital by Dr. Jones.  (who does or did something)
  • The hotel is located by the lake. (a location that is close)
  • We went to the airport by car.  (to say how something is done)
  • By taking the bus, you will arrive sooner.  (by doing something)

Confused about the word ByLet’s look at some other ways to use the word by.

  • I call my boss by his first name.  (how to name or call something)
  • I will begin my presentation by thanking everyone for coming.  (saying how you will start or finish something)
  • I will be finished with my report by 5:00 p.m.
  • Tom and Jerry will arrive at the party by 9:00 p.m.  (Before a certain time)
  • They drove into the other car by accident.  (something not planned)
  • The price of gasoline rose by 5% last year.  (how much something changed)
  • Brad Pitt just drove by me!  (coming close to or passing someone)

And let’s look at a few phrases that use the word by.

  • By and by (after a short time)

By and by, JK forgot about his old girl friend.

  • By and large (in general)

By and large, the meeting went very well.

  • By the way  (to change the subject in a conversation)

By the way, don’t forget to turn in your report.


These are not the only ways to use by.  Mathematics uses the word by when we multiply or divide.  puzzled about By

Multiply 5 by 100.  Divide 100 by 10.  The room is 8 feet by 10 feet.


So many ways to use the word by!  If you have any questions about the word by, you can send me an email at julie@englishlessons-houston.com   Also, if you are in Houston, go to our website Worldwide English and contact us about private English lessons!  That’s all for now!




English Lessons Houston