English: QWERTY keyboard, on 2007 Sony Vaio la...

English: QWERTY keyboard, on 2007 Sony Vaio laptop computer. Français : Le clavier QWERTY d’un ordinateur portable Sony Vaio de 2007. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When it comes to learning how to use the Internet or any social media websites, the first thing that you must know is how to use a keyboard.

If you don’t know how to type 85wpm (words per minute) or even 35wpm, like me, that’s okay.

Learning where the keys are is the most important thing to know. It is really simple to learn how to place your fingers on the keys, especially if your keyboard is QWERTY, like most keyboards are.

QWERTY comes from those keys found in the upper left hand row of letters on the keyboard.

There are keyboards in languages other than English, which might pose a difficult problem for newcomers, but it is still an easy thing to learn to use.


  • Ø First: Place your hands over the keyboard with your thumbs resting on the spacebar.


  • Ø Then: Place your index finger (the pointing finger) on the letters (J) and (F). Notice that the right finger is on (J) and the left is on (F).



  • Ø Then: Place your remaining fingers on either hand on the keys that are immediately beneath them. Notice that your fingers will automatically fall into place because there is nowhere else to put them, assuming you keep all of your fingers on the same row as the index fingers.

If all fingers are resting in their natural places, the pinky finger (the baby or smallest finger) will rest on the (: colon ; semi colon) right hand; and the (A) left hand.

Try to relax and notice that some fingers will remain bent, while others will not. It’s okay; just don’t force your fingers to do anything that they aren’t equipped to do.

Keep your thumbs on the spacebar at all times. It will keep your fingers in place.


  • Ø Finally: Now that all fingers are in their proper places, let’s practice typing a word.


  • Ø The word for today is TYPEWRITER.



This is a good word to start with because you will learn how to stretch your fingers up to reach the (T) (Y) (P) (E) (W) (R) (I) (T) (E) and (R)


All of the letters are in the top row of letter keys.


Practice typing this word several times without moving your wrist from the keyboard, and use your thumbs for the spacebar in between each word typed.


Have fun typing!

Adjectives Bulletin Board

Adjectives Bulletin Board (Photo credit: Evelyn Saenz)

Good Double Comparatives

Double comparatives are phrases commonly used in English to express increasing or decreasing returns.

Double comparatives are often employed to underline the importance of doing or not doing a certain activity.

Here are some examples:

The more you practice, the better your performance.
The more time you spend talking to an audience, the better you get at public speaking.
The less money I spend, the less I have to worry about debt.
The less you water the garden, the less chance the plants will grow.

As you can see from these examples, the format of double comparatives is as follows:

The (more / less) + (noun / noun phrase) subject + verb +, + the (more / less) + (noun) subject + verb

Notice that with ‘more’ and ‘less’ you are comparing actions.


You can compare adjectives in the same way:

The darker the berry is, the juiciest it is to eat.
The faster the trains are, the more dangerous they are to ride.
The funnier the comic is, the more fun he is to watch.

The + comparative adjective + to be, + the + comparative adjective + subject + verb + (infinitive of purpose)


These forms can be mixed up as well.

It is equally possible to reverse comparative adjectives and end with more / less plus a subject and verb or noun, subject and verb.

The prettier the girl is, the more attention she enjoys.
The happier the mom is, the more the dad can relax.
The more thrilling the new movie is, the less the director worries about making a box office hit.



In spoken English, we also use double comparatives called clichés.

The more the merrier
which means…
The more people there are, the merrier everyone will be.


We can turn the double comparatives into commands:


Study more, learn more.
Eat less, move more

Play less, study more.
Work more, earn more.
Think harder, get smarter.


Bad Double Comparatives

Here are some examples of the incorrect use of two comparative forms together.

This ice cream is more tastier than that sorbet.
He is more funnier than Jack is.
Susan is more taller than Jane.

In this case, ‘more’ is not required as the comparative adjective form. The sentence is modified by the addition of ‘-ier’.

Double Comparatives to Show Change

And finally, double comparatives are also used to show a continual increase or decrease.

There are more and more women attending college these days.
It seems like there are fewer and fewer items being made in America.
Ultimately, people will find more and more time to spend with their families.

I hope you have enjoyed learning about double comparatives. Let me know of any examples you can think of.


Audience (Photo credit: thinkmedialabs)

If you’re anything like most of my English students, you’re probably constantly looking for new ways to practice your oral English and speak spontaneously.

Giving a presentation can provide that platform to practice. It can also do the following:

  •  it gives the presenting student a good opportunity to practice unaided speaking
  •  it gives the other students good listening practice
  •  it increases the presenting student’s confidence when using English
  •  it can be good practice for the real situation for those students who may actually need to give presentations in English in their professional lives
  •  it is an excellent generator of spontaneous discussion

What is a presentation, anyway?
It is a verbal report presented with illustrative material, such as slides, graphs, etc.  by one person to a group of people introducing and describing a particular subject (for example: a new product, company results or a proposed advertising campaign).

For this article we are considering the use of presentations for speaking practice.

Let’s begin exploring how to prepare an English presentation to an English language class.

1.           CHOICE OF SUBJECT

The first question that goes through any student’s head when presented with this task is ‘What will I talk about?’

If you have anything of interest that you want to share with others such as: hobbies, professional activities, past holidays etc., this can be a starting point.

Sometimes when making a presentation, a student may discover a hidden talent like performing a stand-up comedian routine, or juggling act.

Everyone has an interest or skill that is particular to them and may be of potential interest to others. After having dug a little into your mind, you can record the interests on paper as you narrow down the topic of your proposed presentation.

Only if you are at a complete loss do you need to ask for help from the teacher or a friend. But be imaginative.

2.           TIME LIMIT

It need not be a long presentation, just 5 or 10 minutes, plus questions. Practice reading the presentation with a timer to determine how long it is.

Read it in a normal tone and pace. Pause after each sentence to give yourself time to breathe and most of all relax.

In reality, it is far more difficult to prepare and give a 5-minute presentation than a 20-minute one. In addition, once underway, most students very often overrun on their time.

3.           EQUIPMENT

This will be governed by your environment. The main thing is to use support material and visual aids.

The bare minimum would be a whiteboard or flipchart. If you have an Overhead projector or data show projector so much the better.

Bring in additional materials, for example wall maps or samples or other realia like tools or objects discussed in your presentation, if allowed.

 4.           PREPARATION


No doubt, preparation is the key element of any presentation. There is no getting around this one.

Give yourself plenty of time to prepare. It will give you confidence on the day. You can use homework and/or classroom time for preparation. You can ask for help from the teacher to further explain what you need to speak about.

Remember that lack of preparation may lead to failure, and the last thing you want to do in front of class is to present a failure.


You may wish to read up on the principles of presentations, just to take the edge off of your nervousness.

Depending on your objective, are you giving a ‘presentation’ as an end in itself, or are you using presentations as a means to practice English? In any case, learning the value of preparation and signposting will help.

As a student, you are watching the teacher presenting all the time and probably take for granted the sheer mechanics of presentation and don’t notice the butterflies she may have before her lessons.

Learn from the presenters, and emulate them.


Remember that the objective is not to come to class, show everybody the top of your head and read a text.

The objective is speaking, admittedly prepared, but without a text.

Key words, yes! Notes, yes! But no texts, don’t read the presentation, present it.

Again, prepare your notes or keywords.

 7.           QUESTIONS

Presenters usually indicate to their audience when they will answer questions – i.e., during or after the presentation.

It may be best to encourage question-taking after rather than during the presentation.

This will give you more time for uninterrupted, unaided speech and avoid any danger of the presentation itself degenerating into a free-for-all.

A well managed Q&A session at the end of the presentation is of real value. Don’t be afraid of silence! Students need time to think of and formulate questions.

 8.           PEER FEEDBACK

Again, depending on the audience, level and culture, you may wish to invite feedback from other students on your performance.

You can give the audience a prepared feedback form, listing the points to watch out for and comment on. But be very careful, some nationalities will be unwilling to, as they see it, ‘pass judgment on’ their colleagues.

At lower levels, students may be totally deflated by such feedback. In all cases, the audience should be looking for positive points at least as much as for negative ones.

This can be a useful activity, but if in doubt, it’s probably best avoided.

The important point is that this type of verbal practice exercise should have a positive, beneficial result – Improved oral communication.

Most of all have fun doing it.

Presentations will build self confidence and give you a platform to practice speaking English.

Do you like to give presentations in any language?

Educator eff

Educator eff (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This week is National Teacher Appreciation Week in America.


The US Department of Education wants people to take to Facebook and Twitter and thank a teacher who made a difference in their lives. Teach Me About Teaching


There have been many teachers who made sustaining impressions on me, like my third grade teacher Ms. Woods; eighth grade science teacher Mr. Boyd; and eighth grade home room teacher Mr. Pollack. My college professors were also instrumental in shaping my views of the world, but I can’t remember their names. Isn’t it something that I can remember the teachers’ names from early childhood but not from adult education.


Anyway, here is a poem I’d like to share about teachers.



Confessions of a Teacher’s Pet


She was very beautiful

She had the widest smile

Her class was never dull

I sat in the first aisle


She let me be her helper

My classmates would frown at that

I jumped at the chance to help her

They knew it was because of where I sat


Life in her class was full of laughter and joy

When she spoke, her words came out as a song

The girls were jealous, since they were not a boy

We got to run errands, and stayed gone for twice as long



She’s old now and still beautiful

Her smile’s just as wide and plum

She still lets me help her

Because she is my Mom

©latifahafital 2011


As always, we’re here to offer resources to help in your English language acquisition.

Each of the links below are MS Word documents of  previously taught grammar points. Just click and you’re off…..

You can print out the worksheets or fill it out in MS Word.





 I hope you have fun using these worksheets. Dick and Jane would want you to have fun learning.

Join this webinar and find out about Cambridge English: Key for Schools.


Introducing Cambridge English: Key for Schools Webinar from Cambridge ESOL.

Talk about talking!

Talk talk talk talk talk talk...

Talk talk talk talk talk talk... (Photo credit: THEfunkyman)

‘Talk’ is used to express informal conversation between limited numbers of people.


Examples of various ways to use ‘Talk’ include:

to express yourself by speaking – “I want to talk to my people about the changes that are coming.”;

to have a conversation – “She talked about her busy day at the office for over one hour”

to discuss a subject – “ Let’s talk business.”;

to communicate – “They will now talk using sign language.”

speak a particular language – “I will now talk in my native Italian language.”

to reveal information – “The police questioned him but he wouldn’t talk.”;

to gossip or spread rumors – “The neighbors began to talk about the new teacher in town.”;

to make sounds – “When is my baby going to begin to talk?”;

to influence or persuade people – “Money talks, BS walks.”


‘Talk’ is often used with the preposition ‘about’ when introducing the subject of conversation, and ‘to’ when introducing the conversational partner.


Let’s give them something to talk about.


Talk to me like you mean it.


Verb Forms: Talk – Talked – Talking


Now let’s start talking and stop fighting. War is hell.


Are there things you’d like to talk about more on this blog? Give me a holla!


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