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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. 

 

California Life Featured San Diego San Diego Neighborhoods San Diego Travel Tips Student Life Vocabulary

YouTube Vocabulary + Awesome Videos of SD

January 24, 2017

We can’t hide our excitement for San Diego. The stunning beaches, the sunny skies, the gorgeous Downtown, the trendy neighborhoods and the charming seaside towns . . . there’s a little of everything for everyone in SD! Just when we think we can’t get any more excited, we see beautiful footage of San Diego on YouTube, and we fall in love with the city a little more!

Have you seen these great videos of San Diego on YouTube? Check them out, and also check out some of the YouTube-related vocabulary that we’ve added. Be sure to change your language on YouTube (and social media sites, like Facebook and Instagram) to English so that you are constantly connecting with English!

Videos of San Diego

YouTube Vocabulary

Channel

Meaning: the account that of the person/company on YouTube

Example: She started her YouTube channel four years ago.

Example: Is there a YouTube channel about learning English that you recommend?

Example: Have you seen CISL’s YouTube channel?

To post (a video)

Meaning: to publish a video online. Synonyms include to publish, to upload.

Example: They post a new video each week.

Followers

Meaning: the people who receive notifications when a new

Example: The account has over 100,000 followers.

To gain/lose followers

Meaning: to have an increase or decrease in followers.

Example: She gained 20,000 followers after her video went viral!

To go viral

Meaning: to become popular/receive a lot of views

Example: After the video went viral, he gained a lot more followers.

Hits

Meaning: views

Example: How many hits does your newest video have?

Subscribe

Meaning: to receive updates (similar to “follow”)

Example: Subscribe to my channel for updates!

Subscribers (subs)

Meaning: the people who subscribe to a channel

Example: Do you know a way to get more subs?

Academic English Featured San Diego San Diego Neighborhoods University Pathway

Meet our CISL Pathway Partner, Palomar College!

December 8, 2016

CISL’s Academic Pathways program provides English students the opportunity to attend a college or university in the United States (often, without taking the TOEFL or IELTS exam!). Today on the CISL Blog, we are interviewing Yasue O’Neill, the Coordinator of International Education at Palomar College in San Diego. Yasue is an excellent resource for international students!

Palomar College is a California community college located in the Northern San Diego town of San Marcos. The quiet community, beautiful and clean campus, and thriving international student population make it a wonderful and welcoming location for students from abroad. Plus, Palomar offers the San Diego basics that everyone loves: beautiful weather, sunshine year-round . . . and the beach!

Below are some excerpts from our interview with Yasue.

Palomar-College-International-Student-Program-CISL

How long have you been working with your school? 20 years

What are some of your job duties? I direct the international student program and promote internationalization of the college campus. I also make the final decision on the international student applications as well as work with several U.S. government agencies. For students, I make sure that we provide excellent student support services to assist them achieve their academic and personal goals.  

Your school has many international students. What are some countries you have had students from? We have enrolled students from Japan, China, Vietnam, South Korea, Indonesia, France, United Kingdom, Denmark, Brazil, Ecuador, Argentina, Colombia, India, and many others.

International Students Flags

What is one student service that international students often use? (Tutoring, housing, etc.) International students on our campus often use free tutoring services, counseling services, and a place to relax (office of International Education) to hang out with their friends.

Many students from your school transfer to four-year college and universities. What are some of the schools that students attend after they complete their studies at your school? Universities our students have transferred to include but not limited to: University of California Berkeley, University of California Los Angeles, University of California San Diego, San Diego State University, University of Southern California, California State University San Marcos, Long Beach State University, and State University of New York campuses.

Graduate.Graduation.Celebrate.College.University

What is one academic program that your school is really proud of? Our University Studies transfer program prepares the students become eligible to transfer to universities. There are academic counselors available to develop and update students’ educational plan to give them necessary information for them to successfully complete the transfer process.

What are some of the more popular clubs and activities for students? There many student clubs to facilitate students’ social activities. There are Child Development club, Dance club, Fashion club, International Student club, Archaeology club, to name a few.

Fashion.Design.Art.Student

At what part of campus do students usually hang out? International students often hang out inside the Office of International Education and around the Student Union.

What’s one thing that makes your school unique? Number of programs and courses offered. Palomar College offers over 200 associate and/or certificate programs that range from Accounting to Women’s studies.

What’s one piece of advice you have for a student transferring to your school? Don’t be ashamed of asking questions. Always remember that we are here to help you succeed in your life.

Thanks to Yasue for providing Palomar students with a positive learning environment and the chance to reach their academic goals in the U.S.! To learn more about studying at Palomar College after learning English at CISL, contact the Pathway Coordinator

California Life Featured Idioms and expressions San Diego San Diego Neighborhoods San Diego Travel Tips Suggested student activities

SD Gaslamp + “nightlife” idioms

October 23, 2016

Sure, San Diego is all about beaches and beautiful weather, but did you know that Downtown San Diego is home to a beautiful, historic, and exciting area called the Gaslamp Quarter?

SD’s Gaslamp Quarter, called “The Historic Heart of San Diego,” is located just a few streets from CISL San Diego. The streets are lined with historic buildings hosting some of the best restaurants and shopping in SD. When combined with Petco Park, Gaslamp is one of the coolest and most interesting areas in SD!

gaslamp2

San Diego Gaslamp Highlights

Here are some of the few things to see and do when visiting the Gaslamp

Gaslamp.SanDiego.SD.Downtown

“Nightlife” idioms

Before going out in the Gaslamp, make sure you know these idioms about partying and nightlife.

Paint the town red

Definition: go out and enjoy oneself flamboyantly.

Example: We are going to paint the town red for your birthday!

Let loose

Definition: relaxed and party without inhibitions/be yourself.

Example: She’s always so stressed. She needs to let loose a little!

Go out on the town

Definition: an evening where you go out to various restaurants, bars, etc. with friends.

Example: Did you guys go out on the town last night?

Out.Disco.Bar.Club.Nightlife.Fun

Have a night out on the town

Definition: the same as above

Example: Let’s have a fun night out on the town. I need to let loose!

Let one’s hair down

Definition: to behave in an uninhibited or relaxed manner.

Example: After all this studying, we need to let our hair down and go dancing.

California Life Featured San Diego Neighborhoods San Diego Travel Tips San Francisco San Francisco Travel Tips Student Life Suggested student activities Vocabulary

Best bike routes in SD and SF + biking vocabulary

October 17, 2016

There are so many ways to enjoy nature and stay in shape while studying English at CISL San Diego or CISL San Francisco. From the running routes to the hiking trails to the yoga classes, there is always something to do that will keep you in shape!

Another great way to exercise while you are an international student in California is by biking. San Diego and San Francisco both have great bike paths to help you see the cities while exercising. Check out some of the best sites to plot your next ride, but before you do, be sure to learn some bicycling vocabulary!

Bike paths in San Diego

It probably isn’t surprising that many of the bike paths in San Diego are near the ocean. Ride with the ocean breeze in your face and the smell of the salty sea in the air, and make sure to stop along the way to enjoy some of the boutique shops and beautiful natural sights!

Mission Bay’s scenic 12-mile route

CISL students love the Mission Bay ride, which is 12 miles in total. The many bike rental companies in Mission Beach make it easy to rent a bike if you don’t have one! Check out the City of San Diego’s website for an excellent article about the Mission Bay Bike Ride.

Bike.Biking.Bicycle.Sun.Summer.Beach

San Diego Union Tribune’s Guide

The local SD newspaper, the San Diego Union Tribune, has published an excellent guide to biking. This detailed article provides information on the level of difficulty for each trail, tips on where you can stop for bathroom breaks, and other pertinent information such as where to park, things to look out for (such as traffic, or pets on the trail), and ways to extend the trail if you’re not tired once you’ve reached your destination.

Silver Strand Bikeway

This trail, which takes you from Coronado to Imperial Beach, is a favorite for San Diegans (it can also be walked)! Choose between starting or ending in Coronado, home of the famous Hotel del Coronado and the beach voted the Best Beach in the U.S.

>Coronado.HoteldelCoronado.Beach.Hotel

Bayshore Bikeway

Are you ready for a strenuous ride? Check out the Bayshore Bikeway! This route, which is recommended by the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition, is a total of 24 miles: 13 of these miles are car-free, and the remainder is on designated bike lanes or bike routes. After a ferry ride across the San Diego Bay, your route begins at the Coronado Ferry Landing. Cyclists go through Coronado, the Silver Strand, Imperial Beach, and Chula Vista before ending Downtown.

SanDiego.Harbor.Bay.Downtown.Skyline.Sail.Sailing.Boat.Coronado

Bike paths in San Francisco

Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito

See the iconic bridge in an entirely different way with this famous cycling trip! Starting in San Francisco, make your way across the bridge and ending in charming Sausalito. (Don’t forget to enjoy the view from this side of the Bay!) Numerous cycling companies offer bike rentals and tours.

GoldenGate.SF.SanFrancisco.Bay

SF Gate’s Guide to Flat Routes in SF

Don’t want to bike uphill in a city known for its steep terrain? Check out SF Gate’s excellent Guide to Flat Routes in SF. The secret to avoiding the hills? Knowing when to turn off of heavily traveled streets onto smaller, less-traveled ones in a way that avoids inclines. These routes are known to locals as “wiggles” and, according to SF Gate, “The best known of these serpentines is the one Weiss now correctly uses to connect central Market, via the path behind Safeway and through the Lower Haight, to the Panhandle and the western neighborhoods beyond.”

Couple.Dating.HoldingHands.Bike.Bicycle.Love.Relationship

SFist’s Guide to Bike Paths

In addition to some of the more popular routes, SFist’s Guide to SF Bike Paths provides routes that are slightly lesser known, such as the beautiful Baker Beach ride that’s just 5 miles from the Panhandle. Locals know best!

Bike Vocabulary

bike

Do you know each of these words? If not, look them up!

Bike parts

  • Handlebars
  • Pedals
  • Gears
  • Brakes
  • Spokes

Verbs

  • To pedal
  • To brake
  • To switch (gears)
  • To pump (tires)