Write about a dream: Language activity for intermediate+ students

Dreams are great to write about - there are plot twists and turns, fantastical characters, unlikely situations and worlds to explore. Many people like explaining their strange dreams to others - you can laugh about them, discuss likely (and unlikely) hidden messages, and be curious what your subconscious is trying to work through. Dreams make … [Read more...]

Mistakes in a second language – cool! Mostly

I've recently moved areas from East to West Germany, and amazed at how much more comfortable everyone here is with using English. In Leipzig, very few people could speak any English, and it was always a (good!) surprise when a shopkeeper asked me a question or wished me a good day in English. In and around Villingen and Wiesbaden, this seems to … [Read more...]

Read to write

Many decades ago, there was a young girl who would stay up late at night, reading with a torch under the blankets. If a light was seen under the door, she'd feel her mother's wrath. She'd speed through piles of library books, win prizes in MS readathon competitions, and go on fortnightly restocking trips to trash and treasure markets, where … [Read more...]

Writing isn’t just for writers

We've heard over and over again that successful people, happy people, entrepreneurs and creatives write every day. Daily writing: reduces depression reduces stress and anxiety increases coping skills increases productivity increases happiness and even improves your problem solving skills and creativity. You could build a morning … [Read more...]

Simplified language is not stupid

When I was doing my honors project in Computer Science, I was regularly criticized for making my papers and literature reviews too readable, too understandable. As if being understood is a bad thing! I was told that I could 'get away with it' when in honors, but it would absolutely be forbidden for me to write that way if I had continued into … [Read more...]

Why LearnedWords?

It all started with words, losing myself in piles of books from the time I started to read. I’d devour page after page, get lost in imaginary worlds, and chase down stories. I started writing my own stories in primary school, such terrible copies they were. But my love of writing was born. Eternally learning I’d regularly get bored at … [Read more...]

Illness and treatments

Most of us have been ill. We've all done things to 'fix' our illness, even if it's just the common cold. Most of use have been to a doctor or specialist, had tests, and been prescribed medications or therapies. Unfortunately, this also happens when you are traveling, on holiday or for work. In the worst case, you'll need to attend a … [Read more...]

Natural pests

The lion fish is becoming a pest in waters around the world - there are too many of them! Lion fish have venomous spines and do not have many natural predators (apart from the occasional shark). They are aggressive fish, and actively protect their territories. These fish are even dangerous to humans, although not deadly. However, when … [Read more...]

Solving tricky problems

A speaking or writing exercise to propose solutions to tricky problems. This uses both modal verbs (could, should, would), and conditional sentences, so is better for intermediate classes and above. What would you do in these situations? 1. Unpaid bill You are on a business trip by yourself, and in a country and city where you have no … [Read more...]

Spelling checkers for language learners

When learning a new language, it can be tempting to rely on the automatic spelling checkers to correct your words. But in all languages, there are words that sound the same, spelled differently and have different meaning (homonyms). I found auto-correction in Japanese to be much worse than English - my intelligent 'spelling checkers' … [Read more...]