Learn English Vocabulary – The First Time

Michael Conversational Phrases, Grammar 12 Comments

When you want to talk about your first experience to do something, there are a few ways in English you can do that. The easiest and clearest way is to use “for the first time” at the end of your sentence. This pattern works for the present, past, and future, and you don’t need to change the pattern when the tense changes: Present tense: Jack is working here in the USA for the first time. Past tense: I ate pizza in New York today for the first time. Future tense: I am going to Peru next month for the first time. You can also use the following pattern: [subject] + be + the first time + sentence. Usually the [subject] is a time word, like today or now, or a pronoun like this or that. This pattern also works for the present, past, and future, but you do need to change the pattern when the tense changes, so be careful!: Present tense: This is the first time Jack is working here in the USA. Past tense: Today was the first time I ate pizza in New York Future tense: Next month is going to be the first time I am …

English Vocabulary To Talk About Sleeping and Waking

Michael Vocabulary Leave a Comment

A lot of doctors say that for a healthy lifestyle, you should sleep for eight hours a night. Before you go to bed, you shouldn’t eat too much or drink alcohol. In addition, you shouldn’t use a computer or electronic device at least one hour before going to bed. Try to make your bedroom a peaceful place, with no TV’s, computers, or bright lights.  Doing this may help you to fall asleep easier and sleep more deeply. You’ll wake up full of energy and get out of bed feeling refreshed. For today’s English vocabulary lesson, I’m going to show you some of the words and phrases we use when talking about sleeping and waking. Go to bed is an action and means to enter the bed. Last night I went to bed and read my book for a little while. I usually go to bed at 11:00pm. Go to sleep or fall asleep means the process of closing your eyes and going from “awake” to “asleep.” Last night I went to sleep as soon as my head hit the pillow. I am so tired I could fall asleep right now. Note that a lot of native English speakers use go …

Quit, Retire, Fired, & Laid Off – English Vocabulary Lesson

Michael Confusing Words 4 Comments

We have a few different ways in English to talk about when you leave a job. Let’s look at those words today!   When you choose to leave a job, you quit the job. You can say I quit my job last week. Not, I retired from my job last week (see below) I quit working for the bank. You can also use resign from, which is a more formal way of saying quit I resigned from my job last week. I resigned from the bank. When your company chooses to end your employment, you can get fired if you do something wrong or get laid off if the company’s financial situation is not good Joe got fired because he came to work late too many times Jenny got laid off because the company had a hard time in this bad economy, When you stop working around age 60 or 65, you retire.  The condition is called retirement. Brad retired from the bank and now lives in Florida My grandfather is enjoying is retirement and new life in Southern California. What do you want to do when you retire? Feel free to leave a comment here. If you know anyone …

Practical English Lesson: How To Order A Sandwich In NYC

Michael Conversational Phrases 5 Comments

Everybody likes a good sandwich. They are portable, tasty, and generally not very expensive. However, a lot of people have trouble ordering a sandwich in a deli here in New York. Well, don’t worry. Today I’m going to show you how to order exactly what you like. Most sandwiches have three components. First, we have the main ingredient(s) such as meat and/or cheese. Next, is the bread. There are several types of bread including rolls and heroes. Finally, there are the extras, like lettuce, tomato, pickles, and condiments, such as mustard mayonnaise (or just mayo), salt and pepper. So, now that you know the parts of a sandwich, here is the pattern you’ll need to follow when ordering: Can I please have [main ingredient(s)] on [type of bread] with [extras & condiments]? For example, Clerk: Next! Michael: Can I please have roast beef and cheddar cheese on a roll with lettuce, tomato, mayo, salt and pepper? 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 Pronunciation of Money Lesson: How to Pronounce Dollar Amounts

Michael Pronunciation 2 Comments

When you go shopping, it is important to be able to say and listen to the amounts of money correctly. Here are some basic examples: $1 – a dollar or one dollar. $3 – three dollars. *not three dollar $50 – fifty dollars. *not fifty dollar The nickname for the US Dollar is buck. We use buck when we speak in a casual situation: $1 – a buck. *one buck is less common $3 – three bucks. $50 – fifty bucks. When the amount has dollars and cents, we pronounce the amount in two ways. Remember, the [.] is pronounced [and] when we pronounce money: #1 – the long way $1.33 – one dollar and thirty-three cents. $13.79 – thirteen dollars and seventy-nine cents. $110. 99 – one hundred ten dollars and ninety-nine cents.  #2 – the short way $1.33 – one thirty-three. $13.79 – thirteen seventy-nine. $110. 99 – one ten ninety-nine. 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!

One Point English Lesson: Using Plural Nouns When Speaking “Generally”

Michael Uncategorized 12 Comments

Listen to the lesson as you read: [powerpress url=”http://blog.myhappyenglish.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Using-Plural-Nouns-When-Speaking-Generally1.mp3″] Ok, so here is an important point that will help you sound more natural when you use English. As you know nouns in English can be countable, like pen → pens, or banana → bananas, and non-countable, like fruit or water. When we are talking about things in general, in other words, not specific things, we always use the plural form of countable nouns or the non-countable noun. Here are a few examples: Which do you like better, cats or dogs? Not, Which do you like better, cat or dog. Bananas are cheaper than strawberries. Mobile phones have become essential tools in our daily lives. Do you often go to baseball games? What kind of fruit do you like? Do you prefer coffee or tea? Be careful! In some cases, the name of the animal (like chicken) is the same word as the name of the meat from that animal (like chicken). So when you talk about the meat, then use the singular form, because the words for meat (like chicken, beef, pork, etc) are not countable. If you use the plural form, it means you are talking about the animal, …

Learn English with FRIENDS TV SHOW! Season 1 Episode 2

Michael Idioms, Slang 21 Comments

If you like watching Friends to learn English, you’re going to love these lessons! Today, let’s look at four phrases from Friends Season 1 Episode 2 Scene 3, The One With The Sonogram at the End. The phrases are: Be through with That would be See… Ball up In this scene, while Chandler, Joey, and Phoebe are watching TV in Monica’s room, Monica is cleaning up her room very hard because her parents are going to visit her. Joey has a glass in his hand. Monica asks him, “Are you through with that?” To be through with [something] means, to be finished using or doing something. I am through with working these late hours. I’m quitting my job. When you are through with the newspaper, please put it in the recycle bin. To be through with [person] means, to want to end your relationship with that person. Jane is angry with Joe. I think she is through with him. Rachel was through with Barry, so she didn’t marry him. Monica is cleaning the house and sees a small ball of paper. She asks, “Whose little ball of paper is this?” Chandler says, “Oh, uh, that would be mine.” [something] would …

English Lesson: Short Responses with How and What

Michael Uncategorized 2 Comments

We can use how or what to respond to a person or a situation. We use how + adjective: Jack: I got a new hat Jane: How nice! Cathy: Look at these flowers! Jane: How beautiful! We use what + adjective + noun: Jack: I got a new hat Jane: What a nice hat! Cathy: Look at these flowers! Jane: What beautiful flowers! It is also possible to put S + V after these expressions, like this: Jack: I got a new hat Jane: How nice it is! Jack: I got a new hat Jane: What a nice hat it is! Have you seen any beautiful flowers today? How about studying English with Michael or Jackie? We are available for private English lessons in New York, and online via Skype. Also, check out Michael’s newest book & audio podcasts, 109 Phrasal Verbs

English Lesson: Talking about your job & work

Michael Uncategorized Leave a Comment

Let’s talk about work today. Here is a conversation I have had quite often: Michael: Hi. I’m Michael. Nice to meet you. Thom: Hi Michael. I’m Thom. It’s nice to meet you too. Michael: So Thom, what do you do? Thom: I’m an office worker. Michael: I see, but what do you do? Thom: I’m a businessman. Michael: Right, but what do you do? Thom: I’m a company employee. Michael: ??????? When you are having an English conversation, and someone asks you about your job, you should tell them exactly what your job is. Usually, this is your job title: What do you do? → I’m an English teacher What do you do? → I’m a salesman What do you do? → I’m a secretary What do you do? → I’m an accountant. We do not give general answers, like Thom did in the opening conversation. So answers like these are strange in English because they don’t tell us about you. These answers are not unique: I’m a businessman → Lots of people are businessmen and businesswomen. I’m an office worker → Look around your city. Many people are office workers. I’m a company worker → Unless you own your …