Pokémon Go

Coffee Break: 10 Expressions About… Pokémon Go

It’s been a bit more than one month since the Pokemon Go craze has taken over the planet. You may have seen people walking down the streets frantically, their eyes glued to their smartphone screens, sometimes at their own risk. The app is undoubtedly a huge success and we couldn’t let this trend go on any further without adding 10 new expressions to your vocabulary:

  1. addicted (adjective): enthusiastically devoted to a particular thing or activity
    Ex: Since he downloaded the app two days ago, my friend has been playing Pokémon Go nonstop; he is addicted to this game.

  1. augmented reality (noun): a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user’s view of the real world
    Ex: Pokemon Go uses location-based services and augmented reality to make Pokémon appear on the screen as though you are traveling through Pokémon World.

  1. stampede (noun): a situation in which a lot of people try to do the same thing at the same time
    Ex: When Pokémon Go players saw a very rare Pokémon spawn on the map, everyone started running toward it, which caused a stampede.

  1. glitch (noun): a sudden, usually temporary malfunction or irregularity of equipment
    Ex: A glitch of the app has caused the in-game Pokémon tracking mechanism to break down entirely.

  1. hunt (noun): a search; a seeking or endeavor to find.
    Ex: A group of Pokémon Go enthusiasts went on an 11-hour-long hunt around the city to catch a rare Pokémon.

  1. to level up (verb): to increase or improve something
    Ex: Pokémon Go players can level up by training and battling at gyms to improve their skills.

  1. ability (noun): talent, skill or proficiency in a particular area
    Ex: Pikachu’s first ability is static, which means he can paralyze his opponents by surrounding them with yellow static electricity in an attack.

  1. landmark (noun): a building or place that was important in history; a feature of a landscape or town that is easily recognized
    Ex: I love Pokémon Go! It is like a tourist guide to attractions and landmarks around the city that I never knew existed.

  1. quest (noun): a journey made in search of something
    Ex: The app has the world roaming their cities on a quest to catch Pokémon.

  1. feature (noun): a noticeable or important characteristic or part
    Ex: The company that developed Pokémon Go has already announced 11 new features to diversify the game and improve the overall user experience.

Are you ready to pursue your very own quest? Become addicted to the Voxy app and learn as much vocabulary as you can! The good thing is, you won’t create a stampede if you stumble upon an unusual word. So, ready to “catch ’em all”?

Workers Reviewing Blueprints

10 Words for…Civil Engineering

In the engineering world, blueprints and measurements are straightforward. But even though numbers are universal, communicating on projects can present a challenge. Given the multicultural nature of our world today, language barriers often arise, which is why we’re here to help!

This blog series will explore the top 10 useful words for specific industries, so you can learn the English you can actually use in the real world. This week, we’re looking at some basic concepts and vocabulary words related to civil engineering.

1. hydraulics (noun): parts of a machine or system that use the pressure of water or other liquids to move or lift things

Ex. In order to design an efficient pipe system, the civil engineer applied his knowledge of hydraulics to move the water smoothly through the building.

2. blueprint (noun): a diagram or technical drawing

Ex. Jane looked at the blueprint to figure out the exact dimensions of the building.

3. sector (noun): a specific area of economic or commercial activity, categorized as either public or private

Ex. Engineers work in either the public or private sector, which means they are involved in projects for public government or private corporate purposes.

4. discipline (noun): area of specialization

Ex. Civil engineering is traditionally broken down into more detailed disciplines focusing on applications within architectural, environmental, structural and transportation fields.

5. competency (noun): the ability to do something successfully or efficiently

Ex. In an increasingly multicultural world, civil engineers must possess a global competency to collaborate with coworkers from diverse cultures.

6. structure (noun): something built or constructed, like a bridge, building or dam

Ex. The Leaning Tower of Pisa is an interesting structure because it manages to have strong foundational support despite being tilted off center.

7. maintenance (noun): the process of keeping a structure in good condition or in working order by repairing it regularly

Ex. With proper maintenance, the pipe system throughout the old building should last for several years.

8. license (noun): a permit from an authority to engage in an act

Ex. The zoning department gave the engineering firm a license to build the apartment complex in the neighborhood.

9. infrastructure (noun): basic physical and organizational structures, like buildings and roads, needed for society

Ex. After the hurricane, the engineering firm helped rebuild the plumbing and road infrastructure around the devastated community.

10. model (noun): a three-dimensional representation of a proposed structure

Ex. She showed the investors her model, a scaled down version of the redesigned corporate headquarters.

For additional practice with industry-specific terms in English, check out the Unit Catalog in your Voxy course for more work-related materials!

Rio Olympics 2016

Coffee break: 10 Expressions About… the 2016 Rio Olympics

Tomorrow, the opening ceremony of the 2016 Summer Olympics will take place at the Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It will mark the start of three weeks of intense competition when 10,500 athletes from more than 200 countries will be fighting for gold. Since the Olympics will be one of the hottest topics of conversation, we thought it would be useful for you to master some Olympics-related expressions:

1. sportsmanship (noun): being gracious in victory or loss
Ex: The players showed good sportsmanship by congratulating the winning team at the end of the game.

2. on a roll (phrase): in the middle of a series of success
Ex: After winning seven games in a row, the team was really on a roll.

3. trials (plural noun): national performance test to qualify for the Olympics
Ex: The trials for the Brazilian swimming team were held in April.

4. flagship event (noun): most important events of the competition
Ex: The 100m final is definitely one of the flagship events of the Olympics.

5. to blow the competition away (phrase): to win easily
Ex: Usain Bolt runs so fast that he blows the competition away at every race.

6. national anthem (noun): a patriotic song adopted by a country as the representation of its identity
Ex: The newly crowned Olympic champion held back his tears during his country’s national anthem.

7. media coverage (noun): the extent and ways in which an event is covered by the press
Ex: NBC Olympics will provide extensive media coverage of the Paralympics with 116 hours of airtime.

8. to be disqualified (verb): when someone breaks the rules and is eliminated for that reason
Ex: Seven Russian swimmers have been disqualified from the Rio de Janeiro Olympics for past doping penalties.

9. retain a title (phrase): win the same title several times in a row
Ex: In 1968, Wyomia Tyus became the first woman to retain an Olympic title in the 100 meter event for the second time.

10. break a record (phrase): surpass a previous achievement
Ex: In 2016, Renaud Lavillenie broke the world record in pole vault with a 6.16m leap.

If you’re feeling competitive after reading this article, try breaking your own personal record by spending more time on your Voxy account. You may not win a gold medal, but you will see major improvements in your English skills!


Idioms of the Week: Money

Learning English as a second language is hard enough, but it can be especially difficult when you run into idioms in casual conversation that don’t mean what they seem. In this weekly series, we’re breaking down common English expressions that are used in everyday conversation, so you’ll be able to expand your language skills and have fun with new English phrases.

Today, we’re keeping to the theme of money, so you’ll be able to clear up your confusion over which expressions actually refer to situations involving the bank!

1. a dime a dozen (noun phrase): used to describe something very common or easily acquired

Ex. Romantic movies are a dime a dozen in movie theaters now, each one with predictable plotlines and happy endings.

2. from rags to riches (noun phrase): a situation where a person rises from poverty to wealth

Ex. Samantha went from rags to riches overnight when she won the multimillion dollar lottery.

3. on the other side of the coin (noun phrase): a different and opposite view of a situation previously talked about

Ex. The house has a beautiful backyard, but on the other side of the coin, it is in the middle of nowhere.

4. a penny for your thoughts (noun phrase): to ask what someone is thinking about, or ask for someone’s opinion

Ex. Penny for your thoughts?” Jack asked Jen when he noticed she was silent for the entire meeting.

5. my two cents (noun phrase): to give one’s opinion

Ex. Anna put her two cents worth in about the new color scheme for the office.

6. to cost an arm and a leg (verb phrase): used to describe something very expensive

Ex. The designer purse cost an arm and a leg.

7. to be born with a silver spoon in one’s mouth (verb phrase): used negatively to describe someone who has come from generations of wealth

Ex. He was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, so he doesn’t have to worry about working full-time after college graduation.

8. saving for a rainy day (verb phrase): to keep money for the future, especially for an emergency

Ex. Every month, they transferred a set amount of money into their savings account to save for a rainy day.  

9. money talks (noun phrase): used negatively to describe how money can be used to influence one’s actions or make things happen

Ex. There is no clearer evidence that money talks than how congressional representatives’ opinions are easily swayed by the small fee of $30,000.

10. penny pinching (noun phrase): the practice of trying to spend as little money as possible

Ex. After John had to unexpectedly repair the leaking pipes in his attic, he resorted to penny pinching to save for his new winter coat.

Try using these idioms the next time you practice your English skills. You’ll find yourself using them more naturally in conversation in no time!


10 Words for…Basic Medicine

Working in the healthcare industry can be immensely rewarding, but navigating day-to-day language barriers can be a challenge. With medical practices varying from country to country, aligning with rich cultural traditions, it can be hard to keep up. That’s why we’re here to help! This blog series will explore the top 10 useful words for specific industries, so you can learn the English you can actually use in the real world. This week, we’re looking at some basic concepts and vocabulary words in the medical industry.

1. allergy (noun): a damaging immune response by the body to a substance to which it has become hypersensitive

Ex. Jane discovered she had an allergy to almonds after she broke out in hives.

2. insurance (noun): an arrangement where a government or company provides guaranteed compensation for illness in return for payment

Ex. John’s insurance company paid for the entire medical procedure.

3. outbreak (noun): the sudden start of something bad (especially a disease or violence)

Ex. There was a cholera outbreak in the country due to poor sanitation conditions and contaminated water.

4. prescription (noun): instruction written by a medical practitioner that authorizes dosage of a specific medicine

Ex. The doctor gave Susan a prescription for pills to relieve her back pain.

5. medical history (noun): record of past events and circumstances that are or may be relevant to a patient’s current state of health

Ex. At his doctor’s appointment, John mentioned he had a medical history of diabetes in his family.

6. co-pay (noun): a separate payment made by a patient for health services in addition to money covered by one’s insurance

Ex. Although John’s insurance covered his medical procedure, he still had to pay a co-pay to his doctor for her time.

7. dosage (noun): the amount of a medicine, drug, or vitamin that should be taken at one time or regularly during a period of time

Ex. The doctor increased her dosage of the medication after she reported feeling intense pain.

8. infection (noun): a disease caused by bacteria entering the body

Ex. Melanie caught a throat infection from drinking contaminated water.

9. diagnose (verb): to identify an illness by examining a patient’s symptoms

Ex. He diagnosed the boy’s red rashes and itchiness as chicken pox.

10. hospice (noun): a facility or program providing medical care to the terminally ill

Ex. When Jill was diagnosed with cancer, she entered a hospice program to get the treatment she needed.

For additional practice with industry-specific terms in English, check out the Unit Catalog in your Voxy course for more work-related materials!