Thursday, June 30, 2011

breadwinner; bring home the bacon

WOTD: breadwinner
idiom: bring home the bacon

1. Their dad was the breadwinner for the family until he lost his job. Now their mom is the one bringing home the bacon.
2. Both their mom and dad bring home the bacon.
3. Who's the breadwinner in your family?
4. He could easily work from home, so he was able to bring home the bacon even when he couldn't leave the house for six months after the operation.
5. Suddenly, she had to find a job and be the breadwinner for the family when her husband passed away.

A breadwinner is the person who earns the income for the family.
Bringing home the bacon means to make money for the family.

Brought to you by Joe Yu and the small guide site
Follow Joe on Twitter @joeyu2nd

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Agonize over

1. He's a worrier. He agonizes over every decision he has to make.
2. He agonizes over every project his manager assigns to him. He's such a perfectionist.
3. Sally has agonized over this assignment since the beginning of the semester. It's the most challenging one she's done so far.
4. Would you stop agonizing over this situation? Everything will work out!
5. They have eight kids. They always agonize over who(m) to take on vacation.

To agonize over something is to worry, suffer, have a tough time dealing with something.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Ring a bell

1. I've never seen this actor before, but his name rings a bell. Is he famous?
2. I don't think I've heard this song, but the title does ring a bell.
3. That name doesn't ring a bell, at all. I don't think you've mentioned it to me.
4. Our manager said he's mentioned that product to us several times, but it just doesn't ring a bell for any of us.
5. Does that name ring a bell? It sounds like I've heard it before.

When a name rings a bell, it means you vaguely or slightly remember it, but you can't fully recall. 

Friday, June 24, 2011


1. My essay's almost good-to-go. I just need to make a couple of changes.
2. I thought the project was already good-to-go, but my manager said I needed to make some changes.
3. We were all good-to-go at noon. Where were you?
4. Your computer's good-to-go. You can pick it up anytime.
5. We're good-to-go for the party this weekend. Make sure you guys come!

Good-to-go means being ready or meeting certain standards.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Keen on

1. Their manager is really keen on getting the latest technology for the office.
2. However, he's not too keen on listening to employee complaints.
3. They're really keen on buying organic.
4. She's not too keen on playing video games.
5. Their English professor was keen on giving pop quizzes.

Keen on means being excited about, enthusiastic, or feel strongly about something.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

oblivious (adj)

1. He probably didn't see you. He usually walks around completely oblivious.
2. She strolled through the park without an umbrella as if oblivious to the rain.
3. He was studying for an exam on the train and was oblivious to the police activity at the other end of the car.
4. She can't stand people who walk around completely oblivious to what's going on around them.
5. I was daydreaming in class and was oblivious to the fact that it was my turn to speak.

Oblivious means being unaware of things going on around you. 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Get your act together

1. He's late again! If he doesn't get his act together soon, they could fire him.
2. He needs to stop gambling and get his act together; the kids need him.
3. We need to get our act together. If we don't stop this constant fighting, we'll never get this project finished.
4. This construction company needs to get its act together or they're going to lose the contract.
5. She got her act together in her junior year of high school. She stopped smoking, made some new friends and started getting better grades.

Get your act together means to start doing the right thing.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

New price! Only 99 cents!

The small guide To Improving Your English (pdf version) has been marked down!

Download it now for only $0.99! 

Buy Now

A great handy grammar reference for study, review, and practice.

Master the verb tenses, conditionals, and modals.

Get your own copy for your computer!

Thank you and Good luck!

Survey, anyone?

Do you own The small guide To Improving Your EnglishHow are you using it? 
Do you think it's a useful grammar booklet? 
What would you like to see in parts 2 & 3? 

We'd like to know what you think. 
Please fill out a quick survey and let us know.
Let your voice be heard! 
We'd really appreciate it. Thanks!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Phrasal verb: pitch in

1. That's a lot of work! How can I pitch in?
2. Tom, we really need you to pitch in a little around here. There's so much work to be done.
3. We're ordering a pizza for lunch. Do you want to pitch in?
4. Tim and Sally in accounting are getting married this weekend. We're all pitching in to get them a nice wedding present.
5. We really appreciate your pitching in whenever we need an extra hand.

To pitch in means to contribute or to help.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Slang: a breeze (n)

1. College algebra was a breeze for him in high school. He's really good at math.
2. Driving used to scare her. Now it's a breeze.
3. It looks like a difficult dish to make, but the chef on tv said it would be a breeze.

It's a breeze means it's easy.

Monday, June 13, 2011

TT4BS - the m and n sounds

In this edition of TongueTwisting4BetterSpeech, we're practicing the m and n sounds together. Some English learners have difficulty telling these two sounds apart and have a hard time pronouncing them correctly. If you are one of them, remember to start slow. With a lot of practice, you'll be saying them perfectly!

Let"s practice these words first:
name, mane, manor, mine, norm
many, nimble, morning, mean, meant
manager, marine, gnome, mentor, enemy

Now for the tongue twister, start slow then gradually speed up with practice. 
Managers at the manor mentor minors numerous mornings a month.

Good luck!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

TT4BS - the n sound

In this edition of TongueTwisting4BetterSpeech, we're practicing the n sound. Click the red speaker below for an audio recording to practice your pronunciation.

First, let's practice the following words:
New, nice, no, nail, nigh
Win, bin, fan, ran, gin
Nine, banana, Nancy, noon, nanny

Now, for the tongue twister, start slow then go faster as it gets easier.
Nineteen noisy newbies ran at noon, dined at nine, cleaned their tents at ten, then turned in at eleven.

Good luck!