Archive for grammatical word

grammatical word: take (part 1)

I’ve already written about the common verbs “get” and “make” in my blog and today, I’d like to write about another one: “take”. Just as with the other verbs, there are several ways in which we can use “take”.

1. to put something into one’s possession. For example:

Please take one of these samples. They’re free!

I took this flyer from the stand in front of your store. I hope that’s ok.

2. to grip another person’s hand. For example:

Take my hand so that we don’t get separated in the crowd.

In the last scene of the movie, the boy took his father’s hand and they went back into their house.

3. to put air into one’s body. For example:

Take a deep breath before you dive into the water.

If you start to panic, just take deep breaths and that will calm you down.

4. to surprise someone. For example:

The ending of the movie really took me by surprise.

I was really taken by surprise when I found out that Nick had quit his job. (passive voice)

5. to write down notes when listening to something. For example:

Do we have to take notes during the lecture?

I took notes during the lesson. I can make you a copy of them if you like.

6. to sit down. For example:

Please take a seat and we’ll get started.

As soon as I took my seat, the play started.

7. to bring someone to a place. For example:

I’m going to take my friend to the museum to see the new exhibition.

My children want me to take them to Disneyland this weekend.

8. to react to a piece of news. For example:

How did Doug take it when you told him he was fired?

Sarah didn’t take it well when I told her I wanted to break up with her.

9. to measure someone’s temperature. For example:

My mother took my temperature this morning and said that I have a fever.

The nurse will take your temperature before the doctor sees you.

10. to require time in order to accomplish something. For example:

It takes time to get over a broken heart. You’ll feel better in a few months.

The project took more time than we had anticipated.

So these are the first ten ways in which we can use this verb. I’ll continue with “take” in next week’s blog for grammatical words.

grammatical word: insist

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!

grammatical word: providing


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.

grammatical word: make (part 2)


Today I’m going to finish writing about the various uses of the verb “make”.

9. to choose a certain person or place for a specific role. For example:

The executives at the company decided to make Gordon the new vice president.

I’ve decided to make Toronto my new home.

10. to cause a person to have a certain feeling. For example:

Doing presentations in front of many people makes me nervous.

A: What makes you happy?

B: Spending time with my friends makes me happy.

11. to achieve a previously set goal. For example:

I don’t think we’ll make the deadline for this project.

Most of the sales people made their quotas last month, but I didn’t.

12. to cause something to happen. For example:

The company’s decision to cut salaries made many people quit.

A loud noise makes the baby cry.

13. to be of a certain quality in a certain role in the future (often used with the verb “think”). For example:

Jenny just told me she’s pregnant. I think she’ll make a wonderful mother.

Bill was just promoted to department manager, but nobody thinks he’ll make a good supervisor.

14. to add up to a certain total. For example:

Seven and four make eleven.

We have 20 people on our team and the other team has 14 members, so that makes 34 people in total.

15. to cause a certain period of time to be very positive. For example:

Thanks for giving me such a nice present. You really made my day!

It really made my year when my girlfriend told me she loved me.

16. to constitute a difference between two possible situations. For example:

It makes no difference if we finish this project on Thursday or Friday.

Yvonne’s help made a big difference with this project. I have to thank her later for her hard work.

17. to force someone to do something they don’t want to do. For example:

When I was young, my mother made me clean my room every week.

My boss is making me work on Sunday! I hate him!

18. to turn left or right. For example:

When you get to the next corner, make a left and then walk down that street for five minutes.

We need to make a right here if we’re going to the airport.

So these are the main ways we use “make” as a verb. There are other less common ways in which we use it but, in my opinion, these are the most useful ones. I know that sometimes the definitions are hard to understand, so I think it’s better to focus on the examples. My advice, as always, is to memorize the example sentences and then change the small details to make new sentences.

grammatical word: make (part 1)

Recently, I wrote a series of blogs about the verb “get”. I’d like to do the same thing today with the verb “make”. Here are the first few ways in which we can use “make”:

1. to create something. For example:

My sister makes her own clothes. I think they look really nice.

I made this table in high school, and my parents still use it in their house.

2. to prepare a meal. For example:

I’ll make you some scrambled eggs for breakfast.

I don’t feel like making dinner tonight. Let’s go out instead.

3. to fold the covers neatly on a bed after sleeping in it. For example:

I make my bed every morning, so it always looks neat.

My mother got mad at me because I forgot to make my bed.

4. to use a telephone to call someone. For example:

I have a few phone calls to make. Would you please excuse me?

I made a few calls yesterday to people I know, and I found someone who can give you a job.

5. to earn money. For example:

How much money do you make?

I didn’t make much money last year, so I need to find a better paying job.

6. to get new friends. For example:

I want to make some new friends.

My sister is very shy, so she finds it difficult to make friends.

7. to score a point in a sports game. For example:

Jim Peterson just made an amazing goal! Did you see it?

The Dallas Cowboys need to make this touchdown in order to win the game.

8. to reach a decision. For example:

I’ve made the decision to quit my job and go back to school.

Which restaurant shall we go to? I’m really hungry, so can we please make a decision now?

These are the first few ways we can use the verb “make”. I’ll continue with this series next week.

grammatical word: glare


Today I want to write about the word “glare”. It has two different meanings and can be used as both a verb and a noun. As a verb, it means to look at another person for a long time in a very angry way. For example:

Kate is dating Tina’s ex-boyfriend, so Tina was glaring at her at the party.

Why is everyone glaring at me today? Did I do something wrong?

I couldn’t stop myself from glaring at Richard at work today because he got the promotion that I wanted.

We can also use “glare” as a noun, but with a completely different meaning. The noun “glare” means an intense light that makes it difficult for a person to see. This light is often reflected from a window. For example:

I can’t see my computer screen because there’s too much glare from the window. Could you close the blind please?

If you put this sheet of film over your screen, it will cut down on any glare from the sunlight.

I always wear sunglasses outside because my eyes are sensitive to light. The glare from the sun really bothers them.

grammatical word: get (part 3)

Young Male Optometrist Holding An Ophthalmoscope

Today I would like to finish my series of blog entries on the word “get”. Here are some other ways in which we use this word:

17. for a certain aspect of a situation to really annoy someone. For example:

I don’t care that Bill didn’t invite me to his party, but what gets me is that he invited my girlfriend!

My neighbor’s son broke my window, but I’m not so angry about that. The thing that gets me is that they didn’t apologize to me.

18. to start an action. For example:

Let’s get going. If we don’t leave now, we’ll be late.

I want to get started on this project as soon as possible.

19. to have the opportunity to do something

I was in Paris last month, but I didn’t get to go to the Louvre because I was so busy.

I hope you’ll get to go shopping at Harrods when you’re in London.

20. for someone to hire a person to do something for them. For example:

My car isn’t working now, so I’m going to get it fixed.

I got my eyes tested at the eye doctor the other day, and he said I need glasses.

21. for someone to have a negative action done to them. For example:

My friend got his car stolen last week.

I got my pocket knife confiscated at the airport by security.

So, these are the main meanings for the word “get”. It is also used in many phrasal verbs. I will eventually write about those in my Friday blog.

grammatical word: get (part two)

Today, I want to continue with the verb “get”, and write about more of its many meanings.

8. to catch a minor illness such as a cold or the flu. For example:

I got a cold yesterday, so I’m not going to work today.

Many people are getting the flu these days. I hope I don’t get it too.

9. to retrieve something for another person. For example:

Can you get my sweater for me? It’s in the bedroom.

My son forgot his backpack at school, so I have to go and get it now.

10. to receive a punishment in a court of law. For example:

The man who killed his wife got the death penalty.

My neighbor was selling drugs. He got one year in prison for it.

11. to be able to hear something. For example:

I’m sorry, but I didn’t get your name because it’s so noisy in here. What is it again?

I got the man’s first name, but I didn’t get his last name. He was speaking so softly.

12. to cause something to be in a different condition. For example:

We have to get the apartment clean before the guests come over.

The children were playing in the mud and got their clothes all dirty.

13. to arrange for another person to do something for you. For example:

I’ll get my wife to buy some wine before she comes home.

I’ll get my secretary to send the package to you later today.

14. to affect someone emotionally. For example:

I don’t usually cry at movies, but that particular movie really got me.

It really gets me when I see my husband holding our new baby. He looks so proud!

15. for someone or something to start to become in a certain condition. For example:

It’s getting really cold these days. I need to buy a warmer coat.

I’m getting really angry with my boss! Lately he’s been making me work overtime and doesn’t even say thank you!

As I mentioned last week, I think the best way to learn words such as “get” is to focus on the sentences. You should memorize the full sentence and then change the small details. In this way, you can learn how to speak naturally.

Next week, I’ll continue with more ways to use “get”.

grammatical word: get (part 1)

As you probably know, the verb “get” in English has many meanings and uses. I would like to go over some of them in my blog today. Since there are so many ways to use it, I will continue writing about “get” next Tuesday as well. Let me go over some of the ways to use it for you:

1. to receive something. For example:

I got a new bike for my birthday. My parents gave it to me! I’m so happy!

My friend got a big promotion at work. I have to call and congratulate him.

2. to give something to someone. For example:

I’m going to get my wife some flowers for our anniversary.

My mother got me a really nice sweater for my birthday.

3. to go and obtain something by buying or borrowing it. For example:

I’m going to get some food at the supermarket. Do you need anything?

Paul said I could borrow his CD player, so I’m going to go and get it now.

4. to obtain something after requesting it from a person of higher status. For example:

I got permission from my parents to go to the concert.

I got the day off on Friday from my boss, so we can leave early for our camping trip.

5. to arrive at a destination. For example:

I always get to work before 9:00 a.m. every morning.

What time did you get home last night?

6. to reach someone on the telephone. for example:

I can’t get Mr. Lawrence on the phone right now because he’s in a meeting.

I’m sorry, but you won’t be able to get Jack on the phone until Monday. He’s on vacation right now.

7. to understand something. For example:

My friend told a joke today. Everyone else laughed, but I didn’t get it.

A: So, that’s what you need to do to operate this machine. Do you understand?

B: Yes, I got it.

These are the first seven ways we commonly use the word “get”. As I mentioned before, I will continue with this next week.

I know that it can be confusing when we use one word in so many different ways. My advice is to memorize the sentences that I’ve given you and then change the small details. That should make it easier for you to use them properly without becoming confused.

grammatical word: gloat

Today, I’d like to write about the verb “gloat”. We use it when we want to talk about  a person who indicates that they are happy to win when competing with another person. We also use it when one person is proven to be right when arguing with another person and they show that they feel happy about being right. For example:

Ken won the tennis game I played with him. He couldn’t stop smiling about it. I hate it when he gloats like that!

Yesterday, my girlfriend was gloating so much. We had a disagreement about what the tallest waterfall in the world is. She said it was the Angel Falls in Venezuela, and she was right.

A: I told you I could beat you at chess, and I did!

B: Oh, stop gloating! You were just lucky!

My friend always gloats when he can answer a trivia question that we can’t. I wish he wouldn’t do that.

The person who gloats can indicate a sense of happiness about being better by something that they say or with the expression on their face. In all cases, gloating is considered a negative thing to do.

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