Lecture (Level 4) – What will be the next big scientific breakthrough?

by Eric Haseltine

a technologist who has worked in senior-executive positions in both industry and government.  He was the chief technology officer for the U.S. intelligence community.

First, preview the vocabulary below.  Then do the exercise by first reading a single question and then listening for the answer.  When you hear the answer, pause the video and answer the question.  Then read the next question and do the same thing.  If you get the answer wrong, then go back to where the answer is given and listen again.

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passion:  excitement
baby steps:  slow progress (idiom)
leaps:  fast progress
turns the world on its head:  changes everything (idiom)
impact:  ability to make big changes
thorough:  completing the whole job
maternity clinic:  a hospital that helps women in childbirth
sanitation:  cleanliness that’s free of viruses and bacteria
autopsy:  cut a body open to find the cause of death
reconstructed:  recreated
morgue:  a room where dead bodies are kept
corpse:  dead body
it turned out:  the result was (idiom)
sterilize:  wash to kill all the viruses and bacteria
infectious disease:  sickness that can pass from one person to another
vapors:  gases
culprits:  bad things that caused trouble
demolished:  destroyed
opened out eyes:  taught us (idiom)
violating:  breaking (a law)
prestigious: well respected, famous
microscopes:  devices that made tiny things big enough to see
lousy:  bad
house husband:  a man who stays home with his children
finer details:  the smallest of things
crucial:  most important
fluoresce:  produce light when exposed to radiation
unprecedented:  never done before
startling:  surprising
clarity:  clearness, visual sharpness
get a better handle on:  understand better (idiom)
molecules:  combinations of atoms
hijack:  take control of
infect:  make sick
replicate themselves:  create others just like them
shattered:  shown to be false
cherished beliefs:  things we think are true
squirming:  uncomfortable
immortal:  unable to die, living forever
crackpot:  a crazy person who thinks they are right
inevitable consequence:  a result that must happen
metabolize:  turn (food) into energy
free radicals:  bad parts of food and air that cause cells to die
be on to something:  have discovered something important (idiom)
mutates:  changes
rejuvenate:  make young again
extreme:  very, very long
proportion:  percentage
in obscurity:  without anyone knowing, in private
rock our lives:  change our lives fast and strongly


Lecture (Level 4) – A young inventor’s plan to recycle Styrofoam

by Ashton Cofer

Ashton and his teammates recently won the 2016 Google Science Fair’s Scientific American Innovator Award.   He has a passion for science and technology, and in addition to inventing, he also competed in FIRST LEGO League robotics and teaches robotics workshops to local area youth in his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

First, preview the vocabulary below.  Then do the exercise by first reading a single question and then listening for the answer.  When you hear the answer, pause the video and answer the question.  Then read the next question and do the same thing.  If you get the answer wrong, then go back to where the answer is given and listen again.

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freeking out:  panicking (idiom)
littered:  with garbage everywhere
Styrofoam:  a brand name for expanded polystyrene foam
landfill:  the place where garbage goes
degrade:  turn back into dirt
accumulations:  large amounts
contaminated:  impure, unclean, poisonous
nonrenewable:  cannot be made into something useful
feasible:  capable of being done, possible
viable:  practical, useful
ordinances:  local laws
insulating:  protecting from heat or cold
repercussions:  results, effects
hypothesized:  formed a theory
activated carbon:  a form of carbon (C) that absorbs tiny bad things
micropores:  very tiny holes
literally:  as the words truly mean
vaporized:  turned into gas
exploded:  expanded with great force and noise
gave up:  stopped trying (idiom)
persevere:  continue trying
inspired:  made to want to work harder
funding:  money to support the work
patent:  legal protection of an invention

Common flowers

Here is a list of the most common flowers that you will find at a florist.


Its botanical name is hippeastrum.  It’s a bulbous plant native to South America from Argentina to Mexico and the Caribbean.  These flowers can bloom indoors in the winter months.

botanical:  scientific    bulbous:  from a bulb
native to:  originally growing in    bloom:  produce a flower


They are also known as Michaelmas daisies.  They are native to North American and Eurasia.  They are popular as garden plants.  The name comes from the Greek word “star” because of the shape of the flower.



Bird of paradise:

It’s botanical name is strelitzia.  They are native to southern Africa.  They bloom all year long.





These flowers are native to the tropical Americas.  They can store water in their leaves.

tropical:  warm and wet




Its botanical name is Ranunculus.  They bloom in the spring and can continue all summer long.





Its botanical name is dianthus caryophyllus.  This flower is native to the Mediterranean region.  It has a nice fragrance.

region:  area
fragrance:  smell



They are also called mums.  These flowers are native to Asia and northeastern Europe.  They are traditionally yellow but can also be white, purple and red.

traditionally:  mostly in its history



Its botanical name is centaurea cyanus.  It is native to Europe.  It blooms all summer long.




These flowers grow all over the world and are among the first flowers in the spring.  They are mostly dark purple, light purple, yellow or white.




Its botanical name is narcissus.  It is one of the earliest spring flowers.  The flowers are a trumpet shape and come in white, yellow, orange or pink.

trumpet:  narrow on one side and opening wide on the other



This flower is native to Mexico.  It comes in most colors but not blue.




Its botanical name is asteraceae.  There are over 32,000 species of this flower, including the aster and sunflower.

species:  different kinds



Its botanical name is digitalis.  This flower is native to southwestern Europe, western and central Asia and northwestern Africa.  It comes in purple, pink, white and yellow.

it comes in:  its colors are



This flower is native to Asia, Mediterranean Europe, South Africa and tropical Africa.  They come in red, orange, pink, light purple, cream and white.





These flowers are native to warm-temperate, subtropical and tropical regions of the world.  They come in white, pink, red, orange, peach, yellow and purple.

temperate:  not too hot, not too cold
subtropical:  next to tropical areas



Its botanical name is hyacinthus.  This is a bulbous plant native to the eastern Mediterranean region.  It is very fragrant and comes in red, blue, white, orange, pink, violet and yellow.




It’s also called touch-me-not.  This flower is found throughout the Northern Hemisphere and the tropics.

throughout:  everywhere in
tropics:  tropical regions



Its name comes from the Greek word for rainbow because of the many colors of this flower. It’s found in temperate Northern Hemisphere areas.  They are mostly purple and blue but can also be yellow, pink, orange and white.

Northern Hemisphere:  the top half of the earth


Its botanical name is lavandula.  It is native to Europe, the Mediterranean region, southwest Asia and India.




Its botanical name is lilium.  It is a bulbous plant native to the temperate Northern Hemisphere.  Lilies are among the most popular flowers in the U.S.  Lilies are lovely smelling and come in many unique colors.

lovely smelling:  with a nice smell    unique:  not common


Its botanical name is nelumbo nucifera.  This water plant is native to tropical Asia and Queensland, Australia.  A single lotus can live for over 1000 years.





Its botanical name is tagetes.  It is native to North and South America.  They come in golden, orange, yellow and white colors.



Morning glory:

Its botanical name is convolvulaceae.  The flower opens up in the early morning and closes at night.  The flowers grow along a vine.

vine:  very long stem




Its botanical name is orchidaceae.  There are about 28,000 species of this flower.





Its botanical name is viola.  It is native to Europe and western Asia.





Petunias are native to South America.  Its showy trumpet-shaped flowers make it popular for summer flower beds and window boxes.  They come in blue, purple, pink, red and white.




Its botanical name is paeonia.  It is native to Asia, Europe and western North America.  These flowers bloom in late spring and early summer.  They are often fragrant and come in a range of colors from purple red to white or yellow.



Its botanical name is papaveraceae.  They grow in temperate regions and bloom from spring into early summer.





Its botanical name is primulaceae.  These flowers bloom in early spring and last all summer.  They come in white, cream, yellow, orange, red, pink purple and blue.



This flower is native to Asia, Europe, North America and northwestern Africa.  There are over a hundred species of this flower.  The colors range from white through yellows and reds.




Its botanical name is antirrhinum.  They are also called dragon flowers.  These flowers are native to rocky areas of Europe, the United States and North Africa.




Its botanical name is galanthus.  It is a bulbous plant that blooms in late winter.  This flower is native to Europe and the Middle East.





Its botanical name is helianthus.  This flower is native to North America.  The young plant turns to face the sun, but after the flower blooms, it stops and faces east.




Sweet William:

Its botanical name is dianthus barbatus.  It is native to southern Europe and parts of Asia.  They come in white, pink, red and purple colors or combinations of these.

combinations:  more than one color together



This flower is native to Europe, Asia and north Africa.  This bulbous plant blooms in early spring.  It comes in many colors except pure blue.




Its botanical name is violaceae.  These flowers are found in the temperate Northern Hemisphere.  They come in various shades of blue, yellow, white and cream.  The flowers last through the spring and summer.

various:  lots of different
shades:  different colors


This flower is native to the southwestern United States to South America.  They bloom in the summertime.  They come in white, yellowish green, yellow, orange, red and purple.

Level 3 verbs – Unit 09

adapt: to make changes when things around you change
He found it hard to adapt to his new job, so he quit after two weeks.
Immigrants have to adapt to a new language and culture.

blend:  to mix together
To make this mocha, she blends dark-roasted coffee with Swiss chocolate.
Oil and water don’t blend well because the oil floats on top of the water.

commend:  to praise, approve, admire
I want to commend you on your win in last Sunday’s poker game.
Although he wasn’t successful, everyone commended him for his effort.

depict:  to describe, represent in words or pictures
The novel depicts a young family’s survival in the old west.
On the wall was a mural depicting homeless people.

endure:  to continue to exist, to last
How much pain can one person endure?
The words in the Constitution will endure forever.

grin:  to make a big smile showing teeth
It’s not a good idea to grin at a bear.
I knew he was teasing because he was grinning.

inspire:  to motivate, influence in a positive way
Terry Fox inspired many people to give to cancer research.
Her grandmother inspired her to become a doctor.

manipulate:  to unfairly influence (someone) to get what you want
She manipulated her parents into agreeing to send her to summer camp.
He knows how to manipulate his parents into giving him money.

pierce:  to make a hole or opening in (someone / something)
The child pierced the balloon with scissors.
The arrow pierced his heart, killing him instantly.

prosecute:  to take (someone) to court for a wrongdoing
Shoplifters will be prosecuted.
His company prosecuted him for stealing money.

reinforce:  to make stronger by adding something
The building was reinforced against earthquakes five years ago.
The general decided to reinforce the third brigade on the front lines.

stimulate:  to encourage someone to do something
The government lowered interest rates to stimulate the economy.
He says that alcohol stimulates his creativity.

unify:  to make or become a single unit, unite
The two motorcycle clubs voted to unify.
Many people believe this leader will unify their political party.

venture:  to do something risky
He ventured into the stock market in his early twenties.
Although he had a bicycle, he never ventured outside his neighborhood.

wiggle:  to move quickly from side to side
The shoes were so tight she couldn’t wiggle her toes.
Her father wiggled her tooth and told her she would lose it in a couple of days.

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Sleeping on your left side

from the website Natural Cures.

First, preview the vocabulary below.  Then watch the video and read the text at the same time.  You can read either on-screen or below.  It’s your choice.


affect:  make a change in (something)
boost:  make better
digestion:  the body’s system that makes use of the food you eat/
digestive:  having to do with your body’s making use of the food you eat.
sleep apnea:  a condition where you stop breathing for a short time
asthma:  a condition where you can’t breathe well
while:  but
holistic medicine:  a system of medical treatment for the whole body, not just one part
lymphatic:  having to do with the movement in the body of a clear fluid called lymph.
toxins:  poisons from the environment
thoracic duct:  the main pipeline of the lymphatic system
node:  a knot-like mass of tissue
bolsters:  makes (it) work better
Ayurvedic:  of the ancient Hindu art of medicine
break down:  make into smaller, harmless pieces
intestine:  the lower part of the digestive system
colon:  the bottom part of the digestive system
bowel movement:  waste food exiting the body
pancreas:  the gland that puts a digestive fluid into the intestine
pancreatic enzymes:  digestive fluids produced by the pancreas
pregnant:  having a baby growing inside
circulation:  the movement of blood throughout the body
drainage:  slow removal
aortic:  from the left part of the heart
uterus:  the part of a woman’s body where a baby grows
liver:  the organ in the body that makes chemicals and drugs harmless
kidneys:  the organs that remove waste from the blood
fetus:  the tiny baby inside the uterus
heartburn:  a burning sensation in your stomach
acid reflux:  a condition in which stomach acid comes up
chronic:  happening all the time
switch:  change
spine:  backbone
flip:  turn over
dim:  very little light
glaucoma:  abnormally high fluid pressure in the eye
carpal tunnel syndrome:  a painful disorder of the wrist and hand

Everyone knows how important sleep is for keeping in good physical and mental health.  However, how long you sleep is just as important as the way you sleep.  The position you sleep in can affect your health, help keep your skin looking young, and boost your digestive health.  There are a few ways you can sleep – on your front, your back, your left side, and your right side – and they all affect your health.  Sleeping on the back can be harmful for people with sleep apnea or asthma because it can make it harder to breathe.  Sleeping on the right side is likely to make digestive problems worse, while sleeping on the left side may boost digestion.  Sleeping on the left side is believed to greatly boost health and even save lives.  In holistic medicine, the left side of the body is the controlling lymphatic side, and while you’re sleeping on this side, your body will have more time to filter toxins, lymph fluid, and waste through the thoracic duct and the lymph nodes.

Here are six ways sleeping on your left side is good for your health.

1.  It bolsters the lymphatic system 

Ayurvedic medicine says that sleeping on your left side lets your body better filter lymph fluid and waste through the lymph nodes.  This is because the left side of our body is the stronger lymphatic side.  Western studies also found that sleeping on the left side can help the body break down waste materials from the brain.  However, sleeping on the right side can lower the lymphatic system’s power.

2.  It may improve digestion.

When it comes to digestion, sleeping on the left side may be better than the right because of gravity.  Lying on the left side lets food waste easily move from the large intestine into the lower colon, meaning you’re more likely to have a bowel movement when you wake up.  Sleeping on the left side lets the stomach and pancreas hang naturally because our stomach lies on the left side of the body.  This can make sure the body keeps creating pancreatic enzymes and will help other digestive processes.

3.  It is good for your heart.

Doctors advise that pregnant women sleep on their left side to boost circulation to the heart.  Even if you’re not pregnant or a woman, sleeping on the left side may help take some weight off the heart.  Gravity can help lymph drainage toward the heart and aortic circulation away from the heart.

4.  It’s ideal for pregnant women.

Sleeping on the left side doesn’t only boost pregnant women’s circulation.  It can also ease weight on the back, keep the uterus from squeezing the liver, and raise blood flow to the uterus, kidneys, and fetus.  For this reason, doctors tell pregnant women to spend as much of their sleep time as possible on their left sides.

5.  It may reduce heartburn.

A study written in The Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology found that lying on the left side can help lower acid reflux signs.  This is because our stomach lies on the left side.  Lying on the right side may worsen these signs.  The help comes very fast.  If you’re feeling heartburn after a meal, try lying down on your left side for ten minutes.

6.  It may relieve back pain.

People with chronic back pain may feel a little better if they switch to sleeping on their left side.  That is because sleeping on your side can ease weight on the spine.  Feeling more comfortable will raise your chances of getting a good night’s sleep.

If you usually sleep on your back, your front or your right side, you may wonder how to break that habit and start sleeping on your left side.  It will take some time and practice, but you will be able to quickly train your body to sleep in this position.  Here are some tips.  You can try lying on your left side and press a full-length body pillow up against your back.  The pillow will stop you from rolling over during the night.  Try switching the side of the bed you sleep on.  This will make it easier for you to flip to your other side and have the same great sleep.  Another trick is to keep a dim light lit on your right side because your body will naturally want to turn away from the light while you sleep.  It will make it easier for you to sleep on your left side.  Try these small changes as soon as you can.  They will make you sleep better and lead you to better health.

It is important to note that some people, like those with heart disease, sleep apnea, glaucoma and carpal tunnel syndrome, may not get help from sleeping on their left sides.  If you’re not sure about what sleep position would be best for you, it is always a good idea to ask a doctor.

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Noun clauses

A noun clause is a group of words that serves as a subject or an object of a verb or as an object of a preposition.  It is composed of a marker, a subject, and a verb.


Why she was late was not important.  [noun clause subject]
I don’t believe that we’ve met.  [noun clause object]
People judge others by what they do.  [noun clause object of a preposition]

If a noun clauses comes from a statement, it uses the marker that.


The world is round.  (statement)
They don’t believe that the world is round.  (noun clause object)

NOTE:  You can drop the marker that when the noun clause is an object.
They don’t believe the world is round.  (noun clause object)

NOTE:  You cannot drop that when the noun clause is a subject.
That the world is round is a fact.  (noun clause subject)

More examples:

I knew that she had forgotten your name.   (noun clause object)
He told me that you were going to be late.  (noun clause object)
That his parents are divorced is well known.  (noun clause subject)

If a noun clause comes from an information question, it uses the marker that is the same question word as in the question: who, what, where, when, why, and how.

NOTE:  There is no inversion of the subject and verb.


Who is she?  (information question)

• there is an inversion of the verb (she) and the subject (she))
I don’t know who she is.  (noun clause object)
• there is no inversion. The subject (she) is before the verb (is.))

What did she say?  (information question)
What she said is a lie.  (noun clause subject)

Where do they live?  (information question)
Could you please tell me where they live.  (noun clause object)

When does the game start?  (information question)
They can’t remember when the game starts.  (noun clause object)

Why didn’t he call me?  (information question)
Why he didn’t call me is not important.  (noun clause subject)

How will I know?  (information question)
How I’ll know is by reading the article.  (noun clause subject)

If a noun clause comes from a yes/no question, it uses the marker if.  It can also use the marker whether, but whether is more commonly used with or not.  Sometimes if is also used with or not, but never together.


Do they need any help?  (yes/no question)
I wonder if they need any help.
I wonder if they need any help or not.
I wonder whether they need any help.
I wonder whether or not they need any help.
I wonder whether they need any help or not.

WRONG:  I wonder if or not they need any help.
(or not cannot be used right after if)

Only whether can be used if the noun clause is a subject


Whether we’re having a picnic depends on the weather.
Whether or not we’re having a picnic depends on the weather.
Whether we’re having a picnic or not depends on the weather.

Whether it will rain tomorrow is anybody’s guess.
Whether or not it will rain tomorrow is anybody’s guess.
Whether it will rain tomorrow or not is anybody’s guess.

More examples:

We’re not sure if they will be able to help.
We’re not sure if they will be able to help or not.
We’re not sure whether they will be able to help.
We’re not sure whether or not they will be able to help.
We’re not sure whether they will be able to help or not.

I’d like to know if there is something good on TV tonight.
I’d like to know if there is something good on TV tonight or not.
I’d like to know whether there is something good on TV tonight.
I’d like to know whether or not there is something good on TV tonight.
I’d like to know whether there is something good on TV tonight or not.

To review:

Noun clauses that come from statements use the marker that.

Noun clauses that come from information questions use the markers: who, what, where, when, why and how.

Noun clauses that come from yes/no questions use the markers if and whether (or not).

Study this page and when you think you’re ready, do the following exercise.

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Idioms of love

Happy love expressions:

Soul mate:  a person who is a perfect match for someone
• I think I’ve finally found my soul mate.

To be crazy about (someone):  to be so in love with someone that you can’t stop thinking of them
• John is crazy about Alicia.

To be head over heals for (someone):   (same definition as above)
ALSO: To be head over heals in love with (someone)
• John is head over heals for Alicia.
• John is head over heals in love with Alicia.

To get serious:  to take a relationship to a more committed level of love
• Sue told me she‘s getting serious about Paul.

To have a crush on (someone):  to be secretly in love with someone (usually teenagers)
ALSO:  To have got a crush on (someone)
• She has a crush on her piano teacher.
• She‘s got a crush on her piano teacher.

To hit it off:  to meet someone and really like each other immediately
• I introduced my roommate to my sister, and they hit it off right away.

To make up with (someone):  to forgive (someone) after a breakup
• Joe made up with Judy over the weekend, so they’re back together again.
ALSO:  To make up:  To forgive each other after a breakup.
• Joe and Judy made up over the weekend, so they’re back together again.
ALSO:  To take someone back:  to let someone be your lover again.
• Joe apologized, so Judy took him back.

To pop the question:  to ask someone to marry you
• My brother popped the question last night to his girlfriend, and she said yes.

Unhappy love expressions:

To dump (someone):  to tell someone that you no longer want a relationship with them
• After three months she dumped him.

To break up (with someone):  To end a relationship (with a lover)
• David and Annette broke up last week, so they’re not coming to the party.

To break someone’s heart:  to cause someone who loves you to feel sad
• She broke his heart when she left him for another man.
ALSO:  To have a broken heart:  to feel sad about a lover leaving you
• After she left him, he had a broken heart.
ALSO:  To suffer from a broken heart
• We’d better leave him alone tonight.  He‘s suffering from a broken heart.
ALSO:  (Someone’s) heart was broken
• When he saw her with another man, his heart was broken.

To brush someone off:  to give an excuse not to see someone
• Every time I ask her for a date, she brushes me off.

To cheat (on someone):  to have a second lover
• He cheated on her, and that’s why they broke up.
ALSO:  To have an affair (with someone):
• She had an affair with her boss.
ALSO: A cheater:  a person who has another lover
• She knows he is a cheater, but she took him back anyway.

To split up:  To stop seeing each other
• Joanne and her new boyfriend split up because he couldn’t dance.

To stand someone up:   to not show up for a date with someone
• I’m home early because she stood me up.
ALSO:  To be stood up:  someone not showing up for a date with you
• I’m home early because I was stood up.

To turn someone down:  to refuse to go on a date with someone
• He tried to make a date with her, but she turned him down.

Neutral love expressions:

A blind date:  a date with someone you’ve never seen before
• I’d better go home and get ready for my blind date tonight.

A double date:  a date with your lover and another couple
• Let’s go on a double date with Bruce and Barb this Saturday night.

To fix someone up:  to get someone else a date with someone
• My cousin’s coming to visit, and I thought I’d fix her up with my best friend.

To ask someone out:  to invite someone on a date
• You know that cute girl in math class?  I think I’m going to ask her out.

To chat someone up:  to speak to someone so they start to like you
• I know you’re shy, but just go over there and chat her up and see what happens.

Study the above expressions, and when you think you’re ready, do the following exercise.

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Lecture (Level 4) – The jobs we’ll lose to machines and the ones we won’t

by Anthony Goldbloom, the co-founder and CEO of Kaggle, which is a community of over 600,000 data scientists who find solutions to difficult problems.  In 2011 and 2012, Forbes Magazine named him one of the 30 under 30 in technology, and in 2013 the MIT Tech Review named him one of the top 35 innovators under the age of 35.

First preview the vocabulary below.  Then do the exercise by first reading a single question and then listening for the answer.  When you hear the answer, pause the video and answer the question.  Then read the next question and do the same thing.  If you get the answer wrong, then go back to where the answer is given and listen again.


dramatically:  very very big
concluded:  discovered, found out
automated:  made automatic, not needing humans
disruption:  great change
data:  information
mimic:  copy, do the same things
the cutting edge:  the very best in technology (idiom)
industry:  manufacturers
academia:  universities and technical institutes
unique:  one and only, not shared by others
perspective:  understanding
tasks:  jobs, pieces of work
assessing:  finding out the value (of something)
zip codes:  numbers for sections of the country
breakthroughs:  discoveries no one has made before
complex:  difficult
algorithm:  a series of “if A, then B” statements in a computer program
grade:  to give a mark (A, B+, B, B-, C+, C, etc.) to
challenge:  problem
diagnose:  find out which disease (someone has)
ophthalmologists:  eye doctors
essays:  writings by students
competing:  trying to win
high volume:  with lots of data
novel:  new, never seen before
fundamental:  basic
limitation:  weakness, inability
disparate:  basically different
physicist:  a scientist who studies physics (science of matter, energy, motion and force)
magnetron:  a device that creates very short radio waves
cross-pollination:  the sharing of knowledge between different sciences and technologies
extent:  level, degree, amount (how big, how much?)
frequent:  happening often
litigation:  lawsuits (court cases where one party may have to pay the other party)
shrink:  make smaller
ranks:  numbers of workers
marketing campaign:  a series of advertisements created to sell something
business strategy:  what needs to be done to make a business successful

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Expressions with animals

In English we use a lot of expressions with animals because we think certain characteristics go with certain animals.  Here is a list of the most common of these expressions.


A copy cat (n.):  someone who does the same thing as someone else
That was my idea.  You’re just a copy cat.

A fraidy-cat (n.):  someone who is easily frightened
My little sister is a fraidy-cat.

Cat got your tongue?:  Don’t you have anything to say?
What’s the matter?  Cat got your tongue?

Cat nap (n.):  a short sleep
I had a cat nap this afternoon, so I should be okay for this evening.

Curiosity killed the cat:  being too nosy may get you into trouble
We all want to know why, but remember curiosity killed the cat.
(Yes, but satisfaction brought him back.)

Let the cat out of the bag:  tell a secret
My sister let the cat out of the bag and told my mother about the surprise party.

Raining cats and dogs:  raining heavily
It’s raining cats and dogs, so let’s stay inside today.


Dog days of summer (n.):  hot days when no one wants to work
These are the dog days of summer and I feel like doing nothing at all.

In the dog house (prep. phrase):  in a lot of trouble with another person
I forgot our anniversary, and now I’m in the dog house.

Let sleeping dogs lie:  not make trouble if one doesn’t have to
Don’t tell the boss about his problem.  Just let sleeping dogs lie.

Top dog (n.):  most important person in an organization
My brother is top dog in his sales department.

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks:  It’s hard to get people to change their habits
I tried to get my grandmother to use Skype, but you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.


A lame duck (n.):  a person who can’t function because he’s at the end of his term
Obama wasn’t able to do anything after the election because he was a lame duck president

A wild goose chase:  a hopeless attempt to get something
I went to several stores to try to find my favorite lipstick, but it was a wild goose chase.

As the crow flies (prep. phrase):  the shortest distance
As the crow flies, the nearest town is 50 kilometers away.

Birds of a feather flock together:  similar people hang out together
All the tekkies eat lunch together because, as we all know, birds of a feather flock together.

Chicken out (v.):  to be too afraid to do something
He was going to ask her to the school dance, but he chickened out.

Cold turkey (n.):  without the help of medication
My friend George quit cigarettes cold turkey.

Kill two birds with one stone (v):  get two things done at the same time
You can kill two birds with one stone by having both birthday parties at the same time and in the same place.

Swan song (n.):  a final act or performance before dying or retirement
She’s an almost 35-year-old ballerina, so this performance may be her swan song.

Watch something like a hawk:  to watch intensely and for a long time
You’d better watch him like a hawk, or he’ll make a mistake we can’t fix.


A dark horse (n.):  a person unknown to the general public
John Stewart is a dark horse in the next election, but he could win.

Change horses in midstream:  make new plans when one is in the middle of doing old plans
We already decided to get a motel outside of San Francisco, so let’s not change horses in midstream.

Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth:  don’t complain if a gift isn’t perfect
If I were you I would accept his help.  Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.

Get off one’s high horse:  not think one is better than other people
I know she hurt you, but get off your high horse.  You’re not perfect either.

Horse around (v.):  play in a rough way
When we’re gone tonight I don’t want you and your brother to horse around.

Put the cart before the horse:  do things in the wrong order
Planning your wedding date before he’s asked you to marry him is putting the cart before the horse.

Straight from the horse’s mouth (prep. phrase):  directly from the original source
I didn’t make it up, I heard it straight from the horse’s mouth.

You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink:  you can give someone an opportunity but you can’t force them to take it
She missed another job interview that I set up for her.  That just shows you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.


Rat on someone (v.):  report someone’s bad behavior to someone in authority
He ratted on his friend, and the police came and arrested him.

Rat race (n.):  strong competition for power, money
I think he’s ready to leave the rat race and retire to northern California.

Smell a rat:  feel that someone or something is not truthful
I smell a rat.  I think someone on the committee is trying to make it difficult for the president.


In a pig’s eye:  I don’t believe you
In a pig’s eye!  There’s no way you won every game you played.

Pig out (v.):  eat a lot
I pigged out at the party, and now I feel a little sick.

A road hog (n.):  a driver who uses more than his share of the road
Go around that road hog, or we’re going to be late.


A lone wolf (n.):  a person who prefers to be alone
My brother is kind of a lone wolf.  He has come home only a couple times in the last ten years.

A wolf in sheep’s clothing (n.):  a bad person who pretends to be good
Don’t be fooled by Peter’s kindness.  He’s really a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Cry wolf (v.):  give a false alarm
She cried wolf too many times, and no one came to save her this time.


A bull in a china shop (n.):  a very clumsy person
Don’t let your son run around the store.  He’s like a bull in a china shop.

A cash cow (n.):  a business that makes a lot of money
That gold mine in the Yukon is a cash cow.

A sacred cow (n.):  something highly regarded and not open to criticism
Government pensions used to be a sacred cow, but now the public is demanding change.

Take the bull by the horns (v.):  be responsible and do something
Rather than wait for something to happen, I think you should take the bull by the horns and do something.


A busy bee (n.):  someone who is busy all the time
She’s such a busy bee she doesn’t have time to go for coffee.

A fly in the ointment (n.):  a small problem that could effect the whole thing
I know we need to get permission first, but that’s only a fly in the ointment.

A fly on the wall (n.):  able to hear someone’s conversation
I would to be a fly on the wall and hear that conversation.

Ants in one’s pants (n.):  very restless or excited about something
Before an exam I always get ants in my pants.

Make a beeline for (v.):  go directly to
As soon as he got home, he made a beeline for the bathroom.


A fish out of water (n.):  very uncomfortable in a particular situation or environment
I feel like a fish out of water in my new job.

A kettle of fish (n.):  an awkward, difficult or bad situation
After the chairperson quit, it left the rest of us in a kettle of fish.

A red herring (n.):  something that misleads and takes attention away from the important issue
I think the missing money is just a red herring.  There’s a bigger problem here.

Something smells fishy:  It feels like something is wrong
I don’t know if I want to invest in his idea.  Something smells fishy.


A paper tiger (n.):  someone who appears to have power but who does not
Don’t pay much attention to my grandfather.  He’s a paper tiger.

An eager beaver (n.):  someone who is excited about doing something
You’re lucky as a teacher.  It seems like you have a classroom of eager beavers.

As stubborn as a mule:  very stubborn, unwilling to change one’s mind
I tried to convince her to come with us, but she’s as stubborn as a mule.

Black sheep of the family (n.):  a person who is unlike everyone else
My older brother has always been the black sheep of the family.

Elephant in the room (n.):  a topic that everyone’s thinking about but nobody is talking about
After she lost her baby, no one wanted to talk about the elephant in the room.

Get the lion’s share (v.):  get more than one’s fair share
Because he’s the oldest, my brother gets the lions share of attention from our parents.

Guinea pig (n.):  a person who is tested to see if something works
I don’t want to be your guinea pig, so no, I don’t want you to give me a haircut.

Monkey business (n.):  mischief, unethical behavior
We’ll be back home at 11:00, and I don’t want any monkey business while we’re gone.

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You Gotta Be (Love Will Save the Day)

by Des’ree, whose full name is Desiree Annette Weeks, a British singer and songwriter of the 1990s and early 2000s.  This song, which was cowritten with her producer Ashley Ingram, is from her second album I Ain’t Movin’, released in 1994.

Listen as your day unfolds, challenge what the future holds
Try and keep your head up to the sky
Lovers, they may cause you tears, go ahead release your fears
Stand up and be counted, don’t be ashamed to cry

You gotta be
You gotta be bad, you gotta be bold, you gotta be wiser
You gotta be hard, you gotta be tough, you gotta be stronger
You gotta be cool, you gotta be calm, you gotta stay together
All I know, all I know, love will save the day

Herald what your mother said, read the books your father read
Try to solve the puzzles in your own sweet time
Some may have more cash than you, others take a different view
My oh my, heh, hey

You gotta be bad, you gotta be bold, you gotta be wiser
You gotta be hard, you gotta be tough, you gotta be stronger
You gotta be cool, you gotta be calm, you gotta stay together
All I know, all I know, love will save the day

Life asks no questions, it goes on without you
Leaving you behind if you can’t stand the pace
The world keeps on spinning, you can’t stop it, if you try to
This time it’s danger staring you in the face

Remember, listen as your day unfolds, challenge what the future holds
Try and keep your head up to the sky
Lovers, they may cause you tears, go ahead release your fears
My oh my, heh, hey, hey

You gotta be bad, you gotta be bold, you gotta be wiser
You gotta be hard, you gotta be tough, you gotta be stronger
You gotta be cool, you gotta be calm, you gotta stay together
All I know, all I know, love will save the day

You gotta be bad, you gotta be bold, you gotta be wiser
You gotta be hard, you gotta be tough, you gotta be stronger
You gotta be cool, you gotta be calm, you gotta stay together
All I know, all I know, love will save the day

Got to be bold, got to be bad
Got to be wise, not ever sad
Got to be hard, not too too hard
All I know love will save the day

You gotta be bad, you gotta be bold, you gotta be wiser
You gotta be hard, you gotta be tough, you gotta be stronger
You gotta be cool, you gotta be calm, you gotta stay together


unfolds:  happens over time
challenge:  don’t accept
release:  let go of, don’t keep
be counted:  be known for who you are
ashamed:  embarrassed
gotta:  have got to, must
bold:  brave
wiser:  smarter
tough:  unable to be hurt
cool:  unemotional, not letting things bother you
stay together:  not become crazy
herald:  repeat
puzzles:  problems, difficulties
cash:  money
goes on:  continues (idiom)
pace:  speed, quickness
spinning:  turning round and round
staring:  looking at for a long time