Monday, March 17, 2014

Brush up on...

When you brush up on something, you revise it so that it is fresh in your mind, because maybe you have gotten a little bit "rusty" or forgotten some details over time.

1. Season 4 of game of thrones is about to start in April… I need to brush up on the names of the characters because it's been so long since I last watched. 

2. From time to time I get students who come to me just to brush up on their English before a job interview. They tell me that they have gotten a little rusty over time because of a lack of opportunity to practice their English in the workplace.

3. One of the best ways to brush up on something, of course, is to read a book... whether it is language or anything statistical. Do you need to brush up on any area or field of knowledge?

4. To be honest, I must admit that I don't keep tabs on (follow) the world of soccer… so maybe I should brush up on soccer statistics if I want to join in on World Cup and soccer conversations in general. Do you ever brush up on anything so that you can impress your friends? 

5. Do you brush up on things that you are not really interested in but you know that other people are? I had a student who used to read classical poetry simply because he thought it was something one should do, even though it was not something that he personally enjoyed himself.

6. These days it is just so easy to brush up on anything when you have a smartphone in your pocket and a 3G or 4G internet connection. Do you take advantage of the information on the internet that is always at your fingertips?

7. When you brush up on anything, it is more of a general and quick overview, rather than a deep analysis of something. What skills do you feel you need to brush up on? If you practice hobbies such as SCUBA diving, it is a good idea to brush up on some technical knowledge from time to time, especially before a dive. That's why they have "refresher" courses for those who haven't dived in a long time.

8. Do you feel you need to brush up on the rules of the road… or do you remember everything you learned when you first started driving all those years back?

9. If you have clients, customers, patients or students that you don't see regularly, do you brush up on their basic information before your next meeting? Do you take notes about their general information so you can revise it at a later time?

10. Imagine being the president of a high-profile country. He or she is expected to know everything about everything… That's why they have teams of people to help them brush up on all kinds of information before addresses and meetings with other dignitaries and heads of state. If they do not brush up on some basic information, one small mistake, whether geographical or political, and it will be all over Twitter, Facebook and YouTube!


  1. Does "polish" have the same meaning and can be used in similar context?

    1. Hi Sérgio, "polish" would be more about perfecting something than revising or remembering. Brush up is more temporary and used when we need to revise something... Polish is for mastering or perfecting something.... So, as you can imagine, both could be used in similar contexts. Some students come to me to brush up on their English close to a job interview... While others have been with me for quite some time already and are polishing their English.