Tag Archives: Canada

Funny English!

There are two joke types that came up in conversations at work today: “Knock knock” jokes and “Roses are red…” jokes. These both have a specific format, so let’s learn how to be funny in English!

Knock knock jokes need two people to participate.

Person A: Knock knock!

Person B:Who’s there?

Person A: [name]

Person B: [name] who?

Person A: [joke with name!]

Person A: Knock knock?

Person B: Who’s there?

Person A: Isabel.

Person B: Isabel who?

Person A: Isabel necessary on a bicycle? (Is a bell necessary on a bicycle?)

The best knock-knock jokes have a pun (a joke made from the sound of a word, not the meaning) that involves the name.

“Roses are Red” jokes are based upon a poem structure. The first two lines are always the same:

Roses are red,

Violets are blue.

After this, you add two more lines about something funny. The rhythm and the rhyme should match the first two lines.

I’m learning English,

And so are you!

We put the joke together like this:

Roses are red,

Violets are blue.

I’m learning English,

And so are you!

Most Canadians will be familiar with these kinds of jokes. Ask your homestay family or your Canadian friends to tell you some and post them here!


Make, Do, and Have: which is right for the interview?

Let’s keep it clear. As a worker, you will have an interview with a boss.

As a boss, you will have or do an interview with a worker.

Nobody will make interviews with anyone.

An intern will do an internship. A worker will do a job.

Nobody makes internships or jobs, except when a boss might create a completely new job from nothing. “I liked that person so much I made a job for them. They start Tuesday.”

Work is noncount. “I did a lot of work with customers,” not “I did three works with customers.”

Bartending Certification

Serving it Right is a BC Government training course for serving alcohol. It’s not a legal requirement, but high-profile businesses, like hotels, casinos, restaurants, and bars will want their employees to have it.

The material is free, but the test costs $40. You can take the test online or on paper. All the details are on their website. If you’re in my classes, come and see me. I have a few books left over from when we offered training for this certification in the past.

You can learn about other helpful certifications in my Power Up Your Internship paper. Just follow this link to the free download.

Indian Candy

Perhaps you know that salmon is a popular kind of fish in Vancouver. Maybe you even know that the most traditional style is called smoked salmon. But do you know about Indian Candy?

Indian Candy is a type of smoked salmon. It is different from regular smoked salmon, because it is softer, and has a sweeter taste. To make it, the cooks use brown sugar or maple syrup when they smoke it.

You can find Indian Candy at The Salmon Shop on Granville Island. Here’s a map. Buy some and enjoy a new Canadian taste!

Marketing Networking

Recently, I’ve had some questions about networking and volunteering in Vancouver. A friend of mine told me about a marketing event that looks really interesting. It’s called ProductCamp, and will be held next Saturday, March 8th, at the Beedie School of Business at SFU. The address is 500 Granville Street, and admission is free. You can read about the plans, register, or volunteer at their website: productcampvancouver.org.

Go Volunteer is a job-search website for volunteers. There’s a great variety of positions available, each with different time commitments, areas of specialty, and locations. I just saw ads for a bartender at a salsa dance, a hospital communications specialist, a cook, social service providers, and seniors’ care helpers. Many of the advertisements offered discounts or benefits for their volunteers, and most offer letters of recommendation or references too.

There’s one for just Burnaby-based jobs at volunteerburnaby.ca

No volunteering post would be complete without my favourite causes:
Bike racing at the Burnaby Velodrome – they need volunteers for the night of March 21st
Technology and environmental work at Free Geek Vancouver

Remember to put your Canadian volunteer experience on your resumé, too. Use it to show that you are familiar with local people, customers, and business culture. Good luck and happy volunteering!

Listening Skills and Podcasts

The best way to get better at listening is by… listening. Many students use movies or music to practice, but what about podcasts? They usually have natural, spoken English, and they can help with vocabulary as well. The presenters can be anywhere in the world, and that means different accents and slang.

Some of my favourites are This American LifeStuff You Should KnowPlanet Money, and RadiolabBBC Documentaries is a great source of world news stories in more detail than you will find on TV or the radio.

Happy listening!

Here we go…?

A student asked me “Dave, what is the difference between ‘here you go,’ ‘there you are,’ there you go,’ ‘way to go,’ and ‘here we go?’” We ended up having a good discussion about these common phrases and when to use them. Here’s how you can use these expressions in your life.

Here you go/Here you are: We use these to announce that something we want is here. They mean the same thing.

Customer: “Medium coffee, please.”

Barista: “Here you go. Careful, it’s hot.”

Customer: “Could you pass the sugar?”

Barista: “Sure, here you are.”

There you go: This is mostly used in arguments, and means something like “I told you so!”

Student A: I think Vancouver is the largest city in Canada.”

Student B: “No, Toronto is larger.”

Student A: “I’m going to ask Google.”

Student B: “You’ll find that I am right…”

Student A: “Oh, Toronto is the biggest! I was wrong.”

Student B: “There you go.”

Here we go: This shows that we are starting an activity.

Driver: “Are you ready?”

Passenger: “Yes!”

Driver: “Ok, here we go!”

Way to go: This means “Congratulations!”

Student: “I got 89% in English class!”

Parent: “Good job! I knew you would pass your test! Way to go!”

The Period

People often don’t know that English has three (or four) names for this punctuation mark. If you use the wrong one, Canadians will understand you, but you will sound strange.

At the end of sentence, it is called a period, or a full stop in England.

In mathematics, it is called a point. For 3.14, say “Three point one four.”

On the internet, we say dot. For google.ca, say “google dot sea eh.”