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Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Tag along



Tag along (used as a verb, adjective or noun)

Situation #1: Two friends

Kate: I'm so excited. I'm going to check out that new horror movie!
Chris: Really? I've been wanting to see that. Mind if I tag along?
Kate: Not at all! Let's go!

Explanation: "Tag along" means to go with someone. When used as a verb, it's usually asked in a question (as in the above example, or if Kate had asked "Would you like to tag along?"). However, when used as an adjective or noun, "tag along" (or sometimes "tagalong" or "tag-along") is usually more negative, suggesting that the person is following another in a constant and possibly annoying way, as seen in the next example:

Situation #2: Two friends
Brie: Have you seen Valerie?
Kim: No, why?
Brie: Well, I'm avoiding her. She is such a tagalong! She follows me everywhere, and it's getting annoying!
Kim:  She doesn't seem like she's that annoying.
Brie: She followed me into the bathroom earlier, even though she didn't have to go, and then she followed me to my class, even though her class was on the other side of the building! I don't need a tag-along friend!
Kim:  Uh...
Valerie:  Hey guys! What are you talking about?


Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Lit


Meaning: Fun or exciting

Dialogue #1: Karla and Trey are at a big house party in LA.
Trey: Hey, Karla! How's it going?
Karla: Oh, hi Trey. Great! How about you?
Trey: I'm good. Isn't this party lit?
Karla: Yes! I'm having so much fun!
Trey: Me, too. Tom's parties are always exciting.




Dialogue #2: Pam and Terry are talking about a new movie.
Pam: Have you seen the new James Bond movie?
Terry: Yes, I went last night. It was lit!!
Pam: Really? I haven't seen it yet, but I've heard it's awesome. I can't wait to go this weekend.



Explanation: The term lit has meant "drunk or intoxicated" for over a century. However, recently its meaning has changed to "exciting," as well as "excellent" or "awesome." In the first dialogue, Karla and Trey are talking about the party as being lit or really exciting. In dialogue #2, Terry tells Pam that the new James Bond movie is lit or awesome.


 

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

To hit the nail on the head



Context #1
Jill: I like John, but there is something a little strange about him.
Jane: Yeah, he always wears the same shirt.
Jill: You know what? That's it! You hit the nail on the head!

Context #2
Tom: People in Southern California drive so dangerously on the freeway. I wonder why?
Joe: Well, people could avoid a lot of accidents if they just used their turn signals when changing lanes.
Tom: Exactly! You hit the nail on the head!

Meaning: "to hit the nail on the head" is used when someone has an opinion or an idea and it is exactly right.


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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

"To get something/someone out of someone's head"

Meaning: to stop thinking about something or someone


Example 1
Hey Lina, I love that song you played for me yesterday! What is it called?
I can't get it out of my head! I really want to add it to my playlist!
Let me know as soon as you get this text! This is driving me crazy!



Example 2 
John, I had a great time with you last week at the party. I know we are friends, but... I think about you all the time.
I think I am falling in love with you. I can't get you out of my head. Do you feel the same way?
I am so embarrassed to ask, but I need to know. ?? xoxo, Anne.


Notice that in both text messages Anne is having a hard time not thinking about something or someone.
In the first example, she is asking her friend to let her know the name of A SONG she can't GET OUT OF HER HEAD! She can't stop playing the song in her head.
In the second example, she is letting her friend know she can't stop thinking about him... She can't GET HIM OUT OF HER HEAD because she is probably in love with him! 



Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Selfigenic



Jay:  How was your trip?  Did you take any pictures?
Mina:  It was great, but the photos weren’t that great.  I’m just not selfigenic.
Jay:  How can you fail at that?  I mean, it’s not that difficult because you can actually see yourself on the screen.
Mina:  I don’t know.  I’m just not good at any photos.  Even if I can see myself, it’s difficult not to look awkward.
 
Selfigenic means to have a good appearance in a selfie.  

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Patch (Things) Up (used as a verb)


Situation 1:
“Tom and Jerry used to be best friends when they were little.  Unfortunately, when they became older, they both got into a disagreement with one another because they liked the same girl.  Eventually, they patched things up and decided that their continued friendship was more important.”

Situation 2:
Susan:  “I thought Tom and Jerry hated each other.  Usually I see them arguing with one another despite having been childhood friends.  Today, they seem to be enjoying each other’s company.”

Peter:    “They fought over a girl awhile back, but apparently, they patched up their differences and became best friends again.”
 
Meaning:
To patch things up means to deal, repair, or reconcile one’s differences.  This is typically treated as a phrasal verb and used to communicate the resolution of a disagreement or conflict.  Both of the situations above communicated how Tom and Jerry resolved their differences and became friends again.  In situation 2, the alternative form of patch up (their) differences is also commonly used to express the same idea.



 

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Lightweight

Lightweight (used as an adjective)

Situation #1: Two friends
Brant: Do you want another cocktail?
Jean: Nah, I'm ok. I'm a total lightweight.
Brant: But you've only had one?
Jean: I know, but if I have another drink, I won't be able to walk out of here.

Explanation: "Lightweight" has a number of meanings. Most commonly, it's used for a category of boxers who don't weigh very much. It can also be used to describe a material, such as in a lightweight jacket. Informally, it can also be used to describe someone who can't "hold their liquor," another idiom for a person who gets drunk very easily.



Situation #2: Two coworkers
Sharon: Hey, Brian. How was the office Christmas party?
Brian: Oh, you should have been there! It turns out, Karen is a lightweight.
Sharon: Really? What happened?
Brian: She got completely wasted and started dancing on the table! I think she was going to start stripping for the boss before someone got her down.
Sharon: You're right; I wish I hadn't stayed home. That sounds hilarious!


 

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

To Bounce

To Bounce: To leave; to depart

Situation #1: Two friends are at a party
Sam: This party is so boring!
Rachel: Yes, I know. I guess the speakers are broken, so they can't play any music. Everyone is just sitting around looking at each other.
Sam: Well, if we can't dance or talk to anyone, let's bounce!
Rachel: OK. That sounds good. I want to find something fun to do!
 
Situation #2: Two people are having a date at a restaurant
Kim: This is such a beautiful restaurant, and the food is delicious!
Calvin: I also love the view of the beach. I could just sit here all night.
Kim: Me, too.
Calvin: I think we are the last two people in the restaurant, and they are closing.
Kim: That's too bad. I guess we had better bounce before they kick us out.

Meaning:
In situation 1, the two friends are really bored at a party, so they decide to leave or bounce. In situation 2, the restaurant is closing so the couple has to leave. The word "bounce" can be used in many different ways, but a lot of people use it as a slang term to say they want to leave a place. 





Tuesday, June 26, 2018

To have a blast

To have a blast: To have a great time



Postcard from Soyoun, who is studying English in LA, and her friend Maria, who is from Spain.
Hey Maria,
How is everything in Spain? We miss you! This week is our vacation and I am joining some of our classmates on a day trip to Santa Barbara. There are some new students from Japan, Brazil, and Saudi Arabia! They are all very nice :-) Yesterday we went to Disneyland and we had a blast! It was my first time there and I can't believe how much fun it was! Please come to visit us soon! Love from LA!
Soyoun


Two friends talking after vacation

Jim: Hi, Kate. Where did you go on vacation?
Kate: We went hiking at Big Bear. It was so beautiful.

Jim: Wow. Do you like hiking in the summer?
Kate: Of course! We had a blast! We got to exercise and see some amazing views!

Meaning: To have a blast means to have a really good time doing something. In the postcard, Soyoun describes a trip to Disneyland where she had a lot of fun. In the conversation, Kate tells Jim that she had a blast, or had a lot of fun, hiking at Big Bear mountain.


Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Straight Fire


Pete: Yo Josey, did you watch last night’s World Cup match?
Josey: No why? Did something great happen?
Pete: Dude, Neymar scored a goal from sixty meters. That kid is straight fire.
Josey: If he keeps playing like that, he’ll never stop being popular.

Jessica: OMG! The new eating adventure show is straight fire; I can’t stop watching it.
Barry: It’s so true! My parents and I watch it every night. It’s so addicting.
Jessica: Let’s hope it continues with such great content.
Barry: Yes, let’s hope it keeps trending.

Straight fire is used as an adjective to describe someone/something that is currently trending, or super popular. People use it in a positive context to denote admiration of a specific characteristic or skill.


Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Chat Abbreviations

In today’s world of instant chatting technology, there are literally thousands of instant messaging apps out there!  From Whatsapp, WeChat, Line, and Facebook’s Instant Messenger, the English language itself has evolved into a more tech-friendly language.  Welcome to the world of chat abbreviations

Chat abbreviations are basically short-hand abbreviations for commonly used words and phrases.  Rather than typing the entire word, people often use these shortenings when they text each other.  Below is a list of some of the most common chat abbreviations and acronyms.  These are just a few that you might encounter and are also extremely easy to use!  Happy texting!
            
QT        “Cutie” 
BFF       “Best friend forever”
LOL       “Laugh out loud”                
BRB       “Be right back”
GR8       “Great”                        
BRT       “Be right there”
IMU       “I miss you”                    
CUS       “See you soon”
CU         “See you”                   
XOXO    “Hugs and kisses”
F2F       “Face to face”                    
IDK       “I don’t know”
WYWH  “Wish you were here”               
IRL       “In real life”
TIX       “Tickets”                    
IDC       “I don’t care”
JK         “Just kidding”                    
L8R       “Later”
UR        “You are / You’re”               
OIC       “Oh, I see”

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Sketchy


Sketchy (adjective): someone or something that seems strange, bad or potentially dangerous

Situation #1: A mother and son
Mom: Have you talked to your dad today?
Son: No. Why?
Mom: Well, he's acting kind of strange. Like, he's been really secretive about where he's going.
Son: Don't worry, Mom. He's not doing anything sketchy.
Mom: How do you know?
Son: Well, I don't want to ruin the surprise, but you know what Friday is.
Mom: Hmm... Oh, it's our anniversary. Is he planning something?
Son: I can't tell you!
                                                                                                               
Explanation: While the word "sketch" means to draw, "sketchy" means someone or something seems strange, bad or potentially dangerous. In this first example, the mother is concerned that her husband is acting strangely, but her son assures her that he's not doing anything sketchy, or potentially inappropriate, by suggesting that he is planning something for their anniversary.


Situation #2: Two friends

Val: Are you going to the party at Tom's?
Frances: Probably not.                                                     
Val: Why not?
Frances: He lives in a sketchy neighborhood. Last time I left his place to go home, I thought I was going to get robbed.
Val: Then come with me. We'll be safer if we're together.                                

Explanation:  In this example, Frances calls the neighborhood "sketchy," which means she thinks it might be dangerous.


The bridge photographed by Maria Ly looks pretty sketchy. Would you cross it?

https://languagesystems.edu

Monday, May 28, 2018

Throw Shade (on/at someone)

To throw shade on/at someone - to publicly show disapproval, disrespect, or dislike for someone but often in an indirect way


Context 1: Two friends are talking about Hollywood actresses
Kendall: Did you hear what Reese Witherspoon said when she accepted her award last night? She totally threw shade at Kim Kardashian.
Dina: No, what did she say?
Kendall: She said that it is possible to make it in Hollywood without doing a reality show, and if you ever made a sex tape, you should be embarrassed about it!
Dina: Woah!
Kendall: Yes, and of course everyone knew who she was talking about.
Dina: I think actresses like to throw shade at each other!

Context 2: Two people watching a talk show on TV
Chris: Wow! That little 5-year old is throwing shade at the President of the United States!
James: Oh, I wasn't watching. What happened?
Chris: Well, this kid knows everything about geography and can recognize any country's shape or flag, even the smallest country far away.
James: OK. But what does that have to do with the president?
Chris: The kid was drawing a bunch of different countries and when it came to Russia, he drew a picture of the president on it!
James: Woah. Even a 5-year old is aware of all the drama in the white house, but his parents probably helped him throw shade at the president!

To see the original video, click the link below:

5 year-old geography expert throws shade at President Trump


https://languagesystems.edu




Tuesday, May 22, 2018

To be (all) set



Context #1

Tom: "We have a big exam today.  Are you ready for it?"
Sam: "Yeah, I studied all night.  I'm all set."

Context #2
Kathy (on the phone): "Hey Jane, I'm on my way and I'll be there in about 10 minutes to pick you up.
Jane: "No problem.  I'm all set and ready to go."

Meaning: "to be (all) set" is an American idiom that is used to express the meaning of being ready and prepared for something.






Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Bae




Example 1: Two friends discussing weekend plans
Barry: What are you doing this weekend?
Iris: I’m going out with (my) bae to the beach.
Barry: Oh, I didn’t know you were in a relationship.
Iris: My bae is all I think about.

Example 2:
Nusret: I’m going to start a steak house
Henry:  Why? What’s so special about the meat you will sell compared to others?
Nusret:  I will only buy the best, most expensive meat, and perform for my clients by pouring salt in a fun way.
Henry:  Is it a gimmick?
Nusret:  No, it’s entertainment.  I’ll film the videos and attract people to come.  No one has ever done it.  I’ll be the first, before anyone else.  I will call myself “Salt Bae.”

Explanation: 

Bae is an acronym for “Before Anyone Else.”  It’s more typically used to describe someone’s significant other (Example 1).  However, many people think it means baby or babe, but that’s incorrect.  It means to do something first that no one else has.  

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

To twist someone’s arm



Example 1: Two friends discussing evening plans
Lana: What should we do tonight?
Betty: Let’s just stay home. I don’t want to get dressed up to go out.
Lana: That sounds so boring! Let’s go to the new club that everyone at school is talking about.
Betty: I don’t know… I’m already sleepy and if we go out, we’ll be out pretty late.
Lana: Come on! It’ll be so fun! Since it’s spring break, I bet there will be lots of cute guys there from out of town! You know you want to!
Betty: OK, OK! You’ve twisted my arm. Let’s start getting ready. What should I wear….?

Example 2: Boyfriend and Girlfriend discussing weekend plans
GF: So… my cousin is having a party on Saturday. It should be really fun. It would also be a good chance to meet some of my family.
BF: Oh, really? Hmm, I’m not sure if I have to work this weekend or not.
GF: But you never have to work on Saturday nights. This week is different?
BF: Uh, yeah. I think so. I have to check my schedule.
GF: You know what I think? I think you’re lying to me about having to work; you’re just not interested in meeting my family. I don’t want to have to twist your arm if you don’t want to go. I want you to come with me only if you really want to. Just tell me the truth and I’ll try to understand. Lying isn’t going to help our relationship, you know.
BF: I’m sorry, you’re right. I’m really nervous to meet your family. Please just give me more time.
GF: Okay, that’s all you have to say!


Explanation:
To twist someone’s arm means to work to convince someone to do something they might not want to do. Sometimes it’s used similarly to force. Please note: people are not actually twisting someone’s arm physically!

In example 1, the friends are discussing their plans. Betty doesn’t really want to go out, but Lena convinces her by reminding her that she can meet cute guys at the club.

In example 2, the girlfriend is almost angry in feeling that she has to force her boyfriend to go to a family party with her.

Some more example sentences:
You’ll have to twist my arm to see that movie! I really don’t like the actress.
Johnny didn’t want to come to the baby shower. I had to twist his arm.
Let’s get some ice cream! … Great idea! You don’t have to twist my arm!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

suck at

suck at: bad at doing something

Situation #1: Two coworkers

Bill: Can you help me with this spreadsheet? I can't figure out the right formula
Linda: Probably not. I suck at Excel.
Bill: Could you take a look at it?
Linda: Sure... Yeah, I don't know what I'm looking at. Have you asked Karla? She's great at Excel.
Bill: No. I'll ask her. Thanks.

Explanation: Bill was having trouble with a formula in Excel and asked for Linda's help, but she said that she sucks at Excel, which means she is not good in that software.



Situation #2: A group of friends is playing basketball and another one joins.
Todd: Hey, Greg! Come join us!
Greg: No, that's ok. I'll just watch.
Brian: No! Join us! Todd's team has one more player than us, so you will make us even.
Greg: You don't want me on your team. I suck at basketball.
Brian: You couldn't make us any worse! We're already down by 10 points.
Greg: Ok.
Todd: Great! Now Brian can't keep saying that he's losing because of uneven numbers!


Explanation: Todd and Brian are playing basketball (on different teams), and they both ask Greg to join them. Greg says that he sucks at basketball, but Brian convinces him by pointing out that his team is one player short, and that his team is already losing anyway. 


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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Salty

Salty: Upset, annoyed or angry

Situation #1: Two friends are talking after school

Janette: Hi, Anne. How are you doing?
Anne: Who wants to know?
Janette: I'm just asking how you are.
Anne: So what?
Janette: Hey, don't get salty with me just because you are having a bad day! I didn't do anything.
Anne: I guess you're right. Sorry. Mondays suck.

Explanation: Janette was having a bad day and was acting angry and being rude to her friend. Her friend told Janette not to "get salty" or "be angry/rude" with her because she didn't do anything to cause Janette's anger. 

Situation #2: Two co-workers talking about their boss after work
Bill: I can't believe I made it through the day!
Sandi: I know! Fred was so salty today. I couldn't even look at him.
Bill: What was his problem anyway?
Sandi: Well, I heard that he thinks everyone is being lazy at work and not putting in the amount of time he expects.
Bill: That may be true for a few people, but not everyone. I certainly put in a lot of time and often work late.
Sandi: Me, too. But I don't think he sees us working hard. He only sees the lazy people. That's why he is always salty at work.

Explanation: Fred, the boss, is salty because he thinks everyone at work is lazy. This means he is irritated and angry with his employees.




Tuesday, April 10, 2018

To be blown away



Example 1:
Terry: I just got back from vacation and I had a wonderful time!

Sandy: Oh, really? Where did you go?

Terry: I went to Montego Bay in Jamaica. It was absolutely amazing! There was so much to do and the beautiful sunsets on the beach just blew me away! I really didn’t want to come back to work!

Sandy: Wow! That sounds great. I bet it was hard to come back home!

Example 2:
Ken: I just watched a news report last night on how poverty is so widespread in countries around the world. What is even worse is that people in those countries have a difficult time doing anything about their lives. Also, it is very hard to get clean food, water, and medical supplies to the ones who need them. 

Joe: It blows me away how difficult life can be for so many people around the world. We should feel lucky to live in a place where we don’t have to worry about getting clean food and water every day.

Meaning:
The expression to be blown away is used to express surprise or shock at something that has happened. It can be used in both negative and positive situations. 

In the first example, Terry just came back from an amazing vacation. The beauty of the place he visited surprised him in a very positive way. 

In the second example, Ken and Joe are talking about poverty in the world and how hard it is for some people to survive. Joe is shocked in a negative way about this fact.

This idiom can be found in the LSI textbook Speaking Transitions. This book is used at LSI schools in the level 4 Listening/Speaking classes.



Tuesday, February 27, 2018

To look after

Idiom: to look after (something/someone); used as a verb.

First Example: Herb was going on vacation, but he was worried about his cat, so he asked Cindy to take care of it. She agreed, and she looked after his cat while Herb was out of town.

Meaning: "to look after (something)" means to take care of something, often something that isn't yours. In this example, Cindy is taking taking care of Herb's cat while he's out of town. This idiom can apply to any situation where someone takes care of something else, but it's usually used for people and things that can't take care of themselves or are likely to get into trouble (such as an animal, a child or an elderly person). It's used in the simple past tense in this example to explain that she isn't caring for the cat anymore.
Here is another example:

Second Example: Both of Billy's parents work, and they don't get home until after 6:00 pm. Billy is old enough to be alone, but his little sister, Melody, isn't, so Billy looks after Melody until his parents get home.

Meaning: In this case, Billy is looking after his little sister, who is too young to take care of herself and might get into trouble if left alone. This idiom can be used for short-term care (such as the first example, which only happened for a few days/weeks) or long-term care (such as this example, which happens every school day). In this example, it's used in the simple present tense to clarify that Billy regularly does this.
This idiom is from LSI's book "Speaking Transitions," which is used in the Level 4 Listening/Speaking classes.