Red Hot English: Phrasal Verbs with “Burn”

Candle In Holder 450636315Phrasal verbs are simultaneously one of the most common and confusing aspects of the English language. Though few native speakers can imagine a conversation without them, it can sometimes be difficult to understand the differences between seemingly identical expressions. For example, though “burn down” and “burn up” seem fairly straightforward they have no less than five distinct meanings between them! Fortunately we are here to help you understand when to use which:

Burn … Down  – to destroy using fire

  • You should always make sure you blow out* any lit candles before you leave the house; if not they might burn the house down while you are away!

Burn Down / – to be completely consumed by fire

  • One day, suddenly and without warning, the abandoned mansion burned down. Nothing was left on the site except the vague outline of what had once been a gorgeous building.

Note: Though seemingly identical, the first use of “burn down” is separable and active while the second is inseparable and passive (meaning, for example, “he burned the mansion down” but “the mansion burned down.”) Continue reading “Red Hot English: Phrasal Verbs with “Burn””


Teen Global Activist Works with Baltimore ESL Program

509683319While many American 15-year-olds were studying for driver’s tests and trying to earn money while the summer gave them time, Killian McGinnis was more than a thousand miles away from her hometown to help the people of La Chacra, right outside of San Salvador, El Salvador.

During El Salvador’s civil war in the 1980s, Brown Memorial Woodbrook Presbyterian Church sent three members to help protect the people of La Chacra from violent government and societal abuse, according to a 2015 Baltimore Sun article. Spiritual, political and financial support was provided each year as members would travel to the community. In 2012, their partnership was still strong, and Killian’s first trip opened her eyes to new perspectives and opportunities to serve. Continue reading “Teen Global Activist Works with Baltimore ESL Program”


Business Idioms: The People That Make It Happen

Silhouette Men turning and Pushing Cogs 175773252With phrases like “too big to fail” being thrown around left and right these days it can be easy to think of businesses – especially big business – as creatures with lives of their own. Even the largest company, however, is still reliant on its employees to help realize its vision and further its goals. It is with that in mind, then, that in this installment of our Business Idioms series is dedicated to the people who make big businesses hum.

Bean Counter – an accountant

  • We need the bean counters to look over the figures in the forecast before we present it to upper management.

Note: The beans in this idiom represent, as you probably could have guessed, money. Continue reading “Business Idioms: The People That Make It Happen”


Bring Out Your Best With Phrasal Verbs

Waitress bringing coffee and cookies 187009307As we have mentioned before, phrasal verbs allow English speakers – native and non-native alike – to do more with less. Because phrasal verbs are created by making only small changes to common verbs we are able to stretch our existing vocabulary instead of learning completely new words for every action. While other languages might have five or six completely different words for the actions below, as the following examples prove English (and English speakers) can express the same ideas by using the same root verb: bring.

Bring … Out – to emphasize or stress

  • The color of Monica’s new dress really brings out her eyes; although they were just as pretty before the complementary color really makes them stand out.

Continue reading “Bring Out Your Best With Phrasal Verbs”