Copyright © 2016-2019 Jennifer Helfand                                     



Hi! I’m Jennifer! 

I’ll be your teacher on this website.

And this is Sam.

He’s someone I always use in my explanations and sample sentences.

This is Mustafa. He’s a super nice person and former student.

One day Mustafa asked me:

Because Sam’s not real.


I don’t know why I picked the name Sam for my imaginary student. But I did. And I’ve been using that name for years.


You’ll recognize Sam on all the pages because he’ll always wear green (it’s his favorite color), and his hair will always look like this:

And you’ll recognize me on all the pages because I’ll always wear purple (it’s my favorite color), and my hair will always look like this:

It’s curly. Well, it’s usually curly. On the days when I don’t wash it, I have frizzy hair.  That’s hair that looks like this:  

This is my friend Veronica. Her hair always looks beautiful.

She screamed when she saw my bedhead.

(Bedhead: messy hair that looks like you just woke up, usually because you did just wake up.)

But because you are nice enough to come to English class with me, I will always wash my hair.

Anyway, I am going to be posting some free materials on this website: grammar, vocabulary, language learning tips, funny stories (at least I think they’re funny), inspiration, and many other things.


I’ll be there on every page to explain as much as I can. Sam will be there, too. And my family, friends, and former students will also join us.


A few disclaimers before we get started.

(Disclaimer: a statement made to say that you are not responsible for a misunderstanding or misinformation (wrong information)).


Disclaimer 1


I make mistakes. I can’t tell you how many. I can only tell you: everybody makes mistakes and that includes me. I’ll try very hard to keep my mistakes to a minimum.


(Keep something to a minimum: keep something to a small amount/degree. You can also say: to keep something to a bare minimum. That means EVEN SMALLER than a minimum. Once, when I was working with kids in an art camp, the director came in to our classroom to tell the children: “Keep the noise to a bare minimum.” There were 10 children. It was after lunch. Everyone had just eaten cupcakes. It was IMPOSSIBLE to keep the noise to a bare minimum, or even a minimum!)


Anyway, if you find any mistakes, please feel free (don’t hesitate) to email me and tell me about them. But please tell me nicely. Sometimes people take their grammar, punctuation, capitalization, etc., a little too seriously, and they get pretty (very) angry if it’s wrong.

The truth is, I’m a little crazy about commas. Actually, I’m VERY crazy about commas, but only with my own writing.

What I tell my students:

(So what? = It’s not important. It doesn’t matter.)

What I tell my myself:

(Get a grip: control your thoughts and feelings and behave more calmly. Sometimes: “Get a grip on yourself.”

“It’s not the end of the world.” It’s not as bad as you think it is. It’s not a serious problem.)


Sam: I failed a test!

Jennifer: It’s not the end of the world. Tests are horrible anyway.


Sam: I didn’t get accepted to that school!

Jennifer: It’s not the end of the world. You can apply to another school.


Sam: I didn’t get the job!

Jennifer: It’s not the end of the world. You’ll find a better one.


Sam: My partner broke up with me!

Jennifer: It’s not the end of the world. It’s a new beginning!


Sam: There are no more olives left in the closet.

Jennifer: We don’t have any more olives??!! WHAT??!! I love olives! It’s the   end of the world!

Sam: Get a grip, Jennifer. It’s not the end of the world. I’ll go to the store and buy more.

Jennifer: YAY! Thank you, Sam! You’re the best imaginary student EVER!!!



Disclaimer 2


Sometimes I get a little off track. That means I’m talking about one topic, and then I start to talk about another topic. I don’t do it to confuse you. It’s just how my mind works.

I’ve always been a little bit of a space cadet.

(space cadet: someone who doesn’t always pay attention or who forgets things. You can also say: I’m a little spacey.)


Have you seen the movie 3 Idiots? If you haven’t, I HIGHLY (really) recommend it. My adopted twin sister Karen gave it to me because the little boy in the movie is just like I was when I was a child. It took me six hours to do my homework because I liked to daydream.

My dad.

Anyway, that’s another reason that I have Sam here. He’ll keep me focused.

Well, Sam will do his best to keep me on track.

Disclaimer 3


Everything that I recommend on this website, including videos, songs, books, other websites, etc., is because I think they’re good. That doesn’t mean you’ll like them or that they will help you. But I do hope you like them. And I do hope they help you.


Also, maybe you won’t like all the topics I include vocabulary for. Of course, you don’t have to read every page. But I promise to put really good stuff with really good words to learn on every page. So I hope you’ll at least take a glance (a quick look).


A few of the videos I’m going to recommend are by stand-up comedians. Some of those comedians use curse words (words that you say when you are very angry).


Some people don’t like to hear curse words. They think those words are very offensive. My mom is one of those people. And I used to curse A LOT.

(In English, curse words are sometimes expressed as symbols: %&!#@*$%*  so they don’t offend people.)

(clean up your language: Don’t use curse words.

abomination: something that makes you feel disgust and hatred because it's so horrible)



I did clean up my language. Now I rarely curse except when I’m cooking. I’m not a very good cook. I fry vegetables almost every night and the oil in the pan burns me almost every night.

Did you know that some scientists did an experiment about curse words? They had a group of people put their hand in ice water. Half the people were allowed to curse. The other half weren’t allowed. The people who were allowed to curse could withstand the pain longer than the people who weren’t allowed to curse.


I taught this to my mom. So now she curses occasionally, too.

End of disclaimers.


Just a few more things before we get started.


If you have questions about something I explain or want me to write a post about something, please feel free to send me an email. If I don’t answer you right away, it’s just because there is only one of me and I’m trying to do about seven different things at the same time. But I will answer you.

(to chill: to relax, calm down)



I’ll explain things as simply as I can. I don’t like complicated explanations. I think life is a lot simpler than we make it, and grammar should be, too. I mean, this should be life: Love as much as you can, and don’t get eaten by a tiger.

(plus: In the tiger's sentence it means “and”. You can also use it in math: 2 + 2 = 4; two plus two equals four.

vegan: a person who doesn’t eat any animal products

vegetarian: a person who doesn’t eat meat or fish)


And this should be language: Say kind stuff and listen to other kind stuff. Simple.


Some words and phrases have a definition next to them in parentheses ( ). Those are words and phrases that I think might be new for some readers.


I’ll add new material once a week. Sign up on the contact page and I’ll email you as soon as there's a new post. AND I’ll send you something inspiring!


If you think this website is helpful, please share it. For students, I think the best page to start with is this one


VERY LAST THING. I’ll probably use the word “super” a lot. I just like it. I think it’s SUPER fun to say, and I feel SUPER happy every time I use it. My brother finds it SUPER annoying.

That triangle on his face is supposed to be a goatee (a small pointed beard).

That’s my sister-in-law.

(sister-in-law: the wife of your brother or sister; the sister of your wife or husband

brother-in-law: the husband of your brother or sister; the brother of your wife or husband)

She doesn’t say the word “super” a lot. But as anyone who has a sibling (sister or brother) knows, it is SUPER fun to annoy them.


And so to annoy my brother even more, she says it here. Look how annoyed he is.

Anyway, thanks for reading! Have fun learning English and have a SUPER day!

P.S. This is the first post. It's on March 5, 2019. I know almost all of the other pages for learning materials are still empty. I thought I could make materials for all of those pages in two weeks. I don’t know what I was thinking. More materials are coming very soon. At the moment, the following pages have materials: 

I'll update this list as I add new materials.

(bite off more than you can chew: to decide or agree to do more work than you can handle at that moment)

P.P.S. All the pages after this one will have more color. An AMAZING girl in Brazil named Vivi, who LOVES rainbows 

said it would make the pages much better. I listened to her. 

So I'll look like this: 

And Sam will look like this:

Except when I'm driving him crazy, in which case he'll probably roll his eyes and look like this: