Monday, 31 March 2014

Back to the Future: 3 years later VS in 3 years

Hi all,

What's your goal (目標)? One of my goals as a teacher (先生として) is to have all of my students at E-Style use the word "later" properly (適切に).

Many people who study English in Japan make the same mistake: With a time expression (時間表現), they use "later" when they should use "in" or "from now." The word "later" should be used when something starts and ends either in the past or future. Examples include the following:

  • In 1993, I moved from Miami to Shodoshima. Three years later (3年後), I moved to Takamatsu.
  • Next year, I'm going to move to Australia. Three years later (3年後), I'll move to New Zealand.

In either of the above examples, "after that" can be used instead of (の代わりに) "later."

Unfortunately (残念ながら),  many students use "later" when describing something that will happen after the present moment in time. A sentence like "The class will begin 10 minutes later." (授業は10分後始まります。) IS WRONG!

Instead of "later," please use either "in" or "from now." For example:

  • The class will start in 10 minutes (10分後).
  • My favorite TV program will begin 10 minutes from now (今から10分後)

See you later,


P.S. Because there is no time expression in the sentence, saying "See you later" is OK.

Friday, 28 February 2014

A question of time: 「夜中」

Hi everybody,

Question: How do you say 「夜中」in English?
Most students answer this by saying "midnight." Unfortunately, this is wrong.

"Midnight" or "12 midnight" means 「午前零時」in Japanese. It is a specific (明確な) time and requires the preposition (前置詞) "at" when used in a sentence. For example:
  The movie started at (12) midnight. 映画は午前零時に始まりました。

On the other hand (一方), 「夜中」 is unspecific or even vague (曖昧) and often needs the preposition "in." The phrase "in the middle of the night" is a good translation of 「夜中」and is commonly used in conversation. An example is the following sentence:
  I woke up in the middle of the night夜中に目が覚めました。

If you want to be more specific when saying 「夜中」 you can use "a.m." For example:
  I got up at 3 a.m. 夜中の3時に起きました。
Again, because the time is specific (3 a.m.), the preposition "at" is needed.

Time to go,


P.S. 「午後零時」is "noon" or "12 noon" in English.

Friday, 31 January 2014

It's made of ~

Hi everyone,

This week, the beginners classes have been playing a guessing game (推測ゲーム). One student gives a hint about a common object (日常的な物) and his or her partner tries to guess what it is. Among the hints were some of the following useful expressions:

It's made of plastic and metal.      プラと金属で作られています。
It's expensive.                             (値段が)高いです。
I use it for business and pleasure. 仕事楽しみのために使います。
I use it almost every day.             ほとんど毎日使います。
A famous brand is a type of fruit.  果物の種類は有名なブランドです。

Can you guess what it is?

See you at E-Style,