Talk Faster Like a New Yorker

Talk Faster Like a New Yorker


TOEFL Prep Course in New York

The TOEFL Prep Course is finally here!

If you are in New York City in March, April, May, and/or June, you’re welcome to join us.

This intensive course helps students improve in all areas of English language, prepare for the TOEFL test, and help them feel confident and well-prepared for this test. You will practice specific sections of the test while you develop the language skills needed for the exam and improve your test-taking skills in English. The work includes improving conversation skills, listening comprehension, reading, writing, and grammatical correctness. Students will participate in classroom activities, such as oral presentation, group work, and discussions.


  • Your teacher will be Cynthia, a certified ESL teacher who has taught and prepared students for the TOEFL for more than 5 years.
  • The lessons are fun, engaging, and memorable learning experiences.
  • It’s affordable. Most NYC TOEFL courses are more than $500. This one is much lesson.



This session is part of a 10-session series on select Sundays. You can join us at any or all of the sessions. It is 4 hours from 9:15 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. The schedule is below. Click on the desired date for more information and to reserve your spot.

Speaking and Listening Practice Websites

Many of my students have asked me, “Cynthia, how can I improve my speaking skills in English? I don’t have a conversation buddy who is a native English speaker.” So, I hunted for different websites that can help people improve their listening and speaking skills. These are some of the best in the world wide web.


Everyday English in Conversation

Enjoy learning conversational English online!  accompanied with carefully designed exercises, follow the recommended steps and practice at your own pace.

Topics Include:

  • Communication
  • Eating
  • Emotions
  • Fashion
  • Friendship
  • Health
  • Housing
  • Life
  • Memory
  • Money
  • Romance
  • Shopping
  • Time
  • Traffic
  • Traveling
  • Vacation
  • Weather
  • Work


Talk English! developed the “Click, Listen, and Repeat” functionality. In most of the lessons, you read the sentence, click on the sentence to listen to the sentence, and then you can practice speaking by repeating after the audio file provided by a native English speaker. This proven method strengthens your reading, speaking, and listening all at the same time and makes learning English easy. You will improve your English speaking using this method.

Topics Include:

  • Pronunciation Lessons
  • English Speaking Basics
  • Regular English Lessons
  • Business English Lessons
  • Interview English Lessons
  • Travel English Lessons
  • Idioms and Phrases


ESL Fast

This website looks cluttered with ads, but it is helpful for beginners. It features over 25 conversation topics, in which students hear conversations and repeat them for practice.

Some topics include:

I. Small Talk
II. College Life
III. At the Library
IV. Transferring to a University
V. Socializing
VI. Dating
VII. Renting an Apartment
VIII. Taking the Bus
IX. Daily Life
X. Shopping
XI. At the Bank
XII. Food
XIII. At a Restaurant
XIV. Buying a Car
XV. Driving
XVI. Health
XVII. Employment
XVIII. Unemployment
XIX. Travel
XX. At a Hotel
XXI. Buying a House
XXII. Selling a House
XXIII. In a New Neighborhood
XXIV. Crime
XXV. Voting

Let’s Talk! Winter Vocabulary and Idioms

winter vocabulary and winter idioms in english
Wow, it has been super cold in New York the last few days. We’ve had record low temperatures and it snowed two days ago.

While I’ve been hibernating in my lovely warm house, I thought of the many words and expressions we have in the English Language that you could use during such a cold period. Let’s have a look at some of them. Also, teachers, I included some lesson ideas at the bottom of this email.



black ice (n) – a very thin coating of ice found on roads and sidewalks that is difficult to see, and therefore quite dangerous

ex: Irina said that the black ice on her street caused 3 car accidents.


a cold snap (n) – a sudden short period of very cold weather

Ex. New York City is experiencing a very cold snap at the moment.


to hibernate (v) – to sleep through the winter months (also used metaphorically)

Ex. We don’t see our neighbors during the cold winter months, since we love to hibernate in the warmth of our homes.


wind chill (n) – when the wind makes the air temperature feel colder

Ex. It might be zero degrees on the thermometer, but the wind chill makes it feel like -15 degrees.


slush (n) – snow that has started to melt and has become dirty

Ex. I don’t like it when the snow turns to slush. It’s so ugly and gross.


to be snowbound (v) – to be stranded or unable to leave a place because of heavy snowfall.

Ex. We were snowbound at the airport for the whole weekend due to the blizzard.


sleet (n) – a mixture of snow and rain

Ex. Oh no! It’s not snow but sleet. I don’t like sleet.


snowfall (n) – the amount of snow that falls during a period of time

Ex. We’ve had 8 centimeters of snowfall overnight.


to have a snowball’s chance in hell (informal) – to have no chance of doing or having something

Ex. You have a snowball’s chance in hell of winning the lottery.


snowed under – with too much work to deal with

Ex. We’re snowed under with applications for the job. 


on thin ice – at risk of annoying someone

Ex. I’m warning you. You’re on thin ice.


put something on ice (informal) – to delay something

Ex. The negotiations were put on ice when the market fell sharply.


to break the ice – to make people feel less nervous in a social situation

Ex. He told a few jokes to break the ice.


to get cold feet – to suddenly get too scared to do something planned

Ex. She cancelled the wedding because she got cold feet.


pure as the driven snow – to be completely innocent (often used to suggest the opposite)

Ex. I don’t think she is as pure as the driven snow.


whiteout (n.) – to be unable to tell the difference between things because of an overabundance of snow

ex: After the whiteout, looking outside was like looking at a sheet of paper.


in the cold light of day –  to think about something clearly, without emotions, and often feel shame afterwards

Ex. The next morning, in the cold light of day, Emma realised what an idiot she had been.


to break into a cold sweat – to become scared about something

Ex. Kevin broke into a cold sweat when he realized the losses he had made.


to run hot and cold – to be unable to make up one’s mind

ex: Alexi’s feelings about her run hot and cold, one minute he loves her, and the next, he’s bored of her.


the snowball effect – when something small keeps growing in importance or significance

ex: Gangnam Style’s popularity was such a snowball effect.


put something on ice – to stop doing something

ex: Herbert is going to put the project on ice until he gets a response from his supervisor.


snowed under – to be overwhelmed, usually with responsibilities

ex: I’m sorry I can’t go to the party tonight, I’m snowed under with homework.


Did you see any challenging words in the above blog post? Learn their meanings!


to be stranded – to be unable to leave a certain place
significance – importance, distinction
abundance –  a large amount of something


Do you know any of these expressions? Have you used them? Do you know any others? Please do share them with us. Try them out with English speakers and let us know how you get on.

And if you think your friends might benefit from this blog post, please share it with them.



Are you a teacher who is thinking of using this list of idioms? Here are a few suggested actions on how to teach winter vocabulary and idioms:

Warm up – The students can discuss winter idioms from their own countries. You may need to explain what is an idiom to your students if they are unfamiliar with the term.

Reading Practice – Students read and listen to the poem “No” by Thomas Hood. Copies of the poem and its audio recording can be found at

Conversation – Students discuss the following questions:

1. What was Thomas Hood’s opinion about winter? Cite textual evidence.

2. Do you agree with Thomas Hood? Is winter so bad? Why or why not?

Writing Practice – In small groups, students write a vivid and descriptive poem about winter using at least 5 idioms.  It’s even more fun, when students are divided into 2 groups: the Winter Lovers and the Winter Haters.

How/When to Complain

Have you had a bad experience at a restaurant or bought a faulty item from a hop and wanted to complain?

Check out this British website. Read its short article about advantages and disadvantages of different ways of complaining and tell me about a time when you had to complain about something.