Stephen Lau's website to help you get the wisdom to live as if everything is a miracle.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Learn Some American Idioms


Learn Some American Idioms

More than meets the eye: there is a hidden meaning
e.g. What the Mayor mentioned in the speech implied more than meets the eye.

In fine feather: in good condition; in good health
e.g. With a good night sleep, I am in fine feather today.

After all: in spite of everything
e.g. She didn’t get a good score; after all, it was her first attempt

Name of the game: the main goal
e.g. The name of the game is winning; we must win this election no matter what.

Face the music: confront danger; accept a bad situation
e.g. There are many circumstances in life in which you have to face the music.

Late in life: in old age
e.g. It was only late in life that he became a famous writer.

Act one’s age: behave maturely
e.g. Stop behaving like a teenager! Act your age.

All of it: the best
e.g. From the way he presented him at the debate, he was all of it.

Lead someone astray: cause someone to do something wrong or illegal
e.g. If you are always in the company of lawbreakers, you  may be easily be led astray.

Abide by: accept and follow
e.g. If you wish to become a citizen of the United States, you must abide by U.S. immigration laws.

Pass the hat: collect money for
e.g. He is always passing the hat for something.


Stephen Lau
Copyright© 2018 by Stephen Lau

Monday, March 26, 2018

Common Colloquial Expressions

Bone idle: very lazy.

e.g. She's bone idle: she never does any household chore.


Are you with me?: understand or agree with me.

e.g. I've been explaining this for an hour. Are you with me?

Hook on to: attach oneself to.

e.g. Don't hook on to your computer all day.

.
Bang out: reveal.

e.g. If you go into politics, you must be prepared to let all your secrets bang out.

Not on your life!: definitely not.

e.g. "Do you think I should call the police?" "With your past records, not on your life!"

Hook it: depart immediately.

e.g. Come on, hook it; our parents will be back soon.

Walk: disappear.

e.g. I don't know how and where those documents had walked

Go under: fail.

e.g. I am sorry to say that all your proposals have gone under.

Fork out: pay

e.g. Well, everybody has to fork out $50 for the farewell present to the boss.

Look here: emphasizing a point.

e.g. "Look here, I can't help you right now; I'm cooking our dinner."
e.g. "Look here, it was impolite to talk to your parents like that."

Better than a slap in the eye: okay, acceptable.

e.g. Not all the goals were accomplished. Well, at least the project was completed on time; it's better than a slap in the eye.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Learn Some American Idioms


Learn Some American Idioms

After all: in spite of everything
e.g. She didn’t get a good score; after all, it was her first attempt

Late in life: in old age
e.g. It was only late in life that he became a famous writer.

Act one’s age: behave maturely
e.g. Stop behaving like a teenager! Act your age.

All of it: the best
e.g. From the way he presented him at the debate, he was all of it.

Lead someone astray: cause someone to do something wrong or illegal
e.g. If you are always in the company of lawbreakers, you  may be easily be led astray.

Abide by: accept and follow
e.g. If you wish to become a citizen of the United States, you must abide by U.S. immigration laws.

Pass the hat: collect money for
e.g. He is always passing the hat for something.

Actions speak louder than words: do something about it, not just talking about it
e.g. Show me what you have done! Actions speak louder than words.

Bag your face: shut up!
e.g. You and your loud mouth! Go and bag your face!

Live beyond one’s means: spend more than one can earn
e.g. You are in debt because you are living beyond your means.

Down and out: very poor
e.g. He is down and out without a job and a roof over his head.

Tail end: the last part
e.g. His speech was long, and only the tail end was interesting.

Ball of fire: an energetic and enthusiastic person
e.g. We all want his presence; he is a ball of fire.

No flies on: very alert, smart
e.g. You cannot trick her; there are no flies on her.

Add insult to injury: make things worse
e.g. Enough is enough! Don’t add insult to injury.

Ball of fire: an energetic and enthusiastic person
e.g. We all want his presence; he is a ball of fire.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© 2018 by Stephen Lau

Monday, March 19, 2018

My New Book on Human Happiness

The Happiness Wisdom” is a 161-page book on human wisdom based on ancient wisdom from the East and the West, conventional wisdom, and spiritual wisdom, which may all provide guidelines for choosing the happiness ingredients for your own happiness recipe. In addition, the book also provides real examples taken from real life, illustrating how these real people perceive their realities, and thus leading to their happiness or unhappiness.

Human happiness or unhappiness is no more than a perception of the human mind, based on an individual's own life experiences. You think, and your perceptions then become your "realities"; with profound wisdom, you can change how your mind processes your perceptions. Change your mind to change your realities, and live your life as if everything is a miracle! Your life journey is uniquely yours. Make your own happiness recipe from the happiness ingredients of ancient wisdom, conventional wisdom, and spiritual wisdom. Continue your life journey with your own happiness recipe.


Click here to find out more about the book.

Click here to get your digital copy, and here to get your paperback copy.

Stephen Lau

Friday, March 16, 2018

Words Frequently Confused and Misused

Here are some of  the words which are frequently misused:


All / All of

All is used for amount, quantity, distance, and length of time.

e.g. all the money, all the way, all day, all night,

All of is used when a simple pronoun follows.

e.g. all of it, all of you, all of us.

All and all of may be used when it refers to number.

e.g. All or all of the employees are satisfied with the new policy.
e.g. All or all of the children in the family have gone to college

Potent / Potential

Potent: strong, powerful; potential: power that could be, but is not yet.

e.g. He is a potent politician.

e.g. He has great potential in American politics.


Right / Rightly

Right: immediately; rightly: justly, correctly.

e.g. Do it right now.

e.g. Do it right away.

e.g. I rightly canceled the trip.

e.g. We refused the offer, and rightly so.

Sensual / Sensuous

Sensual: related to the body; sensuous: related to the five senses.

e.g. It is difficult to be spiritual when one focuses too much on sensual pleasures.

e.g. The painter is able to provide some sensuous images in his painting.

Defer / Infer

Defer: give way or yield to; infer: conclude.

e.g. He is a good kid: he always defers to his parents' wishes.

e.g. We can infer from your statement that you don't like this policy.

Common / Commonplace

Common: shared or used by many; commonplace: ordinary, not unusual.

e.g. English is a common language used in Europe.

e.g. Nowadays, carrying a gun is commonplace.

Compare to / Compare with

Compare to: state a resemblance to; compare with: put side by side to find out the similarities and differences.

e.g. The poet compares living in this modern world to riding on a bullet train.

e.g. If you compare Plan A with Plan B, you will know that Plan B is much better than Plan A. 

Mediate / Meditate

Mediate means to act as a peacemaker; meditate means to think deeply.

e.g. The Secretary of State is trying to mediate between the two warring nations.

e.g. He meditated revenge after he was insulted by his coworkers.
  
Reverend / Reverent

Reverend: worthy of respect; reverent: showing respect.

e.g. Have you met the Rev. Mr. Johnson?

e.g. He gave a reverent speech on drug addiction.

In regard to / As regards

Both mean with reference to.

e.g. As regards your performance, I think you did a good job (no “to”).

e.g. She is very generous in regard to charity donation.


Stephen Lau

Copyright© 2018 by Stephen Lau

Monday, March 12, 2018

Parallel Sentence Structure in Effective Writing

An effective sentence has to be parallel in structure in order to give the balance to the sentence. Therefore, when composing your sentence, be mindful of its parallel structure.
e.g. The story is about stealing money from a bank and how you hide it. (not parallel)

e.g. The story is about stealing money from a bank and hiding it. (improved; it is about stealing and hiding money)

e.g. My computer knowledge is better than you. (it does not make sense)

e.g. My computer knowledge is better than yours. (your computer knowledge)

e.g  I like him more than her. (correct: it means I like him more than I like her)

e.g. I like him more than she. (correct: it means I like him more than she likes him)

e.g. He promised his mother to finish his homework, to clean the house, and going to bed early.

e.g. He promised his mother to finish his homework, to clean the house, and to go to bed early.(improved)

e.g. I had decided to leave the country rather than staying behind.

e.g. I decided to.leave the country rather than to stay behind. (improved)

e.g. Rather than staying behind, I had decided to leave the country. (improved)

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Read my book Effective Writing Made Simple. Click here for the digital, and here for the paperback edition.


Thursday, March 8, 2018

More Colloquial Expressions

Learning a language takes time and effort, especially if it is not your first language. Even if it is your mother tongue, you still need time and effort to master it. Language is forever changing. Colloquial expressions are often acceptable in informal writing. The more you learn, the more you will know when to use them or not to use them in your writing or speaking. 


Slow on the uptake: slow to understand.
e.g. I'm a bit slow on the uptake. Can you explain it once more?

Monkey business: foolish behavior.
e.g. Behave yourself! Stop this monkey business of yours!

Pile on the agony: exaggerate.
e.g. Don't pile on the agony; it's not as bad as it looks.

In the bag: pretty certain.
e.g. I tell you what: your promotion is in the bag.

Are you with me?: understand or agree with me.
e.g. I've been explaining this for an hour. Are you with me?

Have someone by the short hair: have control over; have someone at a disadvantage.
e.g. Not having adequate preparation will let your opponent have you by the short hair.

Hell for leather: at a reckless speed.
e.g. Some teenagers drive their cars hell for leather; they endanger not only their lives but also those of others.

In a jiffy: soon.
e.g. The manager will see you in a jiffy.

Half-baked: silly.
e.g. Will you stop that half-baked behavior!

Fall over oneself: too eager.
e.g. He fell over himself to get that job.

Finger in the pie: share of responsibility.
e.g. He wants to have his finger in every pie that we are going.

Stephen Lau


Monday, March 5, 2018

Slang and Colloquial Expressions

Language is forever changing. What is currently acceptable or popular may be replaced by something else in years to come, and the use of slang is a strong testament to that. Slang is just an alternative way of saying something. It is sometimes hard to identify what is slang and what is not. Slang and colloquial expressions are often acceptable in informal writing because they are used in communication in movies, newspapers, radio, television, and other mass media The more you learn, the more you will know when to use or not to use them in your formal writing. No matter what, knowing these common everyday expressions is a plus for all ESL learners.

By a long chalk: by a great amount.
e.g. He lost his re-election by a long chalk.

Get wise to: discover; realize.
e.g. Soon you’ll get wise to what is really happening under the roof.

Go the whole hog: go through thoroughly.
e.g. The prosecutor went the whole hog when he inspected the murder weapon.

Alive and kicking: in good health.
"How is your grandmother doing?" "Very much alive and kicking."

Ark: an old car.
e.g. Why don't you get rid of your ark, and get a new one?

Half-inch: steal.
e.g. Where did you get it from? You didn't half-inch it, did you?

Gift of the gab: ability to give effective speeches.
e.g. The new Mayor has the gift of the gab: people like listening to him.

For a song: very cheaply.
e.g. I got that piece of antique for a song.

Head above water: out of debt.
e.g. Nowadays, it is not easy to keep your head above water.

Mean-green: money.
e.g. Can I borrow a little mean-green from you?

All that jazz: all that sort of thing; etcetera.

e.g. He was telling everyone about his success in real estate investment and all that jazz. Well, we all heard that before.

In a jiffy: soon.
e.g. The manager will see you in a jiffy.

Next to nothing: hardly anything.
e.g. “Did she leave you anything at all?” “Well, next to nothing.”


Stephen Lau
Copyright© 2018  by Stephen Lau