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Thick and Thin - English adjectives / other uses


Definitions from

thick - adjective - having a larger distance between opposite sides or surfaces than other similar objects or than normal

thinadjective - having a smaller distance between opposite sides or surfaces than other similar objects or than normal

a thick book (= one that has a lot of pages) ~ a thin book (= one that doesn't have many pages)


Thick and Thin ~ other uses


For hair/fur/trees = growing closely together in large numbers

"His eyebrows were thick and bushy."

a thick forest


For hair = not growing closely together or in large amounts

"As Kyle got older his hair got thinner."

hair, trees


For liquid  = not flowing very easily

"I like thick pumpkin soup."


For liquid = containing more liquid than is normal or expected

"This pasta sauce is very thin, it doesn't have much flavor."

for liquid


For fog/smoke/air = difficult to see through; difficult to breathe in

"The plane crashed in thick fog."

 ~ thick smoke


For the air = containing less oxygen than normal

"The air is thin at high altitude."


MORE great English blog posts!

QUIZ and infographic link at the bottom of the page! 

What is a phrasal verb? ~ In English, a phrasal verb is a combination... 

Read this post and learn to use these expressions!

2019 Happy New Year! (10 Idioms with PIG)

Year of the PIG

World English blog and World English 808 would like to wish you all a happy and healthy NEW YEAR! 
In the Chinese zodiac, 2019 is the year of the pig. Do you know what zodiac means?

10 Idioms with PIG - year of the pig

According to Wikipedia, the Chinese animal zodiac is used:
in many Asian countries including China, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Mongolia, Cambodia, Laos, Nepal, Bhutan, and Thailand.

Zodiac image By Jakub Hałun - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

When we think of pigs in the west we think about farm animals that we eat. They are usually thought of as dirty animals who eat a lot! A few of the idioms that use pig are about eating or being dirty.

In Japan, the animal of 2019 is 猪 (Inoshishi) which is an animal in the pig family but it is wild. It lives in the forest, not on a farm. It often has tusks. In Japan you might see New Year's cards with images like this:

Pigs on a farm do not have tusks.

There are many online lists of idioms that use the word pig. Some of these idioms I have seen in movies or on TV, some I have heard in conversation as I grew up and some I have used myself! 

The problem is that some of them are not common at all. I should say ‘Not common to me,’ but remember I am a native English speaker who grew up in Canada. My list only includes idioms that are familiar to me and I hear native speakers actually use. 

There may be idioms on other websites that are common in England or Australia or even some common idioms that I haven’t heard before. For this list, I have just included the idioms that are the most familiar to me, idioms that I am confident to use in natural conversation.

year of the pig

Here are 10 idioms with the word PIG as chosen by me!
90% of these Pig idioms are from

You can find links to the Free Dictionary dot com idiom pages below.

In English, the word pig can be used a few ways. You can call someone who eats too much a pig

"Hey save some cake for everyone! Don't be a pig!"

Pig is also used for the police.
"Time to go, the pigs are on there way." 

year of the pig

1. Pig out (on something) - to eat too much of something at one time.
"After Halloween, my brother and I always pigged out on our candy."

2. Eat like a pig - to eat a lot; to have a big appetite.
"Dave is coming to dinner so you better make lots of food. He eats like a pig!"

3. Make a pig of yourself - to eat a lot in a greedy or unpleasant way.
"We have guests coming over tonight so don't make a pig of yourself at dinner."

* These 3 idioms all have a similar meaning but please notice they are used differently. 
- we pig out on something and this is often used to describe your own behavior.
- to say that someone eats like a pig is not as strong or negative as to say someone made a pig of themselves. The 3rd example above has a very negative feeling.

year of the pig

4. (A place) is a pigsty - a place is very dirty.
"Greg you need to clean your apartment, it's a pigsty!"

5. (be like) a greased pig - to move very fast and be difficult to catch.
"I spent 40 minutes trying to catch my dog after he got out of our backyard. It was like trying to catch a greased pig."

6. lipstick on a pig - to make a superficial (outside appearance) change but not make any meaningful changes. This is used for things that were not good before and still not good after changes to the appearance.
A: "They improved the interior of the restaurant, but the food is still bad and the staff are not friendly."
B: "You can put lipstick on a pig but it's still a pig."

7. when pigs (can) fly - used to describe something that is very unlikely or will never happen.
A: "Do you think I will get a chance to take Angelina Jolie on a date?"
B: "Sure, when pigs fly!"

 year of the pig

8. Happy as a pig in mud - slang - very happy
"Javier loves comic books. He was happy as a pig in mud at the San Diego comic convention last year."

9. Sweat like a pig - to sweat a lot
"I love Tokyo but the summer is so humid. I sweat like a pig for the whole month of August."

10. guinea pig - if someone is used to test something or used in an experiment they are a guinea pig.
A: "Try this salsa I just made. I used some new ingredients this time."
B: "Okay, I'll be your guinea pig." 
*To hear guinea pronunciation click - here

Thanks for reading! Are these idioms useful for you? Which one will you use first? Tell me below in the comments↓

Free Dictionary dot com idiom links:

pig out
eat like a pig
make a pig of oneself
(be like) a greased pig
put lipstick on a pig
when pigs (can) fly
happy as a pig in sh*t
sweat like a pig
guinea pig

From last New Year
Idioms with DOG

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Check out these helpful English videos!



5 most popular English blog posts - 2018

My 5 most popular World English Blog posts of 2018

Below is a collection of my 5 most visited blog posts from 2018. With these posts, you can...

  • Increase your English vocabulary
  • Learn useful English expressions
  • Improve your English grammar
  • Listen to English  audio (10 expressions with TIME)
  • Download a FREE English PDF (See Watch Look at)
  • Take an interactive quiz (Either and Neither)

Thank you for reading my blog and I hope all my English posts have been helpful for you this year. I look forward to helping you reach all your ESL goals for 2019!

Sweetener - root word practice (English vocabulary) Sept. 2018
I started to use a sweetener called "stevia" in some recipes. This sweetener has been used in Japan for more than 30 years! I asked my students if they knew about stevia and then we talked about sweeteners. Read more:

English vocabulary ~ See/Watch/Look Mar. 2018
Learn to use these English words correctly. Don’t confuse them any more. Download my See/Watch/Look at PDF e-book! Read more:

Learn 50 common English phrasal verbs June 2018

What is a phrasal verb?

In English, a phrasal verb is a combination (mixture) of two or three words to make a phrase with a single meaning. Phrasal verbs combine a verb and a particle or a verb and a preposition. Read more:

10 common English expressions with TIME! 30 Natural sentence examples! (+ Audio!) Feb. 2018
Read this post and learn to use these expressions, then come back and listen to the audio to hear natural English pronunciation from a native speaker. Me! Read more:


How to use Neither and Either (Interactive QUIZ too!) April 2018
The word either sometimes has a similar meaning to the word neither but they are often confused and used incorrectly. In this lesson, I will explain the difference so you can use these words correctly and with confidence! Read more:

Keep learning!

English vocabulary - RAISE Vs RISE

Learn the difference.

Many of my private English students are confused by words with a similar sound or meaning. I often confuse similar words in Japanese too! (My second language.)

As a teacher, my job is to explain these words in a clear way that is easy to remember.

More than 1 of my private students have been confused by the verbs RAISE and RISE. I created the lesson in this post to help them learn the difference. I hope it is helpful for you too. 👍

The verb raise has over 12 uses, rise has around 15! I  have chosen 2 meanings of each word that my students confused. The definitions are below.

The key difference is that rise is an intransitive verb. What is an intransitive verb? From
An intransitive verb is simply defined as a verb that does not take a direct object. There's no word in the sentence that tells who or what received the action. 
Intransitive verbs cannot be directly followed by a noun. Let's compare 2 example sentences using raise and rise to help us understand transitive verbs and intransitive verbs.

① Universities are raising tuition.

~Raise is a transitive verb. It can take a direct object. In this sentence, the noun tuition is the object. We also know who is raising tuition, universities are raising tuition.

② The cost of university is rising

~Rise is an intransitive verb. 'Rising' is not followed by a noun, it does not have a direct object. We don't know why the cost is rising or who did it. 

More examples below ↓

Definitions and pronunciation links are from

   Click for pronunciation
raise - verb ① lift or move something to a higher level
"Raise your hand if you know the answer."

You (the listener) should raise your hand (direct object) if you know the answer.

Raise your hand if you know the answer.

② to increase the amount or level of something
"The store has raised the price of bananas."

The store acted upon the price of bananas(direct object) They increased it.

The store has raised the price of bananas.

   Click for pronunciation
rise - verb ① to come or go upwards; to reach a higher level or position
"Smoke was rising from the chimney."

Smoke rises automatically. No one is 'raising' the smoke. Intransitive verbs are often followed by prepositions (from) but not by a direct object.

② to increase in amount or number
"As the price of gas continues to rise, electric cars are becoming more popular."

The price of gas is increasing for several reasons, but none of these reasons are mentioned. We know that the price is increasing but we don't know why. *In this sentence the noun electric cars is the subject of the second clause. Even though this noun follows the intransitive verb rise, it is not the direct object.

As the price of gas continues to rise, electric cars are becoming more popular.

Keep learning! Subscribe to my weekly newsletter and get your FREE copy of 5 Simple English Communication Tips.

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English idiom - A Slap on the Wrist

10 common English expressions with TIME

Increase your English vocabulary with the suffix ~ish

50 Phrasal Verbs

Everyday English - The adverb EVEN (2 uses + 12 examples)

I was talking to my Canadian friend last week who also lives in Japan. We were talking about how hard many Japanese people work. They will not miss work, even if they are sick!

We often use the adverb even in natural conversation, so I thought it would make a nice blog post. It can help people who study English sound more natural. Please look at the examples below:

even (adverb)

(Definitions from Oxford Learner's Dictionary)

used to emphasize something unexpected or surprising

I see the same woman doing yoga in the park every morning, even if it’s raining. (It’s surprising to see someone doing yoga in the park when it’s raining.)  

My whole family came to my birthday party! Even my brother who lives in Rio.  (I didn’t expect my brother to come from Brazil for my party.)

to make a comparison stronger

This new TV was only $850! It was even cheaper than I thought. (The price of the TV was much lower than I thought.)  

None of us could believe how great Jenna looked at the reunion. She was even more beautiful than we remembered. (Compared to our memories she was much more beautiful.)

I see the same woman doing yoga in the park every morning, even if it’s raining.

We can use even before a verb

Mark loves to eat sushi, he even goes to the most expensive restaurant in Tokyo. Dinner at the restaurant is around $200!

When I was young I collected comic books. I even had the first issue The X-men. 

We also say not even

Wade lost his wallet Friday night. He didn’t even have enough money for a subway ticket. He had to walk home, 18 km.

My arms are so tired from helping Trevor move yesterday. I can’t even lift my backpack today.

I can’t even lift my backpack today.

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ESL Grammar connection Method (make English Grammar easy!)

There are many sites that give you lists of English words and phrases, but there aren’t many websites that tell you HOW to learn English or teach you techniques for learning English.

The ESL Grammar connection method is a great learning technique for English students and teachers. Make English grammar easy! 

I have been teaching since 1991 and teaching
English to ESL students since 2006. 

I use a method of teaching English grammar that I call the Connection Method. I have used this technique to help improve the English level of my all my students:
  • Elementary, Jr. high school, and high school students
  • University and medical school students
  • Doctors, nurses, hospital staff 
  • IT and legal department managers, international sales staff and more!

The ESL Grammar connection method is a great learning technique for ESL students and teachers. It can help make English grammar easy to remember.  With this technique, you will connect new English grammar to real experiences from your own life. Real examples and memories that have extra meaning for you. 

English Grammar practice sentences that are connected to your own experiences are easier to remember. 

5 Memory Association Techniques for students says:
“It helps to use a real-life memory, your mind already remembers that on its own.”
Here is a real example.

One day during my Japanese lesson, my teacher was teaching me how to talk about a recent trip I took. I was still a beginner, so the first sentence was very simple.

I went to Hakone with my girlfriend.” *Of course, I learned this in Japanese!

I was very happy to have a real-life sentence. I could use this sentence with my Japanese friends because it was a real-life experience.

Please compare my real-life sentence to a sentence example you might find in a grammar textbook:

Textbook: “Jim went to Italy with his wife.Real-life: “I went to Hakone with my girlfriend.

Both examples use the same grammar.

Grammar point 1. Past tense verb
~went is the past tense of the verb go

Grammar point 2. The preposition to with places
~we go to a place

Textbook Jim went to Italy...

Real-life I went to Hakone...

Grammar point 3. The preposition with
~with = accompanied by (another person or thing).

Grammar point 4. Possessive pronouns my and his
~possessive pronouns show that something belongs to someone or something or is connected to someone or something

Textbook ...with his wife.

Real-life ...with my girlfriend.

Both examples use the same grammar, BUT...

The first example is someone else's story. I don’t know Jim or his wife and I have never been to Italy.

Jim went to Italy with his wife.
This is not my own experience.

The second example is from my real-life experience. It is connected to a real memory. It's my own experience so it's easy for me to remember!

I went to Hakone with my girlfriend.
Real photos [real memories] from my trip.

The web-page Memory Improvement TIPS says that visual images are easier to remember than just words.

“These images are literally mental hooks that allow you to retrieve the information from your long-term memory.”

Your personal experiences are visual AND emotional! A great way to connect your new English.

Grammar that I connected to my own experience was very easy to remember. It was also very easy to use in a natural conversation.

Of course, textbooks are very helpful, I use them a lot! The ESL Grammar connection method is an extra tool that you can use to make your grammar lessons even better. *I would love to visit Italy someday. I just don't have that experience, yet...

This works with advanced English too!

Here’s an example of how you might use the ESL Grammar connection methods in your own study. This example is from a textbook called Cambridge - English Grammar in Use. I really like this textbook because it teaches with lots of examples. (Just like me!) This is an example from the text:

Textbook I almost fell as I was going down the stairs.

Real-life I almost fell as I was getting off my bicycle.

"This is a true story. My backpack got caught on the seat when I was getting off my bicycle. I almost fell!"

Don't change the grammar of the sentence, just the subject or the object. Choose something that is easy for you to remember. 

You can use this method with different grammar points, anything you need to study. This method can help you improve any area you like. For example:

Use prepositions you have learned to describe your own room

What is on the wall? 
There is a picture of my family on the wall of my room.

What is in the corner? 
There is a small plant in the corner of my room.

What is under your bed? 
I have a box of camping gear under my bed.

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I used this technique to correct a mistake I was making in Japanese.

今回 vs. 次回

I was always confusing the phrases this time and next time.

I would often say things like “See you this time!” to my Japanese friends after a night out!

So I used the Grammar Connection method to fix this mistake! I connected this grammar to a real experience. Please read the following example:

My wife and I went shopping at an outlet mall in Tokyo. There were lots of great stores and we had a fun day. As we were leaving we saw a pizza restaurant near the train station. We talked (in English) about eating at the pizza restaurant next time. I made a sentence (in Japanese) about this experience, using the Grammar connection method. This was my practice sentence:
“Today was awesome! Let’s have dinner at the pizza restaurant the next time we come.
Today REALLY was awesome. (I bought new shoes and a leather belt, they were very cheap!) I’m also excited to eat at the pizza restaurant the next time we come. (I love pizza!) I locked the correct phrase for 'next time' into a real experience in my mind.

I have not confused those 2 phrases since!

Be careful!

This is a powerful technique for learning English so make sure you are using it with good examples. Check the grammar you want to practice before you make your example sentence. Look in your textbook or ask your native speaking teacher or a native speaking friend. Don't connect your experience to a sentence with incorrect grammar!

Now you have connected your new English to your own experience. You can remember it much easier the next time you want to use it. Example sentences that use new grammar to describe your own life are easy to remember.

“But what if I don’t have my own matching experience?”

No problem.
Just think of your favorite characters from TV, movies, comics etc. Someone or something that you like. Use these characters as the subjects for the example sentences with your new grammar. Here’s another example:

The Avengers
2 days a week I teach kids at a special English conversation school. Students learn English by doing regular and interesting activities with instruction all in English. In one activity we used flash cards to learn some new verbs, new actions. One of my students really loves Marvel superheroes and movies. After we saw the flashcards we made our own example sentences using the the action words we just learned.

“Captain America washes the dishes after dinner.” “Spiderman rides his bike to school every day.” “The Hulk ate some ice cream.”

The examples were silly and fun and, most important, they are very easy to remember for my student! They were easy to remember because they were connected to comic book characters that he already loves. 

You can use any dream or fantasy that already lives in your brain.

By using experiences from your own life you can remember new grammar easily when you need it. I often use this technique myself with Japanese grammar. When I connect new vocabulary, new grammar or a new phrase to my own experience, it’s much easier to remember. I have used this method many times in MANY situations, it has been very helpful!

Give it a try today! Choose some English that is hard to remember or something that you just learned. Write an example in the comments and we can all learn together 😁

Here are 2 of my most popular blog posts that you can use with the ESL Grammar connection Method:

Textbook image from:
Boca Tutor [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Learn 50 common English phrasal verbs! + Lots of real examples!

📚 Learn  50 common English phrasal verbs  What is a phrasal verb? ~ In English, a phrasal verb is a combination (mixture) of ...

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