Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 4 – Episode 33 – Pronunciation – Weak Form of That

In relative clauses, the pronunciation of the word that is often “weak” and sound like /dat/. It can be difficult to hear this difference, but it important to listen for it.

What’s that? (strong form)

It’s an invention that really change the way we live. (weak form)

Listen to my pronunciation in the podcast.

Which of the following is strong and weak?

  1. I started making podcasts on different topics: speaking, pronunciation, grammar, things like that.
  2. You’re a person that doesn’t like taking ‘no’ for an answer.
  3. My Arsenio Buck Foundation is a foundation that represents pillars.
  4. That’s all well and good, but why do you keep pursuing your dream?

Arsenio’s ESL Silver Badge: Official Launch!

Boom! And just like that, I’ve finally unveiled my first ever Patreon badge.

I’ve had a number of people over the past 4 years tell me that they wanted to contribute. They wanted to give back what I’ve been giving them in remuneration, but I never knew how to do it. So, in saying that, I finally figured out how to do it with giving back even more.

This was an idea I had in the shower earlier and now it has become a reality. Something that I’ve been wanting to put out for such a long time to give back to all of you wonderful individuals who have followed me on this amazing journey. It’s finally here!

Silver Badge Content

After launching it, I was able to see what I can fully utilize within the silver badge on the website and boy, I was blown away!

  • Audiocasts
  • Videos
  • Live Streams (won’t have to do a separate webinar)
  • Worksheets
  • Personal Development Reading Material
  • & More

Trying to figure out the content wasn’t the most difficult part, but separating the content on different platforms will be a bit more crazier. However, because this is the first badge, I’ll focus on this now and others in the future.

Future Badges

  • Bronze Badge
  • Gold Badge
  • Unnamed Badge (above Gold)
  • Business Badge

Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 4 – Episode 30 – Grammar – Using Can for Universal Truths

Can is used to talk about things that are often true or that are possible.

(Be able to cannot) be used as a synonym for can in the sense.)

Handmade items are very beautiful.

Writers often hedge their use of can with adverbs such as sometimes, often, usually, and phrases such as in some cases, in some circumstances, and in some situations. This shows that the situation is not necessarily always true.

Handmade items can sometimes be very expensive.

Handsome items can be very expensive in some cases.

In some cases, handmade items can be very expensive.

Sentence Work

Rewrite the sentences with can to express a universal truth.

  1. It is relaxing to create art by hand. It can be relaxing to create art by hand.
  2. People are sometimes reluctant to pay more for imperfect items.
  3. Machinery is used to create things more quickly.
  4. Factories are located in both cities and small towns.
  5. Quilts are made by machine as well as by hand.
  6. People usually understand why handmade items cost more.

Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 3 – Episode 64 – Vocabulary – Compound Nouns & Adjectives

Welcome back to another podcast, everyone! These compound nouns and adjectives could be a bit difficult, but I’m here to break them down for you. This is in relations to movies and arts.

Match the compound nouns 1-8 with their definitions a-h

  1. Screenplay
  2. Blockbuster
  3. Box office
  4. Drawback
  5. Feedback
  6. Turnout
  7. Outcome
  8. Page-turner

a. a book that is very interesting or exciting.

b. a film or show that is very successful

c. a story that someone writes for a film

d. the final result of a process or a meeting

e. the number of people who come to an event

f. comments about how well or badly someone is doing something

g. the place in a theatre where you buy tickets, or the number of tickets a film sells

h. a disadvantage

Tune into the podcast for my explanations.


Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 3 – Episode 62 – Vocabulary – Adjective Suffixes

We’re back with some more suffixes! Hope you guys like this one, but it’s a bit difficult, so brace yourself!

Which of these words are noun and adjectives: Aristocracy, aristocratic, care, careful, careless, comfort, comfortable, fame, famous, luck, lucky, science, scientific, terrible, terror, uncomfortable.

Turn these words into adjectives and write them in a columns that look like this on a sheet of paper: Artist, danger, enjoy, help, hunger, mystery, nature, office, sense, use

-y -ic: artistic -able -ible
-ful -less -al -ous

Let me know what you think and be sure to follow my podcast and links down below!





Business English: Episode 002 – How NOT To Be a Conversation Killer

Oh, this had to be the most glorious thing I’ve come across in any book in an extremely long time. There were those times that I cringed at every little thing I would hear someone say to someone else because either them not being interesting, ignoring safe topics, jumping into a risky spot, speaking about something utterly taboo, or just hurling conversation killers out there. There are a wide variety of things not only in the world of business, but everyday conversation that can make and break every moment.

What is a Taboo?

Dictionary: a social or religious custom prohibiting or forbidding discussion of a particular practice or forbidding association with a particular person, place, or thing.

However, taboos can occur in everyday English, too. Everyday communication amongst populations, different cultures, and more. So, here we go.

Which topics are interesting, safe, conversation killers, a bit risky, or taboo?

  • Books
  • Clothes
  • Family
  • Food and drink
  • Gadgets
  • How work’s going
  • Jewellery
  • Movies
  • Music
  • People you both know
  • Politics
  • Religion
  • Sport
  • The city you’re in
  • The hotel you’re staying at
  • The news
  • The weather
  • Your country
  • Your health
  • Your holiday plans

Now, let’s breakdown these conversations (5 of them in the podcast down below.

Conversation 1

The gentleman first approached the other guy at the conference and struct up a conversation about the country. This is a “safe” topic and the best way to go at initiating. Weather is also a great initiator, too, because everyone can relate.


“Ughhh yes…actually it’s a fascinating place.

This is great because he followed up with an -ing adjective to describe the place, which the listener can refer back to.

The initiator then mentioned his job. This could be just a little bit risky. Yes, the man was wearing a badge at the time, but it caught him off guard until he realized his badge. Some people can become very apprehensive in moments like that, especially women. Be very careful.


“Ughhh can I get you a drink?

The man insisted and asked again, making it very pushy on his behalf. He said no the first time, and then he second guessed himself and went along with it so he didn’t make the initiator feel uncomfortable. Rest assured, he asked the man about HIS line of work, drawing interest. This means he’s actually interested in what the man does because he said some pretty relatable things to him. If he had just said, “sure. Just a coffee.” — without any follow-up after that — it would then put the other man in a very peculiar position.


Conversation 2

“Ummmm no”

In this recording, uncomfortability reached its threshold. She introduced herself by her name and asked if she could sit down. His response, as seen above, was “ummmmm no.”

As she sat down, she offered him some food, and again, he was very apprehensive the entire time by saying “ummmm I’m allergic.”

Through my eyes, I felt like she struck out twice by this point. On the third strike, I would’ve thrown a conversation gambit in (maybe my next case study?) to get me out of the super-awkward situation. However, she didn’t. She made the situation worse by offering, again, something that he possibly wouldn’t like.



Have we met somewhere?

So, she asked this question AFTER the three strike-outs, which I think was too late. She asked him if they had met in Oslo before. He then said “I don’t think so.” So now I believe the situation has reached it’s breaking point. The uneasiness has set in and she should’ve found a way out of the conversation. However, she asked a very unsettling question that didn’t relate to anything and blew the situation right over.


You’re an aquarius, aren’t you?

He became even more apprehensive and said he doesn’t follow horoscopes, and then she asked the “taboo” question, a question that shouldn’t be asked within the first 5 minutes or even five days of speaking: “When’s your birthday?”


He, already being uneasy, answered….then she said “typical aquarius.” That could almost be offensive. Saying typical is demeaning one’s intelligence, and that conversation luckily ended before we took in more of the cringing questions.

Conversation 3

In this conversation, the lady immediately related to the man by complimenting him on his talk. He was even more ecstatic to reply because it sounded like he was open versus the previous two conversations.

After the compliment, she then introduced herself and wanted to be of service to him right away, saying that her company may be interested in his product. She then followed up by giving him an ultimatum “let’s fix up a time and meet over a drink. Here’s my card.”

She asked a question after to see what his reply would be in general, and it was great because he dove deeper into creating a bond by mentioning the weather, something that everyone can relate to. He continued, she replied, and then he stepped aside for a moment. I give this lady a solid A-…..the minus is because she said, “don’t worry, I know who you are.” That just sounds a tiny bit weird.

Conversation 4

“So, how’s business?”

He started off strong and could’ve related to the man even more by talking about the difficulties of merging together; however, he chose a taboo topic “railway strikes,” and the man was completely startled.

He went even further by saying, “oh, it must affect a company like yours.”

That’s an assholio thing to say and something you don’t want to say right out of the blocks.

He didn’t terminate the conversation after he knew he got it wrong. The receive worked for Audio and the initiator said, “oh, I thought you were someone else.”


This conversation is done…and the guy from Audi used a conversation killer to get out of the super awkward situation.


That’s the grade he gets. NEVER TALK ABOUT TABOO TOPICS in Business or anywhere in general, especially if you don’t know the person.

Conversation 5

The initiator here gave a compliment. She was quite good at doing it, too. She chose the jewellery topic and complimented the man’s watch before asking where he got it.

She then jumped to another topic such as “the hotel you’re staying at,” doing a pretty good job…but also relating it back to her holiday in Cancun which is opposite of the tundra out there in Moscow, hitting gold with the man because then for just a moment, he escapes his present and visualizes beautiful Cancun.

Right after this she eased, discreetly, into asking him if he wanted anything from the buffet. He not only took the bait, but he went with her.


All in all, these are some excellent conversations to learn from. I do advise you guys to listen to the podcast and listen to each one in their entirety. Would love to hear your thoughts, too! I’ll have to do this again sometime.

Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 3 – Episode 55 – Pronunciation – Emphatic Stress

We, Americans, LOVEEEEEE using Emphatic Stress (did you see it?). Guys, sometimes when you speak, you can draw attention to certain words by giving them extra emphasis. These could be adjectives (huge, crazy, tiny) and adverbs (extremely, totally, slowly). Notice the change in emphasis in the second of each pair of the sentences down below.

That was a funny STORY.

That was a FUNNY story.

He was extremely TIRED.

He was EXTREMELY tired.

Listen to the sentences. I want you to figure out which word receives the emphatic stress.

  1. The Boy Who Cried Wolf is a really famous story.
  2. The people in town were pretty dreadful.
  3. The boy was extremely embarrassed by his actions.
  4. The wolf’s teeth were enormous!
  5. The old man was totally ecstatic.
  6. The boy learned a huge lesson that day.

Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Special – TOEFL Idioms Part V

Welcome back, everyone! I’m bringing to you today another special — TOEFL IDIOMS! I haven’t done this in some time, but here’s the next round!

To do
something badly or to savesome time
The architect cut corners on the bridge’s construction, which is why it eventually collapsed.
To go easy on
I heard Rachel’s dad is sick, so we should
cut her some slack on this group project.
Feeling sad or depressed. Erika’s been feeling blue every since her
boyfriend broke up with her.
Finding needle in ahaystack Virtually
impossible to
These days, finding a job that doesn’t
require experience is like trying to find aneedle in a haystack.
Get some
shut eye
Sleep. I have a big exam tomorrow, so I need toget some shut eye.
Go the
Put in extra
Kelsey has the highest grades in our class since she always goes the extra mile with homework assignments.
Hang in
Be patient. I know it’s hard waiting for the exam
results, but you just need to hang in
Hard up Lack money. Ellie knew I was hard up, so she paid for
my coffee.



Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 3 – Episode 53 – Vocabulary Skills – Suffixes -ful & -less

Welcome back to another ESL podcast! I’m back with some more vocabulary today, and of course, your favorite type of skill….


Two common suffixes you can add to words to make adjectives are -ful and -less. The suffix -ful means “full of” (fearful = full of fear, cheerful = full of cheer) and -less means “without” (fearless = without fear). For some words, either suffix can be added. For others, you can use on suffix but not the other.

-ful -ful and -less -less
successful painful/painless priceless
beautiful hopeful/hopeless sleepless
stressful thoughtful/thoughtless jobless
  useful/useless homeless


Look at these word roots. which can take -ful and which can take -less? Which can take either? Make a diagram like the one above.

Words: harm, truth, power, point, beauty, care, help, worth

-ful -ful and less -less

2. Match the root word and correct suffix -ful or -less to complete these sentences.

Words: stress, home, fear, harm, wonder, point, success, power

  1. It’s _____________ to have come here. I’m so glad you invited me to come to this speaking engagement.
  2. A phobia is more than merely being _______________of something, like heights.
  3. You probably fear failure because it may be ____________ to your image.
  4. You feel ____________ when you’re in situations that you cannot control.
  5. Traveling can be very _____________ for a lot of us.
  6. After a lot of hard work, he was ___________in finally establishing himself as the CEO of the company.
  7. Her friends tried to reason with her, but it was _____________. She wouldn’t listen.
  8. In America, 1 million government workers are fearful that they may become _______________.

Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Additional Relative Clauses Exercise

Hello, everyone! As promised, here’s the second installment of the podcast/blog I did WAYYYY earlier today. I wanted to go more in-depth with clauses because I know a few of you may have not understood.

Extreme ironing is an unusual sport which was invented in 1997 by an Englishman whose name is Phil Shaw. He had to do ironing at home, but he preferred to go rock climbing. So he decided to combine the two things. Of course, ironing and climbing are two activities that don’t have a lot in common. but now people do it all over the world. When Phil was in New Zealand, he started an organization called Extreme Ironing International. Diving, skiing, skating, and parachuting are some of the other sports which people have combined with ironing. Underwater, in the air and on top of the mountains are just some of the strange places where people have done this sport. Ben Gibbons and John Roberts are two Englishmen whose adventure with extreme ironing became a short film, Extreme Ironing to Mount Everest.


Second Task

Use the following relative pronouns to complete the sentences: who, which, whose, when, where, that

  1. The winner of the 100m dash in the olympics is the person ________ finishes first.
  2. A referee is the person ___________ job is the control the game.
  3. 2016 is the year ___________ Euro was played.
  4. A Tatami is the place __________ you do Judo.