Thursday, June 30, 2011

Talking like the BAD GUYS!

How to talk about crime and get away with it.

It's a fact. Just about everyone who studies English as a second language has heard English words related to criminal activities. Are we implying that English Users break the law?

Not at all. But many do watch cop movies and TV shows filled with the special lingo of the street.

Still, after turning off the tube (the TV), how many words can anyone remember?

Just in case, today we'll go over the key words that describe crime and criminal activities. See how many of these you know. Can you use them in a sentence?


To Commit Homicide: To kill someone (on purpose or accidentally).
To Mug: To steal from a person on the street with the threat of force.
To Kidnap: To take a person without their permission (often for money)
To Shoplift: To steal from a store (or shop).
To Rob: To steal from a person or business
To Commit Arson: To intentionally start a fire.
To Pickpocket: To quietly steal a small item (wallet) from someone's pocket
To Burglarize: To enter a private property and take things without the owner's permission
To Vandalize: To damage private or public property intentionally
To Embezzle: To steal money placed in one's trust belonging to the organization for which one works
By the way, to murder is to commit an intentional homicide.


1. An innocent man at the scene of the crime was charged with committing homicide.
2. My uncle was mugged by two guys with a knife who took his watch and wallet.
3. The SWAT team liberated 5 office workers kidnapped by an armed man who used to work with them.
4. A famous actress was arrested for shoplifting at an expensive store.
5. Bonnie and Clyde were famous bank robbers during the 1920s.
6. He was accused of committing arson after burning down his neighbor's house.
7. Lately, there has been a lot of pickpocketing on the subway.
8. My house was burglarized while I was on vacation and they took all my electronics.
9. The monument was vandalized with offensive spray painted messages.
10. The city mayor was arrested for embezzling one million dollars of the city's funds.

Can you make more of your own?

And in closing of today's post, here's a classic song about two baddies (bad people) called Take the Money and Run by the Steve Miller Band with lyrics. WARNING: This song contains some intentional incorrect use of English. Can you spot where this happens? Enjoy!

You may also check out the lyrics here.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


No matter what language we speak, we all have feelings.

As an English User, by now you probably know the more common ones. Especially, since instant messaging programs represent so many of them with a smiley.

But what about all the other feelings?

Well, the purpose of this post is to talk about how to express some of them.

Cranky: A bit angry or in a bad mood.
Self-conscious: Uncomfortable with one's self in public.
Listless: No energy and/or no feelings.
Agreeable: Pleased or comfortable.
Ecstatic: Very very happy.
Pissed Off: A more common (but honest) way to say you are angry at someone / something
Restless: Anxiously anticipating something (good or bad) and can't wait.

Let's check out some examples:

1. Mr. Woods is often cranky in the morning.
2. I get self-conscious when I get on stage.
3. After the accident, she felt listless for months.
4. After being denied a promotion at work, Bob was not feeling agreeable with his job.
5. When Walter heard the news of the prize, he became ecstatic.
6. Homer got pissed off at his cable company for interrupting his service for an hour.
7. I had a restless night and couldn't get any sleep.

By the way, try thinking of your own examples for these words.

And last but not least, since traditional smileys are so much fun, we now invite you to watch them sing and rap in the following commercial video. Enjoy!