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ESL Student Blog
Language points (vocabulary, grammar, pronunciaton) that are worth noticing for ESL students around the world.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

ESL Student Blog: Make Some Toast, Make a Toast, Be Toast - Multiple Meanings of the Noun ‘Toast’

Toast, sliced bread made brown and crisp by heating under a grill,  is a popular choice of breakfast food. Some people like buttered toast while others prefer French toast (soaked in egg and milk and then fried). Toast is an uncountable noun so it doesn’t take the article ‘a’:

I’m going to make some toast and scrambled eggs for breakfast.

We can also say a slice/piece of toast, two slices/pieces of toast, etc. to make it countable.

When we make a toast, we raise a glass (of wine or champagne, for example) and drink in honor of a person or event after giving a short speech.

Make a toast to 2010/New Year/bride and groom/my parents/your friends

We can also ‘propose a toast’ or ‘drink a toast’.

Someone or something is toast (no article ‘a’!) if they’re in trouble.

If they find out about your secret, you’re toast.

Things that have become obsolete (no longer in use) during a period of time are toast as well. Tape players, typewriters or floppy disks will soon belong in a museum rather than our living space. With e-readers, e-tickets and e-cards print books, tickets and postcards are becoming obsolete.
See examples of things that have become obsolete during the last decade here.
POSTED BY Olga Galperin AT 11:16 AM   0 Comments  Add Comment

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

ESL Student Blog: New Year Phrasal Verbs

There are quite a few phrasal verbs that are associated with holidays and particularly with the New Year. Read the sentences (1-6) below and guess the meanings of the phrasal verbs in bold:

1. I let my children stay up past midnight on New Year’s Day.

2. We’ll count down the final seconds of the old year a few moments before the clock minute and hour hands will meet at the digit 12.

3. We’ll ring in the New Year with fireworks, parities and champagne.

4. Time marches on.

5. I look forward to welcoming 2010.

6. We’re going to see the New Year out with our family and close friends just before midnight.

How close were your guesses to the definitions below?

1. stay up - be awake, not to go to bed

2. count down - count backwards

3. ring in - celebrate the arrival of a special occasion, especially the New Year

4. march on - advance

5. look forward to - anticipate with pleasure

6. see out - remain to the end of something (e.g.: event)
POSTED BY Olga Galperin AT 11:50 PM   0 Comments  Add Comment

top Friday, December 04, 2009

ESL Student Blog: What’s a Food Bank?

For many people the true meaning of the holiday season is giving and sharing. Food bank donations allow people to do just that - support those less fortunate in their community.

A food bank provides food to people unable to afford food. It’s a site where food is collected and then distributed to people in need. Food can be contributed to food banks through schools, workplaces,  churches or community centers. Many big-chain supermarkets have donations bins (designated for food banks) where food items can be dropped off by the shoppers.

More related vocabulary:

staple food items (basic food) - flour, sugar, cooking oil

non-perishable food (doesn’t require refrigeration) - canned food, pasta, jams, dried fruit, baby food

Extension: Can you explain the meaning of the word ‘bank’ that implies ‘supply or stock’ in the following phrases: blood bank, piggy bank, word bank?
POSTED BY Olga Galperin AT 10:00 PM   1 Comments  Add Comment


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