One-Point English Lesson: Let Vs. Make

Michael Grammar, Vocabulary Leave a Comment

Let and make can sometimes be confusing in English, so I thought we could look at these words today. We use let when we talk about permission to do something. Someone lets another person do something. For example, I want to leave the office early today. When I ask my boss if I can leave early, he said yes. He gave me permission to leave early. In this situation, I can say he let me leave early. The structure is [Person A] lets [Person B] base verb. Here are a few more examples: The boss let me take a day off tomorrow. I wanted to try my sister’s new iPad and she said OK. She let me use her iPad. Tom let me drive his new Jeep. We use make when we talk about being forced or required to do something. Someone makes another person do something. For example, my boss required me to work overtime in order to finish a project. I didn’t want to do so, but he forced me do it. In this situation, I can say he made me work overtime. The structure is [Person A] makes [Person B] base verb. Here are a few more …

One Point English Lesson: Prepositions of Time

Michael Grammar Leave a Comment

Here are some set prepositional phrases we use to talk about time: We say in the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening, but at night: I always walk my dog in the morning. I will be busy in the afternoon, so please call me after work. Tony always watches the news in the evening. It’s generally quiet in my neighborhood at night. We say during the week, but on the weekend: I always go to the gym during the week. Chris plays golf on the weekend. What do you usually do on the weekend? Do you work or go to school during the week? Leave a comment below and let us know!

English Grammar Lesson: Need, Need to, Want, & Want to

Michael Grammar 2 Comments

We use “need” + noun (or) “need” + to + verb I need a pen. I need to buy a pen. I need a cup of coffee. I need to drink a cup of coffee Don’t use a VerbING after need: I need buying a pen In a similar way, we use “want” + noun (or) “want” + to + verb I want a pen. I want to buy a pen. I want a cup of coffee. I want to drink a cup of coffee As with need, don’t use a VerbING after want: I want buying a pen. What do you need? What do you need to do ? Want do you want? What do you want to do? If you know anyone who might be interested in this English language point, why not help them out! Just share this lesson with them. Thanks for studying today!

English Lesson: If Conditionals & Superstitions

Michael Grammar 1 Comment

There is a superstition that says Friday the 13th is an unlucky day. This is because the number 13 is considered to be an unlucky number in Western culture, and Friday is said to be an unlucky day. So if Friday and 13 happen together, it will be bad luck. Do you think so? There are a lot of other superstitions. For example, if you break a mirror, you will have seven years of bad luck. Do you think so? Let’s look at some of these superstitions today! We use if in a conditional sentence to talk about things that always happen. Do you know how to use this grammar? Take a look at the paragraph above and then check today’s lesson. In this sentence there are two clauses. The clause with if contains a present verb, and the second clause contains will plus a present verb. If the temperature falls below 0°C, water will freeze. So the structure is:  If + present verb, will + present verb. Some grammar books call this the first conditional. We use this grammar to talk about general truths about the future. A superstition is a general truth or belief that is based on …

English Lesson: Articles with Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Michael Grammar 6 Comments

English Lesson: Articles with Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner As I’m sure you know, food is one of my highest joys in life. I especially love breakfast. There is something about breakfast food like eggs, toast, and bacon that makes me feel good. My sister, on the other hand, likes brunch. The brunch at a hotel in town is very good, and we go there once in a while to have it. As for dinner, I like a variety of restaurants. From steak to sushi, I’m happy going out seven days a week…if I could. The nouns we use for meals (breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, and supper) sometimes take an article, and sometimes don’t.  Do you know the rules? Have a look at the paragraph above and then check today’s lesson: When breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, and supper are used to refer to our everyday meals, they is no article. I can skip lunch, but I need to have breakfast each morning. Paul invited me to have brunch at his house on Sunday. What do you usually have dinner? When breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, and supper are used to refer to special events, or set meals at restaurants, then you need to …

English Lesson: Verb + Preposition (Apologize & Complain)

Michael Grammar Leave a Comment

Last week the website was down. I hope not too many people were bothered by that. There was some problem at my hosing company. Of course I complained to the hosting company about the situation and they apologized to me for the trouble, but still I don’t know what happened. I hope we don’t have any more technical problems! Today, let’s continue looking at the verb + preposition combination. Some verbs are always followed by a certain preposition, and this can get confusing. Today we will look at these two verbs: apologize &  complain.  Do you know which prepositions follow these verbs? Have a look at the paragraph above and then check the lesson below: Use apologize to followed by the person that the apology is directed to: They apologized to me right away. You should apologize to your boss when you are late for work. Use apologize for followed by reason an apology is given. The structures are apologize + for + something and apologize + for + Verb+ing: They apologized for the downtime of my website. You should apologize for being late to work Of course, you can use both prepositions in one sentence with apologize: They apologized to me for the downtime of my website. You should apologize to your boss for being late to work. Use complain to followed by the person …

English Lesson: Verb + Preposition (Work)

Michael Grammar 4 Comments

I was working at my desk this morning trying to decide which topics to choose for my Twitter lessons. I have worked in international education since 1994, but I have been using social media for just about a year. I wonder what it would be like to work for a company like Twitter or Facebook. As I work on my lessons I think about many different things… Today, let’s have another look at the verb + preposition combination. Some verbs are always followed by a certain preposition, and this can get confusing. Today we will look at work, which can be followed by at, for, in, on, out, and with.   Use work at followed by a place or a task: Brad works at a bank downtown. The boss was working at his desk all day. I had a problem with my computer and I was working at it for a few hours until it was solved. Use work for followed by a company, a cause, or a person Brad works for NYC Finance downtown. Jenny has been working for animal rights all her life. Teddy used to work for Jack Welch. Use work in followed by a field or …

English Lesson: Go to Vs. Go for Vs. Go in

Michael Grammar 7 Comments

I am going to NYC to meet one of my students who is in NY this week on business. We usually have a lesson on skype, but today she is coming to my lesson place for class. After the lesson we will go for lunch. I suggested we go for pizza at Lombardi’s, NY’s most famous pizza restaurants. I like to go there whenever I have students or other guests who come here from out of town. It is a great place and when I go in there I always enjoy the atmosphere as well as the pizza. We use go followed by a variety of prepositions, each with a different meaning. Do you know how to use go + to / go + for / go + in? Have a look at the paragraph above and then check today’s lesson. We use go + to + [place] when we show movement in the direction of a place. Before the place, you need to: I am going to NYC Jack goes to his office by bicycle. Jenny went to Cancun last month and had a great time Remember! Don’t use to before home, there, here, somewhere, uptown, and downtown: I have to go uptown for a meeting. Not, I have to go to …

English Lesson: Going to Vs. Gonna

Michael Confusing Words, Grammar, Pronunciation 7 Comments

I’m sure that you have learned that in everyday casual English we pronounce going to as gonna. What you might not know is that there are times when we can and cannot use such pronunciation. Today I want to talk about this with you. Be going to is used in a few different ways in English. First, we can use be going to + verb to talk about definite future plans. We can use the pronunciation gonna here: I am going to go to Boston next week – OR  – I am gonna go to Boston next week Jack said he is going to get a dog – OR – Jack said he is gonna get a dog. Be going to is also used when we talk about our present action or future plan. We use be going to + place. In this case, we cannot say gonna   I’m going to Boston next week – NOT  – I’m gonna Boston next week Jack said he’s going to the pest store – NOT  – Jack said he’s gonna the pet store Be going is also used when we talk about our present action or future plan. We use be going …

English Lesson: Because Vs. Since Vs. Due to Vs. As

Michael Grammar 8 Comments

Due to the hurricane last week, I was without electric power for a day and a half. As you can imagine, not having power can make life in the 21 Century difficult. That’s because without electricity, there is no internet and without internet we can’t do much here at Happy English. I went to the library on Monday since I couldn’t use internet at home, but they were closed due to the hurricane. I was happy when the power came back later that day. Since, as, because, and due to all are used to explain a reason for something. However, we use these words differently. Do you know how to use them? Have a look at the paragraph above and then check out today’s lesson: Due to is the most formal among today’s words. The structure is due to + noun: Due to the hurricane last week, I was without electric power. The reason for no electric power is the hurricane. Due to the power outage, there is no internet. Because is more conversational and less formal than due to. The structures are because + of + noun/noun phrase and because + subject/verb: Because of the hurricane last week, I …