Category Archives: trivia

#EngTrivia: Confusing singular/plural word

English plurals are usually easy to form. We can add -s to the end of the singular word, e.g.: chair (singular) or two chairs (plural). But, like almost all of the rules in English grammar, there are exceptions for the plural form of some nouns. Here is a list of the confusing singular/plural words.

  1. Criterion (singular) – criteria (plural). Meaning: a rule or principal used in evaluation.
    • Example:
      • “One criterion for grading this essay will be announced.”
      • “What were the criteria used to choose the winner?”
  2. Phenomenon (singular) – phenomena (plural). Meaning: an observable fact or event.
    • Example:
      • “Star Wars eventually became a cultural phenomenon.”
      • “Lightning and earthquakes are natural phenomena.”
  3. Datum (singular) – Data (plural). Meaning: a single piece of information
    • Example:
      • “The datum shows little without the rest of the statistics.”
      • “The data were collected over a period of three months.”
  4. Stratum (singular) – strata (plural). Meaning: a level or class to which people are assigned according to their social status, education, or income.
    • Example:
      • “Discrimination exist in every stratum of society.”
      • “Different social strata are most likely crashing into each other.”
  5. Bacterium (singular) – bacteria (plural). Meaning: a type of unicellular microorganism that are important to human because of their chemical activities but some of its type often cause disease.
    • Example:
      • “Every bacterium is prokaryotic.”
      • “Tetanus is a serious illness caused by Clostridium tetani bacteria.”

plural singular

Source:

  • Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Compiled and written by @anhtiss at @EnglishTips4U on Wednesday, August 23, 2017.


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#EngTrivia: Preposition ‘with’

Hi, Fellas, Did you read our article on preposition yet? If you missed it, you can read the article by following this link (https://englishtips4u.com/2011/09/17/engclass-prepositions/)

For a brief description, preposition is a word that relates a noun/a pronoun with some other words in a sentence. For instance, ‘on,’ ‘at,’ ‘about’ ‘with,’ ‘in,’ ‘before,’ etc. In this session I intend to have a discussion about preposition ‘with.’

‘With’ generally shows us the position of something or the timing of an event. However, there are some specific functions of ‘with.’ This preposition is usually used to indicate:

  1. Being together/being involved.
    • Example:
      • “I was with Anna in the park.”
  1. Having something.
    • Example:
      • “I adore someone with blue eyes.”
  1. Using something.
    • Example:
      • “We cut the meat with a knife.”
  1. A feeling.
    • Example:
      • “Our team won the football competition. So, we went home with joy.”
  1. Agreement/understanding.
    • Example:
    • “I agree with you.”

Source:

  • talkenglish.com
  • Esolcourses.com

Compiled and written by @mettaa_ for @EnglishTips4u on Thursday, June 22, 2017.

#EngTrivia: Phrasal verbs with ‘by’

Hi, Fellas, do you still remember what phrasal verb is? It is a verb that is followed by either an adverb or a preposition. In this session I would like to discuss phrasal verbs with preposition ‘by.’

In the previous topic (https://goo.gl/G8hTSa), we can see that there are two types of phrasal verb. They are transitive phrasal verb and intransitive phrasal verb.

I found that, generally, phrasal verbs with ‘by’ are mostly transitive verbs, for instances ‘come by,’ ‘run by,’ and ‘stick by.’ It means that this type of phrasal verb has a direct object.

Example:

  • “How did you come by such a brilliant idea?”
  • “I will stick by you no matter how bad this situation is.”

However, there are some phrases function as both transitive and intransitive verb, such as ‘stand by,’ ‘drop by,’ and ‘pass by.’

Example:

  • “You have to stand by here.” (intransitive)
  • “I don’t care about the consequences; I will stand by my decision.” (transitive)

 

Source: Macmillandictionary.com

Compiled and written by @mettaa_ for @EnglishTips4u on Friday, June 9, 2017.

#EngTrivia: ‘Hence’ & ‘thus’

Hey, fellas! It’s good to see you again. How are you today?

Today’s session discusses the use of ‘hence’ and ‘thus.’ Both ‘hence’ and ‘thus’ are conjunctive adverbs. In Bahasa Indonesia, ‘hence’ means ‘oleh sebab itu,’ while ‘thus’ means ‘dengan demikian.

‘Hence’ and ‘thus’ have the same basic meaning. However, there is a slight difference among them. Let’s take a look at each definition and how it used in the sentence.

Hence (adv)

This word means:

  • as a consequence, for this reason.
  • in the future (used after period of time).
  • from here.

‘Hence’ usually refers to the future.

  • Example:
    • “The situation is getting complicated. Hence, we will have to proceed with caution.”

Thus (adv)

There are some meanings of this words, which includes:

  • in this or that manner.
  • to this degree or extent.
  • because of this or that.
  • as an example.

‘Thus’ refers to the past and is often used to indicate a conclusion. ‘Thus’ is often used after a period (.).

  • Example:
    • “She didn’t listen to the news. Thus, she was unaware of the storm.”

‘Thus’ is often used after a semicolon (;).

  • Example:
    • “He was starving; thus, he was desperate enough to scavenge for crumbs.”

Compiled and written by @anhtiss at @EnglishTips4U on Saturday, June 3, 2017.


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#EngTrivia: Telling time (2)

How was your day? Did you use your time wisely? In this particular article, we’ll talk about time… or rather, the different ways to tell the time.

Slide1

So, how do you usually tell the time? What time is this clock showing? There is more than one way to tell the time. Let’s look into it in more detail. Ready?

1. ‘a.m.’ & ‘p.m.’

‘a.m.’ and ‘p.m.’ are used in the 12 hours clock system. They are more often used in writing.

  • ‘a.m.’ stands for ante meridiem, before noon. It indicates the time period from midnight to midday.
    slide3
  • ‘p.m.’ stands for post meridiem, after noon. It indicates the time period from midday to midnight. Slide4

2. ‘to’ and ‘past’

The most common way to tell the time is to use ‘to’ and ‘past.’ This method is acceptable in verbal and written communication.

  • ‘to’ is used to show the number of minutes towards a particular hour.
    • Example:
      • If it is going to be 8 o’clock in 15 minutes, we say “It’s fifteen to eight.” Slide6
  • ‘past’ is used to show the number of minutes after a particular hour.
    • Example:
      • If the time is 15 minutes after 8 o’clock, we say “It’s fifteen past eight.” Slide7

3. Hour and minute

Another way to tell the time would be by simply saying the hour and minutes. Example:

  • If the clock shows 8:05 p.m. You can simply say, “It’s eight zero five” or “It’s eight oh five.”Slide9

With this method, you don’t need to worry whether it’s morning, afternoon, evening or night. However, do keep in mind to only use this in casual conversation. You are highly discouraged to use this method in writing, especially in formal writing.

4. ’till’ and ‘after’

Especially in American English, some people use ’till’ (until) instead of ‘to,’ and ‘after’ instead of ‘past.’

  • ’till’ is used to show the number of minutes towards a particular hour.
    • Example:
      • If it is going to be 9 o’clock in 25 minutes, we say “It’s twenty-five till nine.”Slide11
  • ‘after’ is used to show the number of minutes after a particular hour.
    • Example:
      • If the time is 15 minutes after 9 o’clock, we say “It’s fifteen after nine.”Slide12

As mentioned above, ’till’ and ‘after’ are only used in American English. And even so, they’re only used in speech; not in writing.

And that’s a wrap, fellas! I hope the explanation was clear enough. However, if you do have any question, feel free to leave a comment in the comment box.

Compiled and written by @miss_qiak for @EnglishTips4U on Thursday, April 13, 2017

 

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#EngVocab: Suffix -Let

Suffix -let is one of many suffixes in English. It originated from Old French -elet, from Latin -āle, a neuter of adjective suffix -ālis, or from Latin -ellus, a diminutive suffix.

Adding suffix -let to a noun will create a diminutive form to the original word. For example, if we attach -let to book, we will have booklet, which means a little or a thinner book.

With an exception to bracelet, which is also a diminutive form of brace, different meanings apply to some jewelries or articles of clothing attached to our body. In such cases, attaching -let will refer to the part of our body on which the jewelries are usually worn. For example, an anklet is an ornament worn on the ankle.

There are three basic rules of using suffix -let. First, when used with an object, it generally indicates diminution in size. E.g.: Booklet, pamphlet, droplet, bracelet, etc.

When used with animals, it generally means young animals. E.g.: Piglet, froglet, deerlet, etc.

When used to refer to a human adult, it is generally depreciative. It denotes pettiness and conveys contempt. For example, princelet is used to refer to a prince who is lesser in rank or displays pettiness (narrow-mindedness).

There are over 200 words with suffix -let. Check your dictionaries often to familiarise yourself with them.

 

Source:
http://www.dictionary.com/browse/-let
https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/-let
https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Category:English_words_suffixed_with_-let
Compiled and written by @alicesaraswati for @EnglishTips4U on Monday, 10 April 2017.

 

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#EngTrivia: ‘Be careful’ vs. ‘take care’

Hi, fellas, I’m sure you are familiar with these phrases: ‘be careful’ and ‘take care.’ Generally, both phrases mean to pay attention to something or a condition.

If we check in the dictionary, ‘be careful’ means telling someone to pay attention in order to avoid dangers. Normally, we use this phrase to give a warning to somebody.

Example:

  • “It is raining, be careful while driving.”
  • “Be careful, you might fall from the tree.”

There are some phrases which share the same meaning to ‘be careful,’ i.e. ‘be alert,’ ‘beware,’ and ‘be on guard.’

Meanwhile, ‘take care’ is generally used to tell someone to treat someone/something carefully.

Example:

  • “Please take care of this document.”
  • “Please take care of my child while I’m shopping.”

Sometimes, we can say either ‘be careful’ or ‘take care’ when parting with someone after a meeting. They are used to wish someone her/his safety during the trip.

Take care’ is more common in use when parting with somebody. Meanwhile ‘be careful’ is usually used when we realize that the trip might come with negative consequence to somebody.

Other than ‘take care,’ ‘so long’ may be opted to somebody who will be away for a long time.

Source:

 

Compiled and written by @mettaa_ for @EnglishTips4u on Tuesday, April 6, 2017

 

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#EngTrivia: Noble Ranks

Hi, Fellas do you like watching historical film?

I am devoted to them, especially when they tell the story about a kingdom or an empire. I can learn the history of a dynasty or even political issues.

Well, it is true that we couldn’t totally believe the story because the producer might add some fictional plot in it, but at least, we get the general shot of the history. Besides, I also enjoy seeing their fashion.

While you are watching the films, you may hear some words such as ‘emperor,’ ‘king,’ ‘duke,’ etc. Do you ever wonder what they mean?

Firstly, we will start with ‘emperor.’ I used to think that ‘emperor’ and ‘king’ are same. Just like a king, an emperor is the ruler of a territory, but he has a higher power than a king.

He rules the whole empire, which can have many kingdoms, while a king only rules his kingdom. For an illustration, we can imagine that our president, Joko Widodo, is an emperor, while the governors of each province are kings.

The next is ‘duke.’ This is the highest nobility below ‘emperor’ and ‘king.’ It is used to refer to the leader of a small independent region. It is said that a duke acts as a leader of a province. Since it is ruled by a duke, so the territory is called a dukedom.

Next is ‘marquess.’ This is the title below ‘duke’ and above ‘earl/count.’ marquess has a duty in a border between two countries as a defender.

Earl is someone who is responsible in imperial court. It is also said that earl acts as a local commander and a judge. The people outside Britain used to opt for ‘count’ for this title, like the ‘count’ in Count Dracula,

We might rarely hear ‘viscount,’ I also knew it just now. The reference tells that it is used to denote an assistant to a count in judicial function.

The title below ‘viscount’ is ‘baron.’ The history said that barons were granted a land by their superior, such as a king or a duke. They might rule the land with their own justice. In return, the must keep their loyalty and serve their superior. Generally, their main responsibility is in military by providing the knights.

The next title is ‘knight.’ It is simply said that a knight is a high rank soldier. He is responsible in military by participating in wars or guarding the higher noble in expeditions.

The last title is ‘lord.’ This is a general title for someone who has authority and power over others, such as a prince, the son of dukes or counts, etc. It also can be used to address the king.

Source:

Compiled and written by @mettaa_ for @EnglishTips4u on Tuesday, April 4, 2017.

 

 

#EngTrivia: Ellipsis (linguistics) & ellipsis (dot-dot-dot)

Err … what is it called again? It’s a … an ellipsis.

 

Ellipsis (  )

The three dots ( … ) is known as ellipsis. It is used to quote materials and to indicate hesitation or a pause in writer’s thought.

When used to quote materials, ellipsis is to show you’ve omitted words from the original sentence, but do not change the meanings.

Police said that two people had been killed by rebels … .

(The Nation, Bangkok, Wednesday 4 December 1991)

 

When used to indicate a pause:

“Dear boy you’re so tall … look behind and see if there’s anything coming…”

F. Scott Fitzgerald, This Side of Paradise

 

Ellipsis (linguistics)

Ann: Would you like a cup of tea?

Dan: Yes, I would.

Omitting part of sentences and referring to the earlier sentence/ context to make the meaning clear is also called ellipsis. We do not need to provide substitute words or phrases which have already been said. In the previous dialogue, instead of saying, “Yes, I would like a cup of tea.” we can just say “Yes, I would.” We omit some words because “Yes, I would.” will be understood.

According to Nunan (1993), as cohesive devices there are three types of ellipsis: nominal, verbal, and clausal. Following are examples of each type. The material that has been omitted is indicated with (0).

  • Nominal ellipsis:

    Don and Dan like football. Both (0) are great football players.

  • Verbal ellipsis

    A: Are you a student?

    B: Yes, I am (0).

  • Clausal ellipsis

    A: Why don’t you bring a camera? Dan said that we are going to shoot a film, didn’t he?

    B: Did he? He didn’t tell me(0).

 

Many experts, however, agree that there are nine types of ellipsis: gapping, stripping, VP- ellipsis, pseudogapping, answer fragments, sluicing, N-ellipsis, comparative deletion, and null complement.

Yes … it is quite confusing when it comes to linguistics. But if you need further explanation about the ellipsis (linguistics), you can find out in any books with words ‘discourse analysis.’

I hope this #EngTrivia will develop your background knowledge that is available when you later will be studying linguistics in university.

 

Reference: Nunan, D. 1993. Introducing Discourse Analysis. London: Penguin Books Ltd.

 

Compiled and written by @kusumawicitraa for @EnglishTips4U on Friday, March 31, 2017

 

 

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#EngTrivia: ‘That’ vs. ‘Which’ 

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#EngTrivia: See, look, watch 

#EngTrivia: Adjectival Phrase

#EngTrivia: ‘That’ vs. ‘Which’

Hey, fellas! Today, I want to talk about yet another usage case where two words look interchangeable but are actually not. The words are ‘that’ and ‘which’. Both words are used to introduce a particular clause in a sentence.

The usage rule is actually simple: In a restrictive clause, use ‘that’. In a non-restrictive clause, use ‘which’. You can read more about restrictive and non-restrictive clause here.

Pay attention to this sentence:

  1. Dave’s wall art that I bought yesterday is my favorite.
  2. Dave’s wall art, which I bought yesterday, is my favorite.

The first sentence implies that Dave has created more than one wall art, but my favorite is the one that I bought yesterday. That I bought yesterday’ is a necessary information. This is what we call restrictive clause. Therefore, we use ‘that‘ to introduce the clause. Without the clause, we don’t know which wall art of Dave’s that I’m talking about, since Dave has created more than one artwork.

In the second sentence, I’m saying that Dave’s wall art is my favorite. I’m probably comparing it with other people’s artworks that aren’t Dave’s. And I happened to purchase the wall art just yesterday. ‘Which I bought yesterday‘ is just an additional information. Even if I remove the clause, the sentence is still complete. This is what we call non-restrictive clause. We use ‘which’ to introduce this clause.

There you go, fellas. I hope it clears the confusion regarding the usage of ‘that’ and ‘which’.


Compiled and written by @Fafafin for @EnglishTips4U on Thursday, February 16, 2017

 

#EngTrivia: ‘Staring’ vs. ‘gazing’

Have you ever heard or read lines like these ones below?

 Why are you staring at me?

I’m not staring. I’m gazing.

I heard those lines when I watched The Vampire Diaries. What immediately came to my mind was, “Gazing? What is that?” because all I saw was Elena was staring, but she said ‘gazing.’ So, in this article, we will have a discussion about the two words. What is the difference between ‘staring’ and ‘gazing?’

If you checked the dictionary, ‘stare‘ is defined as to look fixedly or vacantly, while ‘gaze‘ is defined as to look steadily and intently, at something or someone for a long time. They are similar. The difference is we use ‘stare to indicate senses and feelings, such as curiosity, anger, boldness, admiration, bored, stupidity, etc; while ‘gaze to indicate sense of pleasure, like awe, admiration, fascination, and love.

Here are some examples to point them out:

  1. She gazes/stares admiringly at Warren.
  2. She stares at me blankly. (You can’t use ‘gaze’ in this sentence.)
  3. I stare at him with anger. (You also can’t use ‘gaze’ in this sentence)
  4. Yudith gazes/stares at the beautiful view of the sea.
  5. He stares/gazes at his sleeping child

From the example we can say that ‘gaze’ is used to show positive feelings, while ‘stare’ is used to show both positive and negative feelings (neutral).

Compiled and written by @mettaa_ for @EnglishTips4u on Tuesday, January 31, 2017

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#EngTrivia: The development of rock and metal genre

The ‘rock music’ genre first showed up in 1950s, which was known as ‘rock and roll.’ ‘Rock and roll’ itself is heavily influenced by blues, RnB, and country music.

By late 1960s, different sub-genres emerged such as blues rock, country rock, and jazz rock. In 1960s, bands like Rolling Stones, Yardbirds, and Animals became pioneers. Along with these names, lots of rock bands emerged.

1970s is the birth of heavy metal and punk rock. Black Sabbath utilized the distortion in electric guitar, while punk rock emerged against the overly mainstream of the genres. Punk rock gave off a huge influence to the development of sub-genres such as new wave, post punk, and alternative rock. Likewise, Deep Purple and Judas Priest emerged with a more ‘complex’ kind of metal.

And then in the 1980s, a new wave of British heavy metal rose to fame led by Iron Maiden. Metal developed a lot in the 1980s. Names such as Metallica, Motorhead, and Motley Crue gained their peak popularity in this era. And then in the 1990s, alternative rock led the industry. Grunge, Britpop, post-grunge, and pop punk were among this genre. Names such as Oasis, Blink 182, Nirvana, and a lot more were part of this era.

While many consider rock and metal died in 2000, emo, garage rock, and contemporary heavy metal were actually born in this era. Bands such as Bullet For My Valentine, The Strokes, My Chemical Romance were among these sub-genres. Unfortunately, in 2010s until now, rock and metal only develops in indie records.

Compiled and written by @bintilvice for @EnglishTips4U on Friday, 15 January 2016

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#EngTrivia: Restrictive and Non-restrictive clause

In this article, we will talk about restrictive and non-restrictive clause; also known as defining and non-defining clause. What exactly are they?

They are types of relative clause which define a noun. They usually contain relative pronouns such as who, which, that, where, and when. For examples:

  1. “The cake which I bought from Breadtalk was delicious.”
  2. “This is the dress which I wore last week.”
  3. “I will go to the beach with Rina, who was my school mate, this weekend.”

From the examples, I would say sentences number 1 and 2 contain restrictive clauses while sentence number 3 contains a non-restrictive clause . Why?

Let’s start from number 1. What if ‘which I bought from Breadtalk’ is removed from the sentence? It will be ‘The cake was delicious.’ Then try to remove ‘which I wore last week,’ the sentence will turn to ‘This is the dress.’ The meaning of the sentence changed, didn’t it?

which I bought from Breadtalk’ and ‘which I wore last week’ are restrictive clauses because they add an important information. They explain and define the cake and the clothes we talk about. That is why it is also called defining clause.

How about sentence number 3? Read the sentence and avoid ‘who was my school mate.’ It will be ‘I will go to the beach with Rina this weekend.’

The sentence still have the same meaning because the clause we removed is just an additional explanation of the object, Rina. And that is why ‘who was my school mate’ is called non-restrictive clause.

Practice

Now I will give you some samples and you should determine it whether the sentences below contain restrictive or non-restrictive clause.

  1. My eldest son, who is 27, is studying in Australia.
  2. Her aunt who lives in Sulawesi visited her last week.
  3. I found your book on the bench which is in the park you visited yesterday.
  4. He wrote the review of Up, the movie which I have just watched, and posted it in his blog.

Answer

  1. It contains non-restrictive clause: who is 27
  2. It contains restrictive clause: who lives in Sulawesi
  3. It contains restrictive clause: where in the park you visited yesterday
  4. It contains non-restrictive clause: the movie which I have just watched

In a simpler way, non-restrictive clauses are always separated by commas while restrictive clauses are not.

Compiled and written by @mettaa_ for @EnglishTips4U on Tuesday, January 17, 2017

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#EngTrivia: Spelling -ing and -ed forms

Hi, fellas! How was your day? Today I’m going to post an easy guide on how to change a bare infinitive to –ing and –ed forms.

Sometimes, we need to change a base verb or bare infinitive into -ing form to make it -ing verb or gerund. We also need to know how to change verb to –ed form to make it past tense. Often there’s no need to make changes into the end of the verbs, simply add –ing or –ed to the end of the verbs. However, there are some cases that require us to do so.
The following is a guide to help you get it right:

 
1.If the verb ends with the vowel –e, omit the –e, then add -ing to make –ing form. To make it –ed form, just add –d. Easy, right?

Here are the examples:
1) date-dating-dated
2) stare-staring-stared
3) snore-snoring-snored

 
2.If the verb ends in two consonants, just add –ing or –ed.

Look at these:
1) bomb-bombing-bombed
2) knock-knocking-knocked
3) push-pushing-pushed

 
3.If the verb ends in two vowels + one consonant, just add –ing or –ed.

Here are some examples:
1) wail-wailing-wailed
2) complain-complaining-complained
3) cook-cooking-cooked

 
4.If the verb has one syllable and ends in one vowel + one consonant, then double the consonant to make the –ing or –ed form.

Examples:
1) beg-begging-begged
2) hop-hopping-hopped
3) stop-stopping-stopped

Note: But we do not double w or x: snow, snowing, snowed, fix, fixing, fixed.

 
5.If the first syllable of a two-syllable verb is stressed, do not double the consonant.

Examples:

1) visit-visiting-visited
2) offer-offering-offered

 
6.If the second syllable of a two-syllable verb is stressed, double the consonant.

Examples:

1) prefer-preferring-preferred
2) admit-admitting-admitted

 
7.If the verb ends in a vowel + –y, keep the –y. Do not change it to –i.

Examples:
1) play-playing-played
2) pray-praying-prayed
3) stay-staying-stayed

 
8.If the verb ends in a consonant + –y, keep the –y for the –ing form, but change the –y to –i to make the –ed form.

Look at the following examples:
1) worry-worrying-worried
2) study-studying-studied
3) carry-carrying-carried

 
9.If the verb ends in vowels –ie, change –ie to –y to make ing form and just add –d to make –ed form.

Examples:

1) lie-lying-lied
2) die-dying-died

 
Here is the table of spelling -ing and -ed forms. Hope it might help you.

spelling

I hope the explanation is easy to understand. Thank you so much for reading!

 

Compiled and written by @kusumawicitraa for @EnglishTips4U on Friday, January 13, 2017

#EngTrivia: Various Meanings of ‘go off’

Good evening, fellas! Today I want to talk about a phrasal verb that often confuses me. It’s “go off”. If you want to know what a phrasal verb is, you can click here to read more about it. “Go off” confuses me a lot because it has a lot of meanings that are very different depending on its context in a sentence. Let’s walk through the meanings of “go off” one by one.

  1. If you say someone goes off, that means he/she leaves a place and go somewhere elseExample: After finishing her writing goal today, she went off to her favorite cafe to have a nice drink as a form of small celebration.
  2. If you say how an event went off, you explain how it happened in a specific way. Example: The seminar went off really well and we learn a lot from the brilliant speakers.
  3. If a machine or light goes off, that means it stops working or dies. Example: The printer went off right before it started printing the last page.
  4. If a warning device such as an alarm or a siren goes off, that means it starts making a sound/noise. Example: My phone suddenly went off with my embarrassing ringtone during class because I forgot to turn on the silent mode. See, fellas? I always thought that a cellphone going off means it turns off. We tend to think “off” indicates that something stops working. Turns out, our phone “going off” means it is making a noise (alarm or ringtone) instead of shutting down.
  5. If an explosive thing or a gun goes off, that means it explodes or it fires. Example: It was pretty fun for me to just sit on the rooftop in New Year’s Eve and watch the fireworks go off from every direction.
  6. (British English) If you go off something, that means you stop liking it. Example: I start going off fantasy novels. I’m into sci-fi now.
  7. (British English) If food or beverages go off, that means it’s not fresh and starts going bad. Example: This milk tastes funny. I think it goes off.

So, now you see how the meaning of “go off” varies. If you read something that you think doesn’t make sense, it could be that one of the words have another meaning that you don’t know. You can always check the dictionary to be sure that you really know what a word or phrase means in a particular sentence.

Compiled and written by @Fafafin for @Englishtips4U on January 5, 2016.

#EngTrivia: “Can” vs “Be Able to”

In this post, we will talk about the use of “can” and “be able to”. “Can” and “be able to” are often interchangeable, but there are some occasions where only one of them is correct.

Both “can” and “be able to” is used:

1. In the present tense to talk about an ability to do things. In this case, “can” is more common, while “be able to” sounds more formal and less natural.

  • Example:
    • “I can play guitar.” ✔
    • “I am able to play guitar.” ✔
  1. To talk about the ability to do something on a specific occasion in the future.
  • Example:
    • “I can do the interview tomorrow.” ✔
    • “I am able to do the interview tomorrow.” ✔
    • “When I’m done writing this essay, we can hang out.” ✔
    • “When I’m done writing this essay, we will be able to hang out.” ✔

3. To talk about an ability that someone doesn’t have anymore.

  • Example:
    • “I could stay up until 3 AM when I was a student.” ✔
    • “I was able to stay up until 3 AM when I was a student.”✔

 

We only use “can” or “could” in the present tense to talk about possibilities.

  • Example:
    • “With that much preparation, I think they can win the academic bowl.” ✔
    • “With that much preparation, I think they are able to win the academic bowl.” ✖

 

We only use “was/were able to” to talk about something we succeeded in doing on a specific time in the past.

  • Example:
    • “I was able to sleep last night.” ✔
    • “I could sleep last night.” ✖

 

However, it is okay to use either “could not” or “was/were not able to” in negative statements about something the past.

  • Example:
    • “I couldn’t ride a bike when I was a teenager.” ✔
    • “I wasn’t able to ride a bike when I was a teenager.”✔
    • “We couldn’t get tickets to the premiere yesterday.” ✔
    • “We weren’t able to get tickets to the premiere yesterday.” ✔

 

By the way, you can read more about the usage of “can” vs. “could” as well as other modal auxiliary verbs in this article. Feel free to drop a comment if you have any question.

 

Compiled and written by @Fafafin for @EnglishTips4U on Thursday, December 29, 2016

 

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^MQ

#GrammarTrivia: Compound possession

Which one of these two statements is grammatically correct?

“After the election, Dan’s and Miley’s businesses went bankrupt.”

Or

“After the election, Dan and Miley’s businesses went bankrupt.”

Before we answer the question, it was actually a trick question. Both sentences are grammatically correct depending on the context.

Possession by two people

If Dan and Miley own different businesses, “Dan’s and Miley’s” is the correct usage of possessive nouns. But if Dan and Miley share the same businesses, it should be “Dan and Miley’s”.

What if the businesses are owned by Dan and me (or any other possessive pronoun)? Then it should be “Dan’s and my businesses” regardless we share the same business or not. Or if you don’t have to explain that Dan is the other owner, simply use ‘our’.

Possession by more than two people

Let’s take it up a notch, shall we?

What if the businesses are owned by Dan, Miley, and me (or any other possessive pronoun)? The correct usage of compound possession is “Dan, Miley’s, and my business”. And if we don’t share the same businesses: “Dan’s, Miley’s, and my business”.

Compiled by @bintilvice at @EnglishTips4U on Friday, November 11, 2016


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^MQ