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.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Prepositional Words and Phrases

Learn some common prepositional phrases:


Deliver from: save or rescue from.

e.g. The man stranded on the roof was finally delivered from danger.

Deliver of: free from burden or problem.

e.g. What a relief now that we are delivered of our debt.

Deliver up: yield something to someone.

e.g. Will you deliver up the documents to the judge?


Go above and beyond one's duty: exceed what is required of one.

e.g. Do you know that doing what you ask goes above and beyond my duty?

Go against the grain: run counter to one's ideas or principles.

e.g. Taking this without permission goes against the grain.

Go astray: get lost.

e.g. My keys go astray again.

Go back on something: reverse one's position.

e.g. I don't want to go back on my word, but an emergency has happened.

Go for broke: risk everything.

e.g. She went for broke and decided to marry him despite all the rumors about his infidelity.

Go for nothing: fail to achieve anything.

e.g. All our efforts helping out went for nothing.

Go in for something: enjoy doing something.

e.g. I don't go in for that kind of sport.

Go off the deep end: over do something.

e.g. You have the habit of going off the deep end about almost everything.

Go out of one's head: go crazy.

e.g. He saw what happened in front of his eyes, and went out of his head.

Run against: compete

e.g. I am going to run against him in the coming election.

Run away: leave; escape

e.g. The burglar ran away before the police arrived.

Run down: hit with a vehicle

e.g. The old man was run down by the bus.

Run down: stop functioning

e.g. My lawn mower is running down; I need to get a new one.

Run into: meet by accident

e.g. Yesterday, I ran into an old friend that I had not seen for decades.

Run out of: not have any more of something

e.g. Hurry! We're running out of time!


Help along: help someone move along.

e.g. We are more than happy to help you along by giving you any assistance.

Help someone on with something: help someone to put on something.

e.g. Please help her on with her coat.

Help out: help someone out at a particular place.

e.g. I'm at the kitchen. Can you help me out?

Help someone to something: serve something to someone.

e.g. Help yourself to more rice.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Prepositional Words and Phrases

Learn some prepositional phrases:


Answer for: be responsible for.

e.g. You will have to answer for your mistakes.

Answer to: explain or justify for.

e.g. You will have to answer to the judge for what you did.


Listen to: follow the instructions of.

e.g. You never listen to what your parents tell you to do.

Listen up: pay attention to.

e.g. Listen up! You must finish this before you go.


Hold someone or something at bay: keep someone or something at a safe distance.

e.g. The bombing might be able to hold the enemies at bay, at least for a while.

Hold back on something: withhold something.

e.g. Hold back on this. We might need it in the days to come.

Hold by: stick to a promise.

e.g. I hope you will hold by this agreement.

Hold good for someone or something: remain open e.g.  an offer to someone or something.

e.g. Does it hold good for everyone, including members of the family?

Hold no brief for someone or something: not to tolerate someone or something.

e.g We should hold no brief for social injustice.

Hold off from doing something: delay or postpone doing something.

e.g. Can you hold off buying this car? We can't afford it.
Hold out: survive.

e.g. I don't think we can hold out much longer with this kind of income.

Hold a candle to someone or something: be equal to someone or something.

e.g. You don't hold a candle to your brother when it comes to playing the guitar.

Hold one's head up: be confident.

e.g.  Hold your head up when it comes to public speaking.


Fade down:  diminish.

e.g. The thunder faded down, and soon the sun came out.

Fade up: increase the sound gradually.

e.g. Let's fade up the music when the speaker finished his speech.


Horse around: play around nosily and roughly.

e.g Stop horsing around! It's time to go home!


Eat up: consume too much (figuratively).

e.g. This big project has eaten me up.


Egg on: encourage someone to do something.

e.g. She is determined to do that. You don’t need to egg her on.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Prepositional Words and Phrases


Drop around: come for a casual visit.

e.g. You must drop around some time and have a drink with us.

Drop behind: fail to keep up with a schedule.

e.g. I dropped behind in my work because of my ill health recently.

Drop by: visit.

e.g. I hope you can drop by and see our new granddaughter.

Drop it on: give some bad news.

e.g. I’m sorry I’ve to drop some bad news on you.


Abide by: follow a set of rules.

e.g. We must abide by all the instructions from the Mayor.

Abide with: stay with someone.

e.g. She is your wife; you must abide with her no matter what.


Ease of: relieve or reduce someone of something.

e.g. The doctor eased me of my back pain with some medication.

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!

Ease up on: treat gently.

e.g. Come on! Ease up on the gas! We’re going too fast!


Move ahead
: advance beyond.

e.g. If you wish to move ahead in you career, you need a higher degree.

Move along
: continue to move.

e.g. Come on! Move along; there's nothing to see here

Move around
: walk around a bit here and there.

e.g. Can you sit still, instead of moving around?

Move aside
: step out of the way.

e.g. Please move aside so that the crowd can get through.

Move away
: withdraw from someone or something.

e.g. Let's move away from those smokers.

Move back: move back and away.

e.g. Please move back! We need more space here.

Move on something
: do something about something.

e.g. This is an issue we must move on.

e.g. You must move on this matter and give it your top priority.

Move up
: advance; go higher.

e.g. She is trying to move her son up the social ladder/

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Correct Use of 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 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 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 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 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 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© 2018 by Stephen Lau

Saturday, February 9, 2019

More American Idioms for You

Come to light: become known.
e.g. It came to light that he was the real benefactor. 

Buy a pig in a poke: buy something without seeing it.

e.g. Buying on line is sometimes like buying a pig in a poke.

On one's mind: currently thinking.

e.g. What's on your mind? You seem deep in thoughts.

By leaps and bounds: rapidly.

e.g. Our profits increased by leaps and bounds; thanks to your contribution.

Eat like a horse: eat a great deal.

e.g. At the party, he didn't do much, except eating like a horse!

Come what may: no matter what might happen.

e.g. I'll be back by nine, come what may.

Break the ice: start a social conversation.

e.g. After some moments, the shy girl finally broke the ice and participated in the conversation.

By the seat of one's pants: by luck, with little skill.

e.g. I finally finished my high school by the seat of my pants.

Get down to brass tacks: get down to practical matters.

e.g. The Congress should get down to brass tacks, and start discussing the debt crisis.

Grind to a halt: slow down to a stop.

e.g. The tour bus ground to a halt, and the tourists got out and stretched their legs.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau