“It’s on me”/ “It’s my treat” / “I got this.”

In Western countries it is customary for people to split the bill when having meals. Of course on special occasions, or if someone is feeling especially generous, one person might pick up the entire tab (tab = a record of things ordered by the customer. Pick up the tab = pay for the tab).

So if you really want to pay for a meal, or pick up a bar tab, what are some common expressions?

“It’s on me” is the most common. The “burden of paying” is on me, not you.


“It’s my treat.” is also very common. It’s my treat (free meal) that I am giving to you.


It can also be used as a verb “I’ll treat you to dinner.” This often gets shorted to “Let’s grab dinner. My treat.”

“I got this.” is a much more casual expression, said as you pick up the check from the restaurant table. It means “I got this taken care of” or “I’ll handle this.”


You can use any one you want, there is just a small nuance of difference.

“It’s on me” is like you are doing a favor for the other person.

“It’s my treat” is like you are giving a gift to the other person.

“I got this” is like you are saying that the amount is small and  no problem for you.

There is also usually not too much arguing if someone offers to pay. One refusal is plenty.

A: “It’s on me.”

B: “No really, it’s fine. Let’s split it.”

A: “Nonsense. I insist!”

B: “Ok, thanks.”

It’s not rude at all to accept the offer right away. In fact, if you don’t, you may talk yourself out of a free meal.

A: “Don’t worry about the check, it’s my treat.”

B: “Really, you shouldn’t. Let’s just split it.”

A: “Well ok, if you insist. Let’s each pay half.”

Third Conditional – Fake Past

Third Conditional – Fake Past

The third conditional is not used as frequently as the others, but it is still a good one to know. In this case we are talking about an unreal past (something in the past that didn’t happen) and the result of that condition.

“If I hadn’t drunk so much last night I wouldn’t have had a hangover this morning.”


We use past perfect for the condition (“If + had + participle”) since we are talking about a completed event in the past that doesn’t affect the present. In the main clause we have our modal (would, wouldn’t, might, may…)+ have + past participle.

Wow, I know this one sounds complicated. Just think of it as two fake stories in the past.

“If I hadn’t drank so much last night…”


Fake past, didn’t happen. I actually drank a lot.

“I wouldn’t have had a hangover this morning”


Fake past, didn’t happen. I did have a hangover.


The third conditional is often used to express regret :

“If I hadn’t drank so much last night I wouldn’t have lost my phone”

or to admonish others

“If you had studied for the test you wouldn’t have failed.”

“If” Part 3- Second Conditional

Second Conditional – Fantasy

The Second Conditional deals with if-clauses that are unreal. We use it for hypothetical situations, unlikely situations or impossible situations.

Hypothetical: “What would I do, if I lived until I was 130 years old?”


Unlikely: “If I won the lottery, I would buy a car.”


Impossible: “If I were an animal, I would be a tiger.”



These sentences are not facts like zero conditional (I have never had this exact experience) and they are not predictions like first conditional (I don’t think these things are likely to happen).

The Second conditional is just fantasy. The “if” part is always something that is not true right now.

The Second conditional looks like it is in past tense, but it actually isn’t. It is in the “subjunctive mood”. It’s a little complicated, but just know that the Subjunctive isn’t talking about past, present or future – it is just a fantasy situation with no relation to time. It looks almost exactly like past tense, except that the be-verb is always “were” (never “was”).

Zero Conditional

“If I win the lottery I buy a car” = fact =  this person has won the lottery many times, and every time they did they bought a car. This sounds strange.

First Conditional

“If I win the lottery I will buy a car” = prediction = this person has probably bought a lottery ticket and thinks they will win in the future.

Second Conditional

“If I won the lottery, I would buy a car.” = fantasy = This person hasn’t won the lottery, they are just having a fantasy thought.


“If” Part 2 – First Conditional

First Conditional – Predictions

The 1st conditional is very common, we use it for situations that are likely to occur. As with all conditionals there are two parts: the conditional clause and the main clause. The conditional clause will start with the word “if”.

If I drop my phone, it will break.”

drop phone 4.jpg

“If I drop my phone” is the condition. You are saying that if that happens then the result will be the main clauseIt will break.

“If I drop my phone” is in present tense because you are talking about a real action that could happen now.

The result is in future tense, because we think that result will happen after.

Unlike the zero conditional, which states general facts or results that are always true, the first conditional deals with specific incidents. These situations haven’t happened yet, but they are possible and likely.

Zero Conditional:

When I drop my phone it breaks.” = “Every time I drop this phone it always breaks” = I have experienced dropping this same phone in the past, and so I know what the result will be.


First conditional:

If I drop my phone, it will break.” = “If I drop my phone now, it will break as a result” = I have never dropped this phone, but based on my knowledge (similar experience, logic etc.) I think I know what will happen.



The main clause uses future tense because that’s what we use for likely events.

I will go swimming tomorrow.” This hasn’t happened- but it is a likely plan.

“If it doesn’t rain, I will go swimming tomorrow.” We have the same sentence, but now with a condition.

“That doesn’t sound like___”

“Did you hear that Jack got 100% on the math test?”

“Really, that doesn’t sound like Jack”


“That doesn’t sound like ____” is  a way of showing disbelief or doubt at something.

“That doesn’t sound like Jack” = “That doesn’t sound like something Jack would do.”

The phrase isn’t focused on any sound that Jack makes, it’s about whether the story about Jack sounds true. We use it when we hear about someone doing something that is against their nature.

“Trump just apologized for his rude comments on Twitter.”

“That doesn’t sound like him.”


We can also use in the opposite way “That sounds like ____” when they do something that is typical of what we know of their personality. This can be used in a positive way:

“Jane didn’t go on vacation this year. Instead she gave the money she had saved for vacation to charity.”

“That sounds like Jane.” This means “That sounds like a story that is true about her, because I know she is kind.”

It can be used in a negative way too:

“Did you hear that Jack cheated on the math test?”

“That sounds like Jack.” = “I know that Jack is a cheater.”


아래있는 영상에 이 표현이 있어요. 보잭 홀스만은 “Washed up actor” (인기있던 시대가 지냈고 더 이상 유명하지않는 배우)이고  다이앤이라는 전기 작가이랑 이얘기 하고 있어요:

Here’s a clip from a TV show that has this phrase. Bojack Horseman is a washed up (no longer popular or successful) actor talking to Diane, a woman who is writing a book about him.


Diane: you told me to come at 9
Bojack: That doesn’t sound like me
Diane (reading phone) :Why don’t you come over Tuesday morning at 9.
Also you should bring this email because I might not remember it because just took a bunch of horse tranquilizers, haha. Also, please don’t put in my book that I use horse tranquilizers”. Then I think you fell asleep on the keyboard, because it just says the letter “b” twenty seven times

Bojack: That does sound like me.


In this clip Bojack says that meeting someone at 9am “doesn’t sound like him”, he doesn’t think he is the kind of person that would make an early appointment.

At the end of the clip Diane says that Bojack had taken drugs and fell asleep on his computer keyboard, to which Bojack says “That does sound like me.” He thinks he is that kind of person.



Bojack Horseman is a strange show, and definitely not for kids. But it can be funny and sad. Check it out on Netflix if you want.

Idiom “Speak of the devil”

“Janine, when am I going to get a chance to meet that new boyfriend of yours? Oh, speak of the devil, here he is now!”

“Speak of the devil.” is an old idiom that is derived from the superstition “Speak of the devil and he will appear.” In olden times people were afraid to say the name of the biblical devil (Satan, Lucifer, Beelzebub… he had many names) because they thought that would draw his attention and he would come after they said his name.

These days we use it to indicate that soon after we mention someone they suddenly show up. We know it is coincidence, but we use the idiom: “Speak of the devil” as if our conversation had some power. Since it is such a coincidence to mention someone and have them appear this phrase is usually said with some surprise.

“Speak of the devil, we were just talking about you!”

Although the phrase originates from calling the devil, an evil creature, we use it very neutrally these days. It doesn’t have to have a negative meaning. You will be able to tell from the tone of voice.

“Where is Gus today? Oh. Speak of the devil, you’re late again Gus!”

“I can’t wait until the postman gets here. Speak of the devil! I’m dying for my mail”

S.M.A.R.T. English goals part 4

Okay now that you have a Specific, Measurable, Achievable goal let’s look at what’s left:


You will only ever have one year 2019 in your life. You can’t do everything, you have to make sure that the goal you have picked is relevant to your real desires.

“I want to get better at English so I will read 10 English books this year.”


This is a great goal if your desire is to improve your English reading skills. It can also help your writing skills by getting lots of examples of how English speakers write.

But it’s not the best goal if your desire is to improve your speaking or listening. There are better goals for that. Many people pick reading goals because they are cheap, private and easy. Don’t let that be your reason. You only have one 2019.

“I want to get better at English so I will watch Season One of Friends this year. First with Korean subtitles, then English subtitles, then with no subtitles.”


This can be a great goal if you are looking to improve your listening and comprehension skills. Especially if you look up the words you don’t know during your English subtitle phase.

However, if your ultimate goal is to talk to English native speakers or understand American culture then you shouldn’t pick a 25 year old television show.  If you only have time to study one TV show deeply it would be better to pick one that is more current and has modern cultural references.

Don’t pick your goal because it is easy, or because it is something comfortable. Pick the best goal that is relevant to your actual dreams.

Time based:


This last stage of SMART, Time based, is pretty easy for New Year’s resolutions. You have a time limit (365 days) and you have a deadline (December 31, 2019).

My recommendation is that you also set yourself other time-based deadlines along the way. You might set weekly, monthly or quarterly deadlines that are mini-versions of your final goal.

If your goal is to read ten English books in 2019 then you could set yourself a four-book deadline in March, June, September and December.  This can give you motivation and feelings of achievement during the year.

Also I think its good to set your daily progress goals as time-based too.

“I will study English every day”

is not as good a goal as:

“I will study English for 40 minutes every day”


I wish everyone luck in 2019 with their SMART English goals. After you’ve made your goal feel free to share it in the comments!