Author Archives: Dr. Jeff McQuillan

What Should We Do About Unemployment?

American lawmakers (elected representatives) are talking this week about passing (approving) a second stimulus package. A stimulus is some action that provokes or causes a change in something else. A package here means a group of actions or laws for … Continue reading

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Being Locked Down is Better Than Being Locked Up

Many countries have used lockdowns to respond to the coronavirus. A lockdown is when people in a place or area are prevented from leaving or traveling around freely: “There are lockdowns in many U.S. cities that have closed restaurants.” In … Continue reading

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How Some Americans Cheat to Get Into College

Getting into (being admitted as a student) to the best American universities can be difficult. Your application (information about you) is very important, and often includes one or more essays (short pieces of writing) in addition to test scores and … Continue reading

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Are You Working Hard or Hardly Working?

There is an old joke that people at work sometimes say to each other: Are you working hard or hardly working? To work hard means to work with seriousness, to work a great deal, to work a lot. To hardly … Continue reading

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What Are the Most Popular Last Names in the US?

Many students of English choose an “English” name for themselves when they begin to study English. These names are often used in professional settings as well. As far as I know, no one has actually studied how people go about … Continue reading

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How to Learn All the Vocabulary You Need

One question I get frequently on email is: “Do you talk about phrasal verbs in your lessons?” A phrasal verb is sometimes called a two-word verb, such as “to put down” or “to get out” or “to kick (someone) out.” … Continue reading

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Dad Jokes

Last Sunday was Father’s Day in the United States, so it’s a good time to talk about “Dad jokes.” In recent years, people have started classifying (identifying; labeling) certain not-very-sophisticated jokes as “Dad jokes.” These are usually simple jokes, often … Continue reading

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Blood is Thicker Than Water

Americans will celebrate Father’s Day this Sunday, June 21st, so it’s a good time to talk about expressions in English related to family and relatives (people related to you by blood). One well-known saying is “Blood is thicker than water.” … Continue reading

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A Day for the Flag

This Sunday, June 14th, is a national holiday (celebration) that even many Americans forget about: Flag Day. Unlike holidays such as the Fourth of July (Independence Day), Thanksgiving, or Christmas, on which most Americans get the day off of work, … Continue reading

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Graduation: Stay-at-Home Style

Here in Los Angeles, we are still being asked to stay at home this week because of the coronavirus. To get some exercise, I take walks around my neighborhood. Recently, I’ve been seeing lawn signs like the one in the … Continue reading

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