Friday, November 9, 2012
I have heard all about it.
There is nothing we can do about it.
The great thing about her is that she never gives up.
We can use about to mean ‘approximately’. We can also use around for this but about is less formal.
About six hundred people were present.
About half the people agreed.
Come round at about six.
We can use How about and What about to make suggestions.
What about asking Tom?
How about leaving that for the time being?
What about a break?
We can also use What about ( but not How about) for more genuine questions.
What about the workers? Have you thought about them?
What about the dog? What do we do with her?
We use about and on to talk about the subject of a discussion. We use on for more formal situations..
They talked about the bad economic situation.
He gave a lecture on the economy.
About can mean ‘here and there’.
She is always out and about.
He sits about doing nothing.
They go about interviewing the public.
Just about means ‘almost’.
I have just about finished.
I have had just about enough of him and his patronizing tone.
The money we get will just about pay for the new equipment.
Be about to means that something is on the point of happening.
I am about to change jobs.
He is about to give in his resignation.
Please listen carefully. i am about to say something important.
Here are some useful expressions using about
no doubt about
There is no doubt about his ability but he doesn’t work well with other people.
bring about change
We need to bring about change quickly or the company will go bankrupt.
everybody is talking about it
Everybody is talking about the argument they had.
be asked about
I am often asked about how I became so successful.
speak to them about
You need to speak to them about this and make sure they never do it again.
anything I can do about it?
Is there anything I can do about my financial situation?
i’m concerned about Simon. He is acting very strangely.
We can only speculate about what happened. We will never know for sure.
about to change
I am not happy with what has been happening. I must warn you that things are about to change around here.
know a lot about
Ask Sally. She knows a lot about that.
What are you two whispering about?
Little is known about what happened.
I know you have just been to Hawaii. I want to hear all about it.
keep your wits about you
Be very careful. There are lots of thieves around. Keep your wits about you.
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
More Human Resources Phrasal Verbs
- I don’t like my boss. We just don’t get on.
- The atmosphere is terrible. He doesn’t get on with his co-workers.
- Before we offer her the job, we need to follow up on her references.
- The training is followed up by regular refresher courses over a six-month period.
- I’d like to discuss it further. Can we set up a meeting?
- I’ve set up interviews with the remaining three candidates.
- I’d like to leave early on Friday. I’ll make up the time next week.
- There was an error in your expenses. We’ll make up the difference next month.
- He’s leaving at the end of the month. He has handed in his resignation.
- I haven’t handed my time sheet in yet. I must do it now.
- They asked him to leave immediately. He didn’t have to work out his notice.
- He negotiated a deal so he didn’t have to work out his notice and could leave sooner.
- We don’t know who is going to replace Sue. We have to sort it out soon.
- I have finally sorted out the error on the time sheets. It’s all correct now.
- We still haven’t found a suitable candidate. We’ll have to carry on looking.
- Until we get the new software installed, we’ll have to carry on using the old.
- They had agreed to do it but then backed out.
- He had accepted the post but backed out at the last minute so we’re considering other
- I think your idea is a good one. I think we should go with it.
- We’re not really sure which agency to go with. We don’t think any of them are really what we are really looking for.
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Softening 2This is a very simple idea but we find that our students have a lot of problems doing it.
So the explanation is very short but we are giving a lot of practice activities.
If you use a negative adjective, it can sound aggressive and insulting.
You are small.
He is stupid.
It is often much better to use not very plus a positive adjective.
You are not very big.
It is not very clean.
He is not very intelligent.
As I said, a simple idea that can make you sound much more professional.
Softening 1Sometimes you want to soften the impact of what you are saying and give it less importance. Here are some ways to do that:
The quality could have been a little better.
The speaker should have spoken a little louder.
There is a slight problem we need to deal with.
I have a slight doubt about John’s suitability for the job.
I have a minor reservation about this plan.
There are a few minor problems still to be dealt with.
There are some fairly important changes still to be made.
I think that I have a fairly good understanding of your problems.
I quite like it but no more than that.
This is quite a good way to do this.
He isn’t quite as good as he thinks he is.
I’m not quite sure that we are on the right lines.
He has been partially successful with his demands but he didn’t get everything he wanted.
It is partially finished but there is still a lot to do.
There are occasional errors in his work.
Everybody makes occasional mistakes.
He is rather aggressive.
This is rather too complicated. It is difficult to understand.
More or less
The report is more or less finished. I just need to read through it again.
He is more or less useless. Cannot get anything right.
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
It’s very tall.
We’re really happy.
She’s totally exhausted.
I’m absolutely horrified.
He’s completely hopeless.
You look utterly miserable.
I’m entirely satisfied.
Certain adjectives have their own ‘special’ intensifiers which are often used with them. Here are some common ones:
He was blind drunk and behaved really badly.
I must have a drink. I’m bone dry.
I’ve just bought a brand new car.
The sea near Rhodes is crystal clear.
That exam was dead easy. I’ve certainly passed.
He’s won three lottery prizes this year. He’s dead lucky.
I agree entirely. You are dead right.
I bought my car for a dirt cheap price from an old lady who had hardly driven it.
fast asleep / sound asleep
I was in bed and fast asleep by nine.
I was sound asleep and I didn’t hear anything.
These office walls are paper thin. You can hear everything said in the next office.
There’s no moon. It’s pitch black out there.
Be careful with that knife- it’s razor sharp.
It’s impossible to dig this soil – it’s rock hard.
The hotel door slammed behind me and I was left standing stark naked in the middle of the corridor.
He can’t hear a thing. He’s stone deaf.
I was wide awake by six.
Who left the door wide open?
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
We can use for to mean ‘because’. We only use this in very formal English.
- The divers have to be careful for a sudden change in conditions could be dangerous.
- Read the instructions carefully for you will only get one chance to enter the information.
We can use for to talk about a purpose or a reason.
- What did you that for?
- What is that for?
- Thank you for your letter.
- I don’t have enough money for the ticket.
- I need treatment for my bad back.
For can mean that you are in favour/favor of something.
- He is for the idea of cutting taxes.
- I am for this change in the way we do things.
- You need to stand up for what is right.
We can use for with expressions of time and distance.
- I walked for miles.
- I waited for a long time.
- We will be away for the next week.
Sometimes we can omit the for completely in these expressions without changing the meaning.
- I walked miles.
- I waited a long time.
With the present perfect, for refers to a length of time. Since refers to the starting point.
- I have studied English for seven years.
- I have studied English since I was 12.
Here are some useful expressions using for
- I enclose a cheque/check for 100 euros
- What’s another word for stupid?
- I’ve known him for ages.
- I am all for making this change.
- Get ready. -What for? -Anne is coming.
We can sometimes use for + ing to talk about the purpose of a thing. When we do, it means the same as to + infinitive.
- What is that for? It is for opening envelopes
- This bell is for calling the waiter.
- This bell is to call the waiter.
When we talk about the purpose of somebody’s actions, we cannot use for + ing.
- I went there to ask for help.
- To get tickets, you will have to queue for hours.
However, it is sometimes possible to use for + noun for this.
- I went there for help.
- You will have to queue for hours for tickets.
We can also use for + object + infinitive to talk about a purpose.
- I gave her a notebook for her to write down new English words she found.
- They sent a form for me to sign
- We also use the pattern for + object + infinitive in sentences after is or was.
- The plan is for us to get to Barcelona by lunchtime.
- The objective was for them to get the work finished by the end of last month..
We can add details to a noun by using the pattern for + object + infinitive
- That is an expensive place for them to stay.
- There is a lot of work for us to do.
- There is no need for you to be so aggressive.
We also use the pattern for + object + infinitive after certain verbs and adjectives.
- I am waiting for him to make the first move.
- I have arranged for you to see the bank manager tomorrow morning.
- We are keen for you to take the job.
- I think it would be good for you to take a break now.
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
* I think this fish has gone off. It smells terrible.
* If you don’t keep it in the fridge, it will soon go off.
As time continues, we say that time ‘goes by’.
* One year went by without any news from him.
* Time goes by so slowly.
If you have an experience, you ‘go through’ the experience.
* I went through a lot of problems with my teenage daughter.
* The hurricane was an awful experience to go through.
If you are allowed to start something you can ‘go ahead’.
* The boss said we can go ahead and make the necessary changes.
* We can’t go ahead without approval from Head Office.
If you are ill, you may have ‘gone down with’ a virus.
* I went down with flu and had to take a week off work.
* My son has gone down with mumps.
If people receive news badly, it didn’t ‘go down’ very well.
* The news of the redundancies went down very badly.
* The increase in price has gone down surprisingly well with our customers.
The way you ‘go about’ a job is the way that you handle it.
* You’re not going about this very well.
* He’s not going about the job in the right way and is having a lot of problems.
Every morning, my alarm clock ‘goes off’ too early!
* The burglar alarm went off and scared them away.
* I slept in because my alarm didn’t go off.
If I want you to continue a story, I will say ‘go on’.
* Go on. Tell me more details.
* Please go on. This is very interesting.
If you choose an option, you ‘go for’ that option.
* I’ll go for the larger model.
* Which option will they go for?
Sunday, January 22, 2012
If somebody ‘flies into’ an emotional state, they do it very suddenly and without warning.
* He flew into a panic when he heard that the big boss was coming.
* She flew into a rage when she heard that her project had been cancelled.
If you ‘fool someone into’ doing something, you trick them into doing it.
* I fooled him into believing that next Monday was a public holiday.
* She fooled me into thinking that John was Italian.
If you ‘slip into’ a bad state or condition, you gradually start to be that way.
* The economy is slipping into recession.
* He improved for a while but now he’s slipping back into his old habits.
If you ‘run into’ somebody, you meet them by chance.
* I ran into Martin when I was doing some shopping.
* I hope to run into you again one of these days.
If a quantity ‘runs into’ the thousands, it is more than one thousand.
* The money spent on the project must run into the millions.
* The death toll runs into the hundreds.
If you ‘run into difficulties’, you begin to experience them.
* The company ran into difficulties in the 90s when consumer tastes changed.
* We’ll run into problems if we don’t act now.
If you ‘settle into’ a new job, you begin to feel relaxed and at ease.
* How are you settling into your new job?
* I’ve had problems settling into my new company.
If you ‘fling yourself into’ a task, you do it with a lot of energy.
* He’s flung himself into his new job. He’s already made a lot of changes.
* She flings herself into everything she does. She has an amazing amount of energy.
If you ‘sink money into’ a project, you invest it.
* Microsoft have sunk millions into developing their range of products.
* We’d need to sink a lot of money into the factory to turn it around.
If you ‘sink into’ a state, you gradually get worse.
* He’s sunk into a depression over the last few months.
* The company has sunk deeper and deeper into debt.
If you ‘bump into’ someone, you meet them by chance.
* I bumped into Martin in the mall.
* You’ll never guess who I bumped into today.
If you ‘burst into a room’ or ‘burst into tears’, you do it suddenly and without warning.
* Don’t burst into my room like that. Please knock first.
* When I told him the bad news, he burst into tears.
If something ‘comes into’ force, it begins to happen.
* The new tax rules come into effect from next Monday.
* When the changes come into effect, productivity is certain to rise.
If you say that a particular emotion or quality ‘doesn’t come into it’, it means that it doesn’t influence the situation.
* I promoted Kate because she was the best person for the job and the fact that she is my daughter didn’t come into.
* She’s rich because she’s good at what she does. Luck doesn’t come into it.
Often when we use ‘go into’ it has the idea of ‘entering’.
* I was thinking about going into politics.
* The new model has just gone into production.
Sometimes ‘go into’ can mean to do things in great detail.
* The deal sounds good but we’ll have to go into the details of the contract.
* It’s very complicated and we don’t have time to go into that now.
Time, money or energy that has ‘gone into’ a project, is what has been used or spent on the project.
* Over $100,000 has gone into the development of this new system.
* I appreciate that a lot of effort has gone into the writing of this report.
If you ‘grow into’ an activity, you become better at doing it over time.
* She was very unsure at first but has really grown into her new job.
* Give it some time and you will grow into the role.
If you ‘talk someone into’ doing something, you persuade them to do it.
* I didn’t want to come but Annie talked me into it.
* I think I can talk him into it.
If you ‘tune into’ a particular radio or television station, you select it.
* More and more people are tuning into ‘The Apprentice’.
* People listen to their Ipods and don’t tune into the radio as much as before.
* They fell out over the arrangements for the meeting.
* I don’t want to fall out with you but I’m very unhappy with what you have done.
If news ‘leaks out’, people who shouldn’t know about it do.
* Details of the report leaked out over the weekend.
* If this information leaks out, we are in serious trouble.
If you ‘come out with’ something, you say something suddenly.
* She came straight out with it and said I was a liar.
* You never know what he is going to come out with next.
If you ‘come out with’ a new product , you make available something new.
* Microsoft have come out with a new version of Office.
* We haven’t come out with a new product for two years.
If you ‘give out’ information, you hand it out to people.
* I’ll give out a summary at the end so you don’t need to take notes.
* Could you give those papers out for me, please?
If something ‘gives out’, it stops working or supplies run out.
* Our stock of leather will give out in three days, if we don’t get any more.
My voice is about to give out so I’ll stop my presentation at this point.
If you are ‘let out’ of something, it can mean that you escape from doing something difficult or unpleasant or that you have agreed to do.
* They won’t let us out of our contract with them.
* He resigned this morning which lets me out from having to fire him.
If you ‘make something out’, it can mean that you are able to see or hear something with difficulty.
* I couldn’t make out what he was saying with all that background noise.
* I can’t make out who sent me this letter.
To ‘make out something’ can mean to claim falsely that something is true.
* He made out that he had a lot of experience in this area but it wasn’t true.
* He’s not as difficult a person as he is often made out to be.
If you are ‘put out’, it can mean that you are annoyed or caused extra work by something that is said or done.
* He seemed put out that we didn’t ask him to join us for lunch.
* I don’t want to put you out. Don’t do it if it is too much bother.