Top Language: Any Mossies Flying Around?


Top Language



I got an e-mail yesterday from a co-worker who was telling me about the terrible weather  in her neck of the woods (i.e. in the area where she lives).


She is a lovely British lady. She speaks impeccable British English and she teaches me lots of colloquial expressions. Since I am Canadian, I am not always familiar with the terms she uses.


With this said, she used the expression ‘mossies’ in an e-mail. Here is what she wrote: ” The weather has been horrible. It feels like autumn. it is quite cold. The only positive side is that the mossies have not come out.”


Mossies = Mosquitos 


Let’s use this expression in context:


  • I can’t sleep at night with all the mossies buzzing over my head.
  • Put some anti-repellant on or you will get bitten by the mossies.
  • Stop scratching yourself! Your mossie bite can get infected.

What’s the weather like in your area? Have the mossies come out?



This is an Aedes albopictus female mosquito ob...



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Top Language: Dont break them!

Top Language


The EASI NETWORK, our TEFL teaching Group, is connected via a private Facebook Group. One of the trainers, who will remain nameless, posted the following message about a week ago.

 Does anybody actually say ‘don’t break my balls’ in English or is it just a funny translation from Italian.  I’ve been here so long, I don’t know.  My production boys want to know :)))’

This was such an important question that a slew of replies soon followed:-)))

The expression means that you are bothering someone or that you are causing them trouble.

The Scottish and British trainers confirm that it is not a BE expression and one actually said that her relatives think she is a weirdo when she uses it.

The American, Canadian and Irish ladies confirm that it is commonly used in the States.

I figure it has to be an Italian expression that was adapted to American English post war or something like that.

Here are a few variations:

  • Don’t break my balls! (related to testicles)
  • Don’t bust my chops!
  • He is a ball buster.

Be careful when you use it because it does have a South-of-the-border allusion!

In Italian, one would say:

  • Non mi rompere le scatole/palle.
  • Non scocciare.


p.s. Apologies for the crude language above but it seemed like an interesting colloquial expression to share. I hope it has not offended anyone.



Business Class: I would like you to learn something


I was teaching a business client today and 2 recurring mistakes came up.

  • I would like that they come to the meeting.
  • I want that she learns Chinese.

We looked at this verb pattern mistake and came to the conclusion that Mr.G made the mistake due to his native Language (i.e. Italian). He expressed that this was difficult to correct because no one stops him when he says it. Everyone seems to understand .

How do we correct this?

The verb pattern is the same for both verbs:

  • I would like + object pronoun + infinitive
  • I want + object pronoun + infinitive

Here are a few examples:

  • I would like them to come to the meeting.
  • I want her to learn Chinese
  • He would like you to apologize for your rude behaviour.
  • You want him to finish working at 5pm.
  • We would like them to join us for supper
  • She wants us to hire an extra person.

Did this help you? We sure want to find out .



Top Language: Sounds like a plan!

Top Language

I was watching ‘Suits’ and Harvey used the expression ‘Sounds like a plan!’

One of the senior partners suggested meeting him in his office to look over a case and he answered ‘ Sounds like a plan!‘.


  • Sounds good!
  • Good idea!
  • Let’s do it!

Let’s use it in context:

a: I am going to Mario’s Pizzeria tomorrow after work. Do you want to join me?

b: I am working until late.

a: So am I! Shall we say 9pm in front of the restaurant?

b: Sounds like a plan!


Clearly Confusing: Near vs Close vs Closed


cc1A learner mispronounced the word ‘closed’ in class this week . He pronounced it with 2 syllables and not one. This opened up a discussion about the words near vs close vs closed.

Here is what we came up with.


  • near: /ˈniɚ/ adverb, adjective or adverb that means at a short distance or time away
  • close to: /ˈkloʊs/ adverb or adjective that means at a short distance or time away
  • closed: /ˈkloʊzd/ it’s an adjective that means not open
  • to close :/ˈkloʊz/ it is a verb that means not open

We also gave examples of how near and close to work in sentences. Near is not followed by  ‘to’:

  • He lives close to me.
  • He lives near me.
  • The airport is near my house.
  • The airport is close to my house.

We created sentences using ‘closed’ and ‘to close’:

  • The shop is closed today. It is a national holiday. (adjective)
  • He asked me to close the window. (verb)

We  compared the use of near and close as adverb & adjective:

  • I am nearly finished. (I will finish in a short time)
  • He looked at the document closely. (with much needed attention)
  • He is a close friend. (a good friend of mine)
  • Summer is getting nearer. (we are a short time away )

Read the sentences below. Are they used correctly or incorrectly?

  • I am closely finished.
  • He looked at the document nearly.




From the heart…Taking That First Step

Here he goes again…what is this telepathy or is the world just really small?

During the week, I always seem to have conversations that are in line with Godin’s blog posts. Nothing comes easy .

Even if it seems like someone has got it easy today, that does not mean they didn’t struggle at some point in their lives.

Hard work, determination, humility and being ready when opportunity knocks…that’s a winning combination. Read Seth Godin’s blog post ‘Worst one Ever” .

Do you remember your first presentation?


When I Was Your Man by Bruno Mars

He should have held her hand!  He regrets having neglected her and now it’s too late.

When you are sad or sorry about not  doing something, you can say:

  • I should have done it.
  • I should have studied more.
  • I should have bought her flowers.

Reading the lyrics, you will find that there is a grammar mistake. He says ” I should have gave you all my hours” instead of ” should have given you all my hours”.  It takes the third column so the past participle and not the 2nd column (past simple) but we can forgive him because the song is so good!


Same bed but it feels just a little bit bigger now
Our song on the radio but it don’t sound the same
When our friends talk about you, all it does is just tear me down
Cause my heart breaks a little when I hear your name

It all just sounds like oooooh…
Mmm too young too dumb to realize
That I should have bought you flowers
And held you hands
Should have gave you all my hours
When I had the chance
Take you to every party
Cause all you wanted to do was dance
Now my baby is dancing
But she’s dancing with another man

My pride, my ego, my needs, and my selfish ways
‘Cause the good strong woman like you to walk out my life
Now I never, never get to clean up the mess I made, oh..
And it haunts me every time I close my eyes

(Chorus above)

Although it hurts
I’ll be the first to say that I was wrong
Oh I know I’m probably much too late
To try and apologize for my mistakes
But I just want you to know

I hope he buys you flowers
I hope he hold your hands
Give you all his hours
When he has the chance
Take you to every party
Cause I remember how much you loved to dance
Do all the things I should have done
When I was your man
Do all the things I should have done
When I was your man

Bruno Mars wears Benjamin Eyewear "Nicole...

Bruno Mars wears Benjamin Eyewear “Nicole” to the 2012 Grammy Awards (Photo credit: The Guise Archives)

Vocabulary Boost:

  • to tear down: to destroy
  • too dumb : too stupid
  • my pride:  a feeling that you are more important or better than other people
  • to clean up the mess: to make things right

Love the song, love the lyrics!

Your take?


Reason for Reading: Post-Layoff Survival Guilt

English: Think positive

English: Think positive (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here I go again! I am letting my current work enviornment direct my blog inspirations.   In the past few weeks, I have been hearing a lot about layoffs, solidarity pacts and staff morale being low in many companies across Italy. This made me read up on layoffs and the environment that surrounds them.

I have chosen an article that I think can be useful for those who remain in the companies that are undergoing a restructuring due to redundancies. We instinctively speak about the people who are let go but rarely about the ones that stay.

I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for everyone concerned. My thoughts and positive vibes are with you. Here is the article called Dealing with Post-Layoff Survival Guilt .

Positive attitudes are key to getting through any difficult period,right?   My co-worker, AP, is the best and reminding me of this!

Vocabulary Boost:

  • to lay off: to stop employing (someone) because there is not enough work
  • to be let go: to stop working because there is not enough work
  • to get fired: to be dismissed from a job
  • you wonder why: you ask yourself
  • a sibling: a brother or sister
  • severance package: money or other benefits given when employment is terminated
  • akin: alike
  • to hang: to remain in the air
  • a dip in Productivity: a decline in the work one produces
  • the sour taste…in your mouth: an angry feeling that remains
  • Survivial of the Fittest: natural selection or the theory that those who are eliminated are the unfit.
  • to be a bit somber: to be a little sad and serious
  • to get rid of: to do something so that you no longer have or are affected or bothered by it
  • to be bogged down with: to be overwhelmed, the feeling when you ahve to many things to do
  • are bound to : inevitably
  • to foster: to help, grow or develop




Color vs Colour…Do you know why?


Watch this short video from ‘Ask the Editor’  at Merriam-Webster that clears this up!