Sep 24, 2009

September Reading: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

How speech evaluations can help - or hurt.

from the August 2009 Toastmaster

Some time ago I presented a three-hour workshop called “Push-ups for Self-Esteem.” After the session, the meeting planner and I looked over the evaluations. The first three I picked up were from people who had graded the workshop “poor” on everything: the room, the food, the location, the hotel and the speaker. The third person even wrote, “I have been more stimulated at a Tupperware party!”

Find the full text at:

Click on the link below to listen to the interview with the author, Carol Dean Schreiner, DTM:


the rest of the stack
►the remainder
-- a hard disk can be replaced with flash memory while all the rest of the stack stays unchanged.

what/why/how etc. on earth ...?
►[spoken] used to ask a question when you are very surprised or angry
-- What on earth did you do that for?

die down
►To lose strength; subside
--The winds died down.

drive home
►carry out or perform; "deliver an attack", "deliver a blow";
--The boxer drove home a solid left"
►make clear by special emphasis and try to convince somebody of something; make something completely clear to someone
-- drive home a point or an argument
--I'm trying to drive home these basic ideas
--He didn't have to drive the point home. The videotape had done that.

gloss over
►to avoid talking about something unpleasant, or to say as little as possible about it
►cover up a misdemeanor, fault, or error
--She tried to gloss over her mistakes
--It is bad policy to gloss over the difficulties.

pick on somebody/something
►to behave in an unfair way to someone, for example by blaming them or criticizing them unfairly
--Why pick on me every time?

in any case
►whatever happens or happened
--I don't see why I couldn't do it. In any case, I'm going to try.
--He's too young to come and in any case I want him to spend the time with Mom.

take advantage of somebody
►to treat someone unfairly in order to get what you want, especially someone who is generous or easily persuaded
--Don't lend them the car - they're taking advantage of you!

take advantage of something (to do something)
►to use a particular situation to do or get what you want
--I took advantage of the good weather to paint the shed.
--You'll want to take full advantage of the beachfront clubs.

Sep 18, 2009

Humor (World of the Day, 2009/9/16)

Humor / humour /ˋhjumɚ/ [uncountable]
►the ability or tendency to think that things are funny, or funny things you say that show you have this ability
˙sense of humor
--It’s vital to have a sense of humor in this job.
˙somebody’s brand of humor
--The host puts the contestants at ease with his own brand of humor.
˙black humor (=jokes, funny stories etc about the unpleasant parts of life)
--A little black humor never hurts.
˙Schoolboy humor (=jokes, funny stories etc that are silly and rude but not offensive)
--Isn't he a bit old for this type of schoolboy humor?
˙dry/deadpan humor (=when someone pretends to be serious when they are really joking)
--Some people find it harder to catch a deadpan humor, which makes it more charming.
˙wry humor (=when someone jokes about something bad or difficult)
--The film shows the challenges that confront teachers, but it does so with a subtle and wry humor.
˙a flash/trace/touch of humor (=a small amount of humor)
--He showed flashes of humor that delighted the audience.
►the quality in something that makes it funny and makes people laugh
--He failed to see the humor of the situation.
˙in a good/an ill/a bad humor (= in a good or bad mood)
--At eighty her eyes still sparkled with good humor.

Humor / humour /ˋhjumɚ/ [transitive]
►to do what someone wants or to pretend to agree with them so that they do not become upset
--'Of course,' he said, humoring her.
--Children go through defined periods of oppositional behavior and may need humoring out of them.

Humorous /ˋhjumərəs/ [adjective]
►funny and enjoyable
--The film has some mildly humorous moments.

Humorously /ˋhjumərəslɪ/ [adverb]

Humorless /ˋhjumɚlɪs/ [adjective]
►too serious and not able to laugh at things that other people think are funny

Humorlessly /ˋhjumɚlɪslɪ/ [adverb]

Humorist / ˋhjumərɪst/ [countable]
►someone, especially a writer, who tells funny stories
--Her brother is quite a humorist.

Sep 4, 2009

Conflict (Word of the Day, 2009/9/2)

By Jessie Tseng
conflict (verb) /kən'flɪkt/ (used without object)
conflict(s) – conflicted – conflicted
► to come into disagreement; be contradictory, at variance, or in opposition
-- The account of one eyewitness conflicted ith that of the other.
-- My class conflicts with my going to the concert.
► to fight or contend; do battle
-- Companies often conflicts over the interests.

conflict (noun) /'kɑnflɪkt/
► a fight, battle, or struggle, esp. a prolonged struggle.
-- the Arab-Israeli conflict
► controversy; quarrel
-- conflicts between parties
► discord of action, feeling, or effect; antagonism or opposition, as of interests or principles: a conflict of ideas.
-- She found herself in conflict with her parents over her future career.
-- John often comes into conflict with his boss.
► incompatibility or interference, as of one idea, desire, event, or activity with another
-- a conflict in the schedule.
► [Psychiatry] a mental struggle arising from opposing demands or impulses.
-- There is a conflict between two sides of his personality.
-- Her diary was a record of her inner conflicts

Related forms

confliction (noun)

conflicted (adj)
►unable to decide what your feelings or opinions are about something.
-- I am ___________ to make the right decision.

►similar with contradictory
-- It’s a ___________ findings with earlier results.


conflict of interest(s)
► a situation in which someone cannot make a fair decision because they will be affected by the results.
► a situation in which something that is good for one person, but is bad for another person
-- In the conflict of interests, we often could see the cruel side of human nature.
conflict diamond
► It’s similar with blood diamond. Some countries in Africa in battles situation(belligerent交戰國),they will sell the diamond they exploit in their land in the national markets for raising the fighting funds.


conflict vs. battle vs. fight

► "Conflict" usually happened when there are more than one individual who have different opinions, and they all disagree with other people's thoughts it can be used between two persons, groups or countries. The usage range is widest of three.
-- This is an irreconcilable conflict.
-- Armed conflict is likely to break out between the two countries.

► The main differences is often used to describe a situation that using real swords, guns, or other weapons.
-- The ringleader (元兇)was shot to death in a gun battle.
-- His younger brother died in battle during World War II.

► It’s usually used in person-person body or opinions argument. The usage is narrowest and not formal.
-- Who won the fight?
-- Their fights were always over money.
-- He has plenty of fight (戰鬥力) in him.

role conflict vs. role strain
Role conflict is a special form of social conflict that takes place when one is forced to take on two different and incompatible roles at the same time. Consider the example of a doctor who is himself a patient, or who must decide whether he should be present for his daughter's birthday party (in his role as "father") or attend an ailing patient (as "doctor"). (Also compare the psychological concept of cognitive dissonance.)

Role strain characterises a situation where fulfilling a certain role has a conflict with fulfilling another role. For example, you found your teacher made a mistake and should you report that? If you did, you might disgrace him and if you didn't, you might not fulfill your role as student. While role conflict takes place across different role sets, role strain happens within the same role set.