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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

10 Uses of "Hot"

In honor of the weather in Los Angeles this week, here are ten different ways Americans use the word "hot."

1. at a very high temperature; capable of burning

Wife: Be careful near the stove! It's hot. I just cooked something.
Husband: Thanks for the warning! I wouldn't want to burn myself.

2. at a temperature higher than normal

Mom: Your forehead is so hot!
Son: Does that mean I don't have to go to school?
Mom: With a fever like that, you have to go back to bed.

3. spicy

Mina: I love Thai food. I'm going to order "drunken noodles" very hot.
Tim: I can't eat anything too spicy. Can we order it medium?

4. intense emotion

Robert: Wow! Did you see Tina yell at that guy in the parking lot?
Michelle: Yeah! I didn't realize she had such a hot temper.

5. popular

Ingrid: Did you get Beyoncé tickets?
Todd: I couldn't. She's so hot right now, they sold out instantly.

6. causing a lot of new interest

George: How was Coachella?
Kimberly: It was amazing. And I saw the hottest band early Saturday afternoon. Everyone was talking about their performance the rest of the day. I think they're going to be huge in a couple years.

7. stolen

Jason: So Steve just called me from jail. He got arrested.
Karen: Really? What happened?
Jason: He was with a friend who was driving a hot car.
Karen: Did Steve know it was stolen?
Jason: I don't think so. Want to go with me to bail him out of jail?

8. attractive

Karla: Your trainer is so hot! He's gorgeous!
Hailey: Why do you think I've been coming to the gym so much lately?

9. attracted to

Hailey: Remember my trainer?
Karla: The gorgeous one? How could I forget?
Hailey: Turns out, he's hot for me too. We're going on a date tonight.
Karla: I'm so jealous! Have fun!

10. very good (often used with "not" in a negative way)

Nicole: How are you feeling?
Eric: Not so hot. I think I'm going to take today off work and go to the doctor.

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Thursday, June 15, 2017

On the Spur of the Moment

On the spur of the moment: to do something suddenly or without planning     

Context #1 

Two students talking after class

Vinnie: Hey, Megan. How was your weekend?

Megan: It was fantastic! We spent the weekend hanging out at Huntington Beach. It was so relaxing.

Vinnie: Wow, I didn't know that you had planned a weekend at the beach.

Megan: I didn't plan it at all. My roommate just decided to go there on the spur of the moment and asked me to come along. It took very little to persuade me!

Context #2 

Two friends are talking in a coffee shop

Sam:  Hey, Pete. I saw you yesterday with Francesca at that new restaurant on Wilshire Blvd. How did you get a date with her? She is beautiful and smart!

Pete:  Well, I still can't believe we went out. I'm always so nervous around her. On Friday, I just happened to see her after class and asked her out to dinner on the spur of the moment. 

Sam: And she said "yes" right away?

Pete: She didn't even hesitate! I'm so glad I took the chance and asked her out because she is a really nice person. I want to ask her out again, but next time I'll plan it.

Meaning: “On the spur of the moment” means to do something suddenly or without a plan. In Context 1, Megan and her roommate decided to spend the weekend at the beach without any previous planning, or on the spur of the moment. In Context 2, Pete had not planned to ask Francesca out, but he did it on the spur of the moment and she said "yes."

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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

On a Shoestring

Idiom: On a Shoestring – with a very small amount of money    

Context #1 

Two student talking after class

Vickey: Hey, Mac. Do you know if that part-time position at the bookstore on campus is still available?

Mac: I’m not sure. Don’t you already work part-time at a restaurant and you are a full-time student?

Vickey: Yes, but I’ve been living on a shoestring for the past year and I really need to make more money in order to pay the rent.

Mac: I know how you feel. I lived on a shoestring all through college. When I finally graduated and found a high-paying job, it was such a relief. Let’s walk over to the bookstore now and check on that part-time job.

Context #2 

Two friends are talking about the restaurant where they work

Sierra:  Wow, it has been so slow the past few months. The boss cut my hours again this week. Now, I’m only working 3 hours a day during the evening shift.

Peter:  Yes, me too. I guess they are running this restaurant on a shoestring until the business gets better. They even cut down on the number of items on the menu in order to save money.

Sierra: Well, I hope it gets better soon. At this rate, I’ll need to find another part-time job.

Meaning: “On a shoestring” means to do something, like run a business or manage one’s budget, with very little money.  In context #1, Vickey is looking for another part-time job because she is living on a shoestring budget and needs to make more money to pay rent. In context #2, Sierra and Peter are working at a restaurant that must run on very little money since business is down. 

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Thursday, June 8, 2017

On one's own

Example #1

Natasha: Hey, Jackie! Thank you so much for sending me the e-mail regarding the next Summer trip! I wish I could join you guys, but I am actually going on a trip.

Jackie: Oh, no! That's a bummer! Sorry, you will not join us. Well, where are you going?

Natasha: I am going to Denmark.

Jackie: WOW! That sounds great! Who are you going with?

Natasha: Nobody! 

Jackie: Wait... Nobody? What do you mean?

Natasha: I am going on my own! Just me! 

Jackie: Are you sure you want to go on your own? Isn't that dangerous?

Natasha: No! I love traveling on my own! Don't worry. Next time you guys plan a trip, I will join you. Thank you again!

Jackie: You are welcome! If you change your mind, let me know!

Example #2

Hi Katherine,

I am so glad to hear you are coming to Los Angeles! You asked me on your e-mail if you could stay with me. Of course, you can stay with me!
I live in a studio on my own. It's small, but you can sleep on the air mattress if you don't mind.
It will be so much fun to have you here! I have a business trip from 07/10 to 07/13, so I am sorry you will be on your own those days.
When I get back, we can go on a day trip to San Diego if you want!

Can't wait to see you!



On one's own MEANING: by oneself, alone, unaccompanied

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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Get cold feet

Context #1

Alicia: When are we going to get a new car?

Brian: I don't know. We can't afford it now that you've stopped work.
Alicia: Did you talk to your boss today?
Brian: Yes.
Alicia: Did you ask him for a promotion? 
Brian: Well...
Alicia: Oh, Brian, you promised!
Brian: I didn't promise...
Alicia: Yes, you did. You were going to tell him you'd leave if he didn't give you a pay raise.
Brian: Well that wouldn't do much good, would it? If I ended up losing my job we'd have no money, at all.
Alicia: Oh, come on, stop making excuses. You didn't say anything because you got cold feet again. No courage, that's your trouble.

Context #2

Jessica: How are you feeling about the wedding?
 I am starting to get nervous. This is such a big change.
Jessica: Everyone gets cold feet before marriage. They important thing to remember is that you love him.
Paula: That’s true. I do love him. Thank you for the encouragement.

Meaning: In the context 1, he was going to ask for a pay rise, but he got scared. In the context 2, Paula was afraid to compromise herself in the marriage. 

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Thursday, June 1, 2017

In vain

Context #1: 

Mike: Have you heard from Richard? It's been a while since I've talked to him.

Bryan: No, I can't get a hold of him. I've even tried getting in touch with his mother. She's also tried in vain for the last 2 days. I hope he's OK.

Mike: That's really weird, but I'm sure he's fine. Let me know if you hear anything.

Bryan: For sure

Context #2

Tom: Hey, Stan! How are you? Wow! What happened to your leg?!

Stan: Hey, Tom. I had a bike accident and broke my ankle. It happened about 2 weeks ago. I have to stay off of it for at least another month. 

Tom: Oh what a bummer! So that means you won't be running the marathon next week then. That's terrible. You've been training for months!

Stan: I know. The last 6 months of training were all in vain! The only good thing about this is that I'm finally forced to relax and rest. I'll get back on the road once it heals.


In vain is used when something is done without success; it's almost considered a waste of time/effort. 

In example 1, Richard's mother tried without success to get in touch with him.  
In example 2, Stan's training was wasted because of his injury.

This expression can be used with a verb: verb + in vain
She tried in vain to call Richard.

This expression can be used with nouns: noun + be + in vain
All of Stan's training was in vain.

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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The icing on the cake

Context #1

Dear Diary,

I just started at my new school and I'm very excited! All of my teachers are excellent, the school is in a wonderful location, my schedule is great, AND one of my classmates is really cute. The classes are pretty small, too, so I know I'll be partnering with him on projects and exercises. I know I'm here to study so I won't let him distract me from that. He's just the icing on the cake! Can't wait for school tomorrow!

Context #2

Lena: How's your new job, Sandra?

Sandra: I love it! It's a great company.

Lena: Is the pay good? Are you making more than at your last job?

Sandra: Oh, yes! Much more! But that's just the icing on the cake. We're given tons of perks like fully-covered health insurance, an office gym, and a free healthy lunch catered on site every Friday. There are also lots of opportunities to move up as the company grows into other markets. I'm really excited about it!

Lena: Wow! That sounds amazing. Are they still hiring?

Explanation: The icing on the cake is used to talk about an additional, but non-essential, part of something that is already quite good. It makes a good thing even better.

In Example 1, the student is writing in her diary about her new school. Her new school is good in many ways AND there's a cute boy in her class. The cute boy is not necessary but makes a good thing even better. 

In Example 2, Sandra has a great new job. There are many perks and opportunities for growth which makes the job great. She says the great pay is an extra thing to make the job better.

use the BE verb with this expression

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Thursday, May 25, 2017

In a daze

Context #1

Jim: Yesterday when we were playing soccer, Mary and I both went to head the ball and we collided.
Sam: Are you ok?
Jim: I was in a daze for a few minutes, but after that I was ok.

Context #2

Bethany: I heard Christine is totally in love with this guy she met at the gym.
Sally: Yeah, I know. She has been walking around in a daze since they met.

Meaning: "in a daze" means to feel a little confused, or not able to concentrate or think clearly.

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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

A trip

Context #1

Tom: Remember our high school P.E. teacher Mrs. Stevens?
Chris: Yeah, of course.
Tom: Well I ran into her at the store yesterday. It's been like 20 years.
Chris: Wow! That must have been a trip!

Context #2

Sara: Did you see that new Matrix movie?
Jane: Yeah, but it was a little strange.
Sara: I know. That movie is a trip.

Meaning: "a trip" is a noun that is used as a kind of slang word to mean something that is strange, unbelievable, or really fascinating. The adjective is "trippy." It is used more by guys than girls. 

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Thursday, May 18, 2017

From time to time

Context #1

 Do you like watching action movies?  I think they’re the best.

 Sure, from time to time. 

 Like how often?

Leo: maybe once every three or four days.  Not too often.

Context #2

Bob: From time to time I remember when we first met. 

Shannon: That’s so sweet of you to say.  I didn’t think you thought about that at all.

Bob: Yes, occasionally I’ll have a memory that brings me back to the moment I ran into you while crossing the street with your friend.

Shannon: Well, from time to time I remember when you asked me out ten minutes later after we crossed the street.

Bob: I guess we both like thinking about the beginning of our relationship.

Meaning: Irregularly; now and then; occasionally; sometimes; not predictably.

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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Be second to none

Context #1

 Today was such a good soccer game. I didn’t think I would score so many goals.

Duh, everyone knows you’re second to none. You’re the best player in the league. 

 I didn’t really think about it that way. I’m glad people can see how hard I train.

Jay: Bro, you’re the best. Like I said, you’re second to none

Context #2

Dwayne: This restaurant is so delicious. It’s not even that expensive. 

Alexis: Yes! This place is second to none, even though it’s a small local joint.

Dwayne: I guess people never think small community restaurants like these can be world class.

Alexis: Well, most restaurants start somewhere right? 

Dwayne: Yeah. And your knowledge of finding good restaurants like these is definitely second to none.

Meaning: Second to none means literally: there is no one to whom this person would be second. Example: It is the best. It can be applied to objects, too.

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Thursday, May 11, 2017

For a living

Context #1

Peter: Did you see the new blue house at the corner?

Ana: Yes, I loved the colors. Who painted that?

Peter: It was John's art! He paints houses for a living.

Ana: Oh, nice to hear that! I wish I had such talent! 

Context #2

Brianna: Can I ask you something, Mel? 

Melanie: Of course you can! 

Brianna: That's fine! What do you do for a living?

Melanie: I work at the market on Fridays, Bri! I told you! 

Brianna: Oh, my God! I thought you were a veterinarian!

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