Archive for June, 2011

grammatical expression: Don’t get me wrong.

https://i0.wp.com/991.com/newGallery/The-Pretenders-Dont-Get-Me-Wrong-328808.jpg

For this week’s grammatical expression I’d like to write about “Don’t get me wrong.” Native English speakers use this when we are talking about something and we think the other person might have gotten a negative impression of us based on what we just said. So, to correct this, we use “Don’t get me wrong.” For example:

My girlfriend really annoys me sometimes! Don’t get me wrong. I love her, but sometimes she’s difficult to be with.

That politician from ABC Party is really dishonest. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying all politicians from that party are dishonest, but he certainly is.

I really love to drink. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not an alcoholic; I just enjoy drinking.

My job is really bad right now. Don’t get me wrong. I usually really like my work, but right now we’re working on a very difficult project.

So, as you can see from my examples, the person first makes a statement. After that, they say “Don’t get me wrong.” Finally, they make another statement which corrects any bad impression the first statement might have made.

Advertisements

adjective: laid-back

https://i1.wp.com/tristateanswering.biz/images/relaxedboss.jpg

Last week, I wrote about the adjective “uptight”, so this week I’d like to write about its opposite “laid-back”. This word is used to describe a person who is very relaxed and flexible about things like rules. For example:

I was late for work this morning, but my boss is really laid-back so he didn’t care.

My parents are really laid-back when it comes to the guys I date. I had a boyfriend once who had many tattoos, but it didn’t bother them.

I used to be really uptight when I was younger, but now I’m much more laid-back. I’ve learned not to take life so seriously.

A: Who’s more laid-back – your mother or your father?

B: My dad is way more laid-back than my mom! She used to scold me all the time, but he almost never did.

The word “laid-back” is a little bit casual. If you want a slightly more formal word, you can use “relaxed”.

grammatical word: insist

https://i0.wp.com/mayazankoul.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/15-insist1.jpg

Today’s blog is about the verb “insist”. This can be a difficult word to use because it can function in different ways depending on the situation. Basically, it means to assert something very strongly and to refuse to accept a negative answer. However, there are three ways in which we use it which are slightly different from each other.

The first way is when one person wants another person to do something and refuses to take no for an answer. For example:

I insist that you try some of this cake. I made it just for you.

I had a cold at work yesterday. I said I would stay at work, but my boss insisted that I go home.

You have a boyfriend now. I insist that he come to our party. I really want to meet him.

Please note that we DON’T say things like “My boss insisted me to go home.”. This is completely wrong! We must use a subject (my boss) + the verb “insist” + that + another person (I) + base form of another verb (go). We always use the base form, even with “he” and “she”. Notice that in the third sentence I wrote “he come”, but NOT “he comes”: the second verb is always in the base form.

The second way is when one person wants to do something himself or herself and won’t take no for an answer. In these cases, we’re talking about only one person in the sentence, not two people. Please note that we always use the preposition “on” in these cases. For example:

My brother insisted on coming with me to the party. I hope it’s ok.

I offered to help Jerry cook the meal, but he insisted on doing everything himself.

Tracy insisted on paying for my dinner. She’s such a nice person.

The third way is when a person says something but others don’t really believe them, so they say it even more strongly to emphasize that what they said is really true. For example:

Nobody believes him, but my friend insists he saw a UFO last night.

Frank insists that he has the best cure for hiccups. I’ll try it the next time I get them.

Eve’s boyfriend got really drunk at the party, but she insists that he doesn’t usually do that.

In this case, the second verb is NOT in the base form for “he” and “she”.

I know this can be confusing, so my advice, as always, is to memorize the example sentences and then change the small details to make your own sentences. Good luck!

the difference between words: past tense and was/were + ing

http://mercigd.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/past.gif

Last week, I wrote a blog entry about the difference between “will” and “will be” + ing. Today, I’d like to do the same thing about the simple past tense and the past progressive tense.

We use the simple past tense to talk about past events in general, but we use the past progressive tense (-ing form) when we want to focus on a specific time or event in the past. For example:

A: What did you do yesterday?

B: I worked yesterday.

_________________________________________________________________

A: What were you doing at 4:00 yesterday afternoon?

B: I was working at that time.

So, in this case, the two speakers are focusing on the specific time of 4:00 and contrasting that with what happened during the rest of the day.

However, we can also say something like:

A: What were you doing yesterday?

B: I was working yesterday.

In this case, the speakers are focusing on yesterday as a unit of time and contrasting that with what happened during the whole week or month.

We often use the two tenses together when we want to talk about an interruption in the past or when something happened in the middle of another action. For example:

I was watching TV when you called last night.

I was writing an email to you when I received your email.

By the time you got to the office yesterday, I was giving my presentation in the meeting

On the day you finished your project, I was already working on another project.

We use the past progressive to talk about two actions that were taking place at the same time in the past. For example:

While I was cooking dinner, my wife was cleaning the living room.

Nancy was fixing the computer as her boss was entering the office.

My mother was crying as I was driving away in my car.

In these cases, the word “as” means the same thing as “while”.

idiom: speak of the devil

https://englishhelponline.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/ozzy2bosbourne2b-2bspeak2bof2bthe2bdevil2ba.png?w=300

Today’s idiom is “speak of the devil”, and it is used when two or more people are talking about another person who is not there, and then suddenly that person shows up. After that, one of the people who was having the conversation will often say, “Speak of the devil.” about the person who just came. Here are some examples:

I think we should get Adam to organize the party. Oh, speak of the devil! Here he is. Hello Adam, we were just talking about you.

What do you think of the new manager? Oh, speak of the devil. He just walked in.

A: Where is your wife this evening?

B: She said she’d be a little late. Speak of the devil. There she is. Let me introduce you to her.

So, as you can see, it’s quite simple to use this expression. It can be used when the person who is being talked about is close by or far away.

separable phrasal verb: hear out

https://asiimages.s3.amazonaws.com/286044_xl.gif

This week’s phrasal verb is “hear out”, and it is used when we want to talk about being willing to listen to someone give a reason, idea or excuse about something. For example:

A: I don’t want to hear any more of your stupid ideas to get rich!

B: Wait. Just hear me out. This one is a really good idea.

I know you’re angry at Brett for missing your birthday party, but he has a good excuse, so please just hear him out.

I have a very good reason for coming late to the meeting. I hope you’ll hear me out.

Peter says he has a good idea to help the company make more money. I’ll hear him out, but I doubt that I’ll like the idea.

We often use this expression in the imperative tense, which means that we’re telling someone directly to do something. The first two sentences are examples of this. Please note that when we use the imperative tense, we DON’T use the word “you”. Therefore, we say, “Hear me out.”, but we don’t say, “You hear me out.”. However, in the third sentence I put “I hope” in front of it followed by the future tense with “will”. In that case, we can use the word “you”.

grammatical expression: big time

https://englishhelponline.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/bigtime.jpg?w=300

Today’s expression is one that is often used in casual conversations: “big time”. It is used to emphasize something that we have just said and say that the situation is bigger than someone might think. For example:

After I got married, my life changed big time! Now I can’t go drinking with my friends every weekend.

A: Are your neighbors noisy?

B: Oh yeah! Big time! I’ve complained to my landlord several times about them.

I failed that test big time! I only got 15%!

My brother hasn’t called my mother for a few weeks, and that is really unusual for him. She’s worried about him big time!

So, “big time” basically means “really, really”. So when I say, “My life changed big time!”, I mean, “My life didn’t just change a little, it really, really changed!” Or if I say, “I failed that test big time!”, I mean, “I didn’t just fail that test by a small amount, I really, really failed it!”.

I hope that’s clear to everyone. We only use this expression in casual conversations and, generally speaking, only people in their 40s or younger use it.

adjective: uptight

648-01704384

This week’s adjective is “uptight”, and native English speakers use this word to describe a person who is not flexible at all especially when it comes to following rules. These people are usually very serious and have no sense of humor. For example:

My new boss is so uptight about the dress code. He makes all the men wear a jacket and tie even in the summer!

A: We can’t leave until 6:00, and it’s only 5:57!

B: Don’t be so uptight! It’s only three minutes!

My parents have gotten really uptight since they retired. They used to be really fun and open-minded, but now they seem to disapprove of everything I do.

We have a new supervisor coming in, and I’ve heard he’s really uptight! I’m not looking forward to working with him!

Obviously this word is very negative, so we don’t usually use it to describe ourselves. Also, we don’t usually say it directly to another person. Therefore, it’s very rude to say “You are so uptight.” to another person; however, sometimes we say “Don’t be so uptight!” as in my second example. Please note that you should only say this to close friends but never to someone of higher status than you.

grammatical word: providing

images

This week’s grammatical word is “providing”, and it has the same meaning as “as long as”. I wrote a blog entry about “as long as” last year on July 15th, 2010. In that blog entry I said it has two meanings, but “providing” only means the same thing as the first definition for “as long as”. Both expressions have a similar meaning to “if”, but they are used to indicate a condition that is necessary for someone to do something. For example:

Providing you do well in the interview, I’m sure you’ll get the job.

Providing your friend doesn’t stay too long, she can sleep in our extra room.

I will lend you the money providing you pay me back within two months.

My wife will come to the party with me providing she doesn’t have to work overtime.

A: We will order more of this product from your company providing we can sell these ones quickly.

B: Ok, it’s a deal.

The word “providing” sounds a little more formal than “as long as”, so we can use it in business situations. Also, as you can see from my examples, the word “providing” can be placed in the middle or at the beginning of the sentence.

the difference between words: will and will be + ing

https://i2.wp.com/www.selectism.com/news/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/future-book-front.jpg

Today I’d like to write about the difference between two grammar forms that are about the future: “will” and “will be” + ing. Generally, we use “will” to talk about future events in general, but we use “will be” + ing when we want to focus on a specific time or event in the future. For example:

A: What will you do tomorrow?

B: I’ll work tomorrow.

_________________________________________________________________

A: What will you be doing at 2:00 p.m. tomorrow?

B: I’ll be working at that time.

So, in this case, the two speakers are focusing on the specific time of 2:00 and contrasting that with what will happen during the whole day.

However, we can also say something like:

A: What will you be doing tomorrow?

B: I’ll be working all day tomorrow.

In this case, the speakers are focusing on tomorrow as a unit of time and contrasting that with what will happen during the whole week or month.

Here are some other ways in which we use “will” and “will be” + ing when talking about the future:

I’ll probably be asleep by the time you get home, so please don’t make too much noise.

I’ll probably be sleeping by the time you get home, so please don’t make too much noise.

I will have a meeting with my boss tomorrow about my business trip.

When you get up tomorrow, I’ll be talking with my boss about my business trip.

The plane will land soon, so please fasten your seatbelts.

We will be landing in about fifteen minutes, so please fasten your seatbelts.

We can also use “will be” + ing to talk about future events which are already fixed or decided. For example:

A: What will you be doing at the conference?

B: I’ll be giving a presentation about our new product.

I’ll be working at our new branch tomorrow, so you can reach me there.

My husband got a promotion at work. From now on, he’ll be heading the marketing department at his company.

So, in these cases, the event has already been decided on in the past, and now it is a firm plan.

« Previous entries
%d bloggers like this: