without further ado

Some of Our Students’ Favorite Phrases

Earlier in the month, our front desk team posted about their favorite idioms. Today, some of our English students wanted to share their phrases which they like to use in their speeches and presentations. Our students really enjoy these native-speaker expressions, and they’re really good at using them! If you’re interested in learning to speak like a native speaker, EC is the “cream of the crop” out of esl schools in boston!   Lim Without further ado… Lim likes this phrase because it’s very useful for transitioning from the not-so-serious into the serious. What we mean by this is, imagine you’re starting a presentation with some general chit-chat — maybe you’re talking about the weather, or about last night’s football game. Then, when you’re ready to start getting serious, you tell the audience, ‘Without further ado, I’d like to introduce the main topic of today’s presentation.’   Faisal It breaks down like this… Faisal says he heard this one in a famous movie, and he came to school the next day to ask exactly how he could use it. Basically, when you’re talking about a complicated idea or you’re about to describe a long process, make it easier for your audience. Talk about it one piece at a time. Break it down into smaller pieces! Like this: ‘This application process is more simple than you might think. Look, it breaks down like this: first…’   Tomoya …and the rest is history! Tomoya uses lots of phrases and idioms in his speaking. While this one isn’t his most common, he says it’s the one he enjoys using the most. You say ‘and the rest is history’ to end (or wrap up) a story early, if the audience already knows the end. And that’s what it means: it’s like saying, ‘…and I’m … Read more

Pot, Kettle, Black

English Idioms with Boston’s Front Desk Team

In our English Courses in Boston, we love teaching our students how to speak like native speakers. We teach different types of colloquial language, slang, phrasal verbs, and — our favorite — idioms! Michael, Stephen, and Olivia at the front desk have put together this post with each of their favorites. So, check out these examples, and maybe you can start to use them!   Michael: Pot, Kettle, Black. This is actually a contraction of the full phrase, ‘The pot calling the kettle black.’ While it’s thought that this one actually started in Spain a long time ago, by the 17th century, we were saying it in English, too! In the past, people would cook and heat water on open fires. So, the fire that made the kettle black also made the pot black! All that to say, you can use ‘pot, kettle, black’ when someone accuses you of being guilty of something that they are guilty of, too. Example: Imagine your really messy room mate tells you that you don’t tidy enough. What?? Pot, kettle, black!   Stephen: Jump on the Bandwagon. This one isn’t as old as the previous one. Believe it or not, it started right here in the US! In the nineteenth century, a bandwagon would carry the band at the front of a parade so that everyone else would follow the parade. So, when you accuse somebody of ‘jumping on the bandwagon’, you’re saying they’re following people just because that’s the popular thing to do, not because you really want to. Example: Imagine all of your friends suddenly decide they don’t like your favorite restaurant anymore. Would jump on the bandwagon and say you don’t like it either?   Olivia: Apples and Oranges. This is an English idiom, but similar versions exist in many different languages. … Read more

Word of the Day Wednesday: Today’s Word is ‘Extend’

By Nikita Duke Happy Word of the Day Wednesday, all. I was inspired for today’s Word of the Day at the front desk yesterday, when I asked a student if he would like to extend and he was unsure of what the word meant. As many of you know, this word is very important here at EC Boston…. we want you all to love your experience here and extend your stay! Extend is a verb that can have several different meanings, but today I will talk about only a couple of its more popular meanings. The first definition of extend is “to straighten or spread out (the body or a limb) at full length.” (via Mirriam-Webster Online Dictionary) Here is an example of extend used in a sentence with a photograph to help illustrate its meaning: “Nikita extended her arms.”   Another definition of this word is “to postpone (a starting or ending time) beyond the original limit.”  (via Mirriam-Webster Online Dictionary) Below is an example of extend used in a different way: “Doris’s last day at EC was this Friday, so she came to the Front Desk to extend her course until June.”   Learn more about English classes in Boston.  

Word of the Day Wednesday: Today’s Word is ‘icon’

By Jennifer Lacano Word of the Day: icon The word “icon” has several different uses in English. For some people, the most common definition is “a small picture on a computer screen that represents a program or function” (all definitions from http://www.learnersdictionary.com/). For example, here is the icon for Microsoft Word: And here is the icon for two of the most popular mobile apps:                “Icon” can also mean “a religious image in the Orthodox Christian church.” Here’s an example of a 6th Century icon: The meanings that people have been using a lot lately is “a person who is very successful and admired” or “a widely known symbol.” Why? Because David Bowie, who passed away (died) on Sunday, was both of these things. He was a very successful and admired musician and actor. His career lasted more than 40 years, and he had eight top 20 singles and 14 top 20 albums. He had hits in folk rock, art rock, glam rock, new wave, post-punk, dance, pop, soul, and many other genres (styles). Because his music ranged across so many different genres, it is difficult to say that he is a symbol of any particular kind of music. His style was constantly evolving, changing in order to challenge the norm, so I guess you could say that he was the symbol of individuality. For me, and for many others, he is and will always be the symbol or epitome (perfect example) of cool. It is hard for me to choose one favorite song, so here is one of my favorites: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CMThz7eQ6K0 Thank you, Ziggy Stardust. You will be missed.   Learn more about taking a full immersion English course in Boston.  

Word of the Day Wednesday: Resolution

By Doris Domingo As 2015 is coming to an end, one word comes to my mind at this time of the year: Resolutions! New Year’s Resolutions. The beginning of a new year is always an opportunity for a fresh start. Many people come up with a list of self-improvement objectives to achieve during the following year. A classic example is “join a gym,” and other popular ones are “reading more books” (I confess this one it’s on my list) or “saving money.” Writing the list is fun, you can come up with original or challenging resolutions such as “learning something completely new,” and this can be a language, a sport or a new hobby. Or you can add a very positive and simple action that can change your year ahead: “laugh more often.” But be aware! Writing the list is easy, however the harder part is to maintain the resolutions throughout the year and keep the motivation to achieve your goals. So what are you waiting for? Get some paper and a pen and start your list of New Year’s Resolutions for 2016! Happy New Year! Learn more about Intensive English Classes in Boston.

Word of the Day Wednesday! Today’s Word: Tradition

by Molly Cox Tradition – n., “the handing down of statements, beliefs, legends, customs, information, etc., from generation to generation, especially by word of mouth or by practice” (Dictionary.com)   I chose tradition for this Wednesday’s word of the day because the holiday season (in America, the end of November through the 1st of January) is full of traditions. On Christmas, my family enjoys Christmas dinner together around 4pm, then we gather around the living room to sing Christmas carols and hymns. My mother’s side of the family is full of musical talent, and my uncle brings a new instrument every year. This is one of my favorite Christmas traditions because making music together as a family is calming, especially after helping to prepare a large dinner for 12+ people. But more importantly, the music brings us all together, with the occasional new-comer – boyfriends, girlfriends, new family and good friends. Happy holidays to all at EC Boston! Learn more about Intensive English courses in Boston.

Word of the Day Wednesday: Today’s Word is “Democrat”

By Molly Cox Happy Word of the Day Wednesday, everyone! Today’s word is democrat.   Last night was the 2015 Democratic debate in America, hence why today’s word of the day is Democrat! Democrat is a noun and is someone who supports the Democratic Party. Members of the Democratic Party have more liberal political views than Republicans, the other major political party in the U.S. who tend to have more conservative political views. Although political views differ within the party, liberal views tend to include the support of public health care, of more government involvement and greater support of economic equality. Watch the debate online to hear more about what the Democratic candidates discussed last night! Learn more about EC’s Boston English Center.

Word of the Day Wednesday: “Equinox”

By Molly Cox Today’s Word: Equinox Happy autumnal equinox! Today marks the first day of fall (also called autumn). The equinox happens twice a year, when the sun crosses the equator so that the day and night are approximately the same length all over the world (plus or minus a couple of minutes). The word equinox comes from the Latin word for equal and nox (the Latin word for night). The opposite of equinox is solstice (the summer solstice is the longest day of the year, and the winter solstice is the shortest of the year). In celebration of fall, Nikita and the Student Services team bought apples for the students – we hope you had one and celebrated with us! Learn English in Boston.

Word of the Day Wednesday! Today’s Word: Foliage (n)

By Bryn Keating Today’s Word: Foliage (n) /ˈfōl(ē)ij/ As summer comes to end in Boston, many people begin to dread the coming winter – the snow, the winds, and the bitter cold. But don’t let the cooling temperatures and early sunsets get you down; autumn, or fall, is a wonderful season to be in New England! One of the best parts of September and October is looking at the beautiful fall foliage, or leaves. Tree leaves are green during the warmer months because a chemical called chlorophyll helps them turn sunlight into fuel, a process called photosynthesis. In the winter there is not enough sunlight or water for photosynthesis, and the shortening days of autumn are a signal for the leaf to stop making food. The green chlorophyll disappears from the leaf, revealing bright yellow, red, and even purple colors. Looking at the fall foliage, or “leaf peeping”, is a popular New England activity. You can even book vacation and hotel packages to the countryside to look at the changing leaves. Many tourists travel to Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont to escape the cities and take in the wonder of nature. But don’t forget to look around at the trees right here in Boston – you may see some marvelous colors that can help combat the approaching winter blues! To learn more about where and when the foliage is changing, check out this foliage map: http://www.yankeefoliage.com/live-fall-foliage-map/ Learn English in Boston.

Word of the Day “portmanteau”!

Written by Jennifer Lacano Today’s word of the day is cheating a little bit. Why, you ask? Well, because the word – portmanteau – describes a category of words, and I’m going to share a few words from this category with you today. First of all, what is a portmanteau? According to Wikipedia, the word comes from the term “portmanteau luggage,” which refers to a trunk or piece of luggage that opens into two parts. (This word in turn came from two French words, porter – to carry, and manteau – coat, though now in French, a portmanteau is a coat rack.) Here’s a picture of portmanteau luggage:  So very Titanic, no? (credit: http://sp.theyoungriderstv.net/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/safe_image.jpg) So what exactly is a portmanteau word? As the origin of the term implies, it is a word that comes from combining two other words. The resulting word takes some of the form and meaning from each of the originals but has its own meaning. A few examples should help you understand… webinar = web + seminar (a seminar done over the internet) staycation = stay + vacation (a vacation taken without leaving your own town) babymoon = baby + honeymoon (a last vacation before having a baby) frenemy = friend + enemy (someone who acts like a friend but is really a rival/enemy) Brangelina = Brad + Angelina (perhaps the most famous celebrity couple alive right now) As you can see, portmanteaux are often informal or slang terms. However, some have become common words you could find in a dictionary or textbook: smog = smoke + fog (You can also find this over L.A.!) vitamin = vital + amine (necessary nutrients for your survival) telemarketing = telephone + marketing (If you don’t know what this is, consider yourself lucky!) blog = web + log (what … Read more