Pick Up

Don’t Say Say This
Pick it up the pencil.
or Pick up it.
Pick up the pencil.
or – Pick the pencil up.
or – Pick it up.
I’m going to pick it up my daughter. I’m going to pick up my daughter.
or – I’m going to pick my daughter up.
I’m going to pick up her/she. I’m going to pick her up.

Remember

  • to pick up is a “phrasal verb” (a two-word verb).  The most common meanings are:
    1. To lift something/someone from a surface
      Ex: He picked up his book.
    2. To meet someone and take them with you.
      Ex: I have to pick up my kids after school.
  • You can pick something up – or – pick up something
    Ex: Pick up the package.  or  Pick the package up.
  • But – You can only use a pronoun in the middle – between “pick” and “up”
    You can Pick her up or Pick it up.
    Incorrect: Pick up it. or Pick up her.
  • Also, Don’t use the noun and its pronoun together.
    Pick up the phone. – or – Pick the phone up. -or- Pick it up.
    But NOT: Pick it up the phone.
  • There are some other meanings of this phrasal verb too.
  • You can see pick up used as part of a conversation in many examples from YouGlish below.  You can press the Next Track button   to see another example.

Visit YouGlish.com

Supposed To

Don’t Say Say This
I supposed to work tomorrow. I am supposed to work tomorrow.
My sister suppose be here for dinner. My sister is supposed to be here for dinner.
I suppose be here early this morning? Was I supposed to be here early this morning?
My son no suppose to go outside today. My son is not supposed to go outside today.

Remember

  • The phrase supposed to means expected to, or required to.  Used this way…
    1. It must include the verb to-be before it (I am supposed to…  He is supposed to….)
    2. Supposed is spelled with a d at the end, but that doesn’t mean it’s past tense (He is/was supposed to…)
    3. It is followed by the main verb of the sentence (My father is supposed to fly to Boston tomorrow.)
  • To be supposed to is similar to Have to, and Ought to
    • Supposed to – something expected or required – but it might not happen
      (Ex: I was supposed to be home for dinner, but the traffic made me late.)
    • Have to – similar to must.  There is no choice.
      (Ex: I have to stop at a red light.)
    • Ought to – similar to should.
      (Ex: You ought to stop smoking.)
  • To be supposed to is different from the verb suppose.  Suppose means to presume, or think something is true.
    (Ex: I suppose she’s happy, but I’m not sure.)

Say Anything

Don’t Say
– I don’t know nothing about cooking.
– I’m not doing nothing.
– She didn’t say nothing.
– He won’t do nothing.

Say This:
– I don’t know anything about cooking.
– I’m not doing anything.
– She didn’t say anything.
– He won’t do anything.

Remember:

  • Use Anything instead of Nothing in negative sentences that contain the word “not” (including don’t, doesn’t, didn’t, can’t, couldn’t, won’t, wouldn’t, isn’t, wasn’t, aren’t, weren’t, hasn’t, haven’t …)
    • I can not see anything.
    • Katia isn’t buying anything today.
    • My brother never helps with anything.
    • I’m not afraid of anything.
  • Usually avoid using double-negatives (two negative words) in a sentence.
    • Examples of negative words:
      • Not, Nothing, None, Nobody, Neither, Nowhere…

My Doctor Told Me …

Some examples of how to tell someone else about advice your doctor gave you …

  • My doctor told me TO GET more sleep.
  • My doctor told me TO EXERCISE more.
  • My doctor told me NOT TO SMOKE so much.
  • My doctor told me NOT TO EAT so much junk food.

Don’t Say:

  • My doctor told me you should get more sleep.  (I, not you)
  • My doctor told me to don’t smoke.
  • My doctor told me to no eat so much junk food.

More Detail:

  • We usually use this type of speech to tell someone what somebody else said to you. It’s known as “reported speech“.

Scared or Scary?

Don’t say: 
– I’m too scary to go bungee jumping.
– He was scary of the loud noise.

Say this:
– I’m too scared to go bungee jumping.
– He was scared of the loud noise.

Remember:

  • Scared (used as an adjective) is a feeling – similar to afraid.  I feel scared.  She is scared of bees.
  • Scary is the reason for this feeling.  Going bungee jumping is scary.  Sharks are scary.

Never Say “I no have…”

Don’t Say Say This
I no have time today. I don’t have time today.
I no have his phone number. I don’t have his phone number.
I no have to work tomorrow. I don’t have to work tomorrow.
I no have to work yesterday. I didn’t have to work yesterday.

Remember

  • Never, Never say “I no have
  • For present tense, say “I don’t have…”
    • I don’t have any money.  I don’t have patience with my kids.  I don’t have to go to Boston.  I don’t have a headache.
    • Here are 25,000 more examples of “I don’t have” in American conversational speech on Youglish.com
  • For past tense, say “I didn’t have…”
    • I didn’t have school last week.  I didn’t have many friends when I was young.  I didn’t have electricity in my house until 8:00.  I didn’t have to shovel the driveway.
    • Here are 5,000 more examples of “I didn’t have”

How Old Are You?

Don’t say: 
How many years have you?
I have 34 years.

How many years has your daughter?
– My daughter has 6 years.

– Her baby has 4 months.

Say this:
How old are you?
I am 34. (or – I am 34 years old. or – I’m 34.  )

How old is your daughter?
– My daughter is 6. (or – My daughter is 6 years old.)

– Her baby is 4 months. (or – Her baby is 4 months old.)

Remember:

  • When talking about how old someone (or something) is, use the verb “to be” – not the verb “to have
    • My twins are 5. (or – My twins are 5 years old.)
    • My car is 10 years old.
  • Future: Her son will be 5 on Friday.
    • or – Her son will be 5 years old on Friday.
  • The word “turn” is often used when an age changes
    • Her son will turn 5 on Friday.
    • I turned 30 yesterday.
  • Exception: If the person comes after the age in the sentence, then you do use the verb “to have”.
    • My daughter is 6 years old.  I have a 6 year old daughter. (not: I have a 6 years old daughter.)
    • Her son is 7.  She has a 7 year old son.
    • Our cat is 4 years old.  We have a 4 year old cat.

Here’s another YouTube video with more information on talking about age.

I Was Born

Don’t say: 
I born in Brazil.
My son borned in January.
Her baby borned last summer.
When your baby borned?.

Say this:
I was born in Brazil.
My son was born in January.
Her baby was born last summer.
When was your baby born?.

Remember:

  • When talking about the birth of a new baby, always use was born (for a birth in the past).
  • Future: Her baby will be born in February.
  • Question: Where was your baby born?
  • Infinitive:  I want my baby to be born in Boston.