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, November 24, 2014


If you went to the "school of hard knocks," you did not a receive 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

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.

               image courtesy of

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. 

image courtesy of