One-Point English Lesson: Using “It takes”

It only take 20 minutes to get to work!

When you want to know the amount of time needed to get from Point A to Point B, you can ask:

  • Chris: How long does it take to get from NYC to Miami?
  • Ted: It takes about three hours by plane. Not, I take ~

When you want to know the amount of time needed to do something, you can ask:

  • Chris: How long does it take to bake homemade bread?
  • Ted: It takes about 4 hours. Not, I take ~

When you want to know the amount of time someone needs to do something, you can ask:

  • Chris: How long does it take you to get to work in the morning?
  • Ted: It takes me about 25 minutes. Not, I take ~

Remember! In conversations like these, when we use take, we do not say I take, we say, it takes.  

How long does it take to get from NYC to your city? How long does it take you to get to your office?


How about studying English with me? I am available for private English lessons in New York, and online via Skype. Also, check out my newest book & audio podcasts, 109 Phrasal Verbs

Nice to meet you! (From Our New Guest Author)

Happy English is proud to present a guest writer for the blog. Follow Maya’s NYC adventures here!

Hi, I’m Maya. I’m one of Michael’s students. Nice to meet you! I’ll introduce myself today.

I’ve lived in the US for 8 months. I moved from Osaka City, Japan, to here last November because my husband was transferred to the US branch of his company. I’m still a newcomer to NYC!
Recently I’ve been spending busy days and doing everything I’m interested in, working as a volunteer, taking a Spanish class and a knitting class, and woking at a wine store and studying wine there. I’ve experienced such a lot of precious things.

I’ll mention my English skill. Before I moved to here, I couldn’t speak English at all. I regarded English as just a school subject, like Math, History, Science, and so on. Honestly, I didn’t like English and it was NOT my cup of tea. I knew I should study English, but I was pretty optimistic, like “If I lived in the US, I could speak English soon as native English speakers like magic.” (Probably most people think so, right?) I can affirm now “English magic NEVER occurred.” My thought was absolutely changed as soon as I began living here. I couldn’t understand what native English speakers said even if it was such an easy phrase, like “Credit or debit?,” “Would you like a bag?” I was truly disappointed in my skills. And then, I determined to study English hard. I had studied English at 2 schools until I started studying with Michael in May. I’ve studied English eagerly as I decided by myself.

Do you want to know current my English skill? Ummm… I can have a conversation with native English speakers, but not perfectly. I can probably understand around half of what they say, but I can’t understand another half. About my speaking skill, I can’t say what I want to say perfectly yet, but I feel I’ve improved much in English compared to 8 months ago. In addition to that, I extremely enjoy speaking English even though I sometimes feel frustrated and ashamed. I realized English is a measure to communicate with people. Until 8 months ago, I could communicate with only Japanese. Now I talk with Americans, French, Italian, Spanish, Korean, Chinese, Saudi Arabian, Brazilian… people of various nationalities every day. Isn’t this an awesome experience? English has made my world spread widely!

Did I write down too much? Have a great day and see you next time!

Editor’s note: If something is your cup of tea then you like that. We usually use this idiom in a negative sentence:

  • Playing golf is not my cup of tea.
  • Blue cheese is not my cup of tea.

What is no your cup of tea? Thanks for reading today and feel free to leave a comment!

One-Point English Lesson: Let Vs. Make

The boss made me work late. He never lets me go home early :-(

Let and make can sometimes be confusing in English, so I thought we could look at these words today.

We use let when we talk about permission to do something. Someone lets another person do something. For example, I want to leave the office early today. When I ask my boss if I can leave early, he said yes. He gave me permission to leave early. In this situation, I can say he let me leave early.

The structure is [Person A] lets [Person B] base verb. Here are a few more examples:

  • The boss let me take a day off tomorrow.
  • I wanted to try my sister’s new iPad and she said OK. She let me use her iPad.
  • Tom let me drive his new Jeep.

We use make when we talk about being forced or required to do something. Someone makes another person do something. For example, my boss required me to work overtime in order to finish a project. I didn’t want to do so, but he forced me do it. In this situation, I can say he made me work overtime.

The structure is [Person A] makes [Person B] base verb. Here are a few more examples:

  • The boss made me work overtime.
  • Jim’s wife made him clean out the garage.
  • The teacher made us write several reports this week.

Has someone let or made you do something recently? Have you let or made someone do something recently?
How about studying English with me? I am available for private English lessons in New York, and online via Skype. Also, check out my newest book & audio podcasts, 109 Phrasal Verbs