The English Language Institute (ELI) of the Center for International Service has offered innovative academic programs for students learning English as a Second Language since the late 1970’s. Our course of study is designed to challenge and engage students. Students are immersed in the language, culture, and ethnicity of New York City. Classes range from beginner to the advanced level.

Monday, December 8, 2014


If you "got cold feet," you suddenly became too scared to do something you had planned to do, especially something important.

If you "call something off," you cancel it.

For example: He got cold feet two days before the wedding and called it off.

Monday, December 1, 2014


Are you happy today? What are some idioms that can describe your happiness?

If you are experiencing an extreme state of happiness, you can say that you are: "on top of the world, "on cloud nine," "over the moon," or even "in seventh heaven." 

You can also use some of these animal-related idioms to describe your contentment by saying that you are "happy as a clam," "having a whale of a time," or "buzzing" (like a bee would).

What is the color associated with happiness? Well, that would be pink, in that if you are pleased with something, like a dinner offer, you say that you "tickled pink."

Whoever decided that clams are so happy?! They end up being eaten in a chowder.

Monday, November 24, 2014


If you went to the "school of hard knocks," you did not receive a formal education, but, instead, learned through life's, often difficult/hard, experiences.

Monday, November 17, 2014


If someone tells you not to cry "over spilled milk," this means you should not get upset about mistakes, especially minor ones, that have occurred and cannot be reversed.

For example:  Little Sam broke her grandmother's flower pot while playing. Grandmother consoled the crying child, and instead of getting angry she told Sam: "It's no use crying over spilled milk."

                                               image courtesy of

Monday, November 10, 2014


The word "hang" is a verb meaning to "suspend from above with the lower part dangling free."
You can hang your clothes to dry or you can hang lights on a Christmas tree.

There are many expressions and idioms using the word "hang" with a preposition (resulting in phrasal verbs). These are just some examples:

1. Hang up
- (verb) to suspend, to delay, to impede.
Example: We hang up the phone to end a conversation. We can say that the construction project was hung up due to financial problems.  

2. Hang in/on
- (verb) to persevere
Example: He had trouble in school because of his English, and that sometimes made him want to quit. However, his family, friends and teachers encouraged him. Therefore, he decide to hang in there. He studied harder and got tutoring, and soon after he began to get better grades.

3. Hang on
- (verb) to wait for a short period of time, to cling tightly, to persevere
Example: Jane called Sue, and when Sue's mother answered the phone, Jane was told to "hang on" for a few minutes before Sue came to the phone.

4. Hang out
- (verb) to spend time with people or at a place (casually)
Example: Teens love to hang out with their friends at the mall on weekends.

5. Hang loose (very slangy)
- (verb) to relax
Example: When Tom started to get angry, his friend told him to "hang loose."

                                            this is a picture of hang glider in a bright blue sky
                                               courtesy of

Sunday, November 2, 2014


If you have to work the graveyard shift, it means you have to work late at night - sometime between midnight and 8am - when everyone else is sleeping.

What kinds of occupations would require you to work late at night?

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 27, 2014


New York City is called the "The City That Never Sleeps." Many places, such as restaurants, are open 24 hours a day. The public transport, including the subway and buses, run on a 24-hour schedule. Some laundromats are open even in the wee hours of the morning.

If a place is open or a service is offered 24 hours a day, it is said to be available around the clock.

What places in your neighborhood are open around the clock

image courtesy of