More Idioms Peppered With People: English Idioms Inspired by People

handyman123102114As we saw in our last discussion of idioms, people are a popular source of some of the English-language’s most common (and colorful) expressions. Here are a few more English idioms inspired by people:

  • A Jack Of All Trades – a person who has many (often useful) talents.

Example: Rick’s father was a real jack of all trades. He could not only fix electrical and plumbing problems but also repair cars and even do great housepainting!

Note: Some people capitalize the name Jack when using this idiom while others do not. As is the case in other situations where there is no one correct answer it is simply important to be consistent!

  • A Man Of Means – a wealthy or otherwise successful person

Example: Despite the fact that he is a man of means and can buy literally anything he desires, Carlos Slim, Mexico’s richest man, rarely flaunts his wealth in public.

  • Tom, Dick, or Harry – anybody, an average person

Continue reading “More Idioms Peppered With People: English Idioms Inspired by People”

Brazil recalls Science Without Borders students

learn english 459593101The Brazilian government has won serious praise in recent years thanks to its Science Without Borders study abroad program but a recent misstep has prompted some to question its integrity. The government-backed academic exchange program, which was first launched in 2011, was designed to help more than 100,000 of the country’s science and technology students pursue coursework in universities abroad. Unfortunately, poor language skills – and logistical oversights – recently led to the recall of more than a 100 students from Canada and Australia. Continue reading “Brazil recalls Science Without Borders students”

Mind your Ps (and Qs!) – Words That Sound The Same

Colorful font letter P460841711While some English expressions – like “it’s raining cats and dogs” – seem a bit random (why, after all, do we use pets to describe a heavy downpour?) the origins of other seem almost obvious. It is almost as though the creators of “mind your p’s and q’s” had English language students in mind when they selected those two letters. After all, given that this expression means “to be extra careful,” it is especially good advice when you consider how many commonly confused words start with just these two letters. Consider p, which has two examples of homophones of words that sound the same but are written with three completely spellings!

Peek vs. Peak vs. Pique

Although all three versions of this homophone rhyme with “sneak,” the similarities end there. The double e peek, for example, is a verb while the other two are both noun. As such their meanings differ wildly. While peeking is similar in meaning to spy, a peak is simply the highest point of an object (be it a profit or mountain). Meanwhile, the five-letter pique is a horse of a different color entirely: it is the word used to describe a frustrated outburst. This can be confusing even for native speakers so try to keep things straight with the following example sentence: “The exhausted climber had a pique when he peeked the faraway peak.” Continue reading “Mind your Ps (and Qs!) – Words That Sound The Same”