English Language

  • Useful Vocabulary: Shopping for Clothes

    Useful Vocabulary: Shopping for Clothes

    Posted by Cristina on 15 Jul 2019

    ​Shopping in the US can be rather confusing at first, especially if you don't understand what the salesperson tells you. However, the more times you go shopping and practice, the easier it will become. Finally, you will enjoy the process!



    Posted by Cristina on 08 Jul 2019

    ​This is a question that all teachers are asked a lot by their students. "Which exam should I choose?" "Which one is better/easier/shorter/etc.?" No teacher will tell you right away which exam is better for you, but here's what you should keep in mind.

  • 10 common vocabulary mistakes

    10 common vocabulary mistakes

    Posted by Cristina on 02 Jul 2019

    ​Don't stress out! Everyone makes mistakes, even the best of us. Some words are easy to mix up - they either look similar or sound the same, and you do not really know which vocabulary words to use. Here are the top 10 words that our students have found very confusing.

  • April showers bring May flowers

    April showers bring May flowers

    Posted by Brandie on 26 Apr 2019

    The literal meaning of this phrase is just as it seems: the rain showers we receive in the month of April will help beautiful flowers to bloom in the month of May.

  • Master of Syntax: English Sentence Structure

    Master of Syntax: English Sentence Structure

    Posted by Brady on 12 Apr 2017

    ​Learning a language involves thinking in a different way, not just learning to memorize vocabulary and grammar rules. It really requires you to unlearn what you have learned, to go back to the beginning, and to learn new patterns, new ways of thought. Some languages like to put all of the information at the beginning, some like to put it all at the end, and some just mix it all together. Knowledge is power, and it’s important for you to know exactly how the speakers of English think, how they organize the world into these three letters S, V, and O.

  • Car & Travel Idioms 2

    Car & Travel Idioms 2

    Posted by Patrick on 07 Mar 2017

    ​Car and Travel Idioms - part 2. In this video, Patrick discusses expressions "put on the brakes", "asleep at the wheel", "speed bump", and "ride shotgun".

  • Cupid's Arrow and Idioms about Love

    Cupid's Arrow and Idioms about Love

    Posted by Kathy on 13 Feb 2017

    Happy Valentine's Day! ​What does it mean if someone says that "Cupid has shot his arrow right through your heart?" You’re in love, or I’m falling really hard. It doesn’t mean that I’m falling on the ground.

  • Car & Travel Idioms with Patrick

    Car & Travel Idioms with Patrick

    Posted by Patrick on 17 Jan 2017

    In this video, Patrick discusses some of his favorite expressions including "down the road", "hit the road", "pull over", and his favorite, "backseat driver". SOLEX College invites you to study English in the USA!

  • Bite off more than you can chew

    Bite off more than you can chew

    Posted by Cristina on 05 Jan 2017

    ​Sometimes we all try to do something that is too big or too complicated for us to do, i.e. we try to bite off more than we can chew. It has nothing to do with food, it can relate to anything we want to do.

  • American English Pronunciation Practice

    American English Pronunciation Practice

    Posted by Bonnie on 29 Aug 2016

    ​Let’s practice the words that sound like (IY). Often times, we will see them used differently with different vowels. Let’s look at the word TEA in the long sound.

  • Five New Idioms

    Five New Idioms

    Posted by Bonnie on 09 Aug 2016

    ​We love idioms in the United States. These are common expressions used, but often newcomers don’t understand what they mean. So, let’s look at some idioms that we use daily in our busy and not even, so busy lives.

  • Twist someone's arm

    Twist someone's arm

    Posted by Cristina on 05 Aug 2016

    ​This idiom has nothing to do with pain. If your arm is twisted, it means that someone is doing a good job of persuading you to do something you might not have wanted to do.

  • Phrasal Verbs

    Phrasal Verbs

    Posted by Joel on 25 Jul 2016

    ​"Bring it on! Come in! Keep it up!" Phrasal verbs are a very important part of English. In this video we teach you how to use them properly when using pronouns.

  • 5 main difficulties ESL students have to face

    5 main difficulties ESL students have to face

    Posted by Cristina on 08 Jul 2016

    ​While studying English you may have noticed that there are certain areas which cause difficulties. You have been learning the language for years and keep making mistakes again and again. Rest assured that you are not the only one - there are millions of students around the world who face the same problems.

  • Words that sound alike

    Words that sound alike

    Posted by Miqueas on 06 Jul 2016

    ​In today's video lesson learn some new vocabulary with Miqueas.

  • Chip off the old block

    Chip off the old block

    Posted by Patrick & Anna on 10 Jun 2016

    ​In this video, Patrick discusses a different use for the word, "old", and explains the idiom, "chip off the old block".

  • Bury the hatchet

    Bury the hatchet

    Posted by Cristina on 08 Jun 2016

    ​Many years ago native American and Canadian tribes were at war. When the war was over, they literally had to BURY a war axe to mark the end of hostilities.

  • Gerunds and Infinitives

    Gerunds and Infinitives

    Posted by Joel on 26 May 2016

    ​Hey guys how’s it going? My name is Joel, I am a teacher here a Solex, and today I want to talk to you about something that a lot of my students hate me when I tell them we have to talk about it. I’m sorry. Today I am talking about gerunds and infinitives.

  • Fingers Crossed

    Fingers Crossed

    Posted on 17 May 2016

    ​If, for example, you have an important test coming up and someone says, “Fingers crossed!” then that person is wishing you good luck on your test, which is very positive thing. On the other hand, if someone promised to do something and then broke that promise, they could say that they had their fingers crossed — meaning they never intended to keep the promise in the first place.

  • Useful Expressions at the Airport

    Useful Expressions at the Airport

    Posted by Cristina on 06 Apr 2016

    You have probably found yourself at the airport more than once in your life, but it is still useful to repeat expressions and phrases, which can help you avoid hassle. So when you are at the airport, there are some stages you have to go through.

  • Face the Music

    Face the Music

    Posted by Benjamin on 29 Mar 2016

    Here is another musical idiom you might hear from time to time. The full expression is “turn and face the music,” but you’ll also hear people say “it’s time to face the music.”

  • Useful Vocabulary: Hotels

    Useful Vocabulary: Hotels

    Posted by Cristina on 24 Mar 2016

    As soon as you arrive at a hotel, you have to check-in at the reception or front desk. Get ready to spend some time there, as the receptionist has to find your reservation, request payment for the room, and then provide you with all the information on the hotel and its amenities and policies. You are also given a key (very often, a keycard) to your room.

  • Play It By Ear

    Play It By Ear

    Posted by Benjamin on 11 Mar 2016

    Do you play a musical instrument? Have you ever sat down at a piano and pressed the keys until you hear a familiar tune? If so, then you understand the literal meaning of this expression.

  • How to express joy and happiness

    How to express joy and happiness

    Posted by Cristina on 07 Mar 2016

    We all use a lot of different interjections when we express emotions. These words have no grammatical meaning, however, they help express what we feel.

  • Egg-Ordering Guide

    Egg-Ordering Guide

    Posted by Cristina on 04 Feb 2016

    One beautiful Sunday morning you decide to have breakfast in a cafe. You get in, find a seat, and get ready to order. You know for sure you want some eggs for breakfast. But the problem is, there are millions kinds of eggs in the cafe! What do you choose? And how do you choose?

  • Rule of Thumb

    Rule of Thumb

    Posted by Benjamin on 08 Jan 2016

    There is no official explanation for how this expression developed, but most people think it has to do with measuring distance; an average thumb is about an inch long, so if you don’t have a ruler, you can use your thumb as a substitute. It makes sense then that "rule of thumb" has come to mean ANY GUIDING PRINCIPLE OR GENERAL METHOD FOR DOING THINGS. It’s not intended to be 100% accurate all the time, but it can be useful in certain situations.

  • Couch Potato

    Couch Potato

    Posted by Brandie on 23 Dec 2015

    Here is an expression that we use to describe a person who likes to spend their free time being lazy, sitting on the couch, and watching TV all day. These people usually do not get enough physical activity.

  • Paint the town

    Paint the town

    Posted by Brandie on 26 Jun 2015

    Last night as I was cooking dinner, Michael Jackson's song "The Way You Make Me Feel" came on the radio. As I was dancing around my kitchen and singing the song, I heard this expression and wanted to share it with you!

  • HAVE a hand vs. GIVE a hand

    HAVE a hand vs. GIVE a hand

    Posted by Patrick on 22 May 2015

    If you HAVE A HAND IN something, it means you are participating in or involved with something.

  • Run Over

    Run Over

    Posted by Brandie on 18 May 2015

    Phrasal Verb: RUN OVER

  • High Stakes

    High Stakes

    Posted by Patrick on 06 May 2015

    This adjective phrase is used to describe a situation where there is a great deal to be won…or lost. For instance, a HIGH STAKES poker game is one where the players are betting a whole lot of money. There is great risk, but there is also a chance for a greater reward.

  • Can vs May

    Can vs May

    Posted by Brandie on 17 Apr 2015

    More often than not, "can" and "may" are used interchangeably in speaking and writing. So today, let's look at how they should be used.

  • Work Out

    Work Out

    Posted by Patrick on 17 Apr 2015

    There are several meanings to this phrasal verb.

  • It's vs Its

    It's vs Its

    Posted by Brandie on 14 Apr 2015

    This is a common grammar mistake that even native English speakers will make when writing. When do we use "its" and when do we use "it's"?

  • Cut to the chase

    Cut to the chase

    Posted by Patrick on 13 Apr 2015

    When we use this expression, we are usually telling someone else to hurry up and get to the point. We may also use it about ourselves to express that we are going to tell you the most important thing, first.

  • Lose vs Loose

    Lose vs Loose

    Posted by Brandie on 10 Apr 2015

    These two words can often be confusing, especially in writing. So let's clarify the difference this morning.

  • What is the meaning of..?

    What is the meaning of..?

    Posted by Elman on 26 Dec 2012

    Many students arriving in US have difficulties understanding the meaning of phrases that do not fit logically into standard translations of their languages. So, if someone says, “Yes, I hear you” after listening to your problem, is it good or bad? Or what does it mean if someone says, “Let’s call it a night?” Today we are opening a new section of our blog called “What is the meaning of…?” Let us know what you think and propose the topics you are interested in. So, let’s start…

  • Tips For College Essays

    Tips For College Essays

    Posted by Alex on 22 May 2012

    One of an applicant’s hardest tasks is writing an essay or other writing sample which may be required for admission to an institution of higher learning. This becomes especially true for foreign applicants who are applying to U.S. universities. Keep the following ideas from SOLEX College in mind when preparing your essay. SOLEX College is a leading institution with programs geared to English language for international students. Academic topics range from basic, conversational English to the demanding rigors of academic writing.

  • 11 Tips for Improving your English

    11 Tips for Improving your English

    Posted by Kim Gailes on 04 May 2012

    Along the same vein of the previous blog entries, here are 11 additional tips for improving your English language proficiency. The tips were submitted by beginner level ESL students practicing the use of conditional sentences - clauses using “If”. The tips are great for every level of ESL student, or for any person who is learning a new language. Enjoy the pearls of wisdom!

  • Ideas to Help Improve Your English Speaking Ability

    Posted by ESL Instructor Lucille on 31 Jan 2012

    Students often ask what they can do on their own to help improve their English speaking skills. Here are some ideas that are fun, useful and may help you speak English more fluently.

  • 5 Steps to Enhance Your English

    Posted by Lindsey on 24 Aug 2011

    It is no secret that English is one the top most spoken languages in the world. As lists and numbers vary, English typically ranks as the third most spoken language to Mandarin Chinese (first) and Spanish (second). Ranking each of the worldly languages as to which is the most difficult to learn in not an easy task. The act of learning a language is incredibly subjective. I, however, did do a search to find out, that on a scale of one to five, with five being most difficult to learn, English scored a two. That score landed it amongst the easiest languages to learn. The article mentioned that English is a great language to add to your language repertoire because of its high use in international affairs ( shopping). According to this article, the most difficult languages to learn where tied between Mandarin Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and Arabic. Regardless of which language you choose to learn, here are five language learning tips to help you in your language learning process.

  • Culture Helps to Learn Languages

    Posted by Justin on 18 Aug 2011

    In order to understand the world, one must become engulfed with it. Learning a new language falls under this category. But simply going through the motions and practicing the vocabulary might not be enough. If you ask any language expert across the world how to most easily master a language, their response will be the same. Go to the country, immerse yourself in the culture, and experience it!

  • Learning English Improves Employability

    Posted by Justin on 17 Aug 2011

    The English language is highly regarded as the language of choice for international air travel and air traffic control. But with the internet continually pressing on, English has established itself as the language of choice for professional organizations, ecommerce, and a high percentage of international businesses. Whether you want to excel in the international business world, or simply get your foot in the door, learning the English language is a good place to start.

  • The History of the English Language

    Posted by Justin on 16 Aug 2011

    The English language has a long history of change and progress. Being rooted around 450 AD in what is known as old English, today's modern English has come a long way. Scholars maintain that modern speakers would struggle to understand the basic tenants of old English. However, many of our most common words today (be, water, strong) are based on the earliest forms of the English language.

  • Language of Sports

    Posted by Lindsey on 12 Aug 2011

    People all over the United States and the world engage in sports on a daily basis. Whether it is running, American football, soccer, baseball, hockey, or lacrosse, people from all over the world are able to interact with each other and enjoy a healthy activity. Whether it is a professional or community league, there is a good chance that you, as an athlete, will be playing with or against somebody who speaks another language. That is part of the beauty of being involved with sports. Everybody on a team or in a specific league does not need to speak the same language in order to enjoy the game and compete with each other. It is as though sports take on individual languages of their own.

  • Fictional Languages

    Posted by Justin on 11 Aug 2011

    Unfortunately, languages come and go. Some languages are very rare, and only spoken by a select few. Other languages have been forgotten over time and died out. Others are growing and expanding faster than teachers can teach. Each country has their own national language of choice. But as international business expands, so too must our vocabulary. But what about fictional languages?

  • Combining Lessons to Learn English

    Posted by Justin on 11 Aug 2011

    Getting a handle on the English language requires more than just memory work and speech recognition. In order for students to master English, they must get a hold of how the language impacts and impedes their daily lives. At SOLEX, students do more than just read over the cirriculum and learn vocabulary, they experience and grow with the language.

  • Most Beautiful Words in the English Language

    Posted by Justin on 09 Aug 2011

    The English language is full of beautiful words, many adapted from other languages, and even more created each year. J.R.R. Tolkien claimed that "cellar door" was the most beautiful word or combination of words. So what's your favorite word?

  • English Accents for Native and Non Native Speakers

    Posted by Justin on 05 Aug 2011

    The English language is very complex, and often poses problems to speakers. With a myriad of different variations and regional dialects and accents to learn, non-native speakers must quickly adapt to learn the subtle differences. This leads to a third problematic issue, non-native English speakers accents.

  • National Multilanguage Spelling Bee

    Posted by Justin on 11 Jul 2011

    Language, and language learning is nowhere as cut and dry as it once was. America continues to expand into an international melting pot, and Chicago excels in the teaching and acceptance of international students. But with the first ever Spanish National Language Spelling Bee held over the weekend, the boundaries between diversity and integration have taken one step closer to being blurred.

  • How to Learn a New Language

    Posted by Lindsey on 31 May 2011

    I recently read an article about a lady named Christina. She wrote about her experiences trying, as a native English speaker, to learn the Spanish language. She went to a high school that required that each student take a foreign language class. Christina chose to take a Spanish class. She had a hard time learning the language because she didn't have the drive. It didn't matter how good the instructor was or how much he tried to relate the Spanish language to the things Christine was interested in. She just didn't feel a need to learn another language. After all, within the community in which she lived, she could get by just fine by speaking English.