What is the Best Way to Choose a Language Teacher?

Choosing a language teacher is a very personal choice.  It is a question of “chemistry.”  A teacher might be well-qualified, but still might not be right for you.  That is one reason why I offer all new students a free first meeting:  Only you can decide if I am the right teacher for you. There are certain things to look for in any language teacher: Only study with a native speaker!  There are nuances and Read More


Foreigners who learn English as a Second Language (E.S.L.) often ask me whether they should learn an American accent or a British accent.  I am in favor of  the American accent. This is a subject that interests me very much.  Accents are a specialty of mine. I lived as an American in England for many years, so I have thought about this a lot. It is true that a real Oxford-Cambridge British accent is very Read More

3 Kinds of “TO”

Yes – it is strange but true.  A simple sound like “to” is spelled three different ways: to, two, and too. It is very easy to tell the difference: “Two” only means the number 2. “Too” means “also” or “more than enough” (including an extreme).  (Peter went, too.  It was too far to walk and the day was too hot.) “To” is used for everything else. Whenever you want to write a word that sounds like “to,” ask yourself:  Is it a number?  Does it mean “also” Read More


I'm sure you know that English spelling is not always easy, for foreign students or even for Americans!  (There are reasons why English spelling is so strange.  I can explain those reasons…) Here are some simple rules for familiar problems in English spelling: 1) “I-E” or “E-I”? If the word is pronounced “ee,” it is usually “I-E,” with some important exceptions. When American children learn English spelling in school, they all learn a little poem: “I” before “E,” except... Read More

What is the One Most Important Piece of Advice for Students of English?

Actually, I will give TWO!  First, speak slower!  Most foreigners speak much too fast.  That is why their English does not sound clear.  If you speak too fast, you cannot say all the sounds in a word.  (Also, speaking slower gives you time to think!)  So – SLOW DOWN! The second tip is this:  THE BEST ENGLISH IS THE MOST SIMPLE ENGLISH!  Simple, short sentences sound very elegant and make your life much easier.  You Read More