What Do Bears and Bulls Have to Do with the Stock Market?

Many Americans are invested in (have money in) the stock market, especially for their retirement (when they stop working).

A stock is part-ownership in a company. A stock market is a place where you can buy and sell stocks.

Companies that want to raise (collect; bring together) money can offer part ownership in their company by selling shares (individual pieces of) of stock.

In the past several months, the stock market in the U.S. has been very volatile (unpredictable; difficult to know what will happen next).

When the stock market is doing poorly, stock traders call that a “bear market.” (A bear is a large animal that walks on two or four legs and has thick fur (hair).)

There are other commonly-used terms to talk about a falling (losing money) market, including “downturn,” “plunge/dive,” and “crash.”

A downturn is a slow drop or decline in the economy (the wealth or resources of a country).

For example: “The current housing market downturn is making homes more affordable (easier to buy).”

When stock prices plunge or take a dive, they drop a lot. Both “plunge” and “take a dive” are actually swimming expressions.

A “plunge” is any quick drop into the water, while a “dive” is quick jump head first into the water, usually with your arms raised above your head.

So we could say, “The tech company’s stock plunged/took a dive when the company announced its poor sales figures (numbers).”

But when stock market prices drop very suddenly and by a lot, that’s called a crash.

The most famous stock market crash in the U.S. was in 1929 and it led to the Great Depression (see Cultural English 327).

When the stock market is doing well, stock traders call that a “bull market.” (A bull is a male cow, usually with horns.)

You can also use the terms “uptick,” “rally,” and “boom” to describe the market when it’s doing well.

If stock prices go up a little bit, we say that there is an “uptick in prices” or an “uptick in the market.”

When prices go up quickly and by a lot, we would call that a “rally.” Usually, rallies last a short time: minutes, hours, or even a few days.

But when rallies last a long time, we call that a stock market “boom.”

Note that we can have “boom” in other parts of the economy, too. When an individual company is experiencing a boom, it means that their sales are high, they are selling a lot of their product or services.

Even a country can have a boom, meaning that many sectors or areas of a country’s economy are doing very well.

No one knows where the current volatile stock market is headed (where it will go), so if you have money in the stock market, get ready for a wild ride (unpredictable journey with a lot of ups and downs)!

~Jeff

P.S. For more information on stock markets, check out some of our Daily English lessons as part of our Unlimited English Membership:

Daily English 276 – The Stock Market

Daily English 1048 – Launching an Initial Public Offering

Cultural English 224 – NY Stock Exchange

P.P.S. Like this short 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 Life in the United States | Comments Off on What Do Bears and Bulls Have to Do with the Stock Market?

Happy 100th Birthday, Women’s Suffrage!

August 26 is the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in the United States.

Don’t be confused by the term “suffrage.” It has nothing to do with “suffering.”

Suffrage means the right to vote in a public election.

On August 26, 1920, the 19th Amendment was added to the U.S. Constitution (the highest law in the United States), making official (legal) the right for women to vote. (An amendment is an addition to a legal document.)

Although there was no federal (national) law on women’s suffrage before 1920, some individual states gave women full or partial (some) voting rights. That’s because U.S. national elections are largely controlled by individual states.

By 1919, 15 states had given women full (complete) voting rights, with 13 in western states or territories (parts of a country before it becomes a state).

Wyoming, for example, had full women’s suffrage by 1870. There was a good reason for this policy (rule). Leaders in Wyoming hoped to attract (make it more appealing for) more women to move there.

In those days, the western state of Wyoming was a place with very few people, and most of those were men, so women were sorely (badly) needed!

In other parts of the country, women could vote for local (their own town/city) or state elections, but could not vote for national leaders, such as the President of the United States and member of Congress (national elected officials).

But on August 26, 1920, that changed. That didn’t mean, however, that all Americans could vote.

African Americans and other minorities were still barred (not allowed) from voting in many states due to (because of) a series of other laws. (I discuss these laws in Cultural English 298.)

It wasn’t until 45 years later, with the 1965 Voting Rights Act, that all Americans citizens’ (people officially belonging to a country) ability to vote was protected (defended) by the federal government.

Many brave American women tried to get the vote long before 1920, most famously Susan B. Anthony, whom we discussed in our Cultural English 233.

Anthony was arrested (put in prison) for her efforts. Interestingly, last week President Trump officially pardoned (legally forgave) her for her “crime,” 114 years after her death.

As we sometimes say, “Better late than never!” (better to do it late than not at all).

~Jeff

P.S. Like this short 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 Life in the United States | Comments Off on Happy 100th Birthday, Women’s Suffrage!

In the Line of Duty

Like many of you, I’ve mostly been staying home over the past few months, and I’ve been catching up on (doing what others have already done) some TV series.

One I’ve enjoyed is a British series called Line of Duty.

It’s a police drama about a unit (department) in the police that investigates (tries to find evidence of) police corruption (dishonesty or criminal activities).

The title, Line of Duty, comes from the idiom in the line of duty. In the line of duty refers to the things that are done or that happen to you as part of your regular job.

If I say, “The soldier was injured in the line of duty,” I mean that he or she was hurt while working, while doing his or her job.

We use it most often for those in the military or doing police work.

Your duties are the tasks or actions you are responsible for, often at work, but not necessarily:

“The duties of a father include helping his children make good decisions in life.”

Here are a couple more useful idioms with “line” in them.

1. To draw the line at means to set a limit to what can be done or what you will do. For example:

“We are shorthanded (not having enough employees) at work so I can work an extra hour or two each day, but I draw the line at working Sundays.” Meaning = I will not work on Sundays.

“At restaurants, I like to try new things, but I draw the line at eating insects.” Meaning = I will not eat insects (small animals with six or more legs and wings).

2. Along the lines of means similar to, but not exactly the same, as something else. It can also mean according to the same rules or standards as something else.

“Let’s build our house along the lines of the White House (where the president lives), but smaller.”

“I’m organizing a birthday party for my wife along the lines of a beach party.” The idea is that the party will not actually be at the beach, but it will have decorations, foods, drinks, music, etc. that you might find at a beach party.

Of course, any parties will have to wait until the current coronavirus threat has lessened (gotten better), but I draw the line at waiting too much longer before having a good restaurant dinner!

~Jeff

P.S. For more idioms related to “line,” see our Daily English 628 – Introducing a New Product and Daily English 790 – Giving Birth to Twins.

P.P.S. Like this short 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, Life in the United States | Comments Off on In the Line of Duty

What Should You Read on Vacation?

August is a popular month for summer vacations, when many people enjoy reading relaxing books.

Reading in English, together with (combined with) listening in English, will also help you improve your English a lot.

Try to read things you can understand fairly easily, without taking out the dictionary at all or very often.

The important thing is to understand the general meaning of what you are reading, even if you don’t know every single word.

However, for people who are not yet reading at an adult native-speaker level, there is one major obstacle (barrier; difficulty): How do you find books that you can understand AND that are interesting to an adult?

The logical (reasonable; clear) solution, at least as far as finding books at the right level is concerned, is to select books intended for (written for) children or teenagers.

The downside (problem) is that these books may have themes or subjects that are too juvenile (childish) for an adult.

One solution may be to select Newbery Medal award-winning books to read.

The Newbery Medal is an award given each year to the best American literature (quality stories/books) for children.

Yes, these are still books written for children and most of the protagonists (main characters) are children, but many of these Newbery Medal winners have sophisticated (high-level; complex) themes that still appeal to (be attractive to) adults.

You can find a list of these books here.

Obviously, the lower the grade-level, the easier the language, although these lists do not take into account (consider) the reader’s background knowledge or knowledge they already have about the book’s topic, which helps a lot in understanding what we read.

ESLPod.com co-founder Dr. Lucy Tse has read many of these in languages she’s tried to learn. Some of her personal recommendations are:

  • 1999: Holes by Louis Sachar (Publisher: Frances Foster) – Mystery/Adventure
  • 1994: The Giver by Lois Lowry (Publisher: Houghton) – Science Fiction
  • 1992: Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor (Publisher: Atheneum) – General Fiction
  • 1984: Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary (Publisher: Morrow) – General Fiction
  • 1961: Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell (Publisher: Houghton) – General Fiction

If you have read other books you liked that may be appropriate for people not yet reading at the adult level, please tell us about them by posting a comment!

One more thing: Read Warren Ediger’s blog post about finding reading materials at the intermediate level here. He provides a way for you to look at the book’s pages before you decide whether you want to read it, making sure it is right for you.

~Jeff

P.S. Like this short 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 How to Learn English | Comments Off on What Should You Read on Vacation?

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 the same purpose.

A stimulus package is money the government gives to people when the economy is doing poorly, such as now because of the coronavirus crisis.

Because of COVID-19 (coronavirus), many people are having a hard (difficult) time financially (with money). They don’t have jobs or can’t work.

The first stimulus package in May increased unemployment benefits.

Unemployment refers to people without jobs. Unemployment benefits refers to the amount of money the government will pay you for a limited amount of time — usually just a few months — while you look for another job.

And it’s unemployment benefits that have become the main sticking point (reason for disagreement) in passing a new stimulus package this month.

The first stimulus package gave people an extra $600 each week on top of (in addition to) their regular state unemployment benefits.

Here’s the disagreement: The Democrats want to continue this. The Republicans want to eliminate (get rid of) this or reduce it to a much smaller amount.

The Democrats say that people really need this money to live.

The Republicans say that giving people an extra $600 a week is an incentive (good reason) for people to stay home and not work.

Right now, they are deadlocked — neither side will compromise (are willing to give up something), so no decision can be made.

Unfortunately, that’s nothing new in American politics.

The people who are suffering (being hurt) by this deadlock aren’t the politicians, of course. They still have their jobs! It’s the people out of work (without a job).

Maybe it’s time to stop paying politicians their salaries until they pass another stimulus package?

~Jeff

P.S. For more vocabulary related to unemployment, see Daily English 596 – Applying for Unemployment Benefits.

To understand American political parties, listen to Cultural English 26.

P.P.S. Like this short 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 News and Current Events | Comments Off on What Should We Do About Unemployment?

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 the past, we’ve used this word mostly for prisons and jails in which the inmates (prisoners) couldn’t leave their cells (small rooms where they sleep), usually to prevent fights within the prison.

With the coronavirus crisis, a lockdown has meant that people cannot go to work, stores, restaurants, gyms, etc., unless necessary.

There is also a phrasal verb to lock down:

“We are locking down Los Angeles to prevent coronavirus from spreading.”

Being in a lockdown, as we have been here in Los Angeles, isn’t very fun.

But it’s better than being locked up!

To lock up people is to put them in prison. If you are locked up, you are a prisoner in jail. That’s not very fun, either.

There’s an old expression: “Lock him/her up and throw away the key!” This means to put someone in prison or punish someone for the rest of his or her life.

Finally, there is the phrasal verb to lock in.

To lock someone in can mean closing a door and locking it so no one can leave or enter.

“To lock in” can also be used when you are buying something, such as a house.

House buyers in the U.S. will often try to “lock in” the rate of interest they will pay on a mortgage (a loan to buy a house). This prevents the rate from going up in the future.

To learn more about prisons and related vocabulary, see our Cultural English 235 lesson.

To learn more about vocabulary related to pandemics like coronavirus, see this blog post or Daily English 721 – A Widespread Epidemic.

~Jeff

P.S. Like this short 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 Being Locked Down is Better Than Being Locked Up

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 high school grades.

Since it is so difficult, a few parents pay professionals to help their child write their college application.

Of course, universities assume (believe) that the application is done by the 17- or 18-year-old student, not a professional counselor (advisor)!

These paid counselors tell students how to package themselves (how to present themselves) to universities.

The cost of this help? Around $4000, according to one estimate.

This is cheating, of course. To cheat means to get something unfairly by not following the rules.

Elite (the best, top) universities are very competitive (difficult to get into), so some parents believe they need to do almost anything they can to help their child.

Last year, it was discovered that several parents, including some celebrities (famous people) bribed (give money to get something illegal in return) university officials to get their son or daughter into college.

This happened at a number of famous universities, including the University of Southern California, where some parents paid up to $500,000 to get a child admitted.*

One of the problems is that many parents believe they must get their child into one of the Top 20 universities, when in fact the U.S. has thousands of good quality colleges that offer a similar education.

Personally, I think it is a little insane (crazy, absurd).

And while a few colleges have thousands of applicants (students applying there), many more have to advertise (put ads online or in newspapers) to get students.

Colleges will often use slick sales pitches to get students to go there.

Slick means very professional, but really too professional, something that tries to be more than it really is.

“Slick” is usually a negative way of describing something or someone.

If you say a person is “slick,” you are saying that he is somewhat dishonest, trying to be something he isn’t.

A sales pitch is an attempt to get someone to buy your product. It is a set of reasons or arguments for something you are selling.

A slick sales pitch is, then, a somewhat dishonest attempt to “sell” students on the university in order that they be admitted as a student.

~Jeff

*  When I got my Ph.D. from the University of Southern California, I did not pay anywhere close to that amount. Those cheaters really got cheated!

P.S. For more information on colleges and universities in the U.S., see our Daily English 1127 – Paying for College and Daily English 1006 – Taking a Campus Tour.

P.P.S. Get a FREE sample lesson (no money needed) from our Unlimited English membership – 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 Life in the United States | Comments Off on How Some Americans Cheat to Get Into College

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 do something is to barely do something, to do very little of something.

“Hardly” as an adverb means something different than “hard” as a noun.

So the joke is: Are you working a lot (“working hard”) or a little (“hardly working”)?

I was reminded of this expression when I read an old article in The Economist. (The Economist is a news magazines from Great Britain. It is published in the US as well.)

The article was called “An Idle Proposal” (to be idle means not to work). The story had a chart of how many national public holidays different countries had each year.

The country with the highest number was Spain, with 16; the lowest country was Romania, with five.

The United States was in the middle: we have ten holidays celebrated by most states.

Some of our national holidays are shared by other countries – Christmas and New Year’s Day, for example.

Most of our holidays are unique to the US: Independence Day (4th of July), Thanksgiving, Labor Day, Memorial Day, Washington’s Birthday (also called President’s Day), Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Veteran’s Day, and Columbus Day.

In addition, some states have their own holidays. In California, we celebrate Cesar Chavez Day, in honor of a famous Mexican American civil rights hero in the 1960s.

I’m looking forward to another holiday soon, but August doesn’t have one!
~Jeff

P.S. To learn more about Cesar Chavez, see our Cultural English 164 lesson.

For more vocabulary relate to our next national holiday in September, Labor Day, see Cultural English 49.

Looking for business/work vocabulary? Try our Using English at Work course.

P.P.S. Like this short 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 Life in the United States | Comments Off on Are You Working Hard or Hardly Working?

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 choosing their names, and what reasons they give.

Have you chosen an English-sounding first name?

If so, how did you chose it and why?

I was reminded of this question when I read an article on the Voice of America website, “Most Popular Names in Each US State,” about the most popular last names or surnames in the U.S.

The article is based on a website for those interested in tracing their family tree or genealogy (a list of all your relatives, going back in time).

For more useful vocabulary related to genealogy and family trees, see our Daily English 1094 – Tracing One’s Genealogy, and Cultural English 55, which also talks about this topic.

The U.S. is often called a “country of immigrants,” and the last names we have are in some ways related to our immigration history.

As immigration changes, the popularity of certain last names shift (change in position) over time.

Here are top five most popular last names in the U.S. as of (at the time, at this point) 2019, in order:

  1. Smith
  2. Johnson
  3. Williams
  4. Jones
  5. Anderson

This list is for the entire United States. Different states have different popular last names reflecting the people who immigrated there.

For example, the three most popular last names in California are:

  1. García
  2. Hernández
  3. López

These are all obviously Spanish surnames. California has a huge Latino/Hispanic population.

Nationally, the three names that grew the most in popularity between 2000 and 2020 were Hernández, Ramírez, and Rodríguez.

Nguyen, a popular last name in Vietnam, also grew in popularity in the U.S. since 2000.

For my home state of Minnesota, the top three names are:

  1. Johnson
  2. Anderson
  3. Nelson

This reflects the fact that Minnesota was one of the most popular places those from Scandinavian (e.g. Sweden, Norway, Denmark, etc.) countries immigrated to in the early 20th century.

I’m not sure if McQuillan will ever be one of the most popular names, but my parents did their part (contributed; helped with) by having 11 children!

~Jeff

P.S. Like this short 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 Life in the United States | Comments Off on What Are the Most Popular Last Names in the US?

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.”

English has lots of these phrasal or two-word verbs, and they can be very confusing to people trying to acquire (learn) the language.

Let me respond to this question in two ways.

First, many people want a “systematic” or structured review of all of the most important phrasal verbs in English.

I understand this desire to be thorough and organized in your learning.

But that’s not the best way to pick up new vocabulary.

Yes, you could try to memorize verbs the way many English courses try to teach you, one word at a time.

But that one-by-one approach has been found by several research studies to be the least efficient use of your time, the worst use of your time.

Why is this so?

To understand why trying to memorize vocabulary is not a good idea, you have to understand a little about how we improve our language proficiency.

I don’t have time to cover everything on a blog post, but I created a five-page, Special Report that explains it. You can get that for FREE here.

If you haven’t read this, get it now and read it.

Here’s the short answer: You pick up English most effectively when you are focused on understanding what you are listening to or reading, not when you “study” or try to memorize individual parts of English (vocabulary, grammar, spelling, and so forth).

Listening and reading. Those are your keys to success in English.

For listening, there’s nothing better than our own Unlimited English membership, of course! We have more than 500 hours of interesting audio to listen to.

For reading, select anything you’d like, as long as (a) you can understand most of it (over 90%), and (b) you enjoy reading it.

If you don’t enjoy it, you won’t keep reading it!

Reading has been shown in studies to be up to 10 times more effective than traditional vocabulary teaching, such as memorizing words.

Let me repeat that: Reading is up to 10 times faster than any other typical approach to expanding (growing; increasing) your vocabulary, including flash cards, computer programs, and websites with lots of “vocabulary” exercises.

You don’t have to try to remember new words when you read. In fact, stopping to write down a new word or forcing yourself to “memorize” it will only slow you down.

Just keep reading.

Over time, with enough listening and reading, you’ll pick up all the vocabulary you need.

Second, we DO talk about phrasal verbs, in almost every one of our Daily and Cultural English lessons!

For example, in Daily English 322 – Picking Up a Rental Car, we talk about all of these phrasal verbs: to pick up, to take advantage, and to stick to (something).

In our Cultural English 112 lesson, we talk about the phrasal verbs to cover up and to carry out.

Even more phrasal verbs are typically found in our Learning Guide under the sections What Else Does it Mean? and Cultural Note.

We talk about two to three phrasal verbs on nearly every one of our 1800+ lessons.

So if you want to know all of the phrasal verbs in English, now you know what to do: read a lot, and listen to the lessons that come with our Unlimited English membership.

~Jeff

P.S. Get a FREE sample lesson (no money needed) from our Unlimited English membership – 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 How to Learn English | Comments Off on How to Learn All the Vocabulary You Need