Posts tagged describing feelings & situations
I wasn’t always an English teacher. In fact, I used to work in the music business. I was a music teacher and also a music transcriber. That job was interesting. I used to listen to heavy metal records and then transcribe the guitar parts. Some of the music was really heavy, and honestly, I never got used to it. I think I’m much happier being an English teacher. I started doing that in Japan. At first it was a little hard living overseas, but I got used to it pretty quickly.
Today, let’s have a look at be used to and used to. These two words look similar, but they have two very different uses. Do you know how to use these words? Have a look at the paragraph above once more, and then check today’s lesson.
We use used to when we talk about our past habits or states of being. These are things that we did all the time in the past, but not anymore. The structure is used + to + verb (used + infinitive)
- I used to work in the music business. I don’t work in the music business anymore.
- Brad used to live in Florida. He doesn’t live there now.
- Jack used to smoke, but he quit. Jack doesn’t have the habit of smoking anymore.
- I used to listen to heavy metal records. I don’t listen to listen to them anymore (^o^).
Remember that used to is used to talk about past situations and circumstances which have changed. “I used to smoke” is a past situation which no longer exists. Used to indicates that a change in a situation and so we don’t use used to when we talk about what happened in the past. Compare the following:
- Jack worked for Apple for five years. This talks about a situation in the past only.
- Jack used to work for Apple. This talks about a situation in the past which no longer exists.
Be used to
We use be used to when we want to talk about situations that are familiar and/or no longer new or difficult. The structure is be used to + Ving or be used to + something
- I am used to using the subway in New York. At first it was difficult, but now I am familiar with the subway.
- Jack is used to living a smoke free life.
- Jane is from the countryside and she is not used to the noise of Manhattan.
- I am finally used to using a touchscreen phone.
You can also get used to something, which means that it becomes familiar over time:
- Joe got used to driving in London pretty quickly.
- Jack got used to not smoking by exercising at the gym.
- Anne said that she hopes she can get used to her new boss.
Let’s look at both words together:
- I used to drink black coffee. I drank black coffee in the past, but not anymore.
- I am used to drinking black coffee. Drinking black coffee is familiar to me now.
I hope this lesson can help you get more used to English! Thanks for studying today.
I’ll never forget my sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Jensen. She was very mean to all of the students. Well, looking back now, I would say she was strict, but at the time we all thought she was mean. Maybe when I was twelve I didn’t understand what strict means. I mean, I was probably too young to appreciate her strong discipline.
The word mean has a few different definitions and uses. Do you know how to use this word? Take a look at the paragraph above and then check out today’s lesson:
Mean, as a verb, is used to show the relationship between a word (or phrase) and it’s definition:
- “Organic” means something natural
- “Lift” means “elevator” in British English
- Maybe when I was twelve I didn’t understand what strict means.
- What does that symbol mean?
Mean is also used to check understanding:
- Do you know what I mean?
Important! When you want to know the definition of a word, you can ask:
- What does “organic” mean? Not, What means “organic”?
Mean, as an adjective, means unkind, unfair, or aggressive (usually for animals)
- She was very mean to all of the students.
- Jack was a mean pirate, everyone was afraid of him
- That is a mean dog. Don’t get too close.
In casual conversation and slang, mean is used to mean skillful or great:
- That dancer does a mean tango. She dances the tango very well
- My mom cooks a mean pasta sauce. Her sauce is very delicious.
I don’t want to be mean, but I have to stop now (^0^). Do you know what I mean? Thanks for studying today and see you next time!
I have a few friends who are also English teachers, but few of them live in New York. A few of them live in Asia, one lives in the Middle East, and the others live in Europe. One of my friends also helps students prepare for the GMAT and GRE exams. I know a little about those two exams, but I have very little experience teaching such classes.
Today we will look at a few, few, a little, and little. Take a look at the paragraph above once more and see if you can understand the difference between how we use those words, then look at the rest of this lesson.
These words are used to show how we feel about the amount of what we are talking about. A few and a little have positive nuance. They show that there is a small amount, but we are satisfied with that amount. We use a few with countable nouns, and a little with non-countable nouns. Here are some examples:
- I have a few friends who are also English teachers. (A small number of my friends are English teachers)
- There are a few peaches in the fridge, why don’t you try one. (There is a small number of peaches, but enough for us)
- I need to take a few skiing lessons before I hit the slopes. (I would be satisfied just taking a small number of lessons)
- There is a little milk left in the fridge. (There is a small amount of milk, and that’s enough)
- That glue is very strong, so you only need to use a little. (A small amount of this glue is enough)
- I have a little free time, so I’m going shopping. (Since I have a small amount of time, I can go shopping)
Few and little have a negative nuance. There is a small amount, and we are not satisfied with that. We use few with countable nouns, and little with non-countable nouns.Here are some examples:
- Few people can have the chance to meet a celebrity. (Unfortunately, not many people can do that)
- I think few dogs really like cats. (It’s too bad that just a small number of dogs like cats)
- It is a great sightseeing spot, but very few tourists know about the rooftop garden at the MET. (Unfortunately, not many tourists know about such a great place)
- There is little time to prepare for the exam. (I wish there was more time)
- There is little milk left in the fridge. (I will need to go shopping soon)
- There is little interest in grammar classes these days. (It’s too bad not many students are interested in grammar)
Well, I have little time left to complete these lessons. But I do hope that this was a little helpful. These days few students leave comments, but even a few comments would make me happy! Thanks for reading!