Tag Archives: English Usage

Visitors will not be laundered or cooked in their rooms

As an English instructor in Asia for the past 21 years, one of the things that I have done a lot in the classroom is correct language mistakes—in most cases, incorrect translations or incorrect verb or other vocabulary usage. Sometimes it is like being a “language mechanic”—fixing some of these common mistakes and language that […]

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Shanghai’d in Shanghai

No, I am not talking about that rockin’ Nazareth tune (hear below) but what I am referring to is the meaning of the verb “shanghai” or “shanghaiing.” The word came up in class the other day; actually, I brought it up when I was explaining—after I learned that one of the students lived in Shanghai, […]

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I’m going to see a man about a horse

Have you ever stopped to think about some of the English colloquialisms we use and their origin, not to mention why we even use them in the first place? We use these colorful colloquialisms all the time and they are a rich part of our language and for someone who has made a living out […]

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The Race is On (with apologies to George Jones)

It’s 10:45am and I’ve got my class of ten beginning language learners doing a speaking activity in pairs. It’s a dialogue between two people asking what they like to do in their free time; the students, once they’ve read through the dialogue are supposed to substitute various “free time” activities like “listening to music” “reading […]

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Hey you guys, it’s “hump day”

Some things just don’t translate well at first.  Take for example the expression “hump day,” which is sometimes used when greeting people—such as in “have a happy hump day’—on Wednesdays back in the States (or anywhere else people have a five-day work week). A few years ago that expression would be hard to explain to a […]

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