even though when adverb preposition clause surprise grammar ESL English

What is the Difference Between “EVEN,” “EVEN THOUGH,” and “EVEN WHEN”? (Part Two)

Even is an adverb that intensifies.  It can modify nouns or verbs. A mosquito is small, but it carries diseases.  Even something as small as a mosquito can be dangerous. This man is an adult, but he is acting silly.  Even adults act silly sometimes. This person doesn’t have much money.  He doesn’t even have […]

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-gh words ESL English pronunciation etymology

English Has Crazy Pronunciation! Why “-gh” Words Don’t Sound Similar.

The crazy spelling of English reflects the etymology (or origin) of English vocabulary. Begin by watching Claire Bowern’s simple TED Talk on the origins of English. So. now you know that the reason why these endings are spelled similarly but are pronounced differently is due to their country/language of origin. Now, let’s look at some specific […]

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St Patricks Day clover Irish Ireland holiday catholic American America English ESL

St. Patrick’s Day: Why Do Americans Celebrate It?

In the U.S., many Americans celebrate St. Patrick’s Day on March 17th.  Why? People in the U.S. immigrate from many countries.  They bring their holidays with them.  Indian-Americans often celebrate Diwali, Muslim-Americans often celebrate Eid. St. Patrick’s Day originated as an Irish Celebration of an early missionary (someone who tries to convert others to his/her […]

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word detective ESL English vocabulary

Being a Word Detective Part Two: Using What We Know

Today my students and I were reading about Count Dracula, a vampire. He was described as bloodthirsty.  “What does that mean?” my students asked. “Do you know the word thirsty?” I asked.  They did.  “Thirsty for blood?” someone said.  “Exactly!” I said. The article said Dracula was a prince who ruled part of Romania.  My […]

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February 2017 1/30/17-2/24/17 February 2017 was a fun month at PELA! Our Volunteer Class helped in our community, we celebrated Valentine’s Day, and our students were able to experience some of Portland’s very cold winter! With temperatures dropping to below freezing, the weather almost caused classes to be cancelled. We were lucky that it warmed […]

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What’s the Difference? Expressing Purpose with “TO” and “FOR”

When you ask people a why question, most often they answer with “because.” For example: “Why do you train so hard?”  “I do it because I want to be an Olympic athlete some day.” However, we can also answer this question with the adverbials to + simple form or for + noun. “Why do you […]

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students of the month

Students of the Month: Intensive English L1 Class

Most months, PELA selects two outstanding students.  For February, however… the entire Level 1 Intensive English class was AMAZING – we couldn’t pick only two people!  We spoke with Rio, Sabah, Ghadeer, Saleh, and Murtada about studying English, what they do to improve, and any advice they have for other students. PELA: Have you been studying English […]

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