viernes, 17 de abril de 2015

Idioms I

Idioms are phrases which people use in everyday language which do not make sense literally but we understand that they mean

English idioms

20 essential English idioms for sounding like a native 

So you’re in an American bar. It’s loud, but you can make out what people are saying. You hear a fellow drinker talking all about hitting books… Another is talking about twisting someone’s arm… And it sounds like someone’s been stabbed in the back. What the heck is going on? You scratch your head and wonder why you’re still lost even though you can translate the words. Well, you’ve just had your first introduction to English idioms.

What Are English Idioms?

English idioms are a group of words which have a meaning which isn’t obvious from looking at the individual words. They have developed over time and so they might seem random to you. English idioms often rely on analogies and metaphors. Because they’re used so often in everyday English, if you don’t know them, it’s almost impossible to understand the context.

Why Learn English Idioms?

Does this sound familiar? You took traditional classes. You learned the grammar, the rules, and hundreds of exceptions. You have a vocabulary that could rival an American student’s. You even have a couple of certificates hanging proudly on your wall stating you are indeed proficient in English…. So why is it you just can’t get it sometimes?

Well, what you learn from textbooks and what you learn from the real world are two totally different things when it comes to language learning. What you really need is a stronger mastery of English idioms and expressions. Learning common everyday English idioms will help you fit in with most situations whether it’s at a basketball game, over a beer, studying or going out on a hot date.

The key to understanding English idioms is never to look at them or read them in a literal sense – once you unlock the secrets of idiomatic English language then you’ll have cracked the code! To help you master English idioms, we’ve gathered together 20 of the most common American English idioms and expressions. They’re useful for ESL students, or anyone learning English. Enjoy!

20 Essential English Idioms for ESL Students

1. (To) Hit the books

Literally, hit the books means to physically hit, punch or slap your reading books. However, this is a common English idiom among students, especially American college students who have a lot of studying to do. It simply means “to study,” and is a way of telling your friends that you’re going to study. It could be for a final exam, a mid-term test or even an English exam.
“Sorry but I can’t watch the game with you tonight, I have to hit the books. I have a huge exam next we2ek!”

2. (To) Hit the sack

Just like the first idiom, the literal meaning of this would be physically hitting or beating a sack (a large bag usually used for carrying things in bulk such as flour, rice or even soil). But actually to hit the sack means to go to bed, and you’d use this to tell your friends or family that you’re really tired, so you’re going to sleep. Instead of saying hit the sack you can also say hit the hay.
“It’s time for me to hit the sack, I’m so tired.”

3. (To) Twist someone’s arm

To twist someone’s arm literally means to take a person’s arm and turn it around, which could be really painful if you take it exactly word for word. If your arm has been twisted it means that someone has done a great job of convincing you to do something you might not have wanted to to do.
And if you manage to twist someone else’s arm it means that you’re great at convincing them, and they’ve finally agreed to do something after you’ve been begging them.
Tom: Jake you should really come to the party tonight!
Jake: You know I can’t, I have to hit the books (study).
Tom: C’mon, you have to come! It’s going to be so much fun and there are going to be lots of girls there. Please come?
Jake: Pretty girls? Oh all right, you’ve twisted my arm, I’ll come!

4. (To be) Up in the air

When we literally think about something up in the air, we have the idea that something’s floating or flying in the sky, perhaps an airplane or a balloon. But really if someone tells you that things are up in the air it means that these things are uncertain or unsure; definite plans have not been made yet.
“Jen have you set a date for the wedding yet?”
“Not exactly, things are still up in the air and we’re not sure if our families can make it on the day we wanted. Hopefully we’ll know soon and we’ll let you know as soon as possible.”

5. (To) Stab someone in the back

If we take this idiom literally we could find ourselves in a whole lot of trouble with the police, as it would mean taking a knife or another sharp object and putting into a person’s back. However, as an idiom to stab someone in the back means to hurt someone who was close to us and trusted us by betraying them secretly and breaking their trust. We call the person who does this a back stabber1.
“Did you hear that Sarah stabbed Kate in the back last week?”
“No! I thought they were best friends, what did she do?”
“She told their boss that Kate wasn’t interested in a promotion at work and Sarah got it instead.”
“Wow, that’s the ultimate betrayal! No wonder they’re not friends anymore.”

6. (To) Lose your touch

Literally this means to no longer have the ability to touch or feel with your fingers or hands. But to lose your touch actually means that you lose your ability or talent you once had when dealing with things, people or situations. We use this when you’re usually good at a certain skill or talent, but then things start to go wrong.
“I don’t understand why none of the girls here want to speak to me.”
“It looks like you’ve lost your touch with the ladies.”
“Oh no, they used to love me, what happened?”

7. (To) Sit tight

To sit tight is a strange English idiom and it literally means that you sit down squeezing your body in a tight way, which if you did it would be very uncomfortable, not to mention you’ll look really strange.
But if a person tells you to sit tight they want you to wait patiently and take no action until you hear otherwise.
“Mrs. Carter, do you have any idea when the exam results are going to come out?”
“Who knows Johnny, sometimes they come out quickly but it could take some time. You’re just going to have to sit tight and wait.”

8. (To) Pitch in

This English idiom actually makes no sense if you try to take it literally. However, figuratively speaking it means to contribute (give) to something or someone or to join in. So if your dad tells the family that he wants everyone to pitch in this weekend and help clear the backyard, it means he wants everyone to join in on the efforts to clear the yard and get things done quicker.
“What are you going to buy Sally for her birthday?”
“I don’t know I don’t have much money.”
“Maybe we can all pitch in and buy her something great.”
The above conversation suggests that every one of Sally’s friends should contribute a little bit of money so they can afford to buy her a bigger and better present together.

9. (To) Go cold turkey

Sound weird? Well, you’re right, it does, how can anyone literally go cold turkey? A person can’t transform into the bird we all love to eat for celebrations such as Christmas and Thanksgiving. The origins of this English idiom are strange and to go cold turkey means to suddenly quit or stop addictive or dangerous behavior such as smoking or drinking alcohol. This English idiom is said to have originated in the late 20th century and suggests that a person who suddenly quits something addictive—such as drugs or alcohol—suffers from side effects that look like a cold, uncooked turkey. This includes pale (very white) skin and goosebumps (little small bumps on the skin when we’re cold or sick).
“Shall I get your mom a glass of wine?”
“No, she’s stopped drinking?”
“Really, why?”
“I don’t know. A few months ago, she just announced one day she’s quitting drinking.”
“She just quit cold turkey?”
“Yes, just like that!”

10. (To) Face the music

In literal terms facing the music means to turn your body to the direction of the music and stand in front of it. But if your friend or your parents tell you to face the music, there’s a much harsher meaning.
It means to “face reality” or to deal with the reality of the situation and accept all the consequences good or bad (but mostly bad). Perhaps you’ve been avoiding something because you feel unsure or scared of the outcome. Maybe you lied to your teacher and she discovered the truth and now you have to face the music and accept the punishment.
“I can’t understand why I failed math.”
“You know you didn’t study hard, so you’re going to have to face the music and take the class again next semester if you really want to graduate when you do.”


- Learn English Idioms: Improve and learn English in a very easy and funny way:

Idioms 2

Idioms are phrases which people use in everyday language which do not make sense literally but we understand that they mean

English Idioms 2

11. (To be) On the ball

If you look at this English idiom literally, it means to be either standing or sitting on a ball—but who would do that? If you’re on the ball it means that you’re very quick to understand certain things, very prepared for something or react quickly (and correctly) to a situation. For example, if you’re planning your wedding that is still one year away from now and you’ve almost finished with all the planning already, you’re definitely on the ball because not many people are that prepared!
“Wow, you’ve already finished your assignments? There not due until next week, you’re really on the ball. I wish I could be more organized.”

12. (To) Ring a bell

If we look at the literal meaning of ring a bell, it’s just that: You could be ringing the school bell to tell students it’s time to go to class or ringing someone’s doorbell. But the idiom means that somebody has mentioned something that sounds familiar to you, perhaps you’ve heard it before. In other words, when someone says something that you believe you’ve heard in the past, alarm bells start ringing and you try to remember how or why that name or place sounds familiar.
“You’ve met my friend Amy Adams, right?”
“Hmmm, I’m not sure, but that name rings a bell. Was she the one who went to Paris last year?”

13. Rule of thumb

Can thumbs rule or can you literally rule a thumb? If you think about it logically, it means absolutely nothing and makes no sense. However, if you hear someone say as a rule of thumb, they mean that it’s a general unwritten rule for whatever they’re talking about.
These rules of thumb are not based on science or research, and are instead just a general principle. For example, there’s no written scientific rule that you must add oil to boiling water when cooking pasta, but it’s a rule of thumb and is practiced by most people so the pasta won’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
“As a rule of thumb you should always pay for your date’s dinner.”
“Why? There’s no rule stating that!”
“Yes, but it’s what all gentlemen do.”

14. (To be) Under the weather

Can you be under the weather literally? Probably yes, if you think about standing under the clouds, rain and sun, but it makes no sense. If you’re feeling under the weather, you’re not your usual self and could be feeling a little sick. The sick feeling is nothing serious; perhaps it’s just extreme tiredness from studying too much, or having a bad headache because you’re starting to get the flu.
“What’s wrong with Katy, mom?”
“She’s feeling a little under the weather so be quiet and let her rest.”

15. (To) Blow off steam:

In reality a person cannot blow off steam (the hot rising air from boiling water)—only electrical equipment can, such as the electric jug (appliance for boiling water for coffee). So what does it mean when a person blows off steam?
If you’re feeling angry, stressed or are experiencing some strong feelings and you want to get rid of them so you feel better again, you will blow off steam by doing something such as exercise to get rid of the stress.
“Why is Nick so angry and where did he go?”
“He had a fight with his brother, so he went for a run to blow off his steam.”

16. (To) Look like a million dollars/bucks:

Wouldn’t it be great if we really could look like a million dollars? We’d be rich, but that’s not the case. If someone tells you that you look like a million bucks, you should take it as a huge compliment because it means you look absolutely fabulous and really attractive.
While sometimes we use this English idiom for guys, it’s more commonly used to compliment females. And while some of your female friends may look beautiful every day, you should save this English idiom for when they’ve really made an effort and it’s a special occasion, like prom or a wedding.
“Wow, Mary, you look like a million dollars/bucks this evening. I love your dress!”

17. (To) Cut to the chase

When somebody tells you to cut to the chase it means that you’ve been talking too long and haven’t gotten to the point. When a person uses this idiom, they are telling you to hurry up and get the important part, without all the details. Be careful how you use this idiom, because if used while talking to someone like a college professor or your boss, it’s rude and disrespectful.
If you’re speaking to a group of people, like your employees, and say I’m going to cut to the chase, it means that there are a few things that need to be said but there’s very little time, so you’ll skip to the important parts so everyone understands.
“Hi guys, as we don’t have much time here, so I’m going to cut to the chase. We’ve been having some major problems in the office lately.”

18. (To) Find your feet

Is it possible to lose your feet? No way, they’re attached to your body! So what does it mean when somebody says they’re trying to find their feet? If you find yourself in a new situation, for example living in a new country and having to get used to a new college, you could say I’m still finding my feet. It means that you’re still adjusting and getting used to the new environment.
“Lee, how’s your son doing in America?”
“He’s doing okay. He’s learned where the college is but is still finding his feet with everything else. I guess it’ll take time for him to get used to it all.”

19. (To) Get over something:

If you think about it, it’s possible to literally get over something, for example get over a fence—but this is not how the phrase is generally used in the English language.
Imagine having a really difficult time, like breaking up with your girlfriend or boyfriend—it’s hard. But eventually once time passes and you no longer think about your ex, it means that you’ve gotten over him/her, you no longer worry about it and it no longer affects you in a negative way. It’s also possible to get over an illness too, which would mean that you’ve fully recovered.
“How’s Paula? Has she gotten over the death of her dog yet?”
“I think so. She’s already talking about getting a new one.”

20. (To) Keep your chin up

Did you just have a massive fight with your friend? Did you fail your English finals? Did your team lose the final match? Did you lose your job? If you answered “yes” to any of the questions, then you’re probably feeling sad and a little depressed, right? In this situation, a supportive friend might tell you to keep your chin up. When they tell you this, they’re showing their support for you, and it’s a way of saying “stay strong,” you’ll get through this. Don’t let these things affect you too badly.
“Hey, Keiren, have you had any luck finding work yet?”
“No, nothing, it’s really depressing, there’s nothing out there!”
“Don’t worry, you’ll find something soon, keep your chin up buddy and don’t stress.”
If you’re really serious about learning English well and finding your feet with the language abroad, make sure you spend some time focusing on English idioms to make your transition and easier one. Good Luck and keep your chin up!

- Click on the following link and watch the video, you can read the transcript and explanations next to it if you need some help ;) I hope you enjoy it!

CONFESSIONS OF AN IDIOM: Everyone has Skeletons in their Closet but what happens if one day the Elephant in the Room decides to make the Skeleton in the Closet bring the truth to light? The Skeleton isn’t one to confess to his crimes so easily. Mayhem ensues in this power struggle with a world full of idioms:

sábado, 11 de abril de 2015

The economic injustice of plastic

The economic injustice of plastic

Listen the following link

so low income: people who have a very low level
people who wind up: las personas que acaban...
bear the burden like donkey
moral tickle: happy sensation when you receive a plastic bottle
at the tall end: the end / the last past of the process
wiped out: eliminated
erased: delete / eliminate
trash the planet: destroy the planet
insight: perception / understanding
turns out: resultar muy útil
vacuums: al vacío
furnaces: hornos
figured out: work out (pensar)
opens the door: dejar la puerta abierta

jueves, 2 de abril de 2015

Business & E-commerce

Business and e-commerce

Complete the gaps in the text below with words from this list. Use each word once only

careers; company ladder; entrepreneur; family firm; freelance; lifetime employment; multinational; promotion; self-employed

I joined the (1)__________ just after I finished university, but with so many cousins in the busines who are older than me, I realised I could wait years to get a/an (2)_________. So, afteer a couple of years, I decided to become (3)___________. I started my own small business in the retail sector. This was very successful, so I started another company, selling the same products on-line. What I like about being a/an (4)___________ is that you never have time to get bored!!

Many young people nowadays create their own (5)__________. They realise that very few companies, including (6)___________ ones, can now offer (7)__________. So, instead of relying on the old method of slowly but surely climbing the (8)__________, they spend a fwe years working for one company, then move on to another one or sell their skills on a/an (9)___________ basis to a number off different companies

Answer key

1. family firm
2. promotion
3. self-employed
4. entrepreneur
5. careers
6. multinational
7. lifetime employment
8. company ladder
9. freelance

Marketing & Sales

"Business has only two functions - marketing and innovation"

Milan Kundera

Marketing & Sales

Vocabulary building activities

1.Choose the correct answer A, B or C. 

1 What is the marketing term for a sales representative who visits customers to sell a product? 
A visiting B direct selling C travelling 
2 A luxury product which is high quality and expensive is a(n) ………… product. 
A upmarket B downmarket C middle-market 
3 A product which only appeals to a very specialist group of customers is a ………. Product. 
A special B niche C reserved 
4 The percentage of the market which your company has in your market ………… . 
A quota B segment C share 
5 What is a brand called which has the supermarket’s name on it? 
A an own brand B a white brand C a proprietary brand 
6 Which word has these three meanings: start (a company), put (a product) on the market, start (an advertising campaing)? 
A throw B begin C launch 7 
7 What do marketers call the place where the product reaches the consumer? 
A an end-user B a final stop C an outlet 
8 What is another word for direct mail? 
A correspondence B junk mail C snail mail 9 
9 When a company subsidies a football team or a music concert, what is this called? 
A endorsement B subvention C sponsorship 
10 Which of these publicity materials is likely to look like a colour magazine? 
A a brochure B a leaflet C a newsletter 11 
When a company does a lot of publicity, this is called …………. . 
A an advertising campaign B a promotional event C a price war 
12 When clients or consumers talk about your product or service, what is this type of publicity called? 
A a talking campaign B word-of-mouth C personal recommendations

Presentation to do in the one-to-one session 

Your task is to create a product pitch. For this assignment, you will invent your own product and choose a company to present the product pitch to. Prepare a 3-minute presentation on it. Examples: 
*Student A has developed a solar-powered air-conditioner called the “Suncool,” which they will pitch to Best Buy. 
*Student B has invented an action figure toy that can go from slim to muscular, based on how much you move his arms. The doll is called “Body Builder Ben” and the team will pitch it to Toys R Us. 
Points to take into account: - What is your product? Name? Function? Price? Description? - Who is your target audience? What is its age range? - What is your target company? 
Why would your product be an asset to that company? - Why is your product necessary and unique? 
 How do you plan to promote it?

If you want complete this lesson, see the next video: 

Answer key 
 1 B 2 A 3 B 4 C 5 A 6 C 7 C 8 B 9 C 10 A 11 A 12 B