Lingoloop has students from all over the world. Over time, we’ve noticed that students from the same countries (or regions) tend to make similar mistakes.
Many of our students are from Brazil. Brazil is the largest and most populous country in South America. Unlike the other countries in South America that speak Spanish, Brazilians speak Portuguese. The pronunciation of the Portuguese language is quite different from that of English which can create some unique challenges. Today we will focus on some of the English speaking mistakes we notice that Brazilian English learners make.
Adding the “ee” sound
Brazilians tend to add the “ee” sound to the end of many words. For “Netflix” they might say “Net-ee-flix-ee.” The reason is that Portuguese words don’t end with consonant sounds.
Negative sentences in the past tense
Brazilians sometimes struggle with forming negative statements in the past (in English). For example, they may say “I did not heard that” or “She didn’t ate yet.” This is because in Portugese to form negative sentences in past tense only requires adding “näo” to the past tense form of the verb. It’s not so simple in English!
Using “keep” for “put”
Brazilians tend to use the word ”keep” when they really mean “put.” For example, they may say “go keep it on the table” instead of “go put it on the table.” It has to do with the translation of the verb “guardar” which can be used to mean keep, save or put.
Using “do” instead of “does”
It is not natural for Brazilians to use the word “does.” Often they will just use “do” in place of “does.” For example they may say “Do it make sense?”
Dropped “s”on 3rd person verbs
Brazilians sometimes forget to add the “s” to a verb when the subject is in the third person. For example you may hear “He work very hard on the project.” Of course the proper way is to say “he works.” To be fair, students from other countries get this wrong as well.
No use of “an”
Brazilians don’t use “an” in English because that concept doesn’t exist in Portuguese. For example they may say “a apple” instead of “an apple.”
The “th” sound….
Most Portuguese speakers have trouble with the “th” sound. When they say a word starting with ”th” they pronounce it with a “d” sound.
They wash their hands with soup
In Portuguese “sopa” is “soup” and “sabao” is “soap.” So it can be confusing for Brazilians to say the word “soap” because they automatically think of “soup.” Is that confusing enough?
It’s not easy speaking English when it’s not your first language, and we know that English learners from certain parts of the world have distinct tendencies and make very specific mistakes. Regardless of your mother tongue, the best way to improve your English speaking is to practice doing it! Sign up for a Lingoloop free trial class today!
Knowing how to use English prepositions is key to becoming a fluent English speaker. Before we get to the Lingoloop Prepositions Quiz, do you even know what a preposition is? Let’s review!
A preposition is a word (usually a small one) that is used to show a relationship between a noun and a pronoun in a sentence. Common prepositions include the following words: “to”, “at”, “by”, and “of.”
Even though these are little words, English learners can struggle with the right way to use them. Take our Prepositions Quiz below to see how much you know!
How did you do on the Prepositions Quiz?
Hopefully it wasn’t too bad!
Like we said before, knowing the proper way to use prepositions can really take your English fluency to the next level. Want to practice your prepositions with our Expert tutors? Click here to sign up for a Lingoloop free trial class!
Our Lingoloop students tell us that the verb “to be” is the most complicated verb there is. It’s true! There are many rules and forms of the verb depending on the subject, verb tense etc. Truthfully though, “to be” is complicated in most languages, not just English.
If you have a moment give our simple “to be” grammar quiz a try. These are some pretty common uses, so it shouldn’t be too tricky. Can you get a perfect score?
We hope you got them all right! Whatever your score, if English is your second language and you want to improve your ability to speak it confidently, sign up for a Lingoloop Free Trial Class to learn more about the Lingoloop method and why our students love it!
There are so many acronyms and slang people use to communicate on the Internet. Initially these were abbreviations for longer phrases, but people nearly treat them like they are actual words! Take our Lingoloop Internet slang quiz below and test how well you speak Internet:)
I hope you enjoyed our quiz. If you want to brush up on your slang and learn to speak like a native speaker, sign up for a Lingoloop free trial class. Practicing real English conversations with our expert tutors over video chat will improve your skills and boost your confidence quickly!
Have you thought about taking an online English course? There are many online English courses to choose from. As a Lingoloop tutor, I’d like to share some thoughts about why Lingoloop is the best online English course!
Communication is key
Some learning programs boast that you can speak English fluently in six weeks, or that learning a language using the newest method will be “easy.” The truth is, any method of learning a language is just an artificial version of the truly effective way in which people have been learning languages since the dawn of civilization: communication!
Language is an integral part of who we are and how we relate to one another. Language learning is a dynamic process. It needs to be interactive, but personal. So if the method or technology strips the “person” out of it, you aren’t left with much.
The art of conversation
That’s what I love about teaching on Lingoloop. Here, we help you improve your English through the art of conversation. When I log on to begin my evening tutoring sessions, I feel like I’m sitting down with friends. Mugs of coffee or glasses of water in hand, we discuss the lesson topic, along with events and issues going on in our native countries and around the world. We answer discussion questions, but we also share stories, advice, recipes, laughter, and perspective. We connect. Sure, we pause long enough to correct a mispronunciation or a pesky irregular verb, or to pick up a new vocabulary word or expression. I mean, you’re here to learn to speak English! But soon we’re back to talking again. In language learning, communication is both the end result and the method to get you there. Practicing real English conversations with our 5-star online English course allows your English to improve organically and meaningfully.
Speak English fluently
To speak English fluently means the ability to speak easily and accurately. Do you know a lot of grammar and vocabulary, but just can’t seem to relax and avoid mistakes when you speak? If fluency is what you seek, then conversation practice is the method you need. Studying grammar textbooks or word lists is great, but the only way to speak English confidently is to speak and listen more and more, especially with a native speaker who is knowledgeable and experienced enough to correct your mistakes.
Invest in yourself… take an online English course
Maybe for you an online English course is the gateway to a new career, an academic goal, preparation for travel, or just an item on your “bucket list.” Regardless, the only way to get started is to start, and the only way to succeed is to keep going. If you’re ready to speak English confidently, then it’s time to connect with a tutor on Lingoloop.
At Lingoloop we care very much about words. Words are important… even when you are doing Math! Take for example this simple (yet complicated) riddle. It is sometimes described as “the battle of English and Math” or “the 1 rabbit 6 elephants question.” Some versions of this riddle start with “1 rabbit saw 9 elephants…” too:)
1 rabbit saw 6 elephants while going to the river.
Every elephant saw 2 monkeys going towards the river.
Every monkey holds 1 parrot in their hands.
How many animals are going towards the river?
Take some time to think and then scroll down for the correct answer.
The battle of English vs. Math… who wins?
If you answered “5” you are CORRECT! Let’s break it down:
Sentence 1: 1 rabbit saw 6 elephants while going to the river.
In sentence 1, there are 7 animals, but only 1 (the rabbit) is going to the river. The word while is modifying rabbit, not elephants. Think about it this way: if we changed the sentence to: ”The rabbit saw a plane while going to the river.” we would not say that the plane was going to the river.
Sentence 2: Every elephant saw 2 monkeys going towards the river.
Since we see the word every, we know that all of the elephants saw 2 monkeys going towards the river. The trick here is that sometimes people assume that each of the 6 elephants saw 2 discretely different (or separate) monkeys. The sentence does not say that, so we cannot make that assumption. All we know for sure is that 2 monkeys are going towards the river.
Sentence 3: Every monkey holds 1 parrot in their hands.
This isn’t that tricky as long as you know the right number of monkeys! So if there are 2 monkeys going to the river, there must only be 2 parrots if every monkey is holding just 1 parrot.
1 rabbit + 2 monkeys + 2 parrots = 5 animals
So as you can see… every word counts! Very simple words can have a dramatic effect on meaning. Even native English speakers can struggle with communication if they don’t choose their words carefully.
Are you struggling to get your point across? Or maybe you are having trouble listening to what people are saying. If you need to improve your English communication skills, try a Lingoloop online English class.
At Lingoloop, all of our students want to know how to speak English fluently.
Some are advanced students taking online English classes to help them with their careers. Some are beginner students or casual learners wanting to improve their English online so they can speak better with loved ones.
Regardless of their level, they all want to speak English with confidence and without hesitation… to speak English like a native speaker. You may be wondering “How can I speak English fluently?”
Here are some simple steps you can take to build your confidence and improve your English fluency.
8 Simple Tips for How to Speak English Fluently
1) Treat your brain like a muscle
There is an old saying in English: practice makes perfect. It’s a simple concept. If you want to get better at anything, you have to practice, and it is no different when you want to speak English fluently.
When we say “treat your brain like a muscle” we mean create a consistent learning schedule as if you were going to exercise or workout. Plan to practice speaking English once a day, or three times a week. Come up with a schedule that works for you. However, the key is consistency.
Practicing a few times every week is better than doing it every day for a week and then stopping for 3 weeks. Staying organized will help you develop good learning habits and allow you to improve.
If you are searching for “how to speak english fluently in 10 days” we’ve got bad news for you. There are no short cuts!
2) Set goals for yourself
When we meet a Lingoloop student for the first time, we always ask them what their learning goals are.
You may have a high-level goal like, “I want to improve my English so that I can find a new job,” or “I want to speak English fluently so I can communicate with my daughter’s teacher.” Having something to aim at, will give you direction and improve your motivation.
Also, setting achievable short-term goals are important too. Commit to small things that will help you achieve your main goal. For example, if your main goal is to prepare for a big presentation, you may set short-term goals such as: watching someone give a presentation in English, asking a question in English during a co-worker’s presentation or practicing your presentation in front of a friend.
3) Quit negative self talk
If you believe that you won’t speak English fluently you won’t improve. Resist the urge to keep telling yourself that you are no good. It is easier said than done, but it is critical that you don’t give up on your dream.
Examine your negative thoughts and try to put them in perspective. As they say, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” It will take some time to make a dramatic improvement in your confidence speaking English, so don’t set your expectations too high at the beginning.
One benefit of setting achievable short-term goals is that you will feel good as you achieve them. Aim for progress, not perfection and you will be more successful in the long run.
4) Improve your listening through passive learning
All of our students want to be better speakers, but we focus on turning them into better communicators. If you want to be good at conversation speaking is only 50%. If you don’t understand what someone is saying to you in English, chances are you won’t say the correct thing back.
Make sure to focus on your listening (or comprehension) as well. This is the real secret to English fluency. Outside of any classroom activities or conversation practice, you should be watching TV shows and movies in English (preferably with the subtitles on). Listen to music in English. Read newspapers in English and definitely listen to English podcasts. Voice of America has great free content that will help you with the basics!
Train yourself to be a better listener, you will become a better speaker!
5) Step outside of your comfort zone
Speaking a new language fluently is a big task! In order to do it well, you have to be ok with being a little uncomfortable.
Actively putting yourself in uncomfortable situations is going to accelerate your learning. Go out of your way to speak English. Speak it with friends who are native English speakers. Speak English with strangers.
The more comfortable you get, the easier this will be.
“The goal of fluency is not to be perfect.”
6) It is ok to fail
The advancement of humanity has been based on a very simple method called “trial and error.” In a sense, learning is controlled failure.
We must know what we are doing wrong so that we can improve upon our mistakes. So don’t be afraid to fail – it is an important part of the learning process. The key is to fail early and often while you practice speaking English. Make your mistakes in an online English class, so that when you are out in the real world you won’t fail as much.
Over time, confidence and fluency will come as you anticipate your mistakes before they happen and learn to forgive yourself for making some small mistakes from time to time.
The goal of fluency is not to be perfect. It’s to speak with little hesitation and to get your point across comfortably.
7) Team up
There is something very powerful about learning with others.
It is extremely motivating to be with other people who share your goals. It is the reason why people still workout in a gym. Yes, it is possible to workout alone, but there is something deep within us that makes us work just a little harder when we know others are watching.
So learn with a friend, join a club or find a tutor to help you stay motivated. Learning with others will help you stay on track and make learning more fun.
8) Invest in yourself
There is an American saying “Put your money where your mouth is.” It means to back up what you say with action (and sometimes money). So if you want to improve… don’t just say it, do it. Take a class, buy a book… invest in the resources and tools that will get you where you want to be. Be sure to try before you buy… sign up for a free trial class with Lingoloop!
The world is changing quickly and video conference calls (Zoom, Skype etc.) are becoming a big part of our everyday life. Do you feel nervous about using Zoom? Do you have Zoom anxiety? Don’t worry you are not alone! As a company that has been teaching English through video chat for many years, we have some good ideas about how to make video conference calls a less stressful experience.
Let’s face it, video conference calls are weird
I’ll say it again, video conference calls are weird. Here are a few reasons why:
Technology gets in the way: We are connecting with people that have different skill sets, comfort levels with technology and devices. How many times have you said “Can you hear me? I can see you… can you see me?” It is rare that a video conference call is a completely smooth experience. Especially when you are calling someone for the first time. This raises the stress about the whole experience.
It is weird to see yourself talking: It is weird enough to talk on the telephone, but most of us are used to it. In the old days (hahaha) you could just focus on your thoughts and speak. Now with Zoom, we have the added stress of having to look at ourselves and worrying about what other people see when we are talking. It is harder to focus.
It is hard to listen when you constantly see yourself: Not only is it weird to talk, it is weird to listen on a video conference call. We are distracted. We are distracted by having to look at someone else, and also distracted by the image of ourselves on screen.
Eventually as a society we will all get better at this:) However, in the meantime you may be asking yourself “How do I reduce Zoom anxiety?” or “How can I stop feeling nervous on video calls?” The simple answer, is to plan ahead. Think of the specific things that are causing you stress and work to minimize their effect on your call. See some of our specific suggestions below:
9 tips to help you get rid of Zoom anxiety
1)Speak slowly: With all of the added distractions and issues with technology that we identified, it is important to speak slowly… maybe even slower than you think you should if English is your second language. It will be easier for you to express yourself, and easier for others to understand.
2)Use screen share: If you have to present ideas, take advantage of screen sharing tools. Prepare a short presentation ahead of time to make sure your audience understands your main points. Your thoughts will seem more organized (because they are!) and it will take the focus off of you.
3)Good lighting: Video conference calls are a performance. You can now use your face to express yourself. Your gestures are just as important as the words you choose. Good lighting will allow people to read your facial cues and make you look better on screen!
4)Smile: Don’t forget to smile. Smile a lot! There is something funny about smiling – it is contagious. When you smile, people smile back. Make the video conference call a happy place. You may have noticed it is easier to talk to someone who is smiling.
5) Wear pants: Yes, you are at home, but don’t use that as an excuse to look unprofessional during a work call. You’ll find that if you dress for work, it will make you feel more professional. If you feel better about your appearance, you won’t worry as much about how you look.
6) Find a quiet space: Try to find a private or quiet space for your call in order to reduce background noise. The last thing we want to worry about during a video call is being interrupted by sirens or a loud barking dog. Do your best to control your environment to reduce potential stressors.
7)Wear headphones with a mic: Wearing headphones with a mic makes it easier for others to hear you and for you to hear others. This is especially important if you are on a call with multiple parties.
8)Break the ice: It is hard to jump straight into the meeting agenda if you are nervous about a Zoom call. Try your best to participate early when people are exchanging pleasantries. Hearing your own voice on the call, even with a quick “Hello… how are you?” will make you feel less anxious about speaking later.
9)Don’t look at yourself: If watching yourself while you talk is causing you anxiety, don’t do it. Focus your eyes on the camera. You can also minimize the Zoom window so that you don’t see yourself (or others).
I hope you found these tips useful. If you reduce the risk of distractions and unexpected interruptions, all of these things can minimize your anxiety about video conference calls.
When someone says “thank you” in English, what do you say back? Most of you know the most common thing to respond with is “you are welcome” or “you’re welcome.” However, native English speakers have many different ways to respond to “thank you.” Let’s look at some different ways to say “you’re welcome” and what they mean.
How do you respond to “thank you?”
You are welcome
This is the classic polite response to “thank you.” When you say “you are welcome,” you are saying (to the person you just helped) that they are welcome to your help anytime. You can’t go wrong with saying “you’re welcome,” but you won’t win any awards for originality:)
You are very welcome
If you want to add a little extra to “you are welcome” then “you are very welcome” will do the trick. Oftentimes you will use this phrase when someone says “thank you very much.”
You are more than welcome / you are most welcome
When you say “you are more than welcome” you are basically saying “you are welcome” multiplied by 100. You are being extremely gracious and kind.
When you respond with “of course,” you are saying that the help that you gave was to be expected.
My pleasure / the pleasure is mine
People say “my pleasure” when they want you to know that it made them feel good to help you… almost like it was not work. You hear this often from someone providing you service in retail, or in restaurants.
Don’t mention it
This is an old-fashioned, casual way of saying “you’re welcome.” It’s like you are saying “thank you” was unnecessary.
No problem / no worries
“No problem” is an even more casual way to express “you are welcome.” You are telling someone that it was not a problem to help them. Saying “no worries” is a modern way of expressing “no problem.”
This may seem weird to say. When you say “no sweat” you are saying (in slang) that it was very easy to help someone – so easy that you did not even sweat.
No…. thank you!
If you want to really make someone feel special, you can say “No… thank you.” You are basically saying “I’m the one who should be thanking you.”
It was nothing
This is another way to express that helping someone was easy. It was so easy, that it was like doing nothing.
When you say “any time!” in response to “thank you” you are saying “I can help you any time.” Wow, what a nice person you are!
This is also a very positive thing to say in response to “thank you.” When you say “sure thing” it’s like you are expressing that you can always be counted on for help.
English can be tricky because there are so many idiomatic expressions. Now that you know a few different ways to say “you are welcome,” it will be easy to respond to “thank you!”
Are you struggling in other areas of speaking English? If you want to learn more about idioms and how native English speakers express themselves, sign up for a Lingoloop free trial class. Join an online English class with our expert tutors!
For English language learners, the simplest questions can be the hardest to answer, like the question “How are you?” Sometimes “How are you?” is just a greeting, but sometimes people actually want to know more about you. How can you tell which is which, and how do you respond?
Well, it depends on two things:
How well do you know the person?
How many times has the person asked you how you’re doing? In other words, what round of the conversation are you in?
ROUND 1 – “How are you?” as a greeting
There are many ways to say “How are you?”
How are you?
How’s it going?
How do you do?
At the beginning of a conversation, these questions aren’t really questions at all. Instead, they are just greetings, or ways to make “hello” last a little longer. In fact, when initially greeting someone, after saying hello it would be rude to not also ask how they are doing. However, it might also be awkward for you to actually tell someone a long story about how you’re doing when you are asked. After all, they were really just saying hello!
Especially when speaking to coworkers, strangers and acquaintances, if someone asks one of these “How are you?” questions, you should respond with a quick answer and echo the question back.
Question: How are you?
How to respond: Good! And you?
Question: How’s it going?
How to respond: Not bad. How about yourself?
Question: What’s up?
How to respond: Not much! What’s up with you?
How to respond: ‘Sup, man.
Question: You good?
How to respond: Yeah I’m good. You?
Question: How do you do?
How to respond: Well, and you?
This last one – “How do you do?” is very formal. The rest are informal, with ‘Sup (short for “What’s up?”) being the most informal.
It may be appropriate to share more about yourself when a good friend or family member asks “How are you?” the first time. However, even when greeting close relationships people often don’t respond with more significant shares until “How are you?” has been asked at least twice.
ROUND 2 – A little more information
We are now in the second round! At this point, the person you are greeting has asked you at least one “How you are doing?” question and you have responded correctly by echoing the question. Nice job!
Now, if they follow up with another “How are you?” question, that means that this time they want to actually hear how you’re doing. It’s now that you should talk about yourself (and, if you have a family, your family). But, only share a little bit and keep it positive. A second “How are you?” question is an invitation to share more but not to share anything negative that might make other people feel uncomfortable. Save that for the third round!
Round 2A – General Questions
Some “How are you?” questions ask about your general well-being.
How are things?
How are you doing?
These questions are all pretty general and so you should respond with general information.
Question: How are things?
How to respond: Things are good! We’re all healthy and doing pretty well. What about you guys?
Question: How’s everything?
How to respond: Everything’s ok. We’re getting by and loving where we live. You?
Question: How are you doing?
How to respond: I’m doing well, all things considered. How about yourself?
Round 2B – Questions About the Recent Past
Each of these questions (below) specifically references the events of recent time.
What’s been going on?
How was your day / weekend?
What have you been up to?
When someone asks about a specific period of time, respond with things that you’ve been doing, not your general well-being. Keep in mind that if you haven’t seen someone in a long time, “recent” can be considered more than the very recent past; it could instead be considered “since we’ve last seen each other.”
Question: What’s been going on?
How to respond: Not much, ya know? Still working at the same job. You?
Question: What’s new?
How to respond: We had another baby, so that’s pretty new!
Question: How was your day / weekend?
How to respond: My weekend was good… Let’s see, what did we do? Oh yeah, we did some gardening and worked on the house a bit. We should have you over soon!
Question: What have you been up to?
How to respond: Nothing much. I’ve been practicing my English a lot with Lingoloop. Now I feel good speaking English!
Round 2C – Questions About Negative Events
When times are tough, people will ask you to share about how you are dealing with it.
How are you holding up?
Are you doing ok?
How are you feeling?
When someone asks you a question like this, they may sense something is wrong. It may be something happening to everyone, or maybe its something affecting you. The important thing to realize is that they are showing they care about you.
To “hold up” means to survive a difficult time, so “How are you holding up?” is an invitation to talk about that difficult time.
Question: How are you holding up?
How to respond: We’re ok. It’s been hard, but we’ve had a lot of help. Thanks so much for asking.
The questions “Are you doing ok?” and “How are you feeling?” sound pretty similar to “How are you doing?” but they have a different tone. “How are you doing?” is very general. “Are you doing ok?” is similar to what someone would ask if they saw you hurt yourself and wanted to know if you needed help. It implies that something is wrong. It’s the same thing with “How are you feeling?” They could have asked “How are you doing?” which literally just asks for adverbs that can describe your actions, but instead they asked about your feelings or emotions. That’s more personal, and so it’s an invitation to disclose more personal things. Neither of these are as direct as “How are you holding up?” so you don’t have to explicitly address the negative thing that has happened to you if you don’t feel comfortable doing so.
Question: Are you doing ok?
How to respond: Yeah I’m ok. My husband is still out of work but we’ll get through it thanks to friends like you.
Question: How are you feeling?
How to respond: I’m feeling ok, thanks for asking.
One exception to this: if you were recently ill and the other person knows this, they will ask “How are you feeling?” In this case they are asking for an update on your illness. You can respond, “I’m feeling much better, thank you!”
ROUND 3 – Share Anything
If you go through two rounds of “How are you?” questions and the person follows up with a third one, all bets are off! You’ve now entered a full-blown conversation. This person really cares about how you’re doing and wants to hear more! You’ll get through Round 1 by echoing the question and through Round 2 by adding a little more information. In Round 3 they may just repeat a different question from Round 2 or they may add the word “else” to one of the questions from Round 2B, such as:
What else has been going on?
What else is new?
What else have you been up to?
To this you can respond with anything you like! They clearly want you to talk about yourself.
For example, a full conversation might go like this:
Person 1: Hey, how’s it going?
Person 2: It’s going well, you?
Person 1: Good, good. What’s been going on?
Person 2: Not much, we’ve been staying inside a lot, reading books and playing games, stuff like that. You?
Person 1: Yeah a lot of the same. My wife is working from home now which is interesting. What else is new?
Person 2: Well, my kids have been just crazy. Yesterday my youngest took a pair of scissors and…
And there you have it! Different ways to say “How are you?” in English and the right way to respond. So, how are you doing? Specifically, how is your English? Do you feel good speaking English? If you need help building your confidence speaking English, try Lingoloop. Sign up for a free trial class today!