Archive for grammatical word

grammatical word: procrastinate


Today’s entry is about the verb “procrastinate”. We use it when we want to talk about postponing some action that we need to do. Here are some ways to use it in sentences.

You have to go to the dentist! I know you hate going, but you can’t procrastinate any longer!

Make sure you apply for that job as soon as possible. If you procrastinate, you’ll lose your chance.

I always have to remind my husband to do things because he has a bad habit of procrastinating.

I wanted to get tickets for the Madonna concert, but I procrastinated and, by the time I called, the concert was sold out.

In English, the difference between this word and “postpone” is that “postpone” is neutral in meaning and “procrastinate” is always negative in meaning.

It is possible to use this word when talking about ourselves, but because it’s negative, it’s more commonly used to talk about other people’s bad habits of postponing things that they should do.

Please note that when we pronounce this word, we have to stress the second syllable, so it is: /pro CRAS tin nate/.

grammatical word: religiously


This time I’d like to write about the word “religiously”. We use it when we want to talk about a person who never misses doing something. In other words, they always do it when they’re supposed to or when they have a chance to do it. Here are some example sentences using it.

My sister brushes her teeth three times a day religiously.

My mother watches that TV show religiously. She never misses a single episode!

Recently, Tom has been going to the gym religiously five times a week, so he’s really in good shape now.

I used to read the newspaper religiously, but I don’t do that anymore. I’ve really become out of touch with what’s happening in the world.

When we use this word, it has nothing to do with being a religious person. The reason we say “religiously” to mean doing something all the time is that most religions require people to do certain things regularly and often as a way to show that their faith is strong. In the same way, people who are very passionate about something will do it regularly and often.

As you can see from my examples, we place this word at the end of a sentence or clause.

Also, please note that it can be used for all types of sentences: past, present and future.

grammatical word: tackle


This blog entry is about the verb “tackle”. We often use this word in business situations when we want to talk about starting to deal with a problem at work. Let me give you some examples of how to use it.

We’re having a big problem with the employees over the issue of vacation time. How do you think we should tackle this problem?

People are constantly late for work, and the boss said he would tackle the problem himself. I wonder what he’s going to do.

I’ll tackle the problem of low morale at the office if you deal with the customer complaints we’ve been getting recently.

Our sales have been going down steadily since January. If we don’t tackle this problem soon, we’ll go out of business.

It’s important to note that when we say we will tackle a problem, it means we haven’t started to deal with that problem yet. If the process has already started, then we say we’re handling the problem or dealing with the problem.

You might be interested to know that we can also use the word “tackle” when talking about American football. When a football player attacks a player from the opposite team in order to stop him from running with the football, we say he “tackles” him. So I suppose that’s why we use it when talking about problems; we are attacking a problem in order to stop it.

grammatical word: personally

Personally Speaking-webuse

Today, I want to go over the word “personally”. We use it when we want to give our opinion about something. This word is used to emphasize the fact that it is our own opinion and not someone else’s. Let me give you some examples of how to use it in sentences.

Most people I know like the actor Nathan Jones but, personally, I don’t like him.

Personally, I find living in a small town to be very enjoyable.

I personally think that Japan is the best country in the world.

My friends love to go dancing but, personally, I don’t enjoy it.

As you can see from my examples, the word “personally” can be placed in various places in the sentence: at the beginning, in the middle or between the words “I” and “think”. Please note that when we put this word in the middle of a sentence, we put commas around it, as in my first and fourth examples.

We can only use this word when talking about our opinion; if we are simply making a statement about something, we cannot use this word.

We usually use this word with verbs such as “think”, “like”, “enjoy” and “find”. In this case, the verb “find” means that we have a certain opinion about something based on our own experience of it. It does not mean that we locate something that we have been looking for.

grammatical word: eyesore


Today I’m going to write about the noun “eyesore”. We use this when we want to talk about something that is on display that we think is very ugly. Here are some ways to use it in sentences.

I hate the statue in front of my apartment building! It’s such an eyesore!

My neighbors put a big windmill on their front lawn to generate electricity. It’s a good idea, but the thing is a real eyesore.

I want to put a home gym in my apartment, but my wife won’t let me. She says it’ll be an eyesore.

I can’t believe the museum paid $1,000,000 for that eyesore of a painting! What a waste of money!

In all of these cases, the thing (the statue, the windmill, the home gym, the painting) is considered very ugly by the person. However, that is just their opinion; another person might disagree.

When we talk about an “eyesore”, it can be about something on display either in a private home, in a public building or outside.

grammatical word: cope


Today, I’m going to write about the verb, to “cope”. We use this word when we want to talk about how we can emotionally handle a difficult situation in life. Here are some ways to use it in sentences.

My sister’s husband just left her, and she’s not coping well with it.

My friend has six children. I don’t know how she can cope with so many children.

A: I heard Bruce just lost his job. How is he coping?

B: He’s actually coping really well. He’s a strong person.

I don’t think I could cope if I ever lost my job.

We often use this verb with the words “can”, “can’t”, “could” and “couldn’t”. When we use these words, we are emphasizing the person’s ability to handle the situation.

We also often use the word “well” with this verb, as in my first and third examples. In these cases, we usually use the present continuous tense. It can be used in a negative way, as in the first example, or in a positive way, as in the third example. In these cases, the person is already dealing with the difficult situation, and is either handling it well or badly.

grammatical word: (not) budge


Today, I’d like to write about the verb “budge”. It’s almost always used in the negative, and we use it when we want to talk about a person or thing not moving from a certain position. Let me give you some example sentences using it.

I have to buy something in that store. Don’t budge from this spot! I don’t want you to get lost.

The traffic is so heavy right now. The cars in front of me haven’t budged in fifteen minutes.

I asked the salesman to give us a discount, but he wouldn’t budge from the original price.

I tried to persuade my husband to come to the party, but he won’t budge. He’s so stubborn!

As you can see from my examples, there are two ways of using this. We can use it to describe people or things that don’t move physically, as in my first two examples.

We can also use it to talk about people who don’t move away from a decision or opinion that they already have. In other words, they refuse to change their minds about something. My last two sentences are examples of this.

Please note that in my first sentence, the speaker is probably a parent speaking to a child. If you said, “Don’t budge from this spot!” to an adult, it’s extremely strong, and the other person would probably get angry.

grammatical word: vis-a-vis


In this post, I’d like to talk about the term “vis-a-vis” because I received a request about this from one of my readers.

This word or term comes originally from French, and in that language it basically means “opposite” or “facing”. It can also mean “towards” or “with respect to”. This is because the word “vis” comes from “visage” which, in French, means the “face” of something or someone.

We have borrowed this word into English, but in our language we focus on the meaning which is “with respect to”.  Another way to say this is “with regards to”. Here are some examples of how to use it.

I really didn’t like Gordon’s comments vis-a-vis the new company dress code.

What are we going to do vis-a-vis the problems down at the factory?

I’m writing this letter to you vis-a-vis your complaint about the service you received in our store.

Please note that “vis-a-vis” is a very formal expression and is not often used in English, except usually in formal business or academic situations. Even then, it can seem a bit pretentious to some people because it comes from French.

Also, please be aware that the pronunciation of this is /vee za vee/.

grammatical word: pretty

Today, I’d like to write about the word “pretty”, but not the adjective. This way of using “pretty” is put in front of other adjectives or adverbs, as in “pretty good” or “pretty quickly”. Many of my students think this is the same as “very”, but it’s not. The word “pretty” indicates that something is slightly weaker than the regular adjective or adverb. Therefore, the scale is: very good -> good -> pretty good. Let me give you some examples:

The movie was pretty good, but it could have been better.

A: Can you run fast?

B: Well, I can run pretty fast, although I was much faster when I was younger.

The color my wife chose to paint our house is pretty nice, but I would have preferred a darker color.

A: Is living downtown expensive?

B: Well, it can be pretty expensive, but some things don’t cost so much.

When we use “pretty” in this way, we usually stress “pretty” with our voices.

However, “pretty” can also be used in another way that means something is equal to or slightly stronger than the adjective or adverb. In these cases, we usually stress the adjective or adverb itself with our voices. When we use “pretty” in this way, it often indicates that we were surprised by what we experienced. For example:

I heard Tony play the piano the other day, and he was actually pretty good.

I know I look weak, but I’m actually pretty strong.

It can get pretty loud in this neighborhood because there are a lot of kids living around here.

A: I ran into my ex-girlfriend when I was on a date with my new girlfriend.

B: That must have been pretty uncomfortable.

A: It was!

So, as I said before, the word “pretty” in these cases is much stronger than in the first set of examples.  However, it’s still not as strong as using “very” or “really”.

grammatical word: take (part 2)

This week I’d like to continue writing about the various uses of the verb “take”.

11. for one person to receive praise for work done by others (used with the word “credit”). For example:

Everyone in our department worked really hard on this project, but our boss took credit for it.

Bill is always taking credit for my ideas at work! I hate him!

12. to accept a credit card. For example:

Do you take Visa at this store?

We take all major credit cards at this hotel.

13. to accept a job or position. For example:

ABC Company offered me a job, and I’ve decided to take it.

I took the first job that was offered to me, and now I really regret it. I should have waited longer.

14. to support someone in an argument or debate (used with the word “side”). For example:

Whenever I have a disagreement with Jack, the boss always takes his side. It’s not fair!

I’m not getting involved with this argument. I’m not going to take anyone’s side.

15. to use public transportation to go somewhere. For example:

I’m going to take the train to Osaka tomorrow.

I took the bus downtown because my car is being repaired right now.

16. to turn left or right. For example:

When you get to the convenience store, take a left.

Just go down this street and take the third right. The museum will be on the left.

17. to photograph something or someone with a camera. For example:

My cousin loves to take photographs of birds. It’s his hobby.

Can you take a picture of me with my girlfriend?

18. to cheat someone out of something. For example:

The salesman in that used furniture store took me for $50 last month. He overcharged me for my sofa.

I was really taken by the salesman in that store last month. (passive voice)

19. to require a certain thing in order to do something. For example:

It takes a lot of courage to perform on stage. I could never do it.

It takes a lot of money to play hockey because the equipment is very expensive.

20. to tolerate a bad situation. For example:

My sister’s husband treats her very badly. I don’t know why she takes it from him.

I’ve been putting up with my terrible job for a long time now, but I can’t take it anymore. I’m going to quit!

21. to study something at a school. For example:

I’m taking a French class right now. It’s hard, but it’s really interesting.

I took a course in graphic design last year. I really enjoyed it.

There are a few more ways to use the word “take”, but I think these are the main ones. If you’d like to check the other ways, you can use The Free Dictionary. The link for that site is on my blog.

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