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Does Punctuation Get You Down?

Punctuation Blues, Jonathan Taylor’s latest song for English learners, is a fun way to introduce or reinforce the importance of using proper punctuation: “Punctuation baby, do ya’ love me?”

Related Resources on EnglishClub

Find EnglishClub on Google+

Google is rolling out vanity URLs. EnglishClub can now be found easily on Google+ with our NEW custom URL: Don’t forget to add EnglishClub to your circles so that we can add you back! Be sure to fill out your profile so that all of your Google+ contacts know which circles you belong in.

EnglishClub on Google +

Look to see if your favourite brand or celebrity has a Google+ vanity URL. Type (name) into your browser.

New Games For Practising Past, Present and Future

Time GameAnnouncing a complete new section of 720 drag-and-drop games that learners can play to practise talking about TIME – past, present and future. These games, specially created for EnglishClub by Matt Errey, cover pretty well every way in which we talk about time in English, whether using tenses, special constructions like “going to” and “used to”, or modal auxiliary verbs like “must” and “would”.

The games are in sets of ten, with each set focussing on just one particular way of talking about the past, the present or the future. The first game in each set is the easiest, and the last game is the most difficult. In each game, the words in a sentence are mixed up or “jumbled”, and players try to put them back into their correct order.

For example, one of the sets focusses on using “going to” to talk about future plans or intentions. In a game in this set, players might have to make a sentence with the following words: “movie”, “to”, “I’m”, “tomorrow”, “a”, “see”, and “going”. Players can drag these words around, trying different combinations, until they come up with a sentence that they think is correct. If they come up with either “Tomorrow I’m going to see a movie” or “I’m going to see a movie tomorrow”, they earn the maximum score of 100%. Players can then click on “Next Game” to play another game about “going to”.

There are 720 games in 72 different sets, and learners who gradually work their way through the whole collection are sure to improve their understanding of the many ways in which we can talk about time in English.

Find and play these games at:

Rainbow Nation Colour Song

Are you ready to check out a new EnglishClub music video (with subtitles)? Rainbow Nation Colour Song, by Jonathan Taylor, is a catchy reggae tune about colours. Sing along as you watch and listen to the video. You can’t help but learn the colours!

Related on EnglishClub

EnglishClub is 15

EnglishClub 15th Anniversary : 1997-2012This year, 2012, sees EnglishClub’s 15th anniversary. With support and encouragement from members and visitors worldwide, EnglishClub has matured into one of the longest standing, most dependable resource sites for English learners and teachers on the web. Since our 10th anniversary on 07/07/07, we’ve added the very popular My.EnglishClub social network hosting our members’ pages, blogs, photos, videos, music, discussions and chat; and it’s been exciting to see the highly original and interactive content created by learners and teachers. We’ve also produced the Learning English Video Project, a major 7-part video series about English learners on five continents. We continue to innovate and add new content from lessons and quizzes to Read on »

#Vocabulary Tip

Are you a Twitter user? Twitter is a useful social media site for English learners. Set your language to English, and learn the language in small bites. One way to do this is to follow people who are using the #twinglish tag. Simply type the hashtag #twinglish into the search box. Then follow those people, or check out their tweets. Tweeters who use this hashtag are usually English learners or teachers.

Another useful hashtag on twitter is #vocabulary. Teachers and learning site managers often tweet words and expressions with a brief explanation. Sometimes there is a link to a more in-depth explanation. Dictionary sites also tweet new vocabulary definitions regularly. You will also notice mini quizzes and exercises in some #vocabulary tweets. Read on »

The I Song – A Reminder To Use Caps

EnglishClub’s new release, The I Song by Jonathan Taylor, is a fun reminder about the importance of capitalizing the letter I when it stands on its own. Even if  you’re chatting, texting, or writing a status update, it’s still a good idea to use capital letters properly. Take the time to use the shift key even in casual conversations. Then, when it’s time to write a business letter, exam, or essay, you won’t have bad habits.

Related on EnglishClub

The Alphabet Song For Rockers

EnglishClub has teamed up with singer, songwriter Jonathan Taylor to produce a new music video for English learners. The Alphabet Song for Rockers is now available on EnglishClub’s YouTube channel. Please share this video with your English language learning friends. If you’re an English language teacher, we hope you’ll practise this song with your students.

Stay tuned for more English language learning music videos by Jonathan Taylor (coming soon)!

This Week In History Now On YouTube

EnglishClub’s This Week in History resource is now available on YouTube. Listen to short history clips as you follow along with the captions. You will find 52 weeks of news from around the world.

After you listen to the report, try turning the audio down and reading the words as they come up on the screen. Can you read at the same pace? Which words do you stumble over? Listen again and keep practising until you feel confident with your pronunciation and pacing.

If you need help with the vocabulary, be sure to visit This Week in History on EnglishClub, where you can review the definitions for some of the more difficult words in each report.  You can also download the audio, try a quick quiz, and see a historic image that goes with the story. A new story is featured every Monday. The archives are also available.

Here is an example of a This Week in History video from the EnglishClub YouTube channel:

EnglishClub YouTube Channel

Listening Practice in American English

Helping English Learners Find Listening Materials

EnglishClub recently received a question from an English learner about finding listening materials. We wrote back to this learner, but thought we’d expand a bit on our blog in case any of you have the same question.

Q: Where can I find audio practice in American English on EnglishClub? 

A: You may have noticed that EnglishClub is written in British English. Our About page has the following explanation:

flagEnglishClub comes to you from England. It is written mainly in British English. But we have pages about other varieties of English such as American or Canadian. Don’t be surprised if you see a word that you think is wrongly spelled! Some words are spelled differently in British English and American English Read on »

New Smartphone Version For MyEC

MyEnglishClub mobileToday sees the launch of a new Beta mobile version of MyEnglishClub for smartphones. Now MyEC members can browse MyEC on smartphones such as iPhone or Samsung Galaxy, easily viewing their own page as well as latest activity, blogs, photos, forums and other members. Blogs posts and forum replies can be added via mobile. It’s also still possible to go to the normal Read on »

Thank You Nadiyah

The EnglishClub Team would like to say a special thank you to MyEC member Nadiyah who has been our Photo Gallery Moderator for two years. Before Nadiyah became a volunteer, the MyEC photo gallery was a bit of a junkyard. It was full of photos that were copied from the Internet. Most photos had no titles or descriptions, and weren’t very useful for practising English. Slowly, but surely, Nadiyah began to teach members how to make the MyEC Photo Gallery a space for learning and practising English. She did this with patience, dedication, and creativity. Like any great teacher, she provided great models that members could use in order to follow the photo guidelines. Nadiyah also held several Photo Challenges on her MyEC blog. People who participated forgot that they were learning English as they played along. Nadiyah’s English also improved tremendously as she taught members how to practise English with images. Nadiyah’s blog is a treasure of ideas for English teachers. The photos she takes are always excellent as well.

Nadiyah is a busy woman and has asked for a break from her duties as a MyEC mod. We will miss her help so much but are so grateful for everything she has done to make MyEC a fun, safe and creative place for practising English. We hope to have a new Photo Mod starting soon, and Nadiyah will undoubtedly have some tips to share. Perhaps she will return to her volunteer position when life gets a little less hectic!

Nadiyah's Self Portrait

Nadiyah’s Self Portrait

We are also in the process of turning the MyEC Video Gallery into an organized space, and we have much to learn from Nadiyah.

MyEC Video Gallery

The MyEC Video Gallery is full of useful videos that you can use to learn or teach English. The EC team is now in the process of categorizing the collection to make it easier for you to find useful videos for specific purposes. Many of the members on our site use music videos with lyrics to practise English. The new system will help our Karaoke Group members find suitable videos to practise with. Other categories include Grammar videos and Pronunciation videos.  Click on the Videos tab to view all of the categories. All new videos that are uploaded by MyEC members will be categorized by admin before being approved. Read on »

Asia-bound Teachers Face Airport Grammar Tests

Students worldwide unhappy

CAMBRIDGE, UK ( Friday April 1, 2011 — Foreigners travelling to Southeast Asia to teach English may soon face strict screening procedures upon arrival.

The newly-proposed measures include grammar, spelling and IQ tests, hygiene and personal grooming assessments, as well as mandatory on-the-spot drug tests utilizing state-of-the-art urine-testing kits.

The measures, proposed by education department officials in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), are intended to prevent large numbers of unemployed foreigners from countries including the US, the UK and Australia from flooding the local job market in search of employment as “native English teachers”.

ASEAN is following up on its recently-announced single visa plans. Under proposed new arrangements, foreigners wishing to teach English will be thoroughly screened both before and after arrival, but once admitted will be able to teach in any of the ten ASEAN countries (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam).

Map of ASEAN countries

With a population of about 600 million and covering an area of 4.5 million km2, ASEAN is the world’s fastest-growing English teaching market

Under the scheme, TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) teachers from outside ASEAN will receive an Alien Teacher Fitness Certificate (ATFC).

Teacher representatives have reacted angrily to the ATFC process which starts with police background checks followed by on-the-spot tests at the airport that include basic English ability, drugs and personal hygiene. Brian Pullman of TEFLA (Teachers of English as a Foreign Language in Asia) called the procedure “degrading and racist”. Read on »

Dogs to Test Foreigners’ English

Anger over “inhuman” plans to vet student visa applications to UK with canines

Cent the language tester

Cent, stray Welsh Border Collie. “Very intelligent…but not necessarily
best breed for pronunciation”

Following a report in the EL Gazette and the recent introduction of tougher rules designed to stop abuse of the student visa system, the UK Government has completed a feasibility study to determine whether dogs could usefully contribute to the English ability assessment – an essential part of the new visa procedure – thus freeing up valuable man-hours and saving the British taxpayer up to £23,000,000 per year.

The possibility of using dogs to test language fluency was given credence in an article in the March 2010 issue of the EL Gazette (print-edition) headlined “Dog masters ESOL” (English for Speakers of Other Languages). According to the report, members of the RSPCA (the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) near Manchester, England had been “puzzled” [in September 2009] by a stray male border collie that would not respond to commands. After discovering that the dog had been brought to England from Poland, and did in fact understand Polish commands, the RSPCA staff started teaching it basic English commands, using a “reward-based” programme. Luke Johnson, one of the RSPCA animal care workers, described how the dog, known as Cent, became bilingual within 4 months. Read on »

First English learning documentary video series launches this spring

CasablancaCambridge, UK – An independent UK film crew has set out to answer a series of questions, about how and why so many people are learning English as a foreign language. The “Learning English Video Project” was shot in England, Morocco, Romania, Spain and the USA and is now in post-production. This is the first documentary series of its kind to touch on all of the main aspects of ESL (English as a Second Language) from the student’s Read on »

April Fool’s Day Hoax, 2008

At 12:01am GMT on April 1st, 2008, EnglishClub published an article reporting that the United Nations planned to phase out all languages but one by the year 2049. Judging from some of the 300+ comments that this article received, not everyone realised that it was an April Fool’s Day hoax, despite the date of April 1st being clearly stated in the first line. The article, heavily laced with absurdities to add credibility, cited climate change, terrorism and multiple personality disorder as among the reasons to move to a single language. Many readers spotted the hoax and praised it highly; others took great exception to the UN plans and expressed their thoughts passionately; and a few vented their spleen on EnglishClub for having published in such “bad taste”.

Read the original article and comments here

UN To Ban ‘Unnecessary’ Languages

Redundant languages blamed for adding to climate change, terrorism and cultural division

CAMBRIDGE, UK ( Tuesday April 1, 2008 — The United Nations is to hold its first debate on language redundancy amid warnings that the problem is “a major contributor” to climate change, a “massive threat” to international security and the cause of “rifts and divisions” within society.

Andrew Steiner, UNEP head:
“French causing damage”

Next week’s meeting is the result of an improbable coalition of interests, and follows sustained pressure from the US Administration, the World Health Organization and the United Nations Environment Program.

“We’re reacting to two very sobering reports about the impact on climate change of the huge number of languages in use worldwide,” Andrew Steiner, head of the United Nations Environment Program, told Reuters news service. At the same time White House spokesman Gordon Stanzel revealed serious translation challenges for the CIA caused by “an abundance of languages.” Pointing to the fact that terrorists typically use non-English languages amongst themselves, he suggested that only by making English the world’s “unique” language could security be assured. Asked why the world’s “unique” language should be English and not, say, Chinese or Spanish, he replied that English was already so Read on »