Posted by: helpforyourenglish | March 11, 2011

Hotel bedrooms – beds

What kind of bed do you usually sleep in at home? When you go on holiday and stay in a hotel, what kind of bed do you ask for?

There are usually three kinds of bed in a hotel: a single bed, a double bed and twin beds. What’s the difference?

A single bed – a small bed for one person

A double bed – a large bed for two people

Twin beds – two single beds

A single bed:

A double bed:

Twin beds:

In hotels, the rooms are usually described by the kind of beds in the room.

Room types

A single room is a room with a single bed.

A double room is a room with a double bed.

A twin room is a room with twin beds (two single beds).

A triple room is a room with a double bed and a single bed or three single beds.

Posted by: helpforyourenglish | March 10, 2011

Writing – compare and contrast

Sometimes at school, college or university, we are asked to compare and contrast. This means we should look for things that are the same and things that are different.

Compare – notice and comment on things that are the same (similarities)

Contrast – notice and comment on things that are different (differences)

When we know the similarities and differences, we can tell people about them or write about them. In a writing exam, we might be asked the same question in two ways:

(a) What are the similarities and differences between xxxxx and yyyyyy?

(b) Compare and contrast xxxxx and yyyyy.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Compare and contrast – writing

…………

How should we organise our writing text? Here are two ways.

………

(1) Method one

Introduction

Paragraph about xxxx

Paragraph about yyyy

Conclusion

………

(2) Method 2

Introduction

Discuss similarities

Discuss difference 1

Discuss difference 2

Discuss difference 3

Conclusion

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Let’s look at a real example.

……….

(a) What are the similarities and differences between canoes and kayaks?

(b) Compare and contrast canoes and kayaks.

Method one

Canoes and Kayaks

Canoes and kayaks are both lightweight small boats. They are both very easy to steer in the water and both are able to move through water using paddles. However, there are differences in size and shape, differences in the paddles and differences in the methods of moving through the water.

The shape of the canoe is long and slim and pointed at both ends. A canoe is about 5 metres long and weighs about 25 kilograms. People who go out on the water use paddles to steer and move through the water. Only one paddle, or oar, is needed. The canoe paddle has a long handle with a wide, flat piece of wood only at one end. The person inside the canoe propels the canoe by putting his hands at one end of the paddle and then by placing the oar into the water on one side of the canoe. He paddles on one side of the canoe until he wants to change direction. Then he will pull the paddle out of the water and place it into the water on the other side of the canoe.

Kayaks are usually much smaller than canoes. The body of a kayak is narrower than a canoe and the top of it is covered to keep out water. Kayaks can roll over, turning completely upside down. If someone is inside a kayak when it turns upside down, he can use his paddle to make the kayak turn upright again. The kayak paddle has wide, flat pieces of wood at both ends. A person steering a kayak first places his hands in the middle of the paddle. He then dips one wide end of the paddle into the water on one side of the kayak, then dips the other wide end of the paddle into the water on the other side of the kayak.

Canoes and kayaks are both lightweight and require only one person to steer and move through water using a paddle. The size and shape of the boats and their paddles are different, and the ways to use the paddles are different.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Method two

Canoes and Kayaks

Canoes and kayaks are types of small boats. In many ways, canoes and kayaks are very similar: both are easy to handle in the water and both are able to move through water by the use of paddles. However, there are differences in size and shape, paddles and methods of moving through the water.

The size and shape of canoes and kayaks are different. A canoe is long and slim and pointed at both ends. The length of a canoe is about 5 metres, and it weighs about 25 kilograms. Canoes are lightweight and very easy to steer in the water.

Kayaks are usually much smaller than canoes. The body of a kayak is narrower than a canoe, and the top of it is covered to keep water out. Kayaks can roll over, turning completely upside down. If someone is inside a kayak when it turns upside down, he can use his paddle to make the kayak turn upright again.

People who go out on the water in canoes and kayaks use paddles to steer and propel through the water. Only one paddle, or oar, is needed, but the shapes of the paddles are different. The canoe paddle has a long handle with a wide, flat piece of wood only at one end whereas the kayak paddle has wide, flat pieces of wood at both ends.

The person inside the canoe moves the canoe by putting his hands at one end of the paddle and then by placing it into the water on one side of the canoe. He paddles on one side of the boat until he wants to change direction, then he pulls the paddle out of the water and place it into the water on the other side of the canoe. On the other hand, a person steering a kayak first places his hands in the middle of the paddle. He then dips one wide end of the paddle into the water on one side of the kayak, then dip the other end of the paddle into the water on the other side of the kayak.

Canoes and kayaks are both lightweight and require only one person to steer and move through water using a paddle. However, the size and shape of the boats and their paddles are different, and the ways to use the paddles are different.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Which method is best?

Which method do you prefer? They are both good methods. Which method you use is up to you. Sometimes one method might be better than the other method.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Posted by: helpforyourenglish | March 4, 2011

Lemon tree song

Here is a nice song called ‘Lemon Tree‘.

Vocabulary help:

lad = boy/young boy
beneath = under

Listen to the song and fill in the missing words from the words below.

father …… done …….lesson …….true……. love …… stars

When I was just a lad of ten, my father said to me
Come here and take a ………… from the lovely lemon tree
Don’t put your faith in love, my boy, my father said to me
I fear you’ll find that …………… is like the lovely lemon tree
….
Lemon tree very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet
But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat
Lemon tree very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet
But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat
….
Beneath the lemon tree one day, my love and I did lie
A girl so sweet that when she smiled the ………… rose in the sky
We passed that summer lost in love beneath the lemon tree
The music of her laughter hid my …………’s words from me
….
Lemon tree very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet
But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat
Lemon tree very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet
But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat
….
One day she left without a word; she took away the sun
And in the dark she left behind, I knew what she had …………
She’d left me for another, it’s a common tale but …………
A sadder man but wiser now I sing these words to you
….
Lemon tree very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet
But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat
Lemon tree very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet
But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat

Lemon tree, lemon tree
Lemon tree, lemon tree

Song originally sung by Peter, Paul and Mary

Posted by: helpforyourenglish | March 3, 2011

Infinitive of purpose

In English, we can tell people why we are doing something or why we are going somewhere in different ways. One easy way is to use the infinitive of a verb – to buy, to meet, to see.  In English grammar, we describe this as ‘infinitive of purpose’.

Here are some examples:

I’m going to the Mall to buy a new computer.

Mary is going to China to learn Chinese.

I’m going to Tom’s house to help him with his homework

I want to see the manager to tell him about a problem.

I sat down to rest and to think about my life.

I’m going downtown to get my hair cut.

……

We can also give short replies with an infinitive. Here are three examples:

1.Where are you going?’

“The Post Office.”

‘Why?’

To buy some stamps.

…..

2.I’m going to the Mall.”

‘Why?’

To buy a new computer.”

3. ‘Why is Uyen going to Melbourne?”

To study economics.”

Posted by: helpforyourenglish | March 1, 2011

Are you interested in……?

When we talk about our interests we often use the words “interested in” followed by either a noun or a gerund.

1. Examples:

I am interested in sport …………………… [Here the word sport is a noun]

I am interested in playing football. [Here the word playing is a gerund]

[Blue = noun. Green = gerund]

……

2. Here interested is an adjective. If we change the subject, we should change the verb ‘be‘.

Tom is interested in foreign languages

Tom is interested in learning a new language

Mary is very interested in cartoons.

Mary is interested in watching Japanese cartoons.

Mary and Amanda are interested in books.

Sophie and Jade are interested in cooking.

Are you interested in joining the chess club? No. I’m not interested in chess at all.

What kind of things are you interested in?

……

“I’m going shopping. Are you interested?”

‘Interested in going shopping?’

“Yes.”

‘No thanks. I don’t like shopping.’

3. We can make the sentence negative by adding  the word not between the verb ‘be‘ and the word interested.

Mary is not interested in American cartoons.

…    W

4. If we want to change the tense, we change the tense of the verb ‘be’.

When I was at school, I wasn’t interested in history. I thought it was boring.

……

Posted by: helpforyourenglish | February 26, 2011

there their and they’re

they’re, their and there

they’re, their and there have three different spellings and different meanings but they are usually pronounced the same by native speakers.

….

1. They’re

They’re = they are

They’re teachers = They are teachers.

They’re going to London next week = They are going to London next week.

Where are Tom and Jane going on holiday? They’re going to China.

2. Their

Their = belonging to them, associated with them.  It is a possessive pronoun like my, our, yourhis and her.

That is their house. (= That house belongs to them. That is where they live.)

….

3. There

The word there can be used to mean two things:

i. There = at a place, at that place

Example:

“Look! That’s the boy I was telling you about!”

‘Where?’

“Over there! In front of the school door!”

…..

ii. There = to exist

This is a very common and natural way in English to say something exists. We use there as a (grammatical) subject at the beginning of a sentence but the real subject of the sentence comes after the verb.

Examples:

There is a cat in the garden. There are two cats in the garden

There is a lot of traffic today.

….

Now test yourself.

Which is correct, A, B or C?

A. There over their in their car

B. Their over they’re in there car

C. They’re over there in their car.


Posted by: helpforyourenglish | February 21, 2011

Idiom – I’m rushed off my feet

Are you rushed off your feet?

If you are rushed off your feet, you are very busy or you have a lot of work to do.

The idiom is used as an adjective.

Examples:

I am rushed off my feet. …………… I’m rushed off my feet.

He is rushed off his feet. …………… He’s rushed off his feet

She is rushed off her feet. ………… She’s rushed off her feet.

We are rushed off our feet. ………. We’re rushed off our feet.

They are rushed off their feet. …. They’re rushed off their feet

Change the verb ‘be’ to change tense.

Yesterday, I was rushed off my feet

Last night the workers were rushed off their feet

I’ve been rushed off my feet all day!

We’re going to be rushed off our feet tonight because there aren’t enough staff!

Note: Sometimes ‘run’ is used instead of ‘rushed’.

Examples:

Those poor nurses have been run off their feet all week.

A report says that Australian fathers are run off their feet.

Examples in real life:

http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-150906495.html

http://cambridgetab.co.uk/features/rushed-off-our-feet

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=153599

http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/lifematters/our-dads-better-than-yours-aussies-lead-world-in-parenting-20100321-qo6l.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPoPfl0U8yU


Posted by: helpforyourenglish | February 20, 2011

its and it’s – what’s the difference?

If you don’t understand the difference between its and it’s, I hope this helps you.

Its

Its is a possessive adjective; a word like my, your, her, his, our and their.

Don’t judge a man by the colour of his skin. Don’t judge a woman by her looks. Don’t judge a book by its cover

Examples:

Don’t judge a book by its cover. (the cover of the book)

How often does a snake shed its skin? (How often does the skin of a snake come off?)

Tel Aviv airport shuts its doors due to strikes. (The doors of Tel Aviv airport were shut because of strikes)

Belfast City Airport opened its doors to engineers of the future  (The doors of Belfast City airport were opened to engineers of the future.)

It’s

It’s = it is..or  it has

It’s going to rain = It is going to rain.

It’s Sunday today = It is Sunday today.

It’s a hot day today = It is a hot day today.

It’s been hot recently = It has been hot recently.

It’s begun = It has begun.

Examples from real life:

http://www.blurtit.com/q889964.html How often does a snake shed its skin?

http://www.phantis.com/news/will-balancing-its-books-unbalance-greece

http://www.belfastcityairport.com/About-Us/News/BELFAST-CITY-AIRPORT-OPENS-ITS-DOORS-TO-ENGINEERS-.aspx

http://www.defensenews.com/story.php?i=4754276 Iran says it’s begun producing missile boats

Rakim – It’s been a long time

“It’s been a long time..”
“It’s been a long time..”
“It’s been a long time..”
“It’s been a long time..”
“.. Rakim, the microphone soloist”

Follow procedures, the crowd couldn’t wait to see this
Nobody been this long awaited since Jesus
Who wouldn’t believe this – I heard the word on the street is
I’m still one of the deepest on the mic since Adidas
They said I changed the times from the rhymes that I thought of
So I made some more to put the New World in Order
with Mathematics, put your status above the average
And help you rappers, make paragraphs with graphics
Cause new days is dawnin, new ways of peformin
Brainstormin, I write and watch the night turn to mornin
On and on and, I got the whole world respondin
Rock, I keep it hot and blow the spot without warnin
The Emperor, well known for, inventin a sentence
full of adventure, turnin up the temperature
Rush with adrenaline, how long has it been again
to be in the state of mind that Rakim is in?

“It’s been a long time..”
“It’s been a long time..”
“It’s been a long time..”
“It’s been a long time..”


Posted by: helpforyourenglish | February 17, 2011

Thank you for…

When we want to thank somebody we often give the reason for our thanks. When we do that we use the word “for” followed by the reason. There is one thing to remember. We usually use a gerund or a noun. For example:

Noun

Thanks for your help

Thanks for the invitation

Thank you for a wonderful party

Gerund

Thanks for sharing

Thanks for waiting for me

Thanks for not telling my parents!

Thanks for being a great friend

Please thank your father for taking me to the hospital yesterday

We don’t use a verb.

Thank you for share with me

Thank you for tell me

Here is a song by Abba. It’s called ‘Thank you for the music’

I’m nothing special, in fact I’m a bit of a bore
If I tell a joke, you’ve probably heard it before
But I have a talent, a wonderful thing
‘Cause everyone listens when I start to sing
I’m so grateful and proud
All I want is to sing it out loud

So I say
Thank you for the music, the songs I’m singing
Thanks for all the joy they’re bringing
Who can live without it? I ask in all honesty
What would life be? Without a song or a dance what are we?
So I say thank you for the music
For giving it to me

Mother says I was a dancer before I could walk
She says I began to sing long before I could talk
And I’ve often wondered, how did it all start?
Who found out that nothing can capture a heart
Like a melody can?
Well, whoever it was, I’m a fan

So I say
Thank you for the music, the songs I’m singing
Thanks for all the joy they’re bringing
Who can live without it? I ask in all honesty
What would life be? Without a song or a dance what are we?
So I say thank you for the music
For giving it to me

I’ve been so lucky, I am the girl with golden hair
I wanna sing it out to everybody
What a joy, what a life, what a chance
Thank you for the music, the songs I’m singing
Thanks for all the joy they’re bringing
Who can live without it, I ask in all honesty?
What would life be?
Without a song or a dance what are we?
So I say thank you for the music
For giving it to me
So I say thank you for the music
For giving it to me

Posted by: helpforyourenglish | February 6, 2011

Who wears the pants in your house?

You might hear a native speaker say or ask this.

I wear the pants in my house.

Who wears the pants in your house?

Who wears the pants… (in your house?/ in your marriage?/ in your relationship?/ in your family?)

The question really means, Who is in charge? Who makes the decisions? Who is the leader? Who is the boss? Who is the most dominant person?

I wear the pants in my house. This means that I am the leader, the biggest decision maker or the most dominant person in my house or my family.

Real life examples:

http://www.officeproductnews.net/blogs/corey_smith/who_wears_pants_your_business

http://www.goomradio.us/radio/pop-top-20/2011/01/19/katy-perry-wears-the-pants

http://www.therundown.tv/headlines/say-what/jay-z-hints-that-beyonce-wears-the-pants-via-rolling-stone/

NB: The pants do not refer to underwear. They mean trousers (American style). You might also hear people use the word “trousers” used instead of pants. However, this is an idiom so don’t think too much about the literal meaning. Just remember what it really means. The expression is informal. It is not generally considered to be insulting or sexist.



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