Monday, February 27

What is “Kinda”?

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Kinda” means “kind of.”

I have to warn you though, the expression “a kind of” is different from “kinda.”


First, A Kind Of

Well, “a kind of” is a phrase with three words inside it – an Article, a Noun and a Preposition. It means “type” or “something like.”

For example,

1.       An owl is a kind of bird. (=type)

2.       A DSLR is a kind of camera. (=type)

3.       We need a kind of plan. (= something like a plan)

The first two examples are the same. They’re talking about the Subject (An owl and a DSLR) belonging to a bigger group (bird and camera). So, the meaning is “type.”

On the other hand, the third and last example is a little different because it means “something like.” In the third example, the speaker isn’t sure or cannot say exactly what, so the speaker means “something like this.”

More examples for the third:

1.   A: What is it?

 B: I’m not sure. It’s a kind of grasshopper. (=I’m not sure exactly what, but it’s similar to a grasshopper)

2.   We need a kind of protection. (=I’m not sure exactly what, maybe a helmet, kneepads or elbow-pads)

3.   I guess this is a kind of wall. (=I’m not sure exactly what, but it looks like a wall)

If you want, you can also change “a” to “some” to make the meaning stronger. Like this:

1.  A: What is it?

     B: I’m not sure. It’s SOME kind of grasshopper.

2.  We need SOME kind of protection.

3. I guess this is SOME kind of wall.

Warning: Whether you use “a” or “some,” don’t forget to put it before the Noun. Because this word makes the expression different and separate from “kinda.”

As you might've guessed, if you mix “a kind of “ and “kinda,” you will be wrong.

Next, Kinda

Kinda” is mainly different from “a kind of” because it’s considered as only one word. It means “kind of” but the words are fused together to make only one Vocabulary word: “kinda.”

Also, it is usually used as an Adverb. This means it is used to describe Adjectives.

Like this: 

1.   It’s kinda big. (=a little big)

2.   You’re kinda pale. (=a little white)

3.   He’s kinda handsome. (=somewhat handsome)

The first two examples are the same. “Kinda” belongs to Adverbs  such as “very,” “really,” “completely” etc. So, it is used to tell the degree or level of the Adjective.

Kinda” means “a little. Not a lot or not very.”

So, if you say: “Kinda big,” this means “big” but not “very big.” Just “a little big.”

Or, if your friend is seasick and you are riding a ship, you can say: “You’re kinda pale (white).”

This means her face isn’t really white, but it is “a bit white.”

This is the same as “kinda expensive,” “kinda far,” “kinda difficult” etc. 

As you can see, “kinda” as an expression is common and very useful.

! Just remember that “kinda” is a slang and informal/ casual expression. And because it is such, it’s much better to learn it by feeling. 

"Kinda" has many meanings and situations, and they are very similar and confusing. But if you learn it by feeling, you might be able to practice it and eventually understand it.

Our third and last example:

He’s kinda handsome.

This is a little different because this means “somehow.” It means that the speaker isn’t sure why she thinks so. “Kinda” also means “for some reason.”

For example,

1.   I kinda like it. (=I don’t know why but I like it.)

2.  She’s kinda cute. (=I don’t know the exact reason but I think she’s cute)

3.  That’s kinda weird/ strange. (=I don’t know why exactly but I think it’s strange.)

Finally, Softer

This is why the expression “kinda” is also widely used by native speakers to make their expressions softer; less strong.

For example, if they see a very fat person, they can say: “He’s kinda big” rather than “He’s big.

As you can feel, if you add “kinda” to your sentence, the meaning will be less direct and less strong. And sometimes, less rude.

Let’s have another example:

A: So, do you wanna go drinking with us tonight?

B: Sorry, I’m kinda tired.

A: Did you like the gift?

B: It’s kinda heavy.

You can even use “kinda” alone. Like this:

A: Are you Ok?

B: Kinda.

A: Did you understand the lecture?

B: Kinda. 

Hope you learned something! 

Keep on learning !

Friday, February 24

Me Either? Me Neither? Me Too?

Let’s say, somebody tells you: “I like English. How about you?

How will you answer?

If your answer is: “Me too,” this is good. This is correct.

But when somebody asks you: “I’m not good at English. How about you?” how will you answer?



In this case, to say: “Me too” is wrong.

Why? Because the original sentence or situation is negative:

I am NOT good at English. How about you?

In this case, you have to answer: “Me neither” or “I’m not either.

When you hear a positive sentence and you wanna agree. You can say “too.”


A: I have a dream.

B: Me too. (=OK)

A: I can use a computer.

B: Me too.  (=OK)

A: I hate liars.

B: Me too. (=OK)

But when you hear a negative sentence (with the word “not’) and you wanna agree, it’s a very common mistake to use “too.”


A: I don’t like snakes.

B: Me too. (=X)

A: I don’t have a pet bird.

B: Me too. (=X)

A: I can’t speak Chinese.

B: Me too. (=X)

Like I said, in the case of negative sentences, you have to practice “either” or “neither.” Like this:

A: I don’t like snakes.  

B: Me neither. –or – I don’t either.

A: I don’t have a pet bird.

B: Me neither.  – or – I don’t either.

A: I can’t speak Chinese.

B: Me neither. – or – I can’t either.

A: I won't join the party.

B: Me neither. - or - I won't either. 

* Note: Sometimes, in casual or informal style, people also say: “Me either.” But the original, grammatical expression is: “Me neither.”

Other Ways of Answering

There are other ways of answering, and they are more formal expressions. Also, when you use them, you need to be careful with the Helping Verb:


A: I will join the trip.

B: So will I.

A: I can live by myself.

B: So can I.

A: I like sweets.

B: So do I.

A: I might be late.

B: So might I.

It’s the same with negative sentences:


A: I won’t join that trip. It’s dangerous!

B: Neither will I./ Nor will I.

A: I can’t survive in the mountain by myself.

B: Neither can I. / Nor can I.

A: I don’t like greasy food.

B: Neither do I. / Nor do I.

In summary: 

Hope you learned something!
Keep on learning !

Tuesday, February 21

Mind Your Own Business!

Today I’m here to explain the meaning of a few strong expressions in English: “Mind your own business,” “It’s none of your business ” and “Shut up.”  

Before anything else, the first two expressions absolutely don’t mean anything about business, such as a company, job or office. In fact, you should be careful about using them because they are very direct expressions and very impolite.

But let’s start with the slang word “Shut up" ...

As you know, this word basically means to “stop talking.” Because another word for “close” is “shut.”  For example, “Shut the door,” “Shut the window” and even “Shut down the computer.

So, “Shut up” means “Shut your mouth” or “Shut your trap (this means mouth  too).”

As you might guess, if you speak this word in a loud voice, it can be very strong and very rude.  People should be careful in using it.

If somebody is saying terrible things about your best friend or your girlfriend (boyfriend), you can yell at that person: “Shut up!

This is the first and original meaning of “Shut up.”

Actually, in informal English, “Shut up” has other meanings. It doesn’t always mean bad or impolite.

The second meaning of “Shut up” is also to stop talking. But not as strong as the first.

For example, if your best friend is too excited and he or she starts talking about your top secret plan for the holiday, you can also say: “Shut up!” 

Of course this doesn’t mean you’re really angry at your friend. This time, “Shut up” has the same meaning as: “Shhh! Be quiet!

The third and last meaning of “Shut up” is “I don’t believe you” or “Stop kidding.” But with this, you have to be careful about your voice and intonation. If you try to use it with the wrong intonation, you will be wrong and you will sound impolite.

For example, your friend is talking about the amazing date that he had last night: Sexy girl, beautiful as an actress, dinner by candlelight, expensive restaurant on the rooftop of a building, then coming home to the girl’s apartment… but you can guess that the story isn’t true. At this point, you can tell your friend the third style of “Shut up” - with a smile on your face.

It means: “You’re kidding, right?” or “Stop joking around!

On the other hand, “Mind your own business” and “It’s none of your business” have only one meaning. Their tone is similar to the first meaning of “Shut up” and they are also very direct and impolite.

Both “Mind your own business” and “It’s none of your business” actually mean: “Don’t ask about my private things” or “Don’t join (in a conversation, discussion, argument) when nobody invites you.” When you practice it, try to remember the mood and feeling of “Shut up” (First meaning).

The person you are talking to or the person who will hear your “Mind your own business” will feel hurt and ashamed. It also has the meaning of “Leave me alone” or “Go away.

So, please don’t use these expressions so easily or you might regret it.

Lastly, unlike “Shut up,” “Mind your own business” doesn’t have a soft or friendly meaning at all. Only one angry meaning.

P.S. If you are on the other side of the conversation and somebody told you “Mind your own business” or “It’s none of your business,” the best reply would be: “I’m sorry that you feel/ think like that. I only meant to help.” Or: “I didn’t mean to.

You can also simply say: “Fine! Whatever!” and just leave.


Sunday, February 19

The 2nd Kind of MUST

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Believe it or not, there are two kinds of MUST:

1.    I must study hard. (Obligation)

2.    He must be tired. (Strong Guess)

That’s why if you change them into the Past, there are also 

two different kinds:

1.    I had to study hard. (Obligation)

2.    He must have been tired. (Strong Guess)

For the 1st kind, MUST will become "HAD TO" in the Past.

**Actually, MUST and HAVE TO aren’t exactly the same. 

(HAVE TO is stronger than MUST. If you wanna know why, 

just watch “HAVE TO vs. MUST – Which One is Stronger?”)

But to make the Past Tense, we borrow “HAVE TO” to 

say “HAD TO.” Because MUST doesn’t have a Past Tense.


Today, we will concentrate on the 2nd kind of MUST.

This is MUST as Strong Guess.

For this 2nd kind, like I already showed you in the 

Introduction, there are 2 ways of making a sentence (plus 1):

MUST as Strong Guess

A.    MUST + Base Verb   (Now)

B.    MUST + Have P.P.    (Past)

C.   MUST + Be V+ing     (Now)

For example,

SITUATION: My teacher is absent today. Why?

MUST as Strong Guess

A.    He must be in the hospital. / He must have the flu.

B.    He must have gone to the hospital. / He must have caught a bad cold.

C.   He must be hiding from me. / He must be drinking coffee at Starbucks.

The reasons why we have four different ways of “Strong Guess” sentences are these:

     A.    He must be in the hospital. = Stative Verb (Now)

     B.    He must have gone to the hospital. = Start of Action (Finished)

     C.   He must be hiding from me. = Middle of Action (Now)

*Note: There’s one last way to make a sentence of Strong Guess: MUST + Have Been V+ing. But this one is a bit tough so you’d better learn it next time. ;-)

Lastly, these are the other Modal Verbs used to talk about Guess, with varying levels. 

Not exact but very useful:

100%         He has a class.                   It is expensive.

90%           He must have a class.        It must be expensive.

75%           He should have a class.     It should be expensive.

10%-50%   He might have a class.       It might be expensive.

5%             He can’t have a class.        It can’t be expensive.

0%             He doesn’t have a class.     It isn’t expensive.

After you read this, you can also listen to the audio file discussion about the same topic.

If you have iTunes, just go to Cool Elf and get your free podcast there. If not, please get your audio file here:

Click: Episode 10: The 2nd Kind of Must 

Good luck!

Keep on learning !

Any Questions?

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