Idiom of the Week: Hit the Road

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Meaning: Begin a journey.


Are you ready to hit the road now?

Let’s hit the road. We are running late.

I will hit the road when I have enough time and money.

Pop Quiz:

What’s the opposite of hit the road?

A. Leave

B. Depart

C. Stay home

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

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Articles 101

One difficult part of English is articles – but we use them a lot, so it’s important to know them. There are three articles in the English language: “a,” “an,” and “the.”

“A” and “an” are called indefinite articles because they are used when we talk about something in general, or when we talk about something for the first time. We use “an” when the next word begins with a vowel (a, e, i, o, u) and we use “a” with words that begin with a consonant (all the other letters in the alphabet). In addition, we only use “a” and “an” with singular count nouns:

There was an earthquake in Japan two years ago.         

How much does a new car cost?         

Is there a bathroom in this building?

“The,” on the other hand, is a definite article.We use it when we’re talking about something specific, or when we continue to talk about something we’ve introduced. “The” can be used for singular or plural nouns, count or non-count:

The people in my class are very friendly.       

The refrigerator is broken!          

I took the F Train this morning.

Read the following story, and pay special attention to the articles:

Last night I found a cockroach in my kitchen. The cockroach was very big and very fast. I picked up a newspaper to kill it, but the newspaper was too soft. Then I picked up a frying pan. I was able to kill the cockroach, but then I had to wash the frying pan. I washed the frying pan in the sink, but when I finished, I saw a second cockroach. The second cockroach was even bigger than the first one!

Now watch the video lesson to learn more, then you can take the quiz to test your knowledge!

Idiom of the Week: A Gray Area

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Meaning: Used to describe something that could maybe be right and maybe be wrong, depending on the situation. Usually used with “There is/There’s.”


It’s against the law to speed but of course there’s a gray area. What if there’s a wild elephant chasing you?

Usually it’s bad to lie but in some situations there’s a gray area.

There is no gray area when it comes to cheating on a test. It’s never okay.


Pop Quiz:

If someone says “There’s a gray area,” they’re telling you that they think…

A.  Something is definitely bad.

B.  Something is maybe bad, but not always.

C.  Something is not bad at all.

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

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Student Stories: Valikhan

Valikhan a University Settlement Adult Literacy class participant speaks about his experience in the program

Each year University Settlement impacts 40,000 New Yorkers who come from 50 countries and speak 40 different languages. Every September we begin new 10-month intensive classes in our Adult Literacy Program. Valikhan, a participant in the program, tells us what University Settlement’s program has meant to him, in his own words.

In Kazakhstan I was a professor. I was invited to George Washington University for a program and after I decided to stay and move to New York. But I did not know English. It was important to me to lean and so I came to University Settlement two years ago.

I have done a lot. I wrote two books and I met with members of Congress. I can speak different languages. But I did not know English and I needed help. When I heard about University Settlement I came here for help. It’s very important to me to have good teachers. Our teacher Jon has a lot of emotion and I like that.

I feel very good about my English now. I grow slowly but nonstop. There is a lot that I did not know before that I know now. Now I can describe things to people and am able to ask questions. Before I could not.

I was worried and scared at first but the teachers make it comfortable. You are outside your comfort zone but you need to do that to learn. Now I travel to other cities and feel okay about it with my English. I enjoy it. I am taking more classes to get even better. They care about you here and help you. I would tell everyone that they should come here.