Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday

happy birthday

Happy Birthday, friends discuss gifts. The Grammar focus is on Modal Auxiliaries.

Lailani: “Let’s get something for Annabelle.”
Susan: “What do you think she wants?”
Lailani: “‘I’m not sure. But I can’t spend much.”
Susan: “If you’re short, I can lend you moolah.”
Lailani: “That’s not the point. I’m trying to save.”
Susan: “Okay, let’s get her something cheap.”
Lailani: “I think a pretty doll would be fine.”
Susan: “I agree. Her mother can get her other things.”
Lailani: “It’s perfect from neighbors.”
Susan: “Yes, I agree. Do you have wrapping paper?”
Lailani: “Of course. But we need to buy a card.”


Short, being a contracted form of “short of,” means having an inadequate supply of money. See online Idioms Dictionary.
Moolah is slang for money. See online Idioms Dictionary.

Suggested Topic for Comments: Modals

I think a pretty doll would be fine.” The modal “would” belongs to the historic past tense, but nowadays has a core meaning of “weakened force” or “weakened commitment.” It can be used in social interactions or in the sense of logical probabilities or one’s ability or tendency to do something. In our dialogue, the sentence is a suggested commitment to buy the girl a doll, and other things being equal, that is what will happen.


New Idioms are “Butter up” and “Seventh heaven.” The Grammar focus is on The Copula “To Be.”

Anna: “What is this? A jewelry store?”
Leilani: “I decided to bring you here. Check out those earrings!”
Anna: “For me? Are you buttering me up for something?”
Leilani: “It’s your birthday, isn’t it? It’s my treat!”
Anna: “Leilani, I wasn’t expecting this! I don’t know what to say!”
Leilani: “Say what you like and I’ll get it for you. Think about the opals over there!”
Anna: “That’s my birthstone, that’s October, did you know that?”
Leilani: “Of course I did!”
Anna: “Look at the play of colors on that one. Isn’t it beautiful?
Leilani: “I can see several colors from the rainbow.”
Anna: “Wow, that’s one in a million.”
Leilani: “Do you want it? I’ll get it for you.”
Anna: “Leilani, I am so blessed. I am in seventh heaven.
Leilani: “It’s my pleasure, Anna. I want this to be your best birthday ever!”
Anna: “You’ve made it the best, that’s for sure.”


Check out means to look at carefully or critically. See online Idioms Dictionary.
Butter up means to praise or flatter excessively. See online Idioms Dictionary.
Play of colors – Opals consist of the the “hydro-silicate” SiO2-H2O. That is the chemical name for it. The individual parts inside are called “silica spheres.” When light passes through spaces between the spheres it bends and this splits the light into different colors. This is what is meant by “the play of colors” in an opal gemstone. See online.
One in a million means exceptionally uncommon or unusually excellent. See online Idioms Dictionary.
In seventh heaven means in a state of bliss or extreme happiness. See online Idioms Dictionary.

Suggested Topic for Comments: The Copula “To Be”

The Copula as part of a verb phrase may be followed by a Noun Phrase, an Adjective Phrase or a Prepositional Phrase. We have these three possibilities illustrated in our dialogue today: 1) “It’s your birthday, isn’t it?” 2) “Isn’t it beautiful?” and 3) “I am in seventh heaven!”

Learn Conversational English
About the Author
English Grammar Categories
480 English Idioms