Tuesday, June 26, 2012


I've been thinking about clutter a lot lately. I don't like it, but I see it quite a bit these days. Clutter the noun is synonymous to a mess and is pretty much any disorganized collection of things especially if they're strewn across a space or an area. As a verb, to clutter means to make a mess, and as an adjective, a cluttered space is a messy space.

If you are organized, you probably detest clutter, but sometimes it's inevitable. If you live in a tiny apartment, like I do, it's very easy to accumulate stuff and get your space cluttered. When you're busy, for example, you may not have time to sort through the mail or keep stuff on a shelf organized; things pile up quickly and before you know it, you have clutter everywhere.

Clutter can also affect someone's thoughts or someone's life. Worries and problems can clutter your mind and keep you from concentrating. Similarly, if your life is cluttered, you may be having a hard time moving forward with your goals and dreams. Psychologists say that a cluttered house is a reflection of a cluttered life, and vice versa, but that's a whole other topic for another blog. Bottom line, clutter has to be cleaned up. Do you have clutter around you? If so, I hope you find the time and energy to clean it up.

I don't want to clutter up your email or those of your friends, but if you find this post useful, feel free to share it with friends. You can also enter your email address on the right margin to get our small lessons automatically in your inbox. Then you can forward them to friends who could use them. If you like this post, use the buttons below and tell your friends about it. 

clutter - a mess
quite a bit - a lot; not just a few times
strewn - scattered; spread [strew, strewed, strewn]
detest - hate; loathe
inevitable - unavoidable
accumulate - add up; gather
sort through - go through; check & organize
pile up - accumulate; one on top of another
the bottom line -  the main message or reason

Alright, folks. Remember the small guide site is also on Facebook, and you can follow me on Twitter @joeyu2nd. Take care!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

the present perfect

The present perfect has a couple of uses, and if you understand the ways it is used, remember them, and practice, you're on your way to mastering this tense. First, however, you should know the structure. The present perfect uses "have" or "has" as an auxiliary verb and the past participle as a main verb. In other words, the present perfect of "she eats" is "she has eaten"; the present perfect of "they drove" is "they have driven," and for "I wrote," it's "I have written."

We use the present perfect to talk about something you have done already. However, you cannot say when you did it. In other words, you cannot use specific time. Otherwise, you'll have to use the past tense.

Here are some examples of sentences in the present perfect and the past tense. The ones with specific time are in the past tense, while the ones without specific time are in the present perfect.

1. I have already eaten. - present perfect
    I ate 2 hours ago. - past tense
2. He has taken out the garbage. - present perfect
    He took out the garbage when he got home. - past tense
3. She has done her homework. - present perfect
    She did her homework before dinner. - past tense

Similarly, we use the present perfect to talk about our experiences without saying when we experienced them. Like the above examples, we have to use the past tense if we want to say exactly when we did them. Here are some examples.

1. They have been to China. - present perfect
    They were in China in 2010. - past tense
2. She has gone bungee jumping twice. - present perfect
    She went bungee jumping when she visited New Zealand and Peru. - past tense
3. He's kind of nuts. He has even swum with sharks before. - present perfect
    He swam with sharks last summer. - past tense

We also use the present perfect to talk about action that started in the past and continues to the present. This is usually used with for (to indicate duration) or since (to indicate the beginning of the action). Here are some examples.

1. They have lived in Miami for 10 years now.
2. She has studied English since she was 10 years old.
3. I've worked at this job since 2009.
The sentences above all show action that started in the past and continues to the present. A quick note: this particular usage can have a similar meaning as the present perfect progressive.

Alright, folks. Practice makes perfect, so read and reread, then practice as much as you can. Look out for exercises on verb tenses at the small guide site in the future. Any questions? Feel free to leave a comment below, on the small guide site page on Facebook or tweet me a message @joeyu2nd on Twitter. Catch you again soon.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Getting the hang of a new schedule

I'm on my third week on a new schedule and I'm still getting the hang of it. I still teach until 10 at night. However, instead of starting at noon, I now start at 10 a.m., which makes for a long day and means I have to go to bed as soon as I get home in order to get at least 6 hours of sleep. Seven hours is doable, but tough. It's tough because I have a one-hour commute and I have to rest, take a shower and eat before I hit the sack. It's tough also because I'm naturally a night owl. This means it's easy to stay up late but very difficult to get up early. Night owls are usually not morning people, and I'm not an exception.

Being a glass-half-full kind of person, however, I always look at the positive side. Yes, I do have to rush to get to bed when I get home and rush to get to work on time in the morning, but I do get a good few hours in the afternoon that I can use productively to get things done. If I'm not doing a private lesson or two, I can work on projects or even take a nap. I can hack it; it's definitely not a problem. I just have to get the hang of it first.

Getting the hang of something - getting used to it; it is easier to do
Doable - possible; can be done or accomplished
Commute - travel between home and work or school
Hit the sack - go to bed
Night owl - a person who tends to stay up late or enjoys staying up late
Morning person - a person who likes to get up early and be active in the morning.
A glass-half-full kind of person - an optimistic person
[A glass-half-empty kind of person - a pessimistic person]
Can/able to hack it - can handle or deal with something difficult or challenging

Small reminder: You can find the small guide site on Facebook, and you can also follow me on Twitter @joeyu2nd.

Thanks for reading and listening. I'll catch you later.