Someone I know asked me how to use "thus", thus I am writing this post.

See? "Thus" is basically the same as "so". It sounds formal, maybe even old-fashioned.
thus【副】それ故に、従って、だから (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
Last night I was up late cooking that tofu dish that I posted about the other day. I think I'm finally used to cooking it, and I can manage to cook it without the tofu sticking to the pan when I fry it. The photo above is the fried tofu before it has been simmered in spices.

Actually, "thus" has two other meanings. One means "in that way", like:
  • Cooked thus, the tofu becomes firmer.
  • thus このようにして、こんなふうに、上に述べたように (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
Another relatively common usage is "thus far", which means "up to now", like:
  • Thus far, I've cooked this tofu about eight or nine times.
  • thus far ここまでは、これまで、今までのところは、今までは (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
I've been practicing it, thus my skill is improving. To be honest, though, I almost never use "thus" in this way. I'd probably just say "so", thus I don't really recommend using "thus".


「every time」と「all the time」の違い

I had been concerned about our Dracaena sanderiana, aka lucky bamboo. There were no new shoots coming out of the stalk. However, today I noticed this small white shoot had appeared at the top of one of the stalks. I was relieved.
× I had been checking the stalks every time.
○ I had been checking the stalks all the time.
"Every time" means all of the occurrences of something. In the example above, exactly what is occurring is not clear. That's why we should use "all the time" instead, which can mean "very frequently" or "constantly".
  • all the time その間ずっと、四六時中、年がら年中、ひっきりなしに、のべつ幕なしに (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
  • every time 毎回~するたびに (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
  • constantly 【副】絶えず、しきりに、絶え間なく、常に、四六時中、やむことなく、いつも (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
Every time I looked at the stalks, I couldn't see any shoots, so I had been worried. <- this is OK because it is clear what happens each time

It seem I'm reading about China and other countries arguing about territory in the Pacific all the time. Every time I read such an article, it makes me nervous. One of the reasons is that people are competing for energy resources. With that and the safety and waste issues with nuclear power, it would be great if countries would devote their efforts to better solar energy instead. I would be much happier knowing that every time I use electricity it was coming from a solar panel rather than something that puts us at risk all the time.



I was preparing some teaching materials today, and I came across a sentence that described today's weather pretty well.
  • It's a scorcher today. 今日は焼け付くように暑い。(example from Eijiro on the Web)
It may have been hot, but the sunset was a beautiful one. The sky went golden. I enjoyed looking at it for about five minutes until I went back inside because it was still too hot.

The three-day weekend was a scorcher, too. I went running on Sunday afternoon, not expecting it to be so hot. 45 minutes later, I was dripping wet.
  • enjoy the three-day weekend 3連休を楽しむ (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
What advice do you have for sweltering heat?
  • sweltering heat うだる[地獄の]ような暑さ (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
I wish there was a better alternative, but the most practical thing I know to do right now is to sit directly under the air conditioner vent. Watch out for heat stroke!
  • heat stroke 熱射病 (definition from Eijiro on the Web)



It's been almost three years since I wrote about Family Mart's English mistakes, and they still haven't done anything about it!
× Every Life, Every Fun
○ ??? I don't know what they want to say. Maybe "fun for everyone!"...
When you read that, what do you think? As a Japanese person, does that phrase make you interested in Family Mart? Does it encourage you to spend money there? I always wonder if this is a kind of English that somehow Japanese people can understand, even if I cannot.

"Fun" is an uncountable noun if we use it like this:
  • I have fun finding English mistakes in public.
  • How much fun would it be to talk to the CEO of Family Mart about their English usage?
"Fun" is an adjective, and we can use it like this:
  • It's a fun activity to hunt down mistakes like this.
While we are talking about "fun", it's good to remember the difference between "fun" and "funny". "Fun" means "enjoyable", while "funny" means "humorous". 
  • fun 楽しい
  • funny おかしい、ユーモアのある
When I read the Family Mart sign, I think it's funny that a large successful company can make silly mistakes like this. It's also a little sad.

We have a three-day weekend coming up. I hope all of you have a lot of fun!



The sign says:
× We are Economy OPEN
○ We are conserving electricity. Please come in!
  • conserve energy 省エネをする、エネルギーを節約する (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
What they want to say is:
  • It might look dark inside, but we actually are open. Don't worry! Please come in and have something to drink.
If I didn't understand a bit of Japanese, I think I would never have been able to figure out what this cafe was trying to say.
  • figure out【句動】計算して合計[答え]を出す、算定する、〔答えを〕見つけ出す、 ~であると分かる、〔原因などを〕解き明かす、解明する、理解する、把握する、考え出す、考え付く、見当がつく  (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
It's a classic case of the noise in their English being too loud, making it not worth my time to even try to understand.

Conserving electricity is getting more important than ever. While it's great that utility companies are being forced to purchase electricity from enterprises generating electricity with renewable means, it may mean that we pay higher rates. Saving electricity could save you money.
  • renewable energy 再生可能エネルギー  (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
I've tried to keep the AC off to conserve, but today it was a bit too hot in the afternoon. I turned on the AC for a few hours. Now I'm back to conserving, with the windows open.

In the afternoon, we are doing the same thing as this cafe at our classroom. The lights may be off, but there's a good chance that one of us is around. Why not send us email and come by for a visit? I'll even turn on the AC for you!


「if that will help」の使い方

Someone was asking me about these patterns.
...if that will help.
...if that will make a difference.
...if that will solve the problem.
These patterns are for offering assistance. When someone has a problem, you may want to help them. You suggest that you can do something to help by using this pattern.
  • make a difference 違いが生まれる、効果がある (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
For example, someone told me that she was concerned about a business email that she had written. She wasn't sure if it was correct or not, and she worried that it might not be polite enough. I told her:
I can take a look at it if that will help.
We can reverse the patterns and put them at the beginning of a sentence by changing "that" to "it".
If it will help, ...
If it will make a difference, ...
If it will solve the problem, ...
I could have said:
If it will help, I can take a look at it.
I have another plant question for you all. We have this "lucky bamboo", which is actually an African plant unrelated to bamboo. I took some cuttings from it, and they are growing well in some soil.
  • cutting 挿し木
However, there are no new shoots from where I took the cuttings. It has already been two months, so I expected to see some signs of shoots by now. You can see where it was cut. The top of the stalk is covered by a small piece of foil.
  • cutting《植物》〔種子から発芽した〕芽 (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
  • stalk《植物》柄、茎 (definition from Eijiro on the Web)
Can you give me some advice? If it will help, I can take more pictures or give you more information about the plant. I'm looking forward to hearing from you!