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.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Knowing Their Differences

SEDATIVE / SEDENTARY

Sedative: calming or soothing.
e.g. Without her sedative medicine, she could not go to sleep.

Sedentary: accustomed to sitting; physically inactive.
e.g His sedentary work -- sitting in front of the computer -- took a toll on his health.
e.g. Most seniors have a sedentary lifestyle as they continuing e to age.

ANXIOUS / EAGER

Anxious means worried; eager means impatiently desirous.
e.g. He was anxious about his future.
e.g. The children are eager to open their Christmas presents.

FRAGILE / FRAIL

Fragile: delicate, easily broken.
e.g. This piece of antique is fragile; please handle with care.

Frail: weak in health; without strong support.
e.g. He looks pale and frail.
e.g. The Senator received frail support from his party.

PERIODIC / PERIODICAL

Periodic: occurring again and again.
e.g. The singer has never really retired with periodic appearance on TV.

Periodical: published at regular intervals.
e.g. This is a periodical magazine -- published once a month.
   
REMOVABLE / REMOVED

Removable: can be dismissed or removed.
e.g. This is a removable position, not a permanent one.

Removed: distant, remote, separate.
 e.g. He is my removed relative.

IMPAIR / REPAIR

Impair: weaken or repair.
e.g. Spending too much time on the computer may impair your vision.

Repair: fix
e.g. Eye exercises can repair your vision

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau


Some American Idioms for You

Pull the wool over someone’s eyes: deceive
e.g. Don’t try to pull the wool over my eyes: I wasn’t born yesterday.

Meet someone halfway: compromise
e.g. He settled the agreement with her by meeting her halfway.

First and last: above all; under all circumstances
e.g. She was an accomplished pianist first and last.

Poop out: tire out
e.g. The marathon race pooped me out; I could hardly walk.

Make as if: pretend
e.g. You made as if you enjoyed the film, but you really didn’t.

Lead someone astray: cause someone to do something wrong or illegal
e.g. If you are always in the company of lawbreakers, you  may be easily be led astray.

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© by Stephen Lau

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Punctuate Your Sentences

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

Friday, May 22, 2020

Slang and Colloquial Expressions

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!
Go: attempt.
e.g. Have a go at doing this on your own.
Easy mark: a likely victim.
e.g. If you are so unsuspecting, you may become an easy mark for swindlers.
Bazillion: a great number of.
e.g. The national debt is now in bazillion dollars, and the Congress needs to do something about that.
No way: not at all.
e.g. “Are you going to give him a hand?” “No way; he’ll be on his own.”
Beat: broke, no money.
e.g. Without a job, we are beat, no copper and no bread.
Chip on one’s shoulder: a grudge against.
e.g. She still has a chip on her shoulder: your infidelity some years ago. 
Ace someone out: win out over someone.
e.g. I plan to ace him out in the first round of the competition.
Ask me another: I don't know.
e.g. "Does your daughter want a baby?" "Ask me another!"
No two ways about it: no other alternative.
e.g. The man had to file for bankruptcy; no two ways about it

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Thursday, May 21, 2020

The Correct Vocabulary

Necessaries / Necessities

Necessaries: things that are necessary but may not be indispensable; necessities: things that are absolutely indispensable.

e.g. Food and water are necessities of life.

e.g. The necessaries of life may include a house and a car.

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.

Obligatory / Obliging

Obligatory: compulsory; obliging: willing to help, kind  and polite.

e.g. Attendance is obligatory, not an option.

e.g. She is obliging, always ready to help others.

On the contrary / On the other hand

On the contrary: the second statement cancels or contradicts what is said in the first statement; on the other hand: the second statement is in contrast to the first, but not necessarily irreconcilable to the first.

e.g. People thought that the Mayor was honest. On the contrary, he was the most dishonest man in the office.

e.g. On the one hand, the kitchen is spacious; on the other hand, the bedrooms are a bit small in size.

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.

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

Wednesday, May 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

Tuesday, May 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