Viewing entries in


Study Off the Beaten Track in the US

When considering where to study abroad in the US, the first places that come to most international student’s minds are New York City, Boston, Los Angeles, and maybe Chicago, but there is so much more to America! Take a look at these brief descriptions of weird and wacky American cities and see if any of them might be your cup of tea.



Idioms About Making Decisions

We have to make decisions every day, but sometimes it’s so hard to just make up your mind! If you’re on the fence about a big decision, then these idioms might help your thought process! (Or at least help you procrastinate making a difficult decision😂)



English Idioms about Competition

They say some friendly competition never hurt anyone. In fact, sometimes, people even thrive on a little competition! If you’re one of these people, these idioms about competition might come in handy…



Black and White Idioms

Today we bring you a variety of English idioms featuring black and white images to help you visualize the meanings, along with sample sentences and definitions!



Fall Idioms

The time has come for Americans to kiss summer goodbye and welcome fall (also known as autumn). Here are some idioms about the fall season!



Summer Idioms

In America, summer officially ends on September 22nd, though in many places it starts to feel like fall much earlier than that! To make sure we enjoy summer for as long as possible, here are some fun summer idioms!


1 Comment

Battle Idioms

Today’s idiom posts are all about dogs! Check out this post for several example sentences, definitions. and images to help you remember these idioms!

1 Comment


Pronouns in English

Pronouns are among the most common and important words in English.  Pronouns can be difficult because we use different ones for different parts of speech. This post teaches all the types of pronouns with charts and examples.



Dog Idioms

Today’s idiom posts are all about dogs! Check out this post for several example sentences, definitions. and images to help you remember these idioms!



Cat Idioms

English has tons of idioms about animals. Have a look at these idioms about cats. Check out this post for several example sentences, definitions. and images to help you remember these idioms!



The Idiomatic Fridge

English Idiom - The Idiomatic Fridge

We came across this fantastic cartoon by John Atkinson, from his site Wrong Hands, and thought it would be the perfect topic for a vocabulary lesson. It’s called The Idiomatic Fridge because all of the “foods” in here are actually idioms in English!

idiomatic fridge

Before we get started, take a look! Do you know any of these?

fish out of water

icing on the cake

piece of cake

top banana

second banana

tall drink of water

milk and honey

full of beans

bowl of cherries

bunch of baloney

whole enchilada

small potatoes

bad apples

good egg

big cheese

Definitions and Example Sentences

top banana 🍌

The idiom top banana is used to describe the best or most popular person in a show, group or organization.

Of all the comedians in the world, Robin Williams was the top banana. Would you agree?

second banana 🍌🍌

Going hand in hand with top banana is second banana which means the second best or most popular person in a show group or organization.

President Obama was top banana, but he would be nowhere without his second banana, Vice President, Joe Biden.

whole enchilada 🌮

The whole enchilada is a funny way of explaining that something is complete and comes all packaged together.

When considering vacation packages, I decided to go for the whole enchilada  and get a deal that included the room, transportation to the airport, and unlimited food and alcohol. I didn’t regret it, I had an amazing trip!

small potatoes 🥔

If something is small, insignificant, or cheap, we might say that it’s just small potatoes.

The price we pay for health insurance is small potatoes compared to what we would pay for medicine without it.

bad apples 🍎

If a bad apple is stored in a container with good apples, it will typically cause the other apples to rot faster. Someone who is very negative can make people around them very negative as well, so we call a negative or badly behaved person a bad apple or a rotten apple.

Joey always complained about his homework in class, and then I started noticing my other students didn’t want to do their work either. I think he’s a bad apple!

good egg 🥚

A good egg is pretty much the opposite of a bad apple. If you someone is just all around (like an egg!) a nice, helpful, and responsible person, he or she is considered a good egg.

When I broke my leg, my neighbor mowed my lawn and made me dinner without me even asking! What a good egg!

big cheese 🧀

If someone is very important and successful, we might call them the big cheese, or a big shot.

After Alex got promoted, he thought it was the big cheese around the office, but he quieted down once he realized he still wasn’t such a big shot...

tall drink of water  🚰

This isn’t an expression that we use very often anymore, but it’s still a funny one! If someone is very beautiful, handsome, and overall just very attractive, you could say that they are a tall drink of water. Imagine drinking a tall glass of water on a hot day. This is how some people feel when seeing someone very attractive!

Even after all these years of marriage, when my wife comes into the room I still think she’s a tall drink of water!

milk and honey 🥛 🍯  

This term is used to explain a land that has plenty of everything that you could possibly need to survive, and is therefore considered a perfect place to live.

When I moved to Florida, it had everything I could want, beaches, friendly people, and good food! I thought it was the land of milk and honey until I realized that I missed snow!

full of beans 🥫 

If you have a ton of energy, are very happy, and can't sit still you’re full of beans. 

On this beautiful summer day, we were full of beans and couldn't wait to go play outside!

bowl of cherries 🍒

When something is very nice, and everything is going perfectly in your day, or your life, we might say that it’s like a bowl of cherries.

Today I found $100 on the sidewalk! Life is a bowl of cherries!

However, this expression is actually used more often in a sarcastic or ironic way, meaning exactly the opposite of perfect.

My car broke down, and I was late for work so I lost my job. Life is a bowl of cherries, huh?

bunch of baloney 😡

If someone is telling you lies, or a fake story, we call this a bunch of baloney.

The car salesman promised me a good price on a car, but when I went to actually buy it, it was much more expensive than he originally said. What a bunch of baloney!!

fish out of water 🎣

A fish out of water is very uncomfortable, doesn’t know what to do and usually can’t survive. When someone is in a situation that they are unfamiliar with, or very uncomfortable with, we call them a fish out of water.

When Lexi visited China for the first time, she felt like a fish out of water because she didn't know anyone, couldn't speak Chinese, and had no idea where to find her hotel.

icing on the cake 🎂

This is another idiom that can be used positively or sarcastically. The icing on the cake is the colorful, sugary cream that goes on the top of the cake. It is the last thing done to make the cake look perfect.

We use this positively to talk about the final thing that made a situation just perfect:

The dinner was already amazing, but the waiter gave us a free bottle of wine, which was really the icing on the cake.

We also use it negatively, sarcastically, or ironically when a situation seems like it can’t get any worse, but then it does:

It rained on my wedding day, my mom couldn’t come because her flight was delayed, and the caterer canceled but the icing on the cake was that my husband got food poisoning! It’s ok though, the honeymoon was amazing!

piece of cake 🍰

Something that is very easily accomplished or achieved is known as a piece of cake.

I got the job! I had the right qualifications and had great answers prepared for their questions, so the interview was a piece of cake.

Other free English resources:

 Idiomatic Fridge

Idiomatic Fridge

 Check out this blog post to learn what "going hand in hand" means!

Check out this blog post to learn what "going hand in hand" means!



What is a Free Demo Class, Anyway?

Free Demo Class

You may have seen this button on the Ginseng homepage and wondered, what is a "free demo"?  What happens if I click this button!? Is it really FREE? Are there any strings attached? What happens next? Well, let me see if I can help to answer your questions!

We think our classes are pretty great, but you can't know that this is true unless you try one out, right?! That is where a free demo class comes in. 

Demo is short for demonstration, which means we are showing you something. You might go for a demo, or a test drive, at a car dealership if you're thinking about buying a car, or you could get a free demo of a new computer software that your company is considering buying.

 A "demo class" at Ginseng is a short, 30 minute sample of an online class class. You get to meet one of our teachers, see some of our fancy materials, and check out the follow-up emails we'll send you. 

So, what happens when I actually click that button?

When you click on this button, you will need to fill out a short form and then I will get an alert from you. But wait, who am I?! Great question.

Sarah Hi!

My name is Sarah, and I work for Ginseng. It is my job to help you with pretty much anything that you need from our online English school! You can ask me anything you want about our school, and I will do my best to help you out!

When I receive your free demo request, I will e-mail you to set up a time to video chat 📹 to learn more about what you are looking for. We can talk on Skype, Google Hangouts, WeChat, WhatsApp, Facetime—you name it!



I'll ask you questions about yourself, like:

  • Where are you from? 
  • How long you've been studying English?
  • Why is learning English important to you?
  • What part of English do you want to study the most? 
  • What time is good for you to have classes?

(It's ok if you don't know, or even if you just want to study EVERYTHING!)

It is up to you to choose what you want your free class to be about. It can be focused on just about anything English, such as pronunciation, grammar, writing and conversation! We will also talk about what times are good for your free class.

After we speak, I will talk to our team here at Ginseng and find you the best online English teacher for your educational goals, and your availability.

But wait, is it really free?

Yes!  Your 30 minute demo class is completely free. If you like what you see, we would love for you to share Ginseng English with your friends, and maybe even sign up for a class or two!

Ok, Now you've got me curious...

Great! So, take a moment to click the "request demo" button and fill out the form.  Soon, you'll be hearing from me! Who knows, we might even become friends! 


3 Steps to Studying with Ginseng

Studying with Ginseng is easy! Click the FREE DEMO CLASS button to request your demo. Then you will get an email from one of our staff to schedule your class. Then just log in and meet your teacher!

Request Demo Class Meet Ginseng Teacher Schedule First Class!
1 2 3

If have any questions about Ginseng, e-mail me at

My name is Sarah and I have 8 years of experience working with international students studying in the United States, most recently at Berklee College of Music in Boston. I share your passion for adventure, and am currently traveling through Asia as part of the Ginseng English Anywhere tour!