Humans of New York – and Other Places

   Humans of New York is a website, and Facebook page, that has lots of interesting pictures of people – and a very short story about them.  Brandon (the publisher) started with pictures and short stories just about people in New York City. But then he started including personal stories from people in other places around the world – such as Pakistan, Iran, India, Vietnam –  and some longer stories on subjects such as refugees and people in prison. The latest set of stories is about people in Brazil.  Here is an example:

“He fell in love with me the first day he met me. He kept calling me princess. He said we were meant to be together because our feet were the same size. Look how embarrassed he’s getting!” (São Paulo, Brazil)

— Thanks to Pat for suggesting this website.  She uses it for reading practice in her English class. —

 

Synonyms

A synonym is a word that has the same, or almost the same, meaning as another word.
Synonyms for “cold“:  chilly, icy, frigid, and frosty.
They are good to learn because:

  • They improve your vocabulary
  • They make your speaking and writing more interesting (not always using the same words)
  • They make your speaking and writing more clear (closer to what you really want to say)

One good place to find synonyms is Thesaurus.com   A ‘thesaurus’ is a synonym dictionary.  Type in a word such as delicious, or enjoy, and they will show you several synonyms – with the most common synonyms listed first.  You can also check the pronunciation and definition for each of these words. (It’s important to check the definition for words that you don’t know.)

There’s a popular thesaurus that’s part of the Dictionary.com App – available for free for IOS and Android.  After you install the app, you can switch to the thesaurus to find synonyms.  There’s also a special tab for English learners, with more explanation.

Here’s a basic list of synonyms for almost 100 very common English words.

Feel-Good Songs

For the Oscars this year (the movie academy awards), one of the movies nominated for best picture was Bohemian Rhapsody – about the rock band Queen.

A few years ago, there was a scientific study in England to find songs that made people feel good. The study chose a song by Queen as the #1 feel-good song – Don’t Stop Me Now

Other top feel-good songs included: Abba’s Dancing Queen, the Beach Boys’ Good Vibrations, and Billy Joel’s Uptown Girl

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.)