English for Everyone

<b>English for Everyone</b>
Stephen Lau's website to help you get the wisdom to live as if everything is a miracle.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Prepositional Words and Phrases

Learn some prepositional phrases:



DELIGHT

Delight in: take great pleasure in.

e.g. We all delight in your baby.

Delight with: please someone with something.

e.g. He delighted his wife with a diamond bracelet.



ANSWER

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.

HOLD

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

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

Horse around: play around nosily and roughly.

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

ABIDE

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.


Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Use of Different Prepositions

Learn how the use of different prepositions may affect the meanings of  sentences.



DELIGHT

Delight in someone or something: take great pleasure in.

e.g. We all delight in your baby.

Delight with: please someone with something.

e.g. He delighted his wife with a diamond bracelet.

ANSWER

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.

HOLD

Hold by: stick to a promise.

CHECK

Check out: leave; pay bills.

e.g. We are going to check out the hotel at noon.

Check up on: investigate.

e.g. The account will check up on the sum of money unaccounted for.

GAIN

Gain in: advance in something.

e.g. As you age, you may gain in wisdom.

Gain on: begin to catch up with.

e.g. We were able to gain in on the car in front of us.

FADE

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

Horse around: play around nosily and roughly.
e.g Stop horsing around! It's time to go home!

ABIDE

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.


Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Monday, May 15, 2017

How to Write an Effective Paragraph

The Effective Paragraph

A paragraph is made up of sentences, which develop the topic sentence. A good paragraph must have three basic qualities: coherence, flow, and development.

Paragraph coherence

A coherent paragraph must satisfy two criteria: 

Relevance 

Every idea you express in the paragraph must be related to the topic. 

Order 

Every idea you express in the paragraph must be arranged in a sequence according to logic and importance.

Paragraph flow

The sentences within each paragraph should be appropriately linked, such that each statement connects with the one or ones preceding it.

Linking successive sentences within a paragraph is achieved by the following:

Using a pronoun whose antecedent appears in the previous sentence

e.g. I bought myself an expensive watch for the occasion. It cost me over one thousand dollars.

Repeating a key word used in previous sentence or sentences

e.g. I bought myself an expensive watch for the occasion. That watch cost me over one thousand dollars.

Using a synonym

e.g. Women attach much importance to physical beauty. To many women, looks are everything.

Using word patterns, such as first, second, third

e.g. There were several reasons for the failure of the project. First, the preparation was inadequate. Second, there was insufficient money. Third, the timing was inappropriate.

Using transitional words, such as accordingly, afterwards, as a result, below, consequently, for example, furthermore, however, in fact, therefore, etc.

e.g. The student has set his goal to pass his test this time. Accordingly, he is working extra hard.

e.g. We did not have adequate preparation. As a result, we were unable to deal with many unforeseeable problems.

e.g. The castle stood at the top of the hill. Below stretched miles of beautiful scenery.

e.g. We made many mistakes in the preparation for the project. For example, we decided to complete the project in three weeks instead of in three months.

e.g. There was a severe thunderstorm. Consequently, many trees were blown down.

e.g. We did not have the fund for that expensive project. Furthermore, we lacked the expertise and the manpower to carry it out.

e.g. He did work very hard throughout the last semester; however, there was little improvement in his grades.

e.g. That project was expensive. In fact, it was the most expensive one that the company had ever undertaken .

e.g. No one volunteered to help the disabled in this facility. In other words, no one really cared.

In addition, there should be flow between paragraphs. The above can be applied accordingly to link paragraphs as a unity. 

Paragraph development

Paragraphs are about ideas, facts, and beliefs. A good paragraph must be adequately developed. In other words, every aspect of that topic has to be fully covered. There are different methods of developing your paragraphs: 

Definition

Definition is required of an abstraction, such as religious toleration, and democracy.

You need to define or explain certain terms or ideas that you think your readers may not understand. You can define by using synonyms, that is, explaining something abstract in different words, usually simpler words.

Illustration 

If your topic sentence is a general statement, you need to support your generalization with some concrete examples. Illustration shows that you are not talking through your hat and that you know your subject. 

Restatement 

If you think the idea is important, simply restate it. Repeating what you have just said in a slightly different way is an easy way of developing a paragraph. A word of  caution: make sure your sentences are not in the same structure, and the expression of the same idea is different:

You can say what is not the case, and then assert what is the case.

You can also make your restatement from a general to a more specific one by giving more details.

Comparison and contrast

In comparison and contrast, you are dealing with at least two topics with similarities, or differences, or both.

e.g. In many ways London and New York are alike. 

e.g. London is very different from New York in many respects.

e.g. Intelligence is not exactly the same as wisdom.

Use of analogy

Analogy is a special kind of comparison in which another topic is introduced to explain or justify the main subject.

You may use analogy to clarify an abstract or difficult statement previously made; you may also use analogy to persuade the readers. 

Causes and effects 

Paragraphs are about facts, ideas, and beliefs. Accordingly, you need to explain why something happened, or why it is true or false.

Within this framework, you may have to give examples, compare and contrast, and restate your ideas.

Paragraph length

In addition to the above, a good writer should also consider paragraph length as well as the number of paragraphs.

Paragraphs vary in length. Short paragraphs (one to three sentences) are used in journalism with the explicit purpose of reporting information without discussion, or in technical writing with the emphasis on presenting facts without analysis. Generally, avoid a series of very short paragraphs, which may suggest poor development of an idea. On the other hand, long paragraphs are often difficult for most readers. Always vary your paragraphs: a short one followed by several longer paragraphs. A one-sentence paragraph can be very effective to emphasize a point; however, do not overuse it.

How many paragraphs do you need? That depends on what you have to say and how much you have to say. Any piece of writing should have at least an introduction, a main body, and a conclusion. The number of paragraphs you are going to give to each is at your discretion.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau