Otavan Opiston logoOtavan OpistoNettilukioNettiperuskouluMuikku

1 Me in a New City


How about taking a quick look at what is going on in the world right now? Work on your vocabulary while you are looking around - can you describe what is going on or name the things that you see?

Here are two direct links 

Abbey Road
Times Square

or you can choose some other locations using these streaming webcams


Photo: Flickr / jivedanson

Exercise 1.1

Start Here

For the purposes of this course, please choose a location in an English speaking country where you will “reside” for the length of this course.

Google maps

There you are, in a new place. Where exactly are you? Please tell us the reasons for your choice of location in Course Conversation.

Are you there by yourself or with a spouse/partner and/or children? YOU can make that choice here. Keep your choice in mind when you work on the exercises in the other lessons: for example in the writing exercises the person can be “I” or “we” – think of which choice would benefit your language learning more.

Why? That is the question you hear many times when you move abroad. How long will you stay there? Where will you live? How will you keep in touch with your family and friends?

How did you get there? Did you fly or travel by train or by car? Did you bring everything absolutely necessary in a suitcase or did you hire a moving van?

Add your text in Course Conversation and copy it here, as well:


If you currently live abroad and not in Finland or if you have lived abroad for some time before, please share some of your experiences in our ENA1 Blog as you work through these course materials. Your teacher will send you an invite to join the blog. 

Exercise 1.2

Pronunciation practice 1 – asking questions 

Listen to the questions asked below and then practice saying them yourself. Pay attention to the individual sounds and the intonation. In addition, practice answering the questions out loud.


Where exactly are you? Are you there by yourself or with your spouse or partner? Any children with you? Why did you choose that place? Why did you choose THAT place? WHY are you there? Why are you THERE? How long will you stay there? Where will you live? How will you keep in touch with us? Excited or Nervous? How did you get there? Did you fly or travel by train or by car? Do you have very much luggage? Where is the rest of your stuff?


Next, you will practice producing some individual sounds correctly.

Pronunciation practice 2 – Aspiration and v/w

Listen to these words



There you are, sitting in your motel room because you have to wait until tomorrow before you can move into your new home. As one of the main goals for this stay abroad is to improve your English skills, you decide to enroll in an online English course at the local Community College / Adult Education Centre. As it happens, the first lesson is just starting...



Grammar - Welcome to the first lesson!

Verbs - The Tenses

When you think about time, you can divide it into three periods: past, present and future. The tenses show the time of an action or state expressed by the verb.

To warm up – and to work on your listening comprehension skills – watch this short video for an overview of the tenses:

Tenses – Overview 

The Present Tense

The simple present tense usually looks the same as the base form of the verb – the first form listed in the dictionary if you look up the meaning of a verb. We use it to talk about what is true in the present, what happens regularly, or what is always true.

  • I like coffee.
  • They visit London every summer.
  • We need oxygen to survive.

The 3rd person singular has an -s/-es ending

  • Simon travels all the time
  • Jennifer goes to school by bus.
  • Water boils at 100 degrees Celsius.

You use the simple present tense if the sentence has words such as sometimes, often, always, never or usually to show that something takes place regularly.

  • Frank usually takes the train to work.
  • Sometimes Jim walks home from the gym.
  • Richard never reads the newspaper.

To make questions or negatives, you need to use do/does if the sentence does not include some other auxiliary verb like be, have, can, must or may.

  • Do you travel much?
  • Where do you live?
  • Does Richard ever read the newspaper?
  • They don’t know me.
  • Jennifer doesn’t own a car.


We use the present continuous tense to refer to something happening right now and to show that the event is not over or complete, it is temporary or happens over and over again. The sentence can include words such as now, at the moment, or currently. The present continuous tense is formed like this:

be + base + -ing
in which be indicates the tense and the person

  • Jim and Jane are making pizza right now.
  • Jennifer is currently staying with her parents.
  • Frank is studying to become a police officer.
  • The Johnsons are always working in their garden.

Questions and negatives are made with be:

  • Are you doing anything important right now?
  • Is that dog playing with your remote control?
  • My tomato plants aren’t growing too well.
  • That child isn’t eating his porridge. 

Photo: Wikimedia / Doco

The Future Tense

There are many ways to talk about the future. You can use the present tense to talk about something with a fixed schedule

  • Our weekly meeting begins at 9 o’clock in the morning.
  • The train to Manchester leaves at 6:15 a.m. from platform 2.

You can use the present continuous tense or be going to to talk about plans and intentions.

  • We are having a party next Saturday. Can you come?
  • I’m going to help Allison move this weekend.
  • Taylor is going to become a firefighter.

Use will ('ll) when you talk about promises, offers or predictions and to express want or willingness.

  • I will be at your party for sure.
  • Tom will work on your car first thing in the morning.
  • Who will win at Wimbledon this year?
  • We'll see you later tonight.

You can also use verbs like hope, expect, want, plan etc.

  • I hope to see you at my wedding.
  • Tom expects to get a promotion.
  • The company plans to open a new store in our town.

If you want to say that something is unsure, you can use modals may, might and could.

  • Jim might also sign up for the class.
  • Jenny and Jackson may go on holiday with us.
  • Joseph could ride home in our car.

The Past Tense

When you start looking at the past tense, it is important to remember that there are two kinds of verbs in English: regular verbs and irregular verbs

Regular Verbs

The past tense and the past participle of the regular verbs are formed by adding -ed to the base.

base form past past participle
work worked worked
stop stopped stopped
stay stayed stayed
live lived lived
start started started
need needed needed

As you can see above, there might be some changes in spelling: you double the consonant in some words and leave out the -e- when the base ends in an -e

Another important thing is to learn is the pronunciation of the -ed ending. There are three pronunciations:

(1) /t/ after an unvoiced sound: worked, stopped, washed, missed
(2) /d/ after a voiced sound: stayed, lived, sailed, ordered
(3) /ɪd/ after d and t: started, needed, wanted, added 

Do you know which sounds are voiced and which ones unvoiced in English? All vowel sounds are voiced (your vocal cords vibrate when you produce them) but consonants are either voiced or unvoiced. See this website for more information:

Voiced and unvoiced consonant sounds 

Irregular Verbs

The base, the past tense and the past participle of an irregular verb can all be similar or all different or two of the three can be similar. The conjugations of irregular verbs just have to be memorized as there are no clear rules to why some form is what it is. Irregular verbs include many of the most common verbs in English. For example, 

base form past past participle
cost cost cost
put put put
burn burnt burnt
send sent sent
take took taken
begin began begun

There are some verbs that can be either regular or irregular:

base form past past participle
dream dreamed / dreamt dreamed / dreamt
learn learned / learnt learned / learnt
prove proved / proved proved / proven
spell spelled / spelt spelled / spelt
spoil spoiled / spoilt spoiled / spoilt
thrive thriven / throve thrived / thriven

You can find lists of irregular verbs in all grammar books, most dictionaries and at many websites. Here are some resources: 

Irregular verbs (you must learn at least the ones on this list)
Irregular verbs (this is a more comprehensive list)

There are many online sites where you can practice and/or test your knowledge:

Quiz 1
Quiz 2


The simple past tense refers to something that happened in the past so that it started and ended in the past. It might have happened once or again and again. 

  • Richard lived in Sydney in 2010.
  • The Johnsons bought their house three years ago.
  • Many Finnish children walked to school every day in the past.
  • Richard met Pam at a party in 1997.

Questions and negatives are formed by using the past tense of do = did / didn’t. Remember to use the base form of the main verb with it.

  • Did Sam work at a paper mill in his youth?
  • Did your family own a summer cottage when you were a child?
  • Kathleen didn’t know where she was.
  • Thomas didn’t learn to read well until he was older.


The past continuous tense is used when you talk about a specific moment in the past. You form it the same way as the present continuous tense

be + base + -ing

where be indicates the tense and the person.

  • We were walking down our street when we saw the fox.
  • The fox was running fast when we saw it.
  • I saw the fox again this morning just as I was opening the front door. 

Verbs: The present, the future and the past tense - A short summary in Finnish



Pronouns are words that take the place of a noun. If we didn’t have pronouns, we would have to keep repeating the nouns – the names of persons, things and places. There are many kinds of pronouns:

  • Personal pronouns
  • Possessive pronouns
  • Reflexive pronouns
  • Demonstrative pronouns
  • Interrogative pronouns
  • Indefinite pronouns
  • Relative pronouns
  • Reciprocal pronouns 

Personal Pronouns

Personal pronouns represent specific people or things. When you choose the personal pronoun you need to use, you consider these four characteristics: 

  1. number: singular or plural
  2. person: 1st, 2nd or 3rd person
  3. gender: male, female or neuter
  4. case: subject or object

When choosing the appropriate possessive or reflexive pronoun, you consider the first three characteristics: number, person and gender. All three types of pronouns have been listed in the table below.

Notice that the table also includes a group called possessive adjectives. As the name says, they are adjectives and not pronouns. However, it makes sense to review them as part of the list and that’s why they have been included in the table.

number person gender subject object possessive reflexive possessive adjective
singular 1st male/female I
me mine myself my
  2nd male/female you you yours yourself your
  3rd male he him his himself his
    female she her hers herself her
    neuter it it its itself its
plural 1st male/female we us ours ourselves our
  2nd male/female you you yours yourselves your
  3rd male/female/neuter they them theirs themselves


Here are some examples: 

I like your haircut. Do you like it yourself?
Yes. I actually cut it myself.
Those scissors are mine. Yours are by the mirror.
They need to be sharpened. We can sharpen them ourselves.
She told me to send them to someone. She trusts only him to touch her scissors.


You can also study and practice using the pronouns at this website:

British Council interactive 

Demonstrative Pronouns

As the name says, these pronouns demonstrate, indicate or point at something. They include this, that, these and those.

If something is near in distance or time, use this in singular and these in plural. If something is far in distance or time, use that in singular and those in plural. This is also used in introductions in person or over the phone. That is used to refer back to something said or done earlier.

Some examples:

This is ridiculous!
This is Joann Sykes calling.
I’d like to introduce you to someone. This is Brian Davis.
I will be the only one working at the shop this weekend. – Can you handle that?
I enjoyed these!
I couldn’t care less about those

Interrogative Pronouns

Interrogative pronouns are used to ask questions. They are

what, which, who, whom and whose

What and which are used about things. Which, who, whom (objective) and whose (possessive) are used about people.

Some examples:

What do you need?
Which came first, the chicken or the egg?
Which came in first? The Australian or the Canadian runner?
Who needs more time?
Whom do you need to see?
Almost all of the room keys have been returned – whose is missing? 

Photo: Wikimedia

Indefinite Pronouns

Indefinite pronouns do not refer to a specific thing, person, number or amount. These are indefinite pronouns:

  • some, any, none
  • everything, something, anything, nothing
  • everyone, someone, anyone, no one
  • everybody, somebody, anybody, nobody
  • one, both, many, several, all, enough
  • little, less, much, few, fewer, more, most
  • each, another, other, others, either, neither, such

Most of these are singular or plural but these can be both:
some, any, none, all, more, most, such

Listen to this well-known story: Whose job is it? 


Here's a more musical tool to help you remember the indefinite pronouns:

The Indefininite Pronouns Song 

Relative Pronouns

The function of the relative pronouns is to introduce the relative clause. The relative pronouns are

that, which, who, whom and whose

Who and whom are used about people, which is used about things, and whose is used about both. That can be used about things and people but there are some specific rules about its use. The rules have to do with the type of the relative clause. All of the relative pronouns can be used to refer to singular or plural nouns. 

The new action movie which came out this weekend was boring.
However, my friends who saw it with me quite liked it.
The lead actor, whom I usually like, was not the right person for the role.
The theme song was performed by some young talent whose name I can't remember.
All of the movies that I saw last summer were quite entertaining.

Reciprocal Pronouns

The word ‘reciprocal’ means ‘mutual’ or ‘equivalent’ so reciprocal pronouns are used when two or more subjects (people, things, groups) are doing the same thing or behaving the same way towards each other.

There are only two reciprocal pronouns:

  • each other
  • one another

Each other is used more often, maybe because one another sounds a bit more formal.

Some examples:

I like you and you like me. We like each other. / We like one another.
Patrick and Kelly ran into each other at the supermarket.
Allan doesn’t really like Tony, and Tony doesn’t really like Allen. At least they respect each other.


Next, take a look at these examples. Pay attention to which pronouns are singular and which ones plural.

Somebody started talking quite nervously at our meeting because everything had not gone as planned with the fundraising project. After 20 minutes of polite conversation most had had enough – anyone could see that little could be done to change the outcome. But everyone didn’t feel defeated: someone came up with a brilliant idea! It was something few had attempted in this town. One could only wonder why.

No one volunteered immediately. People looked at one another for a minute, but when some raised their hands, several followed suit. No one knew for sure if anyone took names or if there would be someone actually leading the effort, but all were excited about the new energy many got off of each other. Some started scheduling turns right then. Everyone seemed happy when leaving the room when all was said and done

You can practice and test your skills some more at this website:

Tests - pronouns 

Exercise 1.3

Fill in (20).

Maddie gave her new CD to  to listen to but  never got  back.

 kids here should check  bags and see if they have stuff that isn’t .

 knows Mr. Jones  car blocks our sidewalk.

 is ridiculous!  can’t show  on TV in the afternoon!

 do you know about ?

You never watch  on television because you are always at the gym looking at  in the mirrors.

Give the ball back to . It’s not !

Actually, this ball is  and that new one under  bushes is .

Exercise 1.4

Pronouns – fill in (30).

Read the whole text first to understand the story/context better. Use only pronouns to fill in the fields.


“Hello!  is Miles Long calling. I am  new neighbor. You and I don’t know  yet but please listen to . Unfortunately, I drove  car into a street sign  fell over and landed on a blue bike – I believe the bike is . Personally, I managed to hurt  a bit but  helped  to get to this hospital  name I don’t know.  people can’t reach my wife. Maybe  phone is off. Could you ring  doorbell and tell  about the accident and that I am okay?  name is Sandy Shore.  seems to know how long  will keep me here. By the way,  insurance will cover that bike of shouldn’t be  problem. By the way,  newspaper do you read?  took pictures at the scene so you might see  bike in the paper – and me. I will look rather pathetic in the  taken right under our street sign  reads Dumber Lane.  needs that? Anyway, I would appreciate  help in  matter.”


© Otavan Opisto / Heli Viitanen, Miia Sivén

Tämä oppimateriaali on lisensoitu Creative Commons Nimeä - Tarttuva 3.0 Muokkaamaton -lisenssillä. Mahdollisesti lisenssin ulkopuolelle jäävät oppimateriaalin osat on merkitty erikseen.

© 2015 Otavan Opisto