reference


A few weeks ago I talked about the slang “drink the Kool-aid.” Here is another contemporary slang expression that you won’t find in the dictionary.

To “throw someone under the bus” means to blame them for something they are not responsible for. As with “drink the Kool-aid,” it is often used when talking about sports or politics.

After they lost the championship game, the coach threw his star player under the bus. (The coach didn’t take responsibility; he blamed his player.)

When the presidential candidate was accused of bribery, he threw his campaign manager under the bus. (The candidate blamed his campaign manager for the problem).

This site lists other word and phrases that are new to English and, thus, probably not yet in your dictionary.

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Some nouns in English are plural and always counted in pairs even though there is only 1 of them. (Though these items are all single things, they all have two equal parts.):

  • jeans, pants, shorts, etc. (2 legs)
  • glasses, sunglasses (2 lenses)
  • scissors, tweezers, tongs (2 blades/arms)

Some nouns in English are singular but usually come in pairs:

  • socks, shoes, gloves, earrings
  • chopsticks, crutches, skates

Though these items are usually talked about in pairs, sometimes they can be talked about singly:

I bought three new pairs of socks yesterday.

That pair of earrings is expensive.

This sock has a hole in it. (only 1)

I lost one of my earrings.

For a more complete list of things that come in pairs, look here.

I just wanted to let you all know my new favorite idiom. I’ve been seeing it more frequently lately. It is usually used in the context of sports or politics.

First, for all you non-Westerners out there, Kool-Aid is a sugary drink which comes in a variety of flavors.

The idiom, “drink the Kool-Aid,” means to follow an idea or philosophy zealously without thinking about it.

The new basketball coach quickly had his players drinking the Kool-Aid that his ideas would help them win the championship. (All the players believed his ideas.)

Our professor promised a new, easy way to learn English, but none of his students was drinking the Kool-Aid. (The students didn’t believe the professor had a new way to learn.)

To see more examples of this phrase in use, you can go to Google News and type in “drink Kool-Aid“. Most of the results will actually be about Kool-Aid (not the idiom), but you will also find some examples of the phrase as an idiom.

Finally, here’s one more link to add to your reference list: Wordspy. This website keeps track of new phrases and idioms which are being added to the language and are probably not in the dictionary yet!

I regularly link to the online Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary in my posts. I have noticed though that the links do not go directly to the word. This is a problem with the way the OALD website works, not my links. (The OALD will not let you link directly to a word, only their search page.) Nevertheless, the OALD is by far the best learner’s dictionary I’ve found on the internet, so I’m going to keep linking to them. If you click a link and end up at the OALD search page, type in the word you were looking for and you should get some useful information.

If anyone has a solution to this problem, please let me know.

Some verbs in English require certain prepositions after them.

Listen is one of the most common of these verbs!

Listen is almost always followed by to:

I like to listen to music.

Listen to your mother.

However, there are some idiomatic uses of listen which use different prepositions such as listen for (waiting for a particular sound) and listen in on (to listen secretly):

Please listen for the doorbell; I’m expecting a package.

The children were listening in on their parents’ argument.

Unfortunately, there are no set rules for which prepositions go with which verbs. They need to be memorized. Here is a list of “Verbs and their prepositions.” I have also found that the online Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary is one of the few online dictionaries that lists what prepositions a verb takes.

Good luck and be sure to listen to what your teacher says.

Did you know that approximately 70% of all content on the Internet is written in English?! That’s a lot of websites. But that can also be a problem. There are so many websites, it can be hard to find the most useful ones. So, here’s a couple links to sites I found recently that may be helpful for you to learn English.

Word of the day – this site is for ESL students learning English

If the words are too easy for you, you can try this one:

Word of the day – for native English speakers! (I don’t even know many of these words!)

You can visit these sites every day or you can sign up and they will send you a new word everyday in your email! If you bored, you can check out the archives which contain all the old words from previous days.