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California Life Featured Grammar San Diego

Omitting “That” in Relative Clauses + 10 Fascinating Facts about SD

June 1, 2017

We all know that San Diego is famous for its stunning beaches and amazing weather, but the city is also impressive for many other things! Before studying English at CISL in San Diego, check out these 10 fascinating facts about SD. They give you a fun look at what makes America’s Finest City so great!

1o Fascinating Facts about SD

#1: San Diego produces more avocados than anywhere in the U.S.

Maybe this is why we put avocado on everything? Especially burritos! Make sure you have the city’s famous California Burrito while visiting: read about California’s burrito culture before chowing down!

Fascinating Facts about SD

Not all burritos were created equal: a San Diegan wouldn’t touch this burrito until they added guacamole to it!

#2: Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan was the first person to drive across the Coronado Bridge when it opened  in 1969.

Today, the bridge is a famous landmark and the entryway to beautiful Coronado . . . although you can also take the Coronado Ferry from the Embarcadero for a more fun way to arrive on Coronado Island!Fascinating Facts about SD

#3: San Diego has over 7,000 farms (more than any other city in the United States).

Maybe that is why our farmer’s markets are so great! CISL San Diego students who live in Little Italy are just one street away from the incredible Little Italy Farmer’s Market; students can also visit the Hillcrest Market on Sundays and the Ocean Beach Market on Wednesday evenings.Fascinating Facts about SD

#4: San Diego’s Embarcadero is home to the Star of India, the world’s oldest sailing ship.

The ship was built in 1863 and still is an active sailing ship! Visitors can check it out (and even ride on it)!

#5: It’s against the law to swim in any of the lakes in San Diego.

But they’re still worth a visit: the lakes are beautiful and you can still kayak, canoe, and fish. Check out our Guide to San Diego Lakes for more information.

Fascinating Facts about SD

Lake Cuyamaca

#6: The Hotel Del Coronado is the country’s largest wooden structure.

It also was home to the first electric-lit outdoor Christmas tree in 1904. These days, it’s located on the #1 Beach in the U.S. and the hotel is still a popular Christmas destination thanks to its outdoor (beachside!) ice skating rink.Fascinating Facts about SD

#7: San Diego was known as the Tuna Capital of the World from the early 1930s through the late 1970s.

Many of the fishermen were Italian, and their charming homes can still be seen in Little Italy, which is now one of the trendiest neighborhoods in the United States.

Fascinating Facts about SD

The murals in Little Italy celebrate the neighborhood’s Italian history. 

#8: San Diego was home to famous children’s author, Dr. Seuss.

His real name was Ted Geisel. Would you like to read more in English? Check out our Guide to Novels in English for some suggestions.

#9: The San Diego Zoo is a large part of the Will Ferrell movie “Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy.”

However, the scenes were actually filmed at the old Los Angeles Zoo, not at the San Diego Zoo. Check out our list of Movies Set in California for some more famous locations on the big screen!

#10: San Diego’s Museum of Man (in Balboa Park) houses one of the most important collections of Ancient Egyptian antiques in the country.

The museum has real mummies and seven painted wooden coffins! One of the coffins, the Ptolemaic child’s coffin, is one of only six in the world. Balboa Park is an excellent place to explore: read our Insider’s Guide to Balboa Park for some ideas.Fascinating Facts about SD

To read the full list of San Diego facts, visit Movoto.

Relative Clauses: Omitting “THAT”

Each of the above facts can be rephrased as a question in order to ask someone if they know a fact.

Did you know . . .

  • that San Diego produces more avocados than anywhere in the U.S.?
  • that Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan was the first person to drive across the Coronado Bridge when it opened  in 1969? 
  • that San Diego has over 7,000 farms?
  • that San Diego’s Embarcadero is home to the Star of India, the world’s oldest sailing ship? 
  • that it’s against the law to swim in any of the lakes in San Diego?
  • that he Hotel Del Coronado is the country’s largest wooden structure? 
  • that San Diego was known as the Tuna Capital of the World from the early 1930s through the late 1970s?
  • that San Diego was home to famous children’s author, Dr. Seuss?
  • that the San Diego Zoo is a large part of the Will Ferrell movie “Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy?”
  • that San Diego’s Museum of Man (in Balboa Park) houses one of the most important collections of Ancient Egyptian antiques in the country?

Each of these sentences has the word “that.” However, this word can also be omitted and each sentence will still be grammatically correct.

Did you know . . .

  • San Diego produces more avocados than anywhere in the U.S.?
  • Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan was the first person to drive across the Coronado Bridge when it opened  in 1969? 
  • San Diego has over 7,000 farms?
  • San Diego’s Embarcadero is home to the Star of India, the world’s oldest sailing ship? 
  • it’s against the law to swim in any of the lakes in San Diego?
  • the Hotel Del Coronado is the country’s largest wooden structure? 
  • San Diego was known as the Tuna Capital of the World from the early 1930s through the late 1970s?
  • San Diego was home to famous children’s author, Dr. Seuss?
  • the San Diego Zoo is a large part of the Will Ferrell movie “Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy?”
  • San Diego’s Museum of Man (in Balboa Park) houses one of the most important collections of Ancient Egyptian antiques in the country?

Why is this? THAT in these sentences is not necessary. Let’s see why.

These sentences have two parts. The main clause and the relative clause.

  • Did you know + that + subject + verb 
  • Did you know + subject + verb 

The main clause (“did you know”) is the main part of the sentence. It has a subject (you) and a verb (know). All clauses have a subject and a verb.

These relative clauses begin with a relative pronoun (“that”) and include a subject and a verb. (Relative clauses can also start with other words, such as “who” or “which,” but we are only focuses on relative clauses with “that.”) The relative clause works in relation to the main clause. In this case, the relative clause is the thing we are asking if the other person knows.

Why can we remove the word THAT from these sentences? Because the relative clause already has a subject and a verb.

  • Did you know San Diego produces more avocados than anywhere in the U.S.?

(“San Diego” is the subject and “produces” is the object.)

There are times when we cannot omit the relative clause (“that”). This happens when the word “that” is the subject.

  • Did you know that man who said hello to you?
  • Do you want that piece of cake?
  • Does she need that set of keys?

As you can see, these questions are different: they are not asking a person if they know pieces of information or facts.

What did we learn? We learned (that) we can omit the word “that” from questions about facts or information. And, as you can see from the last sentence, we also learned (that) we can remove the word “that” when reporting about things we learned!

For more information on relative clauses, check out some of our article on Defining and Non-Defining Relative Clauses.

California Life Dining Featured Idioms and expressions San Diego

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 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!

 

Dining Featured San Diego San Diego Neighborhoods

Food/Drink-related Countable AND Uncountable Nouns + Little Italy Coffee Shops

March 1, 2017

Countable and uncountable nouns: what are they, and why are they important? Read on to learn about these two categories and discover some words that can be both countable and uncountable nouns . . . like the word “coffee.” Then learn about some of San Diego, Little Italy’s coolest coffee shops!

Countable and Uncountable Nouns

Countable Nouns

Countable nouns refer to things that can be counted. (This means that we usually add an “s”  or “es” to the noun when it is plural.)

  • banana/bananas
  • cloud/clouds
  • beach/beaches

Sometimes, the plural form is irregular.

  • man/men
  • woman/women
  • child/children
  • mouse/mice

Why is it important to categorize countable and uncountable nouns? With countable nouns, we can use “a” or “an” in front of the word. With uncountable nouns, this is not the case.

Uncountable Nouns

Uncountable nouns cannot be counted, and therefore do not have a different word for a plural form.

Many abstract nouns are uncountable:

  • happiness
  • honesty
  • thankfulness

Other countable nouns are not abstract:

  • water
  • coffee
  • flour
  • milk
  • rice
  • butter

However, we can use “a” or “an” with these nouns if we turn these nouns into something that can be divided into elements (and therefore counted). Then we use the form “a (something) of (noun)”:

  • a glass of water
  • a cup of coffee
  • a teaspoon of flour
  • a pint of milk
  • a grain of rice
  • a pat/stick of butter

Words that are both countable and uncountable nouns

Some words can be both countable and uncountable nouns. As we are focusing on coffee today, the nouns listed below are also nouns related to food and drink. Enjoy!

beer

  • Countable definition: a glass of beer
    • Two beers, please.
  • Uncountable definition: a beverage made with water and hops
    • I don’t like the taste of beer.

bread

  • Countable definition: particular types of bread
    • They offer many breads at the local bakery, including sourdough and rye.
  • Uncountable definition: a food made from grains
    • People who are gluten-free don’t eat bread.

cheese

  • Countable definition: particular types of cheese
    • How many cheeses did you buy for the cheese plate?
  • Uncountable definition: a dairy food
    • Cheese is my favorite food.

coffee

  • Countable definition: cups of coffee
    • I ordered two coffees while I was waiting for my friend to join me.
  • Uncountable definition: the drink made from roasted coffee beans
    • I drink coffee every morning.

dessert

  • Countable definition: a particular type of dessert food
    • Did you see all of the desserts they offer?
  • Uncountable definition: the food eaten at the end of a meal (usually it is sweet)
    • Would you like some dessert?

food

  • Countable definition: different types of food
    • Are you allergic to any foods?
  • Uncountable definition: the things we eat
    • Want to get some food?

fruit

  • Countable definition: particular types of fruit
    • She puts a lot of different fruits in her smoothies. They’re delicious!
    • What fruits are low in sugar?
  • Uncountable definition: the part of a tree or plant that can be eaten and contains seeds
    • Sometimes we eat fruit for dessert.

jam

  • Countable definition: different types of jams
    • What types of jams do you have for toast?
  • Uncountable definition: preserved fruit, usually put on toast
    • I don’t like strawberry jam.

juice

  • Countable definition: different types of juices; glasses of juice
    • How many juices did you drink this morning?
    • Two orange juices, please.
  • Uncountable definition: the liquid from fruits, plants, or other foods
    • I don’t like orange juice with pulp.
    • Have you ever had pineapple juice?

meat

  • Countable definition: different types of meat
    • He made three different meats for the BBQ.
  • Uncountable definition: animals eaten as food
    • Do you eat meat or are you a vegetarian?

salad

  • Countable definition: types of salad
    • I made three salads for the picnic.
  • Uncountable definition: a food made with vegetables (usually lettuce) with a dressing
    • Did you eat your salad?

sugar

  • Countable definition: a particular type of sugar or measurements of sugar (such as a packet of sugar)
    • How many (packets of) sugar do you put in your coffee?
  • Uncountable definition: the sweet crystals made from plants such as sugar cane or beets
    • We don’t eat a lot of sugar during the week, so it’s OK if we eat cake on Sunday.

tea

  • Countable definition: different types of tea; cups of tea
    • I had three teas today.
    • How many teas does that local shop sell?
  • Uncountable definition: a drink made from hot water and dried plants
    • Do you have any green tea?

wine

  • Countable definition: different types of wine
    • They have so many wines at that store down the street!
  • Uncountable definition: a drink made from fermented fruit (usually grapes)
    • Did you know that the Romans made wine throughout Europe?

Coffee Shops in San Diego’s Little Italy

San Diego’s Little Italy is a beautiful neighborhood; in fact, it was voted the best Little Italy in the U.S., and it was also named one of the best U.S. neighborhoods to live in! CISL San Diego students have the option of living in Little Italy and staying in the Vantaggio residence. When living in Little Italy, be sure to check out some of the cool coffee shops in the area!

Bird Rock Roasters

Countable and uncountable nouns

The Little Italy location is the newest store for this popular local coffee shop, which roasts its own award-winning beans and brews delicious pour-over coffees. Sip a cup and watch the planes fly overhead: the shop is located in the flight path for the San Diego airport. And be sure to try the Kenyan Peaberry: it’s won more awards than Meryl Streep has Oscars!

Heartsleeves Coffee

Countable and uncountable nouns

This hidden gem is just behind Piazza Basilone, which is a beautiful square with a fountain located on India and Fir Streets. Grab a cup and then explore the adorable shops that are located on the Fir Cottage strip: each boutique is a home once owned by local Italian fishermen, and each is decorated in beautiful colors and offers unique gifts, home decor, and clothing.

James Coffee Co.

Countable and uncountable nouns

Head to Northern Little Italy for James Coffee Co: the space is part coffee shop, part industrial space, and part home to other independent stores such as barber shops, bike shops, and stores featuring local artists. It’s fun, inventive, and a great place to do some studying and shopping!

Lofty Coffee

Countable and uncountable nouns

Little Italy’s newest coffee shop is the second location for this company, which has a popular shop in North County (and whose business just merged with Bird Rock Roasters)! This urban coffee shop on the corner of Cedar and Columbia offers breakfast and lunch items that use local and organic ingredients. Check it out and welcome them to the neighborhood!

Want to learn more about coffee? Check out CISL’s article about The Best Coffee Shops in SF.

All photos from each coffee shop’s Facebook page.