July 28, 2015 08:21 UTC

Education

Everyday Grammar: Can I, Could I, May I?

07/24/2015
English teachers and parents used to try very hard to get young people to use "may" when asking for permission. Now it seems that "can" or "could" works just as well. Learn about the rules for asking permission with these modals. More

Audio TOEFL, IELTS, or TOEIC? Comparing the Tests

When international students want to apply for schools or jobs, they must pass a standardized test of English as a Foreign Language. Learn about the differences and similarities between the tests. Hear from an international student who has taken them.

Audio Everyday Grammar: You Had Better Learn Modals!

Everyday Grammar takes on the challenge of three modal verbs. When English speakers give advice, they can choose between should, ought to, and had better. Learn the difference between these words and how to use them to give good advice.

Video Malala: Invest in Books, Not Bullets

The youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner, Malala Yousafzai, celebrated her 18th birthday on Sunday by opening a girls’ school in a Syrian refugee camp in Lebanon. She demanded more attention for the refugees and that world leaders spend money for education instead of arms. | Education Report

Audio Everyday Grammar: Mastering Reported Speech

English learners often make mistakes when reporting on what someone else said. Here are a few simple rules that will help prevent these mistakes. Let Everyday Grammar show you how to win when you play the “He said/She said” game. Practice what you've learned by leaving us a comment.

Audio Affirmative Action Case Returns to the Supreme Court

The United States Supreme Court said last week it will re-hear arguments on a controversial college admissions policy. The case involves affirmative action, the custom of helping groups that have been treated unfairly in the past. The Supreme Court plans to hear the case of Abigail Fisher.

Audio Everyday Grammar: Beating Problems with Adverbs

Some common mistakes in English happen when speakers confuse adjectives and adverbs. And some adverbs look the same but have opposite meanings. Do not fear, the Everyday Grammar expert is here to sort it all out for you. Learn why -ly usually (but not always) tells you a word is an adverb.

Audio Bringing the Internet Closer Helps Students

What do millions of students do when they cannot get online to find educational materials? One non-profit service is bringing the internet to schools and other institutions in a project called Widernet. Students and teachers say it helps by making access faster and easier.

Video Everyday Grammar: Words Come and Go in English

Part of the reason that English has grown as a world language is that it adjusts easily to change. Why do some words and phrases stay the same while others change? VOA guest editor David Sullivan shares his ideas on the changes he has seen in today's English.

Audio Training to Prevent Campus Sexual Assault

Universities are looking for ways to reduce the danger of sexual assault by giving special training to students. A recent Canadian study reports success in cutting the number of sex crimes by almost 50 percent among those who attended the training program.

Audio Everyday Grammar: When Passive Is Better than Active

There are two ways to write many English sentences: active or passive. The choice of active or passive voice is important. It shows what a speaker wants to emphasize - the action or the actor. Often we try to avoid passives, but at times they are exactly what we need.

Video My Students Know More About US Constitution Than I Do

An international survey shows that teaching students about their country’s political system can improve the government. Some even require citizenship test. But can civic education also make better citizens? One U.S. program is trying. It held its final competition in Washington, DC.

Audio  Students in Cambodia Want to Learn English

China and Cambodia have close political and economic ties. However, does that translate into Cambodian students taking Mandarin classes? English remains the more popular language for students in Cambodia to learn in school. That could change if the ties grow stronger between China and Cambodia.

Audio Everyday Grammar: Using the Right Article

There are three little words that cause big trouble for English learners. They are the definite and indefinite articles: "a," "an" and "the." VOA brings in a guest expert to explain some patterns that may help you keep these little words in the right places.

Audio Chinese Officials Use Drone to Stop Cheating on Exam

In an effort to stop cheating, administrators in China took an unusual step. They used a drone, or small aircraft without a pilot. The drone flew over two testing centers in Luoyang City in central China's Henan province. The drone was looking for unusual signals being sent to wireless devices.

Audio Everyday Grammar: Advanced Conditionals

We know we cannot change the past. But sometimes we speak as if we could change it. That is the time to use the unreal conditional. Sad songs and stories are full of sentences using this form. Another similar form is the mixed conditional. Learn how to express regret with these tenses.

Audio LinkedIn, EF Offer Test Scores for English Learners

Now you can measure and post your English proficiency level for free on LinkedIn. A variety of online tests can give learners a score - the question is, how much can others believe what you post? It's your online reputation at stake.

Audio Everyday Grammar: Relative Pronouns

In this week’s episode of Everyday Grammar, we are going to discuss the relative pronouns who, that and which. A relative pronoun “relates” to the noun it is describing. Relative pronouns introduce a relative clause. Think of relative clauses as long adjectives -- words that modify a noun.

Audio Successful Debaters Find Career and Life Rewards

After learning to be a successful debater, students can apply their critical thinking skills in the business world. They can express opinions, give reasons and support their reasons with evidence as they take part in business meetings and discussions. They also learn to understand Western culture.

Audio Everyday Grammar - Introducing Conditionals

In everyday conversation, English speakers often talk about things that are not true. Or, they talk about things that only happen if something else happens. Learn how to correctly use these conditional forms in English. If you write to us, we will let you know if it is correct.

Learn with The News

  • Audio Another Sharp Drop on China’s Stock Exchanges

    China’s Shanghai Composite index dropped 8.5 percent on Monday: the largest single-day drop in eight years. The price drop comes after weeks of efforts by the government to support prices. One expert says these efforts will not work as some investors reduce their investment borrowings. More

  • Video Bus Brings Meals to Hungry Children

    In the United States, millions of students depend on schools for meals during the school day. That means they eat less when schools are closed over the summer. An aid group has found a way to reach out to some of these children with a former school bus. More

  • Video Cubans Look Forward to Using Internet

    Cubans still have a very limited access to the Internet. Many young people in Cuba use their mobile devices at government-operated community centers to get free Internet connections. Some Internet users are trying to build their own local networks to connect with others. More

  • Audio President Obama Urges More Open Ethiopia

    President Barack Obama has urged the government in Ethiopia to give more freedom to reporters and opposition political parties. The U.S. supports Turkey’s attacks on PKK rebels in Iraq. The Shanghai stock market index dropped sharply on Monday. Fighting continues despite truce in Yemen.. More

  • Video After Much Delay, Wildlife Park Opens in Jerusalem

    Activists fought for the park for almost 20 years against the wishes of developers who wanted to build businesses and homes on the land. The activists wanted to show how wildlife can live in cities. “Just leave some space for nature…and let people in so they can enjoy all this beauty.” | As It Is More

Featured Stories

  • 'You're Giving Me the Creeps!'

    "You're giving me the ...!" The jitters, the creeps, the willies, the heebie-jeebies, goose bumps, butterflies, and a heart attack ... you can give all these things to other people. Are they good or bad? Read on to find out! More

  • Audio Everyday Grammar: Can I, Could I, May I?

    English teachers and parents used to try very hard to get young people to use "may" when asking for permission. Now it seems that "can" or "could" works just as well. Learn about the rules for asking permission with these modals. More

  • Video The Devil and Tom Walker by Washington Irving

    In this classic American story, we learn about the hunt for a famous pirate's treasure and the greedy desire for wealth. One couple, Mr. and Mrs Tom Walker, learn the danger of making a deal with the devil. They want the treasure but learn there is a high price to pay. More

  • Audio TOEFL, IELTS, or TOEIC? Comparing the Tests

    When international students want to apply for schools or jobs, they must pass a standardized test of English as a Foreign Language. Learn about the differences and similarities between the tests. Hear from an international student who has taken them. More

  • Almonds are also high in calcium.

    Audio Eat Nuts to Stay Healthy

    Recently researchers in the Netherlands have found that you do not need to eat many nuts to get all the health benefits. Also, not all nuts have the same nutrients. This article features some of the more popular nuts in the American diet. More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner
Confessions of an English Learner blog

Tell us About Our Programs