Expressões idiomáticas

Imagem relacionada

Call the shots = run the show; make the decisions (dar as ordens; “dar as cartas”)

“If you’re going to be the boss, you are going to have to know how to call the shots”, Jim told Nick.
“Se você vai ser o chefe, vai ter que aprender a dar ordens”, disse Jim a Nick.

John likes to think he’s important and always tries to call the shots, but nobody really listens to him.
John gosta de pensar que é importante e sempre tenta dar ordens, mas na verdade ninguém o escuta.


Referência: “American Idioms!” – Joe Bailey Noble III e  José Roberto A. Igreja, Disal Editora. Clique aqui para conhecer este livro.


Back up

  1. to defend or support someone, esp. in an argument (apoiar, “ficar do lado de alguém”)

“In order to get the shareholders to accept our business plan, I need you to back me up”, Mr. Wells told us.
“A fim de conseguir que os acionistas aceitem o nosso plano de negócios, preciso que vocês me apóiem”, disse-nos o sr. Wells.

  1. to make a copy of (fazer uma cópia, “fazer backup”)

“We will back up the files on our computer before lunch just to be on the safe side”, said Ed.
“Faremos backup dos arquivos no nosso computador antes do almoço, só para garantir”, disse Ed.

noun form: backup 1. a copy, an extra copy. (cópia de segurança, backup) 2. support (reforço)

Charlie made a backup of his banking records on his computer.
Charlie fez backup de seus dados bancários em seu computador.

One of the police officers called for backup when the shooting started.
Um dos policiais pediu reforço quando o tiroteio começou.

  1. to move in a backward or reverse direction (dar marcha a ré, ir para trás)

Resultado de imagem para backing up

The garbage truck accidentally backed up into another car, which was parked on the street.
Ao dar marcha a ré, o caminhão do lixo bateu acidentalmente em outro carro, que estava estacionado na rua.

Referência: “600 Phrasal Verbs” – Jonathan T. Hogan e José Roberto A. Igreja, Disal Editora. Clique aqui para conhecer este livro.


Driving – Vocabulary

Resultado de imagem para no parking tow away zone

Dialogue: This is a tow-away zone! 

Jake: Hey, I wouldn’t park here if I were you. You see that sign over there? This is a tow-away zone!
Fred: Thanks Jake, I hadn’t noticed it. I’ll try and find another parking spot.
Jake: Yeah, you’d better. You sure don’t want to get a ticket.
Fred: Ok, let’s try the next block. There must be parking spaces there.
Jake: Sure!

Vocabulary & Expressions

Tow-away zone = a no-parking area from which parked cars may be towed away
Parking spot = parking space
Ticket = a traffic fine
Rush hour = a period of heavy traffic when most people are commuting to and from work
Crosswalk = a painted path in a street where traffic must stop to allow pedestrians to get across
Driver’s license = an official document allowing someone to drive a car
Traffic jam = a line of vehicles close together, unable to move or moving very slowly because of heavy traffic
Parking meter = a coin-operated device that registers the amount of time purchased for parking a car
Toll plaza = an area where tollbooths are located on a toll road

Referência: “What to say when …?” – José Roberto A. Igreja, Disal Editora. Clique aqui para conhecer este livro.


Cut someone some slack

Resultado de imagem para cut someone some slack

Cut someone some slack: stop being hard on someone; treat someone less severely (tratar alguém de forma menos severa; “pegar leve com alguém”; “dar um desconto”)

“Hey, can you cut me some slack please? I’m doing the best I can,” Jerry told Ray.
“Ei, pega leve por favor. Estou fazendo o melhor que posso”, Jerry disse para Ray.

Cut him some slack. He has been working extra hours to make up for his mistake,” Jane told Brian.
“Pega leve com ele. Ele está fazendo hora extra para compensar o erro”, Jane disse para o Brian.

Referência: Inglês de Rua – American Slang José Roberto A. Igreja e Robert C. Young, Disal Editora.  

Curiosidades do idioma inglês


Resultado de imagem para Brazil nuts

Tipicamente brasileira, a castanha-do-pará é conhecida nos países de língua inglesa por Brazil nut.

Brazil nuts are called “chestnuts from Pará” in Brazil.
Brazil nuts são chamadas de castanhas-do-pará no Brasil.

Brazil nuts are appreciated all over the world.
As castanhas-do-pará são apreciadas no mundo inteiro.

Referência: “Como se diz … em inglês?” – José Roberto A. Igreja, Disal Editora. Clique aqui para conhecer este livro.


Business English

Taking care of business – Weekly meeting

Jeff: Wow, we have some important issues to cover today. Where´s Fred? Does anyone know about him?
Linda: Yeah, he called in sick earlier today. He was really sorry he couldn´t make it to today´s meeting. I told him I would e-mail him with the highlights later.
Jeff: Ok, let´s make sure we brief him on all the key topics. We have a lot of things going on these days. Ok, let´s get started then. I guess we need to first talk about our next launch. As you know we are behind schedule with this new product, so when do you think would be a feasible date for us to launch it?
Kate: I´d say mid April to be on the safe side. I talked to Dave and Carol the day before yesterday, they told me that since things have been running smoothly now they don´t foresee any more delays.
Jeff: Sounds good. I´m sure this new toy will be a hit with the kids. I´m very excited about it. Let´s just make sure we avoid any last minute surprises. I wouldn´t like to have  to postpone the launch again. Please keep me posted on any further developments.
Kate: Sure, sir. I´ll meet with them again tomorrow and I´ll let you know.
Jeff: Good, let´s move on … Ok, our next item on the agenda is … surveillance equipment, right, Mark, do we have a ballpark figure on the cost of the surveillance equipment yet?
Mark: Yes sir, we´ve received two price quotations and the average figure is $9000,00
Jeff: Humm, it might be a good idea to check with a third company, what do you say?Mark: I already got in touch with another one yesterday, they should be e-mailing their quotation later today and I´ll let you know.
Jeff: Very good Mark, thanks!  Now, I have to tell you I´m very glad about the great news, it seems that we´ll be reaching all our sales goals for the quarter and I´d like to thank you for your effort and the great teamwork. By the way, how are the two new sales reps getting along?
Mark: Not bad, I think they need a little more time to get into the swing of things, but they´ve been doing a very good job and seem very eager to learn.
Jeff: Great, that´s what we need, eager beavers. Let´s make sure we hire some more people with this profile next time any of the departments is short-staffed. OK, one last thing before we wrap up, our booth for the upcoming Miami congress, so, where do we stand Linda?
Linda: Everything is all set sir, we´ll have our usual 90 square meters and a great layout.
Jeff: Thanks Linda, this is just what I wanted to hear. All right folks, I think we all need to go check our e-mail now. We´ll meet again on Wednesday at the usual time.

Language check – Find words or expressions in the dialogue with the following similar meanings:
a- ready: _________________________________
b- keep someone informed: ________________________________
c- approaching; happening soon: _____________________
d- running late; after the time that was planned: ____________________________
e- viable; capable of being done: _______________________________
f- something very successful: _______________________
g- delay or put off an action, event, appointment, etc: _____________________
h- call one’s place of work to say you are ill and cannot come to work: _____________
i- a rough estimate or figure: ______________________
j- become familiar with an activity; begin to get used to something: ________________
k- a person who is hardworking and enthusiastic: __________________________
l- without enough workers: _________________________
m- a stand: __________________________
n- the most significant or interesting parts of something: ______________________
o- a subject that people discuss or argue about: __________________________

1. Do you usually have to attend many meetings at your company? Are they productive?
2. How are meetings in Brazil different from other countries in your opinion?
3. How would you improve meetings in your company?
4. How will technology change meetings in the future?

Referência: “Fluent Business English” – José Roberto A. Igreja e Robert C. Young Disal Editora. Clique aqui para conhecer este livro.

Colloquial language

Breaking up is never easy!

Ron: (angry) Geez! This place stinks of B.O.! Somebody open the goddamn windows for Chrissake!
Fred: Hey, take it easy Ron! What do you expect? This is a locker room and we´ve just finished playing, remember? There´s no need for you to be so grouchy!
Ron: Sorry Fred, this is not one of my best days.
Fred: We could all notice that. So, what the fuck´s eating you?
Ron: I broke up with Sheila last night. I mean, she fucking dumped me man!
Fred: That explains your violence out there. You nearly broke Jake´s neck. We were all wondering what had come over you.
Ron: I know I was a jerk and I shouldn´t be taking it out on you guys, but it´s driving me crazy!
Fred: You do sound miserable. Hey, take a seat. Let´s talk it over. You know, I have to remind you you´re not the only one who´s been dumped recently, remember? How long had you been dating Sheila?
Ron: About a year.
Fred: So, you two had a fight?
Ron: No, everything seemed to be fine. At least it was for me. I don´t get it!
Fred: Do you think she may have met someone else?
Ron: I don´t have a clue. I hope she hasn´t. I mean, I still think we can work things out and get back together soon.
Fred: Wish you luck buddy! Yeah, breaking up is never easy. I remember it took me a long while to get over Carla even though she treated me like a doormat!  I was such a sucker for her! You know how tough it was for me to find out she was cheating on me on my back all along, don´t you?
Ron: Yeah, I know you went through some very bad moments with her. Carla was such a slut to do what she did to you. I mean, she could´ve just left you before getting involved with someone else.
Fred: That´s the point Ron!  Who knows maybe Sheila needs some time on her own. One thing I can assure you is there´s life after you get dumped and you know I´m living proof of that.
Ron: Sure Fred. It´s just that I´m so fucking mad about what´s happened that I can´t really think straight.
Fred: I know Ron. It´s good that you´re getting it off your chest now. Hang on in there pal, everything is gonna be okay.
Ron: Thanks Fred, I guess I´m feeling better already!
Fred: Good. Come on, let´s take a shower and get out of here. I wanna hit the bar and meet some new chicks tonight. You should probably come along with us and do the same.

Decide if the statements below about the dialogue “Breaking up is never easy” are true or false:

1. Ron is mad because the locker room smells of body odor. True _____ False _____
2. Fred is living proof that there´s life after getting dumped. True _____ False _____
3. Sheila and Ron had a big fight. True _____ False _____
4. Carla had always been nice to Fred. True _____ False _____
5. Ron doesn´t think highly of Carla. True _____ False _____

Read the dialogue “Breaking up is never easy!” and find words or expressions that mean the same as:
I have no idea: ________________________________________________
2. Treated me very badly; “stepped on me”; abused me: __________________
3. Ended a relationship suddenly: _______________________
4. Very unhappy: ___________________________________
5. In a bad mood; irritable; easily annoyed: _________________
6. Stupid or foolish person; idiot: __________________________________
7. Angry: ________________________________
8. Annoying you; bugging you: ____________________________________________
9. I don´t understand: ________________________________
10. A room with lockers, esp. in schools or gymnasiums, where you can change clothes and store your personal belongings while playing sports: _____________
11. Overcome difficult emotional situations; “forget”: __________________________
12. Body odor: _________________________________________________
13. Young women: ________________________________________________
14. Releasing bad feelings such as anger, bad mood, etc. on someone: ___________
15. Someone who believes everything they are told and is easily fooled: ___________
16. Telling me what´s annoying you: ______________________________________
17. A close friend: _________________________________________________
18. She was unfaithful to me: __________________________________________
19. Think clearly: ________________________________________________
20. A sexually promiscuous woman; a whore: _________________

Referência: FALE TUDO EM INGLÊS AVANÇADO – José Roberto A. Igreja / Disal Editora

Looking to take your English to the next level? Here´s something new.

So here it is, my new work. A book geared towards both the advanced student of English and teachers alike, for we teachers are eternal students as well. A book I wish I´d had some twenty years ago when I myself was striving to go beyond the basics and broaden my vocabulary. It would have helped me a great deal.

What can you expect from it? A bit of everything: dialogues, vocabulary, idioms, phrasal verbs, slang. A 360 degree approach to language, as a matter of fact, with content aimed at students that are making the transition from the upper-intermediate level towards the advanced/proficient level.

For this new book I have written 30 dialogues highlighting mainly informal language.
I regard dialogues as paramount to language acquisition. Dialogues are basically language in motion where everything comes up (grammar, idiomatic expressions, formal/informal vocabulary) in due context. Check out some of the titles below meant to deliberately peak your curiosity:

I think I´ll pass on dessert
Guess who I ran into at the mall the other day?
My Pilates class
What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas!
I know the odds are against me, but I´ll give it a shot anyway
A funny cabbie
Could you drop the jargon please?
You must have paid top dollar for those tickets!
The head honcho is going to flip out if he finds out what´s going on
Getting dumped sucks!
My WhatsApp group
I felt kind of weird all dressed up in a rented tux!

The dialogues presented along with the other sections of the book will hopefully linger on in the readers´ minds and help them hone their language skills in many ways. I´ve always thought that learning should be a fun process and I´ve made every possible effort to include content that is alluring enough to get readers to go the extra mile.

Among other benefits, I believe this book will help people …

• Incorporate new vocabulary into their speech in a fun and easy way.
• Boost their knowledge of idioms and phrasal verbs through a hands-on approach: not just by reading about it, but also by doing the carefully-planned activities provided in the book.
• Enhance their listening comprehension skills (the books includes an audio CD with dialogues and exercises recorded by native speakers of English)
• Interact in the language more effectively and naturally.
• Brush up on their knowledge of crucial areas of the language. (for the already advanced student)

In short, this new book will hopefully contribute to taking your English to the next level. Enjoy!
José Roberto A. Igreja

FALE TUDO EM INGLÊS AVANÇADO – José Roberto A. Igreja / Disal Editora

Let´s give him the red carpet treatment!

Dean: Guess who’s coming for dinner tonight?
Keith: I don’t have a clue. Who are you talking about?
Dean: Simon. Simon Gardener. Remember him?
Keith: Sure I do. Gee, I haven’t seen him since high school. It’s been about four years now.
Dean: I know, I told him we were roommates. He’s excited about meeting you too.
Keith: Have you been in touch with him lately?
Dean: I ran into him at Mike’s diner last Tuesday. He was grabbing a bite to eat during his lunch break. He’s been working at an advertising agency not far from there.
Keith: Small world! No wonder he’s in adverstising!  He’s always been very creative.
Dean: That’s right. The funny thing was when I first saw him I couldn’t recognize him immediately, but when he came towards me with an open smile, I knew there was no doubt.
Keith: Does he look any different?
Dean: He does, you know, fatter and he’s wearing a goatee now.
Keith: What else? Has he gotten married yet?
Dean: No, but I guess he will soon. He’s been dating this girl for about two years now. From what he told me it seems they are going steady.
Keith: Good! It will be great to see him. So, what are we cooking for dinner then?
Dean: I thought maybe some pasta. By the way, he’s bringing Karen, his girlfriend, he wants to introduce her to us.
Keith: Sounds like he’s in a really serious relationship. Hey, why don’t we call Steve? I’m sure he’ll be glad to join us.
Dean: Good idea! Why don’t you give him a call while I go to the deli on the corner. I still need to buy a couple of things.
Keith: All right! I’ll do that. Let’s give Simon the red carpet treatment!
Dean: That’s right! I guess we all deserve it!

Dialogue comprehension

1. Keith is not at all interested in meeting Simon. True __ False __
2. Dean met Simon at Mike’s diner by chance. True __ False __
3. Simon looks just like he used to in high school. True __ False __
4. Simon is coming to Keith and Dean’s house by himself. True __ False __
5. Simon and Karen have been married for two years now. True __ False __

Language check  –  Find words in the dialogue that mean the same as:

a- A small pointed beard on the chin but not the cheeks: _____________________
b- Date one person exclusively and regularly: _____________________________
c- Delicatessen: a store that sells foods such as cheeses, types of cold meat, salads, sandwiches and other ready-to-eat food: ___________________________
d- Treat someone in a special way: ____________________________________
e- I have no idea: ______________________________
f- Be in contact with: ____________________________
g- Meet someone unexpectedly: ___________________________
h- Eat some food or a small meal: ________________________________
i- Something you say when you meet someone unexpectedly: ________________
j- It is not surprising: _________________________________

Referência: “Fale Inglês como um Americano” – José Roberto A. Igreja e Robert C. Young Disal Editora.


Preparing your students language-wise for trips to English-speaking countries.
by José Roberto A. Igreja

The bags are all neatly packed. You have double-checked your passport and ticket and feel excited to be heading to a foreign country. All the arrangements seem to have been meticulously taken care of. But have they really? Perhaps it would be wise to remember your destination. Is it by any chance an English-speaking country? If the answer to that question is in the affirmative and if you do not happen to be a native speaker of English then another issue seems to be pertinent: how well are you prepared language-wise to get the most out of your trip, be it vacation or business?

We have all heard hilarious stories about tourists or business travelers who, in a desperate effort to communicate, had to resort to mimicking, since they did not have a minimum working knowledge of the language of the country they were visiting. I was once told about a foreigner visiting England who, in order to convey the idea of the dish he would like to  order in a restaurant, started to imitate a chicken by spreading his “wings” (Oops! I mean “arms”) and uttering clucks. While such scenes may be funny and amusing to “spectators” standing by, they remind us that being minimally linguistically competent in the language of the country one is visiting plays a major role in turning one´s stay into a more pleasant  one.

Bearing this introduction in mind, I now turn the spotlight to us language teachers. How can we better help prepare our students in order to interact in English in the various situations that are likely to come up during a business or vacation trip? And what are these situations? As resourceful and experienced teachers we should be aware of how crucial the syllabus for such an endeavor is. That´s right, the syllabus: the summary of main topics to be tackled. What should the syllabus include? Check out the table below for different situations and the language items that are likely to derive from them. Far from being thorough, I believe that the table below includes, language-wise, what is most relevant for someone who is traveling to a foreign country.



SITUATION: Airport & airplane

LANGUAGE ITEMS TO BE ADDRESSED: Common phrases used by the traveler when checking in at the airport; usual check-in agent phrases; specific language used by the crew on the airplane; language the traveler is likely to need to interact with the crew on the plane; customs officer´s phrases and traveler´s phrases when going through customs; etc.

————————————————————————————————————–SITUATION: Means of transportation

LANGUAGE ITEMS TO BE ADDRESSED: Key phrases used at train, subway and bus stations (to buy tickets and elicit information); usual phrases to interact with a taxi driver; car rental agent phrases; traveler´s phrases for renting a car; language to be used if the rental car breaks down; etc.

SITUATION: Accommodation

LANGUAGE ITEMS TO BE ADDRESSED: Usual phrases to make a hotel reservation, to check in and out of the hotel; language to express requests and needs such as in the case of room service; key phrases to ask for directions and make a phone call; etc.

SITUATION: Food & beverage

LANGUAGE ITEMS TO BE ADDRESSED: Names of food and beverage items; usual phrases to interact with the waiter in a restaurant; names of typical dishes of the country the traveler is visiting; etc.

SITUATION: Tourist attractions & Leisure and entertainment

LANGUAGE ITEMS TO BE ADDRESSED: Language for choosing a sightseeing tour; theme glossary for leisure and entertainment; etc.

SITUATION: Going shopping

LANGUAGE ITEMS TO BE ADDRESSED: Key phrases to interact with the clerk at a store; names of clothes items; names of stores and services; theme glossary for store items; etc.

SITUATION: Health & emergencies

LANGUAGE ITEMS TO BE ADDRESSED: Language to express how you feel and interact with the doctor; theme glossary for the human body and symptoms; key phrases used in emergencies.
It goes without saying that each of the language items mentioned above entails lots of vocabulary words and expressions that are related to them. For instance, words and expressions such as toll road; trunk (U.S.)/boot (Engl.); insurance; free mileage; speed limit; detour and GPS would inevitably be essential items under “car rental agent phrases” and “traveler´s phrases for renting a car”.

Another important aspect to be pointed out is that besides language components, culture tips are a must, and can definitely enhance communication a great deal. Being culturally savvy will no doubt make a big difference when traveling abroad, helping you interact more effectively. Some key topics to be addressed are listed below:

  • Currency: being familiar with the most important bills and coins of the country you are visiting pays dividends!
  • Food: what are the typical dishes of the country you will visit? Be sure to know in advance what´s going to replace your rice and beans while you are away!
  • Measuring units and temperature scale: miles, feet, inches, pounds and Fahrenheit. Get acquainted with these terms for they are the norm in many English-speaking countries.
  • Local customs and traditions: learning about them previously will pay off. After all, remember the saying “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”.  Also, remember that the way certain things are in the country you are visiting may differ from your home country. When renting a car in the U.S., for example, you should be aware that most American gas stations are self-service and therefore you should be prepared to pump gas into your rental car yourself!
  • Popular holidays: being aware of important holidays of the country one is visiting will help one better understand the mood and behavior of the local people on those days. We should also not forget that many words and expressions are intimately connected to certain holidays. Take Halloween for example and expressions such as “trick-or-treat” and “jack-o-lantern”.

We should also not forget the differences between American and British English, the two most common “Englishes”, since in some cases there are certain vocabulary variations that might lead the less attentive traveler astray. It should for instance be relevant to remind our students that in England an elevator is called a lift, and that the trunk of a car is called a boot. Some other key vocabulary differences crucial to the business or vacation traveler are listed below:

U.S.                                         England

Zip code                                 postcode
Check                                       bill
Highway                                   motorway
Crosswalk                               pedestrian crossing; zebra crossing

Trash can; garbage can           dustbin; litter bin
Laundromat                             launderette
Subway                                    underground; tube
Parking lot                               car park
Refrigerator                               fridge
Schedule                                    timetable
Bookstore                                   bookshop
Package                                    packet
Taxi stand                                taxi rank
Cell phone                              mobile
Pay phone                                 public phone
Trailer                                      caravan
Vacation                                   holidays
Sidewalk                                    pavement
Shoulder                                    hard shoulder

Where there´s a “need” there´s a way!

We are all familiar with the saying “where there´s a will there´s a way”. For the sake of this article please allow me to introduce a slightly different version: where there´s a “need” there´s a way. An explanation is due: language learning takes place much more naturally when there is a real “need” for communication. As a teacher you may have sometimes experienced the lack of interest your students have in learning words and phrases. Let´s remember they may not always be to blame since the situations created to teach those language chunks may seem artificial to them and won´t really grab their attention at the time. Now, once the opportunity of traveling to a foreign country comes along, where speaking the right word and phrase in English will make all the difference, then that´s the time when learning will take place more naturally and rapidly. On a recent trip to the U.S. I was happily surprised to see how quickly my eleven year old son picked up the phrase  “Can I see the menu for dessert, please?” and used it effectively with the waiters at restaurants. There is definitely no doubt that when the need for communication is crucial, it instills a prompt and more appropriate response from people.

Make no mistake, linguistic competence in the language of the country one will visit will surely guarantee a more enjoyable and successful trip, and that is precisely where we teachers come in: in our capacity to ensure that our students are language-wise prepared to get the most out of their trips!

José Roberto A. Igreja has a BA in English and Literature from PUC – SP and holds certificates of proficiency in English from Michigan University and BYU – Brigham Young University – Utah. He also lived in London where he studied at Hammersmith and West London College. He is the author and co-author of several ELT books, including What to say when?; How do you say … in English?; Fluent Business English; English for Job interviews!; 600 Phrasal Verbs and American Idioms!, all published by Disal Editora.

Referência: “Fale Tudo em Inglês em Viagens!” – José Roberto A. Igreja, Disal Editora.