Friday, September 6, 2013

Should woolly mammoths be brought back to life?

Photo: Victor Habbick /

Cloning is not easy to do, and it's a difficult subject ethically, as well.  It's beginning to appear possible to clone extinct animals.  The idea:  clone a woolly mammoth!  Read more here:

1.  Why is it difficult to clone a mammoth?

2.  How do scientists think they can clone a woolly mammoth?

3.  Describe the arguments for and against cloning the woolly mammoth.

4.  Would you like to go to the zoo or a nature preserve and see a woolly mammoth? 

After reading the article, please respond to the questions and email your answers to  We'll respond with corrections and further learning tips, all for free!  Try us today!  

 Happy learning!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Real Beauty?

Maybe you've heard about or seen the latest advertising campaign that the Dove company has come up with. 

Watch the video here:

Watch a parody of the ad here:

What do you think?  Do you think the video is accurate?  Do women really see themselves in such a negative way?  And what about the men? :-)

Tell us your opinion!  Email your response to these videos to  You will receive an answer from a live teacher with corrections and further English learning tips.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Correct these mistakes!

Dear Students,

It's important to recognize when you make mistakes while speaking or writing, and it's also important to correct these.  Here's an exercise for you to practice doing this.  Please find and correct the mistakes in the sentences below and send them to me at

  1. Two we have seen.
  2. We have not so much time.
  3. We have too much ideas.
  4. Much thanks for your invitation.
  5. The room is reservated for us.
  6. Would you like to walking?
  7. Must I pay some more?
  8. She want to visit us later.
  9. I don't would say that.
  10. There are not so much people in Australia.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Fun with idioms

Do you have a green thumb?  Are you all thumbs?  Do you give this blog the thumbs up?

Just what does all of this mean?  These phrases are idioms, and are typical phrases that native speakers use, but they are not at all clear to someone who doesn't speak English so well. 
  • If you have a green thumb, you're good at gardening.  It has nothing to do with a terrible thumb disease!
  • If you are all thumbs, you are not very well-coordinated, you are clumsy and not good with your hands.   But you still actually only have two thumbs, not more.
  • If you give something the thumbs up like in the picture, you approve of it and think it is good.
Now I hope that at least those three idioms are clear.  The trouble is, we use so many idioms in English!  The best thing you can do is to learn one every day or every week.  You can do this by consulting a list, such as this one: or by listening to podcasts, like the excellent ones from the BBC

Using these resources will help you to understand idioms, the next step is using the idioms yourself.  This is rather difficult, you must know the exact meaning of the idiom and which context to use it in. If you're ready to practice some of the idioms you've learned, please write a conversation with 10 idioms used by the partners in the conversation and send it to us at  We'll correct your work, and you can sample our English teaching for free. 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Pumpkin Pie

Just about everyone out there has heard of pumpkin pie, but have you ever tasted one?  It is a super delicious treat.   It has almost the consistency of quark cake or cheesecake, but with a filling based on pumpkin or squash rather than cheese.  The spices used are like those used in a lot of German Christmas cookies and recipes:  cinnamon, cloves and ginger.  For my English students who meet me every week in class, it's no problem to try pumpkin pie, I'll bake you one!  But for those of you online, I'm afraid you might just have to do it yourself. But how do you prepare the pumpkin?  Never fear, the internet is here!  Here are the instructions for making pumpkin pie from scratch.  In addition, you can find the recipe I always use for pumpkin pie here.  I don't use pumpkin from a can, though, I prepare my fresh pumpkin in the oven as described on the website above. 

Have you ever had pumpkin pie?  How did it taste?
Have you ever baked pumpkin pie? Was it easy or difficult?  If no, would you like to?  Why or why not?
What other dishes do you know with squash or pumpkin?

Please answer the questions above and email them to us at  If you are a student with Virtualingua, you can send us this as one of your tutored exercises.  If you aren't learning with us yet, send us your answers and test our professional tutoring for free!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

New York City and the eastern United States were hit hard by hurricane Sandy this week.  What exactly happened?  Please do some research online and summarize what happened on the East Coast of the United States.  The New York Times is an excellent place to start your research.  What other sources did you find?

Send your summary to
If you are already a student with us, you can complete this writing exercise as a tutored exercise.  If you're not a student with us yet, test our tutoring for free!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Gross National Happiness?

Gross National Happiness (GNH) is measured in Bhutan, much like Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is measured in other countries.  GNH is a way of measuring the population's quality of life and progress in a more human way than the economic measure GDP.

Have you ever heard of GNH?  What do you know about the country of Bhutan?

Here are a couple of articles to get you started:,8599,1016266,00.html

Do some research and learn more about this interesting little country!

1.  Define GNH and GDP.
2.  Find out some basic facts about Bhutan (location, population, geography, history, etc.)  Write a short description of the country.
3.  Do you think that GNH is an important indicator?  What about GDP?  Should they be used in combination with each other?

Write your answers to tasks 1-3 and send them to us at
If you are already a Virtualingua student, you can turn in this exercise as a tutored exercise.  If not, send it to us anyway and test our tutoring!  You will receive a reply and corrections from a live, native English speaking tutor along with learning tips.  Test us today!