Using quotes to practice and improve English

Using Quotes to Practice and Improve English


“The value of a man resides in what he gives and not in what he is capable of receiving.”

-Albert Einstein

Not only are quotes inspirational and motivational, they can also be a great learning tool. Quotes can help you expand your vocabulary, show you grammar structures, and can give you practice with expressing your opinion. This last thing is perhaps my favorite! Many of you, and all of my students want to improve speaking skills, and a huge part of this English fluency is knowing how to express your opinion on a variety of topics.

So this post, and the quote above will be your English lesson this week. Let’s review how you can use quotes to practice and improve English.

Expand Vocabulary

  • Use the quote to define new words.
    • For example: reside [verb] exist or be present, to live at a particular place
  • Use those words to learn synonyms
    • For example: reside → consist, lie, occupy, remain
  • Use those new words (from the quote and your synonym review) to make new sentence examples

Grammar Structures

Notice the following grammatical patterns and structures:

  • articles: definite article “the” and indefinite article “a”
    • we use THE when a noun is specific. In this case, we see “the value of a man”, we are talking about a particular value. Therefore, we need the definite article THE
    • we use A when a noun is nonspecific or in the first time it’s mentioned. In this case, we see “a man”, and this man in nonspecific (we don’t know who it is) and it’s the first time we’ve mentioned him. So we need the indefinite article A
  • preposition + gerund: when a preposition is followed by a verb it must be the gerund
    • capable OF RECEIVING

Expressing your Opinion

Practice your writing or you speaking (if you record yourself) by expressing your opinion. To practice, answer the following questions:

  1. What does this quote mean? (imagine explaining it to a child)
  2. Does this quote inspire or motivate you in any way? If yes, how?
  3. Do you agree with this quote, why or why not?
  4. Think about a personal experience that this quote relates to and talk about that experience

There are 3 ways you can use quotes to improve English. I look forward to hearing your responses, so please share your opinions in the comments below!

Happy Studying! ♥

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  1. Pietro on December 18, 2013 at 10:54 pm

    You can understand that phrase, if you are able to read between the line, because what Einstein want to tell us is that: is not important how much you are able to understand or what you feel during the receiving phase, because if you aren’t ready to gives You’ll never understand really the meaning of receiving.

  2. Lina on December 18, 2013 at 10:52 pm

    I completely agree with quote. I have some examples. We were in charity center yesterday, and I really like that. Based on my feelings, I thought that it’s really good action. I mean, when someone want rescue homeless children. This woman amazing person, I’m sure she really happy in her soul, because if you doing smth good and open your soul for strangers for sure you have big reason for woke up in the morning.

  3. Mo su hwan on December 18, 2013 at 10:52 pm

    I agree about this quote. I was absent yesterday. But I know why It is good for your personal feeling. Because I’ve been to volunteer work center that is try to help disabled person. I helped them like wash body, bring to park. And that people are so kindful. My feeling is too fulfilled and I got many thing even studing something.

  4. Hassan on December 18, 2013 at 10:52 pm

    The value of a man
    The value of a man of what he gives in what he gives and not what he is capable to receive.

    First ,as I concerned the real man which he can give more than what he has taken. For kids women and homeless.

    Finally, as my opinion most of the greatest men in the world who gives their sacrifice to the humanity such as imam HUSSAIN and NELSON MANDELA.

  5. sookyo shin on December 18, 2013 at 10:51 pm

    In my opinion, this quote is almost right in person’s life. If you want to donate something to charity, maybe you don’t expext that something is gonna return to you.
    for example, when you give something to charity or help poor people, do you expext something compensation? probably not!

  6. Giulio on December 18, 2013 at 10:51 pm

    Of course wrong!! The real value of a man, (and not women because they have only one good thin that everybody knows) is possible to notice through his money, his cars & his women. Nobody cares about what he gives to the other people. Could be charity, help or something else, but hes real value is based on his power. More you are a shark, more pover you get.

    Obviously I don’t think every bullshits I said…

  7. Min on December 18, 2013 at 10:51 pm

    The value of a man resides in what he gives and not in what he is capable of receiving. I agree with this sentence. We cant grade the value of a man but we know that a man who always gives something have more value than others. Altough something is not money, there are many things you can give like a warm mind or kindness. Receiving person is selfish. If you receive something, you should give something for poor person. That’s a charity. Actually i dont have much money but i like to volunteer for poor person. I can give my knowledge and mind. I think its very important in our life.

  8. Renata on December 18, 2013 at 10:50 pm

    I agree with this quote, because you just can be a better person if you can put yourself in the place of the other people, and make something to help them. You can give them your time, your love and material staffs.
    The visit of yesterday remaind me my job in Brazil, and I think this kind of charity is so similar in all over the world, is a good job that can help many people to be better and believe on themselfs when nobody more believe. If which person do a little thing to make the world better, we can change the things that we don’t like and make it a better place to live.

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