2011/12/28

今年の人気があるポスト


At the end of the year, lots of media outlets give retrospectives.

  • media outlet 報道発信地[源]、メディアの支局 (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
  • retrospective【名】回顧展 (definition from Eijiro on the Web)

Let's do the same thing here!

First, we can talk about which of our blog posts were the most popular this year. All of these posts were from 2010, but it seems that they were relevant for people this year.

  • relevant 【形】〔検討中の課題などと〕関係のある、関連(性)のある (definition from Eijiro on the Web)

The third most popular post was about the difference between "because" and "because of".
http://upgradeenglish.blogspot.com//2010/08/becausebecause-of.html
The second most popular post was about how to use "depend on".
http://upgradeenglish.blogspot.com//2010/08/depend-on.html
The most popular post was the one about my hoodie, which Japanese call パーカー.
http://upgradeenglish.blogspot.com//2010/01/blog-post_20.html
Next time, I'll tell which of this year's blog posts were the most popular. In the meantime, I'm putting up the hood on my hoodie. It's cold!

2011/12/27

「yule」とは


You might have heard in an English song or movie something about "Yule" when they are talking about Christmas. If you check Eijiro on the Web, you'll find:

  • yule【名】キリスト降誕祭、クリスマスの季節 (definition from Eijiro on the Web)

Maybe a lot of people think they are synonymous, but it's not really true.

  • synonymous【形】同意語の、同義の、同義語の、同義的な、類義語の (definition from Eijiro on the Web)

If you check Wikipedia, you'll find out that it's actually a pagan holiday!
http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E3%83%A6%E3%83%BC%E3%83%AB
Christmas was two days ago, but Yule runs until January 6, I think. Traditionally, it was celebrated for 12 days. If you've got a Christmas tree, then you are celebrating Yule!

I suppose most Japanese associate Christmas with romantic dates and cake, but from the point of view of nature, now the days are getting longer.

  • associate ~ with ~と…を結び付ける、…で~を連想する (definition from Eijiro on the Web)

The meaning of Yule is related to the winter solstice and the days starting to get longer. I wish the longer days would bring about warm weather sooner. It's pretty cold outside today! Until the warm weather shows up, I think I may just sit here underneath the heater.

  • underneath【名】下部、底 (definition from Eijiro on the Web)

2011/12/22

英語の間違いについてどう考えたらいいですか?


I've been thinking about this for weeks now. I think a lot of people have the wrong idea about making mistakes.

You know I have a series of posts called ○○さんは英語の使い方に注意した方が良い. Some people might have the misunderstanding that I am trying to bully someone or denigrate someone.

  • denigrate【他動】〔人の性格や評判を〕傷つける、中傷する、侮辱する、悪くいう; 〔人や物の価値を〕過小評価する、見くびる (definition from Eijiro on the Web)

That couldn't be farther from the truth. 

  • That couldn't be farther from the truth. これほど事実から程遠いものはありません。 (definition from Eijiro on the Web)

The reality is that mistakes are learning opportunities. I don't think any mistake I've posted on my blog has any real consequence for anyone beyond making someone blush (maybe the author, if I am lucky enough for them to read my post).

  • blush with embarrassment 恥ずかしさのあまり赤面する (definition from Eijiro on the Web)

I post these mistakes so that you all can learn from them. These aren't private mistakes, either, but things which appear in public. If someone doesn't mind putting this English in public, it's fair game.

  • fair game for discussion 議論の格好の話題 (definition from Eijiro on the Web)

What's more, in truth I admire these people. They are using English to communicate, even if there are mistakes. Learning a language and using it helps to bring people together.

  • admire【他動】~を称賛[敬服]する(definition from Eijiro on the Web)

It's true that sometimes mistakes have serious consequences. For example, if safety instructions are written wrongly and someone gets injured, that's serious.

There appears to be a case where a health supplement dealer faced a possible death sentence for a mistranslation of "hemp oil" for "hash oil" (hemp oil is a nutritional supplement, while hash oil is a strong drug which is illegal in most parts of the world).


  • hemp 【名】麻、麻布、麻の繊維
  • hash = hashish【名】〈俗〉ハシシ、ハシーシュ◆大麻に含まれる樹脂(幻覚物質)を乾燥させた作った麻薬
  • (definitions from Eijiro on the Web)


However, the mistakes that I have posted are nothing like this. Everyone should think of them as learning opportunities rather than be afraid of them because they are zero-risk.

Especially in an English class, there is zero risk. That means you should never be afraid to make mistakes, but think of them as lucky chances to learn something.

It's like these fried noodles that I cooked tonight. One of the ingredients was green onions. I chopped the onions into four centimeter pieces. I had intended to slice them further into strips, but I was hungry and forgot. Fortunately, the noodles still tasted delicious.

That's a perfect example of a zero-risk mistake. The lesson for me is to pay more attention when cooking, or maybe to eat a snack before cooking so that I won't be in such a hurry.

Please don't fear your mistakes, and take advantage of all of the learning opportunities you can.

2011/12/13

Yaechikaは英語使い方に注意した方が良い + 「partly」の使い方


Yaechika is a goldmine of English mistakes!

  • absolute goldmine 《an ~》〈話〉〔店・事業などが〕ドル箱 (definition from Eijiro on the Web)

This time I found this sign:
× Information of the Business
○ Business Information
Many times you can use a noun as an adjective, like in this case.
× Partly, there is a shop where business hours are different.
○ There are some shops with different business hours.
Don't use "partly" when you are talking about a countable quantity of something, like "shops" in the sentence above. "Partly" is usually used before a verb, like this:
I've partly corrected this sign, but there are still some mistakes remaining.
You can also use it to modify an adjective:
I have a cap which is partly damaged, but I haven't thrown it out yet. 
It has been too long since I last posted to the blog. That is partly because I've had a busy class schedule. It's partly because there were a lot of other things to do. You might be partly satisfied with these excuses, but I bet you aren't completely satisfied. Don't worry! I haven't forgotten about you loyal blog readers! I'm still thinking of your English education, and I'll be back soon with another blog post.

2011/11/22

「within walking distance」といろいろな単語の説明


I wanted to see if Otemachi is within walking distance of our classroom. Our classroom is really close to Kanda Station, Shin-nihonbashi, and Mitsukoshi-mae Stations, but looking at the map, Otemachi looked really close, too.
  • within walking distance of ~から歩いて行ける距離[範囲]で (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
  • It's within walking distance. 歩いて行ける距離です。(definition from Eijiro on the Web)
I thought it probably was close enough to walk from, so I took a walk to confirm my hypothesis.
  • confirm the hypothesis that 〔that以下〕という仮説{かせつ}を裏付ける{うらづける}(definition from Eijiro on the Web)
After checking the map, I hit the door and started down the street towards Otemachi Station. A lot of people were just getting off work and heading towards various stations.
  • hit the door 出発する (casual)
  • head towards ~の方へ向かう (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
When I got to Otemachi, I snapped this shot of exit A5, the one closest to our classroom. An office worker was going down into the station, and a member of the station staff was coming up the stairs.
  • snap a shot of ~の写真を撮る (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
I started my stopwatch and turned around towards our classroom. I took a reasonable pace. I passed some construction workers carrying their equipment back to their van. One older man in down jacket seemed to be in a hurry and passed me.
  • in a hurry 急いで、慌てて (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
The sidewalks were full of commuters, but after eight minutes and 10 seconds, I arrived in front of our building.
  • commuter【名】通勤者{つうきん しゃ}、通学者{つうがく しゃ} (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
What do you think? Is eight minutes within walking distance? Regardless, there are three other closer stations nearby, within three to five minutes. I hope you will walk over and say hello.

2011/11/18

「wear」の使い方


 
The weather has been getting cooler, so I've started wearing my hoodies.

You all might have felt with the cooler weather that it was time for shopping for clothing
  • clothing = clothes =  服
I was out shopping somewhere (I can't remember where) and I saw this sign. It says:
× goods, wear
○ goods, clothes/clothing/apparel
"Wear" is a verb or a suffix, usually. It's most common as a verb, like "make sure you wear enough when you go out, since it's cold."

As a suffix, we use it in words like "underwear" and "formalwear".
  • underwear【名】肌着類{はだぎ るい}、下着{したぎ}、肌着{はだぎ}、パンツ (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
  • formalwear【名】正装{せいそう}(definition from Eijiro on the Web) 
  • suffix  接尾辞 (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
Sometimes we use it with an adjective as an independent word, like:
  • I guess you have already put away all of your summer wear.
However, I prefer this:
  • I guess you have already put away all of your summer clothing.
If you've been making this mistake, don't worry! Just wear a smile and try to avoid making it in the future.
  •  wear a smile 笑みをたたえる (definition from Eijiro on the Web)

2011/11/16

「1兆」は英語で何と言う?



$1,000,000,000,000
How do you say this number in English? Most students have trouble reading big numbers in class. One major reason is because numbers are read/written very differently in Japanese.

For example,
一千円 (1,000) is one thousand yen
. (No problem)
九千九百九十九円 (9,999)
is nine thousand nine hundred ninety-nine yen. (No problem there either)

however 一万円  (10,000)
is... ten thousand. (Here is where things get tricky)
十万円 (
100,000) is one hundred thousand.
百万円 (1,000,000) is one million.
一千万円 (10,000,000) is ten million.

Japanese numbers move in four digits but many Western languages move in three.
So what can you do?

Simple, just look for the first comma on the left. That will tell you how to read the number.
1,000 (ONE thousand)
Secondly, how many digits are there after the first comma.
1,
000 (there are three digits after the first comma so it is thousand)

If there are
6 digits after the first comma, it is million (1,000,000)
If there are
9 digits after the first comma, it is billion (1,000,000,000)
If there are
12 digits after the first comma, it is trillion (1,000,000,000,000)
If there are
15 digits after the first comma, (you most likely will not need to know this number unless you are a hardcore scrabble player.)



Do you know how to read the numbers below? 
The earth's population recently reached 7,000,000,000
The population in Japan is  around 125,000,000.
The U.S. public debt is $14,993,980,920,226. 
The price tag of my dream car, a Mercedes AMG SLS is at least $185,750.
The average household income in Japan (in 2009) was ¥5,475,000.

2011/11/15

「money tree」とは?


This is our money tree. That's what we call this tree in English.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pachira_aquatica
  • money tree パキラ属、金のなる木、金づる (definition on Eijiro on the Web)
  • cash-cow, money tree 金の成る木
People keep telling me that our money tree is too dense. They say I should trim some of the inner leaves. I'm worried about doing that, though, because it seems healthy enough. If I cut a bunch off, I'm afraid I might kill it.

What do you think I should do?

I would hire a specialist, but money doesn't grow on trees. So instead, I'm turning to you all for advice. Do you have good suggestions on how to trim the tree?
  • Money doesn't grow on trees.《諺》金のなる木はない。/お金を楽に得る方法はない。(definition on Eijiro on the Web)
By they way, has anybody started trimming their Christmas tree? I think I'd rather do some kind of pagan winter solstice celebration.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winter_solstice
  • trim a tree to make it look better 見栄えがするように木を剪定{せんてい}する (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
  • trim a Christmas tree クリスマスツリーに飾りを付ける、クリスマスツリーの飾り付けをする(definition from Eijiro on the Web)
  • winter solstice 《the ~》《天文》冬至点{とうじてん}(definition from Eijiro on the Web)
It's about five weeks away. Some people might feel it's early, but I am sure Starbucks is already playing Christmas music. I am avoiding it for that reason. I wonder if their seasonal drinks are a money tree?

2011/11/02

「AXE」は英語の使い方に注意した方が良い。+リストの作り方


I wonder if you saw this ad on the train. It's by AXE, encouraging men to smell good in order to attract women. They have given us a checklist to help us find love. It says:
  1. × Attention -> ○ Notice, Pay attention
  2. Spray
  3. Go direct
  4. × Happy -> ○ Be happy
The reason "happy" is wrong is because of the way we make lists. When you make a list, all of the items need to be of the same grammatical type (part of speech).
  • part of speech《文法》品詞{ひんし}(definition from Eijiro on the Web)
In the list, "attention" is a noun, and "happy" is an adjective. The other two are verbs, so let's assume they meant to use verbs. To fix it, we change those two items to verbs.

Your lists can use nouns:
  • I've got to buy tofu, green onions, and noodles at the supermarket.
You can also use verbs:
  • Today I went to the bank, ran by the electronics store, and wrote this blog post.
Even adjectives are OK:
  • The weather today was clear, comfortable, and cool.
What you can't do is mix types, like AXE did in their list. When you are making lists, make sure to keep the part of speech of each item the same.

2011/10/15

INAXは英語の使い方に注意した方が良い。


I was in the restroom at Haneda Airport last week when this sign caught my eye:
× Equipment to cleansing the buttocks with warm water.
A device to clean the buttocks with warm water.
  • buttock【名】尻、臀部{でんぶ}◆通例buttocks (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
The main mistake here is "to cleansing". Unless "to" is a preposition, don't use a v+ing after it.
○ I am looking forward to seeing you soon.
× I hope to seeing you soon.
○ I hope to see you soon.
The other thing I suggest changing is "equipment" to "a device". The first difference between these two is that "equipment" is uncountable, while "device" is countable. "Equipment" often feels like a set of tools, and it is also often large things. The toilet seat is not so big, and we don't think of it as a set. That's why I think "device" is better.

There is no device to clean up all of the English mistakes I see everywhere. The only thing that can be done is for people to study English more. I hope to help those people in class. Contact us if you want to avoid making mistakes like Inax has.

2011/10/07

「much」の使い方


OK, who keeps letting people put up nonsense English in Yaechika? I found this one:
× Much the Autumn
○ ???
This one is hard to guess. I wonder what they meant?
  • Bountiful Autumn 
  • bountiful【形】〔物が〕豊富{ほうふ}な; 〔人が〕気前{きまえ}の良い; 〔人が〕慈悲深い、恩寵{おんちょう}の豊かな (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
  • It's very much autumn now!
  • It's much like autumn.
  • Will you buy much this autumn?
Maybe they are making a pronunciation mistake!
Match the Autumn 秋に会う <- is this Japanese OK?
Don't say this though:
× I bought much at Yaechiku.
○ I bought a lot at Yaechiku.
Only use "much" for negative sentences and questions. In a positive sentence, you should use "lots" or "a lot".

I keep finding mistakes at Yaechika. I'm going to search at Kanda Station more. I feel like I might find a lot of mistakes there, too. Do you think I will have much success finding them there? I think it's going to be a bountiful autumn. Wish me luck!

2011/10/05

Tully'sは英語の使い方に注意した方が良い


I hadn't been to Yaechika in a while. I can always find English mistakes, there, and this time was no exception.
  • no exception《be ~》例外{れいがい}でない (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
Just when you come down the stairs on the Yaesu Avenue northeast entrance, there's a new Tully's. They have a gorgeous new sign, which says:
× Non-Smorking 71 Seats; Smorking 28 Seats
○ 71 non-smoking seats, 28 smoking seats
What do you suppose "smorking" is? I looked it up, and the Urban Dictionary had this funny definition:
  • smork - someone who is so smitten, they are acting like a absolute dork. Slightly embarrassing, usually someone who is not an obviously smitten person, hence the lame name Smork. "You are acting like such a smork, you're definitely smorko over him" <- my note: "smork" is not common English. Don't expect many to know this.
  • smitten【形】〈英俗〉ぞっこんほれ込んだ (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
  • dork【名】〈俗〉ばか、あほ、とんま、愚か者、のろま (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
So I suppose it's nice of Tully's to provide special seats for those who have fallen head over heels for someone.
  • ぞっこんほれ込みなさい。 Fall head over heels. (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
The sign also says:
× To Go Counter
to-go counter
When you use a phrase as an adjective, you should connect the words with a hyphen.

Because of that, I would also say:

× Meeting Space 6 seats
6-seat meeting space

Good luck everybody, smorks included. Even I can be a mistake-making dork sometimes.

2011/10/01

too と very の違いは何です?

Here is one that often confuses Japanese students. What is the difference between too and very? This is one is very easy.

When the temperature outside is 34 degrees, it is very hot.

(You can still go out.  I see many office workers dressed in suits. Be sure to carry a bottle of water.)

When the thermometer reaches 50 degrees, it is too hot.
(It has passed a limit.  It might be dangerous to go out.)

Here is another example.
A 3LDK house in Hamadayama costs 80,000,000 yen. That is very expensive (But if you work hard, save a large part of your earnings and invest prudently in the stock market, you have a good chance of owning one.)

Some houses in the Pacific Heights area in San Francisco are in the neighborhood of 1,000,000,000 Yen. That is too expensive. (It is impossible for an average office worker to buy such a house.  It's over the limit for 99.7% of buyers.)

For emphasis, intonate too. For example, that is tooooooooo expensive.

Useful vocabulary
Be in the neighborhood of--
  1. ~の近くに、~の近所に、~の周りに、~の付近に
  1. およそ、~くらいの、約~◆【同】about
    ・My fee for this service would be somewhere in the neighborhood of $__. : 当サービスの料金は約_ドルとなります。
Over the limit-- 限度を超えて、法定許容アルコール量を超える


2011/09/28

「put up」の使い方


One of the reasons I was busy recently is that we put up a new sign on our building. I hope it will make it easy for you all to find our building.
  • put up a sign サイン[掲示板{けいじばん}・標示{ひょうじ}]を立てる[掲げる・掛ける](definition from Eijiro on the Web)
Another thing that kept me from posting on the blog as much as I would like has been the heat. I'll admit that I have less energy when it is hot. Fortunately, we have put up with the hot weather long enough, and cool weather has arrived. It feels great, right?
  • put up with【句動】~に耐える、〔じっと〕~に我慢する◆【語源】put up(しまう、隠す)から。(definition from Eijiro on the Web)
Still, I told you all that I was going to write more blog posts, but it has been a while since my last one. Maybe you were thinking, "come on, Nick, either put up or shut up!"
  • Put up or shut up! 行動で示すか、それができないんなら黙ってろ!(definition from Eijiro on the Web)
I'll try to put up more blog posts soon!
  • put up 4. 掲揚{けいよう}する、揚げる、つる、掲示{けいじ}する、示す、発表{はっぴょう}する、上演{じょうえん}する、提出{ていしゅつ}する、提案{ていあん}する、提供{ていきょう}する、寄付{きふ}する (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
We really want to help you with your English. If you will put up the necessary effort, we will guide you as far as we can to speaking English better.
  • put up an effort ~ make an effort 努力{どりょく}する (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
You should take a look at all of the other meanings for "put up" at Eijiro on the Web:
http://eow.alc.co.jp/put+up/UTF-8/
Put up your hands if you have any questions. = Raise your hands...
  • Raise your hand if you have any questions. 何か質問のある人は手を挙げて。(definition from Eijiro on the Web)
I'm not a cop, though, so I won't tell you to "put your hands up!"
  • Put your hands up! 手を上げろ!(definition from Eijiro on the Web)

2011/09/24

「lately」と「late」の違い

One of my students was a little late for class earlier this week and as soon as she came into the room she said "I am sorry to have kept you waiting." (this part is OK.)

She then said "I woke up lately."

What she should have said is "I am sorry to have kept you waiting. I woke up late."

Lately means not long ago or recently. E.g. Have you studied English lately? See you in class.

2011/09/21

台風接近に伴う休講のお知らせ


台風15号の接近により、9/21の授業は休講といたします。

Due to the typhoon, we are calling off classes tonight.  Be careful out there!

call off (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
【句動】

    ~に声をかけて攻撃{こうげき}をやめさせる
    〔計画{けいかく}・予定{よてい}など〕中止{ちゅうし}する[させる]、取りやめる、取り消す、中止{ちゅうし}を宣言{せんげん}する、白紙撤回{はくし てっかい}する、打ち切る
    ・Company A and company B called off their proposed $__ merger. : 企業Aと企業Bは_ドルの合併案を取りやめた。
    ・The Security Council voted to call off the hunt for General Bob Smith. : 国連安全保障理事会は、ボブ・スミス将軍の追跡を打ち切ることを可決しました。
    〔取引{とりひき}など〕断る、手を引く、解消{かいしょう}する
    ・Let's call the whole thing off. : もう交渉[議論・言い争い・けんか]はやめましょう。/私たちは意見が合わないということをお互いに認めましょう。◆【同】Let's agree that we disagree [don't agree].◆お互い話がかみ合わなくなったとき、あるいはどちらも譲らなくなったときの締めの文句。
    ~を呼んで立ち去らせる、遠ざける、呼び戻す、〔注意{ちゅうい}を〕そらす
    ~を読み上げる

2011/09/17

「for」と「since」の使い方とスッポン店


What makes a business successful?  There must be a demand for starters.  The product or service must be of good quality.  Moreover, having a good location is key

Just outside of Yurakucho station, on the first floor of the Tokyo Kotsu Kaikan, there is an interesting shop tucked in a small corner.   It is a shop that sells soft shell turtle (スッポン) food products, e.g. soup, stew, etc.  A very interesting shop indeed.  .   

I remember seeing this shop the first time I passed by (in 2003) and lo and behold, that shop has been in business for 8 years (at least).  It must have been there since 2003 (at least). 
We use for and since to say how long something has been happening.   Let’s look at the examples below.

We use for + a period of time

          (Now)
=======|=========|
                ( two years)               
l         I have lived in Tokyo for two years.

We use since + the start of a period
                                 (2011)
=======X=========|
           (2009)
l         I have lived in Tokyo since 2009.

I wonder what スッポンsoup taste like?  Anyone brave souls out there? 

Useful Vocabulary
Key~ 重要な、主要な、キーポイントになる
Indeed~ 実に、本当に、確かに、いかにも、実際に[は]、全く
Lo and behold~ 驚いたことに、驚くなかれ、何ということか、そしてなんと会話で相手の注意を引くために使われる

2011/09/16

「blog」と「post」の使い方


This has been a really busy week. I'll show you one of the reasons in my next post. Because I've been too busy, I haven't written so many posts lately. Someone recently asked why Johnny and I write this blog.
× The blog posts about our experiences.
○ The blog contains posts our experiences.
○ We post articles about our experiences on this blog.
"Blog" can be a noun or a verb. In the case of the noun, it means a website that is something like a diary.
As a verb, it means to write things on a blog.
  • diary 【名】〔個人{こじん}の〕日記(帳){にっき(ちょう)}◆【同】journal (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
"Post" can be a noun or verb, too. The noun means an article written on a blog.
  •  article【名】〔雑誌{ざっし}や新聞{しんぶん}の〕記事{きじ}、論説{ろんせつ}、論文{ろんぶん}◆小説などのフィクションを含まない。(definition from Eijiro on the Web)
When we are talking about blogs, the verb "post" means to place an article on a blog. So when describing our blog, I can say:
  • I also post about English grammar and vocabulary.
  • I also blog about English grammar and vocabulary.
  • I also write posts about English grammar and vocabulary.
How many of you are writing blogs? If you have one, what kind of posts are you writing? Do you blog about your hobbies or current events? Do you post often? Send me the links to your blogs so I can check them out!

2011/09/10

一目ぼれ

Everyone has a weakness I have been told. Some people smoke like a chimney, some drink excessively, some eat too many sweets. As for me, I spend too much on fish. No, not the sashimi kind--who can say no to o-toro-- but ornamental fish, like Nemo and friends. There haven’t been many fish I have seen that I didn’t like. Earlier this week, I made my weekly visit to the local pet shop. I saw this gorgeous, eye-catching fish (see pic. above) in one of the tanks. It was love at first sight.

“I’ve gotta have her!”

Must be at least 5,000 Yen or 10,000 Yen at most I thought.

“How much would it cost to take her home?” I told myself.

“The kids will love her,” I continued.

I called the shop assistant over.

“How much is this beauty?” I asked.

“That is a black and white bandit angel, Johnny-san” he replied. “It is 180,000 Yen”

I nearly choked when I heard. There would be no new addition to the fish tank. Not at that price tag. Is it better to have loved and lost than not to have loved at all? I went home heartbroken.

Grammar point: at least vs. at (the) most

at least means "not less than"少なくとも、最少に見ても、~を下らない、どんなに安く見積もっても[踏んでも]You should spend at least 30 minutes to an hour studying English everyday.

at most/ at the most means "not more than"最大限でも、多くて(も)、せいぜい、たかだか、よくても、高くても You've only been to class at most three times this term. :今学期、あなたはせいぜい3回ぐらいしか授業に出ていない。

Sample sentences
  • I have at least 20 pairs of shoes.
  • In Japan you must be at least 20 to drink.
Vocabulary:
  • smoke like a chimney~ 煙突が煙を吐くようにたばこを吸う
  • excessively~ 過大に、過度に、過剰に
  • ornamental~ 装飾物、装飾品, 観賞植物
  • love at first sight~ 一目ぼれ

2011/09/03

TOEICの点数を上げたいなら。。。


“How do I supercharge my vocabulary?” One effective way is to get to know a word’s family and friends. Learning and knowing other forms of the word will help you to boost your score on the TOEIC test. This week’s pic blesses us with a great example. The intentions of this café owner were good however the word was used incorrectly.
Here are some meanings for the word ‘economy’: 経済、景気、経済活動.
  • The economy is gradually recovering from a recession.
経済は景気後退から徐々に回復してきている
  • The economy is improving somewhat.
景気はやや改善している
Perhaps he meant to say "We are economizing on electricity."
Here are some the word’s family and friends:
Economize [自他動]-  倹約する、節約する、節減する、効率よく利用する、有益に使う
  • try to economize on electricity ~ 電気の節約に努める
Economical []-  安価な、コストがかからない, 効率的な、無駄な動きのない
  • economical car ~ 経済的な車、低燃費の車
  • economical information ~ 経済情報
Economist []-  経済学者、エコノミスト、倹約家、経済家、経済専門家
  • The chief economist says that further rate cuts may be needed.
主任エコノミストはより一層の金利引き下げが必要だろうと言っている。
So the next time you learn a word you don’t know the meaning of, look up the word in different parts of speech too. It will help you to increase your TOEIC score and make you more speak more eloquently.

2011/09/02

「just」と「only」の使い方


The other day for lunch I cooked this fried rice. I used Indian spices in it, though, to make it more exciting. I also used a Chinese cooking ingredient, chili pepper flakes soaked in oil. I had never used that ingredient to make fried rice before.

× I just only imagined that it would be good.
○ I just imagined that it would be good.
○ I only imagined that it would be good.

Usually we do not use "just" or "only" together. Basically, they have the same meaning, so we have to choose one of them.

One exception is "only just [verb]".
  • only just 辛うじて、たった今~したばかり、やっと、今しがた (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
I only just had enough time to make this fried rice before I had to leave the apartment. It's lucky that fried rice is not only easy to make but also delicious. I'd say it's just a perfect dish.

2011/08/31

助動詞に過去動詞を付けないこと


Yesterday the weather forecast I saw didn't predict rain. It was a nasty shock when I looked out the window and saw heavy rain falling, especially since my helmet was hanging on my bicycle and filling up with water.

Today I was a bit wary when I looked at the sky and saw the clouds. I put my rain suit in my bag, but of course, since I brought it, it hasn't rained.

There's a weird basic English rule: don't use a past tense verb after an auxiliary verb.
  • auxiliary verb《文法》助動詞{じょどうし}表現パターンauxiliary [helping] verb
Instead, use present perfect tense after an auxiliary verb to express the past.

× I should brought my rain suit yesterday, too.
○ I should have brought my rain suit yesterday, too.

× Maybe if I had brought my rain suit, it wouldn't rained.
○ Maybe if I had brought my rain suit, it wouldn't have rained.

I wonder if I can cause the typhoon to stay away by keeping my rain suit in bag for the rest of the week.

2011/08/27

「aka」の意味


The name of this brand really puzzles me. I suppose that's OK, since it's a Japanese brand for Japanese consumers. Still, what is this, really?
  • As Know As Pinky
I wonder if it was a mistake, originally. There is a common abbreviation in English -- "aka" -- which means "also known as". That would make sense, as in "This is a brand which is also known as Pinky."
  • aka 【略】=also known as~の別名でも知られる、別名~、別称~、またの名を、一名~という◆略語のakaは砕けた文では意味が広がってie(すなわち)のように用いられることもある。(definition from Eijiro on the Web)
It's an abbreviation, so read it as "A K A". It is often used with periods, like "a.k.a.", and we often use a.k.a. like this:
Nick, aka "Strange Animal", is one of the authors of this blog.
However, "as know as"... I'm lost with that one. "As" is a conjunction or a preposition, usually. That means it should be followed with a noun or a sentence. "Know" is a verb. Weird.

At least it's catchy. I always recognize it when I see it because it is such a strange name.

They have a whole string of brands, and even an English home page.

http://www.asknowas.com/english/about_us.html

With such an incomprehensible brand name, their website is strangely mostly free of English mistakes. Nice job! Good luck, "As Know As"! Thanks for making the English on your website correct!

2011/08/23

「success」の使い方


I haven't put up any pictures of food I've cooked lately. One reason is that I haven't been cooking so much lately. I've been too busy.

I cooked these fried noodles the other day. Besides onions, carrots, and fried tofu, I used some spicy oil with sesame seeds. The noodles were just ordinary buckwheat noodles. You might want to ask me:
× Did you success?
○ Did you succeed?
○ Were they a success?
○ Were they successful?
Notice that "success" is a noun. The verb is "succeed", and the adjective is "successful".
  • (definitions from Eijiro on the Web)
  • success 成功(者){せいこう(しゃ)}、合格{ごうかく}
  • succeed【自動】成功{せいこう}する
  • successful【形】〔結果{けっか}が〕上出来{じょうでき}な、上首尾{じょうしゅび}の、成功{せいこう}した
Yeah! These noodles were a big success, I thought. However, it could have been just because I was really hungry at the time.

One thing that I haven't been successful at is posting on this blog twice a week. Let's see if I have more success this week.

2011/08/16

水関係言葉


I was pouring sweat this afternoon. I needed to go several places, and with the heat, my body's natural reaction was to drench my tshirt.
  • pour sweat 全身{ぜんしん}に大汗{おおあせ}をかく、汗だくになる (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
  • drench 水浸{みずびた}しにする、びしょぬれにする (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
I changed out of my wet tshirt when I got back to the office.  I stuck my head in the sink and splashed it with cool water, then I felt much better.
  • splash〔液体{えきたい}を〕散らす、飛ばす(definition from Eijiro on the Web)
This bottle of water wasn't enough to quench my thirst. I felt more satisfied after a bit more water and then a cup of coffee.
  • quench thirst 渇きを癒やす(definition from Eijiro on the Web)
The soil for the plants wasn't moist at all, so I poured water in the pots. I wonder if they actually prefer the heat when we're out of the office to the cool air-conditioned air when we're in the office.
  • moist【形】湿った、湿気{しっけ}のある、ぬれた、涙ぐんだ、じっとりしている(definition from Eijiro on the Web)
  • pour~を注ぐ、液体{えきたい}をつぐ、光を放射{ほうしゃ}する、弾丸{だんがん}を浴びせる、殺到{さっとう}する(definition from Eijiro on the Web)
It will feel good to rinse off in the shower when I get home.
  • rinse off ゆすぎ落とす、洗い流す(definition from Eijiro on the Web)

2011/08/10

「the number of」と「a number of」の違い


We had an interesting discussion in class the other day. Somebody had said something like:
× The number of people was doing something.
A number of people were doing something.
The person brought up a good point, though.

"Isn't 'number' usually used with a singular noun?" he asked.

He was right that we often use "number" that way, but "number" has a number of meanings.
A number of [plural noun] [plural verb]. <- "number" means "several"
The number of [plural noun] [singular verb]. <- "number" means "quantity"
  • the number of ~の数 (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
  • a number of 多数の、たくさんの、多くの、いくつかの、いくらかの、複数の、若干の (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
Since "a number" means "several", it's plural, so if you use it as the subject, you need to use a plural verb. "The number" means one quantity, so it should be followed by a singular verb.

A number of leaves on this plant are a bit strange, like this one. The number isn't so large, but I'm still a little worried about it. I don't have a green thumb, so I'm not so sure what to do about it.
  • green thumb 園芸{えんげい}[植物栽培{しょくぶつ さいばい}]の才◆【語源】親指が緑色になるくらいに植物をいじっているところから。(definition from Eijiro on the Web)
Do any of the gardners out there have any advice? I'm sure a number of you kind readers are better with plants than me.

2011/08/09

「SHIRTS PLAZA」は英語の使い方に注意した方が良い+「well」の使い方


I'm frequently in Yaechika (八重洲地下街), and as I walk down the hallways, the English there jumps out at me. I saw this sign:
× Shirts Plaza, well best selection shirt
Shirt Plaza, the best selection of shirts
It's kind of sad when a company's name, not just their slogan, has a grammar mistake.
  • I think it's kind of sad. 何だか悲しいね。(example from Eijiro on the Web)
The reason is that when we use a noun as an adjective, we usually use the singular form, not the plural form. In this case, "shirt" is a noun. It's describing "plaza", which is a noun. That means that in this case, "shirts" acts like an adjective. That's why it should say "shirt" instead of "shirts".

The worst part of this sign is their slogan. "Well" is an adverb. Use it to describe verbs. For example:
  • I can't write Japanese well. <- "well" describes "write", which is a verb
"Well" is very close in meaning to "good". The superlative form of "good" is "best".
  • superlative adjective 最上級形容詞 (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
Basically, we never use "good" with "best", and we certainly don't use "well" with "best".

Please try to speak English well. By reading this blog, you are going to have the best English.

2011/07/29

このリースを作った人は英語の使い方に注意した方が良い。


I found this wreath on a door the other day. It says:
× Country Home, Sweat Heart
○ Country Home, Sweet Heart
  • sweat (noun) 汗◆【類】perspiration (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
  • sweet (adj) 思いやりのある (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
If your heart is sweating, you had better see a doctor.

If your heart is sweet, I'd like to meet you! Why don't you come visit one of my classes?

I suppose this person is fantasizing, but an office in Tokyo is about as far from a country home as you can get.
  • fantasize (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
    【自動】空想{くうそう}[夢想{むそう}]する[にふける]
    【他動】~を夢に描く
  • country home 田舎の家 (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
  • Both countries are about as far away as you can get from each other. 両国はもうこれ以上遠くなりようがないほど離れている。(example from Eijiro on the Web)
I'm waiting for all of you sweethearts in my city office.
  • sweetheart 親切な人 (example from Eijiro on the Web)

2011/07/26

「fall apart」の使い方


It might be hard to tell what that is a photo of. It's my two-year-old cap. I've used it and washed it too many times, so now it's falling apart.

The definition for "fall apart" in this sentence from Eijiro on the Web is ボロボロになる. There are a lot of other meanings, like in my sentence below. Take a look at the other definitions of "fall apart":

http://eow.alc.co.jp/fall+apart/UTF-8/

The mesh is coming undone, and I'm afraid the whole back is close to unraveling.
  • come undone ほどける、失敗する、破滅する (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
  • unravel 【自動】解ける、ほどける、ほぐれる、明らかになる、ほころびる、解体{かいたい}する、分解{ぶんかい}する 【他動】~をほどく、ほぐす、~を解く、解明{かいめい}する、〔計画{けいかく}を〕つぶす (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
At least I have other caps to wear as backups to this one.

At the same time, it seems that Japan's old nuclear plans are falling apart. China's plan to sell high-speed rail to the rest of the world seems to be coming undone, too. The American economy is unraveling. I wonder what backups to use in these situations? Dark days, huh?
  • dark days 失意の時代、不遇の時代 (definition from Eijiro on the Web)

2011/07/19

「oops!」の使い方・私は日本語の使い方に注意した方が良い(part 5)。

Over the holiday weekend, I moved our website to a new hosting company.
over the weekend 週末{しゅうまつ}に~
holiday weekend 祭日{さいじつ}と重なる週末{しゅうまつ}(definition from Eijiro on the Web)
The internet is a complex system. Have you ever thought about how it works? Basically, you type an address into your browser. The address you use is an easier one, though. For example, when you type the address for this blog, "upgradeenglish.blogspot.com", there is a special computer (called a "name server") out on the internet that converts this address to something called an IP address. For upgradeenglish.blogspot.com, the IP address is 74.125.153.132.
convert コンバート, コンヴァート, 転換 (definition from jmdict)
Basically the computer at that IP address gives you the web page that you have requested.

When I moved our website to a new hosting company, the IP address changed, even though the name you use, upgradeenglish.com, didn't change. It takes some time for all the name servers to know the new IP address.

On Sunday night when I looked at the webpage, I saw this page which said "oops!".
oops 【間投】
    ウープス、おっと!、しまった!◆へま・失敗をしたとき
    ・Oops, I did it again. : やばい、またやっちゃった。
    ・Oops, I hadn't thought of that! : しまった、それを忘れてた。◆【場面】計画などに見落としがあった。
    うわっ!◆驚いたとき
Use "oops" by itself, often followed by a "!" to acknowledge a mistake.
You may learn a lot to acknowledge your mistakes and this will help your effort for self improvement. もっと自分の間違いを素直に認めるようにすれば、内面的な成長の役に立つはずです。◆【出典】Hiragana Times, 1993年12月号(株式会社ヤック企) (sample from Eijiro on the Web)
As a result, some of you may have seen a broken webpage on the weekend or had trouble sending me email. If you did, I'm sorry about that! Everything seems to be working fine now, though.

I also recently found out I had a Japanese spelling mistake on the website. I wrote "ブログ" as "ブロッグ". Oops! If you find any mistakes, please let me know!

2011/07/13

ALSOK良いか悪いか?

 
Is OK a good thing or bad thing? Ok, I suppose it depends on the situation.

Here are some definitions for OK from Eijiro on the web.

間投

よし、分かったよ、いい?〔付加疑問的に〕



許可、承認



    オッケーである、うまくいっている、大丈夫である、満足のいく

Is everything OK? : すべて順調[大丈夫]ですか?、すべてうまくいっていますか?

I hope everything will be OK. : うまくいくといいんだけど.

    まあまあの

I am an OK cook. : 私の料理の腕は人並み[まあまあ]です。

So as you see if something is okay, it doesn't always have a good meaning.

I am sure you are familiar with ALSOK. I had always wondered what it stood for. I didn't find out until very recently. If your security is always (just) ok do you feel 100% safe? Maybe "Always Security Great" or "Always Security Fantastic" would have been better but "ALGREAT" or "ALFANT" doesn't have a nice ring to it. Maybe ALSOK is an ok name after all.

Useful vocabulary

have a nice ring

〔言葉などが〕耳に心地良い、語呂がいい、響きが良い、すてきな響きがある◆しばしばhas a nice ring to itの形で

after all

(いろいろ言ってみたが)やはり、(何だかんだ言っても)結局のところ、煎じ詰めると、やはり、どっちみち、どのみち、所詮、高が

・It is, after all, only a movie! : しょせん、それはただの映画なんだから!

・After all he is a fool. : 何と言ったってやつはばかなんだからな。

・After all, human beings are all very much alike. : 結局どこの人間も同じってことですね。

「here you are」と「here we go」の違い

Someone asked me to explain the difference between "here you are" and "here we go", so here we go.
  • here we go = let's start, we're starting
First, it will be useful to look at the definitions of these two phrases given by Eijiro on the Web. Here you are:
  • Here we go.  1.(さあ)行くよ。/さあ始めるよ。2. せーの。/それっ。◆複数の人たちが力を合わせて物を動かすとき。
  • Here you are! さあどうぞこちらです。はいどうぞ!
We use "here we go" sometimes for encouragement, but sometimes as a complaint. As a complaint, we often add "again".
A: Let me tell you why what you did bothers me.
B: Oh no. Here we go again. <- it sounds like this person has heard this complaint before
"Here you are" is said when we want to offer something. It can also be used with "there" instead of "here", when the possession of something has passed from the giver (using "here") to the recipient (using "there").
  • recipient【名】受領者、容器、受取人、受け手、受信者、受益者
So, there you are! That's the difference.

Oh! I haven't given you a photograph with this post. I should add something! Now, you may be thinking "oh, here we go again, another of Nick's strange photos!". Anyway, here you are, a picture of a guy on a motorcycle at Nihonbashi who loves antennas.
  • antenna 【名】1.  〈米〉アンテナ、空中線{くうちゅうせん}◆【略】ANT◆【同】〈英〉aerial; 2.〔昆虫などの〕触角{しょっかく}(definition from Eijiro on the Web)
Please let me know if you have more questions that I can answer in posts!

2011/07/08

「street」の使い方

Our new classroom is on Bank of Japan Street (日銀通り). We use "on __ street" to talk about the location.
Bank of Japan - 日本銀行、日銀 (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
British people say "in Bank of Japan Street", but I think for Americans "in the street" has a different meaning.

Don't play in the street! It's dangerous!
in the street (definitions from Eijiro on the Web)
    1. 通りで、街頭{がいとう}で
    2. ブラブラして、住む所がなくて、あぶれて
    3.〔株の取引{とりひき}が〕時間後売買{じかんご ばいばい}の
It really is just up the street from the Bank of Japan; it's only about 400 meters away.
up the street - 通りを向こうへ、この先に (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
Back in May, the azaleas they have in front of the building were blooming beautifully.
azalea -《植物》ツツジ (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
Across the street, there's a Family Mart. It's very convenient, and the manager is a helpful guy. One evening he spent some time giving me advice on how to throw out our cardboard boxes from moving. As it turns out, though, I really did have to put them in the street for the garbage collector.

One street over is Main Street (中央通り), where Mitsukoshi-mae (三越前) Shin-Nihonbashi (新日本橋) Stations are located. Kanda (神田) Station is just a couple of streets up from our building.
one street over - 次の道
Come by and pay us a visit! Here's the details of our location.
pay someone a visit - (人)を訪ねる[訪問する・見舞う](definition from Eijiro on the Web)

2011/07/05

「久しぶり」は英語で何?


Wow! It's been a long time since we talked.
It's been a long time, hasn't it? 久しぶりですね。(definition from Eijiro on the Web)
We were really busy in June. That's because our classroom has moved from the south side of Mitsukoshi-mae Station to the north side of Mitsukoshi-mae Station.

http://upgradeenglish.com/wiki/doku.php?id=location

We are pretty happy with the new classroom, and I think it will get even better once we have finished organizing our stuff.

More blog posts are coming soon!

2011/06/14

変な英語の使い方


This person's jacket says "Person's". I thought that was funny. It's a good thing that it didn't say "Dog's" or something like that. At least the English grammar is basically correct though.

You know, I always wonder what some clothing makers are thinking. If you see a jacket that says "Person's", what do you think? Does that word really make you want to buy it? Would you feel cooler if you had "Person's" written large across your back?

Personally, I'd never choose a jacket that said 人間の on the back. One student told me that sometimes I'm more like a robot, so maybe I should have a jacket that says "Robot's". Another student told me "you're like a strange animal!" Does it mean I need one that says "Strange Animal's"? Would that be a cool jacket?

Sometimes fashion is mysterious.

mysterious 【形】神秘{しんぴ}の、はっきりしない、神秘的{しんぴてき}な、秘密{ひみつ}の、不可解{ふかかい}な、いわくのある、えたいの知れない、謎めいた (definition from Eijiro on the Web)

2011/06/08

この会社は英語の使い方に注意した方が良い。


Everybody should be careful about spelling. In this modern world, with spell-checking provided for free on the web, there really aren't excuses for spelling mistakes.

Take this one for example:

× Our confectionary is famous for turts with pure natural ingredient, Camembert.
◯ Our confectionery is famous for tarts with pure natural Camembert.

The funny thing is that "turts" looks and sounds very close to "turds".

turd 【名】〈卑〉(一塊の)糞、くそ、くそ野郎、げす (definition from Eijiro on the Web)

Some might ask "why can't we say 'a pure natural ingredient, Camembert'?"

The reason is that if you say that, it sounds a bit like the only pure natural ingredient is the Camembert. That means the other ingredients are artificial and impure. That's no good for a food product.

If you are purely and naturally bad at spelling, use a spell checker! It's easy!

2011/05/25

「tell、talk、speak、say」の違い (part 5)


A few weeks ago, I was talking about the difference between "say", "speak", "talk", and "tell". It was a series, and I told readers some tips on how to avoid mixing them up.

A few days ago, I said that I had been to Europe. If you find yourself in Amsterdam, I recommend going to this pastry shop called Patisserie Kuyt. They had some great pastries, like this rasberry and pistachio tart.

As for the series I was speaking about above, here are the links to the four parts I wrote:

http://upgradeenglish.blogspot.com/2011/03/telltalkspeaksay-part-1.html
http://upgradeenglish.blogspot.com/2011/03/telltalkspeaksay-part-2.html
http://upgradeenglish.blogspot.com/2011/03/telltalkspeaksay-part-3.html
http://upgradeenglish.blogspot.com/2011/03/telltalkspeaksay-part-4.html

Speak up if you have any questions!

speak up and say so 思い切ってはっきりとそう言う (definition from Eijiro on the Web)

2011/05/24

このドイツ人は日本語の使い方に注意した方が良い。


One of my stops in Europe was Berlin. It was a great city! The food was delicious and affordable, and the people were very friendly. There was so much art activity going on, as well.

affordable【形】手頃な[良心的な・手の届く・無理なく買える]価格

While I was walking around East Berlin, I found this guy. Check out his tshirt! I wonder if he has any idea what it means. Maybe he does and thinks its funny or cool, but maybe he doesn't.

The point is that you shouldn't wear foreign words on your clothing or bags unless you know the meaning. I still chuckle when I remember the 65 or 70-year-old woman I saw in a night market in Taiwan wearing a tshirt that said "porn star".

pornstar【名】ポルノ女優、AV女優 (definition from Eijiro on the Web)

Make sure you aren't accidentally expressing something you don't mean!

2011/05/21

「先々週」は英語でどう言う?


Sorry for the long break between posts. The week before last I was attending a conference at the National University of Ireland.

the week before last - 先々週

It has a really old campus, full of buildings like the one in this picture.

After the conference, I visited people in Europe. The Monday before last I flew from Dublin to Berlin, and three days later I went to Amsterdam. It was a pleasant trip, filled with wonderful people, nice food, and stimulating music.

I've been back in Tokyo for a week, but it has been a little difficult because of jetlag.

I hope my sleep schedule will be back to normal next week, but it will be fine by the week after next for sure.

the week after next - さらい週

2011/04/26

「cherry blossom」の使い方


The cherry blossoms were really nice while they lasted. The season is over now, but there is one phrase that I hear every year that people should be careful about.

× The cherry blossom trees were really nice this year.
◯ The blossoms on the cherry trees were really nice this year.

It always happens that someone tells me: "but, there is no fruit with the cherry blossoms!"

Checking Wikipedia, we can find that flowering cherry trees are called Prunus serrulata. The fruit comes from a type called Prunus avium.

● flowering【名】開花{かいか}、開花期{かいかき}、花の形をしたもの、花飾りをつけること、花飾り (definition from Eijiro on the Web)

2011/04/19

この店とカシオも英語の使い方に注意した方が良い。「color」の使い方について


As I passed by this shop, the English on the sign caught my eye.

● catch someone's eye 〔思いがけない物などが〕(人)の目に留まる[触れる]、(人)の目を引く[捕らえる・奪う]、(人)の注意{ちゅうい}を引く◆複数形eyesが用いられることもある。(definition from Eijiro on the Web)

It says:

× G-Shock in white colour
◯ G-Shock in white

Usually, when we talk about the color of something, we don't use the word "color" after the name of the color. For instance,

× I have a black color bag.
◯ I have a black bag.

We use the word "color" in the question, though.

What color is your bag?

Retail shops use English mostly because it looks cool, I've been told. Just the presence of the Roman alphabet makes something look cool, so whether it is correct or not is not important. That's the excuse I've heard.

Roman alphabet ローマ字 (definition from Eijiro on the Web)

Maybe it's just because I teach English, but I think the coolest thing would be correct English. That is especially true when it comes to an international company like Casio.

2011/04/12

ブリヂストン美術館は英語の使い方に注意した方が良い。


I often pass by the Bridgestone Museum of Art. It's near our school at Nihonbashi Station. Their current exhibition is called:

△ Why is it masterwork?
◯ Why is it a masterpiece?

●  masterpiece 【名】名作、最高傑作、絶品、名人芸  (definition from Eijiro on the Web)

The problem is a common one for students.

× I had a lot of works today.
◯ I had a lot of work today.

"Work" as we usually think about it, meaning going to the office and so on, is an uncountable noun. "Work" does have a countable version which is usually used for artistic creations like paintings.

Since the exhibition is talking about art, I think the countable version is more correct, though it's hard for me to say it's wrong. I can say, though, that "masterpiece" is much more common than "masterwork". That's the word I would suggest that you remember.

I studied painting in university, but I never produced a masterpiece. Doing so must be a lot of work. Now I need to get to work on something else, so until next time...

get to work on (~に)着手する、(~を)始める、(~に)取り掛かる (definition from Eijiro on the Web)

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