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.









English Phraseology: An Italian Easter

English: Lindt Golden Bunny (Barcelona), 6 de ...

With Easter being just around the corner, I planned this blog post in honor of this joyous spring feast. I remember wearing my crochet white knee-high socks, floral-printed dress and shiny ballerinas on Easter Sunday. No matter how cold it was in Montreal that spring, this was my outfit.

Reason for Reading:
I found a very interesting article on EASTER in Italy. I thought it would be cool for Italians to learn how to explain their traditions in English & non-Italians could discover what Easter in Italy was like. Here is the article: Pasqua: Easter Lunch In Italy

Flower Lingo:
Here are my top 5 favorite Traditional Easter Flowers. Click on the link and see what they look like. This activity can easily inspire your Easter bouquet.

Easter Idioms:

  • Lorenzo didn’t want to pick on Harry but his friends egged him on. (i.e. to encourage or dare someone to do something that may be unwise or dangerous.)
  • The investor regretted putting all his eggs in one basket. (i.e. Do not risk everything by placing too many hopes on one thing)
  • My boss is really nervous in this period. When we work together, I feel like I’m walking on egg shells.(i.e. to do something cautiously, try hard not to upset someone)
  • Jane didn’t come home last night. Her dad stayed up waiting for her. He’s hopping mad. (i.e. to be really angry)
  • Jerry’s parents started saving up for his college tuition long ago. This nest egg is waiting for him.(i.e. an amount of money that is saved over a usually long period of time to pay for something in the future)
  • I hopped on the bandwagon this spring and switched to a smart phone. (i.e. To become involved in an activity that has gained popularity recently)

Easter Tongue Twisters: Listen and Repeat

Each Easter, Eddie eats eighty eggs.

Baby bunnies bounced bright balls beyond Bunnyland borders

Fluency Builder: Discuss the following questions with your friends or teacher.

  1. What do you like most about Easter?
  2. Have you planned anything special for this Easter?
  3. Do you observe lent? Do you fast on Good Friday?
  4. Have you ever taken part in an Egg Hunt?
  5. What’s your favorite Easter dish?
  6. Do you prefer chocolate bunnies, hard-boiled eggs  or jelly beans?

Hope this special Easter post got you ready to speak about this festivity.

Happy Easter everyone!


Business Class: No Dice!


‘No Dice‘ is used to refuse a request or clarify that something is not possible.

Jim: “Can I borrow your car? I have to pick up my kids from school.”

Martine: ” Sorry, No dice! My car is in the shop. It’s getting repaired”

I did a little research to see if my hunch (i.e. intuition) about the etymology was right and the outcome confirms that it is related to gambling. In some US States in the early 1900’s, Gambling was illegal and gamblers would hide their dice and deny having them when asked to show them as evidence thus the expression ‘No Dice!’

Supervisor: ” Come on in Kate. What can I do for you?”

Kate: ” Well, I was wondering if we could discuss my raise.”

Supervisor: “No dice…I’m afraid. The economic downturn has frozen everything.”

English: Four coloured 6 sided dice arranged i...

Team up with a friend or a classmate. Try to answer the following questions by researching them. If you post your answers, I’d be very pleased:

  1. Can I replace ‘No Dice’ by ‘Nothing Doing’?
  2. What’s the difference between borrow & lend?
  3. when your car is in the shop, where is it exactly?
  4. What exactly is a raise?


p.s. This post is brought to you by my last listen…OPEN by André Agassi! I’m an avid Audible user.



Philip Philips: Gone, Gone, Gone

I was watching American Idol and Philip Philips performed this song. He blew it out of the park…POW! Thought you’d like the song. Let me know if I’m right.


When life leaves you high and dry
I’ll be at your door tonight
If you need help, if you need help
I’ll shut down the city lights,
I’ll lie, cheat, I’ll beg and bribe
To make you well, to make you well

When enemies are at your door
I’ll carry you away from war
If you need help, if you need help
Your hope dangling by a string
I’ll share in your suffering
To make you well, to make you well

Give me reasons to believe
That you would do the same for me

And I would do it for you, for you
Baby, I’m not moving on
I love you long after you’re gone.
For you, for you.
You would never sleep alone
I love you long after you’re gone
And long after you’re gone, gone, gone.

When you fall like a statue
I’m gon’ be there to catch you
Put you on your feet, you on your feet
And if your well is empty
Not a thing will prevent me
Tell me what you need, what do you need

I surrender honestly
You’ve always done the same for me

So I would do it for you, for you.
Baby, I’m not moving on
I love you long after you’re gone.
For you, for you.
You would never sleep alone.
I love you long after you’re gone
And long after you’re gone gone gone.

You’re my back bone,
You’re my cornerstone
You’re my crutch when my legs stop moving
You’re my head start,
You’re my rugged heart
You’re the pulse that I’ve always needed

Like a drum, baby, don’t stop beating (x3)
Like a drum my heart never stops beating

For you, for you
Baby I’m not moving on
I love you long after you’re gone.
For you, for you.
You would never sleep alone
I love you long after you’re gone.
For you, for you.
Baby I’m not moving on,
I love you long after you’re gone.
For you, for you.
You would never sleep alone.
I love you long, long after you’re gone.

Like a drum, baby, don’t stop beating (x3)
Like a drum my heart never stops beating for you

And long after you’re gone, gone, gone.
I love you long after you’re gone gone, gone.

Vocabulary Boost:

  • High and dry: in a helpless position
  • To cheat: to break a rule or law to gain an advantage for something
  • To beg: to ask for something in an emotional way when it’s needed
  • To bribe: to try to get a person to do something by promising something valuable
  • To dangle: to hang
  • To suffer: to feel pain
  • A well:  a hole in the ground that holds water
  • A backbone: strength and courage
  • A cornerstone: something of fundamental importance
  • A crutch: something a person uses too much for help and support
  • A head start: an advantage that you have or get when starting something
  • A rugged heart: tough or strong love
  • A pulse: steady movement of blood caused by the beating of your heart
Philip Phillips

Philip Phillips (Photo credit: rocor)

Fluency Builder: Answer the following questions with a teacher or a chat buddy

  1. Have you ever heard of Philip Philips?  What’s this song all about?
  2. Do you watch American Idol?
  3. Does anyone in your family play a musical instrument?
  4. Has anyone ever left you high & dry?
  5. Who is the corner stone of your department at work?
  6. Have you ever used crutches?


p.s. this one goes out to GC

Business Class: I don’t know him from Adam

"Adam and Eve" from The Brick Testam...




I’ve gotten to know quite a few people through distance learning. I am familiar with their voices but I have no clue what they look like. In this case, I can say: “I don’t know them from Adam!”.  We use this expression when we don’t know what the person looks like. We would not be able to recognize them if we were in the same room.


When working with mnemonics as a learning technic, I ask my learners to associate Adam to the first man from the Bible. We know of him but we wouldn’t recognize him if we passed him on the street.


Here are a few examples in context :


  • What does he look like? I don’t know him from Adam.
  • If we were on the same flight, I wouldn’t know him from Adam.





I have never heard the feminine version “I don’t know her from Eve”. Have you?






Ask Task: I Discovered Istanbul

ask task

We asked Crisitna(Italian accent) to tell us about her recent family vacation to Istanbul. She listed her top sites. She remarked about the location of her hotel & she shared her kids’ reaction to this fabulous city.

Play the interview and try to listen for the following expressions:

  • Synthesis : mixture
  • Muezzin: sounds of prayer in mosque
  • Mosque: place of worship for the muslim religion
  • Prayer time: time for religious invocation
  • Veil: fabric covering for the face
  • Public Transportation: system of transportation for a community i.e. bus, metro, tram, etc…
  • To be impressed by: to be captivated by


The Sultan Ahmed Mosque in Istambul at dusk

The Sultan Ahmed Mosque in Istambul at dusk (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Listening Quiz:

  1. Has Cristina visited Istanbul before this vacation?
  2. What were the advantages of staying at the Recital Hotel?
  3. How old are Cristina’s kids?

View the transcript:Ask Task- I Discovered Istanbul

Fluency Practice: summarize what you’ve heard to your teacher or classmates

Share the Ask Task with your friends.


Words of a feather: Take a Look!

Seen at Rookwood cemetery, suburban Sydney, Au...

There is a proverb in English that goes like this : “Birds of a feather flock together”. It means that people or things of the same kind tend to do things together.

I was inspired by this proverb when writing this post . We will be looking at verbs that all mean to LOOK.  Let’s say that words of a feather should be studied together!

Vocabulary Boost:

  • I looked at her when she spoke to me.  (i.e. direct eyes in a particular direction)
  • I watched TV last night.(i.e. to look at something with attention for a period of time)
  • I glanced over at my boyfriend who was chopping a carrot. (i.e. to look at someone very quickly)
  • My child gleamed when he saw his new bike.(i.e. positive emotion that can be seen in someone’s eyes)
  • His supervisor glared at her when she accidentally told the secret.(i.e. to look directly at someone angrily)
  • I was staring out the window when they came in.(i.e. to look at someone or something for a long time with wide eyes)
  • The young guy gazed at his teacher. (i.e. to look at someone for a long time with admiration, love or interest)
  • I took a peek to see what they were doing in the room.(i.e. to look at something secretly from a hidden place.)

Listen to the pronunciation of the words in bold. Try to repeat. You can even use the recording as a dictation if you need extra listening practice.

Fluency Builder: Answer the following questions in class or with a friend. Speak a little English today.

  1. How much TV do you watch? What’s your favorite show?
  2. Have you glared at anyone recently? Why?
  3. What was the most special gift you received as a child?
  4. Do you daydream a lot?
  5. Have you ever had a crush on a friend’s older brother or sister?
  6. Do you take a peek at the Christmas gift tags under the tree a few days before Christmas?


p.s. Thank you MM for inspiring me this morning during our lesson.











English Phraseology: Political Chatter

learn english1

There were so many more people lingering at the coffee shop this morning. Small groups of  young men discussing the results of the Italian elections, little old ladies seated chatting about the Tsunami Tour and the barista exclaiming “ The People have spoken!”. It got me thinking that a post on politics lingo could help my readers today. Habemus Ducem?….NOT!

[audio http://audioboo.fm/boos/1233910-english-phraseology-political-chatter.mp3]


Compound Words:

  • Mudslinging:  the use of insults to attach an opponent’s reputation
  • Voter Turnout: the number of eligible voters who actually vote in an election
  • Voter Fatigue: the condition in which voters become tired of all candidates by Election Day, and may thus be less likely to vote.
  • Run-off Election: a follow-up election that is held when no candidate receives the majority of  votes cast in the original election.


Vocabulary Boost:

  • The right wing coalition got majority votes for the Senate. (i.e. several parties collaborating)
  • I hate watching politics on TV because there is so much rhetoric!(i.e. language used to influence people that may not be honest or reasonable.)
  • It was a tight race. (i.e. small margin of victory)
  • His campaign gained momentum over the last month. (i.e. it became more & more effective/successful)
  • He thinks all politicians should be vetted before entering the political arena(i.e. to be evaluated, examined, investigated)


Idioms in Context:

  • I am on the fence about who to vote for.(i.e. unable to decide about something)
  • This victory did not establish him as the clear front-runner. (i.e. one that is the undisputed leader in a race or competition)
Beppe Grillo

Beppe Grillo (Photo credit: Niccolò Caranti)


Fluency Builder: Discuss the following questions in class or with a friend to practice speaking about this topic.

    1. How would you describe the political climate in your country to a foreigner?
    2. What are the main political parties in your country?
    3. Have your political views changed in the last decade?
    4. Should voting be compulsory?
    5. Who is the most controversial politician in your country at the moment?


Can you think of any other useful expressions we can learn about politics & voting? Post them so we can learn together.

This was inspired by the breakie (i.e. slang for breakfast ) I  had at the coffee shop with my little macho men(i.e. two little boys) this morning !


Ask Task: IPad By My Side

ask task

We asked Heather to talk to us about her beloved IPad. It’s a device she uses often. She shares her favorite apps in this interview & also compares her Ipad to her computer. She’s got a great voice…very Lady Diane!

Play the interview and try to listen for the expressions below:

Vocabulary Boost:

    • I guess: I imagine
    • Round about: approximately
    • I wonder how I ever managed: I ask myself how I ever survived/coped
    • The hassle: the trouble
    • To fish out: to pick
    • To be honest: to tell the truth
English: iPad with on display keyboard

English: iPad with on display keyboard (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Listening Quiz:

1. How many hours does she use her device per day?

2. Can you describe dropbox?

3. Can she use her computer and Ipad interchangeably?

View the transcript: Ask Task- Ipad By My Side

Fluency Practice: Discuss what you’ve heard with your teacher and classmates

  1. Do you own a tablet? Can you live without it?
  2. Do you change devices as soon as new versions come out?
  3. Are kids in your life tech savvy? is that good or bad in your opinion?
  4. Does your company provide tablets for employees?

Share the Ask Task with your friends.


Business Class: Telephone Talk…Bad Reception


We use the phone every day at work. It’s one of the top tools at the office. It’s our lifeline to the outside world and telephone etiquette is vital to maintain your professional image.

Today, I wanted to look at phrases we use when the line is bad. That happens quite often, right? Wireless and VOIP connections are great but they also have their drawbacks such as bad reception!

What can you say if you can’t hear the caller?

Here are a few examples. Pick your favorite and start using it so it becomes part of your ‘repertoire’:

  1. Sorry, I can’t hear you very well. Can you speak up a bit?
  2. You’re breaking up. Let me call you back.
  3. The reception is really bad in here. Give me a second. I’ll go outside.
  4. I’m afraid I didn’t catch that. Did you say thirteen or thirty?

Share this post with your friends if you think it could be useful to them!