sexta-feira, 31 de julho de 2015

expressions with the word bait

First of all, have you ever heard of the word bait? It's very simple to understand if you just take a look at the picture above. That's what a bait is. If the picture still doesn't say much to you, a bait is any food used to entice fish or other animals as pray. So if you decide to go fishing for example, you're going to need, among other things, a bait to get the fish. And now that we've learned the literal meaning of the word bait, let's try to learn some expressions with it.

I heard the first expression with the word bait while watching Orange is the New Black, an original Netflix series. They were discussing the idea of contacting the media and calling its attention to some problems in the prison system, but because of a big storm coming, people had other priorities on the news to talk about. So here's what one of the characters said after being asked about the media's reaction: "Nobody took the bait with the story. There's a storm coming". When someone takes the bait, it means they accept something that was offered to get them to do something. So if the media had taken the bait with what the inmates were trying to tell, their story, it would have acknowledged their complaints about the prison system and done something about it, like making it public.

Now imagine you have someone at your work environment that loves to get on your nerves. And how does he do that? He keeps dropping hints here and there saying very nasty things just to try to get a reaction from you. So while he's talking to other workmates, he makes a point to raise the tone of his voice to make sure you can hear he's speaking ill of you. You know a breakdown or a major outbreak is everything he wants from you, so you'd rather keep calm and not rise to the bait. But wait, what does that mean? When you rise to the bait, you get irritated by what someone has said. But keep in mind they say those bad things on purpose just to get an upset reaction from you. The expression alludes to the idea of a fish coming up from deep waters to seize bait.

quinta-feira, 30 de julho de 2015

god forbid/perish the thought

There are certain expressions we use to express how much we don't want a certain thing happening. It's like just mentioning the thought of something happening causes people a certain uncomfortable feeling and they need to turn to certain kinds of expressions to make it clear how much they hope something bad doesn't happen.

For example, your daughter is going to a party very late at night and you're very worried about her getting mugged or kidnapped or raped or anything bad that's constantly on the news. So you tell her: God forbid that someone causes you any harm out there on the streets. What I want you to focus here is the expression "God forbid", which as religious as it might sound doesn't necessarily imply a belief in God's direct intervention. It's become more of a way to merely express a strong wish. So it doesn't matter if you're a christian or even an atheist, some expressions that seem to have a very strong religious connotation don't necessarily reflect your beliefs and ideologies. Speaking of which, "God forbid" can also be "Heaven forbid", as in "Heaven forbid that they actually encounter a bear".

If you've never heard the expressions I've just taught you, you're very unlikely to know the following one: perish the thought. I don't have much to talk about that expression since its meaning is identical to both "God forbid" and Heaven forbid". If I could spot maybe a single peculiarity of that expression, I would say that this one expresses the idea of not even considering the thought of such a negative thing. It is used as a wish that what was just mentioned will never happen. So, take a look at this example: If you should become ill - perish the thought - I'd take care of you. That's all for today. Talk to you next time!

terça-feira, 28 de julho de 2015

Textos Traduzidos #001: Convicted of murder at 12, Curtis Jones leaves Florida prison at 29

Convicted of first-degree murder when he was only 12 [Condenado a assasssinado em primeiro grau quando tinha apenas 12 anos], Curtis Jones is a free man at 29 [Curtis Jones é um homem livre aos 29 anos].

Jones left a Florida prison on Tuesday [Jones deixou a prisão em Flórida na terça-feira], according to CNN affiliate WFTV [de acordo com WFTV afiliado da CNN], which also noted he has never had the chance to learn how to drive a car or use social media [que também salientou que ele ainda não teve a chance de aprender a dirigir ou usar as mídias sociais].

The newspaper Florida Today reported that Jones was released at 7 a.m. from the South Bay Correctional Facility [Jones foi solto às 7 da manhã da Instituição Carcerárea de South Bay] , which is south of Lake Okeechobee [que fica no sul do Lago OIkeechobee].

Jones and his sister, Catherine Jones, were found guilty of killing their father's girlfriend [foram considerados culpados pela morte da namorada do pai deles], 29-year-old Sonya Speights, in 1999 in Cocoa Beach.

At the time [Na época], their lawyer alleged that the siblings were being sexually abused by a relative [o advogado deles alegou que os irmãos estavam sendo abusados sexualmente por um parente] and turned to extreme measures after they felt that their father and his girlfriend were not protecting them [e recorreu a medidas extremas ao acharem que o pais deles e sua namorada não estavam os protegenddo]. But prosecutors argued that they were jealous of the victim because they were not getting their father's attention [Mas os procuradores disseram que eles estavam com ciúmes da vítima porque eles não estavam ganhando a atenção do pai deles].

Jones' sister, who is now 30, is also scheduled to be freed this week [também está programada para ser liberada essa semana]. Catherine went to prison at 13 [Catherine foi presa aos 13 anos].

The brother and sister, who lived in Brevard County at the time of killing [que viviam em Brevard County na época do assassinato], took a plea deal and were sentenced to 18 years in prison [fizeram um acordo judicial e foram sentenciados a 18 anos de prisão].


While incarcerated [enquanto estavam encarceirados], Jones became an ordained minister [Jones se tornou um ministro ordenado]. Catherine became a married woman to a pen pal [Catherine se casou com um amigo que trocava correspondências com ela].

source: http://edition.cnn.com/2015/07/28/us/young-killer-curtis-jones-freed-florida/index.html

segunda-feira, 27 de julho de 2015

expressões com a palavra button

I have a bunch of expressions with the word button, so I got to be careful not to get carried away. I want to provide you with the most interesting ones and spare you from unnecessary information. So, without further ado, let's try to remember some of the ways the word button alone is used in different ways. For example, you're telling a joke and when you finally get to the button, you realize you told the whole joke wrong. If you're confused with what I just said, that's because you've probably never heard of the word button being used as a synonymous for "the punch line of a joke" or the "termination of a recitation".

The word button also reminds me of the term "belly button", which is basically what we all have in the belly where the umbilical cord was attached. If you call an issue a hot button, you're talking about an issue that's become very important to people and which they feel very strongly about. If you've heard of the expression "a hot potato", which means basically the same thing, it won't be hard for you to remember the expression "a hot button". If we try to remember some of the hot buttons we have these days in Brazil, we could think of economics issues, politics issues, etc.

Now let's finally know some expressions that are a little bit less intuitive to understand in the case you come across them for the first time. For example, if you push the right buttons, what does that mean in a subjective way? Imagine you are new at a company and then one of your coworkers comes to you to give you a piece of advice. While teaching you the ropes, he tells you that you need to push the right buttons if you want to become successful. But what does that mean? If you push the right buttons, you do what is necessary to get the result that you want.

Another expression that's actually very similar to the previous one is "push someone's buttons". Imagine you have a very jealous girlfriend. You know that's her weak point, so you know exactly what would draw a strong reaction from her. Things like exchanging messages with a female friend on the telephone, hanging out with girls she doesn't know, complimenting a girl are the kind of attitudes that would drive her crazy. If you did any of those things, it would be like pushing her buttons. According to The Free Dictionary, "This metaphoric expression transfers activating some mechanism by pushing buttons to human emotions". I hope this helps. Talk to you next time!

an elephant in the room: o que isso significa?

Imagine you have an elephant right in the middle of your room, but still nobody seems to be willing to address it. They'd just rather ignore its inconvenient presence there. Why would people ignore such an obvious issue in their lives like that? When you say you have an elephant in the room, sometimes a pink elephant in the room, it means there's an issue everybody's aware of, but nobody wants to talk about.

There are many reasons for people to avoid such issues. Sometimes they're sore spots or a stigma, something politically incorrect, anything that makes people somehow afraid of bringing up. Let's try to think of an example here. You have a son that's come out as being gay to most of his friends, including some relatives of his, but never came to you to tell you the truth. You and the people who live with him in the same house, though very aware of the sexuality of your son, are not willing to accept that idea straightforward, but instead of facing it head on, you'd just rather pretend there's nothing bugging you. It's like living in denial.

You go to the table for dinner and there's that awkward silence. Nobody dares to touch the issue with a ten foot pole, including your son who thinks it's best to respect your time. So that matter becomes kind of a big uncomfortable matter that'll always be as inconvenient as an elephant in the room as long as nobody finally decides to come clean. That's all for today guys. Talk to you next time!

sábado, 25 de julho de 2015

reminisce about: o que isso significa?

When I was a kid, I remember spending the rest of the day after getting home from school with my friends on the streets. We would play all those games almost no kid these days are used to. I didn't have any trouble sleeping or worrying about anything. I was just too busy learning new stuff everyday and living a life like every kid should.

See what I just did there? I was reminiscing about my childhood. When you reminisce about something, you think about or tell of past experiences or events. You can be specific while reminiscing. For example, one of these days I was reminiscing about all my teachers from elementary school. It was hard to remember all their names, but it was good to recall the past.

They say it's something for the old to reminisce about the past. Although it may be true they're the ones who think about the past with more frequency, everybody has something good or bad to remember about their past. It's more common to refer to the act of reminiscing when the memories are good though. You had the best trip of your life a few years ago and now you're reminiscing about it.

I heard that word for the first time in one of Lily Allen's songs entitled "Littlest things". The word can be found right in the first line. Here's the video for you check out:

sexta-feira, 24 de julho de 2015

o que significa ser edgy?

I was scrolling through my Facebook feed when I stumbled upon an article entitled "Eminem rapped mockingly about Caitlyn Jenner to remind us all that he's edgy". So as a way to fill you in on what's the background of that story, I have to tell you that Caitlyn Jenner, the one that's been mentioned by the article, is a transgender who's just gone through all transformative journey and now is publicly declared as a woman.

The thing is, Caitlyn Jenner has always had all the spotlight on herself, even before the big fuss about her transformation. As for Eminem, we all know how much of an attitude he has. The article pointed out that since Eminem became a middle-aged father, he's acted out no more as that bad boy of american music he used to be. But despite of all that, he didn't think twice before tackling such a controversial topic, proving that he's still edgy. But wait, what does edgy mean?

Being edgy means to have the kind of attitude that challenges social norms and usually shows great confidence. Have you noticed how edgy rap singers are? They usually go about singing with a confident tone, dressed in expensive clothes and jewelry, and most importantly, not afraid to speak their mind. It's important to say that edgy as the way I'm teaching you here is a slang and therefore shouldn't be used in a formal context. If you look up the meaning of edgy on a formal dictionary, you'll see that it simply means "nervous", as in "David was starting to feel a bit edgy". So now you see that depending on the context the word edgy is, it'll probably have a different meaning. Take care y'all. Bye bye!

Here's the link to the article I mentioned above by the way: http://www.someecards.com/entertainment/music/eminem-caitlyn-jenner-rapped-controversial/

kindred spirits: o que são?

So today I'm going to talk about something that maybe very few people are fortunate enough to experience: a very strong bond. They can come in many different ways. So I'm not only talking about love stories or the kind of relationship that reaches only the marital love. I'm striving toward a more general kind of bond; the one that happens between friends, lovers, relatives, colleagues, anyone.

So regardless of what brings you together with another soul, if it's true and special connection what you feel for that person, then you are what we call kindred spirits. Sometimes we don't choose our kindred spirits. They just appear in our lives when an opportunity strikes. The concept of kindred spirits also centers around the idea of developing a connection from the same experience two or more people go through. So imagine you and your wife have always been in love, but only after going through a very tough time with your daughter fighting cancer that you've become true kindred spirits. It's like that bad experience has drawn you together on a higher level.

O que significa quirky?

I was going through some profiles on penpalworld, which by the way is a great website for those who want to get in touch with foreigners and learn a lot from them, when I came across a guy trying to describe himself. Among the many things he said, what caught my attention was that he considered himself a shy guy, but with a very quirky personality. But what does quirky mean?

As you can see, he used the adjective quirky much as kind of a way to compensate the fact he's shy. Not that being shy is a flaw, but why would being quirky a positive side? Well, after looking up that word to make sure I did understand it quite well, suddenly a character from one of my favorite sitcoms came to mind: Phoebe. Is there anyone else in the world quirkier than Phoebe?

If you don't know who I'm talking about, which I find very unlikely, here's what Phoebe represents; She is unconventional, surprising, odd, weird, but all in a good way. Imagine you have a friend who's always got the best lines, act in a very unconventional way, with very odd ideas - which kind of make them a little bit crazy - but still, you love being around them. That person is quirky.

You can also describe things as being quirky. In fashion, sometimes you see a lot of weird things going on. Some of them take odd to such an advanced degree that they become cool in some way. And sometimes, what makes it weird is also what makes it cool. The effect it causes on society, the shock it leaves you with when you're first confronted by an unusual piece of clothing or a trend is what makes it weird in a good way.

quinta-feira, 23 de julho de 2015

what is double standard?

Have you ever gone through a situation where you felt like you were part of a group with fewer opportunity or liberty than another group? Whatever situation that is, you could call that a double standard. To make you understand the concept of that expression better, I'll guide you through a very common example of double standard. Bear with me.

You're a girl who likes to have fun. What does that mean? That means you don't have any trouble going out with more than one partner and are very comfortable in your own skin. Your brother's just like you, but he doesn't get as much punishment and disapproval as you get from your parents. They say you're supposed to act differently because you're a girl and the way you feel about having greater sexual freedom will give you a bad name soon. On the other hand, they don't see your brother going out with many girls as a problem. Actually your father takes very big proud in telling his friends how much of a womanizer he is.

When a set of principles allows greater freedom to one person or group than to another like that, we call it double standard. We see it happening in many spheres of society. Sometimes they come disguised as religion, ethics, principles, culture, costumes, beliefs, anything. From the moment an ethical or moral code applies more strictly to one person than another, you can consider it a double standard.

I hope that helps. If you have any example of a double standard, don't hesitate to leave them down bellow in the comment section. Talk to you next time!

comfortable in own skin: o que isso significa?

If somebody asked you if you're comfortable in your own skin, what would you say? Well, before I tell you what that expression means, let me try to get some insight of your own personality and especially the way you present or interact with other people. Are you the kind of person who feels comfortable being yourself and has no kind of identity crisis or anything like that? Then we could say you're comfortable in your own skin.

Imagine you know a middle-aged guy who's always hanging out with young folks. Everybody finds it weird that he doesn't mind being among people that would normally have different interests and ideas, but he displays a relaxed confidence and seems to be enjoying his time with his young friends with no drama at all. Some people say he's just living in denial and is refusing to live his own age, but you don't believe in that theory. You just think he's comfortable in his own skin and couldn't care less for what people think about him.

That's what happens when someone is comfortable is his own skin. They show confidence in a relaxed way, even when their personalities, looks, lifestyles do not live up to what society expects. They just do what makes them happy. Are you like that or know someone comfortable in their own skin? Leave us your stories in the comment section bellow.

in a New York minute

Everybody knows New York is a pretty hectic city where people are pretty much running around all the time. In big cities like that, it seems time works differently. Every second counts and everything happens at a faster pace, unlike small cities where the time is slow and things are quiet.

That's why it's easy to understand the expression I have for you today: in a New York minute. When you do something in a New York minute, it means you do it very quickly, almost instantly. So imagine you have a friend who's daring you to go talk to the prettiest girl at the party and get her phone number. He thinks you would never have the guts to do that, but you consider yourself a very confident person. So you say; I'd get her phone number in a New York minute.

That's all for today guys. Talk to you next time!

quarta-feira, 22 de julho de 2015

whereabouts: como usar essa palavra?

I don't know if you've ever heard of the word whereabouts, but you surely have heard of the words where and about separately. Just by knowing those words, I guess you can already guess the meaning of the term. If I'm not right about that, just keep reading and you'll learn a bit more today.

Just imagine you have a teenage son who's not at home when he's supposed to be in his bed sleeping. You wonder where he would go, but you're afraid you're going to have to call some people to have the slightest clue of his whereabouts. When you want to know someone or something's whereabouts, you want to know their approximate location. So you call one of your son's friends and he tells you he might know his whereabouts. He heard of a party on that same day and he might be there. So now you know the whereabouts of your son. You go to that party and bring him back home leaving him grounded for as long as he can imagine. So here we have a way of using the word whereabouts as a noun. But there's also a way of using it as an adverb. Bear with me!

Imagine you run into a friend from your childhood in your city and you want to know where he's living. So you ask: Whereabouts do you live? By that question, you mean: at what approximate location or place does your friend live. Another way of asking the same thing would be "about where do you live?". Your friend won't need to give you detail on his address, but you'll have the general location of where his home is. That's it for today guys. Take care!

terça-feira, 21 de julho de 2015

every Tom, Dick and Harry: o que isso significa?

Imagine you're throwing a VIP party. What does that mean? It means you're so important or think you are that you won't want just anyone turning up at your party. That's why you sent out only very few invitations to very specific people so you can make sure there'll not be ordinary people at your party.

In the middle of your preparations, someone talks to you about your party. He wants to know if there'll be any celebrity around. And here's what you say: Of course. I don't want every Tom, Dick and Harry at my party. Only famous and rich people will show up. So here's what you said again: every Tom, Dick and Harry. Why would you use such names to refer to ordinary people?

If we try to understand the origin of that expression, we'd have to go back to Shakespeare's time, when he made use of very common masculine names in 1 Henry IV. But what we have to keep in mind today is that that expression is widely used as a way to refer to ordinary people in general. Maybe people you're not familiar with sometimes.

For example, you're at home when you notice the curtains are open. Then you ask your son to close them because you don't want every Tom, Dick and Harry picking in the window. So as you can see, that expression alludes to people you don't know or are unimportant in your opinion. That's all for today. Talk to you next time!

segunda-feira, 20 de julho de 2015

como usar a palavra downtown (centro de cidade) em Inglês?

As you may have noticed by this point of your studies in English, prepositions like "to" or "in" sometimes don't go before nouns like home and downtown. It sounds weird at first for Brazilian students of English because we do use prepositions before those kinds of nouns in Portuguese. So it may take a while till you get used to that particularity of English.

But today I want to focus on the word downtown. As you can see by the title of this post, downtown means the central part or main business area of a city. We can also call it city center, something closer to what we say in Portuguese, but I have to tell you downtown is a much more common choice for English speakers. So here are some examples of the word downtown in full sentences:

I work downtown.
Eu trabalho no centro da cidade.

Do you live downtown?
Você mora no centro?

She works for a law firm in downtown Miami.
Ela trabalha para um escritório de advocacia no centro de Miami.

Let’s go downtown.

Vamos para o centro da cidade.

domingo, 19 de julho de 2015

dot the i's and cross all t's: o que isso significa?

I was reading Prior Bad Acts, by Tami Hoag, when I came across a very interesting expression: to dot the i's and cross the t's. Do you have an idea of what that means? To fill you in on what was happening in the book when that expression appeared, two people were discussing whether or not some report on a murder had done carefully and in a lot of details. So one of them asked: "Are you saying Stan Dempsey didn't dot all his i's and cross all his t's on the Hass murders?

So bringing that expression into my routine, it reminds me of something I've been working on very carefully lately, which is my final monograph for college. Everybody knows that depending on the point of the monograph you're at, your levels of care tend to change. So by the end of your work, you tend to take a very close look at all you've written and dot all your i's and cross all your t's. In other words, you make sure your monograph or your report or whatever you've been writing is as accurate as possible. That's all for today guys. Take care!

ele tomou chá de sumiço: como dizer isso em Inglês?

If you know someone who has this habit of suddenly disappearing, you may want to stick around for the expressions I'm about to teach you. In Portuguese, we have a very original way of saying that;: fulano tomou chá de sumiço esses dias. In English, although we don't say it the same way, I'm going to show many ways of conveying the same message.

This weekend I had plans to spend some quality time with a specific friend of mine, but he disappeared into thin air. Can you imagine that? When you stop to picture someone disappearing or vanishing into thin air, it kind of reminds of magic. That's actually the idea the expression alludes to. Because just like a magic trick these people disappear into this air. Still talking about magic, disappearing in a puff of smoke is also an alternative for that expression.

We could also say they disappear/vanish off the face of the earth. It's like saying they're no where to be found on the planet Earth. And sometimes they vanish without a trace. That is to say they vanish without leaving no traces of where they possibly might be. You ask about them to mutual friends and even their relatives, but no one has a single clue of where they've been.

A more general way of saying the same thing is to tell that someone went missing for a certain amount of time. For example, you're a teacher and for a few days you've noticed the absence of one of your students. So you ask about him and the answer is: we don't know. Now and then he goes missing for a few days and comes back as if nothing has happened. It's just part of him. Don't worry.

And that's it folks. I've highlighted the expressions in bold to make your studies easier. I hope this helps. Take care!

What do you do when you can't remember a word in English?

Today I'm here to talk about different behaviors ESL students have when their minds simply go blank. One of these days I was eating grapes and then I stared at the grapes trying to remember the name "grape" and it didn't come at all. How come I can't remember such a basic word you learn during your first stage at an English school? Well, I'm not saying I let it get to me every time something like that happens. It keeps happening whether I want it or not. What I want to focus here is not on the desperate feeling that strikes you every time you remember you can't remember a word, but what you do with that.

I'd say there are many ways to deal with that. Many people just let it go and wait till the next moment they'll have the chance to read or hear that sentence or word somewhere. But many other people, me included here, sometimes keep stuck with that frustration until they finally do something to fix it. When I don't have much patience or time to waste, I just look up the word on a dictionary (usually an online dictionary) and try to let it kick in. But when I'm really willing to take the effort and brush up on my vocabulary, not only do I look up the word I forgot but also the words that combine with it. So let's take the word grape as an example to try to understand what I really do to get the most out of it.

ADJ.
juicy, sweet
lovely sweet grapes
| black, green, purple, white | seedless
QUANT.
bunch
VERB + GRAPE
eat, have | harvest, pick
The first grapes are harvested in mid-August.
| crush, tread
The peasants were treading the grapes in huge vats.
GRAPE + NOUN
harvest


So there we have it. The whole list of collocations that are used with the word grape. Now, instead of having the word grape as part of my active vocabulary in English, I included about 10 other words that combine with it. Adjectives, verbs, nouns, etc. The website I usually get those collocations from is "http://www.ozdic.com". I highly encourage you to bookmark it. It'll come always in handy. Take care!

what's going on?

So I'm here to tell you, besides what really matters, that I'm really into listening to radio stations from the United States. One of my favorite radio shows is called Elvis Duran and The Morning Show. And what they basically do throughout the whole hour or so of the program is play some games, tell news, give you a daily reminder of your horoscope and, most importantly, take calls from listeners.

What caught my attention from every time the host of the show takes a call is how he greets them. He basically asks them "what's going on" and then the listener is supposed to tell their opinion or anything they called for. So asking somebody "what's going on" is like an informal way of greeting them and asking them what is up, what they've been up to. It's like you're showing them interest in what's going on with their lives.

So you might run into a friend of yours on the streets you've not seen in a while and you want to catch up with him. So you say: Hey buddy, what's going on? And then your friend starts telling you random facts that have been happening to them lately. They might have graduated from college, they might have had children, gotten married, divorced, anything. It doesn't matter. That's all for today. Talk to you next time!

blow off steam: o que isso significa?

What do you do when you're stressed and want to reduce your tension? There are many ways to do that, and depending on your preferences, many things can work for you. For example, after a long day's work, you might be one of those who just dream of the time when you finally get off work, come home and put your feet up and do absolutely nothing. Some parents like to get home and play with their children to get off their minds off the tension of the day.

I'm talking about those examples of stress, but I'm actually referring more to any general kind of strong emotions you want to get rid of. For example, after a stressful situation, some might want to scream and curse just to get it all off their chest. When you do anything like that to get rid of strong feelings, you're blowing off steam. Just imagine of an actual steam machine. When it loses its steam, it seems to simmer down, just like a person would. Take a look at the picture above. Many people try to meditate in order to blow off some steam. I've never really tried that, but I heard it brings about many benefits for both mental and physical health.

When I'm somehow not at ease, I try to listen to some music or watch my favorite series. It helps me blow off steam. What about you? Is there any special activity you turn to whenever you have that feeling of unease? Leave your answers down in the comment section.

worst-case scenario/best-case scenario

Imagine you have a friend who's been in love with a girl from school for a lot of time. He just doesn't have the guts to come up to her and tell her the truth. He's afraid of rejection. But it's been almost a year now and you it's about time he got up the courage and go talk to her at once.

You encourage him to consider the optimum and worst outcomes. What would happen "in the best-scenario" if he finally told he her loves her? Maybe, she would feel very flattered for his honest and confess she also likes him. A love relationship would probably start from there. But the worst-case scenario; what would that be? Well, since you both know the girl too well to believe she would never humiliate someone or something like that, the worst-case scenario would be consisted of a simple no as an answer. What harm could that be? At least he tried.

So as you can see through that example, when you're about to make a decision, sometimes you wanna consider the worst and best-case scenarios. It helps you get the perspective you need to make the first move. That's all for today. Talk to you next time!

sábado, 18 de julho de 2015

still waters run deep: what does that mean?

Do you know someone or have a friend who's always very quiet and doesn't say much? I don't know if you've noticed it, but people like that are interesting in many ways. Many find them boring and not cool to hang around, but if you stop to think about their personalities, they always come with little surprises that make them very enigmatic and at the same time extremely thoughtful.

Of course that's not like a rule, but it applies to many quiet people. That's why I say "still waters run deep". What does that mean? It means exactly what I just explained: a quiet person may be very profound. I once had a friend like that and for many years of my childhood, I used to be very introspective myself (and actually still am sometimes). When someone gets to talk better to those people and finally break the ice, they're usually surprised with their cleverness. So if someone ever comes up to you speaking harshly of someone just because they don't speak much, just remind them that "still waters run deep". And leave them wondering. That's it for now. Talk to you next time!

quinta-feira, 16 de julho de 2015

tem que começar por baixo: como dizer isso em Inglês?

If you're in your twenties, just finishing college and expecting to embrace the world with your arms, maybe you should just try not to get carried away. In this generation, people usually tell us we don't have the patience for a step-wise progression of a career. We just want to start from the top, which is a great delusion for most of us.

So if you're like me, you may have been told a thousand times you have to begin at the bottom of the ladder. But what does that mean? Ladder is a piece of equipment used for climbing up and down. If you want to start climbing it, you'll probably have troubles trying to start from the top. You have to start from the first step to the last one, just like you would do with your career or any big plans you
have for yourself.

So if you want to be hired by some big company, for example, you may have to start from serving coffee to being the manager or something bigger like that. You can't skip steps unless you're the owner's son or daughter. I hope this helps. Talk to you next time!

ride roughshod over: o que isso significa?

In order to understand that expression, let's try to focus on this word: roughshod. Do you know what that means? If I told you it is the same thing as horseshoes, would it make it any easier? I think so. A roughshod is what you arm a horse with mounted with projecting nails or points, which gives the horse better traction. In Portuguese, we call it "ferradura". So what does the whole expression "ride roughshod over" mean?

So imagine you ride roughshod over someone. That seems harsh, doesn't it? It kind of projects an image of you literally riding roughshod over a person, just like a horse would do with an enemy back in the days. These days, though, in a figurative meaning, when you ride roughshod over someone or something, it means you treat them with disdain or scorn, or maybe brutal force. That reminds us of a bullying behavior.

So imagine you have this boss who's very demanding. There's not a single time he walks around the desks of his employees without riding roughshod over them. And just so you know, you can also ride roughshod over things. So suppose you come into a town and you don't respect their traditions or rules. People start disliking you because you don't seem to be willing to take the effort to fit in. You just want to act in the way you want, ignoring rules, tradition and other people's wishes. You're riding roughshod over the system. That's all for today. Talk to you next time!

save face/lose face

We have here two expressions that are actually antonyms. But they're very easy to understand. So suppose you made a very bad mistake. For example, you were working on a project for school and then you came up with a misinformation that led to a lot of problems for the institution. You should be able to accept your failure and at least apologize for what you've done, but instead you'd rather act in a defensive way and not lose face. But wait, what does that mean?

When you lose face, you lose reputation, status, become less respectable. So imagine one friend of yours comes up to you to ask you what you're going to do to try to get people to respect you again. And then you think about it. That's when the idea pops up in your head: You're going to put the blame on others that contributed with you on the project just to keep your reputation. It's far from a fair thing to do, but you're taking any risk to save face. Again: save face.

As you may imagine, when you try to save face, you do the opposite of losing face. You do everything possible to preserve dignity and avoid humiliation and embarrassment. That's all for today. Talk to you next time!

quarta-feira, 15 de julho de 2015

isn't oblivious a beautiful word? what does it mean anyway?

I was reading a book when I came across a word I think sounds very beautiful in my ears. I'm talking about the word oblivious. I don't know if you're familiar with it or not, but I'm sure as hell sharing it with you guys.

Since I saw that word in a book, I should consider bringing the context of the reading when it appeared. The mother and father of a child are lawyers and need to work on a very cruel case. The problem is that that case is bringing about a lot of media attention and it's become harder and harder for them to keep their child OBLIVIOUS to what is going on.

So here we have an example of the word oblivious in context. When you're oblivious to things or people, just like that little child in the book, you're lacking conscious awareness about them. Some people may be oblivious as a defense mechanism. For example, imagine you're a celebrity who doesn't take criticism too well. So you avoid reading the papers, your updates on social media, everything possible to keep yourself oblivious of your surroundings and criticism against you.

If you get into trouble because you rejected every person's advice, people might say you were oblivious to their warnings when trouble found you. Either you were unaware of them or you were just not paying attention. That's all for today. Take care!

non-continuous verbs: what are they?

If you're just beginning to dive into this new world about English language, maybe you haven't noticed what I'm about to tell you yet. Non-continuous verbs, just like the name suggests itself, are verbs that we do not normally use with continuous tenses. That's because they're more about state, not action. I can say I didn't learn those kinds of verbs through a list or consciously putting a lot effort into memorizing them. After some time, they just start to seem intuitive and you find it weird when someone else or even yourself uses one of those non-continuous verbs expressing continuous or progressive aspect. Take a look at some of the most common non-continuous verbs;

feeling: hate, like, love, prefer, want, wish
senses: appear, feel, hear, see, seem, smell, sound, taste
communication: agree, deny, disagree, mean, promise, satisfy, surprise
thinking: believe, imagine, know, mean, realize, recognize, remember, understand
other states: be, belong, concern, depend, involve, matter, need, owe, own, possess

But since rules sometimes are made to be broken, especially when it comes to grammar, I'd like to call your attention to the possibility of hearing those verbs in ing form. And to prove that, I've brought you the song American Boy by Estelle whose lyrics is perfect to prove my point. During the song, you can hear her sing: I'm liking this american boy.



So why do English speakers insist on breaking grammar rules when it's made pretty clear that the verb "to like" is not supposed to be expressed in a continuous way? Well, if you have the chance to read the whole lyrics to the song I just mentioned, you'll see we're not talking about a piece of formal or classic literature. It's actually partially rap, which is very well known for its informal content. So here we have it. Sometimes you can see that grammar rule being broken in informal situations. So make sure the context you're into is informal enough for you to commit that grammatical murder. Take care!

terça-feira, 14 de julho de 2015

o que significa "off the hook"?

Imagine one obligation you have you'd do everything to be freed from. Everyone has one of those sometimes. For example, imagine you're in high school and are far from being the nerdy kind. You don't really like to attend math classes. But you know that if you keep missing those classes, you're going to end up held behind.

One night, before the following morning filled with math classes in school, you ask a classmate of yours a big favor. You ask him to sign the attendance register for you, so you can get a day off from all the annoyance that sounds Greek to you. That's a lot of risky for him to do, but since he's your best friend in school he doesn't think twice before getting you off the hook. Again: getting you off the hook. What does that mean?

When you let or get someone off the hook, it means you release them from an annoying obligation, from blame or any difficult situation. If you've never heard of the word hook before, just remember what fishermen use, among many other things, to catch a fish: a fishhook. When a fish is released from one of those fishhooks, it means they're free from something really bad, like death in most cases. I hope that helps. Talk to you next time!

segunda-feira, 13 de julho de 2015

go off half-cocked: o que isso significa?

A few weeks ago, I went shopping for a new smartphone. I didn't have in mind what model I wanted specifically and thought I would make a good choice just by going from store to store weighing the pros and cons. Turned out I got a cellphone that at the time looked to suit pretty good my needs, but would turn into a big disappointment in the end.

That's because when I got home on the same day and decided to search on the internet for smartphones in the same price range, I found out there was a much better smartphone for me at the exact same price. I couldn't believe what I had just done. Here's what I thought to myself: I shouldn't have gone off half-cocked and bought the first smartphone I thought was the best for me. I should have searched first.

Again: I shouldn't have gone off half-cocked. What does that mean? When you go off half-cocked, you go into action too early without thinking. That expression alludes to the idea of a matchlock gun firing prematurely, before the trigger was pulled. So that was the first thing that came to my mind when I thought of the last thing I did without knowing all the facts. What about you? When was the last time you went off half-cocked?

expressions with the word DAWN

The period of the day we call dawn is when light from the sun begins to appear in the sky. Lately I've been waking up at dawn. I could also say I leave my bedroom as the dawn is still breaking. I'm trying to get up every day at the break of dawn because I feel more concentrated to write my monograph, and that's when I feel more productive.

Now that you've learnt a few ways of dealing with the word dawn and its collocations, let's learn a few expressions with it. At the crack of dawn is the first one. If you've ever had the chance to spend a few days living on the countryside or in a more rural area, you saw that people usually start their day at the crack of down, just when the birds are starting to sing their first melodies. As you can imagine, "at the crack of down" is a just a different way of referring to the earliest hours of the day, when the first sun rays are starting to strike through your room.

But now imagine a whole different situation. This time having nothing to do with any period of the day, literally speaking. You've hit the rock bottom and now you're complaining about it to one of your friends. Here's what you say: I feel like giving up. I don't have a job, my boyfriend left me, and they're raising the rent for my apartment. That's when your friend steps up and gives you this reply: It's always darkest just before the dawn. What would you understand by that expression if someone told you during your hardships?

"It's always darkest just before the dawn" is something you say to someone as a way to comfort them. It means that when things are extremely bad, it may signal that they're about to get much better. That's it for today guys. Talk to you next time!

domingo, 12 de julho de 2015

simmer down/pucker up: o que essas expressões significam?


If you're a fan of Arctic Monkeys just like me, you've probably ended up here because of the song "Do I wanna Know?". If you don't know that band and are only here for the expressions, you can see why I mentioned the song by reading one of its parts where the expressions show up:

So have you got the guts?
Been wondering if your heart's still open
And if so I wanna know what time it shuts
Simmer down and pucker up
I'm sorry to interrupt
It's just I'm constantly on the cusp of trying
To kiss you
I don't know if you
Feel the same as I do
But we could be together

If you wanted to

Simmer down: when you ask someone to simmer down, it's the same thing as asking them to calm themselves down, especially if it's right after excitement or anger. So take a look at this example: We left him to simmer down after the argument. You can also use that expression referring to things, when you expect them to get quiet. For example: the hectic activity of the day finally simmered down.

Pucker up: When you ask someone to pucker up, you're asking them to tighten their lips together into a circle as if to kiss. For example: He puckered up and kissed her once, and then again. When things pucker up, they shrink up and get wrinkled. Example: The top edge of the drapes puckered up and I don't know how to straighten it out.

falando do diabo, ele aparece! como dizer isto em Inglês?

This must have happened to you more than once. Here you are talking to someone about a mutual friend of yours that has been very absent lately. Just when you're finished talking about him or while you're still talking about him, he appears out of nowhere and leaves you in shock. In a way of acknowledging his unexpected arrival, you say: speak of the devil!

That's a short way of saying "speak of the devil and he will appear". You don't mean in any way to offend that person by calling devil. That expression lost its dark satanic connotation a very long time ago. It's just a way of expression how you feel about the coincidence that just happened. And just one more thing: the verb can be both speak and talk, as in talk of the devil. Take a look at this example:

Alan: I haven't seen Bob for weeks. Jane: Look, here comes Bob right now. Alan: Well, talk of the devil. Hi, there. We were just talking about you. speak of the devil and in he walks.

provar do seu próprio veneno: como dizer isso em Inglês?

So imagine yourself in this situation: You have a friend that likes to gossip about everyone, including yourself. The problem is that when he doesn't have anything to say, he makes up stories about people that end up affecting their lives in some way. One day, you and your friends think about plotting a revenge. You want him to experience the same harmful and unpleasant things he has inflicted on others. So you come up with a very bad rumor about him and very soon it starts to spread everywhere in the city.

When he wants to have it out with you guys, you tell him he needed a dose/taste of his own medicine. Again, you made him get a taste of his own medicine. Remember that medicine here doesn't apply to something good, but something more like poison. If you usually treat people badly and don't expect to receive the same treatment afterwards, someday you'll end up getting a dose of your own medicine. Take a look at a few examples:
  1. Now you see how it feels to have someone call you names! You are getting a taste of your own medicine! 
  2. John, who is often rude and abrupt with people, was devastated when the teacher treated him rudely. He doesn't like having a dose of his own medicine.

chasing papers


First time I heard someone saying "chasing papers" was when I listened to the song Blue Jeans By Lana Del Rey. The line goes like: I stayed up waitin', anticipatin' and pacin' but he was chasing papers. At first the expression made me confused, but then after a little search I found out its meaning was pretty simple. To chase papers simply means to go after money, sometimes fast cash. So when you're chasing papers, you're tying to make money.

Something extra to add to the expression is that "to be on the paper chase" is to be engaged in raising money. So I could say Susie is on the paper chase because she's got bills to pay. Something important to stress about that expression is that it is very informal. So don't go using it with whoever you want or writing it on an essay or something. Talk to you next time.

como dizer "levar na esportiva" em Inglês?

You know those times when you're mocked but don't wanna sound like you're offended? There are plenty of reasons for you to do that. You may be an easy-going person who doesn't take things always so seriously, or you just don't wanna show people they get to you to avoid seeming vulnerable. Whatever the reason is, the act of taking things smoothly gives us a couple of good expressions to learn. Let me introduce you to all of them.

So imagine you're picking on your friend about something he did, his personality, his looks, anything that inspired you jokes about him. He doesn't seem to be pleased and immediately leaves the place looking pretty disappointed on you. So the friends that are with you when that happens tell you: Don't worry about him. He can't take a joke. So when you say someone can't take a joke, it means they don't know how to take a joke smoothly and laugh at himself with other people.

Some people behave completely different when they're confronted by a joke or when they lose in a competition. They laugh at themselves and don't seem to be offended at all. You can say John's a good sport, for example. He can accept being the butt of a joke and accept a loss in a competition. So, again: John is a good sport. Don't think that has necessarily any to do with his sport skills. Just like Portuguese, when we say "levar na esportiva", we mean to say that he's good at accepting things that are not pleasant to him. That's all for today guys. Take care!

binge watch: o que isso significa? [estudando a palavra binge]

I was watching Orange is the New Black when the main character talks to her fiance about plans they had for the time she gets out of prison. Among the things she said, binge watching a TV series together was one of them. Do you know what that means?

Before getting into that expression, let's get to know a lit bit more about the word binge itself. Binge can be used as a noun and a verb. As a noun, binge means a drinking or drugging spree. When you binge, this time as a verb, you drink heavily. So, in a general way, binge refers to something you do in an excessive way. Having said that, if you binge watch a TV series, that means you watch it very excessively. Many people binge watch a whole season of a sitcom in just one sitting [all at one]. In Portuguese, it's more common for us to say something like "I'm having a Friends MARATHON". That's just a different way of saying the same thing.

So when was the last time you binge watched your favorite series? Take care!

no time like the present: vamos estudar este cliche?

There's always something that encourages me to come up with a topic for my posts. What's been happening to me lately is that I've been postponing important and not so important tasks for tomorrow or the future in general. In other words, I'm a big procrastinator. And I believe I'm not alone on this. So if someone could give me a very suitable advice for the moment, that would be "no time like the present".

As you can see, there's no much to talk about that expression, since it's so intuitive and self-explanatory. But imagine you have a big exam for the next week, but you'll probably leave all the studying for night before. That's when someone comes along and tells you: no time like the present. Start studying for the exam now, instead of waiting till the night before.

Alright, that's all for today guys. Talk to you next time!

O que significa "raise a stink about something"?

I was watching Orange is the New Black when I was confronted by this situation: the main character is illegally sent to the solitary and then an officer comes along to say what that situation is bringing about: "her fiance is raising a stink...". What happens is that the income's fiance is a writer and has the privilege of having the public attention to what he writes. So what they worried about was that he may possibly make a loud complaint about the system in prison by just publishing an article. He can raise a stink about that. So, as a way to avoid that problem, they decided to let her out of the lock-up.

That expression can also have a much general meaning: to complain about something. So imagine you go to this fancy restaurant hoping to have the best dinner of your fine, but after hours waiting for your food to be served, you see all orders have been mixed up. When you finally have someone fix your orders, what you have on the plate is nothing like you saw on the menu. The only fancy thing about the restaurant is the high price you had to pay to be there and nothing else. So you don't think twice before looking for the manager and creating a big stink about everything. In other words, you make a lot of criticisms about the place.

So what I want you to see now about that expression are two things: first, it can be used in more than one way. Second, it can have three different verbs in its construction, as in raise a stink/ create a stink/ make a stink. They all mean the same thing. That's all for now. Take care!

O que significa a expressão "I'll be damned"?

"I'll be damned if I know how I'm going to tell Ellie about it" - Pet Sematary, by Stephen King.

I decided to start today's article by quoting Stephen King because, one, I just got finished reading Pet Sematary, a book I'd encourage anyone in the world to read, and second, because it kept on reminding me of an expression I've been willing to talk about here on the blog in a while: "I'll be damned". Do you have an idea of what that means by just looking at it?

The first thing you have to learn about that expression is that it can be used in more than one way. In the quote you see right above, "I'll be damned" means that you have a hard time believing something's going to happen. Suppose you forgot to study for a test you're doing today in school and now you really don't believe you're going to get a good grade. So you say: I'll be damned if I know how to tell my parents about my grades later.

The second way to use that expression is way easier. That's because you just need a reason to be surprised or shocked. For example, you find out your best friend is in love with you. You never thought that could happen. It caught you off guard. So you say: I'll be damned. My best friend's in love with me!

And finally, the third way of using the expression. I chose to leave this one for the end because I could say - after reading the book I mentioned before - it's the most common meaning to the expression. So imagine this situation: You're part of a group in class for a project. When you and your classmates get together for the first time to discuss the project and come up with ideas, you see that there's one specific person that's trying to boss everyone around. He wants everything his way and doesn't take any suggestion as if it was an individual assignment. So here's what you say to one of your classmates: I'll be damned If I let him boss me around like that. Who does he think he is?

That's it guys. I hope you like it. Take care!

O que significa e como usar a palavra "antsy"?

I've been inspired to create this post because I read an article somewhere on the web talking about some of the most used words by american folks. Among those words were awesome, dude, cool, gosh, and then, antsy. You must agree the last one may not sound as familiar as the other ones for an ESL student. So I'm here to help you if you want to incorporate that word into your active vocabulary, since they clam it to be so popular.

Before telling you what antsy means, does that word remind you of any other? The word I want you to remember is "ant", that small insect that always comes around if you leave something sweet on the table. So what they did with that word was turning it into an adjective. They say it comes from the expression "to have ants in your pants", which is not a very comfortable situation to be in. So if you're antsy, you're anxious, impatient, nervous, fidgety, just like you'd be if you literally had ants in your pants.

So imagine you're a big fan of a famous TV series and you can't wait till they release the next season, which is not coming around for a few months. While talking to a friend of yours, who shares the same interests in the series with you, you say: I'm getting all antsy just waiting for the next season to come out. That's all folks. I hope this helped. Take care!

sexta-feira, 10 de julho de 2015

O que significa a expressão "for what it's worth"?

You know those expressions you come across all the time but never really get the time to understand them properly? It's like you're avoiding them with the hope they'll eventually become irrelevant, but unavoidably they show up now and then. "For what it's worth" has been one of these expressions for me. Until now. I finally got up the courage to look right into it and make sure it will grow deep roots in my brain. But if you've never heard of that expression before or, just like me, haven't given it a try to understand it, here's your chance.

If you want to understand that expression in a very simple way, just keep in mind that whenever you use it, it means you're not very secure about what you're saying. And even if you know what you're saying is right, you lack some kind of confidence. So imagine you're in the middle of a discussion with your classmates on the assignment you're supposed to hand in the next day. You have an idea about making things work smoothly but you don't know if it has any value or importance. So you say: My idea - for what it's worth - is to split the group into two so we can work better. So, in other words, what you're saying is: Even though my idea may not be important or valuable, I'm going to say it anyway. That's all for now. Take care!

quarta-feira, 1 de julho de 2015

Expressions with the word JACK

I was reading Pet Sematary, by Stephen King, when I stumbled upon an expression that I had heard before but never gave too much importance. The expression is a little too long but easy to understand: all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. If you don't understand the expression by looking at it, you probably have never heard of the word dull. It's the same thing as monotonous, boring, tedious, etc. So when you say that expression to someone, you're telling them that people who work all the time and don't save a time to have fun eventually become boring. I thought that expression was old-fashioned, but I've seen many young people using it and it won't sound weird at all.

The second expression with the word jack is "jack of all trades". Once again, if you can't guess the meaning of that expression, you may not understand one of the words being part of it. Trade is a word that you may have never heard. Some of the synonymous for that word are business, commerce, deal, etc. But I'm afraid those words are not intuitive enough to make you understand the expression. When you call someone a Jack of all trades, it means they are versatile, that is to say, someone who has many skills or who does many different jobs. I could say my father is a jack of all trades. We hardly ever have to pay for someone else to fix something at home. He can handle almost it all.