2012年04月

英会話ワンポイントレッスン31.トーク・アベニュー新宿 "Used to"

Used to can have many very different meanings in the English language.

One meaning is that something used to be true, or it was true in the past but is not true today. For example, the sentence "I used to work for IBM" means that in the past I worked for IBM, but now I do not. Other examples of used to in this way:
  • I used to drive a motorcycle when I was in college.
  • Tiffany used to be very athletic before she injured her leg.
  • Do you remember the name of the restaurant we used to go to sometimes on sundays?

A second meaning for used to is the idea that you are accustomed to something, or that something has become bearable to you. It often appears following the verb get. In the sentence "Gary is getting used to the cold weather in Moscow", it suggests that while the cold weather used to bother him, it now doesn't bother him as much. Other examples include:
  • I have to get used to waking up at 5:00am for my new job.
  • I'm used to the hot weather but I can't stand the humidity.
  • Living in another country, it may take some time to get used to the culture and your new environment.

A third meaning is a passive construction of the verb "use", and means that something is used for the purpose of doing something. For example "A hammer is used to pound nails into wood." Or "A saw is used to cut wood". It tells the purpose of how they are used. More examples:
  • Shovels are used to dig holes in the ground.
  • A washing machine is used to clean clothes.

*Please note that in the first two usages, the pronunciation for used to often drops the "d" sound. For example "I used to (yoos to) work at IBM", or "I'm used to (yoos to) the cold". For the third example, the "d" is clearly said. For example, "A pencil is used to (yoosed to) write."

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英会話ワンポイントレッスン30.トーク・アベニュー新宿 "The _______ after next; The _______ before last"

Many people know how to say tomorrow, next week, yesterday, and last week. These phrases indicate a time span of 1 unit (i.e. "day", "week", "month", "year") into the future or past. However, when you want to talk about two time units into the future or path (i.e. two months, two weeks, two days, etc.) we have a special grammar pattern to describe it. For example:
  • Next week I will be saying in Osaka, and the week after next, I will travel to Kobe.
  • Next month will be very busy for us, but the month after next we should have more time to discuss this.
  • I hope to have the business online by next year, and to be making profits by the year after next.

These are ways of talking about things to happen in the future. When you want to refer to the past, you can use the following, similar pattern. For example:
  • Last week was very cold, but the week before last was quite warm!
  • The year before last, I traveled to France to study French.
  • Does anyone remember the name of the man who called the day before last?

We do NOT say the noun twice, such as "The week after next week" or "The month before last month", though it is understood that way by the listener.

(Note that the above patterns can be used with most time units, including the hour after next, the minute before last, etc., though it is most commonly used with the units of "week", "day", "month", or "year".

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