Word of the Day: remote

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Okay, for this word, there are at least a couple of useful meanings.

Remote, as per the definition above, means far away and/or secluded. So, we might say that a person lives in a remote part of the world. That could be a village in the mountains somewhere, an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, or in the middle of the woods somewhere in Canada!

Another meaning for the word remote is the thing you use to change the channel on your TV! Technically, it’s called a remote control. Can you guess why? That’s right! It’s because you change the channel remotely, ie., from far away! Of course, most of the time, we just say: « Pass the remote. » Everyone will know what you’re talking about, you don’t generally need to add the « control » part.

Have you got any questions? Have you got more examples? Drop us a line!

Friday Idiom: cut corners

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Cutting corners is often tempting, but also often leads to disasters. Whenever you try to save time by either not putting in a full effort, or by omitting some seemingly unimportant details, it will come back and bite you!

A few examples of cutting corners:

  • Not taking the time to properly proofread a document.
  • When you don’t document your work well.
  • Ignoring the basics when you learn a new skill.

So, don’t cut corners!

Word of the Day: essence

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The essence is really the most important aspect of something. It is what makes it it.

You can talk about essence when describing a very important feature of a problem, a team, the core goals or raison d’être of a company or school.

You will find many more examples on the Oxford Learner’s Dictionary online: https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/essence?q=essence

  • The essence of the matter is that we must show our good will.
  • Its ability to make you feel is the essence of this painting.
  • The essence of drama is conflict.

Word of the Day: sharp

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Of course, many people already know that sharp means: having a cutting or piercing edge. But, it’s interesting to note that we can also use the word in other ways.

A couple more definitions include but are not limited to: sudden and rapid, for example, a sharp increase; clear and definite, as in, the mood is in sharp contrast to last year.

I particularly like the definition from our word of the day: quick to understand, notice or respond. You can use this word to describe a person whom you consider to be particularly clever and quick-witted.

Any questions? Leave them in them in the comments and we’ll get back to you!

Grammar Mondays: modals 4

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We often use should to offer advice, or indicate something that is good or not good to do.

Should is never conjugated, and is used with another verb, in the infinitive.

Here are some more examples:

  • Mary should play more often if she wants to get better.
  • You should see your doctor every year for a health check up.
  • People should pay more attention to their diets.
  • You should exercise regularly.

In question form, simply invert the modal and the subject:

  • Should I take these pills with a meal?
  • Should you be doing that?
  • Should we leave now?
  • Shouldn’t you be at the theatre by now?

Have you got any questions? Be sure to leave them in the comments!

Friday Idiom: it’s not rocket science

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I find myself saying this a little too often I think! Usually to my son, when he’s doing something super simple and making out as if it’s the hardest thing in the world. Or, when I see someone say or do something dumb on TV.

So really, you can say this whenever you feel that something really isn’t that hard. For example, when my mom can’t figure out how to switch to a video call on what’s app, I might say to her: oh come on, it’s not rocket science!

Be careful though not to vex anyone!

Word of the day: groom

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Groom can, of course, mean a few different things. You can groom a horse: brush it and clean it. A person can be groomed as well, if they look like they really take care of their physical appearance.

However, the one that interests us today is the sort of grooming one does in order to prepare you for something specific.

As in the example, you can groom you child to take over your business. You can groom someone to take the reigns of your talk show. So really, grooming here means teaching a person to do something a specific way in preparation for a particular role.

Can you think of any real life examples?

Grammar Mondays: modals

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Have to is also a modal verb, though unlike the others, we must conjugate it in whatever tense you intend to use.

It indicates an obligation to do something, if used in the affirmative. So:

  • Amber has to play the guitar every day. = Amber must play the guitar every day.

However, in the negative, it indicates a lack of obligation:

  • Amber doesn’t have to do the laundry at home, her mom takes care of it. = Amber doesn’t need to do the laundry.

This rule is opposed to « must » which, in the negative, indicates that something is not allowed. For example, if someone says, « You mustn’t run by the poolside. » This means that you’re not allowed to run by the poolside.

Have you got any questions? Leave them in the comments and we’ll get back to you!

Friday Idiom: speak of the devil

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I think this idiom probably has some variation in at least a few languages. I know you can say the same thing in French… Do you know any languages where this idiom would work?

For those of you who are unfamiliar with it, it tends to be used as a stand alone phrase. For example, you’re talking about your friend Betsy and in she comes, you might say: Ah, speak of the devil!

It’s usually preceeded by some kind of expression of surprise, like: ah; oh; oh hey, etc.

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