What smells?

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Spring and summer bring the smells of sweet air, freshly mown grass, flowers in bloom. I even like the fragrance of my sunscreen. They are all such pleasant aromas. On the other hand, what about the smell of cigarettes and skunks? Not so great. 

Sometimes we smell something and want to comment on it. If a chocolate cake is baking in the oven with its intoxicating aroma, it’s natural to say, “What smells so good?”

Some positive statements about smells:
- What smells so delicious? 
- What smells so fresh? 
- Something smells delightful!
Warning: when you say the two words alone, “What smells?” it typically means that you smell something unpleasant. 

With bad smells, you can be specific and more descriptive by creating full statements with adjectives or similes: 
- What smells like garbage?
- What smells so bad?
- Something smells rotten!
However, you can also just say, “What smells?” alone to convey that your nose has encountered something malodorous.  Either way, you are communicating that you smell something bad. 

Be aware of this difference when talking about smells, good or bad.  

Lazy Susan

Monday, May 15, 2017

Do you know Lazy Susan? 

This is a trick question because Lazy Susan isn’t a person at all. It’s a serving tray with a funny name. 

A Lazy Susan is a circular, revolving tray located in the center of a dining table, used to help pass food more easily to others. 

We in the US sometimes consider Lazy Susans to be kitsch but they are used in many countries. (Kitsch is defined as art, objects, or design considered to be in bad taste because of excessive garishness or sentimentality, but sometimes appreciated in an ironic way.)

Lazy Susans date back to the 1700s, so they have been around for a long time! The history of the term Lazy Susan, and who Susan was, is unknown altough the general theory of its creation is probably connected to a reduction of household servants. 

Do you have one in your home?

How do you like your eggs?

Sunday, April 23, 2017

There seems to be a common belief that Americans start their mornings with large breakfasts. I wish that were true. My breakfasts usually consist of cereal and milk, or toast with peanut butter, or a banana, nothing too exciting. If I had a personal chef or if I went to a restaurant, I would definitely eat more in the mornings. When dining for breakfast in the US, there is one question your server will definitely ask when you order eggs: How do you like your eggs? 

Over easy? Sunny side up? Poached? Hmmmm......

This can be perplexing to foreign visitors because there are several ways to prepare eggs, so how do you tell your server exactly what you want?  It can best be explained by breakfast blogger "Dr. Breakfast" via Breakfast with Nick’s extremely detailed (with photos) post on everyting you need to know when ordering eggs just the way you like them, for breakfast or any time!

Agree with me

Monday, March 27, 2017

Isn’t it a good feeling when someone shares your views and you have similar things in common? Of course, in life, this isn’t always the case but compatibility helps us exist a little better together in this world. 

One simple way to express agreement with people in English is with “so” or “neither”. 

SO + auxiliary (helping) verb + subject (for positive statements):

Matteo loves chocolate. ——> So do I
Beth can play the piano. —-> So can I. 
My sister is a banker. —-> So is Jason. 
Marco lives in Italy. —-> So does Elisa.
Greg would like a cup of coffee. ---> So would I. 
Alice can speak French. ---> So can Andrea. 

NEITHER + auxiliary (helping) verb + subject (for negative statements):

Valeria has never seen the film Rocky. —-> Neither has Caterina
Anna isn’t coming to the party. —-> Neither is Lorie.
Andrew doesn’t have any brothers or sisters. —-> Neither does Victor. 
Edo won’t sing karaoke.  —-> Neither will Susan. 
Stefania is not an engineer. —> Neither am I. 
Judy has never eaten caviar. —->  Neither have I

I think this is a helpful blog post. Do you agree?  ;)

Nod your head. Shake your head.

Friday, March 10, 2017

You can understand many things just by observing people’s body language and facial expressions, without any speaking or listening, It’s fairly easy to detect moods (boredom, anger, happiness, for example) through nonverbal communication. 

To understand happiness, you might see someone smiling. If they are sad, they might be frowning (a frown is the opposite of a smile). A bored person might yawn. 

The English expression and nonverbal way of showing agreement is to nod (your head). You lower and raise your head slightly and briefly as a signal that you agree or understand. Conversely, turning your head from side to side indicates refusal, denial, disapproval, or disbelief. That is to shake your head. 

To conclude, even though it’s nonverbal communication, the actions still have names: 

Nod your head  ——> indicates YES
Shake your head —-> indicates NO

Robert nodded his head to indicate that he heard the question. 

Sara shook her head when the waiter asked if she wanted more coffee. 

Choose, chose, choice

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Knowing the correct use of choose, chose, and choice is a common confusion English learners have. 

Choose - (verb) to make a choice or selection
Chose -  (verb) the past tense of choose.
Choice - (noun) the act of choosing; a selection

- Davide couldn’t choose whether to attend Harvard or Yale University. - verb
- Edoardo chose to buy a home in the countryside because he loves nature. - verb, past tense of choose
- Lisa made an excellent choice by buying an electric car. - noun

The problem may be that chose and choice sound very similar, though chose is the past verb and choice is a thing, a noun. 

- In chose, the “s” is pronounced like a “z”; Click here for the correct pronunciation of chose

The key to getting it right is memorization, so try your best and you’ll always make the correct choice

Made of, made from, made with

Thursday, January 5, 2017

How do you know which prepositions go with certain words? For example, “depend on” and “consist of” are fixed phrases. "On" always follows "depend"; "of" always follows "consist". Sometimes it's hard to remember these combinations.

Today’s post talks about make, meaning to manufacture, create or prepare. Make (past tense "made") requires three different prepositions (of, from, or with), depending on the process or materials used.

Use made of if you can identify the material used to make something (the material has not changed):

Ted’s new chair is made of oak wood.
The bride wore a wedding ring made of platinum.
The warmest sweaters are made of wool.

Use made from if the oroginal material has been changed into something completely different in the manufacturing process.

Paper is made from wood.
Wine is made from grapes.
Cheese is made from milk.

Last is made with, when there are multiple materials or ingredients used to produce something and we want to talk about one of them. (If something is made with one main material, use made from.)

Beer is made with yeast.
Nancy’s jam is made with the freshest apricots.
Lisa’s new computer is made with the fastest processor.

To sum up:
Made of = material has not changed
Made from = the material has been changed (we can’t see it anymore)
Made with = when a product is made using many elements and we describe one of them