Archive for grammatical expression

grammatical expression: to not get one’s hopes up

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Today I’d like to write about another expression that we often use in daily conversation: to “not get one’s hopes up”. We use this when we want to talk about a situation in which a person wants something to happen. However, there is a strong possibility it won’t happen, so someone else encourages them to expect that it won’t happen. Here are some example sentences:

A: I hope they don’t cancel my favorite show.
B: I wouldn’t get my hopes up if I were you. The ratings for that show are really bad.

I was disappointed by Bob when he told me he’d take me out this weekend. I shouldn’t let him get my hopes up like that.

A: Valerie said she’d help me move.
B: Don’t get your hopes up. She always agrees to help people, but then she doesn’t.

Don’t tell Sue you can take her to Disneyland if you’re not sure. I don’t want you to get her hopes up.

My last sentence is an example of to “not get someone’s hopes up”. In this case, one person is telling another person directly not to make promises to someone else if there is a chance they will not be able to do the thing.

We can also use this expression to talk about ourselves when we let ourselves think something will happen that probably won’t happen. In this case, we say something like, “I let him get my hopes up.” This means that the person was disappointed even though they knew it might not happen. My second sentence is another example of this.

As you can see, this expression is usually used in the negative because it’s always describing a negative situation in which the good event probably won’t happen or didn’t happen.

We commonly use this expression with “don’t” or “I wouldn’t…if I were you”. In these cases, another person is giving a warning to the person to be prepared for a negative situation.

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grammatical expression: a wake up call

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Today’s blog entry is about the term “a wake-up call”. We use it when we want to talk about an event which makes a person realize that they have to change some kind of negative behavior. Let me give you some ways to use it in sentences.

I used to smoke, but when my friend died of lung cancer, it was really a wake-up call for me. I quit smoking very soon after that.

My son has been lazy about studying, so he failed his last exam. I hope that will be a wake-up call for him.

I heard about a guy who didn’t save much money until he was in his fifties. Now he’s old but very poor. That was really a wake-up call for me, and now I’m saving as much money as I can.

Yesterday in the news, there was a story about a man who was killed while driving drunk. That should be a wake-up call for all people who drink and drive.

We can use this expression in all types of sentences, but it’s most commonly used in grammatically positive sentences.

As you can see from my examples, we put the preposition “for” after this term, and then that is followed by the person who is doing the negative behavior.

We can also use this term to talk about a situation in a hotel where a person gets a call from the hotel staff early in the morning in order to not be late for something.

In the case where it means to stop a negative behavior, the idea is that the person is not conscious of the possible negative effects their behavior can have. When the bad event happens, it “wakes them up” from that unconscious state and makes them change.

This term can be used in both business situations and daily conversations.

grammatical expression: in no time

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Today, I’d like to write about the short expression “in no time”. We use it when we want to say that something will happen very quickly. Let me give you some ways to use it in sentences.

If we take the bullet train, we’ll get to Osaka in no time.

I just bought some new kitchen machines. Now I can prepare dinner in no time.

If you study French at this school, you’ll be fluent in no time.

This car repair shop is great. They fixed my car’s engine in no time at all.

We only use this expression in grammatically positive sentences.

Sometimes, we add “at all” to the end of this expression. This is done to emphasize it and make it stronger. This is the case of my fourth example.

This is an example of exaggeration in English because, obviously, any action will take at least a little time to be accomplished.

Please note that we always use the word “no” in this expression instead of “not”. Generally, we use “no” in front of a noun, and we use “not” in front of a verb or adjective.

This expression can be used in both casual business situations and daily conversations.

grammatical expression: on the other hand

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Today, I’d like to write about the term “on the other hand”. We use it when we want to talk about something which goes against something that has already been said. Let me give you some ways to use it in sentences.

Peter is very talented. On the other hand, he’s also very lazy.

A: Rebecca said you were late today.
B: I was only two minutes late. She, on the other hand, has been ten minutes late three times this week.

This house is quite expensive for me now. On the other hand, it would be a good investment for the future.

I don’t like American movies so much. American TV shows, on the other hand, are very interesting.

We can use this term in grammatically positive and negative sentences, but it’s not used in questions.

As you can see from my examples, “on the other hand” is used in a second sentence and is used to contradict something in the first sentence.

It can be placed at the beginning of the second sentence or in the middle. It it’s in the middle, there must be commas around it.

This term can be used in both business situations and daily conversations.

grammatical expression: to lose one’s cool

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This time around I would like to write about the expression “lose one’s cool”. We use it when we want to talk about a person who loses their ability to remain calm in a stressful situation. Here are some ways to use it in sentences.

Jack is a very calm person. He never loses his cool.

My friend got fired from his job because he lost his cool with one of the clients.

Bill can be a very aggressive person, but you shouldn’t lose your cool with him. If he says something offensive, just ignore him.

I need to get some air. I’m very upset right now because of what Jerry just said, and I feel like I’m going to lose my cool.

So, if a person loses their cool, they can either get upset or angry about something. The difference is that if a person gets upset, they have an emotional reaction to a bad situation, but if they get angry, they have an aggressive reaction to the situation. Therefore, being upset is much more passive in feeling than being angry.

Generally speaking, if a person loses their cool by getting upset, they cry. If a person loses their cool by getting angry, they will shout or could possibly do something a little violent like hitting someone or breaking something.

grammatical expression: border on

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Today, I’d like to write about the short expression “border on”. We use it when we want to say that something is almost as bad as something else. Let me give you some ways to use it in sentences.

I think borrowing something without permission borders on stealing.

You exaggerated how long it would take you to finish the project. That borders on lying!

That hotel named itself after a very famous and luxurious hotel, so they could trick people into staying there. As far as I’m concerned, that borders on fraud.

In my opinion, yelling at a child doesn’t border on child abuse; it is child abuse!

We can use this expression in all types of sentences, but it’s most commonly used in grammatically positive sentences. Sometimes, it’s used in grammatically negative sentences, as in my last example.

As you can see from my examples, after the preposition “on”, we always put a noun or a verb in the –ing form. This word is almost always negative in feeling. Also, please note that the situations described are usually very serious in nature. From my examples, “stealing”, “lying”, “fraud”, and “child abuse” are all serious and negative actions.

We always use this expression to emphasize that something is bad by comparing it to something worse. When we say something bad “borders on” a worse thing, we’re saying that it comes very close to being the same thing although there is a slight difference that makes it not quite as bad. For example, in my first example sentence, the meaning is: borrowing something without permission is bad, and it comes close to stealing, but it’s not quite as bad as stealing.

grammatical expression: be an acquired taste

 

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Today, I’d like to write about the expression “be an acquired taste”. We use it when we want to talk about something that many people don’t like at first but, later, they begin to like it. Here are some examples of how to use it in sentences.

For me, beer was an acquired taste. I didn’t like it at first, but now I quite enjoy it.

A: I don’t like sushi!

B: Well, sushi is an acquired taste for many people. You might start to like it in the future.

I know you don’t like country music now, but it’s an acquired taste. You shouldn’t give up on it yet.

When we say that something is “an acquired taste”, it doesn’t mean that everyone will start to like it at a later date. It only means that some people have that experience, so it’s possible that the person will start to like it later.

We can use this to talk about food and drink as well as other things such as music, movies, art, etc.

The word “acquire” is a more formal way to say “get”. Therefore, if we “acquire” a taste for something, it means we get or develop a liking for it over a longer period of time.

grammatical expression: needless to say

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Hello again.

I know it’s been a very long time since my last post, but I’ve decided to try to start writing my English teaching blog again. I won’t be able to write as often as I did in the past but I will try to update it about twice a month or so.

For the first lesson back, I want to teach you the expression “needless to say”. We use it when we want to say that something is so obvious, it’s not necessary to say it, but we will say it anyway. Here are some example sentences using it.

My friend just got engaged to the man she loves so, needless to say, she’s very happy.

Bill just punched the boss in the face. Needless to say, he was fired.

The shoes that the clerk showed me were purple and too small so, needless to say, I didn’t buy them.

I spent all day carrying boxes up to the fifth floor. Needless to say, I’m exhausted.

As you can see from my examples, we either put “needless to say” after the word “so” or at the beginning of a second sentence after explaining the situation in a first sentence. If we use it after “so”, we put commas around the expression as a way to indicate that it’s additional information and is not necessary for the sentence to make sense.

Generally speaking, we don’t use the word “needless” except in this expression, especially when talking about personal situations. Therefore, we don’t say something like, “The extra time is needless”. This sounds very strange. Instead, we say, “I don’t need the extra time.” or “The extra time isn’t necessary.”

I hope everyone has a very happy 2014!

grammatical expression: (it) goes without saying

 

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Well, it’s the last day of the year, so I’d like to write one last blog entry for 2011. It is the expression “goes without saying”, and it’s used when we want to assure another person about something. For example:

We’re very sorry about sending you the wrong item. We’ll send you the correct one immediately, and it goes without saying that there will be no delivery charge.

A: When we go out for my birthday, are you going to pay for dinner?

B: Oh, that goes without saying! It’s your birthday!

It goes without saying that I will do my very best at this job! Thank you for giving it to me.

As you can see from my examples, we usually put the word “it” at the beginning of this expression. However, if we use it as a response to another person, as in my second example, we use the word “that” instead.

When we say something “goes without saying”, we’re basically saying that it’s so obvious that it shouldn’t have to be said. However, we say it anyway in order to make the other feel assured about it.

grammatical expression: look on the bright side

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Today I have another grammatical expression for you that is often used in English: “look on the bright side”. We use this when there is a negative situation, but we want someone to focus on a positive aspect that this situation has created. For example:

A: I had to work overtime every night this week!

B: Well, look on the bright side. Your paycheck this month will be a lot higher.

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A: I lost my job, so I had to move back in with my parents.

B: Look on the bright side. At least you don’t have to cook your own meals right now.

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A: I’m sick with the flu and I can’t go to work today!

B: Well, look on the bright side. You can relax at home for a day or two.

So, as you can see from my examples, we use this expression as a response to another person’s complaint about their situation. We usually say it as a way to try to make people feel better about their negative situation.

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