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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

CISL San Diego CISL San Francisco Featured Vocabulary

Phrasal Verbs for the ESL classroom

February 7, 2017

Phrasal verbs are an important part of the English language, and we find them used in the business setting, while using public transportation, when talking about love, and–you guessed it–in the classroom! Academia is common place for phrasal verbs: read on to learn more about phrasal verbs for the ESL classroom!

Phrasal Verbs ESL classroom

Phrasal verbs for the ESL classroom

Some of these phrasal verbs have more than one meaning. In this case, we are looking at the definition that is used with the context of an ESL class.

Catch on

Meaning: to understand a concept.


  • Your CAE Speaking score has really improved. It seems like you’re really catching on!
  • It was difficult at first to learn a new trolley route when I arrived in SD, however, after two weeks I’ve caught on.

Note: this phrasal verb is intransitive (it does not require/take an object). To learn more about intransitive vs. transitive phrasal verbs, check out our article on Grammar Lesson of the Month on phrasal verbs. 

Hand out

Meaning: to distribute (usually papers).


  • The teacher handed out the test to everyone and then we began taking it.
  • Before my presentation, I handed an outline out to each classmate.

Note: this phrasal verb is transitive (it takes an object) and hence is optionally separable. The second example shows how you can separate this phrasal verb. 

Phrasal Verbs ESL classroom

Hand in/Turn in

Meaning: to submit (usually papers/homework).


  • We all handed in our tests before we left for the day.
  • Did you hand  your homework in so I can correct it?
  • I forgot to turn in my essay! Hopefully I can email it to my teacher.
  • Did you turn your paper in?

Note: this phrasal verb is transitive (it takes an object) and hence is optionally separable. The second and fourth examples show how you can separate this phrasal verb. 

Make up

Meaning: to do at a later date than originally planned.


  • I was sick on Monday, so I made up my test on Tuesday.
  • You cannot make the CAE up; therefore, it’s important that I don’t miss my test!

Note: this phrasal verb is transitive (it takes an object) and is optionally separable. The second example shows how you can separate this phrasal verb. 

Pass out

Meaning: to distribute (similar to “hand out”).


  • She passed out our new EAP books today and I think they’re great!
  • My classmate passed candy out to each of us after his presentation. They were chocolates from his hometown.

Note: this phrasal verb is transitive (it takes an object) and is optionally separable. The second example shows how you can separate this phrasal verb. 

Student.Question.Class.Teacher.FAQ,Phrasal Verb

Speak up

Meaning: to say your opinion.


  • If anyone doesn’t understand, please speak up.
  • Which beach should we go to after class? Someone speak up!

Note: this phrasal verb is intransitive (it does not require/take an object).

Business English Career English CISL San Diego CISL San Francisco Featured Vocabulary

Sales Vocabulary + CISL’s Career English Program

January 24, 2017

CISL is proud to offer students the Career English program, where students master business English and communication skills before spending time in an American company. Past students have experienced architecture, marketing, event planning, and even real estate through CISL!

One of the most requested areas of interest for students is sales and marketing. Do you know these common sales and marketing related terms and expressions?


Sales and Marketing Vocabulary

Cold call

Definition: (verb, noun) to call a person or company that you do not have relations in hope of beginning a new business relationship.

Example: We estimate that 70% of our cold calls are not successful . . . but 30% are!

Example: The first time I cold called someone when I was at my host company, I was so nervous! But my English got better each time I did.

Conduct (research)

Meaning: (collocation) to do research (on the market, customers, competitors, etc.)

Example: We conducted extensive research before choosing our logo.

To close (a deal/sale)

Meaning: (verb) to finalize an agreement or sale.

Example: After closing the deal, we celebrated with a little champagne!


Follow up

Meaning: (phrasal verb) to make contact with someone after a meeting.

Example: He made a follow up call to see if they were still interested in the product.


Meaning: (verb) to begin something, to put a plan into effect.

Example: They implemented their new marketing plan in January 2017.



Meaning: (adjective) original, advanced (ideas, plans, etc.)

Example: Her innovative marketing plan led to her promotion.


Meaning: (noun) a tip; a potential client or sale.

Example: I have three leads to look into today.


Meaning: (verb) to make something better; reach its potential.

Example: After optimizing the website, we saw sales increase by 15%.



Meaning: (adjective) the ability to make money/be profitable.

Example: They were worried about the profitability of the new product, but in the end it was incredibly successful.


Meaning: (phrase, acronym) “return on investment.”

Example: The ROI on social media marketing is becoming easier to track.


Meaning: (adjective) carefully planned; with purpose.

Example: They asked us to design a strategic sales plan . . . in two hours!

For more information on CISL’s Career English, contact the CISL Career English Coordinator.

Business English Career English CISL San Diego English for Engineers Featured Vocabulary

English for Engineers: Vocabulary for Dimensions

January 14, 2017


English is quickly becoming the language of engineering, which is why CISL now offers the English for Engineers program. With this program, Upper Intermediate and Advanced students learn the skills necessary to help them succeed in an English speaking Engineering environment. Among other things, students learn:

  • Language related to engineering (such as design, procedures, and processes)
  • How to express problems, solutions, and communication related to capabilities, limitations, problems, solutions, regulations, standards, etc.
  • Practice working with written instructions, drawings, and notices
  • Grammar, vocabulary, and writing and speaking skills focused on discussing quality, repairs, maintenance, technical requirements, regulations, standards, suitability and relative performance

Finally, students learn vocabulary about engineering and technology, such as dimensions, precision, and causes and effects. The CISL Blog has already looked at Five must-know English Adjectives for Engineers. Today we are taking a look at some college Engineering vocabulary regarding the dimensions of an object. Do you know all of these words?

Engineering Vocabulary: Dimensions


The measurement of a surface or piece of land.


Which is more difficult: calculating the area of a square parking lot . . . or skateboarding?


The distance or measurement from side to side of something


The width of the river changes during different parts of the year.


The distance around something


Which of these can you calculate the circumference of?


The distance from the top or surface to the bottom of something


The depth of the ocean scares many people . . . but not surfers!


A straight line passing from side to side through the centre of a body or figure, especially a circle or sphere.


Having a level surface; without raised areas or indentation


This flat land is perfect for playing sports, running, or biking.


The measurement of someone or something from head to foot or from base to top.

It’s amazing to think of the height of these large skyscrapers.


The measurement or extent of something from end to end; the greater of two or the greatest of three dimensions of an object.



A straight line from the centre to the circumference of a circle or sphere.

Remember high school math?


The distance through an object, as distinct from width or height.

Have you ever read a really thick book?


The amount of space that a substance or object occupies, or that is enclosed within a container.

Is it possible to calculate the volume of the ocean?

For more information on CISL’s English for Engineers (and to learn more about the Career English program, where you can spend time in an American Engineering firm!) contact CISL.

Academic English CISL San Diego CISL San Francisco EAP

What IS academic English? (+ 10 words for academic writing)

November 21, 2016

When selecting an English course, many students look for a class that has a specific purpose. Some courses are designed to prepare students for an English proficiency exam, such as CISL’s TOEFL, IELTS, and Cambridge FCE and CAE courses. Others, like CISL’s Premier English classes, focus on the business English skills necessary for professionals and executives. Course materials, syllabus, classwork, and homework are all focused on helping students improve skills specifically related to this type of English.

Academic English is another popular and important type of English course (and one which CISL offers throughout the year). But what IS academic English, and what does an English for Academic Purposes (EAP) course at CISL consist of? Let’s take a look!

Academic English at CISL

According to CISL San Diego’s Academic Director, Tamara, CISL’s 12-week Academic English program is “the ideal class for students transitioning from a language school environment to an American university. Our EAP program was created to give our students the necessary tools to meet and surpass the academic challenges inherent in this period of change.”

Read on to learn how specific skills are sharpened in CISL’s EAP course.


In a Standard Course at CISL, students focus on communicating in English. This includes expressing opinions, agreeing and disagreeing, talking about oneself and current events, and using the English tenses to discuss the past, present, future, and real and unreal situations.


Academic English will do the same, but with a focus on the English skills needed in the college or university setting. For example, a student will learn to express opinions in the classroom: how to agree or disagree with a classmate, or how to express opinions based on facts (such as academic articles or research studies).


In the Standard CISL classroom, listening skills are always being tested: the class is English-only, and students speak (or listen to others speak) English for hours! Whether listening to songs, to other students speaking, or watching videos that create meaningful class discussions, students are constantly sharpening their listening skills.


Listening skills in the college or university classroom, on the other hand, require an understanding of classroom lectures: this includes understanding the academic language and grammar used, and possessing the ability to process information while taking notes. In addition, students must often listen to their peers as they participate in classroom discussions.


A Standard CISL course will have readings from the textbook as well as texts that CISL teachers choose to include: newspaper articles, online articles, chapters from books, and even poetry are often found in a CISL classroom! With Academic English, the reading is more focused on academic texts and readings from the academic-based class textbook(s). This will prepare students for the rigorous academic reading that they will do when at college or university.



With the CISL Academic English course, students learn how to write essays in the form and style appropriate for academia, and students leave the EAP course with an understanding of the entire academic writing process. CISL’s Academic Director, Tamara, states that “Our students conduct independent research, apply the five step writing process, and walk away feeling confident in their writing skills.”



In the Standard CISL classroom, students focus on grammar that is highlighted in their textbooks (and the concepts that students ask about in class). English tenses, relative clauses, phrasal verbs, lessons on the Passive Voice vs. Active Voice, Action Verbs vs. Non-Action Verbs . . . these are all a portion of a typical day for a CISL student! These lessons are accompanied by fun and useful conversations that use the new grammar concepts learned in class.

Grammar English

Grammar in the EAP class is equally as useful. Students learn the grammar skills necessary to write, speak, and read better and apply each of the concepts they learn to an academic-based activity. For example, students will learn about the Active vs. Passive Voice and then apply this to writing an essay, taking careful steps to avoid using the Passive Voice in writing (something that is frowned upon by academia!).

So what makes CISL’s EAP program different from the academic programs of other schools? In addition to CISL’s small classroom size, we employee the most qualified of instructors! CISL’s Academic Director Tamara says “Our teachers are either writers themselves, or are university professors. We feel this gives our students the added benefit of being taught by professionals who thoroughly understand the academic landscape ahead. At CISL San Diego, we are happy to facilitate this process and prepare our students for a positive and fulfilling university experience. “

10 Useful Verbs for Academic Writing

Will you be taking an EAP course soon? Here are some excellent words that are commonly used in academic writing. Incorporate them into your writing for essays that use strong and appropriate vocabulary! For even more vocabulary words, check out this list from English Companion.


Definition: to carefully examine something, typically for purposes of explanation and interpretation.

Example 1: In this essay, I intend to analyze research on the positive and negative effects of caffeine in order to determine what conclusions science has made on this topic.

Example 2: In order to fully analyze the pros and cons of private school education, researchers took data from schools throughout the U.S. whose students are from various backgrounds and social classes.

Other useful forms: analysis, analyse (British), analyzed


Definition: add notes to (a text or diagram) giving explanation or comment.

Example 1: The version of Heart of Darkness referred to is the 2014 annotated edition from W.W.W. Norton and Company.

Other useful forms: annotation, annotated


Definition: state a fact or belief confidently and forcefully.

Example 1: Researchers assert that their findings are accurate.

Example 2: The article asserts that little has been done to alleviate the serious pollution of the local river.

Other useful forms: asserted, assertions


Definition: to quote or refer to (a passage, book, or author) in substantiation as an authority, proof, or example.

Example 1: This essay cites the most recent studies regarding this issue.

Example 2: Cars have been cited as one of the largest contributors to global warming.

Other useful forms: citations, cited


Definition: recognize or ascertain what makes (someone or something) different.

Example 1: Before discussing the pros and cons of wearing uniforms in school, it is important to differentiate between uniforms and dress codes.

Example 2: I would like to differentiate between different forms of social media before discussing its effects on our youth.

Other useful forms: differ, differentiated, differential


Definition: express (an idea) in a concise or systematic way.

Example 1: Many formulate an opinion on the “small government vs. big government” debate before they take take the time to understand the intricacies of each.

Example 2: In order to formulate his education reform policy, the governor met with many academic advisrs and financial planners.

Other useful forms: formulated, formulations


Definition: put (something) forward as a hypothesis.

Example 1: I hypothesize that several themes in Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird are found in many works by later authors, including the coexistence of good and evil and the existence of social inequality in our society.

Other useful forms: hypothesis, hypothetical, hypothesized


Definition: deduce or conclude (information) from evidence and reasoning rather than from explicit statements.

Example 1: Based on these findings, scientists can infer what happened to cause the extinction of the dinosaurs.

Other useful forms: infer, inferred, inference,


Definition: disapprove of and attempt to prevent, especially by argument.

Example 1: I personally oppose government censorship of the internet and believe in a free exchange of information. In this essay, I will explain why.

Example 2: Those who oppose climate reform claim it comes at a cost to businesses.

Other useful forms: opposing, opposition, opposed


Definition: depict (someone or something) in a work of art or literature.

Example 1: Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness portrays the horrors of colonialism in the Congo.

Other useful forms: portrayed, portrayal


Check out some of our other articles on Academic English!