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.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Learn Some Slang

Easy on the eye: good looking.
e.g. I say, your girlfriend is easy on the eye.
Act your age: behave yourself according to your age..
e.g. You’re almost an adult. Come on, act your age, and stop behaving like a spoiled brat!
Call it a day: consider something to be done or finished.
e.g. Let’s call it a day, and just go home.

Nod is as good as a wink: take note of the hint.
e.g. I think he was trying to tell you to resign; a nod is as good as a wink.

Butter up: flatter.
e.g. Now that you have been promoted, everybody seems to butter up you.

Bang-up: excellent.
e.g. We did spend a bang-up week in Greece

No oil painting: ugly.
e.g. To tell the truth, the dress you bought me is no oil painting.

All hot and bothered: agitated, confused, or excited.
e.g. She was all hot and bothered when she heard the news of her daughter’s divorce.

Lame duck: someone who needs help but undeserved.
e.g. My brother, who is always unemployed, is a lame duck to me.

Buy it: die.
e.g. During the car crash, I thought I was going to buy it.

Much of a muchness: practically the same.
e.g. I don’t see any difference between the twins; they’re pretty much of a muchness to me.

Catch it: be scolded.
e.g. If you do this again, you’ll catch it.


Also-ran: someone not likely to win.
e.g. In this presidential election, he was just an also-ran. In less than two months, he called it quit.

Turn in: go to bed.
e.g. Come on, guys, it’s time to turn in.

Stephen Lau

Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Prepositions and 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© by Stephen Lau

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Learn American Idioms

Get one's own back: to revenge oneself.
e.g. He wants to get his own back for the insult he has received.

Fall from grace: lose favor or popularity.
e.g. Armstrong has fallen from grace because of the doping.

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

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

As easy as pie: very easy
e.g. Cooking a turkey is as easy as pie.

Take something on the chin: get a direct blow
e.g. The bad news was a shock to me; I took it on the chin.

Flip-flop: change sides in an issue
e.g. Politicians who flip-flop too much are unpopular with voters.

Quick on the uptake: quick to understand; smart
e.g. He is quick on the uptake; you don’t need to give him unnecessary details.

All thumbs: awkward and clumsy with one’s fingers
e.g. She will not learn to play the piano because she knows her fingers are all thumbs.

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.


Stephen Lau

Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

They Look Alike But They Are Different

Lean / Lien

Lean means incline or tilt; lien is a legal claim.

e.g. Stand up straight and don't lean against the wall.
e.g. There is a lien against your house if you don't pay its property tax.

Recourse / Resort


Recourse means an appeal to; resort means turn to for help.

e.g. We may have recourse to compulsion.
e.g. If there is no solution, we may have to resort to force.(as a verb)
e.g. We may have to open it with a knife as a last resort (as a noun).
.
Indoor / Indoors

Indoor is an adjective; indoors is an adverb.

e.g. Basketball is often an indoor game.
e.g. It is raining; we'd better go indoors.

Smother / Smolder


Smother means cause difficulty in breathing; smolder means burn slowly.

e.g. For a while, we were smothered by the dense smoke.
e.g. The ashes at the fireplace were still smoldering.
e.g. For years, hatred smoldered in her heart.

Regardful /Regarding


Regardful means paying attention or showing respect for; regarding means concerning or relating to.

e.g She is regardful of all her customers.
e.g. Regarding this matter, I think you didn't get it right.

Infamous / Notorious


Infamous means evil or wicked; notorious means well known for something discreditable.

e.g. He was an infamous kidnapper.
e.g. Everybody knows that she is a notorious liar.


Emigrate / Immigrate

Emigrate means to move to a country; immigrate means to come to country.
e.g. Many people like to emigrate to the United States.
e.g. Those who immigrate from other countries must abide by the laws in this country.

Complacent / complaisant / compliant

Complacent means self-satisfied; complaisant means too eager to please; compliant means obeying or submissive
e.g. I was filled with a complacent satisfaction when I eventually completed the project.
e.g. You are too complaisant with your boss: you over flatter him.
e.g. Unlike the computer, people are not compliant, and neither are they predictable.

Eminent / Imminent

Eminent means important or outstanding; imminent means coming soon.
e.g. He is an eminent author whose books have been translated into multiple languages worldwide.
e.g. Look at the dark clouds above; I think a storm is imminent.

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

Wander / Wonder

Wander means to walk aimlessly; wonder means to consider or question some issue.
e.g. The hiker lost his direction and wandered in the forest for some hours.
e.g. I wondered if he would come to the birthday party. 

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 borne by him for many years.
e.g. All human sorrows can be well borne if you have faith in God. 


Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Better English for You

Monday, November 16, 2020

They Are Not the Same

Point of view / view

Point of view: a spot on which one stands to look at something; view: what one sees.

e.g. What would be your point of view if you were the President of the United States?

e.g. We would like to hear your views on this matter.

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.

Loud / Loudly

Loud: an adverb referring to the note or volume of sound; loudly: an adverb referring to shouting and screaming.

e.g. You played that note too loud.

e.g. Don't talk so loud.

e.g. The protestors were shouting loudly

Altogether / All together

Altogether: completely; all together: suggesting more than one, or as a group.

e.g. The books were all together in a box, But going through all these books is altogether a waste of time.

e.g. We will work this out all together

Ineffective / Ineffectual

Ineffective: not showing any result; ineffectual: unsuccessful.

e.g. The proposition was ineffective, and, as a result, the whole project was ineffectual.

Overall / Total

Overall: describing a measurement between two extremities, from one end to the other; total: complete;

e.g.  What is the overall length of the bridge?

e.g. The project was a total success

Cover in / Cover with / Covered by

Cover in has the force of an adjective; covered with is used as a participle; covered by means hidden, and the word following the preposition is the agent or  cause.

e.g. My shoes are covered in snow.

e.g. The bed was covered with a beautiful blanket.

e.g. The bottle was completely covered by the box.

Approve / Approve of

Approve: give consent to; approve of: think well of.

e.g.  I do not think the committee will approve your plan.

e.g. I do not approve of my daughter's marriage to that young man.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Sunday, November 15, 2020

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

Words