Speak English Mini: At Long Last

Learn the meaning of the phrase “at long last” in this Speak English Mini video.

Find out more about “at long last” in our Daily English 118 – Small Talk at a Business Meeting.

~Jeff

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What Will I Learn in My Free Lesson?

Here is just a small part of what you’re going to learn in this free lesson:

  • What “take a rain check” means and how to use it in a conversation . . .
  • The difference between a “recluse” and a “busybody” . . .
  • Why “to fend OFF” means something from “to fend FOR” . . .
  • What it means to “take a rain check,” “keep to yourself,” and “to appoint (someone)” . . .
  • What a social secretary is . . .
  • The best way to use “to sort out” and “to turn down” . . .
  • How to use phrasal verbs like “to settle in” and “to settle down” (they’re not the same!) . . .
Posted in Language & Terms | Comments Off on Speak English Mini: At Long Last

Speak English Mini: To Get a Hold of Someone

Learn the meaning of the common expression “to get a hold of someone” in this video.

And see Daily English 190 – Taking a Telephone Message where I explain how to use the telephone in English.

~Jeff

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What Will I Learn in My Free Lesson?

Here is just a small part of what you’re going to learn in this free lesson:

  • What “take a rain check” means and how to use it in a conversation . . .
  • The difference between a “recluse” and a “busybody” . . .
  • Why “to fend OFF” means something from “to fend FOR” . . .
  • What it means to “take a rain check,” “keep to yourself,” and “to appoint (someone)” . . .
  • What a social secretary is . . .
  • The best way to use “to sort out” and “to turn down” . . .
  • How to use phrasal verbs like “to settle in” and “to settle down” (they’re not the same!) . . .
Posted in Language & Terms | Comments Off on Speak English Mini: To Get a Hold of Someone

“Go Big or Go Home!”

Reality TV shows are full of clichés, expressions that are unoriginal and overused.

Learn the meanings of three of these popular expressions:

  • Go big or go home.
  • Leave it all out there.
  • Throw (someone) under the bus.

For more on popular clichés, see our Cultural English lesson 582.

~Jeff

P.S. Like this English lesson? Get a FREE sample lesson (no money needed) – SIGN UP BELOW!

Just fill out the form below and we’ll send a FREE lesson to try!

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What Will I Learn in My Free Lesson?

Here is just a small part of what you’re going to learn in this free lesson:

  • What “take a rain check” means and how to use it in a conversation . . .
  • The difference between a “recluse” and a “busybody” . . .
  • Why “to fend OFF” means something from “to fend FOR” . . .
  • What it means to “take a rain check,” “keep to yourself,” and “to appoint (someone)” . . .
  • What a social secretary is . . .
  • The best way to use “to sort out” and “to turn down” . . .
  • How to use phrasal verbs like “to settle in” and “to settle down” (they’re not the same!) . . .
Posted in Language & Terms | Comments Off on “Go Big or Go Home!”

Prank Calls: “Do You Have Prince Albert in a Can?”

If you say the phrase, “Prince Albert in a can,” most Americans who grew up in the mid-20th century (like I did) will laugh.

But why is that expression so funny?

Prince Albert was the name of a brand (company product) of tobacco (what you smoke in cigarettes and pipes). It was first sold in the United States in the early 20th century.

The tobacco was named after the king of England, Edward VII, who was called “Prince Albert” by his family before he became king. Prince Albert’s picture was on the front cover (see photo).

This brand of tobacco was sold in a small, red tin can, and of course the tobacco was “in(side) the can.”

Prince Albert tobacco was very popular in the United States for many years, and sold in stores all across America.

Now, as telephones became a popular technology in the early 20th century, people began to use them for humor as well as communication (remember the Internet’s dancing baby of the mid-1990s?).

There quickly developed a tradition, especially among children and teenagers, of making “prank calls” on the telephone.

A prank is a practical joke, something you do that is supposed to make people laugh. It usually involves some sort of lie or trick or deception (making people believe something that isn’t true).

Since “Prince Albert” was both a person and the name of the tobacco, this rather simple joke was a pun (a joke based on words having two different meanings):

You calling a store owner: “Do you have Prince Albert in a can?”

Store owner: “Yes.”

You: “Well, you better let him out!” (and then you hang up, laughing).

To let someone out means to allow them to leave or exit a place where they are trapped (prevented from leaving).

The pun works because if “Prince Albert” refers to the person and not the tobacco, then having him “in a can” would require you to release him.

Okay, I know it isn’t a very funny joke now. But trust me, it was very funny to me when I was six years old.

I don’t know if kids today still make prank calls. I suppose they get their humor from pranks on Facebook or social media sites.

For more information on “pranks,” see our lesson discussing April Fool’s Day here:
https://tv.eslpod.com/blog/227941/cultural-english-16/

Did you make any prank calls when you were a child? What were they?

~Jeff

P.S. Like this English lesson? Get a FREE sample lesson (no money needed) – SIGN UP BELOW!

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What Will I Learn in My Free Lesson?

Here is just a small part of what you’re going to learn in this free lesson:

  • What “take a rain check” means and how to use it in a conversation . . .
  • The difference between a “recluse” and a “busybody” . . .
  • Why “to fend OFF” means something from “to fend FOR” . . .
  • What it means to “take a rain check,” “keep to yourself,” and “to appoint (someone)” . . .
  • What a social secretary is . . .
  • The best way to use “to sort out” and “to turn down” . . .
  • How to use phrasal verbs like “to settle in” and “to settle down” (they’re not the same!) . . .
Posted in Jokes and Humor | Comments Off on Prank Calls: “Do You Have Prince Albert in a Can?”

You Need to Know Your Status Quo

Some people say that Latin is a “dead language.” But it is alive and well, and used everyday in American English.

Learn how to use these very common Latin expressions:

  • status quo
  • de facto
  • vice versa
  • non sequitur

Want to really improve your English quickly? Check out our Unlimited English Membership, with more than 1,800 lessons.

~Jeff

P.S. Like this English lesson? Get a FREE sample lesson (no money needed) – SIGN UP BELOW!

Just fill out the form below and we’ll send a FREE lesson to try!

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What Will I Learn in My Free Lesson?

Here is just a small part of what you’re going to learn in this free lesson:

  • What “take a rain check” means and how to use it in a conversation . . .
  • The difference between a “recluse” and a “busybody” . . .
  • Why “to fend OFF” means something from “to fend FOR” . . .
  • What it means to “take a rain check,” “keep to yourself,” and “to appoint (someone)” . . .
  • What a social secretary is . . .
  • The best way to use “to sort out” and “to turn down” . . .
  • How to use phrasal verbs like “to settle in” and “to settle down” (they’re not the same!) . . .
Posted in Language & Terms | Comments Off on You Need to Know Your Status Quo

Do You Mind!?!

You probably know that “mind” in English refers to your thinking, what you do with your brain.

But did you know there were several other uses of “mind”?

Watch this lesson to find out how to use “mind” and “Do you mind?” in English.

And for still more uses of “mind,” check out our Daily English 492 – Importing and Exporting Goods  and Cultural English 238.

~Jeff

P.S. Like this English lesson? Get a FREE sample lesson (no money needed) – SIGN UP BELOW!

Just fill out the form below and we’ll send a FREE lesson to try!

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What Will I Learn in My Free Lesson?

Here is just a small part of what you’re going to learn in this free lesson:

  • What “take a rain check” means and how to use it in a conversation . . .
  • The difference between a “recluse” and a “busybody” . . .
  • Why “to fend OFF” means something from “to fend FOR” . . .
  • What it means to “take a rain check,” “keep to yourself,” and “to appoint (someone)” . . .
  • What a social secretary is . . .
  • The best way to use “to sort out” and “to turn down” . . .
  • How to use phrasal verbs like “to settle in” and “to settle down” (they’re not the same!) . . .
Posted in Language & Terms | Comments Off on Do You Mind!?!

How to Avoid Being Cheesy and Tacky

Cheesy” and “tacky” are two things you definitely do not want to be.

Learn what these common adjectives mean in English, and how you should use them.

For more on how to use “cheesy,” see our Cultural English 454, and to learn about “tacky,” see our Daily English 497 – Shopping for Bedding.

~Jeff

P.S. Like this English lesson? Get a FREE sample lesson (no money needed) – SIGN UP BELOW!

Just fill out the form below and we’ll send a FREE lesson to try!

We hate spam, too! We will never sell, rent, or give your information to anyone – ever!

What Will I Learn in My Free Lesson?

Here is just a small part of what you’re going to learn in this free lesson:

  • What “take a rain check” means and how to use it in a conversation . . .
  • The difference between a “recluse” and a “busybody” . . .
  • Why “to fend OFF” means something from “to fend FOR” . . .
  • What it means to “take a rain check,” “keep to yourself,” and “to appoint (someone)” . . .
  • What a social secretary is . . .
  • The best way to use “to sort out” and “to turn down” . . .
  • How to use phrasal verbs like “to settle in” and “to settle down” (they’re not the same!) . . .
Posted in Language & Terms | Comments Off on How to Avoid Being Cheesy and Tacky

How to Use “I’m Good” versus “I’m Fine”

A common way to start a conversation is with a question such as “How are you doing?” or “How are things going?”

Learn how to respond to these questions using “I’m fine” versus “I’m good” in this video lesson.

And to find out even more about these expressions, take a look at Cultural English 53 and Daily English 97 – Checking into a Hotel.

~Jeff

P.S. Like this English lesson? Get a FREE sample lesson (no money needed) – SIGN UP BELOW!

Just fill out the form below and we’ll send a FREE lesson to try!

We hate spam, too! We will never sell, rent, or give your information to anyone – ever!

What Will I Learn in My Free Lesson?

Here is just a small part of what you’re going to learn in this free lesson:

  • What “take a rain check” means and how to use it in a conversation . . .
  • The difference between a “recluse” and a “busybody” . . .
  • Why “to fend OFF” means something from “to fend FOR” . . .
  • What it means to “take a rain check,” “keep to yourself,” and “to appoint (someone)” . . .
  • What a social secretary is . . .
  • The best way to use “to sort out” and “to turn down” . . .
  • How to use phrasal verbs like “to settle in” and “to settle down” (they’re not the same!) . . .
Posted in Language & Terms | Comments Off on How to Use “I’m Good” versus “I’m Fine”

7 Ways of Saying “No” in English

Sometimes you have to say “no” to someone, but how do you do it without always saying “no”?

Find out how and when to use these 7 common ways of saying “no” in English:

  1. No, thanks
  2. No, but thanks for asking.
  3. I’m good
  4. Uh-uh
  5. Nope
  6. No way!
  7. Not in a million years

Learn more about using some of these phrases in Daily English 689 – Listening to a Political Speech and Daily English 967 – Feeling Embarrassed.

~Jeff

P.S. Like this English lesson? Get a FREE sample lesson (no money needed) – SIGN UP BELOW!

Just fill out the form below and we’ll send a FREE lesson to try!

We hate spam, too! We will never sell, rent, or give your information to anyone – ever!

What Will I Learn in My Free Lesson?

Here is just a small part of what you’re going to learn in this free lesson:

  • What “take a rain check” means and how to use it in a conversation . . .
  • The difference between a “recluse” and a “busybody” . . .
  • Why “to fend OFF” means something from “to fend FOR” . . .
  • What it means to “take a rain check,” “keep to yourself,” and “to appoint (someone)” . . .
  • What a social secretary is . . .
  • The best way to use “to sort out” and “to turn down” . . .
  • How to use phrasal verbs like “to settle in” and “to settle down” (they’re not the same!) . . .
Posted in Language & Terms | Comments Off on 7 Ways of Saying “No” in English

Put Some Latin into Your English

English uses several Latin expressions in both daily conversation and written communication.

These expressions are more common that you might think!

Here are a few you should definitely know:

  • ad hoc
  • post hoc
  • post hoc, ergo propter hoc
  • per se

For more on Latin expressions in English see our Cultural English #217.

~Jeff

P.S. Like this English lesson? Get a FREE sample lesson (no money needed) – SIGN UP BELOW!

Just fill out the form below and we’ll send a FREE lesson to try!

We hate spam, too! We will never sell, rent, or give your information to anyone – ever!

What Will I Learn in My Free Lesson?

Here is just a small part of what you’re going to learn in this free lesson:

  • What “take a rain check” means and how to use it in a conversation . . .
  • The difference between a “recluse” and a “busybody” . . .
  • Why “to fend OFF” means something from “to fend FOR” . . .
  • What it means to “take a rain check,” “keep to yourself,” and “to appoint (someone)” . . .
  • What a social secretary is . . .
  • The best way to use “to sort out” and “to turn down” . . .
  • How to use phrasal verbs like “to settle in” and “to settle down” (they’re not the same!) . . .
Posted in Language & Terms | Comments Off on Put Some Latin into Your English