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.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Words Misused

Here are some of  the words which are frequently misused:


All / All of

All is used for amount, quantity, distance, and length of time.

e.g. all the money, all the way, all day, all night,

All of is used when a simple pronoun follows.

e.g. all of it, all of you, all of us.

All and all of may be used when it refers to number.

e.g. All or all of the employees are satisfied with the new policy.
e.g. All or all of the children in the family have gone to college

Potent / Potential

Potent: strong, powerful; potential: power that could be, but is not yet.

e.g. He is a potent politician.

e.g. He has great potential in American politics.


Right / Rightly

Right: immediately; rightly: justly, correctly.

e.g. Do it right now.

e.g. Do it right away.

e.g. I rightly canceled the trip.

e.g. We refused the offer, and rightly so.

Sensual / Sensuous

Sensual: related to the body; sensuous: related to the five senses.

e.g. It is difficult to be spiritual when one focuses too much on sensual pleasures.

e.g. The painter is able to provide some sensuous images in his painting.

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.

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.

Compare to / Compare with

Compare to: state a resemblance to; compare with: put side by side to find out the similarities and differences.

e.g. The poet compares living in this modern world to riding on a bullet train.

e.g. If you compare Plan A with Plan B, you will know that Plan B is much better than Plan A. 

Mediate / Meditate

Mediate means to act as a peacemaker; meditate means to think deeply.

e.g. The Secretary of State is trying to mediate between the two warring nations.

e.g. He meditated revenge after he was insulted by his coworkers.
  
Reverend / Reverent

Reverend: worthy of respect; reverent: showing respect.

e.g. Have you met the Rev. Mr. Johnson?

e.g. He gave a reverent speech on drug addiction.

In regard to / As regards

Both mean with reference to.

e.g. As regards your performance, I think you did a good job (no “to”).

e.g. She is very generous in regard to charity donation.


Stephen Lau

Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Friday, August 30, 2019

Learn Some Slang

Learn some English slang. Slang is highly ephemeral: it changes from one generation to another. Slang terms come into existence for various reasons, some obvious, some inexplicable, but most of them are delightfully direct and to the point. The use of slang adds spice to speech and writing.

in low water: short of money
e.g. In this economic time, many people are living in low water.

stunner: an attractive person or object
e.g. This necklace is a stunner on you.

flap one's mouth: talk too much
e.g. Shut up and don't flap your mouth!

off the nail: drunk
e.g. Every time I come home, I find him off the nail with a bottle in his hand.

ditch: abandon
e.g. He's not a trustworthy person: he's going to ditch you before long.

flattened out: broke; having no money
e.g. I tell you what: I'm flattened out!

something out of a bottle: an impracticable idea
e.g. Is your suggestion something out of a bottle?

stuffed shirt: an arrogant person
e.g. He's nothing but a stuffed shirt; nobody likes him.

do oneself proud: indulge in unusual and satisfying extravagance
e.g. Now that he has inherited the family fortune, he's going do himself proud.

fat lot: extremely little
Did you win a lot at the casino? Fat lot!


Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Monday, August 5, 2019

My New BLOG: LIVE-LONGER WISDOM

My NEW BLOG on How to Live Longer







Get the WISDOM to live as if everything is a miracle: live a life of balance and harmony.in this chaotic world.

Click here to visit the blog.

Stephen Lau

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Brainstorming Your Writing

Beginning to write begins with an idea or a topic you want to share with or to communicate to others.

Choice

You must have an inordinate interest in that idea or topic for various reasons: you are passionate about it; you strongly believe it is right or wrong; you want to analyze or discuss it in detail; you wish others may share  or even support your views. Or, simply, you may not have a choice: you have been assigned to write about the subject.

Brainstorming

You must brainstorm that idea or topic. Your mind may come up with many thoughts about that idea or topic. You jot down all your relevant thoughts simply by asking yourself some relevant questions regarding what you are going to write about:

What happened?

How did it happen?

When did it happen?

Why did it happen?

What does it mean?

What is its significance?

What is it similar to?

What is it different from? 

Is it true or false?

Are there examples?

What do people think?

Who do you think?

Keep a journal for your brainstorming. The word “journal” comes from French, meaning “daily.” A journal is a day-to-day record of what you see, do, hear, think, and feel. Use a journal to jot down any idea that comes to your mind. Regular recording enhances your power of observation, which improves your writing skill.

Stephen Lau     
Copyright© by Stephen Lau



Wednesday, July 24, 2019

The Correct Use of Semi-Colon


Semicolon is one of the punctuation marks frequently misused in writing.

A semicolon is used between a dependent clause and an independent clause.

e.g. Although he was very tired; he did not want to go to bed. (incorrect)

e.g. Although he was very tiredhe did not want to got to bed. (a comma should be used instead)

A semicolon is used to introduce a list.

e.g. The box was filled with everything but booksclothing, snacks, hammers and tools. (incorrect)

e.g. The box was filled with everything but booksclothing, snacks, hammers and tools. (a colon should be used instead)

A semicolon is not used between an introductory phrase and the rest of the sentence.

e.g. Her hands tremblingshe managed to pour the toxic liquid into the tube. (incorrect)

e.g. Her hands tremblingshe managed to pour the toxic liquid into the tube (a comma should be used instead)


Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Learning and Mastering English

American Idioms

All of it: the best
e.g. From the way he presented himself at the debate, he was all of it.
 Far cry from: very different from
e.g. Your achievement this time is a far cry from your previous one.

Sit on one’s hands: refuse to give any help
e.g. When we needed your help; you just sat on your hands.

As easy as pie: very easy
e.g. Cooking a turkey is as easy as pie.
Alive and kicking: living and healthy; okay
e.g. I had been sick for some time, but now I am alive and kicking.”
e.g. “How are you?” “Well, alive and kicking.”

Slang and Colloquial Expressions

Make no odds: make no difference
e.g. It makes no odds to me whether you come or not.

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

Pardon my French: excuse my bad language.
e.g. Please pardon my French: I was so angry with his remarks.

Not a patch on: nothing to compare with; very inferior to.
e.g. Your current proposal is not a patch on your previous one.

Fall over oneself: too eager.
e.g. He fell over himself to get that job.

All the rage: fashionable.
e.g. Wearing a hat will be all the rage this summer.

Slow on the uptake: slow to understand.
e.g. I'm a bit slow on the uptake. Can you explain it once more?

Choice of Words

Adverse / Averse

Adverse means unfavorable; averse means opposed to.

e.g. We managed to survive in these adverse economic conditions.
e.g. He was averse to giving financial aids to the poor.

Await / Wait

Await means wait for an event, an occurrence, or a development; it does not require a preposition, such as for. Wait always carries the preposition for.

e.g. We await your decision.
e.g. The people were awaiting the outcome of the election.
e.g. He is waiting for your reply.
e.g. Don't wait for me; just go ahead.

Prepositional Words and Phrases

Follow on: die at a date later than someone.
e.g. His wife passed away. He followed on a few months later.

Follow through: continue to supervise.
e.g. I hope someone would follow through on this project until its completion.

Follow up:  check something out.
e.g. Please follow up this lead, and see what will happen next.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Learning and Mastering English




Friday, July 12, 2019

Idiomatic Verbal Phrases

KEEP

Keep at: continue to do.

e.g. You must keep at it until it is done.

Keep down: prevent from advancing.

e.g. His lack of an advanced degree will keep him down in his career.

Keep on: continue.

e.g. Keep on, and don't give up!

e.g. Keep on with your good work.

Keep up: maintain the pace.

e.g. Keep up and don't fall behind.

e.g. You have to work extra hard to keep up with the rest of the class.

CLEAR

Clear of: show someone is innocent.

e.g. After the investigation, the police cleared me of all charges.

Clear off: depart.

e.g. As soon as the police arrived, the crowd cleared off.

Clear out: get out of some place.

e.g. The fire alarm is on; everybody has to clear out!

Clear up: clarify something; improve.

e.g. Can you clear up this statement for me?

e.g. His cold cleared up after a week.

e.g. The sky finally cleared up, and we could see the sun.

Clear with: get the approval of.

e.g. We will have to clear this with the Mayor’s office.

DRESS

Dress down: scold severely.

e.g. The manager dressed him down in front of all the employees.

Dress up: put clothes on; adorn.

e.g. Wow! Look at you! You really get dressed up for the party in this fancy dress!

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Monday, July 8, 2019

Common 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.



Copyright© by Stephen Lau