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English Idioms, Slang and Useful Vocabulary

  1. Catch Word #209 – Asleep at the wheel2018/12/08
    Have you ever gotten so distracted that you forgot to do something very important? Have you ever wondered if there’s a way to explain that situation in English? Well, look no further than this Catch Word episode! Andrew and Jeremy walk you through a few useful expressions about losing focus during an important task. MakeRead More
  2. Chatterbox #220 – Marathon2018/12/03
    Do you like jogging? Can you jog 42.195 kilometres? Not many of us can. In this Chatterbox episode, Andrew and Suzanne talk about the joys and difficulties of long-distance running. Fun facts In September 2018, Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya broke his own world record for the marathon with a time of 2 hours, 1 minute,Read More
  3. Simplified Speech #048 – Vietnam travel nightmare2018/11/28
    In this exciting Simplified Speech episode, Andrew recounts a crazy experience he had during his trip to Vietnam. Vacation is supposed to be a time to kick back, relax, and let loose, but sometimes things don’t go the way we plan. Tune in to find out about Andrew’s travel nightmare! Fun facts In this episode,Read More
  4. Chatterbox #219 – Western versus Korean weddings2018/11/26
    Are you married? If not, have you been to a wedding recently? In this episode, Andrew and Suzanne discuss the similarities and differences between Western weddings and South Korean weddings. This episode is chock-full of interesting stories, so grab your headphones and press play! Fun facts Did you know that engagement and wedding rings areRead More
  5. Simplified Speech #047 – Washington State2018/11/16
    On to Washington State! In this Simplified Speech episode, Suzanne talks with Andrew about the tail end of her summer trip, Washington State. Fun facts Washington State is the only American state to be named after a former president. Expressions included in the study guide Gateway drug Practice makes perfect To border [something] Crappy TreacherousRead More
  6. Real Talk #029 – Don’t you think it’d be better if we?2018/11/12
    What happens when someone comes to you with a suggestion you really don’t like? That could be awkward. In this Real Talk episode, Andrew and Suzanne discuss ways of politely offering alternative options. Fun facts Native English speakers often contract don’t you to sound like don’t cha. In fact, Don’t Cha is the name ofRead More
  7. Chatterbox #218 – Oregon2018/11/08
    In this episode, Suzanne talks to Andrew about her recent trip to the state of Oregon. While Oregon is not the most well-known state in the union, Suzanne tells us it has so much to offer. Have a listen! Fun facts Nike Inc., one of the world’s largest sports apparel companies, has its world headquartersRead More
  8. Real Talk #028 – Asking for something at a restaurant2018/11/03
    Have you ever wanted to ask for something at a restaurant, but weren’t sure of the best way to phrase it? In this episode, Andrew and Suzanne introduce a phrase that allows you to politely ask for anything at a restaurant. Look out for some useful pronunciation tips, as well! Fun facts The world’s largestRead More
  9. Chatterbox #217 – California2018/10/28
    Where do you like to go when you have a vacation? In this Chatterbox episode, Suzanne talks with Andrew about her recent trip to the most populous state in the United States, California. Fun facts If California were an independent country, its economy would be the fifth richest in the world! Expressions included in theRead More
  10. Catch Word #208 – Through the roof2018/10/21
    What can you say when you see or experience something that is spectacular and beyond what you expected? In this episode, Andrew and Jeremy share two expressions for you to use during just such an occasion. Fun facts An expression used in this episode, TGIF, is so common that it was borrowed by the foundersRead More
  11. Real Talk #027 – Asking about a product2018/10/14
    Calling customer service over the phone can be scary in a second language. In this episode, Andrew gives you key expressions to help you communicate over the phone when asking about a product. Fun facts Have you ever noticed that telephone numbers in American movies usually start with the number 555? That’s because they don’tRead More
  12. Simplified Speech #046 – Drawing2018/10/08
    Are you a creative person? Are you curious about learning some new vocabulary about art and drawing? Then listen to this Simplified Speech episode, in which Andrew and Jeremy talk about their attempts at drawing. Fun facts Did you know that Pablo Picasso, the famous Spanish artist, was also an animal lover? In his lifetime,Read More
  13. Chatterbox #216 – Forest fires2018/10/03
    Forest fires have been ravaging the western coast of the United States and Canada for several months now, with devastating consequences. In this Chatterbox episode, Jeremy and Andrew discuss the terrifying results of these natural disasters and how the fires affect those who live within the burn zones. Fun facts On average, more than 100,000Read More
  14. Catch Word #207 – Ending a sentence with though2018/09/28
    It might only be one little word, but putting though at the end of a sentence can make a big difference. Join Andrew and Jeremy as they run through the many ways of ending a sentence with though. Fun facts In this episode, our hosts talk about expressions that are interchangeable. In English, strangely, theRead More
  15. Chatterbox #215 – Airbnb2018/09/22
    Would you open your home to total strangers? Sounds bizarre, but it is the basis of a thriving business. Join Andrew and Morag as they talk about their experiences with Airbnb. Fun facts Throughout the world, there are all kiAlthough Airbnb was founded only 10 years ago, it now has revenue of over $2 billion!ndsRead More
  16. Simplified Speech #045 – Attending summer camp2018/09/17
    Attending summer camp is a very North American experience. Join Andrew and Morag as they share their memories of attending summer camp. Fun facts Throughout the world, there are all kinds of summer camps. You can go to an English camp, a music camp, a theatre camp, even a weight loss camp! Expressions included inRead More
  17. Catch Word #206 – Heavy hitter2018/09/11
    Are you a very important person? Do you deal with VIPs all the time? In this Catch Word episode, Andrew and Jeremy discuss expressions that will help you in the world of heavy hitters and big shots! Fun facts Canada is closelBaseball player Babe Ruth is the epitome of a heavy hitter. In 1920, heRead More
  18. Chatterbox #214 – Canadian food2018/09/04
    Poutine, maple syrup, Nanaimo bars—all great Canadian food! In this Chatterbox episode, Andrew and Morag talk about typical Canadian food. Join them—but beware, you might get hungry! Fun facts Canada is closely associated with maple syrup. Globally, around 70% of maple syrup is produced in the province of Quebec alone. No wonder the maple leafRead More
  19. Catch Word #205 – Whatever floats your boat2018/08/28
    In this week’s episode, Andrew and Jeremy teach you two new idioms about preferences. These idioms do not describe your own preferences, but rather are phrases you can use when describing other people’s preferences, interests, and quirks. Let’s find out what they are! Fun facts Do you know why boats float? It’s because of aRead More
  20. Simplified Speech #044 – Summer memories2018/08/20
    What do ice cream, air conditioners, and sunscreen all have in common? You can find them all in summertime! In this Simplified Speech episode, Andrew and Morag take a walk down memory lane by reminiscing about their childhood summer adventures. Join them in their trip to discover how they spent their summer vacations. Fun factsRead More
  21. Simplified Speech #043 – Sleep tips2018/08/12
    Who doesn’t love sleep? In this Simplified Speech episode, Andrew and Jeremy talk about sleep patterns and helpful tips for getting a better night’s sleep. Fun facts Did you know that 12% of people dream entirely in black and white? Also, the longest recorded period of no sleep was made by Randy Gardner in 1964.Read More
  22. Catch Word #204 – A buzzkill2018/08/05
    Is there someone in your life who is boring and pessimistic, and ruins all of your fun? Have you ever wondered what you could call that type of person in English? Well, look no further! In today’s Catch Word episode, Andrew and Jeremy give you some perfect expressions to use. Fun facts Buzz is anRead More
  23. Chatterbox #213 – Interview with John: Part 22018/07/31
    This is another special episode with a returning guest, Andrew’s brother John. Andrew and John discuss the struggles of finding an apartment to rent in the increasingly expensive Kelowna area of British Columbia. Fun facts As of 2017, the average cost of a home in Kelowna was $725,000, and up to $10 million in theRead More
  24. Chatterbox #211 – YouTube2018/07/23
    Are you a YouTube addict? What’s your favourite channel to watch these days? In this interesting episode, Andrew and Morag talk about YouTube, what they love about it, and some unique content one can’t find anywhere else. Fun facts The first YouTube video was uploaded on April 23rd, 2005. Now, in 2018, every minute ofRead More
  25. 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
  26. 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
  27. 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
  28. 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
  29. 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
  30. 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
  31. 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
  32. 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
  33. 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
  34. 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
  35. 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
  36. 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
  37. 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
  38. 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
  39. 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
  40. 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
  41. 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
  42. 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
  43. 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
  44. 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
  45. 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
  46. 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
  47. 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
  48. 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
  49. 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
  50. 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
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