This is English Help Online’s first blog entry. February 10, 2010


Hello. My name is Mike, and I’m an English teacher in Tokyo. I have been teaching English for about 12 years in Asia (Japan and Korea). I really enjoy my work because I truly enjoy languages. I have studied French and a little Korean. I’m now studying Japanese and feel like I’ve been making a lot of progress lately. I would like to help other people who are studying English find ways to improve their language skills. Basically, I feel it’s very important to focus on full sentences rather than individual words when you study a language. Most of my students don’t do this, and this is the main reason why they have trouble improving their skills. So, what I do when I study Japanese is: First,  I read a sentence completely. Then, I cover it with my hand and try to repeat it from my memory. Usually I can’t do it and I forget, so then I read the sentence again and try one more time. After about three or four times, I can do it, depending on how long the sentence is. Finally, I take the same sentence and change it, but just a little bit. If you change only one or two details, the main natural structure of the sentence will stay the same.

So to give you an example of how to do this in English. Read the following sentence:

I went to the park because I wanted to go jogging.

After you memorize this sentence, you can change the parts which are in black italics. So for example:

I went to the supermarket because I wanted to buy some milk.

My sister went to the music store because she wanted to buy a CD.

My friend went home because he wanted to get some rest.

You can also use this for sentences which are much more complex and for high level speakers. This is a good way to study idioms. For example:

My boss andI don’t see eye to eye about where to open the new branch.

The idiom, to not see eye to eye, means to not agree. So this sentence means that my boss and I don’t agree about where to open the new branch.

Possible changed variations of this idiom are:

My wife and I don’t see eye to eye about where to move.

My friends and I didn’t see eye to eye about where to have dinner last night.

The president and vice president of the company don’t see eye to eye about how many people to hire.

So this is the technique I use, and I find it’s very effective. I’ve been able to really improve my Japanese in less than a year. I hope people will find it useful and interesting.

In future blog entries, I would like to teach various English expressions such as idioms and phrasal verbs. These are very important in our language. I hope you will continue to read my blog. Thank you.

1 Comment »

  1. Yuna Said:

    I’m Yuna from Japan(and from mixi).
    Thank you very much for telling us a really effective method of studying English!
    I’m looking forward to reading your blog every day 🙂


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