Paying for Studies (Fees)

From Twitter

Talking about College (Choose the best answer):

Jon: What’s your ___ ?
Chulsu: You mean the fee–like how much?
Jon: Yes.
Chulsu: I’m confused.
Jon: Well, it has many parts: books, housing, activities– but we just say ”__.”
Chulsu: Oh.

a. class cost
b. tuition
c. tuition fee

It is true that tuition and tuition fee mean the same thing, but tuition is shorter and tuition fee is really only useful when we are talking about other fees along with it:

This month I had to pay tuition-, maintenance- and parking- fees! I’m going to a need a second job!

Hikaru and Jim are two students in their first year of college at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan.Hikaru is from Japan and Jom from Ohio. Getting used to life in New York City is exciting, but expensive. School of Visual Arts is an extremely expensive private art college, so the young men often worry about paying for it….

Hikaru and Jim are having lunch at Au Mon Pain, luncheon a chain:

Hikaru: Do you have to pay your tuition fee this month?
Jim: Yeah. No–wait–what do you mean, man?
Hikaru: Don’t you have to pay for your classes?
Jim: Sure, but, we don’t say ”tuition fee.” What else would tuition be if not a fee? In fact, a tuition fee sounds like an additional payment we must make… plus the tuition.
Hikaru: What do you mean?
Jim: Tuition is a fee. You don’t need to say “fee.” It’s like saying “fee” twice– like “automobile car”.
Hikaru: Really?
Jim: Really.

Care of/Take Care?/Care About?

From Twitter
Quiz (クイズ )
Choose the right phrase to complete the sentence:

__ one’s health is important for a long, good life. (1)
__ yourself; I’ll see you next year. (2)
__ the things you can change. (3)

a. Take care of
b. Care about/care for
c. Care of
d. Concerning about

Answers: c, a, b:
Care of one’s health is important for a long, good life. (1.)
Take care of yourself; I’ll see you next year. (2.)
Care about the things you can change. (3.)

1. ‘Care of’ is used in formal speech and writing (like in expository writing). Simply: We don’t use ‘Care of’ in everyday speech.

2. ‘Take care of’ is used with things and people we directly interact with. We take care of ourselves. Simply: ‘Take care of’ is active

3.Care about‘ is used with subjects as a whole and often for things and people we do not necessarily directly interact with. John is an auto mechanic, but cares about the space program. Simply: Care aboutit is abstract.

The care of the soul is a subject of most religions. (1.)
I told my mom I would take care of cleaning my room before going out. (2.)
Mom cares about my play-time, but more about my room being clean. (3.)

[To] Find Hotel[s] And [A] School

6th Avenue Looking South from about 52nd Street, NYC

From Twitter
You’re going to NYCーthe greatest city in the world! Butーyou don’t know where the Kendo schools are or where to stay!

Fill in:

Yuniko: I need __ find __ hotel, and __ Kendo school.
Ken: I can help you find ____ schools and hotel_!

a. some
b. a
c. the
d. to
e. s

Yuniko: I need _to_ find _a_ hotel, and _a_ Kendo school.
Ken: I can help you find __some__ schools and hotel_s_!

1. We need ‘to‘ in front of find, because it comes after need (a helping verb); in these situations we use infinitives (‘to‘ + the Verb). ‘Need’ is the verbーso after need we need a noun (as object of the verb); an infinitive is a noun form of a verb (but because we know it is the noun form of a verb implying action to be taken or done, we call it “a Verbal,” too).

Just remember:

Want + t0+ Verb

3. We need a in front of hotel and Kendo school to let the listener know that we are talking about a non-specific entity (someone or something the listener doesn’t know exactly about or hasn’t heard about yetーin the conversationーa new thing.

3. We use ‘some’ and ‘s’ together, because no ‘a’ comes before School and hotel (and there is no space for you to fill in those letters), so we know the speaker is talking about more than on school and more than one hotel.


Choose the best answer:
1. ‘Obviously’ means:
a. odd
b. stubborn in a way of action
c. easily apparent
Answer: C, easily apparent
When something is obvious it very easy to see, understand or conclude.

Choose the best answer:
2. John brought chopsticks to an Italian restaurant.
a. He’s obviously not a golfer.
b. He’s obdurate about his eating utensils.
c. He’s obviously not Italian.
d. He’s French.

Answer: He’s French… no, I’m just kidding; The answer is C: ”He’s obviously not Italian.” An Italian wouldn’t eat spaghetti with chopsticks (except this Italian (American); I, Carl.)

The other choices:
a. He’s obviously not a golfer.
This has nothing to do with it, but it is a reference to a funny scene in a famous movie; The Big Labowski.

b. He’s obdurate about his eating utensils.

`Obdurate’means stubbornly adhering to (sticking to/following) a certain way of doing something with no chance of changing due to suggestions by others. The story in the sentence does not say this about the subject.

d. He’s French. There is no indication of John’s nationality. Although, I wouldn’t be surprised were he French. Just kidding.


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.


From Twitter:

The answer is C, because it makes use of the present perfect (It talks about the past leading up to the present);

> Option A refers to the future:
‘must’ + action as in: “I must go.”

>Option B makes no sense at all:
‘must’ + be requires an adjective or verbal, next, as in:
George must be sick.
I must be going.

Tell It “in Tense”

From Twitter:

この文章を同じ時制で終わらせますか。A man grows evil. His wife sends their son and daughter to live with different families. Later, the son meets an old knight; they travel to save a princess. The son…

a. discovered she’s his sister.
b. finds she’s his sister.
c. marries her.

There are two possible answers here, if we want to satisfy the quiz guideline of remaining in the same tense, but one does not fit the story (and is also terrible).

When we tell a story, a joke, or what happened–we usually use the same tense (the time frame for the action and “be verbs”)–until we can’t any longer because, we must change it to express the past or future or the present continuous. This is especially true when telling the narrative of a novel, a movie or a proverb. I think the reason is–the story exists forever in our imagination, perhaps in our tradition; we will tell the story or joke or anecdote over and over. So in a sense, it doesn’t happen only once; it’s not “history”, exactly–and even if it is, when we retell it and retell it, it is timeless.

By the way, today’s tweet is a story most of us know–from a famous science fiction movie series. Do you recognize it?