Friday, August 29, 2014

Have a wonderful Labor Day weekend!

Where's the road (or the tracks) taking you this Labor Day weekend?

The long Labor Day weekend is here once again! Do you have anything exciting planned with friends and family? You've probably heard that Labor Day in the U.S. is the unofficial end of summer, and people usually think of going away somewhere or doing something outdoors before the weather starts cooling down. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Bears bear their bear cubs in the winter.

You've probably noticed by now that some words in English take on different meanings depending on context. The word BEAR is a good example. Most students know the animal. There are grizzly bears and brown bears and polar bears, and apparently, on this wallpaper from a local burger joint, dancing bears! :-)

Another common meaning of BEAR is to carry or endure something heavy or difficult. In this context, you usually BEAR a burden or a heavy load, which often refers to a problem. You can also BEAR someone's attacks. For example, politicians often have to BEAR frequent attacks and scrutiny from the public or the media.
  • SCRUTINY - examination
We also use the word BEAR when we talk about someone giving birth, though this usage is a bit formal: She BORE a son when she was in her 20s and a daughter when she was in her 30s. That's right; the past tense of BARE is BORE.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Rare, Medium, or Well-done?

When you order a burger at a fast-food joint, they're not going to ask how you'd like your meat cooked--ain't gonna happen. You may be able to request that they hold the onions or even ask for extra pickles, but that's about it. You get the meat as is.
  • fast-food joint - fast-food restaurant; establisment
  • ain't gonna - isn't going to (informal & technically wrong)
  • hold the onions - don't include onions

On the other hand, if you go to some burger joints--and there are more and more of these popping up around town--they'll probably ask you how you want your burger cooked.
  • popping up - appearing

So how do you like your meat cooked? The choices are the same as when you order steak: rare, medium, or well done. You ask for rare if you like your meat bloody and still cold in the center with only the outer parts seared and hot. Medium means your meat is mostly pink but warm throughout. Well-done, of course, is when the meat is completely cooked with no signs of blood. Some customers also go for something in between: medium rare or medium well-done.
  • seared - cooked on the grill or in a pan with very high heat so the meat browns fast

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Expressions with "HIT" - part 2

. Actors who've HIT IT BIG usually see their names displayed on Broadway. Do you ever dream of HITTING IT BIG?

How familiar are you with this second set of expressions with the word "HIT"? (If you missed the first group, check out this blogpost from early June.) 

  • HIT IT BIG                  HIT IT OFF

Take a look at this dialog and see if the expressions make sense, then try the matching exercise that follows.

A: You're not HITTING THE SACK yet, are you? It's still early.
B: I am, actually. Tomorrow's a big day. It's our opening day, and we need to HIT THE GROUND RUNNING if we want to compete with the other shops in the area.
A: Well, I have a feeling you guys will HIT IT BIG fast. You have a very good business model.
B: Thanks. We definitely believe in it. Tom and his team are working on the finishing touches of our website as we speak.
A: You two make a really good team. So you take care of the daily shop operations, and he handles the website?
B: That's right. We met about two years ago in business school, and we just HIT IT OFF. Our ideas just make sense to each other.
A: That's awesome. I hear you two have been working on the business plan for about a year and a half. I think it's easier to get along and find things in common with people and harder to actually work and collaborate on a business venture.
B: You HIT THE NAIL RIGHT ON THE HEAD there. We definitely disagree on some things, but it helps when we have the same goals as far as what to offer customers.
A: Well, I wish you both the best. I guess I'm going to HIT THE HAY, too. I want to be your first customer in your new shop tomorrow.
B: Alright. Good night. See you in the morning.
A: Good night.

Now, try matching the following idioms with their meaning: Two of the idioms have the same definition. The answers are below.
  1. HIT THE SACK _____                                          A. get along well from the start
  2. HIT THE GROUND RUNNING _____                       B. be exactly right   
  3. HIT IT BIG _____                                               C. go to bed  
  4. HIT IT OFF _____                                               D. start with a lot of energy  
  5. HIT THE NAIL RIGHT ON THE HEAD _____           E. become very successful or famous
  6. HIT THE HAY _____

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy 4th of July! Are you ready for some trivia?

The flag on this cookie only has 12 stars and 7 red-and-white stripes. The U.S. flag obviously has more. Do you know how many stars and stripes the U.S. Flag has and what they represent? If you don't know, you can scroll down and find the answers below.

Here are a few more questions for your Fourth of July:
  1. In which year did the American colonies officially declare independence from Britain?
  2. Who became the first U.S. President?
  3. At which New York City landmark did this first President take the oath of office?
  4. What is the title of the U.S. National Anthem?
  5. What are two nicknames for the U.S. flag?

Saturday, June 21, 2014

How are you welcoming summer?

Summer in the city. What are your plans on this longest day (amount of daylight) of the year?

Today is the summer solstice! So what are you up to on this first day of summer? As it’s a beautiful day in New York City, we’re sure you are out and about doing fun things at the beach, the park, or maybe just going here and there running some errands. Is anyone having a barbecue with friends?
  • WHAT ARE YOU UP TO? - What are you doing?/What are your plans?
  • OUT AND ABOUT - walking around
  • RUN SOME ERRANDS - going places to get things done, e.g. the post office, the bank, etc.

You probably know this first day of summer, astronomically speaking, is also the longest day of the year, right? This happens because the earth reaches its full tilt at 23.5˚ toward the sun, and the sun shines directly at the Tropic of Cancer. When this happens, the Northern Hemisphere gets the most daylight in the year. In contrast, the Southern Hemisphere gets the least amount of daylight. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Our new curriculum takes effect July 7

When the next session begins on July 7, New York Language Center will start implementing its new curriculum. In our continued commitment to providing the best instruction for our students, we are making some changes in our current programs to follow standards set forth by the CEA (Commission on English Language Program Accreditation), a worldwide organization that provides guidance in the best practices in English language teaching. Because meeting CEA standards is also a requirement for schools accepting learners with student visas, NYLC joins English Language Programs around the country from language schools to colleges and universities in ensuring students receive the latest methods in English language teaching. 

With the new curriculum, there will be major changes in our classes and programs, and change is often not easy. However, once we get used to the new system, things will start to become routine. Of course, NYLC faculty and staff will make the change go as smoothly as possible, and one way students can help is to familiarize themselves with the changes and to know what to expect when the new curriculum begins.

Continue reading to learn about NYLC’s new curriculum, which starts on July 7.