English Lesson: Phrasal Verbs with “Fill”

Michael Uncategorized 2 Comments

I bought gas today. I usually fill up the tank, but these days the gas prices are falling, so I just filled it up halfway. The guy at the gas station told me if I had their charge card, I could get a small discount on Tuesdays. He said all I needed to do was to fill out the application and he could get me the approval soon. I filled in my name, address and other info and I was good to go. Today we will look at some phrasal verbs that use fill – fill up, fill in, an fill out. Do you know how to use these words? Take a look at the paragraph above and then check out today’s lesson: Fill in and fill out are similar, but they are used differently. You can fill out an application or a form, but you fill in your name and address on the form. The structure is fill out + [some form] and fill in + [some information].  For example, these sentences refer to completing a form: I filled out an application for a gas card. If you want to study at Happy English, please fill out this questionnaire.   The …

English Lesson: How to use “mean”

Michael Uncategorized 2 Comments

I’ll never forget my sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Jensen. She was very mean to all of the students. Well, looking back now, I would say she was strict, but at the time we all thought she was mean. Maybe when I was twelve I didn’t understand what strict means. I mean, I was probably too young to appreciate her strong discipline. The word mean has a few different definitions and uses. Do you know how to use this word? Take a look at the paragraph above and then check out today’s lesson: Mean, as a verb,  is used to show the relationship between a word (or phrase) and it’s definition: “Organic” means something natural “Lift” means “elevator” in British English Maybe when I was twelve I didn’t understand what strict means. What does that symbol mean? Mean is also used to check understanding: Do you know what I mean? Important! When you want to know the definition of a word, you can ask: What does “organic” mean? Not, What means “organic”? Mean, as an adjective, means unkind, unfair, or aggressive (usually for animals) She was very mean to all of the students. Jack was a mean pirate, everyone was afraid …

English Lesson: Should Vs Must

Michael Uncategorized Leave a Comment

I like coffee, maybe a little too much. I think I should cut down on coffee. My dad used to say that for a healthy life, you should eat and drink in moderation. In other words, you shouldn’t have too much of any one thing. I should have listened to his advice. What do you think I should do? Do you think I must follow my doctor’s advice? Today we will look at how to use should and must. Do you know how to use these words? Take a look at the paragraph above and then check out today’s lesson: Should is an auxiliary verb and usually comes before the main verb in the sentence. Should is used to show obligation. Must is also an auxiliary verb, but it is much stronger than should and is often used for orders. Compare the following sentences: My doctor said that I should cut down on coffee. My doctor gave me a strong suggestion. My doctor said that I must cut down on coffee. My doctor gave me an order. You shouldn’t use a cell phone on the train. This shows your obligation not to use the phone. You mustn’t use a cell …

English Lesson: Past Vs. Present Perfect

Michael Uncategorized 7 Comments

Yesterday I went to my favorite museum, the MET (Metropolitan Museum of Art). I’ve been there many times before, but I still love to go there. I haven’t been there since January, and I am glad I went there this week. There was a special exhibition of guitars. I’ve played guitar since I was a kid, and I spent my childhood surrounded by music.  It was great! If you have never been to the MET, I really recommend it. Today we will look at the simple past tense vs the present perfect tense. Both of these forms of grammar talk about the past, 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: The simple past is used to talk about events and situations in the past. The structure is the past form of the verb. When we use the simple past, we usually to indicate the specific time the events and situations took place: Yesterday I went to my favorite museum. We know when – “yesterday” I went there this week. We know when – “this week” I spent my childhood surrounded by music. …

English Lesson: Remember + Verb & Wish + Verb

Michael Uncategorized 4 Comments

I remember going the beach in the summer as a kid. My father always remembered to bring that big red and white beach umbrella with the wooden handle. We had such a great time. Even now, I always want to go to the beach, but I wish going there was easier. There is so much to carry, and the parking lot is pretty far from the water. Still, I wish to go there every day! (*see note) The other day we saw that using the verb stop with an infinitive and using stop with a gerund gives stop a different meaning in each case. Today, let’s look at some other verbs that work this way. Have a look at the paragraph above once more and then check out today’s lesson: Remember + V~ing means to have an image of something from the past in your mind: I remember going the beach in the summer as a kid. Joe doesn’t remember singing at the party. Maybe he was too drunk. Do you remember playing basketball in the park when we were in high school? Remember + to + verb means to not forget to do something: My father always remembered to …

English Lesson: Using “Get”

Michael Uncategorized 6 Comments

I get a lot of emails every day, and some of them are junk mail. I am tired of getting junk mail, aren’t you? I get bothered by spam, and there is so much you can get a headache from it! I want to get some software that will catch the junk emails before they come to my computer. I just don’t get why people send such junk mail. What do they hope to get by doing so? Get is an interesting word in English. Get has many different uses and meanings. Do you know how to use get? Take a look at the paragraph above and then check out today’s lesson: In its most common use, get means receive: I get a lot of emails every day. Jane got a new iPod for her birthday. Did you get my text message? Get can also mean obtain, especially when we talk about health: I got a headache from working too hard. Jane got the flu last year. When we combine get+adjective, it means “become,” and you can also use get+object+adjective: I get happy every time I see you! As you get old, it becomes important to take care of your …

English Lesson: 3rd person “s”

Michael Uncategorized Leave a Comment

As you know, I live in New York. Most of my family lives here too. In fact my sister lives just ten minutes away from me. She lives in a very convenient location. I think we live in an interesting place. New York is interesting because of the people. They come from all over the world and they live here. People say it is a “melting pot.” I am sure you live in an interesting place too. My cousin does too. She lives in LA, another really interesting city. The third person “s” seems to be the one thing that students of all levels seem to easily forget about. When I say the third person, I mean “he,” “she,” and “it.” When we talk about a “he,” “she,” or “it” in the simple present tense, we need the “s.” Take a look at the paragraph above, and then read the next section of today’s lesson: Here is a simple way to remember this: 1. Choose a verb, any verb. (I will choose “love”) 2. Write the following sentences on a card (using your verb): a.       I love you b.      You love you c.       He/she/it loves you 3. Put the card …

English Lesson: Using “Must”

Michael Uncategorized 2 Comments

I was watching a TV program about penguins last night. There were some scientists in the South Pole studying them. While I think they must have an interesting job, I can’t imagine how they can work there. It must be so cold. It can’t be a comfortable place to work. I’m sure it must have been at least twenty degrees below zero! Still, it must be interesting to work in such a beautiful, natural environment. Of course, when they go outside they must dress warmly. And since they can go for months without having the opportunity to leave, they must prepare for living in isolation. The word must 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: We can use must when make conclusions that something is certain: It must be so cold = I’m sure it is so cold there, based on what I have seen. They must have an interesting Job = I concluded their job is interesting after watching that program. That child is crying. He must have hurt himself. When we make conclusions that something is not certain, …

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: Married Vs Get Married, etc…

Michael Uncategorized 4 Comments

June is a popular month for weddings. Do you know why? I have heard that in olden days, people took a bath just once a year, and usually during the month of May. So, in June, people were “fresh” and so lots of people got married at that time. My cousin is getting married this weekend. She is marrying her high school sweetheart. No, she’s not a teenager. She is in her late 30’s. She was married to some other guy for a few years, but they got a divorce. After she divorced him, she got reconnected with Joe, from high school.    Today we will look at how to use the words of marriage and divorce. Do you know how to use them? Take a look at the paragraph above and then check out today’s lesson: We usually use get + married and get + divorced when we speak informally: A lot of people get married in June. They got divorced last year. When we speak more formally, we use married and divorced without get: A lot of people marry in June. They divorced last year. We also don’t use a preposition when we don’t use get: Jane married …