Thursday, May 30

Help, Can't Help etc.

Help” is a very useful word to know. To borrow one of its own expressions, we can make a sentence like:

The word “Help” is such a big help to English learners.

Aside from “big help,” you can also say:

a | big | help to learners

a | great | help 

a | tremendous | help 

a | real | help 


image courtesy of stock.xchng

Of course there are many ways to use the word “Help,” but the most common is to use it like this:

Help + somebody + to Verb

That’s right. In this case it’s similar to other words like “want,” “allow,” “ask,” “tell,” “expect” etc.

But unlike them, “Help” can be used with or without “to” :

Help + somebody + to Verb


Help + somebody + Verb

For example,

She helped me to win. = Ok

She helped me win. = Ok

Please help them to find it. = Ok

Please help them find it. = Ok

Help” is always followed by the Infinitive form, with or without “to.” So, don't use “Help” with the V+ing:

She helped me winning. = X

Please help me finding it. = X

In fact, there is only one situation where we can combine “Help” and V+ing. It’s inside the fixed expression “Can’t Help” which I will teach you later.


I taught you how to use “Help” with an Object or a receiver of the action.

Help + somebody + to Verb

But you can also use “Help” alone. Without an Object.

He helped me fix the bathroom sink. = Ok

He helped fix the bathroom sink. = Ok

Usually, we use this pattern (alone) when we want to talk about a situation that gets better or easier.


It would help if we had more subway lines.

The President’s new directive will help fuel the economy.

The visual aids in your presentation help to clarify the idea.

My hands-on training helped a lot.

With a Noun

If you don’t want to use a Verb, you can also use a Noun with “Help.”

Like this:

Help + somebody + with + Noun

Just don’t forget to put the Prepositionwith.”


My brother helps me with my homework.

His secretary helped the boss with his schedule.

Can you help us with dinner?


There are also many expressions that have the word “Help” inside. Here are some of the most common:

(1) Please help yourself (to something)

This expression is similar to “Please have or take some.” We use this when we are offering food to somebody. This means that we want the other person to get some food without asking permission, to feel free to take some food.


Please help yourself to more cake.

Why don’t you help yourselves to some orange juice?

(2) Can’t help + Ving

Like I said, this is the only expression in which we can combine “Help” with the V+ing. 90% of the time, “Help” goes together with the Infinitive (to V).

Can’t help” is a bit confusing for some people. But if you try to remember the exact meaning of this expression, you will be able to use it easily.

We use “Can’t help” when we want to say that somebody can’t control their feelings. They can’t stop doing something. We use this expression to talk about old bad habits that are difficult for us to change.

There’s an old song titled “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” originally sung by American singer Elvis Presley. But you might have heard a different version of this song because it has been covered by many artists.

Here’s one version of the song from singer Michael Bublé:

Here are the complete lyrics of the song. The same words are repeated in the song so it’s short:

Wise men say only fools rush in
but I can't help falling in love with you
Shall I stay
would it be a sin
If I can't help falling in love with you

Like a river flows surely to the sea
Darling so it goes
some things are meant to be
take my hand, take my whole life too
for I can't help falling in love with you

Like a river flows surely to the sea
Darling so it goes
some things are meant to be
take my hand, take my whole life too
for I can't help falling in love with you

As you can see, “Can’t help V+ing” means that you don’t want to do something, but you can’t control your actions or ideas.

Here are more examples:

They can’t help thinking that he is a liar.

I can’t help wondering if she’s pregnant.

He can’t help smoking when nobody’s around.

(3) It can’t be helped

We use this expression when we want to say that there’s nothing we can do to change a bad situation.

For example,

She has to take a leave of absence. It can’t be helped.

Well, I guess it can’t be helped. We’ll have to finish this project with less funding.

(4) Help!

We shout this to call people and to ask them for help when we are in danger.

Here’s a cartoon showing the situation. But mind you, this cartoon is just for humor.


(5) Give somebody a hand, Lend a hand, Help out etc.  

These expressions are used more casually.


Can I give you a hand with those bags?

Hope You Learned Something! 
Keep on learning !

Monday, May 27

Remember, Memorize, Remind

Today we’re going to talk about memory and expressions that are connected to it. In short, we are going to talk about Memory Words.

image courtesy of stock.xchng

For example, Remember, Memorize, and Remind.

Memory” is a Noun. Its Verb is “Memorize.”

So “Memory” is different from the other 3 words. The other 3 words are all Verbs:

Remember (V)

Memorize (V)

Remind (V)

What’s the difference between these 3 words?


Let’s start with “Remember.”

Remember” is a very common word. It has at least 2 meanings:

(1) to have an image in your mind of people, events, places, etc. from the past


Do you remember her?

I remember going to the zoo with my cousin when I was young.

(2) to bring information that you know into your mind, or something that you must do


Please remember to turn off the computer after you finish.

We should remember what time his flight’s arriving.

If you notice, the first meaning is kind of passive, involuntary or automatic. Because the image or picture (the memory) comes to your mind.

Here are more examples:

I remember my trip to Europe.

I can still remember what her favorite perfume is.

On the other hand, the second meaning is more active and voluntary. In other words, it's your choice because you bring the memory into your mind.

Take a look:

I should remember to bring an umbrella.

You don’t need to remember everything he says.

Memory Expressions

Adverbs usually paired with “Remember” :

         remember something + | well |

                                             | distinctly |

                                             | vividly |

                                             | clearly |

                                             | vaguely |

                                             | dimly |

                                             | rightly |

                                             | correctly |

As far as I can remember = We use this expression to tell somebody what we remember of a situation

Ex. As far as I can remember, you didn’t want to help us.

For as long as I can remember = This means for a very long time

Ex. They’ve hated each other for as long as I can remember.


Next, let’s talk about “Memorize.”

The VerbMemorize” has an active meaning. So “Memorize” and the second meaning of “Remember” are similar.

But they are not the same.

We use “Memorize” to talk especially about learning. In fact, “Memorize” means to learn something so that you know it perfectly.

For example,

When I was in elementary school, we memorized many English poems.

As an actor, he is good at memorizing lines (dialogues).

It’s not good to mix up “Memorize” and “Remember” like some students do:

I should memorize her name. = X

I should remember her name. = Ok

Do you memorize the way to the station? = X

Do you remember the way to the station? = Ok

It’s grammatically correct to say:

I will memorize her birthday.

But this means you are very actively trying to learn and put the information into your memory. Perhaps by repeating her birthday to yourself 100 times.

So, although it’s grammatical, it doesn’t sound so natural. It’s enough to say:

I will remember her birthday. = Ok

Finally, please use the word “Memorize” in situations of learning and heavy information.


At first, “Remind” appears very similar to “Remember” so it seems difficult to know the difference. Not really.

Most importantly, you have to know that “Remind” is a Transitive Verb only.

What's a Transitive Verb?

A Transitive Verb is a kind of Verb that always needs an Object. It can’t stand alone.

See for yourself. What do you think about our sentences below?

#1. I like.

#2. He sent to Cynthia.

#3. Let’s make!

If you feel that there’s something strange about our sentences, then you are right. In fact, all 3 sentences above are wrong.

#1. I like. = X

#2. He sent to Cynthia. = X

#3. Let’s make. = X

If you want to make them correct, you should add Objects:

#1. I like it. = Ok

#2. He sent the message to Cynthia. = Ok

#3. Let’s make coffee. = Ok

All the Main Verbs above (like, send, and make) are what we call Transitive Verbs. They must always have an Object after them.

The word “Remind” is like them. It is also a Transitive Verb.

(If you’d like to learn Transitive and Intransitive Verbs, please watch this video:

Because “Remind” is a Transitive Verb, every time you want to use it, you should follow these formulas:

#1. Remind + somebody + of / about + something

#2. Remind + somebody + that + S + V

#3. Remind + somebody + to +  Verb


I have to remind Teddy about our trip.

She reminded them that they have to pay for the damage .

Please remind me to call Susan.

As you can see from our examples, when you want to use “Remind,” you should always put somebody (Object) after it.

In fact, the meaning of “Remind” is to help someone to remember something that he must do.

You can’t use “Remind” alone. Unlike “Remember.”

Take a look:

Oh, I remember! = Ok

Oh, I remind! = X

I should remember this. = Ok

I should remind this. = X

There is one last formula that we can use for “Remind” :

Remind + somebody + of + something

This is a little different from the first ones because it means to make someone remember someone or something in the past.


The young girl reminds me of her mother.

This souvenir reminds me of my trip to Africa.

The view reminded them of their hometown.


There are also some expressions that you can use “Remind” in.

Don’t remind me = This expression is used in spoken English and in a joking way. We say this when somebody mentions something that is embarrassing or annoying for us.


A: Hey, I heard about last night.

B: Oh, don’t remind me.

A: Don’t you have that job interview tomorrow?

B: Don’t remind me.

That reminds me = This is another expression used in spoken English. We use this when somebody says or does something that helps us to remember something we are going to say or do


Oh, that reminds me, I saw Alex at work today.

That reminds me. I’d better recharge my camera for the trip tomorrow.

Let me / May I remind you… = This expression is a bit formal. It is used as a form of emphasis that we add to our warning or negative comment


Let me remind you that you cannot be absent again.

Hope You Learned Something! 

Keep on learning !

Any Questions?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...