Saturday, February 27, 2010

would you like some- would you like to have some

We're seated at dinner and I'm passing the salad (or other food, but not drinks).
"Would you like some salad?"
"Would you like to have some salad?" (sometimes)

I'm preparing dinner and am really asking, Should I make a salad (or other food, but not drinks) or not?"
"Would you like salad with dinner?"
"Would you like a salad with dinner?"
"Would you like to have some salad?" (usually)

I'm offering. (usually drinks, not food)
"Would you like a beer?"
"Would you like some tea/some coffee?"

Friday, February 26, 2010

Inverted sentences

'Rarely' counts as negative, like 'scarcely', 'hardly', 'seldom', 'only a few', and n-word negatives like 'never', 'nowhere' etc. When these are at the front, the subject and auxiliary are inverted.

Only after my explanation was he able to understand the rule.

Only then did he realize what had happened.

Barely/hardly/scarcely are used to indicate that one thing happened very soon after another.
Barely/Hardly/Scarcely had I seen him, when he ran away.
I barely saw him a couple of times.
Barely did I see him a couple of times.

Only after my explanation was he able to understand the rule.
Only then did he realize what had happened.
Rarely did the Russians use soft power so well.
Rarely have the Russians used soft power so well.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Using adjectives

When you are describing something, you can think about ...

Color: Is it red, white, yellow, pink, blue? Is it bright? Is it dull?

Texture: Is it soft, hard, rough, or smooth?

Shape: Is it round, triangular, square, or heart-shaped? Is it fat or thin?

Sound: What does it sound like? Loud, soft, or shrill?

Smell: What does it smell like? Sweet and fresh or stale and bad? Clean?

Taste: Does it taste sweet, sour, or bitter?

You can also use adjectives say how you feel about the thing. Do you think it's good, bad, pretty, beautiful, ugly, clever or stupid?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

difference between avert and avoid

There is a difference.

I averted the car crash - I prevented it from happening
I avoided the car crash - It happened, but I managed not to be a part of it

I averted a car crash - I prevented a car crash from happening
I avoided a car crash - could mean my actions prevented a crash from happening or there was a car crash, but I kept out of it.

Friday, February 19, 2010

sooner - rather

I'd sooner do X than Y - I'd be quicker to do X than Y (I'd hesitate less about doing X than about doing Y),

I'd as soon do X as Y - I'd do X as quickly as I'd do Y (I would no more hesitate about doing X than I'd hesitate about doing Y).

This one: I would sooner do X than do Y - I would prefer to do X than Y.

The similar one: I would as soon do X as Y - I'd be just as happy to do X as Y.

I'd as soon stay at home as go to the match - I think the expression is often used to express a very slight, and maybe surprising, preference.

There is not much difference, if any, between "I'd sooner do ... than ...." and "I'd rather do ... than ...".

If the child is no better ... >> If there is no sign of improvement.
Better is a comparative in this sentence.
If the child is not better ... >> If the child has not completely recovered.
This time,
better means fully recovered, not less ill.
The difference between the two sentences is mostly because of the difference in meaning of

She is not a beginner ... <<>

The research project involved attendance of a taught course.
The research project required attendance of a taught course.
The research project required attending a taught course.
A requirement of the research project was attending a taught course.

One-third of employees had worked less than five years.(plural)
one-third of the employees had worked less than five years. (singular)

some notes

An amount of a substance or an amount of money is singular.

So it is perfectly correct to say "There's 15kg on order".

If you mean fifteen one-kilo packs, then you could say "There are 15 kilos on order".
( there are 15 1kg packs on order.)

However, people are not always consistent, so you may well hear "... kilos are ..."

There is 15 kg on order.
There are 15 kgs on order.

The singular would be used only if there were a context indicating that the 15 kilograms were a single unit, and in that case I would expect to see "15 kilograms" used as a modifier. For example:
  • 15 kilograms were added to the bar
  • A 15-kilogram weight was added to the bar.
There is on order.
There are on order.

The singular "is" is legitimised by the 15kg being thought of as a quantity/amount/total.

However, there are times when a quantity of weight is regarded as singular. The fat man weighed 300 kg. My goodness, that is a lot! (not ... those are a lot).

If children are actually hitting each other, then it's definitely a fight. If they're pushing and shoving each other, you could still say it was a fight.

If they're only pushing each other or sticking their tongues out, then maybe "squabble" or "altercation" or "confrontation".

Thursday, February 18, 2010

definite article

Generally speaking, the definite article implies a closed set, whereas the indefinite article can be regarded as an open set.

For example: “This is the watch that I bought yesterday.” implies that you only bought one watch yesterday, or that the current discussion is about a single watch.

If you said, "This is a watch that I bought yesterday," it implies that it's not the only watch you bought yesterday or at least, that a single watch is not the subject of the discussion.

With the, the noun phrase in context fully specifies who is contacted to the level of practicality. Without the, the noun phrase is less specific and may apply to some who are not contacted:

Peugeot said it will soon be contacting customers concerned by its recall.
Customers contacted are (or have been) concerned by the recall.
Peugeot will contact some but perhaps not all of its customers concerned by the recall.

Peugeot said it will soon be contacting the customers concerned by its recall.
All customers concerned by the recall will be contacted.
Peugeot will contact the whole group of "customers concerned by its recall".

We are contacting concerned parties.
Parties being contacted are concerned parties.

We are contacting the concerned parties.
All concerned parties are being contacted.

Thank you for sending us fresh vegetables.
Thank you for sending us some fresh vegetables.
Thank you for sending us the fresh vegetables.

Thank you for sending us wine.
Thank you for sending us newspapers.
Thank you for sending us vegetables.

Thank you for sending us a bottle of wine.
Thank you for sending us a newspaper.
Thank you for sending us a carrot. We're ever so pleased.


When we say we are putting a dent in something, we mean that we are making a small but noticeable change.

Muscle relaxant is the phrase that is commonly used. Obviously, muscle relaxants tend to keep one very relaxed, but sometimes the effect is almost like a narcotic, too. She seems to be suggesting that she wants to meet with her ex-husband while she will feel no pain and while she won't get angry, upset, or otherwise worked up.


Adverbs are slippery little beggars. They can appear in different places in a sentence and often there is little or no change of meaning.

I still can (see the moon), or whatever.
Consumers still must save more.
I have still to do my homework.
I still have to do my homework.

No significant difference.

Still, I have to do my homework.
This time,
still is a sentence adverb, meaning something like nevertheless.

Gerund and possessive

1. I hate the boy skating on the sidewalk.
2. I hate the boy's skaiting on the sidewalk.

The first sentence indicates that I hate a boy. The specific boy who I hate is the one who is skating.

The second sentence indicates that I dislike skating. The skating which I dislike is being done by the boy. I may like the boy very much--it's the skating to which I object.

This one can go either way depending on the shade of meaning that you intend:
I watch Emily's dancing because I want to learn from her. (If you mean that it is the dancing that you are specifically watching, not Emily.)
I watch Emily dancing because I want to learn from her. (If you mean that it is Emily that you watch, and you usually do it while she is dancing.)


During her stay at school, (name) maintained excellent academic achievement.
Yes, it would be wrong to use "staying" in this sentence.
Your stay ... = the period of time when you were there.
Your staying ... = your continued attendance at the school.
"During her time as a student at [NAME of SCHOOL], [NAME] maintained an excellent academic record."
"While a student at (name of school), X (name of person) .....maintained excellent academic achievement" .

Monday, February 15, 2010

be careful with - be careful of

Let's start with objects.
Be careful with something that you are touching or carrying - something that is precious or, perhaps, dangerous if you mishandle it.
Be careful of something more distant. Something precious that you might bump into and damage, or something that might hurt you if you are not careful.

Be careful with ... someone who is emotionally fragile, someone you might hurt. OR ... someone who might hurt you.
Be careful of ... - that doesn't sound right - I might say Beware of ... though.

Friday, February 12, 2010


Fig. to confront a problem head-on and deal with it openly. It's time to take the bull by the horns and get this job done.

to do something difficult in a determined and confident way Why don't you take the bull by the horns and tell him to leave?

to forcefully attack a difficult situation I took the bull by the horns and confronted him about his drinking.

I keep doing my own thing,walking tall against the rain.
"swimming against the tide" or "go against the tide" : "something impossible to accomplish
Standing tall :" Dik durmak,sa─člam durmak
"running against the wind" : to accomplish something rather than dealing with impossibility .
still against the wind ! But no despair ! We will keep on running till it ceases.
"to keep your head above water"
"A company seeks to keep its head above water during economic hard times."
"A man who loses his job tries to keep his head above water until he finds a new job."
She is in hot water.
to be nervous and unable to keep still. What's the matter with her? She's like a cat on a hot tin roof this morning.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Some Notes

It's been snowing. (It isn't snowing now, but there is snow on the ground.)
Have you been painting? (You aren't painting now, but there is paint in your hair.)
Have you been running? (You aren't running now, but you are out of breath.)

Why do you think he had the accident?
Why do you think they won the elections?
What do you think the man ate?
What do you think ate the man?
What do you think the best restaurant is?
What do you think is the best restaurant?

Notwithstanding is used with a noun as direct object, so it is correct in this case, as you thought.

Regardless and irrespective are used with
of; there is also In spite of, which is what I would say myself in your sentence.
Joe was having a tough time paying his bills. Now he has been laid off his job. He is worse off than before.

John was trying to date a girl who is not very serious about anything, but he never connected with her. He is
better off without her.
"Tidy up my guest room" and "Tidy my guest room up" are both correct.
One common pattern is that a verb in -ate usually has a noun in -ation (activate ~ activation, sedate ~ sedation, and many more).

One that can is -ness: if in doubt, try adding -ness to adjectives (blueness, strangeness, wetness, awfulness, interestingness).

Not a sound did she make while hiding in the cupboard.
Never a sound did she make while hiding in the cupboard.
As my girlfriend said yesterday, she likes apples so I think I should buy some now.
My girlfriend likes apples, as she said yesterday, so I think I should buy some now.
As she said yesterday, my girlfriend likes apples so I think I should buy some now.

He has a discriminating taste in … (whatever). He makes good choices.
In this case (in the report), it is saying that indictments are being issued or applied unfairly and without consideration as to which companies should be indicted.
The subjunctive (keep) remains the same.
is necessary that he keep this document secret."
was necessary that he keep this document secret."
This is the correct use of the subjunctive
in American English.
I have read that the British are more likely to replace the subjunctive with an auxiliary form:
"It is/was necessary that he
should keep this document secret."


I study so (that) I won't fail the exam.
I study not to fail the exam.
This implies "I study not to fail the exam but to pass it.
I study to pass the exam. (Common)
I study in order to pass it.
I study not to fail it. (It is ok, but it sounds strange.)
I study so as to pass it.
I study so as not to fail it. (fine!)
How many marks did you get in Social Science?
How many did you get in Social Science?
What was your score in Social Science?

Keep the adverb close to the verb. The idiomatic way of saying these two sentences follows:
quickly built a house out of straw.
regularly visited one another.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Pharasal Verb - 4

Don't pour the bacon grease into the sink - you'll clog the drain up.
Adjective: The mechanic told me the valves in my car were clogged up.
get ahead
With your pessimistic attitude, you'll never get ahead.
get back to
I'm really busy now. Can I get back to you?
get (up) (back) on (with)
If you get up on that chair, you'll be able to reach the top shelf.
The children got back on their bikes and went home.
The bus stopped so I could get on.
Get your coat on; we're going for a walk.
I didn't say you could stop. Get on with your work.
When you get to Tokyo, call me to tell me you arrived safely.
get (up) (back) to
It must have gotten up to 100 degress yesterday.
My boss told me to get off the phone and get back to work.
After seeing the bright lights in the sky, I got to wondering if UFOs really exist.
Timmy was excited because he got to ride a pony.
Let's sit down and rest; the heat is getting to me.
hang on (to)
I feel off the horse because I wasn't hanging on tightly enough.
Judy's coming to the phone now; please hang on.
start off (with) (by)
The singer started the concert off with a song from her new CD.
Many speakers start a speech off by telling a joke.
The day started off nice, but then it rained.
If you've finished with those papers, please throw them away.
If you don't forive your husband, you're goign to throw your marriage away.
The ski resort will close down on May 1st.
The boxer knocked his oppenent out with a blow to the head.
Marsh really knocked hersel out cooking that fabulous dinner.
The enemy's radar station was knocked out by a 500-pound bomb.
Noun: At the count of ten, the referee declared a knockout.
Have you seen Sam's girlfriend? She's real knockout.
look down on
Some people look down on Hank because his father is in prison.
look up to
I've always ooked up to my father because of his honesty and kindness.
After you finish listening to my CDs,please put them back.
The hurricane put the construstion project back at least three months.
The graduation date will have to be put back if the teachers' strike doesn't end soon.
Did you see how much David drank last night? He sure can put them back.
I witched the engine off and got out of the car.
Adjective: Last night the light in the hallway was switched off, so I fell down the stairs.
Push this button to switch the computer on.
Adjective: When I drove by the restaurant, I noticed that the sigh wasn't switched on.
throw...out (of)
Don't throw the newspaper out, I haven't read it yet.
Frank started a fight and got thrown out of the bar.
Tommy got beaten up at school today.
Adjective: My car is on old, beat-up piece of junk.
carry away (with)
You should always start a new exercise program slowly. If you get carried away with it, you might hurt yourself.
David drank too much and got hmsel kicked out of the bar.
We always lock our house up when we go out.
The police locked Hank up when tey caueght him shoplifting.
Adjective: You can't get into the house - it's all locked-up.
Being locked up in jail was a terrible experience.
Noun: Omar was out in the lockup after he was arrested for DWI. (driving while intoxicated)
An electric mixer will mix the ingredients up better that a spoon.
Newborn babies occasionally get mixed up in the hospital.
Adjective: Jimmy is a mixed-up kid who gets in trouble with the police a lot.
Noun: I think there's been a mix-up. I asked for chicken salad but this is tuna fish.
You'd better stop that! You're pissing me off.
Adjective: Melanie got really pissed off at Heather for borrowing her necklace without asking and then losing it.
Hank got ripped off by the drug dealer.
Noun: I paid nine dollars to see that awful movie. What a rip-off.
Having that new manager around watching me all the time is really stressing me out.
Adjective: I had to make a speech today and I was so stressed out afterwards that I had to take the rest of the day off.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The dog doesn't get so much scared when she's alone with me as whe she's with her master.

The dog isn't as much scared when she's alone with me as when she is with her master.

No difference!!!