University English: Expressions and Vocabulary

Hello. My name is Emma, and in today’s video, I am going to teach you some very, very useful verbs we use when we talk about university. Okay? So if you’re going to university, if you’re taking the TOEFL test or the IELTS test, these words are very, very important, because they’re very common and we use them all the time. So, to teach you these verbs, I’ve decided to tell you a true story about a friend of mine.

My friend’s name is Paul, and I’m going to tell you all about his university experience. While I tell you this story, it can help you if you imagine it in your head. Whenever you’re learning new vocabulary, the more you can visualize or make a mental picture of the words you’re learning, the easier it will be to remember them. Okay? And, if my friend, Paul, is watching this, I’m sorry, Paul. I’m telling some stories about you, maybe a little personal, so I apologize in advance. Okay, so let’s get started about Paul’s life and problems at university. All right, so the first verb I’m going to teach you is “enroll”.

“Enroll” or “sign up for”. These mean the same thing and it’s where… When you decide to go to university, you enroll in a class or you enroll in multiple classes. Paul enrolled in four classes. The class we’re going to be focused on, though, is Psychology 100. Paul enrolls in Psychology 100. Okay? I can also say: “Paul signs up for Psychology 100.” So this means he’s decided to take Psychology 100, and he’s told the university, so now he’s in the class. He’s enrolled. So, Paul, at first, was a very good student.

He studied very hard. Okay? If you study hard, it means you “hit the books”. “Hit the books” means “study hard”. So, after Paul enrolled in Psych 100, Paul hit the books. Every night he went, he opened his book, and he studied. He hit the books. Then, the professor, the prof “hands out the assignment”. So this means the professor of Psych 100, he gave Paul an assignment. “Here, Paul, I want you to write this essay.” Okay? So the prof hands out an assignment. Okay? So the prof gives you work. So, after the prof hands out the assignment, Paul is very stressed. You know, he can’t think about the assignment, he’s too stressed out about it, so he ends up partying, he, you know, has fun. And then the assignment comes due, which means he has to give the assignment in, imagine on a Thursday.

The night before the assignment is due, Paul decides to “pull an all-nighter”. “Pull an all-nighter” means you stay up all night to finish something. So, for Paul, he did not have his assignment ready. It was not completed, so in order to get it finished, Paul stayed up all night working on it. So, at 3am, Paul was working at his… On his assignment. At 6am, Paul was working on his assignment. Well, Paul finished his assignment because he pulled an all-nighter. So the next day, he goes to class, and guess what he does? He has his assignment, he’s very happy he’s finished, he “hands in his assignment”. So Paul gives his assignment to the professor. Paul hands in his assignment. We can also use the word “paper”. “Paper” is another word for “essay”. So, in Psych 100, Paul had to write an essay. We can say: “Paul wrote a paper”, and he handed it in. So, if you… If we go back a couple steps, the professor hands out something. So, the prof hands out. The student hands in. Okay? So what happens to Paul next? Well, Paul got a really good mark on his paper, somehow.

Paul got an A+, he’s really happy, everything’s going great. And then he starts thinking: “You know, instead of going to psych classes, instead of going to psychology classes, I have more fun going to…” I think he used to go to the pub sometimes, like the bar with his friends. So he started to “skip class”. Paul did not go to class. What he did was… Instead of going to class, he “cut class” or he “skipped class”. Okay? So, Paul cuts class, he skips class.

This means he’s not in class. He should be in class, but instead, he’s at the bar with his friends having fun, and the class is happening; Paul is not there. All right? So, again, these are the verbs I want you to really learn: “enroll”, “sign up for”, “hit the books”, “hand out”, “hand out an assignment”, “pull an all-nighter”, “hand in” or “hand in a paper” or “assignment”, and “cut/skip class”.

All right? So, now, I am going to tell you about what happened to Paul because he started to cut class. So, what happens next? The next verb I want to teach you: “fall behind in”. “Fall behind”… When you fall behind in something, it means that everybody is over here, and you’re behind.

You can’t get caught up. So, for example, Paul, because he was partying, he was cutting class, he skipped class, he missed all these classes so Paul had no idea what was happening in class. Every week he’s supposed to read a certain amount. He didn’t do any of his readings.

So, he fell behind. So there’s too much work for him to do. Everybody is over here. Paul is behind, and he’s trying to… He’s behind everybody. So Paul falls behind in Psych 100. This is really bad at university. So what does Paul do when he falls behind? He thinks: “Oh no. I’m behind on my readings. I’m behind on my assignments.” He starts to go to class, and he starts to get advice, he starts to become a better student. He hits the books again. So, because of his effort, a nice thing happens: he gets “caught up”.

So if you fall behind, when you get back to where you should be, you get caught up. So imagine if I’m sick and I miss school for a day, when I get to school, I’ll ask my friends: “What did I miss?” My friends will help me get caught up, so they’ll tell me what I missed so we are all at the same level. Okay? So we’re no longer behind. If you get caught up, you’re at the same level as everybody else. So, Paul got caught up. He tried really hard, he hit the books, he got caught up, but then he started to skip class again, and he started to cut class again.

He stopped doing his assignments, he stopped doing his homework, and what happened? He fell behind again. Okay? So now Paul is back in a bit of a problem; in a difficult situation. So there’s a couple of things Paul can do now. He can leave the course. Okay? So this means he can quit the course. He can quit Psych 100, no more Psych 100.

Good bye. He’s not going to do it anymore. We call this “withdraw from the course”. Okay? We can also call this “drop a course”. So this means when you leave a course before you finish it. You drop out, you quit the course. Paul doesn’t want to withdraw from the course. Paul doesn’t want to drop Psych 100. So these two things mean the same thing. He doesn’t want to. He thinks: “You know what? I’ve done it once before. I’ve tried. I can get caught up again. I fell behind before, I got caught up. I’ve fallen behind again, I can get caught up again.” But the problem is Paul is a little bit of a lazy student. So instead of doing what he should, Paul does something a little bad. Not a little bad; very bad. I didn’t mean to say that. As a teacher, very, very bad. Paul “plagiarizes”. “Plagiarize”. “Plagiarize” is when you don’t do the work, you get somebody else to do the work.

So, for example, Paul gives money to somebody else to write his paper. Or, Paul reads a book, and he writes exactly what the book says. This is plagiarism. Okay? So, if you plagiarize, you don’t do your own work; you copy somebody else, either their words, their ideas. You copy somebody else, or you pay somebody to do your work for you. That’s plagiarism. So it means it’s not your work. So what does Paul do? Paul’s stressed. He decides to plagiarize his paper. And again, “paper” means “essay”. So Paul does not write the paper. In this case, he gives… I think he copied an essay from the internet, he bought an essay online, he copied it. So he plagiarized. He hands in his paper to the professor, so he gives his paper to the professor, and the professor realizes there’s something wrong with his paper. The professor does an online search, and sees: “Wait a second. Paul didn’t write this paper. Somebody else wrote this paper.” So now Paul is in very, very big trouble.

Okay? Huge trouble at the university. Now, Paul was very lucky. Luckily, the professor was a very nice professor, and just gave Paul a zero. So Paul got a zero on that paper. But what can happen if you plagiarize is you can be “expelled” or “kicked out”. So these have the same meaning, and it’s where the university says: “Good bye. We don’t want you here. Leave.” Okay? So if you’re kicked out or expelled, you’re going to be very, very sad. Okay? You can’t go to university anymore. The university does not want you there. You’ve been kicked out. So, luckily, that didn’t happen to Paul, but in our example, just so you can see the word: “The university expels Paul.” Okay? The university kicks Paul out.

Okay? And then Paul is like this. Actually, Paul became very successful. This was his first year, his freshman year. Afterwards, he learned how to be a good university student. He never plagiarized again. He never… Well, he fell behind a couple more times, but he always managed to get caught up. He hit the books, he studied real hard, and so Paul actually did really well, and now he has a really high-paying job. So, good job, Paul. Very proud of you. So that’s Paul’s story about university.

So, I’m going to give you some homework. I want you to hit the books. I want you to use these words, and I want you to write about either your experience at university or maybe somebody you know. One of the best ways to learn words is actually to make a story up using them, because it helps you remember the words a lot better. Okay? So your homework: Make a story using these words and the other verbs I’ve taught you about you or somebody you know. You can also come… Hit the books, and come to our website where you can do a quiz where you can practice these words. I promise you don’t have to pull an all-nighter to succeed at this quiz. So come by, you know, you can practice the definitions/meanings of these words, and see some more examples of how we can use them. So, I hope you visit us at And I will be seeing you later..

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