When I started learning Japanese I used to use “もっと” for every comparison (比較). メロンパンはもっと美味しいです。 彼はもっと太い。 People could understand my meaning, but my speaking was a little childish. Of course now I use “より” and “の方が”. In English, just like Japanese, it’s possible to use “more” or “less” for every comparison. But this will make […]

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A syllable is one unit of sound used in speech. They may seem uninteresting, but some grammar rules will become simpler if you know how to count the length of a word in this way. So, as an introduction to my next blog post, here is a short lesson: Syllables are the individual sounds of […]

Christmas is the most magical time of year for many people around the world, not just the English. Even here in Japan couples get together and exchange gifts, go somewhere romantic, or enjoy the beautiful illuminations. But for the English, Christmas is a time for presents family. Whole families get together for a party, high calorie […]

To non-native speakers of English it is easy to become confused with the phrase “had better”. Many think of this as a kinder, softer way to say “should”. After all, the word “better” means it’s good right? But, English is not always so simple, and in this case you may end up upsetting someone if […]

Many people here in Japan have difficulty using ‘May as well’ and ‘Might as well’. Part of the problem is translating the phrase. But a bigger problem is books and teachers simply teaching it incorrectly. In my time teaching I have heard this phrase explained, usually by non-native teachers, as: “A gentle way of saying […]

I had the pleasure of meeting Softbank’s new wonder toy “Pepper” while in Ginza today. Although currently fixated on selling mobile phones, internet packages and dancing for customers, Pepper is certainly worth a look. Pepper will watch your movements, reply to your questions and wave her/his arms wildly just like you would expect from any […]

I often find myself explaining the difference between “most” and “almost”, which frequently get confused. I regularly hear sentences like: Almost Japanese people have black hair. Is this ok? No, unfortunately not. In this sentence you should use “most”. But why?   Most Most means: More than 50% and less than 100%. We use it […]