Kind of and A Kind of

kind of and a kind of. Adding the indefinite article, “a” makes all of the difference.

We use kind of + adjective to mean “rather” or “somewhat:”

  • I was kind of tired yesterday.
  • The bed was kind of expensive.
  • This curry is kind of spicy.

We use kind of + person to mean “the person’s action is very kind:”

  • It was kind of you to help me with my homework.
  • It was kind of Jack to lend me his car yesterday.
  • Can I help you find something? Yes, that’s very kind of you.

We use a kind of + noun to mean “a type of:”

  • The bed is made from a kind of memory foam.
  • A smart phone is a kind of pocket computer.
  • My sister said I was a kind of crazy person to pay so much for a mattress

Ring and Go off

Ring is both a transitive and intransitive verb, which means you can use it with an object or without an object:

  • ring the dinner bell when dinner is ready. transitive
  • The fireman rang the alarm to get the firemen ready to leave the firehouse. transitive
  • The alarm clock rings at 6:15. intransitive
  • The smoke alarm rings whenever I make toast. intransitive

We use go off to mean begin ringing. Now, I know that off usually has the meaning of stopping or not doing something, but go off is a phrasal verb, which is an idiom. Thus go off means to begin making sound or to begin ringing Go off is an intransitive phrasal verb, so it doesn’t take an object.

  • My alarm clock goes off at 6:15 every morning.
  • The smoke alarm went off when I made toast.
  • The signal goes off when the rice is finished boiling.

Feel bad for and Feel bad

You can use feel bad for +

when you feel sad because the person has some misfortune or trouble:


  • feel bad for Jack because his girlfriend left him.
  • Jenny got laid off from her job. I feel bad for her.
  • There was a terrible storm and many people lost their homes. I fee bad for them.

You can use feel bad for + VerbING when you feel sad because you’ve done something wrong:

  • feel bad for missing your birthday party.
  • She said she feels bad for leaving him, but she doesn’t love him anymore.
  • feel bad for breaking your nice pen. I’ll buy you a new one.

You also can use feel bad when you feel sad because you’ve done something wrong. Here, feel baddoesn’t take an object:

  • Oh my! I missed your birthday. I feel so bad.
  • feel bad because I crashed my car into my sister’s car.
  • I’m sorry for what I said. I feel bad about that.

So note the phrase I feel bad is not the opposite of I feel good! Instead use, I don’t feel well.

Present and Give

First of all, let’s look at the noun, presentPresent means gift and is something that you give someone on a happy occasion, like a birthday present or a Christmas present:

  • I gave my sister a fun present!
  • Jack got many nice Christmas presents.

Give is the verb we generally use with the noun, present in everyday English:

  • gave her a nice present.
  • We gave Tom two presents for Christmas.
  • My mom always gives nice presents to us.

Present is the verb that we use in formal situations to talk about giving something formally, like in a ceremony:

  • The school principal presented each student with a diploma at the graduation ceremony.
  • Tom Hanks has been presented with several Academy Awards.
  • The baseball hero was presented with a special award for his performance.

So present is the formal way of saying give. It would be strange in English to say, for example, “I willpresent her something for her birthday.” “I will give her something for her birthday” is more natural.

Why and Why not

We use why as a short response when someone says something that surprises us or when we want to know the reason. Generally, why is used in response to a positive statement:

  • Jim: I have to miss the party tomorrow.
  • Tom: Why?
  • Jim: Because I have to work.
  • Kim: Today’s meeting was cancelled.
  • Bill: Why?
  • Kim: Because the CEO has some urgent matter to attend to.

In response to a negative statement, we use why not when someone says something that surprises us or when we want to know the reason.

  • Jim: I can’t go to the party tomorrow.
  • Tom: Why not?
  • Jim: Because I have to work.
  • Kim: I heard we won’t have a meeting today.
  • Bill: Why not?
  • Kim: Because the CEO has some urgent matter to attend to.

We also use why not when we want to agree with something that someone said. We think that their suggestion or idea is good, so we can reply with why not.

  • Anne: Let’s order another bottle of wine.
  • Lisa: Sure, why not?
  • Serena: This café looks nice. Let’s go in.
  • Jenny: Ok, why not?

Collective nouns

A collective noun is a noun that refers to a group and in today’s lesson we will focus on collective nouns that refer to groups of people. Here are 15 common collective nouns that refer to groups of people:

army,  audience,  band,  board,  choir, class,  community,  crew,  crowd,  family,  group,  panel,  staff,  team, &  troupe

For example:

  1. An army is a group of soldiers.
  2. An audience is a group of spectators at an event.
  3. band is a group of musicians.
  4. board is a group of company executives.
  5. choir is a group of singers.
  6. class is a group of students.
  7. community is a group of people who live in a certain area.
  8. crew is a group of people who work on a vehicle like a train, ship, plane, etc.
  9. crowd is a large group of people.
  10. family is a group of related people.
  11. group is many people together.
  12. panel is a group of people who are experts in a certain field.
  13. staff is a group of workers in a store or office.
  14. team is a group of players or athletes.
  15. troupe is a group of dancers

In American English, collective nouns are generally considered to be singular. For example, we would say The class is studying hard. However in British English, collective nouns are generally considered to be plural, so they would say The class are studying hard. Here are some example sentences with these collective nouns in American English:

  1. The army is marching on the street.
  2. The audience enjoyed the concert.
  3. The band played for three hours.
  4. The board meets once a week.
  5. The choir sings wonderfully.
  6. The class did well on the exam.
  7. The community is very small and everyone knows each other.
  8. The crew sailed the boat to victory.
  9. crowd gathered in the park.
  10. The family is the taking a vacation.
  11. The group is ready to depart the hotel.
  12. The panel has made a decision.
  13. The staff is upset about the policy changes.
  14. The team can win the game if they play well.
  15. The troupe dances six nights a week.

At , In , On

Let’s have a look at the prepositions atin, and on and see how we use those in English to talk about time.

We use at to talk about clock time. Keep in mind that noon means exactly 12:00pm and midnightmeans exactly 12:00am (0:00):

  • I got up at 6:30 and took my dog for a walk. *Use at for clock time.
  • We usually eat lunch at noon.
  • I went to bed at midnight last night, so I’m a little tired today.

We use on to talk about the day or date:

  • I get up early on Monday’s because I have early classes that day. *Use on for day or date.
  • My friend Jack’s birthday is on March 21st.

We use in for months, so look at the difference in these two sentences:

  • Nick’s birthday is in June. *Use in for months.
  • Nick’s birthday is on June 3rd*Use on for day or date.

We use in for all other large units of time:

  • Christmas is in December*Use in for months.
  • Tomoko came to the USA in 2011*Use in for years.
  • The Beatles were popular in the 1960’s*Use in for decades.
  • There were many new electronic inventions in the twentieth century*Use in for centuries.
  • The artifacts in that museum exhibition were made in the middle ages*Use in for long time periods.
  • In the Stone Age, early humans used tools made from stone. *Use in for very long time periods.

There are also some fixed expressions that use atin, and on. We say in the morning, in the afternoon and in the evening BUT at night:

  • I have a meeting in the morning.
  • Why don’t we go to the café in the afternoon.
  • Many people drive on the highway in the evening.
  • I like to relax at night.