29 Jul

want bad or want badly?

My new car, GTI

There are a few expressions that are hard to find what is correct. The problem is mostly because people speak and write them in a different way.

A few weeks ago, I was texting James.

Me: “Wanna go to a VW dealership with me to test drive GTI?”

James: “I would like to but I hurt my back yesterday.”

After I go back from a dealership,

me: “Just got back from a dealership. I loved it. Want it ______”

At this point, I had to stop typing to think a little more. Instead of saying, “I want it so much,” I wanted to say, “Want it badly.” As I was typing, it felt weird to put badly there. I think I remembered some of my friends saying, “Want it bad.”

So, I stopped and started researching about the difference. Well, you know what! Basically, either one is fine when you speak but, when you write, badly would be better. However, according to Merriam-Wbester’s Dictionary of English Usage, “bad” is a special case and sometimes acts as an adverb. That means we do not need to really care about the choice here.

We can say, “I want her bad,” or “I want her badly.”

Which one do you use mostly, bad or badly?

I think I am going to stick with badly as I used in my text to James. At the end of the day, if we can deliver what I mean to my friends, it is pretty good enough, isn’t it?

21 Feb

deadbeat vs dead beat

Who taught: James

Deadbeat (source: http://www.babble.com/)

About two weeks ago, there was Ari’s birthday party where I danced with her. She is an amazing dancer. On the other hand, I have no experience in dancing. She led me the whole time when we danced. Now, I do not even remember what happened. Maybe sometime in the future I should try to learn. It is interesting to see how people are different from each other and enjoy different things. Anyways, my friend, James also was there. Jessy and I picked him up to go to the venue of the party. On the way to the place, we talked about the time Jessy and I spent together for more than 13 years. I cannot exactly remember how this kind of conversation started. But, I think we talked about why we are trying to buy a house now. We said we want to buy it now because this year is the year of our 10th anniversary.

In the middle of the conversation, we had a chance to talk about how we met and how much I was poor back then. When we were dating, we both were college students but, right after we started to date, I told Jessy, “I think you are going to marry me.” Her reaction??? She laughed!! And after a few years of dating…… what happend?? We got married. I was right, wasn’t I? But, the problem was I was still a student. She had to work to support me till I graduated. Jessy’s parents, of course, did not like it.

When we talked about this story to James. He said, “So, Terry, you were like a deadbeat to Jessy’s parents.” As it usually is the case, I did not know the expression, “deadbeat.” From the context, I was able to kind of feel it. But, not really fully grasp it. What does it mean? Here is the definition for you.

A lazy person or a person who does not do what he/she is supposed to do. A person unable to pay his/her bills. Someone of low financial standing.

Well, James was right. I was not the one who was paying anything. Jessy even payed for my books. It was a hard time for me because my father was also very close to being a deadbeat because of his failure from his construction business. As I look for this expression, I found that this expression can also be used to mean differently.

Soppose that you just finished a triathlon competition. How would you feel? You would feel so exhausted, right? Then, here is what you can say. “I am dead beat now.” Interestingly, in this case, you need to put a space between “dead” and “beat.” It does not really matter when you speak though. So, be aware of these different usages of the same expression.

FYI, I do not think I am a deadbeat anymore. šŸ™‚ Am I right, Jessy?

17 Nov

the name of the game

Who taught: James

This cannot be true. NO NAME?? (source: crunchberry.org)

In the United States, there are two major communication tools that are used in many companies. One is email and the other one is IM(Instant Messenger). Back when I was in Korea, most of the companies did not like the usage of IM at work. They believed that it is used only for informal chats with friends or coworkers and not for work. Thus, they thought it is really bad for work productivity. Some companies actually blocked a few most common IMs. Not sure how it looks like these days in Korea.

But, in the U.S., IM is one of the critical parts of the communications at work. I have used it so many times to share ideas with my coworkers or even to give updates of my work to my boss, etc.

A few days ago, I had a chance to talk to James using IM. He is my friend and works for the company that I used to work. We had a chance to talk about some sort of work-related stuff. One point I said, “We had to get the things out the door for the customers.” He said, “That is the name of the game.” When he said that, I kind of felt what he meant by it but was also puzzled. So, I had to ask him to make sure what I thought was correct or not, “What is the name of the game? Are you saying ‘Get the things out the door’ is another game or something?” “Oh, no, it is an expression,” said he.

Here is his explanation about the expression, the name of the game.

The essential part or quality necessary for the success of an enterprise or the fulfillment of a goalĀ because when you’re trying to make up games, you try to name them whatever the main point is

To make it easier for you to understand, the name of the game is pretty much the same as “the way the game is played.” One of the best situations you may use this expression is when you really try to play any kind of game with your friends. You can simply say, “So… does everybody know the name of the game?” (I am kind of afraid this would sound like I am really asking whether they know literally the name of the game, though.) Am I right, my American friends? I am going to use this one next time I play a game with Andrew or play squash with Phil.

01 Nov


Who taught: Jessy

Candy-ass (source: www.flickr.com)

Yesterday was Oct 31st, 2010. It was Halloween. Based on what I felt, starting from Halloween, the whole U.S. gets into the long holiday mode. They decorate houses with pumpkins and scary toys for Halloween and, in November, it turns into the Thanksgiving mode. Finally, there is a Christmas in December. Christmas decoration is the best. You should really try to be in the U.S. and see them. It is amazing.

Along with the decorations, there are certain things happening on Halloween day, such as trick-or-treating, wearing costumes, and parties. Jessy and I did not wear costumes or trick-or-treat. But, we decided to go to a haunted house with Alex and Sangeetha for the first time in our lives. It was fun and kind of scary. Jessy decided to be the last one in our group. Bad choice! (She also admitted it.) All of the scary characters in the house were following us but, since she was the last one, they basically followed her. šŸ™‚ So, if you ever go to a hunted house, try not to be the last one in your group!

Speaking of scary stuff, there is an expression I learned from Jessy. Do you know what sissy means? Last winter, when I went snowboarding, there was a friend of James who was with me. He was trying to follow me to do a big air which basically jumps over a huge jump area and flies like 10 – 20 yards. (Yes, that is what I do with my snowboard.) It really requires the guts to be able to do it. By the time we got to the starting point, he said, “Oh man! I do not think I can do it. You go ahead. I think I will be sissy this time.” Now, you can get the feeling of the word, right? It means a pejorative for a boy or man to indicate that he fails to behave according to the traditional male gender role. The expression I want to tell you today, though, is a different one. It is candy-ass. It is the same meaning to sissy. But, I like candy-ass one more. I think it is not a word or expression you would use a lot. But, try to find the proper time when you are with your male friends and use it. It will be fun. Every time you, as a non-native English speaker, use this kind of expressions to your American friends, they will be so impressed. Am I right, my American friends?

26 Sep

English pronunciation

Who taught : Andrew, Jake, James and Carl

There is a new tv show started last week. It is called, “Outsourced.” I love it. It shows a lot of cultural differences between America and India. You should really try to watch it and let’s talk about it later.

Do you know what file type I hate most?Ā It is zip file.

Do you know why? Well… it is so hard to pronounce. A few months ago, I was having a meeting with a client and there were James, one of my old coworkers, and Carl, my old boss. After the meeting, I went into Carl’s room to have another meeting and, at the end of the meeting, he taught me how to pronounce zip correctly. And, interestingly, when James and I had brunch together last Saturday, heĀ mentioned about his feeling about my pronunciation of zip file. It is actually kind of frustrating to have the feeling that I would never be able to have a correct pronunciation for some of the alphabets or words.

There are a few other alphabets or words that are hard to pronounce correctly. (Here, I mean really correctly like Americans, not like mimicking the sound!)

1. v and th

A lot of Koreans, or Asians, pronounce this incorrectly so that many American people think we are saying “b” instead. For example, when you are looking for a “vase” but if you pronounce it incorrectly, then it becomes “base.” The other example is any word having “th.” More specifically, if you trying to say that you are “thinking” now but, if you say it incorrectly, then it becomes to mean that you are “sinking” now. Then your American friends would be like, “to where are you sinking down?”

2. wood

This one looks pretty easy to pronounce but it, in fact, is very hard to pronounce correctly. Jessy has a friend who came to the U.S. around 20 years ago when she was around 25 years old. She has children who of course are native English speakers. One time, she had a conversation with her children and she said “wood.” As soon as she said that word, her children said to her, “Mom, that is not correct. Say it again!” So, she tried again and again but still the pronunciation was not correct. You know what happened eventually. Her children said, “Mom! You are never gonna be able to pronounce it correctly at all.”

How frustrating it is! Remember! She has been living in the U.S. for 20 years. 20 years!

3. Square or Squirrel

Well, I had a very similar experience with what Jessy’s friend had. I live in a neighborhood, called Squirrel Hill, in Pittsburgh. One time, I was talking about this neighborhood to Andrew and Jake. As soon as I said it, they were like, “Terry! What? Say it again!” So, I kind of realized that I spoke it incorrectly and tried really really hard to pronounce it correctly. Then, they said, “That is pretty good. Before, it was not correct.”

Then, a few days ago, I was talking about something and I said “Square Root” to Andrew and Jake. Then, they were like, “Hey! Terry! Say it again?” Yeah, they challenged me again. So, I tried again. Andrew and Jake! How was I? Do you think I need more practices? I guess so, right?

So, as a non-native English speaker, what is the hardest word or alphabet for you to pronounce? I think mine is “Z” alphabet and any word having it like Zoo or Zip. The real hope I have now is I wish I can speak those ones really good so that no one can recognize me as a non-native English speaker. There must be some ways to practice. Does anybody know how to practice to pronounce those alphabets correctly?