Test Your Vocabulary Size

Test your vocab picHow many words do you know?

In the online lesson about English Vocabulary, there were a few activities to estimate your vocabulary size. In this blog post, I’m including a link to one other online vocabulary test. After you take the test, you can leave a comment telling us what your result was and letting us know some of the words on the test that you didn’t know before. Here are the links:

Test Your Vocab.com has a short (two-step) test to estimate your vocabulary size. The test is based on you deciding (honestly, of course!) whether or not you know words in a list.

So, what was your result? If you’re interested in finding out your teacher’s result, look in the comments below :)

Is it offensive or acceptable?

What do you consider offensive?

In the online lesson, we considered different ads from about 50 years ago, as well as modern ads. The main questions was: can the ads from the past be considered offensive today, and would the modern ads have been considered offensive 50 years ago?

The question for this post is: Do you find any of the ads below offensive? Would you like to see these ads in a magazine for adults, on a billboard in a public square or on the internet? Why or why not? It would also be great if you could tell us what kind of ads you do find offensive, even including a link to them.

Descriptions of the ads

The first picture shows a racy ad for blue jeans. The second uses religious reference and the phrase “Submit to Temptation” to advertise ice cream. The third picture shows a woman and her daughter cleaning, along with a reference to Mother’s Day.

Just leave a comment below to let us know your thoughts on these ads!

Fascinating Cities of the World


The online lesson introduced the city of New Orleans, USA, which has a fascinating history of mixed cultures that have combined to create a unique blend of architecture, food, music and atmosphere. There are of course many unique and interesting cities in the world, including one of my favorites: Seville, Spain.

Seville was at different times in its history governed by the Romans, the Moors of North Africa, who were Muslim, and the Spanish Castilians, who were Christians. The result of these different rulers is a city with a unique blend of architecture. The city is also famous for flamenco music and dancing, as well as the lively and friendly temperament of its residents. I was lucky enough to spend two months in Seville, studying Spanish and enjoying the lifestyle of this amazing city!

You can read more about Seville here: Lonely Planet and Wikipedia.

Your Turn

Now it’s your turn. Leave a post telling us about a fascinating city that you’ve visited or lived in, explaining why it’s so interesting and putting a link to more information so the rest of us can learn more about the city.

Dog Shows

westminster-show The Westminster Dog Show”

The Westminster Dog Show is perhaps the most famous dog show in the United States. Every year, the winner of the Westminster becomes famous, even if for just a brief time, on news stories and internet sites. If you’re interested, you read more about the Westminster here.

We’d like to find out your opinion about dog shows. Have you ever been, or would you like to go? Would you ever like to take a dog to the show? Are the shows interesting displays of the best dogs around, or are they ridiculous and vain?

Click on this video to watch a report of the final competition in 2012, and then leave us a comment answering the questions above. We look forward to hearing your views.

What’s funny for you?

It’s said that what is considered funny depends a lot on the culture where the comedic performance takes place. It probably also depends on personal taste as well, and not just where you come from. Well, in this post, we’d like to find out what your idea of good comedy is.

Here are three different forms of comedy, the first two of which come from the USA. The third comes from Britain. Descriptions and links to the videos are below:

1. Stand up comedy: Ray Romano, a famous comedian and TV star, delivers a stand up routine on a late-night talk show.

2. Unnecessary censorship: An innocent song on a children’s show takes on a different meaning – not by adding anything, but simply by repeatedly beeping out the main word in the song. By the way, the original song is about a character called “The Count”, who likes to sing about “counting” everything.

3. Benny Hill: You certainly can’t call it politically correct. But is it funny?

Once you’ve had a chance to watch all of the videos, leave a comment here to let us know which one you found the funniest. You might also want to leave a link to a video that you find funny.

Is the War on Drugs the same as Prohibition?

The Prohibition of Alcohol

Prohibition is a well-known period in the history of the US. The production and sale of alcohol was banned in the US in 1920, with the obvious desired result of reducing drinking. Of course, as we all know, people didn’t stop drinking during prohibition. It’s true that the total amount of alcohol consumed was reduced, but one of the main side effects was that organized crime increased greatly, as criminals took over as suppliers of alcohol. When the Prohibition law was repealed in 1933, two of the main arguments of those who opposed Prohibition was that legalizing alcohol would increase tax revenue collected by the government and reduce the power of organized crime.

The Prohibition of Drugs?

Is the prohibition of alcohol similar to the laws that outlaw drugs today? Some people say that the effects are similar. Do you think that making drugs legal would reduce the amount of crime connected with drugs and allow the government to tax and regulate sales? Watch the video above, and leave a comment telling us what you think – do you agree with the arguments for legalizing drugs? Why or why not?

Steve Jobs’ Commence Address

Steve Jobs’ Commence Address

Unit 18 of the GoEnglishGo.com Advanced/Proficiency Online Course presented a brief interview with Steve Jobs. In that interview, he discussed the approach to leadership and team-building at Apple Computer.

The video above contains another talk by Jobs, this time a well-known speech delivered at a graduation ceremony for Stanford University in 2005. There’s not much need for comment from me – the video speaks for itself. Take a few minutes to watch the address, and leave a comment telling us what particular extracts you found to be most inspiring or relevant to your life.

If you would like to read the text of the speech, follow this link: Steve Jobs’ Commencement Address.

Tiger Mothers

The Tiger Mother Stereotype?

The online lesson for the Advanced/Proficiency unit called “Family Matters” introduced the controversial best-selling book ‘The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother’, in which the author outlined her strict views on parenting. Some of the things the author, a Chinese-American, didn’t allow her children to do were:

• have a playdate
• be in a school play
• complain about not being in a school play
• not be the #1 student in every subject except gym and drama

The so-called ‘Tiger Mother’ stated that this strict approach to parenting prepared children to succeed in later life.

The video above presents a different view of parenting, presented by two current parents of young children. The women are also Americans of Chinese descent, who discuss whether the traditional view of Chinese parents as being extremely strict and demanding is still valid today.

Watch the video above and then comment, letting us know your response to the views given by the mothers in the video. Do you tend to have more sympathy with the parenting approach the mothers in the video describe, or with the more traditional ‘Tiger Mother’ approach discussed in the online lesson?

Crime shows on TV

Police and Crime Dramas

What do you think about the promo for the crime drama “Luther” in the video above? Does the video make you want to watch the series?

Crime shows have been a typical staple of the TV lineup for years, and probably will continue to be. New ones come out every year – from the States and the UK, of course, and probably from every other country that produces TV shows. Have you ever watched any of these crime dramas? Each has a different atmosphere and characters, but all of them involve stories of the police investigating and solving crimes.

NYPD Blue (NYPD stands for “New York Police Department”)
CSI (Crime Scene Investigation)
Taggart (A Scottish detective programme)

For this blog post, we’d be happy to hear your comments: Why do you think people like crime dramas so much? Do you watch any shows that feature police investigations? Just tell us the name of the show and your opinion of it.

Going back to school

Graduation small
Re-training or getting re-qualified

Do you plan on keeping your current job forever? Probably not. Most people today expect to change jobs several times in their lives, either by choice or because they have to. You might have to re-train or get another qualification either to advance in your current field, or to change to a completely new profession.

All this means that more adults are going back to school or university than in the past. So universities have started to offer lots of classes in non-traditional formats: for example, evening courses, weekend courses and distance learning courses delivered through the Internet. I’ve actually done two courses in this way: I got my MA by a distance learning course and I did a qualification in Online Moderation over the internet. Even though I never met the teachers or other students, I felt like I knew them well because we had a lot of contact by email, chat, skype and video conferences.

So, the question for this blog post is: Have you taken a non-traditional course to help you advance in your career, or change careers? Or if not, would you think about doing so? You’re taking an online English course now – would you consider taking an online course to get a professional qualification as well? We’ll be happy to hear your views on the topic.