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English verbs PLUS preposition “to” or “at” with a different meaning.

Here are 2 common examples of verbs that use both "to" and "at" with a different meaning.

1- Shout

Shout to (so they can hear you)

“I saw my friend Jim across the street but he couldn’t see me, so I shouted “Hello!” to him.”

Shout at (when you’re angry)

“When my brother got in a car accident my Dad shouted at him for 25 minutes.”

2- Throw

Throw to (for someone to catch)

“I threw the ball to my son but he dropped it. His hands are still too small.”

Throw at (this means try to hit someone with something)

“My brother threw a water balloon at me in the park!”

"My brother threw a water balloon at me."

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English verbs PLUS preposition “to”

In English we use the preposition “to” with these verbs:

Talk to
“I talked to Steve last night, he will come to the party on Saturday.”

Explain (something) to (someone)
“This grammar is hard. Can you explain it to me?”

Listen to
“I like to listen to Jazz when I study.”

"I'm listening to the announcement."
Write to
“I write to my grandma every week.” OR “I write a letter to my grandma every week.”
“Jim writes 25 emails to customers every day.”

*We don’t use “to” with these verbs:

“Can I ask you something?”  *Not ask to you

“Can I borrow your cell phone? I have to call my girlfriend.” *Not call to my girlfriend

Try and make your own examples with real situations from your life!

English verbs PLUS preposition “at”

In English we use the preposition “at” with these verbs:

Look at
“Wow look at that! There is a bird inside the department store.”

Stare at
“My eyes are sore because I stare at a computer screen all day at work.”

"Oh my eyes hurt from staring at my computer! I work too hard!"

Laugh at
“When I dropped my soup at lunchtime everyone laughed at me!”

Shoot at
“I went hunting with my Dad one time. I shot at many birds but I didn’t hit any.”

Point (something) at
“When you use a spray can you should be careful to never point it at anyone’s face or eyes.”

English communication - Your ideas!

Future Blog ideas

Hey everyone! Do you have any requests for a future blog topic?

What do you want to learn? What is your English weak point?

If you have any requests or special topics please let me know! Write your suggestions in the comment box and I will use some in my future blog posts  :)

Tell me your ideas!
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English phrasal verb – Get over

Phrasal verb – Get over

We looked at the verb get on this blog a few weeks ago so let’s try a phrasal verb that uses the verb get with the preposition over.

get over = to recover from illness or disappointment.

“I had a bad cold for 2 weeks, but finally I finally got over it!” = Now I am better, I have recovered from my cold.

“My son Jeff was very sad when he wasn’t chosen to play on the soccer team. I took him to the ice cream store to help him get over it.” = I want to help him feel better (recover) after getting the news that he didn’t make the team, so I bought him some ice cream to help him feel better.

"Ice cream can help me get over anything!"

Common English – There & It IV

Common English – There It IV

We use a form of the verb TO BE in front of there and it to make a question.

Is there a soccer game on TV tonight?”
Were there many people at the club?”

Is it safe at night in your hometown?”
“How was the coffee at the new café? Was it good?”

Ask some questions from these examples.

Orange juice – the fridge
-       “Is there some orange juice in the fridge?”

Cold - yesterday
-       Was it cold yesterday?

Try these:

1.    Will rain - tomorrow
2.    Distance (far)- here to the supermarket

3.    Bookstore – nearby

Write your answers in the comment box below!

Common English – There & It III

Common English – There & It III

It is also used like this:

It isn’t good to eat too much chocolate.” – This is a natural way to say:
“If you eat too much chocolate the result is not good.”

In these types of sentences we naturally start with “It.”

It isn’t safe to walk alone at night.”
It’s too bad that your bike got stolen.”
“I finished a 1000 piece puzzle! It only took me 90 minutes!”

It is also used to talk about the weather, time or distance (to somewhere)

It was cold yesterday.”

It’s been a long time since I went to see a movie.”

“How far is it from your house to your school?”

"Let's watch the game live tonight, it's been 8 months since I went to the stadium."

Common English – There & It II

Common English – There & It II

There sometimes means in, at or to a place.

For example:
“I walked by the new café on Front St. yesterday, there were a lot of people there.” = at the café.

“The coffee is really good, I went there yesterday.” = to the café.

“Mike said that he saw you there at lunch time.” = in the café.

Have you ever been to England? I’ve never been there

Do you like Starbucks? I go there sometimes.

"Even this cat loves this cafe! He goes there every morning."

Common English – There & It

Common English – There and It

In English we use the word there to say that something exists or if we talk about something for the first time.

There is a big dog outside.”
“The new café on Front St. is very popular. There is a big line at the counter every morning.”
“I watched a soccer game on TV last night from Brazil. In the stadium there were many people dancing after their team won!”

We use it if we are talking about a specific thing, place or situation.

“My neighbor’s dog is noisy. It’s always barking.” It = the dog
“I want to try the new café, but it’s always very busy.” It = the café
“I didn’t expect Barry to come to the party, so when I saw him it was a nice surprise!” It = the fact that Barry came to the party

There are 3 cars on the road outside. I like the convertible, it’s cool!”

Try and make your own sentences using the patterns we just practiced and leave them in the comment section of the blog!


English 808 for the World!

Common English expression - Ask around

Phrasal verbs - A verb plus 1 more word that has a new meaning.

Phrasal verbs are very common in English. Let’s look at ask around today.

ask around - ask different people the same question 

“I asked around but no one saw Pete at work this morning.” =
I asked a few people if they had seen Pete, nobody saw him

A: “Do you know a good hamburger place around Shinjuku station?”
B: “I’m not sure, but many of my coworkers live near Shinjuku station so I’ll ask around the office and let you know.”
= I’ll ask some people at my work if they can recommend a good hamburger restaurant.

"That's a big hamburger!"

English VERB practice - Past continuous tense

Past continuous is used when we talk about a verb we were in the middle of doing at a time in the past.

I was doing, he/she/it was doing,
you were doing, we/they were doing

*Last Friday I played soccer from 1:00 until 2:30. So at 2:00 I was playing soccer.

“During the big Earthquake of March 2011 most people in Tokyo were working.” = they were in the middle of working when the earthquake happened.

A: “What were you doing last night at 10:00 last night? I tried to call you.”
B: “Sorry, at 10:00 I was sleeping.”

“The teacher got mad at me today because I wasn’t listening during class.”
"What did the teacher just say?"
Try and make your own examples! Use real experiences from your life, this is a great way remember new grammar. Write your examples and practice telling your friends.

Common English expressions - I always do and I’m always doing

I always do and I’m always doing

I always do (something) = I do it every time
I always ride my bike to work.” = every time I go to work I go by bicycle

I’m always doing (something) = I do something very often, more often than usual or too often. This has more of a negative meaning.
“I can’t find my car keys! I’m always losing things.” = I lose things very often, I lose things too much!


“In the spring time it often rains suddenly so I always carry a small umbrella when I go out.”

Mike always have 2 cups of coffee with his breakfast. How about you?”

Jim is always sleeping on the couch, it’s not good for his back!”

“You are never happy with anything. You’re always complaining.”

English VERB practice - Present continuous tense

Present continuous - ing

Present continuous is for verbs that are happening now or near the time of speaking. The verb has started but is not finished yet.

I’m doing
he/she/it is doing
we/they are doing

* I’m making my English blog. = Now (at the time of writing) I started to make this blog but I haven’t finished writing it yet.

It’s raining, could you please close the window?” = Now rain is falling.

A: “Let’s call Kevin!”
B: “It’s only 7:00 am, I think he is sleeping.”

“My teacher is yelling at me because I don’t pay attention in class, but I’m not listening.”

“With the Internet the world is becoming very small.”

English prepositions, IN, AT & ON with time (video and infographic - updated Dec. 2017)

Learn the meaning of the prepositions IN, AT and ON and practice some of their uses! Read and listen to natural preposition sentences that we use to describe when things happen. 

Video text below!

We use at for the time of day
for example:
Let's meet at seven-thirty.
Steve wakes up at sunrise every day.
I saw Robert at lunchtime.

We use on for specific days and dates
for example:
On Saturday I have to work.
On my birthday I can eat lots of cake.
I met my wife on July third 1998.

We use in for longer periods of time longer amount of time
for example:
In September I'll go to Paris. (September is 30 days so we say in September, it means inside
those 30 days)  
In the future everyone will have a flying car.  (the future is any time from now it's a long time period so we say in the future)
Flowers always bloom in spring.

In can also mean from now
for example:
I'm leaving in 20 minutes. (= 20 minutes from now)
Scott will go to Italy in two months. (= two months from now)

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Learn English! "Get III"

We can use get instead of be in the passive form.

“Kevin doesn’t usually get invited to office parties. He drinks too much and likes to argue.” = He is not usually invited to office parties.

“There was a car accident on my street last night! Luckily no one got hurt.” = no one was hurt.

We also use get with these expressions:
“Ian and Jennifer got married last month.”
“I have a map to the concert hall, I have never been there and I don’t want to get lost.”

“I’ll be ready to go in 15 minutes. I just took a shower and I need to get dressed.”

Learn English "Get II"

We use get very often in English conversation. We can use it instead of other verbs in a natural sentence. Today let’s look at how we use “get” instead of “become.”

get                       become
got                       became
getting                  becoming

“If I don’t sleep for 7 hours at night I get cranky.” – become cranky (cranky = easy to get angry or upset)

“After drinking too many beers last night at the party, I got sleepy.” – became sleepy

“Every November it starts getting cold in Toronto.” – becoming cold

Learn English "Get/Receive"

To receive & to get

These 2 words can have the same meaning, but we use get more than we use receive in English conversation.

“I was driving too fast this morning and I got a speeding ticket!” –
I received a speeding ticket is not natural.

“The store has a special this week. If you buy 3 sweaters you can get a 4th one for free.” –
You can receive a 4th one for free is not natural.

“I hope I can get a promotion at work this year. I have been working very hard.”

*For formal situations it is okay to use receive, but most times get will also fit.

“My father received a 35 year award from his company last night.”
“My father got a 35 year award from his company last night.” (This is also okay.)

“At the graduation ceremony I will receive my diploma.”

Offer expires soon = offer ends (finishes) in a short time.
"Time is running out!"

Common English expressions - Time is running out. - Time’s up!

 Time is running out.

This expression means that the time limit is very close. Soon we will have no time to do something.

“The spring auto sale will end in 3 days. If I want to get a good price I have to buy a car soon, time's running out!

Time’s up!

This expression means there is no time left to do something. You don’t have any time left. (to do something)

Time is up for the quiz! Please stop writing and hand in your tests.” = You have no more time for the test. You have reached the limit.

* Time's = Time is

Common English expression - It’s about time

It’s about time = This is a criticism (negative comment) that something needs to be done and someone has waited too long.

A: “Mike bought a new car on Saturday.”
B: “His old car used to break down three times a week! It’s about time he bought a new one.”

“Alex still lives at home because he isn’t working. He’s 32 so it’s about time he got a job and moved out on his own.”

"A new bike, it's about time! Your old bike has been broken for 6 months!"

Common English expressions - It's time to... It's time for...

Here is a common English expression

It’s time to (verb)  OR It’s time for (noun)
= Now is the time to do something, or for something.

It’s time to eat lunch.
It’s time for lunch.”

It’s 11:30, time to go to bed.”
It’s time for bed.”

“My bicycle is 8 years old! It’s time to buy a new one.”

Learn 50 common English phrasal verbs! + Lots of real examples!

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