Nov 202015

English idioms about travel and transport

English idioms about travel and transport

  • in the same boat: If two or more parties are in the same boat, they are in the same unpleasant or difficult situation.
    When the factory closed down, the workers all found themselves in the same boat.
  • cart before the horse: A person who puts the cart before the horse is doing things in the wrong order.
    Building a school before knowing the age of the population is putting the cart before the horse.
  • asleep at the wheel: If you say that someone is asleep at the wheel, you mean that they are not sufficiently attentive, especially at a critical moment when vigilance is required.
    When the firemen arrived too late at the scene, the night watchman was accused of being asleep at the wheel.
  • backseat driver: 1. A passenger in a car who insists on giving the driver directions. 2. Anybody offering unsolicited or unwelcome advice.
    My brother is such a backseat driver. I hate traveling with him.
  • miss the boat: To fail to take advantage of an opportunity.
    The price discount ended yesterday and I just missed the boat on a great deal.
  • Bad news travels fast.: Information about trouble or misfortune disseminates quickly (more quickly than good news).
    John: Hi, Andy. I’m sorry to hear you got fired. Andy: How did you know about that already? It only happened this morning. John: Bad news travels fast. I called my mother to tell her about my car accident, but my aunt had already told her. Bad news travels fast.

(The above idioms are derived from the following internet addresses in the References list. You can visit there for more idioms.)


Oct 202015

Rewriting Exercises to Learn English Better

Rewriting Exercises to Learn English Better

One of the best method of learning English (or any other language) is using “Rewriting Exercises”.

When you learn something, you can make your own sentences with your own words in order to define it. By doing so, you learn English (or any other language) dynamically. You do not memorize the words and/or sentences and phrases. You can understand them thoroughly, and redesign the required definition with your own resources. You become more versatile.

For example:
I am an old man. (I am not a young man.)
It is cold. (It is not warm enough. / The temperature is low.)
I got a cold. (I am coughing and I have a high fever. / I am ill. / I am sick.)

How to study:

  • You can find some “Rewriting Exercises” on the internet. Check and study them.
  • Get some short news or stories. Rewrite them without changing the original text. Use different words and phrases as much as possible.
  • Write a few paragraphs about a simple subject. Then rewrite it changing some words and phrases, but preserve the meaning of your original text.
  • Write a few paragraphs about a complex subject. Then rewrite it changing some words and phrases, but preserve the meaning of your original text.
  • Translate some original English text to your own language. Then, after a few days translate your translated text to English again. Do not refer to the original English text without completing your work. Then compare it with the original text.
  • Repeat these exercises at least once in a week.
  • In order to learn English better, there would be no hesitation during your rewriting and translations. You must complete them without extra thinking. They would become automatic events.

    In the references below, there are a few links to some Rewriting Exercises.

    I hope they will be useful for you.

    Ahmet Aksoy


    Oct 102015

    Business English Jargon

    Business English Jargon

    Photo credits: forbes

    • You aced it. (You did a great job.)
    • to ace a test (to get a very high score on a test. I aced my math test!)
    • My plate is full. (I am busy.)
    • My 2 cents is … (My opinion is …)
    • Don’t leave any money on the table. (Make sure you take everything out of a negotiation.)
    • to surge (to increase quickly)
    • to ramp up (to increase)
    • to pan out (to be successful)
    • word of mouth (gossip; news spread by people talking to each other)
    • to live off (to make enough money from something)
    • Yes man (An employee that always agrees with the boss)
    • Down to the wire (Working to the last minute. To finish just before the deadline.)
    • Belt tightening (To reduce expenses. To save money.)
    • Bite the bullet (To make a difficult decision.)
    • Gut feeling (An instinct or intuition that makes you expect how something will happen.)
    • I hear you (I understand.)
    • to pass the buck (To blame someone else for a problem or mistake.)
    • Stay on your toes. (Be careful. Be ready for trouble.)
    • On the tip of my tongue (When you know a word but can’t remember how to say it)
    • Show him/her the door (To get rid of someone. To fire a person.)

    I will add some more slang words or phrases and idioms in my coming articles. You should study all of these phrases to pan out.

    Ahmet Aksoy


    Oct 032015

    How to find food in the wild

    How to find food in the wild

    Image credits:

    In case of a survival situation it is important where to find edible foods. Maybe you think hunting to be the easiest method. However, hunting needs a lot of energy and some tools. So, it is easiest to try to collect some plants and/or insects.

    Edible plants
    There is a risque of eating poisonous plants. So, you must test it first. Eat just a small amount of the plant and wait for a few hours. If you watch any unpleasant reaction on your body, then do not consume that plant. (If it is very poisonous, maybe there will be nothing to do. However, in order to survive in the wild you should take some risque. It is inevitable.)

    Bird eggs
    If you can find bird eggs, that means you found a nutritional and safe food source.

    Instead of hunting, use your intelligence and imagination to prepare some traps. The most important tool you have is your brain. Use it!

    If you are around a river or a lake you can try to catch some fishes. Fishing is not easy. You need patience and practice. If you have a hook and line, you can use them. If you have not such a tool, then you can use an appropriate piece of branch as a spear.

    It might be better to make a simple net to catch fish. You can use your clothes, or some branches or plant stems to obtain a simple net.

    If you can build a set of bow and arrows, then you can try to hunt birds or some bigger animals like deer, or goats. But you need a lot of practice to be successful.

    If I summarize the situation, to survive in the wild is not very easy. But if you keep calm, evaluate your actual advantages and disadvantages, and use your knowledge you can find practical solutions to your situation.

    Our “In the wild” articles do not try to solve a realistic problem for such a situation actually. Our aim is to use English in different scenarios. By doing so, we obtain better and simpler stories to remember.

    In order to get the most out of these articles, reading once is not enough. You should study them also. Find the words and phrases that you didn’t know. Read and write them on paper. Then try to rewrite the same sentences using your own words. Ask yourself some questions and answer them. Read aloud and write all of them many times.

    In order to improve your English, you must use it as much as possible. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. The biggest mistake is to avoid mistakes by avoiding action.

    Ahmet Aksoy


    Sep 302015

    NASA announced flowing water evidence on Mars

    NASA announced flowing water evidence on Mars

    Image credits: NASA – Mars Rover Curiosity

    Scientists from NASA reported that recurring slope lineae on the walls of some craters on Mars are due to seasonal changes causing salty water flow. According to them dark-toned streaks are formed when temperature rises above 21 degrees Celcius. When the temperature drops below that level, these formations disappear.

    It is known that Mars had an ocean 4.3 million years ago. You can find some details about it in my article Mars Had An Ocean 4.3 Million Years Ago.

    Existence of water is very important regarding “manned” space flights to Mars. Also, the probability of micro alien life forms on Mars sharply increases due to existence of flowing water. But, I don’t want to talk about the possibility of intelligent life forms on Mars. We have no evidence on it yet. However, it is not impossible.

    Interestingly, these type of news about Mars will act as a great advertisement for the movie “Martian” which will be released on October. Is it an innocent coincidence? It looks like too good to be true!

    Here is the official trailer:

    On the other hand, maybe NASA is already ready for a manned voyage to Mars. Who knows?

    Ahmet Aksoy


    Sep 282015

    Examples for 5 common idioms

    Today I will give you examples of five mostly used idioms. If you want to learn living English, you should learn and get used to idioms. I will continue to share new examples for some other commonly used idioms and phrases. I hope it will not take in ages. If you have any questions, you can use the comments.

    Example for 5 common idioms

    1- As easy as pie : Very easy
    Synonyms: as easy as 1-2-3; as easy as abc
    Setting up the computer was easy as pie.
    If you know how to study, learning English is as easy as pie.
    Getting a library card is as easy as pie.
    Being vegan is as easy as pie.
    The course was as easy as pie for me.

    2- Take it easy: Relax; be calm; good-bye and be careful.
    Take it easy!
    Life is short. Take it easy.
    I don’t take it easy because there are some neighbors watching me.

    3- Twenty-four/seven: 24 hours of 7 days of the week; Every minute of every day.
    Synonyms: 24/7
    You can access my website 24/7.
    You can call me 24/7.
    My team is on duty 24/7.

    4- Figure something out: come to understand a problem.
    She doesn’t talk to me. I can’t figure it out, why!
    My life is a mess. I can’t figure it out.
    I have to figure it out.

    5- In ages: for a very long time
    Synonyms: for ages
    I haven’t seen you in ages.
    I have never seen her going to the town in ages.

    Take it easy!

    Ahmet Aksoy

    Sep 272015

    How to start a fire in the wild without matches

    Let us continue our “being alone in the wild without necessary technological tools” scenario.

    In our previous articles we’ve handled out drinking water and shelter problems. And now let’s find some efficient solutions in order to start a fire without a match or lighter.

    How to start a fire in the wild without matches

    Image credits:

    In order to start a fire we can use laws of physics. According to physics, friction converts mechanical energy to heat energy. In normal conditions, technological tools try to minimize friction in order to get rid of energy loss. But, in order to start a fire, we should increase friction as much as possible.

    Now we need a fire board and a wooden stick as a spindle. Both of them must be completely dry. Otherwise we can not be successful. Also we need some dry leaves, plant fibers, dried mosses which can ignite easily.

    Lets make a tiny hole on the fire board and put some dry leaves around it. Our aim is to obtain an ember in the hole by spinning our spindle. We spin the spindle by using our both hands or by using a simple bow. (In the references part below, there are links to some detailed explanations with pictures.)

    As another method, you can use flint stones to obtain a spark.

    If you are in a sunny region you can use simple lenses or mirrors to start a fire. For example you can use the bottom part of a soda or beer can. (You can find all kinds of similar garbage wherever you go.) First polish it as possible as you can. Then place it suitably in order to obtain the reflection point of light on some easily flammable substance. (You find a video at: fire with a soda can.)

    Of course, there are some other methods too. Also, you can invent your own method that fits in your condition. If you want, you can!

    There are lots of synonyms for “to start a fire”. Some of them are as follows:

    • ignite
    • light
    • put a match to
    • set aflame
    • set fire to
    • set on fire

    Controlling fire is one of the most important inventions of human kind. At first probably they were afraid of it. It was dangerous. But when they learned how to control it, it became a very important tool for them as a weapon and as a heating source.

    In the next part. We will talk about foods in the wild.

    Take care of yourself.

    Ahmet Aksoy

    New words: shelter, start a fire, spindle, ignite, ember, flammable

    P.S. Please do remember that here we aim to improve our English. Maybe some or all of the above sentences or paragraphs might look you silly. If you think so, it might be better. Because you can remember extreme , absurd situations better. Read them and study new words and phrases.
    Now I will advise you a new method: Re-write the above sentences with your own words and phrases. Protect the overall meaning, but change the words and/or their places in the sentences. By doing so, you will create many more new connections in your brain and remember better.


    Sep 242015

    Let’s learn real English

    Let's learn English

    Most of the ESL learners suffer from being unable to speak fluently. Reading and understanding is much easier for them. Also they can understand most of the spoken words and phrases. However they lose their confidence suddenly when they have to talk. They are very slow and tedious while talking. They are afraid of making mistakes.

    But this is not their own fault. Because, they were taught a rule-based English. So, the real mistake is made by the teaching system.

    Now, a group of three native English speakers offers a new learning system especially for ESL learners to speak like a native speaker in six months.

    They have seven simple rules:

    Rule #1: Always learn English phrases instead of studying and memorizing single words.

    Rule #2: Do not study grammar rules. (Most of the native speakers do not know grammar rules well but they can talk fluently.)

    Rule #3: Listen first. (Learn first by your ears, not by your eyes.)

    Rule #4: Learn deeply. (Create permanent links in the depths of your brain.)

    Rule #5: Use point of view stories. (Tell the same story in different tenses, and from the point of view of different persons.)

    Rule #6: Use real English materials.

    Rule #7: Use listen and answer stories.

    Their service is not free. They have a total of 30 sets which should be studied for six months. You can reach them from their web page at:

    You can also find some videos of the same group in youtube.

    If you don’t want to purchase such a service, there are zillions of free sources on

    For myself, I prefer free sharings. Maybe it takes some more time behaving like this, but I can learn different interesting methods and I don’t stuck to a single method.

    If you can use it efficiently, internet is ready to service whatever you wanted.

    Enjoy while you are learning. Watch movies, listen to and sing songs, read and write. Find a native English speaker to chat, or talk to him/her thru Google or skype.

    Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. Because we learn better by our mistakes. So, never lose your confidence. If you want, you can obtain it.

    Ahmet Aksoy

    New words to learn: confidence, tedious

    Sep 232015

    13 Best Sci-Fi Movies to Watch

    Do you like sci-fi movies? If you do, probably you will like the following list. The list is sorted by the production dates of movies from new to old.

    13 Best Sci-Fi Movies to Watch

    (2013) Her
    Director: Spike Jonze
    Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Scarlett Johansson
    Imdb rating: 8.0

    (2010) Inception
    Director: Christopher Nolan
    Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Lewit, Ellen Page
    Imdb rating: 8.8

    (2009) Star Trek
    Director: J.J. Abrams
    Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Simon Pegg
    Imdb rating: 8.0

    (1999) Matrix
    Director: Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski
    Starring: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne
    Imdb rating: 8.7

    (1998) The Truman Show
    Director: Peter Weir
    Starring: Jim Carrey, Ed Harris, Laura Linney
    Imdb rating: 8.1

    (1995) Twelve Monkeys
    Director: Terry Gilliam
    Starring: Bruce Willis, Madeleine Stowe, Brad Pitt
    Imdb rating: 8.1

    (1991) Terminator 2: Judgement Day
    Director: James Cameron
    Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Edward Furlong
    Imdb rating: 8.5

    (1986) Aliens
    Director: James Cameron
    Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Michael Biehn, Carrie Henn
    Imdb rating: 8.4

    (1985-1990) Back to the Future Series
    Director: Robert Zemeckis
    Imdb rating: 8.5

    (1984) The Terminator
    Director: James Cameron
    Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Michael Biehn
    Imdb rating: 8.1

    (1977 – 2017) Star Wars Series
    Imdb rating: 8.7

    (1979) Alien
    Director: Ridley Scott
    Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, John Hurt
    Imdb rating: 8.5

    (1968) 2001: A Space Odyssey
    Director: Stanley Kubrick, Arthur C. Clarke
    Starring: Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood, William Sylvester
    Imdb rating: 8.3

    If you watch the original movies without any subtitles, it will improve your listening and understanding capabilities. Watch them more than once. Of course, subject is not limited to sci-fi movies; you can watch any movies you like. Movies reach your brain thru both visual and auditory perception.

    Do you want to add any movies to the list?
    Then comment below.

    Ahmet Aksoy

    New words to learn: sci-fi, auditory, perception

    Sep 222015

    I’ve got a cold

    I've got cold


    On yesterday evening I’ve got a cold. It happened in blink of time without an obvious reason.

    The weather was not cold. There were no big temperature changes. I hadn’t met a foreigner. There were no ill person in my near circle.

    It started with a high pitch sneeze. A few more sneezes followed it. Then a pain started in my throat that hurts me more and more as time passes. Gulping accompanied by a sharp pain. And my nose started to run.

    I had a terrible night.

    It was even worse in the following morning. I also had a headache. It was especially concentrated deep in the roots of my eyes.

    EFT is a very effective method over pains. SO, after a few rounds, I could control my headache.

    I don’t like to take pills. However my sore throat really affected me badly.

    By EFT and acupuncture, I could only decrease my pain in the throat, but could not remove it completely.

    On the afternoon I’ve given in and I’ve taken two pills.

    Now I feel better.

    My nose is still running. But the pain in my throat does not disturb me anymore.

    Getting cold is a viral illness. So, there is no pills to recover from cold. In order to cure it, it is best to rest.

    In my country there is a quote about cold:

    “You will recover from cold in a week if you rest properly. Otherwise it takes seven days.”

    So, take care of yourself!

    Be far from all illnesses.

    Ahmet Aksoy