English for Everyone

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

Friday, February 16, 2018

More Prepositional Words and Phrases


Drop around: come for a casual visit.

e.g. You must drop around some time and have a drink with us.

Drop behind: fail to keep up with a schedule.

e.g. I dropped behind in my work because of my ill health recently.

Drop by: visit.

e.g. I hope you can drop by and see our new granddaughter.

Drop it on: give some bad news.

e.g. I’m sorry I’ve to drop some bad news on you.


Abide by: follow a set of rules.

e.g. We must abide by all the instructions from the Mayor.

Abide with: stay with someone.

e.g. She is your wife; you must abide with her no matter what.


Ease of: relieve or reduce someone of something.

e.g. The doctor eased me of my back pain with some medication.

Ease off: diminish; let up doing something.

e.g. The rain has eased off; we'd better leave now.

e.g. Come on, he's just a kid. Ease off!

Ease up on: treat gently.

e.g. Come on! Ease up on the gas! We’re going too fast!


Move ahead
: advance beyond.

e.g. If you wish to move ahead in you career, you need a higher degree.

Move along
: continue to move.

e.g. Come on! Move along; there's nothing to see here

Move around
: walk around a bit here and there.

e.g. Can you sit still, instead of moving around?

Move aside
: step out of the way.

e.g. Please move aside so that the crowd can get through.

Move away
: withdraw from someone or something.

e.g. Let's move away from those smokers.

Move back: move back and away.

e.g. Please move back! We need more space here.

Move on something
: do something about something.

e.g. This is an issue we must move on.

e.g. You must move on this matter and give it your top priority.

Move up
: advance; go higher.

e.g. She is trying to move her son up the social ladder/

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The Right Choice of Words

Adherence / Adhesion

Much more: especially in a positive sense; much less: not to mention in a negative sense.

e.g. I would help a stranger in need, much more if he is my son.

e.g. She wouldn't even look at me, much less talk to me.

Dutiable / Dutiful

Dutiable: subject to imported tax; dutiful: showing respect and obedience.

e.g. Tobacco is often dutiable in most countries.

e.g. He is my dutiful son.

Adherence: following faithfully (metaphorically); adhesion: sticking to (literally).

e.g. No matter what may happen, our company will demonstrate to our shareholders our adherence to the project.

e.g. You can use this glue to strengthen the adhesion of these two pieces of material.

Defer / Infer

Defer: give way or yield to; infer: conclude.

e.g. He is a good kid: he always defers to his parents' wishes.

e.g. We can infer from your statement that you don't like this policy.

Aside / A side

Aside is an adverb meaning apart from, in addition to, to one side; a side means on each side.

e.g. Aside from money, he also needs a place to stay.

e.g. We need to put aside some money in case of emergency.

e.g. Please stand aside so that others can move in.

e.g. The passengers sat four a side.

Irritable / Irritant

Irritable means easily made angry; irritant means causing anger or discomfort.

e.g. He has a short temper and is easily irritable.

e.g. Nobody likes him because of his irritant behavior.

Accountable to / Accountable for

Accountable to: responsible to someone; accountable for: responsible for something

e.g. The Manager has to be accountable to the Board; he has to be accountable for all his business decisions. 

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Monday, February 5, 2018

Don't Confuse These Words


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.


Light: (as a verb) come across; happen to find.
e.g. I lighted upon a very interesting book in the library.

Lighten (as a verb) brighten up; make something less heavy.
e.g. Can you lighten the dark corridor?
e.g. Your financial support lightened my burden.


Neural: having to do with brain cells or nervous system.
e.g. My brother is a neural scientist.

Neutral: not helping or taking any side.
e.g. He remained neutral in this controversial issue.


Contrary: the exact opposite
e.g. You think I did not help him. On the contrary, I did everything I could to help him.

Contrast: comparison.
e.g. Contrast may make you see things very differently


Indoor is an adjective; indoors is an adverb.

e.g. Bowling is an indoor game.
e.g. It's going to rain; let's go indoors.


Infer means read a meaning into or draw a conclusion from; imply means suggest.

e.g. What are we to infer from the President’s statement?
e.g. Are you implying that I took your money?


Portend: foretell.
e.g. These minor quakes might portend a big earthquake in the near future.

Portent: a sign or warning; a marvelous thing in the future.
e.g. A bright future is your portent.


Contribution: donation; an act of helping and supporting.
e.g. Thank you for your contribution to the project.

Contrition: sincere sorrow for sin.
e.g. The convicted criminal showed contrition when he apologized to the family of the victim.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Confusing Words

Sensual / Sensuous

Sensual: related to the body; sensuous: related to the five senses.
e.g. It is difficult to be spiritual when one focuses too much on sensual pleasures.
e.g. The painter is able to provide some sensuous images in his painting.
Irritable / Irritant
rritable means easily made angry; irritant means causing anger or discomfort.
e.g. He has a short temper and is easily irritable.
e.g. Nobody likes him because of his irritant behavior.

Right / Rightly

Right: immediately; rightly: justly, correctly.

e.g. Do it right now.
e.g. Do it right away.
e.g. I rightly canceled the trip.
e.g. We refused the offer, and rightly so.

Sensual / Sensuous

Sensual: related to the body; sensuous: related to the five senses.
e.g. It is difficult to be spiritual when one focuses too much on sensual pleasures.
e.g. The painter is able to provide some sensuous images in his painting.

Defer / Infer

Defer: give way or yield to; infer: conclude.
e.g. He is a good kid: he always defers to his parents' wishes.
e.g. We can infer from your statement that you don't like this policy.

Potent / Potential

Potent: strong, powerful; potential: power that could be, but is not yet.
e.g. He is a potent politician.
e.g. He has great potential in American politics.

Compare to / Compare with

Compare to: state a resemblance to; compare with: put side by side to find out the similarities and differences.
e.g. The poet compares living in this modern world to riding on a bullet train.
e.g. If you compare Plan A with Plan B, you will know that Plan B is much better than Plan A. 

All / All of

All is used for amount, quantity, distance, and length of time.
e.g. all the money, all the way, all day, all night,
All of is used when a simple pronoun follows.
e.g. all of it, all of you, all of us.
All and all of may be used when it refers to number.
e.g. All or all of the employees are satisfied with the new policy.
e.g. All or all of the children in the family have gone to college.

Mediate / Meditate

Mediate means to act as a peacemaker; meditate means to think deeply.
e.g. The Secretary of State is trying to mediate between the two warring nations.
e.g. He meditated revenge after he was insulted by his coworkers.
Reverend / Reverent

Reverend: worthy of respect; reverent: showing respect.
e.g. Have you met the Rev. Mr. Johnson?
e.g. He gave a reverent speech on drug addiction.

In regard to / As regards

Both mean with reference to.

e.g. As regards your performance, I think you did a good job (no “to”).
e.g. She is very generous in regard to charity donation.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Learn Some Prepositional Words and Phrases

Learn some prepositional phrases:


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.


Listen to: follow the instructions of.

e.g. You never listen to what your parents tell you to do.

Listen up: pay attention to.

e.g. Listen up! You must finish this before you go.


Hold someone or something at bay: keep someone or something at a safe distance.

e.g. The bombing might be able to hold the enemies at bay, at least for a while.

Hold back on something: withhold something.

e.g. Hold back on this. We might need it in the days to come.

Hold by: stick to a promise.

e.g. I hope you will hold by this agreement.

Hold good for someone or something: remain open e.g.  an offer to someone or something.

e.g. Does it hold good for everyone, including members of the family?

Hold no brief for someone or something: not to tolerate someone or something.

e.g We should hold no brief for social injustice.

Hold off from doing something: delay or postpone doing something.

e.g. Can you hold off buying this car? We can't afford it.
Hold out: survive.

e.g. I don't think we can hold out much longer with this kind of income.

Hold a candle to someone or something: be equal to someone or something.

e.g. You don't hold a candle to your brother when it comes to playing the guitar.

Hold one's head up: be confident.

e.g.  Hold your head up when it comes to public speaking.


Fade down:  diminish.

e.g. The thunder faded down, and soon the sun came out.

Fade up: increase the sound gradually.

e.g. Let's fade up the music when the speaker finished his speech.


Horse around: play around nosily and roughly.

e.g Stop horsing around! It's time to go home!


Eat up: consume too much (figuratively).

e.g. This big project has eaten me up.


Egg on: encourage someone to do something.

e.g. She is determined to do that. You don’t need to egg her on.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau