English Lesson: Hyphenated Adjectives

Michael Uncategorized 2 Comments

I went to the diner the other day. A diner is a 24-hour restaurant and it’s open 7 days a week.. Have you ever been to a diner? They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner food all day long. In English, we have certain expressions with numbers that are used as nouns and some that are used as adjectives. Let’s take a look at these today. Compare these two sentences: The restaurant is open 24 hours It is a 24-hour restaurant. When we use the number as a noun, then we need to also use the plural form of noun that follows: The diner is open 24 hours every day. Jack works 5 days a week. The work contract was for 10 weeks. When the number-noun combination is used as an adjective, we don’t use the plural form of the noun: The diner is a 24-hour restaurant every day Most people in the USA have a 5-day work week. She got a 10-week work contract. Please be careful not to use the plural form of the noun when you are using the number-noun adjective: She got a 10-week work contract. Not, She got a 10-weeks work contract. Thanks for studying today. …

English Lesson: Taste Vs Flavor

Michael Uncategorized Leave a Comment

I love to try different kinds of food. One of the more interesting things I like is Thai green curry. Have you ever had that? It tastes so delicious! It has a unique flavor, which is a combination of coconut milk and curry spices. It is flavored with a number of spices and seasonings. I like the taste of the coconut milk too. This curry has both a spicy and a mild flavor at the same time. It is a very flavorful dish. If you like the taste of spicy food, you’ll like Thai green curry. Today we are going to look at two words that are often confused – taste and flavor. Do you know how to use these words? Have a look at the paragraph above and then check today’s lesson: We use the noun form of taste to talk about food, and usually we use taste when we talk about one type of food, as opposed to a dish. Too much salt will ruin the taste of that steak. I like the taste of that ice cream. Koji likes hot dogs, both the taste and the texture. We also use the noun form of flavor in a …

English Lesson Go To + Infinitive or For Something

Michael Uncategorized 4 Comments

I went to Manhattan on Wednesday for my lessons.  Sometimes I drive to meet my students, but on Wednesdays I take the train to meet them. Before my class I usually stop by a café to get a cup of coffee. I like strong coffee, so I usually go to Starbucks to get coffee. I went for a Frappuccino this time because it was so hot outside. Today we will look at talking about movement. Have a look at the paragraph above, and then check today’s lesson: When you talk about the purpose for going somewhere, there are two patterns you can use. The first is go to a place to do something. Remember that after go to we use the infinitive (to+Verb). I went to Duane Reed to buy toothpaste Let’s go to the park to play tennis! My friend went to Osaka to see her family I went home to get my unbrella. (Remember, we go to a place, except go home, go there, go somewhere, etc Check this lesson for details) You can also use other verbs of motion with this pattern like fly, travel, take, etc: I took a subway to see my sister. We flew …

English Lesson: Using have

Michael Uncategorized 2 Comments

As you know, I have a dog named Happy.  She is cute and full of energy. She also has a strange way to eat her favorite cookie. I posted her video here so you can check it out. Have you ever seen anything like it? We recently has a party for her 12th birthday. I think she had a good time! Today, we will look at the most common ways to use have. Do you know them? Have a look at the paragraph above,  then check out today’s lesson: Have is used when we talk about possession and ownership Tom has a dog. They have a summer house in mountains. Do you have a Mac or PC? You can use have when you talk about relationships He has two older brothers. I have three cousins on my father’s side. Do you have a big family? We also use have to talk about health problems I had a hangover this morning. Mom has a headache, so she is taking a nap. Brad has a cold, so he’s not coming to the party. We can also use have to talk about events. We are having a birthday party for Jane. Can you …

English Lesson: Talk About the Weather

Michael Uncategorized Leave a Comment

I had a conversation like this the other day:  Michael: Hi Taka, how’s it going?  Juwon: Pretty good. It’s a fine day outside. Juwon’s answer got me thinking. For me, a fine day would be sunny, about 70°F (21°C), and no humidity. Let me give you a few expressions you can use to talk about the hot, summer weather we’ve been having. It’s a scorcher out there! Scorch means to burn and we use scorcher to mean it is very hot and humid. When you speak this sentences, put stress on the word scorcher  → It’s a scorcher out there. It’s hot as hell out there! Hell very hot, and if it is hot as hell, then it is very hot outside! When you speak this sentences, put stress on the words hot and tell  →It’s hot as hell out there! It’s the three H’s out there! The three H’s are Hazy, Hot, and Humid. When it is very humid, there is a lot of moisture in the air. Thus, when you try to look a far distance away, the scenery is not clear. That is hazy. Haze is similar to fog, but fog is a cloud that is on …

English Lesson: Countable Vs Uncountable Nouns

Michael Uncategorized 2 Comments

Whenever I am in the car I listen to the radio. There are some good radio stations that play music I like, and others that have a lot of music I’m really not into. I like to listen to both old songs and new songs. In fact, I listen to a lot of different music, from pop to rock to classical. Some music on the radio reminds me of when I was in high school. I still like those old songs. Maybe I’m too nostalgic… Today we’ll start a mini-series of lessons looking at countable and uncountable nouns. Do you know the difference? Have a look at the paragraph above, and then check today’s lesson. English nouns can be divided into two categories  – countable, and uncountable. Countable nouns are words that represent things we can count. For example, the word song is a countable noun. Here are some examples: Two songs by Lady Gaga are in that movie. An iPod can hold hundreds of songs. The Beatles had a lot of hit songs. As you know, when there is more than one of a countable noun, we use the plural form, In most cases, that means the noun + …

English Lesson: Active vs Passive Voice

Michael Uncategorized Leave a Comment

I like sweets. I know, I shouldn’t eat a lot of sweets, but tonight my sister brought some cupcakes to my house for dessert. Ever since the TV show Sex in the City became popular, cupcakes became a really popular treat in the USA. How about in you r country? Now, lots of bakeries make cupcakes. If you’ve never had a cupcake, they are tiny cakes with very delicious and sweet frosting on top. Today’s cupcakes were made by my sister. They were yummy! Today we will look at the difference between the active and the passive voice. Do you know the difference? Have a look at the paragraph above and then check out today’s lesson. Let’s compare the following sentences: My sister made the cupcakes                 ← active voice The cupcakes were made by my sister  ← passive voice Both of these sentences mean the same thing. However, there is a huge difference in how they are used. The active voice is more conversational than the passive voice.  It is clear to the listener because it focuses on who did the action. The active voice is more common in everyday English conversation. My sister made the cupcakes Jane found a …

English Lesson: Small Talk “Hobbies & Taboo Topics”

Michael Uncategorized 1 Comment

Today we will continue looking at making conversation and small talk in English. Yesterday we learned how to ask about family and jobs. Today our topics are hobbies, free time and taboo topics. Hobby and Free Time When I think of the word “hobby” I start to feel nostalgic. I think of the time when I was a child and I would visit my Uncle. His hobby was collecting stamps from all over the world. The term hobby is rarely used these days. Asking someone, What is your hobby?  or  Do you have any hobbies? makes me feel like we are back in the 1950’s. What you really want to know is what the person does when they have free time. So ask them: What do you like to do / What do you usually do [on the weekends?] What do you like to do / What do you usually do [on your day off?] You can also ask someone about specific topics. Here are some examples: Do you play any sports? What kind of music do you like? Do you like shopping? You can ask these kinds of questions about almost any topic, except the following taboo topics: Taboo …

English Lesson: Small Talk – Family & Job

Michael Uncategorized 2 Comments

When you meet someone, what topics do you talk about? Let’s look at some of these topics. Family Here are questions you can use to talk about family: Tell me about your family. (I know, it is not a question) Do you have any brothers and sisters? Do you have a big family? Be careful! This question  → How many families do you have? ← is correct English, but we don’t use that question. We only have one family. Maybe you want to know how many brothers or sisters someone has. In that case you can ask, How many brothers and sisters do you have? These are the usual questions people ask in English to talk about families. So then, how do you reply? Let’s look at some replies and vocabulary. I’m an only child. This means I have no brothers or sisters. I have an older sister/brother. I have a younger sister/brother. I have two sisters/brothers. I’m the youngest/oldest child I have a big/small family. Job Here are questions you can use to talk about jobs. What do you do? Where do you work? Be careful! This question  → What is your job? ← is correct English, but we …