Thursday, May 16, 2013

ONCE IN A BLUE MOON & other adverbs of frequency

Tom is ALWAYS in a rush, but he does stop to listen to musicians performing
in the subway NOW & THEN. He also drops a few bucks in their basket ONCE
IN A WHILE, especially when he's impressed with the performance. What about
you? Do you SOMETIMES stop to enjoy music by local artists around town? 

If you've been following our lessons on gerunds and infinitives, you've read about our main character Tom and have gotten to know him a little. In our first three episodes, Tom went on a couple of dates with Maria, got on the Staten Island Ferry for the first time, and met with Igor for language exchange.

For this lesson, let's get to know Tom a bit more while also practicing ADVERBS AND EXPRESSIONS OF FREQUENCY. As you read about Tom, notice these adverbs and expressions in capital letters.

Tom is so busy these days. Between his job as an office assistant and applying to medical school, he has very little free time. He doesn't go out on the town as much as he used to, but he still makes time to hang out with a couple of friends. He spends time with them at least ONCE A MONTH, and they USUALLY either check out a concert by a local band or head out to Yankee Stadium to watch a game. He and his friends are diehard Yankee fans. Tom also enjoys music and is ALWAYS eager to check out local artists performing around town. In fact, he stops to listen to the small concerts in the subway EVERY SO OFTEN and even gives them a few bucks if he enjoys the show.
            GO OUT ON THE TOWN - go out to have fun
            DIEHARD - strong supporters; stubborn
            EVERY SO OFTEN - sometimes, from time to time

Some sales are drawn on the sidewalk
in New York City. Tom would definitely
notice this announcement. Would you?
He tries to live frugally and is ALWAYS looking out for good deals and bargains. He USUALLY checks out store flyers to see if there's anything he needs on sale, and he OFTEN has his eyes peeled, so he won't miss any good bargains. He OFTEN brown-bags his lunch, and he cooks as much as he can. However, he does eat out NOW & THEN and even goes into a cafe ONCE IN A WHILE to have coffee or tea and to get some work done. 
          FRUGAL - spending little to save money
          BROWN-BAG lunch - to bring lunch to work/school
          NOW & THEN - sometimes
          ONCE IN A WHILE - sometimes
          HAVE ONE'S EYES PEELED - watch out for something; pay attention so you won't miss anything

At home, he's kind of a neat freak and likes to keep things organized. Ironically though, he's not very fond of cleaning, and he hates doing laundry. He washes his clothes EVERY OTHER WEEK and cleans his place even less frequently--about ONCE A MONTH. He doesn't have a huge wardrobe, so he would have to wear soiled clothes if he didn't keep to his laundry schedule.
          A NEAT FREAK - very neat, clean, & organized
          BE FOND OF - likes; enjoys
          EVERY OTHER WEEK - every two weeks
          SOILED CLOTHES - dirty clothes
          KEEP TO A SCHEDULE - maintain, follow a schedule

He ALMOST NEVER takes a taxi. He only grabs a cab when it's absolutely necessary, and he HARDLY EVER watches movies anymore although he loves movies a lot. He's just so busy these days. ... and what about actually going to the movies? Well, forget about about it. He goes to the theater ONCE IN A BLUE MOON. He's always watching his spending, and he finds the ticket prices too exorbitant. Perhaps someday, he'll head to the movie theaters more often, but for now, he has to watch his budget.
            GRAB A CAB - take a taxi
            HARDLY EVER - almost never
            FORGET ABOUT IT - don't even think about it
            ONCE IN A BLUE MOON - very rarely; almost never
            EXORBITANT - too much

So what about you? How often do you do your laundry? How often do you go to the movies? Do you go out with friends often? Do you cook and brown-bag your lunch or do you usually buy lunch outside? 

Share your sentences and practice your English here, on NYLC's page on Facebook, or on Twitter at NYLangCenter. Good luck!

-- Joe Yu, ESL instructor          

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