The “ER” Sound in American English

I’ve been noticing consistent pronunciation difficulties in my private lessons lately, specifically with students having difficulty with the “ER” sound in English. The problems have been with students who speak various languages, and even at multiple levels! These problems come … Continue reading

Learning Outside the Box with Instagram: Better English & English Expressions + Video Interview

Learn English Outside the Box with English Outside the Box @jenesl760. Today is Better English @betterenglish

We’re continuing on with Learning Outside the Box with Instagram series and featuring an Instagram star, Dan aka (*also known as*) @ betterenglish. I think I first noticed Dan and his videos months ago, and they immediately stood out (*got … Continue reading

August Learning Plan: Week 2 Speaking Challenge!

Happy Hump Day English learners and lovers!

Welcome to week 2 of the August Learning Plan, 7 days dedicated to SPEAKING! This is something that the majority of English learners want to practice, something that I get asked about all the time. If you are someone who wants to..

  • improve conversational abilities
  • gain more confidence in speaking
  • improve your pronunciation
  • find out more ways to practice speaking in English
  • naturally improve your grammar in use
  • learn with me

…then this is the week for you! You can connect with me for group conversation classes by visiting English Outside the Box (activity 1), and check out the pronunciation post tomorrow (activity 3). However, today’s post is all about the Instagram/YouTube video speaking challenge! The video you are about to watch below is also EXTRA special because I am also introducing to you a new blog contributor, Isadora! She is also completing the YouTube challenge, so we wanted to upload our video together.

How can you participate in the Instagram/YouTube Challenge?

It’s piece of cake!

  1. Grab your phone or camera, and take a video introducing yourself and 1) talking about your next vacation and 2) talking about something you learned last week.
  2. UPLOAD and POST it for me to see!
    1. If it’s under 15 seconds then upload it on Instagram, and make sure to tag me @jenesl760 and use the hashtag #auglp
    2. If it’s longer than 15 seconds (or you don’t have Instagram) then you can post in on my Facebook wall, or upload it onto yours and tag me @EnglishOutsidetheBox. Don’t forget to use #auglp so I can DEFINITELY find it!
    3. Your final option is to upload it onto YouTube and send the link to me to: or via the contact tab on this website.

Why should you participate in the video challenge?

Why not?!

It’s fun, it’s interactive, and you will (probably) be stepping outside your comfort zone, which is a great way to push yourself to better speaking skills!  Remember as Tony Robbins says, “if you don’t what you’ve always done, you’ll get where you’ve always gotten.” If you are an English speaker you can upload a video in English, to help other learners, or you can upload a video in any language you are learning! Fun, huh?!

If you are reading this post later than week 2 of this learning plan, don’t worry! You can participate in this challenge anytime. In fact, I encourage you to continue practicing speaking, making videos and uploading them, so you continue learning and improving. You can still tag me and I’ll still give you some feedback!

Good luck! I look forward to seeing your videos, and Isadora and I hope you enjoy ours! See you soon and ..

Happy Studying! ♥

Hey! Calling all Portuguese speakers! Você fala português? Melhora sua pronúncia aqui com meu curso: “Pronúncia de inglês para nativos de língua português” para só $5. Visit:   ((Do you speak Portuguese? Improve your pronunciation here with  my course: “English Pronunciation for Portuguese Speakers” for only $5))

Don’t forget you can take lessons to improve your pronunciation with me and English Outside the Box, just send me an e-mail through the contact form or visit: for more information.

Free Friday & Phrasal Verb Friday Presents: EOTB’s Video Learning Series

Happy Friday to you all! Phrasal Verb Friday is back, and I’ve combined it with Free Friday (remember those lesson plans I had been posting a while back: Breaking Bad, Writing Help, Modals, #FBF?) to present the newest excitement over … Continue reading

Phrasal Verbs! Ways to learn and some examples + video!

steponitUnderstanding phrasal verbs can help you avoid situations like the cartoon above. Knowing them can make you sound more like a native speaker, and definitely help you understand native speakers, because they are incredibly common in everyday speech.

Phrasal verbs are idiomatic like expressions that have meanings separate from their literal verb meaning. They are also called two-word verbs because they are made up of a verb + a particle. There are also phrasal verb + preposition combinations, which would make three-word verbs. Let’s review some more information about phrasal verbs:

What’s the difference between a preposition and a particle?

Although they look the same, prepositions and particles are much different because one of them, particles, changes the meaning of the main verb it’s attached to. We’ll use the cartoon above as an example. The phrasal verb is: “step on it.” If we look at the words: ‘on’ and ‘it’ as prepositions, then there would be no change in the verb ‘step.’ So, “step on it” would mean to literally pick up your foot, and place your foot on whatever “it” is referring to. This is what the waiter in the cartoon did, because he obviously didn’t understand that the man meant “step on it” as a phrasal verb, which means to move/go quickly. As a phrasal verb the word “on” is not a preposition, but a particle, so remember it changes the meaning of the main verb “step.” I t no longer has the meaning “on top of.”

What’s the difference between transitive and intransitive?

Transitive verbs are verbs that take objects, so these phrasal verbs will always have an object (noun or pronoun) connected to it. Most of these verbs are separable, which means that you can put the object in between the main verb and particle. A couple of things to remember about this though:

1. If the object is a pronoun, it must go between the verb and particle (ex: look it up. Not: look up it. *look up=try to find information in a book/online,etc).

2. If the object is a long noun phrase, then it must go after the particle (ex: look up the cause for global warming nowadays. Not: look the cause for global warming nowadays up.).

Intransitive verbs do NOT take objects, so neither will these phrasal verbs. With that said, they are inseparable.

How do you learn?

For a couple of tips watch my video!

Phrasal Verbs from the video context:

  1. To feel under the weather: (idiom) to not feel well, to feel sick
  2. show up- to arrive or appear somewhere
  3. call off- to cancel something
  4. get over- to overcome a problem, such as a sickness
  5. drink to- “cheers” to celebrate someone or something
  6. dress up- to wear formal clothing or special clothing for an event (ex: costume)
  7. whip up- to prepare food quickly
  8. head out- to begin a journey, to leave your house/place
  9. turn down- refuse, decline invitation
  10. cheer (someone) up- make someone happy who was not

Other phrasal verbs: show & call:

  1. show around- to act as a guide and point/show someone a new area or place
  2. show off- to boast or brag
  3. call for- to say something is needed; to go to a place and get something or someone
  4. call in- to make a telephone call to a place (or commonly:radio show); also to call work and not go because you’re sick. (ex:call in sick)
  5. call on- to choose someone to speak, ask someone to do something;
  6. call out- to shout, or speak in a loud voice, with a person to challenge them about what they said/did
  7. call up to call someone on the phone

Remember the tips:

Learn through context, break them down by their main verb, answer questions, look up new words in a dictionary or phrasal verb book, write journals, and the most important thing… make them useful to YOU. Because phrasal verbs are a lot like vocabulary, you’ve got to find the best way for you to memorize. I always recommend making them personal, because then they are much easier to remember and use.

Don’t forget to answer the questions from the video in the comment section. Don’t remember? Watch again, practice listening comprehension, and write what you heard (then of course, answer) 🙂

Happy Studying! ♥

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