English for Everyone

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

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Learn How To Punctuate

To write well, you need to know how to punctuate your sentences.

Commas and full-stops (periods) are most often used.

You use commas to separate compound sentences. A compound sentence is made up of 2 or more simple sentences. First of all, a simple sentence has a subject, a verb, and or an object.

e.g. He laughed. (simple sentence: subject + verb)
e.g. He laughed at me. (simple sentence: subject + verb + object)
e.g. He left the room. (simple sentence: subject + verb + object)
e.g. I was all by myself. (simple sentence: subject + verb+ complement)

However, you cannot join two or more simple sentences together without a coordinating conjunction (andbutornorforso, yet)

e.g. He laughed at me, he left the room. (incorrect: there is no coordinating conjunction)
e.g. He laughed at me, and (he) left the room.(correct)
e.g. After he laughed at mehe left the room.(correct: "he laughed at me" becomes a subordinate clause and no longer a simple sentence with the addition of the subordinating conjunction "after")
e.g. He laughed at meleft the room, and I was all by myself. (correct)

You may or may not need a comma for a compound or complex sentence. A complex sentence is made up of a simple sentence and one or more subordinate clauses (a subordinate clause is an incomplete sentence joined to a simple sentence by a subordinating conjunction, such as afterwhensince etc.

e.g. He saw me and he shook my hands. (a compound sentence joining 2 simple sentences by a coordinating conjunction: "and": " he saw me" and "he shook my hands")

A comma before and is optional. If you think the sentence is too long or the meaning is misleading, you may want to add a comma.

By the same token, if you think the complex sentence is too long, then you may want to add a comma.

e.g. When he saw me walking with the Mayor along the corridor, he shook my hands.
e.g. He shook my hands when he saw me. (without the comma)

I hope you have learned the following: a simple sentence, a compound sentence, a coordinating clause, a subordinating clause, and the use of comma.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Confusing Words and Phrases

In the English language, there are many words that look similar and can be confusing, especially to ESL learners. 

Noteworthy / Noticeable

“Noteworthy” means deserving attention; “noticeable” means easily seen.

e.g. The candidate's accomplishments are noteworthy.
e.g. The flaws in the Governor's character are easily noticeable to the public.

Arise / Rise

Arise: appear; begin.
e.g. When he was just about to call 911, a few men in uniform arose.

Rise: appear above the horizon; get out of bed.
e.g. The sun rises in the east.
e.g. He rises very early every morning.

Mellow / Melodious

Mellow: mature; soft and pure; rich and full.
e.g. As he continues to age, he become more mellow and compassionate.

Melodious: tuneful; pleasant to the ear.
e.g. He voice is melodious; he should be a singer.

Studio / Studious

Studio: a place where pictures are taken, or films are made.
e.g. The film was made in a Hollywood studio.

Studious: fond of study; careful and thoughtful.
e.g. To be a good scientist, you must be studious.

Defuse Diffuse

Defuse means to decrease the danger, such as deactivate a bomb; diffuse means to spread over a wide area.
e.g. It is difficult to defuse the conflicts in the Middle East.
e.g. Once you open the bottle of fragrant herbs, their scents will diffuse.

Perishable / Perishing

Perishable: liable to die quickly.
e.g. Fresh vegetables are perishable; put them in the refrigerator.
Perishing: causing suffering.
e.g. Negative thinking may cause perishing emotions and thoughts.

Lose Loose

Lose means being unable to find.
e.g. Here is your ticket to the game; don't lose it.
e.g. Don't lose your temper (become angry).

Loose means to set free or to become less tight.
e.g. You are too loose with your children (you have little or no control over them).

Waive / Wave

Waive: forgo or relinquish; wave: move.
e.g. If you sign this document, you will waive all your rights.
e.g. He was waving his hands at you.

Partake of 
/ Take part in

Partake of: share; take part in: perform.
e.g. The children will partake of the Christmas dinner.
e.g. The children will take part in the carol singing.

Stephen Lau     
Copyright© by Stephen Lau


Thursday, June 7, 2018

Learn Some Prepositional Words and Phrases


Muddle along: continue in confusion.

e.g. Without clear instructions, some employees simply muddled along.

Muddle around: work inefficiently.

e.g. Many employees were laid off because they were muddling around.


Screw around with: play around with, usually not doing anything positive (slang).

e.g. Don’t screw around with that guy and waste your time!

Screw up: mess up; spoil.

e.g. See, you’ve screwed up my plan! I wish you hadn’t come.


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?


Appeal against: ask a court to cancel something.

e.g. The lawyer appealed against the court’s decision.

Appeal for: demand as a right.

e.g. I think we should appeal for justice.
e.g. They are appealing for our help.

Appeal to: attract or please someone.

e.g. The proposal appealed to many of us.
e.g. Her personality appeals to everybody around her.
e.g. Does this food appeal to your taste?


Gouge out: cheat someone out of something.

e.g. Don’t try to gouge some money out of that poor old man.


Answer for: be responsible for.

e.g. You will have to answer for your mistakes.

Answer to: explain or justify for.

e.g. You will have to answer to the judge for what you did.


Inch across: creep slowly across.

e.g. The injured dog inched across the bridge.

Inch back: go back slowly.

e.g. The army inched back as we fired our guns.

Inch over: move back a little.

e.g. Can you inch over a little? I can’t get in


Ground in: instruct.

e.g. We should ground our children in love and values as they grow up.

Ground on: form a foundation for.

e.g. His intelligence was grounded on reading books on wisdom.


Let down: disappoint.
e.g. I put my hope on you; don't let me down.

Let out: release.

e.g. Don't let out your anger on me!
e.g. He was let out of prison after he was found not guilty of the crime.

Let up: decrease in intensity.

e.g After a while, the rain let up.


Hand down: deliver; leave as an inheritance.

e.g. We have handed down all the information to our associates.
e.g. When he dies, he will hand down his business to his family, and not before.

Hand in: submit.

e.g. I have handed in my resignation; tomorrow will be my last day in the office.

Hand over: yield control of.

e.g. The manager has handed over the human resources section to the assistant manager.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© 2018 by Stephen Lau

Monday, June 4, 2018

Learn Some Idiomatic Expressions

Learn Some Idiomatic Expressions

Late in life: in old age
e.g. It was only late in life that he became a famous writer.

Afraid of one’s own shadow: easily frightened.
e.g. Don’t tell him that this is an unsafe neighborhood; he is even afraid of his own shadow.

Abide by: accept and follow
e.g. If you wish to become a citizen of the United States, you must abide by U.S. immigration laws.

Take to one’s heels: run away
e.g. Before the police could come, the thief took to his heels.

Feel like: have a desire for something
e.g. I feel like eating a hamburger.

After a fashion: somehow or somewhat
e.g. I play the piano after a fashion—well, not a concert pianist.

Keep abreast of: keep up with; keep updated
e.g. As a politician, you must keep abreast of what is happening around the world.

Put the finger on someone: accuse someone of some wrong-doing; inform the police
e.g. You think I took your money? Don’t try to put the finger on me!

Under a cloud: under suspicion
e.g. He has been under a cloud; the police has been investigating him for some time.

Paddle one's own canoe: do something by oneself
e.g. You're now a young adult; you should learn to paddle your own canoe.

Open a Pandora’s box
: uncover a lot of previously unsuspected problems
e.g. If I were you, I would not look into his past; you might be opening a Pandora’s box.

Hit like a ton of bricks: surprise or shock
e.g. The sudden resignation of the President hit the people like a ton of bricks.

Go the distance: do the whole thing
e.g. This is a long, complicated project. To succeed, you must go the distance.

For a song: inexpensive
e.g. You can get this on the Internet for a song.

Hit the nail on the head: do exactly the right thing
e.g. Your remark hit the nail on the head; that was precisely the solution to the problem.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© 2018 by Stephen Lau

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

2 FREE Books for You

These two books are FREE for download on AMAZON from May 29 to June 2, 2018.

The Happiness Wisdom
By Stephen Lau

Many are unhappy not because of what they have experienced throughout their life journeys, but because they don't have the human wisdom to perceive and process what they've experienced.

Happiness is a state of mind, due to the the perceptions of the human mind. Change your perceptions to change your so-called realities. Empower your mind with human wisdom -- ancient wisdom from the East and the West, conventional wisdom, and spiritual wisdom -- to think differently to have totally different perspectives of what may have made you happy or unhappy.

To get your FREE digital copy, click here.

TAO The Way to Biblical Wisdom
by Stephen Lau

A complete translation of Lao Tzu's immortal classic Tao Te Ching with respect to the Holy Bible.

Learn and understand the ancient human wisdom from China in order to attain Biblical wisdom.

To get your FREE digital copy, click here.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Learn Some Common Everyday Expressions

Learning a language takes time and effort, especially if it is not your first language. Even if it is your mother tongue, you still need time and effort to master it because almost every language has its own everyday colloquial expressions, and the English language is no exception.

Ask me another: I don't know.
e.g. "Does your daughter want a baby?" "Ask me another!"
Fork out: pay

e.g. Well, everybody has to fork out $30 for the farewell present to the boss.

In the picture: informed.

e.g. Thank you for putting me in the picture; now I know what's really going on.

Beat: broke, no money.
e.g. Without a job, we are beat, no copper and no bread.
Go: attempt.
e.g. Have a go at doing this on your own.
All the rage: fashionable.

e.g. Wearing a big hat will be all the rage this summer.

Answer is a lemon: no!
e.g. "Can I come with you? "The answer is a lemon!"

How goes it?: what has happened lately?
e.g. “How goes it?” “I just got married!”

In the same boat: in the same difficult situation.

e.g. I just got fired from my job; now we're in the same boat.

e.g. We're now in the same boat: flat broke (meaning having no money).

In the same boat: in the same difficult situation.

e.g. I just got fired from my job; now we're in the same boat.

e.g. We're now in the same boat: flat broke (meaning having no money).

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau