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, October 20, 2014


If you give a person a hard time, it means you criticize him or her for something, often for what he or she has done or not done as was expected.

Some examples:

When Tomas was little, the kids at school teased him because he was short. But then the year he turned 15, he grew nearly a foot, and no one gave him a hard time about his height any more.


Ray forgot his wife's birthday last year and she has been giving him a hard time about it since. So, this year, he has a big surprise planned. Hopefully, she will finally forgive him.

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Monday, October 13, 2014


To take time out means to take a break from an activity, such as studying or working.

For example, many young people take time out or off between high school and college to travel or work.

Similarly, the hyphenated time-out usually refers to the break that players take in sports either as requested by the team or an official for the purpose of rest, consultation or substitution. 

However, in the real world, a time-out is a well-known expression referring to the break that children must take, as a form of punishment,  when they have misbehaved. They must cease doing what they were doing and sit or stand quietly in a place for a period of time. 

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Monday, October 6, 2014


In many English-speaking countries, time is something very important. There are many idioms which include the word "time." 

During the month of October, we will explore some of them.

  • If you are "running out of time," it means that you have almost used up all the allotted time and soon there will be no more time left. For example, this is what a teacher might say to her/his students when they are taking a test. This means the students will need to finish the test soon. Then, if the  teacher says "time's up," it means that the students have to hand in all their test papers.
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Monday, September 29, 2014


We say that something is "for the birds" if it is worthless, trivial or to show that it is undesirable. 

This idiom most likely arrives from the idea that birds eat very little or because they eat seed; either way, what they eat would be of no or little value to humans. 

Example 1:
   "Jayce, don't watch those reality shows. They're not realistic. They are merely sensational. It's strictly for the birds. Put on the news instead or watch a good documentary."

Example 2:
   "I can't stand this winter weather any longer. It's for the birds. Can't wait for spring."

Monday, September 22, 2014


To hit the road means to leave a place. 

There's even a famous song where the singer tells Jack to "hit the road" and not to come back.

Danny: Do you want to stay for dinner?
Jim: No, thanks. I've got to hit the road. I want to get home before it starts snowing.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


If someone says you are "a sight for sore eyes," it means that the person is pleased to see you. 

Has anyone ever paid you this compliment?

                                                       image courtesy of