Sheep or Goat?

From the New York Times:

China said goodbye to the Year of the Horse on Wednesday, and on the first day of the new lunar year revelers welcomed the Year of the Sheep.

Or maybe the goat. Or perhaps the ram.

For English speakers, it is a can of worms.

“Few ordinary Chinese are troubled by the sheep-goat distinction,” Xinhua, China’s main state-run news agency, said in its report on the debate. “However, the ambiguity has whipped up discussion in the West.”

To read more, click here.

Idiom of the Week: Call It a Day

Meaning: To stop working, go home, or quit doing something.


I felt tired, so I decided to call it a day.

Okay, let’s call it a day! Time to go home!

We both knew our relationship wasn’t working, so we agreed to call it a day and break up.

Pop Quiz:

Your co-worker says to you, “Let’s call it a day.” What’s the best response?

A.  “Just wait – let me finish this first.”

B.  “It’s Thursday.”

C.  “Okay – here’s my phone.”

To see the correct answer, click on “Continue reading”:

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Sign It!

The University Settlement Adult Literacy Program participates in NYCCAL (New York City Coalition for Adult Literacy) and we are urging for your help in asking New York State to increase ALE, Adult Literacy Education funding. In other words, we want more money for English classes, Adult Basic Education classes, and High School Equivalency classes for adults in the Empire State. If you want that too, click below to sign the petition.

Click here to sign the petition!

Studying English with Malcolm X

malcolm x

Malcolm X was assassinated on February 21, 1965 in New York City. Here’s a story from Changing Every Day making reference to him. After you finish reading, take the quiz to test your comprehension!:

Learning to Read: Malcolm X

Lixin (Betty) Ye

Last week, I read an article about how Malcolm X improved his English by learning to read. I was inspired by it. I would like to share my reading.

Malcolm X was a black civil rights activist, religious leader, writer, and speaker. He was mysteriously assassinated at a religious rally in 1965. By that time, his book, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, was widely known.

Originally, Malcolm X was poorly educated. His English was very poor, and he did not have adequate vocabulary or communication skills. He became frustrated at his inability to read and write. It made him determined to overcome these deficiencies. When he was in prison, he started to copy a dictionary. For the A-words, he copied everything on the page of the dictionary into a notebook. After that, he read aloud his writing over and over. The next day, he realized he had written more than he had ever written before. He could even remember the meanings of most of the words. He was so fascinated that he went on to copy the other dictionary pages and to study them by reading them aloud as well. He said he never had been so truly free in his life. He really enjoyed his reading.

I understand his feeling. No matter what our condition is, we can enjoy studying and may get fulfillment from it. I admire his persistence. Maybe I cannot do the same thing as he, reading and copying a whole dictionary. However, I can learn from him to keep writing or copying English whether from the newspaper, books, magazines, or whatever I like. I can write down what I read and what I think. I can even read aloud like Malcolm. I am sure I am already enjoying studying in English.


 To read more stories from Changing Every Day, click here.