Archive for the ‘Phrases and idioms’ Category

Elite Clubs – Do They Make Sense?

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

When I was a kid, I always wondered why rich people would pay SO MUCH money to play golf at a private golf course.  It didn’t seem to make any sense to me.  Ok, sure, they are rich, I know that.  But even most rich people don’t like throwing money into the garbage for no reason at all.  A lot of them are surprisingly careful with their money.

In Canada, you can play golf at a VERY nice golf course for under $200 per time.  Sometimes it’s much less than $100.  And I’m talking about really beautiful golf courses, not just average ones.

So why then, would any reasonable person pay $100 000 per year for a membership?  It made no sense to me before.  Now it makes perfect sense.

These guys aren’t paying for how nice the golf course is.  That is only part of it.  It’s a small part actually.  What they are really paying for is the community.  Think about the other people who go to those courses.  Most of them are also successful business people.  They pay for status and ability to meet these people.  They talk and do business together.  They make friends and get their children in this rich group of successful people.  In some ways, the whole thing makes me sick.  I wish the world were a more fair place.  But the reality is that it’s not.  It does make sense for these people to stay together, meet each other, and network together.

It’s MUCH more likely that you will meet someone worth doing business with on one of these super expensive golf courses than if you were to try to meet these types of people at other places where “regular” people can go.

I was thinking about this because I was thinking about a social networking website for English learning.  These aren’t the exact same thing, but you’ll see what I mean in a minute…

People who speak English as a second language and are actually serious about improving their English, their business, their lives, etc, don’t have anywhere to go to meet each other online.  There are a lot of garbage websites that allow anyone on there.  If you want to speak with someone to “practice your English”, you can absolutely find a partner on a million free sites.

But the problem with this is HUGE.  These sites that allow anyone to join, attract people who aren’t really serious about learning English or really serious about anything at all.  Why?  Because most people in the world are not serious about anything they are doing.

If you want to meet a partner to speak English with, share ideas, share stories, share culture, you will want to meet someone who is at or above your level.  You want someone who can challenge you and you can learn from.  It’s not easy to find these people, but they exist.

Imagine for a second that you wrote on your Facebook page, “I am looking for someone to learn from, talk about business and life, and really challenge each other to improve our English skills”.  I can’t imagine you will find anyone.  Maybe, if you are lucky, someone will say “Yes” to your offer, but they probably won’t be the type of person you are hoping for.

As you probably know, Add and I have been making a new free video EVERY DAY at  

We are hoping to get people to get in the habit of going there every day for the new lessons.  We want to grow that site to 50 000 visitors per day.

But many of the people who find this site or that site aren’t super serious about learning English.  We also want to find the SUPER SERIOUS people and provide an opportunity for amazing English, business, and life learning that does not exist anywhere else on the internet.  That’s our goal.

The people who are not serious will not pay a small monthly fee to join the membership part.  And that’s great.  Our plan is to build a membership site for serious learners.  Everyone will have a great profile with an awesome photo, bio, linkedIn page, Skype number, where they are from…  A lot of stuff.  Then these people will be able to search through the other serious members and we can all have a really high level and private conversation.  Also, the members will be able to contact each other and set up high level language exchanges and other things.  It will be a real community.  I’ll be on there providing reading material, movie talk, technology stuff, and a bunch of interesting and high level topics for group discussion.  We’ll all push ourselves to get better and better in not only English, but in life too.

I want to have a lot of great free English learning content for everyone to enjoy, and a high level SUPER VIP program that is connected to this one and also adds a lot more.  We’re still talking about how we want the site to be.  And since some of you guys who are reading this right now will be interested in joining it, it would be great to hear your ideas now.  We are building it for you and other high level people like you.

What do you think of this idea?  What would you like to see in that program?

Help us design it with your ideas and then it will be much better that way!

And by the way, don’t worry, it won’t be expensive like an elite golf course!  It doesn’t need to be.  The only reason I used that example was to try to make a point.

Love to hear your thoughts guys.  By the way, does anyone here already have the great habit of going to everyday yet?  What do you think?  Have you shared it with your friends, students, or teachers?  What do they think?  We’re still in the beginning stages of developing this, and we’re sure this will be the best yet!

It will be connected in some way with VIP membership, so don’t worry about that.  We’ll take care of you guys and make it kick ass!  There will be tons of amazing free stuff for everyone and an insanely awesome high level private English learning VIP club.

Sounds like a win/win to me!  What are your thoughts on this whole topic?  Even the part about rich people paying so much for golf.  Does it make sense to you too?

Your comments are always appreciated.  You guys have been great lately with that.  Keep it up.  I read EVERY one!!

Give Yourself a Break

Sunday, April 28th, 2013

It’s a beautiful day here in Shanghai.  I’m feeling pretty good today and I wanted to share some simple, but good advice with you.

Give yourself a break!  What do I mean?  I’m not talking about a holiday (although, going on a holiday is pretty sweet).

I’m just talking about giving yourself a break from any feelings you have of guilt.  We all have things that we’re feeling guilty about, maybe not super guilty, but even just a little.

Maybe your diet hasn’t been great lately.  Maybe you haven’t been the greatest boyfriend or girlfriend in your relationship lately.  Maybe you aren’t happy with how little you’ve been exercising or studying.  Maybe you have been doing as well as you’d like in business or at work.  I don’t know.  But I am guessing there is probably at least one thing in your life where you feel like you are kind of  blaming or even hating yourself in some way.

My advice today is simple:  Take a break from any self-hate, guilt, or worry that you have for at least today.  Just take a moment to realize that this worry and guilt you feel isn’t helping you.

I’m not saying that you should just do whatever you want and not care anymore.  I’m just suggesting that you take one day to completely forgive yourself 100% for anything that you are blaming yourself for.  Forget about what you did or didn’t do.  The blame isn’t helping the situation.  You should also stop blaming other people or outside events.  Just accept whatever situation you are in, at least for today.  See how you feel.

Just smile, relax, and enjoy being you.  None of us are perfect and we all have things we are blaming ourselves for.  It sucks our energy and makes us feel less confident, less happy, and just worse in pretty much every way.  This self blame, even if it is pretty small, isn’t helping the people around you either.

So just let go of any pain from the past that you are holding onto.  Today is a new day and you can change anything in your life starting now.  It will be a lot easier to do this if you can stop dragging the pain from the past into each and every day.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.   Your responses to the last blog were absolutely amazing by the way!

Have a great day :)

Butt Ugly VS Drop Dead Gorgeous

Sunday, February 10th, 2013

I’m always trying to think of the most useful stuff to teach you guys.  I do put the majority of it in the VIP section for obvious reasons, but I want to make sure I remember to teach at least some of this awesome stuff to everyone who uses this site.   “I don’t want to toot my own horn… I’m just saying :)

I was watching some Hollywood comedy movies last night, while pigging out on ice cream, and I was reminded of both these terms below.  I used them a lot when I was in high school, and my friends and I use them quite a bit now.  Native speakers will LOVE it when you use this stuff.

First one is:

Butt Ugly:  If someone is “Butt Ugly” it means they are super ugly.  They are the total opposite of someone who is hot.  It’s a very common but very mean thing to say.  It’s usually used between friends when they are talking about a person who isn’t in the room.  (It’s horrible if you say this directly to someone’s face).  And of course it’s not nice to talk about people’s appearance in a negative way, but let’s face it, it still happens all the time in real life.

So, “butt ugly” is super ugly.  You can say “Butt ugly” or just “butt”.  ”Butt” is even more slang and it’s hilarious.

Example 1:  ”I can’t believe he’s dating her.  She’s butt ugly”

Example 2:  ”Does anyone honestly think she’s hot?  I think she’s totally butt”

(Tell a native speaker you learned this phrase and they will laugh for sure)

Oh ya, I just remembered, it doesn’t always have to be about people either.  This phrase can be used to describe some things.  Someone could say something like, “I think the colors you use on your website look butt ugly”.  Or “Do you think anyone will buy from your site?  It looks butt”

The second one is:

Drop Dead Gorgeous

This is a set phrase that means “absolutely beautiful”.  It is used together and you can’t change the words.  You can’t say “dead gorgeous” for example.  You can’t even say “drop dead beautiful”.  Those things sound super weird.  It’s always, “Drop dead gorgeous”.  Remember that.

Example 1:  ”She looked drop dead gorgeous in her wedding dress”

Example 2:  ”That sunset is drop dead gorgeous”

I hope you liked these ones!  Pay attention to native speakers and I’m sure you’ll start hearing these phrases often!

**For the fastest results EVER, Add and I highly recommend you get a VIP Membership





2 Useful Slang Terms from Native Speakers

Friday, February 1st, 2013

As many of you guys already know, Add and I are in Thailand.  We’re getting ready to go to the beach after this email!  Not bad!

Anyway, we are staying in the island of Koh Phang an.  A lot of the tourists here are from non native speaking countries.  There are a ton of Europeans and a ton of Russians.  It’s a great place for me to think up new lessons, because I can hear the real mistakes people all over the world are making.

The first term that is a good one is this:

Can you watch my stuff?

or “Do you mind watching my stuff for a minute?

This idea of “watching my stuff” is how native speakers ask someone else to make sure that their things are safe and no one steals them.

Imagine I’m sitting on a big towel on the beach.  I’ve got my cell phone, my wallet, and a few other things I really don’t want anyone to steal.  Now imagine I want to go swimming.  I can’t take this stuff in the water so I need someone to look after it and make sure no one steals it.  If I see someone near me, I can say, “Do you mind watching my stuff for a few minutes while I go swimming?  Thanks”  That is a polite and normal way of saying, “I’ll be back soon.  Please just make sure no one steals this”.  Another way of saying this is “Can you keep an eye on my stuff for a few minutes?”  These are great phrases.

Ok, now for the second phrase:

Imagine I am standing in line waiting for a fresh fruit salad.  (These are awesome here!)

I can either eat the fruit salad at the tables here, or I can carry it back to my hotel and eat it there.  People often make the mistake of saying “Can I get this take away” if they want to take it home.  ”Take away” or “Take out” is used on a restaurant sign to tell customers that this is an option.  You don’t say “take away” or “take out” when you are ordering take out.

You should say “To go

So the way to order a fruit salad, or anything, is this:

Can I get one fruit salad to go please?”

or if you are ordering something else, you could say, “Can I get this to go please?

So when you are ordering take out, just say “I’d like to get this to go“.  It’s how real native speakers speak.  I hope this helps!  Love to read your comments below!

Dropping the Ball

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

I’m sure it’s no surprise to hear I’m telling you this is yet another awesome phrase to know in spoken English. If you “drop the ball” on something, it means that you made a mistake or you really “screwed up”. It usually refers to the kind of mistake that you wouldn’t normally make. It could also be a mistake on an important thing. Some examples will really help you to get the meaning.

“I can’t believe I couldn’t get the company to sing the deal with us. I could see in their eyes they really wanted to sign, but I was really nervous when I was speaking with them and I somehow just totally dropped the ball with the whole thing. Now they won’t even answer our emails.”

“My friend had a really beautiful and friendly girlfriend. They were dating for 3 years and thinking of getting married. They had a great time together and rarely fought. Last Friday night he got super drunk and slept with another girl. His girlfriend found out and she left him. He’s really kicking himself for dropping the ball on that one.

“He slept through (didn’t wake up) his alarm clock and missed a huge job interview. Now he has no chance to get the job he really wanted. He was so excited about it beforehand. I can’t believe he dropped the ball on that one. I really feel sorry for him.”