"Hello guys!"...oops!...er, sorry, I mean...

...Hello folks!

During many of my English-conversation classes, the topic of plane rides and travelling always comes up in many of our discussions. This means that, more often than not, I will hear my clients using the term, "stewardess". 

For example, 

"Then, the stewardess told me to put my seat up and get ready for lunch..." 
"Oh, I see. So, the flight attendant wanted to make room for the person behind you?"
"Huh? What's flight attendant?" 

I always have to remind each of my students that, these days, many native English-speakers try to avoid using gender-specific terms like stewardess or policeman. Instead, gender-neutral terms like, flight attendant and police officer are used. Why? Because woman work at these jobs too! And because some people feel that declaring their gender is not important and they wish to kept it private. 

One day, a student told me:

"The waitress brought me the wrong dish and I got angry!"
"Oh, I see. So, your server mixed up your order?" I corrected. 

So, which gender do you think the "server" was? Yes. The server was (most likely) a woman. We know because the student used the word "waitress". The "-ess" is called a suffix and suffixes go at the end of words.
In this case, "-ess" means "female-version of ___". So, the male is "waiter" and the female is "waitress". The male is "prince" and the female is "princess". Yet, many woman find this to be disrespectful because  "princess" = "prince" + "-ess", which means the male-form is the original root of the word and it is found inside the "female-version".  Notice that the word "female" has the root "-male" in it already. 

So, if you use "waitress", then people will know that that person was a woman. Also, there are some people who are biologically-female, and feel they are male. This is another reason why people use gender-neutral language and terms. Some people want to keep their gender private and believe that it doesn't matter if the person is (perceived as) female or male. 

Really, I believe that it is your choice which type of language to use, however, I usually use gender-neutral language because most people seem to appreciate it as respectful and because it seems to avoid conflict. :)

Here is a list of some gender-neutral terms and their antiquated pair.

fireman ---> fire fighter
waiter / waitress ---> server
stewardess / steward ---> flight attendant 
salesman / saleslady ---> sales person / sales clerk
chairman ---> chairperson
councilman ---> council member
deliveryman ---> delivery person / delivery clerk
freshman ---> first year student

fellow-student ---> co-student
stock boy ---> grocery clerk
paper boy ---> paper carrier
maid / chambermaid --->  housekeeper
manpower ---> workers
mankind ---> humanity / humankind 
manmade ---> handmade
house wife ---> homemaker (since men can stay home and "make the home" as their vocation)

There are many more, so stay tuned to this blog for more in the future...or just check the internet. Search keywords: gender-neutral terms / titles, etc. 

Oh yeah...I forgot one more:

guys ---> folks

Hahaha....so....now you know why I made a mistake at the beginning of this blog post. At first, I said "guys", which means "males". Many people say, "guys" when they are referring to a group of people, even if there are woman in that group. Instead, I chose to say, "folks", which is an old-fashioned way of saying, "people". However, if more people begin to use this gender-neutral word...than it won't be so "old-fashioned" anymore!

Happy English!

Please, please subscribe to my YOUTUBE CHANNEL!

Do you wanna tutor online with me? Message me for a free trial lesson...special summer rates:

Gerry  ( ;)


Hi everyone, 

Since I just did a blog post on forming phrasal verbs with "up", I figured I would do a blog post on phrasal verbs with "down". (To 'figure' something, in this case, means 'to think something is appropriate and a good idea'.)

Most (but not all), phrasal verbs with "down" in them mean:

                       *to reduce something

For example, 

tone down = reduce the volume or frequency of something
"Please tone it down! Your noise is too loud!"
"You should tone down your drinking (alcohol)!"

cut down (on) = reduce your intake / participation of something
"I need to cut down on how much bread I eat."
"Cut down on your complaining! You sound like a baby!"

break down = reduce how complicated (difficult to understand) something is 
(to divide an idea or concept into parts to understand it better)
“I know the lesson is difficult. Let me break it down for you.”
“You can ask the accountant and she will break down the numbers for you.”

dumb downreduce the intelligence of something
“The people could not understand him, so the scientist had to dumb down his explanation.”
“Over the years, television has dumbed people down.”

play down = reduce the importance of something
Why are you playing down your achievements? You have accomplished a lot in this company!”
The politician tried to play down the seriousness of the disaster.”

drag down = reduce something to the same (low) level
You should not spend so much time with your friends. They are dragging you down at school.”
I want to stop dating (you). You are dragging me down. I want more from life.”

However, there are some phrasal verbs (but are not many) with "down" that do not mean 'to reduce __'.
For example: 
let (someone) down = to fail to help someone / to fail to keep a commitment 
"I am sorry I let you down. I will do better next time!"

Yet, almost of the other phrasal verbs with "down" mean to 'reduce ___'.

Check out my Youtube video where I talk more about phrasal verbs with "down":

If you have any questions, or have a phrasal verb with "down" and you want to know if it means to 'reduce something', post a reply below!

Happy English!

English Expressions
Hello everyone,

Some weeks ago, I did a video on Youtube about adding the preposition "up" to some simple verbs to form "phrasal verbs". 

Remember, this is only done to some verbs. 
For example: 
*eat ---> eat up                          
*clean ---> clean up
*listen ---> listen up
*pay ---> pay up
*wait ---> wait up
*drink ---> drink up

"Listen up" is a little different than just saying "listen". It does not mean "listen to something that is above you". That would be verb + preposition (up) and this has a physical meaning (direction).
"Listen up" is said in the imperative form and means you want someone to diligently and attentively listen. 
So, adding "up" to these simple verbs is like forming a "phrasal verb" because the combination of the verb and "up" forms a slightly different meaning than the verb alone or than the verb with the preposition "up". 

When native English-speakers add "up" to some simple verbs, the meaning (usually and almost) stays the same, but for some verbs, if "up" is not added, the sentence sounds a bit strange. 

When "up" is added to verbs, these verbs are usually said in the imperative form. So, "up" is added to:

*sound more authoritative - we add "up" to a simple verb when we want the person to comply or obey with our command

"Pay me my money!"
"Pay up!" - if someone owes you money, this sounds more authoritative

"Clean your room"
"Clean up your room!"
 - this (can) sound more authoritative and is something a parent might say

*make someone do it quickly and diligently 

"Eat your lunch."

"Eat up your lunch." - a parent or teacher (or someone else of authority) would say this to a young person to make them eat everything and eat it quickly

*make someone do something fully

"Drink everyone!" -this is rarely said
"Drink up, everyone!" - someone might say this at a party meaning they want everyone to drink all of their (alcoholic) drinks

*make someone do something a little bit

"Wait for me! You are walking too fast" - this is rarely said
"Wait up for me! You are walking too fast." -someone might say this if two people are walking together, and one slow person wants the other person to wait (a little)

Watch the Youtube video here (and subscribe to my Youtube Channel for weekly tutoring videos): 

If you have any questions or comments, respond to this post. 

Happy English!

Hello English-learners,

Remember the differences between:
*maybe (adverb)
*may be (modal + verb)

Much of the confusion between 'maybe' and 'may be' exists because both terms have a similar meaning, as they both explain'the level of 'possibility of something happening'.

'Maybe' is an adverb, which means 'perhaps' or 'possibly' and signifies that something will possibly happen.

'May be” is a verb. Where 'may' is the modal verb (auxiliary verb) and 'be' is either the main verb, or the main auxiliary verb of the present or present perfect continuous tenses, so it is followed by '____ing' and may take the form 'has/have been ____ing'.

With this in mind, we are able to distinguish between the two terms by their position in a sentence. 

Since 'maybe' is an adverb, it is usually placed before the subject but can be placed anywhere in the sentence. 

Maybe it will rain tomorrow.
It will rain tomorrow maybe.

Because 'maybe' is an adverb, and adverbs modify verbs, when we use 'maybe', there will always be a main verb in the sentence that it describes. So, one way to test if you should use 'maybe' or 'may be' is to identify a main verb.

Maybe it will rain tomorrow. 
I will rain tomorrow maybe.
-"will rain" is the main verb in both of these sentences

Since 'may be' is a verb, it is always placed after the subject:

She may be coming to the party this Friday. 
-"She" is the subject and "may be" is its verb

The movies may be starting at 9:00pm. Let's check the movie times.
-"The movies" is the subject and "may be starting" is its verb

It can be followed by ____ing or by an ADJECTIVE.

She may be angry at me. ("angry" is an adjective)

From the above examples, you might notice that 'maybe' and 'may be' can be used to represent the same idea or meaning. Therefore, we can substitute each terms for the other - but YOU MUST RE-ARRANGE PARTS OF THE SENTENCE:
She may be cooking dinner tonight. 
Maybe, she is cooking dinner tonight.
She is cooking dinner tonight maybe

They may be arriving at 7:00pm
They are arriving, maybe, at 7:00pm.

Maybe, they are arriving at 7:00pm.

She may be angry at me.
Maybe, she is angry at me. 

Two More tips...

Remember that:

  • you can substitute 'perhaps' to test for 'maybe'
Maybe, he feels cold.
Perhaps, he will pass the test. (this makes sense)

He may be cold.
He perhaps cold. -THIS IS INCORRECT - 'perhaps' cannot be substituted for 'may be'

  • If there is already a main verb, then you will be using the adverb 'maybe'

He _____ cold. (here, there is no verb)
He may be cold.

Maybe, he feels cold. (here, "feels" is the main verb, so we use the adverb 'maybe')

All the best...and if you have any questions, you are welcome to post them below!

Happy English!



Hello English-learners!

Ask me your English questions here! Grammar...speaking...listening...whatever you want!

Also, visit my Youtube Channel!

Gerry (  ;)
Hello everyone, 

Recently, a subscriber to my Youtube Channel offered a discussion about the differences between could and might and could not and might not.

Both of these can describe possibility, however, may and might indicate a possibility that seems more likely to happen. If I had to roughly pinpoint it, I would say that: 
*May / might indicate more of a 'probability', something more likely to happen 60-70%
*Can / could indicate a possibility of about 50-60%

Of course, these are only estimates. 

For example:

I may be home early. (COMMON)
I might be home early. (VERY COMMON)
I could be home early. (not very common - but not rare either)

I can be home early. (this means 'ability' and not possibility - it can mean possibility, but it is not very commonly used in that way


Avoid using could not for possibilities.

Could not is sometimes used for possibilities, but it sounds awkward sometimes. 

I may not be home in time for dinner tonight. (COMMON)

I might not be home in time for dinner tonight.

I could not be home in time for dinner tonight. 
(NOT COMMON for possibility - this sounds formal and old - it also sounds like they are talking about a past ability that could not be done).

I can not be home in time for dinner tonight. 
(this is ability only)

Could not is used for (negative) past abilities, but rarely for (negative) possibilities in the present

Watch my Youtube video on Can and Could here: 

Watch my Youtube video on May and Might here: 

( ;) 
Hello everyone! 

First off, thank you to everyone who has subscribed and visits my English tutoring Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6I25RQpdR4SuVEwcoyZ4tg

This blog post is open to hear from you and your recommendations concerning what new videos you would like to see. 

What type of English tutoring videos do you want Gerry to make in the future?
Thanx for watching!
Hello English-learners!
If you have any questions about...


...you can ask them here and I will try to answer them for you.
Questions posted will be approved by administration. 
Hello English-learners!
If you have any questions about


you can ask them here and I will try to answer them for you.
Questions posted will be approved by administration. 
Hello English-learners!
If you have any questions about...


...you can ask them here and I will try to answer them for you. Questions posted will be approved by administration.