Thursday, September 5, 2019

Phrasal verbs and expressions to ride the NYC subway

By: Isabel Solano.

The NYC subway can be a bit of a mystery so here’s some vocabulary to help you get around* in the city!

Useful phrasal verbs:

Get on (the train): enter the train.

Get off (the train): exit the train.

Transfer at (a station): change trains.

When asking for directions:

You can say…

Excuse me, how can I get to ________?

Excuse me, I’m trying to get to ______________. 

Which way is uptown/downtown?

Excuse me, does this train go to/stop at _______? 

If you get to your station but the train is too crowded and people won’t move:
You can say…

Excuse me, this is my stop.
Sorry I need to get by.
Sorry, could I squeeze by?
Can I get by?

Finally, some phrases you will need to understand (some) subway announcements:

- Trains are (not) running: Train is out of service or has a different schedule.
- To be held at a station: The train cannot leave the station until allowed to do so.
- To be delayed: later than expected.
- A stalled train: train is being held at a station/cannot move.
- Running express: The train will no longer stop at each station.
- Train car: Individual subway wagon.
- Stand clear (of the closing doors): To move a short distance away from something so that you are safe. To move away, to unblock (the doors).

*get around: go from place to place.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Increase your ESL vocabulary through song lyrics!

Written by: Isabel Solano

We all love music. So much so that it is considered a universal language. And when learning a new language, music can be a fantastic tool to practice your listening skills and increase your vocabulary!

Listening to music in English regularly can help your ear get accustomed to the target language: its sounds and structure. I’m sure that with time and practice, you’ll be singing along to all of your favorite songs.

However, there’s more we can do to actively use lyrics and music to improve our listening skills and augment our English vocabulary that is more than just passively listening to a song.

Let’s get to it!

Here are my 7 steps:

Step 1: Choose one song to work with. It’s important that you choose just one song at a time so that you can study it in depth and give it your undivided attention. Catchy* pop songs work best if you’re just getting started. The lyrics are simpler and easier to follow.

Step 2: This is probably the most important step. Do NOT look up (search) the lyrics to the song just yet. Focus on listening attentively (with headphones, if available) and jot down all the words you can catch or identify! Replay the song as many times as you’d like and continue to write down as many words and phrases as you can.

Step 3: Include words or sounds you hear but cannot quite identify yet, even if you don’t know the spelling or what the words mean. This will help with memorization after you read the lyrics.

Step 4: Now it’s time! Check the internet to find the lyrics and compare them to your notes. Print them if you can and check to see how many words you were able to understand. How many did you get right?

Pay special attention to the spelling of those sounds or words you noticed but couldn’t understand (from step 3) and correct any other mistakes you find in your notes. Take a moment to congratulate yourself for your work!

Step 5: Now play with grammar. You can underline all the verb tenses you find. For example: all the verbs in simple past or present perfect. You can find verb forms, look for examples of passive voice, phrasal verbs, idioms or just adjectives. Have fun with it!

Step 6: Look up all the new vocabulary. Find the meaning to the words you cannot understand from context. Highlight them and list them on the side. Do not skip this step, here's where the vocabulary increase comes in! For extra practice: Try writing sentences or questions using these new words so that you won’t forget them!

Step 7: Sing your song and work on memorizing the lyrics! I guarantee that you will remember these lyrics for years to come. This might even become your new go-to* karaoke song!

Awesome job!

Here’s a list of songs by level to help you get started:

Beginner level
“ABC” by Jackson 5
“Our House” by Madness
“The Lazy Song” by Bruno Mars

Intermediate level
“Beautiful Day” by U2
“Manic Mondays” by The Bangles
“It’s my life” by Bon Jovi

“Ironic” by Alanis Morrissette
“Love Song” by Sara Bareilles
“Torn” by Natalie Imbruglia
“Somebody that I used to know” by Gotye

*go-to: preferred, first choice.
*catchy: memorable, unforgettable

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

NYLC's Word of the Week: AMBITION

 ambition (noun)

1.  A strong desire to do or to achieve something, typically requiring determination and hard work.
Her ambition was to become a lawyer.

His lack of ambition kept him from getting a promotion.

Synonyms: aspiration, intention, goal, aim, objective, object, purpose, intent, plan, desire, wish, design, target, dream

Friday, August 9, 2019

NYLC's Word of the Week: ADVENTURE

adventure (noun)

  1.  an exciting experience in which dangerous, unusual or fun things can happen.


We had a great adventure at the National Park today.

Do you like adventure movies?

2.   willingness to try new things and take risks.


Come on – where’s your sense of adventure?

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

NYLC Electives- Available On Fridays!

The team at NYLC has worked tirelessly on broadening our course offerings to students. Contact us to learn more about our new Friday Electives! 


Call: NYLC Uptown: 1-212-678-5800 
NYLC Midtown: 1-212-268-6500
NYLC Queens: 1-718-476-7600

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What per cent of international students do you have, roughly? (Biggest nationalities?)

New York Language Center is committed to bringing a diverse student body to our classrooms, which enhances student life, exposing learners to a variety of cultures and encourages them to speak English as much as possible.  Our largest nationalities are Brazilian, South American  and students from Japan .

2. What makes New York such a great place for foreign learners?

New York's wide range of cultural and entertainment options are a huge draw to foreign learners. There is never a shortage of things to do at any budget, and students get to be part of a vibrant metropolis that feels both international and American at the same time. Because the city is used to visitors, students are able to quickly feel at home as temporary New Yorkers and easily immerse themselves in the culture and the language. 

3. What does your school offer international students?
(tailored programmes, extra support etc)

New York Language Center has 4 locations throughout New York City and offers English-language instruction from Beginner to Post-Advanced, including TOEFL Preparation and Business English. Interested learners can also sign-up for private lessons for more individualized attention. Students can also participate in free classes and workshops, as well as teacher-led activities around the city, which allow students to interact with each other while visiting famous landmarks, watching a baseball game, or touring an historic neighborhood. 

4. Do you have any interesting facts you could share about the city?

While most visitors still think of Manhattan when they think of New York, the city is actually composed of five boroughs. The outer boroughs--Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and the Bronx--provide more affordable options for housing and are easily accessible by public transportation.

5. Can you give me 3-5 things to do (landmarks or attractions to visit/local festivals to see for example) in New York. (Please give a small explanation for your choices)

Brooklyn Bridge -- Walking across this iconic landmark is one of our popular student activities. The views are spectacular, so photo/selfie opportunities are endless. Students usually enjoy having  ice cream or New York style pizza on the Brooklyn side.

High Line - Visiting this elevated park on the West Side of Manhattan is not only the perfect activity on a beautiful day, it's also a lesson in history as you walk down what used to be railroad tracks where trains brought goods into the city. Now, it's a cool place to hangout just above some trendy Manhattan neighborhoods. 

Outdoor summer concerts and film screening events around the city give students plenty of chances to enjoy New York in the open air while spending time where locals hang out. A schedule of activities is easy to find in newspapers and magazines, and New York Language Center Student Services often share these events with students. 

6. Where do you suggest students eat in New York? (neighbourhoods, borough, specific restaurants, what is tasty, what is cheap, where can they find authentic American/New York cuisine)? 
New York has a wide array of food choices from fancy restaurants run by celebrity chefs to mom-and-pop establishments with unique specialties to gourmet food trucks that have become all the rage around town. In addition, with the city's ethnic neighborhoods from Greek in Astoria, Indian in Jackson Heights, Russian in Brighton Beach, to Chinese in Flushing, the opportunities to try something new and exciting are endless. 

7. Do you have any useful tips regarding visa applications, accommodation or traveling around the city?

New York Language Center offers housing services, and students can choose between apartments or homestays. 

New York City has an extensive public transportation system that runs 24 hours nonstop and makes traveling around the city easy and convenient any time of the day. With a Metrocard, students have access to the city's subway trains and buses. In addition, there are commuter trains to outlying areas that are perfect for weekend getaways when visitors want a break from the urban jungle.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

A, An, and The

 It can be difficult to remember which article to use - or if you should use one at all - when learning English. You may have many articles in your language, or none at all! Whichever category you fall into, here are some tips to help you remember if and when to use an article in English:

Image result for grammar

1.       Use a/an for singular, countable nouns. For example, “I ate an apple.” Do not use a/an for noncount or plural nouns, such as water, wine, flowers, etc. Remember that a/an means one!

2.       Use the for things that are specific, or if it is obvious what we are talking about. If you say, “the girl walked by me,” the person you are speaking to knows which girl you’re talking about. If you say, “I forgot the homework,” you forgot that specific homework assignment. If you say “I forgot the homework” to your teacher, they probably know the homework you’re talking about!

3.       You don’t need the when you are talking about general places. For example, “I went to church on Saturday” not “I went to the church on Saturday.” The person may or may not know which church, and it doesn’t matter if they do. The same goes for school, college, university, work, etc.

There are a few exceptions to these rules which require some memorization, but this is a good place to start. When you listen to native English speakers regularly, you’ll especially notice when they don’t use the!

Here's my source and another blog to look at as a reference: