Isn’t that putting the cart before the horse?

I was at a conference (WOBI) in Milan this week and I diligently jotted down (i.e.took notes) some expressions the speakers used. They will serve as inspiration  for a few of my posts this month.

Tom Peters used this expression: ‘Isn’t that putting the cart before the horse?’


What does it mean?

  • Setting up steps out of order and working in a confused manner
  • Counter-productive, inefficient and disorganized. It simply doesn’t work.
  • It is like  vacuuming before dusting or  Setting a price for something before producing it to see how much it really costs


How else can we say this?

  • He is doing it backwards.
  • That is a topsy turvy approach to this task.





Video Watch: Only the Young


I have always loved low-budget motion-pictures (i.e. movies) and this one is amazing.

The trailer is 2 minutes long . I selected a few expressions that could be interesting when speaking about people, relationships & love.

She is attractive.

  • attractive means pleasing or appealing to the senses.
  • the opposite of attractive is unattractive, ugly, repulsive
  • you can use it for people and things

I guess opposites attract

  • ‘I guess’ is used when you are not sure. It is like saying that you suppose or think something is like that
  • Opposites attract’ is a proverb that explains the phenomenon of dissimilar people having a liking or attraction for one another.

I have a crush on her.

  • ‘ To have a crush on someone’ means you like that person. You usually feel uneasy and try to get attention around that person. Sometimes, it’s hard to stop thinking about them.
  • Crush is a verb that means that you press on something so hard that is breaks or loses its’ shape. I guess that in the definition above, we are talking about a person’s heart.
  • In Italian, we’d say’ avere una cotta per’

I could have added so many more sentencess. I choose to limit the expressions that I post because learning deeply is the best way to remember things. If I post 10 expressions, you may not remember any. If I post three, I hope you read this post over again 3 times and remember all three expressions forever.

Watch the video…pick a line you like and repeat it. Don’t think about grammar. You need to articulate to communicate!

You can share this if you like it.

We appreciate your visit…see you again soon!






Grammar Alert…8 Basic Verb Tenses


What does the world need more of?





A bunch of people answer the question, ‘what does the world need more  of?’


The most difficult expression used in this video seems to be  ‘a lily pad’ which is the leaf that frogs jump on when they are in water. He says that they are like pool rafts for frogs.


American Coot chicks near Klamath Falls, Orego...

American Coot chicks near Klamath Falls, Oregon, USA. They are sitting on a lily pad waiting for their mother to return with food. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)











I can’t make up my mind (i.e. I don’t know what to decide). All of their answers are great including the lily pad answer.


Watch the video and let us know what your answer is.


You can share this video if you like it.








Is Speaking English One of Your Top Objectives?

EASI Course Collection 2013 + pricing

Top Language: Beach Slang 2

summer love

summer love (Photo credit: [ Ben ])

Here are a few more cool expressions related to the beach, surfers and summer time!

Summer lovin’…rock on!


We got back to our hotel room and the a/c was not working.

  • air conditioning

We don’t have any air conditioning at the beach house but we do have a ceiling fan in the bedroom.

  • an electrical machine that has turning blades which makes the air move located on the inside top surface of a room

It has been so muggy this week. I feel all sticky!

  • unpleasantly warm and humid

I love orange flavored popsicles. I prefer them to ice cream when it is really hot.

  • flavored and colored water usually on a stick

There was a big thunderstorm last night. The temperature dropped a little after that.

  • an occurence of bad weather  where there is lots of rain and loud sounds coming from the sky.

Summer Quote

Every summer has a story. ♥ -Anonymous


Top Language: She is nocializing again!

Top Language


How often does it happen that you are at a party and your friends are not interacting with you but with their mobile devices instead?

This activity is called Nocializing.

Student texting during class

Student texting during class (Photo credit: Wikipedia)










Only spending time on a mobile device instead of with people around you when you are in a social setting.

In Context:

  • I went on a blind date and he was nocializing all through dinner.
  • Why did they invite me for drinks if they were planning to nocialize all evening.
  • My Dad hates Johanne. He thinks she is such a nocializer.

Conversation Builder:

  • What are your mobile habits?
  • Do you leave your mobile in your pocket or handbag when you eat out?
  • How many times do you check your phone a day?



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 .



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.