Category Archives: Vocabulary

Jealousy and Envy – what do you feel?

Jealousy and envy are two feelings that are quite similar, but the words are often used incorrectly. Let’s see what’s going on:

Jealous (verb & adjective) and jealousy (noun) describe the feeling when someone is afraid to lose something to someone else. It’s always used in negative situations.

  • I’m jealous of your success, co-worker. I should have gotten that promotion!
  • He’s a jealous partner – he won’t even allow his girlfriend to use the phone unless he can listen to the conversation too.
  • Jealousy makes normal people act in strange ways, sometimes.

‘Jealously,’ used as an adverb, is possible, but very uncommon. Use ‘in a jealous manner’ instead.

  • She watched jealously as he texted a friend. She watched in a jealous manner as he texted a friend.

Envy (noun & verb), envious (adjective), and enviously (adverb) describe the feeling when a person wants something that another person possesses. It can be positive, but is usually used in negative situations.

  • I envy your success, co-worker. I will work hard so I can get the next promotion!
  • They felt envy when they saw the lottery winner.
  • She is envious of your education – she would have enjoyed going to your university.
  • The silver medal winners watched enviously as the champions received their gold medals.

Drinking and sneezing

I had a great question the other day. “When do I say ‘cheers!’ and when do I say ‘bless you? Here’s how to use these expressions to fit in with Canadians.

“Cheers!” Use this at the table, in the pub, or at the bar, when you’re starting a drink. Lift your glass, or touch it to a friend’s class, and say “Cheers!” It means “Good health!”

“Bless you!” Use this after a friend sneezes. Don’t say it after you sneeze, though – that would be strange!

What do I say?

I had a conversation with a student the other day. She wanted to learn the pronunciation for the show with horses, fighting, and lots of politics: “Game of … Chairs?”

We have all been there. We don’t know how to say a word, or we don’t know what word to use. Some will stop talking, others will reach for a translator, but the best choice, in my opinion, is to describe the word you don’t know. Native speakers do this all the time, but it seems that students of English don’t do it as much as they could.

Here are some examples. Try to guess the word I’m thinking about:

I went to the place where you learn about stuff.  <-school

Can you help me find something that will stop the water from going out of the bathtub? <-a bathtub plug

He was running, like an animal, very quickly, up the mountain. He slipped but it didn’t matter, because he continued anyway. <-scrambling

There are two things we can do to keep our conversation going:

  • Describe the missing word with a phrase. (place where you learn about stuff = school)
  • Use a synonym you know is wrong, and ask for correction. (Game of Chairs = thrones)

Try it out! I’m sure you will find that your conversations will be easier.

Every day and everyday. Are they synonyms?

The short answer is no. The long answer is also no, and there are several clues we can use to help choose the right expression.

Everyday is an adjective, so it describes a noun, and it means ‘regular, normal, common.’

“My everyday shoes are made of leather.”

We cannot change this to show a different amount of time. “Everyweek, everymonth, and everyyear” are not English.

Every day is used to show a time or repetition. It means ‘each day, without a break.”

“I wear my leather shoes every day.”

We can change this to show repetition over time. “Every month, every hour, and every year” are all good expressions.

“I get a massage every month.”
“I email my boss every hour.”
“I celebrate my birthday every year.”

Now, it is time to practice your everyday English. Speak, listen, read, and write every day!”

So far….

This expression means “until now.” Use it to talk about a situation that is not yet finished, as in: “So far, school has been easy. We have only three weeks left in the semester, so I hope the test isn’t too hard!”

There is an expression where we use this phrase: “so far, so good.” This means “until now, everything is ok.”
“Hey, Carla, how is your marketing campaign going?”
“So far, so good, Dave. I hope we can increase our sales every week until Christmas!”

Top Five Vocab Mistakes on Your Resume:

1. Talking about your personality. Phrases like “motivated,” “sociable,” and “good at working on a team” are better put in your cover letter. The resumé should focus on your accomplishments, where the cover letter makes connections between you and the job you want.

2. “Responsible” or “responsibility.” While these words may be true, they are not clear. As an example: “responsible for hiring new employees.” Does this mean that you actually interviewed and decided who to hire, or does it mean that you told someone else to interview and make the decision? Replace them with a more specific word – in our examples, we could say “hired new workers” or “oversaw the hiring process.”

3. Using abbreviations after a name. An example: “Technical University of Canada South, Vancouver (TUCSV).” If this is the only mention of this university, you don’t need to waste space with the abbreviation.

4. Advertising. Some people like to add marketing information about their university or company: “Canada Collegiate School (the leading technical university in Canada).” The boss isn’t trying to decide on a university, and the quality of the school doesn’t necessarily transfer to the students at that university! If you need to describe your university or company, keep the details brief and factual. A better example: “QWERTY UIOP Technologies (computer manufacturer),” or “Canada Collegiate School (technical university.)” Make sure the boss gets excited about you, not your schools or companies.

5. Using “et cetera,” “and so on,” or other expressions. If you’re going to give a list, give the whole list. If you are giving just a few examples, tell the boss that.
“Completed projects with computers, models, presentations, et cetera.” becomes “Completed projects with computers, including models, presentations, and presentations.”

Keep the boss interested by using your best vocab and expressions. The resumé is a marketing document – it advertises you, the worker – and so it should be interesting to read. Good luck!

Politics and Global Relations Week 52: Activist

Noun. A person who protests regularly.
“The activists and their work were very important in making the people understand the problem with this new law.”

This is the final week for this series. I hope the words have been helpful to you, as I’ve enjoyed posting them. Thanks for following along, and stay tuned for another vocab series!