Tag Archives: Success

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!”

Secret Bus Shortcuts

Recently, I’ve been teaching a group of students who have just arrived in Vancouver. They want to see our city, but they don’t know much about where the buses go. Here’s a little breakdown of bus numbers and what they mean.

Routes 1-100 all travel in Vancouver city.
Routes 101 – 149 (&155) all travel in Burnaby or New Westminster.
Routes 150 – 199 (except 155) all travel in Coquitlam, Port Moody, or Port Coquitlam.
Routes 200 – 249 all travel in North Vancouver.
Routes 250 – 299 all travel in West Vancouver.
Routes 300 – 399 all travel in Surrey, North Delta, or White Rock.
Routes 400 – 490 all travel in Richmond.
Routes 500 – 599 all travel in Langley.
Routes 600 – 699 all travel in South Delta.
Routes 700 – 799 all travel in Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge.
Routes 800 – 899 are for high school students only.

Routes starting with a C, like C5, use minibuses and have very short routes. They are also called “Community Shuttles.”

Routes starting with an N, like N9, are late-night buses. They run from 1:30am to 4:00am.

Some Vancouver routes, like 4, 9, 41, and 49, travel mostly on their avenues: 49 UBC goes on 49th Avenue, for example.

Happy traveling, and I hope you find your way around Vancouver easily!

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!

Trip and Travel Woes

Trip and Travel

These words, when used to describe journeys or voyages, are basically synonyms, but there are some differences in their connotations and grammar.

Trip is a count noun, and it is also a verb meaning “to fall over.”  A trip could be a short or long distance, and it could take a short or long time. We use it to talk about the whole voyage or journey. We usually use it with the verbs plan, take, or go on.

  • I planned a trip to Egypt to see the pyramids. (emphasizing the whole time away or the complete voyage)
  • I took many trips in Vancouver: I went to Whistler, Deep Cove, and Stanley Park. (emphasizing the number of adventures)
  • She went on a trip last week, so she wasn’t in school.

Travel is usually a non-count noun and a verb with a similar meaning. In contrast, however, it is always a long time and a long distance.

  • Last year, I traveled to 6 countries.
  • My travel took three months.

If we use it to describe a short journey, we are comparing it to a long journey. This might be a joke, or to show how unhappy we are with it.

  • I have to travel to Kitsilano every day from Granville Street. I hate my homestay!
  • Please bring me the remote control. I am sick, and I don’t want to travel to the other sofa to get it.

In My View vs. From My Point Of View

In my view – this is used to describe an opinion.

  • “In my view, the plan is bad, because it will be very expensive.”

From my point of view – this is used for an opinion, but it sounds like a contrast will be made with another opinion..

  • Jennifer: From my point of view, snow is bad, because it means none of my customers will come to my golf course.
  • James: From my point of view, snow is good, because it means I will have people attend my skiing classes!

Funny English!

There are two joke types that came up in conversations at work today: “Knock knock” jokes and “Roses are red…” jokes. These both have a specific format, so let’s learn how to be funny in English!

Knock knock jokes need two people to participate.

Person A: Knock knock!

Person B:Who’s there?

Person A: [name]

Person B: [name] who?

Person A: [joke with name!]

Person A: Knock knock?

Person B: Who’s there?

Person A: Isabel.

Person B: Isabel who?

Person A: Isabel necessary on a bicycle? (Is a bell necessary on a bicycle?)

The best knock-knock jokes have a pun (a joke made from the sound of a word, not the meaning) that involves the name.

“Roses are Red” jokes are based upon a poem structure. The first two lines are always the same:

Roses are red,

Violets are blue.

After this, you add two more lines about something funny. The rhythm and the rhyme should match the first two lines.

I’m learning English,

And so are you!

We put the joke together like this:

Roses are red,

Violets are blue.

I’m learning English,

And so are you!

Most Canadians will be familiar with these kinds of jokes. Ask your homestay family or your Canadian friends to tell you some and post them here!