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SD Beach Barbecue Guide + BBQ Idioms

May 7, 2017

San Diego is famous for its beaches, but few students take advantage of the many facilities the beaches offer! Did you know that you can have a barbecue on many of San Diego’s beaches? Some even have barbecue pits for you to use. Check out our SD beach barbecue guide before organizing a trip with your CISL friends. Cheers!

SD Beach Barbecue Guide

Choose a beach

Which beach will you choose to BBQ? Coronado? La Jolla? Read our Guide to San Diego’s Beaches for an idea of the facilities each beach has (and to learn the personality of each beach). Make sure that you research the beach’s facilities and hours before planning your trip: the San Diego City website lists all of the offerings for each beach, including if it’s accessible by public transport, if there are public restrooms, and if barbecues and fires are allowed.

Grab some friends

Who is coming with you? Make sure you plan in advance so that you know how much food you will need! When planning how to arrive, consider all of your public transportation options: read our Public Transportation in San Diego article for useful information.

Buy the supplies

What will you need to buy for the perfect barbecue? For a BBQ, you are going to need the following:

  • Coals
  • A lighter (to set fire to the coals)
  • Utensils for grilling (thongs and spatula)
  • Plates, napkins, cups, forks, knives, etc.
  • Food! Sausages? Burgers?
  • Condiments (ketchup, mustard, etc.)
  • Drinks
  • A cooler to keep the drinks cold

Be sure to research if the beach has picnic benches; if not, grab a blanket to sit on while you eat!

Plan the rest of the day 

What will you do afterwards? Maybe play some beach volleyball? Perhaps you’ll go swimming? Check out our article for some Beach Activity ideas (and vocabulary). Make sure you come prepared . . . and don’t forget the sunscreen!

BBQ Idioms in English 

When we think of barbecues, we think of burgers, fire (and smoke), and good times! These idioms are related to the foods and items you might have at a beach BBQ.

After meat, mustard

Definition: a phrase emphasizing that something has come too late to be useful (like mustard after meat has already been eaten).

To be in a pickle

Definition: experiencing a difficult situation.

Can’t cut the mustard

Definition: not satisfactory or right for the situation

To go up in flames

Definition 1: burn up completely.
Definition 2: [for value or investment] to be lost suddenly and totally.

To grill someone (about something)

Definition: to question or interrogate someone intensely and relentlessly (about something).

Holy smoke!

Definition: what a surprise!

To rake someone over the coals

Definition: to scold someone.

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire

Definition: a saying meaning “there’s always some reason for a rumor.”

 

California Life Featured Grammar San Francisco San Francisco Travel Tips Student Activities Student Life Suggested student activities

The Word ‘ALSO’ in English + Places You Should ALSO Visit While Studying in SF

May 1, 2017

Do you know how to correctly use the word “also” in English? It might be a small word (just four letters!) but it is used quite often. Today we are looking at how to use the word “also” in English; then we will look at this word in action by learning about some places you should “also” visit while studying English in San Francisco!

The Word ‘ALSO’ in English

We use the word “also” to add an agreement to a statement.

Examples:

  • Yesterday I went to Little Italy. I also went to Mission Beach.
  • I tried surfing and we also tried kite-boarding.
  • I took the TOEFL exam. I also took the IELTS exam. I know, I’m crazy!

Placing “also” in a sentence

The word “also” is placed in the sentence in relation to the sentence’s verb or verbs.

Use #1: With a “be” verb

The word “also” comes after the BE verb.

Examples:

  • My teacher is a Cambridge instructor. She is also an IELTS teacher.

Use #2: For all other verbs

For all other verbs, “also” is placed before the verb.

  • I tried fish tacos. I also tried a shrimp burrito.
  • My teacher taught us how to use phrasal verbs during the Cambridge Speaking Module. He also helped us learn how to naturally incorporate idioms into our speech.

Notice that these verbs are one-word verbs: in the examples above, we use “tried” and “helped,” which are in the past tense. What about verb tenses that are more complicated?

Use #3: For sentences with more complex verb tenses

For verb tenses that use two words, “also” goes between the two parts of the verb. Examples include the Present Continuous, Past Continuous, or Present Perfect. This also includes verbs that are used with modals.

  • You’ve been to the theater in SF? I’ve also been there!
  • I was also working out last night at the gym.
  • We could go check out Haight-Ashbury tonight. We could also explore the Mission District.
  • When you’re living in SF, you should definitely go to Dolores Park. You should also see the cool Comic Museum!

Places You Should ALSO Visit While Studying in SF

You’re probably going to visit the Golden Gate Bridge, Union Square, and Alcatraz. Chances are, you’re going to check out Golden Gate Park, ride a cable car, and explore neighborhoods like Haight-Ashbury and the Mission District. But we also suggest that you leave the city on occasion: there is so much to do and see outside of SF! The following suggestions are for day trips or weekend trips for SF residents. Have you visited these really great cities and locations?

Sausalito

Cross the Golden Gate Bridge and you arrive in Sausalito, a charming seaside town with beautiful views of the San Francisco Bay. The city is famous for its houseboat community (almost 500 in total!) and is a lovely place to explore: check out the Marinship neighborhood’s waterfront and beach (you can rent canoes and kayaks!) and walk down Caledonia street for some excellent shopping. The city is filled with excellent restaurants and adorable cafes.

To most fun way to get to Sausalito is by ferry. Check out our post on Sausalito and the Golden Gate Ferry for more information.

Berkeley

The city is famous for many things: its prestigious university, its liberal community, and its hippie culture are just a few! Berkeley is considered the intellectual heart of California by many: you might feel smarter just walking along its streets! (We are joking . . . but we really do recommend walking down some of its streets, particularly famous Telegraph Avenue and Solano Avenue.)

Berkeley is easily accessed by public transportation: the BART station in Berkeley is located on Shattuck Avenue (very close to UC Berkeley).

Napa and Sonoma Valley

The most famous wine region in the United States is just a short trip from SF! Napa is the most popular of the two regions, but Sonoma also offers award-winning wines and beautiful scenery. Check out some of the tours you can book if you’d like to have a guide, or rent a bike for a closer view of the grapevines! The area also has charming towns to explore such as Yountville, Oakville, and Rutherford.

Before taking a trip to Napa, read our article on Wine Tasting Vocabulary.

Santa Cruz

The beach boardwalk, beautiful parks, and downtown are heavily influenced by California surfer and hippie cultures; these locations are some of the many reasons to visit Santa Cruz. Walk down the Santa Cruz Boardwalk and ride the famous Giant Dipper roller coaster, check out the beaches and watch the surfers, and then go hiking in the beautiful mountains and see the gorgeous pine trees.

The Highway 17 Express bus will take you from San Jose to Santa Cruz in about an hour. Check out the Santa Clara Valley Transport Authority for more information.

Bodega Bay

Bodega Bay’s beaches, water sports, fishing, and hiking make it a popular destination for many Northern Californians. Explore one of California’s most charming seaside towns (and be sure to enjoy some of the Pacific Ocean’s fresh seafood)!

The best way to get to Bodega Bay is by car (it’s less than 1 1/2 hours driving). For information on how to rent a car, read our post on Renting a Car as an English Student. With public transportation, the bus takes about 3 hours: take Bus 72 towards North (from the Perry Street stop) to the Santa Rosa Transit Mall (Second St. and B. St. stop). From the Santa Rosa Transit Mall, take Bus 95 towards Point Arena (Northbound) to the Highway 1 and Tides Inn stop at Bodega Bay.

 

California Life CISL San Diego Featured Idioms and expressions San Diego San Diego Travel Tips

English Expressions with “Warm” + San Diego’s (Very Warm!) Yearly Weather Averages

April 18, 2017

San Diego is warm nearly all year, but as the temperatures increase, we are reminded just how perfect the SD weather is! This month we are looking at some expressions with “warm” to celebrate the coming of summer. We are also looking at San Diego’s yearly weather temperature averages to show SD’s ideal weather.

Expressions with “Warm”

English Expressions with Warm

Housewarming (party)

Definition: a party to celebrate when someone moves into a new apartment or house.

Example: Are you going to Sarah’s housewarming party? She just moved to a new place in Little Italy!

We can also use housewarming + gift/present to talk about the present we give someone at a housewarming party.

Example: I bought her a new cheese plate as a housewarming gift.

Warm body

Definition: any person; someone needed to be present in order to be counted.

Example: The movie director needed a few warm bodies for the scene, so he asked the people at the beach if they wanted to be in the movie.

Warm the bench/bench warmer

Definition: to be a part of the team but not play.

Example: He warmed the bench for most of the game.

We also can the person who warms the bench a “bench warmer.”

Example: I played baseball when I was young, but I was not very good. In fact, I was a bench warmer most of the time.

Warm regards

Definition: a polite way to end an email or letter.

Example: Warm regards, Sarah

For examples of ways to begin emails or letters, check out our article on Beginning an Email in English.

Warm up to (someone/something)

Definition: to begin liking someone or something when you didn’t at first.

Example: He’s warming up to the idea of getting a dog.

Warm welcome

Definition: greeting someone; being very happy to see him or her.

Example: What a warm welcome from my host family! They had a big BBQ for me and I got to meet all of my neighbors.

English Expressions with Warm

San Diego’s (Very Warm!) Yearly Weather Averages

How good is the weather in SD? It’s pretty amazing! Holiday Weather provides excellent statistics on the yearly temperature averages for San Diego. Let’s take a look at the temps on land and in the water.

While the rest of the Northern Hemisphere is freezing in the winter, San Diego is enjoying not only warm temperatures, but many sunny days; it’s not uncommon for people to be at the beach several weekends during January and February!

San Diego's (Very Warm!) Yearly Weather Averages

In this chart, we can see the average high and low temperatures. San Diego stays consistently warm in the winter months, so although you need a jacket at night, it doesn’t have to be a huge parka!

San Diego's (Very Warm!) Yearly Weather Averages

The Pacific Ocean gets significantly warmer in the summer months, but with a wet suit, San Diego’s surfers are in the water all year.

San Diego's (Very Warm!) Yearly Weather Averages

To see more statistics about the San Diego weather, check out Holiday-Weather.com.

Academic English California Life Featured Los Angeles Reading San Diego San Francisco Suggested student activities

Adverbs of Degree in English + 4 ‘Really Awesome’ Libraries in California

April 1, 2017

Adverbs of Degree in English

Adverbs of Degree in English

What are adverbs of degree in English? Adverbs of degree show the level of intensity of a verb in the sentence. Using them makes your writing and speaking much more effective (or can even change the meaning of a sentence)!

Here is an example of a sentence with and without an adverb of degree:

  • He won the race.
  • He almost won the race.

The meaning completely changes when we add this adverb.

The meaning doesn’t always change when we add adverbs of degree. Sometimes, these adverbs of degree just give us more clarification.

  • I love you.
  • I deeply love you.
  • I agree.
  • I highly agree.
  • You said what I was thinking.
  • You perfectly said what I was thinking.

In these cases, the verb is strengthened by the use of the adverb of degree.

Here is a list of some of the more common adverbs of degree.

almost absolutely  barely completely decidedly deeply enough enormously
entirely extremely fairly  far  fully greatly hardly highly
how incredibly indeed intensely just least less little
lots most much nearly perfectly positively practically purely
quite rather really scarcely simply   so somewhat  strongly
thoroughly  too totally utterly very virtually well

4 ‘Really Awesome’ Libraries in California

It’s almost impossible to choose just four really awesome libraries in California. However, we are absolutely sure that these are some of the best in the state! Notice how we use these adverbs of degree in English for the descriptions of each library: the words on the adverbs list are in bold. When are these words being used as adverbs of degree?

The San Diego Public Library, Downtown SD

While some people believe that people barely read books these days, we highly disagree: San Diegans read enough that the city just finished an entirely new library! The completely new structure is one of the coolest architectural designs in SD: check out our article about this amazing place.

San Francisco Public Library, Potrero Branch

What a view! This structure was recently renovated in 2010 and offers beautiful city views, lots of natural lighting, free wireless internet, and many places for group meetings and individual study.

Los Angeles Public Library

The Los Angeles Public Library holds more than 6 million books: that’s well more books than any other public library in the U.S.! The building is an utterly beautiful piece of architecture (check out the simply gorgeous globe lamp!) that is worth a visit.

Hearst Castle Library, San Simeon

The Hearst Castle is extremely famous for being one of the most beautiful castles in the United States, so perhaps it is fairly unsurprising that the castle has an incredibly stunning library. The details of the warm and lavish structure are impressive!

Have you been to a library in California? Tell us about it on Facebook!

 

California Life CISL San Francisco Featured Social Media Vocabulary

ESL Vocabulary for Videos + Awesome SF Videos

March 20, 2017

From gorgeous parks to its iconic plazas and bridges, San Francisco is a city recognizable by most. But new drone videos on YouTube are providing us with birds-eye views of SF (and a perspective of the City by the Bay that we’ve never seen before)! Have you checked out some of these incredible videos? Enjoy this unique look of the city, and be sure to learn some of the ESL vocabulary for videos we’ve included to help you understand sites like YouTube.

Awesome Videos of San Francisco

Enjoy these videos of San Francisco, which were professionally shot using drone footage. These aerial shots make us love SF even more!



ESL Vocabulary for Videos

How many of these ESL vocabulary words for videos do you know?

Shots

Definition: photos or video

Example: You got some great shots of the sunset and the Golden Gate Bridge.

Footage

Definition: film recorded for a particular event

Example: Did you see the footage of the fog rolling in to the Bay?

Drone

Definition: a small machine that flies and often carries a camera to shoot footage from the sky

Example: They used drone footage to show how many people attended the festival.

Aerial

Definition: existing, happening, or operating in the air

Example: People use drones to get aerial footage of sites.

 

B & W

Definition: black and white

Example: We can’t decide if we like the footage better in color or in B & W.

Tripod

Definition: a three-legged tool to hold a camera

Example: We used a tripod for more stability.

High-def

Definition: high definition

Example: This new camera allows us to take photos in high-def.

Would you like to see similar videos of San Diego and also learn some more ESL vocabulary for videos? Check out our post on YouTube Vocabulary and Videos of San Diego!