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.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Learn Some American Idioms


Learn Some American Idioms

In fine feather: in good condition; in good health
e.g. With a good night sleep, I am in fine feather today.

After all: in spite of everything
e.g. She didn’t get a good score; after all, it was her first attempt.

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

Act one’s age: behave maturely
e.g. Stop behaving like a teenager! Act your age.

No flies on: very alert, smart
e.g. You cannot trick her; there are no flies on her.

Bad sort: an unpleasant person
e.g. He is a bad sort; nobody likes him.

Bag your face: shut up!
e.g. You and your loud mouth! Go and bag your face!

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

A little bird told me: somehow I knew

e.g. “How did you know what I did?” “Well, a little bird told me.”

Add insult to injury: make things worse
e.g. Enough is enough! Don’t add insult to injury.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© 2018 by Stephen Lau

Monday, March 26, 2018

Idioms and Colloquial Expressions

Hard stuff: whisky or any liquor.

e.g."Would you like a Coke?" "I'd prefer some hard stuff."

Make one's pile: make one's fortune.



e.g. Real estate is where he makes his pile.

Half-baked: silly.

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

Keep early hours: go to bed early.

e.g. If you want good health, keep early hours.

Go under: fail.

e.g. I am sorry to say that all your proposals have gone under.

Hook on to: attach oneself to.

e.g. Don't hook on to your computer all day.
.
Hook it: depart immediately.

e.g. Come on, hook it; our parents will be back soon.

Can't complain: okay.

e.g. "How are things going with you?" "Can't complain."

What gives?: what happened?

e.g. "Hey, guys, what gives?" "We just had an argument; now it's okay."
e.g. "Where's your purse? What gives?"

Heads up: look around; be careful.

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."

Stephen Lau
Copyright©2018 by Stephen Lau

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Learn Some Slang and Colloquial Expressions


Learn Some Slang and Colloquial Expressions 

Spill the beans: give information unintentionally.
e.g. "I told them that you will be on vacation next week." "It's supposed to be a secret. Well, you just spilled the beans.

Spitting image: exact image.
e.g. He has a spitting image of his brother: they are twins.

Bat along: move along smoothly.
e.g. This is not rush hour, and cars do bat along.

Bone-head: a simple-minded person
e.g. Don't be a bone-head! Do some thinking!

Blue pencil: censor.
e.g. The committee will blue pencil whatever you are going to say.

Hold one's horse: wait a minute; not immediately.
e.g. Dinner is ready, but hold your horse; wait for the host to come down!

In good nick: in good condition.
e.g. If I were you, I would buy this car; it's in good nick.

Boil over: become angry.
e.g.  Get away from him: he's boiling over with rage.

Put one's thinking cap on: seriously consider.
e.g. Well, I'll have to put my thinking cap on this before I can give you an answer.

Rake it in: earn money quickly.
e.g. If you invest in this, you can really rake it in.

Bone idle: very lazy.
e.g. She's bone idle: she never does any household chore.

Bone up on: study hard.
e.g. If you wish to pass your test, you'd better bone up on it.

Bowl over: overwhelm.
e.g. I was bowled over by all the information received at the seminar.

Pooped: exhausted.
e.g. What's the matter?  Everybody looks pooped today. We haven't even started the work!

Break down on: be a disadvantage for.
e.g. The new job broke down on me.

Breeze up: becoming frightened.
e.g. Whenever you mention terrorist attack, I have the breeze up.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© 2018 by Stephen Lau


Monday, March 19, 2018

My Newly Published Book: The Happiness Wisdom

I have just published my book: “The Happiness Wisdom”, which is a 161-page book on human wisdom based on ancient wisdom from the East and the West, conventional wisdom, and spiritual wisdom, which may all provide guidelines for choosing the happiness ingredients for your own happiness recipe. In addition, the book also provides real examples taken from real life, illustrating how these real people perceive their realities, and thus leading to their happiness or unhappiness.

Human happiness or unhappiness is no more than a perception of the human mind, based on an individual's own life experiences. You think, and your perceptions then become your "realities"; with profound wisdom, you can change how your mind processes your perceptions. Change your mind to change your realities, and live your life as if everything is a miracle! Your life journey is uniquely yours. Make your own happiness recipe from the happiness ingredients of ancient wisdom, conventional wisdom, and spiritual wisdom. Continue your life journey with your own happiness recipe.


Click here to find out more about the book.

Click here to get your digital copy, and here to get your paperback copy.

Stephen Lau

Friday, March 16, 2018

The Correct Use of Phrasal Verbs

The use of prepositions is one of the difficult aspects of learning English. A preposition is a functional word that appears before nouns and relates to some other constructions in the sentence.

A phrasal verb is a combination of a verb and one or more prepositions that functions as a single unit of meaning. Phrasal verbs are commonly used in writing. As an ESL learner, learn some prepositional phrases:

FROWN

Frown at: scowl at someone or something.

e.g. She frowned at my cat and gave her a kick.

Frown on: show disapproval.


e.g. His parents frown on everything he does.

DRINK

Drink down: consume something by drinking it.

e.g. He drank down the medicine, and felt better.

Drink in: absorb sight or information.

e.g. He was standing on the beach, trying to drink in the beauty around.

 e.g. It would take time to drink in the significance of the message.

Drink under the table: be able to drink more alcohol that someone else.

e.g. I bet I can drink you under the table.

Drink up: consume all of something.

e.g. Do you think you can drink up this bottle of wine?

HOLD

Hold no brief for: tolerate someone or something.

e.g. I hold no brief for that kind of behavior.

Hold off: delay; restrain.

e.g. The air strike might hold off the enemies for some time.

Hold one's end up: carry one's share of the bargain or burden.

e.g. We expect you to hold your end up and keep your promise to back us up.

e.g. With only that much money left, I don't know how long we could hold out.

Hold still for something: put up with something.

e.g. It is not easy to hold still for that kind of rude remark.

GROUND

Ground in: instruct.

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

Ground on: form a foundation for.

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

DANCE

Dance on air: be very happy.

e.g. When she heard the good news, she was dancing on air.

Dance to another tune: change one,s manner, act very differently.

e.g. What I'm going to tell you will make you dance to another tune.

Stephen Lau

Copyright© 2018 by Stephen Lau

Monday, March 12, 2018

Words Easily Confused and Misused

Practical / Practicable

Practical means related to practice; practicable means realistic or can be done.

e.g. You must learn all the practical details of the operation of the machine.

e.g. Your plan is not practicable without the funding.

Reverend / Reverent

Reverend: worthy of respect; reverent: showing respect.
equently

e.g. Have you met the Rev. Mr. Johnson?
e.g. He gave a reverent speech on drug addiction.

Overdo / Overdue

Overdo means do too much; overdue means past the deadline date.

e.g. This is good enough; don't overdo it!
e.g. The payment is now overdue

Admit / Admit of

Admit means to confess an act; admit of means allow of or leave room for.

e.g. He did not admit taking the key without permission.
e.g. The circumstance admits of no delay.
e.g. His admission of guilt shows his honest personality.
e.g. There is no admittance for error.

Mortal / Morale
Moral as a noun means a standard of behavior or teaching of a story; morale as a noun means a positive state of mind with reference to confidence.

e.g. Not to take advantage of the poor is a moral act (as an adjective).
e.g. The moral of the story is that dishonesty never pays off.
e.g. This victory has increased the morale of the soldiers.

Common / Commonplace

Common: shared or used by many; commonplace: ordinary, not unusual.

e.g. English is a common language used in Europe.
e.g. Nowadays, carrying a gun is commonplace.

Efficient / Proficient

Efficient means capable of producing result; proficient means skilled or knowledgeable.

e.g. The boss likes him because he is hard working and efficient.
e.g. We need a proficient scientist to be in charge of this sophisticated lab.

Material / Maternal

Material means consisting of matter or substance; maternal means like a mother.

e.g. We live in a material world.

e.g. The senior nurse is providing maternal care to all the children in the hospital.

Born / Borne

Born means to be brought into existence; borne means to be carried or tolerated.

e.g. Don't take me for a fool; I wasn't born yesterday!
e.g. The heavy burden of taking care of his family was borne by him for many years.
e.g. All human sorrows can be well borne if you have faith in God.

Prepossessing / Preposterous

Prepossessing means attractive or impressive; preposterous means absurd or contrary to reason.

e.g. She had put on a prepossessing dress to impress the audience.
e.g. You look preposterous in that ridiculous outfit!

Effective Writing Made Simple

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Choose the Right Words

Effective writing involves not only having a good vocabulary but also knowing how to choose the right words to express the right ideas. There are many English words that are frequently confused and misused.

COULD / MIGHT
Could denotes potentiality; might suggests possibility.

e.g. Don't play with the knife; you might accidentally hurt yourself.
e.g. Could you close the window, please?

EXHAUSTING / EXHAUSTIVE
Exhausting means making one very tired; exhaustive means very thorough, covering a lot.

e.g. To remove all the books from this room is exhausting work.
e.g. This is an exhaustive inquiry, covering every aspect of what happened.

MOMENTARY / MOMENTOUS
Momentary means lasting only a moment; momentous means important with great consequence.

e.g. There was a momentary flash in the sky after a heavy thunder.
e.g. The Senator made a momentous decision to run for President of the United States.

AFFLICT / INFLICT
Afflict means to cause someone to suffer; inflict means to punish or put a burden on someone.

e.g. For years, he has been afflicted with muscle pain.
e.g. The tyrant had inflicted punishment on those who opposed him.

SECONDARY / SECONDLY
Secondary means next after the first in importance; secondly means in the second or next place.

e.g. Concentrate on this; that is only a secondary source.
e.g. Firstly, you have to take care of yourself. Secondly, take care of your family.

REAL / REALLY
Real is an adjective; really is an adverb.

e.g. The firefighter was really brave when he saved the child.
e.g. What he saw with his eyes was real to him.

ACCEPTANCE / ACCEPTATION
Acceptance: willingness to take or agree; acceptation: agreement to the interpretation of a word or phrase in a legal document.

e.g. We are pleased with his acceptance to our request to give a speech at the conference.
e.g. Our lawyer and his lawyer have come to terms with the acceptation of that term in the contract.

PRONOUNCEABLE / PRONOUNCED
Pronounceable: that can be said with the vocal organs; pronounced: definite, strongly marked.

e.g. This long foreign word is hardly pronounceable.
e.g. The voters like his pronounced opinions.

CONSIST OF / CONSIST IN
Consist of: made up of; consist in: have as an essential element.

e.g. This meal consists of a burger and a drink.
e.g. Success consists in effort and perseverance.

QUADRUPED / QuUADRUPLE
Quadruped: an animal with four feet; quadruple: four-fold.

e.g. A lion is a quadruped.
e.g. 24 is the quadruple of 6.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau