Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Mess up


Mess up (something): To create disorder, ruin or destroy something.
Make fun of: to joke and laugh about something
Show up: to arrive

1. Have you ever messed up a surprise by not being able to keep a secret? Are you the type of person who spoils a movie by telling someone who hasn’t watched it what happened?

2. Most people who try to cut their own hair mess it up, even when they try to make little changes. The more they cut the worse it gets. Do you know what I’m talking about?

3. Isn’t it frustrating when you spill coffee or anything on important documents or papers and mess them up? It’s especially embarrassing when they belong to someone else.

Monday, August 22, 2011

My bad

When you say “my bad”, you are admitting you made a mistake, that it’s your fault. It is an informal/ slang expression, mostly used by young people. Urbandictionary.com says, “A way of admitting a mistake, and apologizing for that mistake, without actually apologizing.” It’s a very casual and relaxed response, sometimes to the frustration of the person you say it to!
- I thought you said we’ll have an English class next week Thursday…
- No, I said this week Thursday…
- Sorry, my bad! It must be a mix-up (misunderstanding) because of the language.
- Don’t tell me you forgot my birthday two years in a row!
- Relax, I was saving the surprise for later. How could I forget after last year?
- Oh… my bad.
- Why did you shut down (turn off) the computer? I was downloading a movie.
- My bad. I thought you forgot to turn it off.
- Why do you always leave the toilet seat up?… MEN!
- My bad. I’ll try to remember next time.

- Oops… I forgot to buy the pasta… My bad.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Throw away

If you throw away something you get rid of it, you discard it, throw it in the trash or you could be wasting something, especially an opportunity.

1. What do you do with your old clothes? Do you throw them away, sell them, donate them to a charity or let them pile up in your closet? Normally in a large family with lots of children, the clothes are handed down from the older kids to the younger kids for them to wear. They don’t throw the clothes away. The old clothes are “hand-me-downs” because they are handed or passed down.

2. Do you save the leftover food from any meal, do you usually give it to the dog or throw it away? There is an English saying which goes like this: “Waste not, want not”, which means that if you don’t waste anything, you will never need or be without anything.

3. If you don’t take advantage of a good opportunity, it can be said that you are throwing it away. Have you ever thrown away an opportunity because you didn’t try?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Mind (your) own business

To mind (your) your own business means that you don’t bother anyone, you don’t cause any problems or trouble… you just continue quietly with your own activities or life. You respect other peoples’ privacy and don’t get involved in their affairs/ business.
* Hang around -> to sit or stay in a certain place/ to spend time somewhere.

1. If you were at the supermarket and you saw somebody shoplifting (stealing items from a shop)… would you mind your own business or would you tell someone in charge?

2. Are you the type of person who minds your own business or are you curious about everything and everyone around you?

3. If we always mind our own business, we can live simple and uncomplicated lives – but the problem with that is that we wouldn’t make any friends if we always kept to ourselves (minded our own business).

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Take care of


If you take care of someone or something, you are responsible for keeping them safe. You give special attention to or keep an eye on them or it. A synonym for take care of is “look after”.

1. When you get sick do you need someone to take care of you or can you usually take care of yourself? Everyone needs a little TLC when they are sick (Tender Loving Care).

2. Someone you hire or ask to take care of your children is a babysitter. Have you ever babysat or taken care of someone else’s children?

3. If you take care of someone’s house and stay there while they are on vacation, you “housesit” for them. A number of years ago I housesat for an Australian couple in El Salvador while they went home for a three-month vacation to Australia.

4. - Can you take care of my dog Sparky for 2 weeks? I’m going on a trip.
    - Sure, how many times a week do I have to feed him?
    - Every day. Don’t worry, I’ll show you exactly what to do.

5. The expression, “Charity starts at home” means that you should take care of your own family before helping other people. Do you agree with this saying?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Ups and downs

The “ups and downs” in life or in any situation are the alternating good and bad times, the highs and lows - emotionally, financially etc.

1. Being a parent has its ups and downs. There are more ups than downs though. Some of the “downs” are: sleepless nights with sick children and less free time in general. Some of the “ups” are: watching your child grow and develop, their first words, their first steps and the funny things they say and do.

2. Some people go through a lot of ups and downs in different relationships until they finally meet the love of their life or “the one”.

3. On their road to success all professional athletes will go through ups and downs, victories and defeats before they reach the “top of their game”.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Fill (someone) in on (something)

If you fill (someone) in on (something), you are informing them about events or things that have happened, you are updating them with the latest news or information, you are telling them about the details or facts of something.

1. I don’t often read the newspapers or watch the news on TV in Brazil. I tend to watch international news and read articles online… so often my students fill me in on important and current events happening locally.

2. The president of any country needs his aides (assistants) to fill him/ her in on anything of national importance. The president would need to be informed of anything of significance, especially related to issues of National Security or international developments that are relevant.

3. After a vacation you need your colleagues/ workmates to fill you in on anything related to your job that you might have missed while you were not there.

4. Gossip is the most common way to be filled in on anything… informal information is much easier to remember than facts and statistics.

5. Do you consider yourself a reliable person to fill someone else in on anything? Do you remember all the details? Do you give just the facts or do you exaggerate a little?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Kill two birds with one stone

If you kill two birds with one stone you are achieving two objectives with one action/ accomplishing two goals at the same time. This is very productive and helps to save time and be more efficient.
* If something doesn’t add up, it doesn’t make sense.

1. If you always learn any vocabulary as part of a phrase as opposed to just memorizing individual words, then you will kill two birds with one stone. Besides expanding your vocabulary you will also be learning the correct grammar. By watching movies with subtitles you also kill two birds with one stone: You get entertainment and language learning at the same time.

2. If you want to improve your English really fast you could kill two birds with one stone and make friends with English speakers or find a native English speaker boyfriend or girlfriend.

3. Brazilians like to kill two birds with one stone by exercising on the beach. You can get fit as well as get a tan (get some sun) at the same time.

Monday, August 1, 2011

"Finding Nemo" - watch and learn!

Hi everyone! Today I've got something really special in store for you... I've created a PDF document with explanations of ALL of the phrasal verbs, idiomatic expressions, slang and difficult vocabulary for the ENTIRE movie "Finding Nemo". 

Also, I have modified the subtitles so that all phrasal verbs appear in red, the idiomatic expressions & slang are in blue... and the difficult vocabulary in green.

  Take a look at some examples from the movie:
 In the PDF file you will find an explanation of the phrasal verb:

 The explanation of the expression "You Rock":

An explanation of what a "Scum angel" is:

Click on the .rar file on the right to download the files -->
In the .rar file you will find the following files:

(1) A PDF document containing the explanations to 70 Phrasal verbs, over 100 Idiomatic Expressions and over 100 pieces of vocabulary from the movie.
(2) The modified subtitle file (.ass). 
(3) The torrent file to download the movie via "Vuze".
(4) A "Read Me" file containing instructions on (a) how and where to download the movie and (b) which media player you need to use to watch the movie.

In the PDF there are also suggestions as to how you can maximize your English learning by watching the movie with the modified subtitles together with the explanations and definitions of the phrases.

I'm absolutely sure you will really enjoy it! Please just do one thing for me... if you like the idea of learning English through modified and color-coded subtitles, please let your friends know... you can send them an email with the link to this blog post or you could share it on Facebook/ Twitter etc. Thanks a ton... and see you back here tomorrow!