Talking about Brushing Teeth in English


Singular vs plural, you have more than one tooth.

And brushing instead of brush since it’s a continuous action that is sustained for a bit.

Hello Chinese App Update ~1/3 Complete

I came back to using ‘Hello Chinese’, had mentioned it before on this website.

There were some bugs, some of which have been fixed. The main one that I have noticed is that the speaking exercises work (for the most part).

Here is my current status,


Basically, I have usually been doing one exercise each day which is “20 points”. When I first started, since I had already been learning Chinese for two years, the early exercises were not too hard, so I would do two sets of exercises each day.

Today, I also did two sets, including a speaking exercise set.

Unlike Chinese Skill, not every exercise is ‘graded’ so to say. You can make mistakes and keep going, it just takes a bit longer if you make mistakes.

The speaking exercises do give you a score though.


You get that score based on the individual exercises in the sets, for example


I missed two tones in that one, which is somewhat typical for me to miss a few.

Sometimes I get all the tones right (and this is according to the app, which seems to be somewhat accurate but probably is not perfect).


The final exercise set in a group of exercise sets is entirely speaking. You can choose to do them or skip them. It says something a little funny, “10 Minutes a Day, Fluency in 3 Months!”. Which is not especially accurate, but you can learn quite a bit in three months.


Hello Chinese places a bit of emphasis on writing. However, the characters you learn do not really seem to flow in an order that is easy to pick up. Some characters are fairly simple and others are quite complicated.

I like how they teach each individual character though. The direction for each stroke is shown and you can trace them first.


After you trace though, you need to write it from memory with the correct stroke directions.


At this point, if the character is simple, sometimes I get it right away. Other times, I get a few strokes right and then guess what might be next. If you do the wrong stroke a few times in a row though, the app shows you an outline of where it should be. So sometimes I just use brute force to get through the characters.

You can focus on any individual character and review it multiple times. That seems like the better way to actually learn them.

To do that, click on the left circle on the bottom for characters. You can also review words and grammar by clicking on those circles. (This is on the “Me” screen.


Overall, I like the app quite a bit and I think I will continue working through the rest of it. I have completed about a third of it now. Compared to Chinese Skill, it places more emphasis on speaking compared to writing with characters.

It’s not a bad place to start with learning Chinese I think. But what I used was the Pimsleur CDs with a lot of repetition. The repetition with the audio helped me a lot, but I imagine you could also simply repeat the exercises using this app. And seeing things visually can be useful.

I also did an exercise set in Chinese Skill just now and actually did manage to get a writing exercise correct. Those exercises were pretty difficult for me for a while, especially with longer sentences since you have to write entirely in characters and one mistake will get it marked wrong. Basically, I write using pinyin as I hear it and that is turned into characters. I recognize some characters, but definitely not all. So I’m partly relying on the the cpu to recognize what I’m trying to say, which it often does.


Let me know if you have any thoughts on either of these two apps!

Can vs Could (English)

“it could get stressful sometimes.”
“it can get stressful sometimes.”
You use can instead of could. Since can means more like something does happen.
Could means it could happen but hasn’t necessarily happened already and won’t necessarily happen at all.

Easy, Easy, Easy, Not Easy in the Least. How I learned to write one word in Arabic

I have used Duolingo for Spanish and German as well as Chinese Skill and Hello Chinese for Chinese. All three have similar systems, kind of like a game. Duolingo came first.

Yesterday, I found an app called ‘Araby’ which is similar to Hello Chinese, but for Arabic.


The first three questions are pretty easy.

The first one looks like this,


You select the translation with the aid of pictures which are accompanied by an approximate phonetic spelling with English letters and the word written in Arabic script.

You don’t really need to even pay attention to the Arabic script for this question to get it right.

But then……

Question #4


On Question #4, you’re asked to write a word in Arabic. And to do that, you need an Arabic keyboard setting on your device. Therefore I set up an Arabic keyboard setting.

I didn’t really remember how to write the word in Arabic, although I did recognize the word being said and what it meant.

So I looked up how to write it. Which would be straightforward?

Possibly, but not exactly, at least not for me.

It turns out there are 48 Arabic printable characters that are mapped onto the letters of the keyboard. That means that you hold down certain letter to access additional letters.

For example,

At this point, I was just trying to copy what I saw, not really understanding the sound or what the letters are.

And I did that wrong, about….. 10 times.

At that point, I figured I would get some help. I know someone in Egypt who I have helped with English a few times.



Here are the two letters that I missed. Basically, one thing that happens is that if certain letters are next to each other, they look different after you have typed them. The letters connect in certain ways and can change appearance.



At that point, I noticed more clearly the lines above some of the letters. I do not entirely understand how they work, but I found a key that could add them to the letters.

In the red circle,


It seems like those marks aren’t even necessarily used all the time, Google Translate writes this word as


It’s on the right, since you write in Arabic from right to left.


Eventually I was able to write the word as the app wanted me to. But I still have not finished the entire first lesson!


English Correction, Told vs Tell (past/present)


English Correction about Language Level

Seems to be something that is often said, but not always true!

Second part is a good attitude though.


Greeting Correction


Mixed up some words here.

“Is it clear?” Plural vs Singular in two examples


A few more corrections.

I started a group on Hello Talk to get written English corrected.

“Mentioned” and future tense English Correction


(About this website!)

Singular vs Plural, English Correction


Common mistake.