Thursday, 31 December 2015

New Year's Eve, 2015


Dear students,

Thank you for studying English conversation at E-Style this year. Jack and I have enjoyed teaching you and look forward to seeing you again in 2016. We would like to wish you all a happy and healthy New Year.

Sincerely,

Alan

Friday, 31 July 2015

なぜ知っているの?How do you know?

Hi everyone,

There is a common mistake (よくあるミス) that many English conversation students make in class: Saying "Why do you know?" instead of "How do you know?" Although 「なぜ」 is, indeed, "Why" in English, native speakers do not use it for this question. If you look it up in the dictionary (辞書で調べたら), you will see that "How" can be 「どうして」 and 「どうやって」.
So, please think of the question in the following way:
どうして[どうやって]それが分かった[を知っている]のですか。
If you do, then it will be easier to remember to use "How" instead of "Why" at the beginning of the sentence. How do I know that?
Because I'm a native speaker! (ネイティブやけん[きん]!).

See you at E-Style,

Alan

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Do you have the time?

Hi everybody,

Last week, the students in my beginners class (入門 クラス) learned the phrase "Do you have 〜?" (〜があります[います]か、〜を持っていますか). This is a very good phrase to master because it can be used in many different situations. Here are some examples and explanations:

  • Do you have a boyfriend/a girlfriend? 彼氏/彼女がいますか。Please remember that "boyfriend" is 「彼氏」and NOT 「男の友達」。The same usually applies for "girlfriend."
  • Do you have any children? 子供がいますか。"Any" is used with the plural form (複数形) because the person asked could have more than one child or none.  
  • Do you have a pet/any pets? ペットがいます(を飼っています)か。Either "a" or "any" is OK here because pet owners usually have/keep (飼う) only one of certain kinds of pets (like dogs or cats) and more than one of other kinds (like fish). 
  • Do you have any money? お金を貸してくれますか。Literally (文字通り), this question means 「お金を持っていますか。」However, because almost everyone has at least a little cash, the real meaning is "Could you lend me some money?" The usual reply to this is "Why?"
  • Do you have the time? 今、何時ですか。This is also difficult. If you add "to" and a verb to this question, then the meaning changes and it becomes easier to understand. For example:
  • Do you have the time to study English every day? 毎日英語を勉強する時間がありますか。
Hopefully, your answer to that last question is "Yes!"

Good luck and keep studying,

Alan




Wednesday, 1 April 2015

どんなマドンナ?

Hi everyone,

Did you hear the big news? Madonna will perform (演奏する) at this year's Monster Bash in Manno Park! I heard this from one of my intermediate class (中級) students tonight and was amazed (驚いた) until I realized (気が付いた・分かった) that today is April 1. So, to all of you who got excited (ワクワクした) about Madonna's coming to Sanuki and eating Udon after her performance:
Happy April Fools' Day!

See you at E-Style,

Alan