3 Free English Webinars to Improve your Language Skills

3 Free English Training Sessions

All available online, from the comfort of your own home

Hello, and happy day to you! I wanted to do a quick post and tell you about these online English webinars that I am co-hosting this month. I am excited to share these opportunities with you because they are free and will all provide you with a unique learning experience. Plus, if you’ve never “met” me, then this is a great place to do it because all of them will include a LIVE Q&A (question and answer).

So first let me explain what a webinar is. A webinar is a word that has been combined from WEB (internet) and SEMINAR (a meeting with training and instruction); so the word webinar means an online based meeting with some training and instruction. If you have never been to one, you should! They are great! I have been to many, as well as hosted a few!

Here are the details for January’s free training sessions:

*Important note: All of these sessions are LIVE on the date and time listed below; however, if you cannot make the live event, you can still register and receive the video replay to watch later.*

AMvsBR

1) Thursday: January 14 at 9:30am (PST)| 5:30pm(GMT)

American VS British English: Part 1
Learn about the similarities between American and British English, while hearing 2 native English speakers have a natural conversation. Learn new expressions, improve your listening skills and ask questions in a LIVE Q&A (questions and answer session). Register here: bitly.com/jen-dan-webinar

email banner promo image

2) Saturday: January 16 at 9:00am (PST)| 5:00pm (GMT)

19 Ways to Mazimize Social Media for Language Learning
Learn 19 ways and 6 social media platforms to practice and use language skills. This webinar is for ANY LANGUAGE learning. You can be learning English, French, Portuguese, Japanese, anything. I promise you will take away very helpful tools and advice for how to study and learn a language. Plus- there is a live Q&A session! Register here: http://bit.ly/sociallangwebinar

 

BTPROwebinar

3) Thursday: January 28 at 11:00am (PST)| 7:00pm (GMT)

Breakthrough Pronunciation Challenge
Learn how to drastically improve your pronunciation and reach the next level in your English skills and your career. Breakthrough Pronunciation is an online workshop, and designed to help you understand how to sound more like a native speaker. This session will also teach you about the workshop, and includes a live Q&A. Register here: http://bit.ly/bt-pro

 

Are you excited for these free training sessions? Which one are you going to? Comment below and let me know.

You can also ask me questions here, before the webinar, so I can answer them before the Q&As begin!

Happy Studying! ♥

P.s… Do you know someone studying English (or any language)? Share this e-mail with them to tell them about the free training! They will be grateful, and I will be too!

Gerund Vs Infinitive- Part 2

Hey guys, I’m back!! As promised we are going to continue the part 1 post to discuss more about Gerunds vs Infinitives. I hope you understood everything on the first post, but if not, don’t mind asking questions..

Now, we already went through the gerund part of this grammar topic, so let’s talk about when and how we should use the infinitive. First of all, I want to clarify the difference between the infinitive form and the base form of a verb. The infinitive is composed of “to” + a verb, whereas the base form is only composed of the verb. For instance, the verb “sleep” in its infinitive form is “to sleep” and its base form is “sleep”.

As the gerund, the infinitive also comes as a noun in the subject or object position.

  • As a subject: although is not so common to see infinitives as subjects, it’s not impossible, so we will list it here.

To swim is my favorite hobby.
To dance is an amazing activity.

  • As a subject complement: this case is more common to happen than the first one. The infinitive complements the subject and between them there MUST be a linking verb.

My favorite hobby is to swim. (notice that I’ve just paraphrased the last example, which shows that both exist but, as said, this one is more common than the other)

  • After adjectives: infinitives often follow adjectives to give reasons.

He was sad to say goodbye to his family members.
The company owner was anxious to make the next move.

  • Verbs that are followed by infinitives:
    • afford
    • agree
    • appear
    • arrange
    • ask
    • care
    • decide
    • demand
    • expect
    • fail
    • hope
    • learn
    • manage
    • mean
    • offer
    • plan
    • prepare
    • pretend
    • promise
    • refuse
    • seem
    • volunteer
    • wait
    • want
    • wish
  • Besides these verbs, there are also verbs that can be followed by either a gerund or an infinitive WITHOUT a change in meaning:
    • begin
    • continue
    • hate
    • like
    • love
    • prefer
    • start
  • And the verbs that can be followed by both WITH  a change in meaning:
    • remember
    • forget
    • stop

I would like to make a side note to discuss these 3 verbs due to the change in meaning whether they are followed by the gerund or infinitive.

Remember and forget follow the same idea, meaning: “remember/forget you have done something”  or related to memory in the sense of “having/not having memory about a fact in the past” when is used with a gerund; or meaning “to forget/remember you need to do something” when is used with an infinitive.

Don’t forget to practice when you finish studying. ( In this case, somebody is advising you to practice later, hence this action is placed in the future)
She forgot giving me her keys yesterday. (Here, the woman forgot she has given the keys to her friend, so the action is placed in the past)

Remember to talk to your boss about the vacation trip. (In this sentence, the person had to remember to do it, so the action is placed in the future)
I remember seeing him last week at the gym. (In this one, I remember I saw a friend last week, thus the action is placed in the past)

Stop does not follow the same thinking but it’s even easier to understand and use. Stop with a gerund means you quit an addiction, a habit or anything you used to do. However, when it is used with an infinitive, it brings the idea of “in order to”.

I stopped my car to talk to an old friend. (In this sentence, I stopped driving my car in order to talk to an old friend, so the action was the reason why I stopped)
I stopped drinking soda 6 years ago. (Here, I quit doing something I used to do, drink soda)

So, that’s all for now..Please, let me know if I made myself clear on both posts and how you are improving on this topic. It will be my pleasure to share more information if you need :):) Have a nice rest of the week!!!♥

Gerund vs Infinitive – Part 1

Hiii everyone!! I got this amazing invitation from Jennifer to be here contributing to the blog and your learning and I am sooo excited for it. Why? Because I was/am Jennifer’s student just as you are, so as an ESL learner, I am sure we have a lot to share on this journey of learning English.

Let me tell you a bit of my own journey…Last year I lived in San Diego for almost 10 months and it was the best time of my life (if you’re thinking about going for an exchange year, I encourage you to do it! You won’t regret it, actually you won’t want to go home haha). When I moved, I already knew a few things in English and I started school at a High Intermediate level. I could understand and read well, but I couldn’t speak and that was my main goal: to speak the best I could, with the least accent possible (I warn you from the beginning: You will always have an accent and that’s fine, it shows your identity). I got to Proficiency level, then I decided to take a TOEFL preparation course and, later, the test. Besides school, I lived with a host family whom I loooove ♥ and I’m certain they had a huge contribution to my learning. Ok, let me cut to the chase (idiom: to focus on what is important; to skip the unnecessary part) and go to what really matters here..

I chose GERUNDS for today’s post so we can kill two birds with one stone (idiom: when you solve two problems at one time): 1) clarify a topic commonly confused or misunderstood and 2) write for week 3 of #AugLP.

As you all might know, a gerund is the “ing” form of the verb, but how is it used? What part of speech or functions does it fit under? Well, this varies by the context. The gerund is used as a noun and it can fit the subject or object position.

  • As subject: when it’s in the beginning of a sentence working as the subject of the verb (verb MUST be singular)

Eating is the best thing to do in Italy.
Living abroad is a good way to learn a new language.

  • As a direct object: when complementing the verb directly

I love running by the sea.
I consider littering a serious crime.

  • Preposition + gerund: after every preposition that is followed by a verb, the verb comes in its gerund form

After waiting for 45 minutes, it was finally my turn to ride the roller-coaster.
I always feed my dog before going out.
I don’t know much about selling stocks.
I congratulated her for passing the exam.

  • As a subject complement: the subject complement can be a noun, an adjective or a pronoun that describes the subject. Between the subject and the complement there must be a linking verb (most common one is the verb to be).

My favorite activity is swimming.
The best tip for a good performance on a test is sleeping well the night before.

  • As an object complement: just like the subject complement, the object complement gives more detail to the object by describing it with a noun, pronoun or adjective.

I found the student sleeping during the class.
I had issues getting used to the blog editor.

The last part I consider the hardest to associate since there is no rule, only memorization and practice. But, seriously, with practice it starts coming naturally and you will not find it challenging anymore.

  • Verbs and phrases always followed by the gerund: the list below contains the most common verbs and phrases for this category
    • admit
    • advise
    • avoid
    • be used to
    • can’t help
    • can’t stand
    • consider
    • deny
    • discuss
    • dislike
    • end up
    • enjoy
    • feel like
    • finish
    • get used to
    • give up
    • go on
    • have difficulty
    • have problems
    • have trouble
    • imagine
    • it’s no use
    • it’s worthwhile
    • keep
    • look forward to
    • mention
    • mind
    • miss
    • recommend
    • quit
    • spend time
    • suggest
    • understand
    • waste time
    • work at

Besides that, there is still more specific content comparing the use of gerunds and infinitives, which is going to be discussed on a future post, part 2.

Let’s practice???

Create examples about yourself using each of the cases we’ve studied for the gerund and let me know more about you!! Does it sound good?? :))

Overall, I hope this post has been helpful so far and feel free to get in touch with me or Jennifer for any questions or explanations. Don’t forget to practice!!! Have a nice week, guys!

Learn and Improve English with Instagram

Hello my “out of the box” readers! I hope this day finds you feeling happy and magical! Today’s post is to share with you yet another way I am connecting you with learning opportunities “outside the box”, outside the norm, … Continue reading

8 Benefits of English (Language) Exchange

As you read the title, you may be thinking that the benefits of a language exchange partner are obvious, right? You get to practice speaking, which leads to improving your fluency. Ok, blog post done. However, let me specify here that … Continue reading

Learn something NEW, every day in February!

HAPPY FEBRUARY February, although a shorter month, is filled with so much excitement, love, and things to do! Not only is a groundhog going to tell us about our winter/spring season (read about groundhogs day, Feb 2, here), we’re going to celebrate love (Feb. 14), random acts … Continue reading

Happy New Year!

Firstly, I’d like to say a big..


Happy New Year!!! 

.. to everyone. It’s been too long.

Sincerest apologies for my hiatus (noun: a pause or gap in process), the past few months have been absolutely crazy and so hectic. Apart from the expected chaos of the holiday season and everyday life, add a couple sicknesses and an out-of-state move to the list…and there you have my Nov/Dec/Jan. But enough about me, I am back in the game and here to provide you with even more exciting things on English Outside the Box‘s learning blog.

First, besides signing up and subscribing to this blog, I’d like to invite you to sign up for English Outside the Box’s newsletter. This newsletter will be providing you with all of the latest and greatest Outside the Box news, information, and learning opportunities. It will give information about upcoming giveaways, free class options, even more learning resources, and other things I may not necessarily include on this blog. To sign up visit:

http://eepurl.com/bbavFX

Next, did I say free class options? Yes, I did!! Starting this coming month, February, I will be hosting a free Conversation Hang Out (via Google Hangouts) for 7 students (and me of course). These Conversation Hang Out’s will happen once a month, will vary on themes/topics, and will be an excellent way to talk with a native speaker, other learners, and make connections! Because of different time zones, the class start times will vary month-to-month to allow multiple countries to participate, but space is limited so make sure you sign up fast! To sign up, send an e-mail with your name, country, & e-mail to: convo@englishoutsidethebox.com  To check the current class information for this month, visit: http://bit.ly/eng_class and of course, check your e-mail newsletter updates!

Another great (and exciting) feature coming up on the blog next month (& this year) is a new writer & maybe, a short story series. An incredibly talented writer has come on board to give you even more things to read, more ways to connect, and more opportunities to practice English. Through these posts, you will be able to practice reading, writing (commenting), new vocabulary, potential new grammar concepts, and speaking…talking and sharing your thoughts with others. I’d say this will be an excellent addition to your learning routine!

Finally, in addition to all these great new things coming to the blog, don’t forget to take advantage of all the ‘old stuff’. You know what they say, “an oldie but a goodie.” (something old but still valued) The menu has changed (new year, new menu), and should be a little bit easier to navigate. If you want to find specific posts, exercises, or lessons that focus on a particular skill, you can search under “Practice English”. You can also connect with me, and utilize the English opportunities I give via Social Media. English Outside the Box can be found on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, all with the name: JenESL760 . On these social media sites you will find a lot of visual learning tools: infographics, pictures, charts, cartoons, quotes, videos, etc.. all of which will help different skill areas. If you haven’t connected yet, what are you waiting for?

It feels good to be back, and I wanted to say hello and give some updates before I get back into the swing(return to normal routine) of regular blog updates. So, HELLO! I am so looking forward to 2015 and all the world has the offer! I hope you are too…

Happy Studying & Connecting! ♥♥

If you like what you’ve read, and are excited for the new features and updates coming…share your excitement, and share the blog with a friend.

Thanks! xo Jennifer

100th Post Free Class Giveaway!

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Free Friday: Learn English with Breaking Bad

breakingbadWhen it comes to Breaking Bad, you may be one of 3 groups of people:

1. “I’ve never seen it.”

2. “Eh, whatever…didn’t care for it.”

3. “AMAZING, re-watching…[for the 3rd time]”

Perhaps number 3 is a bit of an exaggeration, but whatever group you may….or may not fit into, this post will still definitely appeal to you. I think that films and TV series are sometimes undervalued as a learning tool. Most shows can become “guilty pleasures” or seen as times when you’re being lazy on the couch; however, they carry such incredible language learning opportunities. Actually, the learning doesn’t stop at language…cultural references can be seen too! They’re an insight to so much more than just the words you can hear. Not only is there the entertainment value (assuming you choose a good one, and like films) but there is the personal challenge: your goal to watch a foreign film, without subtitles. This inner challenge can be a great motivational tool if you’re the kind of person who needs a little extra motivation.

Most students learning English want to speak fluently, but don’t fully realize the importance of all those other skills that make a fluent speaker. You know which skills I am talking about, the forgotten ones:  listening comprehension, grammar, vocabulary, reading, etc…

But how can a TV show help with my grammar and reading?

The listening part is obvious, you watch a show or movie and you practice listening. What isn’t so obvious is the underlying grammar that you are also listening to and processing. You’re experiencing complete and accurate sentence structures, a variety of tenses, and just how it should sound in relation to pronunciation and intonation. If you have subtitles, in English, you’ll practice reading skills (pace, skimming/scanning, comprehension), and there will be new vocabulary, without a doubt.

Still not quite convinced at how much a TV show can help with your language skills? Try it out! I’ve included a PDF attachment of an example of the type of material that’s a part of my English Through Film & TV Series course. The first section has important vocabulary and expressions, and not ones that you can necessarily find yourselves in a dictionary or online. You can pre-study the vocabulary so you are aware of the meanings as you watch the show. While you watch, a variety of questions will check your comprehension and understanding of the episodes, and finally as a way to practice speaking and wrap it up, discussion questions that you can review with me. In this case, I encourage interaction through my comment section. Share your thoughts, opinions, and answers for others to read as well!

Students: Interested in more lessons and practice with English through Film and TV series? Contact me for class options: jenesl760@englishoutsidethebox.com

Teachers: Interested in a file without the watermark? Contact me for details: jenesl760@englishoutsidethebox.com

See the pilot episode of Breaking Bad’s lesson here:

BreakingBad_Pilot

Happy Studying! ♥ Looking forward to hearing from you.