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Lesson 26
Dear Friend,

How is it going today? As for me, I''m in a great mood because when I look out of my window I see the sun shining through the coloured autumn trees. Well, you might think ''where on the globe is it autumn right now and what exactly does autumn mean''? Autumn is the British word for the American term ''fall'' and it''s one of the four seasons but I''m just wandering off on a tangent.

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The real reason why I''m so excited is that today you have the opportunity to learn about a new feature of our electronic English course -- ''The Learner of the Week'': Friend, I''d like you to meet Joao Fonseca -- who currently is our Top Online Learner! As you can see on Joao''s progress profile page, he has spent more than 24 hours completing our exercises and so far his overall score is 92%. That''s an amazing result especially if you keep in mind that we introduced the system only in September 2008. Joao is an excellent example of how important it is for you to take at least one test every single day. Yes, I know what you are saying: ''But my situation is different. I work so many hours at my job and I simply don''t have time to go online during the week.'' Or maybe you don''t have an Internet connection at home or your computer has recently broken down. Believe me, I quite understand you since I have overcome similar obstacles throughout my English language learning process. Please note that learning English is a bit like a sport where you sometimes have to push yourself to your limit. So you should try to organize your daily routines in such a way that you have enough time to complete at least one of our tests and maybe ask one forum question. You can start right now with the following three tests. They are a continuation of the Responses Series Alan has created. The following 30 test questions contain plenty of very useful expressions such as ''I have no clue'', ''I daren''t think'', or ''I shrink to think''. Now, I''m quite sure that many of those idioms and expressions might be new to you. That''s why I recommend you click on the ''Explanation'' links on top of each question. Here is an example. Let''s say you have never read the phrase ''I shrink to think''. To learn what it means you only have to click on the following link which you will find next to that very test question: I shrink to think.

As you can see, every test question also has A discussion where you can learn more about the words and expressions used in that very question. We really want you to use our site as an interactive medium where we have an ongoing dialogue with you, our learners. Now, are you ready for the three response tests? Here they are:

Responses 4
Responses 5
Responses 6

In our previous email lesson I introduced you to the TOEIC test -- the Test Of English For International Communication. Since the TOEIC is the standard English test in the world of business and finance, you need to learn the necessary vocabulary to understand and talk about those topics. That''s why we created 684 TOEIC vocabulary tests that cover a total of 3,420 words. If you know at least half of them, your business English vocabulary is way above average and so will be your TOEIC score. For example, do you know the meaning of the adjective ''including''? Yes, it means ''comprising'' or ''containing''. Now you can test your TOEIC vocab knowledge with the following test.

Many of you have asked us if we also have TOEFL preparation materials on our site. The answer is: Yes of course. If you are planning to take the TOEFL test within the near future, you should check out our TOEFL section.

For more information, please use the forum.

OK, after so much vocabulary and grammar work we should relax a little and listen to what Sue has to say today. This time she tells you how to pronounce the short and the long ''u'' sounds. For example, the word ''book'' contains a short ''u'' sound while ''boot'' contains a long one. Check it all out here.

How did you like this email lesson? Quite a lot of information, wasn''t it? Well, before I say goodbye today, I''d like share another little secret with you: Alan Townend, the author of all the tests and materials you have been using, is working on a new book. It''s going to be called ''Conversations About English'' and it will be written in the form of an ongoing dialogue between Alan and his students. So instead of just teaching and imparting information, Alan will be asking and answering typical questions from learners of English. In a word, this book will be a fantastic tool for you which I''m going to introduce in more detail in my next email to you.

So please stay tuned.
Best regards,
Torsten Daerr

PS: If you have any questions about your own ''learning progress report page'' you should post them on the forum here.

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