China 232 Lesson 001-121 (Some Lessons Are Missing)
Download China 232 Lesson 001-121 (Some Lessons Are Missing)...
001 - Humour ESL Podcast Dialogue We are talking about a new sitcom called ‘Entourage’. Andrew Hey, have you seen that new sitcom called Entourage? Addison Ya, it’s awesome. Who’s your favorite character? Andrew Johnny Chase. He’s absolutely hilarious! I love the one where he’s insecure about his calves. Addison That was hilarious. I personally think that Arie might be the best actor. Andrew Who do you think is the worst? Addison Turtle. Andrew I agree. He sucks. Key vocabulary and phrases that are discussed in the podcast: It’s not common for native English speakers to describe people or things as “very humourous”. Hilarious – A very good word to use which means very funny. My friend is hilarious. I find that movie hilarious. Last night was hilarious. What you just said was hilarious. "Sense of humour" – a sense of humour is talking about if a person is either funny or good at accepting jokes. People who have a good sense of humour are often very easy-going. She has a really good sense of humour. A good sense of humour is important to me when finding a boyfriend. A good sense of humour is more important than physical appearance. He has a good sense of humour about himself. (doesn’t take himself too seriously, can make fun of himself) Don’t use the word “very” all the time to modify words. A great word to use if you want to make a very strong point is “absolutely”. Absolutely is like saying, extremely, totally, or 100% Absolutely amazing. That movie was absolutely amazing. Absolutely beautiful. Wow, you look absolutely beautiful in that dress. Absolutely disgusting. I can’t believe you like to eat that. It’s absolutely disgusting.
002 - Job Interview | ESL Podcast Dialogue Andrews monologue about a job interview. Andrew Yesterday afternoon I went for that job interview. It was the worst experience in my life. For some reason I put on my resume that I could speak Japanese, which is a total lie. The job had nothing to do with Japanese so I guess I thought I would just put it down to make myself look more well-rounded. I never thought that they would actually test me on it. It turns out that the guy interviewing me had lived in Tokyo for 8 years. His Japanese was great. The first thing he said to me was something in Japanese, which I obviously didn’t understand. I felt so nauseous. I had absolutely no idea what to do so I just replied in English, “hey, your Japanese is pretty good”. He said “thanks, but what about you? It says here on your resume that you speak it.” I said, “what can I say” he shook his head and said “get the hell out of here!” Key vocabulary and phrases that are discussed in the podcast: "For some reason" if you don’t know why you did something, that was usually a mistake, you can say "for some reason" Example: I was holding my money in my left hand and the garbage in my right. For some reason I threw my money in the garbage instead of the garbage bag. "I put on my resume that I could speak Japanese, which is a total lie." By saying it was a total lie, you are saying that it is completely untrue. In this case you don’t speak any Japanese at all. If it was a little lie we often say that you embellished a little or you stretched the truth. Most people embellish a little on their resume. They stretch the truth to make themselves sound better. "The first thing he said to me was something in Japanese, which I obviously didn’t understand" Why does he say obviously?
Because the speaker already said that he didn’t understand any Japanese so it is very clear that he didn’t understand Japanese. It kind of gives the listener some respect because the speaker knows that the listener is smart enough to already know that. The idea is that it should be clear or obvious to the listener. One person could say, “I found a wallet with 1000 dollars in it so I obviously kept it”. Another person could say “I found a wallet with 1000 dollars in it so I obviously tried to find the owner to give it back” These are obviously different kinds of people. "Well rounded" Well rounded is a term to describe someone who is good at many things. Most employers want to see that you have more than one skill and lead a balanced life. You don’t just do only one thing. So if you are good in school, play sports, and do other hobbies you are well rounded. If you just study you aren’t very well rounded. "Nauseous" The feeling you get when you are almost going to throw up. Sick stomach. “What can I say?” It’s a question to use when you really have nothing to say. It’s a rhetorical question meaning that the other person doesn’t need to answer you. It’s almost like saying. “There is nothing for me to say”.
003 - Procrastination | ESL Podcast Dialogue We listen to Andrews story about not doing anything. Andrew
Today I woke up at 9:20 but lay in bed until about 11:30. I wasn’t sleeping, nor was I relaxing. I wasn’t really thinking of anything in particular either. I was in a daze. I finally got out of bed and started walking aimlessly around
Instead of doing anything reasonable, I decided to feel a bit guilty about getting up so late and wasting the morning in bed. I was just about ready to go to the gym when for some reason I decided to log on to msn messenger and start up a few useless conversations. An hour flew by and it was now almost 1:00. I’d had it. I was sick of all the procrastinating. I got off msn, grabbed a protein shake and headed off to the gym. Key vocabulary and phrases that are discussed in the podcast: I wasn’t thinking of anything in particular Nothing specific. Hard to say exactly what you were thinking or doing. I’m not going anywhere in particular. What restaurant were you thinking of going to tonight? Nowhere in particular I was in a daze Thinking about something, maybe not moving your eyes much. Just staring at the wall and thinking Walking aimlessly around the house No direction. Just walking around with no idea of what to do. I’d had it. I was sick of it. I had enough, I couldn’t take it anymore. I needed something to change.
004 - Dare | ESL Podcast Dialogue Andrew
I was out at a bar last week with my friend Tony. He’s a decent looking guy but he’s really shy around girls for some reason. He was standing there for about 15 minutes holding his beer with a nervous look on his face. Finally I realized why. He was gazing at a couple of hot girls eating chicken wings. I asked him, “Tony, what are you waiting for? Go over there and say something”. He said, “I have no idea what to say. I suck in these situations”. I said, “Oh don’t be such a wimp, I dare you to go over there, take a chicken wing off one of their plates, eat it, smile, and say. You girls are so beautiful, I just wanted to make sure they were safe enough for you to eat”. If you do it I’ll buy your drinks for the rest of the night. Hopefully they will think you are cute or funny and want to talk to you. If it backfires you can just tell them it was my fault. What’s the worst that could happen? It’s a win-win situation. Key vocabulary and phrases that are discussed in the podcast: Decent looking guy – Good looking or handsome guy, often guys describe other guys in this way. They don’t want to sound gay. Gazing – Staring for a long time Hot girls – Great looking or incredibly sexy girls. We often say hot to describe girls. Girls also use hot to describe great looking guys. Dare – A challenge that you give to someone. It’s a kind of challenge that they normally would be scared or embarrassed to do. It’s a fun kind of thing between friends. This can also be used as a characteristic to describe someone. We can call someone “daring”. That means the person is willing to take chances, bold or courageous. Wimp – Weak man. Scared, babyish, not strong. Backfires – If a plan backfires it means that it did not turn out the way you hoped that it would. It went the opposite of how you hoped it would go.
What’s the worst that could happen? –This is a question to ask yourself or someone else if they are considering not doing something. The idea is that if the worst thing that can happen isn’t really that bad, then you should do it. Win-win situation – A situation where no matter what the result is, there is something still good about it. Here, if the girls like Tony, he wins. If they don’t like him, he will get free drinks for the rest of the night, so he wins again.
005 - Dare 2 | ESL Podcast Dialogue We hear the sequel to the dare Andrew Although Tony is usually a bit of a wimp when it comes to approaching girls, the buzz from the 6 beers he’d had was starting to give him some confidence. Not to mention that he hates backing down from a good dare. He didn’t have a lot of money either, so free drinks for the rest of the evening sounded like a good idea. He chugged the rest of his beer and stumbled over to the 2 girls. Without looking back to see my reaction, he grabbed a chicken wing and slowly started eating it. When he finished the wing he even had the audacity to ask one of the girls for a napkin to wipe the sauce from his face. To everyone’s surprise, the taller of the two girls handed Tony a napkin and told him he seemed like a sweet guy and asked him to pull up a chair. Tony didn’t even have to explain why he took the wing without asking. They talked and laughed for a while and eventually exchanged phone numbers. I expect that this event will work wonders for his self-esteem. Key vocabulary and phrases that are discussed in the podcast: Buzz The good feeling after drinking alcohol. Not too drunk but feeling the effects. Backing down Not accepting the challenge. Back down from a fight, back down from a dare. Chugged Drink quickly. Drink the beer all at one time without putting the glass down. Stumbled Walked like a drunk person. Almost falling down walking. Audacity
After doing something rude, like taking the wing, he didn’t apologize and just did something rude again. No shame. That man stole $1000 from the girl and had the audacity to ask if she would be his girlfriend. Pull up a chair Sit down with us, or join us at the table. Work wonders Do a lot of good for something. That investment will work wonders for your bank account. If you find a beautiful girl who likes you it will work wonders for your confidence. Self-esteem Confidence or belief in yourself. If you have a high self-esteem then you think you are a capable person and like yourself. If you have a low self-esteem you get discouraged easily and don’t have a lot of self-confidence.
006 - Frustration | ESL Podcast Story Andrew work. putting in.
I worked really hard all week on a marketing proposal for I wanted to impress the boss with all the effort I’d been
I wanted him to realize that I am the most valuable member of the staff, and that the other people just sit around the office all day accomplishing next to nothing. One guy Jeff, just talks to girls all day on his MSN messenger account and when the boss comes around, is somehow able to convince the boss that he isn’t totally worthless. Anyway, I didn’t care, I was just about ready to show the boss what I’d done but I noticed he was on the phone. I printed out my proposal, left it on my desk, and took a bathroom break. When I came back I saw the boss with his arm around Jeff congratulating him for a job well done. While I was in the washroom, Jeff had apparently taken the proposal off my desk and shown the boss. He took credit for my work. I was so pissed off. That was incredibly frustrating. Key vocabulary and phrases that are discussed in the podcast: Frustrating – you try hard at something and you feel that all your time and energy are wasted. Ex. working for 4 hours writing something on the computer and you forget to save it. Another example is Inviting your friends to a great restaurant and when you get there it is closed. Accomplishing – getting something useful done. Mom used to always ask “what have you accomplished today?” next to nothing nothing today.
– almost nothing or very little. I accomplished next to
totally worthless – means to have no value. Jeff is somehow able to convince his boss that he isn’t totally worthless. This is funny here because if you are working for someone, you should try and show your boss that you have a lot of value and skills, not just better than being totally worthless. Apparently – obvious, evident or easy to have seen. Here Jeff had apparently taken the proposal off my desk and shown it to the boss. We didn’t seen him take the proposal but we think it is obvious that he did. Took credit – say or show that you did something(even if you didn’t do it). Here Jeff took credit for my work. He said he did the proposal even though he didn’t.
– angry at someone or something.
007 - Misunderstanding | ESL Podcast Story Addison I have just moved in with a new roommate a little while ago named Tony. He is pretty hilarious and a really cool guy but the problem is that he is an absolute pig. He is the biggest slob I have ever met. The other day I had cooked dinner for us and he went out as soon as we were finished eating. I thought that he could at least share with the dishwashing afterwards. I was getting really tired of this and knew I had to do something. The problem was that I didn’t really know how to bring this up to him. I didn’t want to seem like one of those guys who is a neat freak or anything but this was getting out of control. I decided that I would just come clean with him and tell him what I was thinking the next time I saw him. I said, “I don’t want to be annoying or anything but would you mind helping me with the cleaning around here?” He said “oh, I’m so sorry, I didn’t realize you were doing the cleaning, I thought this place came with a maid service”. Key vocabulary and phrases that are discussed in the podcast: Pig/slob
- very dirty or messy person
getting really tired of this – the feeling of being annoyed or bothered by something. In this story the roommate was getting annoyed because Tony is a slob. to bring this up - to talk to someone about something. Here, the roommate wanted to “bring up” the idea that he didn’t like the place to be messy to Tony. neat freak at all times
- someone who really needs things to be neat and organized
getting out of control - was a problem here that was getting larger and larger. Here, the problem was of Tony’s habit of not cleaning anything. come clean – telling someone the truth and what you are thinking. In this story, the roommate “comes clean” with Tony about his feelings towards Tony’s cleaning habits. be annoying or anything - this phrase here meant that the roommate didn’t want to annoy Tony or make him feel uncomfortable or bother him.
008 - Hard to Believe | ESL Podcast Story Andrew I went to a movie with my friends the other day. We got there early so we could get good seats and make sure we all sat together. Just as the movie was about to start, some tall woman with huge hair sat right in front of me. I could barely see a thing. She was absolutely hideous and reeked of cheap perfume. I would have changed seats but by that time the theatre was full. I needed to come up with a plan. There was no way I was going to sit for two hours staring at that hair. Luckily a friend of mine had a pair of scissors in her purse. I knew it was risky but the perfume and the whole situation was making me lose control. I felt I did what anyone in my situation would do. I started cutting. Naturally, she noticed immediately, and screamed, “What the hell are you doing?” I was caught red-handed. I wasn’t in much of a position to deny anything considering the fact that I had the scissors in my hand. I said, “I know this is going to sound hard to believe but it wasn’t me”. She was so angry and confused she just got up and left. I was able to watch the rest of the movie in peace. It was great! It’s too bad she missed it. Key vocabulary and phrases that are discussed in the podcast: The other day - Some day not long ago but you can’t remember the exact day. Usually sometime within the past week Hideous – Very ugly Reeked – Smelled very bad. A very strong bad smell What the hell are you doing? - Very strong and harsh language. Not good to use very often unless someone is really doing something horrible, like stealing your money. Considering the fact that… - This means thinking about the situation. Here "I wasn’t in much of a position to deny anything considering the fact that I had the scissors in my hand. Hard to deny I did it because she saw me do it." Caught red-handed – Caught while doing something. For example, if you steal something from a store and a policeman watches you steal it. You are caught red-handed. I know this is going to sound hard to believe but… You are showing the listener that you admit it is not an easy thing to believe. You hope that by admitting this, it will give the listener more chance to believe you.
009 - Bad Attitude | ESL Podcast Story Andrew The last time I was on an airplane, the service was exceptionally brutal. The food was disgusting and the flight attendant had the worst attitude of all time. She didn’t smile at all and paid no attention to my requests. I asked her politely to get me a beer and she told me I’d already had two and that was enough. I said, I thought that we get unlimited drinks on this flight. She said, “that’s true sir”, in a very irritating voice, “but we have the right to cut people off who have had too much to drink”. I said, “I haven’t had too much to drink. I had two beers. That’s it.” She said. “Well I think that is more than enough”. I said, “Who are you to judge? Two beers is nothing. You are simply abusing your power”. Then she had the audacity to say that I had a bad attitude. I gave up. I said, fine, give me a scotch on the rocks. Key vocabulary and phrases that are discussed in the podcast: Exceptionally – Exceptionally implies an exception. Either better or worse than normal. You could say someone is exceptionally beautiful. This means they are more beautiful than even other beautiful people. Brutal – Brutal means really bad or horrible. It also can mean violent in some situations like fights. The fight was really brutal. Disgusting – Awful, terrible. It almost makes you sick. It’s very rude to tell someone to their face that their food is disgusting. It is a very strong word to use but it’s used for emphasis. So if you don’t like someone’s cooking, generally we lie and say we do. Never say it’s disgusting. Worst attitude of all time – Of all time, means the most in all of history. We sometimes say it in a story to show how strongly we feel about it. It’s usually an exaggeration. You could say, something was the funniest thing of all time. Very irritating voice – Annoying voice. The kind voice that you just hate hearing. Mother’s can often have irritating voices when they are telling their children what to do. Cut someone off
– Stop them from drinking
Another example is when a car or a bike drives right in front of you making you slow down. Who are you to judge? This question is a rhetorical question, which means you don’t expect the other person to answer it. You are implying that they are in no position to judge and should not be making that decision.
scotch on the rocks
– Scotch, kind of hard liquor. 40% alcohol.
On the rocks, means with just ice.
010 - What an Irritation! | ESL Podcast Story Addison I was sleeping in after a very late Friday night and the phone rang. I felt absolutely rancid! I rushed to get the phone wondering who on earth would be calling at such an hour. Great, it was my mom. I asked her what was so important. She said, “oh nothing important, just wanted to say good morning”. I made an excuse to her that I really needed to go the bathroom, so I let her go quickly. What a relief to get back in to bed! 5 minutes after I was totally asleep, the phone rang again. It was my mom again. She forgot to mention to me that she was calling from her cell phone and was now in the driveway waiting for me so she could take me to breakfast. I guess that’s what I get for making an excuse! Key vocabulary and phrases that are discussed in the podcast: Rancid – rotten, bad, spoiled who on earth – a phrase that is used when you have no idea who the person could be. such an hour
– a very early or late time
let her go – finish the conversation with her and end the phone call. Relief - a feeling of relaxation totally asleep
– completely sleeping
forgot to mention driveway
– forgot to tell someone
– a place where you park your car beside a house
that’s what I get for – is a phrase used when you do something that you shouldn’t have done and somehow you have some consequences for your actions or behaviour.
011 - Looking on the Bright Side | ESL Podcast Story Addison I was talking to a friend of mine today. He was really depressed because he’d just found out that he failed his Math class. Because of that, he wouldn’t be able to graduate until the following year. His mood was really negative and he saw it as a wasted year. I told him that although it’s annoying, there’s no point in dwelling on it. The past is the past. He said, “That’s easy for you to say”. I said, “of course it’s easier said then done, but you’ve got to look on the bright side.” I asked him if there was anything good about the situation. He thought for a while and told me that maybe this way he would have more time to really think about what job he was going to get in the future and have a fun year with his friends. I said, “see, maybe it’s a blessing in disguise.” Key vocabulary and phrases that are discussed in the podcast: Depressed –Sad, Can’t eat, can’t sleep, don’t feel like doing much. If someone close to you dies you will be depressed for a while. Some people are depressed all the time. They have a medical condition and need to see a doctor. Negative mood
– Always talk about the bad things about a situation.
There’s no point in
– No reason to do something
dwelling – thinking about a situation over and over again. Maybe he’d be thinking about how if he had studied more, then he would have passed the exam. The past is the past – the idea here is that things that happened before have already happened. You can’t change them so there is no point in thinking about it or dwelling on it. Learn from your mistakes and move on. That’s easy for you to say – Sometimes good advice is hard to accept. Often the person giving advice isn’t the one who actually has to make the difficult change. For example, if I passed my math exam and my friend failed, it’s easy for me to tell him not to worry about it. It’s easier said than done – It’s much easier to make the plan than to follow it. For example, I could say you should exercise for an hour per day. That’s easier said than done. Look on the bright side – Think about the good points in a situation. For example, if you get fired from a job. You could think about how now you have some time to relax and find an even better job.
Blessing in disguise – Something good that happened to you but it seems bad. In this story, failing the math class seemed to be bad, but then he realized that it would be good because now he would have more time to think about what he really wanted to do for his career.
012 - Holidays | ESL Podcast Story Addison I just booked my trip to Thailand on an online travel website and printed out my e-ticket. I had made a decision to go there on a spur of the moment decision because my schedule had recently opened up. I had gotten in a little bit of a rut so decided a little spontaneity in my life couldn’t hurt. Also, I was growing very weary of the cold weather and thought it would be nice to hit the beach. I was really excited to be in the water and feel the waves again. Hopefully my accommodations will be good. I booked them online as well and have only seen the pictures. The pictures look good on the website but I’ll be pretty angry if it is some sort of a scam. Oh well I guess I’ll see when I get there. Sometimes, if you want to be spontaneous you have to role the dice. Key vocabulary and phrases that are discussed in the podcast: e-ticket – electronic ticket that can be printed spur of the moment about it before
– a decision made quickly without having thought
schedule opened up commitments
– schedule is now clear and you have no
rut – a feeling of doing the same thing too often and not having changes in your life. You often start to feel bored in your life when you are in a rut spontaneity – the idea of someone being able to do things without having to plan for a long time couldn’t hurt
– here means that spontaneity should be a good idea.
hit the beach
– go to the beach
scam – to lie or deceive someone for profit or gain rolling the dice – is a kind of gambling game and is an expression used to show that you are taking a risk or a chance.
013 - On Holidays | ESL Podcast Story Addison When I got to Thailand I was pleasantly surprised to see that my accommodations were phenomenal. It was a definitely not a scam or a rip-off. I got a bargain for sure. I was staying for a month in the same spot and checked-in to the hotel and settled in. I didn’t need to take a nap or anything as I was still in the same time zone and had no jet lag obviously. I decided I should probably just go to the beach and try and get some sort of a tan slowly so I wouldn’tlook like a lobster. I went for a walk along the beach and couldn’t help but eve’s drop some conversations. Most of the people here were from all over asia. I had decided to jump in to a conversation with some Chinese people. They were shocked that I knew any Chinese. Although, they quickly found out that it wasn’t so hot, but still invited me to have dinner with them later that night. Key vocabulary and phrases that are discussed in the podcast: Accommodations – where you are staying or the kind of place it is. Ex. Hotel, apartment, house. phenomena l – exceptionally great or excellent rip-off – to participate in a scam. To get swindled or deceived and lose money or get a bad deal on something. Bargain – to get a great deal or buy something at a cheaper price than it is worth settled in – put your things away where you want them to go in your place and have everything where you want it to be time zone - any of the 24 areas or regions in the world which have the same standard time jet lag – the feeling of not being used to a new time zone because of your flight tan – the colouring of skin due to exposure to the sun look like a lobster – if you get a sunburn sometimes people might say you look like a lobster because of your red colour couldn’t help but some way.
– an uncontrollable force to do something or behave in
eve’s drop – listen to someone else’s conversation without them knowing or their approval
jump in – get involved and start talking with the other people that were already having a conversation wasn’t so hot – not good at something. here the person wasn’t good at speaking Chinese.
014 - Leaving Holidays | ESL Podcast Story Addison I slept in and had to pack my bag in a panic. I hadn’t even checked-out yet and needed to get my security deposit back from the front desk still. My plane was leaving in 3 hours and I had no idea how to get back to the airport. I started sprinting down the street looking for something that might help me. I ran into some other people that were heading back to the airport too so I hitched a ride with them. They had rented a car and they didn’t even want any money for the ride. That was great for me because I almost blew all the money I brought. I had an absolutely amazing trip though so I couldn’t complain. We pulled up to the airport and I still had plenty of time to board the plane. This was the first trip I have ever had that ran so smoothly, I guess my new found spontaneity had paid off! Key vocabulary and phrases that are discussed in the podcast: Panic – a feeling of stress and urgency security deposit – money that you give to the hotel in case you damage the room in any way. You get this money back if you don’t damage anything during your stay front desk – the desk in the lobby (main entrance area) of the hotel where you can check-in or out sprinting
– running very quickly
ran into – seeing some people and start talking to them. It does not mean that you hit them while running in this situation hitched a ride somewhere.
– someone let you go in their can and they drove you
blew all the money – spent all of your money without thinking of the value of what you are buying pulled up to
– arrived at
board the plane
– to get on the airplane.
paid off - The result of a risk or chance that was good. Ex. His decision to go on the trip really paid off.
015 - Just My Luck | ESL Podcast Story Addison I’m not really the kind of person that believes in luck or fate, or anything like that but what happened to me the other day might make me re-think my beliefs. I was waiting for my friend at the corner of 5th and Columbus when someone tapped me on the shoulder. I turned around and it was a woman that wanted to know directions. It turned out that she wanted to go to exactly where my friend and I were headed so I offered her a ride. My friend was running a little late so she and I got to talking and I found out that she was a recruiter for fresh graduates at one of the largest international banks. I just graduated with a degree in economics and had desperately been looking for a good job. I told her my situation and she offered me a job on the spot. Key vocabulary and phrases that are discussed in the podcast: luck – good or bad things happen to you by chance. Ex. He has very good luck. Also, we can say that this person is “lucky”. fate – the idea of your life not being controlled by you and that it is already predetermined or decided. re-think – to think about something or consider it again. corner of “ “ and “ “
- intersection or cross-street of
tapped – touch lightly and briefly. It turned out
– the result or outcome of a situation
Headed – going towards a place or going in the direction. running a little late – “running” here means how things are going or “running”. We can also things are running smoothly for example. Degree – university graduation certificate desperately necessity
– putting your best efforts towards something of urgency or
on the spot wait
– making a decision or doing something immediately without
016 - Casual Phone Conversation | ESL Podcast Conversation Addison
Otis: Hello, Andy: Hey what’s up?
Otis: Not much. I’m in the office right now but I’ve got a few minutes to kill before my boss gets back. Andy: Cool. What are you up to
Otis: Not sure yet. I’ve got no plans as of now but I’m definitely up for something . Andy: How about a round of golf Saturday afternoon and then we’ll hit the town later. Otis: Sounds perfect. Oh no, that’s right, I think I have some kind of boring work function I have to go to. Andy: That sucks, is there any way you can get out of it
Otis: I’ll try to think of something. Andy: You better. It’s going to be a great afternoon. Otis: I’ll see what I can do. I’ll keep you posted Andy: Alright. Make sure you get back to me
Otis. Will do . Andy: Ok. Later Otis: Later Key vocabulary and phrases that are discussed in the podcast: Hey what’s up? – It’s a very casual question that you would say to your close friends. It means, “What are you doing?”, but you don’t always need to answer it. We often just say “not much” to answer this question. You can also return the question by saying, “not much, you?” or “not much, what’s up with you?”. If you want you can answer this question with what you are doing. So if someone asks “what’s up?” you can say, “oh not much, just watching tv” or something like that. Never ask “what’s up?” in a formal situation. minutes to kill – We often talk about “killing time”. It is usually used in a situation where you have nothing that you need to do for a while and
are in no position to do something fun. For example, if you change airplanes, then you might need to wait a few hours in the airport. Maybe you would walk around to “kill time”. You could say to your friend, “what do you want to do? We’ve got a few hours to kill until our next flight?” What are you up to? - This means “what are you doing?” it is a very casual expression and you can use it in past, present, and future. “What were you up to last night?”, “What are you up to now?”, and “What are you up to next weekend?”. I’m definitely up for something - This means you definitely want to do something. You aren’t sure what but you don’t just want to sit around and do nothing. If you say. “I’m up for anything” that means that you don’t care and will do anything the other person suggests. You are not picky if you are up for anything. hit the town - Another casual expression meaning that you will go out in the city. Usually talking about a fun night of going to different restaurants and bars or whatever. I have some kind of boring work function - The idea of saying “some kind of” here shows that the work function, like a work dinner, is something you don’t want to do. It’s like you don’t even care what it is, you just know that you don’t want to do it. Is there any way you can get out of it? - This question is asking if there is any way that you can cancel your plans. Maybe thinking of an excuse, or a lie, to not attend the work function. Maybe telling your boss that you have to go to your best friend’s wedding. I’ll keep you posted - A very useful expression that means, “I will keep you informed” or “I will let you know” Get back to me
- That means “tell me when you get the answer”
Will do - a slang phrase meaning “I’ll do it” Later - friends can say “later” to each other when they get off the phone. It’s the same thing as saying “bye”. Its informal so don’t say it if you are in a more serious phone conversation. And never say “bye bye”. Just say bye one time. We never say “bye bye” in any situation. Its something that a baby would say.
017 - Whipped | ESL Podcast Conversation Addison
Add: Can you believe
And: What are you referring to? Add: How whipped he is. And: Oh I know. It’s absurd . I don’t know why he does it. He let’s Clare control everything in his life. She treats him like dirt and he let’s her get away with it. He’s let all his girlfriends treat him like that. Add: A lot of guys do that it’s just pathetic when it’s one of your best friends. And: Do you think we should step in and say something? Add: Well, we are best friends but I’m not really sure it’s our place to say something. Confronting someone about his girlfriend is pretty touchy And: Ya I know, but as you said, we are best friends, if it’s not our place than whose is it? Add: Good point. I guess we’ve gotta do what we’ve gotta do . Key vocabulary and phrases that are discussed in the podcast: Can you believe Steve? – This question is NOT asking whether or not you think someone is telling the truth. This is just saying that Steve is really acting strange. If you want to know if Steve is a liar, you would ask “Do you believe Steve?” or “Can you trust Steve?” Whipped – A common way to describe a guy who let’s his girlfriend control him and he listens to everything she says and does everything she wants. He’s so whipped. Absurd – Really strange, ridiculous, or crazy treats him like dirt – a common phrase describing someone treating someone else really badly. step in – Step in and do something, or step in and say something. An expression that is often used to describe a situation where you are trying to help in a situation where its not really about you. For example, you could “step in to stop a fight between two strangers”.
our place – “Your place” to do something means something that is your business or its ok for you to do something. For example, if someone else’s kid was acting rude in front of their parents, its Not your place to yell at the kid. It would be your place if it was your own kid. Another example is if someone whom you didn’t know very well was spending a lot of money on clothes, its Not your place to tell them you think they are wasting their money. Touchy – A very sensitive topic. If you know that someone might easily feel emotional about some topic, then you can say “it’s touchy” or “it’s a touchy issue”. I guess we’ve gotta do what we’ve gotta do. – A common expression describing a situation where you don’t want to do something or its not easy to do something, but you know you have to. It’s the same meaning as “even though it’s difficult, we still have to do it”.
018 - Putting Your Foot Down | ESL Podcast Conversation Addison
A: Steve, I’ve got to talk to you. B: Sure, what’s up? A: I really don’t know how to say this
B: Just go ahead. A: Well, don’t take this the wrong way , but your girl is ruining your life. You’ve got to get rid of her. B: What do you mean? A: She doesn’t work, she calls you 24/7 whining about nothing, and won’t let you hang out with your friends. B: I love her though. A: No you don’t. You are just attached . You’ve got to cut it. Think about how horrible your life has been lately. Why do you let people treat you like that? B: I don’t know, until you mentioned it I hadn’t really thought about it. I guess it is pretty bad. I’ll have to at least demand some changes. A: Alright, but you’ve got to put your foot down . You’re a cool guy. You don’t have to put up with this garbage. B: You’re right, I’m going to tell her. A: Ok, and make sure you don’t wimp out . Key vocabulary and phrases that are discussed in the podcast: I really don’t know how to say this – A way to tell someone you are about to tell him something sensitive or some bad news. Don’t take this the wrong way – This tells someone that you are not trying to make them angry at all. You are trying to help. If you tell someone, “I think you should start going to the gym”. The other person might think you mean they are fat. But maybe your real meaning is that you want them to keep healthy. So if they got angry, they took it the wrong way. 24/7 – a way to express “all the time”. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Attached – a feeling that you have if you’re with someone for a long time. Maybe you don’t really love them but you feel you need them. put your foot down – Make a clear demand and don’t change or negotiate your position at all. For example, a father might say to his daughter, “it’s too late, I’m not going to let you go out, I’m putting my foot down”. That means he really won’t let her go out. This expression is kind of old fashioned and isn’t really used when talking directly to someone. You can tell someone to put their foot down with someone else. If you say, “I’m putting my foot down” and you are talking to your friend, you will sound like an idiot. put up with – to tolerate something. Its something you don’t like but you are accepting it anyway. If you neighbor is playing really loud music, after a while you might not be able to put up with it anymore, so you go tell them to turn it down. wimp out – a wimp is a weak person in many areas. If you wimp out it means you got scared in a situation and didn’t do something that you were planning to do. So if Steve saw his girlfriend and didn’t tell her what he thought, then he “wimped out”.
019 - Saturday Night Date | ESL Podcast Conversation And: What are you smiling about? Add: I’ve got a date Saturday night. And: Who’s the lucky lady ? Add: That chick I was talking to when we went bowling last week. And: That’s awesome! She was really cute. Add: I know. Hey, can I borrow your cell phone to call her? And: Why don’t you just use yours? Add: Because I’ve been calling her all day and she won’t pick up the phone. She doesn’t know your phone number so she might pick up if I use your phone And: That’s ridiculous. Don’t be such a psycho . She’s going to think you are a stalker . Add: Ya, you’re right. Do you think I blew it already with the 3 calls? And: Probably not. But definitely don’t call again until she calls you. And no messages either. You don’t want to seem so needy . Chicks don’t like that. Add: I am being a psycho. Wow. And: Forget about it. It’s easy to do. Just relax and try to play it cool . Key vocabulary and phrases that are discussed in the podcast: Chick – Slang word to refer to a good looking girl or young woman. Men often use this word when talking to each other about girls they are interested in. Sometimes girls use it too. Psycho – A really crazy person. It’s short for the word psychopath. This kind of person should be in a mental hospital. Often in daily English we use this word to describe a person to acts really ridiculously. Stalker – A person who keeps following and watching another person. When we talk about dating, if one person really loves another person and keeps thinking about them, calling them on the phone, and always wants to be with the person, we make fun of them and call them a stalker.
Blew it – Ruined my chance. Needy – if a guy seems like he really wants to be with a girl too much, we call him needy. It’s like he can’t live his live without her. He needs her. This word can be used to describe a girl as well. You can also seem needy in a job interview. In other words you seem too excited to get the job, like you really need it. Play it cool – Just relax. Try to let things happen naturally. Don’t make a big deal out of things.
020 - Insurance | ESL Podcast Conversation Add: How’d the interview go today? And: Great! I think I got the job. Add: What kind of job is it? And: It’s selling life insurance. They said the top guys earn over a quarter million dollars per year in commission . Add: Ya, that’s how they hook you . Did they happen to mention the industry average ? Also, how are you supposed to find business? And: They have a list of people and you are supposed to phone them. Add: Oh, cold calling ? That’s horrible. I did that before. It’s really easy to get discouraged. I couldn’t handle all the rejections . You are always interrupting people while they are at work and stuff. They often get angry and it’s just a really difficult way to do business. And: I spoke with a few guys who did it and they said it was tough at first, but later on you get a lot of business from referrals so you don’t have to rely on cold calling. Add: that’s not too bad I guess. Do they pay you a salary as well? And: They do for the first 6 months and then after that its all commission based. I’m going to try it out. I’ve got a feeling I can be pretty persuasive . Add: It’s a lot harder than you think, but good luck, I don’t want to discourage you. I’m sure it will be a good experience at the very least. Key vocabulary and phrases that are discussed in the podcast: Commission – It’s a type of payment where you get a % of what you sell. A 5% commission means that you would get 5% of the cost of something if you sold it. Many sales jobs pay this way. Sometimes the deal is some salary, some commission. Hook – Try to make you do something. In this dialogue, the boss talked about the most successful salespeople to make the person think it’s a great job.
Industry average – The average amount of money that all the people in one industry earn. In this case, it’s the average earnings of the people at that company who sell life insurance. Cold calling – Some sales people use this method of sales to reach their potential clients. It’s when you simply phone someone from a list of paper. These are often just random people you are trying to sell to. It’s a very difficult form of selling. Rejections
– When people refuse to buy your product.
Referrals – When someone you have done business in the past, tells someone else about your business and you sell to that new person. For example, if you sold me a house and then later I told my friend that you are really good and they should go to you. Then I referred you and you got your new business from my referral. Persuasive – The ability to use your own reasoning and arguing abilities to make other people do what you want them to. For example, if you want your friend to go to the bar, but he doesn’t want to go at first, maybe you can persuade him to go if you tell him it’s cheap drink night or it’s ladies night. It’s obviously an important quality to have in sales.
021 - Going Overboard | ESL Podcast Conversation Add: Hey, check out this thing on my arm. I’ve been tanning a lot lately and I just noticed it. Andy: I’m sure it’s nothing to worry about. Add: I’m going to get it checked out by the dermatologist . I just want to put my mind at ease . Andy: You better not think its skin cancer. It doesn’t look anything like that. Skin cancer is an irregular shape and it grows. Besides, it’s not like you have pale skin , blue eyes, and freckles. Add: Ya but you never know
Andy: I think you are going overboard with this. You’d be better off booking an appointment with a psychiatrist . Add: How would that help? Andy: Because you are a hypochondriac medicine for that.
. I’m sure they have
Add: Good one . Key vocabulary and phrases that are discussed in the podcast: Check out – It means, “Take a look at”. You can also say, “check this out”. It’s used in casual conversation. You can say, “hey, come check out what’s on TV”. That means come now and look and see what’s on. Usually you say “check out” or “check this out” when the thing is exciting. Dermatologist Irregular shape to describe.
– Professional word which means “skin doctor”. – Not a normal shape. Some strange shape that is hard
Pale skin – Very light colored skin. Often people with blond hair have pale skin. Ya but you never know – This basically means, “nobody knows for sure” or “you are probably right but you can’t be 100% sure” Going overboard – Making too big of a deal of a small situation. For example, if your friend is 2 minutes late to meet you for coffee, and because of that you decide not to be friends anymore, than you would be going overboard
Psychiatrist – A special kind of doctor who treats people who have mental or emotional problems. Hypochondriac – A person who always thinks they are really sick. For example, if someone has a little cough and they think they have a really serious disease, then he is a hypochondriac. This word is actually a serious problem that some people have. We use this word for fun sometimes to joke with people about being too scared about a disease for very little reason. Good one – This is a useful phrase, which can be used to make fun of someone’s joke. If someone makes a joke that isn’t funny, you can say “good one”. We use this sarcastically, meaning we don’t really believe it’s a good joke.
022 - Computer | ESL Podcast Conversation And: Is your computer working ok? Add: It’s fine why? And: Every time I open Firefox , 5 window’s pop-up automatically, and then they all close. It’s really annoying. Add: You obviously have some kind of virus. Didn’t you install anti-virus software on your computer. And: I did, but I’ve been too lazy to update it. Add: Good move . How did you get it by the way? And: Someone sent me a file on MSN messenger about vacation pics and I opened it. Add: Ha ha. I can’t believe you fell for that. Have fun reformatting your computer. And: Can you do it for me? Add: Nice try . Key vocabulary and phrases that are discussed in the podcast: Firefox – A popular web browser. Web browsers are the programs you use to surf the internet. “Internet explorer” is another popular web browser. “Netscape” is another one Anti-virus software – When you are using the internet there are so many viruses out there that can ruin your computer. You need to install anti-virus software to avoid getting the viruses. Good move – This is another common phrase that is often used sarcastically. If someone does something stupid, you can tease them by saying “good move”. They will know that you don’t mean it. It’s just for fun. For example, if you close the door behind you and realize that you brought the wrong key so now you can’t get in. Someone could say to you, “good move”. Pics – A common short-form for “pictures” Fell for that – If someone tries to trick you and they succeed, it means you fell for their trick. If you get tricked by something really silly where you should have not made the mistake, you might think to yourself, “how could I fall for that?”
Have fun reformatting your computer – If you can’t get rid of a computer virus, sometimes its best to reformat your computer. It means you need to erase everything on your hard drive and start again. It’s an annoying process for most people. Here we say, “have fun” because we are making fun of the person again. Of course it won’t be fun. Nice try – Another commonly used phrase. We use it sarcastically again. If someone tries to trick you or get you to do something you don’t want to do, and you don’t fall for their trick, then you can say, “nice try”. Its kind of like saying, “there is no chance you could trick me with that”.
023 - Being Defensive | ESL Podcast Conversation A: I’ve been feeling really sluggish for the past few weeks. B: Have you been getting enough sleep? What about your diet? A: My sleep has been quite good. I don’t think there’s much of a problem with my diet either. B: What about all of those late night burgers you’ve been pigging ou t on at Mcy D’s ? A: Ya, you’re one to talk . I don’t think I’d even recognize you if you didn’t have food in your mouth. B: Hey, let’s not change the subject . You’d probably have a lot more energy if your worked out more. A: Well, you’re not exactly Arnold Schwarzenegger yourself
B: I thought we were talking about you. You are being so defensive . You sound like a six year old . A: Whatever Key vocabulary and phrases that are discussed in the podcast: Sluggish : tired, slow moving Diet : the kinds of foods you eat regularly. It’s different than “on a diet”. If you are “On a diet” it means that you are choosing to eat only certain kinds of food to lose weight or some other health reason. Pigging out on : This is a phrase we use to describe someone who is eating really fast or rudely like a pig. We can also use it to describe someone who eats a lot of junk food. Mcy D’s : A slang term for MacDonald’s You’re one to talk : This is a sarcastic phrase and it is used to tell the other person that they shouldn’t be judging you because they have the same problem themselves. For example, if someone tells you that you should spend more time studying but you know that they don’t study either, you could reply to them with, “you’re one to talk” Let’s not change the subject : This phrase is used to tell someone if you are trying to have a conversation about something specific, and they keep trying to talk about something else. Usually people who are trying to change the subject are not comfortable talking about it.
You’re not exactly Arnold Schwartzenegger yourself : Arnold Schwarzenegger is a famous actor and body builder. He obviously goes to the gym a lot. This phrase is one way of telling someone that they don’t exercise a lot. You can use this phrase with many different famous people’s names. If you want to tell someone they are not really handsome you could say, “you’re not exactly David Beckham”. Be careful when you use this phrase though because it is often quite impolite. Being Defensive : If someone is being defensive, it means that when someone talks to them about a sensitive topic for them, they will not accept it and usually say something aggressive back. For example, the person in this dialogue was being really defensive because he didn’t want to talk about his eating problem or not exercising. He kept trying to change the subject instead. You sound like a six year old who is being very immature.
We often say this to describe someone
Whatever : This is used to say that you totally disagree with someone but don’t want to continue talking about it anymore.
024 - Guilt Trip | ESL Podcast Conversation A: So are you almost ready to go? B: You’re not going to believe this but I’m not going to be able to make it. I just remembered that I have to go to Jill’s birthday. It’s her 30th so it’s a bit of a milestone for her. I promised her a month ago. I can’t back out now. A: Well you seem to have no problem backing out of our plans. B: I know. Sorry about that. It was really careless on my part. I’d obviously rather hang out with you but I know I’ll never hear the end of it from Jill if I miss her B-day . A: She’s not even a close friend of yours. What’s the big deal? B: You don’t know Jill . She’s weird about these things. She told me that she’d be really upset if I didn’t make it. A: So you’re going to let her put a guilt trip on you? I don’t remember her at your birthday. You are one sorry man you know that? B: So how do you suggest getting out of it ? A: Make some excuse. B: Lie to her? A: A white lie . Just do it to spare her feelings
Key vocabulary and phrases that are discussed in the podcast: Milestone : A milestone is some important number or thing that you’ve achieved. Turning 30, 40, 50 are considered milestones for birthdays. Maybe Michael Jordan scoring his 1000th point was a milestone for him. Or when we have 10 000 listeners to our podcast, that will be a milestone for us. Back out : Backing out of a plan or promise means to try to not do it anymore or try to break your promise. Maybe you promised your friend you would go to get a tattoo together but you got scared at the last minute and decided not to get one. Then you backed out. I’ll never hear the end of it : If you do something that someone else doesn’t like, they might keep talking about it and reminding you of it. Then that means you will never hear the end of it. If you are in a relationship and your girlfriend sees that you kissed another girl, then she might not let you hear the end of it.
B-Day : Sometimes we say B-day instead of birthday in spoken English. Its very casual and used between friends. You don’t know Jill : Here, this sentence does NOT mean that you haven’t met Jill, it does means that you don’t know Jill really well, or you don’t know how she would react in certain situations. Guilt trip : Someone who is trying to make you feel guilty so that you behave in the way that they want you to is putting a guilt trip on you. If your friend says to you, “come on, you are my best friend. You have to come, its my birthday, if you don’t come I’ll be really sad” Then they are putting a guilt trip on you. They want to make you feel guilty so you will go. A Sorry man : A man who you feel sorry for. Very pathetic. A man who is not capable of very much. Getting out of it : Not doing something that you are scheduled to do. White lie : A lie about something not very important. If you say that you are 29 but you’re really 30, that is a white lie. Spare her feelings : Do something to avoid hurting someone’s feelings. For example, if someone sings you a song and you think they are really horrible at singing, you might tell them that they are not bad to spare their feelings. If you told them the exact truth then they might get hurt. This is another example of a white lie.
025 - Bringing Something to the Table | ESL Podcast Conversation A: So who’s all going
B: You, Steve, Scott, Kim, Christy, and myself A: Why did you invite Scott? B: What’s wrong with him? He’s a nice guy. He’s totally harmless . A: I know he’s harmless. I don’t dislike him. Its just that it’s Saturday night. We’ve already got such a tight group and he doesn’t really bring much to the table. B: I haven’t really found that. A: Think back to the nights he’s been there. He doesn’t joke around or laugh much. I think it kind of ruins the group dynamic. B: I didn’t really think of it before but now that you mention it, the girls don’t really seem to be themselves around him .A: Exactly. So what are you going to do about it? B: Not much I can do. I already invited him. I can’t tell him that we find him too dull. A: I suppose not. But next time, I’ll do the inviting. Key vocabulary and phrases that are discussed in the podcast: Who’s all going ?: This is a slang way of asking for a list of everyone who will be going to something. Harmless : Describing a person as harmless in this way means that they probably aren’t great but they won’t really cause any problems. They are not a bad person. It’s often used as a kind of polite way to describe someone you don’t like much. I don’t dislike him : This means that you probably don’t enjoy the person’s company very much. Maybe because you are too different. You don’t think too badly of the person, but you wouldn’t want to spend much time together. Tight group : A group of friends who are quite close and have spent a lot of time together. They have a good time together and often don’t want to include others.
Bring much to the table : This saying is talking about whether or not a person adds much. If someone is boring, dull, or doesn’t really do or say much in a group, then you can say they don’t bring much to the table. It means they don’t add any value. It’s obviously not a very nice thing to say about someone. Group dynamic : The way a group of people behave together. Sometimes one group of friends likes to act a certain way when they are together, if someone new comes in and causes people to act differently, then they have changed the group dynamic. Now that you mention it : This is said when you didn’t think of something before, but when someone else said it, you all of a sudden realized it yourself and agree. Be themselves : Being yourself means you act the way that feels most natural to you and the way you want to act. Sometimes in front of certain people it is hard to be yourself. Maybe you aren’t yourself around your boss because you are afraid of what she will think of you.
026 - Embarrassing Situations | ESL Podcast Conversation A: So what did you think about lunch yesterday? B: The food was really good. A: You know that’s not what I was talking about
B: I was trying to avoid the subject but I guess you’re not going to let me off that easily. I guess Megan overreacts sometimes. A: Overreacts? She threw her drink right in my face and stormed out of the restaurant. She made quite a scene over one innocent comment . B: Well you shouldn’t have made fun of her ear rings. A: Whose side are you on
B: I’m on your side, but I wouldn’t have said what you said, that’s all. A: Fine, I admit the comment was a little rude, but she really crossed the line . I hope you aren’t going to see her again. B: I might. A: In a word , Pathetic. Key vocabulary and phrases that are discussed in the podcast: You know that’s not what I was talking about: This sentence is used to tell someone that the way they chose to answer the question was not the type of answer you were hoping for. In this case, they were talking about the girl’s behavior and not the lunch. Avoid the subject: If one person is trying to talk about something and you don’t want to talk about it so you don’t answer their questions and keep trying to talk about something else then you are “avoiding the subject”. People often try to avoid subjects that they are uncomfortable talking about. Let me off: This phrase means to allow someone to not take responsibility for something. You could say the policeman saw me driving too fast but he let me off instead of giving me a ticket. Stormed out:
This is talking about a person who leaves somewhere quickly, usually because they are really angry. My girlfriend yelled at me yesterday and stormed out of the house without saying where she was going. Made quite a scene: This is a useful way to describe someone who is doing something that causes other people to look at them. Usually it’s a kind of bad behavior. To make a scene you need to be either in a public place or a place with several people around. If you start yelling at someone in a restaurant and people notice you and watch, then you are making a scene. Innocent comment: A comment where you don’t intend to hurt anyone. Whose side are you on? If there is a disagreement between two people, you can ask this question to someone else. It basically means to you agree with me or do you agree with the other person. If they agree with you then they say that they are on your side. Crossed the line: If somebody did something that is more than you can tolerate or said something too offensive, then you could say they crossed the line. The line is like someone’s boundary or the most they can handle, crossing the line means that you went too far. It’s a bad thing. In a word…: This phrase is used to describe something simply, only using one word. So you could say, the dinner last night was in a word, amazing.
027 - Birthday Party | ESL Podcast Conversation A: I don’t think I’ll be calling Brian again. B: Why not? A: Sara had some people over for her birthday last night and Brian showed up with no gift, no drinks, or anything; and to top it off he was complaining about her not having a good enough selection of drinks. B: That’s pretty rude but not calling him again is a bit harsh don’t you think? He must have done something else. A: He could see that everyone took their shoes off at the door but he still kept his on tracking dirt all over the floor. He also lit up a cigarette in the house without asking. I mean , who smokes inside anymore? B: That’s awful. Did anyone say anything? A: Someone asked him to smoke outside and he took offense to it. It was like he’d never heard that people don’t like second hand smoke in their face. Oh ya, and he was hitting on Jay’s girlfriend the whole night. B: Did Jay say anything? A: You know Jay . He’s not really confrontational . He didn’t want to make it too awkward. I can understand that. Key vocabulary and phrases that are discussed in the podcast: Had some people over: This means invited people to your home. Its just a common way of saying this. For example, I had a few friends over last night. Showed up: It means arrived. To top it off: You can use this phrase when telling a story. It’s used in a situation where you list several things that happened that would already be enough to prove your point, but you still have one more big thing to say to add to what you were saying. Harsh: Strong, not very forgiving.
Tracking: When someone walks around with dirty shoes inside the house we say they are tracking dirt on the floor. I mean: Sometimes this is used to express that you believe that most reasonable people should agree with what you are saying. Second hand smoke: Smoke in the air from other people smoking Hitting on: Flirting. Talking to someone in a playful way with whom you are normally attracted to, often someone you might want to have a date with. You know Jay: This phrase means that you know Jay quite well and how he would behave in different situations. Confrontational: If someone does something that you don’t like or don’t agree with and you go to that person and tell them exactly how you feel and then you are being confrontational. Not being confrontational is having someone do or say something you don’t like and just keep your feelings to yourself.
028 - Slang Telephone Conversation | ESL Podcast Conversation A: AB , what’s going on? B: Not much, just taking it easy today. Work’s been killing me lately. A: What do you say we head downtown and grab a coffee at the Starbucks near plaza 66. B: I’ve had way too much caffeine lately. I wouldn’t mind grabbing something to eat though. Would you be up for that? A: It’s a nice day today, so we could get something at Element Fresh near the Portman. They’ve got a patio so we could sit outside. B: Sure, do you want to workout after? A: I’ve already gone. Wasn’t great though. 6 out of 10 at best. B: Just come with and do some cardio. I think you could afford to shed a few more pounds. A: We’ll see. Let’s meet at Element at 2. B: K, later. Key vocabulary and phrases that are discussed in the podcast: AB : Friends sometimes call people by their initials just for fun. My name is Andrew Best so friends of mine might call me AB. What’s going on? A slang phrase meaning, “what are you doing now? Or what are your plans for the next while?” Taking it easy:
relaxing, not doing much.
Been killing me : A phrase meaning “causing you a lot of stress”. You can say, my new job has been killing me. Or you could say, “The summer has been so hot this year, it’s killing me.” Grab a coffee: In casual conversation, we sometimes use the verb “grab” for food or drinks. “Let’s grab a coffee”, means, “let’s go somewhere and get a coffee”. Way too much: In casual conversation, we sometimes use “way” instead of “far”. “Way too much”, means, “far too much”. Caffeine : The drug found in coffee that gives people energy and keeps them awake.
Would you be up for that ? A casual phrase meaning, “Do you want to do that”, or “will you do that”. Patio : A place to sit outside. Sometimes restaurants and pubs have patios where people can sit outside and eat on a nice day. 6 out of 10 : Sometimes people rate things out of 10. 10 out of 10 is perfect. 0 out of 10 is the worst. At best : Ranking something is subjective, which means that its not always clear what the score out of 10 will be. If you say, 6 out of 10 at best, it means, 6 out of 10 or even lower than 6 out of 10. Come with : A slang phrase that means, “come with me” or “come with us”. You could afford to shed a few more pounds : Sometimes we say “shed a few pounds”, which means, “lose weight”. We’ll see : It means, “I’m not sure yet”. Element : In the dialogue, I said the restaurant’s name is Element Fresh. When both people know clearly what is being talked about, people sometimes use short forms. K: Slang and short for “ok”. Later : When hanging up the phone we sometimes say “later”. It’s slang and should be used only with friends.
029 - Fear | ESL Podcast ESL Conversation Fear is a defense mechanism that evolved over the years to protect us from dangerous situations. If you weren’t afraid of dangerous things, then you’d be more likely to engage in dangerous acts. Imagine you were on the top of a mountain and you weren’t even the least bit afraid of falling. You would walk around just as you normally would on the ground. If you made one false move, you’d be toast. The fear you feel is supposed to make you more careful and pay more attention to the situation. Even though fear is designed to protect us, it can ironically have the opposite effect. Fears can be misplaced and prevent people from doing things that would be beneficial to them. For example, people may be hesitant to approach the girl or man of their dreams because they are afraid of rejection. This fear is not very reasonable because if you don’t approach the person, you have no chance in getting what you want. As long as you can emotionally handle the rejection, which you should be able to, then you really have nothing to fear. Key vocabulary and phrases that are discussed in the podcast: Defense mechanism - A way of thinking or behaving in order to protect yourself in some way. Evolved - Slowly progressed over time. Engage - Take part in. It’s a bit formal and used more often in written English. It’s rarely used in casual conversation. A policeman might ask, “have you engaged in any unlawful acts over the past 12 months?” In everyday English we would say, “Have you done anything illegal during this past year?” False move - A mistake in behavior. It is often used in old movies when the male actor is trying to be cool and tough. “You make one false move and I’ll blow your brains out”. In other words, “If you do anything I don’t like I’ll shoot you”. Toast - In this context we mean dead. It’s a very causal and non-serious way to talk about death. If someone close to you died, you would never describe them as being “toast”. That would be far too insensitive. It’s usually used in a situation where no one actually died.
Ironically -Having the opposite effect of what was originally intented. ex. The government raised taxes to put more money into education but ironically they raised less money then under the original tax policy. ex. It’s quite ironic that his diet actually caused him to gain weight. Hesitant - Unable to act or decide quickly. He was hesitant to jump into the pool because the water was a little cold. Rejection - Being unaccepted. She didn’t ask her boss for a raise because of her fear of rejection.
030 - Exam Preparation | ESL Podcast ESL Conversation A: How’s the studying going? B: I haven’t started yet. I’m thinking of going on a caffeine bender and pulling a couple of all-nighters A: Cramming is the worst way to prepare for an exam. There is no way your brain can process and absorb so much material in such a short time. B: I used to cram all the time in high school and did just fine. A: It can work on easier tests but don’t get over-confident. This exam is going to test your understanding of the knowledge rather than just ask you to recite facts. Have you at least been going to class and keeping up? B: No, I’ve missed most of them. I’ve been in party mode all semester. I’m usually good in physics, I was just hoping to skim over the chapter summaries, do a few practice problems, and wing it for the most part. A: This is all new material. It takes time for these concepts to really sink in. B: The test is all multiple-choice. The answers are right in front of you. It’s all process of elimination. A: That’s a huge misconception. Multiple-choice tests can be really tough. Sometimes the answers are so similar and you really have to know the material inside and out to do well. B: We’ll see. How bad would you feel if I ended up beating you on this? A: I can’t see it happening. Key vocabulary and phrases that are discussed in the podcast: Caffeine bender – A bender is a slang term for going on a spree. It’s usually when you do something unhealthy without taking a break from it. An example would be, “I was on a drinking bender all weekend”. All-nighters something.
– This just means that you stay awake all night doing
Cramming – A method of studying where you try to learn a lot of information in a very short time. Usually it doesn’t work very well and students who cram are often a little lazy and procrastinate studying until the last possible minute.
Keeping up – Staying up to date. Not falling behind. The sentence, “I’ve been keeping up with my school work.” Means that you understand the material taught up until that point. You can also talk about keeping up with a race. Someone could say, “We should go for a bike ride today. Do you think you will be able to keep up?” Party mode – Being in some kind of a “mode” is just slang for saying that you have been doing a lot of it lately, and your mood and feelings are appropriate for doing that. You could say, “It’s been a great vacation. It will be hard getting back into working mode”. Skim – Read over quickly and briefly. Wing it – Do something with very little or no preparation. “She has a natural talent for giving speeches. I heard she didn’t prepare for that one and was able to simply wing it”. Sink in – You can talk about knowledge or concepts “sinking in”. If you totally understand a concept you can say that it has “sunk in”. If you ask someone, “How does it feel to have won the million dollars?” The person might reply, “I don’t know, it still hasn’t sunk in”. That means they are still so surprised, they haven’t really been able to fully accept what just happened. Process of elimination – This is a method of finding out an answer by ruling out all the possibilities except for the right one. Misconception – Something that you wrongly believe to be true. It’s a common misconception that all Americans are rich. Inside and out – Knowing something inside and out means that you know something extremely well.
031 - Native Pronunciation | ESL Podcast ESL Podcast Key phrases Here are some examples and phrases that we discussed in this podcast. Below are some examples of how words actually can sound in spoken english. They aren’t for written english. Going to – sounds like "gonna" often in spoken english What are you
– What a ya
ex. What a ya gonna do about it? Have to – have ta Do you – Do ya ex. Do ya really have ta go? What do you – wha da ya Want to — wanna ex. Wha da ya wanna do later? Why do you – why da ya ex. Why da ya wanna go there?
"Ing" - at the end of a word often sounds like "in" Ex. Talking – talkin are - can sound like "a" ex. What a ya talkin about? ex. What a ya doin? ex. Where ya workin now? Don’t know – donno ex. I donno what they’re eatin
Of – a ex. I donno what the point a that is? ex. What’s the point a goin there?
What is he – wha dis ee ex. Wha dis ee doin that for? What did you
– Wha dja
ex. Wha dja do yesterday afternoon? ex. Wha dja do that for? Why did you
– Why dja
ex. Why dja buy that shirt when you knew it didn’t fit? Where did you
– Where dja
ex. Where dja buy that car? ex.Where dja find that apartment? How did you
– how dja
ex. How dja get such a good deal?
032 - Buying a Computer | ESL Podcast ESL Conversation A: What’s going on? B: I’ve had it with my old computer. It’s a total piece of junk . I’m getting a new one. A: Are you getting a Mac or staying with the PC ? B: I know a lot of people swear by the Mac, but I’m so used to a PC that I think I’ll just stick with it . A: I like the Mac because it crashes a lot less and has a lot less viruses. B: I don’t blame you. I can definitely see how it would be better. I just can’t be bothered to learn how to use one. I also know there’s less software for the Mac. A: I hear you . What specs are you getting? B: I want a huge hard drive for all my downloads. I need to get a big monitor to watch movies on. A: What about RAM and processor ? B: My needs aren’t too great for those. I don’t use too many applications simultaneously . I pretty much just do word processing and surf the net. Key vocabulary and phrases that are discussed in the podcast: Had it : To say you have “had it” with something means you are tired of something and will no longer deal with it. I’ve had it with this old TV. I’ve had it with your nonsense. Piece of Junk : A phrase to describe something that is old and useless. You should get a new cell phone; yours is a piece of junk. Mac : Short form for Macintosh computer. These are the computers made by Apple. PC : PC is an acronym for “Personal computer”. It is often used to refer to computers that are IBM compatible. The two main types of home computers are Mac and PC.
Swear by : If you “swear by” something, it means you truly believe it. I don’t believe that drinking certain kinds of tea can cure a cold, but some people swear by it. Stick with it : If you “stick with” something, it means you will continue with it. I think I’m going to stick with my original travel plans. Crashes : A computer crash is when some program is not responding and the computer seems to freeze. Often you need to restart the computer when it crashes. It’s annoying because it wastes time and can cause you to lose data. Can’t be bothered : If you “cant’ be bothered” to do something, it means you don’t want to put in the necessary effort to get something done. I’d love to eat a great home cooked dinner tonight, but I can’t be bothered chopping all the vegetables. I wouldn’t mind going out tonight, but I can’t be bothered to get off the couch, have a shower and get dressed. I hear you : In this context, “I hear you” means, I understand what you are saying. It doesn’t necessarily mean you agree with the person, but you can understand their point of view. Specs : This is a short form of the word “specifications”. When we talk about a computer we often talk about its specs. In this case, “specs” refers to things like, the size of the hard drive, the amount of RAM, type of monitor, speed of the processor, etc. RAM : Acronym for “Random Access Memory”. It means computer memory that can be used by the computer to perform functions while the computer is running. Processor : The part of the computer that controls running the programs Applications : Another word for computer programs Simultaneously : At the same time. It’s a little bit formal. Are you able to read and listen to music simultaneously?
034 - Online Dating | ESL Podcast ESL Conversation A: Wow! That’s the 4th date you’ve been on this week? B: I’ve been on this new online dating site . It’s free for girls and guys pay about 30 bucks a month for a premium membership. There are tons of girls on there. A: They must be pretty desperate though. And they wouldn’t need to be on there if they were a decent catch . B: That’s what I thought but there are a lot of good-looking girls who hate the bar scene because they get hit on constantly by slimy guys. This way they can see your profile and see if you have anything in common . A: Isn’t it hard to judge their appearance based on a thumbnail picture? B: This site makes everyone upload at least 5 pictures with a high quality resolution . It’s true though, that some people’s pics make them look much better than they do in person. It’s hit and miss . A: What do you do when you show up on a date and know immediately she’s not cutting it in the looks department . B: It’s a delicate situation . Obviously you can’t let her know what you are thinking. I try to make afternoon coffee dates and I always have a plan B in the back of my mind . A: Sounds like too much hassle . B: It’s still easier, healthier, and cheaper than being in smoky bars all the time. A: That’s true. Maybe I’ll try it out. I’ve got nothing to lose. Key vocabulary and phrases that are discussed in the podcast: “On this new online dating site” - We often talk about being “on” a website which means been “using”. In spoken English, we also often say “site” instead of “website”. Both are ok though. Tons - Slang for “very many”. I ate a ton of pizza last night. Desperate – Someone who seems to really want a boyfriend or girlfriend but is having a hard time finding one we call “desperate.” Girls won’t want to date you if you seem desperate.
Decent catch – A decent catch is someone who would be a really good person to date. They have a lot of good qualities. Generally speaking, a “good catch” is good looking, has a good job, has a good personality etc. This term comes from fishing. I guess finding someone is a little bit like catching a fish. Bar scene – We often refer to the kind of nightlife that includes going to bars to socialize is the “bar scene”. How’s the bar scene in Tokyo? Hit on – Getting “hit on” means that someone is approaching you because they are interested in maybe dating you. It’s like flirting. Models get “hit on” a lot when they go out. Slimy – This is a slang term used to describe guys who pretend to be really nice and genuine but really have different ideas in mind. They might lie to make themselves look how they think the girl would want them to look like. Maybe they only want to bring you home for one night. Girls are always trying to stay away from slimy guys. In common – Having something “in common” with someone means that you have the same interest or background as they do. When dating, it’s important to find someone you have something in common with. What do you have in common with her? We are both from the same hometown and we have the same taste in music. Thumbnail picture – A thumbnail picture is one of those small square pictures that are often found on the internet. The picture you have on msn messenger is an example of a thumbnail picture. High quality resolution – The resolution of a photo is something which refers to how clear the picture is. The higher the resolution, the clearer the picture. Hit and miss – This phrase means sometimes its good, sometimes it’s bad. You don’t really know beforehand if the result will be good or not. You just have to try it and hope for the best. The business of cold calling is hit and miss. She’s not cutting it in the looks department – This phrase is very slang. It means, “this girl is not attractive enough for me”. If you are cutting it, it means you are at an acceptable level. Sometimes we refer to a department, as some kind of aspect. A girl might say, he’s really nice but not great in the romance department. Delicate situation – A situation that you must handle carefully to avoid hurting someone’s feelings. Telling someone you think they have an alcohol problem is a delicate situation. Plan B – Plan B is a “back-up” plan. Plan A is what you plan on doing. If something goes wrong, the next plan is called plan B. Let’s go to the park tomorrow. Ok, but if it rains we are going to need to think of a plan B.
Back of my mind – If you have something in the “back of your mind” it means you aren’t always thinking about it but it is still there. You think of it from time to time. Hassle – If something is a hassle it means it is annoying and frustrating to deal with. I’d like to go watch the game live, but it’s such a hassle to drive there, pay for parking, walk all the way to the stadium and listen to the screaming fans. I think I’ll just stay home and watch it on TV.
035 - Legal Situation | ESL Podcast ESL Conversation A: I just saw Chris whip by in a new Ferrari . Where did he get that kind of cash? B: I think he got it from the settlement . A: What settlement? B: Apparently he was taking a shower at the gym and he slipped, fell and hurt himself pretty badly. He threatened to hire a really good lawyer and sue them. The gym owners agreed to settle out of court because they didn’t want to take any chances . He made a killing . A: That’s not their fault? Why would they agree to that? B: Chris was claiming that they put too much wax on the floor, which made it too slippery. Apparently they’re not allowed to do that and he has a case . A: That’s so absurd ! I can’t believe people can profit from something like that. There’s really something wrong with the legal system. B: I blame Chris as much as anyone. I can’t believe he can sleep at night after exploiting those owners. I can’t believe anyone would actually sue in a situation like that. A: Are you kidding? I’d do the exact same thing if I were in his shoes . Those owners won’t pay directly. Their insurance will cover it . B: Even if its true wouldn’t you have a guilty conscience knowing that most of your wealth was from cashing in on an injury? A: Maybe for a little while, but I’m sure sipping margaritas Caribbean would take care of that.
B: You’d be judged by everyone. A: Who cares? Key vocabulary and phrases that are discussed in the podcast: Whip by – To go really fast past someone. Did you see that? That golf ball just whipped past that guy’s ear. Ferrari – A famous Italian luxury car. Settlement
– A legal agreement.
Apparently – This word means “it seems that”. It’s often used when you understand something to be true but you don’t have proof. For example, you could say, “apparently Dave can speak Japanese”. Or you could say, “apparently drinking too much fruit juice can make you gain weight”. In that case, apparently is used as, “it is said that”. Another example is “apparently listening to really loud music all the time can make your hearing worse when you are older”. Sue – To start the legal process against. You often sue someone to get money for compensation. Take any chances – If you “don’t want to take any chances”, it means you want to play it safe. You don’t want to take a risk so you are going to be extra cautious. I know I probably won’t get struck by lightning if I go outside now but I don’t want to take any chances. Made a killing – Earned a lot of money. Apparently she makes a killing selling her paintings. Has a case – If you say that someone “has a case”, that means that they will probably win if they go to court. You may have a case if you tell the judge that you were driving too fast because your wife was about to have a baby and needed to be rushed to the hospital. Absurd – Crazy, ridiculous, uncommon. Why would we go to the beach today if it’s raining? It’s absurd! I can’t believe he can sleep at night – We often wonder how someone who feels guilty or really stressed can sleep at night. I wonder how thieves can sleep at night. How can you sleep at night knowing that all of your money is invested in one company? What happens if the company goes bankrupt? In his shoes – In his same situation. If I were in his shoes, I would have handled the situation completely differently. Cover it – This means that there is enough money to pay for something. Imagine you are at a restaurant with your friends and you need to leave early but don’t know how much money you should pay. You might guess that your meal is around $15. You don’t want to pay less so you put down $20 and say, “I think this should cover my share”. Or “Do you think $200 will cover the cost of the broken window”. Cashing in – Cashing in on something means taking the opportunity to make money from something. When we use this we are often talking
about a lot of money. You should think about how to cash in on your amazing singing ability. Margaritas – A type of alcoholic drink. We often associate this drink with relaxing on the beach.
036 - Describing People 2 | ESL podcast Phrases and Vocabulary used: Naive – someone who lacks experience and understanding about something. We often describe someone who makes an immature decision as naive. I think he is very naive to think that it is a good idea to get married to his girlfriend after only knowing her for one week. Why would you give him your bank account password? You are so naive. Predictable – someone who doesn’t do many new and exciting things. We often use this in a bad way meaning the person is a little boring and not adventurous. Even though she thought her boyfriend was good person, she decided to leave him because he was too predictable. Confrontational – Someone who is very direct and will express their opinions even in situations where someone might not like it. For example, if you see someone smoking and you walk up to them and tell them that it will kill them, that’s being confrontational. Conceited – Someone who has an overly favorable opinion of themselves and their own abilities. It’s used in a negative way. Self-conscious – Someone who worries too much about what other people think of them. It’s not good to be self-conscious when learning a new language. My friend is so self-conscious that she won’t even sing in front of her close friends. Rational – Someone who is reasonable and uses good judgment to make decisions. They are usually calm and not so emotional. It’s much easier to negotiate with rational people than emotional ones. Approachable – If someone is approachable it means that it appears that they will be friendly if you go up to talk to them. They seem easy to talk with and to get to know. People who are relaxed and have a nice smile are approachable. Down to earth – Someone who is “down to earth” is practical, realistic, and in touch with the lives of regular people. People who are down to earth are reasonable and don’t have a lot of crazy ideas. Often people think that movie stars and celebrities are not down to earth because their lives are so different from everyone else. Methodical – Someone who does everything in a slow, planned, and systematic way. Methodical people are careful and never skip steps when doing things. They don’t mind taking a long time to do things because they think that the extra effort is worth it.
037 - Movie Review | ESL Podcast ESL Reading The Weatherman is a window into the personal life of a middle-aged man named Dave, played by Nicolas Cage. Dave is a minor celebrity , has a relatively easy job as a weatherman , and a good salary. Unfortunately his personal life is in shambles . He’s unhappy, unfriendly, and doesn’t seem to have any friends. He wants to show he’s a good father to his kids and tries to no avail to convince his ex-wife their marriage deserves a second chance. He finds out that he’s being considered for a great job in New York with a massive pay raise but once again money doesn’t seem to help his life. This movie makes you think about what’s really important in life. Some critics dislike the movie but I personally think it’s underrated and definitely worth watching . Phrases and Vocabulary used: Window – a window into something is like saying it’s a view into something or an opportunity to see something that you normally wouldn’t have a chance to. Minor celebrity – someone who several people recognize but the majority of the population wouldn’t. Someone who does the news on TV or a professional athlete who isn’t very famous might be considered minor celebrities. Michael Jordan and Tom Cruise are both major celebrities in the US because most people would recognize them. Weatherman the public.
– The person on TV who delivers the weather forecast to
Shambles – something that is in a state of destruction or total disorder. That city was in shambles after the hurricane. Her life was in shambles after she lost her job and her boyfriend. Tries to no avail – If you try something to no avail it means you try but fail. He tried to no avail to date the girl of his dreams. Critics – Movie critics are people who have the job of watching movies and writing descriptions and ratings for those movies. I can’t believe the critics didn’t like that movie. I haven’t seen that movie but apparently the critics love it. Underrated – Not given the praise that is deserved. I think he is an underrated basketball player. That means that most people don’t realize how good he really is at basketball. Worth watching – This means that it won’t be a waste of time to watch it. You can also say “worth doing” or “worth going”. “worth doing something” means it’s a good idea to do and you won’t regret it. It wasn’t my favorite place for a vacation but it was definitely worth going. That
means that going on that vacation was still better than not going and you don’t regret it.
038 - Losing Weight | ESL Podcast ESL Reading Many people from all over the world are obsessed with their body weight. Many of those people wish to lose weight but are utterly clueless when it comes to how to lose it. They often try fad diets , weight loss pills, over training , or a combination. These extreme measures are unhealthy and virtually impossible to maintain. These people often lose weight quickly at first, only to gain it all back and even more once they return to their normal lifestyle. Some people even develop illnesses such as anorexia . Phrases and Vocabulary used: Obsessed – It means to put too much thought into something. If you are obsessed about something it means you are spending too much time thinking about it and worrying about it too much. You could say, “He’s obsessed with playing video games”. Or “She’s obsessed with her looks.” It’s used in a negative way. It doesn’t just mean, “pay a lot of attention to”, it means “pays too much attention too”. Utterly – It means “completely”, “totally” or “100%”. Some examples are: She’s utterly beautiful. That idea is utterly stupid. He is utterly unaware of the dangers of smoking. Clueless – It means “having no knowledge about”. He is utterly clueless about how to treat woman. I’m clueless about computers. My friend is absolutely clueless about how to save money. Fad diets – A fad is something that becomes very popular or fashionable quickly, but is only popular for a brief period of time. A diet is a plan for what someone can eat. Sometimes certain diets like, “seafood diets” or “No fat” diets become very popular with people for a while. Different diets are popular at different times. The USA often has a lot of fad diets. Over-training – When someone exercises too much. They make themselves too tired and hurt from over-exercising. This is unhealthy and people often become sick from it. Extreme measures – Here, a “measure” means an action taken to solve a problem. Extreme measures mean that the action taken is very serious and strict. If you get sick one time from eating chicken, and because of that you decide never to eat meat again, that is an extreme measure. Virtually impossible – Here virtually means “almost”. Virtually is often used with the word impossible. To say something is impossible it means
that there is absolutely 0% chance of something happening. It can’t happen. If you say virtually impossible it means that there is almost no chance of it happening, but maybe in some strange case it might happen. Anorexia – an eating disorder where you don’t want to eat at all. Some people get this because they want to be really thin and they always think they are too fat. This is a very serious disorder and some people die from it.
039 - Blogging | ESL Podcast ESL Reading As of July 31 2006, the number of blogs worldwide was reported to have topped 50 million. According to reports, the blogosphere was doubling every 6 months or so with more than 2 new blogs created every second. Many people enjoy reading blogs more than a news report because they enjoy the free writing style and the unbiased opinions. Some of the most successful bloggers have been able to turn their hobby into a full time career by monetizing their blogs with pay per click advertising and donations. Although possible, these cases are few and far between and it’s recommended that most bloggers don’t quit their day jobs . Phrases and Vocabulary used: Topped – means “passed” or “went higher than”. It’s often used in written English such as in the newspaper. In sports you might see, the Houston Rockets topped the Chicago Bulls 118-101 Blogoshpere – A word that refers to the entire collection of all the blogs that exist on the internet. Unbiased – Not prejudiced or impartial. It basically means that your opinions are really your own and you have no personal reasons to make them different. For example, if you asked a mother if her daughter is beautiful, she might say “yes” just because all mothers want their daughters to be beautiful. In this case the mother’s opinion would be biased. If you just asked a person on the street, their opinion would likely be unbiased. Monetizing – Turning something into money. If you monetize your blog, it means you are making money from the blog. Pay per click advertising – This is one popular kind of advertising that you often see on the internet. One example is “Google ads”. You will often see links to other websites under the title, “Google ads”. If someone looking at the website is interested in an ad and they click on it, the person who owns the website will make a little bit of money. This is one way that bloggers often use to monetize their blogs. Few and far between – Events that happen but are very rare. An example sentence is, “You should take that job. Good jobs like that are few and far between.” Don’t quit your day job – If a person has some new idea for making money but this method might not work or is risky, you can use this expression. So “don’t quit your day job” means, “be careful because you might not be able to earn money from this idea”. Or “It’s risky to totally depend on that for a source of income.”
040 - Losing Weight 2 | ESL Podcast ESL Reading There are several different strategies and methods to lose weight, but here are some of the most common ideas. It’s important to control your total caloric intake . Calories are the energy found in food and this energy will be stored as fat if the body doesn’t use them up. You should try to keep the amount of saturated fats to a minimum and also not eat so many simple carbohydrates . You should exercise regularly and do both strength training exercises as well as cardio -vascular exercise . A Big Mac at Macdonald’s has 492 calories and would take you almost an hour of moderate bike riding to burn that. If you have a daily caloric deficit of 500 calories, it would take you about 13 days to lose a kilogram of body fat. Phrases and Vocabulary used: Calorie – A measurement of the amount of energy in food. You will lose weight if you burn more calories than you eat and you will gain weight if you eat more calories than you burn. Caloric intake
– The number of calories that you eat.
Saturated fat – A type of unhealthy fat found in Animal products. The fat in milk, butter, and beef are saturated fats. You should try to eat only a limited amount of this kind of fat. Simple carbohydrates – Carbohydrate is a special word for sugars. Simple carbohydrates get broken down quickly and go into your blood quickly to provide a boost of energy. Sweet things such as chocolate, pop, honey, and fruit juice have a lot of simple carbohydrates. Bread also has a lot of simple carbohydrates even though it isn’t very sweet. Complex carbohydrates are sugars that get broken down slowly and therefore don’t make your blood sugar rise too quickly. Most vegetables are high in complex carbohydrates. Cardio-vascular exercise – A type of exercise that is good for your heart, lungs and blood circulation. Running, bike riding, and swimming are good examples of cardio-vascular exercise. This varies with age, but cardio-vascular exercise is any exercise where your heart beats about 150 times per minute. Moderate bike riding – “Moderate” is a word used to describe exercise that is not very hard and not very easy. It’s somewhere in the middle. So moderate bike riding would be fairly fast riding but not nearly the fastest you can ride. “Strenuous” or “heavy” are words to describe very difficult and intense exercise. “Light” is usually used to describe easy exercise. So “light jogging” would be a very slow and easy run.
Caloric deficit – A caloric deficit means that you burn more calories than you eat. We also often say “consume calories” or “take in calories” instead of “eat calories”. So if you had a 500 calorie deficit on a given day, that would mean that the total number of calories that you burned that day was 500 more than the number of calories that you consumed.
041 - Global Warming | ESL Podcast ESL Reading Global warming is one of the top priorities on the agenda of governments all over the world. The general consensus among scientists is that the current warming of the earth is caused by greenhouse gas emissions from human activity. It’s a difficult problem to address because the activities that cause global warming are very interconnected with our lifestyles and economic systems. There is also disagreement about what the best way to tackle the problem is. Some people want extremely strict emission regulations on businesses, while others believe that would only cripple the economy. Some economists like the idea of carbon trading , while others don’t like the idea of being able to “pay money to pollute”.
Phrases and Vocabulary used: Priorities : A priority is something that is given high importance. Even though he was offered a higher paying job in a different city, he didn’t take it because his family was more of a priority to him. Agenda : A list, plan, or outline of things that need to be done. Consensus : The majority opinion. A general agreement about something. The consensus of the group was to meet once a week. Greenhouse gas : Any gas that traps radiation from the sun and contributes to the gradual warming of the earth. Emissions : Something released into the air. In this case we are talking about the emission of greenhouse gases. Address : Here, “address” is used as a verb and it means “deal with” a problem. It’s a little bit formal. How do you think the government will address the issue of global warming. Interconnected : to be connected together or tied together. In this case it means “hard to separate”. Our lifestyles involve driving cars and using air conditioners etc. These activities cause greenhouse gas emissions. In other words, a lot of what we do already causes the release of greenhouse gases. Tackle : This is another word that we sometimes use to say “solve” or “deal with” a problem. Do you have any ideas as to how we should tackle this problem? Cripple : cause harm to, slow down, make weaker. Cripple the economy means to make the economy much worse.
Carbon Trading : A system where companies or countries set emissions targets for greenhouse gas emissions. If you go over your limit of greenhouse gas emissions, then you can buy the “right to emit more gases”. It’s a way to give companies a good reason to try to emit less gas. If they emit too much they have to pay money. If they emit less gas, then they can earn money by letting other companies buy their right to emit more gas.
042 - Dinner Party | ESL Podcast ESL Reading A: What did you think of last night’s dinner party? B: It was fun up until Katie showed up. She really took Luke out of the picture . It was pretty tacky for them to be making out in front of everyone like that. A: At least she was pleasant . Sarah was just picking at her food with a sour look on her face. Then after dinner she wouldn’t talk to anyone and just sat there playing with her cell phone. I think she made everyone feel a little awkward. B: At least Bill made it all worthwhile. He broke the tension outrageous remarks and had everyone cracking up .
A: Ya, it was really great to see him in top form like that. That was the first time I’ve seen him so relaxed since he dumped the old ball and chain . B: I really liked how the girls were friendly to each other. Remember the last one where a couple of the girls got really catty to each other? A: Ya, that was unbelievable! B: All in all I’d say last night was a success. I just hope someone else hosts the next one. The place looks like a pigsty today.
Phrases and Vocabulary used: Out of the picture : Someone that’s “out of the picture” is not noticed anymore or if you don’t really talk to a person anymore especially people that you were in a relationship before with. You could say, her exboyfriend is totally out of the picture now. This means they don’t contact each other and don’t deal with each other anymore. Here, if this girl took Luke “out of the picture” it means she occupied all of his attention and it seemed like he wasn’t at the dinner party anymore because he wasn’t talking to anyone else and wasn’t really noticed by anyone anymore. Tacky : Unfashionable. Bad taste. That color of your pants is too bright. They look really tacky. The furniture in your house looks really tacky. Also, as you noticed in this lesson “tacky” can refer to behavior. Some people think that kissing in public is tacky behavior. Going to someone’s house for dinner and not bringing anything is a little tacky. Making out : Passionately kissing and hugging. Sometimes in American movies you will see couples making out.
Pleasant : A personality trait that means “enjoyable to be around”. This kind of person is often smiling and doesn’t cause much trouble. They are easy to meet and friendly. Picking at her food : “Picking at food” means to be eating really slowly and mostly just moving the food around the plate. It seems like the person is busier playing with the food then eating it. Often people do this when they are eating something they don’t like and don’t really want to eat. Sour look : This is a facial expression that looks like you just ate a lemon. The person with a sour look appears that they really are not enjoying themselves. They seem like they are unhappy and disappointed. They seem to wish they were somewhere else. Broke the tension : When there are two or more people together who don’t seem to be comfortable with each other, we say there is “tension”. For example, someone is at a party and their ex-girlfriend shows up unexpectedly and it makes everyone feel a little uncomfortable but no one is really saying anything. They can all just feel it. At that point we say there is “tension in the air”. If someone does something like tell a joke to get everyone laughing, we say they “broke the tension”. Cracking up : This simply means “laughing”. He’s funny; he really cracks me up. Top form : Being in “top form” means you are at your best. People aren’t always in their best mood or being their funniest or their best. If you are in top form, you are confident, happy, fun, and enjoyable to be around. Dumped : To dump someone means to break up with them. Have you ever been dumped? Last week his girlfriend dumped him. Ball and Chain : If you are dating someone who is really making your life worse, ie. Causing you stress, making you unhappy, not giving you freedom, we say they are a “ball and chain”. Long ago, prisoners had a very heavy ball tied to their leg with a chain so they couldn’t move. The idea is that the person you are dating is having such a bad influence on your life, they are slowing you down as much as a ball and chain. People usually just use this phrase as a joke and you could say to your friend, "where is the ball and chain?" Catty : In casual conversation we refer to girls being jealous of each other and acting mean or rude to each other because of this jealousy as being “catty”. If two girls fight, we call it a “cat fight”. All in all : This is a phrase that means, “in conclusion”. You could say, “today was raining and the weather was cold, but it was still really fun to spend time with my friends. All in all it was a good day.
Pigsty : This is the name of the place where pigs live. It is obviously really dirty and disgusting. If someone has a really dirty apartment, you can say, “your place is such a pigsty”.
043 - Freeloading Friend | ESL Podcast ESL Reading A: I wasn’t going to mention it but I think you still owe me a few bucks for the tickets. B: Whatever. Didn’t I foot the bill also paid for the satellite TV.
for the rent the last two months? I
A: You have a pretty selective memory . First of all I paid for the rent the two months prior to that. I also told you that I didn’t want the satellite TV. I don’t even watch it. Also, when you were broke last year I paid for most of the Thailand trip. B: Alright fine. I’ll pay you for my ticket. I didn’t think you were keeping track of every penny . A: I wasn’t. The tickets were $500 bucks each. I’m not exactly made of money you know. Just try not to be such a freeloader . B: Oh come on. That was a cheap shot . It’s not that bad. A: I’ll tell you what. Just pay me for the ticket. Then we’ll have a few tall boys and forget the whole thing. B: Sounds good.
Phrases and Vocabulary used: Foot the bill : This is just an expression that means “pay for something”. I’m pretty lucky because I got my dad to foot the bill for my university. Selective memory : This term refers to someone who only seems to remember things that are convenient for them to remember. For instance, they might remember beating you in tennis one time but forget all the times they lost. They might remember when their roommate forgets to clean the house but they forget all the times when they left the place messy. Prior : This just means “before”. Its not used as often as “before” in spoken English, but it still is used sometimes. Your boss might ask during an interview, “what were you doing prior to university”? Broke : This just means have no money or almost no money. “Sorry guys, I can’t join you guys for dinner tonight, I’m broke.” Keeping track of every penny : This phrase just means that you are paying really close attention to your money and spending.
I’m not exactly made of money : This phrase just means that you don’t have a lot of extra money that you can spend freely. A father might say to his son, “I wish I could help you pay for your vacation but unfortunately I’m not made of money” Freeloader : This expression refers to someone who is really cheap and trying to get other people to pay for their lives. For example, if you take advantage of people’s kindness and live with them, eat their food, and don’t pay for anything yourself, you are “free loading” off them. Cheap shot : This can refer to two things. The original meaning refers to hitting someone in an unexpected and unfair way during a fight. For example, if you want to fight someone and you hit them from behind when they aren’t looking or aren’t ready, it is called a cheap shot. The other meaning, like in the dialogue, refers to saying something to someone else that is hurtful and too mean to say. For example if you are angry with someone and you tell them about some physical problem that they have like being born with really big ears, that is a cheap shot, because the big ear comment is something that they can’t control. Tall boys : This is a slang expression that refers to the tall 500 ml cans of beer.
044 - Wedding | ESL Podcast ESL Reading A: I’m hoping the wedding will be fun on Saturday. B: The wedding is a no-go . Shirley apparently called the whole thing off last night. A: What happened? B: No one really knows. Her decision seemed to come right out of the blue . Scott thinks she might just be having cold feet . A: I hope her girlfriends will be able to talk her out of this . I just forked out a lot of dough for my tux . I wouldn’t mind meeting an available bride’s maid either.
Phrases and Vocabulary used: No-go – This is a slang term used to describe some event that was supposed to happen but got canceled. The boss is sick so today’s meeting is a no-go. Called the whole thing off – “calling something off” means to cancel an event like a date or a wedding. How was your date last night? We didn’t go, Clare got sick and called it off. Out of the blue – This expression refers to something that comes as a surprise and with no warning. It also means you don’t know why something happened. Steve seemed like he was happy with his job but he just quit right out of the blue. Where did you get the idea to write a book? I have no idea. It seemed to come right out of the blue. Cold feet – This is a special phrase that is used to describe someone who is nervous about getting married. Many people get cold feet the night before their wedding day. Talk her out of this – “talking someone out of something” means you persuade or convince them not to do something. Michelle wanted to quit the basketball team but the coach talked her out of it. Forked – This is a little bit slang and can be used as a verb to describe paying a lot of money for something. The idea is that you are using so much money that you need a big fork to help you pick up all the money. Dough – This is a slang term that means “money”. He’s making a lot of dough at his new job.
Tux – This is short for “tuxedo”. A tuxedo is a special men’s suit that they often wear to a wedding. They are very expensive so a lot of people rent tuxedos when they need them. Available – This is a way to describe someone who is single, ie. They are not in a relationship. It means “available to date”. “Hey, remember that girl you introduced me to at the party? Is she available?” Your heart is in the right place – This phrase means that the person intends to do something kind or helpful, but actually causes more harm than good with their actions. For example, imagine a mother keeps giving her needy son money because she feels sorry for him, but actually this money is causing the son to be lazy and not look for a job. You could say her heart is in the right place because she actually wants to help. In our dialogue we were being sarcastic when we used this phrase because the person was actually being selfish.
045 - Bad Traffic | ESL Podcast ESL Reading A: What took you so long? We’ve been waiting for hours. B: I was stuck in traffic. We were moving at a snails pace for miles. A: Meeting at six doesn’t mean leaving the house at 5 to six. B: I left early. The traffic was horrendous . A: It’s rush hour. What did you expect
B: It was the worst traffic I’ve ever seen. A: You can’t keep playing that card used that excuse.
. It’s like the tenth time you’ve
B: Well, what can I say? I’m sorry. How can I make it up to you? A: What’s with the attitude voice .
? I really don’t appreciate your tone of
B: I suppose you’re never late. A: Well, I’m not late nearly as often as you. You don’t respect anyone else’s time. B: I like to think I more than make up for it
with my personality.
Phrases and Vocabulary used: Stuck : This is a verb we use to describe being in traffic for a long time. You can use it to describe some situations that you don’t want to be in but can’t get out of. For example you could say, “I was stuck in line for 2 hours at the bank”. “Why did you leave me all alone stuck talking to that boring guy?” Snail’s pace : A snail is a small animal that moves very slowly. A snail’s pace is a very slow pace. Horrendou s: Really bad. “That movie was horrendous”. “I heard he was good at tennis?” “Are you kidding? He’s horrendous” Rush hour: This is the time when everyone is either driving to work or driving home from work. It’s the time when there are the most cars on the road and the traffic is really bad. What did you expect? This is a rhetorical question that is similar to saying “Of course it would be like this. Why did you think it would be any
different?” If a guy who didn’t study looked surprised when he failed his test, you could say to him, “What did you expect? You knew it was a hard test and you did no preparation”. You can’t keep playing that card : This expression means you can’t keep making the same excuse. Maybe someone would accept the excuse once or twice, but finds it unreasonable for the person to keep using it. If someone asked you, “Can I borrow some money? I’ve been too sad since my girlfriend left me”. You could say. “You can’t keep playing that card. She left you over a year ago. It’s time to stop feeling sorry for yourself and get a job”. Like : It is slang here and means, “approximately or about”. “How old is she?” “I’m not exactly sure. I think she’s like 30”. Make it up to : If you “make something up to” someone it means you do something good to compensate for your mistake. If someone is angry with you because you forgot to call them on their birthday, you might be able to make it up to them by treating them to dinner. What’s with the attitude? This is a rhetorical question that means “Why do you have a bad attitude right now?” or “Why are you talking to me in such a rude way right now?” It’s not a very nice thing to ask. If you ask this question it means you are fairly upset with the other person. Tone of voice : There’s a saying in English that goes: “its not what you say but how you say it” It means that it’s even more important how you speak to someone than your actual words. You can say “Why did you stay out so late last night?” in a friendly way, or say the same thing in a way where you show you are upset. It’s the same question but the tone of voice changes the meaning. More than make up for it : If you more than make up for something it means that the good qualities or the good thing you did, makes your bad ones forgettable or much less important. You could say, “I know he’s a little selfish with his time sometimes, but he more than makes up for it with his great sense of humor and generosity with money”. You could also talk about an athlete by saying, “Although he’s quite short, he more than makes up for it with his speed”.
046 - Roger Federer | ESL Podcast ESL Reading At only 19 years of age, the underdog Roger Federer shocked millions by upsetting Pete Sampras in the 4th round of the 2001 Wimbledon championships. Since then, still only 25, he’s gone on to win 11 grand slams including 5 consecutive Wimbledon’s; tying Borg’s record. He’s now close to capturing his 50th ATP tour event. He’s got a brilliant allround game without any weaknesses. He’s also a fierce competitor and mentally very tough . Many people are already talking about him as the greatest tennis player of all time but not everyone agrees. He still needs to win several more grand slams, including one on clay at the French open if he wants to be considered the undisputed best player of all time.
Phrases and Vocabulary used: Underdog : This is the person or team that is not expected to win. For example, since Roger Federer is the number 1 tennis player in the world right now, anyone who plays against him is the underdog. The person or team who is expected to win the match is known as the favorite. Many sports fans like to cheer for the underdog because they like to see new people or teams have a chance to win. Upsetting : In sports, an “upset” means that the underdog wins the match. If someone beats Roger Federer at Wimbledon next year, that will be considered a big upset, since Roger Federer will be the favorite. Grand Slams : In tennis, the four biggest and most important tournaments are called the “grand slams”. The four grand slams are each held once per year. They are the “Australian open”, the “French open”, “Wimbledon”, and the “US open”. Consecutive : This means “in a row”. For example if you win three consecutive Wimbledon tournaments starting in 2000. That means you won in 2000, 2001, and 2002. Tying : A tie in sports means you equal your opponent. You neither win nor lose. You did the same as them. You could say to your friend, “Come and watch the rest of the basketball game with me. It’s really exciting. The score is tied 82-82. Capturing : Sometimes in sports writing, we say “capturing” to mean “getting”. The San Antonio Spurs captured another NBA title last season. ATP tour title : The ATP tour refers to all the professional tennis tournaments.
All-round game : An all-round game means that the player is good at every aspect of the sport. They can hit all the different kinds of shots. They are good at the net and also from the back of the court. Mentally tough : This means that the player is good when the match is close. They don’t get frustrated easily and can concentrate very well. Some players are talented, but if things aren’t going their way, they lose their focus and lose the match. It is said that tennis is 10% physical and 90% mental. Having a positive attitude is a very important quality of a champion. Clay : Different tennis courts are made out of different materials. Some are hard courts, some are made out of clay, and some are made out of grass. Depending on a player’s playing style, they will prefer certain surfaces to others. Undisputed : Something that is undisputed means that no one will disagree with it. For example, it is an undisputed fact that the earth moves around the sun. Everyone agrees with this.
047 - University Party | ESL Podcast ESL Reading A: Keep Thursday night open . Layton is having a huge BBQ and kegger in his backyard. It’s 15 bucks a head for burgers and all you can drink Keith’s . B: Why doesn’t he have it on the weekend? I’ve got classes all day Friday. A: What kind of an idiot schedules classes on Friday morning? I’ve got Friday’s off and I never start class before noon. B: I had no choice. I’m taking a real major and not just a bunch of bird courses . They only had classes offered at those times. A: Well don’t be such a goodie two shoes . It’s a month before midterms. I’m sure you can afford to miss a class or two. B: The problem is I’ve been succumbing to your peer pressure way too much lately. I could find an excuse to miss class every day if I wanted. A: Did I tell you the cheerleaders B: Damn. You’ve got me again
will be there? .
Phrases and Vocabulary used: Keep Thursday night open : If you tell someone to “keep some time open”, it means “don’t make any other plans at that time” or “be available at that time”. BBQ : A short form for Barbecue. We often say this in casual spoken English. Let’s have some BBQ chicken tonight. Kegger : This is a slang term for a “Keg party”. A Keg of beer is a huge metal tank of beer. This is what pubs often use to serve draft beer. Keg parties are common in North American universities. The students buy some Kegs of beer and share it. Usually people drink a lot at these parties. A head : This phrase just means “per person”. Let’s go to the Japanese restaurant for dinner. It’s only $15 bucks a head on Wednesdays. Keith’s : This is a short form for “Alexander Keith’s”. This is one relatively famous beer in Canada. I’m not sure how common it is anywhere else in the world.
What kind of an idiot…..? This is a rhetorical question. If you ask “what kind of an idiot would pay $200 for fake shoes?” You are asking “How could someone be so stupid to pay $200 dollars for fake shoes?” Or “I don’t think there would be anyone stupid enough to pay $200 dollars for fake shoes?” The exact meaning depends on the context but it should be easy to figure out. Obviously in our dialogue, the person is saying, “That was really stupid of you to schedule your classes on Fridays.” Bird courses : This just means “easy course”. Some students take “bird courses” to get higher marks and make their lives easier. Goodie two shoes : This is an old slang term that is used to make fun of someone who is scared to bend the rules and have a little fun. If your parents tell you that you need to be home before 9 pm, and you tell your friend that, they might say to you, “Don’t be such a goodie two shoes. I’m sure if you get back by 9:15 it will be ok”. Succumbing : Allowing something to beat or control you. “I promised myself I wouldn’t eat any ice cream today, but I wasn’t strong enough and finally succumbed to my craving.” Peer pressure : This is the pressure you get from your friends, or other people in a similar situation to you. Usually this pressure is to do something bad. Many people start smoking because of peer pressure. Their friends all smoke so they decide to start. Cheerleaders : These are the people, (usually girls) who dance and cheer for the teams at sporting events. Each team has their own cheerleaders to get the crowd excited. These girls are often good looking and in good shape. You’ve got me again
: This means, “you win again”.
048 - Super Model | ESL Podcast ESL Reading A: You’ll never guess who added me on Facebook . B: Who? A: Megan Smith. B: As in the multi-millionaire super model? A: Yup. B: How do you know her? A: She used to live 3 doors down from us when we were kids. She left home to model when she was 14 and has been on the road ever since. I’m surprised she still remembers. B: If that’s the case its not that surprising she remembers. I’m sure she’s just trying to connect with everyone from her past. A lot of people do that. A: I’m the only one I know of who she’s added. Anyway, she’s coming back for our 10-year high school reunion . I know she’s single too. I’m thinking of making a move . B: I can’t believe my ears . You’re just going to end up making a fool of yourself . She could get anyone she wants. Besides, you don’t want to get mixed up with a celebrity. I’m sure all the fame has gone to her head and she would be a nightmare to deal with. A: Whatever man. I saw her on Letterman . She seemed really cool. She even said that she’s looking for a “normal” guy. She’s had bad luck dating movie stars and just wants to settle down with someone out of the limelight . B: You’re unbelievable. You haven’t seen her in over 10 years and you’re imagining settling down with her. A: I’m just saying I’m looking forward to the reunion that’s all.
Phrases and Vocabulary used: Facebook : This is the short form of the popular social networking website www.facebook.com. There you can reconnect with all your old friends and share pictures and stuff like that. Sometimes people you haven’t seen in years add you by surprise.
3 doors down : This is a way to describe where someone else’s house is in relation to yours. Next door is obviously the house beside you. 2 doors down from you is the house beside the one next door, and 3 doors down is the one beside that. Etc. You can also use this to describe the location of rooms inside of a building. Their office is just 2 doors down the hall from ours. On the road : This is a phrase to describe someone who is away from home and moving around a lot. Professional athletes and famous rock stars spend a lot of time on the road. High school reunion : This is a special party for the people who graduated high school at the same time. So if you attend a 20 year high school reunion it means you will go to a party 20 years after you graduated high school with all the people in your high school who graduated at the same time you did, (and their husbands or wives). It’s a chance to see old friends and find out what everyone has been doing for all these years. Making a move : “Making a move” on someone means that you are showing them that you are interested in them romantically. If you invite someone on a date, that could be considered “making a move”. If you are on a date, making a move might be to lean in and try to kiss that person. In many cultures, it is traditionally up to the man to “make the first move”. I can’t believe my ears : This phrase is said when you are really shocked and surprised with what someone just said. If a 15 year old boy told you he was getting married, you might say, “I can’t believe my ears”. Making a fool of yourself : This means that you do something to look stupid or embarrass yourself in front of other people. She got really drunk at the Christmas party and made a total fool of herself in front of her boss and co-workers. Mixed up : Getting “mixed up” with something or someone means that you are getting involved with something that is not good for you. Parents tell their children that they shouldn’t get mixed up with drugs or the wrong kind of people. All the fame has gone to her head : If something “goes to someone’s head” it means that it makes a person overconfident and arrogant. He used to be such a nice guy, but when he became a millionaire the success really went to his head. Letterman : This is a famous late night comedy talk show. It’s popular in the USA and Canada. David Letterman is the host of the show and he interviews many different famous guests. “Normal ”: If you say, “quote end quote…..” it means that you are trying to say EXACTLY what someone else said, or you can’t find the perfect
word for something so you are using the best word you can think of. In the dialogue, it said “She’s looking for a “normal” guy”. The reason we used quotations is because its not really clear what a “normal” guy is exactly. Here she is obviously talking about someone who isn’t a movie star, but its unfair to say that movie stars are not “normal”. Settle down : this phrase usually means get married and have kids. It’s talking about a stable life with a steady job and a family. Its common now for young people to have fun and be free in their 20’s and start to think about “settling down” when they are in their 30’s. Limelight : Being in the “limelight” means you are in the public eye. The media writes about what you do and you are well known. Famous athletes and movie stars are in the limelight. Some people love it whiles others would prefer more privacy.
049 - Sales Call | ESL Podcast ESL Reading A: Hello, May I speak with
Mr. Steve Jones please ?
B: Speaking . A: Hi Steve. This is Glen Smith calling from Cogeco, your cable provider. We’ve got some great new super-saver packages I’d like to tell you about. B: I’m sorry, we watch enough TV as it is and the last thing we need is more channels. A: Steve, I know exactly where you’re coming from . Interestingly enough, there was a major study done last year, which showed that people who receive more channels actually watch less TV. B: Well unfortunately we can’t afford it at the moment. We’ve maxed out our credit cards and have no cash. A: Well, you’re in luck. We have a special plan for people like you. You don’t have to pay a cent for the first 12 months. B: What’s the catch ? A: There’s no catch. You just have to pay a small service charge for the paper work. B: My wife would kill me if I spent another cent. A: Then you can try our free 14-day trial. I’ll give you some extra sports and movie channels and throw in a couple of channels I’m sure your wife will love. B: So it’s totally free for 2 weeks? A: Yep, just make sure you call and cancel before your trial period ends. Enjoy the new channels Steve. B: Thanks. Bye A: Bye.
Phrases and Vocabulary used: “May I speak with…please?”: This is the formal and polite way to ask to speak with someone. You use this when you are calling someone on the telephone. If you are a business or you don’t know the people very well, you should definitely use this way. It is quite unprofessional to just
ask “Is Tom Smith there?” You should say, “May I speak with Tom Smith please?” or “May I speak with Mr. Tom Smith please?” or “May I speak with Mr. Smith please?” Speaking : If you are Tom Smith for example and the person calling asks to speak with Tom Smith, you can just reply, “speaking”. It means, “I am Tom Smith”. “I know exactly where you’re coming from”: This expression shows that you respect the other person’s opinion and understand why they feel that way. It basically means, “I totally understand why you feel the way you do.” Maxed out : If you max out your credit cards it means you have used up all the money that you are allowed to use and have no credit left. Basically, you can’t buy anything else. “What’s the catch?” : If you ask “What’s the catch?”, you are asking about what the downside of something is. A salesperson will often only tell you the benefits of buying the product. They make deals which at first appear really good to try to convince people to buy. The downside or “catch” is often hidden. In this case, the seller told him he could buy the TV channels and not pay at all for a whole year. The catch was that he had to pay some kind of “service charge” for this service. The funny thing was, the seller still said there is no catch. He tried to make the service charge seem like something really small and unimportant, even though he didn’t say the amount. He just said it was “small”. Throw in : This expression means to “include”. Salespeople often use it to act like they are giving you a special deal because they are including some free stuff. If a girl is shopping for a bikini, a salesperson might say, “If you buy this bikini, I’ll throw in a free towel and some sunblock”.
050 - Positive Attitude | ESL Podcast ESL Reading A: What’s going on? You don’t seem to be your usual self
B: Well, things aren’t great at the moment. I can’t make any good friends in this city and no one wants to hire me with my sociology degree . A: It’s a huge city. Why can’t you make any friends? B: I don’t know. It just seems everyone is really cliquey and unapproachable here. A: What’s the problem with the job hunt then? B: I’ve sent out a few resumes and heard nothing. I don’t have much experience and companies don’t want anyone with a degree that isn’t practical. A: Ok, fair enough , life isn’t the easiest right now. But d on’t be so down on yourself . Your negativity is killing you. I know. I’ve been there. The limiting beliefs will turn into a reality if you let them. B: That’s easy for you to say, you’ve already got a great job and a lot of good friends. You also studied business at a great school. No one wants a guy with a degree in Sociology . A: I’m telling you, this will turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy . The more you believe it the more likely it will come true. Remember, that is just a general opinion. It isn’t a fact. I’m positive that some people with degrees in sociology have jobs. It’s true that if people just read your degree on a resume it might slightly lower your chances of getting a job. But companies are always looking for good people. You’ve got to do some networking and get the word out that you are looking for a job. If you impress people with the type of person you are, I’m sure you’ll find something. You’ve just got to keep your head up . B: I guess your right. It’s just tough to do it without any friends to support me. A: So make some friends. Get out of the house and do things. Just be sociable and talk to people. You’ve also got to somehow get yourself in a better mood too. People won’t want to make friends with you if you are depressed and negative. People won’t become your friend out of pity. B: I’ll try it then. Thanks for the support.
Phrases and Vocabulary used: You don’t seem to be your usual self : This is something you can tell someone if they seem to be acting differently than they usually do. Usually you say this if they seem to be upset or depressed about something but aren’t telling you the reason. Sociology : The study of the social world. It’s about studying different societies and the way humans interact with each other. Cliquey : This word describes people who seem to want to stay with just their own group of people and don’t want to meet or talk to anyone else. You could say that the models who go to that bar are beautiful but are hard to talk to because they seem to be really cliquey. This means that they only socialize with their own friends and other people in their group. They don’t want to meet “outsiders” Job hunt : We sometimes say this instead of “job search”. They mean the same thing. Fair enough : This is something we can say when we agree with someone’s point. It means you understand their point of view and are willing to agree with them. Don’t be so down on yourself : This expression means, “Don’t have such a negative attitude about yourself”. “Don’t think of yourself as being useless and worthless”. Negativity : This is just referring to someone who is always saying negative things. If are on a trip with someone and they said, “This weather is horrible. I hate the food here. The people are rude too”. You could say to them. “I don’t want to hear your negativity”. Or “Your negativity isn’t helping anyone”. Limiting beliefs : These are things you believe to be true but are holding you back or making your life worse. “I’m to young to…” or “no body wants to date me because I am short”. Those are limiting beliefs. Self-fulfilling prophecy : This is something that is not necessarily true but is more likely to become true because you believe it. For example, if you think, “No beautiful girls will want to date me because I’m too short” then this might make you scared to talk to beautiful girls. If you don’t talk to them, you won’t date them, and your original thought will seem to become true. It will seem as though you were right from the beginning. Another short guy might not have this belief and maybe he will meet a beautiful girl because he wasn’t afraid to talk to them. Get the word out : This means to tell many people something and have many as many people know about something as possible. Companies always try to think of the best ways to get the word out about their new products.
Keep your head up : This means to “stay positive” or “look on the bright side”.
051 - UFC - Ultimate Fighting Championship | ESL Podcast ESL Reading A: Have you been catching any of UFC fights they’ve been showing on satellite? B: I’ve never heard of it. What is it? A: It stands for Ultimate Fighting Championship. It’s a mixed martial arts competition. Fighters from all over the world and from all kinds of different fighting backgrounds compete. They fight in an Octagon , which is a little bit similar to a boxing ring. There are very few rules. You can do almost anything to your opponent except for things like eye gouging or biting. B: How do they judge the competition? A: There are judges who score each fight and decide on a winner after the fight. A lot of fights are actually stopped prematurely because one of the fighters is forced into submission . The ref also often stops the fight if he feels one of the fighters is unable to defend himself? B: Wouldn’t the bigger and stronger fighters win most of the time? A: It’s surprising how talented some of the smaller fighters are. I’ve seen fighters win against guys who outweigh them by over 100 pounds. With that said though, size is still a factor and they divide the fighters into different weight classes . B: It sounds pretty scary. Those guys must be crazy. A: Actually, most of them see it as a sport and they have a lot of respect for the other fighters. Many of them have very good sportsmanship and are able to shake hands and hug after a grueling fight. B: It sounds interesting. I’ll have to check it out. When is it on? A: The live fights are mostly pay-per-view , but they show a lot of reruns on many of the sports channels.
Phrases and Vocabulary used: Catching : In this situation, “catching” means “seeing” or “watching”. We might say, “Did you catch any of the basketball game on TV last night?” We can also use catching in a situation like, “Did you catch what the teacher was talking about in class?” This means, “Did you understand what the teacher was talking about in class”.
UFC : This stands for “Ultimate Fighting Championship”. This is a professional type of fighting. The athletes can use any style of fighting to try to beat their opponent. It has very few rules and is becoming a lot more popular around the world. Mixed martial arts : A martial art is a particular training and style of fighting. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Karate are two different kinds of martial arts. In a mixed martial arts competition, fighters can use any martial arts style they choose to fight. Octagon : It’s a shape with 8 sides. Eye gouging : Trying to take someone’s eyes out. Prematurely : Premature means “before it’s supposed to happen”. If a fight ends prematurely, it means it ends before the time limit. If you are cooking and you put the chicken into the pot prematurely, it means you put the chicken in the pot too soon. Submission : Submission means to “give up” or “surrender”. In these fights, if a fighter feels he is losing badly he can submit. This lets the referee know to stop the fight. There are certain submission moves in these fights. Some of the fighters try to break their opponent’s arm for example. If someone’s arm is about to break, they will likely submit. Of course, if you submit it means you lose the fight. Ref : This is a short form of the word “referee”. Weight classes : They have different ranges of weight called weight classes. Fighters only fight against people in their own weight class. One weight class might be under 170 pounds. Another weight class might be under 205 pounds. The reason for weight classes is that it would be unfair to ask a 150 pound fighter to fight against a 250 pound fighter. If a fighter is very confident in his abilities, he is allowed to fight in a higher weight class. No one is allowed to fight in a lower weight class. Sportsmanship : being a fair and courteous competitor. If someone doesn’t make excuses when they lose a match but instead congratulates their opponent, they are said to be showing good sportsmanship. If they win a match and say nice comments about their opponent, they are also showing good sportsmanship. Good sports will smile and shake hands after the match. They accept both victory and defeat. Grueling : Very intense and tiring. Running a marathon in the heat would be a very grueling thing to do. Live : If something is shown live on TV it means it is happening in real life at the same time. Sometimes sports are shown live. Sometimes they are shown much later than the actual match.
Pay-per-view : This is a type of TV channel that you must pay each time you watch something. These are common in North America but I’m not sure about the rest of the world. Some movie channels are pay-per-view. If you want to see the movie, you must pay something like 3 dollars to watch it. Reruns : These are shows or events played on TV that have already been played before. Many times the same TV show will be played over and over again. If its not the first time its being shown on TV, it is called a “rerun”.
052 - The Simpsons Cartoon | ESL Podcast ESL Reading The Simpsons is a revolutionary animated sitcom , which has won several awards and become a major part of mainstream television in North America. It is intended to portray the typical working class American family. The show exaggerates and jokes about many of the stereotypes in America, which often offends people. Marge, the stereotypical housewife and mother, is married to her overweight husband Homer who works as an inspector for a nuclear power plant. He hates his job but only does so to support his wife and three kids. He’s always looking for shortcuts to get ahead in life and is gullible enough to get involved with get-rich-quick schemes . Homer and his son Bart, a mischievous kid, have drawn criticism for being poor role models . Several parents have decided to not allow their children to watch the show. Despite that, millions of people love The Simpsons and tune in every week.
Phrases and Vocabulary used: Revolutionary : Extremely new and much different from the past. Things that are revolutionary have a large influence. The internet is revolutionary for society. Animated : Something that has been animated means it has been given life. We say that Cartoons on TV are animated. The Simpsons is a cartoon. Sitcom : This is short for “Situational Comedy”. This is a humorous television program based on situations that could happen in real life. Mainstream : Something that is belonging to the most dominant and popular group. Mainstream television is the most popular and widely known television shows. Mainstream music is the type of music that is played on the most popular radio stations for example. If something is mainstream it means that many people know about it. Working class : The type of people who work for a wage. They are often the people who do manual labor type jobs. These are usually people in the lower middle economic class. Stereotypes : a simplified and general belief about a wide group. These aren’t necessarily true for all members of the group. For example, some stereotypes are “Americans like guns”. “Canadians like hockey”. “Girls like to play with dolls”. Shortcuts : A shortcut is method that is used to reduce the time and energy needed to do something. A lot of times shortcuts have disadvantages but lazy people like to take them. For example, taking
weight loss pills is a short cut for losing weight. They are certainly not the healthiest way to lose weight but are much easier than running for hours at the gym. Gullible: Someone who is gullible is tricked easily. It is easy to make them believe things that aren’t true. Get-rich-quick schemes : These are ways to get rich quickly without doing a lot of work. These most often don’t work and the people who believe in them are lazy and gullible. In North America it is common to see someone trying to sell their “get rich overnight” secret system, book, or video. Most people who buy these things don’t end up making any money. These schemes sound good are first but are usually too good to be true. Mischievous : causing trouble or harm. Young boys are often mischievous. Lying to your parents about homework, sneaking out at night, or pulling your sister’s hair are all examples of “mischievous” behavior. Drawn : This means “attract” or “get”. If you draw attention it means you get or attract attention. If you draw criticism it means you get criticized. If you draw a large crowd, it means that many people will come to watch you. David Beckham draws a large crowd no matter where he plays. Role models : A person who has positive characteristics that you would like to learn. It’s important for young people to have good role models. Michael Jordan is often looked upon as a good role model for young kids. Tune in : Tuning in means to “watch” or “listen to”. You can tune into your favorite TV show, or you can “tune into” China232.
053 - Office Romance | ESL Podcast ESL Reading A: Hey, what’s going on? B: I’m thinking of asking one of the new girls out. A: Does she work here in the office? B: Ya. I heard through the grapevine
that she’s single.
A: You can’t do that. They’ll can you if they find out. B: I know it’s against office policy, but I thought in reality office romance is just frowned upon . It seems like a grey area to me. Besides, who’s going to find out? A: First of all it’s more than frowned upon and it’s very black and white . Fred got the axe last year for dating Karen. The other thing is you know how chicks like to gossip . If you guys start having any relations, it won’t be long before everyone knows. B: Fred didn’t get canned just because of dating Karen. That was just the excuse they used. They wanted to let him go for a long time but couldn’t think of a reason. My work has been outstanding this year and I’m sure they’ll look the other way if they think something’s going on. A: Good luck. Who is she by the way? B: Heather, the new secretary. A: Wow. She’s really hot. Realistically, I’d also chance it if I were you.
Phrases and Vocabulary used: Heard through the grapevine : This phrase means that you found out some information somehow. You either don’t want to say how you found out or you don’t remember how you found out. Can : This is slang for “fire”. My boss canned me last week but I don’t know why. I hope that no one gets canned because of this mistake. Frowned upon : This phrase mean that people don’t approve of some kind of behavior. It’s not illegal but people look down upon it. Wearing those kind of ugly clothes to such a nice restaurant is frowned upon. It means you can do it but people won’t like it.
Grey area : This is something that is debatable or unclear. “Dating in the office is a grey area” means that its not certain whether dating someone in the office is ok or not. Black and white : This phrase means that something is either one way or the other. You could say, “Dating in the office is not a grey area. Its black and white. If you date someone in the office you will get fired. Guaranteed.” Got the axe : This phrase also means to get fired. He got the axe after only working in the company for 2 weeks. Gossip : To talk about rumors or other people’s personal matters. Let him go : This is a polite way of saying you fired someone. Although I liked Mark, I had to let him go because he kept coming late every day. Look the other way : This phrase means to pretend that you don’t see something bad. It also means you won’t punish or penalize someone for doing this act. For example, if your boss saw you dating someone in the office but he looked the other way, it means he didn’t mention it to you and he won’t punish you for it. He just pretended it didn’t happen. Chance it : This is a slang phrase that means to take a chance or a risk. I’m not sure if tomorrow will rain but I’m going to chance it and go to the golf course anyway.
054 - Dogs | ESL Podcast ESL Reading I’m not sure as to the origin of the quote but it is common knowledge that a dog is a man’s best friend . Several studies have supported the notion that dog owners reap several physical and psychological health benefits. There’s been some evidence pointing to dog owners having lower blood pressure and better immune systems than non-dog owners. It’s well known that dog owners consider their dog as a genuine family member, and this form of love and contact may help to explain some of these benefits. Dog owners also have pressure to get exercise because they need to walk their dogs. An added benefit of walking a dog is that it can help stimulate social interaction with other humans, because having a dog can make a person more approachable and provide a good ice-breaker . Dogs also have an advantage over human companions because dogs are even more loyal than humans. They are truly capable of unconditional love .
Phrases and Vocabulary used: Notion : A general understanding, opinion, or belief. I don’t agree with the notion that people shouldn’t eat meat. Reap : To get, or obtain some kind of benefit. All his hard work allowed him to reap the benefit of an early retirement. Although exercising everyday isn’t easy, I’d say reaping a healthy and attractive body is worth the effort. Pointing : Here we use pointing in a slightly abstract way. Instead of physically pointing with a finger or something, we mean “providing evidence” or “indicating”. “Although we’re not 100% sure who committed the crime, there’s a lot of evidence pointing to Steve being guilty.” This means that there are some good reasons to believe that Steve likely committed the crime. Blood pressure : Blood pressure is the pressure against the inner walls of the blood vessels. People with high blood pressure are at an increased risk of a heart attack. Immune systems : This is the body’s complex natural defense system against disease. Our body comes in contact with a lot of foreign material and bacteria all the time. Our immune system is what helps us fight against this so that we don’t get sick. If we do get sick, for example a cold, then our immune system fights the disease and that’s how we get better. Genuine : Real, not fake. “This is a genuine NBA basketball.” That means the basketball is exactly the same kind of ball they use in the NBA.
Stimulate social interaction : Stimulating social interaction is a complicated way of saying “getting people talking to each other”. Because many people are shy, it is said that drinking some alcohol can help stimulate social interaction. Approachable : Being “approachable” means you make other people feel that you are an easy person to talk to. People who smile a lot are more approachable than those who don’t. Ice-breakers : “Ice-breakers” are comments or other events that get people talking easily. If you approach a girl at a bar, it’s important to think of a good “ice-breaker” to make her feel comfortable talking to you. Companions : A person, “or animal” who accompanies you and helps you to feel not lonely. Old people who live alone are often lonely without any companions. Unconditional love : “unconditional love” is exactly what it sounds like. It means loving someone no matter what. It doesn’t matter what kind of mistakes they make, you will still love them anyway. It’s important for children to feel that their parents love them unconditionally.
055 - Useful Phrases | ESL Podcast Phrases and Vocabulary used: Pot head – This is a slang term for a person who smokes marijuana a lot. “Pot” is a slang term for this drug. The stereotype is that this person is usually quite slow and lazy. Some sentences could be, He seems like a pot head I used to be a bit of a pot head in university I think there will be a lot of pot heads at that party. Wannabe – This is a slang term to describe someone who tries to dress, or behave like someone they admire. It is a negative word. It comes from “Want to be”. A wannabe movie star for example is someone who isn’t a movie star but they pretend to be. Freak of nature – A freak of nature is someone who seems to have some kind of unusual and incredible traits. For example, if someone is 2.3 meters tall you could say they are a freak of nature. If someone is amazing at many sports but they don’t train very hard you could call them a freak of nature. It isn’t always a good thing; it’s not always bad either. It depends on the context. Control freak – A control freak is a person who needs to be in control of everything. They need to have everything done in their own way. They are very inflexible and get irritated if they don’t control how everything is done. Basket case – A basket case is someone who is completely hopeless and useless. They are incapable of doing many things. He’s too much of a basket case to even know how to apply for an email account. She doesn’t even know how to read a map! She’s such a basket case. Geek – A geek is a person who is usually very intelligent in terms of education, but lacks social skills. A geek is basically the opposite of someone who is cool. They are usually thin and not good-looking. Geeks are usually not good at sports but they are excellent with computers. This word is unkind of course. She’s really cool now. It’s hard to believe that she was a geek in high school. He seems like a bit of a geek at first but he’s really not once you get to know him. Doormat – This word describes a week person who is easy to take advantage of. They don’t stand up for themselves. A doormat is a small carpet that gets walked on all the time. This is basically what this kind of
person is like. If you can’t say no to anyone and let people treat you poorly, then you are a doormat. Slave driver – This is the kind of person who makes other people work very hard. It is not a nice term. He’s so stressed out at work because his boss is a real slave driver. Puppet – A puppet is a slang term for a person who’s actions are controlled by someone else. That government leader is just a puppet. He’s not saying what he truly believes. I hate working for this company. I can’t voice my own opinions. They want me to be a puppet. Suck up – A suck up is someone who acts like someone else is so great just because they want something from them. A suck up compliments the other person and acts overly nice in hopes of getting some reward. He is such a suck up. He always tells his teacher that he is the best teacher in the world. I know he is just trying to get better grades. She’s been sucking up to her boss lately because she’s hoping to get a salary raise.
056 - A bet between friends | ESL Podcast English Learning Conversation A: What are you doing with that cigarette? turkey .
I thought you quit cold
B: I did quit. I just have the odd one when I’m out drinking with my friends. I never buy them anymore. A: How long have you been doing this? B: I didn’t have any at all for 2 months. This past week I started smoking just on weekends when I’m out. It’s no big deal. A: I don’t buy it at all. You know how addictive smoking is. It’s easier to have none at all then it is to try to limit yourself to a few. It’s a really slippery slope . B: You sound like my mother . Let’s make a bet. I bet you 200 bucks that I don’t have a cigarette outside of a bar for the next six months. A: You’re on . But, how will I know whether or not you are cheating. B: We’ll have to use the honor system . A: Fine. This is a real bet then. 200 bucks. 6 months. No cheating and no backing out . B: No problem. This is going to be the easiest 200 bucks I’ve ever made. A: Hey, I hope you win.
Phrases and Vocabulary used: Quit cold turkey : This is a set phrase. If you quit something “cold turkey” that means that you quit all at once. You don’t slowly quit. For example, quitting smoking “cold turkey” means that after you say you are going to quit, you never have another cigarette. Have the odd one : If you “have the odd” cigarette, it just means that you have a cigarette once in a while but not often. You can also say, “the odd time”. This means that you don’t do something very often. If someone asks, “Have you been playing much golf lately?” you could answer with, “I’ve been busy lately, but I still play the odd time”. They both mean, “infrequently”. I don’t buy it : This phrase means, “I don’t believe it”. Imagine your friend said to you, “Kevin said that he won a medal in the Olympics”. You could say, “I don’t buy it. He’s always making up stories”.
Slippery slope : This phrase means that once you start doing something a little bit, it’s hard to control yourself. It is a kind of bad habit that is easy to pick up. If you love to eat chocolate, it’s hard to only eat a little piece and then stop. You could say, “I’ve decided not to eat any more chocolate. Once I start I can’t stop. It’s a really slippery slope for me”. You sound like my mother : We often use this phrase to tell someone that they are trying to control you. If your friend is nagging you about some problem, you could tell them, “you sound like my mother”. You’re on : This phrase is used to agree with or accept the terms of a bet. If your friend says to you, “I’ll bet you 10 dollars that I can been you at tennis”, you could reply with “you’re on”. That means, “Sure, I’ll make that bet with you”. Honor system : The “honor system” is the term we use to say that we will just use trust. In this dialogue, the one person could of course cheat on the bet because the other person won’t know if he is really smoking outside of the bar. The “honor system” means that you agree to trust that no one will cheat. Backing out : “Backing out” of something, like a bet, means that you say you won’t do it anymore, even though you had previously agreed to do it.
057 - Vacation Plans | ESL Podcast English Learning Conversation A: Smith’s Travel, Steve speaking. How can I help you? B: Hi Steve, It’s Andrew Best calling. I believe we spoke yesterday over the phone about my trip to Hawaii. A: Yes, I remember, how are you? B: I’m fine thanks. Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that something came up and we’re going to have to postpone the trip another month. A: Oh I’m really sorry sir, but those tickets are non-refundable .. B: I don’t want a refund, I just want to change the dates. A: The thing is that this trip was a limited time offer and was only for those specific dates. There’s really nothing we can do. B: Well, I wasn’t aware of that. Can’t you bend the rules a little this time? I’ve been a loyal customer for years. A: I’m afraid that would be against store policy . B: It’s amazing you forgot to mention these restrictions yesterday. Oh well, I guess I could just give them to my friend. He’s always wanted to go to Hawaii. Just change the name on the ticket to “Bob Williams”. A: Unfortunately I can’t do that either, these tickets are also nontransferable . Anyway, there was a problem yesterday with your credit card. I think I may have written down the wrong number. Could I have it again please? B: I’m afraid I can’t do that. A: Why not? B: My personal policy is that I can only give out my credit card number once? I guess the Joke’s on you Steve. A: You can’t do that.
Phrases and Vocabulary used: Something came up : “Something came up” means that some other more urgent thing happened which caused you to change your original plan. It can be used as an excuse. It often implies that whatever “came
up” is a little personal and you hope the other person will understand that you don’t wish to tell them the exact reason. Postpone : Postponing something means to “delay” something. The sentence “It’s raining so today’s football game will be postponed until next Friday”, means that the football game was originally scheduled for today but now it will played on Friday instead”. Non-refundable : A “refund” means to get your money back after you paid for something. If you buy a new shirt and then later realize that there was some problem with the shirt, you can return to the store, give return the shirt and say, “I would like a refund please”. It means, “Pease give me my money back”. If a product is “Non-refundable” it means that once you buy the product, you can’t take it back for any reason. Limited time offer : A “limited time offer” is a special deal that is only valid for a certain amount of time and then it ends. For example, if a store is selling jackets for 50% off for the next two weeks only, then that is their “limited time offer”. Bend the rules : “Bending the rules” means to allow for some flexibility in the rules. For example, imagine you were only allowed to drive at 85 km per hour on a certain road, and a policeman found you driving 87 km per hour. If he was nice and didn’t give you a fine, he would be “bending the rules”. Store policy : Most stores and companies have certain “policies” which are like rules that the store must follow. One example of a store policy might be for the store to allow any customers to return any products they aren’t satisfied with. The workers of the store are supposed to follow these policies strictly. Non-transferable : A non-transferable ticket is a ticket that only one person can use. You can’t give it to someone else. Airplane tickets are often non-transferable. If you buy an airplane ticket, you are the only person who can use it. If you decide not to go, the ticket is useless because no one else is allowed to use it. Personal policy : A personal policy is used as a joke here. People might have principals, or rules that they live their lives by, but this guy was trying to say that “since the store’s policies are so strict and silly, then I’ll just say that I have a silly policy too and act like a can’t change it”. Here he was saying that he only gives his credit card number to anyone once. This rule or “policy” doesn’t really make any sense, but he just used it to get even with the store because he was upset. The joke’s on you : If you tell someone, “the joke is on you” it means that they are the unfortunate one in the situation, or the reason people are laughing.
058 - In a Rut | ESL Podcast English Learning Conversation A: Get up! It’s beautiful outside and you’re still in here sawing wood . B: What time is it? A: It’s already after noon. B: Give me ten minutes. I didn’t get to sleep until 5 am. A: What were you doing up at such a ridiculous hour? B: I’ve been on this schedule for the past 3 weeks. I can’t seem to snap out of it . A: Well, you’ve gotta change something. How else will you get out of a rut ? Maybe your after dinner coffees aren’t such a great idea. B: Look who’s talking. If my memory serves me correctly , You’ve been in a bit of a rut yourself that I haven’t been bothering you about. A: And that would be….? B: I’m sure your gym shoes have an inch of dust on them . I haven’t seen you do any physical activity in months. Ordering pizza everyday doesn’t seem to be helping your spare tire either. A: Point taken . How about you get up now and we hit the tennis courts. B: Ok fatty .
Phrases and Vocabulary used: Sawing wood : This is a phrase that means, “sleeping”. The original meaning of it was that when people snore (the noise that some people make while sleeping) sounds the same as sawing (or cutting) wood. Snap out of it : This phrase means to get over something bad quickly. “Lately I’ve been thinking too much about my ex-girlfriend and I can’t seem to snap out of it”. “He says he’s been in a bad mood for the past month and doesn’t know how to snap out of it”. Get out of a rut : If you are “in a rut” it means that some bad part of your life keeps being the same. This is some consistent negative pattern that you would like to change. For example, if you haven’t studied English
for the past month, you could say that you are “in a rut”. If you are “in a rut” you must change your behavior to get out of it. Look who’s talking : If someone tries to criticize you for some problem that the person criticizing also has, then you can say to them, “look who’s talking”. This basically means, “You have the same problem as me, so how can you criticize me?” If my memory serves me correctly …: This is a kind of formal phrase that we use for fun in conversational English sometimes. For example you could tell someone, “If my memory serves me correctly, you still owe me 50 dollars”. This is a kind of fun and polite way to remind someone that they owe you money. When you say this, you are quite certain that you do remember correctly. I’m sure your gym shoes have an inch of dust on them something hasn’t been used for a long time, it will start to get dusty from the air). If you want to tell someone that they haven’t something in a long time, you can tell them that you bet that this has an inch of dust on it.
: If (dirty used thing
Physical activity : “Physical activity” basically means any form of exercise. Walking, working out, playing basketball, and working in the garden, are all forms of physical activity. Spare tire : This is a slang term for a fat stomach. The reason is it looks like you put a tire (a wheel of a car or bicycle) around your waist. Point taken : If someone criticizes you about something and you agree with them, you could say, “point taken”. It basically means, “I agree with what you just said”. Fatty : This is a word that you can use to make fun of someone who is fat. We often use it as a joke to tease close friends who are a little bit fat. Even if you see your friend (who isn’t fat) eating a Macdonald’s hamburger, you could say, “how is the hamburger fatty?” This is just a joke. It is extremely rude to call a very large person “fatty”.
059 - Working Hard | ESL Podcast English Learning Conversation A: You look exhausted. Are you ok? B: I’ve been burning the candle at both ends . The boss has been on everyone’s case lately and has been piling on a lot of work. I’ve been getting up at 6 everyday and I’m usually not in bed until at least 1:30. A: That sucks. I hope you’re at least getting paid a lot of O.T. B: We get some but it’s not great. Everyone is working hard lately mainly to try to justify their salaries . The boss hasn’t said anything specifically, but everyone in the office feels that he will probably let some people go . A: You’ve been working there for a long time. your position is in jeopardy .
I’m surprised you think
B: I don’t really think I’ll get fired, but when all the dust settles things get back to normal, I’m planning on asking for a raise.
A: Good luck. I hope it happens soon though. I can barely recognize you with those bags under your eyes . B: Is it that bad? A: It’s worse.
Phrases and Vocabulary used: Burning the candle at both ends : This phrase means that you are staying up late and then waking up early the next day. It means you are not getting enough sleep. The boss has been on everyone’s case : If someone is “on your case” it means that they are paying close attention to what you are doing and they are not giving you many breaks. If you make another small mistake, they will notice and be more upset than usual. A kid might say, “My dad has really been on my case about me failing my Chemistry test”. In this situation, the dad is probably not allowing the son to have very much freedom. For example, if the kid started to watch TV, the dad might notice and say something like, “Don’t you have any homework?” Piling on : “Piling on” just means “giving a lot” or “using a lot”. If someone is putting a lot of mashed potatoes on their plate, you could say to them, “you’re really piling on the mashed potatoes”. That usually means, “you are taking too much food”. A student might say, “the teachers have been piling a lot of homework this year”.
O.T.: This is a short form for “over-time”. If you work O.T., it means that you are working more hours than you are scheduled to work. If you get paid O.T. it means that you get paid extra money for the over-time work that you did. Justify their salaries : Often in companies, people who get high salaries need to occasionally explain or show why they are worth so much money. So “justifying your salary” means to prove to the company why you deserve so much money. Let some people go : This is a soft way to say, “fire some people”. Last year the company let go a few of my best friends. This means, “last year the company fired a few of my best friends”. In jeopardy : If something is “in jeopardy” it means it is “at risk”. “She’s in jeopardy of losing her job” means, “she might get fired”. When all the dust settles : This is the outcome after something goes through a change or is the result at the end of a period of uncertainty. After the change, “when all the dust settles” is what the new situation is like. We often hear this in the news about a developing technology or a company restructuring. For example, “When all the dust settles the company’s future should look bright”. This is a company that is going through many changes and after the changes, it should be doing well. Bags eyes eyes want
under your eyes : Sometimes when people get really tired, their look like they have little bags under them. Having bags under your is something that no one wants, so if they notice them, they will to make sure they get more rest.
060 - Holding a Grudge | ESL Podcast English Learning Conversation A: Great news! U2 is coming to town in a couple months. Tickets go on sale next week. I say we all pony up and get some good seats. B: I’m not much of a concert “ponying up”.
guy so I really
can’t see myself
A: What do you mean, “you’re not a concert guy”. That’s a pretty lame excuse . B: To each his own I guess. I can’t remember you ponying up when we all went to watch the NBA game last year. A: You’re not still bitter about that are you? I wanted to go but I was sick. B: You had a sore throat and a little sniffle . A: Wow. You are still bitter. I can’t believe you are still holding a grudge . Ok. How about this? I’ll pay for the concert tickets this time if you promise never to mention the NBA thing again. B: Deal.
Phrases and Vocabulary used: U2: The name of a very popular Irish band. Coming to town : This expression means “coming to the city our town we live in”. It doesn’t have to be a town. For example, I live in Shanghai right now, so I could say to my brother, “Hey Add, did you know that some NBA teams are coming to town next month?” Pony up : This is a funny expression that means you are getting prepared to pay for something relatively expensive. If your friend’s girlfriend is having her birthday next month, you could say to your friend, “Hey, you should pony up and get your girlfriend something nice for her birthday”. I’m not much of a concert guy : The common expression here is, “I’m not much of a……..guy”. This means that you don’t really like doing that thing. For example, if you don’t like going to bars, you could say, “I’m not much of a bar guy”. If you are a girl saying it, you can change “guy” to “girl”. I can’t really see myself …: You can use this expression when you really don’t plan on doing something. For example, if someone asked you to go swimming when you were sick, you could say, “I have a fever and I feel
horrible. I really can’t see myself putting on a bathing suit now”. This expression basically means, “Not only will I not do it, I can’t even imagine doing it”. Lame excuse : A lame excuse is a very bad or weak excuse. If your friend cancelled dinner plans with you and told you the reason was that he wanted to stay home and watch TV instead, you could say, “that’s a pretty lame excuse”. To each his own : You can say this expression by itself. It means that everyone one is different and they like different things. You often say it after you hear of something that you wouldn’t do, but you can accept that other people have their own opinions. Bitter : If someone is “bitter” about something it means that they are still upset and bothered by something that happened in the past. For example, imagine that your girlfriend broke up with you to date someone else. Then later you see them eating together in a restaurant. You would probable be upset and uncomfortable about seeing them together. We sometimes call this feeling “bitter”. Sniffle : If you have a “sniffle” it means that your nose is a little runny from having a cold. We often use the word “sniffle” for little kids when they make that noise with their nose when they are sick. A “sniffle” isn’t serious, and it is funny to tell someone that they shouldn’t consider themselves to be sick if all they have is a sniffle. Since we use this word for little kids, it is kind of like calling them a baby. Holding a grudge : If someone upset you in the past and you haven’t forgiven them, then you are holding a grudge. It means that you are still angry with them and won’t forget about what they did wrong.
061 - Girlfriend
Problems | ESL Podcast
English Learning Conversation A: Hey. How are things lately? B: Not great. I’ve been in the doghouse
lately with my girlfriend.
A: Again? What’s wrong this time? B: She’s impossible . She gets mad at me over nothing. Last night she yelled at me because I came home 5 minutes late after hanging out with my friends. The other day she got really mad because I forgot to put the orange juice back in the fridge. It’s one petty argument after another. A: It sounds to me like something else is bothering her. I’m sure she’s been bottling up a bigger problem. B: That’s what I thought but every time I ask her she says that everything is fine. A: I wouldn’t believe that so easily if I were you. I’ve had the same experience with different girlfriends in the past. They told me that nothing was wrong for months, and then all of a sudden, they wanted to break up. B: What do you think the real reason was? A: Later I found out that they were all mad at me because they thought that I cared about my friends more than I cared about them. They would all get mad at me for totally unrelated small things like forgetting to wash the dishes after dinner. Then instead of talking about the real problem, we’d just fight about the dishes. While I was in the relationship I was totally oblivious to what was actually going on. B: What do you think I should do about it? A: Well, if you care about this girl, I suggest that you take her to a nice quiet restaurant where there are no distractions . Try to make her feel comfortable opening up to you. When the time is right, ask her what is really bothering her. If you force her to talk, she’ll probably just put up a wall and you’ll never find out. B: Thanks for the advice. I’ll try that.
Phrases and Vocabulary used: In the doghouse : If you are “in the doghouse” with someone, it means that they are angry with you about something you did. If you try to talk
to that person about anything, you can feel that they are still angry and they haven’t totally forgiven you yet. She’s impossible : If you say that someone is “impossible” it means that this person is “very difficult to reason with”. It is very hard to reach an agreement with this person, and they don’t seem to listen to any logic. For example, imagine you ask someone, “What do you want to do today?” and they say, “I don’t know” and you say, “Let’s go outside for a walk” and they say, “It’s too cold outside”. Then you say, “Ok, let’s stay in and watch a movie” and they say, “That’s too boring”. This kind of person is being impossible. They find something wrong with every suggestion. Petty argument : A petty argument is being in an argument about something that is not important at all. Sometimes when couples fight, they fight about petty things instead of talking about the real problems of the relationship. Bottling up : If you “bottle something up” it means that you are angry or upset about something, but you are keeping this feeling inside and not telling anyone about it. It’s unhealthy to bottle up your emotions, and when you finally let your feelings out they are much stronger than before. Oblivious : If you are “oblivious to something” it means that you are totally unaware of it. He thinks that people are looking at him because he’s handsome, but he’s totally oblivious to the fact that the only reason people are looking at him is because he is wearing his shirt backwards. Distractions : A distraction is something that causes you to waste time or keep you from focusing on what you should do. Someone might have a hard time working in their home because there are too many distractions. The internet, the TV, and the telephone can all be distractions. If you want to have a serious conversation with someone, it is a good idea to go to a place with no distractions. Put up a wall : If someone “puts up a wall” about some topic it means that they won’t discuss that topic freely with anyone. If you try to talk about this subject with them, they won’t answer you directly, or they will keep trying to change the subject.
062 - Cool Cell Phone | ESL Podcast English Learning Reading Since their inception , cell phones have been constantly getting smaller, cheaper, and equipped with more functions, and the best has yet to come. The increasing power of microprocessors and the world’s everexpanding infrastructure of high-speed networks are making this all possible. Technology buffs paint us a picture of the near future, where the cell phone will become an all-in-one gadget and an integral part of daily life. It will be commonplace for one cell phone to be able to handle streaming video , read text messages out loud, surf the internet, play video games, store a huge database of information, monitor heart rate, count calories, and be able to take high quality digital photos and videos. There has also been talk about a “family friendly” service, where family members can track the exact location of other family members by using GPS capabilities.
Phrases and Vocabulary used: Inception : The beginning or start of some event. It’s often used to talk about the time a new product came out or the time a new law was put into place. We often use it as, “since it’s inception”. Apple’s I phone was popular since it’s inception. Since the inception of this new law, crime in the city has been greatly reduced. Microprocessors : The small computer chip that processes the information of electronic devices like cell phones, Ipods, and computers. Infrastructure : Major facilities and institutions that are shared by many people to help the functioning of society. Roads, Bridges, Schools, and hospitals are all examples of infrastructure. The high-speed networks such as 3G networks are also an example of infrastructure. It’s important for the government to invest in infrastructure for the long-term health of a society. Buffs : An interested and knowledgeable person about a particular topic. A technology buff, for example, is someone who is interested in technology and knows a lot about it. Gadget : A mechanical device. These are often small things that people have. Cell phones, mp3 players, and laptop computers are examples of gadgets. Integral : A necessary part of something. If you said, he played an integral role on his soccer team, it means that he was a crucial member of the team.
Commonplace : common and widespread. It is commonplace for a mother to worry about her newborn baby. In today’s society, it is commonplace for unmarried couples to live together. Streaming video : This is video that you can start to watch before it completely downloads. The videos on you tube are examples of streaming video. Database : A large collection of organized information. On my computer, I have a large database of all my friends and their contact information. GPS: (Global positioning system) This is a system of satellites that is able to locate an object’s exact location on the planet. If you are carrying a cell phone that works with GPS, people will be able to find out exactly where you are located, anywhere on earth!
063 - Buying Tickets | ESL Podcast English Learning Reading A: Let’s go watch the tennis match Friday night. B: I already called the ticket office and the girl said it’s a sellout. A: I know it’s a sellout, but there will definitely be scalpers hanging around the stadium trying to make a quick buck. B: I don’t want to chance it. The prices will be really steep and who knows whether or not the tickets will be real. A: Don’t be such a wimp. One of us will buy the tickets and go to the gate to check the validity. The other guy will stay with the scalper and wait to see the result. If it’s a go, we’ll pay him and go watch the game. B: How much are you willing to pay? When you factor in the stadium prices for beer and food, this could wind up costing us a fortune. A: I heard that Heineken is sponsoring the event, so the beer is reasonably priced. The food isn’t too bad either. I also heard that in this particular stadium, every seat is pretty good. We can buy the cheapest ones and still enjoy the game. We won’t have to worry about being stuck in the nosebleed section. B: I’m sold. Let’s do it.
Phrases and Vocabulary used: Sellout : A sellout is simply the name for the situation when all the tickets to an event have been sold. Scalpers : Scalpers are people who buy tickets to some event and then try to sell the tickets for a higher price than they paid. They often stand outside of the stadium trying to sell their tickets. When the event is popular and it is a sellout, the only way that people can buy tickets is from a scalper. Scalping tickets is often illegal, but it is very common practice. Make a quick buck : This phrase simply means to make money very quickly and easily. “He hates working at a real job and is always dreaming of ways to make a quick buck”. Steep : In this context, steep means expensive. If you are negotiating a price with someone, you can say something like, “$100 is a bit steep, how about I give you $65”.
Wimp : A wimp is a person who is weak physically or emotionally. It can also be used to describe a person who doesn’t like to take any risks. “Brian is such a wimp, he’s been working non-stop in the company for 2 years and is still too scared to ask his boss for some vacation time”. If it’s a go : If something is “a go” it means that the situation will go ahead as planned. In this dialogue, the meaning of “a go” was that the tickets were real and they could go into the stadium. Factor in: This phrase means to “consider” or “include into the calculation”. You could tell someone, “I know the airplane tickets are free, but when you factor in the cost of the hotel, restaurants, and entertainment, the trip will still be quite expensive”. Wind up : This means “end up”. A concerned father might warn his son, “If you don’t study hard in school, you could wind up doing a low paying job for the rest of your life”. Stadium prices : At popular sporting events, the food and drinks are often extremely expensive. “Stadium prices” refers to these expensive prices at stadiums. Some other places like airports also charge relatively expensive prices. You could say to your friend, “Let’s grab lunch in the city before we go. I don’t want to pay airport prices”. The food isn’t too bad either : Because of the context in the dialogue, this sentence means, “The food isn’t too expensive”. It isn’t talking about whether or not the food is good-tasting. Nosebleed section : Some of the really huge stadiums, like the ones which hold 100 000 fans, have seating that is really high up and far away from the ground. The group of seats that are really high up, ie the worst seats in the stadium, are referred to as the “nosebleed section”. People sometimes get nosebleeds if they are at a really high altitude, so we use the term “nosebleed section” to exaggerate how high and bad those seats are. I’m sold : In this dialogue it means that the person agrees to go to the game. He’s saying, “You’ve convinced me”.
064 - Buying Tickets 2 | ESL Podcast English Learning Reading A: How did it go last night? B: It was an emotional roller coaster. At first we were excited to go because we thought we’d get in no problem. Then when we got there we found out the tickets were selling for a lot more than we’d planned, which almost made us leave. We finally made a deal with someone to get cheap seats, but after waiting around and freezing our butts off for 25 minutes, that deal fell through for some stupid reason that I still haven’t figured out. A: So did you guys end up leaving? B: We were going to. After the deal fell through we started walking back to the car and heard a voice shout out, “Who wants free box seats?” We were obviously skeptical of that so we just kept walking. All of a sudden, a guy ran up to us, handed us the tickets, and said, “Go enjoy the game guys, my girlfriend got food poisoning all of a sudden and I need to take her to the hospital”. Before we even had a chance to thank him, he was gone. His tickets were amazing too. Box seats! B: That’s unbelievable! A: I know, the only annoying thing was that the match ended up being really short. Federer absolutely smoked Roddick in straight sets. B: That’s still awesome though! A: I know, it was quite the night.
Phrases and Vocabulary used: Emotional roller coaster : A roller coaster is a kind of fast and fun ride in an amusement park. Some parts of the ride are fast, some are slow, and some go upside down. The idea is that the ride keeps changing. If something was an emotional roller coaster, it means that this event caused your emotions to keep changing. In a short time you would be happy, then you would be sad, then you would be scared, etc. Watching certain really good movies is like being on an emotional roller coaster. Freezing our butts off : This slang phrase means that you were really cold while doing something. The idea is that it was so cold, that your butt almost turned into ice and fell off. The next time you are standing around outside in the cold and want to go inside, you could say to your friends,
“Let’s go inside. I don’t want to stand around out here freezing my butt off”. That deal fell through : If a deal falls through it means that originally you made a deal with someone, but before the deal was completed, something changed and it was no longer going to happen. If you made a deal to buy a new apartment, but the landlord decided at the last minute not to sell the apartment, you could say to someone, “the deal fell threw”. In a similar situation, you could also say, “my plans fell through”. Box seats : These are special seats in a stadium usually reserved for companies or special ticket holders, for example, the president or maybe Roger Federer’s family or friends. They are great seats, and often offer great service with free food and drinks. Skeptical: If you are “skeptical” of something it means that you believe that it is very possibly untrue. You could say, “although that new product looks really good on TV, I’m skeptical that it would work that well in real life”. Food poisoning : Food poisoning is a general term for getting sick because of food. It is quite serious during the time that you have it. Food poisoning usually causes people to throw up (vomit) a lot and have a fever. Not cooking chicken well enough is one common way to get food poisoning. If you only feel a little bit sick from the food, you shouldn’t call it food poisoning. Smoked : This is a slang term, which means to “win very easily”. Did you watch the basketball game last night? It was horrible! My favorite team got smoked! Quite the night : This little phrase just means, “a very interesting” or a “very memorable night”. You can also use similar phrases like “quite the day” or “quite the time”. If you had a really fun and exciting night the night before, you could say to your friend, “We had quite the night last night. It’s too bad you weren’t there”.
065 - Police Arrest | ESL Podcast English Learning Conversation A: Good afternoon sir. License and registration please. B: Officer, may I ask why you are pulling me over? A: You were doing over 140 in an 80. That’s going to be a huge fine and several points. B: Officer, there’s nobody on the road. I promise I won’t do it again. Please let me go this time. I won’t be able to afford the insurance. A: I also notice that you aren’t wearing a seatbelt. And what’s that smell? Have you been drinking? B: Here’s 50 bucks. Just take it and let me go. A: I’m going to have to ask you to step out of the car. B: Why? A: You’re under arrest for attempting to bribe an officer. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. B: Oh come on officer. I was just playing around. You’re cuffing me?
Phrases and Vocabulary used: License and registration please : When a police officer stops someone’s car, they always ask to see the driver’s license and the registration of the car. They want to make sure that the driver is legally allowed to drive, and that the car isn’t stolen. Officer : This is a word that is used instead of “police man”. Pulling me over : “Pulling someone over” is the expression we use to talk about a police officer asking a car to stop on the side of the road. You could say, “I was driving last night and all of a sudden a police officer pulled me over for no reason”. Doing over 140 in an 80 : We use the verb “doing” in this context, which means driving. This sentence means, “You were driving more than 140 kilometers per hour when the legal limit was only 80 kilometers per hour”.
Fine : A fine is some amount of money that you have to pay when you do something illegal. You have to pay a huge fine if you get caught smoking on an airplane. Points : In some countries, all drivers start off with a certain number of “points”. Certain illegal driving activities cause the driver to lose points. The more points you lose, the more car insurance you have to pay. Also, if you lose too many points, you can lose your driver’s license. I’m going to have to ask you to step out of the car : Police officers often talk in a formal way. Instead of just saying, “get out of the car” they would say, “I’m going to have to ask you to step out of the car”. They both mean the same thing. Under arrest : If you are “under arrest” it means that the police have good reason to believe you committed a crime and the police have the right to take you to the police station and handle you in the manner that is appropriate according to the law. Bribe : Bribing someone means to offer them some reward (often money) to bend the rules in your favor. For example, offering $100 to your teacher to give you a higher grade is a form of bribery. "You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law": This sentence is what police officers say to people when they are under arrest in the USA. The basic idea is that the person arrested is allowed to not say anything at all if they choose. If the arrested person does say something, the police have the right to mention it in the court. Cuffing : This is a slang term for “putting hand cuffs on someone”. Hand cuffs are made of strong metal and they lock the arrested person’s hands together. It is very difficult to fight or cause harm if you are wearing hand cuffs.
066 - First Flight | ESL Podcast English Learning Conversation A: Excuse me. Do you know if this is the flight to Toronto? B: Yes it is. It says so right on the big sign over there. A: Oh ya. Stupid question. I guess I’m just a bit nervous. It’s my first flight. B: Really. Wow. Ok. Well, there’s nothing to be nervous about. It’s about as safe as driving. The only thing you should be nervous about is the airplane food. It’s hardly appetizing. A: I’m just worried about how boring it’s gonna be. 12 hours crammed into that tiny seat. I know I won’t be able to sleep. I also get motion sickness sometimes too. B: Here. Take some Gravol. It’s perfect for motion sickness and it will help you sleep too. You should also chew gum during take off and landing so that your ears don’t pop with the pressure changes. A: Thanks a lot! By the way, do you find it difficult to sleep on the plane? B: I don’t have any problems because I fly first class. A: Wow. Those tickets are really expensive. B: Ya, but it’s worth it. I wouldn’t be caught dead flying cattle class.
Phrases and Vocabulary used: Airplane food : This is the kind of food that is served on airplanes during flights. It’s common for people to complain about airplane food. So when you hear “airplane food” you can imagine that the food they are talking about isn’t very tasty. Hardly appetizing : If food is “appetizing” it means it is good and makes you feel like eating more. If some food is described as being “hardly appetizing” it means that it isn’t good and it won’t make you feel like eating. Motion sickness : This is a kind of sick feeling that some people get when they are in a moving car, bus, or airplane. If it is severe, it makes some people throw up or almost throw up. It is a very unpleasant feeling. Gravol : This is the brand name of a popular type of medicine, which is given to people to relieve motion sickness. It also works if you have an
“upset stomach” for some other reason like being too nervous. Some people also like to take it during a long airplane ride because it helps them to relax and makes it easier to sleep. “Chew gum so that your ears don’t pop with the pressure changes”: Some people’s ears feel a kind of pressure or pain while on an airplane. This is because the air pressure in the airplane is different when the airplane is on the ground and in the air. If you are bothered with this “ear popping” feeling, it helps to chew gum when the airplane is both taking off and landing. I wouldn’t be caught dead…: If someone says that they “wouldn’t’ be caught dead” doing something, it means that they really would hate to do that thing and would be really embarrassed if someone knew they did it. Someone might say, “I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing a shirt like that”. It means, they really don’t like the shirt and would be really embarrassed for someone to see them wearing it. Cattle class : This is an uncommon phrase that I heard someone say once. I thought it was funny so I included it in the dialog. Cattle are cows. “Cattle class” here refers to “economy class”. Economy class tickets are the regular plane tickets that most people buy. His joke was that he wouldn’t want to ride in the same place with all the cows. He was referring to the regular passengers as being cows. It’s not nice but it sounded funny as a joke.
067 - Tanning Salon | ESL Podcast English Learning Conversation A: Hey, you look great. Did you just get back from vacation? B: No. Why? A: What do you mean why ? It’s the middle of winter and everyone else is as white as a ghost . You look like you’ve been lying on a beach somewhere. B: Alright, I’ll tell you. But I don’t want to hear any of your negativity . I’ve been hitting the tanning salon once a week. A: I don’t see anything wrong with that. I’d actually like to try it. What’s it like? B: The place I go you have to pay by the minute. It costs about 75 cents per minute and you really just need to go for one, twelve-minute session per week. You can get 20% off if you buy their $25 VIP card. A: What do you think about the safety of them? B: Many experts warn of the cancer causing risks of tanning. They say that overexposure to UVA and UVB rays cause genetic mutations that lead to skin cancer. I try to play it fairly safe and make sure I don’t go too often. I also don’t go in for longer than 12 minutes. A: That’s a good idea. How long do some people go? B: Some people seem to get addicted to it. I’ve met several people who go 5 times a week and tan for 20 minutes per session. I’d personally be afraid to do that much, not only because of the cancer risk, but also because of the pre-mature aging of the skin. A: Are there any health benefits associated with tanning indoors? B: Your skin does absorb some vitamin D from the UVB rays, but many experts say that the risks outweigh the benefits .
Phrases and Vocabulary used: What do you mean why ?: This is a rhetorical question (which means a question you don’t expect to be answered). If someone asks you “why”, and you think they should already know the answer, then you could ask back, “what do you mean why?” This is basically like saying, “I can’t believe you need to ask me why when you should already know the answer”.
White as a ghost : During the winter when there isn’t as much sunlight, we sometimes joke with each other as “looking white as a ghost”. Many people believe that looking too white or pale skinned is not very attractive or healthy looking. It makes people want to get a suntan. I don’t want to hear any of your negativity : If you say this sentence to someone, it means that you don’t want to hear any bad or negative opinion that they have. For example, if you got back together with your ex-girlfriend and you thought that some of your friends might judge you or say something negative, you could say to them, “I don’t want to hear any of your negativity”. It is similar to saying, “it is none of your business, so if you disagree with me, don’t say anything”. Hitting the tanning salon : The tanning salon is a small business with indoor tanning beds. These tanning beds are made with special lights that simulate the sun’s rays. You can go there to get an artificial suntan. “Hitting the tanning salon” means “going to the tanning salon”. Overexposure : If you are “exposed” to something it means that you are in the presence of that thing. If you are “overexposed” to something it means that you are in the presence of that thing too much and it is unhealthy. Overexposure to second hand smoke from cigarettes can cause cancer. Genetic mutations : Genetic mutations are changes in the genes or DNA. Genetic mutations can sometimes lead to cancer. Pre-mature aging : If something is “pre-mature” it means that it is happening before it is supposed to. If someone’s skin has aged prematurely, it means that their skin looks older than it really is. For example, a 25 year old person might have skin that looks like the skin of a 40 year old. The risks outweigh the benefits : This means that there are more dangers or risks than there are potential benefits. For example, most people agree that smoking isn’t a good idea because the risks of cancer and other harmful health concerns are far more severe than the benefits of enjoying smoking.
068 - Lending Money | ESL Podcast English Learning Conversation A: Hey, would you mind loaning me a couple bucks ? B: Ya sure. No problem. How much do you need? A: 50 would be great! B: Ok here. So now I guess you owe me 100 right? A: From what? B: I spotted you 50 bucks a couple weeks ago. Remember? You needed it to chip in for your share of the rent . A: I remember that but I figured we were even after I bought the new flat screen . B: I told you I wasn’t pitching in for that. I don’t even watch TV. A: Well, what do you call what you were doing last night? B: What are you talking about? A: Was it just me, or did I see you curled up on the couch last night watching some stupid chick flick on HBO ? B: I think it was just you. (ha ha)
Phrases and Vocabulary used: Couple bucks : In a casual conversation, “a couple bucks” means, “a little bit of money”. You could also say, “a few bucks”. Spotted : Spotting someone money means loaning someone money. If you are shopping with your friend and you don’t have enough money to buy something you see, you could ask them, “Would you mind spotting me? I’ll pay you back when I get home”. Chip in : “Chipping in” for something means “paying part of the money”. You could say to your brothers and sisters, “Let’s all chip in and get mom something really nice for her birthday”. Your share of the rent : Someone’s “share” of something is the part that they are responsible for, or the part that is fair for them to have. If you share the rent of an apartment with your roommate, the part of the
money that you owe is “your share of the rent”. In a different situation, you could say to someone, “I noticed that you took more than your fair share of the pizza”. I figured : This phrase is used a lot in spoken English. It basically means, “based on the situation, I reasoned that…”. Imagine your friend wonders why you didn’t invite him out with you. You could say, “We were with some people I know you don’t like, so I figured that you wouldn’t want to go”. Even : If you are “even” with someone it means that they don’t owe you anything and you also don’t owe them anything. Flat screen : This is just a short form of “flat screen television”. Pitching in : This is the same meaning as “chipping in”. It just means to pay part of something. Curled up on the couch : We use this expression to refer to someone who is lying on the couch with their knees close to their chest. Chick flick : This is a slang term to refer to the type of movie that girls often like. HBO : This is a very popular movie channel in America.
069 - Getting Busted | ESL Podcast English Learning Conversation A: Hey, did you hear about that guy who went to high school with us? B: I just saw the headlines . He stole a bunch of money or something? A: He embezzled 10 million from the bank he worked for. Apparently it went under the radar for 10 years. B: What did he do with the money? A: He had most of it sitting in an offshore Caymans .
B: So how did he end up getting busted ? A: He got stopped at the border coming back from the US. It was a random search . They just wanted to make sure he was declaring all his purchases. When they opened the trunk they found a huge suitcase full of cash. B: What and idiot! Why would he be so careless? A: He was never known for being the sharpest pencil in the box .
Phrases and Vocabulary used: Headlines : The “headlines” are the titles of the articles in the newspaper. Some people don’t have time to read all the news, but they read the headlines to get a general idea of what is going on in the world. Bunch : We sometimes use this word in spoken English to refer to “a lot” of something. You could say, “last night’s party was a lot of fun. I met a bunch of people”. Embezzled : Embezzling money means to take money that belongs to someone else and use it for your personal benefit. We often use this word for people working in the government or in company who steal money from the government or company they work for. It went under the radar : If something goes “under the radar” it means it goes unnoticed or undetected. Sometimes people with a low salary feel safe cheating on their taxes because they believe it will go under the radar. Offshore bank account : This is an account in a bank that is located outside of your country. These banks don’t have to follow the same laws
as banks inside a country. They often have lower taxes and are much more private. It is much more difficult for the government to get access to the information of your offshore bank accounts. Many criminals use offshore bank accounts to hide their illegal activities. Caymans : The Cayman Islands is a small group of islands. known for having many offshore banks.
Getting busted : Getting busted is a slang term which means to get caught doing something that is illegal or against the rules. Steve got busted by the teacher for cheating on his Chemistry test. Random search : There are often “random searches” at the borders between countries and at airports. This is when they stop a few people to see if they are carrying anything illegal. No one knows who will be searched during a random search. They might just stop 10% of the people and search their belongings. Declaring : If you are traveling in another country and you buy a lot of money worth of goods, you often have to “declare” the value of what you bought when you return to your home country. If you spent too much money, you often have to pay, “duty” which is a tax on the value of these goods. Trunk : This is the box-like thing at the back of a car. People put things like suitcases or grocery bags in the trunk of the car. Not the sharpest pencil in the box : “Sharp” means smart. If someone is “not the sharpest pencil in the box” it means that they are not very smart.
070 - Merry Christmas
| ESL Podcast
Phrases and Vocabulary used: 1. Belated - Merry belated Christmas. Happy belated birthday. 2. Happy holidays vs Merry Christmas - Although Christmas is popular throughout the world, it is really a Christian holiday. Many people of other faiths don’t celebrate Christmas but instead celebrate their own holidays. Jewish people for example celebrate Hanuka instead of Christmas. If you are unsure of someone’s religious background, you can wish them a happy holidays instead of saying Merry Christmas. 3. If you see someone before Christmas but you think that you won’t see them again until after Christmas you can say, "If I don’t see you before, have a Merry Christmas and a happy new year." If you see the person all the time, we usually only say "Merry Christmas" on Christmas day, December 25. 4. Don’t say "Happy Christmas".
Native speakers don’t say that.
5. "Secret Santa" -This is a kind of fun gift giving game. People in groups like close friends, office workers in a company, or people on the same sports team might choose to do a secret santa. The way it works is to put everyone’s name on a small piece of paper and then put it into a hat. Then each person chooses one name from the hat. Then the person must buy a gift for the person whose name they selected. This is a secret so you aren’t supposed to tell anyone who you are buying a gift for. This game often has a price limit. For example the rule might be that your gift must be between 15 and 20 dollars. On Christmas day, or whenever the Christmas party is, everyone exchanges their gifts. 6. "Gag gift" - Sometimes for fun people buy each other gag gifts. A gag gift is a gift that is just supposed to be funny but usually isn’t very useful. One example of a "gag gift" is to buy a hair brush for a person with no hair. 7. When Add and I were young, we found it really hard to sleep on Christmas eve because we were so excited about Christmas day. We would always get up really early to open our stocking. [A stocking is like a big sock that Santa Clause puts gifts in]. Our parents let us open the stocking before they woke up. When our parents woke up, which was usually around 8 in the morning, we would all go downstairs and sit around under the Christmas tree in the living room and exchange gifts. We believed that Santa was bringing all the gifts when we were young. Our mom liked those years the best, so even after we found out it was our parents who put the gifts under the tree, our mom still wrote on the gift tag, "To Andrew love Santa". After we exchanged all the gifts, we went first to our mom’s parents house for dinner. Everyone on my mom’s side of the family would go there. [ie. her brothers and sisters along with their
children]. We would eat and again exchange gifts. After that we would go to my dad’s parents house and do the same thing with his side of the family. It was quite easy to do because he and my mom went to the same highschool, so their parents lived very close together. 8. Boxing day sales - Boxing day is on December 26. Most people are off work at that time. It is a great day to go shopping because many stores have a lot of goods that didn’t sell for Christmas, so they offer a lot of great discounts. You can often get 50% off on many things if you wait until boxing day to buy them.
071 - Happy New Year | ESL Podcast Phrases and Vocabulary used: 1. New years is a really popular time to party and spend with friends. People often try to plan something fun to do on New year’s eve so a really common question to ask your friends is, "What are you doing for New Year’s?" Or "Any plans for New Year’s"? 2. A lot of alcohol is consumed on New Year’s. Young people go to the bars or to someone’s house party. People act crazier than normal on New Year’s and it is the most common time of the year for an "accidental baby". 3. If someone is having a party, Brad for example, we often say, "Brad is throwing a New Year’s party" or "Brad is having a New Year’s party". We don’t usually say, "Brad is hosting a New Year’s party". If you want to know if someone is going to Brad’s party you just ask, "Are you going to Brad’s party?" Don’t say, "Are you going to take part in Brad’s party?" "Take part in" sounds too formal and like you need to actually do something at the party. 4. New Year’s countdown. If people aren’t too drunk and are paying attention, 10 seconds before New Year’s people often shout outloud together, "10, 9, 8, …. 3, 2, 1 Happy New Year’s!!" 5. An old tradition is that you are supposed to kiss someone at exactly 12 o’clock. If you have a girlfriend or boyfriend you should have no problem. If not, now is a perfect time to find someone. 6. Champagne is a very popular New Year’s drink. Someone will often open a bottle of Champagne right after 12 and give everyone a glass. 7. A nickname for Champagne is "The bubbly". If you are at a house party and you want to drink some Champagne, you could ask "What’s a guy gotta do around here to get a glass of the bubbly?" A girl could say, "What’s a girl gotta do around here to get a glass of the bubbly?". You can use this sentence structure in many situations. In a store you could say, "What’s a guy gotta do around here to get some service?" You must make sure that people realize that you are joking. It’s funny and playful as a joke, but very rude if taken seriously. You need to be careful so say it in a joking way with a smile. 8. Making New Year’s resolutions is a big part of New Years. A New Year’s resolution is a goal you have for the new year. Some common resolutions are things like; - quitting smoking - exercising more - waking up early every day - listening to China232.com every day
072 - Advertising
| ESL Podcast
English Learning Conversation A: Would you mind helping me with a tv commercial for a new expensive anti-aging cream ? B: Who are we targeting ? A: Wealthy housewives in their late 20’s and early 30’s. B: What angle are you going for? A: I was thinking about making the woman feel self-conscious about looking older, and then showing that our product would make them feel young again. B: Ok. What about also making them feel that the reason their husband hasn’t been spending as much time with them as before is that their skin is looking older? A: Perfect!
Phrases and Vocabulary used: Anti-aging cream - This is a type of skin cream that keeps your skin looking young Targeting - Advertisers need to choose a group of people they are "targeting". This means the type of people that are expected to buy the product. Angle - The "angle" is the strategy or the way of getting the message across in a commercial. Self-conscious - This is a feeling of thinking too much about what other people think of you. For example, if you were wearing a white shirt and you spilled your lunch all over your shirt and had to walk around like that for the rest of the day, you would probably feel quite self conscious. Why target those woman? - rich, money to spend, care about looks, Why this angle? - those woman are starting to look older, want to please husband, not comfortable feeling unattractive
073 - Doctor Visit | ESL Podcast English Learning Conversation A: Hello Add. What seems to be the problem with you? B: I’ve been feeling tired, nauseous, and light headed these past few days. I’ve also had a bit of a fever. A: There’s a flu going around and it sounds like that’s what you’ve got. I suggest getting enough rest and drinking plenty of fluids . B: Well, actually I’ve been reading on the Internet about what’s wrong with me and I think I might have cancer. A: It’s highly unlikely that a healthy guy your age with only those symptoms has cancer. I think whatever you read on the Internet has made you a bit paranoid . B: Well, I’m afraid I’m going to have to get a second opinion .
Phrases and Vocabulary used: Nauseous - This is the sick feeling in your stomach that makes you want to throw up (vomit) Light headed - This is the feeling of almost wanting to faint. Sometimes if you sit down for a long time and then stand up quickly you feel light headed. Going around - When many people in one small area such as a town are getting sick with a cold or the flu, we say that this sickness is "going around". Your mother might tell you, "Make sure you wash your hands a lot. There’s a flu going around your school." Drinking plenty of fluids - This is a common phrase that your mother might tell you if you have a cold or a fever. "Fluids" mean a liquid. In this case, any drink like water or juice. (Even though alcohol is a fluid, that’s not what they mean you should drink when you are sick). Symptoms - These are the problems that you have when you are sick. Fever, runny nose, coughing, and sneezing, are all symptoms. Paranoid - This is when you experience fear or think that something bad will happen for a reason that doesn’t make much sense. For example, if you went outside your house for 10 minutes and forgot to lock the door and then thought that someone probably went inside your house during that time and stole something, you would be being paranoid since the chance of that happening is very small.
Second opinion - In the west, when a patient doesn’t totally agree with what the doctor said, they can choose to get a "second opinion". This means to go see another doctor and hear what they have to say.
074 - Rookie Mistake | ESL Podcast English Learning Conversation A: I need your advice about something. I’ve been dating this girl for a few weeks and it’s been going great. She’s really beautiful and I’m treating her incredibly well. I call her every night to make sure she’s ok and I’ve been taking her to really great restaurants. I’ve even bought her some really nice gifts to show her how much I like her. Lately I feel she’s been avoiding me and I can’t really figure out what I’m doing wrong. B: If she’s really beautiful like you say she is, she probably has tons of guys hitting on her and sucking up to her. You’ve got to be different. You need to be more nonchalant about the whole thing. If you stop calling her she’ll probably wonder why and have more desire to talk to you. A: She told me she needs a lot of attention. I’m afraid if I don’t call her and pay a lot of attention to her, she’ll find someone else.
Phrases and Vocabulary used: Avoiding me : If someone is "avoiding you" it means that they are trying not to see you or talk to you. If they don’t return your calls and don’t go to your favorite places because they are afraid they might see you there, then they are "avoiding you".
I’ve been avoiding that new girl at work who likes me because I don’t know what to say to her. Hitting on her : "Hitting on someone" means flirting with them. Sucking up : "Sucking up" to someone means to act overly nice to them because you want something from them.
Shirley is always sucking up to the boss because she wants to get a promotion. Nonchalant : Acting nonchalant about something means that you are acting like it is no big deal and you don’t really care about it. Rookie mistake : This is the type of mistake that a beginner or a person with no experience would make.
On his first day of work, he told his boss that the company should make a lot of changes. That was quite a rookie mistake. Walk all over : If someone "walks all over" you it means that you allow someone to treat you very poorly.
He always let’s his girlfriends walk all over him. he allows the girls to treat him very poorly)
(This means that
075 - Biotechnology
| ESL Podcast
English Learning Conversation A: Did you hear about the team of U.S. scientists creating a new life form from scratch ? B: Well, they haven’t quite accomplished that yet. What they did was make the genome of a living organism for the first time. The molecule that they made still doesn’t function as an organism and is incapable of replicating . A: It’s still pretty exciting because they are anticipating that they’ll be able to produce new kinds of microorganisms that are able to make clean energy, make new life-saving drugs, and eat pollution. B: There are still a lot of skeptics who worry about the new technology possibly leading to biological terrorism . Many scientists also fear that a patent on this could give this small group a monopoly on making all new synthetic life forms.
Phrases and Vocabulary used: From Scratch : Doing something "from scratch" means to do it from the very beginning. If someone makes a cake "from scratch" it means that they started with just the basic ingredients such as sugar, flour, eggs etc. and made the cake. If they went to the store and bought a cake mix, that means that they aren’t making it from scratch. Genome : The complete set of genetic material (DNA) for a living thing. Replicate : Able to make exact copies of itself. Anticipate : Able to predict a future event. Biological terrorism : Using disease or harmful life forms to cause harm to some society. Patent : A patent is the legal right to an invention for a limited time period. Drug companies who make a new drug are able to get a patent in order to legally prevent anyone else from making the same medicine during a certain time period. Monopoly : A market in which there is only one seller. Synthetic : A substance that is man-made and not found occurring in nature. Certain materials for warm clothing are "synthetic" materials.
076 - Strict Parents | ESL Podcast English Learning Conversation A: Are you going to Sara’s party this weekend? B: I can’t. I’m grounded . A: What did you do this time? B: My mom lost it on me when she found out I had a porno magazine in my room. She told me I’m not allowed to watch TV or meet any friends for a week. A: Your mom is pretty strict. Do you think there is any way you can get her to make an exception for the party? B: No way. My mom is a total psycho about these things. stubborn when she makes her mind up about something.
A: Well, you can’t miss the party. It’s going to be amazing. You should sneak out of your bedroom window when she’s asleep and go to the party for at least a couple hours.
Phrases and Vocabulary used: Grounded : When a child does something wrong, their parents might "ground" them as a form of punishment. This means that the child isn’t allowed to leave the house or do certain things such as watch TV, surf the internet, or talk on the phone with friends. Lost it on me : If someone "loses it" on someone else it means that they lose their temper and get uncontrollably angry. His girlfriend lost it on him when she saw him with another girl. Porno Magazine : This is the type of "sex" magazine with mostly pictures of naked women. Make an exception : This means to allow something that is normally not allowed in a similar situation. Ex. She told me she usually doesn’t kiss on the first date, but I guess she made an exception because of my charming behavior. Psycho : A "psycho" is a crazy person. In spoken English amongst friends, we often say that people are pychos in some area of life. Ex. He will go psycho if someone touches his new computer.
Stubborn : Very unwilling to change an idea or behavior. Even if she knows she’s wrong she will never admit it because she is so stubborn. Sneak out : "Sneaking" means to do something in a way that other people don’t notice. If you are "sneaking out" of the house it means that you will leave the house quietly so that no one knows you are gone.
077 - Dentist | ESL Podcast English Learning Conversation A: What are you up to today? B: I’m going to the dentist. A: Is it a routine check-up ? B: I wish. I’ve gotta go get 3 of my wisdom teeth pulled. A: Is it general anesthetic ? B: I get to choose but I think I’m just going to get local anesthetic and laughing gas . I know it’s stupid but I’m a bit paranoid about not waking up from general anesthetic. A: Do you think you’ll be up for anything tomorrow? B: I doubt it. I’m sure I’ll be in pain after the surgery. I plan on staying home, watching TV, eating ice-cream and popping pain killers for a couple of days.
Phrases and Vocabulary used: Routine Check-up : This is when you see a doctor or dentist for no real reason other than for them to take a look at you and make sure there is nothing wrong with you. Wisdom Teeth : These are the biggest teeth and the ones furthest back in your mouth. In many people they don’t grow in and you can’t see them. Sometimes they start to grow in and cause problems in your mouth. If they start to cause problems then you need a surgery to get them removed. General Anesthetic : This is a type of medicine that makes you fall asleep (unconscious) during surgery. Local Anesthetic : This is a type of medicine that makes one part of your body not feel anything, including pain. If you have a tooth pulled, the dentist might give you a local anesthetic so that your mouth won’t feel pain, but you won’t be asleep. Laughing Gas : This is a type of anesthetic that you breath in. It makes you feel very funny and strange. You might even start laughing for no reason if you have it.
Popping Pain Killers : Sometimes we use the verb "popping" to indicate that someone is taking a lot of medicine. If someone likes to "pop" a lot of painkillers, it means they take a lot of pain killing medicines.
078 - Making a Big Move | ESL Podcast English Learning Conversation A: I’m moving to China to live with Bao Bao. B: Are you out of your mind ? yet.
You haven’t even met her in person
A: I know but we talk all the time on the phone. We’re really open with each other and I’ve got a good feeling it’s going to work out . B: Even if you two are in fact a great match, don’t you think you are rushing it a bit? A: I’ve never felt like this about anyone before. B: It sounds like you two are getting caught up in the moment and allowing your emotions to cloud your judgement . A: Oh well, you only live once.
I’m gonna roll the dice .
Phrases and Vocabulary used: Are you out of your mind?: This is a question you can ask someone if you think they are going to do something crazy or ridiculous. In person : Doing something "in person" means that you are doing something in the physical presence of someone else. Meeting someone "in person" means you meet them face to face. (not over the phone for example) Work out : When we talk about a relationship "working out" we mean that the relationship went well and the couple doesn’t break up. If you break up with someone and you are asked the reason why, you could say, "he was a nice person but it just didn’t work out". Rushing it : If you are "rushing something" it means that you are doing it too quickly or too soon. Ex. You should take your time when writing the test. You don’t want to rush it and make careless mistakes. Getting caught up in the moment : If someone "gets caught up in the moment" it means that they allow the excitement of the situation to make them think or act in a way that they normally wouldn’t. Ex. He never drinks alcohol, but I guess he got caught up in the moment at the new year’s party and got really drunk.
Allowing your emotions to cloud your judgement : If you allow your "emotions to cloud your judgement" it means you make a decision according to your emotions rather than according to logic or reason. You only live once : Sometimes we say this phrase when we want to argue that we should take a chance or do something exciting instead of leading a boring life. I’m gonna roll the dice : This phrase means that you are going to take a chance.
079 - Getting Dumped | ESL Podcast English Learning Conversation A: Why have you been moping around the house all day? B: I’m still a bit depressed about breaking up with Becky. I miss her a lot. A: That was over a month ago. I’m surprised you are not over her by now. You usually seem to bounce back quickly after a break-up. B: Ya, but this is the first time I’ve been dumped. A: So it’s not really about her then. You just feel bad because getting dumped was a shot to your confidence . B: You’re probably right. A: Let’s go out and try to meet some new girls tonight to take your mind off this .
Phrases and Vocabulary used: Moping around : "Moping around" means to move around slowly while looking sad or depressed. Ex. She moped around the house for 2 weeks after she got fired from work. Over her : "Getting over" someone means to be completely comfortable after a break-up and not want the person back. Ex. It took him a long time to get over his last girlfriend. Bounce back : "bouncing back" from something means that you were able to recover from a bad situation. Ex. Roger Federer is usually good at bouncing back after a bad match. She was able to bounce back quickly after finding out her boyfriend met a new girl. Shot to your confidence : If something bad happens to someone which might make them loose self-confidence we call this event a "shot to their confidence". Ex. It was a real shot to his confidence when the last 3 girls he asked out on a date refused to go out with him.
Take your mind off this : Taking your mind off something means to stop thinking about it. Ex. Your job seems to be causing you a lot of stress. You need to go on a vacation to take your mind off of it.
080 - Thailand Trip | ESL Podcast Phrases and Vocabulary used: Thailand Trip : Koh Chang: We stayed in Koh Chang, the second largest island in Thailand. It is about a 4 hour drive from Bangkok. It is a beautiful place during the winter months. It’s sunny with blue skies almost everyday. The water is clean, clear, and really warm. Bungalow : The bungalows on Koh Chang are small one-story houses with a bedroom, a small bathroom, and a balcony. The ones that we stayed in are about 15 USD per night. They have air conditioning, hot water showers, a mini-fridge, and cable TV. Costs : It’s pretty easy to live there for about 40 USD per day. Day in the life : We would usually get up at around 9 am, go have breakfast, go to the gym, and ride our motorbikes around the island for a while and go to the beach for the afternoon. We would lie on the beach, have lunch on the beach, read, go swimming, and talk to friends. In the evening we would go usually go to an authentic thai restaurant for dinner and get ready to go to the popular beach bar. Nightlife : On “White Sands Beach” there was pretty much one popular beach bar that everyone went to. You could sit outside on mats on the sand and order drinks. Our favorite drink is a whiskey bucket, which is a 300 ml bottle of Thai whisky, one can of coke, one thai red bull, and a lot of ice mixed together.
081 - Lance Armstrong
| ESL Podcast
English Learning Reading Lance Armstrong grew up in Texas as an only child. He never met his biological father but was lucky enough to grow up with a tough mom who gave him a lot of love and support. She was a poor secretary and gave birth to him when she was only 17. She taught him to always try his best and to never give up. He discovered that he was excellent at endurance sports and won several triathlons as an early teen. He went on to win several cycling races as a professional cyclist that earned him several million dollars and a bit of fame. He was on top of the world . Then the young famous 25 year old was diagnosed with testicular cancer that had already spread to his lungs and brain. The doctors told him he would probably never be able to ride again and would likely die. After reading as much as he could about his disease, he decided to get brain surgery and undergo chemotherapy . His will power and determination allowed him to beat the deadly disease and go on to win the "Tour de France ", an event many consider to be the biggest accomplishment in professional sports.
Phrases and Vocabulary used: Biological father : A biological father is the man who’s genes or DNA were used to make the baby. If a child is adopted, he or she may never meet their biological parents. Endurance sports : Endurance sports are sports like long-distance running, long-distance cycling, etc. Marathon runners need a lot of endurance. Endurance is the ability to continue doing the same thing for a long time without stopping. Triathlon : This sport is a combination of swimming, running, and cycling (bike riding). It’s a race. On top of the world : This phrase means to feel really great and confident. He was on top of the world after that beautiful girl said she would date him. Undergo : To "undergo" something means to experience or pass through something; often a difficult experience. We often use this word with medical procedures. The basketball player had to undergo a very painful knee surgery after his injury. Chinese students have to undergo a series of very stressful tests at the end of high school. Chemotherapy : A medical treatment where toxic substances are put into the patient’s body in order to destroy cancer cells.
Tour de France : A world famous bicycle race, held over a period of 21 days: it covers about 2500 mi. (4000 km) in France, Belgium, Italy, Germany, Spain, and Switzerland.
082 - 4 Hour Work Week | ESL Podcast English Learning Reading "The four hour work week" is a non-fiction New York Times bestseller written by Tim Ferris. In the book Tim challenges the conventional view that the goal of a business should be to maximize profits. He believes that earning as much money as possible shouldn’t be the ultimate goal in life. He argues that money is really only a means to achieve certain other goals. According to the book, people should always be looking for ways to improve their work efficiency by focusing on what is really important, and delegating the work that isn’t worth their time to do. After you increase your work efficiency you will have more free time. Tim encourages people to spend that free time pursuing their interests in life, such as traveling or learning a new sport, rather than using that time to make more money. The reason for this is that since the amount of money someone has is subject to the law of diminishing returns , at some point people should stop trying to earn more money and instead look for ways to work less and enjoy the other things life has to offer. When he thinks of new potential business models, he tries to set them up in a way that makes him have to work as little as possible. Even if he thought of a business that could potentially make him millions of dollars, he wouldn’t do it if he had to spend too much time working on it.
Phrases and Vocabulary used: Non-fiction : Non-fiction books are books that give information or facts; (Novels and stories are Fiction) New York Times Bestseller : The New York Times is a popular newspaper in the USA and they have a famous list of books that are very popular, (ie. high sales volume) Conventional something.
or most popular
Maximize : If you "maximize" something it means you try to increase it to the greatest amount possible. Many companies try to maximize their profits, even at the expense of the environment. Ultimate goal : The "ultimate goal" is the real goal or the end goal you have. Someone could say, "I’m working as a waitress now to save some money, but my ultimate goal is go back to school to get my MBA" Delegating : If you delegate work to someone else it means that you are letting them do the work for you. "Our boss doesn’t seem to do much work. He just delegates everything to all his employees and spends most of his time playing golf" Law of diminishing
The law of diminishing returns is a classic law of economics. The economics definition might be a little confusing so I’ll do my best in explaining the basic idea of it. Essentially it means that as you continue to add more of the same thing, the added benefit becomes less and less. Here are a few real life examples which should help to clear up the meaning: 1. Imagine a student who is studying to take an easy test. Let’s assume that he can learn everything in about 10 hours of study. The first 10 hours of studying will have a much greater impact on his test score than his second 10 hours of studying. After a certain point, any extra studying will be a waste of time because he already knows the material. 2. Imagine now that you are going to clean your messy bedroom. The first hour of cleaning will make the most difference, the second hour should make less difference than the first hour, and eventually, if you continue cleaning your room, your extra time spent cleaning won’t make much difference at all because your room will already be clean. 3. How much money someone has works the same way. The first million dollars you earn makes a much bigger difference on the quality of your life than the second million dollars. After a certain point, extra money doesn’t make any difference in your lifestyle at all. In terms of lifestyle, there is not much difference between 30 billion and 60 billion dollars. Let me know if you have any questions. Andy
083 - Following
The Crowd | ESL Podcast
English Learning Reading A: Why do you drink coffee if you know it’s bad for you? B: Who says it’s bad for you? A: I see it in the news all the time. complications .
It apparently causes all kinds of
B: First of all, I drink it in moderation . Secondly, there haven’t been any convincing studies linking moderate coffee drinking with health problems. I’ve even heard that drinking it in moderation can reduce certain cancer risks. A: I read that coffee drinkers have a 60% higher risk of developing heart disease than non-coffee drinkers. B: That’s such a misleading statistic . They are lumping people who drink one cup per day and people who drink 10 cups per day in the same group. A: I still wouldn’t risk my health like that. B: You are such a sheep ! You’ll believe anything.
Phrases and Vocabulary used: Complications : This word often refers to "problems". It’s often used in medical situations and refers "health problems" "If you continue taking this medication for a long time it might cause complications in the future." Moderation : Doing something in moderation means that you do it a "reasonable amount" ie. not too much. Many people believe that drinking red wine in moderation is good for their health. Convincing studies : A "convincing study" is a study or a scientific experiment that provides really clear evidence. Misleading statistic : A misleading statistic is a statistic that is true but is used in a way to make people believe something else that isn’t true. For example, an advertisement might say, "eating this weight-loss pill along with doing 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise, and eating a healthy diet, made our participants lose an average of 10 Kilograms over a 6 week period". This statistic may be true but it is used to persuade people that the weight-loss pill helped the results. It is still
possible that if those same people just exercised 30 minutes per day and ate well, might have the same or better results. In another example a company might say, "Our revenue went up 50% last year!" That alone sounds like a good thing, but it is possible that the company’s expenses also rose by 300% and now they are losing money. Lumping : Sometimes we use the word "lumping" to mean "putting" or "grouping". It is often used negatively. For example, you could say, "you can’t lump me in the same group with that guy just because we are both from the same hometown". In other words, "it’s not fair to think of us as the same in all respects just because we have this one similarity". You are such a sheep : A "sheep" is the type of person who can’t think for themselves and just blindly follows the opinions of other people.
084 - Queer Eye | ESL podcast English Learning Reading Last night, Add and I watched an episode of "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" . It is a TV show staring 5 gay guys. Each episode they take a typical straight guy who needs tips on fashion, grooming, and interior design. Yesterday’s episode was hilarious! A guy from Colorado and a girl from New York City were dating online for 6 months. This show was about preparing both of them for their first meeting. Everyone was expecting fireworks . When they finally met in person it was a total disaster. The guy was acting really awkward and there was no chemistry whatsoever. It was obvious that he was interested in her but she didn’t feel the same way. There was a lot of awkward silence during the date and his lame attempts at humour only made the situation worse. You could easily tell from her body language that the date wasn’t up to her expectations.
Phrases and Vocabulary used: Queer Eye for the straight takes place in New York City.
An American reality TV show that
Queer : A slang term that means "homosexual". Most often it is used to describe gay men. It is derogatory. ie. not a very nice word to use. Straight : A slang term for a heterosexual person. Basically, men who like woman and woman who like men are considered to be "straight". Fireworks : If you say that there were "fireworks" on a date, it means that both people were really attracted to each other. To put it another way it means they are "romantically interested" in each other. Chemistry : Saying that there was "chemistry" between two people on a date also means that they had romantic interests in each other. This girl would probably say about this guy, "He is a really nice guy and I like him as a friend, but there was no chemistry on our date". Sometimes "chemistry" can be used to mean, "work well together". That basketball team has a lot of great individual players, but they keep losing because they don’t have any chemistry. (It means they don’t play well together as a team) Awkward silence : Awkward silence describes this situation; Imagine two people are on a date and they are both feeling uncomfortable because they can’t think of anything to say to each other. This time seems to last a long time. This uncomfortable time period is called an "awkward silence".
Imagine if a couple that had lived together just broke up. One of them is packing their things and getting ready to move out of the house. They both feel sad but say nothing to each other. This time period is called an "awkward silence" Body language : Body language refers to what information people give out with the position of their bodies. For example, if a guy approaches a girl and the girl moves away or turns away, it is obvious from her body language that she is not interested in him.
085 - First Impression
| ESL Podcast
English Learning Reading A: Hey I ran into your friend Mark at the bank yesterday. We chatted for quite a while because there was such a long wait. B: How was it? A: To be honest, it wasn’t that great. He seemed quite arrogant and acted as though he had better things to do than talk to me. B: Oh no. You are way off base with that. He just comes across that way for some reason. He’s notorious for giving off bad first impressions. He’s a really nice guy once you get to know him. A: Well, as a friend you should say something to him. B: I’ve tried confronting him about it but he gets really defensive . A: Why do you think he acts like that? B: I don’t really know. I think he’s under the impression that he’s being really cool. Psychologists say that some people are incapable of recognizing the emotions of other people based on their facial expressions and body language. These people are completely oblivious to what other people are feeling, and as a result are not very good in social situations. A: Does he act that way around girls? B: He does. They usually don’t find him funny and take him for being arrogant. A: That sucks.
Phrases and Vocabulary used: Ran into : If you "run into" someone it means that you see them somewhere unexpectedly. I ran into your ex-girlfriend the other day. You are way off base : If someone is "way off base" it means that they are totally wrong about something. They are not even close to being right. Ex. A: I thought that eating only one meal a day would be a good way to lose weight.
B: Oh no. You are way off base. It is much more effective to have several smaller meals throughout the day. Comes across : If someone "comes across" as something it means that they appear to be a certain way when you meet them. They portray a certain image. That guy comes across as being really calm and friendly, but apparently he gets into a lot of fights when he’s angry. As a friend : "As a friend, you need to go talk to him about his drinking problem". That means, "since you are his friend, you should talk to him about his drinking problem". Defensive : If someone is being "defensive" it means that they are really sensitive about a certain topic. This person won’t be able to have a reasonable conversation about this topic. Often people are defensive about some personal weakness. They won’t accept their weakness and don’t want to talk about it. He’s under the impression : If someone is "under the impression" of something it means that they think it is true. Usually we use this when someone thinks something is true but in fact they are wrong. He’s under the impression that his girlfriend never lies to him. Take him for being : If you "take someone for being" something it means that you think they are that kind of person. I can’t believe she is a famous model and actress. I took her for being a normal high school student.
086 - Consumer Savvy | ESL Podcast English Learning Reading A: I saw an infomercial last night about a new ab device. They said you can get a great six pack after a month of using their product for only 3 minutes a day. If you aren’t completely satisfied with the product, you can send it back for a full refund. What do you think? B: Do you want my honest opinion? A: Ya B: I think you’re retarded! A: How do you know it won’t work? You’ve never tried it. B: Because in order to get a six-pack, you need to have a low body fat percentage. This takes a lot more effort than 3 minutes a day of exercise. A good diet also plays a huge role. A: If they don’t believe in their product, why would they offer a money back guarentee? B: Because they know from experience that most people will be too lazy to actually send the product back, even if they don’t like it. By offering a money back guarantee, they know that gullible people like you will be more likely to buy the product in the first place.
Phrases and Vocabulary used: Infomercial : A long television commercial that teaches people how to use a certain product and tries to sell it. Often these are a half hour to an hour in length, and you can call the phone number on the TV to order the product directly to your house. Ab device : Abs is a short form for "abdominal muscles” These are the muscles that are in your stomach. An "ab device" is a piece of exercise equipment designed to train your abs. Six-pack : This is a slang term to describe well-defined abs. professional athletes have a six-pack.
Retarded : Literally this refers to people who are mentally handicapped, ie. They were born with a mental problem. Sometimes we use this word as a slang term to describe someone who is an idiot. Friends often joke with each other using this word. It is important to understand that this term can be considered very offensive to some people and you should think twice before using it.
Some common slang sentences are: listen to him. He’s retarded".
"Don’t be such a retard".
Plays a huge role : This phrase means, "is a very important part of". Many child psychologists believe that teachers play a huge role in the healthy development of young children. Gullible : Someone who believes things too easily or is tricked easily is considered to be "gullible". People who believe everything they read are gullible. I can’t believe you were gullible enough to buy that stupid thing. should have been obvious that it wouldn’t work.
087 - Salary Negotiation
| ESL Podcast
English Learning Reading A: I’m trying to renegotiate my salary with my boss. B: How’s it going? A: Not great. He says he can only increase my salary by 10% according to the regulations of the company. B: That’s a textbook negotiation strategy. He’s acting like there’s no way he can help you. If the company really wants you, they’ll find a way to bend the rules . A: What should I do then? B: You’ve got to play hardball . Tell them that you have another job offer that you are considering. If they don’t raise their offer then you will have to leave. A: But I have no where to go. B: It doesn’t matter. You just need to call his bluff . I’m sure they will offer you more when they realize that they have no other choice.
Phrases and Vocabulary used: Textbook : If something is "textbook" it means it is a typical or common case. My 7 year old son often threatens to run away from home when he is upset. It is textbook behavior for a child of that age. Bend the rules : Bending the rules means to change the rules a little to make them suit your situation. For example, imagine that the rule is that it is half price drinks (happy hour) from 6-8 pm every night. The waitress comes to your table at 8:01 and says you need to pay full price. You might try to say, "oh come on, you can bend the rules a little can’t you?" Play hardball : Playing hardball means that you are using a very tough negotiation strategy. If you are playing hardball it means that you are trying your hardest to get exactly what you want. You will be mean and serious if you need to be. "I’m usually very calm when I ask my boss for a raise and he doesn’t listen to me. I’m going to have to play hardball". Call his bluff : If someone is bluffing it means that they are pretending to have a strong position, but they actually have a weak one. In the card game poker, somone with poor cards might bet a lot of money to trick
people into believing he has good cards. This is called bluffing. If a wife is angry with her husband she might say, "if you stay out late partying with your friends one more time I’m going to leave you". She is using this tactic to scare her husband. He might not believe she is that serious and "call her bluff". That means he will go out with his friends again and see if she will seriously leave him. In business, an employee might say to the boss, "If I don’t make 50% more money this year then I’m going to leave the company". If the company doesn’t believe it, they might call his bluff by saying "ok, we can’t afford to pay you that much". If the company sees that the person is actually going to leave, then they might agree to the 50% increase. If they see that he was bluffing, then they might be able to pay him less.
088 - Rent Increase | ESL Podcast English Learning Reading Add and I were outside the other day on the starbucks patio near our apartment. We were both in great moods while enjoying our coffees and the sunshine. We were minding our own business when all of a sudden our landlord rudely interrupted our peaceful afternoon with a phonecall. She wanted to jack up our rent by 25%. I tried to bargain with her but it was no use. In the back of my mind I knew I was fighting a losing battle . The rent in the city had been going up for quite a while and we knew that sooner or later this was bound to happen . A: I’m trying to renegotiate my salary with my boss.
Phrases and Vocabulary used: Minding our own business : If you are "minding your own business" it means that you are not bothering or interfering with anyone else. Jack up : This is a slang term that means to increase the price a lot. "That restaurant jacked up all their prices last week" In the back of my mind : If you think about something in "the back of your mind" it means that you realize it but it isn’t one of your main conscious thoughts. It’s often the kind of thought you don’t want to face. It’s more of a feeling than a thought. In the back of my mind I knew that my relationship with my girlfriend was going to end soon. I knew in the back of my mind that I should quit my job and find a better one. Fighting a losing battle : If you are fighting a losing battle it means that you are still trying to compete but you will eventually lose. For example, the child kept begging his mother to let him stay up late to watch a movie but the mother had already made up her mind to not allow it. The child was fighting a losing battle. Bound to happen : If something is "bound to happen", it means that it was going to happen sometime in the future. Don’t worry so much if you don’t like your job. If you keep improving yourself and keep meeting new people, getting a new job is bound to happen.
089 - Cooped Up | ESL Podcast English Learning Dialog A: Where are you going? B: Not sure yet. I just need to get out of the house . cooped up all week and it’s driving me insane .
A: Do you mind waiting a few minutes? B: For what? A: I wouldn’t mind joining you. I’ve just gotta hop in the shower for 5 minutes and I’ll be ready to go. B: Knowing you it’ll take a half hour. Hurry up. A: Ok.
Phrases and Vocabulary used: I just need to get out of the house : This is a common sentence to say when you feel like you have been spending too much time at home. "I’ve been sick in bed all week and I what I want more than anything is to just get out of the house". Cooped up : This phrase means you feel trapped or imprisoned. You feel like an animal who has been locked in a small cage. I really need a vacation. I’ve spent most of the past 6 months cooped up in the office. Driving me insane : This phrase means, "making me go crazy". I’ve been trying to figure out what’s wrong with my computer all morning and I still have no idea. It’s driving me insane. Wouldn’t mind : In the context of this dialogue, "wouldn’t mind" actually means, "want to". Since the person wasn’t invited, saying wouldn’t mind feels a little more polite. Hop in the shower : When we are talking about taking a quick shower, we often use the verb "hop in". It makes it sound like the whole process will be fast. "I’ll be ready to leave in 15 minutes. I’ve just gotta finish this email and then hop in the shower". Knowing you : This phrase is used when you think the other person will behave in a certain way based on your experience with that person. "He said he will be here at 8:00. I know that’s what he said, but knowing him, he won’t be here until at least 9:30".
090 - Retrospect
| ESL Podcast
English Learning Dialog A: What are you still doing in bed? It’s already 2:00. B: I feel brutal . I think it’s from the milk. A: Why would you drink that? expiration date .
It was more than a week past the
B: Well, I wouldn’t have in retrospect . I didn’t even look at the date before I drank it. Why didn’t you toss it by the way if you knew it was that old? A: Hey, don’t blame me. B: I won’t if you go pick me up some medicine. A: That’s really thoughtful
of you .
Phrases and Vocabulary used: Brutal : If something is "brutal" it means it is really bad. English, we often talk about feeling "brutal". I have a brutal cold and don’t feel like going out tonight. I feel brutal from how much we drank yesterday. That was a really brutal movie.
Expiration date : The "expiration date" is the date that is printed on foods that tells you when the food will go bad (expire). You should throw out foods that have gone past the expiration date because they might make you sick if you eat them. In retrospect : "In retrospect" means, "looking back on the situation". Here is an example, "I spent all my savings last year and now I am having money problems. In retrospect, I wish I had saved it. Toss it : This is a slang phrase that means "throw it in the garbage". That’s really thoughtful of you : This is a sarcastic sentence in the context of this dialogue. He was joking when he said this because it wasn’t really thoughtful of him at all.
091 - Basketball Comeback | ESL Podcast English Learning Reading We were down by twenty points as we headed to the locker room . Our coach yelled at us at the top of his lungs to start playing defense. I knew it was up to me to step it up in the second half. I decided if we were going to comeback , I would have to start shooting a lot more. We were a 10 to 1 underdog so I felt like we had nothing to lose . At the start of the next half I started knocking down three’s . We cut the lead to five with just under a minute left in the game, and I was in the zone . I hit a quick three and then stole the ball. I then knocked down another just before the buzzer went off to take the victory.
Phrases and Vocabulary used: locker room – the room where teams stay before the game begins. Each team has its own locker room. The room has lockers where each player can put their things. They usually have showers and changing areas in there as well. yelled at us at the top of his lungs – he yelled as loudly as he possibly could up to me – it was my responsibility. Ex. It was up to me to clean the apartment since my roommate was on vacation. step it up – to start doing better at something or get something better than you had before. Ex. I decided to step it up this year and buy a new car. comeback – win at something that you were losing at. Ex. The candidate made a comeback to win the election. He was losing at first, but in the end he was victorious. 10 to 1 underdog – 10 times more likely to lose than to win. underdog is the team expected to lose
nothing to lose – There are no disadvantages of doing something. Ex. Why don’t you try the job for a week? You’ve got nothing to lose. knocking down three’s – getting three point baskets. in the zone – playing or performing really well at something. If you are in the zone everything seems effortless and you do things at your highest ability or skill level. buzzer went off - the loud noise at the end of game or end of a period
092 - Lifestyle Change | ESL Listening Podcast ESL Reading A: I’ve finally come to grips with the fact that I’ve gotta make some major changes in my lifestyle. B: What’s going on? A: These past few months I’ve been staying up late and then sleeping in. Then I feel guilty when I wake up so I usually eat a comfort food like pizza to make myself feel better. Then I feel bad from eating the pizza so I have a few beers to relax. Then because of the beers I can’t go to the gym. At 10 pm or so I finally start to feel good and watch several hours of TV while thinking about how the next day will be different. B: That’s quite a vicious cycle. We’ve all been there though.
Phrases and Vocabulary used: come to grips with – accept a difficult truth about something. I finally came to grips with the fact that I needed to stop eating junk food and start exercising. comfort food – food you eat to make yourself feel happy. This is usually some kind of junk food. You often eat this kind of food when you are depressed or unhappy in your life. vicious cycle - A vicious cycle is talking about when one bad decision makes it more likely to make another bad decision which in turn causes you to make another bad decision. Pretty soon most of your decisions are bad and your life is out of control. been there – have been in the same situation before. I know how you feel. I’ve been there too.
093 - Movie Star | ESL Podcast ESL Reading Steve got a much needed ego boost yesterday. A beautiful girl came up to him and asked for his autograph. She was convinced he was a handsome movie star and he totally went along with it. They went to a restaurant for lunch and Steve noticed that his good friend Mark happened to be there. Steve winked at Mark and luckily Mark was astute enough to see what was going on. He also asked Steve for an autograph and then went back to his table.
Phrases and Vocabulary used: ego boost : An ego boost is a lift to your self-esteem or confidence. You might get an ego boost if your boss tells you that you are doing a great job and wants to give you a promotion. went along with it : Pretended that it was true. happened to be there : This means that someone was coincidentally at a place. This person was there by chance and you didn’t make plans for this to happen. winked : Winking at someone means to close one eye when you look at someone. This expression can mean that you want to let them know something but you can’t tell them what it is because you don’t want anyone else to hear what you said. For example, imagine that you are lying to someone about your age and your friend is beside you and he knows your true age. If you wink at your friend, this will let him know not to say anything when he hears you lie to someone else. astute : Astute means quick and clever. It can also imply that someone was paying close attention.
094 - Making Decisions | ESL Podcast ESL Reading A: I’m thinking of looking for a more stable job with a fixed salary. My commissions have been almost non-existent lately. B: Don’t do that. In your line of work the commissions are always low at this time of year. You’ve gotta look at the big picture and realize that you’re going to be rolling in it in a few months. A: My problem is that money burns a hole in my pocket when I have it. Then when a downturn hits I’m eating instant noodles. B: Then it sounds like changing your spending habits would be a better solution than changing careers.
Phrases and Vocabulary used: line of work - The type of work that you do. An insurance salesman might say, "Appearance is very important in my line of work". look at the big picture - Looking at the big picture means to look at the entire situation. Don’t just focus on one small part of the situation. Don’t worry so much about not getting that job. Look at the big picture. You’re a young smart guy with a good education and some work experience. I’m sure another opportunity will come along soon. rolling in it - This expression means to have or get a lot of money. He wasn’t making any money for years and now he’s rolling in it. money burns a hole in my pocket – this means that as soon as you get money you want to spend all of it. downturn - A downturn is when the economy starts to go poorly. You should save some money so that you’ll have some in case of a downturn in the economy.
095 - Love at First Sight ESL Reading A: You broke up with Sue a year and a half ago. You must be ready to get back in the game by now! B: It’s been so long, I wouldn’t even know where to begin . A: Let’s go to the bar and try meeting a few ladies. Do me a favor though and don’t latch on to the first one you see . Try playing the field for once in your life! A: Probably a good idea! I guess I have been known to fall for the first girl that gives me any sign of attention .
Phrases and Vocabulary used: Get back in the game - This means to get back in the "dating game". Single people are considered to be "in the game" because they are always potentially looking for dates. Wouldn’t even know where to begin – This phrase means is often used when you would like to do something but you have absolutely no idea as to how to do it. I’d love to own my own website but I wouldn’t even know where to begin since I know nothing about computers. Latch on to the first one you see – to start a romantic relationship with the first person you meet She seems to really need a boyfriend. Anytime she is single she will latch onto the first guy that she meets. Playing the field – dating more than one person at the same time. None of them are very serious relationships. He just got out of a long-term relationship so he’s just going to play the field for a while. Falling for – falling in love with. He can’t get her out of his mind. I guess he’s already fallen for her. Any sign of attention – if someone shows interest in you in any way. I bet she’ll date the first guy who gives her any sign of attention.
096 - Sleeping In ESL Reading A: Hello B: Hey. Why haven’t you been picking up? I’ve been trying to reach you for the past 3 hours. I guess you forgot our tennis match. A: What time is it? B: It’s already 9:30. A: Really? I guess my 20 minute power nap turned into a good three hours . I even slept through my alarm . B: What were you so tired from? A: I only got 2 hours sleep last night . I felt fine all day but I just crashed as soon as I got in the door. Sorry about that. Let’s reschedule for tomorrow. B: Ok
Phrases and Vocabulary used: Picking up : In this context, "picking up" refers to answering the telephone. I just called him but he didn’t pick up. Reach : If you say you were trying to "reach" someone it means you were trying to "contact" them. Reach is more common in casual spoken English. It’s a little less formal than "contact". Power nap : A power nap is a very short nap (sleep). Sometimes people don’t have a lot of time to take a nap but they really need a quick nap. We call this a power nap. Good three hours : A "good" three hours means "at least 3 hours". How long is the flight from Toronto to L.A.? I think it’s a good three and a half hours. Slept through my alarm : If you don’t hear or don’t pay attention to your alarm clock when it goes off, we call this sleeping "through" your alarm. I only got 2 hours sleep last night : In spoken English, we often say, "I only got 4 hours sleep", not "I only got 4 hours of sleep"
Crashed : In this context, "crashed" means fell asleep. Sometimes crashed can mean felt really tired. I felt fine all morning in the office but crashed about an hour after lunch. I almost fell asleep at my desk.
097- How to Get Rich ESL Reading A: Did you hear about Alex striking it rich in the market? B: No. Who did you hear that from? A: Alex. B: Whatever. He always totally exaggerates! I’m not going to believe it until I hear it from a more reliable source. A: Yeah, he does totally exaggerate doesn’t he? The last time I listened to him I lost 5 grand betting on a horse that came in dead last. B: He is an entertaining guy though. It’s pretty fun getting on board with his ideas.
Phrases and Vocabulary used: striking it rich – to get a lot of money quickly for some reason. In this dialogue Alex made a lot of money in the stock market. Ex. He struck it rich from winning the lottery. reliable source – a trusted source of information It could be a person, a newspaper, or a magazine that you trust. Ex. You should be careful where you get your information from on the Internet. Many websites are reliable sources of information 5 grand
- 5 thousand dollars
long shot – when a result is unlikely to happen dead last – the very last to finish in some kind of a race or competition. Ex. Out of the 10 finalists, Steve came in dead last. This means that Steve finished 10th out of the total of 10 people in the competition. He did the worst out of everyone. on board – the agreement to do a plan with others. Ex. Ok guys. If we are going to succeed with this new plan we’ve got to make sure everyone is on board. pan out – If something “pans out” it means that the desired outcome happens. Of course, if something doesn’t “pan out” it means it didn’t work. Ex. We all planned to go on a trip last winter bur for some reason things didn’t pan out.
098 – Olympics ESL Reading A: Are you going to the Olympics in Beijing this summer? B: No. room.
I’m going to watch it on TVV in the comfort of my own living
A: You sound like an old man. It’s going to be great! This is China’s chance to showcase itself to the world. They’ve been pumped about this for the past 8 years. B: Don’t get me wrong. I’m sure it will be great too. I’d just rather watch it on TV because I’ll be able to see my favorite events more clearly. A: What is your favorite event? B: I like the decathlon. I think it shows best overall athlete.
Phrases and Vocabulary used: Showcase - Display yourself to many people. Participating in the TV show “American Idol” is a great opportunity for young singers to showcase their talent. Pumped about this - If you are pumped about something it means you are very excited about it. Ex. She’s really pumped about her new job. Decathlon – one of the events in the summer Olympics. This event involves competing with others at 10 different events. The person with the highest total score on the 10 events wins the decathlon. You don’t need to win all of the 10 events, but just have the highest total score after the 10 events 100-meter dash – a running race that is 100 meters long. The race is considered to be a sprint, which means you to try and run your fastest the whole time. The winner of this event is considered to be the “world’s fastest man”. Has a nice ring to it- this means that the title sounds good or impressive. Ex. I think the job title of CEO for a major corporation has nice ring to it. Publicity – Attention from the media. She’s a really great author but she doesn’t sell many books because she doesn’t get much publicity. Very few people know of her.
Chic magnet – someone or something that is very attractive to girls. Ex. I don’t really care about cars that much but I’m still going to buy a really cool one because I know it’s going to be a huge chic magnet.
099 - Starting a Restaurant ESL Reading A: I’m thinking of opening my own restaurant. I’ve always loved going to restaurants so I think it would be fun to own one. B: Every restaurant owner I’ve ever talked to said it’s a tougher job than most people think. Long hours and thin margins . Because it seems so easy and glamorous , it has become one of the most competitive industries. A large % of restaurants go out of business within the first 2 years. A: I think I can beat hamburgers in the city.
the odds .
I believe I can make the best
B: There’s a lot more to being successful than making good food. A lot of restaurants with average food do well because of advertising and the image they create. Consumers even realize that the food is only average, yet they still go. It’s a weird phenomenon .
Phrases and Vocabulary used: Thin margins - Here, "margin" refers to the difference between the cost to the restaurant and the selling price. For example, if it costs you $10 dollars to buy something and you sell it for $100, you have a huge margin. If you buy it for $10 and sell it for $10.50 you have a very small or thin profit margin. A thin profit margin is a very small difference between the cost and the price. Obviously businesses love when they can have huge profit margins. Glamorous - If something is glamorous, it means it is exciting, desirable, and fashionable. We often think that movie stars have a very glamorous lifestyle. Go out of business - If something "goes out of business" it means it closes down. Businesses often go out of business when they lose money and can’t figure out a way to change things. His company went out of business mainly because the competition from large corporations was too strong. Beat the odds - If you "beat the odds" it means that you were able to accomplish something that most people in your situation couldn’t. She had cancer and the doctors told her she only had a 10% chance to survive. Her positive attitude and the love and support from her family and friends helped her to beat the odds. She cured the disease and is now leading a happy and healthy life.
There’s a lot more to - If you say, "there is a lot more to something" it means that this "something" is a little more complicated than it first appears. There is a lot more to being a model than standing in front of a camera trying to look pretty. Phenomenon - a phenomenon is a fact that is fascinating and perhaps a little surprising. That economist is trying to explain the phenomenon of coffee being more than double the price in big cities.
| How to be happy
ESL Reading Our society preaches that wealth will make us happy. However, as the world becomes richer in terms of material wealth, people are becoming more and more depressed. Happiness, not material wealth should instead be considered to be the ultimate currency. A Harvard professor discusses 4 personality types. The rat racer - this person constantly makes sacrifices today in the quest for a better future. He consistently delays gratification because he hopes to achieve some goal. Ex. The person who spends his whole life trying to earn and save money, and then dies rich. The hedonist - The hedonist lives for the moment. He seeks activities that will make him happy now while disregarding the potential long-term consequences of his actions. Ex. Eating junk food, Spending a lot of money, partying all the time, etc. Nihilist - This is a person who does not enjoy the present and also expects an unhappy future. This person does activities that are not enjoyable now and also are not beneficial to his future. Ex. A person who watches TV all day, even when there is nothing interesting on, while feeling depressed and hopeless. Happy - The happy person enjoys doing the activities in his daily life. He chooses a lifestyle that is both enjoyable in the present and beneficial in the long term. Listening to China232.com podcasts everyday is a great way to make you happy. They are both enjoyable to listen to and beneficial to your future. Preaches - To preach means to try to convince someone of something in an almost religious way. If someone is preaching their idea, they don’t want to hear anyone else’s opinion. They just keep talking as if they are convinced they are 100% right. Material wealth - Material wealth means money. You could say, "he earned a lot of material wealth from his business success, but he isn’t happy because he has very little free time to spend with his family. Ultimate currency - Currency is usually thought of as money. The US dollar and the Euro are two different types of currency. Currency is also something that has measurable value. If we say that happiness should be the ultimate currency, it means we should use how happy we are to measure how wealthy we are, instead of using money to measure wealth.
101 – Anniversary ESL Reading I decided to surprise my girlfriend and go all-out for our anniversary. I took her to a quaint little Italian restaurant near our place. I was pleasantly surprised to find that all of the prices were quite reasonable. For appetizers we each had a garden salad and shared a bruschetta . For the entrees , I had the grilled salmon, and she had the lasagna. We decided to pass on dessert, as we were too full from all of the other food. For drinks, we shared a bottle of merlot . Luckily for me, the wine made her a little tipsy , and we got to skip the dancing she was hoping on doing after dinner.
Phrases and Vocabulary used: all-out – tried or did something to the fullest. We went all-out on our vacation and stayed in nothing but 5 star hotels. The L.A. Lakers went all-out in the fourth quarter and ended up winning. quaint – having an old-fashioned charm that is interesting and unique. Ex. I bought a charming and quaint house from an old lady. pleasantly surprised – to be surprised in a good way. Ex. I was pleasantly surprised with our accommodations. They were much better than I had expected. Appetizers – a small dish of food or drink served before the main dish or entree. Often salads and soups are served as appetizers. garden salad – a simple salad with lettuce and a few vegetables bruschetta – toasted garlic bread usually served with tomatoes, salt, pepper, olive oil, and garlic on top The “ ” - In restaurants we often say “the” instead of “a” before food when we are ordering something specific. You could say, "She’ll have the tuna salad, and I’ll have the lobster". Entrees – the main dish served in a meal. pass – decide to not do something. In this case they decided not to eat dessert or they “passed" it. Merlot – a kind of red wine tipsy – feeling a little drunk and have a slight feeling like you might fall over. Ex. After 5 beers I started feeling a little tipsy.
102 – Diamonds ESL Reading Why do so many women love diamonds? Is there something about intrinsic about a diamond’s beauty that particularly affects females? Or is it the scarcity of diamonds, and hence the high price, that makes women like them? An exceptionally beautiful piece of diamond jewelry can sometimes raise a woman’s sense of self worth. After all, what man would spend thousands of dollars on a diamond for a woman he didn’t value? If she receives an extravagant gift such as a diamond necklace, she might feel special because she knows this man must truly care about her. She also might feel special because she knows she’s found a man capable of providing for her since only relatively wealthy men can afford such gifts. Maybe she likes being the topic of conversation at a party and hearing other women’s comments about how lucky she is. If we lived in a world where diamonds grew on trees and cost less than a piece of fruit, would people still wear diamonds as jewelry? I highly doubt it . What do you think?
Phrases and Vocabulary used: Intrinsic : If there is something "intrinsic" about thing, it means that there is something special about the very nature of that thing. This sounds confusing. Here is an example I think will help. I could say, "That table has no intrinsic value, but I would hate to lose it because it was a present my grandmother gave me". That means there is nothing special or valuable about the actually table, it just means that I personally feel it is special because it was a present from my grandma. Scarcity : If something is scarce it means it insufficient to supply demand. In other words there is more demand than supply. Often, scarce means “rare”. The scarcity of diamonds is what makes them so valuable. Providing : In this context, providing means to "financially take care of". Being the topic of conversation : If something is "the topic of conversation" it means it is the subject of many conversations. "His new girlfriend was certainly the topic of conversation at last night’s dinner" I highly doubt it : This is an equivalent statement to, "I really don’t think so", or "I think there is almost no chance of that happening".
103 - New Job ESL Conversation A: So what’s your new job I heard about? B: I’m the regional customer service manager for our company. A: So what does that entail ? B: I’m in charge of the customer service department in our area. Mostly hiring new staff, managing the budget, and handling any major customer complaints. A: So what does a typical workday look like ? B: So far it’s been great. If there aren’t any major complaints, which is often the case , I pretty much just check email and surf the net all day. The staff working under me has to do all of the annoying grunt work. A: Sounds like a pretty sweet gig . B: I’ve got my fingers crossed hoping it’ll stay like this.
Phrases and Vocabulary used: What does that entail? This question is used when you want to know more about the specifics of something. If your friend was applying to some university and you didn’t know the application procedure, you could ask them, "what does the application procedure entail?" That means, "what exactly to you need to do to apply for the school" The answer might be something like, "I need to give them my resume along with a personal essay stating why I believe I’m a good choice for the program". look like : What does a typical workday look like? To ask what something "looks like" in this kind of context, it means "describe it". It’s slang here because you can’t really "see" a typical work day. Which is often the case : You can use this in the middle of an "if" sentence if the "if" part is what usually happens. Someone could ask, "What do you usually do in the evenings after work?" The answer might be, "If I have to get up early the next day, which is often the case, then I usually just stay home and read."
Pretty much : "Pretty much" is slang and means "basically" or "most of the time". In the example above, if someone asks, "What do you usually do in the evenings after work?" The answer might be, "I pretty much just stay home and read". Grunt work: "Grunt work" is work that is usually boring and takes a lot of effort but not a lot of thought. Many bosses like to relax as much as they can and get their secretaries to do most of the grunt work. Gig : A "gig" is a slang term for a job. It’s often used for a job that is only temporary like a musician working in a busy restaurant for only the weekend. You can’t always use "gig" in the place of "job". You can’t say, "What is your gig?" I’ve got my fingers crossed: "Crossing two of your fingers" is considered to be a symbol for good luck. If you say that you’ve got your fingers crossed about something, it means you are hoping you will be lucky enough that it will happen. I’ve got my fingers crossed that the weather will be nice tomorrow. We’re planning on going to the beach.
104 - Green Tea ESL Conversation - Green tea contains high levels of antioxidants . Antioxidants are particles that remove the charge from the free radicals moving around the body. Over time, free radicals damage the body. Free radicals are said to cause cancer, heart disease, aging, and many other problems. - Green tea helps boost the immune system . The immune system is the body’s own natural defence system against viruses and bacteria. If we didn’t have an immune system, we would die from a common cold. A healthy immune system helps us to get sick less often. - Green tea helps to suppress appetite. This indirectly maintain a healthy weight.
helps people to
- Green tea helps to stabilize blood sugar levels. Maintaining stable blood sugar levels reduces the risk of aquiring type 2 diabetes .
Phrases and Vocabulary used: Antioxidants
- particles that remove the charge on free radicals
A healthy diet should be high in antioxidants.
Free radicals - Tiny charged particles that act like little magnets, floating around in the body and causing damage to it. The reason we want to eat a diet high in antioxidants is so that we can reduce the number of free radicals in our bodies. Immune system - The body’s natural defense system against viruses, bacteria, and other foreign particles that shouldn’t be inside the body. A strong immune system helps us fight off disease. Suppress - Suppressing something means to keep it from getting high or hold something back. Not getting enough sleep can suppress our immune system. Indirectly - This is a little difficult to define but an example and an explanation will work better i think. His new job made him really tired and stressed. Because he was too tired to cook, he ordered a lot of pizza. He worked a lot of overtime and
usually didn’t feel like going to the gym after work. He figures that his job indirectly caused him to gain a lot of weight. This means that his new job made him do things that caused him to gain weight. Ording pizza and not exercising were the direct reasons he gained weight, but his job was the reason he ordered pizza and stopped exercising. Stabilize - Stabilizing something means to keep it balanced. Keep it so it doesn’t rise or fall a lot. Her old job really made her emotional. Her mood has stabilized since she quit.
105 - 80/20 Rule Phrases and Vocabulary used: What is the 80/20 rule? It’s a term used a lot in business and other areas to describe the phenomenon that quite often a small % of something can have most of the impact on something else. The examples will help you to understand Examples of the 80/20 rule - 80% of donations come from 20% of the donors - 20% of beer drinkers consume 80% of the world’s beer - 80% of a company’s sales come from 20% of its customers - You spend 80% of your time with friends, with only 20% of your friends. - 80% of the time spent listening to China232 comes from 20% of our listeners - 20% of the students in a class cause 80% of the problems for the teacher. How can we apply the 80/20 rule to our lives? Time management at work is a big one. This is true, especially in sales. If you know that 80% of your sales come from 20% of your clients, for example, it would be worthwhile to find out exactly who those 20% are, and then spend most of your time dealing with them. If one particular customer (especially one who doesn’t buy much) asks a lot of questions and wastes a lot of your time, then it may not be worth your time to deal with them at all because they are wasting so much of your valuable time that could be used better somewhere else. In life it’s better to spend most of your time doing things that are the most beneficial to you and not get caught up with silly time wasters that do no one any good.
106 - Coke Zero ESL Conversation A: What do you think of Coke Zero? B: I don’t like it as much as regular coke. A: Regular Coke has a ton of sugar though. You can drink Coke Zero guilt free since it has no calories. B: I don’t know about guilt free. I’m not convinced; all that artificial sweetener is good for you. Besides, I’d rather have Diet Pepsi Max anyway if I want something low cal. A: What’s Diet Pepsi Max? B: It’s a hybrid Diet cola and energy drink. ginseng. I drink it before workouts.
It has extra caffeine and
Phrases and Vocabulary used: Coke Zero - A new drink made by Coke. regular Coke but has no calories.
It tastes pretty much like
Regular Coke - Native speakers often describe "Coca cola" as "regular coke" Guilt free - If you do something "guilt free" it means you don’t have to feel guilty for doing it. Often advertisements claim that their product allows you to do something "guilt free". "Now you will have time to watch TV guilt free because our product will save you so much time" Artificial sweetener has no calories.
- This is something that is sweet like sugar, but it
Diet Pepsi Max - Diet Pepsi Max is diet Pepsi artificial sweetener, but also has extra caffeine and ginseng. Low cal - "Low cal" is a short form for "low calorie". Low cal is used a lot in spoken English to describe foods that are low in calories. Hybrid - A hybrid means that it is a mixture or combination of two things. A hybrid car for example is a car that runs on two different sources of fuel. A car that runs on both gasoline and hydrogen is one example of a hybrid car. Ginseng - Ginseng is a natural herb that many people claim to be healthy and energizing.
107 - Cosmetic Surgery ESL Conversation A: Did you hear that Christine is going in for a nose job ? B: What? She doesn’t need plastic surgery . Why would she do that? A: People have been telling her that her nose is too small. She wants to make it bigger. B: That’s ridiculous! Her nose is cute. How is she paying for it anyway? There’s no way her insurance will cover this kind of unnecessary cosmetic surgery . A: She’s paying out of her own pocket . She’s been cutting back on a lot of her other expenses for months in order to pay for this. B: I sure hope it works out for her.
Phrases and Vocabulary used: Nose job : A type of surgery on your nose to make it look better. Plastic surgery: Surgery on a body part or skin to improve appearance or working ability. People who experience really bad accidents often need plastic surgery. The scrapes on his face were really noticible after his car accident. Now that he’s had plastic surgery, you can hardly notice them at all. Cover : Here cover means to "pay for". We use this word when discussing whether or not insurance will pay for something. My insurance company told me that they will cover up to $10 000 of my surgery. Cosmetic surgery : A type of surgery to improve appearance. Cosmetic surgery is a multi-billion dollar a year industry. Many people will pay a lot of money to look better. Paying out of her own pocket : If you pay "out of your own pocket" it means you are paying the money yourself. No one else is paying for you. I had to pay out of my own pocket for my surgery. My insurance company said it was unneccesary and wouldn’t cover it. Cutting back : Cutting back means using or doing less. We often "cut back" on spending or "eating" The government needs to cut back on their spending. They’ve been spending more than they make for years. You should cut back on calories if you are serious about losing weight.
108 - Good Advice Phrases and Vocabulary used: You are living in a dream world - If you are living in a dream world it means you are being unrealistic. Someone in a dream world is usually being too optimistic. They imagine great things happening to them but don’t have any real plans to get these things accomplished. "My dad often tells me that he thinks I’m living in a dream world". You need to stop taking the path of least resistance - Taking the path of least resistance means making the easiest choices. These choices usually are not good long-term choices but they are good in the short term. Watching TV instead of doing your homework is an example of taking the path of least resistance. Letting your 8-year-old kid eat a lot of chocolate because you don’t want to listen to him cry is taking the path of least resistance. You need to learn delayed gratification - Delaying gratification means to stop yourself from doing something enjoyable now so that you will receive benefit for it in the future. Forcing yourself to eat healthy food instead of the often more enjoyable junk food is delayed gratification. Choosing to stay home and studying instead of going partying with your friends is also an example of delaying gratification. Partying sounds more fun at that moment, but you choose to study because of the long-term benefits of studying. Stop living in the past - If you are living in the past it means that you are allowing the past to influence your current life too much. Spending too much time thinking about what went wrong with a previous relationship is a good example of living in the past. Someone who is still upset after breaking up with someone 2 years earlier is definitely living in the past.
109 - Artificial
ESL Conversation A: I just read a cool book about AI. It was trying to predict what the year 2030 will be like. The author is very optimistic about where science is heading. He believes in an exponential growth model for technology in general. B: What kind of stuff is he predicting? A: He talks about computers taking over the human brain in terms of intelligence, and the possible implications of that. He thinks we will be able to reverse engineer the human brain faster than most people predict, because brain-scanning technology is getting better all the time. He also discusses the exciting new field of nanotechnology. B: What is nanotechnology? A: It is basically technology made from extremely tiny pieces, measured in nanometers. Many people believe that nanotechnology will be able to radically improve manufacturing, medicine, and the environment.
Phrases and Vocabulary used: AI (Artificial intelligence): This is man made technology that is able to perform tasks that seem like thinking. The computer program that defeated the world’s greatest chess player was an example of artificial intelligence at work. Exponential growth : Exponential growth is growth that starts out slowly but then moves very quickly. Leaving money in a stable investment pays you more each year than the year before. Something that doubles every year is an example of exponential growth. 1, 2, 4, 8, 16… is exponential growth. Linear growth is 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, … Implications : The implications of something means what that something "implies". Implications are what will happen as a result of doing something. You might think you want to take that high paying stressful job, but think about the implications. You won’t have as much time to spend with your family, you will be more stressed, and you won’t have enough free time to do the things in life you love. Brain Scanning : Taking "pictures" of the brain. There are many different types of brain scanning technology that is able to produce an image of the brain.
Radically : Drastically, in a huge way. Google radically changed the way that most people around the world search for information Reverse engineer : Reverse engineering something means to take apart something that is already made, figure out how they made it, and then try to make it again. Some companies try to reverse engineer technology like the ipod, manufacture it, and then sell it for a cheaper price. Nanometers : (one billionth of a meter) Very small!! nanometers = 1 meter.
1 000 000 000
110 - Email Terms ESL Conversation A: Did you get my email? B: No. A: Really? I sent it over a week ago. B: Oh, maybe it went into my junk mail folder by mistake. I’ve got my account set on high security . I’ve been receiving so much spam lately. I almost feel like going back to snail mail . A: It should have gone directly into your inbox because you’ve received email from me before. B: Did you send it as a mass email ? A: I did. B: That’s the problem. regardless of the sender.
Mass emails go directly into my junk mail,
A: Ok, I’ll send it again. B: Alright, thanks.
Phrases and Vocabulary used: Junk mail: Junk mail is email that you don’t want. Often junk mail is sent by companies who are trying to sell you stuff you don’t want. The term junk mail can also be used for mail that you don’t want in your regular mailbox. Advertisements, etc, are considered junk mail. Folder: This refers to a separate place where you store different classes of email. You have a “junk mail folder” for your junk mail for example. I’ve got my account set on high security: This means that you set your email account on a very strict setting. It may only allow emails from your contact list. Another way to say this is to say; I set my account on high security. Spam: Spam is a form of junk mail, but it refers to junk mail that is sent to many people. Some companies send advertisements to thousands of email
addresses at the same time. This is considered spam. Everybody hates spam. Inbox: Your inbox is your folder that is for your “good email”. This is the location for the email you wish to receive. Mass Email: A “mass email” or a “bulk email” is email that sent to many people at the same time. The difference between a mass email and spam is that a mass email isn’t necessarily mail that people don’t want. For example, you could send a mass email to your friends. Don’t make it too boring though or they will think it is spam!
111 - Financial Crisis ESL Conversation A: I’ve lost a ton in the market over these past few months. B: We’re all in the same boat . It’s frustrating but I think the worst is behind us. Many value investors are jumping back into the market. They see this as a major buying opportunity. A: I agree. There has been a lot of panic selling . Many people fear the world is coming to an end. I’ve even heard of people taking money out of the banks and putting it under the mattress . B: That’s going a bit overboard I’d say . I think economy will contract until the credit markets get sorted out, but I don’t think this is doomsday . I also think that the market will go up before the economic recovery. The market is a forward thinking animal. A: Let’s hope so. I can’t afford any more sleepless nights .
Phrases and Vocabulary used: A ton: A ton of something means a lot of something. It is slang. I don’t want to eat dinner tonight. I ate a ton at our business lunch. We’re all in the same boat: A phrase that means, "we are all in the same situation". If you are in the same boat as someone it means you are in the same situation they are in. The worst is behind us: This means that the worst part of the situation is over and it will start to improve from this point. Jumping: We often use this verb "jumping" to talk about someone going in and out of the stock market quickly, ie. quickly buying and selling stocks. Panic selling: Panic selling happens when many investors sell their stocks at the same time because they are scared they will lose more money. Panic selling causes stocks to become "oversold" resulting in a buying opportunity for smart investors. Mattress: A mattress is what you sleep on, ie, your bed. Sometimes people hide money and other valuable things under their mattress. They think this is a safe place.
That’s going a bit overboard: This phrase means to overreact or be very extreme. "I agree with you that he shouldn’t come to work late, but firing him for being late only once is going a bit overboard" Doomsday: Doomsday is the day that represents the end of the world. The market is a forward thinking animal: The stock market is often considered to be a forward thinking animal, because many stock prices are based on predicted future growth rather than on current performance. Sleepless nights: This term is often used to indicate situations where people are either extremely busy or extremely worried about something. She had many sleepless nights after her daughter went away to university. Many people in the US government have had many sleepless nights trying to figure out how to save the economy.
112 – Sleep ESL Conversation A: I haven’t been sleeping well lately. I’m tired all day but I can’t seem to fall asleep at night. B: Have you had problems with insomnia before? A: I’ve always been a light sleeper but I’ve never experienced anything like this. It’s been like this for over 2 months now. It started after I got my new job. B: Is the job causing you much stress? Worrying or thinking too much can negatively affect people’s sleep. A: I don’t think so. It’s a really relaxing job and I don’t think about it too much when I’m home. The only thing I can think of is that I drink more coffee now than I used to. I didn’t think that would be much of a problem since I don’t drink any after I get home. B: Caffeine stays in the system for a long time. Try not drinking any coffee past noon. You might also want to do some yoga or other relaxation techniques before bed. You want to be in a relaxed state well before you get into bed. It will make falling asleep much easier. A: What about drinking alcohol before bed. I find it helps me sleep. B: You can if you want, but don’t have too much. Too much alcohol will decrease the quality of REM sleep .
Phrases and Vocabulary used: Insomnia : A person with insomnia has a very difficult time sleeping or getting enough sleep. They often lie awake in bed, wishing they could fall asleep. A person with insomnia is called an insomniac. Many people have insomnia My brother is an insomniac Light sleeper : A light sleeper is a person who is very easy to wake up. A light sleeper will wake up quickly after hearing even a little bit of noise. Negatively affect : If something "negatively affects" something else it means it has a negative influence on it. Smoking cigarettes negatively affect a person’s health. System: In medicine, we often refer to the body as a "system".
Too much alcohol isn’t good for the system. Relaxation techniques : Relaxation tecniques are things you can do to relax. Yoga, listening to soft music, and slow deep breathing are all examples of relaxation techniques. REM sleep : REM sleep stands for Rapid Eye Movement. It is a phase of sleep where a person moves their eyes really quickly. It is not very well understood, but most experts believe it is a very important phase of sleep.
113 - Famous Experiment ESL Reading Classical conditioning was first demonstrated by Ivan Pavlov. To demonstrate this, he would take a neutral stimulus , one that elicits no behavioral response from the animal under investigation, and present it together with a "significant" stimulus, one that does elicit a natural response. He hypothesized that if the two stimuli were presented together enough times, the animal would learn to respond to the "neutral" stimulus in the same way it did naturally to the "significant stimulus. This is exactly what he observed. In his most famous experiment, he rang a bell and gave a dog meat powder at the same time. The meat powder would naturally make the dog salivate . The bell originally did nothing. After enough trials , the dog learned to associate the bell with the meat powder. The dog would start to salivate every time he heard the bell ring, even if no meat powder was present.
Phrases and Vocabulary used: Neutral : Neutral has many meanings, but here it means, "not causing a reaction". Generally things that are neutral don’t effect the surrounding environment. In chemistry, things that are neutral don’t react with other things. If you are "neutral" on some topic, it means you don’t feel strongly either way and have no real opinion about it. Stimulus : Anything that causes a response. Music can be used a stimulus to get someone to feel like dancing. Elicit : to get or obtain something. If you elicit a response from an animal it means you get the animal to respond. Hypothesized : An educated guess. This word is used a lot by scientists when they try to guess the outcome of their experiment. It is basically a prediction as to what will happen. Salivate : Mouth watering. When animals, including people, smell food, their mouth starts to water to prepare them for eating. This is called salivating. Trials : each time you perform the activity in an experiment is called a trial. In our example, each time the experimenter gave the dog meat powder while ringing the bell would be considered one trial.
114 - Home For Holidays ESL Conversation A: How’s life back in the US? B: Lot’s of sitting around . There was a blizzard here a few days ago so I haven’t been able to go outside. A: How have the workouts been? B: Pretty much non-existent since the first day back. I’ve been making a lot of questionable food choices as well. A: I’m guessing you are spending a lot of time horizontal sports in high def ?
B: That’s essentially all I’ve been doing. I’m hoping I’ll be able to turn things around soon so I don’t come back looking like a pig. A: Just stay out of the cupboards!
Phrases and Vocabulary used: Sitting Around : This is a slang phrase that refers to doing very little. If you said "I just sat around all weekend" it means that you didn’t really do anything. You probably just stayed home and watched TV or surfed the internet. You didn’t do anything worth mentioning. Blizzard : A blizzard is a really bad snow storm. often roads and schools are closed during a blizzard. Non-existant : this means that they don’t happen. existant" means that they happen very rarely.
Pretty much "non
Questionable : If something is "questionable" it means that it is unclear. We often use this word in spoken english to describe a poor decision. If you say, "that was a questionable decision" you probably mean that it was a poor one. Horizontal : If a person is "horizontal" it means they are lying down. People often lie down on the couch while watching TV. Horizontal is a funny way to describe this. High Def : This is short for "high definition" TV. This is talking about the new technology that makes some new TV stations very clear. Turn things around : "Turning things around" means to change a bad situation to a good one.
A company that has been losing money might hire a new CEO to try to turn things around.
Phrases and Vocabulary used: Empty promises - If someone makes a promise that they can’t keep it is called an empty promise. For example, imagine a father tells his son that if he gets over 90% on a school exam, then the father will give his son $100 . Now imagine later that the son actually gets over 90% but the father decides not to give the son any money. We could say that the father made an empty promise. If someone makes a lot of empty promises then people around them will begin to trust them less and less. Companies often make empty promises in their advertisments. "Our skin cream will make your skin look 20 years younger". Flaky - A flaky person is a person who makes plans but then cancels at the last moment, or doesn’t even call to cancel. Flaky people often don’t have a good excuse for cancelling. It is a bad habit. We often use this term in a dating context. I could say, my date last night flaked out. It is the second time in a row that she did this to me. I don’t think I’ll call her anymore because she’s too flaky. I wouldn’t count on that - "Counting on" something means depending or relying on it. I could say, you can’t "count on" flaky people. Even if they promise to meet you at a time and place, you never know if they will actually do it. We can say "count on" for both things and people. Your friend could tell you that a salesperson told him that he could make 25% per year if he did a certain type of investment. If you didn’t think this was likely, you could say to your friend, "I wouldn’t count on that". It basically means, "Don’t expect that to be true", or "I don’t think that will happen" You could also say, "I wouldn’t count on that type of sales person if I were you". That means, "you shouldn’t believe what salespeople like that say". Don’t hold your breath - This phrase basically means, "I don’t think it will happen". Holding your breath means to stop breathing. It is saying, "don’t hold your breath waiting for something like this to happen because it probably won’t happen" It is similar to saying, "I wouldn’t count on that" Exaggerator - If you call someone an exaggerator, you are saying that they exaggerate when they tell stories. They make things seem more intense than they really are. Exaggeraters tell you that they earn more money than they actually do for example. Exaggerators tell you that it is colder than it actually is, the party was more fun than it really was, or
their holiday was more fun than it really was etc. They often do this to make themselves appear better or make the story more interesting. We often say, he is a "huge exaggerator" or a "big time exaggerator".
116 - Buying a Gift ESL Reading A: What are you getting dad for his birthday? B: I don’t know yet. He’s really already have everything he wants.
hard to shop for .
He seems to
A: How about we get him a joint gift . I saw these really cool noise cancellation headphones that I think he’ll like for the airplane or to use when mom is cleaning the house. B: A joint gift is a good idea, but isn’t that noise cancellation thing a gimmick ? A: No. I tried them on in the store and they really work. I checked into it though and I saw that they had the same ones for much cheaper on amazon . If we order them now they will arrive before dad’s birthday. B: Are they the ear buds or the big ones that cover the whole ear? A: I think we should get the big ones. Dad’s weird about putting things in his ears. B: Sounds good. How about you put them on your credit card and I’ll give you the cash for them. A: Ok.
Phrases and Vocabulary used: He’s really hard to shop for: If someone is really hard to shop for it means that you think it is hard to find a gift that you think they would enjoy. They either already have everything, they are really picky, or you don’t really know what kinds of things they like. Joint gift : A joint gift is a gift that two or more people buy together. Some gifts are too expensive for one person to buy, so a couple people might "pitch in" and buy someone a gift together. Noise cancellation headphones : This is a relatively new techology where the background or outside noise is greatly reduced, so that you can hear your ipod or mp3 player more clearly. Gimmick : an advertising trick to try to persuade people to buy a product. Gimmicks seem cool and useful when you first hear about them, which makes people want to buy the product.
Amazon : This www.amazon.com
Ear buds : A type of earphone that fits directly into the ear. Portable earphones are often ear buds. The kind of earphones that come with an ipod are earbuds for example. Weird about : If someone is "weird about" something it means they are uncomfortable with or unusually sensitive about something. This is slang spoken English. Make sure you don’t use his favorite coffee cup. He’s really weird about other people using it for some reason. I’ll put them on my credit card : We often use the verb "put" when we talk about paying for something with a credit card. "I’ll put it on my credit card" means the same as "I’ll use my credit card to pay for this".
117 – Skype ESL Reading A: Check out this new Skype phone I just bought. I made an overseas call to mom last night and the quality was much better than using the landline . There was no delay and the voices were really clear. B: How much does it cost to use skype? A: It’s free if you make a call through the computer to another person using skype. It costs about 2 US cents per minute to call pretty much anywhere in the world if you want to call a landline or a cell. Some places are a bit more expensive but you can check on the website. There is no monthly fee either. B: That’s way cheaper than I pay. I pay 8 cents a minute for overseas calls on my current plan , in addition to my month fee. A: That’s brutal . You should definitely switch. B: I will. It’s amazing that these phone companies are still in business.A: I think a lot of people are simply ignorant about the cheaper options. Some people aren’t Internet savvy enough to set up skype either, which is pretty pathetic in the 21st century.
Phrases and Vocabulary used: Skype phone : A "skype phone" is a special type of phone that you plug into your computer and use with skype. It is very similar to a regular phone. Land line : A landline refers to a regular home or office telephone. Many people have both a landline and a cell phone. Delay : Sometimes when there is a poor connection, there is a delay between when you speak and when the other person hears what you are saying. This happens more often during overseas calls. If the delay is long enough, it is very annoying and difficult to carry on a normal conversation. Plan : A phone plan is a payment option. There are many different types of phone plans. Some plans offer unlimited free long distance if you pay a relatively large monthly fee. There are also different internet plans and insurance plans. Brutal : This means "very bad". Sometimes we use the term brutal to describe overpaying for something. "I can’t believe you paid so much for that. That was a brutal deal"
Ignorant : Ignorant means unaware. If someone doesn’t have the knowledge about something, they are said to be ignorant about this topic. Savvy : Being savvy means being good at something. We often say "consumer savvy" or "internet savvy". Consumer savvy means you are a good shopper and know how much to pay for things. Internet savvy means you are really good at using the Internet. Pathetic : Pathetic means really weak or bad. He only knows how to cook eggs. That’s pretty pathetic. He sleeps in until noon every day and doesn’t accomplish anything. That’s so pathetic.
118 - Getting Laid Off ESL Reading A: Let’s go do something tonight. I haven’t been out in ages . B: I can’t. I just got laid off and I’m strapped for cash . I’m even late on my credit card payments. Our plant just closed down and made a bunch of us redundant . We can’t compete against our overseas competitors. A: That sucks. I’ll treat you tonight. I’m sure you could use a few beers to take your mind off things. I know how stressful losing a job can be. B: That would be great! I’ll get you back next time when I find another job. A: No worries .
Phrases and Vocabulary used: Do something : In casual conversation, if you tell your friend you want to "do something" it means you want to get out of the house and go do something interesting. Going to the movies is an example of "doing something" Been out : "Haven’t been out" refers to not having left the apartment or house to do anything interesting. Going to the store doesn’t count as "going out". Going to a bar, party, movie, or something like that is considered "going out". In ages : If you haven’t done something "in ages" it means that you haven’t done it for a really long time. It is slang. Not everyone uses it but you will know it when you hear it. Laid off : Getting "laid off" is slightly different from getting fired. If a company doesn’t need so many employees for some reason they will often choose to lay some people off so that they can save money. If you get laid off, you can often get your job back when the company has more work for you to do in the future. Strapped for cash : If you are "strapped for cash" it means that you have very little or no money. Redundant : When companies reorganize they often realize that they are too large and have too many employees. Sometimes they realize that they can do the same work with fewer employees if they just switch some of the roles. If you are "made redundant" it means you were basically fired. The company no longer needs you there.
I’ll get you back : If your friend pays for something for you, then you can say, "I’ll get you back next time". That means, you will pay for them the next time you go out. No worries : This is a slang term that means, "don’t worry about it" or "forget about it". Here, the friend is basically saying that he will treat his friend for the beers and doesn’t expect to be paid back in the future. Of course, as a good friend, the one friend will probably insist that he pays next time.
119 - E-Commerce ESL Dialog A: Where did you buy your new computer? B: I ordered it online. I saved 20% doing it that way. A: Weren’t you scared of being ripped off ? B: No, I order stuff online all the time and I’ve never had a problem. I use paypal and only buy from sellers with good ratings. Paypal makes it much safer for the consumer because they will return your money if you don’t receive the product. A: Why was it so much cheaper to buy online? B: Selling online is a much cheaper for the seller. They don’t need to pay staff or rent a huge store. In a competitive market, these savings are passed on to the consumer. A: How does paypal make any money? B: They just take a couple percent of each transaction . Even with that fee, it’s still often cheaper to buy online. It really depends where you shop and what you are buying though. It’s always a good idea to shop around if you have the time. A: Why do so many people still buy things in brick and mortar stores then? B: A lot of people still feel it’s safer to buy things that way. Some people aren’t very price sensitive and don’t mind paying the premium . They like to physically look at the product and deal personally with the sales staff. Besides, when you order online, you can take the product home that day. You don’t need to wait for the shipping. A: I think I’m more like you. I’d rather have the savings than those other "conveniences". I’m going to get a paypal account and start ordering stuff online.
Phrases and Vocabulary used: Ripped off : Getting "ripped off" often means paying too much money for something. In this case, getting ripped off refers to being totally cheated and not receiving the product at all. Paypal : Paypal is an extremely popular online payment option. You can go to www.paypal.com to find out more information if you don’t already
use this service. It is available in most countries and is easy and safe to use Transaction : Every Sale or purchase is considered a transaction. Paypal makes a little bit of money every time someone uses their service to buy something. Shop around : If you "shop around" for something it means that you look at many different places to buy something. It’s a good idea to shop around for large purchases such as a new car or a new home. You can often get a much better deal if you spend some time shopping around. Airline tickets are often priced quite differently so it’s a good idea to shop around when you are buying airline tickets. Brick and mortar : Brick and mortar stores refer to the physical store. Some brick and mortar stores also have an online store. Price sensitive : If someone is price sensitive, it means that they really care about the price. If it is a certain price they will buy it, if it is a little more expensive than they won’t. We can also refer to products as being price sensitive. Oil is not very price sensitive because people still need to put gas in their cars regardless of the price. Premium : Paying a premium for something means that you pay extra money for some service. You have to pay a premium to shop at a brick and mortar store for example.
121 - China232 Story ESL Conversation A: Add, I’m glad we finally decided to take our heads out of the sand and go ahead with the VIP section. B: Me too. I know you wanted to keep everything free and were on the fence for quite a while about switching business models . A: I guess part of me didn’t want to face reality. B: I think it’s better now anyway. Now we have more time to make the site way better. Anyone who is really serious about improving their English will only have to cough up $75 per year to get full access to the new and improved site. Anyone who signs up won’t regret it. A: Ya. When you put it that way it’s actually a pretty sick deal.
Phrases and Vocabulary used: Take our heads out of the sand : If your "head is in the sand" it means you aren’t facing reality. It means you don’t want to see the truth because the truth is painful. On the fence : If you are "on the fence" it means you haven’t made a decision yet. She is still on the fence about whether or not to go to graduate school in the fall. Business money.
models : A business model is the way that a company earns
Google’s "business model" is to provide a free service and make their money from advertising. Our new business model at China232 is to charge annual subscription fee. Part of me : If you say "part of me" wants to to something. It means that in some ways you want to do it, in some ways you don’t want to. It means you can see the pro’s and con’s of making that decision. Cough up : "cough up" is a slang term that means to "spend money". I coughed up 200 bucks for these tickets, and my girlfriend decided not to go at the last minute. Put it that way : way.
This phrase means to explain something in a certain
Sick : This slang phrase really depends on the context. It often means really really good. Kobe Bryant was sick in the 4th quarter of last night’s basketball game.