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Basic English the Mikie Metric Way : Lesson 1

Introduction:  The eight (8) Basic English lessons will help you learn such topics as Basic Sentence Structure, Making Questions, Giving Information About Yourself, Using Pronouns Correctly and How to Tell People What You Want or Have or Need.  Exercises and Answers follow each lesson.   It's simple, easy and fun.  It might help you with school or an accredited online college.  You can build a foundation today for getting ahead tomorrow. If you have a question about any of the lessons or about English in general, please send us an e-mail.  We answer all questions. 
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  Fun With English

Lesson 1: Learning to talk about yourself - how do you look? how do you feel? 

I = the word used to talk about myself.   I am Mr. G.  I am a man.  I am fuzzy.  I am smiling. 

am = a form of the verb "to be" used only with I.

(Note: In spoken English, "I" and "am" are often joined to form a "contraction" that looks like this in writing - "I'm" - and rhymes with words like "time" and "lime".)

I am + adjective. An adjective tells who I am, what kind of person I am, what I look like, how I break

I am tall. (I'm tall.) I am awake. (I'm awake.) I am sleepy. (I'm sleepy.) I am tired. (I'm tired.) I am hungry. (I'm hungry.) I am dirty. (I'm dirty.) I am pretty. (I'm pretty.)
I am English. (I'm English.) I am afraid. (I'm afraid.) I am short. (I'm short.) I am fat. (I'm fat.) I am thin. (I'm thin.) I am happy. (I'm happy.) I am smart. (I'm smart.)
I am French. (I'm French.) I am young. (I'm young.) I am rich. (I'm rich.) I am sick. (I'm sick.) I am healthy. (I'm healthy.) I am single. (I'm single.) I am quiet. (I'm quiet.)
I am Italian. (I'm Italian.) I am sad. (I'm sad.) I am old. (I'm old.) I am angry. (I'm angry.) I am poor. (I'm poor.) I am clean. (I'm clean.) I am noisy. (I'm noisy.)
I am married. (I'm married.) I am American. (I'm  American.) I am unemployed. (I'm unemployed.) I am confused. (I'm confused.) I am Iraqi. (I'm Iraqi.)

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I am + -ing verb.  This sentence tells what I am doing at this moment.  "I am writing this lesson now."

I am eating. (I'm eating.)    I am sleeping. (I'm sleeping.) I am working. (I'm working.) I am crying. (I'm crying.) I am walking. (I'm walking.)
I am shopping. (I'm shopping.) I am driving. (I'm driving.)  I am babysitting. (I'm babysitting.) I am sitting. (I'm sitting.) I am writing. (I'm writing.)
I am typing. (I'm typing.) I am texting. (I'm texting.) I am singing. (I'm singing.) I am thinking. (I'm thinking.) I am working. (I'm working.)

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I am + article + noun. Articles  point out Nouns.  They tell us there will be a Noun ahead in the sentence.   Articles are A, AN, THE.   NOUNS are words that name a person, a place, a thing, an idea, a feeling or an action.  Any word we use to name something is a Noun.

THE  points out a definite noun, the only one of its kind, a special one.

Example: "I am the driver"  In this group, I am the only one who can drive or who is responsible for driving. 

Example: If I say "I am the doctor.", I mean that I am the only doctor here,  or the Doctor who is in charge. 

I am the teacher. (I'm the teacher.) I am the boss. (I'm the boss.) I am the janitor. (I'm the janitor.) I am the cook. (I'm the cook.) I am the driver. (I'm the driver.)
I am the supervisor. (I'm the supervisor.) I am the mailman. (I'm the mailman.) I am the doctor. (I'm the doctor.) I am the president. (I'm the president.) I am the owner. (I'm the owner.)

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A and AN are used with singular nouns.  A and AN mean the same thing, but they are used at different times.  AN is used before words that begin with a Vowel sound (a, e, i, o, u) .  A is used before words that begin with a consonant sound (all the other letters). This is to make it easier to pronounce the Article and the Noun together.   A and AN refer to one of a group of similar things - not a special one or a particular one, just one of them.  (Special note: Sometimes, AN is used before longer words that begin with H, but I haven't found a rule that explains this difference.  "It was AN historical event." It might just be for the ease of pronunciation. Try it - A historical, AN historical ; A hysterical party , AN hysterical party.)

Example: "I am a driver."  There are other drivers; I am just one of them.

Example:   If I say "I am a doctor.", I mean that I am not the only doctor;  I am just one of them, a member of the medical profession.

NOT is a negative word.  When added to a sentence, usually after the verb, NOT cancels or reverses the original meaning of the sentence.  "I am a doctor." is a positive statement, usually giving a truthful fact.  "I am not a doctor." is a negative statement and means that my profession or position is something other than Doctor.

I am a salesman. (I'm a salesman.) I am a boxer. (I'm a boxer.) I am a gambler. (I'm a gambler.) I am a mother. (I'm a mother.) I am a Muslim. (I'm a Muslim.)
I am an organ-player. (I'm an organ-player.) I am an undertaker. (I'm an undertaker.) I am an ice skater. (I'm an ice skater.)  I am an angel. (I'm an angel.) I am an elephant. (I'm an elephant.)
I am a college student. (I'm a college student.) I am not an acrobat. (I'm not an acrobat.) I am not a sophomore. (I'm not a sophomore.) I am not an angel. (I'm not an angel.) I am not an elephant. (I'm not an elephant.)

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A,  AN and THE must come before the noun they point out, but there can be other describing words between them and the Noun.  Remember, use A before words beginning with a consonant sound (a boy, a dog) and AN before words beginning with a vowel sound (an ugly boy, an old dog).

I am the only doctor. I am the school janitor. I am the main man. I am the boy's father.
I am a good doctor. I am a careful janitor. I am a tall man. I am a young father.
I am an awful doctor. I am an honest janitor. I am an old man. I am an angry father.

With these models, you can say just about anything you want about yourself.   

 I am + Adjective. I am + Article + Noun. I am + -ing Verb.

Asking questions about yourself.  The simplest way to make a question that asks about yourself is to reverse  the pronoun I and the verb AM.

I am tall. (statement) Am I tall? (question) I am late. (statement) Am I late? (question)
I am fat. (statement) Am I fat? (question) I am clean. (statement) Am I clean? (question)
I am the boss. (statement) Am I the boss? (question) I am your friend. (statement) Am I your friend? (question)
I am driving. (statement) Am I driving? (question) I am a good artist. (statement) Am I a good artist? (question)

When you see a written question, you know what it is because of the Question Mark (?) at the end and the different positions of the subject (I) and the verb (am).  When you hear a question, you can hear the different word order, but you also will hear the speaker's voice rising at the end of the last word.

Talking about other people:

    YOU = the person or persons you are talking to.  This can refer to one person or to many people. YOU is used with the Present Tense ARE. (you + are = you're)

    HE = The male person you are talking about - HE is used for a boy or man,   HE  is used with the Present Tense verb IS.  (he + is = he's) 

    SHE = The female person you are talking about.  SHE is for a girl or woman.  SHE is used with the Present Tense verb IS.  (she + is = she's) 

    IT = The object, idea or animal you are talking about.  IT is used with the Present Tense verb IS.  (it + is = it's)

    WE = Myself and one or more other people.  WE is used with the Present Tense verb ARE.  (we + are = we're)

    THEY = More than one person, object or animal that I am talking about.  THEY is used with the Present Tense verb ARE.  (they + are = they're)

You are tall. (You're tall.) Are you tall? You are a good doctor.  (You're a good doctor.) Are you a good doctor?
He is tall.  (He's tall.) Is he tall? He is a kind father.  (He's a kind father.) Is he a kind father?
She is sad.  (She's sad.) Is she sad? She is a good teacher.  (She's a good teacher.) Is she a good teacher?
It is dirty.  (It's dirty.) Is it dirty? It is a new car.  (It's a new car.) Is it a new car?
We are sick.  (We're sick.) Are we sick? We are careful drivers.  (We're careful drivers.) Are we careful drivers?
You (all) are late.  (You're late.) Are you (all) late? You are smart students.  (You're smart students.) Are you smart students?
They are happy.  (They're happy.) Are they happy? They are old men.  (They're old men.) Are they old men?

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Practice reading English.  Check out the following stories at .

GreepleTitle Page When their planet's sun began growing hotter, most of the insect-like residents began taking steps to protect themselves from the rising temperature.  One group built a rocket ship and prepared to send the ship into space to find a new home just in case life became impossible on their own planet.  A large green caterpillar named Greeple was chosen to pilot the rocket.  The ideal planet that Greeple finally landed on was already occupied, so the caterpillar had to adjust his plans. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
25 pages, full-color illustrations.  Story can be reviewed at  .
No Jokes Cover-Small Harold Hare began playing practical jokes on his friends in Petunia Park.  They soon decided they had to do something about it.  Find out what the other animals did to keep Harold from playing more jokes.

22 illustrated pages.  Story can be reviewed at .
Busy Lizzie Cover-small

"Busy Lizzie learned to rhyme
Before she learned to tell the time."
And so begins the book about Lizzie Sue and how she learned to make rhymes while going for rides in the car with her father.

18 illustrated pages.  Story can be reviewed at .

Exercise A: Use words from the box below to complete the following sentences.

good, carpenter, happy, mechanic, dirty, eating, singer, driver, single, married, horse, pizza, diving,  funny, doctor, unemployed, tall, old, sick, honest, teacher, woman, battleship, choking, proud, cook, running, decent
1. I am ____________________________.   4. I am _____________________________.
2. I am ____________________________. 5. I am _____________________________.
3. I am ____________________________. 6. I am _____________________________.

Exercise B: Use words from the box above to complete the following sentences.

1. I am a ____________________________. 5. I am an _________________________________.
2. I am the _____________________________. 6. I am the _________________________________.
3. I am a ______________________________. 7. I am a ___________________________________.
4. I am an ______________________________. 8. I am the _________________________________.

Exercise C:  Change the following statements to questions.  Change the following questions to statements.

1. I am silly. 1. 5. Am I early? 5.
2. I am a good teacher. 2. 6. I am driving slowly. 6.
3. I am running fast. 3. 7. Am I the only man? 7. 
4. Am I a good student? 4. 8. I am the first girl. 8.

Exercise D: Add the missing subject or the missing verb in the following sentences.

1.  You ________ a cowboy. 6.  ______ are honest workers. 11.  It _______ an old dog.
2.  ________ is a tall man. 7.  ______ is a pretty girl. 12.  They ______ happy children.
3.  Are ______ an honest person? 8.  He ______ a nice doctor. 13.  ______ we smart students?
4.  We _____ very tired. 9.  ______ we late for class? 14.  _____ you my new friend?
5.  Is ______ a good bicycle? 10.  Are ______ the new teachers? 15.  _____ is the last bus.

Children's stories, poems, stories-in-verse, all original, can be reviewed at

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Answers to Lesson 1 Exercises: 

Exercise A:  Any of the following would be correct.

1. I am good.  I am diving.  I am honest. 4. I am eating.  I am tall.  I am running.
2. I am happy.  I am funny.  I am choking. 5. I am single.  I am old.  I am decent.
3. I am dirty.  I am unemployed.  I am proud. 6. I am married.  I am sick. 

Exercise B: Your answers may vary.  These are some possibilities.

1. I am a mechanic. 5. I am an old woman.
2. I am the carpenter. 6. I am the doctor.
3. I am a singer. 7. I am a driver.
4. I am an unemployed teacher. 8. I am the cook.

 Exercise C:

1. Am I silly? 5. I am early.
2. Am I a good teacher? 6. Am I driving slowly?
3. Am I running fast? 7. I am the only man.
4. I am a good student. 8. Am I the first girl?

Exercise D:

1. are 6. We, You, They 11. is
2.  He 7.  She 12.  are
3.  you 8.  is 13.  Are
4. are 9.  Are 14.  Are
5.  it 10.  They, You 15.  It