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English Conversation and Vocabulary: Local New York City Heroes

nyc_subwayHere’s a story that was pritned in the New York Times about a very heroic New Yorker named Victor Samuel.

http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/09/on-the-tracks-and-out-of-time/?smid=tw-share

The article features some great storytelling, use of the past tense, and some interesting vocabulary. Read the article and then answer the following questions:

  1. What would you do if you were in Victor’s shoes?
  2. How would you have reacted if you were a person on the platform?
  3. How do you think the old man felt after Victor saved his life?

Vocabulary
Here are some vocabulary words to look out for :

  • bear down
  • disoriented
  • crouched
  • stumbling
  • vulnerable
  • muster
  • torso
  • sting
  • touching

Look up these words and trying using them in a sentnece!

Posted in: BLog, Vocabulary

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English Idioms: To be on the same page

book

Have you ever heard the phrase “to be on the same page (as somebody else)”?

This is an English idiom that I like to use with my students in our online English classes. Idioms like this are important for attaining fluency and advanced spoken English, especially when speaking English in a professional setting.

Here’s an example:  ”This morning I met with my boss to discuss the progress of the new project. I just wanted to make sure that we were both on the same page.”

This is a commonly used phrase in the United States that can be used to describe a situation where two people (or a group of people) have the same knowledge and information, and are in agreement about a certain plan or strategy. This can also represent the process of sharing new information, or ensuring that both parties clearly understand the other’s perspective in a professional setting.

Sometimes people say “We’re not on the same page.”, or “We have to get on the same page.” Also, it is possible to use the word “wavelength” instead of “page” in certain cases.

Posted in: BLog, English Idioms, Vocabulary

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English Reading Comprehension – Life on other Planets?

saturn

One of the most important aspects of learning English is reading comprehension. Reading articles will help you improve your sentence structure, English Vocabulary, and phrasal verbs. One advantage of taking online English classes with Express-English is that we make use of the countless online resources which are available to us. BBC online is a great resource for reading articles and watching videos, both of which are essential tools for English students of all levels.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-21350899

This article from the BBC website discusses some recent discoveries reported by NASA. The Kepler space telescope has been taking photos of various patches of sky, using a special method to locate planets that have similar qualities, sizes, and orbit as the Earth. The main goal of the investigation is to determine how many earth-like planets exist near our solar system, and how many of the planets have the elemental qualities which are necessary to sustain life.

Read the article, and then answer the following English Comprehension Questions:

  1. How do they determine which planets could sustain life? 
  2. How many exoplanets have been discovered?
  3. What conditions are necessary for an area to be considered a habitable zone?
  4. Do you believe in alien life forms?

English Vocabulary Review

  • Dim - not bright; obscure from lack of light or emitted light
  • Cosy (Cozy in the U.S.) - snugly warm and comfortable
  • Far better than – in this case, far is used as an adjective for “much”
  • Heart of the issue – the most important aspects of a situation
  • abound - to occur or exist in great quantities or numbers
  • implication -  a sign or an indication, suggested as naturally to be inferred or understood
  • Pluck Out - to pull off or out from the place of growth, as fruit, flowers, feathers
  • Colloquial - characteristic of ordinary or familiar conversation rather than formal speech, also known as informal/local slang
  • Tip of the iceberg - this is used metaphorically, to describe something that can be easily observed, but not the rest of it, which is hidden

Posted in: BLog, English Reading, Vocabulary

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