Friday, October 17, 2014

Free Online Test Targets English Learners

VOA Learning English: Free Online Test Targets English Learners

A private company has just launched what it calls “the world’s first free standardized English test.” Anyone with an Internet connection can take the test for free. The test can be found at more) (listen)

Words in this Story
  • launch – v. to offer or sell (something) for the first time
  • prohibitive – adj. so high that people are prevented from using or buying something
  • pilot – v. done as a test to see if a larger program, study, should be done
  • intriguing – adj. extremely interesting
  • game changer – n. an event, idea, or procedure that effects a significant shift in the current manner of doing or thinking about something.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

White House Whiteboard Shorts: #RaiseTheWag White House Whiteboard Shorts: #RaiseTheWag

Raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour is good for American businesses, American workers, and the American economy. Share your story at

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Business English - How to talk about your career

Learn English with Rebecca [engVid RebeccaESL]: Business English - How to talk about your career Have you just been recruited, promoted, or retrenched? I'll teach you 24 essential business English expressions to talk about your working life and career, from hiring to retiring, and everything in between. You'll learn key vocabulary for job interviews, resumes, and work performance, as well as the TOEFL, IELTS and TOEIC exams. Next, take a quiz on this lesson:

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Monday, October 6, 2014

Let's Talk: Business Idioms in Use 3

Let's Talk: Business Idioms in Use 3

Business Idioms in use Part 03 - Business English / Vocabulary Lesson

1. I need it yesterday : this is an idiom that means you need something urgently and can't afford to waste time. The word 'yesterday' is used as an exaggeration to express urgency.
Eg. When do you need the survey? I need it yesterday.

2. Get your foot in the door : this idiom means to get a start or an opportunity. It's a way of expressing you need a small chance or an opportunity.
Eg. I'm having a hard time getting my foot in the door. I can't even get a job interview with someone.

3. Downtime
: A time during a workshift when an employee is not working or a machine is not in use/operation.
Informal way of saying it's the time when you relax and do not do much.
Eg. The company intends to have back-up machines at another location to minimize service downtime in the evnt of server failure.

4. Savvy : have complete knowledge in a particular field, to understand and comprehend without any difficulty.
Eg. Maria's an excellent scholar of political science, but lacks the kind of savvy needed to work for a public office.

5. Put on the map
: to make something well-known, prominent or famous.
Eg. The good food served at this new cafe will really pu this place on the map.

6. Jump through hoops : to do a lot of extra things so you can have or do something you want/complete a lot of tasks before being permitted to do somehing.
Eg. The insurance company made me jump through hoops before they'd give me a health insurance. I had to do a lot of medical tests.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Let's Talk: Business Idioms in Use 2

Let's Talk: Business Idioms in Use 2

The lion's share

Meaning: You can say something is the lion's share if it's the biggest share or portion of something.

For example:

The lion's share of the government's budget goes to the military, when it could be spent on useful things like education, health care and looking after the environment.

The company executives decided to give the lion's share of the company's profits to themselves, in the form of very high salaries, huge bonuses and very generous expense accounts. Not much was left over for staff wages and the shareholders.

A pipe dream

Meaning: A pipe dream is a plan or a dream for the future that could never come true or be achieved.

For example:

The idea of a perfect world in which everyone lives in peace and harmony is just a pipe dream.

Pipe dreams only ever come true in the movies.

play hardball (with someone)

Meaning : to act strong and aggressive about an issue with someone.

For example:

Things are getting a little tough. The Boss has decided to play hardball on this issue.

If he wants to play hardball with us, we can play that way, too.

Power Lunch

A lunch during which business people discuss important plans, ideas, or decisions:

For example:

The City is still full of people out on power lunches despite the freeze on expense accounts.

Push the envelope

Meaning: To expand the definition, categorization, dimensions, or perimeters of something.

For example:

The engineers wanted to completely redesign the product, but couldn't push the envelope because of a very restricted budget.