Love Idioms to Celebrate Valentine’s Day

February 14 is Valentine’s Day! Love Idioms to Celebrate!

(1) all’s fair in lovelove idioms and war- unpleasant or bad behavior is okay in some situations, such as when you are in love or when you are in competition

Example: Jim told Tyler not to invite Angela to the dance because Angela already had a boyfriend. Then Jim invited Angela to the dance.

(2) head over heels in love – very much in love

Example: After taking Angela to the dance, Jim realized he was head over heels in love with her and wanted to marry her.

(3) love at first sight – falling in love from the first moment one sees someone

Example: When Mike saw Liz, he felt attracted to her immediately. It was love at first sight.

Mastering Business English Helps Global Workers Succeed according to Harvard Business School

Language Wars can divide global companies. What happens when English becomes the conversemandated language at a global company? Troubles can follow, if the employees are not prepared. One tip is to: “Encourage practice of the new language. Provide nonthreatening environments where the new language can be studied and practiced.” Fortunately, there are books like Speak Business English Like an American and Speak Better Business English and Make More Money that can help non-native speakers become more fluent in business English!

For more on the challenges of implementing English as the language of business in a global company, read this Harvard Business School article:
http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/7375.html

Business English Tip: How to Market Yourself in English

LinkedIn recommends that you avoid using buzzwords when marketing yourself. Theirbuzzwords advice: “Demonstrate your skills and experience by providing examples of your talent rather than using buzzwords.” Drawing on the English-language profiles of LinkedIn users around the world, the company put together a list of the most frequently used buzzwords. And here they are:

  1. responsible
  2. strategic
  3. creative
  4. effective
  5. patient
  6. expert
  7. organizational
  8. driven
  9. innovative
  10. analytical

There were some differences in buzzword usage by country:

  • “Sustainable” was in the top ten only the Netherlands
  • “Enthusiastic’ was in the top ten only in Great Britain
  • “Passionate” was in the top ten only in Australia & New Zealand
  • “Patient” was in the top ten only in the USA*

* Interesting to note that Americans pride themselves on their patience! 

Thanksgiving English Mini-Lesson

In honor of Thanksgiving, here’s a lesson teaching American English idioms and expressions related to Thanksgiving. It’s the Johnson family celebrating Thanksgiving. You’ll remember the Johnson family from our book Speak English Like an American. The target idioms and expressions in the dialogue are highlighted and defined below. You can download an eBook edition of Talk Turkey on Thanksgiving here: Thanksgiving eBook. The eBook also includes a quiz. We hope you’ll enjoy this English language learning material!

A THANKSGIVING DAY FEAST

The Johnson family is celebrating Thanksgiving with a traditional Thanksgiving day feast. As usual, Ted and his sister Nicole are having trouble getting along. Fortunately, Ted’s girlfriend Amber is with the family and helps break up the tension.

Amber: She’s got a carving knife, she knows how to use it!

Susan: Amber, what a pretty song!

Amber: I’m killing two birds with one stone. I’m coming up with new songs while helping you get Thanksgiving dinner ready.

(ten minutes later)

Susan: Everything’s on the table. We’re ready to eat.

Bob: Before we dig in, I think we should count our blessings.

Susan: I agree. We have so much to be grateful for. For starters, we have our whole family together with us today.

Bob: I’m grateful to the National Cookie Company for buying Susan’s Scrumptious Cookies. That helped us buy our new house.

Ted: I’m grateful to Amber. With her beautiful singing voice, she helped us land a recording contract with Big Deal Records.

Susan: Yes, Amber is certainly blessed with a lovely voice.

Amber: I’m grateful that Ted was able to quit smoking this year, cold turkey!

Susan: What? Ted smoked?

Amber: Oh, not that much.

Nicole: Not much at all. Only about a pack a day!

Ted: It’s a mixed blessing being here today. On the one hand, I get to see Mom and Dad. On the other hand, I have to put up with my sister!

 (Everyone is eating)

Susan: Amber, you’re eating like a bird. Everything okay?

Amber: I stuffed myself on turkey while I was cutting it in the kitchen.

Nicole: I thought I noticed a leg missing. I though it walked away by itself!

Ted: Everything was delicious. I’m stuffed!

Susan: I hope you saved room for dessert. We have pecan pie and pumpkin cookies for dessert.

Nicole: Pumpkin cookies?

Susan: Yes. Now’s a good time to break the news. The National Cookie Company* has hired me as a recipe consultant. I’m having all of you test out my new recipe tonight.

Amber: Talk about killing two birds with one stone!

* In the book Speak English Like an American, Susan and Bob sell their cookie business to the National Cookie Company for a “small fortune.”

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IDIOMS & EXPRESSIONS

(to) kill two birds with one stone – to get two things done at the same time; to solve two problems with one action

Example: Susan killed two birds with one stone by listening to the new Stephen King novel on audiobook while cooking Thanksgiving dinner.

(to) dig in – to start eating

Example: Dig in! Everything will get cold if you don’t start eating.

(to) count one’s blessings – to think about the good things in one’s life; to express gratitude for all that one has (and not focus on what one does not have)

Example: We need to count our blessings. Many houses in town were destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, but ours was hardly touched.

for starters – as a first step; to begin with

Example: We need to clean the house before our company comes. For starters, let’s vacuum downstairs.

(to) land a contract  – to get a contract; to finalize a contract (note: land in this context means to gain or secure; you can also land a deal, a job, a contract)

Example: The National Cookie Company landed a contract to distribute its cookies in the largest supermarket chain in California.

blessed with – lucky to have a special quality or character

Example: Nicole finds her chemistry and physics classes very easy. She’s blessed with a scientific mind.

cold turkey –  immediately, not gradually (when you quit a habit cold turkey, you stop doing it immediately instead of gradually stopping it)

Example: I drink five cups of coffee a day. If I quit cold turkey, I’m sure I’d start getting headaches.

mixed blessing –  a situation or event with both good and bad aspects

Example: Having house guests over Thanksgiving is a mixed blessing. On the one hand, we need to prepare rooms for them. On the other hand, we have people to help us eat all that leftover turkey!

(to) put up with – to endure without complaint

Example: Tina’s husband always complains about her cooking. I don’t know how she puts up with him.

(to) eat like a bird – to not eat much; to have a small appetite

Example:That’s all your having? A turkey wing and a small blob of mashed potatoes? You eat like a bird!

(to) stuff oneself / to be stuffed – to overeat; to eat too much / to feel very full

Example: Unfortunately, the dinner was so delicious, I stuffed myself. I don’t think I’ll be able to eat dessert.

(to) save room for dessert – to not eat too much so that one can still eat dessert

Example: “May I have seconds?” – “Sure, but be sure to save room for dessert. We’ve got pumpkin pie.”

(to) break the news – to make something known

Example: Ted said, “Now’s a good time to break the news: Amber and I are getting married!”

Talk about … – That’s an example of; we were talking before about … (often used when a topic has recently mentioned and another example has come up, or to add emphasis to a point you are making)

Example: Talk about overeating. Ted just ate two turkey legs, a big pile of stuffing, and half a green bean casserole!

Speak English Like an American Just Released for Android

Now users of Android-based smartphones and tablets can enjoy the Speak English Like SELA_iconan American app too! It’s just been released on Google Play. Click here to visit Google Play and download it. You get 5 lessons free (no strings attached!). If you like it, you can keep in improving your English with the remaining 20 lessons for $9.99.

In the app, learners will join an American family as they go about their day-to-day lives. Along the way, they’ll master over 300 of today’s most common English idioms and expressions.

While idioms can be tricky for non-native English speakers, author Amy Gillett explains that they are a key part of gaining fluency in English. “Idioms add color to the language. They make it come alive. They make English learners’ speech sound more natural and less foreign.”

The app includes native speakers reading all the dialogues aloud. Users can record themselves reading the lines and play them back, comparing themselves to native speakers. “The record and playback features helps learners remember the idioms and is also a handy way to practice American pronunciation,” says Tanya Peterson of Language Success Press.

Each lesson features an interactive quiz with immediate feedback and reward icons.

Versions of the Speak English Like an American app are also available for the iPad and iPhone.

The app is based on the bestselling ESL book, Speak English Like an American. Since its original release 10 years ago, Speak English Like an American has helped tens of thousands of English as a Second Language (ESL) and English as a Foreign Language (EFL) speakers master everyday English. The book and CD are popular for both self-study and for the classroom, in use at dozens of universities and language schools around the world. A fifth edition of the Speak English Like an American hard copy book and audio CD was released in January.

Midwest Book Review calls the Speak English Like an American book & audio CD “a highly recommended self-teaching tool for those who are familiar with the English language, yet who seek to take their fluency to new heights by mastering common English idioms.”