The Many Meanings of Catch (Catch on, Catch up, a Catch, & more) | English Dialogue

Heads up … catch! This seemingly (or should I say “deceptively”) simple word is stuffed and loaded with different meanings. Do the many uses of “catch” confuse you? Here I want to look at the traditional meanings, as well as some common slang and figurative uses of the word. There are also short and realistic dialogues to help. So, are you ready to catch some knowledge? Let’s do it.

The normal meaning of Catch

Normally, to Catch means to receive something that is thrown or has fallen. As people, we mostly catch things with our hands.


 — “Look, Charles, I got you a new iPhone charger. Catch!”

While attempting to grab the charger, Charles accidentally dropped his phone onto the floor.

 — “Gee, thanks! Now I’m going to need a new iPhone too.”

 — “Well, you should have caught it before it hit the ground.”

Catch something (figuratively)

As you can imagine, “catch” also has several figurative and even slang meanings. As a verb, you can catch something not visible such as an illness or some attention.


 — “Did you hear what happened to Kevin Hart? He said he caught the ‘Vid’,” Charles said to his friend, Jonah, sitting behind him. Jonah gave him a firm Shhh! 

 — “Be quiet, man! Whenever I talk in class, I catch an angry look from Ms. Delaware. You’ll get me in trouble.”

‘Catching’ someone

Another meaning is when you catch someone, or find them. Usually, this is while they are doing something they shouldn’t be.

 — “Hey, Sheila. Do you think we could take your little bro out for ice cream?”

 — “I don’t know. He got caught eating cookies out of the cookie jar last night. I think he’s had enough sweets.”

 — “Well, we could always take him to the Salad Bar,” Charles suggested.

 — “Oh, no. You won’t catch me anywhere near that place.”

Still, catch can be about meeting another person, in general. This is usually at a designated time or place.

 — “I hope we can hang out soon, Sheila. What do you think?”

 — “For sure! I’ll catch you after our game tomorrow.”

Other random meanings of Catch

To catch can be to understand what someone else said or what has happened. It’s usually said as a question to check for comprehension or as a way to show a lack of understanding.


Jonah’s mind wandered as he daydreamed about the upcoming game that night. Suddenly, he realized Charles had been mumbling at him for the past five minutes.

 — “Sorry, what did you say? I didn’t catch that.”

 — “I was telling you about my plans to quit working for this lousy school. Did you catch it this time?!”

… Or, going to see something, such as an event. 


 — “Do you want to catch a movie after you get off work?” Charles asked Sheila. She turned at him and grinned.

 — “Yeah … Or, we could go to the game like everyone else.”

Or, boarding a transportation vehicle. 



Sheila gave Charles a big hug.

 — “I have to catch this bus. If you want to see a movie, it’s fine. Can we talk later?”

 — “Yeah, either way is fine. Let me know. Maybe we can catch a ride together.”

Phrasal verbs: Catch on, Catch up

And that’s just “Catch” by itself. Of course, there are also phrasal verbs like catch on — to begin to understand something — or catch up — to reach a desired point in understanding or place from behind.


 — It used to be so much fun to speak in German around your friends. I think they’re starting to learn now.

 — Right, especially Mark didn’t use to understand our conversations, but now he’s catching on.

 — It’s about time! Why is Mark so far behind in his German, anyway? He needs to catch up!

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A Catch, as a noun

All verbs aside, there is also catch used as a noun. A catch is a hidden condition or problem when something seems too good to be true.


Charles looked at his neighbor in disbelief. 

“You’ll give me this car for four hundred bucks and all repairs are up to date? What’s the catch?”

 — “No catch! It’s a good car, man. What, you don’t believe me?”

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A catch can also be a person who seems like a perfect match, or a great person to be in a relationship with. They are like the ideal partner.


 — I don’t know why you’re so in-love with Sheila. Look at Jenny. She’s the boss of her own business, helps her community, and owns a Benz. She’s a catch, for sure.

 — “Uh-huh, Jonah. Total catch.”


**These are just some of the main uses of “catch”. Can you think of any others meanings? Can you think of your own examples for these words? Share it with us and spread the English love! Thanks for reading and learning. Take care out there.

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Contact or collaborate at tietewaller@gmail.com

Topic: Why Shoulda, Coulda, Should of, Would of? | English Speaking Habits

Pronouncing Modal Verbs in the Past


Modal verbs? What? As English speakers, we have lots of funny speech habits. To the average person, they may not seem like a big deal. But what about those that have decided to take on learning this complex language?

“Take on me-e … take me o-on!”

You can almost hear English singing in the shower. You might have heard such words as “shoulda” or “coulda” before. Well, that’s what we’re going to talk about here.

What are Modal Verbs, after all?

A modal verb is a type of auxiliary (or helping) verb. This just means their purpose is to help other verbs to make sense. Modal verbs themselves are used to show a necessity or possibility. These are words like could, should, may, might, would, and so on.

In the past tense, modal verbs are often followed by the word “have.” This lets us know they are modals instead of a regular past tense verb. How do we know that “could” is acting like the past tense of “can,” or if it is expressing a possibility? We know it’s a possibility when it’s next to “have.” Look at this:

  • When I was younger, I could run a mile without stopping. (past tense of “can”)
  • I could have been a track star. (past tense of the modal verb “could,” shows a possibility)

Remember, modals don’t always need “have.” Adding it is used to show that this necessity or possibility was in the past. The same goes with should have, may have, might have, would have, and more.

You Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda … Used Correct Grammar

The habit I told you about earlier is that many people turn “have” into a simple shwa sound (“uh”) when talking. They basically get rid of the “h” and “v” sounds. This makes could have sound like coulda.

  • I coulda been a track star. (could have)

This is so common that we have an expression to mimic this; shoulda, coulda, woulda. Or coulda, shoulda, woulda. Woulda, coulda, shoulda? I guess it doesn’t really matter what order you say it in. Some people say this to express when it’s too late to do something and the opportunity has passed. Similar expressions are “that’s too bad,” “too late,” or “keep dreaming.” 

 — You know, I could have been a track star.

 — Yeah! Shoulda, coulda, woulda.

Should of, Could of, Would of

To take it a step further, “have” can completely change and turn into “of.” This isn’t grammatically correct, but it happens because some people might pronounce the “could-a” like “could-uv.” This happens when we mean to contract “could have” and say “could’ve.” The pronunciation of the “of” sounds very similar to that final “ve” sound, so it’s easy to confuse the two in everyday speech. Many people who even know the correct grammar might make a mistake when writing or speaking and say “of” instead of the short “‘ve” because of how easy it is to switch the two. 

More info:

  • ‘Should have’ and ‘should of’ on Quora

*Try saying could of and could’ve out loud. Do you notice how similar they sound? 

Here are some more examples!

See, you shoulda / should of been more careful. 

I coulda / could of been a millionaire. 

She musta / must of been crazy to adopt a lion.


Thank you for reading! Check the Blog to see similar posts.

**Have a question about another English speaking habit? Is there something you don’t understand about the way people talk? Tell me about it and I’ll write a post for you, and offer other resources to better understand!

Contact me to collaborate or send a personal message at tietewaller@gmail.com or go to the Give Me Shout! page.

Slang words for House and Home | English & A Story ‘Soft Place Baby Bed’

Welcome to my house, we don’t have to go-wo out …” 

It’s a good thing you didn’t hear me sing that! To pick up on the topic though, we’re going to look at some different ways to refer to someone’s house. Well, the most popular slang ways, that is. There are multiple words one might use to describe a person’s house in English, whether it’s yours or somebody else’s. Some of these words can make the house sound better and others are … a lot less flattering. 

When referring to a small place (or when being sarcastic) people often refer to their home as a “humble abode.” Some people take it to the next level and call it a shack (hence the expression, shacking up). When people get a little carried away, they might say “hizzouse” or something like it. There are so many types of houses too. For example, a cabin, a duplex, townhome, country home, condo, split-level, etc., etc. Okay, swell. But what about common slang terms for a house?

Read More


Crib

From my African-American perspective, this has got to be the most common slang for “house”. Literally, a crib is a protective bed where we usually put babies to sleep. It’s a comfortable, safe place, so maybe this led to cribs being used to talk about homes. This is one of the more common slang words for a house, at least in the U.S. This is especially due to the show, MTV Cribs, ever since it started airing (and re-airing). 

  • Do you want to go to the crib and play video games? 

Spot

Spot has a lot of different meanings in English. Being slang for a house is one of them. Given all these many meanings of spot, it can sound a little more vague or ambiguous than other words when referring to your house. This is especially since “spot” is sometimes used to refer to a place in general. Note, this is very similar to the use of “place” to specifically talk about a house. Check the links below to learn more!

  • We should go to his spot after the movie. (Similarly, “go to his place”)

Pad

A pad in normal English is something nice and soft. It’s mostly used to soften a physical impact or any other kind of damage. I don’t know why we’d call a house that, but maybe it’s because a home is our safe place? So, possibly similar to “crib.” Again, these are mostly American slang, so I don’t know how extensively this word and the others are used in all English-speaking countries. 

  • So, what do you think of my new pad?

So these are just a couple of the most common slang you might use to talk about a house in English, or at least the American variety. There are many other ways to refer to a house in an informal, exaggerated, or silly way. You can check the links below for more information.

Also, below is a short story with dialogue to show you how today’s words might be used in context. Check it out if you like! Thanks, and take care out there.


Soft Place Baby Bed – slang words for ‘house’

 — There we are. Wanna come in?

Sheila turned a wide grin at her friend, Charles. In the happiest way possible, she urged him to come into her house. Charles, on the other hand, was utterly shocked.

 — Wow, I didn’t know your house was so big, he said. — Don’t you ever get lost?

Sheila brushed away his statement and pushed him along. He had good reason to be nervous; it was his first time alone with Sheila, a friend he’d been crushing on the past few months. The friend zone is a hard wall to cross, but a big house with no one in it could be the “tunnel” underneath he was looking for. Suddenly, he wasn’t so nervous after all. They arrived at the front gates.

 — Ready to see my crib? she laughed and led her friend further.

Once inside the front gates, they came to a yard filled with strange objects. There were plastic women and rubber bones lying on the ground. Mixed in with the dry scattered leaves, the yard looked like a sort of toy wasteland. 

They eventually made it past the garden and into the house. Sheila shut the high wooden doors behind her and revealed her world to Charles. 

 — So, this is my pad. Sorry about the mess. I picked up a couple’a side gigs while I wait for my album to finish. Covid kinda ruined my schedule. I know! Let’s go upstairs. I can show you my room.

She stuck out a hand and grabbed onto Charles. Before he could figure out where he was, they had already arrived at her room. Was this his moment? “This is finally it!” he thought to himself.

BWAAA!

The sound of a thousand babies flushed into both of their ears. Okay, it was just two, but they were yelling super loudly. 

 — Oh, crap! I forgot about you two! 

Sheila rushed over to pull the two babies out of their tiny beds, repeating “Sorry, sorry” to them. 

 — I know you were talking about your house, but I didn’t know you were gonna show me your actual “cribs,” Charles told her. 

He reached his arms out to help hold one of the babies. She cried for a minute but soon relaxed against his chest.

 — Look at you! You’re a natural with the kids.

Charles felt extremely uncomfortable, but he couldn’t deny how nice it felt to hold the baby girl. 

 — If you say so. What’s her name?

 — That is Janey, and this here’s little Maxy. She stroked Maxy with her hands.— Sorry I couldn’t show you the house. I know you really wanted to see more of my place. 

That was just part of the plan, Charles thought, but okay. 

 — It’s fine. The house is really nice. But next time let’s go to my spot, alright?

Sheila laughed and agreed. After sitting a while the babies were finally asleep. 

 — Shh! Look, they’re sleeping, she advised Charles. 

He nodded, and Sheila tapped the bedside next to her as if to invite him to come sit closer. Charles got up and sat next to Sheila. They smiled wide at each other, then he reached his hand over to fix her hair. Then …

BAH-BAH-BAH-WAH!

 — Oh, no, I forgot … I also take care of dogs!

To be continued …

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Contracting Words with ‘Of’ – English Speech Habits

a pink neon question mark in a box down a dark hallway, doubts about contracting words with 'of' in English speech
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In English, like in any language, we speakers have some funny habits when it comes to using the language. Hey, at least it adds some character, am I right? Today I want to dwell a bit on this thing we do when we contract a quantifier word with the word “of”. This is similar to what happens when we combine “want to (wanna).” But first thing’s first; what in the Anglo-ing world is a quantifier?? Well, quantifiers are words that indicate a quantity (no, really!) or in other words, an amount of something. 

Contracting Quantifiers with ‘Of’

Some examples of this are: a little, a lot, many, some, a few

Read more about the types of quantifiers:

When describing an amount (or quantity) of something, some of these words are followed by “of.” 

  • a lot of cake; some of the cake; a bit of cake

Keep in mind, this is not all the time. Many quantifiers and some of their uses don’t have an “of” after them. 

  • some cake; a few cakes; many cakes

*“Some cake” and “some of the cake” can mean the same thing. Although, usually “some of the cake” sounds more specific (a piece of a specific cake) while “some cake” sounds more general (a piece of any cake)

When there is an “of” behind those quantifiers that need it, some speakers have a habit of combining the quantifier word with “of.” In this way, it forms a contraction. 

  • There’s a lotta cake left in the fridge. (a lot of)
  • Do you want to take home somma this cake? (some of)

This is more common in speech and when people are talking quickly. This habit is not a rule though, and these words are almost never spelled in the contracted way except in very informal text. It is also not universal and not everyone has this habit. Still, it is fairly common and a good thing to be aware of, say, when you talk with native speakers or watch TV. 

This plays into the larger trend of changing short words with the “shwa” sound (uh, like ‘of’, ‘to’, ‘the’) and just contracting them with a bigger word.

The most popular one of these you’ll notice in day-to-day speech will most likely be kinda. As a quantifier, it has about the same meaning as “somewhat” or “a little bit.”


Examples

Here are some other common instances of contracting quantifiers with “of.”

a bunch of

  • They’re a buncha sore losers. (They’re a bunch of sore losers.)

some of

  • Do you want somma my fries? (Do you want some of my fries?)

kind of (used as a quantity)

  • I kinda like him. (I kind of like him.)

a couple of

  • They’re just a coupla / couple’a guys hanging out. (They’re just a couple of guys hanging out.)

enough of

  • Okay, I’ve had enough’a this. (Okay, I’ve had enough of this.)

all of

  • Oh no! All’a / all’o the food is gone. (Oh no! All of the food is gone.)

We thank you for reading and learning new things! Feel free to explore more posts here on Cult-surf. Similar posts can be found on the Blog. Enjoy yourselves, and take care out there!

For contact or collaboration: tietewaller@gmail.com; Give Me a Shout

Preply vs Cambly: Pros & Cons – Students’ Edition

Cambly vs Preply, comparing the two language tutoring sites from the tutors' perspective
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For people seeking to learn English, there have never been so many options as now! With such variety, though, it can get confusing as to which platforms are better suited for each individual student. I mean, we’ve all got our own unique styles and comfort zones, right? This post will take a look at two platforms that I have tutored on.

I’ll give my opinion on what I feel the advantages and disadvantages are for English learners on either of the two. Feel free to let me know what you think below or to share what your experiences have been like learning on these sites. So, let’s talk about some of the similarities, pros, and cons of Preply and Cambly for students.

Read also: Preply vs Cambly, Tutors’ Edition

Check for yourselfCambly InfoPreply

All the Same

Despite some differences, Preply and Cambly actually have a lot of similarities for students, and they offer much of the same things. Both of these are online language learning platforms where students can decide the times and days of their own lessons. These platforms allow for students to attend lessons on practically any device with a camera, from laptops to cellphones to tablets and more.

They also allow for students to choose which tutors they wish to talk with, providing a profile and video by each tutor. The two platforms have learning materials that can be used during the lessons as well. Monitors are on watch for both platforms to make sure the lessons go smoothly and safely. Now, on to the specifics.

Preply, pros & cons

the Preply tutoring company logo, comparing it with pros and cons
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Advantages

  • they make it easy to pay for lessons and set up recurring / weekly lessons with the same tutors
  • if the student doesn’t enjoy their first lesson, they can do a lesson with another tutor free of extra charge until they find a good fit
  • the interface looks nice and the platform is fairly easy to use
  • they have features like a whiteboard, lesson topics, and an easy chat section to navigate
  • students can arrange to do automatic lesson confirmation so they don’t have to worry about this after lessons
  • it’s designed mostly for students that want to stick with the same tutors for longer and do longer lessons
  • they aren’t so picky about doing lessons off of the Preply platform, as long as the lesson is confirmed on Preply, this allows for more freedom to do the lesson where you’re comfortable
  • they check with students to confirm before extending their payment plans
  • students can learn other languages besides English

Disadvantages

  • sometimes the platform can be a little slow, this especially happens during updates
  • there is no free trial lesson and all lessons are paid for in advance
  • students aren’t required to do 1 hour lessons but most do, some students have a hard time keeping up with this weekly schedule, it’s a bigger commitment
  • most students do lessons on a laptop in a more formal setting, this could feel limiting to some students
  • because tutors set their own rates, sometimes lessons may be too pricey for certain students

Cambly, pros & cons

the Cambly English tutoring company logo
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Advantages

  • students usually do the lessons on a cellphone, so they have the freedom to be almost anywhere and practice English
  • lessons are normally shorter, although students can pay for extended lesson times if they wish
    • it is usually a laidback atmosphere which can be very relaxing for students, low pressure
  • students have the freedom to talk to a different tutor each session or make planned lessons with the same tutor
  • students are allowed a free-trial lesson and sometimes promotions for multiple free lessons
  • a great place for YouTubers and influencers to interact with English speakers for entertainment and educational purposes
  • students can feel safe that the lessons are closely monitored, more so than Preply in my experience
  • tutors go through a quick training before starting, this is to better understand other world cultures and behaviors, and it helps them to be more receptive of students’ specific customs
  • you don’t have to schedule lessons, just log in and find someone to talk with
  • I sense that tutors come from a wider array of backgrounds on Cambly, there’s also a fair amount that aren’t native English speakers but still speak English very well

Disadvantages

  • many students like to share contact info, but Cambly strictly prohibits this, this is a downside if you are one of those students
  • students can do the lesson from anywhere, but some locations might make video connection worse
  • because the atmosphere can be more relaxed, some students might not reap the full benefits of a fully focused lesson, this can provide a false sense of improvement for some students who would benefit better from sitting and focusing on English practice, which is totally possible on Cambly

So, there …?

Well, you can see I tried to stay optimistic and focus on the good side of things. The lists are overwhelmingly positive for both platforms, which surprised even me. For students looking to do lessons on either Preply or Cambly, I would suggest just thinking about the kind of lessons you want. Do you want to just practice conversational English or do you want to have a bit more structure and order in your lessons? Or do you want both or something different altogether?

Both of these platforms are excellent tools to use for practicing English and to get some cultural exchange. In the end, though, my experience tells me to encourage all the students out there to use it as one of your many language learning tools, and not as a cure-all. Just using an online platform probably isn’t going to make you fluent, although it’s one great way to help you get there!

Language learning is best done when there is a variety of methods and materials used so the brain can get in contact with the language from different angles, using different experiences. Students that seek a more casual approach to learning might prefer Cambly, while students who seek to put in more focus might prefer Preply. Either way, both platforms allow for casual and serious language learning, just with their own twist. The important thing is how they are used by the students. You can do it! I trust in you. I hope I could make the differences, similarities, pros, and cons of Preply and Cambly a bit clearer for you. Thanks for reading, and we’ll tune in next time. Peace.

That’s ‘Wack!’ Video Quick Examples – English Expressions

A film projector in the dark, representing a short video about the use of the expression "wack"
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Hello, English learners and enthusiasts. We have this expression or slang word called:

Wack!

This word is used to describe things that are boring, not interesting, of bad quality, or simply not fun. The video below shows how you might use or hear it in normal speech, so please check that out. Let me know what you think! Sorry, my hair was kind of crazy that day. 😀

In the Urban Dictionary

Watch more Videos

Read “wack” in a short story

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Not Pronouncing the ‘D’ & ‘T’ – English Speaking Habits

a cat sticking its tongue out, representing the tongue-twisting nature of people not pronouncing their d's and t's in common English speech
Don Hassan

Don’t know what I’m talking about? Watch it here:

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Dropping the D & T

We’re here to look at a funny habit that many English speakers have. Sometimes we drop the “d” or the “t” sound in the middles or ends of words. This is more common if that “d” or “t” is next to another consonant, and especially if it’s between two consonant sounds.

Examples

  • “I can’t hear a thing you say.” Pronounced, I cann hear a thing you say.
  • “There’s going to be a band night this evening.” Pronounced, There’s going to be a bann night this evening.

Above, the “t” in can’t gets lost between a “nnn” and a “hhh” sound. The “d” in band gets lost between two “nnn” sounds. This doesn’t always happen as a rule, but it is common for many people.

The “d” and “t” sounds when next to consonants are already pronounced weakly in normal cases, so it wasn’t so hard to completely omit them. Still, the sound is not simply dropped, but usually, the sound before it gets a little stressed. Remember, that’s like the “n” sound in I cann hear a thing you say.

Taking other letters along

In some words, the “d” and “t” take some other letters away with them. This can be heard in some accents with the words don’t, doesn’t, and didn’t, among others. Watch how many sounds get dropped from these words.

Examples

  • “He doesn’t look like he knows what that means.” Pronounced, He ‘onn’ look like he knows what that means.
  • “Elvis also played the guitar, didn’t he?” Pronounced, Elvis also played the guitar, dinn’ he?

This might look pretty funny on paper, but it sounds smoother in speech. Again, not all English speakers have these habits when talking, but they can be noticed in several accents. This usually happens so that the words can come out easier since so many “d’s” and “t’s” right next to each other just don’t seem natural.

It’s some people’s way of making the speech flow better. Of course, lots of people may find these habits weird or think they’re uneducated, and there are plenty of those that do try to annunciate all their letters. This is just another habit that English learners may come across when they practice their new language.

Read more: about dropping d’s and t’s especially in American English

Find more posts like this in the Blog.

More examples

I havenn heard from you in a while. (haven’t)

It’s hard to benn metal. (bend)

Chris ‘onn’ even know how to change a tire. (doesn’t)

I dinn’ see that one coming. (didn’t)

Cambly vs Preply: Pros & Cons – Tutors’ Edition

Cambly vs Preply, comparing the two language tutoring sites from the tutors' perspective
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Cambly and Preply are two of the top online language tutoring companies out there right now. I have tutored on both of these platforms and, over time, I’ve noticed some things I want to share with you. This page will focus on the pros, cons, and similarities of these two websites as they are from the tutor’s point of view. Some of these are facts and others are opinions or subjective experiences. Either way, it may help you, potential tutors, to make a clearer decision. So let’s get ready and see what we think!

Check for yourself: Cambly; Preply

Read other tutor reviews: from Preply tutors; from Cambly tutors

Similarities

First off, the most obvious similarity between Cambly and Preply is that they are both language learning platforms, and pretty good ones at that. Both sites are largely popular and sought after by students from all over the world. For the tutors, these sites make available a connection and video/audio test so that tutors can be sure these things are functioning. They also both have teaching materials ready to use and good support teams to help tutors, including groups for fellow teachers to assist each other.

The platforms allow tutors to essentially choose their own work times and days, though in different ways. Both platforms, like most language tutoring sites, do require that tutors use a PC or laptop to conduct the lessons. No phones allowed. Still, they both offer opportunities to connect with people from around the world and enrich our understandings of each other, all while offering professional growth and experience. What’s more satisfying than that?

the Preply tutoring company logo
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Preply: Pros & Cons

Advantages
  • most students search for longer-term tutors & are generally more serious about learning
  • tutors are informed about the student before 1st lessons (where they’re from, what their level and goals are), this eases the uncertainty
  • students can take a placement test which helps tutors understand strengths & weaknesses from the start
  • lessons are normally an hour, so tutors get paid for the full lesson
  • now they have automatic & obligatory lesson confirmations, so you receive payment quicker
  • tutors cash out at any point
  • tutors set the price of their lessons
  • fewer restrictions to share contact information as long as the students confirm lessons on Preply (some students prefer lessons on Zoom, Skype, etc.)
  • the lesson materials setup is a little more sophisticated
  • it’s super easy to make notes in the system and jot down important information for future reference
  • personal opinion, the platform just looks nicer, I love their whiteboard and conversation topics features
  • other languages available to tutor in besides English
Disadvantages
  • tutors have to do a free trial lesson (“free” for them but not for the students), they only earn from the second lesson onward
  • Preply receives commission on all lessons, it starts at a pretty large percentage (I think 33% now) but drops (as low as 18%) as you continue to do more lessons
  • not much else, when getting a student you don’t enjoy you might feel more obligated to stick with them because students generally pay for a package and schedule in advance, also the lessons are usually an hour which can be a lot with students you’re not fond of
the Cambly English tutoring company logo
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Cambly: Pros & Cons

Advantages
  • allows tutors to meet many students from all over the world at a faster rate than most sites, lessons are usually shorter so more students can potentially be met
  • the atmosphere is generally more relaxed since the students come mostly for conversation practice
  • it has been making great improvements in its teaching materials and interface
  • there’s an element of surprise with constantly meeting new students, many interesting people and topics are met and discussed
  • downtime during priority hours can be used to learn more about tutoring (they have a blog for that), learn some other skill, read, or do any other desktop activity
  • there’s an obligatory pre-lesson check for the internet and video/audio, and to make sure tutors are dressed properly, this can be a great reminder
  • lots of influencers promote Cambly and you’re likely to get on someone’s YouTube channel or blog at some point, it can be a nice publicity boost
  • tutors earn for every lesson by the minute, no free trials (for tutors, yes for students)
  • allow for scheduling a lesson with recurring students if you should get any, it does happen
  • ratings are now based on the last 200 student ratings received which helps as tutors continue to do lessons and improve
  • the dashboard shows how many minutes tutors have spent with students all time plus all the money they’ve ever earned, this can be a confidence booster showing your progress
  • tutors on the Cambly groups (like on Facebook) are generally very sweet and helpful
  • they are very protective about sharing information or “meeting” outside the platform, they offer great help for tutors suffering “awkward situations” and are always on the lookout
Disadvantages
  • the rating system can be a little iffy since students can rate even for shorter lessons, this can feel like too much control is with the students, although they have been improving the rating system
  • if tutors happen not to be online at the moment the lesson starts, they aren’t allowed to continue that priority hour (needed to get online and teach), this hurts future availability for those, sometimes unexpected things happen and this can be a bummer
  • tutors may get lots of short lessons and you’re only paid per minute, so you often don’t receive for the entire priority hour you scheduled
  • tutors may potentially have to wait for long periods of time until they can reach a single student some days and not get paid for waiting time
  • only allow cashout after earning a certain amount ($20) and only on Mondays
  • most students (in my experience) don’t continue with the same tutors which is a shame since most of them are really nice and you might want to keep up their lessons
  • although the atmosphere is often relaxed, there may be students who are out with friends, kids playing with the phone, people out in the street, or someone just forcing an English session in before bed, these casual situations can be challenging to navigate since their attention might not be fully on English practice
  • also, since it’s more casual there’s a higher chance of getting someone who is out where the connection is bad and the video quality is poor or choppy
  • every now and then there’s someone on the support groups that is irritated with new tutors asking the same old questions and can be a little offensive, it’s rare but something to be aware of
  • they are very restrictive about sharing information or “meeting” outside the platform, I know this is for the safety of students and tutors but can be a drag in some situations, plus it can feel like you’re always being spied on

In Conclusion …

So, I know the lists look really lopsided up there, but the best choice comes from personal preference. With Cambly, I really love the wide range of people I’m able to meet from all walks of life. I’ve gotten calls from guys at hookah bars and teenagers at recess and vendors at shops.

There’s a connection to people’s everyday life that I’ve experienced nowhere else. I’m just a bit socially anxious, and so the constant feeling of not knowing who I’m going to meet next can be hard on the nerves. Still, that factor could be great for someone else. You might notice that I saw a lot of great things about Preply, but who knows? The fact that they receive commissions on every single lesson and you have to do lessons that you don’t earn for could be a deal-breaker for many.

On the flipside to Cambly, I also enjoy the stability of knowing who you’re going to talk to each time. Both sites have people monitoring lessons to ensure safety, but I never felt “watched” on Preply as I did on Cambly. Either way, I love both of these platforms for their own reasons. I recommend both to any tutors out there, or try to find a better one. There are so many English teaching sites and there’s bound to be one that fits you like a glove.

**I hope I helped you gain some insight on these two fabulous (and a little flawed) websites. Happy tutoring! Read more interesting posts on the Blog and stay tuned for Preply vs Cambly, Students’ Edition! Comment what you think the better site is, or tell us about a site you like even more than these two. Contact me directly at tietewaller@gmail.com or to collaborate with me! Thanks again, and take care of each other.

“Depth trap dive”- figurative meanings and uses of ‘Deep’

the bright entrance of a large dark cave, representing the literal meaning of deep
Ian Chen

The guys didn’t know it, but they were looking down a deep hole. Well, a cave or sinkhole would be the technical terms. Charles was sweating in the heat of the beating sun. His helmet smudged the dirt on his forehead. He looked over to his friend, Jonah, to see how he was getting along.

–So, how do you feel about going down? You’re not having second thoughts, are you? Charles asked.

Jonah responded, –What? Second thoughts! I’m not scared. Besides, we paid all that money to go down into this deep hole.

–Oh, I’m not scared. I was just making sure you weren’t gonna run at the last minute. Life is too short to miss out on self-enriching opportunities like … deep cave diving.

Jonah laughed a bit.

–Wow, I didn’t know you were so deep, my friend.

Deep

“Deep” normally has the meaning of something with a large depth, like deep water or a deep hole, in this case. As a figurative expression deep has a similar meaning of depth or something being profound. The difference is that it has to do with a topic or idea that is very thoughtful, meaningful, or sincere. Sometimes people can say this in a sarcastic way, but the idea is still the same.

Read more: some literal and figurative meanings of Deep

Besides, we paid all that money to go down into this deep hole.

  • To go down into a hole with a lot of physical depth, deep into the earth.

–Wow, I didn’t know you were so deep, my friend.

  • I didn’t know you were so thoughtful, that you had such profound and meaningful ideas.

.

Storytime …

Charles told him, –Yeah, I’m always coming up with cool ideas. I’m starting to really consider leaving my job at the college and just working full-time at the theater. It’s the pandemic anyway, so forget it.

At that moment, the caving instructor, Amy, found the two friends chatting.

–Okay, that’s all the equipment, fellas. Ready to go spelunking? Amy asked.

Jonah and Charles gazed at each other with a dumbfound look. A lightbulb then clicked over Jonah’s head.

–Ohhh! You mean cave diving. I had to think for a second.

Amy laughed and took the lead moving downward into the deep dark cavern. Jonah followed soon before Charles and talked with him on the way down.

–So you said you’re going to do stage design full time. How’s that going?

Charles told him, –I don’t know. I’d like to just walk away and commit to the theater, but I’m afraid I might be in too deep with the financial department.

.

In Deep – Deep Into

Taking in the same meaning of “deep,” being deep into something gives the sense that one is deeply committed to a situation or person. This could be a positive thing, like being in a serious relationship. However, it can also give off the sense that someone is into something they can’t escape from. This can show that the person is in some kind of trouble they can’t get out of. The same idea comes from the expression in deep, though this one is usually for romantic situations.

… but I’m afraid I might be in too deep with the financial department.

  • I might have too big of a commitment, too much to risk, I might be stuck at my current job. Also could say, “I might be too deep in with my job.”

.

Storytime …

Jonah tried to sympathize with his friend’s predicament.

–That is a touch choice. I mean, do you choose the job you want and love, or do you stick around at that boring financial department? Sounds like you’re in the deep end.

.

Deep end

Being in the deep end has a very similar meaning to “in deep.” The idea is still of being under pressure, underwater, or on your toes. It’s a difficult situation to get out of, a hard place to leave from. In other words, “You’re stuck.”

Sounds like you’re in the deep end.

  • It sounds like you’re in a difficult place, have a really tough decision, have nowhere to run to.

.

Storytime …

–Are you all okay? asked Amy. She looked up from the dark with a bright smile on her face.

The two men gave her one thumbs-up each. Before they knew it they had reached the cave floor. Charles opened his mouth to say another deep thought when he was interrupted by a swarm of bats. They screeched and squealed over the three humans, trying to find a place to hide.

Jonah screamed out, –Oh, crap! These are the bats that had the Corona. Fight! Run!

Jonah and Charles started swatting at the little creatures while Amy sat patiently. Jonah didn’t like that.

–What the heck are you doing, Amy? You need to come and help us kill these Covid-19 bats. They just flew in about 50-deep and there’s only three of us here. We need to band together.

.

Deep

So, this use of deep is a little less common than the others. Saying this refers to an amount of people, normally said with a number and then the object. It is supposed to refer to people anyway, but as you can see, Jonah uses it in a joking way to refer to bats. It’s also mostly used to say that “X” amount of people/creatures arrived at a place. Using “deep” in this way is probably more regional and I’m not sure if it’s common outside of my region or country. Still, you may hear it at some point.

They just flew in about 50-deep and there’s only three of us here

  • They flew in with fifty individuals, fifty of them arrived together.

The Ending …

Charles had the same thought as Jonah.

–Yeah, Amy. Why aren’t you doing anything?

Their instructor only turned her head. As the cloud of bats began to clear, she pointed a light at the back of the cave and splayed her luminous smile.

–Look over there!

The two friends immediately turned their heads and found what they had been “spelunking” all this time for. There were several huge columns of stalagmites and crystals shining from the top to the rocky bottom. The friends were utterly shocked, and Charles felt moved to say something.

–Mother Earth must love us humans to offer us such a beautiful sight.

Amy smiled and looked over at Jonah.

–Wow, you’re friend is so deep!

**Read more Adventures of Charles and learn other English expressions and slang. Contact me for a personal message or to collaborate at tietewaller@gmail.com. Follow to get emailed every time a new article is posted. Thanks for reading and take care of yourselves! Peace.