11 Tips to Help You Learn English Faster

We didn’t write these, but we totally agree. A great resource! If you have questions about English – grammar, slang, idioms, etc., please let us know. We are happy to help.

http://english-tonight.com/learnenglishquickly/

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Business Idioms are Fun and Useful

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)

http://www.businessenglishresources.com/31-2/student-section/business-vocabulary/most-common-business-idioms/

http://www.learn-english-today.com/idioms/idiom-categories/business-work/bus-work1-ace-bricks.html

OVERVIEW OF AMERICAN CULTURE – LANGUAGE, CULTURE, CUSTOMS, ETIQUETTE

The following short article gives a good summary of American culture, with attention to details that are helpful for international tourists, students, and business people — like business meetings, dining (eating) etiquette, gift giving, etc.

http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/resources/global-etiquette/usa.html

Do you have any questions about American culture? Just post to our FB page and we’ll be happy to answer!

What Does “Don’t Give Up the Day Job” Mean?

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!!

FIVE PARAGRAPH ESSAY IS LIKE A HAMBURGER!

Writing a five-paragraph essay is one of the most important skills you need to succeed on the independent writing section of the TOEFL (and many other tests including the GRE and GMAT) and in order to write papers for American college classes.

Americans love hamburgers more than you thought!

One easy way to remember how to do this is to think of your essay like it’s a hamburger. You can find a million examples like this online (just type “essay hamburger” into Google Images). College papers usually must be at least several pages long (and often can be 10-20 pages long) but they can still follow the “hamburger model.”

The basic idea:

TOP BUN = Paragraph 1 = Introduce the topic and present the argument you are trying to make (thesis)

TOMATO = Paragraph 2 = First type of support for your argument, with at least one specific example

LETTUCE = Paragraph 3 = Second type of support for your argument, with at least one specific example

MEAT PATTY = Paragraph 4 = Third type of support for your argument, with at least one specific example

BOTTOM BUN = Paragraph 5 = Conclusion; repeat your main argument and find a good way to end. For example, make a prediction about the future.

Some essay hamburger examples:

This model can also be use for writing a single paragraph:

USING FLASHCARDS FOR VOCABULARY ACQUISITION

Do you need to learn new words in English, maybe for a test (like TOEFL, GRE, GMAT) or because you just want to improve your vocabulary?

One effective way is to self-study using flashcards as a starting point. (Eventually you want to try writing these words in sentences and even use them in real life.)

What is great about flashcards is that you can decide what information you want. It could simply be a word (on side 1) and a simple definition (on side 2), either in English and/or your native language. Often, pictures work better than definitions. Look at Google Images to give you ideas. Other types of info you may want to include are: pronunciation; part of speech (e.g. verb, noun, adjective, etc,); synonyms & antonyms; example sentences; and more.

Try starting with ten new words. Look at the word and the information several times for a few days. Then look at the definition. Can you guess the word? Or try looking at the word and see if you can provide the definition. Constantly review old words and keep adding new ones.

Again, you can do this alone, or even with a partner who can motivate you, help you, or correct you.

Want more advice from us? Just ask!!

MLK Holiday — See the I Have a Dream Speech and Video Here

Yesterday we had no classes as the nation honored Martin Luther King, Jr., one of America’s greatest civil rights leaders, by observing the federal holiday remembering his life and works. This holiday celebrates his birthday which was on January 15, 1929. We also remember his tragic assassination, which happened on April 4, 1968.

The following link contains a video of his most famous speech, and the transcript so you can read along. It may be difficult to understand everything, but the main message of peace, freedom, and equality will be clear.

http://www.commdiginews.com/featured/martin-luther-king-i-have-a-dream-transcript-video-memorial-slideshow-33605/