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Here you'll find some lessons, practice materials, commentary, videos and announcements of video series. Check back weekly for new content.

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Introducing Pat's First Video Series

Pat's Pet Peeves

A series of 7 short videos on native speakers' mistakes or poor usage that learners should not copy - no matter how often you read or hear these patterns. The series introduction is here; the seven videos in the series have been uploaded to EFL.PatP at Facebook.

Master orator: Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr.: Go to the polls and vote

After quoting from the Declaration of Independence, the great Martin Luther King, Jr., said,

We must decide whether those words will be firmly etched into the structure of our nation, or whether we will allow our nation to be relegated to a second-rate power in the world with no moral voice. We must decide next Tuesday whether America will take the high road of justice and peace, compassion for the poor and underprivileged, or whether this nation will tread the low road of man's inhumanity to man, of injustice, of short-sightedness.

The latest shadowing text

Pronunciation practice

Shadowing is the practice of reading aloud, trying to match your rhythm, intonation and pronunciation to the audio example. A new clip will be posted each week.

See Martin Luther King, Jr., delivering this speech (opening in a new tab or window). The full clip runs 2:38.

Pat's recording (midwestern accent)
Previous Shadowing Texts

Video Series

Videos are posted to Facebook and announced on Instagram as well as here. Videos will be uploaded to YouTube as each series is completed. Let me hear from you if there's something you're especially anxious to watch.

Pat's Pet Peeves

A series to alert language learners that these common errors made by native speakers are not correct, no matter how often you hear them! The videos posted to Facebook so far concern the pronunciation of a double c, the misuse of apostrophes, and errors with personal pronouns.

Pat's Politically Slanted Idiom Illustrations

Releasing some frustration over the current US political climate, I offer some lessons on idioms appropriate for these days.

Pat's Cultural Clues

Prompted by things I hear and see in Mexico, but likely applicable elsewhere, here are some friendly suggestions to people who reach out to English-speaking tourists or otherwise try to cross the cultural divide. Starting the 2nd week of November.

Pat's Volumes of Phrasal Verbs

This is a series that will grow forever, one root verb at a time. Call, check and go will be the first three.

Focus on Vocabulary

Curious about "Time's a-wasting"? See "The Twelve Days of Christmas" in these pages.

To build your standard vocabulary, follow Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day.

searching for the right word

Pat's Carefully Considered Nuances

Searching for just the right word?

A random collection of reflections upon related words and their subtle distinctions.

Pat's Politically Provoked Vocabulary

A bit of humor, but useful!

Some vocabulary lists in response to current news.

No offense!


Some YouTube channels and playlists I recommend to you. All the videos have captions you can turn on. I'll be happy to discuss any of these videos with you or build a lesson around any of them.

Visual Investigations | The New York Times

This playlist has over 50 captioned videos, most from 1.5 to 7 minutes long, on a wide range of current American events, narrated at at easy pace.

Channel playlist

MW Ask the Editor

Merriam-Webster Dictionary has some very good videos, each addressing a particular word or usage question. They are mostly succinct and direct, and always interesting.

Channel playlist

Nora Knows what to Say

These videos from The Washington Post, all under 5 minutes, are of an advice columnist. You'll hear very clearly enunciated natural conversations using casual speech, with slang and idioms.

Channel playlist

Short TED Talks

I compiled a playlist for you of short TED talks that you might try. You'll hear a wide range of accents. Topics may be humorous or educational.

Channel playlist