Sunday, April 22, 2012

(to) end up

Here's one of the more all-purpose verb:  (to) end up.

This is an intransitive verb, which probably is indicative of its nature.

Here's an example of the context in which I saw this word used today:


Peruvian authorities are still trying to unravel the mystery of why hundreds of dolphins ended up dead on beaches in the country over the past 2 1/2 months.

Here, the reference "end up" was very final.


Of course it does not necessarily have to point to the end of ends.

Quitters still end up as winners

And of course, as athletes are bought by one team, then later sold and bought by another, we ask questions such as this 2012 one:

Where Will Peyton Manning End Up?


Perhaps you can go online and determine where Payton Manning ended up for the 2012-2013 football season.

We're going to end by quoting Natalie Goldberg, author of "Writing Down the Bones," a text I used in my writing classes:

“Writers end up writing about their obsessions. Things that haunt them; things they can’t forget; stories they carry in their bodies waiting to be released.”

Would you agree?


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

(to) step down

In today's news, we had two multi-word verbs that are different only in their choice of the preposition practically side by side. We had (to) step aside and (to) step down.  

We will begin with (to) step down. Notice sometimes the preposition "from" is used and at other times the preposition "as" is used. Can you see the differences between the sentences in each case?

Steve Jobs steps down from Apple


Summitt steps down as Tennessee's women's basketball coach


James Murdoch to step down as BSkyB chairman

In case case, (to) step down means to resign from a high position. This could be in government, in business, etc.

Now do a search for "Nixon steps down". Everything comes up "Nixon resigns". This is because Nixon stepping down was such a dramatic an historic piece of news that only the singular word "resigns" would have the type of impact that the event conveyed. 

So what is your theory about when to use "as" and when to use "from"?

Use "from" when you are going to immediately afterward name the company or event that the person resigned from.  

Florida judge steps down from George Zimmerman trial

Use "as" when you name their position: chairman, president, etc.

Mubarak steps down as President of Egypt, hands power to military

It's fun to find multi-word verbs in the news because these add so much color to what we read!


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

(to) come to expect

Here's an absolutely wild and extremely common transitive verb that I have seen very little attention paid to in vocabulary books or vocabulary lists, or grammar books.

Do a Google search on "come to expect". You'll be surprised what you find.

Our first instance of it in the headlines is here, in an important health article:


“Many of the things that are routinely done are things that patients have come to expect and doctors have routinely ordered,” said Dr. Christine Cassel, president and CEO of the ABIM Foundation.


SOUNDING BOARD: We've come to expect certain negative behavior


And here's an interesting twist on the expression "(to) come to expect" in a video from Vanderbilt Hospital:

We've Come To Expect the Unexpected: Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt

What do you think it means?

Definition #13 of the Oxford Learner's Dictionary defines it as: 

Follow the link (above) and look at some other really good examples of this word in context.

And then come up with a few sentences and uses of your own.

For example, what have you come to expect from politicians?

What have you come to expect from life?