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Share Words that don't belong
2014-12-5 09:19
This catchy title! is for English improvers and designed to draw attention to the common misuse of: It's, They're, Who's and You're. Unlike the use of the raised comma to show possession as in : Fred's book has gone missing, the use of that punctuation in the four words listed does not indicate belonging to but an abbreviated version of a phrase containing the word is or are. Thus, it's always means it is, they're equals they are, you're represents you are and who's is short for who is. Therefor ...
Personal category: English learners|2495 views|0 comments Popularity 8
Share Has the fat lady sung yet?
2014-5-23 11:05
Hi English improvers. I am introducing you to a colloquial term.. The most common version is: it isn't over 'till the fat lady has sung! In operas, the lead female singer is often overweight and she sings a long final song to bring down the curtain (close the performance) .So, literally, at an opera, a child could ask her mother .. When will it be over? Mother could reply: not until the fat lady sings! The phrase then gets used in many other situations, such as in a sports game. One team ahead, ...
Personal category: English learners|1496 views|5 comments Popularity 2
Share We live in interesting times
2014-5-20 19:13
This English phrase comes out from time to time to mean: The world we live in has some challenges. It is stronger than just interesting. There is no harm using that phrase. I think now my Chinese friends are living in interesting times - example graduates seeking jobs. That is just a comment on the times. HOWEVER now a different focus. There is a slightly different phrase : May YOU live in interesting times. That is seen as uncomplimentary as it implies that your life will face challenges ...
Personal category: English learners|2296 views|11 comments Popularity 12
Share Fat lot of good
2014-5-20 07:17
For English improvers who read my FAT CHANCE post you will have seen reference to FAT LOT in the comments. I elaborate here. Fat here has same meaning as in fat chance.. It is a negation (negative against a statement). So if a person is speaking to a group and claiming knowledge of a topic, someone in the audience might shout out: Fat lot you know! This means the speaker actually knows nothing on the topic. We have the term: Fat lot of good. This means no good. This guy decides to try to get bac ...
Personal category: English learners|1609 views|14 comments Popularity 9
Share Fat chance
2014-5-18 17:00
Our English improvers may have heard of this phrase. If you say to a girl you like: I hope that one day you and I will be lovers! And she replies: Fat chance! - that is not good as it means no chance! I had one Chinese student that thought it meant big chance! I consoled him that at least she did not say: When Hell freezes over! Then, I did have that other student who kept checking the weather forecasts! In fact, FAT is not that nice a word in the West. Some media can be accused of fatism if the ...
Personal category: English learners|2115 views|19 comments Popularity 8
Share Consistency of English Language Usage
2014-5-16 10:43
Our English Language improvers will know that in most circumstances they can use British or American English in their studies, so long as they are consistent. Often the choice of version is driven by a desire to visit one of those countries, even study there, so it is as much about the learning materials reflecting the context and culture of that country. However, it is not acceptable to mix the two versions of the language in the same writings, though it can be useful to be familiar with both s ...
Personal category: English learners|1987 views|9 comments Popularity 5

International Educator, Economist, goal of helping to increase understanding of China by the West

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