studying

Conversation

Ken:  Hey Vince.  Do you want to go to that wilderness survival seminar this weekend?

universe

by Henry Lin

a freshman (Sept. 2013) at Harvard University.  At the age of 17 he won an Intel Foundation Young Scientist Award for his mathematical models of distant galaxy clusters.

sunset

announce:  to say (something important) to everyone
She announced to her family that she was getting married soon.
We’d like to announce the birth of our first baby.

double

Here is an easy way to remember which consonants at the end of verbs are doubled before adding -ed, -ing, or –er.  If the verb is one syllable, and there is one vowel before one consonant at the end, then you double the consonant before adding an ending.

so small

by Carrie Underwood

an American country music singer, songwriter and actor.  Her career started when she won the fourth season of American Idol in 2005.  She has since won six Grammy Awards.  This song is from her second album, Carnival Ride, released in 2007.

poker

For many years historians thought the game of poker came from other games with a similar name, such as the Irish card game of Poka or the French game of Poque.  It is possible that these games influenced the modern game of poker, especially in the area of bluffing.  Because no other card game before the game of poker had the same betting rules, modern thought is that the game of poker originated in the mid 1700s in the southern United States and spread throughout the Mississippi River region by the end of that century.  An English actor by the name of Joseph Crowell reported that the game of poker, as played in New Orleans, Lousiana, in 1829, was played with a deck of 20 cards with four players who bet on which person held the best hand.  Poker was played up and down the Mississippi River on riverboats, which became quite lavish to attract players. When the gold rush started in 1849, the game was brought west by adventurous men who moved to California to find their fortune.  It was played everywhere and became part of the social fabric of the early West.  It was a serious game, however.  There are many tales of men losing their ranches or other valuable assets in poker games.  At this point the 52-card deck was used and the flush was introduced to the game.  Later during the American Civil War, 1861 to 1865, the straight was added.  Modern poker became popular after the WSOP began in 1970.  By the 1980s poker was considered a commonplace recreational activity.  There was a boom in new players at the beginning of the 21st century when on-line poker was introduced and TV poker was made popular by little cameras showing the hole cards of each player to the audience.

brave

by Sara Bareilles

an American singer-songwriter.  This song is from her fourth album, released in 2013, entitled The Blessed Unrest.   She wrote it with Jack Antonoff  from the band Fun.

ability

To express ability, you can use either can or be able to.  The most common way is with can, which is used for the present or the future:  I can swim.  I can meet you tomorrow.  In the past can becomes could:  I could run faster when I was younger.  With be able to the verb be can be in different tenses:  I am able to sleep anywhere.  I will be able to sleep later.  I was able to sleep on my flight.  I’ve been able to sleep better since I found a job.

iceberg

Conversation:

Hank: My history professor really spelled it out for us this morning.  She told us that apart from having chapter quizzes every week, mid-term and final exams, and a 3000-word research paper, there may also be some other marked assignments in store but she didn’t give us any details.

fern

allow:  to give (someone) permission, let
The police wouldn’t allow the homeowners to enter their home.
Please allow me to introduce myself.  My name is Baron Roth.

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