Culture & Geography

What’s this all about, then?

Culture Surf is a corner of the internet set aside to help English learners (or anyone who’s curious) to learn more about American and Anglophone culture. We discuss song lyrics, regional slang, and a lot more. The point is to put focus on the fun side of language learning, which is the culture! Other topics like Geography and Movies are constantly being added. I’m always open to suggestions and questions to help you clear up what you want to learn. Come and discover more!

At Home you can find the latest content, as well as the page descriptions and most popular posts.

On the Give Me a Shout page, you can send me a direct message or make a comment. You can even give suggestions for content you want to see! (I also talk about my editing services there)

In the Culture section, we have short stories and audios for practicing listening and learning informal English terms through Adventures of CharlesAbout Americans talks about American society and culture. In Lyrics “Explained” you can read song lyrics, listen to music, and learn about English world culture and slang through song lyrics. At the Movies looks at English world society by analyzing movies. Language Surf allows you to listen to the sounds of the world’s languages, from the most endangered to the most spoken.

For Geography, we look at the world’s English-speaking countries, their geographies, and cultures through the Actual English World. There is also a section for looking at cool places, galleries, and profiles of the world’s regions called Earth’s Face.

Existe também uma seção chamada Em Português para quem fala e deseja ler sobre alguns tópicos do site.

Lastly, Helpful Resources is a place where I share some resources like websites and videos you can use to improve (and enjoy) your English skills.

**Even if you already speak English, you can contribute by adding your own ideas, sharing about your own accent and culture, and helping others grow. Let’s build this together!

Welcome to Culture & Geography…

🇧🇷 🇵🇹 🇦🇴 🇨🇻 🇬🇶 🇬🇼 🇲🇿 🇸🇹 🇹🇱 🇲🇴

World flag showing different countries flags, represent world languages and what languages sound like

What does Adzera sound like? | Language Surf

Adzera Atzera – Azera – Atsera – Acira an Oceanic language of Papua New Guinea, in the Austronesian family Hear More Languages Speakers ~ 30,000 Dialects of Adzera Central group Amari Ngarowapum  Yaros Guruf (Ngariawang) Tsumanggorun  *Sukurum and Sarasira may be dialects or separate languages Listen Teaching About Prayer and Faith – Adzera (jesusfilm.org) See More Do you … Continue reading

World flag showing different countries flags, represent world languages and what languages sound like

What does Adyghe sound like? | Language Surf

Adyghe West Circassian – Адыгабзэ – кӀахыбзэ – Adıgabzə – k’axıbzə a Circassian language of Russia (Caucasus region) and Turkey, in the Northwest Caucasian family Hear More Languages Speakers ~ 575,900 Black Sea Coast Dialects of Adyghe Shapsug (Шапсыгъабзэ) North Shapsugs (Great Shapsugs, Kuban Shapsugs, Шапсыгъэ шху) Kfar Kama (Кфар Камэм ишапсыгъэбзэ) Temirgoy Shapsugs (Pseuşko accent, … Continue reading

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Your Words into English – Editing Service

two people in business attire shaking hands over a desk and laptop

The Challenge of Writing

First off, I want to thank you for stopping by! Since you’re here, you might be interested in editing services (or maybe, you haven’t gotten that far yet). There are so many reasons these days to know English. You may be a teacher, an author, an attorney … maybe, you own a business. But let’s face it; it is not the easiest language out there. Sure, it’s not so hard to be understood when you speak, but writing with correct grammar in a way that sounds natural to native English speakers can be a serious challenge. I’d like to ease that challenge for you.

Who am I?

Hi, Trystn Waller here. As a speaker of English as my first language, raised in California, USA, I’ve had experience in several language fields from:

  • language tutoring
  • transcription
  • translation
  • editing
  • & proofreading.

I’ve also done proofreading for video scripts. Just for fun, I do some content writing, poetry, and fiction as well. The last several years of my professional life have been centered on language, especially how the English language is unique and fun. Although, I have realized just how difficult it can be for a second-language speaker to get right.

While working on numerous projects, I realized that my favorite ones involved assisting writers who were not born English speakers. Some of these writers could speak English well and even used it in their daily lives. Still, they wanted to make sure that their writing was grammatically correct, spelling was on point, and that the language used sounded as natural as possible. I was happy to help. Now, let’s talk about you.

Your turn

What is your story? What are you writing in English? It could be a memoir, a fictional tale, or a collection of poems. How creative of you! Maybe you write emails for work or have reports to type up. Are there documents or assignments you need to be edited? You might even text someone in English and need to make sure you’re saying the right things. No one likes to commit faux pas (excuse my French). Whatever you are writing, I want to help you make it great–or, at least read like natural writing. Of course, it depends on your goals.

* * *

Services & Pricing

The primary services I provide are editing, proofing, and localization of text into this crazy language called English. My goal is to help writers express information and ideas for English-speaking audiences.

Pricing is usually based on a per-word basis. This is subject to change depending on the type of project. For example, with projects that have many small documents, it might be better to set a price per document. For very short documents, I will charge a minimum $13 fee. Payments can be done through PayPal, Venmo, CashApp, or Zelle.

We can work out a price and payment plan that suit your specific needs. Contact me to see if my services are right for you. Maybe we can set up a call!

I am also fluent in Portuguese (Brazil) and can offer translation and/or editing services from Portuguese into English. Find out more aqui.

Tell me about your editing needs

email: tietewaller@gmail.com

Whatsapp: +1(310)957-7463

Check out my Upwork page!


Image credit: Sora Shimazaki

The Many Meanings of Catch (Catch on, Catch up, a Catch, & more) | English Dialogue

Heads up … catch! This seemingly (or should I say “deceptively”) simple word is stuffed and loaded with different meanings. Do the many uses of “catch” confuse you? Here I want to look at the traditional meanings, as well as some common slang and figurative uses of the word. There are also short and realistic dialogues to help. So, are you ready to catch some knowledge? Let’s do it.

The normal meaning of Catch

Normally, to Catch means to receive something that is thrown or has fallen. As people, we mostly catch things with our hands.


 — “Look, Charles, I got you a new iPhone charger. Catch!”

While attempting to grab the charger, Charles accidentally dropped his phone onto the floor.

 — “Gee, thanks! Now I’m going to need a new iPhone too.”

 — “Well, you should have caught it before it hit the ground.”

Catch something (figuratively)

As you can imagine, “catch” also has several figurative and even slang meanings. As a verb, you can catch something not visible such as an illness or some attention.


 — “Did you hear what happened to Kevin Hart? He said he caught the ‘Vid’,” Charles said to his friend, Jonah, sitting behind him. Jonah gave him a firm Shhh! 

 — “Be quiet, man! Whenever I talk in class, I catch an angry look from Ms. Delaware. You’ll get me in trouble.”

‘Catching’ someone

Another meaning is when you catch someone, or find them. Usually, this is while they are doing something they shouldn’t be.

 — “Hey, Sheila. Do you think we could take your little bro out for ice cream?”

 — “I don’t know. He got caught eating cookies out of the cookie jar last night. I think he’s had enough sweets.”

 — “Well, we could always take him to the Salad Bar,” Charles suggested.

 — “Oh, no. You won’t catch me anywhere near that place.”

Still, catch can be about meeting another person, in general. This is usually at a designated time or place.

 — “I hope we can hang out soon, Sheila. What do you think?”

 — “For sure! I’ll catch you after our game tomorrow.”

Other random meanings of Catch

To catch can be to understand what someone else said or what has happened. It’s usually said as a question to check for comprehension or as a way to show a lack of understanding.


Jonah’s mind wandered as he daydreamed about the upcoming game that night. Suddenly, he realized Charles had been mumbling at him for the past five minutes.

 — “Sorry, what did you say? I didn’t catch that.”

 — “I was telling you about my plans to quit working for this lousy school. Did you catch it this time?!”

… Or, going to see something, such as an event. 


 — “Do you want to catch a movie after you get off work?” Charles asked Sheila. She turned at him and grinned.

 — “Yeah … Or, we could go to the game like everyone else.”

Or, boarding a transportation vehicle. 



Sheila gave Charles a big hug.

 — “I have to catch this bus. If you want to see a movie, it’s fine. Can we talk later?”

 — “Yeah, either way is fine. Let me know. Maybe we can catch a ride together.”

Phrasal verbs: Catch on, Catch up

And that’s just “Catch” by itself. Of course, there are also phrasal verbs like catch on — to begin to understand something — or catch up — to reach a desired point in understanding or place from behind.


 — It used to be so much fun to speak in German around your friends. I think they’re starting to learn now.

 — Right, especially Mark didn’t use to understand our conversations, but now he’s catching on.

 — It’s about time! Why is Mark so far behind in his German, anyway? He needs to catch up!

.

A Catch, as a noun

All verbs aside, there is also catch used as a noun. A catch is a hidden condition or problem when something seems too good to be true.


Charles looked at his neighbor in disbelief. 

“You’ll give me this car for four hundred bucks and all repairs are up to date? What’s the catch?”

 — “No catch! It’s a good car, man. What, you don’t believe me?”

.

A catch can also be a person who seems like a perfect match, or a great person to be in a relationship with. They are like the ideal partner.


 — I don’t know why you’re so in-love with Sheila. Look at Jenny. She’s the boss of her own business, helps her community, and owns a Benz. She’s a catch, for sure.

 — “Uh-huh, Jonah. Total catch.”


**These are just some of the main uses of “catch”. Can you think of any others meanings? Can you think of your own examples for these words? Share it with us and spread the English love! Thanks for reading and learning. Take care out there.

Read More:

Contact or collaborate at tietewaller@gmail.com

Topic: Why Shoulda, Coulda, Should of, Would of? | English Speaking Habits

Pronouncing Modal Verbs in the Past


Modal verbs? What? As English speakers, we have lots of funny speech habits. To the average person, they may not seem like a big deal. But what about those that have decided to take on learning this complex language?

“Take on me-e … take me o-on!”

You can almost hear English singing in the shower. You might have heard such words as “shoulda” or “coulda” before. Well, that’s what we’re going to talk about here.

What are Modal Verbs, after all?

A modal verb is a type of auxiliary (or helping) verb. This just means their purpose is to help other verbs to make sense. Modal verbs themselves are used to show a necessity or possibility. These are words like could, should, may, might, would, and so on.

In the past tense, modal verbs are often followed by the word “have.” This lets us know they are modals instead of a regular past tense verb. How do we know that “could” is acting like the past tense of “can,” or if it is expressing a possibility? We know it’s a possibility when it’s next to “have.” Look at this:

  • When I was younger, I could run a mile without stopping. (past tense of “can”)
  • I could have been a track star. (past tense of the modal verb “could,” shows a possibility)

Remember, modals don’t always need “have.” Adding it is used to show that this necessity or possibility was in the past. The same goes with should have, may have, might have, would have, and more.

You Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda … Used Correct Grammar

The habit I told you about earlier is that many people turn “have” into a simple shwa sound (“uh”) when talking. They basically get rid of the “h” and “v” sounds. This makes could have sound like coulda.

  • I coulda been a track star. (could have)

This is so common that we have an expression to mimic this; shoulda, coulda, woulda. Or coulda, shoulda, woulda. Woulda, coulda, shoulda? I guess it doesn’t really matter what order you say it in. Some people say this to express when it’s too late to do something and the opportunity has passed. Similar expressions are “that’s too bad,” “too late,” or “keep dreaming.” 

 — You know, I could have been a track star.

 — Yeah! Shoulda, coulda, woulda.

Should of, Could of, Would of

To take it a step further, “have” can completely change and turn into “of.” This isn’t grammatically correct, but it happens because some people might pronounce the “could-a” like “could-uv.” This happens when we mean to contract “could have” and say “could’ve.” The pronunciation of the “of” sounds very similar to that final “ve” sound, so it’s easy to confuse the two in everyday speech. Many people who even know the correct grammar might make a mistake when writing or speaking and say “of” instead of the short “‘ve” because of how easy it is to switch the two. 

More info:

  • ‘Should have’ and ‘should of’ on Quora

*Try saying could of and could’ve out loud. Do you notice how similar they sound? 

Here are some more examples!

See, you shoulda / should of been more careful. 

I coulda / could of been a millionaire. 

She musta / must of been crazy to adopt a lion.


Thank you for reading! Check the Blog to see similar posts.

**Have a question about another English speaking habit? Is there something you don’t understand about the way people talk? Tell me about it and I’ll write a post for you, and offer other resources to better understand!

Contact me to collaborate or send a personal message at tietewaller@gmail.com or go to the Give Me Shout! page.

Slang words for House and Home | English & A Story ‘Soft Place Baby Bed’

Welcome to my house, we don’t have to go-wo out …” 

It’s a good thing you didn’t hear me sing that! To pick up on the topic though, we’re going to look at some different ways to refer to someone’s house. Well, the most popular slang ways, that is. There are multiple words one might use to describe a person’s house in English, whether it’s yours or somebody else’s. Some of these words can make the house sound better and others are … a lot less flattering. 

When referring to a small place (or when being sarcastic) people often refer to their home as a “humble abode.” Some people take it to the next level and call it a shack (hence the expression, shacking up). When people get a little carried away, they might say “hizzouse” or something like it. There are so many types of houses too. For example, a cabin, a duplex, townhome, country home, condo, split-level, etc., etc. Okay, swell. But what about common slang terms for a house?

Read More


Crib

From my African-American perspective, this has got to be the most common slang for “house”. Literally, a crib is a protective bed where we usually put babies to sleep. It’s a comfortable, safe place, so maybe this led to cribs being used to talk about homes. This is one of the more common slang words for a house, at least in the U.S. This is especially due to the show, MTV Cribs, ever since it started airing (and re-airing). 

  • Do you want to go to the crib and play video games? 

Spot

Spot has a lot of different meanings in English. Being slang for a house is one of them. Given all these many meanings of spot, it can sound a little more vague or ambiguous than other words when referring to your house. This is especially since “spot” is sometimes used to refer to a place in general. Note, this is very similar to the use of “place” to specifically talk about a house. Check the links below to learn more!

  • We should go to his spot after the movie. (Similarly, “go to his place”)

Pad

A pad in normal English is something nice and soft. It’s mostly used to soften a physical impact or any other kind of damage. I don’t know why we’d call a house that, but maybe it’s because a home is our safe place? So, possibly similar to “crib.” Again, these are mostly American slang, so I don’t know how extensively this word and the others are used in all English-speaking countries. 

  • So, what do you think of my new pad?

So these are just a couple of the most common slang you might use to talk about a house in English, or at least the American variety. There are many other ways to refer to a house in an informal, exaggerated, or silly way. You can check the links below for more information.

Also, below is a short story with dialogue to show you how today’s words might be used in context. Check it out if you like! Thanks, and take care out there.


Soft Place Baby Bed – slang words for ‘house’

 — There we are. Wanna come in?

Sheila turned a wide grin at her friend, Charles. In the happiest way possible, she urged him to come into her house. Charles, on the other hand, was utterly shocked.

 — Wow, I didn’t know your house was so big, he said. — Don’t you ever get lost?

Sheila brushed away his statement and pushed him along. He had good reason to be nervous; it was his first time alone with Sheila, a friend he’d been crushing on the past few months. The friend zone is a hard wall to cross, but a big house with no one in it could be the “tunnel” underneath he was looking for. Suddenly, he wasn’t so nervous after all. They arrived at the front gates.

 — Ready to see my crib? she laughed and led her friend further.

Once inside the front gates, they came to a yard filled with strange objects. There were plastic women and rubber bones lying on the ground. Mixed in with the dry scattered leaves, the yard looked like a sort of toy wasteland. 

They eventually made it past the garden and into the house. Sheila shut the high wooden doors behind her and revealed her world to Charles. 

 — So, this is my pad. Sorry about the mess. I picked up a couple’a side gigs while I wait for my album to finish. Covid kinda ruined my schedule. I know! Let’s go upstairs. I can show you my room.

She stuck out a hand and grabbed onto Charles. Before he could figure out where he was, they had already arrived at her room. Was this his moment? “This is finally it!” he thought to himself.

BWAAA!

The sound of a thousand babies flushed into both of their ears. Okay, it was just two, but they were yelling super loudly. 

 — Oh, crap! I forgot about you two! 

Sheila rushed over to pull the two babies out of their tiny beds, repeating “Sorry, sorry” to them. 

 — I know you were talking about your house, but I didn’t know you were gonna show me your actual “cribs,” Charles told her. 

He reached his arms out to help hold one of the babies. She cried for a minute but soon relaxed against his chest.

 — Look at you! You’re a natural with the kids.

Charles felt extremely uncomfortable, but he couldn’t deny how nice it felt to hold the baby girl. 

 — If you say so. What’s her name?

 — That is Janey, and this here’s little Maxy. She stroked Maxy with her hands.— Sorry I couldn’t show you the house. I know you really wanted to see more of my place. 

That was just part of the plan, Charles thought, but okay. 

 — It’s fine. The house is really nice. But next time let’s go to my spot, alright?

Sheila laughed and agreed. After sitting a while the babies were finally asleep. 

 — Shh! Look, they’re sleeping, she advised Charles. 

He nodded, and Sheila tapped the bedside next to her as if to invite him to come sit closer. Charles got up and sat next to Sheila. They smiled wide at each other, then he reached his hand over to fix her hair. Then …

BAH-BAH-BAH-WAH!

 — Oh, no, I forgot … I also take care of dogs!

To be continued …

Want to collaborate or contact me personally? Shoot me a message at tietewaller@gmail.com or go to the Give Me a Shout! page 🙂

‘Crush’ by Tessa Violet | Lyrics for English Students

Flag of the United States, home country of Tessa Violet
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album cover Bad Ideas by Tessa Violet home to her song Crush
.

Sometimes life can get the best of us. One minute we’re focusing hard on a task, and the next we’re scrolling down a complete stranger’s social media page drooling over their hot pics. This is part of the spirit behind this fun and poppy song, today’s subject under study! “Crush” is a song from Tessa Violet’s 2019 album Bad Ideas. Below are the lyrics with some explanations for English learners, helping to clarify some of the confusing grammar, slang, expressions, and cultural points.

For lyrics without my explanations:

For better practice: 1) Listen to the song will reading the lyrics simultaneously; 2) Read through the lyrics and explanations with no music; 3) Listen to the song (and watch the video!) without reading the lyrics and check for understanding.

.

Uh, alright

I can’t focus on what needs to get done

I’m on notice hoping that you don’t run, ah

  • Common Terms / Expressions: Being “on notice” is the same as being alert, paying attention to something like a guard on watch. She’s being careful. By “run,” she means that she hopes the person doesn’t run away.

You think I’m tepid but I’m misdiagnosed

  • Figurative Speech: “Tepid” means lacking passion, enthusiasm, or interest. In more literal contexts, it has to do with the temperature of something being not hot but not cold. Another word for this is “lukewarm.” Basically, this person thinks that Tessa is not that interesting, or maybe she doesn’t seem interested in them. Still, she’s “misdiagnosed,” so the person’s assumption is wrong!

‘Cause I’m a stalker, I seen all of your posts, ah-ah

  • Grammar: *”Because I’m a stalker, I have (I’ve) seen all of your posts …”
  • Vocabulary: You probably know this one, but a “stalker” is someone who follows another person in an obsessive and secretive way. In pop culture, it’s often used in the sense of following someone’s posts and pictures obsessively on social media, usually without that person knowing.

[Bridge]

And I’m just tryna play it cool now

  • Informal Speech: *”And I’m just trying to play …”
  • Slang: To “play it cool” is to try to stay calm, maintain self-composure, and act as if you don’t want something even when you really do.

But that’s not what I wanna do now

  • Informal Speech: *”What I want to do now …”

And I’m not tryna be with you now, you now

Mhm

  • Voice: The way Tessa voices this “Mhm” sound is a funny way to signify that you agree with or acknowledge what someone says.

[Verse 2]

You make it difficult to not overthink

And when I’m with you I turn all shades of pink, ah

  • Figurative Speech: This probably means she is “blushing” or gets embarrassed, shy, etc.

I wanna touch you but don’t wanna be weird

It’s such a rush, I’m thinking, wish you were here, ah-ah

  • Figurative Speech / Expressions: A “rush” is a feeling of intense emotions, usually a mix of excitement and nervousness all wrapped into one.
  • Clarifying: She is thinking, “I wish you were here.”

[Pre-Chorus]

And I’m just tryna play it cool now

But that’s not what I wanna do now

And I’m not tryna be with you now, you now

[Chorus]

But I could be your crush, like, throw you for a rush, like

  • Popular Vocabulary: I think we all know what a “crush” is. Someone that we like or are attracted to but we haven’t told them yet. You can also “have a crush on” someone.
  • Casual Expressions: “Throw you for a rush” just means that she wants to make him feel that rush of emotions we talked about earlier.
  • Culture / Society: Tessa repeats “like” a lot in the lyrics. This is similar to how English speakers, mostly younger generations, tend to repeat “like” as a filler word when they speak. She could be trying to represent herself as a silly young woman who’s losing her thoughts thinking about her “crush”.

Hoping you’d text me so I could tell you

I been thinking ’bout your touch like

  • Grammar: *”I have (I’ve) been thinking about your touch, like …”

Touch, touch, touch, touch, touch

I could be your crush, crush, crush, crush, crush

I got a fascination with your presentation

  • Grammar: *”I have (I’ve) got a fascination …” Also, “I have a fascination …”
  • Figurative Speech: With his physical appearance, dress style.

Making me feel like you’re on my island

You’re my permanent vacation

Touch, touch, touch, touch, touch

I could be your crush, crush, crush, crush, crush

Sorry

  • Other Meanings: This “Sorry” here shows how awkward and weird she can get when thinking about her crush. In the song, she says it in kind of a nerdy way, on purpose.

[Verse 3]

I fill my calendar with stuff I can do

Maybe if I’m busy it could keep me from you

  • Common Expression: To “keep from” something is to stay away from it, not interact with it.

And I’m pretending you ain’t been on my mind

  • Informal Speech: *”And I’m pretending that you haven’t been …”

But I took an interest in the things that you like, ah-ah

  • Expressions: To “take an interest” is to start being interested in something. Another way to say this is to “take up an interest.”

[Pre-Chorus]

And I’m just tryna play it cool now

But that’s not what I wanna do now

And I’m not tryna be with you now, you now

[Chorus]

But I could be your crush, like, throw you for a rush, like

Hopin’ you’d text me so I could tell you

I been thinkin’ ’bout your touch like

Touch, touch, touch, touch, touch

I could be your crush, crush, crush, crush, crush

I got a fascination with your presentation

Makin’ me feel like you’re on my island

You’re my permanent vacation

Touch, touch, touch, touch, touch

I could be your crush, crush, crush, crush, crush

[Bridge]

And yeah, it’s true that I’m a little bit intense, right

  • Other Meanings: Funny, usually when saying “right” at the end of a sentence, it is formed like a question, as if the speaker is asking to confirm something, “Right?” Here, she doesn’t say it like a question. It’s as if she is confirming this information for us. “Yeah, I am a bit intense. It’s true.”

But can you blame me when you keep me on the fence, like?

  • Idioms: To be “on the fence” or be “kept on the fence” is to be in the middle of two decisions. Basically, she is undecided, not sure what to do next.
  • Familiar Speech: This “like” at the end reminds me of how some people use it. “He was walking, real quiet-like.” The “like” doesn’t have a real meaning in this sense, it just adds a bit of emphasis to “quiet,” or “on the fence” in the case of our lyrics. This way of speaking is more old-fashioned but you still hear it in cartoons or for stereotyped movie characters.
  • Other Meanings: The “like?” as a question could also mean that she is waiting for an answer. “I waited for your call and you never did, like?”

You might also like:

Tennis Court Lorde; Habits (Stay High) Tove Lo; Day ‘N’ Nite (Nightmare) Kid Cudi; Dani California Red Hot Chili Peppers; Tighten Up The Black Keys; Carnies Martina Topley-Bird; Colorado Kota the Friend; Don’t Start Dua Lipa; Cameo Lover Kimbra; The Ghost Who Walks Karen Elson; Child Lights; i like the devil Purity Ring; Pleasure Feist; After the Storm Kali Uchis

And I’ve been waiting, hoping that you’d wanna text, like

Text like

(It’s what I was born to do)

And yeah, it’s true that I’m a little bit intense, right

But can you blame me when you keep me on the fence, like?

And I’ve been waiting, hoping that you’d wanna text like (Hey!)

Text like, Ugh

Then the lyrics repeat.

What do you think of this song and the music video? Was this the first time you heard of Tessa Violet, or are you a certified fan? Do you stalk your crush online too? Let us know what you think (just don’t get too personal :D).

Thank you for coming and I hope you enjoyed reading and listening. Take care out there. Spread some love. Peace!

For contact or collaboration: tietewaller@gmail.com or Give me a Shout!

10 Everyday(-ish) English Expressions about Cars & Driving | part 3

We are hitting the road on another adventure! Well, it’s just an article, but you get the point. Learning a language is a long and arduous process, but it’s easier when made fun. One cool thing about English is all the varied expressions it uses to describe daily happenings. There seem to be an interesting (or suspicious) amount of terms derived from cars and driving, as you could see in parts 1 and 2. In today’s article, I intended to describe even more of these kinds of expressions. However, I realized a lot of these are a bit more specific than your average terms.

Read more:

  • Parts 1 and 2 of Expressions about Cars and Driving

Still, these are useful, so why not give them a try? These are 10 more words and expressions about driving and cars … oh, and some can be used in other situations too. Enjoy! 

Fender Bender

Making a “whoopsy”

This term is very helpful in the specific case that one gets into a minor car accident. It’s not quite a “wreck” but there is a little bit of damage. It’s less common, but sometimes this expression can be used to refer to a minor accident off of the road, too.

Hits & accidents

  • Terry got into a fender bender last night on the highway. I sure hope he wasn’t drinking. 
  • Sometimes we get into little bumps and fender benders that we have to overcome. 

Crash Course / Collision Course

On the road to chaos

In some cases, these two expressions can have a similar meaning. Being on a collision course (or a crash course) towards something is like being on the road to disaster. This danger can be on an actual road or on a metaphorical “course” in life. Something bad is coming, and there will be conflict if nothing is done to stop it. 

In other contexts, a crash course can specifically be a highly intensive academic course or class. Just like this channel I love on YouTube called Crash Course! I’m sure you all will love it if you don’t already.

A crashing lesson

  • When the truck’s emergency brake failed, it went on a collision course down the hill until it eventually hit a wall.
  • If we don’t put John and Michael into separate classrooms, they are going to be on a collision course until one of them throws the first punch.
  • I’m taking a crash course next week on thermodynamics. Wish me luck! 

Hit the Road

Go away! Or not

“Hit the road, Jack!” Pretty much everyone knows this song, and by consequence, the meaning of those famous words. Saying this can be the same as telling someone to leave or go away. Usually, though, the meaning has to do with traveling or beginning a trip.

Get going 

  • You need to hit the road, Jack. I don’t want you around here anymore. 
  • Come on, kids! Let’s hit the road. Disneyland isn’t coming to us. 

Get the Show on the Road

It’s showtime!

Following the theme of roads, here’s another useful expression to bring up. When someone says, get the show on the road, it means to begin some process or to proceed with it. The “show” is normally a reference to something important like a major event, a meeting, a procedure, and so on. Sometimes, it’s used in a similar sense to “hit the road,” or in other words, let’s start this trip! 

Move along, now

  • We need to get the show on the road, so don’t worry about the microphone. You can start without it.
  • Come on, kids! Let’s get this show on the road. Disneyland won’t wait for us.

Joyride / Joy Ride

Bad joy

Joyriding is such a “joy!” Well, for some. Going on a joyride usually involves stealing a car or using a car that doesn’t belong to the driver. The new driver may do other illegal activities with the car or just use it to ride around with friends without any particular motive. This obviously isn’t a joy for whoever got their car stolen. 

Riding dirty

  • Carla loves to joyride in other people’s cars. One day she’ll get caught.

Road Hog

The hateful hog

A road hog is someone who drives in multiple lanes and likes to take up lots of space on the road. This recklessness usually puts other drivers in danger, but it is always super annoying. Road hogs are normally careless drivers or intentionally trying to get in others’ ways. The verb version of this is to“hog the road.” 

Danger, danger, space taker

  • Don’t be a road hog, let the other drivers pass.
  • I really wish that guy would quit hogging the road. It’s so dangerous.

Road Rage

Raging in the machine

Do you have road rage? Oh, it’s such an exhilarating disease! Just kidding. Road rage is exactly what it sounds like. This is when someone gets intensely angry, filled with rage while driving on the road. They usually perform such behaviors as honking excessively, speeding, and doing dangerous maneuvers to get around people. Road ragers may also yell or make obscene gestures at other drivers, and more. Doesn’t that just sound pleasant?!

They call me “angry driver”

  • Why do they keep honking? Just let the poor lady cross the street. Everybody’s got road rage these days.

Hit and Run

Left to hurt

This is probably the most controversial expression on this here list, if there is such a thing. A hit and run is what happens when a car hits another car or person, and then “runs” or drives away. The person at fault often drives away out of fear, but the accident oftentimes causes serious injury, property damage, or even death in the saddest cases. 

This nature of “cause damage and flee the scene” is sometimes used in the context of relationships. A hit and run in this sense can mean that someone had relations (usually sexual) with another and left without saying anything. A similar expression in these cases is “hit and quit.” 

Whether it’s a car or a relationship, the impact on the “victim” has a familiar feeling of being abandoned and vulnerable. 

Fleeing the scene

  • Did you hear the crash last night? I know, it was a terrible hit and run.
  • Chuck is an infamous ladies’ man. You better prepare for a hit and run. then.

Hotwire

Breaking in hot

H-o-t-w-i-r-e, Hotwire.com! No, not that kind of hotwire. Normally, this word is used to describe a crime where someone uses the electric circuits of a car to start it without a key. This is a useful skill for when one loses their keys, but it is normally performed to steal a car. Wow, this part 3 is a little dark, eh? 

One can also hotwire a system or program. In this sense, it’s not so much about stealing as it is about figuring out how to break into something for your own advantage. In an informal sense, it can have a similar meaning to “hack” or “breaking a code.”

Cracking the code

  • Vanessa is a professional car thief. She has hotwired everything from Mitsubishis to Bentleys.
  • My company’s new interface is very complex, but I’m sure I can hotwire it and figure it out within the week. 

Pumped (up) / Gassed (up)

Fill ‘er up!

Similar to pumping gas into an engine, being pumped up is feeling full of excitement and energy. It’s how I imagine a car must feel after going to the gas station. This expression works as pumped up or simply pumped. A similar term is gassed up, which is feeling high energy and excitement too. This is different from simply feeling gassed though, which is the exact opposite, for some reason. 

A gassy tank

  • The kids are so pumped about going to Disneyland. I’m sure it will be tons of fun. 
  • Many athletes like listening to music to get pumped up before a game. 
  • Let’s get gassed up, you guys! The game is about to start. 
  • We’ve been traveling all day long, I’m totally gassed. Can we please take a break?

That’s it, you guys! Thank you for reading and I hope you learned some new phrases. How would you use these in your own sentences? What is your favorite expression about cars and driving? Tell us about it. And, as always, take care of each other. Peace!

For contact or collaboration: tietewaller@gmail.com or Give me a Shout!

“Habits (Stay High)” by Tove Lo – Lyrics for English Students

Flag of Sweden
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Tove Lo album cover, Queen of the Clouds, album of the song Habits (Stay High)
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Going to the club and watching strangers have a go at each other isn’t a habit that most people have, I’d feel pretty safe to say. But most of us do have a bad habit that we’re trying to kick, which made this song more relatable in the end. Maybe you’re an English student or English learner. Maybe you heard this song and loved it, but didn’t understand some parts. Maybe you understand all the lyrics and just wanted to hear it again. Whatever brought you here, welcome! These lyrics are meant to help those who are learning English and may not have picked up on certain expressions or grammar, but anyone is welcome to read.

To read the lyrics without my explanations: Genius Lyrics

Challenge for better practice:

1) listen to the song and try to pay attention to the words, 2) read the lyrics with the explanations below, then, 3) listen to the song again to check your comprehension.

Warning!

The video and the lyrics have some slightly inappropriate content. It may not be good for kids, and parents might have to use discretion on this one. Everyone’s taste is different so, you know … enjoy!

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Read more: Lyrics “Explained”


Habits (Stay High) – Lyrics & Explanations

I eat my dinner in my bathtub, then I go to sex clubs

Watchin’ freaky people gettin’ it on

  • Slang / Informal Expressions: “Freaky” in this sense means to be very sexually open, promiscuous, and adventurous. Or, it’s just someone who likes sex a lot. To “get it on” means to get physical, have intimate relations with someone.

It doesn’t make me nervous, if anything, I’m restless

Yeah, I’ve been around and I’ve seen it all

  • Expressions / Idioms: Saying “I’ve been around” is like saying that the person has experience, has lived through many situations, and some things that are shocking to most seem normal to her. An extended way to say the same thing is, “I’ve been around the block.”

I get home, I got the munchies

  • Slang / Informal Speech: “The munchies” is being hungry or having a craving for certain types of food. It usually is an abnormal hunger, persistent and won’t go away. I think it was popularized with cannabis culture since people often get the munchies after smoking.

Binge on all my Twinkies

  • Common Speech: To “binge” is to consume a lot of something in a short amount of time, often to the point of getting sick from it. It’s often used to talk about food, but nowadays people also “binge-watch” a TV show or series.
  • Snacks: I’ll post a picture of a Twinkie for those that don’t know.

Throw up in the tub, then I go to sleep

And I drank up all my money, dazed and kinda lonely

  • Casual Speech: To “drink up” something means to drink it all. She is referring to drinking alcohol, or spending all her money on liquor.
  • Common Speech: “Dazed” means to be in a weird mental state of numbness and confusion, almost like being in a trance.

You’re gone and I gotta stay high

  • Grammar: *”And I’ve got to stay high …” also, “and I have to stay high …”
  • Slang: “High” is being under the influence of drugs, probably cannabis in Tove Lo’s case.

All the time to keep you off my mind

Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh

High, all the time, to keep you off my mind

Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh

Spend my days locked in a haze tryna forget you, babe

  • Grammar: *”I spend my days … trying to forget you babe …”
  • Common Speech: “Haze” is like a fuzzy, thick smoke or pollution in the air. When talking about a mental state, it relates to being in a fuzzy, clouded state of mind where things don’t really make sense. It also could just mean that she smokes every day trying to forget her ex or whoever.

I fall back down

Gotta stay high, all my life, to forget I’m missin’ you

Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh

Other lyrics you might like: After the Storm, (Kali Uchis); Pleasure, (Feist); What Goes Around …/… Comes Around, (Justin Timberlake); i like the devil, (Purity Ring); Cameo Lover, (Kimbra); Don’t Start, (Dua Lipa); Dani California, (Red Hot Chili Peppers); Colorado, (Kota the Friend); Day N Nite, (Kid Cudi)

Pick up daddies at the playground, how I spend my daytime

Loosen up their frown, make ’em feel alive

  • Casual Expressions: To “loosen up” something is to undo it, unwind it, or put it in a relaxed state.
  • Grammar: *”Make them feel alive …”

I make it fast and greasy, I’m numb and way too easy

  • Informal / Casual Speech: “Greasy” is usually used to describe food that is oily and bad for you, as well as car parts that are dirty and covered in sticky oil, which we would call “grease.” By saying it’s “fast and greasy,” it’s as if she is relating the situation to fast food, food that is quick and tastes good at the moment but leaves you feeling bad or dirty afterward. By saying her encounters were greasy, they were probably dirty, oily, sticky, and sort of uncomfortable. When someone is referred to as “easy,” it usually means they are easy to get with or sleep with. In less explicit contexts, it means that the person is really easy-going and isn’t very demanding. Saying “way too” is like adding emphasis to the “too.” It just means very very very. “It is way too hot outside.”

You’re gone and I gotta stay high

All the time, to keep you off my mind

Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh

High, all the time, to keep you off my mind

Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh

Spend my days locked in a haze, tryna forget you, babe

I fall back down

Gotta stay high, all my life, to forget I’m missin’ you

Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh

Staying in my play pretend, where the fun ain’t got no end

  • Expressions: “Play-pretend” is kind of like the world of “make-believe,” like the world of a child’s fantasy.
  • Grammar: *”Where the fun doesn’t have an / any end …”

Oh, can’t go home alone again, need someone to numb the pain

  • Grammar: *”I can’t go home … I need someone to numb …”

Oh, staying in my play pretend, where the fun ain’t got no end

Oh, can’t go home alone again, need someone to numb the pain

Then it repeats.

**Do you have a song suggestion you’d like me to explain the lyrics for? Want more songs by Tove Lo? Contact me with a one-to-one message or for collaboration at tietewaller@gmail.com (also on my contact page). Thanks again for stopping by. Peace to you!

Some Everyday Expressions about Cars and Driving – English List

Speed-racing, fast-flying, metal-clunking, oil-charged … these useful little machines called cars have a lot more to do with the English language than one might imagine. There are so many popular idioms and expressions that were inspired by these furiously fast vehicles. Whether for a compliment or a “total wreck,” this language has you car-lovers covered.

Below is a list of some expressions that were inspired by cars or driving. Most of these can be used in a literal driving context but also in a figurative way. It’s not a complete list at all, and there are many more expressions out there. Still, these are some that, in my life, seem to be the most commonly used. So let’s get the motor runnin’!

Oh, and I’ll be writing more lists about this topic in the future if you want to know even more phrases related to cars. So, stay tuned for that!

a wrecked car on the side of a green hill, representing an English expression about cars and driving
How did that get there? Tobias Tullius

Total Wreck / Totaled

Utter Destruction!

Let’s go ahead and start with one that I just used. A total wreck, whether for a car or in general life, is a complete disaster. Something has been destroyed and it doesn’t look like there’s going to be any coming back. If you total a car, it’s totaled, and this has the same meaning as a “total wreck.” It’s “totally” destroyed … totally, man!

This word is used more specifically for cars, but can be used for other things if you want to get creative. A complete wreck is another option with the same idea.

Messed up car, messed up life

  • My life is just a total wreck right now!
  • Did you see? Max totaled his Audi the other day.

Rev Up

Getting things hot

Revving up an engine is to get it started, get it hot. You press your foot on the gas and get ready to run (as in driving, of course). It’s similar as a figurative expression, where it means to get really excited, get “fired up,” and start an activity with lots of power and energy. It’s also used as an adjective in the same way.

Passion from within

  • Cars are so noisy when they rev up their engines.
  • Be careful with Charlie. He gets all revved up at football games.

Curb

Take a pause …

Has someone ever been talking to you and you just wanted to stop them and change the topic? Well, you could have curbed them, which is doing exactly that. It usually means to stop something in order to change its course. Think of a car’s wheels hitting a curb.

An abrupt stop

  • Joey’s car got scratched when he curbed it last week.
  • Guys at bars always come at me with terrible conversations. I wish I could just curb them and move on.
a speedy lime green car racing on a track, representing common phrases about cars and driving in English
It’s okay to speed on the race track. Wes Tindel

Speeding

That’s doing too much

This means going really fast, simple as that. It works in cars as much as in life situations. It generally has the context of doing more than one should or more than needed.

Breaking the limit

  • Is it okay to speed in Germany?
  • All his speeding through life is going to catch up with him someday.

In The Rearview

A look back

As in, in the “rearview mirror.” When looking in their “rearview,” someone can see what’s behind them. Outside of driving, something in the rearview or looking in the rearview has to do with being in the past. Usually we say it when something gets put in the past or when someone is focusing on their past.

Checking what’s past

  • Make sure to check in the rearview while you drive.
  • I used to work as a waitress, but that’s all in the rearview now.

On E

No fuel for the fire

This is can also be expressed as “running on E.” On E literally means on empty, which happens when a car has no more gas in the tank. This is helpful to express when a car has an empty gas tank, or when a person has no more energy in their metaphorical “tank.”

Running on 0%

  • I got this new rental car, but the tank was already on E.
  • Messi looks so tired out on the field. He must be running on E by now.

Full Throttle

Going strong

When talking about cars, full throttle means the vehicle is moving at full capacity or is driving very quickly. Well, that’s about the same as someone doing something at “full throttle,” or with lots of enthusiasm, energy, and speed.

Full speed ahead

  • She loves to drive with her convertible at full throttle through the desert.
  • If you choose to do something in life, make sure to do it full throttle.

Like A Deer In Headlights

Caught you looking

Sometimes people say “headlamps,” but it means the same thing. Often said as a deer caught in headlights, this phrase intends exactly what comes to mind when you read it. Someone usually makes this look when they are caught doing something they shouldn’t be. They can be very shocked or even embarrassed.

Scared deer, scared baby

  • Have you ever actually seen a deer caught in headlights?
  • When Sean’s mom caught him stealing cookies from the cabinet, he was like a deer in headlights.

Hit The Brakes / Hit The Gas

Just press go … or stop

Hitting the gas or the brakes in a car means to push your foot on the gas or brake pedal to make the car go or stop. These expressions sometimes get used in other situations, like when you want a person to speed up or slow down. Pumping the brakes or the gas is another alternative, as well is pushing the brakes / gas. Although, the sensation is a little less “rushed.”

Advice for driving, dates, and driving dates

  • Never hit the brakes too suddenly. But when the light turns green, you need to hit the gas.
  • Jake tried to kiss me on our first date and I was like, pump the brakes! Now it’s been two weeks, and I wish he would push the gas!

Park It

Bring it in, sit it down

Parking, we know, is to pull your car over to the side of the road and leave it. Or, you can leave it in a parking lot. When someone says to park it, they usually are asking you to sit down. Sometimes it can mean to stop what someone is doing, too.

Pull over and leave it there

  • When you learn to drive a car, you must learn how to park it.
  • Hey, Jimmy! Come park it next to me.
  • He knows he was wrong. He should just park it and apologize.

Swerve

Evade, avert

A swerve (action) or to swerve mean to make a sudden and unexpected turn while driving. This is usually to avoid an obstacle in the road, like a tree branch or something. Figuratively, one can swerve to avoid a situation or person, mostly because they don’t like them. I think it can also be used to talk about making a sudden change in life or in movement.

This is part of where all those “skrrt” sounds came from in Trap and Hip Hop music these days, since car tires make a skrrt sound when they swerve.

Going around, literally

  • Why is this guy swerving? There’s nothing in the road.
  • Yeah, man. When Gina called me, I had to swerve.
  • Sometimes in life we have to swerve around and try something new.

Rolling

Wheels and squeals

Car wheels roll, and that’s the idea behind this word. To roll can simply mean to drive, but it can also mean that someone is leaving or going, as if they were “driving” away. People also use rolling to mean that they are laughing really hard, as if they were “rolling” on the ground and holding their stomach.

Funny trip

  • Do you want to roll in my truck tonight, or are we taking dad’s?
  • After the party we can roll to my house.
  • Oh my God, that movie was hilarious! I was rolling the whole time.

Read more: Rolling, Roll, Roll Out, & more

Cruising

Riding cool

Some people love to just get in their car and enjoy the ride. Cruising is driving low and slow with nowhere to go, but just having a cool time. Outside the car, it usually means the same thing but in a more general life sense. It can also mean to move through some situation really easily and smoothly.

Smooth move

  • Every Tuesday me and my cousins go cruising in our Chevys. Wanna come?
  • Everyone says how bad airport security is, but we just cruised through the last time.
a smiling man behind the steering wheel with his seatbelt buckled up
This guy’s buckled and ready to go. Humphrey Muleba

Buckle Up

Safety first … or not

Well, everyone’s got a different opinion on whether to buckle up their seatbelts or not. Whether you’re an all-the-time buckler or a never buckler, one thing remains consistent. Buckle up is also used to tell someone to get ready, because something big is surely coming.

Get ready!

  • Alright, Maddie. Let’s buckle up before we drive to school.
  • Buckle up, boys. This year’s vacation is going to be insane!

Riding / Rider / Ride Or Die

On the road together

Riding in a car or any vehicle can be lots of fun. Outside of that context though, riding might have to do with going together with someone, or being there for someone no matter what. A true and loyal companion. A rider or a ride or die also have these noble qualities.

True company

  • It’s fun to ride in the back of a pick-up truck.
  • I’m going to get some pizza. Are you riding?
  • Yeah, Marcy is a rider too, but Janelle is my ride-or-die. We’ve been through it all together.

Read more: Ride, Rider, Ride-or-Die, & more

Shift Gears

Switching course

No matter how popular automatic transmission gets, there always seem to be enough manual cars to practice driving stick shift. When you change from gear one to two and so on, that’s shifting gears. Now that I think of it, you can “shift gears” in an automatic car too. Just change from park to drive and whatnot.

Okay, so shifting gears has a similar meaning in other contexts, too. Changing one’s situation or circumstance comes to mind.

Nice maneuvers

  • Shifting gears can be hard for beginner drivers.
  • He was a great athlete before shifting gears and becoming an actor.

Pedal To The Metal

Pressing ahead

This is like putting your foot on the gas pedal as hard as you can, all the way to the floor. In a car, this means to drive as fast as you can. We tend to hear it a lot outside of cars too, since it can be used to tell someone to hurry up, give it all they’ve got, and put one’s full energy and effort into something.

Fast life youngsters

  • Did you see how fast Sarah was driving? She really likes to put the pedal to the metal.
  • Come on, son. Put the pedal to the metal and finish that homework. It’s almost midnight.

Also, here’s a resource I found useful for helping me write this article. They have plenty of cool car expressions!

**Thank you for reading. Great job coming to practice your English skills (or just for being curious)! Feel free to read similar posts here on the Blog, as well as share or comment. Can you think of other expressions that have to do with cars and driving? There are a lot out there. Well, drive safely, be careful, and happy learning! Peace.

Contracting verbs with “to”, Wanna, Gonna, Hadda & more – Speaking Habits

a pink neon question mark in a box down a dark hallway, asking questions without auxiliary in English

There’s a dirty habit that English speakers have … okay, it’s not that terrible. Still, when many people speak, they have a habit of contracting certain verbs if they come before the word “to.” These verbs usually stand ahead of another verb that is in its infinitive form, which is the most basic (e.g. to love, to go, to see). Here, I’m talking about the verb that comes before these infinitive forms. Read some examples to see what I mean:

Examples – connecting verbs with “to”

  • I wanna help you.

(“Want to” might get fused together, so this sounds more like, “wanna”)

  • You hadda say that, didn’t you?

(You had to say that, didn’t you?)

  • You hafta help me, please!

(You have to help me, please!)

Don’t know what I’m talking about? Or, do you want more info? Look at this article on RealLifeGlobal.com along with the video below.

http://reallifeglobal.com/.

This might happen because the word “to” is normally pronounced as a “shwa” or a short “uh” sound. When people are speaking, it can be a drag to pronounce every letter and word. So, they get bunched together and form into a new word. It’s similar to how “would have” can turn into “would’ve.”

One thing to remember is that this fusing the verbs before “to” doesn’t work all the time. You might have to pay attention to which words this is used most commonly. Also, unlike with “would’ve,” hafta, wanna, and hadda are just how these words are pronounced in speech. They aren’t proper English, though, so you shouldn’t write these words on a paper or test (but they’re fine in text messages or social media).

Some other noteworthy examples of these contractions I’m sure you’ve all heard before are gonna and gotta.

More examples

  • They’ve gotta be kidding.

(They’ve got to be kidding.)

  • No one told you what’s gonna happen?

(No one told you what’s going to happen?)

  • She hasta help her mom first.

(She has to help her mom first.)

Thank you all for reading! I hope you learned something. Read the Blog for other posts like this about English habits. Go ahead and share a comment with us if you’ve heard this habit before. And as always, take care out there. Peace! ☮️