COVID19 is Inhaled

A: You can _ the #CoronaVirus by breathing.

B: Oh?

A: Yes– a bus, train, boat, plane; a room, an office, an elevator–any closed space and with air-con–near infected folks–you can it.
B: Not only by sneeze, cough?

A: Right.
Answers And Explanations
① on, because we get on large vehicles.
② in, because we get in small vehicles.
③ catch, because we catch a virus, a cold, a communicable disease.

On The Joe Rogan Experience podcast, in this episode, Dr. Osterholm explains that you can catch the Corona Virus from people in the same space–near you– just breathing.

Cars And Climate

From Twitter:
A: __ ? I saw a movie on #GlobalWarming; scientists say we shouldn’t idle our engines. Each car matters. __ ?
B: Oh, come on! How much damage can one car do?
A: Many folks do it; the carbon adds up.
B: Pft.
A: Be responsible!

① say
② did you know that
③ you know what
④ listen

Answers And Explanation
You know what? You know what? (Answer Choice 3) means, “Do you want to know something,” and what follows after this expression is the new information; in this case: I saw a movie on Global Warming.
Each car matters.

Did you know that? (Answer Choice 2) means “did you know that fact that I just told you about?”


Your mom married a house?

From Twitter:

A. What do your parents do–if I may ask?
B. Sure. My dad’s a juggler and comedian, and my mom is a housewife.
A. “…”
B. What: why so confused?
A. Your mom married a house?
B. Huh?
A. You said she’s a housewife.
B. Yeah.
A. No, no, no. She’s a __



Answer And Explanation

The answer is ‘homemaker‘, because we like to be more polite to people making a home. Saying house-husband or house-wife sounds demeaning.

Getting It Right

From Twitter:

(1.) Can you __ this with me and make sure it’s good? I would like the
(2.) instructor to be impressed when he __ it.

* see
* look
* look over
* look for
* go over
* looks over
* inspect

Answers and Explanations:
1. go over means to review, proof or proof-read.
2. looks over (third-person-singular-present form, which is needed here) means to check, but from the position of a person who knows better, like an advisor, coach, instructor, a teacher, a boss or some other a superior.

使い分け: 急ぐ・急だ: In A Hurry / an emergency / in a rush

From Twitter
A. Are you __?
B. Yes. C’mon, give me my sandwich and let me pay.
A. Is it __?
B. If it were an emergency would I be buying a sandwich? I have __; I’m meeting my mother-in-law; if I’m late, I die.
A. Then, hurry!

a. an emergency
b. to hurry
c. in a rush

The Answers are:
‘in a rush’ (c)
‘an emergency’ (a)
‘to hurry’ (b)

The first answer can only be ‘in a hurry’:
‘Are you in a hurry? … because we wouldn’t say: ‘are you to hurry? or ‘are you an emergency?’ These expressions do not make sense.

The second answer is easy, because the question begins with ‘is it’, so we know a noun is needed and ‘is it in a rush’ doesn’t make sense, because it refers to something that has not been spoken about; so the only answer is the other noun, ‘an emergency’.

The Third answer must then be (b) ‘I have to hurry.’ Not only is it the only answer remaining, but we can’t say ‘I have in a hurry.’ We could say:I have an emergency‘, but this situation is not an emergency; emergencies are about physical danger or about having to go to the bathroom in a hurry.

Cola? What do you mean?

From Twitter:
答えは? Fill in:
A: What’re you drinking?
B: Cola.
A: You mean seltzer? Root beer? Ginger ale?
B. No. Pepsi.
A. Nobody likes Pepsi; all __ is trash, but if we drink it, we get Coke.
B. What’s ‘__?’
A. What you WANT–not “Cola.” No one says “cola.”

a. pop
b. soda pop
c. soda

Answer: The answer is c. soda.

Though it is true that “cola” refers to carbonated drinks, it generally comes from “Coca Cola”, a brand. The actual definition is:

a carbonated soft drink containing an extract made from kola nuts, together with sweeteners and other flavorings

‘Soda’ is more correct as a reference to carbonated water–thus we say “soda water.” As you can see it is not a product but a condition or state-type of water itself. So actually, it would be more correct to say ‘I’ll have a cola’, but, alas, language is not always sensible and maybe not all sodas are made with the extract of cola nuts.


From Twitter:

Choose the best answers:
Jan: What’s new?
Joe: Not much; and with you?
Jan: I have __ news.
Joe: Really?; __ to hear that.
Jan: Snoobie __.
Joe: Really? Damn. __ too __.

a. good
b. sad
c. that
d. That’s
e. bad
f. glad
g. sorry
h. apologize
j. puppy
k. it is
l. It’s
m. died


Jan: What’s new?
Joe: Not much; and with you?
Jan: I have _b_ news.
Joe: Really?; _‘sorry_ to hear that.
Jan: Snoobie _died_.
Joe: Really? Damn. _That’s_ too _bad_.

We say “what’s new” when meeting old friends.

We answer with the news of our lives or we say “not much”, meaning not much is new.” In Jan’s case, she has “sad news” or “bad news”.

Joe answers about Jan’s sad news saying: ‘sorry to hear that. It is a reduction of “I’m sorry to hear that“meaning he is sorry to learn such news.

Joe precedes his statement of regret with “damn”, a word that was at one time considered to be an expletive (a “curse” word), and which is not the most polite response, but which is accepted now as being very heartfelt. He uses this word probably because he and Jan are close friends.

Going to THE Supermarket

From Twitter:


  • 1. a
  • 2. some
  • 3. the

A: I’m going to supermarket.
B: What do you mean; how can you ”supermarket”?
A: I’m going shopping.
B: Oh, you mean you’re going “to __ supermarket”?
A. Of course! You’re silly!
B. And you speak incorrectly!
A: But you understand.
B. Not always.

The answer is: 3. — ‘the’ ; ‘I’m going to the supermarket.’

Of course, if one says ‘I’m going to’, if the next word is not the name of a place (a proper noun), and is instead a regular noun, it sounds like a verb– especially these days–when people are using non-gerund nouns as well as adjectives in the place verbs, as in, “Politic much?” People wouldn’t be faulted for joking, ‘I’m going to politic at the convention’, because it can be interpreted as trendy or cute–so, if you have ‘to’ before a noun and you are not trying to be cute or trendy, you need an article such as ‘a’ or ‘the’. Articles are necessary if we don’t use names when talking about countable things that are singular.

Articles cue the listener to understand what kind of word is coming next. They help identify things and people. Not using them causes confusion and can deconstruct the grammar–causing misinterpretation in the listener’s head.

Please use articles. If you don’t know how, come see us at SEI.

Living Abroad

From Twitter:


1. One of the things that’s hard to get used to living in Japan is:

a. how close things are.

b. things how close.

c. things so close here.

The answer is ‘a,’ because it is a com construction best follows simple grammar: S + V + Complement (though this is reversed when using ‘how’ as a value reference to a quantity, in this case, in relation to distance):

Complement + S + V : How close (meaning “so close”) + things + are

Options ‘b’ and ‘c’ have no verbs, so cannot complete the sentence.

2. A thing that’s hard to get used to living in the US is:

a. no Family Mart close.

b. no Family Mart is close.

c. no near mart.

The answer is ‘b’ because it best follows simple grammar:

(no) family mart is close (S + V + Subject Complement)

Vocabulary And Philosophy

From Twitter:

S: Why can’t I speak English?

T: Daily you need immersion–story, talk shows, native conversation and to stop focusing on grammar.

S: Why?

T: It’s peripheral, map learning, not language–which is intuitive, human.

Here ‘peripheral’ means:

a. wrong

b. extra

c. unimportant

The answer is ‘b’. The meaning of peripheral is actually on or at the limits of, on the edge of or just outside of

What is meant here is not that grammar is unimportant, but that it is a method of setting down or establishing rules for consistency in language. Grammar did not come first–language did. And so it is felt that language is natural and thus can be understood naturally. Indeed, the research of linguists shows that human beings have an innate and evolved ability to comprehend grammar. The point is students may need to understand grammar, but to become fluent they have to know when to depart from grammar and start trusting their brain and their daily use of the language. This is how to develop fluency. Not by turning every corner by looking at the map, but by trusting the instinct and exploring without it.