Tuesday, April 11, 2023


“Punctuality is the art of guessing how late the other fellow is going to be.” 

 This quote by the writer Evelyn Waugh definitely applies to me because I always try to be on time (punctual), and very often I am waiting for another person. How about you?

The prepositional phrases on time and in time don’t mean the same thing, although they are close. 

When something happens on time, it happens at the planned time. On time can be expressed in other ways too: 

  • punctual

  • on schedule
at the arranged time
at the correct time
neither early nor late

People who are on time tend to be organized and good planners.

When you are in time, you are early enough to have extra time, usually to do something else. (That is extra, super-punctual - ha ha!) In time also means the following:

  • before something happens
before the scheduled time

  • with time to spare

There is a very close phrase “just in time,” which can cause lots of stress. Just in time means at the last moment, just before the deadline or just before something was supposed to happen. It means almost too late.

Ex: We caught the train just in time. (We almost missed the train but we made it at the last moment.)

Do you know people who arrive on time or just in time?

Book Recommendation: The Old Man and the Sea

Friday, March 3, 2023


Reading an English novel is a big achievement in the processing of mastering a new language. The thought of committing to a book (a novel!) may be a little intimidating but the feeling of satisfaction you will have after completing it will motivate you to read more books in English.  

The Old Man and the Sea is short novel about a three-day struggle between an old Cuban fisherman named Santiago and the greatest catch of his life, a giant marlin. It is considered a classic, written by American author Ernest Hemingway. 

I’ve included a link where you can read The Old Man and the Sea here online. There is also the option of listening to the story in two different speeds (slow or fast) while you read along with the text, which is great for pronunciation. 

You will enjoy The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway. 

FOMO (fear of missing out)

Thursday, February 2, 2023


Do you ever experience FOMO (fear of missing out)? It’s the feeling that others are having more fun, living more exciting lives, or experiencing better things than you are. With all the bragging on social media, it’s hard not to feel that way every once in a while. 

The idea that you might be missing out on a good time is nothing new. In ancient times, survival depended on having vital information about dangers, food sources, or potential threats. Communication within a group was critical. Lacking pieces of information risked the well-being, safety, and security of these groups. Even now, though we don’t have to worry about information for survival, missing out on news or events is enough for many people to experience dissatisfaction, depression, stress, and envy.

In everyday English, FOMO is used mostly as slang. So if you’re feeling that you are missing out on something fun, exciting, or important that others are experiencing right now, just say, “I have FOMO.” 

Rolling, Dancing, Racing, and Sliding

Thursday, January 12, 2023

“A bad day on the slopes beats a good day at work,” is a popular quote by ski aficionados. It’s also a great way to introduce vocabulary for large open spaces. 

The English language has different, specific names for various open spaces, whereas many languages use the same one word. For example, in Italian and Spanish it’s pista; in French it’s piste; in German it’s bahn. 

The best way I know how to distinguish the many open spaces we have for skiing, dancing, racing, flying airplanes, etc. is by memorizing them. Luckily there aren’t too many:

  • Racetrack; track (sports) = the course for any race (horse, car, bike)
  • Ice rink = an enclosed area of ice for skating, ice hockey, or curling
  • Roller rink = a smooth enclosed floor for roller skating
  • Runway = 1) a leveled strip of smooth ground along which aircraft take off and land; 2) a raised aisle extending into the audience from a stage, especially as used for fashion shows
  • Dance floor = an area of floor in a nightclub, disco, or restaurant that is reserved for dancing.
  • Ski slope = a part of the side of a hill or mountain, especially as a place for skiing
  • Trail = a mark, track, course, or path 
  • Bike path; bike lane = a path or road for bicycles and not motor vehicles.

American Kitsch: Hawaiian Shirts

Monday, December 5, 2022

Kitsch describes things that are considered unsophisticated but are also amusing and enjoyable. Menswear in the US contains an iconic piece of clothing that is sometimes kitschy but timeless as well: the Hawaiian shirt.

Originally called an Aloha shirt, Hawaiian shirts can be recognized by their colorful patterns, which are often bold designs of flowers, leaves, birds, palm trees, etc. They are a style of dress shirt that has short sleeves, an open collar, and they are traditionally worn untucked.

The Hawaiian shirt is also a style of shirt that’s recognized in nearly every part of the world. If you’re a movie fan, you may have seen Hawaiian shirts worn by many celebrities in their films: Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, Al Pacino, Jim Carrey, Nicolas Cage, Benicio del Toro, Johnny Depp, and Leonardo DiCaprio. 

The first Hawaiian shirts were designed in the 1930s and became popular with locals, surfers, and tourists, especially as tourism to Hawaii grew in the 1950s. The Hawaiian shirt is considered a symbol of island life, vacations, exotic getaways, and laid-back, relaxed lifestyles. Adding a Hawaiian shirt to your wardrobe may possibly give you that relaxed mood as you dream of tropical places. 


Thursday, November 3, 2022


What do the following items have in common? T-shirts, water bottles, pens, tote bags, mugs, decks of cards, mouse pads, notebooks, hats, keychains, umbrellas, calendars. 

They are typical promotional items that customers receive for free as gifts, and they are known as SWAG (Stuff We All Get). 

Swag is a form of advertising and swag items always feature the company’s brand name or logo. I’m confident that you’ve received swag from your workplace, bank, fitness center, or vendor at some time in your life. 

George Washington, the first US president, is remembered historically as the first person in the US to use swag; he gave away comemorative buttons to promote his election campaign in 1789. 

Some people get extra special swag bags for exclusive occasions. For example, celebrities at the 2022 Academy Awards ceremony received VIP swag with 50 different products and gifts, including a $50,000 private vacation at a 10-bedroom castle in Scotland and a $15,000 spa retreat for two. 

It’s always fun to get something for free.

U.S. Culture: Uncle Sam

Sunday, October 9, 2022

I want you for U.S. Army! 

That motto accompanies this famous World War l Army recruitment poster, and the man pointing his finger at you (the viewer) is Uncle Sam. This is an iconic image in U.S. culture.....but who is Uncle Sam?

In reality, Uncle Sam is a personification of the U.S. federal government, and Uncle Sam (initials U.S.) is a common nickname for the United States. Some people say Uncle Sam when they're really talking about the federal government (example: He owed $1000 in taxes to Uncle Sam.)

Uncle Sam represents patriotism and unity, and he is typically portrayed as a tall, thin, bearded man who wears a suit of red, white, and blue.  

It is believed that the name originated from war-time meat supplies during the War of 1812, whose packages were labeled U.S. A soldier jokingly stated that the initials referred to “Uncle Sam.”

Everyone is the United States has an uncle. Young or old, native-born or new citizen, your uncle is Uncle Sam.