Idiom of the Week – “Have Over”

As previously mentioned, Labor Day is coming up.  Typically, friends will get together for barbecues and parties during the long weekend.  Here at the EC Miami English School, it is certainly no different. As a child growing up outside of Washington D.C., my family would often have many people over  holidays.  It would start with Thanksgiving, when we had at least 20 people over for the traditional Thanksgiving dinner.  On my birthday, my parents would have my friends over for cake, ice cream, and games to celebrate. Having people over is a nice way to relax and share time with others.  But holidays aren’t the only reason to have someone over.  Perhaps you want to have some people over to simply watch a game or have a casual meal.  When people move, they mighthave others over for a housewarming party (or even have friends over to help with painting and organizing the new house!).  Dec. 31 is a very popular time to have people over to celebrate the coming of the New Year. When you have people over, you simply invite people to visit your home.  When was the last time you had friends or family over to visit? – Mark

Idiom of the Week – “Red-Faced”

The color red makes people think of many things.  One things that we associate red with in American English is with embarrassment and/or shame.  Let me (Mark) tell you a story: When I was a teenager, I was an exchange student in Bogota, Colombia.  I was new to Spanish, and made all of the mistakes that language students typically make.  Bad verb-subject combinations, mistaken vocabulary, and poor pronunciation were just some of the problems that I had when I was learning the language.  In fact, when I work with my students that are prepping for their Cambridge ESOL Exams or TOEFL, I tell them that I made much worse mistakes than they could ever imagine. One day, in a Spanish class at the school in Bogota, I was asked to answer questions from various students.  They would ask me in English (giving them a chance to practice) and I would have to answer in Spanish (forcing me to practice as well).  One person asked me about a time I had been embarrassed.  I told them as best as I could about spilling a soda on my pants at a shopping mall, and said “Estaba embarazado.”  After the teacher looked at me curiously several times (and after much laughter from the 40 or so students in the class), I was informed that I had told the entire class that I was pregnant. How embarrassing.  How biologically impossible. My face turned red.  I was blushing.  I was very red-faced that day in class.

Idiom of the Week – “Back to the Same Old Grind”

Next week in the United States is Labor Day.  This is a day that is set aside to celebrate the workers of the United States.  Traditionally, it falls on the first Monday of September.  This marks the end of Summer for us, and the back-t0-school time for students around the country.  After a three-day weekend, it’s back to the same old grind. For many of us, it is difficult to get back to the same old grind on Tuesday. A long weekend gives us time to relax and recharge — but returning to the same old grind the next day can be a little difficult, and many of us bemoan having to wake up early again. Having to return to work. Having to do the same routine that we always do. If you figured out that “back to the same old grind” was an idiom for “returning to the usual work routine,” then you’re right! Another common idiom that we use in American English. Students that are preparing for their TOEFL or Cambridge ESOL Examswould be wise to remember it!

Idiom of the Week – “Get Into the Spirit”

Last October, all of our students (from beginning to those prepping for their TOEFL and Cambridge ESOL Exams) and staff members participated in one of the US’ favorite traditions: HALLOWEEN! Everyone got into the spirit of this “holiday” by dressing up in costume. Other ways we got into the spirit was by playing music with Halloween themes (“Monster Mash”, “Thriller”), carving pumpkins and by having a costume contest. For many students it was their first time dressing up for Halloween, and they all were able to get into the spirit of Halloween very easily. Later that evening, many students walked out on Lincoln Road and mingled with the thousands (!) of other people who had clearly gotten into the spirit of Halloween. What does “get into the spirit” mean? If you followed the context of this post (a great way to learn new vocabulary and expressions), then you would know that “get into the spirit” means “to be enthusiastic about something.” How do You get into the spirit for your favorite holiday or celebration?