Sunday, November 28, 2010

Making the cut

Making the cut means being chosen or picked to be part of a group or to move forward, as in a competition. When you make the cut, this usually means that you performed well in something and because of this, you are considered worthy of moving forward. Things can also make the cut, as in photographs or paintings that are chosen out of many to be part of an exhibit.

like this:
1. Tom got picked for the basketball team. Unfortunately his twin brother, Ted, didn't make the cut.
2. I heard John auditioned for the concert choir at school. Do you know if he made the cut?
3. I can't believe our band actually made the cut to perform at the festival. This will give us a lot of exposure.
4. Her paintings got selected in the preliminaries, but it didn't make the final cut.
5. The company is looking for five new salespeople. I think my interview went well; I hope I make the cut.

Alright, ladies and gents. Have you made the cut lately? Have you done well in a competition or an application that you got selected to be part of a chosen group? If you have, congratulations! ... and oh yeah! Tell us about it. 

Hope to hear from you.
Joe Yu
the small guide

P.S. Think about giving The small guide To Improving Your English to friends and family who are learning English. They'll thank you for it.
Really, it's a great small gift idea. 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Kindle anyone?

 It's ready! Get your digital copy of The small guide To Improving Your English at the Kindle Store. For a mere $1.99, you can check out the booklet and consider giving it out for the holidays. Really, it's a great small gift idea--perfect for friends, family, coworkers, employees who are studying English.
Give them grammar rules; give them examples; give them chances to practice.
Spread the word!

Joe Yu
the small guide at

Monday, November 22, 2010

That just doesn't cut it.

When something just doesn't cut it, it means it's simply not good enough. Because it's not good enough, you usually have to do it again until it meets someone's approval or some kind of requirement. This expression is usually used only in the negative.

like this:
1. You have to rewrite this essay and correct the mistakes if you want it published. Right now, it just doesn't cut it.
2. Read a news article at least three times if you want to improve your English. Once just doesn't cut it.
3. We have a very picky client who only wants the best. I don't think what we have here is going to cut it. Let's try another color or design.
4. Let's make two turkeys this year. We have a lot of guests for Thanksgiving dinner. I don't think one's gonna cut it.
5. Nice job, everyone. Really. But if you want your college applications to stand out, getting a B just doesn't cut it. You'll have to aim for an A. So study harder.

Alright, everyone. Remember, if you want to improve your English, merely understanding just doesn't cut it; you have to practice.

Good luck!
Joe Yu
the small guide 

Sunday, November 14, 2010

They're now at the Grand Canyon!

Our family has reached the Grand Canyon after their 3-hour drive from Las Vegas. It sounds like they're enjoying their trip. See which English expressions they use as they talk about their experiences, and check if you can use the same expressions correctly.
Good luck!

Joe Yu
the small guide

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Cutting someone some slack

This expression means not being so strict with someone. The word slack can mean loosening your pull on a piece of rope. You can pull a rope tight or you can give it some slack. So when you cut someone some slack, you loosen your hold on the person. You're not as tight and, therefore, not as strict.

like this:
1. If someone makes fun of how the turkey that you cooked is too dry, hopefully jokingly, you can say, "Will you cut me some slack? This was my first time cooking a turkey."
2. When a coworker is giving the new guy a hard time, you can say, "Cut him some slack, will you? It's his first day on the job."
3. If your wife gets angry because you're 30 minutes late, you can say, "You're going to have to cut me some slack; there was a lot of traffic on the freeway."
4. If you want the new employee to learn his job fast, you can tell the trainer, "Don't cut him any slack. Make sure he learns the job well."
5. If your friend gets very upset because you dropped his flatscreen TV, you can tell him, "Cut us some slack! It's snowing outside!"

Alright, if you are angry with someone right now, think about cutting the person some slack. He or she may have a good excuse. No, this is not a therapy session; I just want you to practice some English.

Until next time.
Joe Yu
the small guide

Thursday, November 4, 2010

be cut out for something

This expression is more often used in the negative. If you're not cut out for something or to do something, it means you're not made or meant to do this thing. This usually means that you aren't good at doing this activity or won't be completely comfortable doing it because it just isn't for you. You may not even like this activity, but perhaps you thought you did. 

You may have this opinion about yourself, or someone may think this about you. This may seem negative, but it's just a fact of life. For example, some people are great in business, while others are just not cut out for it. You may enjoy traveling and backpacking for a whole year, while your bestfriend is just not cut out to do it. After all, it's not easy living out of a suitcase. When this happens, your bestfriend will probably head back home because when you realize you're not cut out to do something, it usually doesn't make sense to continue doing it.

like this:
1. After four years of medical school, he learned he wasn't cut out to be a doctor.
2. He's a great worker, but I don't think he's cut out to be a manager.
3. I thought I'd enjoy babysitting, but now I don't think I'm cut out for this.
4. I know you really want to run for office, but are you sure you're cut out for it?
5. He didn't use to think he was cut out to run a marathon, but we pushed him because we knew he could do it.

Do you sometimes feel like you're not cut out to do something? Well, don't give up so easily. Keep trying. If, in the end, you're sure that you're definitely not cut out for it, that's fine. There will be something you'll realize you're good at. You just have to find it.

Good luck,
the small guide