Discuss; talk about (not discuss about)

Saturday, September 2, 2023


“People discuss my art and pretend to understand as if it were necessary to understand, when it's simply necessary to love.” 

This is a beautiful quote by the artist, Claude Monet. It’s also a perfect example of the correct use of discuss in English. 

Discuss and talk about are equal in meaning. In conversations with English learners, I often hear “discuss about,” which is a common mistake. 

Discuss = talk about

You can say this: 

  • Ron will discuss the options with his business partner. 
  • Can we discuss this tomorrow?
  • The lawyer couldn’t discuss his case with reporters. 

….or you can say it this way:

  • Ron will talk about the options with his business partner. 
  • Can we talk about this tomorrow?
  • The lawyer couldn’t talk about his case with reporters.

You can’t say discuss about

  • Ron will discuss about the options with his business partner.  - wrong
  • Can we discuss about this tomorrow? - wrong
  • The lawyer couldn’t discuss about his case with reporters. - wrong

Discuss about is a common mistake to avoid. 


Saturday, August 5, 2023


  • Notting Hill
  • Roman Holiday
  • Titanic
  • When Harry Met Sally
  • The Wedding Singer

These titles are just a few examples of some very popular films that contain memorable meet-cutes. 

In a movie or TV series, a meet-cute is a funny or unusual first encounter between two characters (who eventually become romantic partners). It’s how the two main characters first meet.

Every romantic movie must have a meet-cute. In Notting Hill, William Thacker (Hugh Grant) accidentally spills orange juice on Anna Scott (Julia Roberts). How did Rose and Jack meet in Titanic? He stopped her from jumping off the ship. In the movie Roman Holiday, Joe Bradley (Gregory Peck) encounters the princess (Audrey Hepburn), who is sleeping outside late at night in a Roman square.

Meet-cutes usually involve something unexpected, a misunderstanding (funny or otherwise), a little accident, a power struggle, an embarrassing situation, or any other chance meeting.

Have you ever experienced a meet-cute in real life?

Suffix -wise

Friday, July 7, 2023


The suffix -wise is quite versatile in informal situations. It can be added to almost any noun to form an adjective or adverb to mean with respect to or concerning, in the manner of or in the direction of

  • Food-wise there are many excellent choices on the menu, but money-wise the prices are high.
  • Everything is going well job-wise but things could be better salary-wise.
  • Health-wise Marie has completely recovered after chemotherapy.

I like to divide -wise into two categories: 

  1.  Directional or in the manner of (clockwise, counterclockwise, lengthwise, crosswise, etc). These usually drop the hyphen because they are fixed expressions. Other examples could be otherwise or likewise.  Ex: Turn the dial clockwise to open. 
  2.  Respect to or concerning (security-wise, school-wise, tax-wise, money-wise, etc.). The suffix -wise is attached to a noun with a hyphen.  Ex: Hillary always knows the current trends fashion-wise. (With respect to fashion, Hillary always knows the current trends.)
Adding -wise to nouns in informal English provides more versatility for you speaking-wise and writing-wise ;) 

Specially for You

Wednesday, June 14, 2023


Specially and especially may be two of the most easily confused English words on the planet. Their spelling is almost identical and they sound almost the same. Hmmm…..how do we use them correctly?

We use especially for emphasis, to mean particularly or more than usual.

  • Jan doesn’t like waking up early, especially on weekends. 
  • Sam loves salsa dancing, the cha-cha especially
  • The band at the festival was especially good. 

Specially is used to talk about things that are done for a specific/special purpose. In many instances (not all) specially can be used instead of the word just.

  •  I made this cake specially for you.
  •  Vera Wang designed the dress specially for Lauren’s wedding. 
  •  The pilots were specially trained for dangerous missions. 

*Helpful exception: When you mean “for a special reason,” you can use either especially or specially. Both are correct. 

  • The surprise party was organized especially/specially for Lisa and Greg’s anniversary. 
  • A poem was written especially/specially for the occasion.


Tuesday, April 11, 2023


“Punctuality is the art of guessing how late the other fellow is going to be.” 

 This quote by the writer Evelyn Waugh definitely applies to me because I always try to be on time (punctual), and very often I am waiting for another person. How about you?

The prepositional phrases on time and in time don’t mean the same thing, although they are close. 

When something happens on time, it happens at the planned time. On time can be expressed in other ways too: 

  • punctual

  • on schedule
at the arranged time
at the correct time
neither early nor late

People who are on time tend to be organized and good planners.

When you are in time, you are early enough to have extra time, usually to do something else. (That is extra, super-punctual - ha ha!) In time also means the following:

  • before something happens
before the scheduled time

  • with time to spare

There is a very close phrase “just in time,” which can cause lots of stress. Just in time means at the last moment, just before the deadline or just before something was supposed to happen. It means almost too late.

Ex: We caught the train just in time. (We almost missed the train but we made it at the last moment.)

Do you know people who arrive on time or just in time?

Book Recommendation: The Old Man and the Sea

Friday, March 3, 2023


Reading an English novel is a big achievement in the processing of mastering a new language. The thought of committing to a book (a novel!) may be a little intimidating but the feeling of satisfaction you will have after completing it will motivate you to read more books in English.  

The Old Man and the Sea is short novel about a three-day struggle between an old Cuban fisherman named Santiago and the greatest catch of his life, a giant marlin. It is considered a classic, written by American author Ernest Hemingway. 

I’ve included a link where you can read The Old Man and the Sea here online. There is also the option of listening to the story in two different speeds (slow or fast) while you read along with the text, which is great for pronunciation. 

You will enjoy The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway. 

FOMO (fear of missing out)

Thursday, February 2, 2023


Do you ever experience FOMO (fear of missing out)? It’s the feeling that others are having more fun, living more exciting lives, or experiencing better things than you are. With all the bragging on social media, it’s hard not to feel that way every once in a while. 

The idea that you might be missing out on a good time is nothing new. In ancient times, survival depended on having vital information about dangers, food sources, or potential threats. Communication within a group was critical. Lacking pieces of information risked the well-being, safety, and security of these groups. Even now, though we don’t have to worry about information for survival, missing out on news or events is enough for many people to experience dissatisfaction, depression, stress, and envy.

In everyday English, FOMO is used mostly as slang. So if you’re feeling that you are missing out on something fun, exciting, or important that others are experiencing right now, just say, “I have FOMO.”