Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Daily English Dictation 70 & Listening Comprehension

Daily English Dictation 69 & Listening Comprehension

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

7 Great English Words/Expressions you need to know^^

This literally means that ONE size will fit EVERYONE. We mostly use this expression for clothes or hats or gloves
But, it can be used in other situations like:

I’ve never seen a one-size-fits-all diet. What’s good for some people ISN’T good for others.

The government tried a one-size-fits-all method/approach to taxes. They tried to tax EVERYBODY the same 25%, but the poor people suffered.

Music isn’t one-size-fits-all. My sister likes 90s music, but I love 80s music.

There is no one-size-fits-all university. I thought the University of Minnesota was great, but many people would never go there simply because it’s TOO cold!!

So, is there ANYTHING that is one-size-fits-all? I think it is just a clever marketing technique!! Are humans that ordinary? Did we lose our uniqueness?!!

If someone is quirky, they’re weird or strange. They do things or say things that are NOT commonplace. Quirky people are often non-threatening, but we usually try to stay away from them.

I have some quirky features—I love coffee, but not hot. I pour cold water in my Kalbi-tang (a beef soup). I love ketchup but hate tomatoes. I don’t like to mix my sweets—no caramel coffee with chocolate cake.

Did you see the movie As Good As It Gets? The main character played by Jack Nicholson was VERY quirky!! Not stepping on cracks in the sidewalk…bringing his own spoon, fork and knife to the diner!  What about you?

Committing a to memory
This simply means memorizing something.
Are you good at committing things to memory? Do you have any secrets? Are you good with dates? Names? Directions? Phone numbers? Passwords? How do you commit these things to memory? Does anyone memorize phone numbers anymore?
What about English words? Do you like to memorize words? Sentences? Situations? All of those? Do you make flip-cards? Carry note cards? Make lists?

To be “overwhelmed” means to have TOO much… You might have too many tasks, too many worries, too many bills, too much food, too much stress…

Being “overwhelmed” is NOT a good thing. People who are overwhelmed need help. Or, they might just need a vacation.

Are you overwhelmed with anything? Yesterday I went to a restaurant and they gave me TOO much food! At first I was overwhelmed, but then I made a simple decision—I decided that I would only eat half, and ask them to put the remaining food in a bag so I could take it home^^ I was very happy because the food was delicious—I was happy twice^^

Have you been neglecting anything these days? Have you been ignoring anything? Not paying enough attention to anything? Your loved one? Your job? Your hobbies? Your health? Your parents? Your finances? Your dreams? Your principles?

We live in SUCH a busy world that it is easy to neglect things. For me, I often neglect my health. I rarely neglect my sleep, though! We need to prioritize. So…what are your priorities?^^

Jot down
To write down…to put down, make a note, scribble down, pencil in, record…SO many different expressions!! But, if you want to be particular, then I should tell you; to jot down usually means to write something down quickly! Most people “jot things down” on a napkin or the palm of their hand! And many times, after jotting something down, you cannot read it!!!

A breakdown. It could happen to your car. It could happen to you. A breakdown is when your car or your body or your emotions BREAK DOWN. “To break down” means “to become broken”. Broken…dysfunctional…out of order…impaired…ruined…disabled…screwed up… NOT good^^

A: Where are you?
B: My car broke down!
A: You had a breakdown?
B: Yes, the wrecker is on its way.
A: Okay, I’ll start the presentation without you.

A: What’s wrong with your sister? She’s been crying and shaking all morning.
B: She’s having a nervous breakdown.
A: What can we do for her?
B: Leave her alone BUT be near her if she wants us.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Five more GREAT English expressions~~~

1. Full disclosure
Total disclosure, complete disclosure, transparency 

Telling EVERYTHING there is to know. NOT hiding any facts. Laying out all the cards (on the table). Telling all of the who, what, why, when, where and how of a particular incident.

Do you think that full disclosure is good? If there is NOT full disclosure, is that lying? Wikileaks is an internet site devoted to full disclosure.

Many citizens are demanding a full disclosure from the government regarding UFOs.
Do you give a full disclosure to your new partner about past relationships?
I want full disclosure on Osama Bin Laden’s death.
I want full disclosure on the effects GMO foods have had on lab animals.

I’ll vault it~
I’ll keep it in the vault, I’ll lock it in the vault, Your secret is safe with me, I won’t tell anyone, I’ll keep it a secret.

This is just an interesting expression that means “I’ll keep your secret!” Do you know the difference between a vault and a safe? Vaults are HUGE safes that are usually found at banks—I have never seen a vault in someone’s home^^ Safes are the smaller, usually portable, boxes found in homes and offices. Some safes are secretly hidden behind pictures^^

Everything is under control
There is nothing to worry about. Everything seems okay. Everything is good to go. There’s nothing to be concerned about.

What a “relaxing” expression! When things are running smoothly, when everything is operating perfectly; we use this expression.

Boss:   Shane, how’s the report?
Shane:  It’s finished, sir.
Boss:   Have all the reservations been made?
Shane:  Yes, everything is ready.
Boss:   No last minute changes?
Shane:  No, sir. Everything is under control. Tomorrow’s presentation will be a 
            complete success.
Boss:    If it’s not, you’re fired.

I keep racking my brain to try and figure out what I did.

I keep thinking and thinking and thinking about what I may have done wrong. I keep wondering what mistake I made. I keep torturing my brain to find the answer…

“to wrack” or “to rack”…that is the question. Actually, both spellings are used and both can be possible IF one stretches their definition. Both words actually began as nouns. A wrack is the original spelling/pronunciation of wreck. So “He wrecked his car” can also be “He wracked his car”. ^^ “wrack” also forms the root of “to wreak”. To wreak is used when destruction or damage occurs. So some people argue that they mean they are destroying their brain when they say “I’m wracking my brain.”

HOWEVER, the more correct and accepted version is “racking my brain”. Rack, as a noun, refers to a frame used to hold things—a clothing rack, a coat rack, a wall rack. It was also used to refer to a torture device in which the victim was tied to a frame, and then the frame was stretched apart…horrible.

And that is our KEY—torture. To “wrack one’s brain” means to “torture one’s brain”…UNTIL you get the answer.

What do you wrack your brain for? Dinner? The meaning of life? The origin of humans? How to quit your job? Give us your example^^

I made great small talk with the waitress.

“small talk” refers to “light conversation”. Other similar words would be banter and chatter. To talk about “nothing”. To talk about the weather, a recent sports game, a movie, your family, or even your country. Be careful, though, some subjects are TOO serious for small talk. Subjects like religion, politics, government and salary tend to become too DEEP^^ Light conversation is the key.

Improving your English by practicing your “small talk” is a good method. You can do it whenever you see a native English speaker—riding a bus, on the subway, at a park, etc. If you become too nervous, simply look at your watch and say, “Woops! It’s already 5 o’clock. I must be off! Bye-bye!^^

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Five Great English Expressions to Know: February, 15th, 2012

1. What people will do for their pets.
Other examples
What mother’s will do for their children!
What Coach Shane will do for his English students.
The expression means that people will do ANYTHING and EVERYTHING for their pets. Or their children. Or their loved ones^^
You would do ANYTHING and EVERYTHING to do what? Learn English? Keep your girl/boyfriend? Buy that new car?

2. My dog is so demanding. He always expects me to ~~
Other examples
My mother is so demanding, she always expects me to ~~
My boss is so demanding, s/he always expects me to ~~
My husband/wife is so demanding, s/he always expects me to ~~
If someone is demanding, it means that they are always asking for something, telling you to do something or expecting something to be done/given/served to them^^ Is there anyone who is demanding in your family? Who? Why? What is that person “always” demanding?

3. Creature comforts
Some examples
My favorite creature comfort is my blanket^^ I use it when I go to bed and I use it on the couch when I watch TV.
My favorite creature comfort is my espresso machine!
My favorite creature comforts are my remote control, HD TV and mini-fridge stocked full of beer^^
Creature comforts are the niceties that we have to make our lives more comfortable. Many times creature comforts are luxury items like 3D HD TVs and limousines. But sometimes they are just an old, favorite T-shirt, or a comfortable recliner in your living room.

What are your favorite creature comforts?

4. Only if it’s in the pet’s best interest.
Some helpful explanations and examples
Only if it is truly good for the pet. Only if it is truly best for the pet’s livelihood.
If your dog is too fat, should you have your dog get a tummy-tuck?
If your dog has cancer, should you let your dog get cancer treatment?
Of course, if it is in your dog’s best interest, then you should. But sometimes “euthanasia” is in the dog’s best interest. The same for humans. If I were 79 years old and very ill with cancer, I might not want to have surgery—I might prefer to die. So I might ask my doctor or my family to “kill” me. In this case, we can say “death is in my best interest.” For humans, we call this “assisted suicide”. For pets, we call this “putting to sleep”. “Putting your dog to sleep is in its best interest.” However, some people are against euthanasia—especially on humans. In their case, they don’t say “assisted suicide”, they usually say “mercy killing”. Killing has a very cruel nuance to it—more so than suicide.

5. These days, pets have many surgical solutions.
Some points to think about
Instead of “solutions”, what can you say? One word would be “options”. Another would be “choices”. Some students want to say “selections”, but that word won’t work in this situation. Although solutions—options—choices—selections all have a similar meaning, sometimes you can only make word certain word combinations. 
Here’s an example:
Surgical options/choices. GOOD. Surgical selections…STRANGE^^
Clothing choices/selections. GOOD. Clothing options…STRANGE^^
How can you learn WHICH combinations are okay? My recommendation is to buy a collocation dictionary. They show you which words match with other words. At first, the dictionary is a bit confusing, but after you practice with it, it gets easier to use. Eventually, it’s fun to use^^

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

5 Great English sentences to know^^

1. What does he do? 
How does he make a living? What does he do for a living? What's his job?

Remember, when we say this REALLY fast, it almost sounds like "what is he do"^^ How does "What does she do" sound?

Practice with your friends--You need three people:
A: What do you do?
B: I'm an accountant.
C: (to A) What does he do?
A: He's an accountant.

Remember to say it "fast" like native English speakers would.

2. He was in real estate.
He's in engineering. He's in accounting. He's in education.

Remember, we do NOT talk about our specific jobs, we talk about the field.

I am a teacher in the field of education. I am in "education".
My friend is a stock broker. He is in "finance".
I have another friend who works at a bank. He is in "banking".

What are you in? What about your dad? What field would you like to be in?

3. What does he look like?
Are you good at describing people? You have to know some adjectives!

Can you describe me?
What about Shrek?
Michelle Obama?

4. I am unbelievable on the phone!
I am a REALLY good talker...on the phone.

I am unbelievable in the kitchen! I am a REALLY good cook!

What are you unbelievable at? What are you REALLY good at?

My sister is unbelievable at remembering dates.
My dad is unbelievable at hunting.
My mom is unbelievable at making apple pies.
I am unbelievable at sleeping^^

5. Where are they already?
Where the hell are they? They should be here by now. They are very late! What the hell are they doing? Why aren't they here yet?

This sentence is confusing because of the word "already".

The nuance of "already" is "they should be here ALREADY".

What about this: Are you done already? That means "You should be done, are you?" And when we add "already", it sounds "angry", so be careful with this expression. You might not want to use it with your boss or your dad!!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Five more great sentences to know^^

1. I think they'll really get along.
We use "to get along" to describe how people interact with each other. If they have a friendly relationship, we can say "they get along".
If they seem to argue, we would say "they don't get along".
Many times we add "with" to the end of the phrase: I get along with my parents, but I never get along with my little sister.

2. That's out of the question.
This expression means "NO WAY!" Absolutely not. Don't even ask me that. Don't even thing about it. Impossible!
It's a very "strong" expression. If someone were to ask me to write their resume for them, I could say "That's out of the question!" If someone were to ask me to HELP them with their resume, I might say, "Sure!" But I will not WRITE the entire resume for them. If someone were to ask me if I wanted to eat calamari, I would say "That's out of the question!" I really do NOT like anything with squid!! Octopus would be okay, maybe, but not squid. Squid is out of the question. A lot of children HATE eating vegetables--Eating veggies is OUT OF THE QUESTION!!

3. Jjajangmyun is one step away from spaghetti.
While the flavors of jjajangmyun and spaghetti are quite different, they look very similar. So we could say, "Jjajangmyun is one step away from spaghetti."  That means that jjajangmyun and spaghetti are VERY similar. There is hardly a difference between them. They are almost identical. They're nearly the same. There is only a fine line between the two. They are very close.

This expression, "one step away from", can also mean that something is very near--time-wise. Shane is one step away from retirement. That means that Shane will soon retire. Shane is one step away from bankruptcy. That means that Shane will almost certainly become bankrupt...unless he is VERY lucky^^

4. He hesitated before he answered.
To "hesitate" means to pause. It means that before you say something or do something, you think about it for an additional second. Sometimes hesitating is good--before you buy something very expensive or before you sign a contract, hesitating is usually good! But you should never hesitate if your husband or wife asks you, "Do I look fat?" You should answer immediately or you will be in trouble!! If your mother asks you if her new dish tastes delicious, should you hesitate? Probably not!!

5. Something's off here.
Something is strange here. Something is not right. Something is wrong. Something is fishy!

Sometimes you can walk into your home and you notice immediately that something is wrong. You might assume that your mother and father were fighting. Maybe your boss is in a very angry mood. Maybe the teacher is very sad. When you notice something is not normal, you can say "Something's off." or "Something's off here!"

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Five useful English expressions

Five great expressions we learned in class^^ 
Try and memorize them!

1. What's with the eyebrows?
That means "what's wrong with her eyebrows". Maybe they are too thick, or too thin, or too high or too curly! Anyway, something is wrong!! What other examples can you think of?

2. George was in rare form.
In the situation we watched on the situation comedy Seinfeld, this means that George was especially funny last night.George is usually not that funny, but last night he was SUPER funny! What about in this situation: Shane cooked some soup and Christy ate it. Then Christy said, "Shane is in rare form!" In that case, it means that Shane's cooking is especially good--usually his cooking is just OKAY, but today his cooking was really good! Can you think of some other examples?

3. We brushed on that.
We talked about that lightly. We lightly talked about that. We briefly talked about that. We talked about that for a little bit. To "brush on" something means to talk about it for just a little bit--very briefly. To "brush up on" something means to review something. To "brush up against" something means to bump into something! Be careful when you see the word brush--remember that it can be a verb and that it can have several meanings depending on how it is used^^

4. Let's go to one of those rib joints.
A rib joint is a restaurant that sells ribs. American-styled ribs are usually pork ribs with LOTS of delicious barbecue sauce. The ribs are eaten with your fingers so they make your hands AND face really messy! Sticky and red^^ If you do NOT like eating with your fingers, you should not try ribs!

A "joint" refers to a casual restaurant. It's a place where families can come for a relaxing meal. It is also a place were single people come to "hang out" and eat. Most joints have music playing in the background and you don't have to worry about what type of clothing to wear. Rib joints, steak joints and hamburger joints are common expressions^^

5. Hope is killing me.
Hope is driving me nuts. Hope is making my life miserable.
Is this really possible?!! It could be! If you hope too much, you might be disappointed later. If you are disappointed too often, you will become depressed. No one wants to be depressed! Other "~ killing me" expressions are, "Stress is killing me!" "The anticipation is killing me!" "The waiting is killing me!" "English is killing me!!" What is killing you lately?