Friday, March 30, 2012

calling someone's bluff

To bluff means to deceive or to lie. When you tell someone he's bluffing, you're saying you don't believe what he's saying. Similarly, when you call someone's bluff, you're exposing the person's lie or deception, and you're basically telling the person that you know he's lying. This could also involve making the person prove that what he's saying is true. 

In each of the following examples, someone is lying and another person is calling his or her bluff.
1. He insisted that he was at the party, but Sarah called his bluff. She was sure he wasn't there because she had looked for him all night.
2. He tried to reassure everyone that he had finished the project and that he had just left it at home, but his manager called his bluff when she told him to go home and get it.
3. I told them I'd seen the movie already because I didn't want to watch it with them, but someone asked me something obvious about the movie and called my bluff.
4. They shouldn't have said they could play well when they actually couldn't. We wouldn't have had to call their bluff and kick their ass.
5. The reporter called the politician's bluff by asking which charitable organizations he had specifically worked for. The politician took awhile to answer because he actually hadn't worked for any charities.


kick their ass in sentence number 4 is an informal and somewhat vulgar way of saying they beat them or defeated them.

Alright, folks. Thanks for reading and listening to this small lesson. I hope you found it useful. Come back often to learn something new or to practice. Are you on Twitter? Follow me @joeyu2nd, and be a fan of the small guide site on Facebook.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

TT4BS - /e/ & /æ/

Welcome to another TongueTwisting4BetterSpeech. This time, we're going to practice the sounds /e/ and /æ/ together. If you have problems with making either of these sounds, you can check out my lessons that focus on each sound separately. Go to my post on July 31, 2011 for /e/ and on Feb. 19, 2012 for /æ/, or go to the exercises page and click on /e/ and /æ/ to practice.

Let's practice the words first. We're going to contrast the two sounds. Remember to flatten your mouth and lengthen the sound as you pronounce /æ/. Listen carefully and repeat.

/e/ -  pet, set, met, men, den
/æ/ - pat, sat, mat, man, Dan

/e/  - send, blend, pest, rest, ten
/æ/ - sand, bland, past, rash, tan

Now for the tongue twisters. Remember to exaggerate and start slow, then you can speed up as you get used to making the sounds. 

1. Set a mat on the sand and get a tan. 
2. Mend ten black pairs of pants for seven men in a trance.
3. Cashed his check, rented a tent he could mend and camped on a patch of grass all weekend.  

Remember, practice makes perfect. So do this several times until the sounds are easy to produce.
I wish you the best of luck! Thanks for listening and practicing with me. My name is Joe. You can follow me on Twitter @joeyu2nd, and be a fan of the small guide site on Facebook. Catch you later.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

get to do, be able to do, and can do something

Getting to do something is a phrasal verb that has the same meaning as being able to do something. Both talk about the ability to accomplish a task.  However, getting to do something is more commonly used in informal speech, while being able to do something tends to be more formal.

Each pair of sentences below mean the same, but the a sentences are more conversational and less formal.
1. a. We got to meet the President.
    b. We were able to meet the President.
2. a. I didn't get to eat breakfast this morning. 
    b. I wasn't able to eat breakfast this morning.
3. a. Do you get to study a little at work?
    b. Are you able to study a little at work?

Please note that both get to and be able to are followed by the simple form of the verb. In addition, both get to and be able to are also similar to the modal verbs can and could. However, can and could are usually used in general terms and focus on one's own ability.
1. I can swim. (general ability)
2. He could ride a horse when he was 10. (general ability)
3. She couldn't cook when she first moved to New York. (general ability)

On the other hand, get to do and be able to do are usually used when talking about a specific situation and when a person's ability is affected by circumstances.
1. I got to swim when I was in Miami. (Perhaps there was a pool in his hotel.)
2. I was able to work out after school. (Perhaps he didn't have a lot of homework and had extra time.)
3. He didn't get to call us when he was traveling. (Perhaps there was no phone signal where he was.)

Incidentally, you could also use could on these last three sentences, but the focus would be less on the circumstances and more on the person's ability. 

Hope you found that useful. If you did, spread the word! Tell your friends about us.
This is Joe with the small guide site and the small blog. Follow me on Twitter @joeyu2nd, and be a fan of the small guide site on Facebook. See you around.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Try This! Housesitting for Jim & Linda

It's been awhile since I worked on this story. It began with a family planning a trip to the Grand Canyon, which by the way, is one of my favorite places. This is the eighth episode, and it's titled Housesitting for Jim and Linda. Our main characters are Jake and his wife Katy, their two daughters, Sarah, who's 7, and Amy, who is younger--I haven't assigned an age for Amy yet.

They live in the northern suburbs of St.Louis, Missouri, in the Midwestern U.S. It seems like they have a nice group of neighbors. Mike and Tammy Boom have a son, Jeremy, who turned 18 a couple of exercises ago. Jim and Linda have young children although I haven't named their kids yet. Ted is another neighbor, as well as John, who is originally from Montreal and recently got engaged to Tabitha. On the last exercise, we learned that Tabitha is expecting. John recently quit his highly stressful job and found one that pays less but is also less hectic.

In this episode, Jake and Katy are housesitting for one of their neighbors and have decided to go on a jaunt of their own. The vocabulary words and phrases that you'll be practicing are swamped, undertaking, a drag, break out something, be off to somewhere, downtime, cave in, and break a sweat. If you don't remember what these words and phrases mean, don't worry; just hover over them at the small guide site, and a quick definition will pop up. So head on over to the Try This! page of the small guide site and try your hand at using this set of vocabulary. Good luck, and have fun.

expecting - pregnant
hectic - busy
jaunt - a short trip

Have you visited the small guide site or the small blog before?
If you have, I'm curious to know what you think about these two sites.
Click on Contact above, and leave me a comment.
This is Joe. I hope you enjoyed this post, and I hope you come back often.