English Lesson: For Vs Since

Michael Uncategorized 2 Comments

I have lived in New York for a long time. Almost for my entire life, except once. I lived in Japan for four years. It was a good experience for me, and I usually go back there once a year to visit. Last year I was busy preparing for Happy English, so I couldn’t go. I haven’t been back to Japan for almost two years. Since my last visit in 2009, one of my students there got married. Even though I haven’t seen her in a while, we still keep in touch. Today, we will look at the difference between for and since when used with the present perfect tense. Do you know the difference? Have a look at the paragraph above once more, then read the following: Present perfect can be used with for and since to talk about something that started in the past and continues until now. Here are two examples: • I have lived in New York for 20 years. • I have lived in New York since 1991. Both of these sentences mean the same thing: I stared living in New York in 1991 (or 20 years ago) and am living here now. For is …

English Lesson: So, Too, Very

Michael Grammar 7 Comments

The weather is so nice today. The sun is shining very brightly and the sky is very blue. I love the summer. Well, I don’t like when it is too hot and humid. Sometimes it is so hot in New York that you can’t walk around outside for too long.   Too, so, and very are similar words but we use them differently. In today’s lesson we will take a look at the difference between the these words.  Too + Adjective Too + adjective is used to show something is excessive or problematic. Too is used with negative adjectives like expensive, tired, difficult, etc. Too implies a negative feeling and perhaps an unstated negative consequence. Look at the following example: Justin: Do you want to come to the party tonight, Mike? Mike: Sorry, Justin. I’m too tired. This means, I am tired, and because I am tired I won’t go out tonight. Here are some more examples: My old car is too unreliable. Economics is too difficult for many students. When we want to show that because something is excessive or problematic and there is a consequence, we use too + adjective, as in the above examples. When we simply …

English Lesson: Gerunds Vs. Participles

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Exercising is an important part of staying healthy. While some people enjoy exercising in a gym, I prefer walking. It’s because I don’t like exercising in a hot building. I like to walk on the beach or in the park. I find enjoying nature while exercising makes the time pass quickly…and more enjoyably! When I was walking this morning in my neighborhood, I saw a barking dog. He wasn’t barking at me, thank goodness. Maybe he was barking because someone disturbed his nap. Like the old saying goes, let sleeping dogs lie. Today we will have a look a the difference between gerunds and participles. Basically, gerunds are the ing form of verbs which function as nouns, and participles are the ing form of the verbs which function as adjectives.  Read the paragraph above and see if you can find the gerunds and participles. Then, check the examples below. A gerund is a Verb-ing that works like a noun. Here are some examples: • Exercising is an important part of staying healthy. • My wife always complains about my snoring. • George got in trouble for napping in his office. A participle is a Verb-ing that works like a adjective. Here …

English Lesson: Present Progressive

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I’m sitting in my office typing on an old keyboard. As I am writing this lesson, I am listening to the radio. Someone is talking about books. What are you reading these days? I’m reading a book about social media. It’s pretty interesting. After work today, I’m going to meet a friend for coffee. He’s helping me get my sailboat ready for the summer. I am launching the boat on Saturday. Have a look at the paragraph above. You’ll notice I used the present progressive tense (that’s Verb+ing) three different ways. Can you find them? 1. What I am doing right now We use present progressive to talk about what we are doing right now, at the moment of speaking: I’m sitting in my office. As I am writing this lesson, I am listening to the radio. Someone is talking about books. 2. What I am doing these days We also use present progressive to talk about what we are doing these days, but not necessarily at the moment of speaking: I’m reading a book about social media. (I am reading it these days, but I’m not reading it at the moment) My friend is helping me get the boat …

Talking About Sports in English

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Do you like sports? Now that the weather is getting warmer, a lot of people are thinking of taking up a sport. In the USA, a lot of elementary school age kids play soccer and baseball. Adults play a variety of sports too. My sister runs and does yoga twice a week. She has also been practicing karate for more than 10 years. Do you golf? My mom golfs once a week. I like to sail, and sailing season is just starting. There are a few ways in English that we talk about sports. How we talk about sports depends on which category the sport falls into. First of all, there are sports which use a ball or puck. For example, baseball, tennis, badminton, hockey, soccer, etc… Note that golf & bowling are sports that use a ball, but these two sports are exceptions, and we will look at them in a moment. For sports that use a ball, we use play: Elementary school age kids play soccer and baseball. I play tennis every Sunday. My cousins like to play hockey. The second category is sports that do not use a ball or puck. These include sports like judo, kendo, …

English Lesson: So Vs. Such

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It’s been raining all week. Everything is so wet. All of this rain every day is such a nuisance. There was such a mess everywhere. I am so tired of this terrible weather. I wish it would stop. Does it rain a lot where you are? Today we’ll continue talking about confusing words by looking at so and such. So is use with adjectives. The structure is [so] + [adjective] In this case, the meaning of so is “very.” Here are some examples: I was so tired after working out today I fell asleep at 9PM. That movie was so exciting! Bob is so nice, everyone likes him. Such is used with adjectives and nouns. The structure is [such] + [adjective] + [noun] In this case, the meaning of such is also “very.” Here are some examples: I had such a tiring workout today I fell asleep at 9PM That was such an exciting move! I’m glad we went. Bob is such a nice guy. Everyone likes him. Be careful! Sometimes people confuse so and such, so remember to say… Bob is such a nice guy. Not Bob is so nice guy. New York is such an exciting city. Not …

English Lesson: Bored Vs. Boring Take 2

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So this came up in a lesson today and I thought I would share it with you guys. Hopefully you’ll find this to be a helpful way to remember the difference between bored and boring, excited and exciting, etc. If you havn’t see it yet, check out my bored vs boring lesson here which has the details of this language point. Here today I want to just show you a different way of looking at the topic. Words ending in ed represent feelings: bored, excited, interested, etc. Words ending in ing represent the reason or cause of those feelings: boring, exciting, interesting, etc. Edward is a man’s name, and Ed is the nickname for Edward. Ed is a person. People have feelings, so Ed is a feeling. Words ending in ed are feelings. Another way to practice this is to use both words in a sentence, using this pattern → [something] is ING, so I am ED The party is boring, so I am bored. The movie was interesting, so I am interested in it (remember, we say interested in something). The roller coaster is exciting, so I am excited to ride it. Ok, so good luck and study this lesson …

English Lesson: Me Neither! Me Too! I Don’t Either! Neither Do I

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Have a look at these conversations: Joe: Do you like pizza? Bob: Yes I do. And I like pasta. Joe: I do too. But I don’t like olives. Bob: Me neither. And I don’t drink wine Joe: I don’t either. It can be a little confusing using such phrases as me too, so do I, me neither, etc. Have a look at the chart below. When talking about likes and dislikes the response you use depends on if you agree or disagree with the statement: Statement I agree I disagree I like pizza Me too I do to So do I I don’t I don’t like pizza Me neither I don’t either Neither do I I do Points to remember: When you agree to a positive statement (I like pizza) use me too, I do too, or so do I. When you disagree to a positive statement (I like pizza) use I don’t. When you agree to a negative statement (I don’t like pizza) use me neither, I don’t either, or Neither do I. When you disagree to a negative statement (I like pizza) use I do. I hope this was a helpful lesson. Do you like it? I do! Do you …

Phrasal Verb Lesson (Hold & Run)

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Today we’ll continue a look at phrasal verbs. Today’s featured verbs are hold & run. Read the following story and see how many of the phrasal verbs starting with turn you know. I ran into an old high school friend the other day at the supermarket. He was there because he ran out of dog food. He told me that the day before his dog ran away, and it almost got run over by a kid on a bicycle. I had to hold back my tears as he spoke. Suddenly, his phone rang, and so he asked me to hold on. Someone found the dog! The man was going to hold on to the dog until my friend could go get him. Ok…let look at the meaning of these phrasal verbs: · I ran into an old high school friend o When you run into someone, you meet them unexpectedly. · He ran out of dog fod. o When you run out of something, you have no more of it. · His dog ran away. o When a person or animal runs away, they leave unexpectedly · The dog almost got run over by a bicycle. o When a person …

Phrasal Verb Lesson (Take)

Michael Uncategorized 2 Comments

Today we’ll continue a look at phrasal verbs. Today’s featured verb is take. Read the following story and see how many of the phrasal verbs starting with turn you know. Once I get home from the office I take off my shoes and relax. My hobby is fixing cars, and tonight I am going to take apart the engine. I bought a new part last week, but it doesn’t work, so I need to take it out and then take it back to the store. I hope they will let me take my money back. Before I start working, I’m going to have dinner. Tonight we are taking out Chinese food. My sister is joining us because tomorrow she is flying to Miami. I think her plane takes off at 7am. My sister takes after my mom. She’s got all the creativity in the family! How did you do? Lets look at the meanings now: I take off my shoes and relax. When you take off your clothes, you remove them. I am going to take apart the engine. When you take something apart, you dismantle it. I need to take out the part. When you take something out, you …