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Tuesday, September 10, 2019

To sleep on

To Sleep On (first meaning): The most common meaning is to think more about something (usually overnight) and make a decision about it later.

Jenny: Are you going to take that new job working in Thailand?
Casey: It's a great job. I would be teaching children English.
Jenny: So, are you moving to Thailand?
Casey: Well, even though it's a great job, I need to sleep on it before making a final decision. It's a big change to move to another country.

Meaning: In this situation, Casey has been offered a great teaching job in Thailand, but it is a big change in her life, so she needs to think about accepting the job a little more or she needs to sleep on it.

To Sleep on (second meaning): More recently, it means to ignore or not pay attention to someone's ability or talent; to not get the attention one deserves.

Kevin: You should let Callie sing at your party on Saturday night. She has an amazing voice.
Amber: Really, I didn't know that she can sing or perform.
Kevin: Everyone is sleeping on her. I don't understand it because she is so talented.
Amber: Maybe she needs to promote herself more to let people know how good she is.

Meaning: In this situation, Callie is really talented and can sing well, but no one knows it. They are ignoring her talent. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

To be a fly on the wall

To be unnoticed while listening and observing others.

Example #1:
I wish I could be a fly on the wall and hear what he says to his boss when he tries to explain why the project failed.

Example #2:
Tom never came home to his girlfriend last night. I wish I could have been a fly on the wall when he told her the reason.

Example #3: The rival company is going bankrupt. If I could be a fly on the wall at their meeting I could learn what is going on there.

Example #4: They made the documentary with a fly on the wall style.

To be a fly on the wall: This idiom uses the image of the small but silent fly resting on the side of a wall, and observing while human activity continues in the room. The definition is to listen and watch others closely but they don’t notice your presence. To observe a situation as if you are invisible.

In example #1, the speaker wants to hear how the co-worker is going to explain his failure and how the boss will respond to him.

In example #2, the speaker is interested to hear the boyfriend’s excuse and his girlfriend’s response and would have liked to hear how they interacted with each other.

In example #3, the speaker is from a rival company and wants to learn what kinds of internal difficulties the company is facing without them knowing that he is listening.

In example #4, a fly on the wall documentary is an observational style of documentary filmmaking in which the camera records participants doing things in their normal way and responding to situations in their normal way. The style avoids using interviews. The effect is such that the camera, and therefore the viewers, too, are like flies on the wall observing the situation.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Cray cray (adjective)

This slang word is used to describe someone or something that is really crazy.  It is just another way to say "crazy" and is widely used by the younger generation.  This expression has been around for about 10 years and but it really became popular when the rapper Jay-Z used it in one of his songs.

Example 1
I have so much work to do today.  I think I am going to go cray cray.

Example 2
My brother met this girl recently.  She keeps texting him and calling him all the time.  She keeps asking him to go out on a date even though he clearly told her that he is not interested in her.  I think she is really cray cray.

Example 3

Tom: Hey John, can I borrow your new car?  I want to go to this cool party tonight.
John: Oh ya?  Are you a good driver?  How long have you been driving?
Tom: Of course, I am a good driver.  I mean I failed my driving test 2 times, but I passed it the third time.  And I have gotten in an accident only once this year.
John:  Dude!  You must be cray cray if you think I am going to lend you my car.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

To promise the moon

To promise the moon: to say that you will do more than is possible for you to do. To promise more than can be delivered.

#1 - A politician giving speeches to potential voters
In his speech, the politician promised the moon to the people so that they would vote for him. He promised that he would reduce their taxes and that under his leadership crime would drop.

#2 – A boyfriend asking his girlfriend to marry him
The man promised the moon to his girlfriend. He told her that he would become wealthy and that in two years she would be able to quit her job and focus on her art. He told her that they would go on exotic vacations and have a winter home in Spain.

To promise the moon: This idiom is used when something is unlikely to happen even though the speaker has said that it would. The speaker is presenting an attractive future in the hopes that he will also appear attractive.  

In example #1, the politician is trying to convince people to vote for him by promising attractive things in the future even though he may have no intention of even trying to fulfill that promise.

In example #2, the boyfriend is hoping his girlfriend will accept his proposal for marriage. Perhaps he fears that she will reject him, so he is making her future with him look very attractive. He may feel especially positive about his future. It could be that he is not trying to deceive her, only afraid that he may lose her. He wants her to feel that he will work hard for her and make their lives together as wonderful as he can. He may be unrealistic about what he can do for her.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

To Have A Green Thumb

To Have A Green Thumb: To have a special ability to make plants grow well or to be skilled at gardening.

#1 - A friend visiting your home.
Cindy: Wow, look at the roses on the dining table. They're so beautiful! Where did you get them?
Doris: Oh, thanks! Fred grows them in our backyard. Aren't they gorgeous?
Cindy: Yes, he must have a green thumb!

#2 - Visiting Grandma.
Jennifer: Hi Grandma, how did you make your garden look so nice? It's full of colorful flowers and lush green grass.
Grandma: Thanks darling, I just love spending time in nature. I put in quite a bit of work here on my free time.
Jennifer: What is the secret in creating such a beautiful garden, Grandma?
Grandma: Well, I guess it's my green thumb!

#3 - Talking to a roommate.
Kelly: Hey Pat, would you please water my cactus plant once a week when I'm away on vacation?
Pat: Sure Kelly, but I got to warn you, I do not have a green thumb...
Kelly: I think it'll be just fine. The cactus doesn't need special attention anyway. Don't worry about it!

To Have A Green Thumb:
This idom can be used to describe one's self or another person with a talent to make plants grow. Example #1, after Doris told Cindy that Fred was the one who took care of the roses, Cindy realized that Fred was good at growing flowers. #2, Jennifer asked her grandmother how she made her garden look so beautiful. Grandma's response was that she has a special ability to grow plants in the garden. #3 Kelly's roommate was not confident in her ability to keep the plant alive when her friend goes on vacation. Kelly reassures Pat that it'll be ok even if she doesn't have special talents for growing plants. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

High horse

Example 1
Debbie: How was your job interview, Sam?
Sam: The office was nice, but I didn't really try too hard because I'm sure I'm overqualified and the pay isn't great.
Debbie: What do you mean?
Sam: Well, the person who interviewed me was clearly not at my level. I don't want to work for a company where the manager isn't as qualified as I am.
Debbie: Are you kidding me? You haven't worked in over six months and you've gotten into lots of debt! How can you waste any opportunity? You need to get off your high horse and be grateful they invited you in for an interview in the first place.

Example 2
Carly: Is there anything I can do you help with the party?
Lisa: Yes, we need some more ideas for decorations. What do you think?
Carly: Well, I think we should hire a professional party planner. That's what I always do for our parties.
Lisa: Sorry, but that's not an option. We're on a strict budget.
Carly: Well then the party will probably look really shabby and no one will have fun at a party with cheap decorations.
Lisa: I asked you for advice but you're just passing judgement from your high horse. You are not offering any real solutions.

Common ways to use high horse:
be on your/her/his high horse- to act as if you are better than others
get off your/her/his high horse- to stop behaving as if you are better than others (example 1)

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

To have (something) both ways

First Example: Mario has been dating Erika for six months, but he also likes Tina and would like to ask her out. Mario wants to have it both ways. He would like to date both Erika and Tina.

Meaning: to have (something or it) both ways means to get the best of a situation by getting the benefits of two opposite things. In this example, Mario likes his relationship with Erika, but he also likes Tina. However, he can't date both of them at the same time because he has been dating Erika for six months. This idiom can apply to any situation where there are two opposite things that can't be done at the same time. It's used as an infinitive in this example.

Here is another example: John works long hours and makes a lot of money, but he would like to have more time off to do the things he enjoys. However, John can't have it both ways. He either works hard and makes a lot of money, or he takes more time off and makes less money.

Meaning: In this case, the two opposite things are working a lot and taking more time off. John can't make a lot of money if he does both of these things at the same time. He must choose one thing. In this example, it's used with the modal "can't."