US Elections_White House

Coffee Break: 10 Expressions About… The U.S. Elections

Whether you’re on your coffee break at the office, talking with friends or reading the newspaper, we encounter situations every day where topic-specific vocabulary is used. And when you don’t know the language, it can be really difficult to participate in the conversation! When the topic switches to recent news, it gets even more complicated…

From politics and sporting events to fashion and technology, this blog series will help you understand and convey ideas about a wide range of recent events using the right vocabulary.

Next week, on July 18 and July 25, the Republicans and Democrats will choose their respective party’s nominees for President and Vice President of the United States during their national conventions. To help you navigate the deep (and often confusing!) waters of political conversations, we have a list of 10 words and expressions that you might come across in the upcoming weeks:

1.    poll (noun): collection of opinions on a subject, in politics usually the percentage of favorable opinion towards a candidate
Ex: Polls have found Hillary Clinton leading Bernie Sanders in California.

2.    partisan (noun): supporters of a political party or candidate
Ex: More than 3,500 partisans attended the debate.

3.    front runner (noun): the candidate that is leading the election race
Ex: Donald Trump is now officially the Republican front runner.

4.    to run neck and neck (phrase): to be very close or equal, especially in a race, contest, or election
Ex: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are running neck and neck in the 2016 election.

5.    landslide (noun): a large victory in an election
Ex: In 1920, Warren Harding had the largest landslide victory in U.S. presidential election history.

6.    in full swing (phrase): when the campaign is at its highest level of activity
Ex: The presidential campaign is now in full swing in the United States.

7.    term of office (phrase): the time for which a political candidate is elected
Ex: In the U.S., a single term of office of the President is four years.

8.    POTUS (abbreviation): informal name for the President of the United States
Ex: Obama has been POTUS for eight years now.

9.    endorsement (noun): publicly declaring one’s support of a candidate for elected office
Ex: President Barack Obama has officially endorsed Hillary Clinton as the Democratic Party presidential nominee.

10. GOP (abbreviation): Grand Old Party or Republican Party
Ex: The GOP leadership announced its candidate this afternoon.

Now if your colleagues decide to have a debate on whether the next POTUS will win by a landslide victory or if the candidates will run neck and neck in the polls, you’ll know what they’re talking about!

Industry Words

10 Words for… Basic Business

Working in the business world varies widely from culture to culture and it can be really challenging to bridge the language gap at work, but learning a set of basic business-related terms is a great place to start. That’s where we come in! 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 business concepts and vocabulary words.

1. revenue (noun): income of a company or organization
Ex: The company’s revenue increased by 1.4% this quarter.

2. expense (noun): money spent or cost incurred to generate company revenue
Ex: The accounting department congratulated the sales team on their expense management.

3. profit (noun): financial gain from amount earned and amount spent
Ex: In 2016, Qatar Airways’ full-year profit more than quadrupled.

4. budget (noun): an estimate of income and expenses for a set period of time
Ex: Pampers is the brand that spends the most on advertising globally, with a budget of $8.3 billion.

5. deadline (noun): the latest time or date a task should be completed by
Ex: The deadline for the final report is next Monday.

6. competitor (noun): a rival company that offers the same product or service
Ex: In the aircraft industry, Airbus is Boeing’s main competitor.

7. brand (noun): a unique image that identifies a product and distinguishes it from its competitors
Ex: Apple and Google are two of the most valuable brands in the world.

8. to sell (verb): to make something available to be bought in exchange for money
Ex: Amazon sells a wide range of products online.

9. to advertise (verb): to promote a product or service through public communication or news mediums
Ex: A lot of companies use humor as a mean to advertise their products.

10. to invest (verb): to spend money with the expectation it will bring potential profit, interest, or income
Ex: Startups are always looking for people to invest in their companies.

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

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Idioms of the Week: Cooking

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 cooking—but pay close attention, these idioms refer to situations outside the kitchen!

  1. to jump from the frying pan into the fire (verb phrase): to go from a bad situation to a worse one
    Ex: My usual commute home is always terribly slow during rush hour, so I decided to take an alternate route. It turns out I was jumping from the frying pan into the fire—I wound up stuck in even worse traffic.
  2. too many cooks in the kitchen (noun phrase): too many people trying to manage everything causes more problems
    Ex: We couldn’t decide on a theme for the office party. Everyone had a different opinion and no one could agree on the right approach—a classic case of too many cooks in the kitchen.
  3. to grill someone (verb phrase): to question someone without stopping
    Ex: The police officer grilled the potential suspects for two hours to find out who stole the woman’s purse.
  4. to stew (verb phrase): to be in an anxious mood
    Ex: Tom stewed over whether or not his decision to buy a house was financially wise.
  5. half-baked ideas (noun phrase): ideas that haven’t been thought through
    Ex: The millionaire told the entrepreneur that she thought he had too many half-baked ideas, and needed to complete one business plan before starting another.
  6. to cook the books (verb phrase): to record false information in a company’s accounts
    Ex: The accountant cooked the books to pretend that the organization had more profit than it really did.
  7. a recipe for disaster (noun phrase): something that is likely to be a big disaster or mess
    Ex: When Tamara found out her fiance had invited his ex-girlfriend to their wedding, she knew it was a recipe for disaster.

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!

Coffee_Break

Coffee Break: 10 Expressions About… Independence Day

Whether you’re on your coffee break at the office, talking with friends or reading the newspaper, we encounter situations every day where topic-specific vocabulary is used. And when you don’t know the language, it can be really difficult to participate in the conversation! When the topic switches to recent news events, it gets even more complicated…

From politics and sporting events to fashion and technology, this blog series will help you understand and convey ideas about a wide range of recent events using the right vocabulary.

We’re kicking off this series with a very American word list! Today America celebrates the Fourth of July, also known as Independence Day. Here are 10 words and expressions to add to your English repertoire:

  1. fireworks (plural noun): devices containing chemicals that explode decoratively in the sky
    Ex: “The city always has a huge fireworks display at the end of the day” explained Mark to the exchange student.
  2. star-spangled banner (noun): the national flag of the United States, and the title of the American national anthem
    Ex: The star-spangled banner was peacefully waving on the flagpole.
  3. patriotism (noun): national loyalty, pride
    Ex: Americans show their patriotism on Independence Day by wearing red, white and blue clothes.
  4. cookout (noun): a festive gathering where a meal is cooked and enjoyed outdoors
    Ex: Mary arrived in the kitchen and exclaimed: “The neighbors invited us to a cookout in their backyard tomorrow night!”
  5. barbecue (noun): a meal or gathering at which meat, fish or other food is cooked outdoors on a rack over an open fire or on a portable grill
    Ex: Jane is having a barbecue for all of her friends this weekend.
  6. picnic (noun): an outing or occasion that involves taking a packed meal to be eaten outdoors
    Ex: My family is meeting in Central Park for a big picnic.
  7. to kick off (verb): to start
    Ex: Playing upbeat music is a great way to kick off the celebrations.
  8. a blast (noun): (inf.) an enjoyable experience
    Ex: “Alex’s party is going to be a blast!” said Clare excitedly.
  9. to make the most of (phrase): use to the best advantage
    Ex: “I’m going to make the most of this three-day weekend by going to the beach!” announced Matthew to his friends.
  10. parade (noun): a public procession to celebrate an event
    Ex: The Fourth of July parade in my town is one of the biggest events of the year.

Can you think of any other words you might hear on the 4th of July? Leave a comment below to add to our Independence Day word list!

What We Know for Sure About Using Technology for Language Instruction

Today our video series continues with Voxy’s Chief Education Officer, Dr. Katharine Nielson, who’s answering all your nitty-gritty questions about how people learn languages.

When new technology appears in the education space, instructors often scramble to get their hands on the hottest new tools for their classrooms—but technology isn’t always the answer. In this video, Dr. Nielson explains why technology should only be used for instruction when it’s solving a problem that isn’t already better solved by real people.

Want to know how we’re using (or not using) technology at Voxy to improve the way people learn English? Watch to find out!

 

Dr. Katharine B. Neilson, PhD, is Voxy's Chief Education Officer.

Dr. Katharine B. Neilson, PhD, is Voxy’s Chief Education Officer.