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, December 17, 2018

Confusing Words


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.


Rusty: corrode (covered with rust); weaken.
e.g. The iron gate has become rusty.
e.g. My grandfather's memory has become rusty.
e.g. Please pardon my rusty French.

Rustic: like the countryside.
e.g. We all enjoyed the rustic views from hilltop.


Medicated: containing medicine.
e.g. Please apply this medicated gauze onto your wound.

Medicinal: having the power to cure.
e.g. He took some medicinal herbs for his cold.


Preventable: can be avoided.
e.g. The accident was preventable if you were more cautious.

Preventive: protective.
e.g. These are preventive measures from head injury.


Bulk: in large quantities; the greater part of..
e.g. His business was selling wheat in bulk.
e.g. The billionaire gave the bulk of his estate to charity.

Hulk: a big, clumsy person.
e.g. If you do nothing to your obesity, you will soon become a hulk.

Stephen Lau

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Expressions Commonly Confused By ESL Learners



Drift apart
: separate slowly.

e.g. He drifted apart from his friends and lived a secluded life.

Drift back
: go back to someone or something slowly.

e.g. He drifted back to her former girlfriend, and they were married.

Drift off to sleep
: fall asleep gradually.

e.g. He sat on the sofa, and finally drifted off to sleep.


Argue about: dispute or quarrel with someone over.

e.g. They often argue about racial injustice over the dinner table.

Argue against: make a case against someone or something.

e.g. My wife and I often argue against what is best for our child.


Ease someone of something: to relieve or reduce someone of something.

e.g. The doctor eased me of my back pain.

Ease off: diminish; let up doing something.

e.g The rain has eased off; we'd better leave now.

e.g. Come on, he's just a kid. Ease off!


Differ about: disagree about.

e.g  We differ about who should be the next president.

Differ from: be different from

e.g. How does this one differ from that one?

Differ in: be different in a specific way.

e.g. This one and that one differ in color.

Differ with: disagree with.

e.g. I differ with you on many things.

Stephen Lau

Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Monday, December 10, 2018

Why Learn Colloquial Expressions


Language is forever changing. What is currently acceptable or popular may be replaced by something else in years to come, and the use of slang is a strong testament to that. Slang is just an alternative way of saying something. It is sometimes hard to identify what is slang and what is not. Colloquial expressions are often acceptable in informal writing because they are used in communication in movies, newspapers, radio, television, and other mass media The more you learn, the more you will know when to use or not to use them in your formal writing. No matter what, knowing these common everyday expressions is a plus for all ESL learners.

Easy mark: a likely victim.

e.g. If you are so unsuspecting, you may become an easy mark for swindlers.

Go the whole hog: go through thoroughly.

e.g. The prosecutor went the whole hog when he inspected the murder weapon.

Dead from the neck upwards: stupid.

e.g. Don’t follow his example; he’s dead from the neck upwards.

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.

After a fashion: in a way, but not the best one.

e.g. I can play the piano—well, after a fashion.

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.”

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.

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