amira — 2011-07-20T09:21:29-04:00 — #1
My name is Amira and I'm Arab.
I don't speak English so well, and I would like to improve it by talking with you guys.
I still don't understand the grammar Properly. Can anyone help me with that?
I hope to meet nice people in here
Did I write it well?
ralphm — 2011-07-20T09:30:31-04:00 — #2
We wouldn't have guessed that you were lacking confidence. You did well.
amira — 2011-07-20T12:04:24-04:00 — #3
Let's start with something simple...
I don't understand(understands?) when I should use ''will'' and when I should use ''shall''.
force — 2011-07-20T12:16:25-04:00 — #4
You are correct in your first choice of usage for the word "understand"
Typical conjugations: I understand; you understand; they understand; we understand; he/she understands.
Here's an article discussing the usage of "shall vs will" to get you started:
Shall and will - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
amira — 2011-07-21T08:42:46-04:00 — #5
Ok, I think I get it now
If I went to a shoes store and bought a piar of shoes, then they are belong to me or belong with me?
ralphm — 2011-07-21T09:08:23-04:00 — #6
Then they belong to me.
amira — 2011-07-21T09:11:09-04:00 — #7
When it's ''belong with me?''
ralphm — 2011-07-21T09:30:25-04:00 — #8
"You belong with me, baby!"
"Belong to" implies possession, so it would be a bit rude to say to a person—"You belong to me". But in a song, a singer might say—"You belong with me!" That is, stay with me.
It's OK to possess objects (or things) though, so you'd say—"They belong to me."
guido2004 — 2011-07-21T09:40:56-04:00 — #9
guido2004 — 2011-07-21T09:41:57-04:00 — #10
a piar of shoes
a pair of shoes
amira — 2011-07-21T10:16:50-04:00 — #11
So It's all about courtesy. (like in some cases in ''will'' and ''shall'').
ralphm — 2011-07-21T10:29:51-04:00 — #12
With people, anyway. I've just thought of another use for "belong with":
"This cup belongs with this saucer." That is, the cup and saucer have matching patterns or belong together as a set.
amira — 2011-07-21T11:11:49-04:00 — #13
I have(?) always wanted to understand this kind of syntax:
The words: In, Out, Up, Down, On, Off and Away can be expressed in many forms.
Work out means training, why? For someone who dose not speak English very well it sounds like working outside.
Take out means to kill, give up means to surrender, pissed off means angry and so on...
I don't understand the logic with those words.
ralphm — 2011-07-21T19:35:09-04:00 — #14
All of these are examples of "idiom"—which basically means that's just how we do it! Idiom is what makes any language hard to learn. You can't just take words from another language out of a dictionary and use them the way you use them in your own language. (Imagine how easy it would be to learn other languages if you could just do that! Sigh …)
I remember coming across an ancient Greek phrase: "you are on my feet". Huh? I had no idea what that meant. Turns out, that's how the Greeks said "you are in my way". Again, this is idiom. What's really being said is—"You are preventing me from going any further". Neither "on my feet" nor "in my way" mean that literally. So we have to learn the idiom; each language has a common understanding of what those phrases mean. Without that common understanding, the phrases would mean nothing. (For example, "in my way" could just as easily mean "going in the same direction that I am".)
adh32 — 2011-07-21T20:00:24-04:00 — #15
...Work out means training, why? For someone who dose not speak English very well it sounds like working outside.
Take out means to kill...
Work out may also mean deduce or calculate, as in "I need to work out the answer to this problem".
If you were to tell someone that you intend to take them out, they are rather more likely to ask where the two of you are going to eat. "Let me take you out to lunch", for example. You may have been thinking of the expression "take him out" as often used in action films.
As for learning English, most of the English-speaking world is still struggling with it on a daily basis if you ask me, so you should not worry too much!
samanime — 2011-07-21T20:15:14-04:00 — #16
"Take out" in the context of killing is slang. Most time, "take you out" does refer to your lunch example. "Take out" can also refer to food you get to take home (Take out of the restaurant).
"Give up" is another slang-like word. It kind of means "I give up control to you" or "I surrender to you".
I'm not sure why pissed off means what it does. =p
As adh32 said, most English speakers still have trouble with some of this. It usually makes me laugh because often times non-native English speakers speak better English than those who it's their first (or only) language.
force — 2011-07-21T20:37:54-04:00 — #17
And to further complicate matters, not all areas of the country use all the same idioms. Yes, there are some basic common ones, but there are also ones that are more obscure and aren't used much outside of a particular geographical area.
George Carlin, a well-known comedian (and notorious for foul language and turning things upside down) had a skit where he rattled off a whole list of idioms. A quick search brought this up, and interestingly enough, a little quiz page with associated meanings, which might actually help you learn some of them.
Carlin on Idioms
samanime — 2011-07-21T21:18:24-04:00 — #18
Very true. Even common words are different across the country (or countries). For example, I used to live on the east coast (of the US) and we called those large roads "interstates". Now I live on the west coast and they all call them "freeways". That's within the same country. Start jumping countries (Canada, UK, Australia, etc.) and it gets even worse. =p
annabelle07 — 2011-07-22T04:02:13-04:00 — #19
English really is one complicated, confusing language! Having communicated almost solely in English all my life, I still get stuck from time-to-time! Correct grammar, tense, spelling etc all come with time. You're doing really well Amira
This may be slightly off-topic, but I've been looking around for interactive English grammar and basic writing lessons - the ones where they have a tutorial, followed by tests etc. Anyone know where I may find these?
I'm sure Amira would find these useful as well
masm50 — 2011-07-22T04:23:36-04:00 — #20
English is considered difficult by many due to there being almost more exceptions than rules, and it is difficult to become fluent. But for the same reason it is apparently one of the easier languages to get understood in because all the parts work so loosely together. "Broken English" sounds odd but still makes sense most the time.
Sounding fluent and getting the idioms and geographic variations is definitely a difficult one though - especially as there are some idioms that have been further corrupted by geographic variation. The BBC has been doing a piece on Americanisms recently and one that has always confused me is "I could care less", which is a corruption of the idiom "I couldn't care less" which means basically that I do not care at all. I feel sorry for non-English speakers when things like that turn up...
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