Birthday Present

Birthday Present

birthday present

Carol buys a birthday present. The Grammar focus is on the Present Progressive tense.

Suzy: “Did you get Maya a birthday present?”
Carol: “No, not yet. I completely forgot her birthday is coming up.”
Suzy: “You should hurry. It’s on Saturday.”
Carol: “I don’t know what to get her. What did you get?”
Suzy: “I bought her a gift card from Amazon.”
Carol: “That’s a good idea. She can buy her own gift.”
Suzy: “Exactly. But you have to get her something different.”
Carol: “I think I’ll buy her some small earrings.”
Suzy: “That works. What is this month’s birthday stone?”
Carol: “For January? I think it’s garnet.”
Suzy: “So get her a pair of garnet earrings!”
Carol: “Great idea! Thanks, you saved me!”


Come up is a phrasal verb that means to draw near, approach. See online Idioms Dictionary.

Suggested Topic for Comments: Present Progressive Tense

Her birthday is coming up is in the Present Progressive tense, but in this case expresses a future event. Another example: We’re visiting her tomorrow.

The Present Progressive can also refer to a temporary situation, for example: They are living with friends now.

It can also refer to an activity in progress: He is meeting with a client right now.


New Idioms are “Have our backs” and “Die-hard.” The Grammar focus is on Modal Auxiliaries.

Alice: “What are you getting for Maya’s birthday?”
Bonnie: “Oh no, I completely forgot!”
Alice: “How could you forget? She always helped us at the adoption agency. We get her something every year.”
Bonnie: “I’m not sure. I could get her a dress, but a special article of clothing would be better.”
Alice: “I agree. Something smaller and more unique, like earrings. Or some other kind of jewelry.”
Bonnie: “What did you get her?”
Alice: “This year I decided to give her a gift card from Amazon. That way she can decide what she wants to have.”
Bonnie: “That’s a good idea. How much is the card worth?”
Alice: “A hundred bucks.”
Bonnie: “I wish I had thought of that. But I have to do something different.”
Alice: “Yes, or else it will look like we both forgot her birthday and only bought the cards at the last moment.”
Bonnie: “She’s a die-hard jogger, you know. Maybe I should get her some sneakers.”
Alice: “That will cost you a hundred bucks or more. I recommend Adidas or Nike.”
Bonnie: “I can do that. What about her cake this year? Do you want to bake it?”
Alice: “Ya, I’ve already got the ingredients.”
Bonnie: “Don’t forget the thirty candles.”
Alice: “I won’t. And why don’t you get her a card from both of us?”
Bonnie: “Okay, I’ll do that.”


Had our backs means she was willing and prepared to defend them, to look out for them in case they needed assistance. “She always helped us” could be re-written “She always had our backs.” See online Idioms Dictionary.
Die-hard means stubbornly resisting change or clinging to a seemingly hopeless or outdated cause. See online Dictionary.

Suggested Topic for Comments: Modal Auxiliaries

The modals “should” and “can” are used both socially (for example, to give advice) and to express logical probability. They can also express ability or tendency.I can do that” is a simple example of the expression of one’s capability. “She can decide what she wants” is another such example. Notice that modals are not inflected. Students are taught to add “-s” to verbs in the third person singular, but with modals, this would be incorrect: *She cans decide what she wants.

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