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Improve your vocabulary, listening or reading skills with the quizzes below.
Vocabulary Quiz
budget • week • express
paste • impolite • impersonal • quite
  1. We send most of our letters by mail, because regular mail can take too long.
  2. I love the clothes in this store, but the employees are very .
  3. The sweetness in this recipe actually comes from bean .
  4. Do you mind if we go there tomorrow? It's a ways away and the traffic is bad right now.
  5. We are leaving for vacation in a or so.
  6. She works for a very low salary, so she is always shopping on a .
  7. Conversations and text messages have made social interaction much more .
Comprehension Quiz
Answer the following questions about the interview.
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485 The Gift
Ruth talks about a gift she has to buy.

  • Transcript
  • Audio Notes
Vocabulary notes (text only) explain key vocabulary and phrases from the interview.

on a budget

You like shopping, that's true, but you're on a budget.

You can say that you are 'shopping on a budget' when you have a limited amount of money that you can spend. Notice the following:

  1. Many kids have to adjust to living on a budget when they first go away to college.
  2. Grocery shopping on a budget is kind of stressful.

in a week or so

Well, it is my brother's birthday in a week or so.

You can use the phrase 'in a... or so' to give an estimate of a time frame. In this case, it could be a little more or a little less than a week. Notice the following:

  1. I'll be starting my new job in a month or so.
  2. They told me my new glasses would be ready in a week or so.

express mail/regular mail

Did you send the package express or just regular mail?

'Regular mail' is the normal mail service that a country provides. You would use 'express mail' if you needed to send something more quickly. Notice the following:

  1. When you finish the report, I need you to send it out express mail.
  2. I sent your present through regular mail, so it will probably take a few days to get there.

bean paste

The cakes look like they've got kind of chocolate inside but it's bean paste.

A 'bean paste' can be made by mashing up beans into a sticky substance. Notice the following:

  1. These cookies are made with bean paste.
  2. They actually put bean paste in the ice cream.

impolite or impersonal

Some people say that when you give money for a gift, it's actually very impolite or impersonal.

Someone is 'impolite' to you if she doesn't act towards you with normal social graces or is rude. You would say that someone is 'impersonal' if she lacks human emotion or warmth in normal interaction. Notice the following:

  1. Waiters in this restaurant are famous for being impolite.
  2. The world of technology has made many things very impersonal.

quite a ways away

August or September is quite a ways away.

If something is 'quite a ways away,' it is a long distance away from a particular place. Notice the following:

  1. His house is quite a ways away from here, and the weather is bad. Are you sure you want to go?
  2. All of the supermarkets are quite a ways away from here.