Borrow or Lend: What’s the difference?

It’s easy to confuse these two terms. They are used when we give or take something that will be returned (Well, we hope it will!)

What's the difference between borrow and lend?

LEND = Give

To lend is to give someone something for a short time. Lend requires a direct pronoun (money, a phone, a sweater, etc.) and an indirect object pronoun (me, him, her, us, them, my friend, the students, etc.)

Notice that in each of these sentences, we can replace the word lend with the verb give-gave-given and it will have the same meaning.

  • I lent my friend $5000 so she could get a new apartment. (I gave…)
  • Could you lend me some money? (Could you give…)
  • Have you ever lent money to friends? And if so, do they always pay you back? (Have you ever given…)

BORROW = Take

Borrow means to take. It means you are asking to take something from someone and return it in the future. You can use the verb take-took-taken in the following sentences and have the same meaning.

  • My friend borrowed $5000 from me so she could move into a new apartment. (My friend took $5000…)
  • Could I borrow some money? (Could I take…)
  • She promised to pay back the money she had borrowed. (…the money she had taken.)

Remember, lend = give and borrow = take

Need a loan? Borrow some cash from a friend!
Need a loan?

When we borrow money from a person or a bank, it is called a loan.

Check out this classic episode of the TV sitcom Seinfeld to see how lending money to friends can sometimes be complicated…and very funny!

Jerry can lend you $5000.00!

Do you think Jerry will lend her the money? I’m sure he was happy that his friend Kramer was there to negotiate the deal!

Pay (someone) back = return money that was borrowed

When talking about borrowing money, we use the phrasal verb to pay back. This is a separable phrasal verb, meaning we often use an object noun or pronoun in the middle of the phrase.

  • When can she pay me back?
  • She shouldn’t borrow money from Jerry unless she is sure she can pay him back!

Give (something) back = return an item that was borrowed

When talking about borrowing a car, phone, or other items, we use the phrasal verb to give back.

  • Did she give your bike back to you after she borrowed it?
  • You borrowed my umbrella three months ago. Please give it back!

Now it’s your turn. Can you describe each photo below using both borrow and lend?

Thanks, dad!

Example: I borrowed my father’s credit card. My father lent me his credit card.

Write your answers in the comments below to see if you’ve got the hang of it. When you finish, lend this post to your friends to improve their English, too!

What's the difference between so and such?

So or Such: What’s the difference?

Cats are so funny. You never know what they are really thinking about you, but we can guess from the look on their faces. They make such good expressions!

THE BASIC RULE:

S0 + ADJECTIVE

When SO means “very,” it is usually followed by an adjective.

  • It’s so hot today.
  • The cats are so funny.
  • She looks so beautiful in the photo.

So + (many/much) + noun

With many and much, we need to decide if the noun is countable or uncountable.

  • There are so many cats in the world today. (countable)
  • We have so much work to do before 5:00! (uncountable)

SUCH + NOUN

When SUCH is used for emphasis, it is followed by a noun clause.

  • It’s such a hot day.
  • They are such funny cats.
  • It is such a beautiful photo of her.

Such + (a lot of) + noun

We sometimes use a lot of to modify the noun, but it’s more common to use so much/many.

  • There are such a lot of cats in the world.
  • We have such a lot of work to do before 5:00!
“Meeee-ow?”

Can you describe this cat photo using both such and so? Post your answers in the comments section below!

If you can do it, good job! You are such a good student. English grammar can be so difficult at times. Keep up the good work, cats!

history vs. story

History vs. Story: What’s the Difference?

History: The study of past events or people

History is a subject that we study in school. We study the history of civilizations, important people, or topics, like the history of art. We only use the word history when referring to major events or people from the past.

HIS-tuh-ree

I studied art history in college.

Examples:

  • The history of Egypt is fascinating.
  • I have a history test tomorrow.
  • Many students think history is boring, but I love it.
  • The U.S. has a long history of violence.

Story: A re-telling of something that happened, usually to you or someone you know.

Story telling is a big part of language. We tell stories to each other about things that happened at work, like when you accidentally spilled coffee on your computer. Yikes!

telling stories is fun
He tells the funniest stories!

We tell stories about events in our lives, like about how our parents met and fell in love, or things that we remember from our childhood. Stories can be happy, sad, scary, or funny––the best stories are funny, don’t you agree?

We also tell stories to children. Some of my favorite stories are Cinderella and The Little Mermaid. What are your favorite childhood stories?

STOR-ee

Tell me a story about your childhood.

Do you have a favorite childhood story, or a story about learning English? Leave a comment to share your story!

Tricky Verbs: Fall, Feel, Fill

These three verbs are often confusing, especially when it comes to past tense forms and pronunciation. Let’s look at the differences and practice using them.

Fall

Fall has an “Aww” sound. Practice the following sentence:

Aww, did the baby fall?

Feel

Feel has a hard EEE sound. You need to smile when you say this word, making your mouth wide. Practice this sentence:

I feel so happy and free!

Fill

The sound of fill is between fall and feel. Your mouth is slightly open, and it has a short i sound. Practice this sentence to help:

Bill filled the glass with milk.

Now try them all together, making sure to say each word slowly and differently than the others.

Fall, feel, fill, the dog meets Bill. The dog eats meat, Bill drinks milk, Fall, Feel Fill.

Various Forms

Another challenge for students is to use these verbs in different tenses.

Fall—Fell—Fallen—Falling

Feel—Felt—Felt—Feeling

Fill—Filled—Filled—Filling

Try to answer the following questions:

Did the man fall out of the airplane?

Yes, the man…

Did you feel the elephant?

Yes, I…

Did you fill the glass?

Yes, I…

Expressions with the Verb TO HAVE

I hope everyone is having a very Happy New Year so far! I think 2019 is going to be a great year! This year, I’m looking forward to eating healthier, learning new recipes, getting more exercise, and writing many more lessons for all the English learners out there. How about you? Do you have any plans or goals for 2019?

Let’s start the year with a great verb: TO HAVE. 

The verb to have is everywhere in English. It’s used to form the present perfect (Have you ever celebrated New Year’s Eve in another country?) and it’s also used in many common conversational expressions. (Would you like to have dinner at our house?)

We can start with looking at some basic greetings/conversational vocabulary.

  • Have a great day!
  • Have a nice weekend!
  • I had a great time at the holiday party.
  • Did you have a nice trip/visit/vacation/holiday?

Have is used in hundreds of everyday English expressions. Here are some of the different ways you can use have instead of other verbs.

Have = To Own

Perhaps the most obvious meaning is to own something, meaning it’s yours.

  • I have a house.
  • She has a nice car.
  • They have a good job.
  • We have a large family.

Besides ownership, there are more meanings for the verb to have.

Have = To Be Sick, for Diseases and Illnesses

  • I’ve had this cold for a week.
  • I have a headache.
  • She had a stomachache after eating too much candy.
  • Does anyone in your family have diabetes?
  • Do you have any allergies?

Have a Dream, a Nightmare

  • have a dream to own my own business.
  • had a nightmare about my job last night.

Have Sex

  • Some people wait until after marriage to have sex.
  • The boss should never have sex with employees.

Have = To Eat and Drink, For Meals

  • had breakfast, but I didn’t have lunch. I’m starving!
  • I’ll have a hamburger and french fries, please.
  • had three beers after work.
  • I’m having dinner at my friend’s house tomorrow night.

Have a Fight, Have Problems

  • We had a huge fight yesterday and we are still not speaking.
  • Call me if you have any problems or questions.

Have an Idea

  • I have a great idea: let’s take a vacation!
  • He has no idea where he parked the car.
  • Steve Jobs had a lot of great ideas for technology.

Have a Party

  • We always have a party at our house for New Year’s Eve.
  • If you have a birthday party, where do you want to have it?

Have a Baby, Children

  • My sister had a baby last month.
  • Most women prefer to have their babies at a hospital.

Have Plans

  • Do you have plans for the New Year?
  • I like to have an itinerary before I travel.
  • I have an appointment with my agent this weekend.
  • We have too many meetings at work, don’t you think?
  • I have no doubt you will understand this lesson.

I hope you had fun and learned some new ways of speaking from this lesson. Do you have any more examples or questions?  Leave me a comment on the post. I would love to hear your thoughts.

Have a great day!

Still vs. Until: What's the difference?

Still Or Until: What’s the Dif?

These two very common words are easy to confuse. They both relate to a measure of time. However, they have completely different meanings, and it’s important to know which one to choose. 

STILL

Use STILL to indicate that an action is not finished. There is usually an emotional reaction to a situation. 

  • I’ve been waiting for an hour, and the bus still hasn’t arrived.
  • Do you still have the jacket you borrowed from me last year?
  • She still hasn’t found a job even though she’s been looking for weeks.
  • Are you still watching the TV show, or can I change the channel?
  • I am still at the DMV because the lines are extremely long.
  • I don’t like what you did, but I still love you.

Look at the difference here:

  • The bus hasn’t arrived yet
  • The bus still hasn’t arrived.
Where is the bus!?

Both sentences mean the same thing. Yet states a fact: no bus. Still is used to add emotions to the fact. You’re annoyed or angry or nervous that the bus didn’t arrive when you expected it to.

UNTIL

Until is used to show change. We use until to indicate the time when a change occurred.

  • I didn’t have a car until last week. (Now I have a car. I got it last week.)
  • I will wait here until 3:00, and then I will go home. (At 3:00, I will stop waiting.)
  • I didn’t speak English until I moved to the U.S. (Now, I speak English.)
  • Please wait until Monday to call the library. (Don’t call before Monday.)
  • I didn’t know you were angry until you told me. (Now I know that you’re angry.)

As you can see, until shows that a change has occurred. it shows a moment in time that is different than the past. Note the differences between still and until in the following sentences:

  • I still don’t have a computer. (No computer in the past or present.)
  • I didn’t have a computer until yesterday. (I have a computer now.)

Practice:

Q: Are there things that you still have to do before you go to bed tonight?

A: Yes, I still have to…..

Q: What are some things we can’t do until we are adults?

A: We can’t…..until we become adults.

Choose still or until in your answer:

Q: How late are you working?

A: I’m working still/until 5 p.m.

Q: Are you finished working?

A: No, I’m still/until working.

That’s all there is to it! Now you know the difference between still and until. 

Until next time, have a wonderful holiday and happy New Year!

Steal vs. Rob: Crime Vocabulary

Have you ever been robbed? It’s a terrible feeling! What did they steal?

STEAL and ROB are two words related to crime, but it’s good to know which one to use.

STEAL

A thief steals things. It is an irregular verb. (STEAL<< STOLE>>STOLEN)

A thief might steal your cell phone, your wallet, or even your car.

We typically use the passive tense to describe the crime.

  • Active: A thief stole my purse.
  • Passive: My purse was stolen. (by a thief)

ROB

When a thief enters your home or business and takes something from you, we can say that you have been robbed.

Robbed is for places or people, and it is a regular verb. (ROB<<ROBBED>>ROBBED)

We typically use the passive tense to talk about being robbed.

  • Active:        Three thieves robbed the bank.
  • Passive:      The bank was robbed. (by three thieves)

THIEF, THIEVES (pl.)

A thief is a general term to call someone who takes things that aren’t theirs. For more specific crimes, use the following names:

  • A robber robs banks
  • A burglar enters and robs homes and jewelry stores
  • A kidnapper steals children
  • A pickpocket steals from people in busy, public places
  • A pirate steals technology like software, movies or music files
  • A hacker steals digital information, like emails or passwords
  • A hijacker steals control of airplanes or other forms of transportation
  • A shoplifter steals things from stores like clothing, cosmetics, or food

Crime is never a fun experience, but it is interesting to think about and talk about. What makes people want to steal? Have you ever stolen anything that didn’t belong to you?  Maybe a pen, or a hotel towel? Come on, be honest! Read more in this funny post about the 7 little things that people often steal. How about you?

 
What's the difference between go back and come back?

Go Back or Come Back: What’s the Difference?

When talking about travel, it’s easy to confuse the phrasal verbs go back and come backThey both mean to return. So what’s the difference?

It’s actually very simple. It all depends on where you are at the time of speaking. For example, if you are from Italy, but you are in California right now, you would say:

  • I’m going back to Italy in two weeks. (You are in California now, but you are returning to your home country.)
  • I’m coming back to California next year. (You are in California, and you are returning to California next year)

What's the difference between go back and come back?
It depends on the location of the speaker.

Let’s look at a conversation to see some examples.

A: Honey, I’m home! I went shopping, but I forgot to get the eggs.

B: Oh no! I need the eggs to make your birthday cake.

A: OK, I’ll go back to the store and get them.

B: Great. Do you know when you’re coming back home?

A: I’ll be back in 20 minutes.

B: That’s great. Don’t come back without the eggs!

The speakers use come back and go back (and even be back) depending on where they are at the time of speaking. They are both at home, so they use go back to talk about returning to the store, and come back to talk about returning home.

  • I was born in New York, but I haven’t gone back there in many years. (not there)
  • I loved visiting Italy the first time, so I went back there again last year. (not there)
  • I was still tired, so I went back to bed.
  • Our dog ran away a few days ago, but he came back last night.
  • When are you coming back from your trip? We miss you here!

If you have any questions about these phrasal verbs in use, you can always come back to this page to ask questions and practice.

Cheers!

 

 

Expressions and activities with the verb TO GO

Expressions with the Verb TO GO

Use GO with another -ING verb when you talk about activities and sports.

  • Do you want to go surfing in California?
  • There are some beautiful places to go sightseeing here, too!
  • Have you ever gone wine tasting in Italy?

Team sports (soccer, basketball) typically use the verb to play. Sports that are done individually usually use to go. For more information about the verbs go, play, and do, click here.

WATER SPORTS

  • go swimming
  • go surfing
  • go scuba diving
  • go snorkeling
  • go sailing
  • go wind surfing
  • go boogie boarding

OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES

  • go hiking
  • go biking
  • go mountain climbing
  • go ice skating
  • go skiing
  • go camping
  • go exploring

TRAVEL AND LEISURE ACTIVITIES

  • go shopping
  • go sightseeing
  • go wine-tasting
  • go dancing
  • go clubbing (go to nightclubs for dancing and music)
Expressions and activities with the verb TO GO
Activities used with the verb TO GO usually follow with an -ING verb.

GO EXPRESSIONS WITHOUT -ING VERBS

Go is also used in expressions that don’t use an -ing verb.

  • go broke (lose all your money)
  • go out of business (close a business forever)
    • Many businesses go broke after the first year and go out of business.
  • go bald (lose your hair)
  • go blind (lose your vision)
    • He went bald when he was 45, but he didn’t go blind until much later.
  • go away for the weekend
  • go out of town for business or travel
  • go abroad (overseas for travel, work, or study)
  • go home
    • After going abroad, going away for a few weeks, or even going out of town for the weekend, it’s always wonderful to go back home.

Do you know the difference between go back and come back? Click here.

Remember, the verb to go can change in tense. Let’s look at what happens when we use one expressions in different tenses.

  • I go swimming every day.
  • I went swimming yesterday.
  • I haven’t gone swimming in a long time.
  • I‘m going swimming after work today.
  • I won’t go swimming in cold water!

Do you know any more expressions with the verb to go? Add your comments below!

Ready, set, GO!

the verb to do is used in expressions for work, style, and activities

Expressions with the Verb TO DO

the verb to do is used to ask about activities in general

The verb TO DO is very useful when talking about general actions.

We use it to ask about activities, as in:

What do you want to do tonight?

(However, a different verb is used to answer the question.)

  • I want to watch the sunset. I want to spend time with my friends. I want to walk on the beach.

Do is also used in many questions. You can read about questions here.

However, some English expressions use the verb to do for specific activities. It helps to learn them by category.

Housework, Chores, and Cleaning

Use do with common housework responsibilities.

do laundry, do shopping, do housework, do the dishes, do the ironing
  • do the laundry (wash and dry)
  • do the dishes (wash and dry)
  • do the ironing
  • do the floors (sweep and mop)

Work

After you do all your housework, you can start to do your homework. Oh man!

  • do homework
    close up of woman working
  • do school work
  • do a report on something
  • do research
  • a good job (nice work!)
  • a bad job (uh-oh!)

Speaking of work, don’t forget we use do to talk about our jobs.

What do you do?  (What’s your job?) I’m a teacher. How about you, what do you do?

Exercises and Workouts

After work, you might want to workout at the gym.

We use DO with all kinds of exercises, martial arts, and workouts. Other sports use GO or PLAY. You can read more about other sports here.

  • do yoga
    woman with red top and black shorts on purple yoga mat
  • do karate
  • do jiu-jitsu
  • do pilates
  • do zumba
  • do burpees, plank, jumping jacks
  • do a flip, a handstand, do a dance
  • do push-ups, sit-ups, and pull-ups (C’mon, 10 more times!)

Beauty Treatments

Are you tired from all that exercise? Use do when you talk about personal care for your body, skin, hair, and nails. Let’s go to the spa!

  • do your hair (cut, color, and style)
    woman s pink pedicure
  • do your nails (paint, pedicure or manicure)
  • do your makeup (put makeup on your face)
    • Don’t you love getting your hair and nails done?
    • I love doing my makeup when I go to a party.

Relationships

Finally, we often use do when working with other people in social and business settings.

  • do someone a favor
  • do business with someone or with a company
    • Could you do me a favor and drive me to the bank?
    • We don’t want to do business with companies that aren’t environmentally friendly.
group hand fist bump

Think you’ve got it? Let’s do it!!!