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English Idioms, Slang and Useful Vocabulary

  1. Real Talk #026 – Buying a bus ticket2018/07/18
    Navigating public transportation in a new area is stressful enough without a language barrier. But have no fear! In this much-requested episode, Andrew and Suzanne introduce natural expressions used when buying a ticket at the bus terminal. Fun facts The word bus comes from the Latin word omnibus, meaning “for all.” This is fitting, becauseRead More
  2. Chatterbox #212 – The World Cup2018/07/11
    What do you know about the beautiful game? The beautiful game, otherwise known as soccer or football, is probably the most popular sport in the world. This year marks the 21st World Cup season and, as such, Andrew and Jeremy thought it would be a perfect topic to discuss in this Chatterbox episode. Enjoy! FunRead More
  3. Simplified Speech #042 – Yoga2018/07/09
    Feeling tense? Yoga can help! Our yoga instructor Jeremy speaks with Andrew about the practice and benefits of the ancient art of yoga. Come loosen up and have a listen to this episode of Simplified Speech. Fun facts Yoga is a part-time activity for some. But if you want beat the world record for theRead More
  4. Speak Easy #005 – Sentence stress: Part 12018/07/03
    Knowing which words to stress in a sentence (and which words not to stress) is an extremely important part of English pronunciation. In this episode, Suzanne and Andrew teach you all you need to know about sentence stress. Take a listen and make your English pronunciation sound more natural. Fun facts English is a stressed-timedRead More
  5. Chatterbox #210 – Interview with John: Part 12018/06/28
    In this special episode, Andrew interviews his brother, John. This is the first episode of a two-part interview. In this first episode, John talks about his unique job as a forklift operator with a mining company in remote northern Canada. Fun facts Thanks to its mineral-rich soil, Canada is one of the largest mining nationsRead More
  6. Catch Word #203 – In a pickle2018/06/22
    What does it mean to be in a pickle or in a jam? It sounds strange, but these are helpful expressions to use when you’re in trouble. In this Catch Word episode, Andrew and Jeremy show you how and when to best use these idioms. Fun facts Pickling food has been done for almost 4500Read More
  7. Chatterbox #209 – Luxury products2018/06/19
    Have you ever wished you were rich and could buy anything you ever wanted? In this episode of Chatterbox, Andrew and Morag discuss different types of luxury goods and why people buy them. Fun facts The Mouawad 1001 Nights Diamond Purse is made of 18 karat gold and encrusted with 4,500 diamonds. It sold forRead More
  8. Real Talk #025 – How to give a compliment2018/06/12
    “Thanks so much for your effort!” “It’s all thanks to you!” The art of giving a compliment is sometimes difficult in a second language. In this episode, Andrew and Suzanne explore the best ways to give and receive compliments. Fun facts Early in this episode, Andrew talks about his coffee plant. Coffee has a longRead More
  9. Chatterbox #208 – Horoscopes2018/06/04
    Do the planets influence our lives? In this episode of Chatterbox, we find out what Andrew and Morag think about the subject of horoscopes and astrology. Fun facts Cultures have long been trying to understand the stars. The oldest known system of astrology comes from ancient Mesopotamia and dates back to more than 4000 yearsRead More
  10. Catch Word #202 – With a grain of salt2018/06/02
    Don’t believe everything you hear! But you can trust our hosts Andrew and Jeremy when they talk about key expressions regarding skepticism. Believe me! Fun facts Skepticism is very important in Western philosophy. In fact, since 1992, there’s been a popular US magazine called Skeptic. Expressions included in the study guide Grain of salt SeeingRead More
  11. Simplified Speech #041 – Cooking2018/05/29
    Everyone needs to eat, but not everyone is a good cook! Join Andrew and Jeremy in this episode of Simplified Speech and find out how well our hosts cook. You might get hungry! Fun facts Kimchi is a popular fermented food from Korea. You can find restaurants that serve the spicy cabbage that has beenRead More
  12. Real Talk #024 – How to cancel a plan2018/05/24
    It’s not always a fun thing to do, but sometimes we need to cancel plans we have already made. Doing it tactfully is very important. In this episode of Real Talk, Andrew and Suzanne give you the best expressions for cancelling plans. Fun facts Early in this episode, Suzanne mentions she recently switched from drinkingRead More
  13. Simplified Speech #040 – Home remedies2018/05/21
    If you ask five people for the best remedy for a sore stomach, you might get six different answers! It seems everyone has their own ideas when it comes to medicine. Join Andrew and Suzanne for this episode as they talk about their favourite home remedies! Fun facts Did you know that the cocktail ginRead More
  14. Real Talk #023 – Returning a missed call2018/05/17
    What should you do when you pick up your phone and notice a missed call? Andrew and Jeremy can help you! In this episode of Real Talk, they share the most natural ways English speakers return a missed call. Fun facts Even though companies like Apple and Samsung are leaders in the smartphone industry, theyRead More
  15. Speak Easy #004 – How to pronounce “s” endings2018/05/14
    In this Speak Easy episode, Suzanne and Andrew teach you how to make your English sound natural by mastering “s” endings on plural nouns and third-person singular verbs. Fun facts Did you know the letter “s” can be pronounced three different ways? Learn the pronunciation rules by listening to this episode. he London Underground holdsRead More
  16. Catch Word #201 – Emotional baggage2018/05/11
    Not all of our experiences in life are positive. Sometimes life is difficult or even traumatic. In this Catch Word episode, Andrew and Jeremy discuss English terms to use when speaking about emotional baggage and our past experiences. Fun facts The emotional baggage of the brothers in the film The Darjeeling Limited was not justRead More
  17. Chatterbox #207 – Homelessness2018/05/08
    Homelessness is a big problem throughout the world. In this Chatterbox episode, Andrew and Suzanne discuss the causes and the social implications of this serious issue. Fun facts Although homelessness is no laughing matter, Charlie Chaplin had a stellar film career making people laugh with his tramp character. Expressions included in the study guide ToRead More
  18. Speak Easy #003 – Linking2018/05/04
    In this episode, Andrew and Suzanne teach you a connected speech feature called linking, or connecting one word to the other, in order to sound more fluent. Fun facts Linking can be found in many languages. In French, it is called using the liaison. Expressions included in the study guide Transcript Pronunciation exercises Bonus listeningRead More
  19. Catch Word #200 – Beats me!2018/05/01
    Nobody likes admitting they’re no good at something. But if you must, in this episode of Catch Word, Andrew and Jeremy explore two sayings that will help you express yourself: beats me and to not have a clue. Fun facts Clue is the name of a movie from the 1980s, based on the board gameRead More
  20. Chatterbox #206 – Creativity2018/04/26
    Everyone is creative to some degree, but what makes some people more creative than others? This question has fascinated artists and thinkers for centuries. In this episode of Chatterbox, Andrew and Morag add their own two cents. Fun facts The London Underground holds claim to the oldest subway system in the world. When it openedRead More
  21. Simplified Speech #039 – Gettin’ around2018/04/14
    In this episode of Simplified Speech, Andrew and Suzanne discuss the various ways of navigating a city. Should you travel by public transportation or go your own way? Find out how our hosts get around. Fun facts The London Underground holds claim to the oldest subway system in the world. When it opened in 1863,Read More
  22. Real Talk #022 – You got the wrong number2018/04/09
    Have you ever called the wrong number and didn’t know what to say? Don’t worry! In this Real Talk episode, Suzanne and Andrew discuss the best ways of dealing with these awkward situations on the phone. Fun facts Inventors Innocenzo Manzetti, Charles Bourseul, Johann Philipp Reis, and Antonio Meucci all had claims on the inventionRead More
  23. Catch Word 199 – To die for2018/04/03
    In this episode, Andrew and Jeremy talk about the expressions to die for and to kill for. Don’t worry, it’s not all about death—it’s about wants and desires! You won’t want to miss this episode! Fun facts Food truck festivals are popular the world over. The one in Brussels claims to be the world’s largest,Read More
  24. Chatterbox #205 – Conspiracy theories2018/03/29
    In this episode, Morag and Andrew share their thoughts on popular conspiracy theories. You may agree or disagree with some of these, but you will surely learn some new words! Fun facts NASA scientists say that the US flag planted on the moon should still be standing, although you probably wouldn’t find colour on it.Read More
  25. Simplified Speech #038 – Jeju Island2018/03/25
    Andrew tells Suzanne all about his recent trip to Jeju Island, South Korea, and his trek to the top of Mount Halla. Fun facts The last time that Mount Halla erupted was in the year 1007. Expressions you’ll learn in this episode To be jam-packed To rough it A way away That stinks Smack dabRead More
  26. Real Talk #021 – How would you like your burger?2018/03/21
    Do you like eating hamburgers and steak? If so, this episode is for you! Join Suzanne and Andrew as they talk about how to order a hamburger or a steak at a restaurant. Fun facts The word burger is short for hamburger and, although the word hamburger originates from Hamburg, Germany, Americans eat the mostRead More
  27. Catch Word #198 – Dating slang2018/03/16
    Andrew and Jeremy teach you some funny and modern slang expressions about online dating. Fun facts According to the Pew Research Center, only 5% of Americans who are married or in a committed relationship say that they met their partner online. This means the majority of couples in the United States met the old-fashioned way,Read More
  28. Speak Easy #002 – Three tips for pronouncing the past tense2018/03/03
    In this episode, Andrew and Suzanne teach you three tips that will help you master how to pronounce regular past tense verbs in English. Fun facts The overwhelming majority of verbs in English are regular. There are only about 200 irregular verbs that are commonly used. Expressions you’ll learn in this episode Transcript Pronunciation exercisesRead More
  29. Chatterbox #204 – Andrew’s big week2018/02/23
    Andrew tells Morag all about his crazy, busy week in this Chatterbox episode. Expressions you’ll learn in this episode To get renovicted To jump through hoops To get screwed over A support system To get moving To be in mint condition A whirlwind [something] In store for [somebody] Credit: Something Elated by Broke For Free
  30. Simplified Speech #037 – Netflix2018/02/15
    In this episode, Andrew and Morag talk about Netflix—the extremely popular TV and movie streaming service. Find out which shows the Culips hosts think you should watch! Fun facts Although Netflix is famous for its online streaming services, it started off as a DVD sales and rental company. In fact, you can still order DVDsRead More
  31. Catch Word #197 On the fence2018/02/10
    Join Andrew and Jeremy (our newest Culips host) for a lesson about how to use two everyday English expressions about decision-making. Fun facts In this episode, you’ll be introduced to our newest Culips host, Jeremy. To learn more about him, check out his YouTube channel and podcast, Sponge Mind. Expressions you’ll learn in this episodeRead More
  32. Simplified Speech #036 – Online shopping2018/02/02
    In this Simplified Speech episode, Andrew and Morag talk about the wide world of online shopping. Join them! It might change the way you shop! Fun facts In this episode, Morag says that Amazon is one of the best ways to shop online. Apparently, a lot of people agree. Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos, is currentlyRead More
  33. Real Talk #020 – How to say no2018/01/28
    Andrew and Suzanne teach you how to say no in this Real Talk episode! Fun facts Even native English speakers sometimes feel anxious when having to say no to a request or an invitation. In fact, there are tons of self-help articles giving tips about how to refine this interpersonal skill! Expressions you’ll learn inRead More
  34. Chatterbox #203 – Instagram2018/01/25
    Are you addicted to social media? So many people are these days! Hear Andrew and Suzanne talk about their experiences with Instagram in this episode of Chatterbox. Fun facts The Instagram account with the most followers in the world is … The Instagram account! The rest of the top five is made up of SelenaRead More
  35. Catch Word #196 – At all (part 2)2018/01/22
    Andrew and Morag continue their lesson about the expression at all in part 2 of this Catch Word episode. Fun facts The Collins Dictionary ranks at all as one of the 1000 most commonly occurring expressions in their dictionary! Expressions you’ll learn in this episode At all Frivolous A badass “Us” as a subject ToRead More
  36. Catch Word #195 – At all (part 1)2018/01/16
    At all looks like a simple expression but, in this Catch Word episode, Morag and Andrew find out just how versatile it really is. Fun facts At one example in this episode, two friends talk about visas used to travel abroad. Did you know that Singapore issues the most powerful passport in the world? SingaporeansRead More
  37. Simplified Speech #035 – Plastic bags2018/01/11
    Plastic bags are a major source of pollution. In this episode, Andrew and Morag talk about how people use bags in Kenya, Korea, and Canada. Take a listen and learn some great English expressions! Fun facts A centipede is an arthropod with many, many legs—so many that its name comes from the Latin words forRead More
  38. Speak Easy #01 – [y] and [w] insertion2018/01/06
    In this episode, Suzanne and Andrew teach you a pronunciation trick that will make your English sound smooth and natural. You’ll learn how to link words together by inserting a [y] or [w] sound. Additional audio related to this episode: Credit: Something Elated by Broke For Free
  39. Simplified Speech #034 – 2017 in review2017/12/31
    What a year 2017 was! Some people loved every moment of 2017, and some people wished it never happened. Find out what Andrew and Morag have to say about this year as we say goodbye to 2017 in this special Simplified Speech episode! Expressions you’ll learn in this episode A good tip A turning pointRead More
  40. Simplified Speech #033 – Fear2017/12/27
    In this episode, Andrew and Suzanne teach you three tips that will help you master how to pronounce regular past tense verbs in English. Fun facts The overwhelming majority of verbs in English are regular. There are only about 200 irregular verbs that are commonly used. Expressions you’ll learn in this episode To break aRead More
  41. Catch Word #191 – Get a hold of yourself!2017/12/25
    English expressions can be tricky, especially if they sound the same but have different meanings. Don’t worry, because Andrew and Morag are here to help! Join them for this Catch Word episode as they explain three uses of the expression to get a hold of. Fun facts Depending on the dictionary or grammar website thatRead More
  42. Chatterbox #202 – Christmas traditions2017/12/23
    It’s the most wonderful time of the year! It’s the holiday season! And, in this podcast, Andrew and Suzanne talk about Christmas traditions when they were growing up. Come and join the fun! Fun facts The idea of Santa Claus has been around for many centuries, but the modern jolly old man dressed in redRead More
  43. Chatterbox #201 – Naoshima – the island of art2017/12/18
    In this special Chatterbox episode, Andrew talks to Suzanne about his trip to the island of Naoshima. Join them as they chat about public art installations, electric bikes, beaches, and galleries! Fun facts Naoshima, an island located in the Seto Inland Sea, is known for its modern art and architecture. In fact, one of itsRead More
  44. Simplified Speech #032 – Dancing2017/12/14
    Are you a good dancer, or do you have two left feet? In this Simplified Speech episode, Andrew and Morag talk about dancing and share fun expressions you can use to talk about dancing. Fun facts In the 1920s and 1930s, dance marathons were a popular craze. Couples would try to win prizes by seeingRead More
  45. Catch Word #194 – Easy on the wallet2017/12/10
    Should you buy new shoes? Will the shoes be easy or heavy on the wallet? We can’t help you with whether you should buy the shoes, but we can help you talk about it! In this episode, Suzanne and Andrew discuss expressions involving wallets and money Fun facts Wallets can be cheap or expensive, andRead More
  46. Real Talk #019 – Complaining at a restaurant2017/11/30
    Have you ever received cold food at a restaurant? In this Real Talk episode, Andrew and Suzanne explain important expressions and phrases to help you deal with this problem. Join them to learn how to politely voice a complaint at a restaurant. Fun facts Many restaurants in Quebec have poutine on their menu. Poutine isRead More
  47. Chatterbox #200 – Hiking up Mount Fuji2017/11/26
    In this episode, Andrew and Suzanne talk about Andrew’s summer trip to Japan and his hike up Mount Fuji. Join them and improve your conversational English skills! Fun facts Mount Fuji is the highest mountain in Japan and has been designated a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)!Read More
  48. Simplified Speech #031 – School lunches2017/11/21
    What kind of lunch did you eat when you went to school? In this episode, Morag and Andrew take a trip down memory lane and discuss the school lunches of their youth. Come learn about the ins and outs of the cafeteria. Fun facts In this episode, Morag says she’s a slight goth. The GothicRead More
  49. Chatterbox #199 – A day in Beijing2017/11/17
    In this Chatterbox episode, Andrew talks to Suzanne about his whirlwind day in Beijing, China! Join them and learn all about Andrew’s crazy adventure! Fun facts Beijing is the capital city of China and is populated by over 21 million people! Expressions you’ll learn in this episode To get a taste of [something] To pullRead More
  50. Chatterbox #198 – Interview with Andrew’s dad2017/11/11
    In this special Chatterbox episode, Andrew interviews his dad, Terry. Join Andrew and his dad as they take a trip down memory lane and talk about Hamilton, Ontario, and the War of 1812! Fun facts The Rust Belt refers to an area around the Great Lakes. The area was very well-known for its booming steelRead More
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