English Idiom “Blow” from Happy English NY

Michael Idioms

Blow is an interesting word which has some idiomatic uses. The standard meaning is of course the movement of air. You can blow out the candles on your birthday cake or listen to the wind blow on a stormy day. As slang, blow also means to leave. Here are some examples: Well, it’s getting late. I think I’m going to blow. (You can say this when you are at your friends house, for example) Why don’t we blow this joint. There is no action here (You can say this when you are at a bar which is very quite. Joint means bar and action means excitement) As an idiom, you can blow your money. This means to loose or spend a lot of money and this has a negative nuance. If you blow your money, you are usually not in a good situation. Gloria blew all of her money in Vegas playing blackjack. Ted blew the money from his paycheck at the bar, so he has no money left for the rest of the week. You can also blow your cool. This means to become upset or angry. Fred blew his cool when someone scratched his new car My boss …

It’s not raining cats & dogs anymore, it’s pouring

Michael Idioms Leave a Comment

Did you know that in English we have an expression which goes like this: April showers bring May flowers. This means that all of the rain in the month of may will result in lots of flowers growing in May. Interesting? Well, the main point of this lesson is about rain. Many people who study English have learned the idiom, “It’s raining cats and dogs” which means, “it’s raining very hard.” The truth is, that is a very old expression and we don’t really use it very much, at least not in American English. What we do say, and what you can say in this situation is, “It’s pouring”  Please add this expression to your everyday conversation and leave the “pets” in your notebook ! Is it pouring where you are today? 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 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 …

Fit vs. Suit – English Vocabulary Lesson

Michael Confusing Words, Vocabulary 4 Comments

Jimmy bought a new jacket this week. It really suits him. He looks good in leather. The jacket fits him very well too. I think leather jackets don’t suit me, even if they fit. Today, let’s have a look at the difference between fit and suit. We use fit to talk about the size or shape of something. Fit means the size is correct. The jacket fits Jimmy well. It’s exactly his size. This sofa is too big and doesn’t fit in our living room. My suitcase is full. I can’t fit anything more in it. We use suit to say that something goes well, or doesn’t go well with a person or a thing. The jacket suits Jimmy well. It makes him look handsome. This sofa has a strange color pattern and doesn’t suit our living room. My suitcase is too small. It doesn’t suit my three-week business trip at all. 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 Vocabulary Lesson: Phrases Using Make

Michael Vocabulary 3 Comments

Make is a versatile word in English. There are a variety of collocations (set expressions) and idioms using make. Today, let’s have a look at some of the most common ones. First, we will look at some collocations with make. Here are some things you can make: Make a change We made some changes to the meeting agenda. Make a decision Tomoko made a decision to study English for 30 minutes every day. Make an effort Craig made an effort to finish his work on time. Make an excuse Jack said he was too tired to go out, but I think he was just making an excuse. Make friends Bill made friends with everyone at the conference. Make an improvement Chris has really made an improvement in the office since he took over as manager. Make a meal Mom made a nice dinner last night. Make a mistake I made a mistake on my exam. Make money Bob made money on eBay and was able to take a nice vacation. Make noise The kids were making a lot of noise at Joey’s birthday party. Make a phone call I need to make a few phone calls before leaving the office. …

Free English Vocabulary Lesson: Go There vs Get There

Michael Confusing Words, Grammar 4 Comments

I go to my office every morning. I leave the house at 7:00 and get to the train station about 7:10. After I get to Manhattan, I walk to my office. I usually get to the office by 8:30. Sometimes I go to the deli to pick up breakfast. I go home around 9:00pm, and sometimes I get home as late as 12:00 midnight. Today I am going to show you the difference between go to a place and get to a place and how to use these words in your English conversations. Some students have trouble with these using go and get, but the difference is pretty clear. Go means to move from one place to the next place. So use go when the focus of your sentence is movement from point A to point B: I go to my office every morning. Sometimes I go to the deli to pick up breakfast. I go home around 9:00pm Get means to arrive, so we use get when the focus of the sentence is on arrving at a place: I get to the train station about 7:10. After I get to Manhattan, I walk to my office. I usually get …

4 Ways To Use the Word Barbecue in English – Vocabulary Lesson

Michael Vocabulary 4 Comments

I have a gas barbecue. I love to use it because I think barbecued food tastes better than food cooked in the kitchen. In my family, we barbecue all year round. In the winter, I clear the snow off the barbecue and start cooking. We often invite friends over for a barbecue in the summer. Everyone enjoys spending time outside on a nice day eating deliciously barbecued food! For today’s English lesson, I want to show you four ways we use the word barbecue in English. Have a look at the paragraph above once more, and then check the lesson below. Barbecue is a verb. It means to cook food on an outside grill I barbecued the steaks and sausages for dinner. Do you like to barbecue in the summer time? Jane cooks in the kitchen, but Jack barbecues in the backyard Barbecue is a noun that means an outside grill: We bought a new barbecue last summer. It’s easy to use. Do you prefer a gas or charcoal barbecue? Yoshi has a portable barbecue that he uses on camping trips. Barbecue as a noun is also used to mean an outdoor party where food is cooked on an outside …

How To Use Matter – Confusing English Vocabulary

Michael Vocabulary 2 Comments

Several of my students have asked me about the word matter and how to use it, so for today’s English lesson, let’s have a look at both the noun and verb form of this word. As a noun, we generally use matter in a question or negative sentence. Matter means problem or trouble: What’s the matter with the computer? I don’t know what the matter with Jane is. She seems down today. We usually don’t use the matter in a positive sentence. Look at this conversation: What’s the matter with the computer? I think the problem is the hard drive. Not, I think the matter is the hard drive. So to answer “What’s the matter~” you can say things like “The problem is~” or  “The issue is~” etc. As a verb we generally use matter in questions or negative sentences, but it can be used in positive sentences. Matter means, important or significant. Jim: Does it matter where we have lunch today? Jen: It doesn’t matter where we go, as long as it’s not fast food. Here is another example: Everything she says matters to me because I value her opinions. There are other uses of matter as well: Matter as …

Famous, Popular, Notorious – Confusing English Word Lesson

Michael Confusing Words 2 Comments

There are many famous sightseeing places in New York City. Some of the most popular ones are Times Square, the Statue of Liberty, and the Empire State Building. Just twenty-fine years ago, Times Square was notorious as a gathering place of drug dealers and prostitutes, but now it is the most popular place for families to visit. One of the nice but les famous spots that I like is the rooftop of the Metropolitan Museum (the MET). It’s got a great view of Central Park! For today’s free English Lesson, we are going to look at two words that are often confused, famous and popular, and I will also show you a related word, notorious. Have a look at the paragraph above once more and then check the lesson. When something or someone is famous, it or they are well known, in other words many people know it or them: There are many famous sightseeing places in New York City. Johnny Depp is a famous actor. The Magnolia Bakery is famous for it’s cupcakes. When something or someone is popular, it or they are liked by many people. Popular things and people are admired and/or enjoyed by many people: Times …