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We are talking about a new sitcom called ‘Entourage’.

    Andrew        Hey, have you seen that new sitcom called Entourage?
    Addison       Ya, it’s awesome. Who’s your favorite character?
                  Johnny Chase. He’s absolutely hilarious! I love the one where he’s
                  insecure about his calves.
    Addison       That was hilarious. I personally think that Arie might be the best actor.
    Andrew        Who do you think is the worst?
    Addison       Turtle.
    Andrew        I agree. He sucks.

Key vocabulary and phrases that are discussed in the podcast:

It’s not common for native English speakers to describe people or things as “very

Hilarious – A very good word to use which means very funny.

My friend is hilarious.

I find that movie hilarious.

Last night was hilarious.

What you just said was hilarious.

"Sense of humour" – a sense of humour is talking about if a person is either funny or
good at accepting jokes. People who have a good sense of humour are often very easy-

She has a really good sense of humour.

A good sense of humour is important to me when finding a boyfriend.

A good sense of humour is more important than physical appearance.

He has a good sense of humour about himself. (doesn’t take himself too seriously, can
make fun of himself)

Don’t use the word “very” all the time to modify words. A great word to use if you want
to make a very strong point is “absolutely”.
Absolutely is like saying, extremely, totally, or 100%

Absolutely amazing.

That movie was absolutely amazing.

Absolutely beautiful.

Wow, you look absolutely beautiful in that dress.

Absolutely disgusting.

I can’t believe you like to eat that. It’s absolutely disgusting.

Andrews monologue about a job interview.

    Andrew        Yesterday afternoon I went for that job interview.
                  It was the worst experience in my life.
                  For some reason I put on my resume that I could speak Japanese, which
                  is a total lie.
                  The job had nothing to do with Japanese so I guess I thought I would
                  just put it down to make myself look more well-rounded.
                  I never thought that they would actually test me on it.
                  It turns out that the guy interviewing me had lived in Tokyo for 8 years.
                  His Japanese was great.
                  The first thing he said to me was something in Japanese, which I
                  obviously didn’t understand.
                  I felt so nauseous.
                  I had absolutely no idea what to do so I just replied in English, “hey,
                  your Japanese is pretty good”.
                  He said “thanks, but what about you? It says here on your resume that
                  you speak it.”
                  I said, “what can I say” he shook his head and said “get the hell out of

Key vocabulary and phrases that are discussed in the podcast:

"For some reason"

if you don’t know why you did something, that was usually a mistake, you can say "for
some reason"

Example: I was holding my money in my left hand and the garbage in my right. For
some reason I threw my money in the garbage instead of the garbage bag.

"I put on my resume that I could speak Japanese, which is a total lie."

By saying it was a total lie, you are saying that it is completely untrue. In this case you
don’t speak any Japanese at all. If it was a little lie we often say that you embellished a
little or you stretched the truth. Most people embellish a little on their resume. They
stretch the truth to make themselves sound better.

"The first thing he said to me was something in Japanese, which I obviously didn’t

Why does he say obviously?
Because the speaker already said that he didn’t understand any Japanese so it is very clear
that he didn’t understand Japanese. It kind of gives the listener some respect because the
speaker knows that the listener is smart enough to already know that.

The idea is that it should be clear or obvious to the listener.

One person could say, “I found a wallet with 1000 dollars in it so I obviously kept it”.

Another person could say “I found a wallet with 1000 dollars in it so I obviously tried to
find the owner to give it back”

These are obviously different kinds of people.

"Well rounded"

Well rounded is a term to describe someone who is good at many things. Most employers
want to see that you have more than one skill and lead a balanced life. You don’t just do
only one thing. So if you are good in school, play sports, and do other hobbies you are
well rounded. If you just study you aren’t very well rounded.


The feeling you get when you are almost going to throw up. Sick stomach.

“What can I say?”

It’s a question to use when you really have nothing to say. It’s a rhetorical question
meaning that the other person doesn’t need to answer you. It’s almost like saying. “There
is nothing for me to say”.

We listen to Andrews story about not doing anything.

    Andrew        Today I woke up at 9:20 but lay in bed until about 11:30.
                  I wasn’t sleeping, nor was I relaxing.
                  I wasn’t really thinking of anything in particular either.
                  I was in a daze.
                  I finally got out of bed and started walking aimlessly around the house.
                  Instead of doing anything reasonable, I decided to feel a bit guilty
                  about getting up so late and wasting the morning in bed.
                  I was just about ready to go to the gym when for some reason I decided
                  to log on to msn messenger and start up a few useless conversations.
                  An hour flew by and it was now almost 1:00.
                  I’d had it.
                  I was sick of all the procrastinating.
                  I got off msn, grabbed a protein shake and headed off to the gym.

Key vocabulary and phrases that are discussed in the podcast:

I wasn’t thinking of anything in particular

Nothing specific. Hard to say exactly what you were thinking or doing.

I’m not going anywhere in particular.

What restaurant were you thinking of going to tonight?

Nowhere in particular

I was in a daze

Thinking about something, maybe not moving your eyes much. Just staring at the wall
and thinking

Walking aimlessly around the house

No direction. Just walking around with no idea of what to do.

I’d had it.

I was sick of it. I had enough, I couldn’t take it anymore. I needed something to change.

    Andrew        I was out at a bar last week with my friend Tony.
                  He’s a decent looking guy but he’s really shy around girls for some
                  He was standing there for about 15 minutes holding his beer with a
                  nervous look on his face.
                  Finally I realized why.
                  He was gazing at a couple of hot girls eating chicken wings.
                  I asked him, “Tony, what are you waiting for? Go over there and say
                  He said, “I have no idea what to say. I suck in these situations”.
                  I said, “Oh don’t be such a wimp, I dare you to go over there, take a
                  chicken wing off one of their plates, eat it, smile, and say. You girls are
                  so beautiful, I just wanted to make sure they were safe enough for you
                  to eat”.
                  If you do it I’ll buy your drinks for the rest of the night.

                  Hopefully they will think you are cute or funny and want to talk to you.
                  If it backfires you can just tell them it was my fault.
                  What’s the worst that could happen?
                  It’s a win-win situation.

Key vocabulary and phrases that are discussed in the podcast:

Decent looking guy – Good looking or handsome guy, often guys describe other guys in
this way. They don’t want to sound gay.

Gazing – Staring for a long time

Hot girls – Great looking or incredibly sexy girls. We often say hot to describe girls.
Girls also use hot to describe great looking guys.

Dare – A challenge that you give to someone. It’s a kind of challenge that they normally
would be scared or embarrassed to do. It’s a fun kind of thing between friends.

This can also be used as a characteristic to describe someone. We can call someone
“daring”. That means the person is willing to take chances, bold or courageous.

Wimp – Weak man. Scared, babyish, not strong.

Backfires – If a plan backfires it means that it did not turn out the way you hoped that it
would. It went the opposite of how you hoped it would go.
What’s the worst that could happen? –This is a question to ask yourself or someone
else if they are considering not doing something. The idea is that if the worst thing that
can happen isn’t really that bad, then you should do it.

Win-win situation – A situation where no matter what the result is, there is something
still good about it. Here, if the girls like Tony, he wins. If they don’t like him, he will get
free drinks for the rest of the night, so he wins again.

We hear the sequel to the dare

                  Although Tony is usually a bit of a wimp when it comes to approaching
    Andrew        girls, the buzz from the 6 beers he’d had was starting to give him some
                  Not to mention that he hates backing down from a good dare.
                  He didn’t have a lot of money either, so free drinks for the rest of the
                  evening sounded like a good idea.
                  He chugged the rest of his beer and stumbled over to the 2 girls.
                  Without looking back to see my reaction, he grabbed a chicken wing
                  and slowly started eating it.
                  When he finished the wing he even had the audacity to ask one of the
                  girls for a napkin to wipe the sauce from his face.
                  To everyone’s surprise, the taller of the two girls handed Tony a napkin
                  and told him he seemed like a sweet guy and asked him to pull up a
                  Tony didn’t even have to explain why he took the wing without asking.
                  They talked and laughed for a while and eventually exchanged phone
                  I expect that this event will work wonders for his self-esteem.

Key vocabulary and phrases that are discussed in the podcast:


The good feeling after drinking alcohol. Not too drunk but feeling the effects.

Backing down

Not accepting the challenge. Back down from a fight, back down from a dare.


Drink quickly. Drink the beer all at one time without putting the glass down.


Walked like a drunk person. Almost falling down walking.

After doing something rude, like taking the wing, he didn’t apologize and just did
something rude again. No shame.

That man stole $1000 from the girl and had the audacity to ask if she would be his

Pull up a chair

Sit down with us, or join us at the table.

Work wonders

Do a lot of good for something.

That investment will work wonders for your bank account.

If you find a beautiful girl who likes you it will work wonders for your confidence.


Confidence or belief in yourself.

If you have a high self-esteem then you think you are a capable person and like yourself.

If you have a low self-esteem you get discouraged easily and don’t have a lot of self-

    Andrew        I worked really hard all week on a marketing proposal for work.
                  I wanted to impress the boss with all the effort I’d been putting in.
                  I wanted him to realize that I am the most valuable member of the staff,
                  and that the other people just sit around the office all day
                  accomplishing next to nothing.
                  One guy Jeff, just talks to girls all day on his MSN messenger account
                  and when the boss comes around, is somehow able to convince the boss
                  that he isn’t totally worthless.
                  Anyway, I didn’t care, I was just about ready to show the boss what I’d
                  done but I noticed he was on the phone.
                  I printed out my proposal, left it on my desk, and took a bathroom
                    When I came back I saw the boss with his arm around Jeff
                  congratulating him for a job well done.
                  While I was in the washroom, Jeff had apparently taken the proposal
                  off my desk and shown the boss.
                  He took credit for my work.
                  I was so pissed off. That was incredibly frustrating.

Key vocabulary and phrases that are discussed in the podcast:

Frustrating – you try hard at something and you feel that all your time and energy are
wasted. Ex. working for 4 hours writing something on the computer and you forget to
save it. Another example is Inviting your friends to a great restaurant and when you get
there it is closed.

Accomplishing – getting something useful done. Mom used to always ask “what have
you accomplished today?”

next to nothing – almost nothing or very little. I accomplished next to nothing today.

totally worthless – means to have no value. Jeff is somehow able to convince his boss
that he isn’t totally worthless. This is funny here because if you are working for someone,
you should try and show your boss that you have a lot of value and skills, not just better
than being totally worthless.

Apparently – obvious, evident or easy to have seen. Here Jeff had apparently taken the
proposal off my desk and shown it to the boss. We didn’t seen him take the proposal but
we think it is obvious that he did.

Took credit – say or show that you did something(even if you didn’t do it). Here Jeff
took credit for my work. He said he did the proposal even though he didn’t.
Pissed off – angry at someone or something.

                 I have just moved in with a new roommate a little while ago named
                 He is pretty hilarious and a really cool guy but the problem is that he is
                 an absolute pig.
                 He is the biggest slob I have ever met.
                 The other day I had cooked dinner for us and he went out as soon as we
                 were finished eating.
                  I thought that he could at least share with the dishwashing afterwards.
                 I was getting really tired of this and knew I had to do something.
                 The problem was that I didn’t really know how to bring this up to him.
                 I didn’t want to seem like one of those guys who is a neat freak or
                 anything but this was getting out of control.
                 .I decided that I would just come clean with him and tell him what I
                 was thinking the next time I saw him.
                 I said, “I don’t want to be annoying or anything but would you mind
                 helping me with the cleaning around here?”
                 He said “oh, I’m so sorry, I didn’t realize you were doing the cleaning,
                 I thought this place came with a maid service”.

Key vocabulary and phrases that are discussed in the podcast:

Pig/slob - very dirty or messy person

getting really tired of this – the feeling of being annoyed or bothered by something. In
this story the roommate was getting annoyed because Tony is a slob.

to bring this up - to talk to someone about something. Here, the roommate wanted to
“bring up” the idea that he didn’t like the place to be messy to Tony.

neat freak - someone who really needs things to be neat and organized at all times
getting out of control - was a problem here that was getting larger and larger. Here, the
problem was of Tony’s habit of not cleaning anything.

come clean – telling someone the truth and what you are thinking. In this story, the
roommate “comes clean” with Tony about his feelings towards Tony’s cleaning habits.

be annoying or anything - this phrase here meant that the roommate didn’t want to
annoy Tony or make him feel uncomfortable or bother him.

                 I went to a movie with my friends the other day. We got there early so
                 we could get good seats and make sure we all sat together. Just as the
                 movie was about to start, some tall woman with huge hair sat right in
                 front of me. I could barely see a thing. She was absolutely hideous
                 and reeked of cheap perfume. I would have changed seats but by that
                 time the theatre was full. I needed to come up with a plan. There was
                 no way I was going to sit for two hours staring at that hair. Luckily a
                 friend of mine had a pair of scissors in her purse. I knew it was risky
    Andrew       but the perfume and the whole situation was making me lose control. I
                 felt I did what anyone in my situation would do. I started cutting.
                 Naturally, she noticed immediately, and screamed, “What the hell are
                 you doing?” I was caught red-handed. I wasn’t in much of a position
                 to deny anything considering the fact that I had the scissors in my
                 hand. I said, “I know this is going to sound hard to believe but it
                 wasn’t me”. She was so angry and confused she just got up and left. I
                 was able to watch the rest of the movie in peace. It was great! It’s too
                 bad she missed it.

Key vocabulary and phrases that are discussed in the podcast:

The other day - Some day not long ago but you can’t remember the exact day. Usually
sometime within the past week

Hideous – Very ugly

Reeked – Smelled very bad. A very strong bad smell

What the hell are you doing? - Very strong and harsh language. Not good to use very
often unless someone is really doing something horrible, like stealing your money.

Considering the fact that…- This means thinking about the situation. Here "I wasn’t in
much of a position to deny anything considering the fact that I had the scissors in my
hand. Hard to deny I did it because she saw me do it."

Caught red-handed – Caught while doing something. For example, if you steal
something from a store and a policeman watches you steal it. You are caught red-
I know this is going to sound hard to believe but… You are showing the listener that
you admit it is not an easy thing to believe. You hope that by admitting this, it will give
the listener more chance to believe you.

The last time I was on an airplane, the service was exceptionally brutal. The food was
disgusting and the flight attendant had the worst attitude of all time. She didn’t smile at
all and paid no attention to my requests. I asked her politely to get me a beer and she told
me I’d already had two and that was enough. I said, I thought that we get unlimited
drinks on this flight. She said, “that’s true sir”, in a very irritating voice, “but we have
the right to cut people off who have had too much to drink”. I said, “I haven’t had too
much to drink. I had two beers. That’s it.” She said. “Well I think that is more than
enough”. I said, “Who are you to judge? Two beers is nothing. You are simply abusing
your power”. Then she had the audacity to say that I had a bad attitude. I gave up. I
said, fine, give me a scotch on the rocks.

Key vocabulary and phrases that are discussed in the podcast:

Exceptionally –

Exceptionally implies an exception. Either better or worse than normal. You could say
someone is exceptionally beautiful. This means they are more beautiful than even other
beautiful people.

Brutal –

Brutal means really bad or horrible. It also can mean violent in some situations like
fights. The fight was really brutal.

Disgusting –

 Awful, terrible. It almost makes you sick. It’s very rude to tell someone to their face
that their food is disgusting. It is a very strong word to use but it’s used for emphasis. So
if you don’t like someone’s cooking, generally we lie and say we do. Never say it’s

Worst attitude of all time –

Of all time, means the most in all of history. We sometimes say it in a story to show how
strongly we feel about it. It’s usually an exaggeration. You could say, something was
the funniest thing of all time.
Very irritating voice –

 Annoying voice. The kind voice that you just hate hearing. Mother’s can often have
irritating voices when they are telling their children what to do.

Cut someone off –

Stop them from drinking

Another example is when a car or a bike drives right in front of you making you slow

Who are you to judge?

This question is a rhetorical question, which means you don’t expect the other person to
answer it. You are implying that they are in no position to judge and should not be
making that decision.

scotch on the rocks –

Scotch, kind of hard liquor. 40% alcohol.

On the rocks, means with just ice.

                  I was sleeping in after a very late Friday night and the phone rang. I
                  felt absolutely rancid! I rushed to get the phone wondering who on
                  earth would be calling at such an hour. Great, it was my mom. I asked
                  her what was so important. She said, “oh nothing important, just
                  wanted to say good morning”. I made an excuse to her that I really
    Addison       needed to go the bathroom, so I let her go quickly. What a relief to get
                  back in to bed! 5 minutes after I was totally asleep, the phone rang
                  again. It was my mom again. She forgot to mention to me that she was
                  calling from her cell phone and was now in the driveway waiting for
                  me so she could take me to breakfast. I guess that’s what I get for
                  making an excuse!

Key vocabulary and phrases that are discussed in the podcast:

Rancid – rotten, bad, spoiled

who on earth – a phrase that is used when you have no idea who the person could be.

such an hour – a very early or late time

let her go – finish the conversation with her and end the phone call.

Relief - a feeling of relaxation

totally asleep – completely sleeping

forgot to mention – forgot to tell someone
driveway – a place where you park your car beside a house

that’s what I get for – is a phrase used when you do something that you shouldn’t have
done and somehow you have some consequences for your actions or behavior.

                  I was talking to a friend of mine today. He was really depressed
                  because he’d just found out that he failed his Math class. Because of
                  that, he wouldn’t be able to graduate until the following year. His
                  mood was really negative and he saw it as a wasted year. I told him
                  that although it’s annoying, there’s no point in dwelling on it. The past
                  is the past. He said, “That’s easy for you to say”. I said, “of course it’s
                  easier said then done, but you’ve got to look on the bright side.” I
                  asked him if there was anything good about the situation. He thought
                  for a while and told me that maybe this way he would have more time
                  to really think about what job he was going to get in the future and
                  have a fun year with his friends. I said, “see, maybe it’s a blessing in

Key vocabulary and phrases that are discussed in the podcast:

Depressed –Sad, Can’t eat, can’t sleep, don’t feel like doing much. If someone close to
you dies you will be depressed for a while.

Some people are depressed all the time. They have a medical condition and need to see a

Negative mood – Always talk about the bad things about a situation.

There’s no point in – No reason to do something

dwelling – thinking about a situation over and over again. Maybe he’d be thinking about
how if he had studied more, then he would have passed the exam.

The past is the past – the idea here is that things that happened before have already
happened. You can’t change them so there is no point in thinking about it or dwelling on
it. Learn from your mistakes and move on.

That’s easy for you to say – Sometimes good advice is hard to accept. Often the person
giving advice isn’t the one who actually has to make the difficult change. For example, if
I passed my math exam and my friend failed, it’s easy for me to tell him not to worry
about it.

It’s easier said than done – It’s much easier to make the plan than to follow it. For
example, I could say you should exercise for an hour per day. That’s easier said than
Look on the bright side – Think about the good points in a situation. For example, if
you get fired from a job. You could think about how now you have some time to relax
and find an even better job.

Blessing in disguise – Something good that happened to you but it seems bad. In this
story, failing the math class seemed to be bad, but then he realized that it would be good
because now he would have more time to think about what he really wanted to do for his

                  I just booked my trip to Thailand on an online travel website and
                  printed out my e-ticket. I had made a decision to go there on a spur of
                  the moment decision because my schedule had recently opened up. I
                  had gotten in a little bit of a rut so decided a little spontaneity in my life
                  couldn’t hurt. Also, I was growing very weary of the cold weather and
    Addison       thought it would be nice to hit the beach. I was really excited to be in
                  the water and feel the waves again. Hopefully my accommodations
                  will be good. I booked them online as well and have only seen the
                  pictures. The pictures look good on the website but I’ll be pretty angry
                  if it is some sort of a scam. Oh well I guess I’ll see when I get there.
                  Sometimes, if you want to be spontaneous you have to role the dice.

Key vocabulary and phrases that are discussed in the podcast:

e-ticket – electronic ticket that can be printed

spur of the moment – a decision made quickly without having thought about it before

schedule opened up – schedule is now clear and you have no commitments

rut – a feeling of doing the same thing too often and not having changes in your life.
You often start to feel bored in your life when you are in a rut

spontaneity – the idea of someone being able to do things without having to plan for a
long time

couldn’t hurt – here means that spontaneity should be a good idea.
hit the beach – go to the beach

scam – to lie or deceive someone for profit or gain

rolling the dice – is a kind of gambling game and is an expression used to show that you
are taking a risk or a chance.

                  When I got to Thailand I was pleasantly surprised to see that my
                  accommodations were phenomenal. It was a definitely not a scam or a
                  rip-off. I got a bargain for sure. I was staying for a month in the same
                  spot and checked-in to the hotel and settled in. I didn’t need to take a
                  nap or anything as I was still in the same time zone and had no jet lag
                  obviously. I decided I should probably just go to the beach and try and
Addison           get some sort of a tan slowly so I wouldn’tlook like a lobster. I went
                  for a walk along the beach and couldn’t help but eve’s drop some
                  conversations. Most of the people here were from all over asia. I had
                  decided to jump in to a conversation with some Chinese people. They
                  were shocked that I knew any Chinese. Although, they quickly found
                  out that it wasn’t so hot, but still invited me to have dinner with them
                  later that night.

Key vocabulary and phrases that are discussed in the podcast:

Accommodations – where you are staying or the kind of place it is. Ex. Hotel,
apartment, house.

phenomenal – exceptionally great or excellent

rip-off – to participate in a scam. To get swindled or deceived and lose money or get a
bad deal on something.

Bargain – to get a great deal or buy something at a cheaper price than it is worth

settled in – put your things away where you want them to go in your place and have
everything where you want it to be

time zone - any of the 24 areas or regions in the world which have the same standard

jet lag – the feeling of not being used to a new time zone because of your flight

tan – the colouring of skin due to exposure to the sun

look like a lobster – if you get a sunburn sometimes people might say you look like a
lobster because of your red colour

couldn’t help but – an uncontrollable force to do something or behave in some way.
eve’s drop – listen to someone else’s conversation without them knowing or their

jump in – get involved and start talking with the other people that were already having a

wasn’t so hot – not good at something. here the person wasn’t good at speaking

                  I slept in and had to pack my bag in a panic. I hadn’t even checked-out
                  yet and needed to get my security deposit back from the front desk
                  still. My plane was leaving in 3 hours and I had no idea how to get
                  back to the airport. I started sprinting down the street looking for
                  something that might help me. I ran into some other people that were
                  heading back to the airport too so I hitched a ride with them. They had
                  rented a car and they didn’t even want any money for the ride. That
                  was great for me because I almost blew all the money I brought. I had
                  an absolutely amazing trip though so I couldn’t complain. We pulled
                  up to the airport and I still had plenty of time to board the plane. This
                  was the first trip I have ever had that ran so smoothly, I guess my new
                  found spontaneity had paid off!

Key vocabulary and phrases that are discussed in the podcast:

Panic – a feeling of stress and urgency

security deposit – money that you give to the hotel in case you damage the room in any
way. You get this money back if you don’t damage anything during your stay

front desk – the desk in the lobby (main entrance area) of the hotel where you can
check-in or out

sprinting – running very quickly

ran into – seeing some people and start talking to them. It does not mean that you hit
them while running in this situation
hitched a ride – someone let you go in their can and they drove you somewhere.

blew all the money – spent all of your money without thinking of the value of what you
are buying

pulled up to – arrived at

board the plane – to get on the airplane.

paid off - The result of a risk or chance that was good. Ex. His decision to go on the trip
really paid off.

                  I’m not really the kind of person that believes in luck or fate, or
                  anything like that but what happened to me the other day might make
                  me re-think my beliefs. I was waiting for my friend at the corner of 5th
                  and Columbus when someone tapped me on the shoulder. I turned
                  around and it was a woman that wanted to know directions. It turned
Addison           out that she wanted to go to exactly where my friend and I were headed
                  so I offered her a ride. My friend was running a little late so she and I
                  got to talking and I found out that she was a recruiter for fresh
                  graduates at one of the largest international banks. I just graduated
                  with a degree in economics and had desperately been looking for a
                  good job. I told her my situation and she offered me a job on the spot.

Key vocabulary and phrases that are discussed in the podcast:

luck – good or bad things happen to you by chance. Ex. He has very good luck. Also,
we can say that this person is “lucky”.

fate – the idea of your life not being controlled by you and that it is already
predetermined or decided.

re-think – to think about something or consider it again.

corner of “ “ and “ “- intersection or cross-street of

tapped – touch lightly and briefly.

It turned out – the result or outcome of a situation

Headed – going towards a place or going in the direction.

running a little late – “running” here means how things are going or “running”. We can
also things are running smoothly for example.

Degree – university graduation certificate

desperately – putting your best efforts towards something of urgency or necessity

on the spot – making a decision or doing something immediately without wait

            Otis: Hello,

            Andy: Hey what’s up?

            Otis: Not much. I’m in the office right now but I’ve got a few
            minutes to kill before my boss gets back.

            Andy: Cool. What are you up to this weekend?

            Otis: Not sure yet. I’ve got no plans as of now but I’m definitely up
            for something.

            Andy: How about a round of golf Saturday afternoon and then we’ll
            hit the town later.

            Otis: Sounds perfect. Oh no, that’s right, I think I have some kind of
            boring work function I have to go to.

            Andy: That sucks, is there any way you can get out of it?

            Otis: I’ll try to think of something.

            Andy: You better. It’s going to be a great afternoon.

            Otis: I’ll see what I can do. I’ll keep you posted.
                 Andy: Alright. Make sure you get back to me by Thursday.

                 Otis. Will do.

                 Andy: Ok. Later

                 Otis: Later

Key vocabulary and phrases that are discussed in the podcast:

Hey what’s up? – It’s a very casual question that you would say to your close friends. It
means, “What are you doing?”, but you don’t always need to answer it. We often just
say “not much” to answer this question. You can also return the question by saying, “not
much, you?” or “not much, what’s up with you?”. If you want you can answer this
question with what you are doing. So if someone asks “what’s up?” you can say, “oh not
much, just watching tv” or something like that. Never ask “what’s up?” in a formal

minutes to kill – We often talk about “killing time”. It is usually used in a situation
where you have nothing that you need to do for a while and are in no position to do
something fun. For example, if you change airplanes, then you might need to wait a few
hours in the airport. Maybe you would walk around to “kill time”. You could say to
your friend, “what do you want to do? We’ve got a few hours to kill until our next
What are you up to? - This means “what are you doing?” it is a very casual expression
and you can use it in past, present, and future. “What were you up to last night?”, “What
are you up to now?”, and “What are you up to next weekend?”.

I’m definitely up for something - This means you definitely want to do something.
You aren’t sure what but you don’t just want to sit around and do nothing. If you say.
“I’m up for anything” that means that you don’t care and will do anything the other
person suggests. You are not picky if you are up for anything.

hit the town - Another casual expression meaning that you will go out in the city.
Usually talking about a fun night of going to different restaurants and bars or whatever.

I have some kind of boring work function - The idea of saying “some kind of” here
shows that the work function, like a work dinner, is something you don’t want to do. It’s
like you don’t even care what it is, you just know that you don’t want to do it.

Is there any way you can get out of it? - This question is asking if there is any way that
you can cancel your plans. Maybe thinking of an excuse, or a lie, to not attend the work
function. Maybe telling your boss that you have to go to your best friend’s wedding.

I’ll keep you posted - A very useful expression that means, “I will keep you informed”
or “I will let you know”

Get back to me - That means “tell me when you get the answer”

Will do - a slang phrase meaning “I’ll do it”

Later - friends can say “later” to each other when they get off the phone. It’s the same
thing as saying “bye”. Its informal so don’t say it if you are in a more serious phone
conversation. And never say “bye bye”. Just say bye one time. We never say “bye bye”
in any situation. Its something that a baby would say.

                  Add: Can you believe Steve?

                  And: What are you referring to?

                  Add: How whipped he is.

                  And: Oh I know. It’s absurd. I don’t know why he does it. He let’s
                  Clare control everything in his life. She treats him like dirt and he
                  let’s her get away with it. He’s let all his girlfriends treat him like that.

                  Add: A lot of guys do that it’s just pathetic when it’s one of your best
Addison           friends.

                  And: Do you think we should step in and say something?

                  Add: Well, we are best friends but I’m not really sure it’s our place to
                  say something. Confronting someone about his girlfriend is pretty

                  And: Ya I know, but as you said, we are best friends, if it’s not our
                  place than whose is it?

                  Add: Good point. I guess we’ve gotta do what we’ve gotta do.

Key vocabulary and phrases that are discussed in the podcast:

Can you believe Steve? – This question is NOT asking whether or not you think
someone is telling the truth. This is just saying that Steve is really acting strange. If you
want to know if Steve is a liar, you would ask “Do you believe Steve?” or “Can you trust

Whipped – A common way to describe a guy who let’s his girlfriend control him and he
listens to everything she says and does everything she wants. He’s so whipped.

Absurd – Really strange, ridiculous, or crazy

treats him like dirt – a common phrase describing someone treating someone else really
step in – Step in and do something, or step in and say something. An expression that is
often used to describe a situation where you are trying to help in a situation where its not
really about you. For example, you could “step in to stop a fight between two strangers”.

our place – “Your place” to do something means something that is your business or its
ok for you to do something. For example, if someone else’s kid was acting rude in front
of their parents, its Not your place to yell at the kid. It would be your place if it was your
own kid. Another example is if someone whom you didn’t know very well was spending
a lot of money on clothes, its Not your place to tell them you think they are wasting their

Touchy – A very sensitive topic. If you know that someone might easily feel emotional
about some topic, then you can say “it’s touchy” or “it’s a touchy issue”.

I guess we’ve gotta do what we’ve gotta do. – A common expression describing a
situation where you don’t want to do something or its not easy to do something, but you
know you have to. It’s the same meaning as “even though it’s difficult, we still have to
do it”.

            A: Steve, I’ve got to talk to you.

            B: Sure, what’s up?

            A: I really don’t know how to say this but…

            B: Just go ahead.

            A: Well, don’t take this the wrong way, but your girl is ruining your
            life. You’ve got to get rid of her.

            B: What do you mean?

            A: She doesn’t work, she calls you 24/7 whining about nothing, and
            won’t let you hang out with your friends.

            B: I love her though.

            A: No you don’t. You are just attached. You’ve got to cut it. Think
            about how horrible your life has been lately. Why do you let people
            treat you like that?

            B: I don’t know, until you mentioned it I hadn’t really thought about
                  it. I guess it is pretty bad. I’ll have to at least demand some changes.

                  A: Alright, but you’ve got to put your foot down. You’re a cool guy.
                  You don’t have to put up with this garbage.

                  B: You’re right, I’m going to tell her.

                  A: Ok, and make sure you don’t wimp out.

Key vocabulary and phrases that are discussed in the podcast:

I really don’t know how to say this – A way to tell someone you are about to tell him
something sensitive or some bad news.

Don’t take this the wrong way – This tells someone that you are not trying to make
them angry at all. You are trying to help. If you tell someone, “I think you should start
going to the gym”. The other person might think you mean they are fat. But maybe your
real meaning is that you want them to keep healthy. So if they got angry, they took it the
wrong way.

24/7 – a way to express “all the time”. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Attached – a feeling that you have if you’re with someone for a long time. Maybe you
don’t really love them but you feel you need them.

put your foot down – Make a clear demand and don’t change or negotiate your position
at all. For example, a father might say to his daughter, “it’s too late, I’m not going to let
you go out, I’m putting my foot down”. That means he really won’t let her go out. This
expression is kind of old fashioned and isn’t really used when talking directly to
someone. You can tell someone to put their foot down with someone else. If you say,
“I’m putting my foot down” and you are talking to your friend, you will sound like an

put up with – to tolerate something. Its something you don’t like but you are accepting
it anyway. If you neighbor is playing really loud music, after a while you might not be
able to put up with it anymore, so you go tell them to turn it down.

wimp out – a wimp is a weak person in many areas. If you wimp out it means you got
scared in a situation and didn’t do something that you were planning to do. So if Steve
saw his girlfriend and didn’t tell her what he thought, then he “wimped out”.

                  And: What are you smiling about?

                  Add: I’ve got a date Saturday night.

                  And: Who’s the lucky lady?

                  Add: That chick I was talking to when we went bowling last week.

                  And: That’s awesome! She was really cute.

                  Add: I know. Hey, can I borrow your cell phone to call her?

                  And: Why don’t you just use yours?

                  Add: Because I’ve been calling her all day and she won’t pick up the
                  phone. She doesn’t know your phone number so she might pick up if I
                  use your phone

                  And: That’s ridiculous. Don’t be such a psycho. She’s going to think
                  you are a stalker.

                  Add: Ya, you’re right. Do you think I blew it already with the 3 calls?

                  And: Probably not. But definitely don’t call again until she calls you.
                  And no messages either. You don’t want to seem so needy. Chicks
                  don’t like that.

                  Add: I am being a psycho. Wow.

                  And: Forget about it. It’s easy to do. Just relax and try to play it cool

Key vocabulary and phrases that are discussed in the podcast:

Chick – Slang word to refer to a good looking girl or young woman. Men often use this
word when talking to each other about girls they are interested in. Sometimes girls use it
Psycho – A really crazy person. It’s short for the word psychopath. This kind of person
should be in a mental hospital. Often in daily English we use this word to describe a
person to acts really ridiculously.

Stalker – A person who keeps following and watching another person. When we talk
about dating, if one person really loves another person and keeps thinking about them,
calling them on the phone, and always wants to be with the person, we make fun of them
and call them a stalker.

Blew it – Ruined my chance.

Needy – if a guy seems like he really wants to be with a girl too much, we call him
needy. It’s like he can’t live his live without her. He needs her. This word can be used to
describe a girl as well. You can also seem needy in a job interview. In other words you
seem too excited to get the job, like you really need it.

Play it cool – Just relax. Try to let things happen naturally. Don’t make a big deal out of

            Add: How’d the interview go today?

            And: Great! I think I got the job.

            Add: What kind of job is it?

            And: It’s selling life insurance. They said the top guys earn over a
            quarter million dollars per year in commission.

            Add: Ya, that’s how they hook you. Did they happen to mention the
            industry average? Also, how are you supposed to find business?

            And: They have a list of people and you are supposed to phone them.

            Add: Oh, cold calling? That’s horrible. I did that before. It’s really
            easy to get discouraged. I couldn’t handle all the rejections. You are
            always interrupting people while they are at work and stuff. They often
            get angry and it’s just a really difficult way to do business.

            And: I spoke with a few guys who did it and they said it was tough at
            first, but later on you get a lot of business from referrals so you don’t
            have to rely on cold calling.

            Add: that’s not too bad I guess. Do they pay you a salary as well?
                  And: They do for the first 6 months and then after that its all
                  commission based. I’m going to try it out. I’ve got a feeling I can be
                  pretty persuasive.

                  Add: It’s a lot harder than you think, but good luck, I don’t want to
                  discourage you. I’m sure it will be a good experience at the very least.

Key vocabulary and phrases that are discussed in the podcast:

Commission – It’s a type of payment where you get a % of what you sell. A 5%
commission means that you would get 5% of the cost of something if you sold it. Many
sales jobs pay this way. Sometimes the deal is some salary, some commission.

Hook – Try to make you do something. In this dialogue, the boss talked about the most
successful salespeople to make the person think it’s a great job.

Industry average – The average amount of money that all the people in one industry
earn. In this case, it’s the average earnings of the people at that company who sell life

Cold calling – Some sales people use this method of sales to reach their potential clients.
It’s when you simply phone someone from a list of paper. These are often just random
people you are trying to sell to. It’s a very difficult form of selling.

Rejections – When people refuse to buy your product.

Referrals – When someone you have done business in the past, tells someone else about
your business and you sell to that new person. For example, if you sold me a house and
then later I told my friend that you are really good and they should go to you. Then I
referred you and you got your new business from my referral.

Persuasive – The ability to use your own reasoning and arguing abilities to make other
people do what you want them to. For example, if you want your friend to go to the bar,
but he doesn’t want to go at first, maybe you can persuade him to go if you tell him it’s
cheap drink night or it’s ladies night. It’s obviously an important quality to have in

                 Add: Hey, check out this thing on my arm. I’ve been tanning a lot
                 lately and I just noticed it.

                 Andy: I’m sure it’s nothing to worry about.

                 Add: I’m going to get it checked out by the dermatologist. I just want
                 to put my mind at ease.

                 Andy: You better not think its skin cancer. It doesn’t look anything
                 like that. Skin cancer is an irregular shape and it grows. Besides, it’s
                 not like you have pale skin, blue eyes, and freckles.

                 Add: Ya but you never know.

                 Andy: I think you are going overboard with this. You’d be better off
                 booking an appointment with a psychiatrist.

                 Add: How would that help?

                 Andy: Because you are a hypochondriac. I’m sure they have
                 medicine for that.

                 Add: Good one.

Key vocabulary and phrases that are discussed in the podcast:

Check out – It means, “Take a look at”. You can also say, “check this out”. It’s used in
casual conversation. You can say, “hey, come check out what’s on TV”. That means
come now and look and see what’s on. Usually you say “check out” or “check this out”
when the thing is exciting.

Dermatologist – Professional word which means “skin doctor”.

Irregular shape – Not a normal shape. Some strange shape that is hard to describe.

Pale skin – Very light colored skin. Often people with blond hair have pale skin.

Ya but you never know – This basically means, “nobody knows for sure” or “you are
probably right but you can’t be 100% sure”
Going overboard – Making too big of a deal of a small situation. For example, if your
friend is 2 minutes late to meet you for coffee, and because of that you decide not to be
friends anymore, than you would be going overboard

Psychiatrist – A special kind of doctor who treats people who have mental or emotional

Hypochondriac – A person who always thinks they are really sick. For example, if
someone has a little cough and they think they have a really serious disease, then he is a
hypochondriac. This word is actually a serious problem that some people have. We use
this word for fun sometimes to joke with people about being too scared about a disease
for very little reason.

Good one – This is a useful phrase, which can be used to make fun of someone’s joke. If
someone makes a joke that isn’t funny, you can say “good one”. We use this
sarcastically, meaning we don’t really believe it’s a good joke.

                  And: Is your computer working ok?

                  Add: It’s fine why?

                  And: Every time I open Firefox, 5 window’s pop-up automatically,
                  and then they all close. It’s really annoying.

                  Add: You obviously have some kind of virus. Didn’t you install anti-
                  virus software on your computer.

                  And: I did, but I’ve been too lazy to update it.

                  Add: Good move. How did you get it by the way?

                  And: Someone sent me a file on MSN messenger about vacation pics
                  and I opened it.

                  Add: Ha ha. I can’t believe you fell for that. Have fun re-
                  formatting your computer.

                  And: Can you do it for me?

                  Add: Nice try.

Key vocabulary and phrases that are discussed in the podcast:

Firefox – A popular web browser. Web browsers are the programs you use to surf the
internet. “Internet explorer” is another popular web browser. “Netscape” is another one

Anti-virus software – When you are using the internet there are so many viruses out
there that can ruin your computer. You need to install anti-virus software to avoid getting
the viruses.
Good move – This is another common phrase that is often used sarcastically. If someone
does something stupid, you can tease them by saying “good move”. They will know that
you don’t mean it. It’s just for fun. For example, if you close the door behind you and
realize that you brought the wrong key so now you can’t get in. Someone could say to
you, “good move”.

Pics – A common short-form for “pictures”

Fell for that – If someone tries to trick you and they succeed, it means you fell for their
trick. If you get tricked by something really silly where you should have not made the
mistake, you might think to yourself, “how could I fall for that?”

Have fun reformatting your computer – If you can’t get rid of a computer virus,
sometimes its best to reformat your computer. It means you need to erase everything on
your hard drive and start again. It’s an annoying process for most people. Here we say,
“have fun” because we are making fun of the person again. Of course it won’t be fun.

Nice try – Another commonly used phrase. We use it sarcastically again. If someone
tries to trick you or get you to do something you don’t want to do, and you don’t fall for
their trick, then you can say, “nice try”. Its kind of like saying, “there is no chance you
could trick me with that”.

                  A: I’ve been feeling really sluggish for the past few weeks.

                  B: Have you been getting enough sleep? What about your diet?

                  A: My sleep has been quite good. I don’t think there’s much of a
                  problem with my diet either.

                  B: What about all of those late night burgers you’ve been pigging out
                  on at Mcy D’s?

                  A: Ya, you’re one to talk. I don’t think I’d even recognize you if you
                  didn’t have food in your mouth.

                  B: Hey, let’s not change the subject. You’d probably have a lot more
                  energy if your worked out more.

                  A: Well, you’re not exactly Arnold Schwarzenegger yourself.

                  B: I thought we were talking about you. You are being so defensive.
                  You sound like a six year old.

                  A: Whatever

Key vocabulary and phrases that are discussed in the podcast:

Sluggish: tired, slow moving

Diet: the kinds of foods you eat regularly. It’s different than “on a diet”. If you are “On
a diet” it means that you are choosing to eat only certain kinds of food to lose weight or
some other health reason.

Pigging out on: This is a phrase we use to describe someone who is eating really fast or
rudely like a pig. We can also use it to describe someone who eats a lot of junk food.

Mcy D’s: A slang term for MacDonald’s

You’re one to talk: This is a sarcastic phrase and it is used to tell the other person that
they shouldn’t be judging you because they have the same problem themselves. For
example, if someone tells you that you should spend more time studying but you know
that they don’t study either, you could reply to them with, “you’re one to talk”

Let’s not change the subject: This phrase is used to tell someone if you are trying to
have a conversation about something specific, and they keep trying to talk about
something else. Usually people who are trying to change the subject are not comfortable
talking about it.

You’re not exactly Arnold Schwartzenegger yourself: Arnold Schwarzenegger is a
famous actor and body builder. He obviously goes to the gym a lot. This phrase is one
way of telling someone that they don’t exercise a lot. You can use this phrase with many
different famous people’s names. If you want to tell someone they are not really
handsome you could say, “you’re not exactly David Beckham”. Be careful when you use
this phrase though because it is often quite impolite.

Being Defensive: If someone is being defensive, it means that when someone talks to
them about a sensitive topic for them, they will not accept it and usually say something
aggressive back. For example, the person in this dialogue was being really defensive
because he didn’t want to talk about his eating problem or not exercising. He kept trying
to change the subject instead.

You sound like a six year old: We often say this to describe someone who is being very

Whatever: This is used to say that you totally disagree with someone but don’t want to
continue talking about it anymore.

ESL Conversation
                 A: So are you almost ready to go?

                 B: You’re not going to believe this but I’m not going to be able to
                 make it. I just remembered that I have to go to Jill’s birthday. It’s her
                 30th so it’s a bit of a milestone for her. I promised her a month ago. I
                 can’t back out now.

                 A: Well you seem to have no problem backing out of our plans.

                 B: I know. Sorry about that. It was really careless on my part. I’d
                 obviously rather hang out with you but I know I’ll never hear the end
                 of it from Jill if I miss her B-day.

                 A: She’s not even a close friend of yours. What’s the big deal?

                 B: You don’t know Jill. She’s weird about these things. She told me
                 that she’d be really upset if I didn’t make it.

                 A: So you’re going to let her put a guilt trip on you? I don’t
                 remember her at your birthday. You are one sorry man you know

                 B: So how do you suggest getting out of it?

                 A: Make some excuse.

                 B: Lie to her?

                 A: A white lie. Just do it to spare her feelings.

Key vocabulary and phrases that are discussed in the podcast:

Milestone: A milestone is some important number or thing that you’ve achieved.
Turning 30, 40, 50 are considered milestones for birthdays. Maybe Michael Jordan
scoring his 1000th point was a milestone for him. Or when we have 10 000 listeners to
our podcast, that will be a milestone for us.

Back out: Backing out of a plan or promise means to try to not do it anymore or try to
break your promise. Maybe you promised your friend you would go to get a tattoo
together but you got scared at the last minute and decided not to get one. Then you
backed out.

I’ll never hear the end of it: If you do something that someone else doesn’t like, they
might keep talking about it and reminding you of it. Then that means you will never hear
the end of it. If you are in a relationship and your girlfriend sees that you kissed another
girl, then she might not let you hear the end of it.

B-Day: Sometimes we say B-day instead of birthday in spoken English. Its very casual
and used between friends.

You don’t know Jill: Here, this sentence does NOT mean that you haven’t met Jill, it
does means that you don’t know Jill really well, or you don’t know how she would react
in certain situations.

Guilt trip: Someone who is trying to make you feel guilty so that you behave in the way
that they want you to is putting a guilt trip on you. If your friend says to you, “come on,
you are my best friend. You have to come, its my birthday, if you don’t come I’ll be
really sad”
Then they are putting a guilt trip on you. They want to make you feel guilty so you will

A Sorry man: A man who you feel sorry for. Very pathetic. A man who is not capable
of very much.

Getting out of it: Not doing something that you are scheduled to do.
White lie: A lie about something not very important. If you say that you are 29 but
you’re really 30, that is a white lie.

Spare her feelings: Do something to avoid hurting someone’s feelings. For example, if
someone sings you a song and you think they are really horrible at singing, you might tell
them that they are not bad to spare their feelings. If you told them the exact truth then
they might get hurt. This is another example of a white lie.

                 A: So who’s all going tonight ?

                 B: You, Steve, Scott, Kim, Christy, and myself

                 A: Why did you invite Scott?

                 B: What’s wrong with him? He’s a nice guy. He’s totally harmless.

                 A: I know he’s harmless. I don’t dislike him. Its just that it’s
                 Saturday night. We’ve already got such a tight group and he doesn’t
                 really bring much to the table.

                 B: I haven’t really found that.

                 A: Think back to the nights he’s been there. He doesn’t joke around or
                 laugh much. I think it kind of ruins the group dynamic.

                 B: I didn’t really think of it before but now that you mention it, the
                 girls don’t really seem to be themselves around him

                 .A: Exactly. So what are you going to do about it?

                 B: Not much I can do. I already invited him. I can’t tell him that we
                 find him too dull.

                 A: I suppose not. But next time, I’ll do the inviting.

Key vocabulary and phrases that are discussed in the podcast:

Who’s all going?: This is a slang way of asking for a list of everyone who will be going
to something.

Harmless: Describing a person as harmless in this way means that they probably aren’t
great but they won’t really cause any problems. They are not a bad person. It’s often
used as a kind of polite way to describe someone you don’t like much.
I don’t dislike him: This means that you probably don’t enjoy the person’s company
very much. Maybe because you are too different. You don’t think too badly of the
person, but you wouldn’t want to spend much time together.

Tight group: A group of friends who are quite close and have spent a lot of time
together. They have a good time together and often don’t want to include others.

Bring much to the table: This saying is talking about whether or not a person adds
much. If someone is boring, dull, or doesn’t really do or say much in a group, then you
can say they don’t bring much to the table. It means they don’t add any value. It’s
obviously not a very nice thing to say about someone.

Group dynamic: The way a group of people behave together. Sometimes one group of
friends likes to act a certain way when they are together, if someone new comes in and
causes people to act differently, then they have changed the group dynamic.

Now that you mention it: This is said when you didn’t think of something before, but
when someone else said it, you all of a sudden realized it yourself and agree.

Be themselves: Being yourself means you act the way that feels most natural to you and
the way you want to act. Sometimes in front of certain people it is hard to be yourself.
Maybe you aren’t yourself around your boss because you are afraid of what she will think
of you.

ESL Conversation
                 A: So what did you think about lunch yesterday?

                 B: The food was really good.

                 A: You know that’s not what I was talking about.

                 B: I was trying to avoid the subject but I guess you’re not going to
                 let me off that easily. I guess Megan overreacts sometimes.

                 A: Overreacts? She threw her drink right in my face and stormed out
                 of the restaurant. She made quite a scene over one innocent

                 B: Well you shouldn’t have made fun of her ear rings.

                 A: Whose side are you on?

                 B: I’m on your side, but I wouldn’t have said what you said, that’s all.

                 A: Fine, I admit the comment was a little rude, but she really crossed
                 the line. I hope you aren’t going to see her again.

                 B: I might.

                 A: In a word, Pathetic.

Key vocabulary and phrases that are discussed in the podcast:

You know that’s not what I was talking about:

This sentence is used to tell someone that the way they chose to answer the question was
not the type of answer you were hoping for. In this case, they were talking about the
girl’s behavior and not the lunch.
Avoid the subject:

 If one person is trying to talk about something and you don’t want to talk about it so you
don’t answer their questions and keep trying to talk about something else then you are
“avoiding the subject”. People often try to avoid subjects that they are uncomfortable
talking about.

Let me off:

 This phrase means to allow someone to not take responsibility for something. You could
say the policeman saw me driving too fast but he let me off instead of giving me a ticket.

Stormed out:

 This is talking about a person who leaves somewhere quickly, usually because they are
really angry. My girlfriend yelled at me yesterday and stormed out of the house without
saying where she was going.

Made quite a scene:

This is a useful way to describe someone who is doing something that causes other
people to look at them. Usually it’s a kind of bad behavior. To make a scene you need to
be either in a public place or a place with several people around. If you start yelling at
someone in a restaurant and people notice you and watch, then you are making a scene.

Innocent comment:

A comment where you don’t intend to hurt anyone.

Whose side are you on?

If there is a disagreement between two people, you can ask this question to someone
else. It basically means to you agree with me or do you agree with the other person. If
they agree with you then they say that they are on your side.

Crossed the line:
If somebody did something that is more than you can tolerate or said something too
offensive, then you could say they crossed the line. The line is like someone’s boundary
or the most they can handle, crossing the line means that you went too far. It’s a bad

In a word…:

This phrase is used to describe something simply, only using one word. So you could
say, the dinner last night was in a word, amazing.

ESL Conversation
                    A: I don’t think I’ll be calling Brian again.

                    B: Why not?

                    A: Sara had some people over for her birthday last night and Brian
                    showed up with no gift, no drinks, or anything; and to top it off he was
                    complaining about her not having a good enough selection of drinks.

                    B: That’s pretty rude but not calling him again is a bit harsh don’t you
                    think? He must have done something else.

                    A: He could see that everyone took their shoes off at the door but he
                    still kept his on tracking dirt all over the floor. He also lit up a
                    cigarette in the house without asking. I mean, who smokes inside

                    B: That’s awful. Did anyone say anything?

                    A: Someone asked him to smoke outside and he took offense to it. It
                    was like he’d never heard that people don’t like second hand smoke in
                    their face. Oh ya, and he was hitting on Jay’s girlfriend the whole

                    B: Did Jay say anything?

                    A: You know Jay. He’s not really confrontational. He didn’t want
                    to make it too awkward. I can understand that.

Key vocabulary and phrases that are discussed in the podcast:

Had some people over:

This means invited people to your home. Its just a common way of saying this. For
example, I had a few friends over last night.

Showed up:

It means arrived.
To top it off:

You can use this phrase when telling a story. It’s used in a situation where you list
several things that happened that would already be enough to prove your point, but you
still have one more big thing to say to add to what you were saying.


Strong, not very forgiving.


When someone walks around with dirty shoes inside the house we say they are tracking
dirt on the floor.

I mean:

Sometimes this is used to express that you believe that most reasonable people should
agree with what you are saying.

Second hand smoke:

Smoke in the air from other people smoking

Hitting on:

Flirting. Talking to someone in a playful way with whom you are normally attracted to,
often someone you might want to have a date with.

You know Jay:

This phrase means that you know Jay quite well and how he would behave in different


If someone does something that you don’t like or don’t agree with and you go to that
person and tell them exactly how you feel and then you are being confrontational. Not
being confrontational is having someone do or say something you don’t like and just keep
your feelings to yourself.

ESL Conversation
                 A: AB, what’s going on?

                 B: Not much, just taking it easy today. Work’s been killing me lately.

                 A: What do you say we head downtown and grab a coffee at the
                 Starbucks near plaza 66.

                 B: I’ve had way too much caffeine lately. I wouldn’t mind grabbing
                 something to eat though. Would you be up for that?

                 A: It’s a nice day today, so we could get something at Element Fresh
                 near the Portman. They’ve got a patio so we could sit outside.

                 B: Sure, do you want to workout after?

                 A: I’ve already gone. Wasn’t great though. 6 out of 10 at best.

                 B: Just come with and do some cardio. I think you could afford to
                 shed a few more pounds.

                 A: We’ll see. Let’s meet at Element at 2.

                 B: K, later.

Key vocabulary and phrases that are discussed in the podcast:

AB: Friends sometimes call people by their initials just for fun. My name is Andrew
Best so friends of mine might call me AB.

What’s going on? A slang phrase meaning, “what are you doing now? Or what are your
plans for the next while?”
Taking it easy: relaxing, not doing much.

Been killing me: A phrase meaning “causing you a lot of stress”. You can say, my new
job has been killing me. Or you could say, “The summer has been so hot this year, it’s
killing me.”

Grab a coffee: In casual conversation, we sometimes use the verb “grab” for food or
drinks. “Let’s grab a coffee”, means, “let’s go somewhere and get a coffee”.

Way too much: In casual conversation, we sometimes use “way” instead of “far”. “Way
too much”, means, “far too much”.

Caffeine: The drug found in coffee that gives people energy and keeps them awake.

Would you be up for that? A casual phrase meaning, “Do you want to do that”, or “will
you do that”.

Patio: A place to sit outside. Sometimes restaurants and pubs have patios where people
can sit outside and eat on a nice day.

6 out of 10: Sometimes people rate things out of 10. 10 out of 10 is perfect. 0 out of 10
is the worst.

At best: Ranking something is subjective, which means that its not always clear what the
score out of 10 will be. If you say, 6 out of 10 at best, it means, 6 out of 10 or even lower
than 6 out of 10.

Come with: A slang phrase that means, “come with me” or “come with us”.
You could afford to shed a few more pounds: Sometimes we say “shed a few pounds”,
which means, “lose weight”.

We’ll see: It means, “I’m not sure yet”.

Element: In the dialogue, I said the restaurant’s name is Element Fresh. When both
people know clearly what is being talked about, people sometimes use short forms.

K: Slang and short for “ok”.

Later: When hanging up the phone we sometimes say “later”. It’s slang and should be
used only with friends.

ESL Conversation
                  Fear is a defense mechanism that evolved over the years to protect us
                  from dangerous situations. If you weren’t afraid of dangerous things,
                  then you’d be more likely to engage in dangerous acts. Imagine you
                  were on the top of a mountain and you weren’t even the least bit afraid
                  of falling. You would walk around just as you normally would on the
                  ground. If you made one false move, you’d be toast. The fear you feel
                  is supposed to make you more careful and pay more attention to the
                  situation. Even though fear is designed to protect us, it can ironically
                  have the opposite effect. Fears can be misplaced and prevent people
                  from doing things that would be beneficial to them. For example,
                  people may be hesitant to approach the girl or man of their dreams
                  because they are afraid of rejection. This fear is not very reasonable
                  because if you don’t approach the person, you have no chance in
                  getting what you want. As long as you can emotionally handle the
                  rejection, which you should be able to, then you really have nothing to

Key vocabulary and phrases that are discussed in the podcast:

Defense mechanism

- A way of thinking or behaving in order to protect yourself in some way.


- Slowly progressed over time.


- Take part in. It’s a bit formal and used more often in written English. It’s rarely used in
casual conversation. A policeman might ask, “have you engaged in any unlawful acts
over the past 12 months?” In everyday English we would say, “Have you done anything
illegal during this past year?”

False move

- A mistake in behavior. It is often used in old movies when the male actor is trying to be
cool and tough. “You make one false move and I’ll blow your brains out”. In other
words, “If you do anything I don’t like I’ll shoot you”.

- In this context we mean dead. It’s a very causal and non-serious way to talk about
death. If someone close to you died, you would never describe them as being “toast”.
That would be far too insensitive. It’s usually used in a situation where no one actually


-Having the opposite effect of what was originally intented.

ex. The government raised taxes to put more money into education but ironically they
raised less money then under the original tax policy.

ex. It’s quite ironic that his diet actually caused him to gain weight.


- Unable to act or decide quickly.

He was hesitant to jump into the pool because the water was a little cold.


- Being unaccepted.

She didn’t ask her boss for a raise because of her fear of rejection.

ESL Conversation
              A: How’s the studying going?

              B: I haven’t started yet. I’m thinking of going on a caffeine bender
              and pulling a couple of all-nighters

              A: Cramming is the worst way to prepare for an exam. There is no
              way your brain can process and absorb so much material in such a short

              B: I used to cram all the time in high school and did just fine.

              A: It can work on easier tests but don’t get over-confident. This exam
              is going to test your understanding of the knowledge rather than just
              ask you to recite facts. Have you at least been going to class and
              keeping up?

              B: No, I’ve missed most of them. I’ve been in party mode all
              semester. I’m usually good in physics, I was just hoping to skim over
              the chapter summaries, do a few practice problems, and wing it for the
              most part.

              A: This is all new material. It takes time for these concepts to really
              sink in.

              B: The test is all multiple-choice. The answers are right in front of
              you. It’s all process of elimination.

              A: That’s a huge misconception. Multiple-choice tests can be really
              tough. Sometimes the answers are so similar and you really have to
              know the material inside and out to do well.

              B: We’ll see. How bad would you feel if I ended up beating you on

              A: I can’t see it happening.

Key vocabulary and phrases that are discussed in the podcast:
Caffeine bender – A bender is a slang term for going on a spree. It’s usually when you
do something unhealthy without taking a break from it. An example would be, “I was on
a drinking bender all weekend”.

All-nighters – This just means that you stay awake all night doing something.

Cramming – A method of studying where you try to learn a lot of information in a very
short time. Usually it doesn’t work very well and students who cram are often a little
lazy and procrastinate studying until the last possible minute.

Keeping up – Staying up to date. Not falling behind. The sentence, “I’ve been keeping
up with my school work.” Means that you understand the material taught up until that
point. You can also talk about keeping up with a race. Someone could say, “We should
go for a bike ride today. Do you think you will be able to keep up?”

Party mode – Being in some kind of a “mode” is just slang for saying that you have been
doing a lot of it lately, and your mood and feelings are appropriate for doing that. You
could say, “It’s been a great vacation. It will be hard getting back into working mode”.

Skim – Read over quickly and briefly.

Wing it – Do something with very little or no preparation. “She has a natural talent for
giving speeches. I heard she didn’t prepare for that one and was able to simply wing it”.

Sink in – You can talk about knowledge or concepts “sinking in”. If you totally
understand a concept you can say that it has “sunk in”. If you ask someone, “How does it
feel to have won the million dollars?” The person might reply, “I don’t know, it still
hasn’t sunk in”. That means they are still so surprised, they haven’t really been able to
fully accept what just happened.
Process of elimination – This is a method of finding out an answer by ruling out all the
possibilities except for the right one.

Misconception – Something that you wrongly believe to be true. It’s a common
misconception that all Americans are rich.

Inside and out – Knowing something inside and out means that you know something
extremely well.

ESL Podcast Key phrases
Here are some examples and phrases that we discussed in this podcast.
Below are some examples of how words actually can sound in spoken
English. They aren’t for written English.

Going to – sounds like “gonna” often in spoken english

What are you – What a ya

ex. What a ya gonna do about it?

Have to – have ta

Do you – Do ya

ex. Do ya really have ta go?

What do you – wha da ya

Want to — wanna

ex. Wha da ya wanna do later?

Why do you – why da ya

ex. Why da ya wanna go there?

“Ing” - at the end of a word often sounds like “in”

Ex. Talking – talkin

are - can sound like “a”

ex. What a ya talkin about?

ex. What a ya doin?

ex. Where ya workin now?

Don’t know – donno
ex. I donno what they’re eatin

Of – a

ex. I donno what the point a that is?

ex. What’s the point a goin there?

What is he – wha dis ee

ex. Wha dis ee doin that for?

What did you – Wha dja

ex. Wha dja do yesterday afternoon?

ex. Wha dja do that for?

Why did you – Why dja

ex. Why dja buy that shirt when you knew it didn’t fit?

Where did you – Where dja

ex. Where dja buy that car?

ex.Where dja find that apartment?

How did you – how dja

ex. How dja get such a good deal?

ESL Conversation
                  A: What’s going on?

                  B: I’ve had it with my old computer. It’s a total piece of junk. I’m
                  getting a new one.

                  A: Are you getting a Mac or staying with the PC?

                  B: I know a lot of people swear by the Mac, but I’m so used to a PC
                  that I think I’ll just stick with it.

                  A: I like the Mac because it crashes a lot less and has a lot less

                  B: I don’t blame you. I can definitely see how it would be better. I
                  just can’t be bothered to learn how to use one. I also know there’s
                  less software for the Mac.

                  A: I hear you. What specs are you getting?

                  B: I want a huge hard drive for all my downloads. I need to get a big
                  monitor to watch movies on.

                  A: What about RAM and processor?

                  B: My needs aren’t too great for those. I don’t use too many
                  applications simultaneously. I pretty much just do word processing
                  and surf the net.

Key vocabulary and phrases that are discussed in the podcast:

Had it: To say you have “had it” with something means you are tired of something and
will no longer deal with it.

I’ve had it with this old TV.

I’ve had it with your nonsense.
Piece of Junk: A phrase to describe something that is old and useless.

You should get a new cell phone; yours is a piece of junk.

Mac: Short form for Macintosh computer. These are the computers made by Apple.

PC: PC is an acronym for “Personal computer”. It is often used to refer to computers
that are IBM compatible. The two main types of home computers are Mac and PC.

Swear by: If you “swear by” something, it means you truly believe it.

I don’t believe that drinking certain kinds of tea can cure a cold, but some people swear
by it.

Stick with it: If you “stick with” something, it means you will continue with it.

I think I’m going to stick with my original travel plans.

Crashes: A computer crash is when some program is not responding and the computer
seems to freeze. Often you need to restart the computer when it crashes. It’s annoying
because it wastes time and can cause you to lose data.

Can’t be bothered: If you “cant’ be bothered” to do something, it means you don’t want
to put in the necessary effort to get something done.

I’d love to eat a great home cooked dinner tonight, but I can’t be bothered chopping all
the vegetables.

I wouldn’t mind going out tonight, but I can’t be bothered to get off the couch, have a
shower and get dressed.
I hear you: In this context, “I hear you” means, I understand what you are saying. It
doesn’t necessarily mean you agree with the person, but you can understand their point of

Specs: This is a short form of the word “specifications”. When we talk about a computer
we often talk about its specs. In this case, “specs” refers to things like, the size of the
hard drive, the amount of RAM, type of monitor, speed of the processor, etc.

RAM: Acronym for “Random Access Memory”. It means computer memory that can
be used by the computer to perform functions while the computer is running.

Processor: The part of the computer that controls running the programs

Applications: Another word for computer programs

Simultaneously: At the same time. It’s a little bit formal.

Are you able to read and listen to music simultaneously?

Key Phrases and Vocabulary
Key vocabulary and phrases that are discussed in the podcast:

Positive person – someone who looks on the bright side of a situation

A positive person is someone who is often in a good mood regardless of their
circumstances. If something goes wrong, a positive person will look for something good
about the situation and how to make it better.

Apathetic – Someone who is unemotional or uninterested in something

A person is usually apathetic about certain things. Someone might be very apathetic
about politics for example. Some people are apathetic about improving their lives.

Moody - Someone who’s mood changes frequently and easily. This word is used in a
negative way and talks about people who can get into a bad mood very quickly over a
small thing.

A moody person will often be happy for a while and then all of a sudden change to a bad
mood because they get hungry, or the traffic is bad, or someone says something they
don’t like.

Arrogant – acting like you think you are better than other people.

Someone who is arrogant might say something like, “I can’t believe you don’t know how
to do that.” Often it is not what an arrogant person says but just how they act that makes
you think they are arrogant.

Complacent – Content to a fault. When you are easily satisfied and have little
motivation to improve.

Someone who is happy doing ok in school but not their best is complacent. Basically,
anyone who could improve but is happy staying at the same level is complacent. This
word is used in a negative way.

Snobby – Someone who ignores or looks down upon people they feel are inferior in
some way.

Someone who is snobby will not want to talk with anyone who they feel is inferior in
some way. A very snobby person might act rude to you because you aren’t wearing nice
shoes or don’t have an expensive cell phone. You could say, “don’t be so snobby”, or
“You are acting like a snob”.
Gullible – Someone who is easily tricked or fooled.

A gullible person will believe almost anything. If you tell someone that you are the
president of a country or Bill Gate’s son, and they believe you easily, then they are

Pushy – Someone who tries very hard to make you do or believe something. They put a
lot of pressure on you to change.

Aggressive sale’s people are often described as pushy. They don’t listen to your idea and
keep trying to make you buy what they are selling. You could say, “I think pushy
salesmen are really annoying.” Or “don’t be so pushy”.

Indifferent – It means you don’t have an opinion about it or you don’t care about it.

If someone asks, “would you like to have Japanese food for dinner, or would you rather
have Indian food” and you don’t really care which one you eat, you could reply, “I’m

Chill – This is a very slang term that refers to someone who is“cool”. They handle things
smoothly in social situations and don’t make a big deal of things.

This is often a word that young people use. You could say, “he’s really chill” or “she’s a
pretty chill chick”. It’s very slang.

ESL Conversation
              A: Wow! That’s the 4th date you’ve been on this week?

              B: I’ve been on this new online dating site. It’s free for girls and
              guys pay about 30 bucks a month for a premium membership. There
              are tons of girls on there.

              A: They must be pretty desperate though. And they wouldn’t need to
              be on there if they were a decent catch.

              B: That’s what I thought but there are a lot of good-looking girls who
              hate the bar scene because they get hit on constantly by slimy guys.
              This way they can see your profile and see if you have anything in

              A: Isn’t it hard to judge their appearance based on a thumbnail

              B: This site makes everyone upload at least 5 pictures with a high
              quality resolution. It’s true though, that some people’s pics make
              them look much better than they do in person. It’s hit and miss.

              A: What do you do when you show up on a date and know
              immediately she’s not cutting it in the looks department.

              B: It’s a delicate situation. Obviously you can’t let her know what
              you are thinking. I try to make afternoon coffee dates and I always
              have a plan B in the back of my mind.

              A: Sounds like too much hassle.

              B: It’s still easier, healthier, and cheaper than being in smoky bars all
              the time.

              A: That’s true. Maybe I’ll try it out. I’ve got nothing to lose.

Key vocabulary and phrases that are discussed in the podcast:
“On this new online dating site” - We often talk about being “on” a website which
means been “using”. In spoken English, we also often say “site” instead of “website”.
Both are ok though.

Tons - Slang for “very many”. I ate a ton of pizza last night.

Desperate – Someone who seems to really want a boyfriend or girlfriend but is having a
hard time finding one we call “desperate.” Girls won’t want to date you if you seem

Decent catch – A decent catch is someone who would be a really good person to date.
They have a lot of good qualities. Generally speaking, a “good catch” is good looking,
has a good job, has a good personality etc. This term comes from fishing. I guess
finding someone is a little bit like catching a fish.

Bar scene – We often refer to the kind of nightlife that includes going to bars to socialize
is the “bar scene”. How’s the bar scene in Tokyo?

Hit on – Getting “hit on” means that someone is approaching you because they are
interested in maybe dating you. It’s like flirting. Models get “hit on” a lot when they go

Slimy – This is a slang term used to describe guys who pretend to be really nice and
genuine but really have different ideas in mind. They might lie to make themselves look
how they think the girl would want them to look like. Maybe they only want to bring you
home for one night. Girls are always trying to stay away from slimy guys.

In common – Having something “in common” with someone means that you have the
same interest or background as they do. When dating, it’s important to find someone you
have something in common with. What do you have in common with her? We are both
from the same hometown and we have the same taste in music.
Thumbnail picture – A thumbnail picture is one of those small square pictures that are
often found on the internet. The picture you have on msn messenger is an example of a
thumbnail picture.

High quality resolution – The resolution of a photo is something which refers to how
clear the picture is. The higher the resolution, the clearer the picture.

Hit and miss – This phrase means sometimes its good, sometimes it’s bad. You don’t
really know beforehand if the result will be good or not. You just have to try it and hope
for the best. The business of cold calling is hit and miss.

She’s not cutting it in the looks department – This phrase is very slang. It means, “this
girl is not attractive enough for me”. If you are cutting it, it means you are at an
acceptable level. Sometimes we refer to a department, as some kind of aspect. A girl
might say, he’s really nice but not great in the romance department.

Delicate situation – A situation that you must handle carefully to avoid hurting
someone’s feelings. Telling someone you think they have an alcohol problem is a
delicate situation.

Plan B – Plan B is a “back-up” plan. Plan A is what you plan on doing. If something
goes wrong, the next plan is called plan B. Let’s go to the park tomorrow. Ok, but if it
rains we are going to need to think of a plan B.

Back of my mind – If you have something in the “back of your mind” it means you
aren’t always thinking about it but it is still there. You think of it from time to time.

Hassle – If something is a hassle it means it is annoying and frustrating to deal with. I’d
like to go watch the game live, but it’s such a hassle to drive there, pay for parking, walk
all the way to the stadium and listen to the screaming fans. I think I’ll just stay home and
watch it on TV.

ESL Conversation
              A: I just saw Chris whip by in a new Ferrari. Where did he get that
              kind of cash?

              B: I think he got it from the settlement.

              A: What settlement?

              B: Apparently he was taking a shower at the gym and he slipped, fell
              and hurt himself pretty badly. He threatened to hire a really good
              lawyer and sue them. The gym owners agreed to settle out of court
              because they didn’t want to take any chances. He made a killing.

              A: That’s not their fault? Why would they agree to that?

              B: Chris was claiming that they put too much wax on the floor, which
              made it too slippery. Apparently they’re not allowed to do that and he
              has a case.

              A: That’s so absurd! I can’t believe people can profit from something
              like that. There’s really something wrong with the legal system.

              B: I blame Chris as much as anyone. I can’t believe he can sleep at
              night after exploiting those owners. I can’t believe anyone would
              actually sue in a situation like that.

              A: Are you kidding? I’d do the exact same thing if I were in his
              shoes. Those owners won’t pay directly. Their insurance will cover it.

              B: Even if its true wouldn’t you have a guilty conscience knowing that
              most of your wealth was from cashing in on an injury?

              A: Maybe for a little while, but I’m sure sipping margaritas in the
              Caribbean would take care of that.

              B: You’d be judged by everyone.

              A: Who cares?

Key vocabulary and phrases that are discussed in the podcast:
Whip by – To go really fast past someone.

Did you see that? That golf ball just whipped past that guy’s ear.

Ferrari – A famous Italian luxury car.

Settlement – A legal agreement.

Apparently – This word means “it seems that”. It’s often used when you understand
something to be true but you don’t have proof. For example, you could say, “apparently
Dave can speak Japanese”. Or you could say, “apparently drinking too much fruit juice
can make you gain weight”. In that case, apparently is used as, “it is said that”. Another
example is “apparently listening to really loud music all the time can make your hearing
worse when you are older”.

Sue – To start the legal process against. You often sue someone to get money for

Take any chances – If you “don’t want to take any chances”, it means you want to play
it safe. You don’t want to take a risk so you are going to be extra cautious.

I know I probably won’t get struck by lightning if I go outside now but I don’t want to
take any chances.

Made a killing – Earned a lot of money. Apparently she makes a killing selling her

Has a case – If you say that someone “has a case”, that means that they will probably
win if they go to court. You may have a case if you tell the judge that you were driving
too fast because your wife was about to have a baby and needed to be rushed to the

Absurd – Crazy, ridiculous, uncommon. Why would we go to the beach today if it’s
raining? It’s absurd!

I can’t believe he can sleep at night – We often wonder how someone who feels guilty
or really stressed can sleep at night.

I wonder how thieves can sleep at night.

How can you sleep at night knowing that all of your money is invested in one company?
What happens if the company goes bankrupt?

In his shoes – In his same situation. If I were in his shoes, I would have handled the
situation completely differently.
Cover it – This means that there is enough money to pay for something. Imagine you are
at a restaurant with your friends and you need to leave early but don’t know how much
money you should pay. You might guess that your meal is around $15. You don’t want
to pay less so you put down $20 and say, “I think this should cover my share”.

Or “Do you think $200 will cover the cost of the broken window”.

Cashing in – Cashing in on something means taking the opportunity to make money
from something. When we use this we are often talking about a lot of money. You
should think about how to cash in on your amazing singing ability.

Margaritas – A type of alcoholic drink. We often associate this drink with relaxing on
the beach.

Phrases and Vocabulary used:
Naïve – someone who lacks experience and understanding about something. We often
describe someone who makes an immature decision as naïve. I think he is very naïve to
think that it is a good idea to get married to his girlfriend after only knowing her for one
week. Why would you give him your bank account password? You are so naïve.

Predictable – someone who doesn’t do many new and exciting things. We often use this
in a bad way meaning the person is a little boring and not adventurous. Even though she
thought her boyfriend was good person, she decided to leave him because he was too

Confrontational – Someone who is very direct and will express their opinions even in
situations where someone might not like it. For example, if you see someone smoking
and you walk up to them and tell them that it will kill them, that’s being confrontational.

Conceited – Someone who has an overly favorable opinion of themselves and their own
abilities. It’s used in a negative way.

Self-conscious – Someone who worries too much about what other people think of them.
It’s not good to be self-conscious when learning a new language. My friend is so self-
conscious that she won’t even sing in front of her close friends.

Rational – Someone who is reasonable and uses good judgment to make decisions. They
are usually calm and not so emotional. It’s much easier to negotiate with rational people
than emotional ones.

Approachable – If someone is approachable it means that it appears that they will be
friendly if you go up to talk to them. They seem easy to talk with and to get to know.
People who are relaxed and have a nice smile are approachable.
Down to earth – Someone who is “down to earth” is practical, realistic, and in touch
with the lives of regular people. People who are down to earth are reasonable and don’t
have a lot of crazy ideas. Often people think that movie stars and celebrities are not
down to earth because their lives are so different from everyone else.

Methodical – Someone who does everything in a slow, planned, and systematic way.
Methodical people are careful and never skip steps when doing things. They don’t mind
taking a long time to do things because they think that the extra effort is worth it.

ESL Reading
                  The Weatherman is a window into the personal life of a middle-aged
                  man named Dave, played by Nicolas Cage. Dave is a minor celebrity,
                  has a relatively easy job as a weatherman, and a good salary.
                  Unfortunately his personal life is in shambles. He’s unhappy,
                  unfriendly, and doesn’t seem to have any friends. He wants to show
                  he’s a good father to his kids and tries to no avail to convince his ex-
                  wife their marriage deserves a second chance. He finds out that he’s
                  being considered for a great job in New York with a massive pay raise
                  but once again money doesn’t seem to help his life. This movie makes
                  you think about what’s really important in life. Some critics dislike the
                  movie but I personally think it’s underrated and definitely worth

Phrases and Vocabulary used:
Window – a window into something is like saying it’s a view into something or an
opportunity to see something that you normally wouldn’t have a chance to.

Minor celebrity – someone who several people recognize but the majority of the
population wouldn’t. Someone who does the news on TV or a professional athlete who
isn’t very famous might be considered minor celebrities. Michael Jordan and Tom Cruise
are both major celebrities in the US because most people would recognize them.

Weatherman – The person on TV who delivers the weather forecast to the public.

Shambles – something that is in a state of destruction or total disorder. That city was in
shambles after the hurricane. Her life was in shambles after she lost her job and her

Tries to no avail – If you try something to no avail it means you try but fail. He tried to
no avail to date the girl of his dreams.

Critics – Movie critics are people who have the job of watching movies and writing
descriptions and ratings for those movies. I can’t believe the critics didn’t like that
movie. I haven’t seen that movie but apparently the critics love it.

Underrated – Not given the praise that is deserved. I think he is an underrated
basketball player. That means that most people don’t realize how good he really is at
Worth watching – This means that it won’t be a waste of time to watch it. You can also
say “worth doing” or “worth going”. “worth doing something” means it’s a good idea to
do and you won’t regret it. It wasn’t my favorite place for a vacation but it was definitely
worth going. That means that going on that vacation was still better than not going and
you don’t regret it.

ESL Reading
                  Many people from all over the world are obsessed with their body
                  weight. Many of those people wish to lose weight but are utterly
                  clueless when it comes to how to lose it. They often try fad diets,
                  weight loss pills, over-training, or a combination. These extreme
                  measures are unhealthy and virtually impossible to maintain. These
                  people often lose weight quickly at first, only to gain it all back and
                  even more once they return to their normal lifestyle. Some people even
                  develop illnesses such as anorexia.

Phrases and Vocabulary used:
Obsessed – It means to put too much thought into something. If you are obsessed about
something it means you are spending too much time thinking about it and worrying about
it too much. You could say, “He’s obsessed with playing video games”. Or “She’s
obsessed with her looks.” It’s used in a negative way. It doesn’t just mean, “pay a lot of
attention to”, it means “pays too much attention too”.

Utterly – It means “completely”, “totally” or “100%”. Some examples are:
She’s utterly beautiful.
That idea is utterly stupid.
He is utterly unaware of the dangers of smoking.

Clueless – It means “having no knowledge about”.
He is utterly clueless about how to treat woman.
I’m clueless about computers.
My friend is absolutely clueless about how to save money.

Fad diets – A fad is something that becomes very popular or fashionable quickly, but is
only popular for a brief period of time.
A diet is a plan for what someone can eat. Sometimes certain diets like, “seafood diets”
or “No fat” diets become very popular with people for a while. Different diets are
popular at different times. The USA often has a lot of fad diets.
Over-training – When someone exercises too much. They make themselves too tired
and hurt from over-exercising. This is unhealthy and people often become sick from it.

Extreme measures – Here, a “measure” means an action taken to solve a problem.
Extreme measures mean that the action taken is very serious and strict. If you get sick
one time from eating chicken, and because of that you decide never to eat meat again,
that is an extreme measure.

Virtually impossible – Here virtually means “almost”. Virtually is often used with the
word impossible. To say something is impossible it means that there is absolutely 0%
chance of something happening. It can’t happen. If you say virtually impossible it
means that there is almost no chance of it happening, but maybe in some strange case it
might happen.

Anorexia – an eating disorder where you don’t want to eat at all. Some people get this
because they want to be really thin and they always think they are too fat. This is a very
serious disorder and some people die from it.

ESL Reading
                  As of July 31 2006, the number of blogs worldwide was reported to
                  have topped 50 million. According to reports, the blogosphere was
                  doubling every 6 months or so with more than 2 new blogs created
                  every second. Many people enjoy reading blogs more than a news
                  report because they enjoy the free writing style and the unbiased
                  opinions. Some of the most successful bloggers have been able to turn
                  their hobby into a full time career by monetizing their blogs with pay
                  per click advertising and donations. Although possible, these cases
                  are few and far between and it’s recommended that most bloggers
                  don’t quit their day jobs.

Phrases and Vocabulary used:
Topped – means “passed” or “went higher than”. It’s often used in written English such
as in the newspaper. In sports you might see, the Houston Rockets topped the Chicago
Bulls 118-101

Blogoshpere – A word that refers to the entire collection of all the blogs that exist on the

Unbiased – Not prejudiced or impartial. It basically means that your opinions are really
your own and you have no personal reasons to make them different. For example, if you
asked a mother if her daughter is beautiful, she might say “yes” just because all mothers
want their daughters to be beautiful. In this case the mother’s opinion would be biased.
If you just asked a person on the street, their opinion would likely be unbiased.

Monetizing – Turning something into money. If you monetize your blog, it means you
are making money from the blog.

Pay per click advertising – This is one popular kind of advertising that you often see on
the internet. One example is “Google ads”. You will often see links to other websites
under the title, “Google ads”. If someone looking at the website is interested in an ad and
they click on it, the person who owns the website will make a little bit of money. This is
one way that bloggers often use to monetize their blogs.

Few and far between – Events that happen but are very rare. An example sentence is,
“You should take that job. Good jobs like that are few and far between.”
Don’t quit your day job – If a person has some new idea for making money but this
method might not work or is risky, you can use this expression. So “don’t quit your day
job” means, “be careful because you might not be able to earn money from this idea”. Or
“It’s risky to totally depend on that for a source of income.”

ESL Reading
                  There are several different strategies and methods to lose weight, but
                  here are some of the most common ideas. It’s important to control your
                  total caloric intake. Calories are the energy found in food and this
                  energy will be stored as fat if the body doesn’t use them up. You
                  should try to keep the amount of saturated fats to a minimum and also
                  not eat so many simple carbohydrates. You should exercise regularly
                  and do both strength training exercises as well as cardio-vascular
                  exercise. A Big Mac at Macdonald’s has 492 calories and would take
                  you almost an hour of moderate bike riding to burn that. If you have
                  a daily caloric deficit of 500 calories, it would take you about 13 days
                  to lose a kilogram of body fat.

Phrases and Vocabulary used:
Calorie – A measurement of the amount of energy in food. You will lose weight if you
burn more calories than you eat and you will gain weight if you eat more calories than
you burn.

Caloric intake – The number of calories that you eat.

Saturated fat – A type of unhealthy fat found in Animal products. The fat in milk,
butter, and beef are saturated fats. You should try to eat only a limited amount of this
kind of fat.

Simple carbohydrates – Carbohydrate is a special word for sugars. Simple
carbohydrates get broken down quickly and go into your blood quickly to provide a boost
of energy. Sweet things such as chocolate, pop, honey, and fruit juice have a lot of
simple carbohydrates. Bread also has a lot of simple carbohydrates even though it isn’t
very sweet. Complex carbohydrates are sugars that get broken down slowly and
therefore don’t make your blood sugar rise too quickly. Most vegetables are high in
complex carbohydrates.

Cardio-vascular exercise – A type of exercise that is good for your heart, lungs and
blood circulation. Running, bike riding, and swimming are good examples of cardio-
vascular exercise. This varies with age, but cardio-vascular exercise is any exercise
where your heart beats about 150 times per minute.

Moderate bike riding – “Moderate” is a word used to describe exercise that is not very
hard and not very easy. It’s somewhere in the middle. So moderate bike riding would be
fairly fast riding but not nearly the fastest you can ride. “Strenuous” or “heavy” are
words to describe very difficult and intense exercise. “Light” is usually used to describe
easy exercise. So “light jogging” would be a very slow and easy run.

Caloric deficit – A caloric deficit means that you burn more calories than you eat. We
also often say “consume calories” or “take in calories” instead of “eat calories”. So if
you had a 500 calorie deficit on a given day, that would mean that the total number of
calories that you burned that day was 500 more than the number of calories that you

ESL Reading
                  Global warming is one of the top priorities on the agenda of
                  governments all over the world. The general consensus among
                  scientists is that the current warming of the earth is caused by
                  greenhouse gas emissions from human activity. It’s a difficult
                  problem to address because the activities that cause global warming
                  are very interconnected with our lifestyles and economic systems.
                  There is also disagreement about what the best way to tackle the
                  problem is. Some people want extremely strict emission regulations on
                  businesses, while others believe that would only cripple the economy.
                  Some economists like the idea of carbon trading, while others don’t
                  like the idea of being able to “pay money to pollute”.

Phrases and Vocabulary used:
Priorities: A priority is something that is given high importance. Even though he was
offered a higher paying job in a different city, he didn’t take it because his family was
more of a priority to him.

Agenda: A list, plan, or outline of things that need to be done.

Consensus: The majority opinion. A general agreement about something. The
consensus of the group was to meet once a week.

Greenhouse gas: Any gas that traps radiation from the sun and contributes to the gradual
warming of the earth.

Emissions: Something released into the air. In this case we are talking about the
emission of greenhouse gases.

Address: Here, “address” is used as a verb and it means “deal with” a problem. It’s a
little bit formal. How do you think the government will address the issue of global

Interconnected: to be connected together or tied together. In this case it means “hard to
separate”. Our lifestyles involve driving cars and using air conditioners etc. These
activities cause greenhouse gas emissions. In other words, a lot of what we do already
causes the release of greenhouse gases.
Tackle: This is another word that we sometimes use to say “solve” or “deal with” a
problem. Do you have any ideas as to how we should tackle this problem?

Cripple: cause harm to, slow down, make weaker. Cripple the economy means to make
the economy much worse.

Carbon Trading: A system where companies or countries set emissions targets for
greenhouse gas emissions. If you go over your limit of greenhouse gas emissions, then
you can buy the “right to emit more gases”. It’s a way to give companies a good reason
to try to emit less gas. If they emit too much they have to pay money. If they emit less
gas, then they can earn money by letting other companies buy their right to emit more

ESL Reading
                  A: What did you think of last night’s dinner party?

                  B: It was fun up until Katie showed up. She really took Luke out of
                  the picture. It was pretty tacky for them to be making out in front of
                  everyone like that.

                  A: At least she was pleasant. Sarah was just picking at her food with
                  a sour look on her face. Then after dinner she wouldn’t talk to anyone
                  and just sat there playing with her cell phone. I think she made
                  everyone feel a little awkward.

                  B: At least Bill made it all worthwhile. He broke the tension with
                  some outrageous remarks and had everyone cracking up.

                  A: Ya, it was really great to see him in top form like that. That was
                  the first time I’ve seen him so relaxed since he dumped the old ball
                  and chain.

                  B: I really liked how the girls were friendly to each other. Remember
                  the last one where a couple of the girls got really catty to each other?

                  A: Ya, that was unbelievable!

                  B: All in all I’d say last night was a success. I just hope someone else
                  hosts the next one. The place looks like a pigsty today.

Phrases and Vocabulary used:
Out of the picture: Someone that’s “out of the picture” is not noticed anymore or if you
don’t really talk to a person anymore especially people that you were in a relationship
before with. You could say, her ex-boyfriend is totally out of the picture now. This
means they don’t contact each other and don’t deal with each other anymore. Here, if
this girl took Luke “out of the picture” it means she occupied all of his attention and it
seemed like he wasn’t at the dinner party anymore because he wasn’t talking to anyone
else and wasn’t really noticed by anyone anymore.
Tacky: Unfashionable. Bad taste. That color of your pants is too bright. They look
really tacky. The furniture in your house looks really tacky. Also, as you noticed in this
lesson “tacky” can refer to behavior. Some people think that kissing in public is tacky
behavior. Going to someone’s house for dinner and not bringing anything is a little

Making out: Passionately kissing and hugging. Sometimes in American movies you
will see couples making out.

Pleasant: A personality trait that means “enjoyable to be around”. This kind of person
is often smiling and doesn’t cause much trouble. They are easy to meet and friendly.

Picking at her food: “Picking at food” means to be eating really slowly and mostly just
moving the food around the plate. It seems like the person is busier playing with the food
then eating it. Often people do this when they are eating something they don’t like and
don’t really want to eat.

Sour look: This is a facial expression that looks like you just ate a lemon. The person
with a sour look appears that they really are not enjoying themselves. They seem like
they are unhappy and disappointed. They seem to wish they were somewhere else.

Broke the tension: When there are two or more people together who don’t seem to be
comfortable with each other, we say there is “tension”. For example, someone is at a
party and their ex-girlfriend shows up unexpectedly and it makes everyone feel a little
uncomfortable but no one is really saying anything. They can all just feel it. At that
point we say there is “tension in the air”. If someone does something like tell a joke to
get everyone laughing, we say they “broke the tension”.

Cracking up: This simply means “laughing”. He’s funny; he really cracks me up.

Top form: Being in “top form” means you are at your best. People aren’t always in
their best mood or being their funniest or their best. If you are in top form, you are
confident, happy, fun, and enjoyable to be around.

Dumped: To dump someone means to break up with them. Have you ever been
dumped? Last week his girlfriend dumped him.

Ball and Chain: If you are dating someone who is really making your life worse, ie.
Causing you stress, making you unhappy, not giving you freedom, we say they are a “ball
and chain”. Long ago, prisoners had a very heavy ball tied to their leg with a chain so
they couldn’t move. The idea is that the person you are dating is having such a bad
influence on your life, they are slowing you down as much as a ball and chain. People
usually just use this phrase as a joke and you could say to your friend, "where is the ball
and chain?"
Catty: In casual conversation we refer to girls being jealous of each other and acting
mean or rude to each other because of this jealousy as being “catty”. If two girls fight,
we call it a “cat fight”.

All in all: This is a phrase that means, “in conclusion”. You could say, “today was
raining and the weather was cold, but it was still really fun to spend time with my
friends. All in all it was a good day.

Pigsty: This is the name of the place where pigs live. It is obviously really dirty and
disgusting. If someone has a really dirty apartment, you can say, “your place is such a

ESL Reading
                  A: I wasn’t going to mention it but I think you still owe me a few
                  bucks for the tickets.

                  B: Whatever. Didn’t I foot the bill for the rent the last two months? I
                  also paid for the satellite TV.

                  A: You have a pretty selective memory. First of all I paid for the rent
                  the two months prior to that. I also told you that I didn’t want the
                  satellite TV. I don’t even watch it. Also, when you were broke last
                  year I paid for most of the Thailand trip.

                  B: Alright fine. I’ll pay you for my ticket. I didn’t think you were
                  keeping track of every penny.

                  A: I wasn’t. The tickets were $500 bucks each. I’m not exactly
                  made of money you know. Just try not to be such a freeloader.

                  B: Oh come on. That was a cheap shot. It’s not that bad.

                  A: I’ll tell you what. Just pay me for the ticket. Then we’ll have a few
                  tall boys and forget the whole thing.

                  B: Sounds good.

Phrases and Vocabulary used:
Foot the bill: This is just an expression that means “pay for something”. I’m pretty
lucky because I got my dad to foot the bill for my university.

Selective memory: This term refers to someone who only seems to remember things that
are convenient for them to remember. For instance, they might remember beating you in
tennis one time but forget all the times they lost. They might remember when their
roommate forgets to clean the house but they forget all the times when they left the place

Prior: This just means “before”. Its not used as often as “before” in spoken English, but
it still is used sometimes. Your boss might ask during an interview, “what were you
doing prior to university”?
Broke: This just means have no money or almost no money. “Sorry guys, I can’t join
you guys for dinner tonight, I’m broke.”

Keeping track of every penny: This phrase just means that you are paying really close
attention to your money and spending.

I’m not exactly made of money: This phrase just means that you don’t have a lot of
extra money that you can spend freely. A father might say to his son, “I wish I could
help you pay for your vacation but unfortunately I’m not made of money”

Freeloader: This expression refers to someone who is really cheap and trying to get
other people to pay for their lives. For example, if you take advantage of people’s
kindness and live with them, eat their food, and don’t pay for anything yourself, you are
“free loading” off them.

Cheap shot: This can refer to two things. The original meaning refers to hitting someone
in an unexpected and unfair way during a fight. For example, if you want to fight
someone and you hit them from behind when they aren’t looking or aren’t ready, it is
called a cheap shot. The other meaning, like in the dialogue, refers to saying something
to someone else that is hurtful and too mean to say. For example if you are angry with
someone and you tell them about some physical problem that they have like being born
with really big ears, that is a cheap shot, because the big ear comment is something that
they can’t control.

Tall boys: This is a slang expression that refers to the tall 500 ml cans of beer.

ESL Reading

                 A: I’m hoping the wedding will be fun on Saturday.

                 B: The wedding is a no-go. Shirley apparently called the whole thing
                 off last night.

                 A: What happened?

                 B: No one really knows. Her decision seemed to come right out of the
                 blue. Scott thinks she might just be having cold feet.

                 A: I hope her girlfriends will be able to talk her out of this. I just
                 forked out a lot of dough for my tux. I wouldn’t mind meeting an
                 available bride’s maid either.

Phrases and Vocabulary used:

No-go – This is a slang term used to describe some event that was supposed to happen
but got canceled. The boss is sick so today’s meeting is a no-go.

Called the whole thing off – “calling something off” means to cancel an event like a
date or a wedding. How was your date last night? We didn’t go, Clare got sick and
called it off.

Out of the blue – This expression refers to something that comes as a surprise and with
no warning. It also means you don’t know why something happened. Steve seemed like
he was happy with his job but he just quit right out of the blue. Where did you get the
idea to write a book? I have no idea. It seemed to come right out of the blue.

Cold feet – This is a special phrase that is used to describe someone who is nervous
about getting married. Many people get cold feet the night before their wedding day.
Talk her out of this – “talking someone out of something” means you persuade or
convince them not to do something. Michelle wanted to quit the basketball team but the
coach talked her out of it.

Forked – This is a little bit slang and can be used as a verb to describe paying a lot of
money for something. The idea is that you are using so much money that you need a big
fork to help you pick up all the money.

Dough – This is a slang term that means “money”. He’s making a lot of dough at his
new job.

Tux – This is short for “tuxedo”. A tuxedo is a special men’s suit that they often wear to
a wedding. They are very expensive so a lot of people rent tuxedos when they need

Available – This is a way to describe someone who is single, ie. They are not in a
relationship. It means “available to date”. “Hey, remember that girl you introduced me
to at the party? Is she available?”

Your heart is in the right place – This phrase means that the person intends to do
something kind or helpful, but actually causes more harm than good with their actions.
For example, imagine a mother keeps giving her needy son money because she feels
sorry for him, but actually this money is causing the son to be lazy and not look for a job.
You could say her heart is in the right place because she actually wants to help. In our
dialogue we were being sarcastic when we used this phrase because the person was
actually being selfish.

ESL Reading
                  A: What took you so long? We’ve been waiting for hours.

                  B: I was stuck in traffic. We were moving at a snails pace for miles.

                  A: Meeting at six doesn’t mean leaving the house at 5 to six.

                  B: I left early. The traffic was horrendous.

                  A: It’s rush hour. What did you expect?

                  B: It was the worst traffic I’ve ever seen.

                  A: You can’t keep playing that card. It’s like the tenth time you’ve
                  used that excuse.

                  B: Well, what can I say? I’m sorry. How can I make it up to you?

                  A: What’s with the attitude? I really don’t appreciate your tone of

                  B: I suppose you’re never late.

                  A: Well, I’m not late nearly as often as you. You don’t respect anyone
                  else’s time.

                  B: I like to think I more than make up for it with my personality.

Phrases and Vocabulary used:
Stuck: This is a verb we use to describe being in traffic for a long time. You can use it to
describe some situations that you don’t want to be in but can’t get out of. For example
you could say, “I was stuck in line for 2 hours at the bank”. “Why did you leave me all
alone stuck talking to that boring guy?”
Snail’s pace: A snail is a small animal that moves very slowly. A snail’s pace is a very
slow pace.

Horrendous: Really bad. “That movie was horrendous”. “I heard he was good at
tennis?” “Are you kidding? He’s horrendous”
Rush hour: This is the time when everyone is either driving to work or driving home from
work. It’s the time when there are the most cars on the road and the traffic is really bad.

What did you expect? This is a rhetorical question that is similar to saying “Of course it
would be like this. Why did you think it would be any different?” If a guy who didn’t
study looked surprised when he failed his test, you could say to him, “What did you
expect? You knew it was a hard test and you did no preparation”.

You can’t keep playing that card: This expression means you can’t keep making the
same excuse. Maybe someone would accept the excuse once or twice, but finds it
unreasonable for the person to keep using it. If someone asked you, “Can I borrow some
money? I’ve been too sad since my girlfriend left me”. You could say. “You can’t keep
playing that card. She left you over a year ago. It’s time to stop feeling sorry for
yourself and get a job”.

Like: It is slang here and means, “approximately or about”. “How old is she?” “I’m not
exactly sure. I think she’s like 30”.

Make it up to: If you “make something up to” someone it means you do something good
to compensate for your mistake. If someone is angry with you because you forgot to call
them on their birthday, you might be able to make it up to them by treating them to

What’s with the attitude? This is a rhetorical question that means “Why do you have a
bad attitude right now?” or “Why are you talking to me in such a rude way right now?”
It’s not a very nice thing to ask. If you ask this question it means you are fairly upset
with the other person.

Tone of voice: There’s a saying in English that goes: “its not what you say but how you
say it” It means that it’s even more important how you speak to someone than your
actual words. You can say “Why did you stay out so late last night?” in a friendly way,
or say the same thing in a way where you show you are upset. It’s the same question but
the tone of voice changes the meaning.

More than make up for it: If you more than make up for something it means that the
good qualities or the good thing you did, makes your bad ones forgettable or much less
important. You could say, “I know he’s a little selfish with his time sometimes, but he
more than makes up for it with his great sense of humor and generosity with money”.
You could also talk about an athlete by saying, “Although he’s quite short, he more than
makes up for it with his speed”.

ESL Reading

                 At only 19 years of age, the underdog Roger Federer shocked millions
                 by upsetting Pete Sampras in the 4th round of the 2001 Wimbledon
                 championships. Since then, still only 25, he’s gone on to win 11 grand
                 slams including 5 consecutive Wimbledon’s; tying Borg’s record.
                 He’s now close to capturing his 50th ATP tour event. He’s got a
                 brilliant all-round game without any weaknesses. He’s also a fierce
                 competitor and mentally very tough. Many people are already talking
                 about him as the greatest tennis player of all time but not everyone
                 agrees. He still needs to win several more grand slams, including one
                 on clay at the French open if he wants to be considered the undisputed
                 best player of all time.

Phrases and Vocabulary used:
Underdog: This is the person or team that is not expected to win. For example, since
Roger Federer is the number 1 tennis player in the world right now, anyone who plays
against him is the underdog. The person or team who is expected to win the match is
known as the favorite. Many sports fans like to cheer for the underdog because they like
to see new people or teams have a chance to win.

Upsetting: In sports, an “upset” means that the underdog wins the match. If someone
beats Roger Federer at Wimbledon next year, that will be considered a big upset, since
Roger Federer will be the favorite.

Grand Slams: In tennis, the four biggest and most important tournaments are called the
“grand slams”. The four grand slams are each held once per year. They are the
“Australian open”, the “French open”, “Wimbledon”, and the “US open”.

Consecutive: This means “in a row”. For example if you win three consecutive
Wimbledon tournaments starting in 2000. That means you won in 2000, 2001, and

Tying: A tie in sports means you equal your opponent. You neither win nor lose. You
did the same as them. You could say to your friend, “Come and watch the rest of the
basketball game with me. It’s really exciting. The score is tied 82-82.
Capturing: Sometimes in sports writing, we say “capturing” to mean “getting”. The
San Antonio Spurs captured another NBA title last season.

ATP tour title: The ATP tour refers to all the professional tennis tournaments.

All-round game: An all-round game means that the player is good at every aspect of the
sport. They can hit all the different kinds of shots. They are good at the net and also
from the back of the court.

Mentally tough: This means that the player is good when the match is close. They
don’t get frustrated easily and can concentrate very well. Some players are talented, but
if things aren’t going their way, they lose their focus and lose the match. It is said that
tennis is 10% physical and 90% mental. Having a positive attitude is a very important
quality of a champion.

Clay: Different tennis courts are made out of different materials. Some are hard courts,
some are made out of clay, and some are made out of grass. Depending on a player’s
playing style, they will prefer certain surfaces to others.

Undisputed: Something that is undisputed means that no one will disagree with it. For
example, it is an undisputed fact that the earth moves around the sun. Everyone agrees
with this.

ESL Reading
                 A: Keep Thursday night open. Layton is having a huge BBQ and
                 kegger in his backyard. It’s 15 bucks a head for burgers and all you
                 can drink Keith’s.

                 B: Why doesn’t he have it on the weekend? I’ve got classes all day

                 A: What kind of an idiot schedules classes on Friday morning? I’ve
                 got Friday’s off and I never start class before noon.

                 B: I had no choice. I’m taking a real major and not just a bunch of
                 bird courses. They only had classes offered at those times.

                 A: Well don’t be such a goodie two shoes. It’s a month before
                 midterms. I’m sure you can afford to miss a class or two.

                 B: The problem is I’ve been succumbing to your peer pressure way
                 too much lately. I could find an excuse to miss class every day if I

                 A: Did I tell you the cheerleaders will be there?

                 B: Damn. You’ve got me again.

Phrases and Vocabulary used:
Keep Thursday night open: If you tell someone to “keep some time open”, it means
“don’t make any other plans at that time” or “be available at that time”.

BBQ: A short form for Barbecue. We often say this in casual spoken English. Let’s
have some BBQ chicken tonight.

Kegger: This is a slang term for a “Keg party”. A Keg of beer is a huge metal tank of
beer. This is what pubs often use to serve draft beer. Keg parties are common in North
American universities. The students buy some Kegs of beer and share it. Usually people
drink a lot at these parties.

A head: This phrase just means “per person”. Let’s go to the Japanese restaurant for
dinner. It’s only $15 bucks a head on Wednesdays.
Keith’s: This is a short form for “Alexander Keith’s”. This is one relatively famous beer
in Canada. I’m not sure how common it is anywhere else in the world.

What kind of an idiot…..? This is a rhetorical question. If you ask “what kind of an
idiot would pay $200 for fake shoes?” You are asking “How could someone be so stupid
to pay $200 dollars for fake shoes?” Or “I don’t think there would be anyone stupid
enough to pay $200 dollars for fake shoes?” The exact meaning depends on the context
but it should be easy to figure out. Obviously in our dialogue, the person is saying, “That
was really stupid of you to schedule your classes on Fridays.”

Bird courses: This just means “easy course”. Some students take “bird courses” to get
higher marks and make their lives easier.

Goodie two shoes: This is an old slang term that is used to make fun of someone who is
scared to bend the rules and have a little fun. If your parents tell you that you need to be
home before 9 pm, and you tell your friend that, they might say to you, “Don’t be such a
goodie two shoes. I’m sure if you get back by 9:15 it will be ok”.

Succumbing: Allowing something to beat or control you. “I promised myself I wouldn’t
eat any ice cream today, but I wasn’t strong enough and finally succumbed to my

Peer pressure: This is the pressure you get from your friends, or other people in a
similar situation to you. Usually this pressure is to do something bad. Many people start
smoking because of peer pressure. Their friends all smoke so they decide to start.

Cheerleaders: These are the people, (usually girls) who dance and cheer for the teams at
sporting events. Each team has their own cheerleaders to get the crowd excited. These
girls are often good looking and in good shape.

You’ve got me again: This means, “you win again”.

ESL Conversation
           A: You’ll never guess who added me on Facebook.

           B: Who?

           A: Megan Smith.

           B: As in the multi-millionaire super model?

           A: Yup.

           B: How do you know her?

           A: She used to live 3 doors down from us when we were kids. She left
           home to model when she was 14 and has been on the road ever since.
           I’m surprised she still remembers.

           B: If that’s the case its not that surprising she remembers. I’m sure
           she’s just trying to connect with everyone from her past. A lot of
           people do that.

            A: I’m the only one I know of who she’s added. Anyway, she’s
           coming back for our 10-year high school reunion. I know she’s single
           too. I’m thinking of making a move.

           B: I can’t believe my ears. You’re just going to end up making a
           fool of yourself. She could get anyone she wants. Besides, you don’t
           want to get mixed up with a celebrity. I’m sure all the fame has gone
           to her head and she would be a nightmare to deal with.

           A: Whatever man. I saw her on Letterman. She seemed really cool.
           She even said that she’s looking for a “normal” guy. She’s had bad
           luck dating movie stars and just wants to settle down with someone out
           of the limelight.

           B: You’re unbelievable. You haven’t seen her in over 10 years and
           you’re imagining settling down with her.

            A: I’m just saying I’m looking forward to the reunion that’s all.
Phrases and Vocabulary used:
Facebook: This is the short form of the popular social networking website There you can reconnect with all your old friends and share
pictures and stuff like that. Sometimes people you haven’t seen in years add you by

3 doors down: This is a way to describe where someone else’s house is in relation to
yours. Next door is obviously the house beside you. 2 doors down from you is the house
beside the one next door, and 3 doors down is the one beside that. Etc. You can also use
this to describe the location of rooms inside of a building. Their office is just 2 doors
down the hall from ours.

On the road: This is a phrase to describe someone who is away from home and moving
around a lot. Professional athletes and famous rock stars spend a lot of time on the road.

High school reunion: This is a special party for the people who graduated high school at
the same time. So if you attend a 20 year high school reunion it means you will go to a
party 20 years after you graduated high school with all the people in your high school
who graduated at the same time you did, (and their husbands or wives). It’s a chance to
see old friends and find out what everyone has been doing for all these years.

Making a move: “Making a move” on someone means that you are showing them that
you are interested in them romantically. If you invite someone on a date, that could be
considered “making a move”. If you are on a date, making a move might be to lean in
and try to kiss that person. In many cultures, it is traditionally up to the man to “make the
first move”.

I can’t believe my ears: This phrase is said when you are really shocked and surprised
with what someone just said. If a 15 year old boy told you he was getting married, you
might say, “I can’t believe my ears”.

Making a fool of yourself: This means that you do something to look stupid or
embarrass yourself in front of other people. She got really drunk at the Christmas party
and made a total fool of herself in front of her boss and co-workers.

Mixed up: Getting “mixed up” with something or someone means that you are getting
involved with something that is not good for you. Parents tell their children that they
shouldn’t get mixed up with drugs or the wrong kind of people.

All the fame has gone to her head: If something “goes to someone’s head” it means
that it makes a person overconfident and arrogant. He used to be such a nice guy, but
when he became a millionaire the success really went to his head.
Letterman: This is a famous late night comedy talk show. It’s popular in the USA and
Canada. David Letterman is the host of the show and he interviews many different
famous guests.

“Normal”: If you say, “quote end quote…..” it means that you are trying to say
EXACTLY what someone else said, or you can’t find the perfect word for something so
you are using the best word you can think of. In the dialogue, it said “She’s looking for a
“normal” guy”. The reason we used quotations is because its not really clear what a
“normal” guy is exactly. Here she is obviously talking about someone who isn’t a movie
star, but its unfair to say that movie stars are not “normal”.

Settle down: this phrase usually means get married and have kids. It’s talking about a
stable life with a steady job and a family. Its common now for young people to have fun
and be free in their 20’s and start to think about “settling down” when they are in their

Limelight: Being in the “limelight” means you are in the public eye. The media writes
about what you do and you are well known. Famous athletes and movie stars are in the
limelight. Some people love it whiles others would prefer more privacy.

ESL Conversation
            A: Hello, May I speak with Mr. Steve Jones please?

            B: Speaking.

            A: Hi Steve. This is Glen Smith calling from Cogeco, your cable
            provider. We’ve got some great new super-saver packages I’d like to
            tell you about.

            B: I’m sorry, we watch enough TV as it is and the last thing we need is
            more channels.

            A: Steve, I know exactly where you’re coming from. Interestingly
            enough, there was a major study done last year, which showed that
            people who receive more channels actually watch less TV.

            B: Well unfortunately we can’t afford it at the moment. We’ve maxed
            out our credit cards and have no cash.

            A: Well, you’re in luck. We have a special plan for people like you.
            You don’t have to pay a cent for the first 12 months.

            B: What’s the catch?

            A: There’s no catch. You just have to pay a small service charge for
            the paper work.

            B: My wife would kill me if I spent another cent.

            A: Then you can try our free 14-day trial. I’ll give you some extra
            sports and movie channels and throw in a couple of channels I’m sure
            your wife will love.

            B: So it’s totally free for 2 weeks?

            A: Yep, just make sure you call and cancel before your trial period
            ends. Enjoy the new channels Steve.

            B: Thanks. Bye

            A: Bye.
Phrases and Vocabulary used:
“May I speak with…please?”: This is the formal and polite way to ask to speak with
someone. You use this when you are calling someone on the telephone. If you are a
business or you don’t know the people very well, you should definitely use this way. It is
quite unprofessional to just ask “Is Tom Smith there?” You should say, “May I speak
with Tom Smith please?” or “May I speak with Mr. Tom Smith please?” or “May I
speak with Mr. Smith please?”

Speaking: If you are Tom Smith for example and the person calling asks to speak with
Tom Smith, you can just reply, “speaking”. It means, “I am Tom Smith”.

“I know exactly where you’re coming from”: This expression shows that you respect
the other person’s opinion and understand why they feel that way. It basically means, “I
totally understand why you feel the way you do.”

Maxed out: If you max out your credit cards it means you have used up all the money
that you are allowed to use and have no credit left. Basically, you can’t buy anything

“What’s the catch?”: If you ask “What’s the catch?”, you are asking about what the
downside of something is. A salesperson will often only tell you the benefits of buying
the product. They make deals which at first appear really good to try to convince people
to buy. The downside or “catch” is often hidden. In this case, the seller told him he
could buy the TV channels and not pay at all for a whole year. The catch was that he had
to pay some kind of “service charge” for this service. The funny thing was, the seller still
said there is no catch. He tried to make the service charge seem like something really
small and unimportant, even though he didn’t say the amount. He just said it was

Throw in: This expression means to “include”. Salespeople often use it to act like they
are giving you a special deal because they are including some free stuff. If a girl is
shopping for a bikini, a salesperson might say, “If you buy this bikini, I’ll throw in a free
towel and some sunblock”.

ESL Conversation
            A: What’s going on? You don’t seem to be your usual self.

            B: Well, things aren’t great at the moment. I can’t make any good
            friends in this city and no one wants to hire me with my sociology

            A: It’s a huge city. Why can’t you make any friends?

            B: I don’t know. It just seems everyone is really cliquey and
            unapproachable here.

            A: What’s the problem with the job hunt then?

            B: I’ve sent out a few resumes and heard nothing. I don’t have much
            experience and companies don’t want anyone with a degree that isn’t

            A: Ok, fair enough, life isn’t the easiest right now. But don’t be so
            down on yourself. Your negativity is killing you. I know. I’ve been
            there. The limiting beliefs will turn into a reality if you let them.

            B: That’s easy for you to say, you’ve already got a great job and a lot
            of good friends. You also studied business at a great school. No one
            wants a guy with a degree in Sociology.

            A: I’m telling you, this will turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy. The
            more you believe it the more likely it will come true. Remember, that
            is just a general opinion. It isn’t a fact. I’m positive that some people
            with degrees in sociology have jobs. It’s true that if people just read
            your degree on a resume it might slightly lower your chances of getting
            a job. But companies are always looking for good people. You’ve got
            to do some networking and get the word out that you are looking for a
            job. If you impress people with the type of person you are, I’m sure
            you’ll find something. You’ve just got to keep your head up.

            B: I guess your right. It’s just tough to do it without any friends to
            support me.

            A: So make some friends. Get out of the house and do things. Just be
            sociable and talk to people. You’ve also got to somehow get yourself
            in a better mood too. People won’t want to make friends with you if
                  you are depressed and negative. People won’t become your friend out
                  of pity.

                  B: I’ll try it then. Thanks for the support.

Phrases and Vocabulary used:
You don’t seem to be your usual self: This is something you can tell someone if they
seem to be acting differently than they usually do. Usually you say this if they seem to
be upset or depressed about something but aren’t telling you the reason.

Sociology: The study of the social world. It’s about studying different societies and the
way humans interact with each other.

Cliquey: This word describes people who seem to want to stay with just their own group
of people and don’t want to meet or talk to anyone else. You could say that the models
who go to that bar are beautiful but are hard to talk to because they seem to be really
cliquey. This means that they only socialize with their own friends and other people in
their group. They don’t want to meet “outsiders”

Job hunt: We sometimes say this instead of “job search”. They mean the same thing.

Fair enough: This is something we can say when we agree with someone’s point. It
means you understand their point of view and are willing to agree with them.

Don’t be so down on yourself: This expression means, “Don’t have such a negative
attitude about yourself”. “Don’t think of yourself as being useless and worthless”.

Negativity: This is just referring to someone who is always saying negative things. If
are on a trip with someone and they said, “This weather is horrible. I hate the food here.
The people are rude too”. You could say to them. “I don’t want to hear your
negativity”. Or “Your negativity isn’t helping anyone”.

Limiting beliefs: These are things you believe to be true but are holding you back or
making your life worse. “I’m to young to…” or “no body wants to date me because I am
short”. Those are limiting beliefs.

Self-fulfilling prophecy: This is something that is not necessarily true but is more likely
to become true because you believe it. For example, if you think, “No beautiful girls will
want to date me because I’m too short” then this might make you scared to talk to
beautiful girls. If you don’t talk to them, you won’t date them, and your original thought
will seem to become true. It will seem as though you were right from the beginning.
Another short guy might not have this belief and maybe he will meet a beautiful girl
because he wasn’t afraid to talk to them.

Get the word out: This means to tell many people something and have many as many
people know about something as possible. Companies always try to think of the best
ways to get the word out about their new products.

Keep your head up: This means to “stay positive” or “look on the bright side”.

ESL Conversation
            A: Have you been catching any of UFC fights they’ve been showing
            on satellite?

            B: I’ve never heard of it. What is it?

            A: It stands for Ultimate Fighting Championship. It’s a mixed
            martial arts competition. Fighters from all over the world and from
            all kinds of different fighting backgrounds compete. They fight in an
            Octagon, which is a little bit similar to a boxing ring. There are very
            few rules. You can do almost anything to your opponent except for
            things like eye gouging or biting.

            B: How do they judge the competition?

            A: There are judges who score each fight and decide on a winner after
            the fight. A lot of fights are actually stopped prematurely because one
            of the fighters is forced into submission. The ref also often stops the
            fight if he feels one of the fighters is unable to defend himself?

            B: Wouldn’t the bigger and stronger fighters win most of the time?

            A: It’s surprising how talented some of the smaller fighters are. I’ve
            seen fighters win against guys who outweigh them by over 100
            pounds. With that said though, size is still a factor and they divide the
            fighters into different weight classes.

            B: It sounds pretty scary. Those guys must be crazy.

            A: Actually, most of them see it as a sport and they have a lot of
            respect for the other fighters. Many of them have very good
            sportsmanship and are able to shake hands and hug after a grueling

            B: It sounds interesting. I’ll have to check it out. When is it on?

            A: The live fights are mostly pay-per-view, but they show a lot of
            reruns on many of the sports channels.

Phrases and Vocabulary used:
Catching: In this situation, “catching” means “seeing” or “watching”. We might say,
“Did you catch any of the basketball game on TV last night?” We can also use catching
in a situation like, “Did you catch what the teacher was talking about in class?” This
means, “Did you understand what the teacher was talking about in class”.

UFC: This stands for “Ultimate Fighting Championship”. This is a professional type of
fighting. The athletes can use any style of fighting to try to beat their opponent. It has
very few rules and is becoming a lot more popular around the world.

Mixed martial arts: A martial art is a particular training and style of fighting. Brazilian
Jiu-Jitsu and Karate are two different kinds of martial arts. In a mixed martial arts
competition, fighters can use any martial arts style they choose to fight.

Octagon: It’s a shape with 8 sides.

Eye gouging: Trying to take someone’s eyes out.

Prematurely: Premature means “before it’s supposed to happen”. If a fight ends
prematurely, it means it ends before the time limit. If you are cooking and you put the
chicken into the pot prematurely, it means you put the chicken in the pot too soon.

Submission: Submission means to “give up” or “surrender”. In these fights, if a fighter
feels he is losing badly he can submit. This lets the referee know to stop the fight. There
are certain submission moves in these fights. Some of the fighters try to break their
opponent’s arm for example. If someone’s arm is about to break, they will likely submit.
Of course, if you submit it means you lose the fight.

Ref: This is a short form of the word “referee”.

Weight classes: They have different ranges of weight called weight classes. Fighters
only fight against people in their own weight class. One weight class might be under 170
pounds. Another weight class might be under 205 pounds. The reason for weight classes
is that it would be unfair to ask a 150 pound fighter to fight against a 250 pound fighter.
If a fighter is very confident in his abilities, he is allowed to fight in a higher weight
class. No one is allowed to fight in a lower weight class.

Sportsmanship: being a fair and courteous competitor. If someone doesn’t make
excuses when they lose a match but instead congratulates their opponent, they are said to
be showing good sportsmanship. If they win a match and say nice comments about their
opponent, they are also showing good sportsmanship. Good sports will smile and shake
hands after the match. They accept both victory and defeat.

Grueling: Very intense and tiring. Running a marathon in the heat would be a very
grueling thing to do.
Live: If something is shown live on TV it means it is happening in real life at the same
time. Sometimes sports are shown live. Sometimes they are shown much later than the
actual match.

Pay-per-view: This is a type of TV channel that you must pay each time you watch
something. These are common in North America but I’m not sure about the rest of the
world. Some movie channels are pay-per-view. If you want to see the movie, you must
pay something like 3 dollars to watch it.

Reruns: These are shows or events played on TV that have already been played before.
Many times the same TV show will be played over and over again. If its not the first
time its being shown on TV, it is called a “rerun”.

ESL Reading
                 The Simpsons is a revolutionary animated sitcom, which has won
                 several awards and become a major part of mainstream television in
                 North America. It is intended to portray the typical working class
                 American family. The show exaggerates and jokes about many of the
                 stereotypes in America, which often offends people. Marge, the
                 stereotypical housewife and mother, is married to her overweight
                 husband Homer who works as an inspector for a nuclear power plant.
                 He hates his job but only does so to support his wife and three kids.
                 He’s always looking for shortcuts to get ahead in life and is gullible
                 enough to get involved with get-rich-quick schemes. Homer and his
                 son Bart, a mischievous kid, have drawn criticism for being poor role
                 models. Several parents have decided to not allow their children to
                 watch the show. Despite that, millions of people love The Simpsons
                 and tune in every week.

Phrases and Vocabulary used:
Revolutionary: Extremely new and much different from the past. Things that are
revolutionary have a large influence. The internet is revolutionary for society.

Animated: Something that has been animated means it has been given life. We say that
Cartoons on TV are animated. The Simpsons is a cartoon.

Sitcom: This is short for “Situational Comedy”. This is a humorous television program
based on situations that could happen in real life.

Mainstream: Something that is belonging to the most dominant and popular group.
Mainstream television is the most popular and widely known television shows.
Mainstream music is the type of music that is played on the most popular radio stations
for example. If something is mainstream it means that many people know about it.

Working class: The type of people who work for a wage. They are often the people
who do manual labor type jobs. These are usually people in the lower middle economic
Stereotypes: a simplified and general belief about a wide group. These aren’t
necessarily true for all members of the group. For example, some stereotypes are
“Americans like guns”. “Canadians like hockey”. “Girls like to play with dolls”.

Shortcuts: A shortcut is method that is used to reduce the time and energy needed to do
something. A lot of times shortcuts have disadvantages but lazy people like to take
them. For example, taking weight loss pills is a short cut for losing weight. They are
certainly not the healthiest way to lose weight but are much easier than running for hours
at the gym.

Gullible: Someone who is gullible is tricked easily. It is easy to make them believe
things that aren’t true.

Get-rich-quick schemes: These are ways to get rich quickly without doing a lot of
work. These most often don’t work and the people who believe in them are lazy and
gullible. In North America it is common to see someone trying to sell their “get rich
overnight” secret system, book, or video. Most people who buy these things don’t end up
making any money. These schemes sound good are first but are usually too good to be

Mischievous: causing trouble or harm. Young boys are often mischievous. Lying to
your parents about homework, sneaking out at night, or pulling your sister’s hair are all
examples of “mischievous” behavior.

Drawn: This means “attract” or “get”. If you draw attention it means you get or attract
attention. If you draw criticism it means you get criticized. If you draw a large crowd, it
means that many people will come to watch you. David Beckham draws a large crowd
no matter where he plays.

Role models: A person who has positive characteristics that you would like to learn. It’s
important for young people to have good role models. Michael Jordan is often looked
upon as a good role model for young kids.

Tune in: Tuning in means to “watch” or “listen to”. You can tune into your favorite TV
show, or you can “tune into” China232.

ESL Dialogue
                 A: Hey, what’s going on?

                 B: I’m thinking of asking one of the new girls out.

                 A: Does she work here in the office?

                 B: Ya. I heard through the grapevine that she’s single.

                 A: You can’t do that. They’ll can you if they find out.

                 B: I know it’s against office policy, but I thought in reality office
                 romance is just frowned upon. It seems like a grey area to me.
                 Besides, who’s going to find out?

                 A: First of all it’s more than frowned upon and it’s very black and
                 white. Fred got the axe last year for dating Karen. The other thing is
                 you know how chicks like to gossip. If you guys start having any
                 relations, it won’t be long before everyone knows.

                 B: Fred didn’t get canned just because of dating Karen. That was just
                 the excuse they used. They wanted to let him go for a long time but
                 couldn’t think of a reason. My work has been outstanding this year and
                 I’m sure they’ll look the other way if they think something’s going on.

                 A: Good luck. Who is she by the way?

                 B: Heather, the new secretary.

                 A: Wow. She’s really hot. Realistically, I’d also chance it if I were

Phrases and Vocabulary used:
Heard through the grapevine: This phrase means that you found out some information
somehow. You either don’t want to say how you found out or you don’t remember how
you found out.

Can: This is slang for “fire”. My boss canned me last week but I don’t know why. I
hope that no one gets canned because of this mistake.
Frowned upon: This phrase mean that people don’t approve of some kind of behavior.
It’s not illegal but people look down upon it. Wearing those kind of ugly clothes to such
a nice restaurant is frowned upon. It means you can do it but people won’t like it.

Grey area: This is something that is debatable or unclear. “Dating in the office is a grey
area” means that its not certain whether dating someone in the office is ok or not.

Black and white: This phrase means that something is either one way or the other. You
could say, “Dating in the office is not a grey area. Its black and white. If you date
someone in the office you will get fired. Guaranteed.”

Got the axe: This phrase also means to get fired. He got the axe after only working in
the company for 2 weeks.

Gossip: To talk about rumors or other people’s personal matters.

Let him go: This is a polite way of saying you fired someone. Although I liked Mark, I
had to let him go because he kept coming late every day.

Look the other way: This phrase means to pretend that you don’t see something bad. It
also means you won’t punish or penalize someone for doing this act. For example, if
your boss saw you dating someone in the office but he looked the other way, it means he
didn’t mention it to you and he won’t punish you for it. He just pretended it didn’t

Chance it: This is a slang phrase that means to take a chance or a risk. I’m not sure if
tomorrow will rain but I’m going to chance it and go to the golf course anyway.

ESL Reading
                  I’m not sure as to the origin of the quote but it is common knowledge
                  that a dog is a man’s best friend. Several studies have supported the
                  notion that dog owners reap several physical and psychological health
                  benefits. There’s been some evidence pointing to dog owners having
                  lower blood pressure and better immune systems than non-dog
                  owners. It’s well known that dog owners consider their dog as a
                  genuine family member, and this form of love and contact may help to
                  explain some of these benefits. Dog owners also have pressure to get
                  exercise because they need to walk their dogs. An added benefit of
                  walking a dog is that it can help stimulate social interaction with
                  other humans, because having a dog can make a person more
                  approachable and provide a good ice-breaker. Dogs also have an
                  advantage over human companions because dogs are even more loyal
                  than humans. They are truly capable of unconditional love.

Phrases and Vocabulary used:
Notion: A general understanding, opinion, or belief.
I don’t agree with the notion that people shouldn’t eat meat.

Reap: To get, or obtain some kind of benefit. All his hard work allowed him to reap the
benefit of an early retirement. Although exercising everyday isn’t easy, I’d say reaping a
healthy and attractive body is worth the effort.

Pointing: Here we use pointing in a slightly abstract way. Instead of physically pointing
with a finger or something, we mean “providing evidence” or “indicating”. “Although
we’re not 100% sure who committed the crime, there’s a lot of evidence pointing to Steve
being guilty.” This means that there are some good reasons to believe that Steve likely
committed the crime.

Blood pressure: Blood pressure is the pressure against the inner walls of the blood
vessels. People with high blood pressure are at an increased risk of a heart attack.

Immune systems: This is the body’s complex natural defense system against disease.
Our body comes in contact with a lot of foreign material and bacteria all the time. Our
immune system is what helps us fight against this so that we don’t get sick. If we do get
sick, for example a cold, then our immune system fights the disease and that’s how we
get better.

Genuine: Real, not fake. “This is a genuine NBA basketball.” That means the
basketball is exactly the same kind of ball they use in the NBA.

Stimulate social interaction: Stimulating social interaction is a complicated way of
saying “getting people talking to each other”. Because many people are shy, it is said
that drinking some alcohol can help stimulate social interaction.

Approachable: Being “approachable” means you make other people feel that you are an
easy person to talk to. People who smile a lot are more approachable than those who

Ice-breakers: “Ice-breakers” are comments or other events that get people talking
easily. If you approach a girl at a bar, it’s important to think of a good “ice-breaker” to
make her feel comfortable talking to you.

Companions: A person, “or animal” who accompanies you and helps you to feel not
lonely. Old people who live alone are often lonely without any companions.

Unconditional love: “unconditional love” is exactly what it sounds like. It means
loving someone no matter what. It doesn’t matter what kind of mistakes they make, you
will still love them anyway. It’s important for children to feel that their parents love
them unconditionally.

Phrases and Vocabulary used:
Pot head – This is a slang term for a person who smokes marijuana a lot. “Pot” is a
slang term for this drug. The stereotype is that this person is usually quite slow and lazy.
Some sentences could be,

   1. He seems like a pot head
   2. I used to be a bit of a pot head in university
   3. I think there will be a lot of pot heads at that party.

Wannabe – This is a slang term to describe someone who tries to dress, or behave like
someone they admire. It is a negative word. It comes from “Want to be”.
A wannabe movie star for example is someone who isn’t a movie star but they pretend to

Freak of nature – A freak of nature is someone who seems to have some kind of unusual
and incredible traits. For example, if someone is 2.3 meters tall you could say they are a
freak of nature. If someone is amazing at many sports but they don’t train very hard you
could call them a freak of nature. It isn’t always a good thing; it’s not always bad either.
It depends on the context.

Control freak – A control freak is a person who needs to be in control of everything.
They need to have everything done in their own way. They are very inflexible and get
irritated if they don’t control how everything is done.

Basket case – A basket case is someone who is completely hopeless and useless. They
are incapable of doing many things.

   1. He’s too much of a basket case to even know how to apply for an email account.
   2. She doesn’t even know how to read a map! She’s such a basket case.

Geek – A geek is a person who is usually very intelligent in terms of education, but lacks
social skills. A geek is basically the opposite of someone who is cool. They are usually
thin and not good-looking. Geeks are usually not good at sports but they are excellent
with computers. This word is unkind of course.

   1. She’s really cool now. It’s hard to believe that she was a geek in high school.
   2. He seems like a bit of a geek at first but he’s really not once you get to know him.

Doormat – This word describes a week person who is easy to take advantage of. They
don’t stand up for themselves. A doormat is a small carpet that gets walked on all the
time. This is basically what this kind of person is like. If you can’t say no to anyone and
let people treat you poorly, then you are a doormat.
Slave driver – This is the kind of person who makes other people work very hard. It is
not a nice term.

   1. He’s so stressed out at work because his boss is a real slave driver.

Puppet – A puppet is a slang term for a person who’s actions are controlled by someone

   1. That government leader is just a puppet. He’s not saying what he truly believes.
   2. I hate working for this company. I can’t voice my own opinions. They want me
      to be a puppet.

Suck up – A suck up is someone who acts like someone else is so great just because they
want something from them. A suck up compliments the other person and acts overly nice
in hopes of getting some reward.

   1. He is such a suck up. He always tells his teacher that he is the best teacher in the
      world. I know he is just trying to get better grades.

       She’s been sucking up to her boss lately because she’s hoping to get a salary raise.

English Learning Conversation
            A: What are you doing with that cigarette? I thought you quit cold

            B: I did quit. I just have the odd one when I’m out drinking with my
            friends. I never buy them anymore.

            A: How long have you been doing this?

            B: I didn’t have any at all for 2 months. This past week I started
            smoking just on weekends when I’m out. It’s no big deal.

            A: I don’t buy it at all. You know how addictive smoking is. It’s
            easier to have none at all then it is to try to limit yourself to a few. It’s
            a really slippery slope.

            B: You sound like my mother. Let’s make a bet. I bet you 200
            bucks that I don’t have a cigarette outside of a bar for the next six

            A: You’re on. But, how will I know whether or not you are cheating.

            B: We’ll have to use the honor system.

            A: Fine. This is a real bet then. 200 bucks. 6 months. No cheating
            and no backing out.

            B: No problem. This is going to be the easiest 200 bucks I’ve ever

            A: Hey, I hope you win.

Phrases and Vocabulary used:
Quit cold turkey: This is a set phrase. If you quit something “cold turkey” that means
that you quit all at once. You don’t slowly quit. For example, quitting smoking “cold
turkey” means that after you say you are going to quit, you never have another cigarette.

Have the odd one: If you “have the odd” cigarette, it just means that you have a
cigarette once in a while but not often. You can also say, “the odd time”. This means
that you don’t do something very often. If someone asks, “Have you been playing much
golf lately?” you could answer with, “I’ve been busy lately, but I still play the odd
time”. They both mean, “infrequently”.

I don’t buy it: This phrase means, “I don’t believe it”. Imagine your friend said to you,
“Kevin said that he won a medal in the Olympics”. You could say, “I don’t buy it. He’s
always making up stories”.

Slippery slope: This phrase means that once you start doing something a little bit, it’s
hard to control yourself. It is a kind of bad habit that is easy to pick up. If you love to eat
chocolate, it’s hard to only eat a little piece and then stop. You could say, “I’ve decided
not to eat any more chocolate. Once I start I can’t stop. It’s a really slippery slope for

You sound like my mother: We often use this phrase to tell someone that they are
trying to control you. If your friend is nagging you about some problem, you could tell
them, “you sound like my mother”.

You’re on: This phrase is used to agree with or accept the terms of a bet. If your friend
says to you, “I’ll bet you 10 dollars that I can been you at tennis”, you could reply with
“you’re on”. That means, “Sure, I’ll make that bet with you”.

Honor system: The “honor system” is the term we use to say that we will just use trust.
In this dialogue, the one person could of course cheat on the bet because the other person
won’t know if he is really smoking outside of the bar. The “honor system” means that
you agree to trust that no one will cheat.

Backing out: “Backing out” of something, like a bet, means that you say you won’t do it
anymore, even though you had previously agreed to do it.

English Learning Conversation
            A: Smith’s Travel, Steve speaking. How can I help you?

            B: Hi Steve, It’s Andrew Best calling. I believe we spoke yesterday
            over the phone about my trip to Hawaii.

            A: Yes, I remember, how are you?

            B: I’m fine thanks. Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that
            something came up and we’re going to have to postpone the trip
            another month.

            A: Oh I’m really sorry sir, but those tickets are non-refundable..

            B: I don’t want a refund, I just want to change the dates.

            A: The thing is that this trip was a limited time offer and was only for
            those specific dates. There’s really nothing we can do.

            B: Well, I wasn’t aware of that. Can’t you bend the rules a little this
            time? I’ve been a loyal customer for years.

            A: I’m afraid that would be against store policy.

            B: It’s amazing you forgot to mention these restrictions yesterday. Oh
            well, I guess I could just give them to my friend. He’s always wanted
            to go to Hawaii. Just change the name on the ticket to “Bob Williams”.

            A: Unfortunately I can’t do that either, these tickets are also non-
            transferable. Anyway, there was a problem yesterday with your credit
            card. I think I may have written down the wrong number. Could I
            have it again please?

            B: I’m afraid I can’t do that.

            A: Why not?

            B: My personal policy is that I can only give out my credit card
            number once? I guess the Joke’s on you Steve.

            A: You can’t do that.
Phrases and Vocabulary used:
Something came up: “Something came up” means that some other more urgent thing
happened which caused you to change your original plan. It can be used as an excuse. It
often implies that whatever “came up” is a little personal and you hope the other person
will understand that you don’t wish to tell them the exact reason.

Postpone: Postponing something means to “delay” something. The sentence “It’s
raining so today’s football game will be postponed until next Friday”, means that the
football game was originally scheduled for today but now it will played on Friday

Non-refundable: A “refund” means to get your money back after you paid for
something. If you buy a new shirt and then later realize that there was some problem
with the shirt, you can return to the store, give return the shirt and say, “I would like a
refund please”. It means, “Pease give me my money back”. If a product is “Non-
refundable” it means that once you buy the product, you can’t take it back for any reason.

Limited time offer: A “limited time offer” is a special deal that is only valid for a certain
amount of time and then it ends. For example, if a store is selling jackets for 50% off for
the next two weeks only, then that is their “limited time offer”.

Bend the rules: “Bending the rules” means to allow for some flexibility in the rules. For
example, imagine you were only allowed to drive at 85 km per hour on a certain road,
and a policeman found you driving 87 km per hour. If he was nice and didn’t give you a
fine, he would be “bending the rules”.

Store policy: Most stores and companies have certain “policies” which are like rules that
the store must follow. One example of a store policy might be for the store to allow any
customers to return any products they aren’t satisfied with. The workers of the store are
supposed to follow these policies strictly.

Non-transferable: A non-transferable ticket is a ticket that only one person can use.
You can’t give it to someone else. Airplane tickets are often non-transferable. If you buy
an airplane ticket, you are the only person who can use it. If you decide not to go, the
ticket is useless because no one else is allowed to use it.

Personal policy: A personal policy is used as a joke here. People might have principals,
or rules that they live their lives by, but this guy was trying to say that “since the store’s
policies are so strict and silly, then I’ll just say that I have a silly policy too and act like a
can’t change it”. Here he was saying that he only gives his credit card number to anyone
once. This rule or “policy” doesn’t really make any sense, but he just used it to get even
with the store because he was upset.

The joke’s on you: If you tell someone, “the joke is on you” it means that they are the
unfortunate one in the situation, or the reason people are laughing.

English Learning Conversation
                 A: Get up! It’s beautiful outside and you’re still in here sawing wood.

                 B: What time is it?

                 A: It’s already after noon.

                 B: Give me ten minutes. I didn’t get to sleep until 5 am.

                 A: What were you doing up at such a ridiculous hour?

                 B: I’ve been on this schedule for the past 3 weeks. I can’t seem to
                 snap out of it.

                 A: Well, you’ve gotta change something. How else will you get out of
                 a rut? Maybe your after dinner coffees aren’t such a great idea.

                 B: Look who’s talking. If my memory serves me correctly, You’ve
                 been in a bit of a rut yourself that I haven’t been bothering you about.

                 A: And that would be….?

                 B: I’m sure your gym shoes have an inch of dust on them. I
                 haven’t seen you do any physical activity in months. Ordering pizza
                 everyday doesn’t seem to be helping your spare tire either.

                 A: Point taken. How about you get up now and we hit the tennis

                 B: Ok fatty.

Phrases and Vocabulary used:
Sawing wood: This is a phrase that means, “sleeping”. The original meaning of it was
that when people snore (the noise that some people make while sleeping) sounds the
same as sawing (or cutting) wood.
Snap out of it: This phrase means to get over something bad quickly. “Lately I’ve been
thinking too much about my ex-girlfriend and I can’t seem to snap out of it”.
“He says he’s been in a bad mood for the past month and doesn’t know how to snap out
of it”.

Get out of a rut: If you are “in a rut” it means that some bad part of your life keeps
being the same. This is some consistent negative pattern that you would like to change.
For example, if you haven’t studied English for the past month, you could say that you
are “in a rut”. If you are “in a rut” you must change your behavior to get out of it.

Look who’s talking: If someone tries to criticize you for some problem that the person
criticizing also has, then you can say to them, “look who’s talking”. This basically
means, “You have the same problem as me, so how can you criticize me?”

If my memory serves me correctly…: This is a kind of formal phrase that we use for
fun in conversational English sometimes. For example you could tell someone, “If my
memory serves me correctly, you still owe me 50 dollars”. This is a kind of fun and
polite way to remind someone that they owe you money. When you say this, you are
quite certain that you do remember correctly.

I’m sure your gym shoes have an inch of dust on them: If something hasn’t been used
for a long time, it will start to get dusty (dirty from the air). If you want to tell someone
that they haven’t used something in a long time, you can tell them that you bet that this
thing has an inch of dust on it.

Physical activity: “Physical activity” basically means any form of exercise. Walking,
working out, playing basketball, and working in the garden, are all forms of physical

Spare tire: This is a slang term for a fat stomach. The reason is it looks like you put a
tire (a wheel of a car or bicycle) around your waist.

Point taken: If someone criticizes you about something and you agree with them, you
could say, “point taken”. It basically means, “I agree with what you just said”.

Fatty: This is a word that you can use to make fun of someone who is fat. We often use
it as a joke to tease close friends who are a little bit fat. Even if you see your friend (who
isn’t fat) eating a Macdonald’s hamburger, you could say, “how is the hamburger fatty?”
This is just a joke. It is extremely rude to call a very large person “fatty”.

English Learning Conversation
                 A: You look exhausted. Are you ok?

                 B: I’ve been burning the candle at both ends. The boss has been on
                 everyone’s case lately and has been piling on a lot of work. I’ve been
                 getting up at 6 everyday and I’m usually not in bed until at least 1:30.

                 A: That sucks. I hope you’re at least getting paid a lot of O.T.

                 B: We get some but it’s not great. Everyone is working hard lately
                 mainly to try to justify their salaries. The boss hasn’t said anything
                 specifically, but everyone in the office feels that he will probably let
                 some people go.

                 A: You’ve been working there for a long time. I’m surprised you
                 think your position is in jeopardy.

                 B: I don’t really think I’ll get fired, but when all the dust settles and
                 things get back to normal, I’m planning on asking for a raise.

                 A: Good luck. I hope it happens soon though. I can barely recognize
                 you with those bags under your eyes.

                 B: Is it that bad?

                 A: It’s worse.

Phrases and Vocabulary used:
Burning the candle at both ends: This phrase means that you are staying up late and
then waking up early the next day. It means you are not getting enough sleep.

The boss has been on everyone’s case: If someone is “on your case” it means that they
are paying close attention to what you are doing and they are not giving you many
breaks. If you make another small mistake, they will notice and be more upset than
usual. A kid might say, “My dad has really been on my case about me failing my
Chemistry test”. In this situation, the dad is probably not allowing the son to have very
much freedom. For example, if the kid started to watch TV, the dad might notice and say
something like, “Don’t you have any homework?”
Piling on: “Piling on” just means “giving a lot” or “using a lot”. If someone is putting a
lot of mashed potatoes on their plate, you could say to them, “you’re really piling on the
mashed potatoes”. That usually means, “you are taking too much food”. A student
might say, “the teachers have been piling a lot of homework this year”.

O.T.: This is a short form for “over-time”. If you work O.T., it means that you are
working more hours than you are scheduled to work. If you get paid O.T. it means that
you get paid extra money for the over-time work that you did.

Justify their salaries: Often in companies, people who get high salaries need to
occasionally explain or show why they are worth so much money. So “justifying your
salary” means to prove to the company why you deserve so much money.

Let some people go: This is a soft way to say, “fire some people”. Last year the
company let go a few of my best friends. This means, “last year the company fired a few
of my best friends”.

In jeopardy: If something is “in jeopardy” it means it is “at risk”. “She’s in jeopardy of
losing her job” means, “she might get fired”.

When all the dust settles: This is the outcome after something goes through a change or
is the result at the end of a period of uncertainty. After the change, “when all the dust
settles” is what the new situation is like. We often hear this in the news about a
developing technology or a company restructuring. For example, “When all the dust
settles the company’s future should look bright”. This is a company that is going through
many changes and after the changes, it should be doing well.

Bags under your eyes: Sometimes when people get really tired, their eyes look like they
have little bags under them. Having bags under your eyes is something that no one
wants, so if they notice them, they will want to make sure they get more rest.

English Learning Conversation
                  A: Great news! U2 is coming to town in a couple months. Tickets go
                  on sale next week. I say we all pony up and get some good seats.

                  B: I’m not much of a concert guy so I really can’t see myself
                  “ponying up”.

                  A: What do you mean, “you’re not a concert guy”. That’s a pretty
                  lame excuse.

                  B: To each his own I guess. I can’t remember you ponying up when
                  we all went to watch the NBA game last year.

                  A: You’re not still bitter about that are you? I wanted to go but I was

                  B: You had a sore throat and a little sniffle.

                  A: Wow. You are still bitter. I can’t believe you are still holding a
                  holding a grudge. Ok. How about this? I’ll pay for the concert
                  tickets this time if you promise never to mention the NBA thing again.

                  B: Deal.

Phrases and Vocabulary used:

U2: The name of a very popular Irish band.

Coming to town: This expression means “coming to the city our town we live in”. It
doesn’t have to be a town. For example, I live in Shanghai right now, so I could say to
my brother, “Hey Add, did you know that some NBA teams are coming to town next

Pony up: This is a funny expression that means you are getting prepared to pay for
something relatively expensive. If your friend’s girlfriend is having her birthday next
month, you could say to your friend, “Hey, you should pony up and get your girlfriend
something nice for her birthday”.

I’m not much of a concert guy: The common expression here is,
“I’m not much of a……..guy”. This means that you don’t really like doing that thing.
For example, if you don’t like going to bars, you could say, “I’m not much of a bar guy”.
If you are a girl saying it, you can change “guy” to “girl”.

I can’t really see myself…: You can use this expression when you really don’t plan on
doing something. For example, if someone asked you to go swimming when you were
sick, you could say, “I have a fever and I feel horrible. I really can’t see myself putting
on a bathing suit now”. This expression basically means, “Not only will I not do it, I
can’t even imagine doing it”.

Lame excuse: A lame excuse is a very bad or weak excuse. If your friend cancelled
dinner plans with you and told you the reason was that he wanted to stay home and watch
TV instead, you could say, “that’s a pretty lame excuse”.

To each his own: You can say this expression by itself. It means that everyone one is
different and they like different things. You often say it after you hear of something that
you wouldn’t do, but you can accept that other people have their own opinions.

Bitter: If someone is “bitter” about something it means that they are still upset and
bothered by something that happened in the past. For example, imagine that your
girlfriend broke up with you to date someone else. Then later you see them eating
together in a restaurant. You would probable be upset and uncomfortable about seeing
them together. We sometimes call this feeling “bitter”.

Sniffle: If you have a “sniffle” it means that your nose is a little runny from having a
cold. We often use the word “sniffle” for little kids when they make that noise with their
nose when they are sick. A “sniffle” isn’t serious, and it is funny to tell someone that
they shouldn’t consider themselves to be sick if all they have is a sniffle. Since we use
this word for little kids, it is kind of like calling them a baby.

Holding a grudge: If someone upset you in the past and you haven’t forgiven them,
then you are holding a grudge. It means that you are still angry with them and won’t
forget about what they did wrong.

English Learning Conversation
           A: Hey. How are things lately?

           B: Not great. I’ve been in the doghouse lately with my girlfriend.

           A: Again? What’s wrong this time?

           B: She’s impossible. She gets mad at me over nothing. Last night she
           yelled at me because I came home 5 minutes late after hanging out with
           my friends. The other day she got really mad because I forgot to put
           the orange juice back in the fridge. It’s one petty argument after

           A: It sounds to me like something else is bothering her. I’m sure she’s
           been bottling up a bigger problem.

           B: That’s what I thought but every time I ask her she says that
           everything is fine.

           A: I wouldn’t believe that so easily if I were you. I’ve had the same
           experience with different girlfriends in the past. They told me that
           nothing was wrong for months, and then all of a sudden, they wanted to
           break up.

           B: What do you think the real reason was?

           A: Later I found out that they were all mad at me because they thought
           that I cared about my friends more than I cared about them. They
           would all get mad at me for totally unrelated small things like
           forgetting to wash the dishes after dinner. Then instead of talking
           about the real problem, we’d just fight about the dishes. While I was in
           the relationship I was totally oblivious to what was actually going on.

           B: What do you think I should do about it?

           A: Well, if you care about this girl, I suggest that you take her to a nice
           quiet restaurant where there are no distractions. Try to make her feel
           comfortable opening up to you. When the time is right, ask her what is
           really bothering her. If you force her to talk, she’ll probably just put
           up a wall and you’ll never find out.

           B: Thanks for the advice. I’ll try that.
Phrases and Vocabulary used:
In the doghouse: If you are “in the doghouse” with someone, it means that they are
angry with you about something you did. If you try to talk to that person about anything,
you can feel that they are still angry and they haven’t totally forgiven you yet.

She’s impossible: If you say that someone is “impossible” it means that this person is
“very difficult to reason with”. It is very hard to reach an agreement with this person,
and they don’t seem to listen to any logic. For example, imagine you ask someone,
“What do you want to do today?” and they say, “I don’t know” and you say, “Let’s go
outside for a walk” and they say, “It’s too cold outside”. Then you say, “Ok, let’s stay in
and watch a movie” and they say, “That’s too boring”. This kind of person is being
impossible. They find something wrong with every suggestion.

Petty argument: A petty argument is being in an argument about something that is not
important at all. Sometimes when couples fight, they fight about petty things instead of
talking about the real problems of the relationship.

Bottling up: If you “bottle something up” it means that you are angry or upset about
something, but you are keeping this feeling inside and not telling anyone about it. It’s
unhealthy to bottle up your emotions, and when you finally let your feelings out they are
much stronger than before.

Oblivious: If you are “oblivious to something” it means that you are totally unaware of
it. He thinks that people are looking at him because he’s handsome, but he’s totally
oblivious to the fact that the only reason people are looking at him is because he is
wearing his shirt backwards.

Distractions: A distraction is something that causes you to waste time or keep you from
focusing on what you should do. Someone might have a hard time working in their home
because there are too many distractions. The internet, the TV, and the telephone can all
be distractions. If you want to have a serious conversation with someone, it is a good
idea to go to a place with no distractions.

Put up a wall: If someone “puts up a wall” about some topic it means that they won’t
discuss that topic freely with anyone. If you try to talk about this subject with them, they
won’t answer you directly, or they will keep trying to change the subject.

English Learning Reading
                  Since their inception, cell phones have been constantly getting smaller,
                  cheaper, and equipped with more functions, and the best has yet to
                  come. The increasing power of microprocessors and the world’s ever-
                  expanding infrastructure of high-speed networks are making this all
                  possible. Technology buffs paint us a picture of the near future, where
                  the cell phone will become an all-in-one gadget and an integral part of
                  daily life. It will be commonplace for one cell phone to be able to
                  handle streaming video, read text messages out loud, surf the internet,
                  play video games, store a huge database of information, monitor heart
                  rate, count calories, and be able to take high quality digital photos and
                  videos. There has also been talk about a “family friendly” service,
                  where family members can track the exact location of other family
                  members by using GPS capabilities.

Phrases and Vocabulary used:

Inception: The beginning or start of some event. It’s often used to talk about the time a
new product came out or the time a new law was put into place. We often use it as, “since
it’s inception”. Apple’s I phone was popular since it’s inception. Since the inception of
this new law, crime in the city has been greatly reduced.

Microprocessors: The small computer chip that processes the information of electronic
devices like cell phones, Ipods, and computers.

Infrastructure: Major facilities and institutions that are shared by many people to help
the functioning of society. Roads, Bridges, Schools, and hospitals are all examples of
infrastructure. The high-speed networks such as 3G networks are also an example of
infrastructure. It’s important for the government to invest in infrastructure for the long-
term health of a society.

Buffs: An interested and knowledgeable person about a particular topic. A technology
buff, for example, is someone who is interested in technology and knows a lot about it.

Gadget: A mechanical device. These are often small things that people have. Cell
phones, mp3 players, and laptop computers are examples of gadgets.
Integral: A necessary part of something. If you said, he played an integral role on his
soccer team, it means that he was a crucial member of the team.

Commonplace: common and widespread. It is commonplace for a mother to worry about
her newborn baby. In today’s society, it is commonplace for unmarried couples to live

Streaming video: This is video that you can start to watch before it completely
downloads. The videos on you tube are examples of streaming video.

Database: A large collection of organized information. On my computer, I have a large
database of all my friends and their contact information.

GPS: (Global positioning system) This is a system of satellites that is able to locate an
object’s exact location on the planet. If you are carrying a cell phone that works with
GPS, people will be able to find out exactly where you are located, anywhere on earth!

English Learning Reading
                  A: Let’s go watch the tennis match Friday night.

                  B: I already called the ticket office and the girl said it’s a sellout.

                  A: I know it’s a sellout, but there will definitely be scalpers hanging
                  around the stadium trying to make a quick buck.

                  B: I don’t want to chance it. The prices will be really steep and who
                  knows whether or not the tickets will be real.

                  A: Don’t be such a wimp. One of us will buy the tickets and go to the
                  gate to check the validity. The other guy will stay with the scalper and
                  wait to see the result. If it’s a go, we’ll pay him and go watch the game.

                  B: How much are you willing to pay? When you factor in the stadium
                  prices for beer and food, this could wind up costing us a fortune.

                  A: I heard that Heineken is sponsoring the event, so the beer is
                  reasonably priced. The food isn’t too bad either. I also heard that in this
                  particular stadium, every seat is pretty good. We can buy the cheapest
                  ones and still enjoy the game. We won’t have to worry about being
                  stuck in the nosebleed section.

                  B: I’m sold. Let’s do it.

Phrases and Vocabulary used:
Sellout: A sellout is simply the name for the situation when all the tickets to an event
have been sold.

Scalpers: Scalpers are people who buy tickets to some event and then try to sell the
tickets for a higher price than they paid. They often stand outside of the stadium trying to
sell their tickets. When the event is popular and it is a sellout, the only way that people
can buy tickets is from a scalper. Scalping tickets is often illegal, but it is very common

Make a quick buck: This phrase simply means to make money very quickly and easily.
“He hates working at a real job and is always dreaming of ways to make a quick buck”.
Steep: In this context, steep means expensive. If you are negotiating a price with
someone, you can say something like, “$100 is a bit steep, how about I give you $65”.

Wimp: A wimp is a person who is weak physically or emotionally. It can also be used to
describe a person who doesn’t like to take any risks.
“Brian is such a wimp, he’s been working non-stop in the company for 2 years and is still
too scared to ask his boss for some vacation time”.

If it’s a go: If something is “a go” it means that the situation will go ahead as planned. In
this dialogue, the meaning of “a go” was that the tickets were real and they could go into
the stadium.

Factor in: This phrase means to “consider” or “include into the calculation”.
You could tell someone, “I know the airplane tickets are free, but when you factor in the
cost of the hotel, restaurants, and entertainment, the trip will still be quite expensive”.

Wind up: This means “end up”. A concerned father might warn his son, “If you don’t
study hard in school, you could wind up doing a low paying job for the rest of your life”.

Stadium prices: At popular sporting events, the food and drinks are often extremely
expensive. “Stadium prices” refers to these expensive prices at stadiums. Some other
places like airports also charge relatively expensive prices. You could say to your friend,
“Let’s grab lunch in the city before we go. I don’t want to pay airport prices”.

The food isn’t too bad either: Because of the context in the dialogue, this sentence
means, “The food isn’t too expensive”. It isn’t talking about whether or not the food is

Nosebleed section: Some of the really huge stadiums, like the ones which hold 100 000
fans, have seating that is really high up and far away from the ground. The group of seats
that are really high up, ie the worst seats in the stadium, are referred to as the “nosebleed
section”. People sometimes get nosebleeds if they are at a really high altitude, so we use
the term “nosebleed section” to exaggerate how high and bad those seats are.

I’m sold: In this dialogue it means that the person agrees to go to the game. He’s saying,
“You’ve convinced me”.

English Learning Conversation
                 A: How did it go last night?

                 B: It was an emotional roller coaster. At first we were excited to go
                 because we thought we’d get in no problem. Then when we got there
                 we found out the tickets were selling for a lot more than we’d planned,
                 which almost made us leave. We finally made a deal with someone to
                 get cheap seats, but after waiting around and freezing our butts off for
                 25 minutes, that deal fell through for some stupid reason that I still
                 haven’t figured out.

                 A: So did you guys end up leaving?

                 B: We were going to. After the deal fell through we started walking
                 back to the car and heard a voice shout out, “Who wants free box
                 seats?” We were obviously skeptical of that so we just kept walking.
                 All of a sudden, a guy ran up to us, handed us the tickets, and said, “Go
                 enjoy the game guys, my girlfriend got food poisoning all of a sudden
                 and I need to take her to the hospital”. Before we even had a chance to
                 thank him, he was gone. His tickets were amazing too. Box seats!

                 B: That’s unbelievable!

                 A: I know, the only annoying thing was that the match ended up being
                 really short. Federer absolutely smoked Roddick in straight sets.

                 B: That’s still awesome though!

                 A: I know, it was quite the night.

Phrases and Vocabulary used:

Emotional roller coaster: A roller coaster is a kind of fast and fun ride in an amusement
park. Some parts of the ride are fast, some are slow, and some go upside down. The idea
is that the ride keeps changing. If something was an emotional roller coaster, it means
that this event caused your emotions to keep changing. In a short time you would be
happy, then you would be sad, then you would be scared, etc. Watching certain really
good movies is like being on an emotional roller coaster.
Freezing our butts off: This slang phrase means that you were really cold while doing
something. The idea is that it was so cold, that your butt almost turned into ice and fell
off. The next time you are standing around outside in the cold and want to go inside, you
could say to your friends, “Let’s go inside. I don’t want to stand around out here freezing
my butt off”.

That deal fell through: If a deal falls through it means that originally you made a deal
with someone, but before the deal was completed, something changed and it was no
longer going to happen. If you made a deal to buy a new apartment, but the landlord
decided at the last minute not to sell the apartment, you could say to someone, “the deal
fell threw”. In a similar situation, you could also say, “my plans fell through”.

Box seats: These are special seats in a stadium usually reserved for companies or special
ticket holders, for example, the president or maybe Roger Federer’s family or friends.
They are great seats, and often offer great service with free food and drinks.

Skeptical: If you are “skeptical” of something it means that you believe that it is very
possibly untrue. You could say, “although that new product looks really good on TV, I’m
skeptical that it would work that well in real life”.

Food poisoning: Food poisoning is a general term for getting sick because of food. It is
quite serious during the time that you have it. Food poisoning usually causes people to
throw up (vomit) a lot and have a fever. Not cooking chicken well enough is one
common way to get food poisoning. If you only feel a little bit sick from the food, you
shouldn’t call it food poisoning.

Smoked: This is a slang term, which means to “win very easily”. Did you watch the
basketball game last night? It was horrible! My favorite team got smoked!

Quite the night: This little phrase just means, “a very interesting” or a “very memorable
night”. You can also use similar phrases like “quite the day” or “quite the time”. If you
had a really fun and exciting night the night before, you could say to your friend, “We
had quite the night last night. It’s too bad you weren’t there”.

English Learning Conversation
                  A: Good afternoon sir. License and registration please.

                  B: Officer, may I ask why you are pulling me over?

                  A: You were doing over 140 in an 80. That’s going to be a huge fine
                  and several points.

                  B: Officer, there’s nobody on the road. I promise I won’t do it again.
                  Please let me go this time. I won’t be able to afford the insurance.

                  A: I also notice that you aren’t wearing a seatbelt. And what’s that
                  smell? Have you been drinking?

                  B: Here’s 50 bucks. Just take it and let me go.

                  A: I’m going to have to ask you to step out of the car.

                  B: Why?

                  A: You’re under arrest for attempting to bribe an officer. You have the
                  right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against
                  you in a court of law.

                  B: Oh come on officer. I was just playing around. You’re cuffing me?

Phrases and Vocabulary used:
License and registration please: When a police officer stops someone’s car, they
always ask to see the driver’s license and the registration of the car. They want to make
sure that the driver is legally allowed to drive, and that the car isn’t stolen.

Officer: This is a word that is used instead of “police man”.

Pulling me over: “Pulling someone over” is the expression we use to talk about a police
officer asking a car to stop on the side of the road. You could say, “I was driving last
night and all of a sudden a police officer pulled me over for no reason”.
Doing over 140 in an 80: We use the verb “doing” in this context, which means driving.
This sentence means, “You were driving more than 140 kilometers per hour when the
legal limit was only 80 kilometers per hour”.

Fine: A fine is some amount of money that you have to pay when you do something
illegal. You have to pay a huge fine if you get caught smoking on an airplane.

Points: In some countries, all drivers start off with a certain number of “points”. Certain
illegal driving activities cause the driver to lose points. The more points you lose, the
more car insurance you have to pay. Also, if you lose too many points, you can lose your
driver’s license.

I’m going to have to ask you to step out of the car: Police officers often talk in a
formal way. Instead of just saying, “get out of the car” they would say, “I’m going to
have to ask you to step out of the car”. They both mean the same thing.

Under arrest: If you are “under arrest” it means that the police have good reason to
believe you committed a crime and the police have the right to take you to the police
station and handle you in the manner that is appropriate according to the law.

Bribe: Bribing someone means to offer them some reward (often money) to bend the
rules in your favor. For example, offering $100 to your teacher to give you a higher grade
is a form of bribery.

“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against
you in a court of law”:

This sentence is what police officers say to people when they are under arrest in the USA.
The basic idea is that the person arrested is allowed to not say anything at all if they
choose. If the arrested person does say something, the police have the right to mention it
in the court.

Cuffing: This is a slang term for “putting hand cuffs on someone”. Hand cuffs are made
of strong metal and they lock the arrested person’s hands together. It is very difficult to
fight or cause harm if you are wearing hand cuffs.

English Learning Conversation
                  A: Excuse me. Do you know if this is the flight to Toronto?

                  B: Yes it is. It says so right on the big sign over there.

                  A: Oh ya. Stupid question. I guess I’m just a bit nervous. It’s my first

                  B: Really. Wow. Ok. Well, there’s nothing to be nervous about. It’s
                  about as safe as driving. The only thing you should be nervous about is
                  the airplane food. It’s hardly appetizing.

                  A: I’m just worried about how boring it’s gonna be. 12 hours crammed
                  into that tiny seat. I know I won’t be able to sleep. I also get motion
                  sickness sometimes too.

                  B: Here. Take some Gravol. It’s perfect for motion sickness and it will
                  help you sleep too. You should also chew gum during take off and
                  landing so that your ears don’t pop with the pressure changes.

                  A: Thanks a lot! By the way, do you find it difficult to sleep on the

                  B: I don’t have any problems because I fly first class.

                  A: Wow. Those tickets are really expensive.

                  B: Ya, but it’s worth it. I wouldn’t be caught dead flying cattle class.

Phrases and Vocabulary used:

Airplane food: This is the kind of food that is served on airplanes during flights. It’s
common for people to complain about airplane food. So when you hear “airplane food”
you can imagine that the food they are talking about isn’t very tasty.

Hardly appetizing: If food is “appetizing” it means it is good and makes you feel like
eating more. If some food is described as being “hardly appetizing” it means that it isn’t
good and it won’t make you feel like eating.
Motion sickness: This is a kind of sick feeling that some people get when they are in a
moving car, bus, or airplane. If it is severe, it makes some people throw up or almost
throw up. It is a very unpleasant feeling.

Gravol: This is the brand name of a popular type of medicine, which is given to people
to relieve motion sickness. It also works if you have an “upset stomach” for some other
reason like being too nervous. Some people also like to take it during a long airplane ride
because it helps them to relax and makes it easier to sleep.

“Chew gum so that your ears don’t pop with the pressure changes”: Some people’s
ears feel a kind of pressure or pain while on an airplane. This is because the air pressure
in the airplane is different when the airplane is on the ground and in the air. If you are
bothered with this “ear popping” feeling, it helps to chew gum when the airplane is both
taking off and landing.

I wouldn’t be caught dead…: If someone says that they “wouldn’t’ be caught dead”
doing something, it means that they really would hate to do that thing and would be really
embarrassed if someone knew they did it. Someone might say, “I wouldn’t be caught
dead wearing a shirt like that”. It means, they really don’t like the shirt and would be
really embarrassed for someone to see them wearing it.

Cattle class: This is an uncommon phrase that I heard someone say once. I thought it
was funny so I included it in the dialog. Cattle are cows. “Cattle class” here refers to
“economy class”. Economy class tickets are the regular plane tickets that most people
buy. His joke was that he wouldn’t want to ride in the same place with all the cows. He
was referring to the regular passengers as being cows. It’s not nice but it sounded funny
as a joke.

English Learning Conversation
            A: Hey, you look great. Did you just get back from vacation?

            B: No. Why?

            A: What do you mean why? It’s the middle of winter and everyone
            else is as white as a ghost. You look like you’ve been lying on a
            beach somewhere.

            B: Alright, I’ll tell you. But I don’t want to hear any of your
            negativity. I’ve been hitting the tanning salon once a week.

            A: I don’t see anything wrong with that. I’d actually like to try it.
            What’s it like?

            B: The place I go you have to pay by the minute. It costs about 75
            cents per minute and you really just need to go for one, twelve-minute
            session per week. You can get 20% off if you buy their $25 VIP card.

            A: What do you think about the safety of them?

            B: Many experts warn of the cancer causing risks of tanning. They say
            that overexposure to UVA and UVB rays cause genetic mutations
            that lead to skin cancer. I try to play it fairly safe and make sure I don’t
            go too often. I also don’t go in for longer than 12 minutes.

            A: That’s a good idea. How long do some people go?

            B: Some people seem to get addicted to it. I’ve met several people
            who go 5 times a week and tan for 20 minutes per session. I’d
            personally be afraid to do that much, not only because of the cancer
            risk, but also because of the pre-mature aging of the skin.

            A: Are there any health benefits associated with tanning indoors?

            B: Your skin does absorb some vitamin D from the UVB rays, but
            many experts say that the risks outweigh the benefits.

Phrases and Vocabulary used:
What do you mean why?: This is a rhetorical question (which means a question you
don’t expect to be answered). If someone asks you “why”, and you think they should
already know the answer, then you could ask back, “what do you mean why?” This is
basically like saying, “I can’t believe you need to ask me why when you should already
know the answer”.

White as a ghost: During the winter when there isn’t as much sunlight, we sometimes
joke with each other as “looking white as a ghost”. Many people believe that looking too
white or pale skinned is not very attractive or healthy looking. It makes people want to
get a suntan.

I don’t want to hear any of your negativity: If you say this sentence to someone, it
means that you don’t want to hear any bad or negative opinion that they have. For
example, if you got back together with your ex-girlfriend and you thought that some of
your friends might judge you or say something negative, you could say to them, “I don’t
want to hear any of your negativity”. It is similar to saying, “it is none of your business,
so if you disagree with me, don’t say anything”.

Hitting the tanning salon: The tanning salon is a small business with indoor tanning
beds. These tanning beds are made with special lights that simulate the sun’s rays. You
can go there to get an artificial suntan. “Hitting the tanning salon” means “going to the
tanning salon”.

Overexposure: If you are “exposed” to something it means that you are in the presence
of that thing. If you are “overexposed” to something it means that you are in the presence
of that thing too much and it is unhealthy. Overexposure to second hand smoke from
cigarettes can cause cancer.

Genetic mutations: Genetic mutations are changes in the genes or DNA. Genetic
mutations can sometimes lead to cancer.

Pre-mature aging: If something is “pre-mature” it means that it is happening before it is
supposed to. If someone’s skin has aged pre-maturely, it means that their skin looks
older than it really is. For example, a 25 year old person might have skin that looks like
the skin of a 40 year old.

The risks outweigh the benefits: This means that there are more dangers or risks than
there are potential benefits. For example, most people agree that smoking isn’t a good
idea because the risks of cancer and other harmful health concerns are far more severe
than the benefits of enjoying smoking.

English Learning Conversation
                 A: Hey, would you mind loaning me a couple bucks?

                 B: Ya sure. No problem. How much do you need?

                 A: 50 would be great!

                 B: Ok here. So now I guess you owe me 100 right?

                 A: From what?

                 B: I spotted you 50 bucks a couple weeks ago. Remember? You
                 needed it to chip in for your share of the rent.

                 A: I remember that but I figured we were even after I bought the new
                 flat screen.

                 B: I told you I wasn’t pitching in for that. I don’t even watch TV.

                 A: Well, what do you call what you were doing last night?

                 B: What are you talking about?

                 A: Was it just me, or did I see you curled up on the couch last night
                 watching some stupid chick flick on HBO?

                 B: I think it was just you. (ha ha)

Phrases and Vocabulary used:

Couple bucks: In a casual conversation, “a couple bucks” means, “a little bit of money”.
You could also say, “a few bucks”.

Spotted: Spotting someone money means loaning someone money. If you are shopping
with your friend and you don’t have enough money to buy something you see, you could
ask them, “Would you mind spotting me? I’ll pay you back when I get home”.
Chip in: “Chipping in” for something means “paying part of the money”. You could
say to your brothers and sisters, “Let’s all chip in and get mom something really nice for
her birthday”.

Your share of the rent: Someone’s “share” of something is the part that they are
responsible for, or the part that is fair for them to have. If you share the rent of an
apartment with your roommate, the part of the money that you owe is “your share of the
rent”. In a different situation, you could say to someone, “I noticed that you took more
than your fair share of the pizza”.

I figured: This phrase is used a lot in spoken English. It basically means, “based on the
situation, I reasoned that…”. Imagine your friend wonders why you didn’t invite him out
with you. You could say, “We were with some people I know you don’t like, so I figured
that you wouldn’t want to go”.

Even: If you are “even” with someone it means that they don’t owe you anything and
you also don’t owe them anything.

Flat screen: This is just a short form of “flat screen television”.

Pitching in: This is the same meaning as “chipping in”. It just means to pay part of

Curled up on the couch: We use this expression to refer to someone who is lying on the
couch with their knees close to their chest.

Chick flick: This is a slang term to refer to the type of movie that girls often like.

HBO: This is a very popular movie channel in America.

English Learning Conversation
                  A: Hey, did you hear about that guy who went to high school with us?

                  B: I just saw the headlines. He stole a bunch of money or something?

                  A: He embezzled 10 million from the bank he worked for. Apparently
                  it went under the radar for 10 years.

                  B: What did he do with the money?

                  A: He had most of it sitting in an offshore bank account in the

                  B: So how did he end up getting busted?

                  A: He got stopped at the border coming back from the US. It was a
                  random search. They just wanted to make sure he was declaring all
                  his purchases. When they opened the trunk they found a huge suitcase
                  full of cash.

                  B: What and idiot! Why would he be so careless?

                  A: He was never known for being the sharpest pencil in the box.

Phrases and Vocabulary used:
Headlines: The “headlines” are the titles of the articles in the newspaper. Some people
don’t have time to read all the news, but they read the headlines to get a general idea of
what is going on in the world.

Bunch: We sometimes use this word in spoken English to refer to “a lot” of something.
You could say, “last night’s party was a lot of fun. I met a bunch of people”.

Embezzled: Embezzling money means to take money that belongs to someone else and
use it for your personal benefit. We often use this word for people working in the
government or in company who steal money from the government or company they work
It went under the radar: If something goes “under the radar” it means it goes unnoticed
or undetected. Sometimes people with a low salary feel safe cheating on their taxes
because they believe it will go under the radar.

Offshore bank account: This is an account in a bank that is located outside of your
country. These banks don’t have to follow the same laws as banks inside a country.
They often have lower taxes and are much more private. It is much more difficult for the
government to get access to the information of your offshore bank accounts. Many
criminals use offshore bank accounts to hide their illegal activities.

Caymans: The Cayman Islands is a small group of islands. They are known for having
many offshore banks.

Getting busted: Getting busted is a slang term which means to get caught doing
something that is illegal or against the rules.
Steve got busted by the teacher for cheating on his Chemistry test.

Random search: There are often “random searches” at the borders between countries
and at airports. This is when they stop a few people to see if they are carrying anything
illegal. No one knows who will be searched during a random search. They might just
stop 10% of the people and search their belongings.

Declaring: If you are traveling in another country and you buy a lot of money worth of
goods, you often have to “declare” the value of what you bought when you return to your
home country. If you spent too much money, you often have to pay, “duty” which is a
tax on the value of these goods.

Trunk: This is the box-like thing at the back of a car. People put things like suitcases or
grocery bags in the trunk of the car.

Not the sharpest pencil in the box: “Sharp” means smart. If someone is “not the
sharpest pencil in the box” it means that they are not very smart.

Phrases and Vocabulary used:
1. Belated - Merry belated Christmas. Happy belated birthday.

2. Happy holidays vs Merry Christmas - Although Christmas is popular throughout the
world, it is really a Christian holiday. Many people of other faiths don’t celebrate
Christmas but instead celebrate their own holidays. Jewish people for example celebrate
Hanuka instead of Christmas. If you are unsure of someone’s religious background, you
can wish them a happy holidays instead of saying Merry Christmas.

3. If you see someone before Christmas but you think that you won’t see them again until
after Christmas you can say, "If I don’t see you before, have a Merry Christmas and a
happy new year." If you see the person all the time, we usually only say "Merry
Christmas" on Christmas day, December 25.

4. Don’t say "Happy Christmas". Native speakers don’t say that.

5. "Secret Santa" -This is a kind of fun gift giving game. People in groups like close
friends, office workers in a company, or people on the same sports team might choose to
do a secret santa. The way it works is to put everyone’s name on a small piece of paper
and then put it into a hat. Then each person chooses one name from the hat. Then the
person must buy a gift for the person whose name they selected. This is a secret so you
aren’t supposed to tell anyone who you are buying a gift for. This game often has a price
limit. For example the rule might be that your gift must be between 15 and 20 dollars. On
Christmas day, or whenever the Christmas party is, everyone exchanges their gifts.

6. "Gag gift" - Sometimes for fun people buy each other gag gifts. A gag gift is a gift
that is just supposed to be funny but usually isn’t very useful. One example of a "gag
gift" is to buy a hair brush for a person with no hair.

7. When Add and I were young, we found it really hard to sleep on Christmas eve
because we were so excited about Christmas day. We would always get up really early to
open our stocking. [A stocking is like a big sock that Santa Clause puts gifts in]. Our
parents let us open the stocking before they woke up. When our parents woke up, which
was usually around 8 in the morning, we would all go downstairs and sit around under
the Christmas tree in the living room and exchange gifts. We believed that Santa was
bringing all the gifts when we were young. Our mom liked those years the best, so even
after we found out it was our parents who put the gifts under the tree, our mom still wrote
on the gift tag, "To Andrew love Santa". After we exchanged all the gifts, we went first to
our mom’s parents house for dinner. Everyone on my mom’s side of the family would go
there. [ie. her brothers and sisters along with their children]. We would eat and again
exchange gifts. After that we would go to my dad’s parents house and do the same thing
with his side of the family. It was quite easy to do because he and my mom went to the
same highschool, so their parents lived very close together.

8. Boxing day sales - Boxing day is on December 26. Most people are off work at that
time. It is a great day to go shopping because many stores have a lot of goods that didn’t
sell for Christmas, so they offer a lot of great discounts. You can often get 50% off on
many things if you wait until boxing day to buy them.

Phrases and Vocabulary used:
1. New years is a really popular time to party and spend with friends. People often try to
plan something fun to do on New Year’s Eve so a really common question to ask your
friends is, “What are you doing for New Year’s?” Or “Any plans for New Year’s”?

2. A lot of alcohol is consumed on New Year’s. Young people go to the bars or to
someone’s house party. People act crazier than normal on New Year’s and it is the most
common time of the year for an “accidental baby”.

3. If someone is having a party, Brad for example, we often say, “Brad is throwing a New
Year’s party” or “Brad is having a New Year’s party”. We don’t usually say, “Brad is
hosting a New Year’s party”. If you want to know if someone is going to Brad’s party
you just ask, “Are you going to Brad’s party?” Don’t say, “Are you going to take part in
Brad’s party?” “Take part in” sounds too formal and like you need to actually do
something at the party.

4. New Year’s countdown. If people aren’t too drunk and are paying attention, 10
seconds before New Year’s people often shout outloud together, “10, 9, 8, …. 3, 2, 1
Happy New Year’s!!”

5. An old tradition is that you are supposed to kiss someone at exactly 12 o’clock. If you
have a girlfriend or boyfriend you should have no problem. If not, now is a perfect time
to find someone.

6. Champagne is a very popular New Year’s drink. Someone will often open a bottle of
Champagne right after 12 and give everyone a glass.

7. A nickname for Champagne is “The bubbly”. If you are at a house party and you want
to drink some Champagne, you could ask “What’s a guy gotta do around here to get a
glass of the bubbly?” A girl could say, “What’s a girl gotta do around here to get a glass
of the bubbly?”. You can use this sentence structure in many situations. In a store you
could say, “What’s a guy gotta do around here to get some service?” You must make sure
that people realize that you are joking. It’s funny and playful as a joke, but very rude if
taken seriously. You need to be careful so say it in a joking way with a smile.

8. Making New Year’s resolutions is a big part of New Years. A New Year’s resolution
is a goal you have for the new year. Some common resolutions are things like;
- quitting smoking
- exercising more
- waking up early every da

English Learning Conversation
                  A: Would you mind helping me with a tv commercial for a new
                  expensive anti-aging cream?

                  B: Who are we targeting?

                  A: Wealthy housewives in their late 20’s and early 30’s.

                  B: What angle are you going for?

                  A: I was thinking about making the woman feel self-conscious about
                  looking older, and then showing that our product would make them feel
                  young again.

                  B: Ok. What about also making them feel that the reason their
                  husband hasn’t been spending as much time with them as before is that
                  their skin is looking older?

                  A: Perfect!

Phrases and Vocabulary used:

Anti-aging cream - This is a type of skin cream that keeps your skin looking young

Targeting - Advertisers need to choose a group of people they are "targeting". This
means the type of people that are expected to buy the product.

Angle - The "angle" is the strategy or the way of getting the message across in a

Self-conscious - This is a feeling of thinking too much about what other people think of
you. For example, if you were wearing a white shirt and you spilled your lunch all over
your shirt and had to walk around like that for the rest of the day, you would probably
feel quite self-conscious.

Why target those woman?
- rich, money to spend, care about looks,
Why this angle?
- those woman are starting to look older, want to please husband, not comfortable feeling

English Learning Conversation
                  A: Hello Add. What seems to be the problem with you?

                  B: I’ve been feeling tired, nauseous, and light headed these past few
                  days. I’ve also had a bit of a fever.

                  A: There’s a flu going around and it sounds like that’s what you’ve
                  got. I suggest getting enough rest and drinking plenty of fluids.

                  B: Well, actually I’ve been reading on the Internet about what’s wrong
                  with me and I think I might have cancer.

                  A: It’s highly unlikely that a healthy guy your age with only those
                  symptoms has cancer. I think whatever you read on the Internet has
                  made you a bit paranoid.

                  B: Well, I’m afraid I’m going to have to get a second opinion.

Phrases and Vocabulary used:
Nauseous - This is the sick feeling in your stomach that makes you want to throw up

Light headed - This is the feeling of almost wanting to faint. Sometimes if you sit down
for a long time and then stand up quickly you feel light headed.

Going around - When many people in one small area such as a town are getting sick
with a cold or the flu, we say that this sickness is “going around”. Your mother might tell
you, “Make sure you wash your hands a lot. There’s a flu going around your school.”

Drinking plenty of fluids - This is a common phrase that your mother might tell you if
you have a cold or a fever. “Fluids” mean a liquid. In this case, any drink like water or
juice. (Even though alcohol is a fluid, that’s not what they mean you should drink when
you are sick).

Symptoms - These are the problems that you have when you are sick. Fever, runny nose,
coughing, and sneezing, are all symptoms.

Paranoid - This is when you experience fear or think that something bad will happen for
a reason that doesn’t make much sense. For example, if you went outside your house for
10 minutes and forgot to lock the door and then thought that someone probably went
inside your house during that time and stole something, you would be being paranoid
since the chance of that happening is very small.

Second opinion - In the west, when a patient doesn’t totally agree with what the doctor
said, they can choose to get a “second opinion”. This means to go see another doctor and
hear what they have to say.

English Learning Conversation
                  A: I need your advice about something. I’ve been dating this girl for a
                  few weeks and it’s been going great. She’s really beautiful and I’m
                  treating her incredibly well. I call her every night to make sure she’s
                  ok and I’ve been taking her to really great restaurants. I’ve even
                  bought her some really nice gifts to show her how much I like her.
                  Lately I feel she’s been avoiding me and I can’t really figure out what
                  I’m doing wrong.

                  B: If she’s really beautiful like you say she is, she probably has tons of
                  guys hitting on her and sucking up to her. You’ve got to be
                  different. You need to be more nonchalant about the whole thing. If
                  you stop calling her she’ll probably wonder why and have more desire
                  to talk to you.

                  A: She told me she needs a lot of attention. I’m afraid if I don’t call
                  her and pay a lot of attention to her, she’ll find someone else.

Phrases and Vocabulary used:

Avoiding me: If someone is "avoiding you" it means that they are trying not to see you
or talk to you. If they don’t return your calls and don’t go to your favorite places because
they are afraid they might see you there, then they are "avoiding you".

I’ve been avoiding that new girl at work who likes me because I don’t know what to say
to her.

Hitting on her: "Hitting on someone" means flirting with them.

Sucking up: "Sucking up" to someone means to act overly nice to them because you
want something from them.

Shirley is always sucking up to the boss because she wants to get a promotion.

Nonchalant: Acting nonchalant about something means that you are acting like it is no
big deal and you don’t really care about it.
Rookie mistake: This is the type of mistake that a beginner or a person with no
experience would make.

On his first day of work, he told his boss that the company should make a lot of
changes. That was quite a rookie mistake.

Walk all over: If someone "walks all over" you it means that you allow someone to treat
you very poorly.

He always let’s his girlfriends walk all over him. (This means that he allows the girls
to treat him very poorly)

English Learning Conversation
                  A: Did you hear about the team of U.S. scientists creating a new life
                  form from scratch?

                  B: Well, they haven’t quite accomplished that yet. What they did was
                  make the genome of a living organism for the first time. The molecule
                  that they made still doesn’t function as an organism and is incapable of

                  A: It’s still pretty exciting because they are anticipating that they’ll be
                  able to produce new kinds of microorganisms that are able to make
                  clean energy, make new life-saving drugs, and eat pollution.

                  B: There are still a lot of skeptics who worry about the new technology
                  possibly leading to biological terrorism. Many scientists also fear that
                  a patent on this could give this small group a monopoly on making all
                  new synthetic life forms.

Phrases and Vocabulary used:
From Scratch: Doing something “from scratch” means to do it from the very beginning.
If someone makes a cake “from scratch” it means that they started with just the basic
ingredients such as sugar, flour, eggs etc. and made the cake. If they went to the store
and bought a cake mix, that means that they aren’t making it from scratch.

Genome: The complete set of genetic material (DNA) for a living thing.

Replicate: Able to make exact copies of itself.

Anticipate: Able to predict a future event.

Biological terrorism: Using disease or harmful life forms to cause harm to some society.

Patent: A patent is the legal right to an invention for a limited time period. Drug
companies who make a new drug are able to get a patent in order to legally prevent
anyone else from making the same medicine during a certain time period.

Monopoly: A market in which there is only one seller.
Synthetic: A substance that is man-made and not found occurring in nature. Certain
materials for warm clothing are “synthetic” materials.

English Learning Conversation
                 A: Are you going to Sara’s party this weekend?

                 B: I can’t. I’m grounded.

                 A: What did you do this time?

                 B: My mom lost it on me when she found out I had a porno magazine
                 in my room. She told me I’m not allowed to watch TV or meet any
                 friends for a week.

                 A: Your mom is pretty strict. Do you think there is any way you can
                 get her to make an exception for the party?

                 B: No way. My mom is a total psycho about these things. She’s so
                 stubborn when she makes her mind up about something.

                 A: Well, you can’t miss the party. It’s going to be amazing. You
                 should sneak out of your bedroom window when she’s asleep and go
                 to the party for at least a couple hours.

Phrases and Vocabulary used:
Grounded: When a child does something wrong, their parents might "ground" them as a
form of punishment. This means that the child isn’t allowed to leave the house or do
certain things such as watch TV, surf the internet, or talk on the phone with friends.

Lost it on me: If someone "loses it" on someone else it means that they lose their temper
and get uncontrollably angry. His girlfriend lost it on him when she saw him with
another girl.

Porno Magazine: This is the type of "sex" magazine with mostly pictures of naked

Make an exception: This means to allow something that is normally not allowed in a
similar situation.
Ex. She told me she usually doesn’t kiss on the first date, but I guess she made an
exception because of my charming behavior.

Psycho: A "psycho" is a crazy person. In spoken English amongst friends, we often say
that people are pychos in some area of life.

Ex. He will go psycho if someone touches his new computer.

Stubborn: Very unwilling to change an idea or behavior. Even if she knows she’s
wrong she will never admit it because she is so stubborn.

Sneak out: "Sneaking" means to do something in a way that other people don’t notice.
If you are "sneaking out" of the house it means that you will leave the house quietly so
that no one knows you are gone.

English Learning Conversation
                  A: What are you up to today?

                  B: I’m going to the dentist.

                  A: Is it a routine check-up?

                  B: I wish. I’ve gotta go get 3 of my wisdom teeth pulled.

                  A: Is it general anesthetic?

                  B: I get to choose but I think I’m just going to get local anesthetic and
                  laughing gas. I know it’s stupid but I’m a bit paranoid about not
                  waking up from general anesthetic.

                  A: Do you think you’ll be up for anything tomorrow?

                  B: I doubt it. I’m sure I’ll be in pain after the surgery. I plan on
                  staying home, watching TV, eating ice-cream and popping pain killers
                  for a couple of days.

Phrases and Vocabulary used:
Routine Check-up: This is when you see a doctor or dentist for no real reason other than
for them to take a look at you and make sure there is nothing wrong with you.

Wisdom Teeth: These are the biggest teeth and the ones furthest back in your mouth. In
many people they don’t grow in and you can’t see them. Sometimes they start to grow in
and cause problems in your mouth. If they start to cause problems then you need a
surgery to get them removed.

General Anesthetic: This is a type of medicine that makes you fall asleep (unconscious)
during surgery.

Local Anesthetic: This is a type of medicine that makes one part of your body not feel
anything, including pain. If you have a tooth pulled, the dentist might give you a local
anesthetic so that your mouth won’t feel pain, but you won’t be asleep.

Laughing Gas: This is a type of anesthetic that you breath in. It makes you feel very
funny and strange. You might even start laughing for no reason if you have it.
Popping Pain Killers: Sometimes we use the verb “popping” to indicate that someone is
taking a lot of medicine. If someone likes to “pop” a lot of painkillers, it means they take
a lot of pain killing medicines.

English Learning Conversation
                  A: I’m moving to China to live with Bao Bao.

                  B: Are you out of your mind? You haven’t even met her in person

                  A: I know but we talk all the time on the phone. We’re really open
                  with each other and I’ve got a good feeling it’s going to work out.

                  B: Even if you two are in fact a great match, don’t you think you are
                  rushing it a bit?

                  A: I’ve never felt like this about anyone before.

                  B: It sounds like you two are getting caught up in the moment and
                  allowing your emotions to cloud your judgement.

                  A: Oh well, you only live once. I’m gonna roll the dice.

Phrases and Vocabulary used:
Are you out of your mind?: This is a question you can ask someone if you think they
are going to do something crazy or ridiculous.

In person: Doing something "in person" means that you are doing something in the
physical presence of someone else. Meeting someone "in person" means you meet them
face to face. (not over the phone for example)

Work out: When we talk about a relationship "working out" we mean that the
relationship went well and the couple doesn’t break up. If you break up with someone
and you are asked the reason why, you could say, "he was a nice person but it just didn’t
work out".

Rushing it: If you are "rushing something" it means that you are doing it too quickly or
too soon.
Ex. You should take your time when writing the test. You don’t want to rush it and make
careless mistakes.

Getting caught up in the moment: If someone "gets caught up in the moment" it means
that they allow the excitement of the situation to make them think or act in a way that
they normally wouldn’t.

Ex. He never drinks alcohol, but I guess he got caught up in the moment at the new year’s
party and got really drunk.

Allowing your emotions to cloud your judgement: If you allow your "emotions to
cloud your judgement" it means you make a decision according to your emotions rather
than according to logic or reason.

You only live once: Sometimes we say this phrase when we want to argue that we
should take a chance or do something exciting instead of leading a boring life.

I’m gonna roll the dice: This phrase means that you are going to take a chance.

English Learning Conversation
                   A: Why have you been moping around the house all day?

                   B: I’m still a bit depressed about breaking up with Becky. I miss her a

                   A: That was over a month ago. I’m surprised you are not over her by
                   now. You usually seem to bounce back quickly after a break-up.

                   B: Ya, but this is the first time I’ve been dumped.

                   A: So it’s not really about her then. You just feel bad because getting
                   dumped was a shot to your confidence.

                   B: You’re probably right.

                   A: Let’s go out and try to meet some new girls tonight to take your
                   mind off this.

Phrases and Vocabulary used:
Moping around: “Moping around” means to move around slowly while looking sad or

She moped around the house for 2 weeks after she got fired from work.

Over her: “Getting over” someone means to be completely comfortable after a break-up
and not want the person back.

Ex. It took him a long time to get over his last girlfriend.

Bounce back: “bouncing back” from something means that you were able to recover
from a bad situation.

Ex. Roger Federer is usually good at bouncing back after a bad match.
She was able to bounce back quickly after finding out her boyfriend met a new girl.

Shot to your confidence: If something bad happens to someone which might make them
loose self-confidence we call this event a “shot to their confidence”.
Ex. It was a real shot to his confidence when the last 3 girls he asked out on a date
refused to go out with him.

Take your mind off this: Taking your mind off something means to stop thinking about

Ex. Your job seems to be causing you a lot of stress. You need to go on a vacation to
take your mind off of it.

Phrases and Vocabulary used:
Thailand Trip: Koh Chang: We stayed in Koh Chang, the second largest island in
Thailand. It is about a 4-hour drive from Bangkok. It is a beautiful place during the
winter months. It’s sunny with blue skies almost everyday. The water is clean, clear, and
really warm.

Bungalow: The bungalows on Koh Chang are small one-story houses with a bedroom, a
small bathroom, and a balcony. The ones that we stayed in are about 15 USD per night.
They have air conditioning, hot water showers, a mini-fridge, and cable TV.

Costs: It’s pretty easy to live there for about 40 USD per day.

Day in the life: We would usually get up at around 9 am, go have breakfast, go to the
gym, and ride our motorbikes around the island for a while and go to the beach for the
afternoon. We would lie on the beach, have lunch on the beach, read, go swimming, and
talk to friends. In the evening we would go usually go to an authentic Thai restaurant for
dinner and get ready to go to the popular beach bar.

Nightlife: On “White Sands Beach” there was pretty much one popular beach bar that
everyone went to. You could sit outside on mats on the sand and order drinks. Our
favorite drink is a whiskey bucket, which is a 300 ml bottle of Thai whisky, one can of
coke, one Thai red bull, and a lot of ice mixed together.

English Learning Reading
                  Lance Armstrong grew up in Texas as an only child. He never met his
                  biological father but was lucky enough to grow up with a tough mom
                  who gave him a lot of love and support. She was a poor secretary and
                  gave birth to him when she was only 17. She taught him to always try
                  his best and to never give up. He discovered that he was excellent at
                  endurance sports and won several triathlons as an early teen. He
                  went on to win several cycling races as a professional cyclist that
                  earned him several million dollars and a bit of fame. He was on top of
                  the world. Then the young famous 25 year old was diagnosed with
                  testicular cancer that had already spread to his lungs and brain. The
                  doctors told him he would probably never be able to ride again and
                  would likely die. After reading as much as he could about his disease,
                  he decided to get brain surgery and undergo chemotherapy. His will
                  power and determination allowed him to beat the deadly disease and go
                  on to win the “Tour de France“, an event many consider to be the
                  biggest accomplishment in professional sports.

Phrases and Vocabulary used:

Biological father: A biological father is the man who’s genes or DNA were used to
make the baby. If a child is adopted, he or she may never meet their biological parents.

Endurance sports: Endurance sports are sports like long-distance running, long-distance
cycling, etc. Marathon runners need a lot of endurance. Endurance is the ability to
continue doing the same thing for a long time without stopping.

Triathlon: This sport is a combination of swimming, running, and cycling (bike riding).
It’s a race.

On top of the world: This phrase means to feel really great and confident. He was on
top of the world after that beautiful girl said she would date him.

Undergo: To “undergo” something means to experience or pass through something;
often a difficult experience. We often use this word with medical procedures.
The basketball player had to undergo a very painful knee surgery after his injury.
Chinese students have to undergo a series of very stressful tests at the end of high school.
Chemotherapy: A medical treatment where toxic substances are put into the patient’s
body in order to destroy cancer cells.

Tour de France: A world famous bicycle race, held over a period of 21 days: it covers
about 2500 mi. (4000 km) in France, Belgium, Italy, Germany, Spain, and Switzerland.

English Learning Reading
                 "The four hour work week" is a non-fiction New York Times
                 bestseller written by Tim Ferris. In the book Tim challenges the
                 conventional view that the goal of a business should be to maximize
                 profits. He believes that earning as much money as possible shouldn’t
                 be the ultimate goal in life. He argues that money is really only a
                 means to achieve certain other goals. According to the book, people
                 should always be looking for ways to improve their work efficiency by
                 focusing on what is really important, and delegating the work that isn’t
                 worth their time to do. After you increase your work efficiency you
                 will have more free time. Tim encourages people to spend that free
                 time pursuing their interests in life, such as traveling or learning a new
                 sport, rather than using that time to make more money. The reason for
                 this is that since the amount of money someone has is subject to the
                 law of diminishing returns, at some point people should stop trying to
                 earn more money and instead look for ways to work less and enjoy the
                 other things life has to offer. When he thinks of new potential business
                 models, he tries to set them up in a way that makes him have to work as
                 little as possible. Even if he thought of a business that could potentially
                 make him millions of dollars, he wouldn’t do it if he had to spend too
                 much time working on it.

Phrases and Vocabulary used:

Non-fiction: Non-fiction books are books that give information or facts; (Novels and
stories are Fiction)

New York Times Bestseller: The New York Times is a popular newspaper in the USA
and they have a famous list of books that are very popular, (ie. high sales volume)

Conventional view: The common or most popular opinion on something.

Maximize: If you "maximize" something it means you try to increase it to the greatest
amount possible. Many companies try to maximize their profits, even at the expense of
the environment.
Ultimate goal: The "ultimate goal" is the real goal or the end goal you have. Someone
could say, "I’m working as a waitress now to save some money, but my ultimate goal is
go back to school to get my MBA"

Delegating: If you delegate work to someone else it means that you are letting them do
the work for you. "Our boss doesn’t seem to do much work. He just delegates
everything to all his employees and spends most of his time playing golf"

Law of diminishing returns: The law of diminishing returns is a classic law of
economics. The economics definition might be a little confusing so I’ll do my best in
explaining the basic idea of it. Essentially it means that as you continue to add more of
the same thing, the added benefit becomes less and less.

Here are a few real life examples, which should help to clear up the meaning:

1. Imagine a student who is studying to take an easy test. Let’s assume that he can learn
everything in about 10 hours of study. The first 10 hours of studying will have a much
greater impact on his test score than his second 10 hours of studying. After a certain
point, any extra studying will be a waste of time because he already knows the material.

2. Imagine now that you are going to clean your messy bedroom. The first hour of
cleaning will make the most difference, the second hour should make less difference than
the first hour, and eventually, if you continue cleaning your room, your extra time spent
cleaning won’t make much difference at all because your room will already be clean.

3. How much money someone has works the same way. The first million dollars you earn
makes a much bigger difference on the quality of your life than the second million
dollars. After a certain point, extra money doesn’t make any difference in your lifestyle at
all. In terms of lifestyle, there is not much difference between 30 billion and 60 billion

English Learning Reading
                   A: Why do you drink coffee if you know it’s bad for you?

                   B: Who says it’s bad for you?

                   A: I see it in the news all the time. It apparently causes all kinds of

                   B: First of all, I drink it in moderation. Secondly, there haven’t been
                   any convincing studies linking moderate coffee drinking with health
                   problems. I’ve even heard that drinking it in moderation can reduce
                   certain cancer risks.

                   A: I read that coffee drinkers have a 60% higher risk of developing
                   heart disease than non-coffee drinkers.

                   B: That’s such a misleading statistic. They are lumping people who
                   drink one cup per day and people who drink 10 cups per day in the
                   same group.

                   A: I still wouldn’t risk my health like that.

                   B: You are such a sheep! You’ll believe anything.

Phrases and Vocabulary used:
Complications: This word often refers to “problems”. It’s often used in medical
situations and refers “health problems”
“If you continue taking this medication for a long time it might cause complications in
the future.”
Moderation: Doing something in moderation means that you do it a “reasonable
amount” ie. not too much.
Many people believe that drinking red wine in moderation is good for their health.

Convincing studies: A “convincing study” is a study or a scientific experiment that
provides really clear evidence.

Misleading statistic: A misleading statistic is a statistic that is true but is used in a way
to make people believe something else that isn’t true. For example, an advertisement
might say, “eating this weight-loss pill along with doing 30 minutes of cardiovascular
and eating a healthy diet, made our participants lose an average of 10 Kilograms over a 6
week period”. This statistic may be true but it is used to persuade people that the weight-
loss pill helped the results. It is still possible that if those same people just exercised 30
minutes per day and ate well, might have the same or better results.
In another example a company might say, “Our revenue went up 50% last year!” That
alone sounds like a good thing, but it is possible that the company’s expenses also rose by
300% and now they are losing money.

Lumping: Sometimes we use the word “lumping” to mean “putting” or “grouping”. It is
often used negatively. For example, you could say, “you can’t lump me in the same
group with that guy just because we are both from the same hometown”. In other words,
“it’s not fair to think of us as the same in all respects just because we have this one

You are such a sheep: A “sheep” is the type of person who can’t think for themselves
and just blindly follows the opinions of other people.

English Learning Reading
                  Last night, Add and I watched an episode of "Queer Eye for the
                  Straight Guy". It is a TV show staring 5 gay guys. Each episode they
                  take a typical straight guy who needs tips on fashion, grooming, and
                  interior design. Yesterday’s episode was hilarious! A guy from
                  Colorado and a girl from New York City were dating online for 6
                  months. This show was about preparing both of them for their first
                  meeting. Everyone was expecting fireworks.
                  When they finally met in person it was a total disaster. The guy was
                  acting really awkward and there was no chemistry whatsoever. It was
                  obvious that he was interested in her but she didn’t feel the same way.
                  There was a lot of awkward silence during the date and his lame
                  attempts at humour only made the situation worse. You could easily
                  tell from her body language that the date wasn’t up to her

Phrases and Vocabulary used:

Queer Eye for the straight guy: An American reality TV show that takes place in New
York City.

Queer: A slang term that means "homosexual". Most often it is used to describe gay
men. It is derogatory. ie. not a very nice word to use.

Straight: A slang term for a heterosexual person. Basically, men who like woman and
woman who like men are considered to be "straight".

Fireworks: If you say that there were "fireworks" on a date, it means that both people
were really attracted to each other. To put it another way it means they are "romantically
interested" in each other.

Chemistry: Saying that there was "chemistry" between two people on a date also means
that they had romantic interests in each other. This girl would probably say about this
guy, "He is a really nice guy and I like him as a friend, but there was no chemistry on our

Sometimes "chemistry" can be used to mean, "work well together".

That basketball team has a lot of great individual players, but they keep losing because
they don’t have any chemistry.
(It means they don’t play well together as a team)

Awkward silence: Awkward silence describes this situation; Imagine two people are on
a date and they are both feeling uncomfortable because they can’t think of anything to
say to each other. This time seems to last a long time. This uncomfortable time period is
called an "awkward silence".

Imagine if a couple that had lived together just broke up. One of them is packing their
things and getting ready to move out of the house. They both feel sad but say nothing to
each other. This time period is called an "awkward silence"

Body language: Body language refers to what information people give out with the
position of their bodies. For example, if a guy approaches a girl and the girl moves away
or turns away, it is obvious from her body language that she is not interested in him.

English Learning Reading
                  A: Hey I ran into your friend Mark at the bank yesterday. We chatted
                  for quite a while because there was such a long wait.

                  B: How was it?

                  A: To be honest, it wasn’t that great. He seemed quite arrogant and
                  acted as though he had better things to do than talk to me.

                  B: Oh no. You are way off base with that. He just comes across that
                  way for some reason. He’s notorious for giving off bad first
                  impressions. He’s a really nice guy once you get to know him.

                  A: Well, as a friend you should say something to him.

                  B: I’ve tried confronting him about it but he gets really defensive.

                  A: Why do you think he acts like that?

                  B: I don’t really know. I think he’s under the impression that he’s
                  being really cool. Psychologists say that some people are incapable of
                  recognizing the emotions of other people based on their facial
                  expressions and body language. These people are completely oblivious
                  to what other people are feeling, and as a result are not very good in
                  social situations.

                  A: Does he act that way around girls?

                  B: He does. They usually don’t find him funny and take him for
                  being arrogant.

                  A: That sucks.

Phrases and Vocabulary used:
Ran into: If you “run into” someone it means that you see them somewhere

I ran into your ex-girlfriend the other day.
You are way off base: If someone is “way off base” it means that they are totally wrong
about something. They are not even close to being right.

Ex. A: I thought that eating only one meal a day would be a good way to lose weight.

B: Oh no. You are way off base. It is much more effective to have several smaller
meals throughout the day.

Comes across: If someone “comes across” as something it means that they appear to be a
certain way when you meet them. They portray a certain image.

That guy comes across as being really calm and friendly, but apparently he gets into a lot
of fights when he’s angry.

As a friend: “As a friend, you need to go talk to him about his drinking problem”. That
means, “since you are his friend, you should talk to him about his drinking problem”.

Defensive: If someone is being “defensive” it means that they are really sensitive about a
certain topic. This person won’t be able to have a reasonable conversation about this
topic. Often people are defensive about some personal weakness. They won’t accept
their weakness and don’t want to talk about it.

He’s under the impression: If someone is “under the impression” of something it means
that they think it is true. Usually we use this when someone thinks something is true but
in fact they are wrong.

He’s under the impression that his girlfriend never lies to him.

Take him for being: If you “take someone for being” something it means that you think
they are that kind of person.

I can’t believe she is a famous model and actress. I took her for being a normal high
school student.

English Learning Reading
                  A: I saw an infomercial last night about a new ab device. They said
                  you can get a great six pack after a month of using their product for
                  only 3 minutes a day. If you aren’t completely satisfied with the
                  product, you can send it back for a full refund. What do you think?

                  B: Do you want my honest opinion?

                  A: Ya

                  B: I think you’re retarded!

                  A: How do you know it won’t work? You’ve never tried it.

                  B: Because in order to get a six-pack, you need to have a low body fat
                  percentage. This takes a lot more effort than 3 minutes a day of
                  exercise. A good diet also plays a huge role.

                  A: If they don’t believe in their product, why would they offer a
                  money back guarantee?

                  B: Because they know from experience that most people will be too
                  lazy to actually send the product back, even if they don’t like it. By
                  offering a money back guarantee, they know that gullible people like
                  you will be more likely to buy the product in the first place.

Phrases and Vocabulary used:

Infomercial: A long television commercial that teaches people how to use a certain
product and tries to sell it. Often these are a half hour to an hour in length, and you can
call the phone number on the TV to order the product directly to your house.
Ab device: Abs is a short form for "abdominal muscles” These are the muscles that are
in your stomach. An "ab device" is a piece of exercise equipment designed to train your

Six-pack: This is a slang term to describe well-defined abs. Many professional athletes
have a six-pack.

Retarded: Literally this refers to people who are mentally handicapped, ie. They were
born with a mental problem. Sometimes we use this word as a slang term to describe
someone who is an idiot. Friends often joke with each other using this word. It is
important to understand that this term can be considered very offensive to some people
and you should think twice before using it.
Some common slang sentences are: "Don’t be such a retard". "Don’t listen to him. He’s

Plays a huge role: This phrase means, "is a very important part of".
                 Many child psychologists believe that teachers play a huge role in the
healthy development of young children.

Gullible: Someone who believes things too easily or is tricked easily is considered to be
         People who believe everything they read are gullible.
         I can’t believe you were gullible enough to buy that stupid thing. It should have
been obvious that it wouldn’t work.

English Learning Reading
                  A: I’m trying to renegotiate my salary with my boss.

                  B: How’s it going?

                  A: Not great. He says he can only increase my salary by 10%
                  according to the regulations of the company.

                  B: That’s a textbook negotiation strategy. He’s acting like there’s no
                  way he can help you. If the company really wants you, they’ll find a
                  way to bend the rules.

                  A: What should I do then?

                  B: You’ve got to play hardball. Tell them that you have another job
                  offer that you are considering. If they don’t raise their offer then you
                  will have to leave.

                  A: But I have nowhere to go.

                  B: It doesn’t matter. You just need to call his bluff. I’m sure they
                  will offer you more when they realize that they have no other choice.

Phrases and Vocabulary used:
Textbook: If something is “textbook” it means it is a typical or common case.
My 7-year-old son often threatens to run away from home when he is upset. It is
textbook behavior for a child of that age.

Bend the rules: Bending the rules means to change the rules a little to make them suit
your situation.
For example, imagine that the rule is that it is half price drinks (happy hour) from 6-8 pm
every night. The waitress comes to your table at 8:01 and says you need to pay full
price. You might try to say, “oh come on, you can bend the rules a little can’t you?”

Play hardball: Playing hardball means that you are using a very tough negotiation
strategy. If you are playing hardball it means that you are trying your hardest to get
exactly what you want. You will be mean and serious if you need to be.
“I’m usually very calm when I ask my boss for a raise and he doesn’t listen to me. I’m
going to have to play hardball”.
Call his bluff: If someone is bluffing it means that they are pretending to have a strong
position, but they actually have a weak one. In the card game poker, somone with poor
cards might bet a lot of money to trick people into believing he has good cards. This is
called bluffing. If a wife is angry with her husband she might say, “if you stay out late
partying with your friends one more time I’m going to leave you”. She is using this tactic
to scare her husband. He might not believe she is that serious and “call her bluff”. That
means he will go out with his friends again and see if she will seriously leave him.

In business, an employee might say to the boss, “If I don’t make 50% more money this
year then I’m going to leave the company”. If the company doesn’t believe it, they might
call his bluff by saying “ok, we can’t afford to pay you that much”. If the company sees
that the person is actually going to leave, then they might agree to the 50% increase. If
they see that he was bluffing, then they might be able to pay him less.

English Learning Reading
                  Add and I were outside the other day on the star bucks patio near our
                  apartment. We were both in great moods while enjoying our coffees
                  and the sunshine. We were minding our own business when all of a
                  sudden our landlord rudely interrupted our peaceful afternoon with a
                  phone call. She wanted to jack up our rent by 25%. I tried to bargain
                  with her but it was no use. In the back of my mind I knew I was
                  fighting a losing battle. The rent in the city had been going up for
                  quite a while and we knew that sooner or later this was bound to
                  happen.      A: I’m trying to renegotiate my salary with my boss.

Phrases and Vocabulary used:

Minding our own business: If you are "minding your own business" it means that you
are not bothering or interfering with anyone else.

Jack up: This is a slang term that means to increase the price a lot. "That restaurant
jacked up all their prices last week"

In the back of my mind: If you think about something in "the back of your mind" it
means that you realize it but it isn’t one of your main conscious thoughts. It’s often the
kind of thought you don’t want to face. It’s more of a feeling than a thought.

In the back of my mind I knew that my relationship with my girlfriend was going to end
I knew in the back of my mind that I should quit my job and find a better one.

Fighting a losing battle: If you are fighting a losing battle it means that you are still
trying to compete but you will eventually lose. For example, the child kept begging his
mother to let him stay up late to watch a movie but the mother had already made up her
mind to not allow it. The child was fighting a losing battle.

Bound to happen: If something is "bound to happen", it means that it was going to
happen sometime in the future.
Don’t worry so much if you don’t like your job. If you keep improving yourself and keep
meeting new people, getting a new job is bound to happen.

English Learning Dialog
                  A: Where are you going?

                  B: Not sure yet. I just need to get out of the house. I’ve been
                  cooped up all week and it’s driving me insane.

                  A: Do you mind waiting a few minutes?

                  B: For what?

                  A: I wouldn’t mind joining you. I’ve just gotta hop in the shower
                  for 5 minutes and I’ll be ready to go.

                  B: Knowing you it’ll take a half hour. Hurry up.

                  A: Ok.

Phrases and Vocabulary used:
I just need to get out of the house: This is a common sentence to say when you feel like
you have been spending too much time at home.
“I’ve been sick in bed all week and I what I want more than anything is to just get out of
the house”.

Cooped up: This phrase means you feel trapped or imprisoned. You feel like an animal
who has been locked in a small cage.
I really need a vacation. I’ve spent most of the past 6 months cooped up in the office.

Driving me insane: This phrase means, “making me go crazy”.
I’ve been trying to figure out what’s wrong with my computer all morning and I still have
no idea. It’s driving me insane.

Wouldn’t mind: In the context of this dialogue, “wouldn’t mind” actually means, “want
to”. Since the person wasn’t invited, saying wouldn’t mind feels a little more polite.

Hop in the shower: When we are talking about taking a quick shower, we often use the
verb “hop in”. It makes it sound like the whole process will be fast. “I’ll be ready to
leave in 15 minutes. I’ve just gotta finish this email and then hop in the shower”.
Knowing you: This phrase is used when you think the other person will behave in a
certain way based on your experience with that person.
“He said he will be here at 8:00. I know that’s what he said, but knowing him, he won’t
be here until at least 9:30″.

English Learning Dialogue
                  A: What are you still doing in bed? It’s already 2:00.

                  B: I feel brutal. I think it’s from the milk.

                  A: Why would you drink that? It was more than a week past the
                  expiration date.

                  B: Well, I wouldn’t have in retrospect. I didn’t even look at the date
                  before I drank it. Why didn’t you toss it by the way if you knew it was
                  that old?

                  A: Hey, don’t blame me.

                  B: I won’t if you go pick me up some medicine.

                  A: That’s really thoughtful of you.

Phrases and Vocabulary used:
Brutal: If something is "brutal" it means it is really bad. In spoken English, we often
talk about feeling "brutal".
I have a brutal cold and don’t feel like going out tonight.
I feel brutal from how much we drank yesterday.
That was a really brutal movie.

Expiration date: The "expiration date" is the date that is printed on foods that tells you
when the food will go bad (expire). You should throw out foods that have gone past the
expiration date because they might make you sick if you eat them.

In retrospect: "In retrospect" means, "looking back on the situation".
Here is an example, "I spent all my savings last year and now I am having money
problems. In retrospect, I wish I had saved it.

Toss it: This is a slang phrase that means "throw it in the garbage".
That’s really thoughtful of you: This is a sarcastic sentence in the context of this
dialogue. He was joking when he said this because it wasn’t really thoughtful of him at

English Learning Reading
                  We were down by twenty points as we headed to the locker room.
                  Our coach yelled at us at the top of his lungs to start playing defense.
                  I knew it was up to me to step it up in the second half. I decided if we
                  were going to comeback, I would have to start shooting a lot more.
                  We were a 10 to 1 underdog so I felt like we had nothing to lose. At
                  the start of the next half I started knocking down three’s. We cut the
                  lead to five with just under a minute left in the game, and I was in the
                  zone. I hit a quick three and then stole the ball. I then knocked down
                  another just before the buzzer went off to take the victory.

Phrases and Vocabulary used:
locker room – the room where teams stay before the game begins. Each team has its
own locker room. The room has lockers where each player can put their things. They
usually have showers and changing areas in there as well.

yelled at us at the top of his lungs – he yelled as loudly as he possibly could

up to me – it was my responsibility. Ex. It was up to me to clean the apartment since
my roommate was on vacation.

step it up – to start doing better at something or get something better than you had
before. Ex. I decided to step it up this year and buy a new car.

comeback – win at something that you were losing at. Ex. The candidate made a
comeback to win the election. He was losing at first, but in the end he was victorious.

10 to 1 underdog – 10 times more likely to lose than to win. The underdog is the team
expected to lose

nothing to lose – There are no disadvantages of doing something. Ex. Why don’t you try
the job for a week? You’ve got nothing to lose.

knocking down three’s – getting three point baskets.

in the zone – playing or performing really well at something. If you are in the zone
everything seems effortless and you do things at your highest ability or skill level.

buzzer went off- the loud noise at the end of game or end of a period

ESL Reading
                  A: I’ve finally come to grips with the fact that I’ve gotta make some
                  major changes in my lifestyle.

                  B: What’s going on?

                  A: These past few months I’ve been staying up late and then sleeping
                  in. Then I feel guilty when I wake up so I usually eat a comfort food
                  like pizza to make myself feel better. Then I feel bad from eating the
                  pizza so I have a few beers to relax. Then because of the beers I can’t
                  go to the gym. At 10 pm or so I finally start to feel good and watch
                  several hours of TV while thinking about how the next day will be

                  B: That’s quite a vicious cycle. We’ve all been there though.

Phrases and Vocabulary used:

come to grips with – accept a difficult truth about something.
I finally came to grips with the fact that I needed to stop eating junk food and start

comfort food – food you eat to make yourself feel happy. This is usually some kind of
junk food. You often eat this kind of food when you are depressed or unhappy in your

vicious cycle - A vicious cycle is talking about when one bad decision makes it more
likely to make another bad decision which in turn causes you to make another bad
decision. Pretty soon most of your decisions are bad and your life is out of control.

been there – have been in the same situation before.
I know how you feel. I’ve been there too.

ESL Reading
                  Steve got a much needed ego boost yesterday. A beautiful girl came up
                  to him and asked for his autograph. She was convinced he was a
                  handsome movie star and he totally went along with it. They went to a
                  restaurant for lunch and Steve noticed that his good friend Mark
                  happened to be there. Steve winked at Mark and luckily Mark was
                  astute enough to see what was going on. He also asked Steve for an
                  autograph and then went back to his table.

Phrases and Vocabulary used:
ego boost: An ego boost is a lift to your self-esteem or confidence. You might get an ego
boost if your boss tells you that you are doing a great job and wants to give you a

went along with it: Pretended that it was true.

happened to be there: This means that someone was coincidentally at a place. This
person was there by chance and you didn’t make plans for this to happen.

winked: Winking at someone means to close one eye when you look at someone. This
expression can mean that you want to let them know something but you can’t tell them
what it is because you don’t want anyone else to hear what you said.
For example, imagine that you are lying to someone about your age and your friend is
beside you and he knows your true age. If you wink at your friend, this will let him know
not to say anything when he hears you lie to someone else.

astute: Astute means quick and clever. It can also imply that someone was paying close

ESL Reading
                  A: I’m thinking of looking for a more stable job with a fixed salary.
                  My commissions have been almost non-existent lately.

                  B: Don’t do that. In your line of work the commissions are always low
                  at this time of year. You’ve gotta look at the big picture and realize that
                  you’re going to be rolling in it in a few months.

                  A: My problem is that money burns a hole in my pocket when I have
                  it. Then when a downturn hits I’m eating instant noodles.

                  B: Then it sounds like changing your spending habits would be a better
                  solution than changing careers.

Phrases and Vocabulary used:

line of work - The type of work that you do. An insurance salesman might say,
"Appearance is very important in my line of work".

look at the big picture - Looking at the big picture means to look at the entire situation.
Don’t just focus on one small part of the situation.
Don’t worry so much about not getting that job. Look at the big picture. You’re a young
smart guy with a good education and some work experience. I’m sure another
opportunity will come along soon.

rolling in it - This expression means to have or get a lot of money.
He wasn’t making any money for years and now he’s rolling in it.

money burns a hole in my pocket – this means that as soon as you get money you want
to spend all of it.
downturn - A downturn is when the economy starts to go poorly.
You should save some money so that you’ll have some in case of a downturn in the

ESL Reading
                  A: You broke up with Sue a year and a half ago. You must be ready to
                  get back in the game by now!

                  B: It’s been so long, I wouldn’t even know where to begin.

                  A: Let’s go to the bar and try meeting a few ladies. Do me a favor
                  though and don’t latch on to the first one you see. Try playing the
                  field for once in your life!

                  A: Probably a good idea! I guess I have been known to fall for the
                  first girl that gives me any sign of attention.

Phrases and Vocabulary used:
Get back in the game- This means to get back in the “dating game”. Single people are
considered to be “in the game” because they are always potentially looking for dates.

Wouldn’t even know where to begin – This phrase means is often used when you
would like to do something but you have absolutely no idea as to how to do it.
I’d love to own my own website but I wouldn’t even know where to begin since I know
nothing about computers.

Latch on to the first one you see – to start a romantic relationship with the first person
you meet
She seems to really need a boyfriend. Anytime she is single she will latch onto the first
guy that she meets.

Playing the field – dating more than one person at the same time. None of them are very
serious relationships.
He just got out of a long-term relationship so he’s just going to play the field for a while.

Falling for – falling in love with.
He can’t get her out of his mind. I guess he’s already fallen for her.

Any sign of attention – if someone shows interest in you in any way.
I bet she’ll date the first guy who gives her any sign of attention.

ESL Reading
                  A: Hello

                  B: Hey. Why haven’t you been picking up? I’ve been trying to reach
                  you for the past 3 hours. I guess you forgot our tennis match.

                  A: What time is it?

                  B: It’s already 9:30.

                  A: Really? I guess my 20-minute power nap turned into a good three
                  hours. I even slept through my alarm.

                  B: What were you so tired from?

                  A: I only got 2 hours sleep last night. I felt fine all day but I just
                  crashed as soon as I got in the door. Sorry about that. Let’s
                  reschedule for tomorrow.

                  B: Ok

Phrases and Vocabulary used:
Picking up: In this context, "picking up" refers to answering the telephone.
            I just called him but he didn’t pick up.

Reach: If you say you were trying to "reach" someone it means you were trying to
"contact" them. Reach is more common in casual spoken English. It’s a little less formal
than "contact".

Power nap: A power nap is a very short nap (sleep). Sometimes people don’t have a lot
of time to take a nap but they really need a quick nap. We call this a power nap.

Good three hours: A "good" three hours means "at least 3 hours".
                     How long is the flight from Toronto to L.A.? I think it’s a good
three and a half hours.
Slept through my alarm: If you don’t hear or don’t pay attention to your alarm clock
when it goes off, we call this sleeping "through" your alarm.

I only got 2 hours sleep last night: In spoken English, we often say, "I only got 4 hours
sleep", not "I only got 4 hours of sleep"

Crashed: In this context, "crashed" means fell asleep. Sometimes crashed can mean felt
really tired. I felt fine all morning in the office but crashed about an hour after lunch. I
almost fell asleep at my desk.

ESL Reading
                  A: Did you hear about Alex striking it rich in the market?

                  B: No. Who did you hear that from?

                  A: Alex.

                  B: Whatever. He always totally exaggerates! I’m not going to believe
                  it until I hear it from a more reliable source.

                  A: Yeah, he does totally exaggerate doesn’t he? The last time I
                  listened to him I lost 5 grand betting on a horse that came in dead last.

                  B: He is an entertaining guy though. It’s pretty fun getting on board
                  with his ideas.

Phrases and Vocabulary used:
striking it rich – to get a lot of money quickly for some reason. In this dialogue Alex
made a lot of money in the stock market. Ex. He struck it rich from winning the lottery.

reliable source – a trusted source of information It could be a person, a newspaper, or a
magazine that you trust. Ex. You should be careful where you get your information from
on the Internet. Many websites are reliable sources of information

5 grand - 5 thousand dollars

long shot – when a result is unlikely to happen

dead last – the very last to finish in some kind of a race or competition. Ex. Out of the
10 finalists, Steve came in dead last. This means that Steve finished 10th out of the total
of 10 people in the competition. He did the worst out of everyone.

on board – the agreement to do a plan with others. Ex. Ok guys. If we are going to
succeed with this new plan we’ve got to make sure everyone is on board.

pan out – If something “pans out” it means that the desired outcome happens. Of course,
if something doesn’t “pan out” it means it didn’t work. Ex. We all planned to go on a
trip last winter bur for some reason things didn’t pan out.

ESL Reading
                  A: Are you going to the Olympics in Beijing this summer?

                  B: No. I’m going to watch it on TVV in the comfort of my own living

                  A: You sound like an old man. It’s going to be great! This is China’s
                  chance to showcase itself to the world. They’ve been pumped about
                  this for the past 8 years.

                  B: Don’t get me wrong. I’m sure it will be great too. I’d just rather
                  watch it on TV because I’ll be able to see my favorite events more

                  A: What is your favorite event?

                  B: I like the decathlon. I think it shows best overall athlete.

Phrases and Vocabulary used:
Showcase - Display yourself to many people. Participating in the TV show “American
Idol” is a great opportunity for young singers to showcase their talent.

Pumped about this - If you are pumped about something it means you are very excited
about it. Ex. She’s really pumped about her new job.

Decathlon – one of the events in the summer Olympics. This event involves competing
with others at 10 different events. The person with the highest total score on the 10
events wins the decathlon. You don’t need to win all of the 10 events, but just have the
highest total score after the 10 events

100-meter dash – a running race that is 100 meters long. The race is considered to be a
sprint, which means you to try and run your fastest the whole time. The winner of this
event is considered to be the “world’s fastest man”.

Has a nice ring to it- this means that the title sounds good or impressive. Ex. I think the
job title of CEO for a major corporation has nice ring to it.
Publicity – Attention from the media. She’s a really great author but she doesn’t sell
many books because she doesn’t get much publicity. Very few people know of her.

Chic magnet – someone or something that is very attractive to girls. Ex. I don’t really
care about cars that much but I’m still going to buy a really cool one because I know it’s
going to be a huge chic magnet.

ESL Reading
                  A: I’m thinking of opening my own restaurant. I’ve always loved
                  going to restaurants so I think it would be fun to own one.

                  B: Every restaurant owner I’ve ever talked to said it’s a tougher job
                  than most people think. Long hours and thin margins. Because it
                  seems so easy and glamorous, it has become one of the most
                  competitive industries. A large % of restaurants go out of business
                  within the first 2 years.

                  A: I think I can beat the odds. I believe I can make the best
                  hamburgers in the city.

                  B: There’s a lot more to being successful than making good food. A
                  lot of restaurants with average food do well because of advertising and
                  the image they create. Consumers even realize that the food is only
                  average, yet they still go. It’s a weird phenomenon.

Phrases and Vocabulary used:
Thin margins - Here, “margin” refers to the difference between the cost to the restaurant
and the selling price. For example, if it costs you $10 dollars to buy something and you
sell it for $100, you have a huge margin. If you buy it for $10 and sell it for $10.50 you
have a very small or thin profit margin. A thin profit margin is a very small difference
between the cost and the price. Obviously businesses love when they can have huge
profit margins.

Glamorous - If something is glamorous, it means it is exciting, desirable, and
fashionable. We often think that movie stars have a very glamorous lifestyle.

Go out of business - If something “goes out of business” it means it closes down.
Businesses often go out of business when they lose money and can’t figure out a way to
change things.
His company went out of business mainly because the competition from large
corporations was too strong.

Beat the odds - If you “beat the odds” it means that you were able to accomplish
something that most people in your situation couldn’t. She had cancer and the doctors
told her she only had a 10% chance to survive. Her positive attitude and the love and
support from her family and friends helped her to beat the odds. She cured the disease
and is now leading a happy and healthy life.

There’s a lot more to - If you say, “there is a lot more to something” it means that this
“something” is a little more complicated than it first appears. There is a lot more to being
a model than standing in front of a camera trying to look pretty.

Phenomenon - a phenomenon is a fact that is fascinating and perhaps a little surprising.
That economist is trying to explain the phenomenon of coffee being more than double the
price in big cities.

ESL Reading
Our society preaches that wealth will make us happy. However, as the world becomes
richer in terms of material wealth, people are becoming more and more depressed.
Happiness, not material wealth should instead be considered to be the ultimate currency.
A Harvard professor discusses 4 personality types.

The rat racer - this person constantly makes sacrifices today in the quest for a better
future. He consistently delays gratification because he hopes to achieve some goal. Ex.
The person who spends his whole life trying to earn and save money, and then dies rich.

The hedonist - The hedonist lives for the moment. He seeks activities that will make
him happy now while disregarding the potential long-term consequences of his actions.
Ex. Eating junk food, Spending a lot of money, partying all the time, etc.

Nihilist - This is a person who does not enjoy the present and also expects an unhappy
future. This person does activities that are not enjoyable now and also are not beneficial
to his future. Ex. A person who watches TV all day, even when there is nothing
interesting on, while feeling depressed and hopeless.

Happy - The happy person enjoys doing the activities in his daily life. He chooses a
lifestyle that is both enjoyable in the present and beneficial in the long term.
Listening to podcasts everyday is a great way to make you happy. They
are both enjoyable to listen to and beneficial to your future.

Preaches - To preach means to try to convince someone of something in an almost
religious way. If someone is preaching their idea, they don’t want to hear anyone else’s
opinion. They just keep talking as if they are convinced they are 100% right.

Material wealth - Material wealth means money. You could say, "he earned a lot of
material wealth from his business success, but he isn’t happy because he has very little
free time to spend with his family.

Ultimate currency - Currency is usually thought of as money. The US dollar and the
Euro are two different types of currency. Currency is also something that has measurable
value. If we say that happiness should be the ultimate currency, it means we should use
how happy we are to measure how wealthy we are, instead of using money to measure

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