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, August 29, 2017

Use of Different Punctuation Marks

Colon and semi-colon are often used in writing. What are their differences?

Colon is used mainly for the following reasons:

(1) To introduce a quotation or a dialogue, e.g. The President said:  "Racial discrimination should not be tolerated."  Of course, a comma can also be used. The only difference is that a colon is stronger than a comma in introducing what follows.

(2) To emphasize what is to follow, e.g. He wanted only one thing: money.

(3) To explain something, e.g. The manager works very hard: he never leaves his office before 8 p.m.

Semi-colon is used for the following reasons:

(1) To replace the use of coordinating conjunction (and, but, for, or, nor,so, yet), e.g.He worked very hard; he passed his test with flying colors. (He worked hard, so he passed his test with flying colors.)

(2) To separate long sentences, e.g. When he finished his work, he went to the mall, where he spent hours shopping; he was very tired but he did not want to go home because he had an argument with his wife that morning.

(3) To introduce sentences for balance, e.g. In the morning, she does some stretch exercises; in the afternoon, she goes to the gym; in the evening, she goes to a yoga class.

Stephen Lau 
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Learn Prepositional Words and Phrases

Hash up: do something repeatedly; retell a story
e.g. The audience would like to hear something different, not hashing up the same story.
e.g. We all heard it before; he was just hashing up his past experience.

Brush up: revive knowledge of

e.g. I think I should brush up my French before my trip to Paris.


Buckle up: get ready to drive

e.g. Please buckle up; it's going to be a long drive.

Buckle to: set to work

e.g. It's getting late; you'd better buckle to your project, if you want to finish it today.

Lay about: strike on all sides
e.g. In a fierce rage, he was laying about everyone with nasty words
Lay by: save
e.g. We have to lay by a certain sum of money for the education of our children.
Lay off: dismiss from work
e.g. In a downturn economy, many workers are laid off.
Lay out: invest; plan
e.g. A financial planner may help you lay out your retirement.
Boil down: to put a matter briefly
Your talk boils down to one thing: you want my help.
Stand by: wait; be ready to assist
e.g. Will you stand by me when I need some help?
Stand for: represent
e.g. This symbol stands for equality.
Stand out: become noticeable
e.g. His accomplishments made him stand out among his peers.
Stand up: fail to keep an appointment
e.g. He said he would meet me at the train station, but he stood me up.
Boil over: break out in anger
e.g. When he heard the insulting remark, he was boiling over with rage.
Harp on: refer to a subject repeatedly
e.g. Don't harp on your divorce; we've heard enough!
Stand up for: defend; protect against
e.g. I am going to stand up for my rights.
Stand up to: resist
e.g. I am prepared to stand up to anyone who opposes my proposal.
Fall back on: use as emergency
e.g. This amount of money is what we could fall back on if we are out of employment.
e.g. Can we fall back on you when we are in trouble?
Fall behind: not progressing at the required speed
e.g. We cannot afford to fall behind now that it is getting dark.
Fall behind in: lag
e.g. Walk faster If you don’t want to fall behind In this marathon race,
Fall off: decrease
e.g. Business is falling off
Fall out with: quarrel with
e.g. He fell out with every member of his family.
Fall through: fail
e.g. All your business proposals fell through.
Bear down: move quickly towards
e.g. The enemies were bearing down on the soldiers.
e.g. A hurricane is bearing down on the islands.
Bear on: related to; have to do with
e.g. The outcome did not bear on the proposal.
Bear up: endure
e.g. In this extremely hot weather, it is difficult for many to bear up.
e.g. The woman bore up well when she heard the news that her husband was killed in the accident.
Bear up under: endure
e.g. Many Jews had to bear up under the tyranny of Hitler.
Stephen Lau
Copyright © by Stephen Lau

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Learn Some Slang and Colloquial Expressions

Learn some slang and colloquial expressions:

Take it on the chin: accept without evasion.
e.g. You were yelling at him; he took it on the chin, without a word.

Darned sight more: a lot more.
e.g. "Do you think he should put more effort on this?" "A darned sight more!

Take the rap: take the blame or responsibility of another person.

e.g. If you want to do it, go ahead, but I'm not going to take the rap.

Streets ahead of: far superior to.
e.g. As far as computer technology is concerned, he is streets ahead of me.

Taken short: in need of urination.
e.g. I was taken short, and I rushed to the bathroom before I could finish the talk.

Alive and kicking: in good health.
"How is she doing?" "Very much alive and kicking."

Drive up the wall: irritate intensely.
e.g. Don't drive me up the wall every time I see you.

Talk through the back of one's neck: talk nonsense.
e.g. Look what he's doing: talking through the back of his neck.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau