English is well-known for being a very idiomatic language with lots of old expressions and new ones being born all the time.
Let’s take two quick examples and at the bottom we’ll provide links to some good sites.
Cash cow: A cash cow is a product which has a low investment cost for the company but easily brings in a lot of money. Sometimes people say slot machines at casinos are a type of cash cow.
Go back to square one: This is an expression which means to start over from the beginning. Example: After weeks of negotiations everything fell apart and we couldn’t come to an agreement. We’ll just have to go back to square one.
There are many business idiom sites out there. All of these looked good to us:
http://www.idiomconnection.com/business.html (has free quizzes too)
How can you know which words are the most important in a language? One way linguists find this out is by taking large samples of language and storing that in a computer database. They can run tests and analyses on the data, such as finding the most common and least common words in a language. This is called corpus linguistics.
More recently, some researchers have looked at written and spoken academic language to find the most common words used at the college level. This list is called the Academic Word List, or AWL. If you are preparing for college in the U.S. or some type of college entrance test (including the TOEFL), these words are essential to learn.
There are many websites that use the AWL and provide exercises to learn these words. Here are just a couple examples that you may find helpful:
Sometimes someone wants to show off a certain new skill or joke. But what if that skill is not very impressive, or the joke is not very good? Or what if it is a little impressive, but not enough for that person to really boast about? We might say to that person: “Well, don’t give up your day job.” It means, whatever you just said or did, it wasn’t good enough to be a professional!
It may sound like it is a rude comment, but actually most Americans just think it’s a slightly funny comment.
In the case of this cartoon, this spider’s joke isn’t funny enough to make the man laugh. He even says, “Don’t quit your day job.” It means, just keep being a spider. Don’t try to be a comedian because you’re not that funny!!
We are already into the month of March! Before you know it, the weather will be sunny and beautiful again here in Duluth, just outside the city of Atlanta, Georgia.
Next week, we also start a new session of English classes. Good things are happening!
There is an expression in English — it is not necessarily very common — but it is funny, which goes: mad as a March hare. This expression may be 500 years old or even older. In this case, mad doesn’t mean “angry.” It means, silly, crazy, wild, ridiculous.
Now, what is a March hare? A hare is a wild animal very similar in appearance to a rabbit.
This is a hare:
In March, the weather is warming up and hares become more active socially, physically, etc.. In England, the frantic behavior of hares in the early spring led to the expression “mad as a March hare,” and we can apply this expression to a person to indicate that they are acting extremely silly, ridiculous, or insane. Someone who is mad as a March hare might look like this:
Of course, in the U.S., use of phrases and idioms is extremely common in everyday speech. So, if you have a friend who is being strange or absurd, it’s okay to ask them: “You are mad as a March hare, aren’t you?“
EARN 25% MORE WHEN YOU KNOW ENGLISH
This article discusses the recent research study showing that knowing English can increase your income by 25% (in developing countries). However, the article mentions the problem that most countries’ school program does not have a clear strategy for learning/teaching English, so there is no guarantee students will succeed.
Are you considering studying English in the United States at a language academy / institute? Located in Duluth, just outside of Atlanta, CCB is a flexbile, creative, and fun program which has a clear strategy for learning English. Students learn all major skill areas READING, WRITING, LISTENING, AND SPEAKING. They have expert teachers to guide them in improving their grammar, vocabulary, expressions / idioms, and pronunciation. Lastly, students learn all about American culture, study skills, and English for work & business purposes.
So whatever your purpose is for learning English – even just pleasure – we have the right program and strategy for you!
There are many idioms in English related to animals. To “horse around” means to play, act silly, and “goof off,” usually when you are really supposed to be doing something serious. When someone is playing at their job, sometimes we say: “Quit horsing around!”
Our English-as-a-Second-Language School in Duluth. Georgia, encourages students to study hard and play hard! So, at CCB School, you can horse around a little bit, but make sure to do your homework!
Using the phrase “up to it” or “up for it” can be used to express whether or not you want to do something.
A: “I want to talk about our finances tonight. Do you feel up to it?”
B: “No, I’ve had a really rough day. I just don’t feel up for that.”
A: “Do you feel up for going to the movies tonight?”
B: “Yes, I’d be up for that.”
Now you try using this expression with your friends!! Are you UP FOR THAT??