Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 2 – Episode 42 – Grammar – Past Perfect Tense

Oh, past perfect is here! Do not fear: Arsenio is here!  Honestly, this is just like the present perfect — it’s just you have an action happening before another action.  Here’s the breakdown for you guys.

Look at the sentences.  Which actions happened first?

  1. John was angry at Tim because he had gotten to the theme park before him.
  2. When Stacy had finished talking, she went home.

Rules: We use the past perfect to talk about an activity in the past that happened before another activity in the past.

So, let’s break this down even more.

  1. I put my pyjamas on.
  2. He finished shopping.
  3. They finished their dinner.
  4. He got out of the pool.
  5. We finished the exam.
  6. I found my keys.
  • They left the restaurant.
  • I got into bed.
  • I opened the door.
  • He carried it home.
  • We gave it to the teacher.
  • He dried himself with a towel.


Rewrite the sentences in 3a as one sentence.  Put one verb in the past perfect and the other in the past simple. Use when or after.

  1. When I had put my pyjamas on, I got into bed.
  2. After he had finished shopping, he carried it home.

Now it’s your turn!



Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 2 – Episode 38 – Building Confidence #2

What’s the WORST that can happen? Ok, someone gets angry because either they don’t understand you, or you don’t understand them.  It happens.  That’s basic human interaction.  However, how you react to the situation is entirely up to you.

Most people have confidence issues because teachers take it away.  I have a Moroccan student, who I’ll be teaching through my website, who told me that her teacher said “you’ll never be able to learn English.”  See? There are outer influences that dictate whether or not we’re able to develop confidence or not.

I remember I repeated a phrase in Thai about five times to a lackadaisical cook (someone who’s just not very good and underperforming on their job), and he (or she…not really sure) made a mockery out of me by repeating the word EXACTLY HOW I PRONOUNCED IT.  I was walked over when I first started speaking Thai.

Another girl, at the concierge desk of a shopping plaza, corrects my every word in Thai.  How do I retort? Well, one…you’re not my teacher.  Two, I don’t care how I sound (for obvious reasons –lol), and three….I get nasty rather quickly if you correct me.  If I want a correct, you can correct me.  If I don’t ask to be corrected, don’t correct me.

Look at every situation as a learning curb.  Either you can reject the idea or accept the idea.  That’s the most critical component of learning the English language.  This is called “what’s the worst that can happen?”


Ramble of Positivity: Episode XXVII – Off to Hong Kong for Holiday!

Here we go! Number 5 and a lot has happened!

In my podcast, I talked about the journey yesterday that I went through; going for literally the Airport Link, to my hotel (which shouldn’t have been a problem, but given the fact it’s Thailand, logistics are the biggest problem).

Well, from the shuttle bus ride at the hotel, which was excellent and efficient, to getting to the airport, checking in, going through security (never a problem) and passport control (always a problem — but not at this airport)….here I am!

I never thought in a million years that I would be going to Hong Kong.  Like out of all the places I’ve been to, Hong Kong wasn’t on the list.  In saying that, I believe it’s going to be memorable.

Cathay Pacific was written down on my 101 Goals list 3 years ago.  I’ve always wanted to fly them, and now today is another day I get to highlight my goal book.

I know exactly where I’m going once i get to HK, and thanks to Kloosk, which is a telephone provider, I’ll be able to access my phone straightaway to help me out in terms of where to go.

Potential Friends? Just maybe! Hong Kong, out of all the places I’ve been to, has to be the most difficult in terms of meeting people.  Before I travel, it’s always good to try to meet the locals on various chatting platforms.  HK, just like Japan, Korea, and China, is next to impossible to meet someone.

So, here we go! Heading to a country with lots of fascinating pictures, videos, stories, and conversations.  Be sure to tune into my social media platforms for more!

YouTube –…

Facebook – The Arsenio Buck Show – Home | Facebook

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IELTS Speaking Self-Assessment + Podcast & PDF

Arsenio's ESL Podcast
Arsenio's ESL Podcast
IELTS Speaking Self-Assessment + Podcast & PDF

Here’s a full guide on how you can build everything from your fluency and coherence, to lexical resources, and grammatical range.  All the mechanics of English will be put to the test in order for you to attain your definite chief-aim.  PDF is also available at the bottom with a YouTube link!

1. Fluency & Coherence

a. Do you speak with long pauses while you are thinking of vocabulary and grammar?

b. Do you speak slowly to avoid making long pauses?

c. Are your ideas well-organized? Are they easy to follow by the listener?


2. Lexical Resource

a. Do you use any “high level” words? This means words which are less common.

b. Do you use any phrasal verbs or idioms?

c. Do you use any word combinations (collocation) which are very natural?

d. Do you repeat the same word often because you have no synonym for the word?


3. Grammatical Range & Accuracy

a. Do you make a lot of ‘minor’ errors when you speak? For example, do you make mistakes with plurals and articles?

b. Do you make any ‘major errors’ when you speak? For example, clauses, tenses, and different parts of speech (nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs)

c. Do you use both simple and complex sentences (conditionals and relative clauses)


Is pronunciation important? YES!

Unclear = IELTS 4 or 5

Clear = IELTS 5 or 6

Clear & natural sounding = IELTS 6 or 7

Headway pronunciation books & audio are available online.  Check and see if they’re available in your local area.


IELTS – Speaking Assessment



Gary Vee: “Quit Your Bulls*** Job Because You Can Always Get Another One”

Posters comments on Gary Vee’s LinkedIn page.

“I disagree, why I didn’t like my jobs last ten years it don’t fit my needs.  So i quit for another low paying job so on due to lack of skills.  One time it took me two month to get a job.  Yes I was out there 40 hr week looking for a job.  So no cant quit my job which i would love to unless miracle happens.” – Anonymous Poster

I’m not sure if English is this particular individuals native tongue, but you can probably see why it’s so difficult for him to find a job.  No offence.  He said he “lacks skills,” well I would definitely get an academic writing book and giddy up on the skills I don’t have.  I think it’s necessary to write at least decent English as a native speaker.  Sure, Gary Vee is one of those who doesn’t write (and he has admitted it), so he gets someone else to write and he does what he’s amazing at.

I don’t like the excuses, bottomline.  You can see where this particular individuals mindset is.  Low paying job, lack of skills, can’t quit my job….but yet there’s nothing he’s doing about not “having” skills.  It’s like the hard-labor workers who work in slave heat in Dubai (and are from Bangladesh).  It’s like the Cambodians and Burmese who work here in Thailand for 10$ a day (and many people say that they’re actually better workers than most Thai men)…..countries outsource for cheaper labor….got it….but don’t be that person who’s working for the cheap labor.

“What’s a bs job though?”  -Anonymous User

Basically it’s a job where the CEO has billions and you make an hourly wage.  It’s a job that machines will have within 25 years.  Autonomous cars, banking tellers, McDonalds (and ALL fast-food restaurants), and everything you get paid an hourly wage for.  Working is the worst possible way to earn money — period.

“Not sure who this guy is but why would anyone be asking him permission to do anything.

Many people don’t quit their jobs because they have bills to pay.  Some people enjoy their jobs and many people cannot find good jobs that will pay to keep the standard of living they are accustomed to.

People like this think that it is simple to just quit and move on.  Newsflash, there may not be any opportunities or opening.

There are many history major graduates who work as cooks.

So go ahead and quit but if you think you are going to just be able to find exactly what you want at the pay you need at the drop of a hat then you are sadly mistaken.

My explanation of this is in my podcast, because this man needs great help.

“Please if you do see this post know that it’s the message inside about taking barriers out of your life not the title of the post itself that I was interested in.

My current job is not bullshit and I respect myself and employment enough that I wouldn’t post things online that would offend my employer.”

You, sir, have a bullshit job.


Gary Vee: Passion

“You’re going to go through a time where you’re not going to make any money. It’s not going to be a week, it’s not going to be a month, it’s not going to be one year. It’s going to be years. And during that time, if you don’t love what you do, it’s going to be very hard to stick it out. That is something that people don’t understand when they hear, “Follow your passion.” They hear rainbows, unicorns, bullshit. But the truth of it is that it’s important, because if you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, you’re going to be that much more likely to quit when shit’s hard.”

Excerpt From: Gary Vaynerchuk. “Crushing It!.” iBooks.

Remember this.  Passion.  It can’t be taught.

I was recently talking to a radiologist, who was formerly known as a doctor, and I had to ask her if she had the passion of being a doctor.  She gave me a resounding “yes,” which I was really expecting.

When I was a dental assistant back in America, I saw myself slipping.  When I was barely a year into it, I was working for a dentist who was an absolute animal, and working for a practice manager who thought I can do all the work without any breaks.  After being replaced, I worked in an ULTRA-MISERABLE dental practice with people who would bitch, complain, and were morbidly obese.  I stay there up until my departure to Australia in May of 2011, and that’s when the extreme discontent happen.

I thought being a dental assistant in city like Melbourne was pure hell because I was constantly wanting to communicate with people (funny looking back at where I was until now).  However, being a dental assistant and Royal Melbourne Hospital, to small practices that would completely criticize, insult and demean me, to a children’s hospital where I was disrespected (for the one-hundredth time).

When I left to Sydney, it was far better than Melbourne.  However, when you constantly look at the clock and see when work is finished, your s*** is all f***ed up.  I think we can all agree to that.

I felt like I was missing out on such a valuable piece of life.  And after going to Bangkok, Phuket, Tokyo and Honolulu, I found it.