Oct 032017
 

Donald Trump promises many things. He promises many more things than he actually delivers on. But people love promises, and his prolific use of future time expressions makes an English lesson on talking about the future very bountiful.

Let’s follow just a few of Donald Trump’s promises since he took office and pay close attention to his adverbs of time.

“Donald Trump: “And the clock starts ticking. But here you have two people calling saying, “Can we negotiate?” I say yes and I have to wait for a hundred days. I don’t know what a hundred days is going to be like. What’s it going to be like?. . .”

SOON:
(The hyperlinks go to audio of the speech.)

Beginning construction of a great, great wall soon  7 months ago

The wall will get built soon  5 months ago

The wall will happen very soon  19 days ago

We’re going to have the final choices about the border wall done soon  11 days ago

Announcing very, very big infrastructure projects soon  6 months ago

A very big infrastructure plan is going to come soon  6 months ago

We’ll be making big investments in repairing our badly depleted infrastructure soon  5 months ago

Announcing very, very big infrastructure projects soon   6 months ago

The U.S. Navy will have the finest equipment in the world soon   7 months ago

American workers will be respected again soon   6 months ago

America will be back soon 6 months ago

The U.S. will be stronger than it has ever been soon 6 months ago

NATO will be fair to the U.S. soon  4 months ago

Crucial legislation will be considered soon   3 months ago

Our country will come together as one soon   1 month ago

ADVERB + SOON

Steel companies will be great very soon   5 months ago

You will be saying Merry Christmas again very soon   2 months ago

Starting negotiations with Mexico about who will pay for the wall relatively soon  8 months ago

We’re going to start building the wall very soon  7 months ago

We’re going to be doing tax policies very soon  8 months ago

We’re going to have tax reform at some point very soon  5 months ago

We’re going to be announcing a tax plan very soon  5 months ago

The New York Times will be online-only pretty soon   5 months ago

Men and women in uniform will have the latest and most cutting edge systems in their arsenal very, very soon   7 months ago

A commitment to rebuilding the depleted infrastructure of the United States very soon   2 months ago

Announcing a signature infrastructure project beyond roads and bridges very soon  6 months ago

We will start building the wall soon, very soon  7 months ago

MS-13 will be gone from America’s streets very soon   4 months ago

We’ll have the electrical grid problem solved relatively soon   8 months ago

An infrastructure plan will come a hundred percent very soon  5 months ago

Announcing a signature infrastructure project beyond roads and bridges very soon   6 months ago

The menace of rising crime and the threat of deadly terror will get better very soon   7 months ago

We’ll have the electrical grid problem solved relatively soon  8 months ago

AS SOON AS

Construction begins on the wall as soon as we can; as soon as we can physically do it  8 months ago

We’re going to be doing some trade deals as soon as we get the health care finished   6 months ago

 

SOON/SOONER/SOONEST

The administration will file an infrastructure plan over the next two or three weeks, maybe sooner  5 months ago

EVENTUALLY

The wall will be brand new eventually  19 days ago

We’re going to repeal and replace Obamacare eventually   11 days ago

We will win on health care reform eventually   9 days ago

Eventually, we’ll win on health care reform, whether it’s now or later   9 days ago

 

LATER

The wall will come later   19 days ago

 

AHEAD OF SCHEDULE and WAY AHEAD OF SCHEDULE

We’re going to have a wall ahead of schedule  7 months ago

The wall is way ahead of schedule   6 months ago

 

OTHER

We’re going to be submitting a tax bill in the very near future   2 months ago

We’re going to go get into great detail on tax reform over the next two weeks   27 days ago

We’ll be submitting an infrastructure bill in the not-very-distant future   2 months ago

Very interesting items will come to the forefront about alleged wiretapping of Trump Tower over the next two weeks   6 months ago

He will release his tax returns at some point   4 months ago

The North Korean problem will be solved at some point   4 months ago

The Senate is going to be forced to make a deal on Obamacare repeal at some point   13 days ago

Planning is starting on the wall immediately   8 months ago

We have to take care of the American people immediately   8 months ago

American workers will have the training to lead us into the future immediately   1 month ago

We’re going to be making a decision about the Paris Accord over the next two weeks   5 months ago

 

And my personal favorite:

Eventually, we’ll win, whether it’s now or later…”
Which is your personal favorite?

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Feb 052017
 

SPAM

 

Scams are flooding our telephone lines.

Spammers and hackers are flooding our internet connections and getting viruses, worms, and phishing emails into our computers and email.

Obviously these scammers and hackers have enough success that they are encouraged to scam and hack even more.

How are they so successful?

Can you recognize an attempt to hack into your computer or elicit sensitive information from you when one such email enters your inbox? How well can you PROTECT YOURSELF?

Below is second in our series on how to identify these, what to look for, so that you’re not the victim of a cyber-attack.

The spam message below is easily identifiable as a hacking attempt to infect our computers in so many ways. Being that Apple is so ubiquitous, users can easily think that this message is intended for them.

I’ve broken the hack link, of course.

See how many identifiers you can find.

See below:


Dear (Your email address here),

Please note that your account will expire in less than 48h .
It is imperative to conduct an audit of your information is present, otherwise your account will be destroyed.
Update Your Apple ID
We invite you to act fast, if you need any help you can contact our online support.

Regards,
Apple


I’m able to identify up to ten different obvious identifiers.

Enter your ideas into the “COMMENT” box below.

Let’s see how well you do. Let’s see how safe you are from spammers and scammers!!

Jan 312017
 

Scams are flooding our telephone lines.

Spammers and hackers are flooding our internet connections and getting viruses, worms, and phishing emails into our computers and email.

Obviously these scammers and hackers have enough success that they are encouraged to scam and hack even more.

How are they so successful?

Can you recognize an attempt to hack into your computer or elicit sensitive information from you when one such email enters your inbox?

We will begin a series on how to identify these, what to look for, so that you’re not the victim of a cyber-attack.

Below is one spam message that we received the other day.  It is easily identifiable as a hacking attempt to infect our computers in so many ways. I’ve omitted including the hack link, of course.

See how many identifiers you can find.

See below:
___________________________________________________________________________________
Dear Joey,

Your item has arrived at the USPS Post Office at January 23, but the courier was unable to deliver parcel to you.

Download postal receipt attached to e-mail!

 

Kind thoughts,

 

Freddie Horne,

 

USPS Support Agent.
___________________________________________________________________________________

 

 I identified at least ELEVEN errors that immediately stood out to me as an obvious attempt to infiltrate my computer.
What are they?

And the 12th obvious indication?

Please add your responses to the COMMENT box below. Let’s see if we can get all twelve.

Dec 132012
 

Many native speakers of English also don’t have a good sense of what it is exactly they’re saying.  The sign below, that I saw recently at our local gym and sports club, displays a good example of this.  It shows what happens when somebody writes what he thinks he’s hearing. If this can happen to native speakers, it can happen all the more so to learners of English.

Find the big error.  Then look below the image.

lost in found

Have you ever LOST something? And have you ever then FOUND it?   The expression is “lost AND found”, not lost “in” found.

Because “and” often sounds like n –> lost and found sounds like lost n found, somebody then thinks the expression is “lost in found”. But that belies the logic of the expression: lost, and then hopefully found.

If you ever lose something, ask, “Do you have a lost and found here?”

Send us other examples of expressions that you think have been misrepresented in writing. They’re out there, just waiting for you!

***

Oct 242012
 

I’ve been hearing this expression so much lately, and it’s amazing to think how I could have survived living for so many years with out ever using it. It’s been around since the hills but lately it’s come into so much fashion that it even has its own website!

Let’s begin with politics.  NBC has its own blog, The Bottom Line, and within that you’ll find articles with the phrase “bottom line” in it. Not to leave ABC out: George Stephanoupolis has his blog there, and a recent post was entitled “Bottom Line: Can Debates Move the Needle for Romney?” That’s cool: We have two expressions here: the bottom line and (to) move the needle.

Bloomberg also has to get in on the expression, but we don’t typically link to videos on this website. But you can do your own search.

This article, Debating Points, Global Edition, states: “The bottom line: their basic approach to Iran seems very similar. But the president, having lived with and thought through the issue for the last four years, is more equipped to move more quickly on Iran than Mr. Romney. If elected, Mr. Romney would have to establish his administration and probably conduct a review of his options. President Obama has already done that.”

The bottom line is also vital to areas such as economics and business.  See the technical technical definition and also see how it manifests itself in media stories, such as this one:  China’s economy slows down – threatening western bottom lines.

Dating and social relationships should also have their bottom line, and you should be in healthy and rewarding relationships, but if you’re not, the SLAA San Diego has prepared a Power Point presentation to you all about social bottom lines.

We conclude this blog post with the following:  Clear writing delivers bottom-line benefits:  Clear writing is an essential business skill – one that generates revenue for your organization.

I love that article; whether you’re learning English as a Second Language or you’ve grown up in the United States and read and write English, it’s for you!!  Please read it and then give us some feedback!

Apr 272012
 

This TV program is big. People of all ages watch it. I’ve watched it.  But do we really have such a thing as an American idol? Do we want to? 

What is an idol, anyway?

An idol is something that is a representation of a god, and it is also worshiped.  People bow to idols, as if bowing to honor a god.

Then there is the word “idol” as in Hollywood.  Many stars of stage and screen are called “idols.” People look up to them as representing something virtuous. They idolize them.

Do we look up to the American idol singing stars this way?  Do you?

Personally, I think the word is a bit too strong for what the musicians and artists are representing.   They may sing well but that doesn’t mean that they are more virtuous as people or that we should bow down to them as if they were deities.

What do you think?

Dec 072011
 

Baseball seems simple but on the surface it is very complicated. Many of the baseball rules are very subtle. But there are some basics:

Nine innings.

Each team comes up to bat once, beginning with the visiting team.

Each team is at bat until there are three outs.

The team that is ahead after nine complete innings is the winner.

If the score is equal after nine innings, the game goes into extra innings.

In extra innings, a complete inning is played. If there is a team that is ahead at the end of the extra inning, that team is declared the winner of the game. Otherwise, another inning is played until there is a winner at the end of that complete inning.

The fewest number of “at bats” in any one game would, therefore, be 27: Nine innings, 3 batters per inning.

When a pitcher is pitching against a team and there are 27 up and 27 down, he has pitched a  “perfect game“.

The scorecard for Lee Richmond’s Perfect Game

Another special type of game is called a “no no“. This refers to a game in which there are no hits and no runs.  If there are no hits and no runs, then why isn’t it a perfect game?  In a “no no”, a batter can be walked*, in which case he will reach first base and ruin an otherwise perfect game.

In American Major League baseball history, by the current definition of “a perfect game”, there have been 20 official perfect games.  There have been several unofficial ones.

It is thrilling to watch a perfect game – and my baseball timing has been incredible on several occasions:  I saw Dave Cone’s perfect game in 1999.  I also saw John Lester’s no hitter (a “no no”) in 2008, which was also thrilling.

Click here to see video highlights of David Cone’s perfect game.

 

*In another blog post, we will discuss the ways in which a batter is declared to be out.

Nov 282011
 

Heard on American Idol:  “”It’s been a year since me and Lauren Alaina have tried out now,” McCreery said. “Me and her have been together since day one and we’re gonna stay together.”

Even some of our favorite singers, such as the quote above from Scotty McCreery, Season 11 American Idol winner, are saying this.  But is it correct? Scotty’s a wonderful singer, but is his grammar correct?

The correct grammar would be “It’s been a year since Lauren Alaina and I have tried out now.  She and I have been together since day one and we’re going to stay together.”

In a list of people that includes the speaker, grammatical etiquette has the speaker always mentioned last.  This means we say(subject pronouns) she and I, he and I, and (object pronouns) to him and to me, to her and to me, and so on.

Now go enjoy Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina!

Nov 212011
 

When people move and emigrate to a new land, they often lose track of their ancestry.  Records are lost, memories are lost.  When the older generation dies, there is often nobody left to tell the story of their ancestry to the younger generation.

In the United States, websites abound that specialize in doing ancestral searches.   One of the biggest websites is ancestry.com.  Americans can’t get enough of searching for their ancestors. They want to do their family tree. They want to know who their long-lost relatives are. Sometimes they’ll have a family reunion and meet, for the first time, long-l0st relatives.

Who are my ancestors? Where did my ancestors come from? Do I have living relatives who I don’t know exist?

These are some of the questions that Americans ask themselves.

Americans whose ancestors arrived in the United States between 1892 and 1924  use sites such as Ellisisland.org to help them identify their ancestors and to learn about their backgrounds. Ellis Island opened on January 1, 1892 as a port of migration for millions, and closed as a port of mass migration in 1924, when the government began to heavily restrict immigration into the United States.

What do you know about your ancestors?  Are you interested in doing an ancestral search?  Are you interested in learning more about your family tree?

How, and why, have memories gotten lost?

***

For an additional reading comprehension activity about Ellis Island, click on this link.

Nov 162011
 

Native Americans.


Thanksgiving is coming, but do these turkeys care?

And who said that turkeys can’t fly?

In our neighborhood, in our city, wild turkeys roam the streets in flocks of eight to twelve turkeys. They walk slowly, and stop at each home and peck the ground to see if they can find food.

They abound in the autumn, but we see them also in the summer and even in the spring. They live in the woods nearby, and come out during the day.

When they open their wings to fly up or to fly back down, they are powerful flyers.

In our neighborhood, turkeys are a protected species and are native to North America.  People who are driving  their cars slow down to watch, or to let them pass.

wild turkey on my gate

Happy Thanksgiving!!Happy Thanksgiving!