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Cookin’ Up Some Instant Hamburger

Happy New Lesson Day.


It’s Friday.

In this week’s EES lesson we talk about… ready meals.

A bit of a random topic?

Yes, maybe. But then, if you’re going to be ready to speak extraordinary English in any situation, you’d best get used to talking about random topics like this.

We discuss the difference in “ready meal” culture between the UK and Japan…

… and we cook up a few instant-dishes from out local supermarket.

Another great lesson this week.

Even if I do say so myself (and it’s a great lesson for pure entertainment value, too).

Click here to start your EES membership.


Julian Northbrook
Instant Hamburger Punk.

P.S. September’s EES Gazette is going to be all about thinking in English.

I go deep into the language-science of why your first language gets in the way of your English, and discuss ways you can stop it…

… and start thinking in English.

It’s going to be quite a deep one, I think.

Start your membership now to ensure you get it.

P.P.S. On Monday I’ll be launching the all-new members website.

It’s going to make using the Weekly lessons (and other premium courses) much, much easier.

Start your membership here.

How many tenses do native speakers of English use to communicate?

Got this question:

Hi Julian! What a great voice! Your accent is very clear! I like this video a lot! My question: on a daily basis, when doing ordinary activities (like running errands, doing chores…) how many tenses do you think native speakers of English use to communicate? Thanks!

Oscar Aldomá

This is a good question.

And something I talk about in my book a lot regarding words (Which Oscar will know, since he’s already read it).

First off, a quick clarification:

English only has three tenses: Past, present and future (technically only two in the grammatical sense).

But these combine with the four “aspects” (simple, progressive, perfect, and perfect progressive) to make a total of twelve categories.

It probably won’t surprise you that native speakers don’t use these evenly.

Far from it.

Multiple research studies looked at the frequency of these 12 categories, and the findings are pretty much unanimous for both written and spoken English.

The simple present is always the most common at about 60~70% of verbs, then the simple past at about 20% (so a combined 80~90%).

Here’s a simple graph I made:

This is just rough.

But you get the idea.

So basically we can say that native speakers use the simple forms 80% of the time, then the present forms… and from there it’s all down hill.

Of course…

… that doesn’t mean people never use the other grammatical tenses.

They certainly do.

Next week I will have been doing the EES programme for 3 years.


When you need the future perfect progressive, well, you need it.

No matter how rare it is relatively speaking.

But the point is, the way speakers actually use the tenses is clearly extremely imbalanced. And so the approach you take to learning the patterns of language (including tenses) needs to take this into account.

This is where what I call…

“Example Based Learning” comes in.

I talk about this in detail in Master English FAST in chapter 6 and also in the talk I gave a few weeks ago.

The recording of which you will get free if you pre-order MEF now.


Julian Northbrook
Will have been a language punk for 10 years soon.

P.S. Talking about Master English FAST…

The books are due to arrive at my house one week today. And I plan to have them in the post the next day (we’ve already prepared the envelopes ready to ship!).

Which means you’re almost out of time to pre-order the book and get the talk I gave included free.

Here’s the place to order.

They Don’t Want Me

Six months of paperwork going back and forth…

… not to mention hours upon hours waiting in line at the Japanese Tokyo Immigration office and my application for permanent residence was…

… refused!


In a way I’m kind of not surprised.

But it’s still a shock.

As is the fact that I’ll have to repeat the whole process again in a few years. Not to mention now I have to go get a new visa.

And the worst part?

No residency means we can’t apply for a loan on a house.

Which sucks big-time, because we’ve just spent the last three years getting ourselves into a position where we can *finally* stop renting and own a place.

This sort of thing is, of course, the downside of being self employed and a business owner. Applications for basically anything official are 1000 times more difficult than they would normally be.

Well, never mind.

It is what it is.

No point in crying of spilled milk and all that.

Click here and buy my book.


Julian Northbrook
Language Punk. Spilling milk.

P.S. By the way…

I got the final proof-copy of Master English FAST back from the printers today… meaning MEF will be (finally!) ready to ship soon.

At which point the pre-sell will end…

… and with it, your chances to get access to the Extraordinary 1-hour presentation I did a couple of weeks ago for free.

Get your copy of MEF here.

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