Archive for April, 2014

Idiom – “a penny for your thoughts”

April 25th, 2014

This idiom is used to ask someone what they are thinking about.

Wife to husband “You have been so quiet all afternoon ….. a penny for your thoughts?



April 21st, 2014

Learning English can be fun if you find different ways to practice – but the key is to be CONSISTENT and to practice every day.  Let’s look at some successful methods that have worked for former English learners.  These students were successful in learning English because they were motivated, consistent and had fun too.

Listening to the radio
Listen to the radio, preferably public radio (KPBS in San Diego) for 15 – 30 minutes daily.  Public radio is preferable because the English spoken is standard without the slang and colloquialisms that may be used on other radio stations. Initially you may understand only a few words, but be patient and continue listening.  By just listening, you are “tuning” your ear to hearing the rhythm or “music” of American English (every language has its own music).  As you continue to listen, you’ll begin to notice a pattern of ups and downs in the voice of the speaker.  Relax and listen without struggling to understand the words.  With consistency and practice, you’ll eventually be imitating that same rhythm in your English.

Listening and reading books on CDs/cassettes 
If you prefer something a little easier than public radio, then listen to children’s stories on CDs or cassettes and follow along with the book.  Go to your local library to the children’s section and look for books with CDs or cassettes.  Although some of these books may be easy reading for you, the advantage with these audio materials is the slow reading style of the narrator.  This is a great technique to practice pronunciation and again to hear the “music” of the language through nursery rhymes and other stories.  An added plus is that you will learn more about the American culture through these stories. Over time as you become more confident and proficient with your listening and reading skills, you can progress to the young adults’ section and then on to the literature section.

Watching television
Watch a favorite television show with the captions “on” for the first part of the week.  This will help you understand the language and vocabulary used on the show, and you will become more familiar with “music” of the language as well.  Then for the second part of the week turn “off” the captions and see how much you understand.  Listen for full sentences, write down words you don’t understand and find their definition in the dictionary.

Watching a DVD
Watch a favorite movie with the subtitles and again get familiar with the language and vocabulary used.  You can also get familiar with the plot or story of the movie.  The next time watch the movie without the subtitles and again listen for words and sentences you recognize and for the “music” of the language.  You may be surprised at how much more you understand with each viewing.

You can have fun learning and practicing English so be motivated and do different activities as described above.  Not only will you learn the language, but you will also learn so much more about the American culture.

Happy learning!

Idiom – “a penny saved is a penny earned”

April 14th, 2014

This idiom says that saving money is as important as earning money.

Sarah (daughter) “Mom I got my first baby-sitting money… I’m going shopping, shopping, shopping!”
Mother – “Hold on young lady.  Remember we agreed that half of your baby-sitting money would be deposited into your savings account.  A penny saved is a penny earned which goes toward your college education.

Idiom – “absence makes the heart grow fonder”

April 4th, 2014

When someone is living a long distance from family and friends, they realize how much they miss these people in their lives.

Friend A – “I think Sam will forget all about me once he settles down with his new job in the city.  He may not come back for me after all.”
Friend B – “I know he’ll be back for you sooner than you think…remember that absence makes the heart grow fonder.”

Idiom – “get your foot in the door”

April 4th, 2014

When you start a new job at a low level, it is still an opportunity to work up to a higher level of responsibility.

Friend A – “I just got hired today at XYZ Company as a filing clerk .”
Friend B – “Congratulations!  That’s a great way to get your foot in the door and work towards becoming a manager.”