English for Everyone

<b>English for Everyone</b>
Learn and Master English Everyday and Everywhere!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Prepositional Words and Phrases

Argue about: dispute or quarrel with someone over.
e.g. They often argue about racial injustice over the dinner table.

Argue against: make a case against someone or something.
e.g. The police discovered new evidence that argued against the criminal charge.

Argue back: answer back.
e.g. I wish he would not argue back so much.

Argue down: defeat someone in a debate.
e.g. He tries to argue down everyone who has opposite views.

Argue for: make a case for someone.
e.g. My lawyer will argue for me in court.

Argue into: convince someone to do something.
e.g. I could not argue myself into helping you in this project.

Argue with: challenge someone or something.
e.g. I won’t argue with what you do; after all, it is your choice.

Therefore, learn more prepositional phrases and find out how they are different in meaning with different prepositions.

TALK

Talk back: answer impolitely.
e.g. It's rude to talk back to your parents like that.

Talk over: discuss.
e.g. We'll talk over the matter before we see your parents.

BACK

Back down: retreat from a position in an argument.
e.g. Knowing that he did not have a valid point, he backed down.

Back out: desert; fail to keep a promise.
e.g. You said you would help us, but you backed out.

Back out of: fail to keep a promise.
e.g. We cannot back out of the contract; we are legally obligated to do what we are supposed to do.

Back up: support
e.g. Are you going to back me up if I decide to go ahead with the project?

TOUCH

Touch on: mention briefly.
e.g. The professor barely touched on the subject of Civil War.

Touch up: repair.
e.g. Can you touch up the scratches on the door?


Prepositions are words that indicate the relationships between various elements within a sentence. In formal English, prepositions are almost always followed by objects.

e.g. The policeman shot (verb) the man (object) with (preposition identifying the man being shot) a knife.

e.g. I put (verb) the pen (direct object) on (preposition indicating the position of the pen) the table (indirect object).

e.g. I put (verb) the pen (direct object) under (preposition indicating the position of the pen) the table (indirect object).

Prepositional phrases always consist of the object and the preposition. Prepositional phrases can act as adjectives or adverbs. When they are used as adjectives, they modify nouns and pronouns in the same way single-word adjectives do. When prepositional phrases are used as adverbs, they also act in the same way single-word adverbs and adverb clauses do, modifying adjectives, verbs, and other adverbs.

Stephen Lau

Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

American Idioms

Mind one’s p’s and q’s: pay attention to one’s manners
e.g. When you meet the President, you must mind your p’s and q’s.

Go through the roof: very angry
e.g. When he found out that you took his money, he went through the roof.

That’s the ticket: what is needed
e.g. That’s the ticket! If you do as I tell you, you will succeed.

Run in the family: a characteristic in all members of a family
e.g. Longevity runs in the family: they all live to a ripe old age.

All at sea: confused
e.g. The lawyer was all at sea when he read the two conflicting reports of the incident.

Handwriting on the wall: a warning
e.g. If the Governor had seen the handwriting on the wall, he would not have adopted those unpopular proposals.

Go through the roof: very angry
e.g. When he found out that you took his money, he went through the roof.

Fork out: pay
e.g. I like this computer, but I don’t want to fork out a lot of money.

Odd man out: atypical person or thing
e.g. Everybody has a partner, and you are an odd man out because you don’t have one.

Take the bull by the horns: deal with the challenge directly
e.g. This is a very difficult situation, but we must take the bull by the horns.

That’s the ticket: what is needed
e.g. That’s the ticket! If you do as I tell you, you will succeed.

Rule the roost: be the boss
e.g. Who rules the roost at your house?

Then and there: on the spot
e.g. As soon as the candidate finished his speech, he was shot then and there.

Dance to another tune: change to a different attitude or behavior
e.g. If your parents were here, you would dance to another tune.

In nothing flat: in exactly no time at all
e.g. Don’t worry! I’ll get you to the airport in nothing flat.

Make a stab at: try to do something
e.g. I knew you would make a stab at finishing the project.

Ins and outs of something: details to do something right
e.g. Take your time; you need to know the ins and outs of this procedure in order to do it right.

Has had its day: no longer popular
e.g. This bulky lawn mower has had its day. We need to get a new one.


Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Words and Phrases Frequently Confused and Misused


Words are neither effective nor ineffective; they just impart different meanings to the sentences in which they are used. It is the writer's effective use of words and phrases that makes sentences effective or ineffective.

The English language is made up of nearly a million words and phrases. A writer, especially one whose English is not his or her first language, may face two major problems in writing: not knowing "enough" words; and not knowing how to choose the "right" words. 

Writing is made up of words. Effective writing requires having a good stock of vocabulary, as well as selecting the most suitable words and phrases to express the intended ideas.

There are many English words and phrases that are frequently confused and misused by ESL learners. This book provides hundreds of those words and phrases with examples to show how they should be used correctly.

Stephen Lau     
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Books By Stephen Lau


Monday, December 11, 2017

Everyday Colloquial Expressions

The following are some common everyday colloquial expressions for ESL learners: . 

Good hunting: good luck in your enterprise.
e.g. "I'm going to invest in gold." "Good hunting!"

Go easy with: use sparingly.
e.g. Go easy with your hard-earned money.

Darned sight more: a lot more.
e.g. "Do you think he should put more effort on this?" "A darned sight more!"

Pooped: exhausted.
e.g. I was pooped after working for nine hours in the yard.

Hard at it: busy.
e.g. "Are you working on the project?" "You bet! I'm hard at it."

Not so dusty: quite good.
e.g. Well the performance was not so dusty; much better than I expected.

Are you with me?: understand or agree with me.
e.g. I've been explaining this for an hour. Are you with me?

Bang out: reveal.
e.g. If you go into politics, you must be prepared to let all your secrets bang out.

Deliver the goods: do what is expected or required.
e.g. The new employee seems to deliver the goods -- very hard working and conscientious.

Half-baked: silly.
e.g. What do you take me for? A fool half-baked!

Guinea-pig: person used as a subject for tests or investigations.
e.g. I wouldn't like to be a guinea-pig in this scientific research, if I were you.
Good for you: well done!
e.g. "I aced my test." "Good for you!"

Beat hollow: be superior to.
e.g. She is bossy, beating everyone hollow.

Jump down one's throat: criticize or scold severely.
e.g. The boss jumped down my throat for not completing the project on time.

Excuse my French: pardon my bad language.
e.g. Ladies, please excuse my French; he really made me mad.

Back to square one: back to where one started.
e.g. We're back to square one: no deal.

Hit the roof: explode with anger.
e.g. When he heard the bad news, he hit the roof.

Jump on: blame or criticize strongly.
e.g. You jumped on him every time he opened his mouth.

Gift of the gab: ability to give effective speeches.
e.g. The new Mayor has the gift of the gab: people like listening to him.

Keep one's head above water: stay out of debt or a difficult situation.
e.g. In this economic environment, it is not easy to keep your head above water.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau




Sunday, December 10, 2017

Learn Some Slang Expressions

Learn Some Slang Expressions

Have not the faintest: have no idea at all.
e.g. I had not the faintest what he was talking about.

Darned sight more: a lot more.
e.g. "Do you think he should put more effort on this?" "A darned sight more!"

Have it in for someone: bear someone a grudge; be determined to punish someone.
e.g. All these years he has it in for you: you married his sweetheart.

Put one's shirt on: wager everything.
e.g. We have to put our shirt on this project; we've no other option.

Pooped: exhausted.
e.g. I was pooped after working for nine hours in the yard.

Are you with me?: understand or agree with me.
e.g. I've been explaining this for an hour. Are you with me?

Bang out: reveal.
e.g. If you go into politics, you must be prepared to let all your secrets bang out.

Deliver the goods: do what is expected or required.
e.g. The new employee seems to deliver the goods -- very hard working and conscientious.

Hard put to it: in a very difficult situation.
e.g. I understand that when you are out of employment for so long, you are really very hard put to it.

Have a load on: be very drunk.
e.g. Your husband seemed to have a load on when he came home from work yesterday.

Cry blue murder: make a great fuss.
e.g. Just ignore him: he's crying blue murder over everything.

Beat hollow: be superior to.
e.g. She is bossy, beating everyone hollow.

Gray matter: brains.
e.g. To solve this complex problem, you need gray matter, which you don;t have. 

Jump on: blame or criticize strongly.
e.g. You jumped on him every time he opened his mouth.

Gift of the gab: ability to give effective speeches.
e.g. The new Mayor has the gift of the gab: people like listening to him.

Keep one's head above water: stay out of debt or a difficult situation.
e.g. In this economic environment, it is not easy to keep your head above water.

Stephen Lau

Copyright© by Stephen Lau


Friday, December 8, 2017

Everyday Slang Expressions for ESL Learners

In the raw: naked.
e.g. Did you see that man on the street? He was dancing in the raw.

Do one's bit: do one's share of responsibility.
e.g. I've done my bit; I hope it's going to work.

Are you with me?: understand or agree with me.
e.g. I've been explaining this for an hour. Are you with me?

Get out of bed of the wrong side: be irritable.
e.g. Your Mom seems to have got out of bed on the wrong side.

Bang out: reveal.
e.g. If you go into politics, you must be prepared to let all your secrets bang out.

Jam full / packed: fully packed.
e.g. The room is jam packed with boxes.

Gift of the gab: ability to give effective speeches.
e.g. The new Mayor has the gift of the gab: people like listening to him.

Keep one's head above water: stay out of debt or a difficult situation.
e.g. In this economic environment, it is not easy to keep your head above water.

Hard at it: busy.
e.g. "Are you working on the project?" "You bet! I'm hard at it."

Go down with: be accepted or approved by.
e.g. The President's speech went down with the Spanish community.

Stephen Lau     
Copyright© by Stephen Lau





Thursday, December 7, 2017

Words Frequently Confused

FOUL / FOWL

Foul means dirty or offensive; fowl is a bird, such as hen.
e.g. The smoke from that factory fouls the air. (as a verb)
e.g. He always speak foul language, even in the presence of ladies. (as an adjective)
e.g. We are going to have a roast fowl for dinner tonight.

SEDATIVE / SEDENTARY

Sedative: calming or soothing.
e.g. Without her sedative medicine, she could not go to sleep.
Sedentary: accustomed to sitting; physically inactive.
e.g His sedentary work -- sitting in front of the computer -- took a toll on his health.
e.g. Most seniors have a sedentary lifestyle as they continue to age.

PERISHABLE / PERISHING

Perishable: liable to die or perish quickly.
e.g. Fresh vegetables are perishable if you don't put them in the refrigerator.
Perishing: causing suffering.
e.g. Negative thinking may cause perishing emotions and thoughts.

FRAGILE / FRAIL

Fragile: delicate, easily broken.
e.g. This piece of antique is fragile; please handle with care.
Frail: weak in health; without strong support.
e.g. He looks pale and frail.
e.g. The Senator received frail support from his party.

PERIODIC / PERIODICAL

Periodic: occurring again and again.
e.g. The singer has never really retired with periodic appearance on TV.
Periodical: published at regular intervals.
e.g. This is a periodical magazine -- published once a month.
   
IMPAIR / REPAIR

Impair: weaken or repair.
e.g. Spending too much time on the computer may impair your vision.
Repair: fix
e.g. Eye exercises can repair your vision

Stephen Lau

Copyright© by Stephen Lau


Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Wisdom in Living



This is a completely updated website on how to live your life as if everything is a miracle.

The journey of life is long and unpredictable. We all need wisdom to guide us along the way so that we will not get lost; even if we do, we may still find out way back to where it will eventually lead us to our final destination.

This new website may provide you with wisdom as your compass and roadmap on your life journey.

Wisdom in living comprises seeking God's wisdom through understanding human wisdom in order to live a meaningful and purposeful life, even in the golden years. The ancient wisdom of Tao holds the key to applying these principles of life and living in this modern world.

Stephen Lau