Monday, January 23, 2012

A drag (n)

The word drag has several meanings. There's the verb form, which means to pull something without lifting. For example: "Don't drag the table; you'll scratch the floor." You can also drag an icon or a file across your computer screen. I'm sure you do that all the time, right? In addition, it's used as an adjective as in drag race, which is when cars compete to see who can accelerate the fastest from a complete stop. Then there's the noun form in the phrase dressed in drag, when guys or girls dress like the opposite sex. There are other meanings, as well.

However, the word drag in this lesson is actually slang, and it means boring, dull, or annoying. We usually use this word when we have to be somewhere or do something that we don't like.

1. Doing laundry is such a drag. I'd rather be writing a ten-page essay.
2. She only takes taxis; she thinks taking the subway is such a drag.
3. Tom never likes to hang out after work. He's such a drag.
4. Did you hear? We have to wear uniforms to work starting next month. What a drag.
5. They say winter is such a drag, so they're staying in Florida until April.           

This photo is part of a tv ad that I saw in a New York City subway station. You probably agree: Mondays can be a drag. However, the word drag in this sentence is actually a pun because it has double meaning in this ad. Mondays are a drag, yes. But the ad is actually for a tv show on Mondays where people who are dressed in drag compete. Funny, right? I'll think of a small lesson on puns in the future.

a pun - a word used in a sentence in a funny or clever way to show its double meaning; a play on words

Thanks for listening and reading. This is Joe Yu with the small guide site.
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Alright, catch you later.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The small blog is moving.

I've been working on moving the small blog to a different address. Basically, I need to incorporate it to the small guide site so that all my pages are in one place. This should make it easier to manage everything--well, at least in theory. We'll have to see about that. 

The new small blog will be on the WordPress platform, which is quite different from Blogger, where we are now, and actually more challenging for someone with only a little knowledge of html and no knowledge of java or any kind of programming language whatsoever. Because of this, I'm still not completely sure if I like the idea. But I am getting used to it, and I want it to happen because it would simply streamline the site.

There's still a lot to do and figure out. I've been planning and designing and basically slowly getting the new site ready for opening day, so to speak. I can't wait to show it to you and wanted to give you a heads up. So stay tuned. I hope you'll like the new look at our new place.

theory - a belief that has not been proven.
challenging - difficult but in a positive way; something that tests your ability
whatsoever - in any way; at all
streamline - make something simpler and more efficient
figure out - find the answer
so to speak - as they say (You say after you say a common phrase but usually with a slightly different meaning.)
a heads up - an announcement for a future event; a warning

Thank you for listening and reading. This is Joe Yu with the small guide site.
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Catch you later.

Friday, January 20, 2012

You bet.

"You bet" is a short sentence that means "Absolutely!" or "That's right!" or "You'd better believe it." This expression is actually short for "You can bet on it," or "You can bet your money on it." Basically, if you believe or agree with something very strongly, you can say, "You bet.

1. Let's say a friend wants to know if you are going to a party, and you want to say, "Absolutely!" The conversation can go like this:
    A: Are you going to the party?
    B: You bet I'll be there.
Alternatively, you can also say, "You'd better believe it."

2. Let's say you and some friends just got to a camp site; there's a river, and your friend wants to know if you're ready to go for a swim. If you want to say, "Definitely!" the short exchange can go something like this:
    A: So, are you ready to jump into the river?
    B: You bet I am. Let's do it.

3. If your friend or significant other needs your help and is getting upset because you can't help right now, you can express yourself this way:
     Look. I can't help you right now; I'm really busy. But if you asked me for help tomorrow, would I do it? You bet! I just can't do it right now.

[significant other - husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend]

 4. In this example, an ESL learner may be concerned about the TOEFL. It's not an easy test, and the student needs to get a score of a 100 to get into an MBA program, so the student asks her teacher. The teacher can respond like this:
     The TOEFL is a tough test, and you need to work hard. But if you're wondering if I think you can get a score of at least a 100. You bet! It's absolutely possible.

5. Sometimes, you may hear someone say, "You betcha" instead of "You bet." This is just a very informal way of saying this expression. The word "betcha" actually doesn't exist. It's short for "You bet your ..."
     If you could, would you quit your job and travel for a year? You bet I would. or You betcha.

I took this photo in a subway train in New York City. The Long Island Railroad (LIRR), which takes commuters from Long Island into New York City, stops at Penn Station. The MTA, the organization that runs the subway and commuter railways in the city and surrounding areas, is basically building and extending subway lines. This ad, which I took inside the train, basically informs people that the LIRR will soon be stopping at Grand Central Station, as well, soon. The full question on the ad says, "LIRR trains to Grand Central? You bet." I'm sure a lot of commuters can't wait.

Thanks for reading and listening.
This small lesson is brought to you by Joe Yu and the small guide site.
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Catch you later.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Unscathed (adj)

Unscathed means not hurt or damaged by something or someone. 

1. One building was miraculously left unscathed after the hurricane; all buildings around it lay in ruins.
2. She seems tough, but she wasn't entirely unscathed following the traumatic event; she's actually going to a psychiatrist.
3. The company emerged largely unscathed following the scandal involving the CEO.
4. If he hadn't worn his seat belt, he definitely wouldn't have gotten out of the wreckage unscathed.
5. Politicians and celebrities have public-relations experts who help them go through public criticism unscathed.

ruins - remains of buildings after they have been damaged by a disaster 
traumatic - damaging
largely - mostly
scandal - public damage or disgrace
wreckage - the remains of something that has been wrecked or destroyed as in a car accident

This small lesson is brought to you by Joe Yu and the small guide site.
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Catch you later. Have fun.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Now with audio

Happy New Year! We're now halfway through January. I hope your 2012 is off to a great start. I wish you all good health, great success and better English in 2012.

I was surfing the web over the holidays when I came up with a great idea for the small blog. I thought if I could add audio to my posts, English learners who visit the blog could also practice their listening as they read the lessons, and they could also work on their pronunciation if they wanted to. In general, I thought audio would make the small blog even more useful.

Great idea, right? But first, I had to figure out how to add the audio file. I only know basic html; I don't know java, so I needed to find a simple way of doing it. Luckily, I found one and, after a few tries, it worked! In fact, you can hit the play button above and listen to this blog as you read it.

I hope you like this new feature and find it useful. If you do, please come back often, and don't keep it a secret. Tell your friends! If you like it, there's a good chance your friends would, too.

This small blog post is brought to you by Joe Yu and the small guide site.
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Thanks for listening. Keep practicing. Catch you next time.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Being off to somewhere

1. I'm off to work!
2. He's off to California.
3. They're off to the beach!
4. Alright, kids. Off to bed! It's past your bedtime.
5. They just got back from Alaska, and they're already off on another adventure

Being off to a place simply means going to the place
We use the preposition on when we want to mention an activity, as in number 5 above. For example, "They're off on a camping trip," or "They're off on a five-country tour of Europe," or "They're off to Europe on a five-country tour."

This small lesson is brought to you by Joe Yu and the small guide site.
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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Eye (v)

1. Did you notice him eyeing her from across the room?
2. He eyed the crowd to see if he recognized anyone.
3. The security guard was eyeing a suspicious teenager when another one shoplifted a CD and ran out of the store.
4. The competitors eyed each other closely to see if anyone was nervous.
5. The lions eyed their prey for hours waiting and planning their attack.

Eyeing someone or something means looking at someone/something closely in order to observe or to examine.

This small lesson is brought to you by Joe Yu and the small guide site.
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