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?. . .”

(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


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


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



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


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



The wall will come later   19 days ago



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

The wall is way ahead of schedule   6 months ago



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?












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!

Feb 102011

Is the name of the holiday President’s Day or Presidents’ Day? Or is it Presidents’ Day?

One of the most misunderstood aspects of proper English grammar is the use of the apostrophe for plural possessives.

Let’s explore this in regards to the holiday that honors America’s Presidents – and that we celebrate each year on the 3rd Monday of February.

First, many people celebrated Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday, February 14, although it was never a Federal holiday.

George Washington’s Birthday, which is officially on February 22nd, became a Federal holiday. However, the Federal holiday “Washington’s Birthday” takes place a little earlier, on the 3rd Monday in February.

Soon a decision was made to combine the birthday celebrations for our Presidents, so an unofficial holiday developed.

Since the holiday is not official, there is no official name for the day.  Sometimes it is written as the plural possessive Presidents’ Day and sometimes it is written as a plural noun, Presidents Day. Most of the time, however, it is written as the plural possessive Presidents’ Day – the Day belonging to the Presidents. I personally prefer this latter name.

To create the plural possessive, we do the following:

First, we add ~s to the noun (President –>Presidents). This makes it plural.

Then we add the apostrophe to that:  Presidents –> Presidents’

Then we add the noun “Day”.

On the unofficial holiday of Presidents’ Day, we remember the Father of Our Country, George Washington, and our 14th President, Abraham Lincoln, who established the unity of the United State of America, and the right of all men to be free.

Jan 162011

First of all, the holiday is “Martin Luther King Day” but the person we honor isn’t Martin Luther King but his son, Martin Luther King, Jr.

What does the “Jr.” after somebody’s name mean? What does it stand for? The “Jr.” stands for the word “Junior”, which is the appellation used when a son takes on his father’s name.

So who was Martin Luther King, Jr. (Junior)?

I grew up when racial segregation was still legal in many parts of the United States.  Though it wasn’t a part of the culture in the state where I grew up, it was a big part of the culture in many other states, particularly in the southern states.

In the 1960’s I started hearing about integration, referring to racial integration. We learned that in many states there were many public places where blacks could not enter, or if they could enter they had to sit separately from whites.  We learned that there were schools and colleges where blacks could not attend.  We learned of laws in many states where a black person and a white person could not marry.  We learned that many blacks were not allowed to vote in municipal, statewide or federal elections.

When we look around us now, in the United States, we see a very different country.  And much of that is due to the efforts and inspiration of one man, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was not a politician; he was not an elected official. But he was a strong person, and he had strong ideals, and he was able to influence politicians and to gain the confidence of blacks and whites of all ages who believed in racial equality and equal opportunity for people of all races and who were willing to stand up for those ideals in a peaceful manner. He was able to bring people together and elevate a nation.

On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, we celebrate those ideals and the power of one person to change a nation for the better.

Jan 202009

These are the words so often spoken by our new President, Barak Obama, while he was on the campaign trail. Now he is no longer a candidate, and he is no longer the President-Elect. He is the President of the United States.  Today is a day when we celebrate a new direction for our country.  We hope you’ll share your thoughts with us.

You can also share your thoughts with the President by writing to the White House!