Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Winter weather vocabulary - sleet - With AUDIO! (Jan. 2018)


We had some unusual weather in Tokyo today. I thought I would use this chance to teach some English winter weather vocabulary and a phrasal verb that we often use when we talk about weather forecasts.

All definitions and audio links are from www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com

What's a weather forecast?
Click for audio
A weather forecast is a description, for example on the radio or television, of what the weather will be like tomorrow or for the next few days




The news will be followed by a 5 day weather forecast.



Today in Tokyo we had sleet in the early afternoon that turned into snow at around 4:00.

Click for audio
sleet - noun - a mix of rain and snow




Sleet makes the roads and sidewalks slippery.



Click for audio
slippery - adjective - difficult to hold or to stand or move on, because it is smooth, wet or polished



His hand was slippery with sweat.

Sleet is a mix of rain and snow, but it can't be used a verb like rain and snow.
The weather forecast said that it's going to snow tomorrow. (Verb) OK
It will rain for the next 4 days! (Verb) OK ✔
It is sleeting now. NG X

It can be used as a noun. 

The weather forecast is calling for sleet tomorrow.
The weather forecast is calling for rain tomorrow.
The weather forecast is calling for snow tomorrow.

(These are all nouns)


Do you know the phrasal verb call for?
Call for is often used when we talk about weather, specifically weather forecasts. It means weather experts have a reason to believe that certain weather will happen.

The weather report on Channel 6 news is
calling for rain tomorrow.


All blog post text in italics are in the audio below!


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Monday, January 01, 2018

2018 is the year of the DOG - Here are 4 idioms with "dog!"


Happy New Year! 2018 is the Year of the Dog


In honor of the year of the dog let's 
learn 4 English idioms with "dog!"
(These are posts that I collected from my 2013 dog idiom series!)


Let sleeping dogs lie



This expression is used to advise against actions that might cause problems. If things are fine right now, we shouldn’t change them if we think there is a danger that things may become worse.

*The idea is that if a dog is sleeping and we wake him up, he may become angry. It's better to let him sleep.

Jill: “Should I ask the boss if he's upset at my coming in late in the mornings?”


Jane: “If he hasn't said anything about it, just let sleeping dogs lie.” = If the boss didn’t say anything you shouldn’t mention it, there is no need to mention it.

"Sometimes it's best to let sleeping dogs lie."


Work like a dog



This idiom comes from a time when dogs weren’t often pets, but usually had to work very hard to earn their food. This expression means to work very very hard!

“My team at the office had to work like a dog this month to prepare for our year end final report. We are all so tired!”

"It's been a hard month, we worked like dogs!"


You can’t teach an old dog new tricks


This idiom means it is difficult to make someone change the way they do something. Especially  when they have been doing it the same way for a long time. It is much more difficult to teach an old dog than a puppy.

“You want to teach your grandfather to use a computer? He is 84! You can't teach an old dog new tricks, you know.

"You want to teach him how to use a computer? Good luck!"


Barking up the wrong tree


This expression is when someone has the wrong idea and they are wasting their time. Dogs often like to chase cats or other animals that will run up a tree. If the animal escapes the tree but the dog doesn’t realize it, he keeps barking even though the tree is empty. We say he is barking up the wrong tree. His idea is not correct, he is wasting his time.

“He had nothing to do with the robbery - the police are really barking up the wrong tree this time.”



"I think the police are wasting their time with him."

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Thursday, December 28, 2017

Learn to Use Reported Speech in English Conversation (video too!)





We use reported speech to share information that we heard from another person or information that we got from TV, newspaper, Internet etc.
There are two ways to talk about something that someone told us. 

1. We can quote the person. 
Cheryl said "I'm busy." 


You’ll see this way used in written English, like books or magazine and newspaper articles.

2. In natural conversation We change the verb tense 
and change the pronoun. From our example ~ Cheryl said "I'm busy." 
Change the verb tense (am changes to was) and change the pronoun (I changes to she)
Cheryl said "I'm busy." Becomes
Cheryl said she was busy.


This is the way to pass on what Cheryl said.





Here are some more examples.
 "I only have $4."
~ Mark said he only had 4 dollars. 




"I'm not worried about it."
~ Kristen said he wasn't worried about it.



If we report the speech of more than 1 person, we use the pronoun they.
"Darryl and I will stop by later."
~ Mike and Darryl said they would stop by later.


When we report what someone has told us is possible in the future the verb can becomes could
“I can go…”
“He could go…”
and if they tell us about something that is going to happen the verb will becomes would.
“I will go…”
“She would go…”

Daniel: "I can meet you at 5:30." 

Daniel said he could meet us at 5:30. 




Paul: “We can have lunch with you and your wife on Thursday.” 
Paul said they could have lunch with us on Thursday.



Brenda: "I won't be in town on Saturday." (Won't is a contraction of will not.)
~ Brenda said she wouldn't be in town on Saturday. (In this example would not is used as the past tense of will notWouldn't  is the contraction of would not.)


We also use this grammar when we talk about something that we heard from TV news, the radio or read in the newspaper or on the Internet. Even if we read the information, we still use the verb said to share what we have learned. When we report information from these sources we use the pronoun it.

"I read the paper (newspaper) this morning at breakfast and it said it was gonna rain today."


Reported speech can also be reporting exactly what someone has told you.
The newspaper said that it will be sunny all week. (It is a pronoun in this sentence that means the weather, we understand this from the adjective sunny.)

"George said Karen got a new job."

"Kathy said the new James Bond movie is great."





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Monday, December 25, 2017

Learn to use English Adjectives! - Fact or Opinion (video too!)



fact - a thing that is known to be true, especially when it can be proved
Definition HERE
Oxford Learners Dictionary


Adjectives that are facts:
color
"I'm wearing a blue shirt."

age
"I just bought a 1972 Chevy Impala."


origin (where someone/something is from)
​"French food is my favorite."

shape 
"These sunglasses are round."

size
"A big dog lives next door."







We might feel like adjectives that describe the size of something are facts but remember people can have different ideas of adjectives like big and small or tall and short. 

Adjectives like this are relative. Relative means that the word has a different meaning or a different level depending on how you compare it. Each person may have a different point of comparison or a different experience to compare it to. So The meaning of adjectives like tall and short are related to, or “relative” to each person.

An exact measurement of course is a fact.
"William is 165cm tall."


opinion - your feelings or thoughts about somebody/something, rather than a fact
Definition HERE
Oxford Learners Dictionary



Adjectives that are opinions:
cool
terrible
pretty\ugly
good\bad


When we combine fact and opinion adjectives in front of a noun, we put the opinion adjective first and the fact adjective second. 


“Richard just bought a cool red car. I'm jealous!”










“There is a terrible new restaurant on main street, I don't recommend it.”


“I saw some cool round sunglasses at the mall yesterday. They were $300.00!”

Other examples:
"Michelle is wearing a big red hat today, you can't miss her!"


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Winter weather vocabulary - sleet - With AUDIO! (Jan. 2018)

We had some unusual weather in Tokyo today. I thought I would use this chance to teach some English winter weather vocabulary and a phrasa...

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