Spectacular vs. Spooktacular

“Spectacular” is a very positive (good) word in English. It is related to the word “spectacle” which usually means something impressive or good to see.

Here are some synonyms for “spectacular” in everyday usage:
Super
Awesome
Terrific
Great
Superb
Excellent
Fantastic
Wonderful
Marvelous

Now… about “Spooktacular.”

“Spooky” in English means scary, eerie, weird, frightening. We use this word a lot in association with the holiday of Halloween.

For example: A spooky ghost; a spooky costume; a spooky house; a spooky decoration.

English speakers love to do “word play.” That means making one word sound like another word. Or, combining two words into one. (Like, “chillax” which is “chill” and “relax.”)

So, something really great or awesome that is on or around Halloween is “spooktacular.”

We hope you have a very spooktacular Halloween next week!

It will be very common to see Halloween events using this name. We found these and many more on the internet easily.

You Moved to America – Now How do You Meet Americans?

Moving to a foreign country to improve your language skills is an incredible opportunity. Whether you only have a short time in a foreign country, plan to stay for a year or more, or will be able to come back many times in the future, making connections in another country is a rewarding experience. A native speaker of a language may be your gateway into a new culture, meeting other native speakers, and getting to practice the language you are studying in a classroom.

In a way, the classroom is like a gym or sports training program where you exercise and practice what it will be like in a real game. But playing the real game on a real field is where the excitement truly is.

Similarly, if you study English for hours every week, but rarely use it out in the “real world,” you are missing critical time to practice, improve, and – most importantly – GROW.

There are many types of people and personalities, not to mention cultural and other influences which may predict how much someone is willing to go and talk to strangers. If you are very shy in your own language, speaking a foreign language can be intimidating.

On the other hand, we would not be giving you good advice if we said it was enough just to attend classes or practice on your own.

The following are five ways to start to meet and talk to Americans. America is a very diverse country with many types of people. Sometimes it may seem easy to have simple, quick, polite conversation with Americans but more difficult to become real friends. What are some ways to make a deeper connection?

Try to be realistic. Making great new friends quickly is hard. If you find a way to keep seeing the same person or people many times, we believe this is a key way to developing a deeper friendship.

You may have to push yourself a little bit, but all of these are ways to meeting new people and friends that you can spend time with again and again. When you know each other a little better, don’t be shy! Tell them you are new to the country and really want to spend more time with Americans. Whatever you heard about Americans in the news or thought from TV, etc., the fact is we are all just people, and we all enjoy making new friends.

1.) Volunteering: This allows you to practice your English, learn about the city and do meaningful work. There are many different types of volunteer jobs, so in order to find the best fit for you, try a volunteer site like www.volunteermatch.org. Try to pick a volunteering position which will let you speak English or meet other volunteers.

2.) Participate in Festivals and Events: Every weekend (and really every day) we see some type of activity in and around Atlanta that will have large crowds of people. Many are free while others may carry a low cost. This can also help you experience American and Atlanta culture, including music and food. Here is a good Atlanta events calendar: https://www.events12.com/atlanta/

3.) Join a Sports Team or Hobby Group: This is a great option for meeting new people, practicing your English and staying active. I’ve joined a baseball team and ultimate Frisbee team in the past and I had the best experiences learning a new sport and making friends. There are many websites to help you find the perfect sports team. Want to join a bowling league? Want to play Ultimate Frisbee? Find a good search website like this one http://www.atlantasportandsocialclub.com/ and find the team for you!

4.) Make New Friends With Social Media: It is easier than ever to make new friends when you take advantage of social media. Meetup is one site that helps people make new friends in a new city. But there’s also tons of sites that give you good ideas or specific places. https://www.meetup.com/GotANITM/?_cookie-check=msnD5ucXTsuOiK4j

5.) Find a family or roommate who DOES NOT speak your same native language: One mistake we can make when moving to a new country is living by ourselves or with someone we know or who speaks our own language. An amazing way to meet Americans is to live with an American family during your studies. Living by yourself may seem appealing or easier, but you may already be feeling lonelier in a new country and having others to socialize with is very important. American Homestay is one organization that helps you find a safe, friendly American family to live with. https://www.homestaynetwork.com/

If you have more questions or want advice, just ask us!

SHAKESPEARE INVENTED & PRESERVED THOUSANDS OF ENGLISH PHRASES

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) is one of the most famous and influential English writers. He wrote dozens of plays and poems. But he also introduced thousands of words and phrases into the English language which are still popular today. However, today many people believe that Shakespeare may not have invented some of these words and phrases, but rather his works are the first time the words were actually written down. This does not discount the fact, however, that Shakespeare was a master of English and a huge influence on the language lasting until today.

Below are many phrases from Shakespeare. Below that list are many words we got from Shakespeare. Have a question about any of them? Just ask us!!

Phrases from Shakespeare we still use in everyday communication

  • “It’s Greek to me” (Julius Caesar) – When you say, “it’s Greek to me” you are admitting that you do not know or understand something.
  • “Fair play” (The Tempest) – Follow the rules, especially in competitions or sports.
  • “All that glitters isn’t gold” (Merchant of Venice) – We usually use this phrase after we discover the fact that something that looks good turns out not to be that great.
  • “Wear one’s heart on one’s sleeve” (Othello) – To be a hopeless romantic (or be open and honest about how you feel) is to wear one’s heart on one’s sleeve.
  • “Break the ice” (The Taming of the Shrew) – Often when you meet someone for the first time, you “break the ice” by asking them polite questions about themselves.
  • “The lady doth protest too much” (Hamlet) – If someone denies something more than once, you can say “the lady doth protest too much,” meaning you think that they feel the opposite to what they are saying.
  • “Clothes make the man” (Hamlet) – Although not always true, this phrase implies that how a person dresses tells you something about who they are as a person.
  • “A laughing stock” (The Merry Wives of Windsor) – To be a laughing stock is to be considered a joke by many people.
  • “Too much of a good thing” (As You Like It) – It is said that “too much of a good thing” (i.e. money, love, food) is not necessarily good for you.
  • “In a pickle” (The Tempest) – To be “in a pickle” is to be in trouble or a situation that you cannot easily get out of.

More Phrases

“All our yesterdays”— (Macbeth)

“As good luck would have it” — (The Merry Wives of Windsor)

“As merry as the day is long” — (Much Ado About Nothing / King John)

“Bated breath” — (The Merchant of Venice)

“Be-all and the end-all” — (Macbeth)

“Neither a borrower nor a lender be” — (Hamlet)

“Brave new world” — (The Tempest)

“Break the ice” — (The Taming of the Shrew)

“Brevity is the soul of wit” — (Hamlet)

“Refuse to budge an inch” — (Measure for Measure / The Taming of the Shrew)

“Cold comfort” — (The Taming of the Shrew / King John)

“Conscience does make cowards of us all” — (Hamlet)

“Crack of doom” — (Macbeth)

“Dead as a doornail” — (Henry VI Part II)

“A dish fit for the gods” — (Julius Caesar)

“Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war” — (Julius Caesar)

“Devil incarnate” — (Titus Andronicus / Henry V)

“Eaten me out of house and home” — (Henry IV Part II)

“Faint hearted” — (Henry VI Part I)

“Fancy-free” — (A Midsummer Night’s Dream)

“Forever and a day” — (As You Like It)

“For goodness’ sake” — (Henry VIII)

“Foregone conclusion” — (Othello)

“Full circle” — (King Lear)

“The game is afoot” — (Henry IV Part I)

“Give the devil his due” — (Henry IV Part I)

“Good riddance” — (Troilus and Cressida)

“Jealousy is the green-eyed monster” — (Othello)

“Heart of gold” — (Henry V)

“Hoist with his own petard” — (Hamlet)

“Ill wind which blows no man to good” — (Henry IV Part II)

“In my heart of hearts” — (Hamlet)

“In my mind’s eye” — (Hamlet)

“Kill with kindness” — (The Taming of the Shrew)

“Knock knock! Who’s there?” — (Macbeth)

“Laughing stock” — (The Merry Wives of Windsor)

“Live long day” — (Julius Caesar)

“Love is blind” — (The Merchant of Venice)

“Milk of human kindness” — (Macbeth)

“More sinned against than sinning” — (King Lear)

“One fell swoop” — (Macbeth)

“Play fast and loose” — (King John)

“Set my teeth on edge” — (Henry IV Part I)

“Wear my heart upon my sleeve” — (Othello)

“Wild-goose chase” — (Romeo and Juliet)

Words that come from Shakespeare

Here are some common words that first appeared in Shakespeare’s plays and their meanings:

Auspicious – favorable; promising success; a good omen. A wedding is an example of an auspicious occasion.

Baseless – without a foundation; not based on fact. If you accuse someone of wrongdoing, make sure that you have support to back up your claim and it is not a baseless accusation.

Barefaced – shameless; without concealment or disguise. When someone tells a ‘barefaced lie’ it is not a very good one and you immediately know it is not true.

Castigate – to punish harshly. Sometimes celebrities and politicians are castigated in the press more harshly than ordinary citizens.

Clangor – a loud (clanging) sound. Ghosts are sometimes said to be followed by the loud clangor of chains.

Dexterously – skillful, especially in the use of one’s hands (or also one’s mind). A good carpenter can dexterously build a bookshelf very easily.

Dwindle – to get smaller; diminish. Often used to describe money. Many people’s savings dwindle after losing a job.

Multitudinous – a lot; a great number. You are in luck if you can say that you have a multitudinous amount of friends.

Sanctimonious – pretending to be very religious or righteous. Sometimes people who judge others harshly are sanctimonious.

Watchdog – a person or group that keeps close watch to discover wrong or illegal activity. A popular watchdog group is PETA, which exposes wrongful actions against animals.