Reading to Improve English Language

Lesson #229: Reading for Appreciation: ‘A Psalm of Life’ by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

As you may remember, every second Saturday we take the time to look at a poem from English or American literature. This week I am sharing with you a poem by the American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (whose poem, ‘Paul Revere’s Ride’, we looked at in Lesson #187). 🖋️ As I thought about this poem …

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Mini-Lesson Monday, Lesson #210 (Part 1): Intermediate and Advanced English Vocabulary (through Gaskell’s ‘North and South’)

As an intermediate or advanced level student of English, it can be hard to learn new vocabulary without understanding how to use them correctly in a sentence. For that reason, students are often encouraged to read more and more, but that in itself can become an overwhelming experience without the right kind of support from …

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Mini-Lesson Monday, Lesson #210 (Part 2): Intermediate and Advanced English Vocabulary (through Gaskell’s ‘North and South’)

Here we continue the story of Margaret Hale on her return to her parents’ country home in Helstone (a fictional village, probably based in Hampshire, England). … 📗 # FROM GASKELL’S NORTH AND SOUTH And walk Margaret did, in spite of the weather. She was so happy out of doors, at her father’s side, that …

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Lesson #208: “Don’t go frightening the princess”: Ten English Verbs ending with -en

In last Monday’s Lesson we looked at adjective groups based on their endings; we saw how they were different from verb forms that look similar. In today’s Lesson we are going to also look at verbs ending with -en, many of which are created from adjectives. ✏️ 👉 For this reason, some of them will …

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Mini-Lesson Monday, Lesson #207 (Part 2): Adjectives that end with -ed and -ing in English (through Bronte’s ‘Villette’)

In this second part of our Lesson on adjectives, we are going to focus on adjectives ending with -ing in English (for adjectives ending with -ed, check Part 1 of our Lesson). … 📝 #4 ADJECTIVES ENDING WITH -ing 📘 ‘It seems as if I had been pioneered invisibly, as if some dissolving force had …

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Mini-Lesson Monday, Lesson #207 (Part 1): Adjectives that end with -ed and -ing in English (through Bronte’s ‘Villette’)

If you have ever tried to describe someone you know, or an experience you have had, or something that you like, you will have almost certainly used some adjectives. Adjectives in English often end with similar endings – ‘-al’, ‘-ous’, ‘-ful’, ‘-ed’, and ‘-ing’ being some of the most common. In today’s Lesson we are …

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Lesson #204: Considering Coleridge’s poem ‘Desire’ from 3 different perspectives

📜 Where true Love burns Desire is Love’s pure flame; It is the reflex of our earthly frame, That takes its meaning from the nobler part, And but translates the language of the heart. – Samuel Taylor Coleridge This very short but thoughtful poem is our text for today’s poetry-based Lesson (you may have noticed …

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Mini-Lesson Monday, Lesson #200 (Part 2): Different Ways of Seeing: Wordsworth’s ‘The Daffodils’

🌼I wandered lonely as a cloud That floats on high o’er vales and hills, When all at once I saw a crowd, A host, of golden daffodils … – William Wordsworth, ‘The Daffodils’ (1807) 🌼 This is Part 2 of our Lesson on ‘Different Ways of Seeing’: having read Wordsworth’s poem in Part 1, we …

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Mini-Lesson Monday, Lesson #200 (Part 1): Different Ways of Seeing: Wordsworth’s ‘The Daffodils’

🏵️ The first of March – also known as ‘St David’s Day’, Wales’ national day, when the Welsh like to wear small daffodils (or leeks) as a national symbol. That, together with our own daffodils, crocuses, and snowdrops has brought to mind one of the most famous poems in the English language, William Wordsworth’s ‘The …

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Lesson #199: Observing changes in English words over time, through Cowper’s ‘The Rose’

🥀 ‘Does it not make you think of Cowper? “Ye fallen avenues, once more I mourn your fate unmerited.”‘ – Fanny Price in Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park Austen fans will be interested to know that William Cowper (1731-1800) was her favourite poet, as well as her contemporary. Cowper (pronounced COO-per) was known not only for his …

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Lesson #198: Appreciating Descriptive Writing from Dickens’ ‘Oliver Twist’

📘 One of Charles Dickens’ most famous novels is Oliver Twist (1838), also one of his earliest works.  Even if you haven’t read the book, you may well have watched one of the musicals or movies that have been made on the story. I watched the 1968 Oliver! musical when I was young, and it has remained one of …

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Lesson #189: ‘We ought to use the pluperfect and say wakened …’: All About The Pluperfect/Past Perfect Tense in English

📗 ‘Feeling that Peter was on his way back, the Neverland had again woke into life. We ought to use the pluperfect and say wakened, but woke is better and was always used by Peter.’ – J. M. Barrie, Peter Pan (1904) … Perhaps you have heard or even watched a movie on Peter Pan, …

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