CUNY - College of Staten Island - English Language Institute

CUNY - College of Staten Island: The English Language Institute (ELI) of the Center for Global Engagement 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.

Friday, July 21, 2017

To Get One's Act Together

When you "get your act together," you get organized and prepare to do something in order to finish it.

Example: Kelly needs to get her act together if she wants to finish her project by Friday.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

To Seal the Deal

When you "seal the deal" you reach an agreement with someone.
Example: "After Jackson proposed to his girlfriend, they sealed the deal with a kiss."

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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

English teacher On-demand

Teacher, I have a question!

This week, our ELI teacher, Mr. Drew Bostinto, gives us good examples of common phrasal verbs.

·   The teacher handed the tests out to the class. (distribute)
·   It’s really cold outside, so put on your coat. (dress yourself)

Phrasal Verbs - Definition
Phrasal verbs are special verbs that have two parts: a verb + a particle. The combination of the verb and particle creates a new meaning.
a)      Actors act.  (to perform, to function in a particular way) He has acted in many Broadway shows during his career.
b)      Children often act up when there aren’t any adults around (to misbehave)
c)      My car has been acting up lately.  It’s time to bring it to the Totoya dealer. (to not work properly)

·      The verb + particle have a specific meaning when combined (as in b and c). This new meaning can be different from the meaning of the verb (as in a) or the meaning of the particle.
d)      The weather got cooler, so I put on my sweater.  (to wear, to don)
·      Sometimes the meaning of a phrasal verb is clear from the verb + particle.
e)      I would be glad to pitch in at the party by blowing up the balloons.   (to help, to join others in accomplishing something)

The police officer had me pull over when I was driving too fast. (move to the side of the road -or street- when driving).
·      Sometimes it is difficult to guess the meaning of a phrasal verb. Sometimes the context of the sentence can help you.

E.g., The meaning of pull over is not the same as the meanings of the words “pull” and “over”.
f)       He picked up the papers that forgot at the office.
g)      The bully at school always picked on kids that were smaller than him.
·      The same verb can have different meaning with a different particle.
Pick up (to collect, to get)
Pick on (to bully, to intimidate)
h)      Orange juice always picks me up when I’m feeling sluggish.  (More common and informal)
i)       Orange juice always revitalizes me when I’m feeling sluggish. (more formal, less common)
·      In informal English, phrasal verbs are more frequent than one-word verbs with the same meaning.

The answer to our question:

To register for the English class, please fill _______ this application form.
         a)      up
         b)      out
         c)      down
The answer is letter b)

Use fill out when you need to complete information in empty spaces and/or in documents.
·      He has filled out the form for his new license.
Use fill up when something becomes full
·      She filled up the gas tank.

·          Badalamenti, V. and Henner-Stanchina, C. Grammar Dimensions 1, 4th Edition. Thomson Heinle – ISBN-13: 978-1-4130-2740-2

Interested in studying English in New York? Register here:

Center for Global Engagement
College of Staten Island/CUNY
2800 Victory Boulevard, 2A-206
Staten Island, NY 10314
Phone: 718.982.2100
Fax: 718.982.2108
International office Facebook:
ELI Skype account: elistudy_1
CSI student housing Youtube:

Thursday, July 6, 2017

To Drop By

When you "drop by," you visit someone for a short amount of time.

Example: Last night, Mark dropped by and we had some coffee.

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Saturday, July 1, 2017

To Leave No Stone Unturned

When you "leave no stone unturned," you search everywhere for something or attempt everything to achieve something.

Example: Susie left no stone unturned while she searched for the perfect coffee shop in her area.

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Friday, June 23, 2017

To Give Someone Free Rein

when you "give someone free rein," you put few restrictions on their behavior.
Example: "The professor gave the students free rein during class time."

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Saturday, June 17, 2017

To Set the Record Straight

When you "set the record straight," you correct false information.
Example: After Sharon told lies about her, Deborah decided she needed to set the record straight.

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