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Low Hanging Fruit

English Idiom - Low Hanging Fruit

Today's idiom is low hanging fruit. We use this expression to describe the tasks or jobs that are the easiest to finish first, don't require a lot of hard work, but make a big difference.

The reason we describe the easiest jobs as low hanging fruit is because the fruit that is hanging lowest on a tree is always the easiest to pick! Once you take care of the low hang fruit, you can work to pick the fruit that is higher from the ground.

Here are some examples!


Examples

When trying to sell their new product, the company called customers who had already bought from them first. They seemed like low hanging fruit.

I needed to save some money, so when I looked at my budget, I decided to cut out the low hanging fruit first, and stop getting so many drinks with friends! 

The website needed a lot of improvements, but we had to take it one step at a time so we started with the low hanging fruit, such as changing the color scheme and fixing the homepage.

This article about healthcare is good, but it seems like the writer chose to write only about the low hanging fruit issues, and not the more complex ones that really need to be talked about.

 

Other free English resources:

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Simple Future Tense

The simple future is a very common verb tense used to talk about plans and expectations in English. Read about the rules for using it, how we form it, and tons of example sentences!

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...And Sometimes Y?

How Many Vowels Are There?

How many vowels are there in English? Five? Six? Twenty? Five and a half? 

If you ask an American what the English vowels are, we will almost all say the exact same thing that we learned in school as children:

A, E, I, O, U, and sometimes Y.

Ellen Degeneres recently tweeted at NSYNC, and she jokingly congratulated for making a major accomplishment "without a vowel" in their band name. However, as many people (including Ginseng) explained, Y is a vowel in NSYNC. Ellen was just making a joke, of course, but many people, learners and native speakers alike, really don't understand what it means when we say that Y is "sometimes" a vowel.

Let's look a little closer at what exactly we mean when we say "and sometimes Y" in order to help us understand several important aspects of English pronunciation and spelling.

How Many Vowels Are There?
Ellen+NSYNC+Vowel+Tweet.png

Vowels and Consonants

Before we can say how many vowels there are, we need to clarify what exactly a vowel is. The answer is not as simple as you may think. The most common dictionary definitions say something like this

vowel (n.) 

1. a speech sound in which air flows out through the mouth and is not blocked by the teeth, tongue, or lips;

2. a letter representing one of these sounds.

On the other hand, consonant is usually defined something like this:

consonant (n.) - any speech sound or letter that is not a vowel.

So a vowel is a sound made with your mouth open, and a consonant is basically every other sound.

 

Sounds and letters

You may have noticed that the definitions of consonant and vowel above talk about both sounds and letters, and this is where the confusion comes from. Sounds and letters are different things. Letters are written and are meant to represent the sounds in a language.

However, you have probably noticed that English sounds and letters don't have a perfect correspondence. For example, sometimes the letter C sounds like S (as in city) but other times it sounds like K (as in cat). 

This is especially true about vowels. If we ignore Y for a moment, there are 5 vowel letters: A, E, I, O, U. However, if we look at vowel sounds there are between 14 and 21 (depending on the accent). 

How is this possible? Think about the different sounds that A makes in the words father, bake, and cap, and the different U sounds in put, cup, and nuke.

The most important idea here is that letters can make different sounds.

 

Why is Y Special?

Okay, but we're talking about Y, right? Is it a consonant or a vowel!? How many vowels are there!? We need a number!

So, like many other letters, the letter Y represents many different sounds. You can see the most common ones in the words only, cry, myth, and yet

Let's look more closely at those examples: in only, Y makes the long E sound /i/, the same sound E makes in we. In cry, Y makes the long I sound /aɪ/, pronounced like the I in mine. In myth, Y makes the short I sound /ɪ/, the same sound as the I in kid. As you can see, these are all vowel sounds.

The Y in yet is different. It isn't really a sound that other letters frequently make. Its "the Y sound" /j/. And this is a consonant sound. If you make this sound, you will feel that the back of your tongue rises up toward the top of your mouth. Remember, when we block or obstruct the air to make a sound, this is what makes a consonant.

So the reason that the letter Y is sometimes a vowel and sometimes a consonant is that it makes several different sounds. Some of these sounds are vowel sounds, and one is a consonant sound. In the words only, cry, and myth, Y is a vowel. In yet, yellow, and you it is a consonant. 

In case you were still wondering about Ellen's NSYNC tweet, the Y in NSYNC is definitely a vowel.


 

Y is Almost Always a Vowel

So we know why Y is sometimes a vowel, but we were curious: How often is Y a vowel and how often is it a consonant. How common are the different sounds that Y makes? The answer was not easy to find, but eventually we came across an academic paper that contained the answer we needed. 

It turns out that Y is not just "sometimes" a vowel. It is almost always a vowel. It is only a consonant around 2.5% of the time. That means about 97.5% of the time it is a vowel. By far, the most common sound it makes is long E /i/. As you might guess, this is probably because -y and -ly are very common suffixes in English.

Next time you hear someone say "A, E, I, O, U, and sometimes Y," you can correct them: "A, E, I, O, U, and 97.5% of the time Y!"

Y Vowel and Consonant Sounds

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用英语描述人

在这篇文章中,我们介绍40多个用英语单词以及6个句型来描述人。前三个句子句型是基本句型(A1级)。另外三个则稍微高级一些(A2-B1级)。所有的词汇都是基本的(A1到A2级)。(如果你不知道A1、A2、B1和B2是什么意思,了解CEFR!)


什么是句型?

句型是我们学习说英语的一个很有用的方法。一个句型是一个空的位置,许多不同的词可以在许多不同的情况下放进去使用。例如,如果你学习了 I feel [ADJECTIVE] 的句型,你可以造出几百个不同的句子。你所需要做的就是学习一个新的形容词,放到合适的地方:我觉得饿。我觉得累。我觉得生气。我感觉不舒服。对于基础水平的学生,学习句型是学习英语的好方法!


句型1 -描述人的基本句子。

我们要看的前三个句子是简单句。形容人的最常用的方式之一是使用形容词:高、矮、胖、瘦、漂亮、英俊、丑陋。在一个句子中使用这些常用的形容词,试试这个句型:

The man is [ADJECTIVE]. 

这个人[形容词]。

The man is tall. (这个男人个子高。) The man is fat. (这个男人胖。) The man is ugly. (这个男人丑。) The man is in shape. (这个男人体型好。) 你可以把任何人放在那个位置。

重要的是要知道,The man男人这个词是可以替换的。这个女人个子高。我朋友个子高。我爸爸个子高。简个子高。她个子高。你可以把任何人放在那个位置。

 

现在让我们看看一些可以放在这个位置上用来描述人的形容词:

Adjectives to Describe People in English
英语 发音 中文
tall /tɔl/
short /ʃɔrt/
thin /θɪn/
fat /fæt/
old /oʊld/
young /jʌŋ/ 年轻
in shape /ɪn ʃeɪp/ 状态良好
out of shape /aʊt ʌv ʃeɪp/ 变形
beautiful /ˈbjutəfəl/ 漂亮
ugly /ˈʌgli/ 好丑
handsome /ˈhænsəm/ 英俊
bald /bɔld/

句型2 -描述特征的基本句子

下一个基本句型是通过某项特征来描述人的基本句型:眼镜,卷发,黑头发,蓝眼睛,胡子,马尾辫。要谈论一个人的特点,可以用以下句子:

The woman has [FEATURE].

这女人有[特点]。

用这个句子句型,你可以造出很多不同的句子:这个女人有一头卷发。这个女人戴眼镜。这个女人留着长发。这个女人扎马尾辫。

同样,你也可以改变人的位置:那男人有一头长发。我的朋友有一头长发。我妹妹有一头长发。克拉拉有一头长发。

以下是一些可以适用于这个句型的特征(名词或形容词名词):


句型3 -描述衣服的基本句子。

我们要讲的最后一个句子是通过衣服来描述人的句子。谁不喜欢衣服!?黑色的鞋子!灰色的裤子!蓝色的领带!绿色的裙子!让我们用它们来做完整的句子。这是句型:

The woman is wearing [CLOTHES].

这女人穿着[衣服]。

下面是一个可以加进这个句子的衣服列表:

所有这些衣服都可以用颜色词语来描述。The woman is wearing black shoes. (这个女人穿着黑色的鞋。) The man is wearing a yellow tie. (这个男人戴着黄色的领带。)


所以,这三个句型,加上这些词汇,让你可以造出几百个不同的句子来描述人。如果你是初学者,而且这是你学的新知识,你可以在这里暂停一下。

但是,如果你已经知道这些知识,而且你想学一些难度更高的英语句子,那就继续读下去吧!

 

订阅我们的邮寄列表,以下载一套完整的GIF记忆卡!

描述人的复杂句型

前三个句型是关于名词,特征和服装,这个顺序对吧?接下来的三个句型将会以更复杂的方式谈论这三件事情。以上章节提到的三个句型的所有词汇都可以用同样的顺序在以下三个句型使用。

在前三个句型中,每个句子主要是描述人。这些句子是关于描述人的。我想告诉你关于这个男人的是他个子高。但是有时候我们想用一句话来描述这个人的其他事情,而描述并不是句子中最重要的部分。例如,也许我想告诉你这个人是我的邻居,但我也想说他个子高。以下的句型会在这样的情况下有所帮助。


句型4 -形容词之前的名词

让我们用回这个例子。我想告诉你这个人是我的邻居,我也想把他形容成一个高个子。我可以把形容词放在名词前:那个高个子的男人是我的邻居。你也可以把上面的任何一个形容词放在那个括号处。

The [ADJECTIVE] man is my neighbor.

这个[形容词]的人是我的邻居。

The handsome man is my neighbor. (那个英俊的男人是我的邻居。The old man is my neighbor. (那位老人是我的邻居。The fat man is my neighbor. (那个胖子是我的邻居。)同样,句子的结尾(我们称之为谓语)也是一个可填充的位置,你可以在那里放进不同的动词:那个高个男人喜欢足球。那个高个子正在吃东西。那个高个男人有一辆汽车。

 

 


句型5 -特点和“with”

如果你想在同一个句子里谈论某人的特征,我们需要使用介词 “with”。我们可以说,戴眼镜的那个男人是我的邻居。任何其他特点都可以放入相同的位置:

The man with [FEATURE] is my neighbor.

有[特征]的人是我的邻居。

The man with red hair is my neighbor. (红头发的那个男人是我的邻居。 The man with a mustache is my neighbor. (留胡子的那个男人是我的邻居。)


句型6 -衣服和 “in”

当我们想谈论衣服时,我们需要另一个介词。我们用 “in”来取代“with”。穿蓝衬衫的那个男人是我的邻居。上面的任何一个服装词汇都可以放进同一位置上:

The man in [CLOTHES] is my neighbor.

那个穿着[衣服]的人是我邻居。

The man in the tie is my neighbor. (那个戴领带的男人是我的邻居。)The man in the grey pants is my neighbor. (穿灰色裤子的那个男人是我的邻居。)The woman in the red hat is my neighbor. (那个戴红帽子的女人是我的邻居。)


总结

就是这样!学习这六个句型和词汇,你现在可以造出数百个新的句子来描述人!稍后回来看看,我们会有一个小测验来测试一下你学到了什么!

订阅我们的邮寄列表,以下载一套完整的GIF记忆卡!

Rob Sheppard is the founder and Chief Executive Teacher at Ginseng. Over the past ten years, he has taught English in Taiwan, South Korea, and his hometown of Boston. Now he teaches online at Ginseng while traveling the world.

You can email Rob at rob@ginse.ng.


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The Quirks and Benefits of Raising Bilingual Children

In an article from The Economist, Lane Green discusses the strategies, challenges, and rewards that he and his Danish-speaking wife observe while raising their two children in a bilingual home. His son makes some cute errors, applying the grammar of Danish to English vocabulary, resulting in phrases like "Come heredown."

This interaction between two languages is called language transfer and many English learners do the same. Spanish and Portuguese speakers will often say to their teacher, "I have a doubt," when the more natural English phrase would be "I have a question." Chinese speakers will often use back as a verb, as they can in Chinese, creating sentences like "I back my home."

In the Economist article, Green mentions misguided teachers and doctors who warn parents to only speak the majority language with their children. This is based on the false idea that bilingualism can somehow harm children. The fact that children are learning two vocabularies simultaneously means that they might make errors (like "heredown") that their monolingual peers do not. But this is a temporary delay. 

The research in fact supports the Greens' intuition, that bilingualism has many cognitive benefits. These include "enhanced attention control," “enhanced perceptual attentiveness,” and better spatial reasoning, among many others.

In the second half of the article, Green discusses some fascinating research on the development of bilingual children's minds. Read the whole article at the Economist!

more free english resources

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Hand in Hand

English Idiom - Go Hand in Hand

Today's idiom is go hand in hand. When two things go hand in hand, they are very closely connected and always come together. You cannot separate them. For example, we can say that food and health go hand in hand. They are completely connected.

When two people hold each other's hands, we say that they are hand in hand. To help you remember, you can picture health and good food walking hand in hand down the street together! 

Here’s some examples!


Examples

Homework may be annoying, but it goes hand in hand with learning any new skill! 

I can't eat cookies without milk, they just always go hand in hand for me!

Honesty goes hand in hand with friendship,

 

 
 Check out this idiom featured in another blog post!

Check out this idiom featured in another blog post!

Other free English resources:

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The Idiomatic Fridge

English Idiom - The Idiomatic Fridge

We came across this fantastic cartoon by John Atkinson, from his site Wrong Hands, and thought it would be the perfect topic for a vocabulary lesson. It’s called The Idiomatic Fridge because all of the “foods” in here are actually idioms in English!

idiomatic fridge

Before we get started, take a look! Do you know any of these?

fish out of water

icing on the cake

piece of cake

top banana

second banana

tall drink of water

milk and honey

full of beans

bowl of cherries

bunch of baloney

whole enchilada

small potatoes

bad apples

good egg

big cheese


Definitions and Example Sentences

top banana 🍌

The idiom top banana is used to describe the best or most popular person in a show, group or organization.

Of all the comedians in the world, Robin Williams was the top banana. Would you agree?


second banana 🍌🍌

Going hand in hand with top banana is second banana which means the second best or most popular person in a show group or organization.

President Obama was top banana, but he would be nowhere without his second banana, Vice President, Joe Biden.


whole enchilada 🌮

The whole enchilada is a funny way of explaining that something is complete and comes all packaged together.

When considering vacation packages, I decided to go for the whole enchilada  and get a deal that included the room, transportation to the airport, and unlimited food and alcohol. I didn’t regret it, I had an amazing trip!


small potatoes 🥔

If something is small, insignificant, or cheap, we might say that it’s just small potatoes.

The price we pay for health insurance is small potatoes compared to what we would pay for medicine without it.


bad apples 🍎

If a bad apple is stored in a container with good apples, it will typically cause the other apples to rot faster. Someone who is very negative can make people around them very negative as well, so we call a negative or badly behaved person a bad apple or a rotten apple.

Joey always complained about his homework in class, and then I started noticing my other students didn’t want to do their work either. I think he’s a bad apple!


good egg 🥚

A good egg is pretty much the opposite of a bad apple. If you someone is just all around (like an egg!) a nice, helpful, and responsible person, he or she is considered a good egg.

When I broke my leg, my neighbor mowed my lawn and made me dinner without me even asking! What a good egg!


big cheese 🧀

If someone is very important and successful, we might call them the big cheese, or a big shot.

After Alex got promoted, he thought it was the big cheese around the office, but he quieted down once he realized he still wasn’t such a big shot...
 

tall drink of water  🚰

This isn’t an expression that we use very often anymore, but it’s still a funny one! If someone is very beautiful, handsome, and overall just very attractive, you could say that they are a tall drink of water. Imagine drinking a tall glass of water on a hot day. This is how some people feel when seeing someone very attractive!

Even after all these years of marriage, when my wife comes into the room I still think she’s a tall drink of water!


milk and honey 🥛 🍯  

This term is used to explain a land that has plenty of everything that you could possibly need to survive, and is therefore considered a perfect place to live.

When I moved to Florida, it had everything I could want, beaches, friendly people, and good food! I thought it was the land of milk and honey until I realized that I missed snow!


full of beans 🥫 

If you have a ton of energy, are very happy, and can't sit still you’re full of beans. 

On this beautiful summer day, we were full of beans and couldn't wait to go play outside!


bowl of cherries 🍒

When something is very nice, and everything is going perfectly in your day, or your life, we might say that it’s like a bowl of cherries.

Today I found $100 on the sidewalk! Life is a bowl of cherries!

However, this expression is actually used more often in a sarcastic or ironic way, meaning exactly the opposite of perfect.

My car broke down, and I was late for work so I lost my job. Life is a bowl of cherries, huh?


bunch of baloney 😡

If someone is telling you lies, or a fake story, we call this a bunch of baloney.

The car salesman promised me a good price on a car, but when I went to actually buy it, it was much more expensive than he originally said. What a bunch of baloney!!


fish out of water 🎣

A fish out of water is very uncomfortable, doesn’t know what to do and usually can’t survive. When someone is in a situation that they are unfamiliar with, or very uncomfortable with, we call them a fish out of water.

When Lexi visited China for the first time, she felt like a fish out of water because she didn't know anyone, couldn't speak Chinese, and had no idea where to find her hotel.


icing on the cake 🎂

This is another idiom that can be used positively or sarcastically. The icing on the cake is the colorful, sugary cream that goes on the top of the cake. It is the last thing done to make the cake look perfect.

We use this positively to talk about the final thing that made a situation just perfect:

The dinner was already amazing, but the waiter gave us a free bottle of wine, which was really the icing on the cake.

We also use it negatively, sarcastically, or ironically when a situation seems like it can’t get any worse, but then it does:

It rained on my wedding day, my mom couldn’t come because her flight was delayed, and the caterer canceled but the icing on the cake was that my husband got food poisoning! It’s ok though, the honeymoon was amazing!


piece of cake 🍰

Something that is very easily accomplished or achieved is known as a piece of cake.

I got the job! I had the right qualifications and had great answers prepared for their questions, so the interview was a piece of cake.

Other free English resources:

 Idiomatic Fridge

Idiomatic Fridge

 
 
 Check out this blog post to learn what "going hand in hand" means!

Check out this blog post to learn what "going hand in hand" means!

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Silent E Words

English spelling is crazy but there are patterns. Silent E words follow a very common pattern. Check out this explanation with charts and over 200 of examples.

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Pardon my French

English Idiom - Pardon My French

Today's idiom is pardon my French. We say "Pardon my French" as a funny way to apologize for cursing or using profanity. It is also common to say excuse my French.

Back in the 1800s, the phrase was used when you actually used a French word or phrase in your speaking. You might say, "The film had a certain, je ne sais quoi." Then you'd say "Pardon my French," because it was a little rude to speak French in front of people who might not understand. Eventually French developed some negative connotations in English—sorry French speakers!—and the phrase came to be used with swear words.

Here are some examples!

Examples

Shit, I hit my head—Oops, pardon my French!

When John accidentally said a bad word, his wife told him, "John, don't curse in front of the children!" He replied, "Oh, I'm sorry, pardon my French!"

Excuse my French, but this movie sucks! 

 A famous example of   pardon my French   from  Ferris Bueller's Day Off .

A famous example of pardon my French from Ferris Bueller's Day Off.


Other free English resources:

 

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What is Ginseng?

Well, you already know that Ginseng is an online English school. But as we talk to more and more people around the world about Ginseng, we’ve learned that more and more people want to know about the word ginseng:

  • What does it mean?
  • How do you pronounce it?
  • Why is it the name of an English school!?!?

Well, ask and you shall receive. Let's get some answers to those questions!


What is Ginseng?

Ginseng is a plant! And it's a funny plant because the root—the underground part of the plant—is more famous than the flowers and leaves.

Ginseng has been used in Chinese medicine for centuries to help people relax. Some people even say it improves your memory!

The word ginseng comes from the Hokkien pronunciation (/jîn-sim/)of the Chinese word (人参) for the plant. That literally translates to person-root, because the root often has two “legs” and looks like a person.


How do You Pronounce Ginseng?

First, that G is soft. This means it sounds like an English J, as in jump. G is often—but not always—pronounced this way when it is before either an E or an I.

The first syllable sounds exactly like the word gin, a common alcohol. It also sounds like the first syllable in ginger, another root.

The last syllable sounds exactly like the English word sing. The E is pronounced like a short I sound. (Note: some people pronounce the -seng with a short E sound, but that's not what we say for Ginseng English).

The stress in the word is on the first syllable. So all together, the word ginseng is pronounced jin-sing (IPA: /ˈdʒɪn sɪŋ/).


Why did you name the school Ginseng?

Lots of reasons! Many of the best brands out there are not literal descriptions of what the company does. Think about Google, Nike, Mercedes. This was the type of brand we wanted. We didn't want to be Rob’s Online English School. We wanted something more abstract and suggestive, something evocative.

 Early logo for Engma English

Early logo for Engma English

The first idea was Engma, the name for this symbol: ŋ. After a while, we decided that this was a little too esoteric and just didn't work for our company.

Ginseng worked better for a couple of reasons:

We first started considering this name because of its sound. It’s one of the only other words in which the letters E-N-G are pronounced /ɪŋ/ like they are in Eng-lish

Also, ginseng has lots of positive connotations: it's relaxing and it helps your memory. These are two very important things for learning a language!


What about that logo?

Ginseng root is often made into a relaxing tea, so our logo is a steaming cup of tea to help you relax while you learn English with us! As you may have noticed, it’s also our letter G, upside-down!


More about Ginseng English

 
What is Ginseng?

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Confusing words: Rise, raise, and arise

Logo transparente sin nombre.png

Hi there! Remember me? I'm Yentelman, the blogger who's been helping Spanish students with their English (and even their Spanish!) for quite a few years now. I'm back at Ginseng English to try and teach you the differences between a trio of confusing words. As an English teacher whose mother tongue is Spanish, I am well aware which words students of English struggle with. Been there, done that myself!

Today's confusing words are three common verbs: rise, arise and raise. Look at them. Just look at them. They look like they're actually mocking you, don't they? They are like, "We’re so confusing that you'll never use us right!" Well, let's prove them wrong!


 
 The Sun Also  Rises  - Ernest Hemingway

The Sun Also Rises - Ernest Hemingway

 

Rise

 How about  the cocktail of the same name?  Yeah, I thought so.

How about the cocktail of the same name? Yeah, I thought so.

Pronounced /raɪz/, its simple past is rose and past participle risen when it's working as a verb. When I try to use this one properly, I always link it to the noun sun. It's a perfect collocation, actually. You may remember it from such books as Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises. You don't? OK, what about the movie, Tequila Sunrise? No? C'mon guys, the one with Mel Gibson? Michelle Pfeiffer? An all-slicked-back Kurt Russell? OK, whatever.

Anyway, the point I am trying to make is that, if you remember rise with sun, it will be easier for you to distinguish rise from the other two verbs that are going to show up here. You can also tell the difference between rise and raise in that the former is an intransitive verb, i.e. it's not followed by a direct object. For example, keeping with the sun topic, in the sentence:

The sun rises in the east.

We can clearly see the verb rise is not followed by an object (a noun or pronoun). If you have no direct object, you need rise, not raise.

Rise can also be used to indicate that something abstract is going up, as for example in

Gas prices are rising again!

 I bet it was not the only thing that  rose ...

I bet it was not the only thing that rose...

This sense can convey a positive meaning when we are speaking, for instance, of moods or expectations.

My expectations rose when the pretty blonde girl at the bar looked at me.

You may have noticed that in the two examples above the meanings of rise were, respectively, "to ascend above the horizon", and "to increase in degree, intensity, or force". I'm crediting Dictionary.com for the meanings, and if you bother to look at the definitions they give of rise, you'll see there are more than 50!

So, you reaaaally need to observe each context properly when you are going to use any of the three verbs in this post. As long as you remember rise is intransitive and you pay good attention to what goes after the verb, you should be good to go. If in doubt, check a good dictionary.

I'll wrap up this section saying that rise can also be a noun. As is the case of the verb, its meaning is related to ascending or increasing. We can also use it to talk about value, prices, or temperature, as in the following example:

Sam couldn't help complaining about the rise in temperature. What did he expect of our holidays in Mount Doom?


Raise

You should be able to easily distinguish raise (/reɪz/)  from rise if you just remember raise is transitive, which means it will be followed by a direct object.

The student raised his hand to answer the question.

As you can see in the example, raise is followed by the direct object, his hand. Remember you can find out whether there's a direct object after the verb in a sentence by asking the verb, "what?" What did the student raise? His hand. There you go. We have a direct object, so you need to use raise, not rise.

Raise Rise and Arise
Base Verb Pronunciation Simple Past Perfect
rise /raɪz/ rose risen
raise /reɪz/ raised raised
arise /əˈraɪz/ arose arisen

Another thing you may have noticed in the above example is the verb is in the simple past, ending in -ed. This could be another hint to help you distinguish between the two confusing verbs. While rise is irregular, raise is regular and both its past and past participle end in -ed. Check out the chart for a conjugation of all three verbs.

 
 A random worker in the USA.

A random worker in the USA.

Raise can be a noun, too, especially talking about salaries, as in the following example:

I hate that bastard Pete. He's been given yet another pay rise. It's his third this year, for fuck's sake!

I'd ask you to pardon my French (or my English in this case), but I always try to use real-life examples. Now I think of it, has anybody been given a pay raise in real life? Not here in Spain, that's for sure...


Arise

Last but not least, we have a third verb: arise. Everything seems to hint that there are plenty of similarities with rise: it is also intransitive, irregular (with a past and past participle forms that are very similar to those of rise: arose and arisen) and it's also pronounced similarly: /əˈraɪz/. One would say it's just rise with an a- at the beginning of the word.

And its meaning? While it's true that it can replace rise, meaning "to get up from sitting, lying, or kneeling", this usage is fairly outdated and only used in very formal contexts.

"Arise, Lord Snow!" - Said Queen Daenerys after Jon Snow had bent his knee.

 Always. Just in case.

Always. Just in case.

When do we use arise, then? Mainly when we want to convey the meaning of something coming into being, originating or occurring. That "something" will usually be a problem, an occasion, a necessity, a situation or difficulty of some sort, etc. Even in this context, arise is a verb with quite an abstract meaning, indicating that something not only becomes evident but people are also aware of it happening.

The opportunity arose for Rick to purchase a 1554 Spanish shipwreck gold bar.



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Let the Cat Out of the Bag

English Idiom - Let The Cat out of the Bag

Have you ever accidentally told a secret, or shared something you shouldn't? If you have, you let the cat out of the bag. We use this phrase to say that you let a secret 'escape'.

Here’s some examples!


Examples

Christine told us not to tell anyone that she is pregnant, but I accidentally mentioned it to a friend and let the cat out of the bag. I felt awful! 

Lynn told me that she was quitting her job. I didn't realize this was a secret, and I let the cat out of the bag by telling her coworker. Luckily, her boss wasn't mad!

My fiancé and I weren't ready to tell our parents we were engaged, but when I forgot to take off my engagement ring, the cat was out of the bag." 💍

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Cat Got Your Tongue

English Idiom - Cat Got Your Tongue

Today's idiom is cat got your tongue. We use this idiom when someone has nothing to say, or when they are unusually quiet.

This may be an easy one to remember, because it's quite visual! If the cat has your tongue, you are literally unable able to speak! 👅 😸

Here’s some examples!


Examples

I had a big speech prepared, but when I got up on stage, I froze! Cat got my tongue!

Why are you so quiet? Cat got your tongue?

Lilly was very opinionated but today she didn't have much to say. I wondered if the cat got her tongue!

 

Other free English resources:

 

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Catnap

English Idiom - Catnap

Today's idiom is catnap. If someone takes a very short nap, you can say that they took a catnap. We use this expression because cats are known for sleeping for short periods of time throughout the day.

Catnaps are great because even though they are very quick, you can usually get a good boost of energy from them!

Here’s some examples!


Examples

I'm so tired, but I only have a couple of minutes before my next meeting, I guess I'll try to squeeze in a quick catnap!

Wow, I only slept for 10 minutes, but I feel so refreshed! What a great catnap!

Jolene had a long drive ahead of her, so she took a catnap so she could stay awake.

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