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A record number of Americans are moving into cities.

When they move intourban areas, the


y drive less. New York City is one of the top cities for newpeople and
for users of mass transit.
There are about 3.4 billion rides on New York City subways and buses everyyear. That
is about one-third of all mass transit trips in the United States.
New Yorks mass transit system operates 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week.
The public transport system costs $1.5 billion a year to maintain. It is one of the
worlds oldest mass transit systems. The citys first subway line opened in 1904.
Use of public transportation is the highest it has been
in almost 60 years inalmost every American city. Researchers say Americans took 10.7 billi
on tripson public transportation in 2012.
Gene Russianoff is a spokesman for the Straphangers Campaign.
The groupsupports people who take public transportation.
He says younger Americansare causing the rise in mass transit use.
Millenials -- those people born around the turn of the past century --are muchless car-
oriented. They are urban. They like not owning cars, they like lessresponsibility and there ar
e a lot of them.
Many people, not just millenials, believe public transit is less costly than caruse and
is good for the environment. Richard Rudolph is the chairman of theRail Users Network.
Of course, when we talk about insurance rates going up,
the price ofautomobiles going up, then people are finally waking up and realizing: wait amin
ute, heres this huge asset that's been underutilized. Why not takeadvantage of
this particular opportunity? It certainly makes more sense to getpeople out
of automobiles into subways and into commuter and passengerrailroads.
New York City is planning several major expansions of
its public transportationsystem. One project is a new $4.7 billion subway line.
The first part of theproject is set to be completed in 2016.
People who work in New Yorks financial area will soon be using a newsubway center. Almo
st all of New York Citys subways meet in the lower partof Manhattan.
The new center will give riders an easier way to travel to
theneighboring state of New Jersey.
The most costly planned project is a
$7 billion tunnel connection from LongIsland into Manhattans Grand Central Terminal.
Andrew Albert is a member of the board of the Metropolitan Transit Authority.
He says there are many other reasons for the increase in the use of masstransit.
The system has gotten a lot more dependable.
We have new cars. We havecountdown clocks to tell you when the next train is coming. W
e haveexpanded facilities in places.
Im Jonathan Evans.

This story is based on a report by VOA reporter Bernard Shusman in NewYork. It
was adapted for Learning English by Jonathan Evans. It was edited byChristopher Cruise.


he cats meow and the catspajamas.


Children might call a child who is easily frightened a fraidy-cat or a scaredy-cat.

A copycat is someone who acts just like someoneelse or copies another person's work.

A fat cat is a person with a lot of money.

You may have known that cats spend most of their time sleeping. Sometimespeople sleep f
or a short time during the day. This is called a cat nap.

If you tell about something that was supposed to be asecret, we say you let the cat out of
the bag. If you are
not able to speak or answer a question someone mightask if the cat has got your tongue.

Have you ever watched children in a classroom whentheir teacher leaves for
a few minutes? When the catsaway,
the mice will play means people sometimesmisbehave when there is no supervision.

You may have heard this expression: curiosity killedthe cat.
This means being too concerned about thingsthat are
not your business might cause problems.

If your home is very small, you might say there is notenough room to swing a cat.
But you probably shouldnot try this at home!

If you ever had cats as pets, you know it is difficult totrain them or
to get them to do something. Cats are not like sheep or cowsthat can be moved in
a group. So we say a difficult or impossible job is likeherding cats.

We leave you with a song from the musical play "Cats."

This VOA Special English program Words and Their Stories was written byShelley Gollust.
Im Faith Lapidus.

Monkeys are very similar to us in many ways -- most have ten fingers and tentoes,
and brains much like ours. We enjoy watching them because they oftenact like us.
In fact, Charles Darwins theory of evolution says that monkeysand humans share a commo
n ancestor.
Songwriter William Gilbert, in the musical Princess Ida, wrote:
Darwinian man, though well-behaved, at best is only a monkey shaved.

His words -- sung to Sir Arthur Sullivans music --
make listeners smile. Well,monkeys make us smile, too, because they are creatures full of
playful tricks.
This
is why many monkey expressions are about tricky people or playful acts.One of these expre
ssions is monkeyshines, meaning tricks or foolish acts.
The meaning is clear if you have ever watched a group of monkeys playfullychasing each ot
her -- pulling tails, stealing food, doing tricks. So, when ateacher says to
a group of students Stop those monkeyshines right now!,you know that
the boys and girls are playing instead of studying.
You might hear that same teacher warn a student not to
monkey around witha valuable piece of equipment. You monkey around with something
whenyou do not know what you are doing. You are touching or playing withsomething you s
hould leave alone.

Also, you can monkey around when you feel like doing something,
but haveno firm idea of what to do.
For example, you tell your friend you are going tospend the day monkeying around with yo
ur car. Well, you do not have anyjob or goal in mind -- it is just a way to pass the time.
Monkey business usually means secret -- maybe illegal -- activities.
A newsreport may say there is
monkey business involved in building the new airport,with some officials getting secret pay
ments from builders.

You may make a monkey out
of someone when you make that person lookfoolish. Some people make a monkey out
of themselves by acting foolish orsilly.
If one monkey has fun, imagine how much fun a barrel of monkeys canhave! If your friend
says he had more fun than a barrel of monkeys at yourparty, you know that he had
a really good time.

Monkey suits are common names for clothes or uniforms soldiers wear.

In earlier years in many American cities, you would find men playing musicalhand organs on
the street. Dancing to the music would be the mans smallmonkey dressed in a tight-
fitting, colorful jacket similar to
a military uniform.So, people began to call a military uniform a monkey suit.
This
VOA Special English program Words and Their Stories was written byMarilyn Rice Christian
o. Maurice Joyce was the narrator. Im Shirley Griffith.

People use their mouths for many things. They eat, talk, shout and sing. Theysmile and the
y kiss. In the English language, there are many expressionsusing the word mouth.
But some of them are not so nice.

For example, if you say bad things about a person,
the person might protestand say Do not bad mouth me.

Sometimes, people say something to
a friend or family member that they laterregret because it hurts that persons feelings.
Or they tell the personsomething they were not supposed to tell. The speaker might say:
I really putmy foot in my mouth this time. If this should happen,
the speaker might feel"down in the mouth." In other words,
he might feel sad for saying the wrongthing.

Another situation is when someone falsely claims another person saidsomething.
The other person might protest: I did not say that. Do not putwords in my mouth.

Information is often spread through "word of mouth." This
is generalcommunication between people, like friends talking to each other.
How didyou hear about that new movie? someone might ask. Oh, by word of mouth.
A more official way of getting information is through a company or governmentmouthpiece.
This is an official spokesperson. Government-run media couldalso be called a mouthpiece.

Sometimes when one person is speaking,
he says the same thing that hisfriend was going to say. When this happens,
the friend might say: You tookthe words right out of my mouth! Sometimes a person has
a bad orunpleasant experience with another person.
He might say that experience lefta bad taste in my mouth. Or the person might have had
a very frighteningexperience, like being chased by an angry dog. He might say: I
had my heartin my mouth.

Some people have lots of money because they were born into a very richfamily. There is
an expression for this, too. You might say such a person,
was born with a silver spoon in his mouth.

This rich person is the opposite of a person who lives from hand to mouth.
This person is very poor and only has enough money for
the most importantthings in life, like food.

Parents might sometimes withhold sweet food from a child as
a form ofpunishment for saying bad things.
For example, if a child says things sheshould not say to her parents,
she might be described as a "mouthy child." The parents might even tell the child to
"stop mouthing off."

But enough of all this talk. I have been "running my mouth" long enough.

Words and Their Stories in VOA Special English was written by Jill Moss.
Im Christopher Cruise.
Now, the VOA Special English program WORDS AND THEIR STORIES.
Americans use many expressions with the word dog. People in the United States love
their dogs and treat them well. They take their dogs for walks, let them play outside and
give them good food and medical care. However, dogs without owners to care for them
lead a different kind of life. The expression, to lead a dog's life,describes a person who
has an unhappy existence.
Some people say we live in a dog-eat-dog world. That means many people are
competing for the same things, like good jobs. They say that to be successful, a person
has to work like a dog. This means they have to work very, very hard. Such hard work
can make people dog-tired. And, the situation would be even worse if they
became sick as a dog.
Still, people say every dog has its day. This means that every person enjoys a
successful period during his or her life. To be successful, people often have to learn
new skills. Yet, some people say that you can never teach an old dog new
tricks. They believe that older people do not like to learn new things and will not change
the way they do things.
Some people are compared to dogs in bad ways. People who are unkind or uncaring
can be described as meaner than a junkyard dog. Junkyard dogs live in places where
people throw away things they do not want. Mean dogs are often used to guard this
property. They bark or attack people who try to enter the property. However, sometimes
a person who appears to be mean and threatening is really not so bad. We say his
bark is worse than his bite.
A junkyard is not a fun place for a dog. Many dogs in the United States sleep in safe
little houses near their owners' home. These doghouses provide shelter. Yet they can
be cold and lonely in the winter.
Husbands and wives use this doghouse term when they are angry at each other. For
example, a woman might get angry at her husband for coming home late or forgetting
their wedding anniversary. She might tell him that he is in the doghouse.She may not
treat him nicely until he apologizes. However, the husband may decide that it is best to
leave things alone and not create more problems. He might decideto let sleeping dogs
lie.
Dog expressions also are used to describe the weather. The dog days of summerare
the hottest days of the year. A rainstorm may cool the weather. But we do not want it to
rain too hard. We do not want it to rain cats and dogs.
This VOA Special English program, WORDS AND THEIR STORIES, was written by Jill
Moss. I'm Faith Lapidus.