Learn English Online with Miss Shonah

A call of Nature

Long time, no post.  I am sorry.  However I wrote an article for Grenoble Life that perhaps some Europeans can give me insight into…?

I welcome genuine comments.


Phrasal what?

Thanks to http://myplaceforenglish.blogspot.com/2008/09/essential-phrasal-verbs.html

Thanks to http://myplaceforenglish.blogspot.com/2008/09/essential-phrasal-verbs.html

I was recently inspired by a very enthusiastic student who is determined to “get on top of” phrasal verbs…

So, what are phrasal verbs, you ask?

Thanks to Lexic.us a phrasal verb is defined as:

1. Noun. An English verb followed by one or more particles where the combination behaves as a syntactic and semantic unit. “`turn out‘ is a phrasal verb in the question `how many turned out to vote?’”

So now you may ask, how do native English speakers use phrasal verbs in everyday conversation?

We use phrasal verbs so much, we don’t even know when we are throwing them out there!

Take a typical conversation:

Boy: Hey there, girl! What‘s up?

Girl: Hey boy! Not a lot, I’m just hanging out here in the library, trying to pick up some some information for our history exam.  It’s difficult and I am flat out trying to understand any of it.

Boy: Oh! I hear you.  I had so much difficulty with the study I gave up, in the end and decided to look through some old comics instead.  Then I came to the library to look for you.

Girl: I am happy you came.  I was just about to throw it in for the afternoon, and head out for a coffee.  Do you want to come with me?

Boy: Yeh, for sure.  That would be great!  We can always look through the notes tomorrow before the exam, and hopefully scrape through!

What are boy and girl talking about?  Can you replace the phrasal verbs, with normal verbs?

I look forward to your replies…

Every Tuesday

Every Tuesday is “Speak French Tuesday” in my house, in an attempt to learn more French!

Every day I take at least one new word or phrase in French to remember and learn.

I research words I do not know, I conjugate verbs in my head, I count in French when I see numbers…the list goes on and on and on…

What can you do to improve your English…

At Breakfast time?

During the day?

In the car?

At home?

Before going to bed?

On the street?

Can you share your language learning secrets to help other students??



Image thanks to http://moodle.svenbraune.ca/file.php/1/Uploads/abc.gif

It is going to be OR it will be a great year…

I live in France.  I am learning French.  Now I am studying le futur simple and le futur proche.  What a great grammar point to learn at the beginning of the New Year!

Thanks to Anita Kwiatkowska a.k.a l_missbossy I created a WORDLE to show what I am going to do in 2010!
Wordle: 2010 year of zen

Or will I do them?

To be going to OR will do???  Which future simple form to use?!

For my wordle it is I am going to because it is A Plan for my future actions

Other things we are going to do are:

  • Prediction


You are going to meet a tall dark stranger and you are going to fall in love.

You are not (aren’t) going to meet a tall dark stranger and you are not (aren’t) going to fall in love.

The things we will do are:

  • Voluntary Action


I will write a blog post for you next month.

I will not (won’t) write a blog post for you next month.

  • Prediction


You will meet a tall dark stranger and you will fall in love.

You will not (won’t) meet a tall dark stranger and you will not (won’t) fall in love.


  • Promise

They will clean their rooms every Saturday.

They will not (won’t) tell anybody about the surprise dinner party.

What are you going to do in 2010??

How do you feel about Christmas?

It’s Christmas time! I have a secret love for this time of the year.  Especially when I am living in the Northern Hemisphere and it is a White Christmas!

Czarna Gora

It is the essence of Christmas I adore – the simple pleasures of: being with people I really love, singing Christmas carols, drinking mulled wine, eating delicious food, watching the snow fall and feeling truly content.

The commercial aspect of Christmas is one I do not like – the apparent “need” for people to buy a lot of presents and seemingly, how much you love someone depends on how big, or expensive, the gift is that you give them.

For this year it would be nice if we could all “get back to basics”. I have spent many Christmases in Poland, and they have two beautiful traditions that I would like to incorporate into every one of my Christmases – whether I am in Poland or not.

The first is the setting of the table. It does not matter which Polish house you enter – the table setting will always be the same.  If there are 10 guests for dinner, there will be 11 place settings.  The Polish always set an extra setting, just in case a stranger may knock at their door and need a place to be on Christmas eve.  This tradition is obviously deep seated in the strong religious beliefs of the Polish, however I love the simple message it portrays:


please come in, be warm, and eat.

The second tradition, that all Polish people will follow happens before eating the meal.  Each person – whether family, or new acquaintance, Polish speaker or not – goes to each other person that they will be sharing the meal with and gives them wishes for the up and coming year.  These positive messages are delivered in a close and personal manner, with everyone coming away smiling, laughing and some even crying with happiness.

These two very important traditions in every Polish house “make” my Christmas when I spend it there.  Forget the presents, forget the elaborate meals and other festive paraphernalia – these gestures of love and kindness are what Christmas should be about.


Who will you be sharing Christmas with this year?  How will you be sharing your Christmas?  Do you like the “superficial” Christmas of today, or the “traditional” Christmas of years gone by?  How do you celebrate Christmas?

The last thing I would like to share, with you, is my favourite Christmas song.  Please, if you have one, share it here too – collecting new Christmas songs is a hobby of mine (but don’t tell anyone, I think it is a strange hobby!!).



Merry Merry Christmas

Get a Voki now!

From Grenoble Life

I am on holidays, in Australia, at the moment.  I am sorry I have not added a post for a long time.  There is lots of news to tell…and I will tell it.  However, for today I would like to share with you a little article I wrote for a wonderful web page…Grenoble Life.



Miss Shonah :-)

My Little One

Small Town France

Small Town France

I moved to a small town in France and I decided I like it a lot.  I like it so much I thought to share some experiences with you.

Most days I read a wonderful online web-page called Grenoble Life.  This links me with Grenoble – the large city – near my small town.  Before I moved here I often read this web-page to learn more about my new home.  It makes me feel good about where I live.  Also, I met some very friendly people, through this web-page, who helped me become more familiar with this part of France.

I go to the Organic markets every Wednesday and I always buy my eggs from a lovely old man, who has no teeth.  He calls me “my little one”.  He makes me smile.

The River

The River

Every Sunday I go for a long run along the river.  I like to breath the fresh mountain air, listen to the quietness of the town and exercise.  After the run I always go and buy a croissant – at the market – to eat with my coffee!  A croissant with coffee is one of my favourite moments of the week!

I like living in a new place.  It is always fun, even though sometimes it can be stressful.  I moved here 2 months ago and in that time I discovered many new things.  Some of those things are: new people, new walking tracks, new words, new markets, new bicycles and a new world that gives a lot of pleasure.

Did you discover something new, recently?  Please share…

pictures thanks to D&S photos, 2009

A Lovely Love Story

Before I start this post I must thank Edward Monkton for the title – I was trying to think of another title, but I could not think of anything more appropriate for the following story.

The Great Number Wizard

The Great Number Wizard

Once upon a time, not so long ago, there was a wise (not-so-old) wizard of numbers.

This wizard could take any number you can think of and do many things to it.

He could add the numbers, he could divide the numbers.  He could look at the numbers and create different numbers with different meanings.

In short, he was amazing with numbers.  This ability to be amazing transcended into other areas of his life too – he was extremely witty, making people laugh, without them knowing that he was going to!

He was very friendly, kind and compassionateAll in all he was a wonderful wizard of numbers.

One night the great wizard decided to have a party with some of his wizard friends, and these wizard friends in turn invited other friends – some of them weren’t wizards.

Wizards and non-wizards party

Wizards and non-wizards have a party.

They were all having a wonderful time.  The great wizard was making people laugh and taking care of all those around him.  Then, late into the night a girl (not-so-young) walked in.  She was not a wizard, but just a happy girl who was invited to the party by one of the other wizards.

She was introduced to many of the wizards around the table and then lastly to the great number wizard.  This was the first time she had met the great wizard, but after this first introduction she just knew that she would be seeing him again.  Actually she would be seeing a lot more of him.

Both the happy girl and the great wizard had a wonderful night.  They talked to each other, they talked to other wizards and non-wizards.  They danced, they ate and they were merry.

The happy girl had to leave the party earlier than the other wizards and non-wizards, because she worked very hard every day of the week.  She was working to make all her dreams come true – she wanted to study to be a wizard – a wizard of words.  This took a long time to do and she was very dedicated.

The weekend went very quickly for the great wizard and the happy girl – both doing things separately, but somehow they were linked by their thoughts.

Early on the first day of the week, the happy girl looked into the sky and saw a message written there – it was from the great wizard.


She immediately replied,


The week passed by quickly and then the meeting time came.  The happy girl looked beautiful and was more happy than normal.  The great number wizard was excited and on that last day of the week he had done some amazing work with numbers – because he was so excited!

They met, they talked and they realised that this meeting was going to be the start of an amazing adventure together.

The happy girl smiled a lot, normally, but after this meeting she could not wipe the smile from her face.  She knew that this great wizard, who one week earlier was a stranger, was going to be “her” great wizard.  She also knew that her dreams now involved him; as he also came to the recognition that his dreams now involved her.  This couple were now inseparable.

The great wizard was renowned throughout the universe.  This fact meant that for his dreams and work, he had to travel.  He was asked by another wizard, from a world far far away, to come and help him with some problems he was having with a lot of different, difficult numbers.  The wizard was happy to help, but only if his new love was able to go with him.

The happy girl wanted the wizard’s dream to be fulfilled and knew that she would come back to her studies to be a wizard of words.  She had traveled to other worlds before and was very happy to go again – especially now with her wizard.

They packed up their lives and left for the far far away world.  This world was very dark and cold.  They tried to keep each other warm and loved, but sometimes it was difficult.  The wizard was very busy with his numbers – they were indeed very different and difficult.  The happy girl started to feel extremely dark and cold.  While the wizard was busy, she would try to stay happy, but somehow she kept walking down the wrong streets, speaking to the wrong people or saying the wrong things.

Dark, cold world

Dark, cold world

Then when the  great number wizard returned from long days working on his numbers, she was angry at him for bringing her to such a horrible world.

Theirs was not the love that they had packed up to venture to this world with.  It had turned a bit dark.  One day the wizard said to the not-so-happy girl:

“Perhaps you are with the wrong wizard…”

To this she could not respond, her heart broke into many pieces at the mere thought of being separated from the great number wizard.  This was all she needed to remember why she was in this world – she was here to make a dream come true…she became happy once again.

It was hard work, for both the happy girl and the great wizard, but they made it out of the dark, cold world.  They learned many valuable lessons and knew that their life would be richer for the experiences.

The wizard was then asked to spread his amazing knowledge to a mountainous world – to a world where the sun shone, the people were happy and even snow fell.  The happy girl knew that her studies were going to be waiting for her once again and that there were other amazing ventures she could undertake, without being a wizard, yet.

They fell in love again – with each other, with this new world and with the adventure they knew they were meant to undertake.

One day, on the top of one of the highest peaks – of that mountainous world – the great number wizard stopped the happy girl.  He went down onto bended knee and said to the happy girl:

“I love you.  I want to spend the rest of my life with you.  Will you marry me“?

Will you marry me?

Will you marry me?

Of course the happy girl would marry the great number wizard, she knew this was going to happen when she first met him.

They now walk the mountains.  He gives advise on the many things you can achieve with numbers and she (even though not a wizard) is learning more about words and helping others to learn more too.

English Language Learners:

What do you like about this story?

What don’t you like about this story?

Could it have a different ending?

Do you have a love story you want to share?  Please leave a comment.

Pictures thanks to D&S photos, google images and barrena.deviantart.com/art/Dark-World-120945225

C’est La Rentrée…

Back To School

Back To SchoolBack to School


This sign is everywhere in shop fronts, at the moment, as it is back to school time here in the Northern Hemisphere.  It is September – a time synonymous with the end of the long summer holidays, the beginning of a new school year, new work year and the re-entering to somewhat of a normal life!

(Just as a side note – as someone who grew up in the Southern Hemisphere, this time of year is always strange – I am expecting Christmas, celebrations and a real new year to start.  So, in some strange way it is as if I have been given an extra year to do something amazing with).

I thought it a poignant time to make a post now – as I could think of no better time as NOW to achieve language learning goals.

So, what stops you from learning English?  For every fear you may have, I have a reason why it is NOT an excuse…

  • I am not very good – what if I make a mistake?

What if you do make a mistake…there is NO problem.  There will only be positive encouragement and enthusiasm that you have tried.  Languages are difficult and the only way to learn is to try.  The only way to get better is to practise, practise, practise…

  • I can’t speak very well – what if you can’t understand me?

What if you can’t speak very well (yet)…there is NO problem.  Languages are living and breathing things – they change, they evolve and one of the best ways to utilise them to their full potential is to talk.  Remember you will speak English better than I can speak your native language – you are the expert!  Again the only way to get better is to practise, practise, practise…

  • I have no time to go to lessons.

This is the BEST reason to have online lessons.  Choose a time for YOU, choose a place for YOU, and choose the course for YOU.  You can be learning English while you have a glass of wine after work…what a fabulous learning environment.

  • I am nervous to have one on one lessons.

Have a group lesson then!  Get some friends together and have fun learning.  This is more than possible and encouraged – it is fun to learn with friends or a group of like minded people!

Really?  Do you have a pen? Do you have post-it notes?  If the answers to these questions are YES, then you have time to practice, practice, practice… On every item in your house write the name in English and stick it on!  Every time you walk past – you will be practicing the word in English!

  • Do you have other fears???

If you do please leave a comment and I will promptly tell you why this is NOT an excuse and today is the day to book an English lesson.

What is the worst that could happen?!

P.S. I start the next installment of my French classes next week! Now is the time!

Picture thanks to D&S photos