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Enjoy your summer (and keep studying!)

Hi everyone!

This month I am very busy supporting my students in Tokyo and preparing for more company clients this autumn so my posting schedule is going to change a lot! I will make new posts when I have time but it may not be as regular as before. Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more English in the future!

Thanks for your support :)

English news story to learn new vocabulary! (Advanced) "Cloud computing"

IBM to invest $1.2 billion in cloud services
January 19th, 2014

International Business Machines (IBM) plans to invest $1.2 billion to expand its cloud services. The computing and technology giant wants to increase its presence in the next generation of cloud storage and other services. The project includes building 15 state-of-the-art data centers across the world. IBM has to adapt quickly to move from a predominantly hardware-based company into one providing online services. It has experienced declining revenues for the past six quarters and urgently needs to reverse this trend. An IBM spokesman told reporters: "This is fundamental because this allows us global coverage." He added: "We are continuing to invest in where we think the growth areas are going to be."

Wikipedia says: "Cloud computing is a phrase used to describe a variety of computing concepts that involves a large number of computers connected through a real-time communication network such as the Internet." In reality, "the cloud" is a metaphor for the Internet. Clever marketing has created the concept of the cloud to create more sellable services. Users of cloud services keep their data and software on a server (a huge computer) of the company offering the cloud service. There is no need to download anything or store information on a home or work computer. Wikipedia outlines several deterrents to the widespread adoption of cloud computing, including security, reliability and issues surrounding privacy.


predominantly  – adverb – for the most part; mostly; mainly
“French is predominantly spoken in the Canadian province of Quebec, but they also use some English.”

declineverb – to follow a downward path
“My grades at university began to decline after I started drinking beer every night!”

revenue – noun an amount of money regularly coming in.
“Most successful businesses have several sources of revenue coming in from different products and services.”

sellable – adjective – possible or suitable to sell
“Before homeowners advertise their homes for sale, they want to make it as clean and attractive as possible to make it more sellable.”

 Verbs + able become an adjective that usually means that verb is possible.

Doable = I can do it. “This project is huge, but if we work together I think it’s doable.”

Drinkable = Safe to drink. “Many poor people in the world don’t have easy access to drinkable water.”

Where is the hottest place on earth?

There are many hot places in the world. I often talk about how about how hot Tokyo is in the summer, but many of my blog readers live in places much hotter.
We have been practicing superlatives recently (most, biggest, strongest etc.) so I did some research for this blog to find the hottest place in the world. I was surprised by what I found! Can you guess where the hottest temperature has ever been recorded? The middle East? South America? I guessed Africa but.....
The answer is in California! A place called Death Valley, part of the Mojave desert.

According to Wikipedia:
"The hottest air temperature ever recorded in Death Valley was 134 °F (57 °C) on July 10, 1913." This is the hottest atmospheric temperature ever recorded on earth. That's hot!!!!!

More superlatives. Death Valley is also the lowest, driest, and hottest area in North America.

What is the average temperature during your county's summer?
*I also said in an earlier blog that August is the hottest month, but this is not true for my friends in Brazil or South America! Maybe August is the coldest month for countries in the Southern hemisphere.

English idiom - If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen

Here's another famous expression that uses the word heat!

If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen

This means:
If you cannot handle the pressure, you should not be in a position where you have to deal with it.
This was first said (according to Wiktionary) by the 33rd president of the United States. Harry S. Truman.

I found an idiom in Russian with a similar meaning.
How about your language? Do you have a similar expression? Tell us in the comments below!

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English idioms - take the heat / take heat

Today's idiom "Take The Heat" has a literal meaning (basic or usual meaning)
:to endure hot temperatures

This is a perfect expression for summer!

"It's 40 °C today! I can't take this heat anymore!"

As an idiom the expression "Take The Heat" can also mean - to receive or put up with some criticism (for something that was done poorly)

"The local government has been taking some heat over the recent tax increase. People can't see any benefit to public services even though the city has been earning more revenue from higher taxes."

"My boss isn't happy with our project, but I am the senior member of the team so I took most of the heat."

It can also mean take pressure or attention, this is used with "OFF" when we show that someone or something has taken pressure away from someone else.

"My Dad was mad about my test score, but he was even angrier at my brother because he scratched the car last night. This took some heat off me!"

Stay cool!

English expression 'booming' - "Iced coffee sales are booming"

August is the hottest month in Tokyo, and people in Japan are drinking lots of iced coffee!

We often hear the word booming used with business stories, this is because booming can mean:

to become bigger, more successful or to grow quickly.

-This headline means cold coffee (sales) are growing, so many people need ice. 'Ice is hot' means ice sales are also increasing. *Remember hot can also mean popular!

Iced coffee has recently become more popular in Canada (where I'm from) but it has been popular in Japan (where I live now) for a long time. How about where you live? Is iced coffee popular? Do you like it?

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Summer verb - swelter = to be very hot!

Lets learn a new word to describe when we are feeling very hot!


to be very hot in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable
Passengers sweltered in temperatures of over 90°F.

 The pronunciation is SWELL-TERR.

We also sometimes describe the temperature (heat) with the adjective form, sweltering!

English expression - 'Beat the heat'

On Friday we reviewed superlatives:
Click image for Friday's post!

Today lets use an expression that talks about the (HOT!) weather.

Beat the heat!

The verb beat can mean to overcome or defeat someone or something in a game or battle.

"Germany beat Argentina in the final game of the FIFA 2014 World Cup."

So can you guess what beat the heat means? It means to defeat or overcome hot weather! To keep cool when the weather is very hot.

Click the image for an English news story about how to beat the heat. (Advanced)

Tokyo is very hot in the summer, but I think some of my blog readers live in places that are even hotter! Tell us how you beat the heat in the comments below!

August is the hottest month - superlatives

It's August already! August is the hottest month in Japan. Today lets review superlatives, these are adjectives ending in est or following most.

"The Empire Strikes Back is the most exciting movie of the Star Wars series." - This is comparing 6 movies.
"This blog is the greatest English learning blog in the world!" - This comparing all the blogs in the world.
The way to use superlative adjectives is similar to the way we use comparative adjectives.
For a one-syllable word simply add the –est to the end of the word.
Big – Biggest (sometimes we need to double the last consonant)
If the one syllable word ends with an “e” you only need to add an -st.
If a two-syllable word ends with a “y” then change the “y” to “i” and add -est.
Pretty – prettiest
If an adjective has two or three syllables we put most or least in front. 
"She is the most beautiful woman I have ever seen!"
"Winter is my least favorite season."

What is the hottest month in your country?

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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