Friday, May 25, 2012

... leaves something to be desired

Ad = advert = advertisement 
If (anything) leaves something to be desired, it does not meet your expectations… it is not as good as it should be. It’s a diplomatic way of saying that something was terrible.

1. Do you live in a city where you get great service in stores and restaurants, or does the customer service in your city leave something to be desired? Does good or bad service depend on someone’s level of education, or do you think it’s a cultural thing?

2.  Have you ever watched a pirated movie that was filmed in the cinema? The image and audio quality leave a lot to be desired, so it’s not worth watching. It’s better to go to the cinema or wait for the DVD release.

3. FIFA has said that Brazil’s preparation for the 2014 soccer world cup leaves much to be desired. They say that the progress with the construction of stadiums, transportation infrastructure and hotels is far behind schedule. FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke was criticized for stating that Brazil needed a "kick up the backside" to get everything ready on time.

4. Did you ever study in an English course that left a lot to be desired? Was it the material or the teacher?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Come up with

                   Bug = irritate          Sharp = intelligent           retort = answer/ response

When you “come up with” something, you think of something original; you find a creative solution/ plan. A synonym is “to think up”.

1.  People who work in the advertising industry need to come up with original and dynamic marketing ideas. Do you need to come up with new ideas or plans in your line of work?

2. Often people come up with the best ideas when there is a necessity. There is an expression: “Necessity is the mother of invention.” Can you think of any inventions that were born out of need?

3. Do you know who came up with the idea of the Leap Year? Leap years are years with 366 days, instead of the usual 365. Leap years are necessary because the actual length of a year is 365.242 days, not 365 days. Julius Caesar was behind the origin of leap year in 45 BC.

4. Can you come up with new ideas under pressure, or do you get inspiration when you are relaxing? Some people come up with ideas when they are in the shower, driving, exercising or walking on the beach.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Up to speed


If you are up to speed with a subject or an activity, you have all the latest information about it. It relates to being competent in knowledge, skill or training. This expression is similar to: “fill someone in”.

1. When you’ve missed a couple of episodes of your favorite TV series, do you like to get up to speed by watching the ones you missed, or are you OK to continue with the latest episode?

2. When you haven’t spoken a 2nd language for quite some time, you might want to brush up on (practice/ revise) your ability and get a bit of practice before you plan to engage in that language. A good way to bring yourself up to speed would be to read a book in that language or take a few conversation classes.

3. Why do you think Africa is so far behind the rest of the world in technology? Is the problem cultural… or is there maybe a historical disadvantage? What do you think it would take to bring Africa up to speed?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Burn out

“Burnout” is what happens when you have been pushing yourself or working too hard for too long. It is physical or mental exhaustion caused by long-term stress.

1. Many people are experiencing burnout and they don’t even know it. They are so used to working under stress and pressure that it seems normal to them. Some symptoms of burnout are: emotional, physical and mental exhaustion, disillusion, depression, a loss of interest in your work or life in general and becoming susceptible to illness.

2. Is your boss working you too hard… or are you maybe pushing yourself too hard? Sometimes if you are self-employed (work for yourself) like myself, you have to regulate how many hours you work a day or force yourself to work less, so that you don’t burn yourself out.

3 People who are living a fast-paced lifestyle are living in what we call “the rat race”. The rat race often leads to burnout. Working long hours in a competitive environment will cause stress, and eventually, burnout. Not many people are able to keep up with a lifestyle that demands so much over the long-term.

4. When you have been “burning the candle at both ends” and not getting sufficient sleep, it could definitely lead to burnout. How many hours of sleep a day do you think are sufficient for you to function normally? If you are sleeping less than 5 hours every night, and if you aren’t able to take a nap during the day, then you are heading for a burnout.