Category Archives: Slang

Lost in Translation Infographic: British and French Sayings

Interesting infographic comparing British sayings with their French counterparts.

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Funny Business: Using Dilbert to Learn Business Idioms

Dilbert is a popular American comic strip by cartoonist Scott Adams, which began running in 1989. Its satirical treatment of mundane, white-collar office life often plays on common business language. Reading this strip can be a great way to understand English business idioms and other business-related vocab.

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Dave’s ESL Cafe: Bring and Take

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Confusing Words:
Bring and Take

The very common verbs bring and take are sometimes
troublesome for learners of English. One reason this happens
is because bring and take have almost identical meanings
but are used for different “directions” in English: bring
shows movement toward the speaker, but take shows
movement away from the speaker… Read more on Dave’s ESL Cafe

 

Idioms: Beat around the Bush

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Beat around the Bush: To avoid a topic of conversation or to not speak directly about the issue.

Henry beat around the bush, but he never asked his boss for a raise directly.

From Yahoo Voices: “The phrase beat around the bush is derived from early hunting techniques in which unarmed men would walk around the forest beating tree branches and making noise, so as to flush the game from the bush. This allowed the hunters to avoid directly approaching the animals.”

Idioms: At the Drop of a Hat

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At the Drop of a Hat: Willing to act immediately

John told Nancy that if she ever felt ill again, he would be be by her side at the drop of a hat. 

From James Rogers’ Dictionary of Cliches: “In the 19th century it was occasionally the practice in the United States to signal the start of a fight or a race by dropping a hat or sweeping it downward while holding it in the hand. The quick response to the signal found its way into the language for any action that begins quickly without much need for prompting.”

English Slang: Uses of “like” and Synonyms of “say”

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Synonyms for say/said

He’s like, “What’s your problem?”

He was like…

 

He’s all, “What’s your problem?”

He was all…

 

He goes, “What’s your problem?”

He went…

 

 

 

The meanings of “like”

In addition to the verb (enjoy) and preposition (similar) meanings, like has several uses in American English.  These meanings are only used in informal spoken English and most often by younger people.  You should never use these meanings in formal writing.

1) narration: She was like, “I hate you!”  And he was like, “I hate you more!”

2) for example/such as: “When you can’t come to work, like if you’re sick or your car won’t start, just call me.”

3) general intensifier/filler: “Like, I don’t know!”  “Like, can we leave now?”

4) about/almost/nearly: “There are like 25 people in the class.”  “That movie is like 3 hours long.”

 

Informal to formal English

 

Change the following phrases from informal English to formal English:

She was like, “I don’t care!” =                                                                            

How ya doin? =                                                                                         

There are like 100 people here! =                                                              

Lemme know soon. =                                                                                

I’m gonna leave now. =                                                                              

 

Rewrite the following reduced forms into formal English:

wanna =                                                                        

gotta =                                                                          

doncha =                                                                       

woulda =                                                                       

hafta =                                                                          

 

Rewrite the following sentences, deleting the fillers in speech:                     

Hi, um, my name is Mike. I’m from Michigan, you know, the state that looks like a mitten. Uh, I’m 20 years old and yeah, I like to play soccer and hockey. I mean, I love all sports but soccer is my favorite.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

 

From Free ESL

Interview Your Partner: Free ESL Lesson

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Interview Your Partner

 Unscramble words to form questions to ask your partner, then write a paragraph about him/her. Also includes space to review countries & nationalities.

Create questions to ask your partner:

 

1. is / what / name / your ?                                                                                                                 

 

Partner’s Response:                                                                                                                            

 

2. old / you / are / how ?                                                                                                                    

 

Partner’s Response:                                                                                                                            

 

3. do / live / you / where ?                                                                                                                  

 

Partner’s Response:                                                                                                                            

 

4. from / where / are / you ?                                                                                                               

 

Partner’s Response:                                                                                                                            

 

5. brothers / sisters / got / or / you / have ?                                                                                         

 

Partner’s Response:                                                                                                                            

 

6. any / have / got / pets / you ?                                                                                                         

 

Partner’s Response:                                                                                                                            

 

7. speak / languages / how / many / you / do ?                                                                                   

 

Partner’s Response:                                                                                                                            

 

8. sports / play / you / do / any ?                                                                                                        

 

Partner’s Response:                                                                                                                            

 

9. to / do / what / like / you / do ?                                                                                                      

 

Partner’s Response:                                                                                                                            

 

10. jobs / parents’ / your / are / what ?                                                                                                

 

Partner’s Response:                                                                                                                            

 

11. who / singer / favorite / your / is ?                                                                                                

 

Partner’s Response:                                                                                                                            

 

12. is / favorite / your / film / what ?                                                                                                  

 

Partner’s Response:                                                                                                                            

 

Using your partners’ responses, write a complete paragraph about your partner. Use the correct pronouns (do NOT use I, my, you or your!)  Then read the paragraph to the class.

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

 

Countries & Nationalities

Where are you from? I am from [country]. = What is your nationality? I am [adjective].

I am from the United States of America. = I am American.

 

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