Issue: AI

Many people–famous people–scholars, scientists, engineers, philosophers and neuro-scientists are concerned about AI。People such as Elon Musk, Steve Wozniak, Sam Harris, the late Stephen Hawking、Nick Bostrom …. Here, Don and Jon are discussing AI too:
Don: What’ya have against AI?
“What’ya” means “what do you…”  / “What do you have against…” means Why don’t you like___?
Jon: Not AI–unregulated AI.
Jon is saying: It’s not AI that I am talking about/that I don’t like; it’s unregulated AI. / Regulation (“unregulated”) is government laws that protect us from companies and the damage they do when they only think about profit-or when they overlook safety, citizen rights and the environment. Jon is concerned about AI developing without limits on its power.
Don: Leave it to the consumer!
Leave it (to) ____ means “let ____ take care of it.” Don is saying: Let the market decide what AI will be like.
Jon: Like the Internet?
This should be “Like with the internet?”)
Don: What’s wrong with that?
What’s wrong with the internet?)
Jon: Fraud, no privacy, election-tampering, cancel-culture, doxing?
All the things Jon mentions are examples of what Jon thinks is wrong with the internet; he mentions this to say that the internet–though we love it–compromises our lives at the same time that it helps us.This is a big issue among philosophers, scientists and other academics.
Cancel-culture is the situation where netizens and social media platforms ban users because they don’t like what those users have said–even if what they said was just the truth, or scientific facts or sensitive.
Doxing (from “document dropping”) is taking someone’s personal information–or a company’s corporate information–and releasing it on the internet in order to bring harm to that person or company.
Don: I don’t know what that means.
Don is not into issues, particularly AI, so doesn’t know what’s going on  about that issue or the internet.
Jon: We need regulation.
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More on this later….

Staff or Staffs?

Maria: We need to hire more staffs.

Tony: Yeah. There’s too much work.

Amber: Sticks?

Maria: Huh?

Tony: What?

Amber: You say we need staffs.

Maria: Right! T: Mmm.

Amber: Look: staffs are sticks.

Tony: “…”

Maria: No, they’re clerks.

Amber: No; ‘staffs,’ with an `s` means “sticks.”

And the reason? 


‘Staff,’ as in “company staff” is a non-count noun, thus a company, restaurant or shop wanting to hire more workers must refer to them as staff, as not “staffs,” as in:

Sony Hiring Additional Staff

Hiring Additional Staff

Most companies and restaurants–as well as other shops which put signs in the windows simply write:

Now Hiring

So every time you see a shirt in Japan or Korea that reads “Staffs”, it can correctly only mean:

‘the entire body of employees at several companies’



…in the minds of the native English speakers who see them–or at least that is what they think for a moment!

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Will or Going To

From Twitter

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Care For And Care About

If we accept the enormous challenge of moving to another country, we find that how we are treated there is more important than the charms of our new home; we need people to care ____ us.
a. of
b. for
c. about
There are 2 possible answers, but they have different meanings.

The answers–according to Standard English Style–are b and c.

To care aboutsomeone means to be concerned for his or her well-being. To careforsomeone is to tend totake care of that person, as a mother, wife or nurse does–or other loving family members and professionals do.
1. Whenever I was sick during my childhood, my mother cared for me every day that I was home from school. She would bring me meals and hot tea in bed, give me medicine and check my temperature.
2. My father had to work during the day and early evening, so when he got home he cared about me by asking my mother whether I had drunk enough water and had taken my medicine, then he would come visit me in my room and ask me the same questions–just to make sure.
Notice in  example 1. that the speaker’s mother is actually tending to, or taking care of him physically; she is there, bringing him things and examining his condition–in the room. This is caring for.
Notice in  example 2. that the speaker’s father asked questions about his convalescence (his getting better — his recovery. He is not actually doing something. This is caring about.
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【会話で使える過去完了】The Past Perfect 

We use the the Past Perfect only when talking about an event in the past that occurred before another event in the past. We don’t use it to talk about one event in the past.

  1. I had lived in Korea before I moved to Japan. (2 Past Tense Events Expressed)

2. Actually, I went home to America, first. (1 Past Tense Event Expressed)

3. So, I had lived in New York for five years before coming to Japan. (2 Past Tense Events Expressed)

NOTE to Number 3: In the second part of the sentence we use a gerund of come–which is the noun form of that verb; you can see it has ing  the end, with before providing the context of a simple past event.

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【使い分け】”Most of” or “Most?”

In each statement (numbers 1 and 2), which version  (A or B) of each is Correct?
Statement 1.
Option A
Most of Koreans like Kimchi.
Option B
Most Koreans like Kimchi.
Statement 2.
Option A
Most of Koreans like Kimchi prefer fresh Kimchi.
Option B
Most of the Koreans who like Kimchi prefer fresh Kimchi.
In statement 1 we do not need `of ` because ‘most’ directly modifies ‘Koreans;’ How many Koreans?  … 90% (meaning most). The answer is B.
In statement 2 we need `of `+ the Koreans who, because we are talking about a subset, or a group within (or coming from) a another group. We could also phrase it this way:
Of the Koreans who like Kimchi, most prefer fresh kimchi.
Do you like kimchi; what kind?
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【会話で間違いやすい】”In The Case of” Vs. “With” 

Which is better?

A. In the space shuttle’s case, the vehicle lands like a plane.

B. In the case of the space shuttle, the vehicle lands like a plane.

Or, for a more easily understood example:

A. In flower’s case, minerals, water and sunlight are essential.

B. In the case of flowers, minerals, water and sunlight are essential.

I hope you picked B.

There is a lot of confusion about using “in my case.” It starts when we try to talk about other things. We say:

“In Science’s case….” This is awkward. And it is especially awkward when we say “car’s case” (a word ending in an ‘s’). 

We should’t say “in car’s case” for two reasons:

First, it should be “the car’s,” but we shouldn’t put ‘s after ‘car’ to begin with. A car cannot own anything. It’s not alive.  

Second, as we are speaking about a car specific to our example–such as in the case of ”our car” or a car in our situation, it becomesthe car.” So we say “in the case of the car”

Now that we have that cleared up, it is far easier to say:

“with the car,” which has the same conversational meaning as “in the case of the car.”

Similarly, we say, “with me,” as in:

With me, I don’t like carrying umbrellas.

Of course we can simply say, “I don’t like carrying umbrellas.” But of course, as you are a person and you can possess experiences, you can say:

In my case, I don’t like umbrellas. This sounds technical, cold, clinical. Any time you use the word ‘case’, you sound like a clinician, a doctor, a scientist–a nerd if you are not one of those professionals or speaking in a professional situation.

So, I ask you once again:

A. In the Saturn Five rocket’s case, the vehicle loses sections as they run out of Fuel.

B. In the case of the Saturn Five rocket, the vehicle loses sections as they run out of fuel.

I hope you picked B. And of course, we can say:

A. With the Saturn Five rocket, the vehicle loses sections as they run out of Fuel.

Now look at this:

My brother is always late; in the case of my sister, I can depend on her being on time.

We change the sentence to a less technical and more casual sounding expression:

My brother is always late  (We don’t need to reference his case; we aim to speak simply in English); with my sister, I can depend on her being on time.

Any questions?



【会話で学ぼう】Get A Bite

Jon: Where can we get a bite?

(To “get a bite” is to have something to eat.)

Don: What’ya want?

(“What’ya want?” is a slang contraction of “what do you want?”)

Jon: Not meat.

Don: Japan’s not veggie-friendly.

(“veggie-friendly” means providing options and consideration to vegetarians.)

Jon: Why? D: Why are ya veggie?

Jon: I wanna live long, strong. I care about Earth–all species!

Jon is:

a. political

b. socially conscious*

c. weird (very strange)

d. a granola

e. a, b & d

1. All the answers here are okay, but ‘e’ is best. Jon might be “weird” in Japan, but not in English-speaking countries, where vegetarianism has been popular for decades. Many famous people in history were/are vegetarians.

2. A “granola” is a health-conscious person.

This comes from Granola Bars , which are alternatives to candy bars and thought to be healthier. They usually contain raisins, nuts, dried fruit, honey, brown sugar and rolled oats–sometime yogurt morsels.

*Socially conscious refers to a state of mind highly popular in the West. If one is socially conscious s/he makes consumer choices that support companies which are seen to care about the environment, species rights, indigenous people, fair trade and labor concerns. Some socially conscious people, for example, will not buy products from China, because of China’s human rights record, treatment of the Dalai Lama and Tibetans–as well as of Turkistan and Taiwan. 

Others will not buy cosmetics which come from animal testing (these are called cruelty-free). Vegetarians often will not buy anything that includes animal skins (“leather”) or tuna from companies known to obtain fish from slave labor or which over-fish the oceans(Thai Union, Chicken of The Sea, Bumble Bee). The idea is that consumers can change conditions in the world by nor purchasing products that come from harmful and careless companies.

Vegetarians have a much smaller carbon footprint, meaning they contribute far less to global warming and environmental destruction than do meat eaters.

【クイズで学ぼう】Getting to Know You

Choose the best answer:

1. Hi. ____ nice to meet you.

a. Is

b. It’s

2. _____ I _____ your name?

a. Do / know

b. Can / get

c. May / have

3. Where ________ from?

a. are

b. did you

c. are you

d. are you come

4. Do you ______ if I ask what you do?*

a. care

b. mind

*what one’s job is

Continue reading “【クイズで学ぼう】Getting to Know You”

Have You Seen Apollo 11?

Welcome! This is a typical kind of conversation among friends that you might hear in America or in another western country:

Tweet 1

Jon: So, Don, have you seen Apollo 11?

Here, Jon does not say ‘movie,’ he simply names the title.

Don: No. I don`t know about that man.

This means Don does not trust the situation or does not think it is true.

Jon: You don`t think we went to the moon?

Don: Well, how do you trust the government?

Apollo was the government program that sent men to the moon. Because the government lied before–like about the Vietnam War, people started to distrust the Apollo program.

Jon: It’s probably the most publicly documented* event in history.

Don: What’s that mean? 

Jon: It means all the information is public! You can find all of it!

*This means that because NASA is completely paid for by taxes, everything it does is available for the public to see. Everything about the American space program is available by mail–in books or on the internet.

Tweet 2

Don: Is Apollo 11 a good film?

Jon: ‘Don`t know; ‘haven`t seen it yet.

Like Speakers of Japanese, native speakers of English often omit the subject ‘I’ in casual speech.

Don: So, I guess I shouldn’t judge until I do.

Don means he shouldn’t form an opinion about the movie until he does see it.

Jon: Let’s go. I’m sure it’ll be great!

Don: How do you know so much about @NASA.

Jon: Some of the greatest things are hidden in a place called books!

Jon wants Don to read books–and he is being sarcastic (saying exaggerated or opposite things to make a point, to be mean or to be funny; here is trying to make a point and be funny).

Don: You’re funny!

Happy English Speaking!