Monday, October 26, 2009

That's a no-no.

That's a no-no means it's not allowed or it's prohibited. Driving drunk, for example, is a huge no-no; cheating on an exam is another major no-no. If you do something that's a no-no, there are usually consequences--meaning, you could get in trouble. You could get arrested when you drive drunk or you could get kicked out of school if you get caught cheating.

If you work in an office, some managers don't allow workers to surf the web while working. If this is the case at your job, you can say, "Surfing the web is a no-no at work; the boss gets very upset when he catches one of us on the Internet."

like this:

A: I just got a ticket for parking in front of a fire hydrant.
B: Why did you park in front of a fire hydrant? Didn't you know that's a huge no-no?
A: I did. I was barely in front of it--well, maybe except for my back bumper.
B: Well, the cops can get very picky when it comes to fire hydrants.
A: I know. I thought I could squeeze in there. I'm definitely not doing that again. What if I ignored the ticket and pretended like I hadn't seen it.
B: I wouldn't do that. That's another big no-no. You could get in more trouble. You're actually lucky they didn't tow your car away.

kicked out - expelled; forced out
barely - almost not
picky - strict (in this context)
when it comes to - when we're talking about
tow a car - remove a car from a space using a tow truck

Alright folks, think of a few things that are not allowed at your workplace or your house and make sentences using it's a no-no. Then you can pretend you had no idea they were not allowed and say something like, "You know what, I had no idea wearing sneakers at work was a no-no." or "Did you know leaving dog poop on the sidewalk is a no-no?"

Good luck!
the small guide site and The small guide To Improving Your English

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

It's a must.

We say something is a must when it is required that we do it. In other words, we have to follow the rules otherwise we won't get what we need. For example, we can say that getting a driver's license is a must if you want to drive, or taking the TOEFL is a must to enter most U.S. universities.

like this:

A: Do we have to do a project for this class? I don't know if I'll have time to do one this semester. I have such a busy schedule.
B: Yeah, unfortunately. The professor said it's a must in order to pass the course.
A: Great! I have about 5 huge papers to write, this project, and I have to design a Web page for a small company. Plus, I have to keep working. It's going to be a busy semester.
B: You get to design a Web page? That's awesome!
A: Yeah. That's also a must. I'm going to enjoy doing it. I just wish I didn't have to do it this semester.
B: Well, good luck. I'm sure you'll be able to do it. You always do.
A: Thanks. I hope so, too.

Alright folks, think of a few things that are requirements for you right now: your exams in school, saving money for rent, getting a visa, finding a job, etc. Make sentences about why they are a must, and say them out loud for practice.

Good luck!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Tell me about it.

When someone complains about something: "Living in New York is so expensive," or "It's so difficult to find a job these days," or "It's so hot outside," and you agree, you can say Tell me about it. Saying tell me about it means that you think and feel the same way. It also says that you relate and may be in the same situation, yourself. So if you are having a difficult time in New York because it's not a cheap city to live in or you are looking for a job and can't find one or you've just been outside and you know how uncomfortably hot it is and you hear one of the statements above, you can say Tell me about it.

like this:

A: That exam was so difficult.
B: Tell me about it. I think I may have failed it.
A: Yeah? I hope I didn't. I spent a lot of studying for it.
B: I think most of the test was taken from the lecture. Unfortunately, I spent a lot of time studying the textbook.
A: I did the same thing. It's so difficult to keep up with her lectures. She speaks so fast.
B: Tell me about it. I take notes with my laptop, and I type pretty fast. I still have a hard time keeping up.

keep up - stay current; not fall behind

Alright everyone, enjoy the weekend. Speak as much English as you can. Come back for another lesson on Wednesday.

Have fun.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

knock yourself out

On our last blog, we learned how to say "be my guest" when someone asks to borrow or use something that is ours. Similarly, we can also say knock yourself out although this is more informal and is used mostly with friends. Knock yourself out also means "Sure, go ahead" or "Sure. Help yourself."

like this:

A: Is that your laptop?
B: Yeah. Do you need to use it?
A: Can I? I just want to check my email.
B: Sure. Knock yourself out. I don't need it right now.
A: Thanks. I'll be quick.
B: No problem.

Alright folks, don't forget to practice. ... and the next time you're hanging out with friends, look out for chances to say knock yourself out.

Good luck,

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Be my guest!

You tell someone to be your guest if you approve of their using something that is yours. This expression is similar to "Sure, go ahead," or "Sure. Help yourself." Tell someone, "Be my guest," when they ask to borrow your laptop or use your restroom or change the T.V. channel, etc. ... and you are completely fine with it.

like this:

A: I forgot to bring my dictionary. Can I use yours?
B: Sure. Be my guest.
A: Thanks. I just need to look up a couple of words.
B: No problem. Oh, is that your highlighter?
A: Yeah. Do you want to borrow it?
B: Can I?
A: Of course. Be my guest.

look up - find information as in a dictionary or a phone book

Alright folks, the next time you want to say it's ok for someone to borrow something of yours, just say, "Be my guest."

Have a good weekend.