Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 4 – Episode 130 – Developing Vocabulary – Phrasal Verbs: Communication

We’re back with some phrasal verbs of communication! It’s time to match the phrasal verbs in bold with the explanations 1-10.

In a university staff meeting, Henry brought up the subject whether computers should replace traditional exams (pen and paper). He pointed out that nowadays most people don’t write everything down by hand. When Henry was finished speaking, Arsenio picked up on his point, mentioning that some of his students could hardly write anymore because they used computers for all their schoolwork. However, quire a few people spoke out in favor of the traditional-style tests, especially Lenita. But every time Lenita started saying something, Arsenio would cut in and add another point himself. Because the conversation was quite heated, it was difficult for most people to make out what Lenita and Arsenio were saying. Lenita got really angry with Arsenio’s tone. She felt that he was talking down to her, but he claimed he was just trying to spell out his thoughts. What became clear was that neither side could get through to the other, and so they all decided to turn to another important issue.

Gateway B2+
  1. change from one subject to another
  2. make someone understand what you’re trying to say
  3. tell someone something
  4. talk to someone as if you think they are not as clever or as important as you
  5. start discussing
  6. state your opinion firmly and publicly to protest against or defend something
  7. interrupt
  8. understand someone or something with difficulty
  9. explain something very clearly, often because someone has not understood
  10. talk in more detail about something that someone has mentioned.


Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 4 – Episode 42 – Developing Vocabulary – The Mind (Phrasal Verbs)

We’re back with some more phrasal verbs! I know you guys LOVEEEE these, so let’s do phrasal verbs associated with the mind.

Read the text and match the phrasal verbs 1-8 with a-h.

Everybody’s mind works in different ways. You can see this in any learning situation. For example, at university, when a professor explains new concepts, some students (1) pick them up really fast, but others take a while to (2) catch on. Some like to analyze the new concept in smaller chunks and then gradually (3) piece them together. And some people suffer because they take longer to (4) keep up with the rest. What’s interesting is that some people who find it difficult to follow other people’s ideas are sometimes just independent thinkers who find it easier to (5) come up with their own original ideas. Often they are incapable of knowing how they (6) hit on a solution to a problem – they are simply following their intuition. Answers just (7) leap out at them from nowhere. Personally, I find it useful to (8) talk things through with a friend.

a. understand

b. learn about something

c. learn something new

d. discuss something with somebody in a detailed way

e. learn at the same speed as someone else

f. suddenly have an idea or discover something by chance

g. be immediately obvious to someone, or immediately get their attention

h. think of an idea or a plan.

Put the words in bold in the text in the categories down below.

verb (no object)
verb inseparable
phrasal verb
phrasal verb

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 – Developing Vocabulary – Collocations Connected with The News

Welcome back, everyone! I do apologize for the episodes being everywhere (in the 60’s), but I’m just trying to push everything and catch up. Without further ado, let’s get into some of these sayings!

  1. Global Warming is making headlines all over the world.
  2. 350 million years ago Antarctica used to be a tropical climate. It made front-page news!
  3. The PM of Thailand held a press conference about the pollution hanging over the city of Bangkok.
  4. The next news item is great news for Bangkok commuters but terrible for drivers.
  5. We will keep you informed with the next breaking news.
  6. There has been a very surprising turn of events regardings Alibaba.
  7. Our website is the best for breaking news, bringing to you news updates at every moment.
  8. There was a newsflash earlier and it made my head turn.

Match the expressions in bold with their meanings down below.

  • piece of news, individual story or article
  • organize a meeting where journalists get information and ask questions about a particular piece of news
  • become famous by being reported in the news
  • reports containing all the latest news
  • news that is appearing for the first time
  • become important enough to appear on the first page of a newspaper
  • a short broadcast of an important piece of news in the middle of a TV or radio program
  • an expected change in a situation
  • tell you all the essential information

Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 3 – Episode 23 – Vocabulary – Prefixes with Negative Meanings – Part II

Welcome back, everyone! I’ve finally made a debut of this after a long time (last episode was Season 2, Episode 8) and I’m bringing to you more negative prefixes to enhance your vocabulary! I was recently teaching prefixes in one of my classes here in Thailand, and I just love doing them because it helps my students vary their words.

If you guys don’t know, a prefix is a group of letters added to the beginning of a work.  When added, can change the entire meaning of the word.  It can change the base word from positive, or negative.

Prefix                             Meaning                            Example

anti-                                           freeze                                      antifreeze

counter-                                       act                                         counteract

dis-                                             appear                                     disappear

im-                                              polite                                         impolite

mis-                                       understood                             misunderstood

non-                                         essential                                 nonessential

un-                                             reliable                                    unreliable

in-                                          supportable                             insupportable


Task – Add a prefix to each root (answers in the podcast)

1 _________________possible

2 _________________paid

3 _________________nonsense

4 _________________placed

5 _________________rational

6 _________________regard

7 _________________clockwise

8 _________________social


Task II – Complete the sentences down below with the negative form of the word in the (parentheses).

  1. Many people were ____________(sure) if I can teach because of my background, but I surely proved them wrong.
  2. Most people in Thailand ______________(conceive) about America in terms of it being the most diverse nation in the world.
  3. There are many ________________(profit) organizations in the world, so I decided to start my own — The Arsenio Buck Foundation.
  4. Some people are _______________(regular) because they have their own agenda.
  5. You have to be ______________(selfish) if you want to work with children or the elderly.



Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 3 – Episode 19 – Vocabulary – Phrasal Verbs Connected with Travel

Here we go! Some phrasal verbs you can understand and use IMMEDIATELY! Traveling, especially for my Thais, is tough because of the language barriers.  To take that further, I remember when I met a Japanese girl on a bus in Hawaii and she couldn’t speak ANY ENGLISH! Imagine traveling the world without knowing English! Well, do not fear! I’ve got a pocket book for you today.

Task – Look at these sentences.  Match the phrasal verbs in bold with the letters down below.

  1. We got on the first flight but we got off due to a mechanical issue.
  2. When all the passengers were in their seats, the plane finally took off.
  3. She got into the car and drove down the street.  When she arrived at her location, she got out of the car, only to realize that she forgot some important documents back home.
  4. This bus is really old.  I think it’s going to break down any minute. *breaks down*
  5. Excuse me, sir.  Could you please tell me what time the flight from Paris gets in? I’m meeting someone on it.
  6. They checked in their bags at Changi airport before going through the very easy passport control lanes.
  7. I took a long journey last year.  I set off from Bangkok around 10pm and arrived in America about 30 hours later.
  8. Because I have such a flexible schedule, I love to get away every two months and travel to neighboring countries.

a. start a journey

b. enter/leave (a train, bus, boat, plane)

c. go somewhere different to have a rest or holiday.

d. arrive

e. show your ticket/give your bags to someone

f. stop working (any form of transportation)

g. enter/leave (a car)

h. start flying.

Answers in podcast down below.

Task 2 – Complete the text with these following words: away, down, in, into, off (x2), on, out of

Last week my sister and I decided to get ___________ for the weekend because of the long holidays.  We decided to go to Kanchanaburi.  We set __________ early, at around 8am.  We got _____________ my friend’s car, which is a Ford Focus because it’s the most fuel-efficient vehicle in the market today.  The only problem was that her car had a tendency of breaking _________. 10 minutes later, it did.  We got __________ the car, grabbed our belongings, and went to a nearby minivan station.  After 30 minutes, a van pulled up and we got ________ and sat down.  The van arrived at Kanchanaburi on time — we got ___________ around 5pm.  We took our luggage and got ________ the minivan. The only problem we had with everything that entire weekend was a broken Ford Focus!

Transcribed Season 3 – Episode 19


Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 3 – Episode 12 – Vocabulary – Synonyms and Partial Synonyms

Welcome back! Here’s another one of those head-scratching lessons that can confuse people.  You have synonyms, and partial synonyms.

Let’s look at some of these words down below and see if we can match some of the synonyms with their partials.


Bright, cheerful, clever, difficult, elderly, friendly, glad, happy, hard, intelligent, old, outgoing, slim, social, thin.

Example: Bright – clever – intelligent

Put the words in their categories. 



Based on the stress of the word, I want you to write to enunciate the words above and ask yourself how many syllables each one has.  Example, talkative.  The first syllable is stressed and there are three total.


Additional Task

Choose the best alternative.  If there is no difference, choose both.

  1. Don’t call your grandfather old/elderly! It’s more polite to call her old/elderly.
  2. That new teacher in school is really attractive/good-looking.
  3. My friend is always smiling.  She’s a really glad/cheerful person.
  4. You need to eat more.  You look a bit slim/thin to me.
  5. This question is really hard/difficult.
  6. I’m clever/bright enough to do this exercise.




Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 3 – Episode 6 – Pronunciation – Ignoring The Consonant in Speech

Yes! A lot of my students have asked this question, so here it is, along with some sentences for you to repeat out loud.  This exercise will enable you to take out the unnecessary, second-to-last consonant, which is impossible to say. Let’s go over it.

/kt + s/ = / ks/

Fact = facs – Not Facts

Facts of life = facs of life

Act = acs

Acts appropriately = acs appropriately

direct = direcs – Not Directs

Direcs this project


/pt = s/ = /ps/

Adapt = adaps – Not Adapts

Adaps to the changes

Concept = conceps – Not Concepts

Conceps in math

Accept/Acceps – Not Accepts

Acceps responsibility


/nd + z/ = /nz/

Sends = Sens – Not Sends

Sens a signal

Lend = Lens – Not Lends

Lens a hand

Friend = friens – Not Friends

Friens and family




Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 3 – Episode 5 – Vocabulary – Phrasal Verbs Part III

We’re back with some more phrasals! One of my students from a long time ago told me that I should do more of these blogs/podcasts because it could be very difficult to follow.  Well, I have some more on board today!

Talk + about = discuss.

Let’s discuss the repercussions of a warming ocean.

Let’s talk about the repercussions……….

Be prepared to use phrasal in discussions and conversations.  Using phrasals correctly can make you sound more natural.

Discuss, as I’ve written before, is formal.  Talk about is informal.

Talk + into = convince.

Hey, let’s try to talk her into going to Kazakhstan next spring!

1. Match the phrasal with their synonyms.

  1. Get up
  2. Point out
  3. Give up
  4. Turn into
  5. Get together
  • Quit
  • Meet socially
  • Show
  • Rise from bed after sleeping
  • Become

Complete the sentences with the phrasals from above. 

  1. What time do you ______________ on the weekends?
  2. What task would you ______________ if you were too busy?
  3. If you could _______________ any animal, what would it be?
  4. What would you _______________ if someone was visiting your country for the first time? Positives or negatives?
  5. What do you like to do when you ___________________ with your associates and partners?