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Archive for the month “March, 2018”

What Do You Make From Scratch?

I know that English prepositions can be tricky for second language learners, and SUPER tricky when they’re part of an idiomatic expression. For example, let’s talk about the expression from scratch.

The dictionary definitions of from according to Merriam-Webster are as follows:

1: used to show a starting point 

  • a letter from home
  • School starts a week from today.
  • He spoke from the heart.

2: used to show a point of separation 

  • The balloon escaped from her grasp.

3: used to show a material, source, or cause 

  • The doll was made from rags.
  • The author read from his book.
  • He is suffering from a cold.

When used as a verb, the word scratch means the following:

1to scrape or rub lightly 

  • scratch an itch
  • He scratched his head.

2to injure by scraping with something sharp 

  • He scratched his thumb on a nail.

3to make a scraping noise 

  • The dog was scratching at the door.

4to erase by scraping 

  • scratched out my mistake.

When used as a noun, scratch means this:

: a mark or injury made by scraping with something sharp

However, when you make your favorite chocolate cake from scratch, that means something different. It means you’ve made your cake from the basic, natural ingredients— like, flour, eggs, baking powder, salt, sugar, and oil—instead of using  pre-mixed or pre-packaged ingredients.

Using a cake mix from a box is NOT considered making it from scratch. (But, that’s what I like to use!) 🙂

More examples

My grandma and mom used to make homemade noodles and biscuits from scratch. YUM!

Free stock photo of kitchen, bakery, flour, baking

A builder creates a house or structure from scratch. Taking materials like cinder blocks, lumber, cement, etc., to create a house, shopping center, or office building.

Person Cutting Wood on Table Saw during Daytime

Also, I’m currently building an online course from scratch. I’m using what I already know, researching what I don’t know, and writing my own lessons. This post is part of that process.

So, what can YOU make from scratch? Can you think of other examples?

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Idioms Are Right Up My Alley

Hey, there!

Let’s talk about idioms! I’m an English teacher, so that’s right up my alley! I love words, their multiple meanings, and the weird ways their literal meanings can be disregarded when they’re used as idioms.
Let’s take the words up my alley. When you’re speaking literally, it means something or someone is perhaps going up a narrow street behind or beside your house or apartment. (See other definitions here.)
However, the idiom up your alley refers to something that you really like or something you’re really good at doing. Frequently, the word right begins the phrase, but it’s not required.
For example, my boyfriend LOVES dogs. (So do I.) When we go to the doggie park, it’s right up our alley. We can watch, pet, and play with lots of cute dogs there.
I have students who love playing soccer. If they were to win tickets to a professional soccer game, that would be right up their alley.
If you’re an amazing cake decorator, opening up your own cake decorating business might be right up your alley.
If you love to draw Japanese anime, watching a video titled “How to Draw Anime Faces” would be right up your alley.
Here’s a funny comic from toonpool.com.  If funny stuff is up your alley, you’ll enjoy it! 🙂

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