English Lesson: Using “Despite”

Michael Uncategorized 2 Comments

Despite the holiday weekend, I went to work as usual. I left the house at 7:15 and there was a lot of traffic on the road, despite the fact that it was a Sunday. I guess a lot of people were travelling, maybe to the beach. There was a big surfing competition here, and despite the damage done by the hurricane last week, the competition was held as scheduled. Despite is used when we want to show that something is not affected by something else. For example, Despite the holiday weekend, I went to work as usual This means, even though it was a holiday weekend, I went to work. My work schedule was not affected by the fact that it was a holiday weekend. Here is another example: Despite his low score on the final exam, he passed the course. This means that he had a low score on his final exam, but he was able to pass the course. His passing the course was not affected by the low score on the exam. There are four basic structures we can use despite in: Despite + Noun Despite the hurricane, I went to work as usual. We went to the amusement …

English Lesson: Belong to Vs. Belong with, in, on

Michael Uncategorized 13 Comments

I was cleaning out the attic and found a box of cassette tapes that belong to my sister. For some reason, most of the tapes were out of the boxes and so I spent some time finding out which tape belonged in which box. I asked my sister if she wanted to keep them, but she told me those tapes belong with the rest of the stuff I was throwing out. I didn’t want to throw them away, so I decided that they belong on the shelf in the attic next to my old record albums. Belong is an interesting word that can be followed by to, with, in, and on. The meaning depends on which preposition you use. Belong to shows ownership: I found a box of cassette tapes that belong tomy sister. My sister owns the tapes. That blue Jeep belongs toJack owns the blue Jeep. Who does this iPhone belong to? Belong with shows similarity; things should be grouped or connected together: This case belongs withthat camera. She told me those tapes belong withthe trash. That wine and this cheese belong witheach other. Belong in shows the place where something should exist or be: I spent some time finding out which tape belonged inwhich box. That knife belongs inthe top drawer. Don’t leave the …

English Lesson: Prepositions To Vs. For

Michael Uncategorized 12 Comments

I like to drink coffee. I probably go out for coffee twice or sometime three times a day. This morning, when the guy behind the counter was handing the coffee to me he almost dropped it! I think his boss talked to him about that, too. Since he spilled some of it, he made a new cup for me. I always go to that shop so they know me…it’s a nice place! To and for can be confusing for some students. Do you know the difference? Have another look at the paragraph above, then check today’s lesson: To Vs. For We use to + base verb which is called an infinitive I like to drink coffee My dog needs to eat twice a day “To be or not to be” (from Shakespeare) We also use to when something is moved or transferred between locations or in the direction of a location Can you give your homework to your teacher after class? There is movement of the homework between you and the teacher I usually go to the library in the afternoon. There is movement in the direction of the library I think I will talk to him about his class. …

English Lesson: Verbs + the Preposition “About”

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Last night I had a strange dream. I dreamed I was walking on a beach and suddenly I realized I forgot my shoes. I saw a man fishing, so I asked him about my keys, but he didn’t answer me. I asked him again, but he still didn’t answer. I thought he didn’t want to talk to me, but suddenly he started talking about fishing. I forget what happened after that, but somehow I can’t forget about this dream. I wonder why I dreamed about the beach. There are a few verbs (ask, dream, forget, talk) which can be used alone or followed by the preposition about. When we follow these verbs with about, the use of the verb can change.  Do you know how to use these words? Have a look at the paragraph above once more, and then check today’s lesson. There are set patterns you should memorize so that you can use these words correctly. With ask, the pattern is ask + someone + something. You can also ask + someone + about  + someone or something. I asked him about my keys I asked him several times, but he didn’t answer I asked my sister when …

English Lesson: Prepositions & Expressions of Time

Michael Uncategorized 2 Comments

Yesterday, I started thinking about how much I have travelled. The first time I went abroad was in 1993. I went to Japan in June of that year. The following year I went to Japan to teach English. I arrived on July 27thI’ll never forget that day because it was so hot! Since then, I have travelled to Turkey, Russia, Brazil, Mexico, Canada and several countries in Asia and Oceania. Last year I went to Brazil, and next year I will go to Japan for a visit. Today we will look at some prepositions and expressions relating to time. Have a look at the paragraph  and calendar above, and then check out today’s lesson: In, On, & At We use in before the year and month, on before a day and at before time: I went there in 1993 / in June I arrived on July 27th / on Thursday Class begins at 10:00 Last & Next We use last to refer to a past point in time, and next to refer to a future point in time I was in Brazil last night / last Friday / last week / last month / last year I will go to …

English Lesson: For and To

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I had a break from my lessons this afternoon, so I went to the coffee shop today to have lunch. I haven’t been out for lunch in a while and I was amazed that so many people go to the coffee shop for lunch. I waited on line for almost ten minutes. I like to go out to eat, but I usually have lunch at home and go out for dinner. Last night I went out for some ice cream after dinner. It was so yummy! For and to can be confusing prepositions. Do know how to use them? Have a look at the paragraph above and then check out today’s lesson. Verbs of motion like go, walk, drive, etc, can be followed by to + verb (the infinitive) or for + something. Here are some examples. I went to the coffee shop to have lunch. I went to the coffee shop for lunch. I walk every morning to stay healthy. I walk every morning for my health. I drove to the mall to get something for my sister, Jane. I drove to the mall for Jane For can also be followed by an verb+ing, like this: This machine is …

English Lesson: Using “Like”

Michael Uncategorized 2 Comments

I think that by now, everyone knows that I like pizza. I like it very much. My wife says I like it too much. I like to eat thin crust pizza. There is one pizzeria I like to go to in Soho called Lombardi’s. There is no other pizza in New York like Lombardi’s pizza. I don’t know if is like real pizza from Italy, but it is very good. Are you like me? Do you like pizza too? The word like has a few different uses in English. Do you know how to use them? Take a look at the paragraph above and then check out today’s lesson: Like is a stative verb. Stative verbs show a state or condition, as opposed to an action. Some other examples are love, remember, imagine, etc. These verbs are not used in the progressive form: I like pizza. Not, I am liking pizza. I love you! Not, I am loving you. Note that for the past ten or so years, the fast food giant MacDonald’s has used “I’m lovin’ it” as their marketing catch phrase. Of course, this is not correct English grammar, but because it is not, it has been a …

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 …

Preposition Lesson: In The Train vs. On The Train

Michael Grammar 1 Comment

Today we will keep moving ahead with prepositions by going over some more specific items and those which are often confusing. In particular, let’s see how we use in and on and by to talk about traveling. Traveling We can go somewhere by car, by train, by subway, by plane, by helicopter, by boat, or by ship. However, if we decide to walk then we go on foot: Fred was going to come to my house by bike, but since he got a flat tire, he is coming on foot. Caution! I have heard some students say, “I went by my car” or “I came by walk.” This is not correct. You walked. And, if you go on foot, we know it is your feet, so please do not say “my.” It’s the same with “by car”: I went there on foot. Not: I went there on my foot or I went there by walk. I drove there by car. Not: I drove there by my car. Let’s get ready to leave Before traveling, we get in the car, but we get on the bus, get on the train, and get on the plane After traveling, we get out of …

Preposition: At Vs. In from Happy English NY

Michael Uncategorized Leave a Comment

Let’s continue the discussion of prepositions with a look at in and at. These two prepositions both indicate location, but their use is different. Talking about street addresses, towns, and areas At is used for a specific address: The Empire State Building is at 500 Fifth Ave, New York, NY. In is used for the names of cities & towns, states, countries & continents: I live in Manhattan. Manhattan is in New York, New York is in the USA, the USA is in North America. Contrasting at and in We use at when we talk about a non-specific general location I met her at the bank ← It is not clear, and not important what part of the bank (in front, inside, etc) we met. In contrast, we use in we are indicating both the location and the fact that there is a purpose for being there or some action taking place there. I met her in the bank ← It is very clear that the meeting took place inside the bank. While at indicates a general location and does not imply anything more than a general location, in indicates a more specific location and implies some activity or happening …