English Lesson: Stop + Gerund Vs. Stop + Infinitive

Michael Uncategorized 5 Comments

New York just became a more difficult place to smoke in. There is a new law that prohibits smoking in most public places, including beaches and parks. I was walking in Central Park yesterday and I stopped to drink a cup coffee. I was enjoying my coffee on a bench, someone stopped to smoke a cigarette. Even though I stopped smoking a long time ago, I still understand how people can enjoy the habit. Speaking of habits, recently I have been thinking I need to stop drinking coffee… Today we will look at stop + gerund (Verb-ing) and stop + infinitive (to Verb). There is a difference in meaning between these two. Do you know what that is? Take a look at the paragraph above and then check out today’s lesson: Stop + Gerund When we use stop + Verb-ing, it means “quit.” Here are some examples: I stopped smoking a long time ago. I need to stop drinking so much coffee. Joe stopped playing golf because of back pain. Stop + Infinitive When we use stop + to Verb, it means “in order to” or “for the purpose of.” Here are some examples: I stopped to drink a cup …

English Lesson: During Vs For Vs In

Michael Uncategorized 2 Comments

During the summer I like to sail. I started sailing about four years ago and so I still consider myself to be a beginner. Since I live in New York, the sailing season only lasts for six months. In May, the boats are put in the water and sometime in October they are taken out for winter storage. In the middle of the summer there it is hot and humid, and there isn’t much wind. The best times to sail here are during the beginning and the end of the season. Today we will look at during, for, and in. These words can sometimes be confusing. Do you know how to use them? Take a look at the paragraph above and then check out today’s lesson: We use during when we want to talk about when something happens: During the summer I like to sail. Tom fell asleep during the meeting. I can’t use my cell phone during work. We use for when we want to talk about how long something lasts: The season only lasts for six months. Even though the meeting was for just thirty minutes, Tom fell asleep. I’m usually away from my phone for eight hours …

English Lesson: Bring Vs Take

Michael Uncategorized 6 Comments

I went to an international pot luck party last night. Have you ever been to one? At this kind of party, each guest is asked to bring a dish that is common to their country. I had a hard time deciding what to bring, but finally I made a decision. I brought pizza. I like pizza. Sometimes I keep some pizza in the freezer. The best way to heat up frozen pizza is to take it out of the freezer 30 minutes before putting in the oven. Then, when the cheese starts to bubble, take it out of the oven and enjoy! Today we will look at bring and take. Sometimes, these two words can be interchangeable, but in some cases they can not. Do you know how to use them? Have a look at the paragraph above and then check out today’s lesson:  In general, we bring something to somewhere and we take something from somewhere: I brought pizza to the party (from my house to the party) Please bring a dish that is common in your country to the party  (from where you are to the party) Can you bring me a pen? (from where you are to …

English Lesson: Borrow Vs. Lend

Michael Uncategorized Leave a Comment

My neighbor came over today and asked if he could borrow my lawn mower. I usually don’t like to lend garden tools to him because it takes too long for him to return them. I think that if you are going to borrow something, you should return it promptly after using it. I did lend him the lawn mower, and much to my surprise he returned it with a full tank of gas! Today we will look at borrow and lend. These words are similar, but they are used differently. Do you know how to use them? Take a look at the paragraph above and then check out today’s lesson: Borrow When you borrow something, you take it for a short amount of time. You can borrow something from someone, and you can borrow someone’s  something. Here are a few examples:  I borrowed a pen from George (borrow something from someone)  My neighbor borrowed my lawn mower (borrow someone’s  something)  Can I borrow your pen? ← This is how we ask to borrow something Lend When you lend something, you give it to someone for a short amount of time. You can lend someone something or lend something to someone. …

Time Flew Today…In The Breeze

Michael Uncategorized Leave a Comment

Where did today go? I woke up at 6:20 and the weather was just beautiful. The sky was bright blue, and the temperature was about 21C/70F. And there was a breeze. Perfect sailing weather…or so I thought. After my lessons this morning, I decided to go for a sail. My boat is on a mooring and so I need to take a dingy out to her. When I reached the dock, the wind was really blowing and the sea was quire rough. Sea Joy is about 50 meteres from the dock, and the water was too rough to row out. I gave up. Hopefully tomorrow will be a bit less windy. I’ll let you know. Anyway, I’ll be back tomorrow with another English lesson. See you then, or see you on twitter @happyenglishny. Bye for now!

English Lesson: Between vs Among

Michael Uncategorized Leave a Comment

George lives by the sea. His house is between the beach and the park near the beach. Among all of the houses in that area, his house is the nicest. He has a great view of the bay, and the beach between his house and the bay is just beautiful. He has a nice garden too. Among the plants and flowers, he also grows some vegetables. He also has a fish pond between the house and the garden. Today we will look at between and among. These words are similar, and sometimes confusing. Have a look once more at the paragraph above, and then take a look at the lesson here: We use between when we talk about something that is located in the middle of two things, like this: George’s house is between the beach and the park. The coffee shop is between the deli and the post office. In the photo, I am standing between two students. When there are more than two things, we use between when those things are clearly separable, like this: The wine glasses are between the beer glasses and the shot glasses. (We can see the three types of glasses) I think the …

English Lesson: Little Vs A Little, Few Vs. A Few

Michael Uncategorized 8 Comments

I have a few friends who are also English teachers, but few of them live in New York. A few of them live in Asia, one lives in the Middle East, and the others live in Europe. One of my friends also helps students prepare for the GMAT and GRE exams. I know a little about those two exams, but I have very little experience teaching such classes. Today we will look at a few, few, a little, and little. Take a look at the paragraph above once more and see if you can understand the difference between how we use those words, then look at the rest of this lesson.  These words are used to show how we feel about the amount of what we are talking about. A few and a little have positive nuance. They show that there is a small amount, but we are satisfied with that amount. We use a few with countable nouns, and a little with non-countable nouns. Here are some examples: I have a few friends who are also English teachers. (A small number of my friends are English teachers) There are a few peaches in the fridge, why don’t you try …

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

Michael Uncategorized Leave a Comment

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 …