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Updated by Stephen Keighran on Oct 27, 2015
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Road to English Fluency

I am a Cambridge Assessor and an English ESL teacher with over 30 years teaching experiences to share with you. The Blog entries below are designed to help you along the Road to English Fluency. Below you will find proven techniques to improve your English Fluency. I have provided links to the resources that I am building into my site. The text is in English, use your web browser to convert the text to your parent language. Read the Blog, review the resources and if something is missing that you need, why not leave a blog here of your own and I will either respond to you personally by email, include a new resource for all students of English to use, or probably action both. I am your on-line English Consultant.


Steve Kay The Road to English Fluency - AN ENGLISH COURSE FOR LESS THAN $20.00? REALLY? Check it out it's English Magic

Steve Kay The Road to English Fluency - AN ENGLISH COURSE FOR LESS THAN $20.00? REALLY? Check it out it's English Magic

Let's Face It, the PURSUIT OF ENGLISH FLUENCY is THE BIG issue with ALL students.
I started teaching in 1978, I have taught English on line for eight years with a number of different corporate companies and I have designed and established a tried and proven program that will help you reach your goals in English fluency. I am building a web site that will house many of these strategies, strategies that I will introduce and promote through this Blog. It will be an open forum, and is designed to be a place that people can come to learn and share these effective strategies and report to others on their progress. These strategies work! They have worked for others, they WILL work for you!

The above quote beside the photo of me holding a snake is the beginning of a five minute Power Point Presentation for my ON THE ROAD TO ENGLISH FLUENCY COURSE for LESS THAN $20.00 - **YES THAT IS CORRECT LESS THAN $20.00**
Click on this link to watch the video ON THE ROAD TO ENGLISH FLUENCY. ** THE FIRST STEP** is to watch this presentation that will lead you into "The Road to English Fluency" Course from my "Bargain Basement" or you might simply click on the links underneath the actual video. CHECK OUT THE SPECIAL OFFER AT THE END OF MY VIDEO!!!!! My PDF describes a unique approach to accelerated fluency, you can go straight to that via the above link). Don't be shy, share what works for you through this link and just maybe we will help a few others out there arrive at their learning goals a little faster. Clearly, I am not going to recommend you to return to this site if my Course "The Road to English Fluency" is anything less than an effective learning strategy. I welcome one and all to join me in this pursuit. PLEASE let me know what you think of my PDF program, it is very effective and has been used by my students over the past eight years with outstanding results, that will support you through to your IELTS Tests with the outcomes and scores you seek. Let me know that you have read this by liking my posts, I can assure you that this Blog will be worthwhile following. _ It is not one to be missed._ TAKE ME TO THE VIDEO NOW.


Launch of Road to English Fluency - Goal Setting

Launch of Road to English Fluency - Goal Setting

I have posted up the second in the series of Power Point Presentations to help English Learners seize control of their own learning process - this Video is COMPLETELY FREE. I have taken viewers through the process of why it is important to set goals. How to establish what one's goals are and how to put these down on paper. I then coffer viewers a sample goal setting activity based on someone who has established a target of becoming an International Sales Manager and identifying the goals he or she would need to set to achieve the major goal. This is a sample to show you just how easy it can be, your goal might be to become fluent in English for travel, or simply because your partner is from an English speaking country, it does not matter, the steps are the same. The whole idea is to make the process simple and easy to duplicate. I have posted the video PP presentation on You Tube and fellow bloggers and visitors to my page will find it at Learning Becomes You My Gallery with my first video. I hope you enjoy the Presentation and please if you watch it at You Tube give it a thumbs up, if you enjoyed it. If you have seen it on Face Book and you think it of value please share it. If you visit my site and watch it come and leave a comment here on my Blog.

If we work together we will make the process of improving your fluency in English a whole lot easier. Oh, and don't forget to take a look at my BARGAIN BASEMENT and get your copy of "The Road to English Fluency" Good luck with your studies.


A Road to English Fluency Tip That Works - Reading and Conversation Skills

A Road to English Fluency Tip That Works - Reading and Conversation Skills

I was just working with a student from Brazil and we had a great lesson discussing a fantastic song that is not hard to play and sing, and happens to double up well as an English Learning tool. It is the song "Living in the West" by the Bellamy Brothers.. It can be found at this link and not only can one listen to a fabulous song, as we did, but the lyrics appear on screen. We read the lyrics through as the song played, we were able to stop and start as well as go back if there were any words that my friend from Brazil missed. We discussed some amazing expressions like "bit the dust at 21 but he left a reputation - a notch for every year he was alive" - excellent idioms and wonderful thematic language that is in context and a great way to learn and study English. Throw the lists away people, this is another fun way to enjoy your studies in English. See you again soon.


Hitting Your Target with a Handful of Grain

Hitting Your Target with a Handful of Grain

There are plenty of skilled people that are able to hit a target with an arrow, a knife or even a rifle, however, for most, it is far easier to strike your target with a handful of grain. In terms of language study, it is vital to vary your learning approach if you are going to progress quickly and attain true fluency. So what does this mean to the typical Language Learner? This means that you need to try a number of approaches to study, to find what works best for you. It is important to vary your methods to maintain interest in what you are doing. I will always be posting some good techniques you might try in this blog and of course through my web page.

READING ARTICLES OFF THE NET You might try visitng sites like:
These sites post excellent articles based on current affairs that you can read and study. Use the Internet to look up words that you do not know and you will encounter some interesting idioms, terms and expressions that will add colour to your language style. As you will encounter idioms that you have not seen before, you may need someone to explain these to you. _ SEIZE CONTROL OF YOUR LEARNING_, engage your tutors, classroom teachers or on line teachers to read the article with you and ask them to explain these new terms, expressions and idioms to you. The lesson begins as a reading exercise and develops into an excellent conversation class based on the article on hand. You will exchange new terms, expressions and idioms with your teachers, you will learn new words, you will explore interesting sentence structures based on the reporting genre, you will be working on your listening skills with your teacher AND learning a little about this crazy world we live in. All in one lesson, now that is efficiency at its best.

Please give this strategy a try and come back to my blog, or web site and let me know how it worked for you - it is all about sharing with others your** success** ! It is important to book mark my blog and web site so you can return and check for new postings. I can assure you that there are more to come. Don't forget to check out my videos on You Tube and my web site through THIS LINK. Clearly you are a person who is serious about English Fluency to be reading this blog, check out my BARGAIN BASEMENT and buy your copy of "The Road to English Fluency Program".

I wish you well with your studies, take care, stay safe and we'll see you again soon at Learning Become You


Ice Crystals and English Fluency?

Ice Crystals and English Fluency?

This is not a new concept, I have been using this concept with my students for many years. Learners of English, or any language for that matter, are always trying different approaches to improving their language skills and affecting, ultimately, their fluency. If you read an earlier post of mine, you will read of the handful of grain approach to studying English. This is a little like how ice forms, at first, small crystals form and these branch out and eventually collide into one another forming a solid piece of ice. Students of English take this approach with great success, they practise a particular skill and master it through repetition and it combines with other skills to make them more competent and fluent in the language.

Try this strategy, make it a part of your study approach for the next four weeks.

  1. Take the sentence I am going to type for you and read it with me every day. Read it once, twice, three times, maybe ten times in one sitting. Do this two or three times a day.
  2. After a week or so of reading this sentence with me, you will be able to say it quite well, with fluency.
  3. If you stay with it and keep reading with me, you will reach a point where you will no longer need me to read with, You will be able to recite [to speak out] these sentences, without reading them. You will find that you will be able to pronounce these words well without referring to my recording.
  4. These words, that are contained in these sentences, will be firmly ingrained in your muscle memory and they will become a part of your language memory. You will have established a very important grain that will continue to grow with all the other work you are doing on your Road to English Fluency.

Of course, you will need the sentences to read and it would be helpful if I made available to you a recording of me reading the script for you.

Here is the script for you to read:

I am studying hard to improve my English fluency. I have enrolled in a variety of English courses, I have spent many hours of my time to improve my skills, I am now trying this approach to improve my fluency and grow some important crystals that will make me an effective communicator in the English language. I will not give up as I know that I am getting better every day.

Use this link and use the SUBJECT STEVE'S AUDIO . Complete the form with your name and most popular email address and copy this message to the message section "I would like a copy of the audio Steve to try this learning strategy". I will send you the audio completely free. I would ask you to return to this page and leave a comment about this strategy and how it has helped you.

Good luck with your studies and stay safe.
Steve Jay Kay


Discourse Makers and Slick Presentations

Discourse Makers and Slick Presentations

Students seeking genuine strategies to improve their English Fluency can’t afford to overlook the Discourse Markers. These provide a variety of functions that help Presenters to offer professional presentations and offer writers to deliver clear and concise concepts and descriptions to their readers. Isn’t this exactly what English students are seeking to achieve in their IELTS and other examinations?

There are quite literally volumes of information that students can find on the Internet concerning these valuable tools. You could try a simple search through Google like “Discourse Markers examples and worksheets with answers”. I have checked the results in Google for this particular search and I received over 3 million hits, so there is plenty for you to follow up. In the meantime allow me to offer you a few of my favourites. I will include some extra detail with these so that you can slot them straight into your presentations to make them a little more practical, polished and professional.

Closing a Presentation
Well, that brings me to the end of my presentation. I do hope you enjoyed the information I was able to share with you today/tonight/this morning and I urge you to email me if you have any questions that come to light after today’s meeting. You will find my email address on the hand-outs I offered you at the beginning of my presentation. Now let’s move to my Q&A or Question and Answer time.** [Hand-outs are usually A4 sheets you may hand out to people before they listen to your presentation]**

Closing a Presentation 2
We have treated a lot of information today and that last point brings me to the end of my presentation. I would like to close and thank you all for your attention today and I hope that the information I have given you helps you in your day to day activities working here at Global Image and Co. We will now move into Question Time, are there any questions for me?

Proposing an Alternate Approach
This was the outcome that many companies experienced when faced with these particular circumstances; however, I would like to offer you an alternate approach that can enable companies to avoid taking the same path as those we have just discussed.

Offering a Prescribed Order
Our products address many of the issues we have discussed today, let me revise these in the following order

Provide Reasons
There are a variety of reasons why this company experienced difficulties with their production line, and I would like to provide the following reason to you, they are as follows

Provide Examples
My organization provides a huge variety of services to a large list of companies as their preferred supplier, so please allow me to provide the following examples of the customer base that we currently service

Common Links and Discourse Markers
We use Discourse Markers to link our ideas together and guide our audience in terms of the direction our presentation is taking them. These add fluency to our deliveries.

We can use popular links like In order to, So as to, So that
Some examples for you to try,
1. I am taking French lessons in order to communicate with the locals during my trip to Paris next year.
2. I need to leave work early today in order to give me time to renew my driver’s licence.
3. You need to use my programs in order to streamline your production line.
4. I always conduct private correction interviews with my staff so as not to embarrass those I am trying to help.
5. It is important to offer demonstrations to students on the same lap top as they use at home so as to avoid confusion.
6. It is vital to listen carefully to what I am saying so that you can repeat to me exactly what I have said.
7. You need to go to bed early so that you can get up early and come fishing with me.

Other common Links and Discourse Markers include,
But [Never at the beginning of a sentence], In spite of, In addition, Since, As well as, However, Despite the fact, Even though, In order to, Therefore, So as to, Neither Nor, and While.

Have fun with these that I have shared with you above. Explore the Google search I have given you and why not print off a few of the worksheets, with answers. Pop these into your handbag or brief case and next time you are sitting on a train on your way to work, waiting in a Doctor’s waiting room or having a quiet coffee break at Starbucks, why not pull out the worksheets, complete them and mark them yourself? This is a great way to work on your Road to English Fluency during your downtime.

Steve Jay Kay


The Importance of Lexis and English Fluency

The Importance of Lexis and English Fluency

*Learners of English need to familiarize themselves with common phrases, expressions, collocations and sentence structures to develop their fluency in the English language, or the Lexus of the language. The Lexus is the vocabulary that makes up the language and how this is applied to build understandings through contextual statements. This is my definition that I offer you to enhance a shared understanding of the term.

Students of the English language and native speakers might look at a term like “stay put” and these two words when reviewed alone appear separately as two pretty plain and simple to understand words, but when we apply them in a sentence they combine to convey a new meaning. *

“Why are you here now? I told you to stay put until I called you, we have a surprise planned for you and you are going to spoilt it all if you go inside now.
So as you might see from this sentence and in this context, to stay put means to wait where you are until I call you. OK, now it is all clear but can you as a language user find these phrases when you need them? Some books refer to these pieces of language as word chunks or sentence particles, they are simply native uses of word combinations that can be learned through reading and listening exercises. I am an advocate of the power of reading and I believe strongly in the use of Audio Books to offer readers a guided reading experience that will expose them to these kinds of word chunks and improve their fluency of expression.
There are many kinds of common word chunks that might be categorized under the headings of, collocations, semi-fixed phrases and whole sentence deliveries. Here are a few that I have gathered off the Internet for you to read over.


Noun Verb Collocations
Arguments raised – The classroom exercises were based on arguments raised by the teacher.
Lays/Releases/Drops/Spawns eggs – This species of animal usually lays /releases /drops /spawns about 500 eggs on each occasion.
[It’s all about possibilities and options]
Dog barking – The lion roared when it heard the dog barking.
Adverb Adjective Collocations
Utterly stupid – The idea of letting all the air out of the tyres was utterly stupid.
Richly rewarded – The man who returned the stolen piece of art was richly rewarded
Fully aware – Were you fully aware of the implications of what you have been telling people?

Adjective Noun Collocation
Maiden Voyage – The Titanic hit an iceberg and sunk on its maiden voyage.
Regular exercise – I recommend that all people that work from behind a computer must partake in regular exercise after work.
Excruciating Pain – The cries of the beast from the dark hollows of the forest indicated the excruciating pain it was experiencing.

Noun Noun Collocations
Bars/cakes of soap – I only ducked into the shop to buy some bars/cakes of soap.
Round of Applause – Let’s give Peter a round of applause for that incredible rendition of “The Man from Snowy River”.
Ceasefire agreement – Everybody present at the United Nations were elated by the ceasefire agreement.

Verb Noun Collocations
Do my homework – I always try to do my homework after eating my dinner at night.
Committing murder – The criminal was jailed for committing murder
Give a presentation – John has been asked to give a presentation to the group about his project.

Verb Expression with preposition
Run out of money - We had to return home because we had run out of money.
Burst into tears - At first her eyes filled with horror, and then she burst into tears.
Drive anybody to crime - Their behaviour was enough to drive anybody to crime.

Verb Adverb Collocations
Placed her keys - She placed her keys gently on the table and sat down.
Whispered softly - Jennifer whispered softly in John's ear.
Vaguely Remember - I vaguely remember that it was growing dark when we left.

Fixed Phrases
On the other hand – I don’t like going to the games, on the other hand I do like watching them at home on the television.
If I were you – If I were you I would start studying today.
Never mind! – Never mind I will do the shopping as I have some things to pick up for myself from the store.

Semi-Fixed Phrases
A friend of mine/ hers/ my brother’s/ them/ us both/ my parents
The second, third, tenth biggest in the world.

Whole Sentences that act as phrases
How are you?
He’s gone home.
I’ll give you a hand
I agree to a certain extent
I doubt that’s correct.

Goodness me, so many to learn right? Well don’t bother trying. It is a little like building a word list, all you will finish with is a large list of words that you still can’t use.
Learners need to focus their efforts on listening to and reading articles that use frequency phrasing in the sentences so that by the end of listening to and reading such a story, the learner is fully aware of the use of the expressions that are frequently repeated through the article. Learners then are truly developing a vocabulary and an understanding of Lexus or how these words combine to offer a particular meaning to listeners.
As the learner develops understandings of English certain patterns will become obvious.

It’s worth visiting/knowing/trying OR It caused an injury/panic/an accident. These words naturally follow a set order or pattern. It is these patterns that offer native speakers the simple self-checking system of sentences or word slabs that simply sound correct. This ability to hear structures and identify them as ‘sounding correct’ is what most learners of English strive for. Again, the chance to develop this ability is enhanced through Audio Book Reading exercises.

Record Phrases as they Come Up
While I do not encourage my students to maintain lists, I do encourage them to record, keep and review word usage, or actual phrases that achieve specific purposes. As expressions and statements arise I often encourage my students to record them and make it a part of their regular review regime to read these over and try to use them in regular sentences of their own.
“John wanted to go sailing on the weekend even though a hurricane warning had been posted on the news. I told him that I did not want to be in it for love nor money. I thought he was crazy and was losing his marbles”.
This sentence combination is full of idioms and interesting word combinations that are designed to communicate a specific message. Something like this is worth recording and reviewing.
It doesn’t matter what expressions we use to describe these facets of the English language, the Lexis of the language, phrases in context, or collocations and their impact on your sentences. What is important is that learners move from static phrases that allow them to respond to common questions in a way that is rehearsed and familiar to them to a more dynamic empowerment that allows learners to choose the language that enable them to communicate effectively in all kinds of environments. This is the goal of all language learners.

I recommend Success with Stories that can be accessed through this LINK. For those thinking about traveling abroad I would like to recommend my Audio Book “Stacking It Up in Singapore”. The first reference "Success with Stories" is available now through my website and the above link, my Audio Book will be published on my website very soon. If you have not already a member of my study group why not join us, it is after all free. CLICK on this link and complete the sign up form with your details and I will send you your FREE copy of my 10 week study program and then you to ….._ are on the road to English Fluency_.


What can you do if you find a word in a sentence you have not seen before?

What can you do if you find a word in a sentence you have not seen before?

It does not matter whether you are studying, practising your reading, researching or simply reading for pleasure, we are going to encounter words we have not seen before. How can we find out exactly what the word means and add it to our vocabulary so that we will recognize it the next time we see it? Try these simple tips that have worked for my students for many years and they will work for you.


Read the sentence through and try to make sense of the word by studying how it has been applied in the sentence. Let's look at an example:

It was clear that the ship was over weight as the Plimsoll Lines were not visible above the water.

So just what is a Plimsoll Line? Clearly it is something, a thing, a noun, that appears on the side of a ship. It is usually visible above the water line. It also must have something to do with the weight of the ship.


As this is clearly a noun we will probably find an image of it by looking it up on Google Image.

We now have a fairly good idea of what a Plimsoll Line is and why it is important in this sentence, but we need a formal definition to learn a little more about this feature on the side of a ship.


We can easily look up the word Plimsoll Line on the Cambridge Dictionary and read over the complete definition of what a Plimsoll Line is.


Often it is handy to know if there are any Synonyms or Antonyms for the word in question. If we look it up on an On Line Thesaurus, we will have completed the entire process. We can now see that a Plimsoll Line is also known as a Legal Limit, a Load Water Line and a Plimsoll Mark.

Once you have these resources book marked on your computer, and you have ran the process a few times, you will complete this process in a matter of seconds, added the word to your vocabulary and be on your way reading again in a matter of moments. I know this is a great way to extend your vocabulary and add to your reading pleasure. Give it a try and tell your friends about it so they can join you on the Road to English Fluency.

Steve Jay Kay


Feed Back on the Free PDF Road to English Fluency Program

Feed Back on the Free PDF Road to English Fluency Program

I would like to thank all the people who have emailed me about the Free PDF Program I have sent out to you all called "On the Road to English Fluency". I am pleased that the program has hit the spot for many of you and I am also pleased to receive the following email from Peter that highlights a problem he was having. I would like to share this one with you all in case you have been having the same problem. Please read on:

Hi, Steve

Nice to meet you again via the Internet.
I've read your PDF file. It's great and useful. What impressed me most was "break the word into sounds in English or even numbers".
I can use this with my own studies based on "quick memory approaches" in Taiwan about how to memorize words. I think it's similar to yours, but your method is effective in pronunciations and my method is effective in memory words.
We can break the word into sounds is English, but we need find some similar word to replace. For example :
The word ‘Congratulation’ can be broken into CONtinue GRAd TUtor LAte stATION when I apply my quick memory method, for example, Congratulations I am continuing to study for my graduation with my tutor, but as a result I was late going to the station.
The word can be broken into some special short situation, than it'll help me to remember the word.

I have a problem with your PDF in that those audio books are too long for me, even I choose a short story, it still has more than two hundred pages and then you comment that after your Tenth book.... Fifteenth book.....One Hundredth book..... Oh my god, I abandon. [No need to give up, we are here to help you]
I'm sorry about my problem, but it's real for me.

I'm glad to meet you again on the Internet and thank you very much for your support. Finally, I've a final questionfor you, what's your business module ? I think it's very important.

Peter Hsu

Dear Peter,

I am pleased that the PDF file has reached you and that you have had the chance to study it. My Business Plan is to present to English Learners effective techniques to attain English Fluency in a reasonable time span. I would like to build a community of people who wish to attain fluency and are seeking guidance to focus on their particular weaknesses. A common area that affects many students is their short vocabulary range, listening skills and pronunciations. This PDF was designed to offer a major focus on these skills.

In terms of my Business Model, I currently teach in Jakarta and I have built some great experiences working with multitudes of students across the world teaching on line. Now that I am returning to face to face teaching, I want to continue to impact on the positive learning experiences of students from around the world, thus my web site. I presently offer a Blog, to build a community. I offer Videos that contain free tips and instructions to help people build their English fluency. I am presently building my contact lists and building my web site. Keep watching Peter, there is a lot more to come, IELTS, TOEFL and Cambridge Preparation, Testing in these areas, Business English Skills and a whole lot more. At present, all my spare time is committed to this goal, and I am making great progress.

Finally, I understand that the idea of reading a 200 page book is really quite a challenge at your level, however, like any journey please consider taking small steps. Allow me to recommend a book to you and offer you a little additional support in how to approach it.

The Book Title: English Fairy Tales
Author: Joseph Jacobs

The first story “Tom Tit Tot” is only one page in length. You will be able to listen to this one and read along with it several times before you move onto listening to it as an exercise. Continue to apply the Pronunciation Techniques I offered you in the PDF. They will help you to sound more native.

PLEASE, NEVER give up, it is better to reach out for support as there are always simple solutions like this one above.

Once you have mastered this book try something a little more challenging and keep watching my Web Site as I am always on the look out for Premium Programs that I can pass onto my students. I am reviewing several at the moment and I will let you know my findings by publishing these on my Web Site.

Take Care and thanks for your email. Please pass on my emails, web address and any other details to your friends. Please refer them to my Blog, I will be posting this email up for people to share. As is often the case, if you are having a problem of some kind, it is a certainty that there are others out there sharing the very same converns.

My Blog:

I hope you don’t mind that I took the liberty of editing your email. Please use this edited version as a study exercise. ;-) I think I have covered all your questions, if I have not feel free to contact me any time.

You are on the Road to English Fluency,
My Regards,

Steve Jay Kay


Old English and Reading in Context.

Old English and Reading in Context.

There is a lot of reading material out there on line and some students sometimes stumble upon books with old English used in the text. This is a great opportunity to read in context, as I have commented on in an earlier blogg. Allow me to share with you an email that I received recently from Peter as one such example.

Dear Steve,

I'm very grateful to your reply and it's really helpful to me. I am also very grateful to you for correcting my email.

In recent days, I read the "TOM TIT TOT". I think the length of this story is fit for me. After I read that, I have some questions and I need your help.

  1. She upped and oped it, and what should she see but a small little black thing with a long tail.
    What is "She upped and oped it" ? Is stand up and open it ?

  2. That won't do me no good if I do
    What's the meaning?

  3. Well, says she,that won't do no harm, if that don't do no good, and she upped and told about the pies, and the skeins, and everything. What's "that won't do no harm, if that don't do no good" ?

  4. Well, every day the flax and the food were brought, and every day that there little black impet used to come mornings and evenings.
    What's "there little black impet" ?

  5. At last it came to the last day but one.
    What's "but one" ?

  6. Is that Nicodemus? says she. Noo, t'ain't, that says.
    What's " t'ain't " ?

"A-why," says he, "I was out a-hunting to-day, and I got away to a place in the wood I'd never seen before And there was an old chalk- pit. What's "A-why" ? What's "an old chalk-pit" ?

I'm sorry to bother you again, but I really need some help when I read stories in English. It's difficult to me to guess the meaning in the sentence. But, I feel interesting to read this fairy tales.


Hi Peter,

I am glad the Book has worked out well for you. Allow me to respond to your questions:

She upped and oped it, and what should she see but a small little black thing with a long tail.

What is "She upped and oped it" ? I stand up and open it. I stood up and opened it.

This is a very old book and some parts reflect old English. You will need to read in context to ‘work out’ what the words mean – clearly this is what you have already done. [Well done by the way!]. She stood up and opened the door.

That won't do me no good if I do It will do me no good if I ………

Well, says she that won't do no harm, if that don't do no good, and she upped and told about the pies, and the skeins, and everything

Well she says that that won’t do any harm, if it doesn’t do any good, and she stood up and told about the pies

What's "there little black impet" ?

A little black imp [a fairy type character]

At last it came to the last day but one.

This a way of saying the day before the last day – there was one day to go

Is that Nicodemus? says she. Noo, t'ain't, that says.

What's " t'ain't " ?

Once again old English, No it aint – No it is not Contraction No It is not

"A-why," says he, "I was out a-hunting to-day, and I got away to a place in the wood I'd never seen before And there was an old chalk- pit.

What's "A-why" ?
What's "an old chalk-pit"

A chalk - pit is an open mine that extracts chalk.

Old English again I am afraid – The man is saying “Listen Up! I will tell you why” “A-Why”

I found a great reference that might help you on these,

If you still need help let me know. Enjoy the story it is a classic.

My regards,

Happy Reading Everyone - You are on the Road to English Fluency.


My Review of Enhancing Your Skills with Stories - A Program that will work for you

My Review of Enhancing Your Skills with Stories - A Program that will work for you

I have just completed a review of a program based on Reading Stories that has me very excited, as it takes my use of audio books to another level. This program reinforces the concepts that I laid down in my Blogg English Fluency and Ice Crystals, while it embodies many other values I have mentioned in my Bloggs that you might read on this page. If you are enjoying the PDF Program that I send out to all our members when they join Learning Becomes You, then I believe that this program is one that you really need to take a look at. Let me offer you my review of this exceptional program. I have deliberately used some advanced language in this Blogg, as I know that many of you like to read these Bloggs with a translator in hand to build your vocabulary base - a great strategy.

Allow me to introduce some details about the Creator of this innovative program. The program was designed and recorded by an American E.S.L. teaching professional by the name of Lisa. Her approach, delivery and general introduction to the program is extremely well thought out and reflects the experience that she has accrued throughout her teaching career. She applies a very clear and easy to understand delivery technique, she uses excellent intonation and voice modulation throughout her deliveries as well, Lisa is very easy to listen to and understand. Her presentations are surprisingly consistent throughout her recordings, it is obvious that she has a passion for teaching English and reflects a very professional approach to the creation of her English Fluency Program. Full marks go to Lisa in terms of the product she has produced and the effort she has made in delivering an excellent resource for not only typical ESL Learners, but those with Visual Handicaps. As I promised in one of my earlier communications to members of Learning Becomes You, I would seek out a program that will help the Blind and the Handicapped to study English successfully, I believe that this program would be ideal for students who are blind, those who are challenged in terms of sight and those that suffer other handicaps. This program can be studied hands free.

The entire program is contained in a very easy to download package that is opened to the Student once they have completed their on-line purchase requirements. Lisa has included a recorded Introduction series that allows the student to sit back, relax and listen to Lisa take them through all the features of the package. Of course, all recordings are well supported by Transcripts, but these are not really important for the Introduction as it is designed to help students become familiar with how the program works and how to gain the best results from the program as it is used.

A summary of the Components for you to consider:
1. Lisa reads to the student a High Interest Short Story. The stories she uses in her program reflect a huge variety of areas that will take the student through a variety of themes and an incredible vocabulary range. The stories use a high frequency vocabulary approach. This means the stories use certain words over and over again, excellent reinforcement for the English Learner.
2. The student can play and replay the stories, as I suggest when using all audio books and of course the student has the transcripts to read along with Lisa, if they choose to.
3. Lisa then moves into the next stage where she takes the student through the more difficult words in the story. She explains the words and uses them in other examples to deliver a very clear explanation of the words in the story and improve student comprehension. She often recommends that students listen to the story again after they understand all the words. In fact, as I recommend in my programs, she recommends that students do not move on to the next phase of the program until they KNOW all the words. This is a smart approach to learning English, or any other language.
4. She reviews the words in a variety of contexts, this is essential if students are to grow to be familiar with the various Homophones that we have dealt with in our At a Glance Communications.** [Learning Becomes You Members Only]. **
5. The next phase that accommodates every story is a Question and Answer, or Q&A Section where Lisa asks a series of questions, in turn she answers the questions, but not before she allows time for the student to offer a response. She encourages students to use the STOP key to halt the recording and this allows slower students to halt the recording and write a response of their own. Lisa urges students to simply shout out responses with the view to increase fluency and develop an auto-response approach to questions.
6. Lisa consistently reinforces the idea the the student remains in control of the resource. Stop, Start, Rewind etc, these empower the student to seize control of their learning. This is something that I have been reinforcing in my Bloggs, your requirements are not the same as those students that you study with, your approach to learning need not be the same as theirs.
7. Lisa then reviews sentence structures, approaches to grammar and variations like Questioning Technique that reflects the work that has been completed in the Unit.
8. EVERY STORY section is completed with Lisa telling the same story from the point of view of another person in the story. I found this feature extremely beneficial and delivers a totally different perspective to the student on the story they have earlier finished listening to.

The package reflect 20 complete Units of work. There is no predetermined time frame for students to complete the Units. The Program is not designed to replace any courses or classes that students are presently taking, this program will supplement and enhance any programs that students are currently completing. Lisa offers email support and a variety of other services that students are encouraged to pursue once they purchase the program and begin to enjoy the experience of Excelling through Stories.

To complete my review, the only downside I can see in this program is that students will need to be technologically adept to use equipment to play the recordings and the series is not offered in graded formats. However, due to the fact that the student can control the resource, I believe that this program could be used by students whose skills fall into the range of a motivated Elementary Student through to Advanced Students. It would be an outstanding Resource for English Tutors and Students studying English. Please tighten your seat belts as a result of both the popularity and high demand for this program I have read that Lisa will be producing Series Two and publishing this in the near future. We look forward to seeing the new features that will accommodate this excellent approach to studying English.

Please return to us and share your learning experiences, whether you pursue this program or others, feel free to come back and let us know about anything that makes you learning easier so that others can benefit from your experiences.

I will be returning soon with a Direct Link to Lisa's Program for those interested in seeking more information or even purchasing this dynamic program. It would help me and this Website if you use the link I provide you with to make your purchase if you choose to. As always, I wish you well in your English studies and I remain here as your On-Line Consultant to guide you along the Road to English Fluency.

This link will direct you to my BARGAIN BASEMENT where you can scroll down and make your purchase from English Fluency Now - Success with Stories but remember - if you buy through my link and send me the** PURCHASE RECEIPT** you will receive a** SPECIAL GIFT** from Learning Becomes You.


Important Vocabulary to Deal with Dining at a Restaurant

Important Vocabulary to Deal with Dining at a Restaurant

There is quite a variety of language skills required to complete a dinning activity, whether it is a romantic dinner with someone special, a business dinner or even a quick meal after completing a shopping expedition. Here are some important tips to consider.

What kind of Questions should you use?

There are basically two question forms, The Direct Question - Informal, The Indirect Question - Formal. Let's first look at some examples.

Direct Informal
We use these in situations where we know the person well, or are in a conversation and formalities are not necessary, perhaps in a meeting, or even a classroom situation.
1. Where are you from?
2. What time is it?
3. Do you have a swimming pool?
4. Can I have the Fried Rice?

Let's look at the formal alternatives.

In-direct Formal
Notice that we introduce the Modal Verbs to make the questions more polite.
1. Could you please tell me where you are from?
2. Excuse me Sir/Madam, I wonder if you might be able to tell me the correct time?
3. I was wondering if you have a swimming pool for the use of guests in your hotel?
4. Would you please bring me the Fried Rice?

With these in mind let's follow a typical conversation to enjoy a simple dinner.

Restaurant Manager [RM]: Good afternoon you have reached the Chatter Box, how may I help you?
Roderick: Good afternoon, I would like to book a table for four, for tonight.

RM: Yes Sir, we have some tables left, but as you may know, tonight is our busiest night of the week. What time would you like your table ready for you?
Roderick: Would 7:00pm be OK?
RM: Absolutley, I will reserve table 14 for you for 7:00 pm, a setting for four. May I have your name?
Roderick: Yes of course, my name is Roderick Smythe.
RM: Thank you Mr. Smythe, may I have your phone number to confirm your booking?
Roderick: Yes of course, it is 0857348925, you can text me and I will return your text, as normal.
RM: OK Mr. Smythe, we look forward to seeing you.

RM: Good evening ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Chatter Box, I do hope that you have a booking as we are completely booked out.
Roderick: Yes we do, I have a table for four booked for 7:00pm, is it ready?
RM: Ahh Mr. Smythe, welcome to The Chatter Box, yes of course, please allow me to call your Waiter. Paul please take Mr. Smythe and his party to table 14 and take good care of them.
Paul: Yes Mr. Fisher.

**** They are ushered to their table *****
The Waiter settles them into their chairs and another Waiter delivers their welcome drinks and snacks to the table.

Paul: Welcome to the Chatter Box, there are Menus here on the table for you, please read them at you leisure, I will return soon for your orders. Mr Smythe, is there anything I can get for your table?
Roderick: Yes there is, could you exchange this tap water for Sparkling Mineral Water please. I would prefer the sealed bottles for both myself and those in my party. Oh, and can we please have some bread rolls and butter brought to our table before our meals arrive?
Paul: Yes Sir, I will arrange these for you immediately.

Paul is a great Waiter and he does just that.

Paul: I am here now to take down your orders. Mr. Smythe what might I order for you?
Roderick: Paul, could you please tell me if the Prawns for the Prawn Cocktail are fresh from the ocean or frozen?
Paul: Yes Sir, I can assure you that they were caught fresh this very afternoon.
Roderick: Oh excellent, then I will have Prawn Cocktails for everyone in my party.
Paul: Yes Sir. That would be your Starters and now for your Main meal?
Roderick: Yes, I would like two steak dinners for myself and my friend James. Our wives would like to try the Chicken Schnitzels.
Paul: May I ask how you would like the steaks prepared Mr. Smythe?.
Roderick: Yes certainly, mine needs to be medium rare and my friend's steak well done please.
Paul: The meals come with salad or mashed potato and peas and of course with our special gravy. Which would you prefer?
Roderick: The ladies will have the salad with Mango Dressing and James and I will have the vegetables and mashed potato, with your gravy please.
Paul: Yes of course. For dessert Sir, may I recommend the Chocolate Cake and cream, it is exquisite.
Roderick: Mmmm that does sound nice, OK we will round off our meals with the chocolate cake and cream. Oh and can we have four glasses of red wine now? The house red will be fine.
Paul: Yes Sir, I will bring it right away.

The wine and the Starters come out and true to Paul's word they are delicious. However, when Paul delivers Roderick's main meal there is a terrible problem.

Paul: Yes Sir, is there a problem?
Roderick: .Yes Paul I am afraid that there is. Paul are you able to deal with a complaint?
Paul: Yes Sir, I most certainly can. What seems to be the problem?
Roderick: My meal has only just arrived and the mashed potato is cold. I can't eat that.
Paul: I can not understand how this has happened, please allow me to return your meal. I will remedy this problem for you in a flash.

Within moments Paul has returned with Roderick's meal completely re-plated and perfect.

Paul: May I apologize on behalf of the kitchen staff, there was a mix up in the orders and your plate did sit too long on the preparation counter. Please enjoy your meal and Mr. Smythe you will not be charged for your main meal, we would like to make up for the inconvenience.
Roderick: Why thank you, that is very nice of you.

The meal and dessert proceeds perfectly.

Paul: Sir I trust that you enjoyed your meals?
Roderick: Yes the meal was outstanding. Could you please prepare separate bills for my guests, as they insist on paying for their own meals?
Paul: Yes Sir, of course.
Roderick: Paul, is your tip included in the restaurant bill?
Paul No Sir it is not.
Roderick: Please ask the Cashier to add 25% to both bills for your tip, we were very happy with your service.
Paul: Thank you very much Sir.

I hope you enjoy reading this little dialogue and I would like to thank Constantino for reminding me of this wonderful exchange. If you have any questions or comments please note the *"NEW COMMENTS SECTION" *below. I would love to hear from you all.


Help with IELTS is here for you to Review - Speaking Section

Help with IELTS is here for you to Review - Speaking Section


Many students work hard in their studies to score high in the various standardized tests like TOEIC, Cambridge and ILETS.  They commit large amounts of their time only to find that their preparation for the exams let them down.  Their are many issues to consider like Exam Technique, Approaches to answering the specific questions in the exams and even how one should dress and project as they walk into the examination room.  I will be treating these issues through my web site to offer students an insight into what areas they need to focus on and I will be presenting webinars with the view to prepare students for their tests.  Here is a little sample.

Question: You are going to describe the picture above. You have 30 seconds to prepare and 45 seconds to do the task.

It is important to break the pictures your given into areas that you can comment on. You can see in the picture that I have broken the photo into the blue circle in the foreground, the two yellow circles in the immediate background and then the red square or border that surrounds the whole photo. By breaking down the photo like this we now have a good deal to talk about.

You are now in a position to apply your English skills to discuss these components.

I can see an elderly couple who appear to be out to do some shopping or maybe just they are simply going for a walk. They are wearing fairly warm clothes so I would assume that they are in a city that is in the midst of winter. They are still very much in love as I can see that they are holding hands, and I think that is really sweet.

I can see in the immediate background that they are walking on a city street and there are people directly behind them going about their business, shopping and completing the tasks that we all do in our daily lives.

Last of all I can see that the street the old couple are walking in is quite a busy thoroughfare, as cars are not only parked on the curb but there is passing traffic also heading down a street that leads to an intersection that is controlled by traffic lights.

I have just read that through and there is a solid 60 seconds of reading in that piece. My aim was to:
1. Complete a description of the photo - achieved
2. Apply some discourse markers to guide the listener in my presentation - achieved
3. Apply some adjectives to offer a solid description - achieved
4. Maintain good structure throughout - achieved.

I could afford to be confident that I have achieved a very good score for this piece.


Simile or Metaphor Figuratively Speaking

Simile or Metaphor Figuratively Speaking

The metaphors and Similes are perhaps my favourite tool in writing. I think that writing metaphorically or offering comparisons with other figurative forms of speech can really clarify what it is you are trying to express to a reader.
So what are these two writing tools that can introduce some excellent descriptions into our writing? Let’s look at the Metaphor as it is used quite a lot in English, particularly when we are not too pleased with someone or something in our lives. Please bear in mind the fact that Metaphors may be positive or negative when used in sentences.

A Metaphor is a term that we apply to a situation that allows us to place a label on it and communicate exactly how we feel about something in as fewer words as possible. Have you heard people use any of these?
1. “He’s a pig! He treats me this way all the time; I am not going to stand for this any longer”.
2. “Your daughter is a fish in water. I can’t believe how fast she swam that lap”
3. “I always get misty when I hear that song as it reminds me of the good old days with my family when we were all much younger”
4. “She is a loose cannon, keep her in line or I will stop you both from attending any meetings in the future”.

So what do these sentences mean?

  1. This person, male or female, feels that this man is not treating him or her in a way that is fair, well-mannered or appropriate.
  2. This person is exclaiming that the girl who has swum the lap in the pool is very fast.
  3. This person is declaring that he or she grows sad and perhaps shed a tear when he or she hears a song that was popular when she or he was younger and with her or his family.
  4. In the old days of Pirates and Buccaneers one of the worst problems one might endure was the idea of having a heavy cannon slipping and sliding around on the deck of the ship during high seas. So if someone is referred to as a loose cannon, then they are confirming that they hold a low opinion of the person they are talking about as their actions might appear unpredictable and result in damaging situations.

Steve’s Teaching Tip: As my students know only too well, you can not beat completing actual sentences that apply these kinds of Metaphors. Why not try this simple search through or and you will be surprised at how many hits you receive.

Search: Metaphor worksheets and answers [variation with answers]

Print some sheets off and complete them during your down time and in just a few days you will be using metaphors like a professional.

Similes are also a form of figurative speech, but this form is a little more subtle. Again we can compare certain items and to demonstrate the difference I will use the same examples above and add a few others for interest. I love simplicity, and this concept is simple and easy to learn.

  1. “He speaks like a pig whenever he approaches me. I doubt that I can stand this too much longer, he needs to clean up his act” [I slipped in another metaphor there]
  2. “Your daughter is amazing, she is like a fish in water. I can not believe she swam that lap inside the world record”.
  3. “I weep like a baby when I hear that song, as it reminds me of the days when I was younger and living with my family”.
  4. “Leave her at home, she is like a loose cannon in meetings, her ideas stem from thoughts no one can follow and she leaves behind damage where ever she goes”.
  5. “I played that last round like a pro [professional] and finished six under par for the game; it was awesome”
  6. “You are like a bad coin that keeps showing up”

Allow me to help you with these;

  1. He speaks poorly to this person and he needs to improve his manners when he is with this person urgently.
  2. A person complimenting the swimming skills of another person’s daughter.
  3. A more definite reference to crying in this instance.
  4. A more specific reference to a huge object rolling around reaking havoc where ever it goes. It needs to be tied down.
  5. This person had an incredible game of golf. He or she is very pleased with their performance.
  6. In the old days we used to use coins to drop into slots for all kinds of things, from going to the toilet to playing a song on a jute box. Sometimes we would have that one coin that always appeared in one’s pocket that could not be used when you needed it most. A person who is a bad coin is someone you do not really want to see.

Steve’s Teaching Tip: Why not try this simple search through or and you will be surprised at how many hits you receive.
Search: Simile worksheets and answers [variation with answers]
Print some sheets off and complete them during your down time and in just a few days you will be using metaphors like a professional.
It is important to look for the metaphors, and similes that authors tuck away in their sentences to make their stories more interesting and crystal clear to their readers. There are two figurative forms in my previous sentence, did you see them? Enjoy your reading exercises and I hope this article helps you ………. On the Road to English Fluency.


The Road to English Fluency by Steve Jay Kay

The Road to English Fluency by Steve Jay Kay

As many of my members know I was teaching English on-line for about 9 years with one of the larger English Schools known as "Englishtown". I am happy to give Englishtown a free plug as the system they offer on line is not expensive, when compared to many of the other courses that are out there and the lessons that are offered on line are convenient and effective. This is especially the case if you are an on the go Executive and you travel often. The most important advantage this system has over the rest is that one can complete a class, or even your scheduled Private Class with your teacher on-line from the privacy of your hotel room or even an office that boasts a Wi-Fi. If you would like to know more about Englishtown and the special deals I can offer you for this course please EMAIL ME with the Header Title Englishtown Applicant and of course your name and contact details. I will need to know what country and city you are in so that I can put you in touch with the correct English First Office in case you need Technical Support setting up.

Let's return to my English Fluency Course "The Road to English Fluency". While I am a teacher of the English language and clearly I do help people develop specific skills to master the English language, I prefer to work with my students to make them INDEPENDENT LEARNERS.

This is what we teachers strive for in high schools and primary schools and as I started out as a Classroom Teacher, this is a goal that I have carried with me into my efforts as a Language Teacher. I like setting students on a path where they are in control of their own learning. Sure, it is very important for you to seek support from the many Tutors, Face to Face Teaching Programs, Schools and other Educational Facilities that are there to support you in your efforts to attain true fluency in English. Key to my thoughts are the ideas conjured in that last sentence, .... to support YOU in YOUR efforts to ATTAIN true fluency in English. To be totally honest, unless you are committed to your learning and you are in the driver's seat, then the process will be long and arduous, if on the other hand, you seize control of your learning and direct those around you, then you are truly becoming an Independent Learner. So, by all means, stay with your Tutor, stay with you English Language Course unless you are not happy where you are learning, then email me and I will offer you some great Institutions that YOU can investigate.

I base my Program around some basic areas for you to consider, and of course I explain these with examples and exercises throughout. The areas I examine include the following:
1. Read text that is at your particular level of understanding.
2. Practise your Fluency through modelling a native reader.
3. Practise their Pronunciations by modelling a native speaker.

4. Use repetition to practise difficult words. Repetition is vital in the process
5. Use a phonic approach to practising your pronunciations.
6. Combine listening and visual skills to offer immediate feed-back throughout the learning experience; this is essential to encourage learners to push on and continue with the process that will lead them to fluency.
7. Achieve all this during non-productive periods in your day, like travelling to work on the train, or driving to work and driving home.

7a. Consider how much time you spend traveling to and from work every day. If you spend one hour in total every day, that amounts to five additional hours of English study time every week. Keep in mind that many people take one hour simply to get to work every day.

To coin an old idiom in English, the headings above offer you in a nut shell what the above program is all about. I am offering a variety of resources through my website, this blog is full of advice and practical ways of improving your English. Students seeking fluency might like to try this program and you can purchase a copy from my "BARGAIN BASEMENT"

Please, if you choose to use my program and you have difficulties or questions with any of the content feel free to email me directly. I stand behind all the products I offer for FREE and of course all those that I distribute or sell through my website. I wish you well with your studies and I look forward to reading your success stories in my blog. If you would like to share any stories with my readers feel free to type your ideas below and they will be published once I approve them. I always publish items related to my site and blogs that have been offered by those who share our common goals associated with ..... the road to English Fluency.




A common theme throughout my learning strategies is of course student empowerment. I reinforce with students everyday that they need to be in control of their learning. In the blogs that I have posted on this page you will find many examples where students can pursue their own learning by reading audio books, conducting listening exercises and downloading worksheets to complete. I am pleased to report that most of my students have taken this advice resulting in them having numerous exercises completed that not only complement their classroom studies but offer them real challenges that lead them into new areas of English that they otherwise would not have experienced.

Some of the websites offer Answer Keys and sample answers that are a great asset to the self-motivated learner, however, a problem arises if these helpful forms of feedback are not available. In these cases my face to face students often approach me in class and we decide in class to look at these as part of our lesson. When the topics relate to areas the other students are keen to review then the whole problem goes away. It is when this option is not available a problem presents itself. What can a student do when they have a variety of scripts, worksheets and even speaking exercises they need feedback on so that they can review their work and move forward.

I am presently offering a service to my members that solves this problem. I have designed a system that allows my members to forward to me via email their work that they require feedback on. Worksheets, essays and even recordings can be uploaded to me and we will return feedback on the work to help our members along their road to English Fluency. I intend to set in place a voucher system that allows a number of pieces to be reviewed and also enables students to carefully monitor their spending to maintain their commitment to their budget schedules.

If you would like to take advantage of this system and receive valuable feedback you can join my membership by using THIS LINK and completing the simple form. Once you have completed the membership entry requirements, which are free of charge, I will send you the information you will require to submit your work for review. In closing I would like to thank my members for the emails I have received based on this problem. I want to design a website that serves the needs of my members, and I believe that this new service is going to do just that, thanks to all those that made a contribution, enjoy the worksheets and more importantly the feedback you will receive. Steve Jay Kay