Something happened yesterday with my computer. The screen froze briefly, but then it was ok. I started thinking about how convenient life can be with computers. Instead of having to memorize my friend’s phone numbers and addresses, I can store them in the computer and quickly retrieve them. It seems like children these days are learning to use computers early. I think that is a good thing.
Today, I would like to go over some sets of similar and sometimes confusing words in English. I used some of these words in the paragraph above. Have another look at it, then check today’s lesson:
Happen Vs. Happening
I’ve heard students say things like, “I had a happening today.” That is a strange sentence in English. It is better to say, “Something happened..” Here are some examples.
- Something happened today. Not, There was a happening today
- Something happened in school today.
- Something happened with my computer today.
Safe Vs. Safety
Safe is an adjective and safety is a noun. Try not to mix them up:
- Is New York a safe city? (Yes, it is!)
- In the factory, safety is very important.
Shade Vs. Shadow
A shadow is a dark area caused by an object coming between a light and the place where the dark area is. Shade is darkness resulting from blocked sunlight.
- In the autumn, shadows are longer because of the angle of the sun.
- Let’s rest for a while in the shade, then continue walking.
I have heard students say things like this. “My friend was drinking last night and he was/had high tension.” High-tension is a term used for the energy in electrical wires, like the kind of wires that carry electricity to your home. High-tension can also be used to refer to situations which cause stress. We do not use high-tension to describe people directly. For people you can use hyper to mean very active:
- There are a lot of high-tension wires near the factory.
- That was a high-tension meeting today. I have a headache.
- After a few hours of drinking, Kim was pretty hyper.
Do you know anyone who gets hyper after drinking? Is your town or city safe? Feel free to leave a comment here and let us know.