Search This Blog


Tuesday, May 22, 2018

To be (all) set

Context #1

Tom: "We have a big exam today.  Are you ready for it?"
Sam: "Yeah, I studied all night.  I'm all set."

Context #2
Kathy (on the phone): "Hey Jane, I'm on my way and I'll be there in about 10 minutes to pick you up.
Jane: "No problem.  I'm all set and ready to go."

Meaning: "to be (all) set" is an American idiom that is used to express the meaning of being ready and prepared for something.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018


Example 1: Two friends discussing weekend plans
Barry: What are you doing this weekend?
Iris: I’m going out with (my) bae to the beach.
Barry: Oh, I didn’t know you were in a relationship.
Iris: My bae is all I think about.

Example 2:
Nusret: I’m going to start a steak house
Henry:  Why? What’s so special about the meat you will sell compared to others?
Nusret:  I will only buy the best, most expensive meat, and perform for my clients by pouring salt in a fun way.
Henry:  Is it a gimmick?
Nusret:  No, it’s entertainment.  I’ll film the videos and attract people to come.  No one has ever done it.  I’ll be the first, before anyone else.  I will call myself “Salt Bae.”


Bae is an acronym for “Before Anyone Else.”  It’s more typically used to describe someone’s significant other (Example 1).  However, many people think it means baby or babe, but that’s incorrect.  It means to do something first that no one else has.  

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

To twist someone’s arm

Example 1: Two friends discussing evening plans
Lana: What should we do tonight?
Betty: Let’s just stay home. I don’t want to get dressed up to go out.
Lana: That sounds so boring! Let’s go to the new club that everyone at school is talking about.
Betty: I don’t know… I’m already sleepy and if we go out, we’ll be out pretty late.
Lana: Come on! It’ll be so fun! Since it’s spring break, I bet there will be lots of cute guys there from out of town! You know you want to!
Betty: OK, OK! You’ve twisted my arm. Let’s start getting ready. What should I wear….?

Example 2: Boyfriend and Girlfriend discussing weekend plans
GF: So… my cousin is having a party on Saturday. It should be really fun. It would also be a good chance to meet some of my family.
BF: Oh, really? Hmm, I’m not sure if I have to work this weekend or not.
GF: But you never have to work on Saturday nights. This week is different?
BF: Uh, yeah. I think so. I have to check my schedule.
GF: You know what I think? I think you’re lying to me about having to work; you’re just not interested in meeting my family. I don’t want to have to twist your arm if you don’t want to go. I want you to come with me only if you really want to. Just tell me the truth and I’ll try to understand. Lying isn’t going to help our relationship, you know.
BF: I’m sorry, you’re right. I’m really nervous to meet your family. Please just give me more time.
GF: Okay, that’s all you have to say!

To twist someone’s arm means to work to convince someone to do something they might not want to do. Sometimes it’s used similarly to force. Please note: people are not actually twisting someone’s arm physically!

In example 1, the friends are discussing their plans. Betty doesn’t really want to go out, but Lena convinces her by reminding her that she can meet cute guys at the club.

In example 2, the girlfriend is almost angry in feeling that she has to force her boyfriend to go to a family party with her.

Some more example sentences:
You’ll have to twist my arm to see that movie! I really don’t like the actress.
Johnny didn’t want to come to the baby shower. I had to twist his arm.
Let’s get some ice cream! … Great idea! You don’t have to twist my arm!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

suck at

suck at: bad at doing something

Situation #1: Two coworkers

Bill: Can you help me with this spreadsheet? I can't figure out the right formula
Linda: Probably not. I suck at Excel.
Bill: Could you take a look at it?
Linda: Sure... Yeah, I don't know what I'm looking at. Have you asked Karla? She's great at Excel.
Bill: No. I'll ask her. Thanks.

Explanation: Bill was having trouble with a formula in Excel and asked for Linda's help, but she said that she sucks at Excel, which means she is not good in that software.

Situation #2: A group of friends is playing basketball and another one joins.
Todd: Hey, Greg! Come join us!
Greg: No, that's ok. I'll just watch.
Brian: No! Join us! Todd's team has one more player than us, so you will make us even.
Greg: You don't want me on your team. I suck at basketball.
Brian: You couldn't make us any worse! We're already down by 10 points.
Greg: Ok.
Todd: Great! Now Brian can't keep saying that he's losing because of uneven numbers!

Explanation: Todd and Brian are playing basketball (on different teams), and they both ask Greg to join them. Greg says that he sucks at basketball, but Brian convinces him by pointing out that his team is one player short, and that his team is already losing anyway. 


Tuesday, April 17, 2018


Salty: Upset, annoyed or angry

Situation #1: Two friends are talking after school

Janette: Hi, Anne. How are you doing?
Anne: Who wants to know?
Janette: I'm just asking how you are.
Anne: So what?
Janette: Hey, don't get salty with me just because you are having a bad day! I didn't do anything.
Anne: I guess you're right. Sorry. Mondays suck.

Explanation: Janette was having a bad day and was acting angry and being rude to her friend. Her friend told Janette not to "get salty" or "be angry/rude" with her because she didn't do anything to cause Janette's anger. 

Situation #2: Two co-workers talking about their boss after work
Bill: I can't believe I made it through the day!
Sandi: I know! Fred was so salty today. I couldn't even look at him.
Bill: What was his problem anyway?
Sandi: Well, I heard that he thinks everyone is being lazy at work and not putting in the amount of time he expects.
Bill: That may be true for a few people, but not everyone. I certainly put in a lot of time and often work late.
Sandi: Me, too. But I don't think he sees us working hard. He only sees the lazy people. That's why he is always salty at work.

Explanation: Fred, the boss, is salty because he thinks everyone at work is lazy. This means he is irritated and angry with his employees.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

To be blown away

Example 1:
Terry: I just got back from vacation and I had a wonderful time!

Sandy: Oh, really? Where did you go?

Terry: I went to Montego Bay in Jamaica. It was absolutely amazing! There was so much to do and the beautiful sunsets on the beach just blew me away! I really didn’t want to come back to work!

Sandy: Wow! That sounds great. I bet it was hard to come back home!

Example 2:
Ken: I just watched a news report last night on how poverty is so widespread in countries around the world. What is even worse is that people in those countries have a difficult time doing anything about their lives. Also, it is very hard to get clean food, water, and medical supplies to the ones who need them. 

Joe: It blows me away how difficult life can be for so many people around the world. We should feel lucky to live in a place where we don’t have to worry about getting clean food and water every day.

The expression to be blown away is used to express surprise or shock at something that has happened. It can be used in both negative and positive situations. 

In the first example, Terry just came back from an amazing vacation. The beauty of the place he visited surprised him in a very positive way. 

In the second example, Ken and Joe are talking about poverty in the world and how hard it is for some people to survive. Joe is shocked in a negative way about this fact.

This idiom can be found in the LSI textbook Speaking Transitions. This book is used at LSI schools in the level 4 Listening/Speaking classes.