Singer Gap Fill with Shakira

Do you know Shakira? She was born in Columbia. Her father was Lebanese so she grew up with Latin and Arabic music. She wrote her first song at the age of 8. She’s made lots of hit albums. Let’s try a gap fill using one of her songs.

This song is called Rules. It was on her first English language album. It’s a little old now. Play the video and try to fill in the gaps. You can slow the music down too.

“Rules” Lyrics


You ______ to swear
You’ve got _____ to love me
Aah aah
That ____ last forever
Aah aah
We ________ have a story
Aah aah
With a _______ ending

Aah, so ______ ever go away
And _____ put aside
The things I’m _______ say
Cause these are _______ for us

Use your ______
Only to _____ at me
Use your ______
Only to ______ my lips
We are branches of the same old _____
You can ______
Only if you laugh with ______
You can ______
______ if you cry for me
Don’t _______ that you’re condemned to me

Oh, can’t you _______?
You always _____
You’ll always be

You used to ______
I should see a _______
Aah aah
______ would keep me busy
Aah aah
Cause a jealous _______
______ makes it easy

Aah aah,
And you ______ I’ll do for us
Whatever seems _______
_____ it may take awhile
Before I change the ______

_____ your eyes
Only to look at ____
_____ your mouth
Only to kiss my ______
_____ are branches of the same old tree
_____ can laugh
Only if ______ laugh with me
_____ can cry
Only if _____ cry for me
Don’t forget that you’re condemned to me

Oh, can’t you see?
You always were
You’ll always were…
Aah, aah, aah…

Use _______ eyes
Only to look at ______
Use ______ mouth
Only to kiss _____ lips
We are branches of the same old tree
You _____ laugh
______ if you laugh with me
You ______ cry
______ if you cry for me
Don’t forget that you’re condemned to me

Oh, can’t you see?
You always were
You’ll always be
Aah, aah…

Now that you’ve tried that what do you think the song is about?

I’ll give you a hint.

The song is song by a woman to her partner. What is she saying to her partner?

My student’s trip to Australia

Two of my students recently went to Australia.

This is the English diary one of them kept:

A trip to Australia

I went to Australia with my friend. I went to see my daughter. Her English skill has levelled up.

Day 1

We went to Sydney circular key. We were moved when we saw the Sydney opera house and the Sydney harbour bridge. It’s amazing!!!

Image result for sydney opera house and sydney harbour bridge

Day 2

We enjoyed shopping. We went to Pitt Street Mall and The Strand Arcade. There were a lot of buildings there.

Image result for pitt street mall sydney
Image result for the strand arcade sydney

Day 3

We flew early in the morning to Brisbane. We met my daughter there. We went to my teacher’s family house by bus. It’s a beautiful house.

That night we went to eat street. It’s an open air food market. You can try lots of food there. We went there by ferry.

Image result for eat street brisbane

Day 4

We went to lone pine koala sanctuary by bus. I hugged a koala and fed a kangaroo. There were so cute.

Image result for lone pine koala sanctuary

At night we met my daughter’s host family. We had dinner and then went to a bar.

Day 5

We went to the Gold Coast. It’s so amazing. It’s an infinitely long beach.

Image result for gold coast

That night we enjoyed the night markets and saw a moon road on the water.

Day 6

My daughter went to school. We went to the airport to leave our baggage in a locker. My baggage was so heavy at 27 kilograms! We returned to the city to have meet my daughter for the last time in this holiday. After that we said goodbye at central station.

My friend helped a lot in this trip. She can speak English. I want to speak English more!

Invitations and Suggestions

The following video is to help understand how to make invitations and suggestions.

It mentions four phrases you can use to suggest or invite someone to something.

Let’s see a movie tonight.

How about seeing a movie tonight?

Why don’t we see a movie tonight?

What about seeing a movie tonight?

All of these have the same meaning. To make a suggestion or an invitation.

Cooking in English part 2


What does ingredients mean?

An ingredient is one of the things in a recipe. This includes meat, vegetables, spices, sauces, powders, grains, etc.

While it is impossible to share the English for all possible ingredients I will include the names of a range of ingredients you may encounter.

In English the name of various meats tend to be different to the animal name. Here is a list of commonly eaten meats.

Now for something different. Since I’m Australian I’ll add Kangaroo to this section:

kangaroo meat is called kangaroo meat

There is a lot of debate about eating kangaroo meat. Many Australians refuse to eat kangaroo because they are cute. Recently there is a movement called kangatarianism which is eating a vegetarian diet and kangaroo meat. The movement says that kangaroo is a sustainable meat source since they are all over Australia, don’t require farming, don’t emit methane and don’t cause damage to the environment.

For vegetable names in English I suggest this site: (click on the picture to go there.)

Spices are herbs are an essential cooking ingredient for me so here is a lot of spices in English:

Stressing Key words in Presentations

Thursday and Saturday Adult Class week 4 of September 2018

Image result for word stress

Focus questions:

What does key word mean?

What does stress mean?

Why do we stress key words?

A key word is a word in a sentence that is important.

To stress a word means to say it louder and clearer than the other words.

We stress key words while speaking or giving presentations to help the audience understand easier. It gives the audience words they can hook onto while listening.

Image result for hook onto something

How do you know if a word is a key word?

Look at a sentence and circle what information you think is the most important. That is the key word of that sentence.

Can a sentence have more than one key word?

Yes, a sentence can have more than one key word.

The sentence “Look at a sentence and circle what information you think is the most important.” has at least three words that I would stress. Can you find them?

So next time you give a presentation think about saying key pieces of information a little louder and clearer to help your audience understand your speech.

Why do Smart High School 3rd Graders Fail English?

This is the question that Shino and I have been asking ourselves. Why are there smart high school 3rd graders who struggle in English class? It’s a sore point for many adults that end up thinking there weren’t very smart or just didn’t have a good head for languages.  Neither is true. Everyone can learn a second language. You don’t have to be a genius and you don’t have to be born with it.

Does the following sound familiar:

While sitting in class the teacher is talking about a new grammar point. They are using lots of Japanese phrases you have never heard of to describe this new grammar point. You are having difficulty understanding but you feel like you can’t ask a question. You think, maybe it will make sense at the end of the lesson. It doesn’t though. You talk to the teacher after class but the explanation still doesn’t make sense. You go home and try reading the textbook. Maybe you can teach it to yourself.middle-school-high-school-comic1.jpg

I had a similar experience in grade 11 (high school grade 2). I chose to study Chemistry for my final two years. I had always gotten high marks in Science. In fact I found science easy. In that first year though I failed my first test. To make it worse my teacher posted the results of the test on the wall at the back of the room. I felt horrified and stupid. To make things worse the teacher was the type of teacher who didn’t like students who said that they didn’t understand. I thought what is wrong? Why can’t I understand? I studied the textbook every night after that, reading the same pages over and over again. The next test I passed.

That was science though. Science has a simple logic that you can follow. Learning a language is different to learning science. It is not easy to self-study in a language. I know because I have been studying Japanese for years bouncing from one terrible textbook to the next. Sorry to say, but there are no good Japanese textbooks. Most of them are drill books. You don’t learn to communicate by using a drill book. With a good book though, you can self study. The problem is that the high school English textbooks are not designed for self study. You cannot just read them and understand.

Let’s continue that story from above:

You study at home reading the textbook over and over again. You try to complete the drills but you don’t understand how to get the right answer. You get to the test and you try to answer it. When you get it back you find you only got 20 our of 100. You look through your answers. Wrong spelling, wrong word order, incorrect word. You ask the teacher about it and she gives you the correct answer, but you don’t know why it’s correct. You try reading the textbook again. The textbook is getting harder and it still doesn’t make any sense. You talk to your parents about it. They shrug their shoulders and say “I was the same.”

If this is you, you are stuck in a cycle that you can’t get out of by yourself. The longer you are in this cycle the harder it will be to break. I’ve had lots of grade three students come to me with saying they can’t understand English but they want to do well on the university tests. They say that when they got to high school it was too hard and they started failing. I always say that I will try my best but you should have come to me earlier.

Japanese Sleeping Hours

A big differences I have seen between Australians and Japanese people is their perspective on sleeping. You can see this difference in high school. High school students in Japan are told that they only need five hours sleep each night. They are told that if they are getting more than five hours sleep a night, then they are not studying hard enough. This may make an Australian high school student wonder “How much time do they have to study each night?” That is because Australian high school students finish school between 3 and 4 pm. Japanese high school students don’t get home until around 7.30pm. That gives them an hour to eat dinner, an hour to have a bath, an hour to relax and then two or three hours to study.

Staying in an Apartment for the Night

Australia has had the idea of staying at an apartment for a few nights long before there was ever airbnb, couch surfing or any other such arrangements. It is as simple as booking a hotel room except your hotel room comes with all the facilities you need.

I’ve uploaded a video of an apartment my wife and I stayed at for one night in Brisbane city. You can watch it below.







Grammar: Pronouns


Here’s a free grammar lesson.

Watch the video and then practice.


Fill in the gap

1. Who is _____?

2. _____ is my daughter.

3. Is _____ your son?

4. Yes, ___ is.

5. Who are _____?

6. ______ are my family.

7. Are _____ the person wearing the blue jacket?

8. Yes, ____ is.

Complete the sentences with am, are, is.

  1. I ____ a teacher.
  2. You _____ a student.
  3. They _____ SMAP.
  4. He _____ a nurse.
  5. We ____ from Australia.

Bonus question:

Why do we use is for he, she and it but not for you?


He is my son

She is my daughter

You are my friends.