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California Life Featured San Diego Vocabulary

Bodyboarding vs. Surfing (+ Surfing Vocabulary and Slang)

August 6, 2017

Bodyboarding vs. Surfing (+ Surfing Vocabulary and Slang)

Surfing is a way of life in California, so it is no surprise that surfing vocabulary and slang are parts of the language on the West Coast! We are providing an infographic from Finbin (a website about water sports) about the bodyboarding vs. surfing debate. Do you know the difference? Have you tried both, and if so, which do you prefer? The language in the infographic is for advanced students, but students of every level can learn the surfer slang it includes!

Surfing Vocabulary and Slang

Blackball (black ball)

Definition: The black flag (with a large black circle) that lifeguards use during “no surfing” times. The word is now also used to talk about prohibited areas or actions.

Example: Who is most likely to get insanely barreled in that black ball beach break?

Barreled

Definition: Hit by a wave

Example: Who is most likely to get insanely barreled in that black ball beach break?

Beach break

Definition: When waves break over a sandy area.

Example: Who is most likely to get insanely barreled in that black ball beach break?

Home break

Definition: Your preferred surf location.

Example: If your home break is a spot shared by surfers and bodyboarders alike, you’ve probably heard side comments about the unspoken rivalry.

Lineup

Definition: The line of surfers waiting (in the water) for a wave.

Example: It became easier for all types of individuals–young, old, and older–to paddle to the lineup and catch a wave to get their fill of stoke.

Bodyboarding vs. Surfing (+ Surfing Vocabulary and Slang)

Paddle

Definition: To place your arms in the water and use them to move your surfboard.

Example: It became easier for all types of individuals–young, old, and older–to paddle to the lineup and catch a wave to get their fill of stoke.

Prone position

Definition: The position a bodyboarder is in: holding on to the board, stomach on the board.

Example: The prone position offers more stability and balance.

Radical

Definition: An expression meaning “cool.”

Example: You’ll get to ride waves in more radical ways and you sure will have the biggest smile on your face.

Stoke

Definition: “excitement.”

Example: It became easier for all types of individuals–young, old, and older–to paddle to the lineup and catch a wave to get their fill of stoke.

Wipe out

Definition: To fall off the surfboard.

Example: You also won’t have to worry about falling off and wiping out.

Bodyboarding vs. Surfing

Thank you to Finbin for this infographic about the differences between bodyboarding and surfing! CISL often arranges beach activities such as surf lessons: ask the Front Desk for information or check out the month’s Activities Calendar.

Additional Vocabulary

Attest to

Definition: To affirm something is true.

Example: Global surfing competitions, giant surf brands, million-dollar surf movies, and all the images circulating on print and digital media can all attest to the overgrown bubble that has enveloped much of surfing.

Avid

Definition: Enthusiastic.

Example: Morey himself was an avid surfer.

To burst (a/one’s) bubble

Definition: To destroy a feeling of happiness or a commonly accepted idea.

Example: Tom Morey burst that bubble when he invented the bodyboard in 1971.

Catch on

Definition: To become more popular.

Example: The trend has caught on.

Charge (something)

Definition: To run to something with great speed (or, in this case, swim to something).

Example: You can charge bigger waves like it was a walk in the park with a bodyboard . . .

Bodyboarding vs. Surfing (+ Surfing Vocabulary and Slang)

Downside

Definition: Disadvantages.

Example: It’s hard to think of a downside to bodyboarding.

Dwellers

Definition: People who live somewhere.

Example: History has it that the first surfers among the Pacific dwellers were those who had royal blood.

Elevated

Definition: A higher level.

Example: Surfing has always enjoyed an elevated status as the sport of kings.

Exclusive

Definition: Not available to most people.

Example: This status gave surfing its sublime appeal, make it aspirational and somewhat exclusive.

Game for

Definition: Prepared; ready for.

Example: What are you game for?

Bodyboarding vs. Surfing (+ Surfing Vocabulary and Slang)

Physiques

Definition: Physical forms (bodies).

Example: Bodyboarding can be enjoyed by riders of all ages and physiques.

Overgrown

Definition: Enlarged; too large.

Example: Global surfing competitions, giant surf brands, million-dollar surf movies, and all the images circulating on print and digital media can all attest to the overgrown bubble that has enveloped much of surfing.

Tug-o-war

Definition: A game in which two teams pull on a rope and try to pull the team towards them.

Example: Nobody knows who declared this psychological war between wave riders and their differing weapons of choice, but it looks like the silent tug-o-war is here to stay.

Tune out

Definition: Stop listening to someone or something.

Example: If you can tune out the haters, you’ll have no reason to regret picking up a bodyboard.

Sublime

Definition: A level of spiritual happiness and divinity.

Example: This status gave surfing its sublime appeal.

Would you like to learn more surfer slang? Check out our articles The Word Gnarly, and California Surfer Slang for English Students

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 in English

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

#1: 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) and then choose the one that’s perfect for your beach day!

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 the beach is accessible by public transport, if there are public restrooms, and if barbecues and fires are allowed.

#2: 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.

#3: 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 (tongs and spatula)
  • Plates, napkins, cups, forks, knives, etc. (plastic: no glass allowed at the beaches or parks)
  • 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!

#4: Plan the rest of the day 

What will you do afterwards? Maybe play some beach volleyball? Perhaps go swimming? Check out our article for some Beach Activity Ideas (and beach-related 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:phrase emphasizing that something has come too late to be useful (like mustard being offered . . . after meat has already been eaten)

Example: (Student): I just completed my extra credit! (Teacher): And I’ve just submitted the final grades. After meat, mustard.

To be in a pickle

Definition: experiencing a difficult situation

Example: I can’t decide between going to Balboa Park museums or going to the beach. I’m in such a pickle!

Cut the mustard

Definition: satisfactory or right for the situation or expectations

Example: What do you think about my final paper? Does it cut the mustard?

To go up in flames

Definition 1: burn up completely

Example: They watched the house go up in flames.

Definition 2: [for value or investment] to be lost suddenly and totally

Example: After they lost their main investor, they were afraid the project would go up in flames.

To grill someone (about something)

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

Example: The manager really grilled me during my interview, but I got the job!

Holy smoke!

Definition: what a surprise!

Example: You got the job? Holy smoke!

To rake someone over the coals

Definition: to scold someone

Example: They raked the politician over the coals for lying.

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire

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

Example: I knew there was a problem with the company after the two managers quit. When there’s smoke, there’s fire.

 

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

English Expressions with "Warm" + San Diego's (Very Warm!) Yearly Weather Averages

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 weather temperature averages throughout the year to show how ideal the SD weather is . . . from January to December!

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 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 call 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

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 average monthly temperatures for San Diego. 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!

English Expressions with "Warm" + San Diego's (Very Warm!) Yearly Weather Averages

In the chart below, 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 English Expressions with "Warm" + San Diego's (Very Warm!) Yearly Weather Averages (Very Warm!) Yearly Weather Averages

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

English Expressions with "Warm" + 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!