Category Archives: Uncategorized

Toil (Verb and noun)

VERB:
[intransitive always + adverb/preposition]
1 also toil away to work very hard for a long period of time synonym: slave  

  • I’ve been toiling away at this essay all weekend.
2 literary to move slowly and with great effort

toil up/through/along etc

They toiled slowly up the hill.
Prepositions:
at, up, through, along
Examples:
  • He went past the dustbins and began toiling up the stairs.
  • In other words, three generations might take a family from hard toil through private education to gilt-edged respectability.

NOUN:

[uncountable] formal
1 hard unpleasant work done over a long period:

a life of toil
2 the toils of something literary if you are caught in the toils of an unpleasant feeling or situation, you are trapped by it.
Examples:
  • When we wake it is to find ourselves alone and separate, trapped in the toils of matter.

  • With one bound, he was … John Major has escaped the toils of the poll tax.

  • Yet lured they were, ever deeper into the toils of matter, and women with them too.

Hit/reach rock bottom

 To reach the lowest possible level or be in the worst possible situation. 
Example:
She used illegal drugs for eight years and quit before she hit rock bottom.
The department has reached rock bottom, with employees being fired and supervisors facing criminal charges.

A wet blanket

A person whose low spirits or lack of enthusiasm have a depressing effect on others. a dull or depressing person who spoils other people’s enjoyment.

Example:

Jack’s fun at parties, but his brother’s a wet blanket.

I was with Anne and she was being a real wet blanket.

Sometimes, sometime, and some time!

Sometimes, sometime, and some time are very different words so you need to be careful when you use them. These are words that even native speakers get confused with!

1. Sometimes is an adverb of frequency. Think of it as halfway between never and always.

Example sentences:

Sometimes I am so tired I can’t get out of bed!

He sometimes plays tennis instead of going to the gym.

We like to go to the beach on vacation sometimes.

2. Sometime (no ‘s’) is also an adverb, but it is used to talk about an unspecified point in the future or an unspecified point in the past.

Example sentences:

We should get together for coffee sometime!

Sometime soon I would like you to clean your room!

The accident occurred sometime before 6pm.

3. When you use some time, it’s like saying ‘some food’ or ‘some people’ – some is used to talk about how much of the noun time you have or want.

Example sentences:

Do you have some time to check my essay?

She has some time to spend in her garden now that she has quit her job.

Take some time to think about the offer before you accept or decline it.

He was able to buy some time by saying his wife was out of town & he can’t make a decision without her.
(idiom: to buy time = to get more time; he wanted more time to make a decision so he said he couldn’t make a decision without his wife.)

“A While” and “Awhile”

Both of these terms are expressions of time, but one is written with a space while the other is one word. What are the differences in meaning between the two? And what are the appropriate uses of each?

These two terms represent different parts of speech. The two-word expression a while is a noun phrase, consisting of the article a and the noun while, defined as “a period or interval of time.”

The one-word awhile is an adverb that means “for a short time or period.”

Although these definitions are similar, and although the terms can sometimes be used interchangeably, there are a few simple rules that prove helpful in keeping them straight.

A While

The noun phrase a while can and often does follow a preposition, such as for or in: “He said he would be home in a while.”

Awhile

The adverb awhile cannot follow a preposition, a rule that makes sense if you revisit the definition of the term and drop it into a sentence such as the one above: “He said he would be home in for a short time or period.” However, if we omit the preposition and rewrite it as “He said he would be home awhile,” the sentence works with a slightly altered meaning.

Eellogofusciouhipoppokunurious, and other monstrosities

Eellogofusciouhipoppokunurious!

Glossographia

Over at my obscure words website, The Phrontistery, there’s been a word that has been the subject of many astonished inquiries over the years: eellogofusciouhipoppokunurious, which means simply ‘good’.   At 30 letters, it’s the longest word on a site that’s full of them. More to the point, because my site is one of the most prominent places you can find the word, and because it doesn’t appear in any standard dictionaries (including the mammoth Oxford English Dictionary), over the years, I have had many people write to ask whether it is in fact a real word at all.

So to try to answer this question, first let me tell you about how eellogofusciouhipoppokunurious came to be in my list.  Back at the dawn of the Internet (well, OK, more like 1996), I had no idea that my word list would still be around (and over twice…

View original post 1,683 more words

Describing movement!

Brandish: To wave something in the air in a threatening or excited way.

Example: The driver of the car had got out and approached them brandishing a gun.

Modal verbs

Modal verbs in English:
 
can
could
may
might
will
would
must
shall
should
ought to
 

Modals are different from normal verbs:

1: They don’t use an ‘s’ for the third person singular.
2: They make questions by inversion (‘she can go’ becomes ‘can she go?’).
3: They are followed directly by the infinitive of another verb (without ‘to’).

Probability

First, they can be used when we want to say how sure we are that something happened / is happening / will happen. We often call these ‘modals of deduction’ or ‘speculation’ or ‘certainty’ or ‘probability’.