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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Significant other

Idiom: significant other; used as a noun.

First Example:

Christina: Bryan, I just got a wedding invitation from my friend, Ryan. Would you like to go with me?

Bryan: Sure, but can you bring a guest?

Christina: Hmm. Well, it says the only guests allowed are children and significant others.

Bryan: Then I don't think I should go. Roommates don't count as "significant others."

Meaning: "Significant other" is used as a vague term for another person's partner in a romantic relationship. It is often used formally in things like invitations, when it's possible the person could have a husband/wife or boyfriend/girlfriend. In the above example, Bryan says he can't go because "significant other" means more than a friend or roommate. However, "significant other" can also be used informally, either because a person wants to keep his/her private life secret, or in a question to find out a person's relationship status and/or sexual orientation.

Second Example:

Laurie's Boss: Who was that on the phone?

Laurie: My significant other - I need to pick up some eggs on the way home.
Here, Laurie is avoiding telling her boss what her relationship is exactly to the person who called her, so she just said it was her "significant other."

Third Example:

Laurie's Boss: Why do you always use "significant other?" Why don't you just say "boyfriend" or "husband"?

Laurie: Because "Susan" is actually my girlfriend, but I didn't want my sexuality to make you uncomfortable.

Laurie's Boss: Oh, of course it doesn't make me uncomfortable! Actually I should have guessed.My little brother used to use "significant other" all the time for his boyfriend, Christopher.
Here, Laurie used "significant other" to hide the fact that she is a lesbian.
This idiom is from LSI's book "Reading Horizons," which is used in the Level 6 Reading classes. 

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Those three little words

First Example:

Rachel: How was your weekend?
Charlene: Fantastic! Tom took me to a really amazing restaurant, and then we went for a walk on the beach.
Rachel: Aww! That sounds so sweet!
Charlene: And then the best part - he finally said those three little words I've been waiting for.
Rachel: Wow! So you guys are really getting serious! 
Charlene: I think so.

Meaning: The expression "those three little words" refers to the phrase "I love you."  Since "I love you" is considered such a strong and powerful thing to say, we often use the phrase "those three little words" to refer to the phrase in conversation.  Usually, this is used when at least one person in a couple hasn't said it to the other, but it can also be used for the first time one partner says "I love you" to the other, as in the above example.  In this example, Charlene is excited because Tom finally told her that he loved her.  

Here is another example:

Dale: How are things going in your new relationship?
Colby: Pretty well.  I can't believe we met online.
Dale: How long have you guys been going out?
Colby: A little over a month.
Dale: Wow! If you don't watch out, someone's gonna slip up and say those three little words!
Colby: It wouldn't surprise me. I'm actually really happy
Dale: Glad to hear it.  You two seem like a really great match.

In this instance, Colby says that his new relationship is going really well, and Dale jokingly warns that someone is going to slip up (which means "make a mistake") and say "I love you" to the other.  This expression is often used in contexts such as this, when a relationship is getting serious but no one has said "I love you" to the other person yet.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

To have (something) both ways

Idiom: to have (something) both ways; used as a verb.

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: 

Second 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." 
This idiom is from LSI's book "Speaking Savvy," which is used in the Level 5 Listening/Speaking classes. 

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Get shredded

Example 1: 

John: Did you try the new exercise routine by Arnold Schwarzenegger? It's guaranteed to get you shredded! 

Paul: OMG! I have to try it! 

John: Totally, man! I can teach you but be prepared for a lot of physical pain.  

Paul: You can count on me! 

Meaning: Means well defined muscles especially in the arms and abs.

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Friday, December 22, 2017

to cut to the chase

Idiom: to cut to the chase; used as a verb

First Example:

Henry: ...and then, I asked if there was going to be a meeting about this, or if it was just a decision from management, but she couldn't tell me, although she did not seem to want a meeting...       
Patti: Can you just cut to the chase already? Are they making the change or not?
Henry: Oh, uh, yeah, the managers decided.
Patti: Great, thanks.

Meaning: The expression "to cut to the chase " means to focus on what's important. As in the above example, the expression is often used when someone is telling a story or giving background, but the other person just wants to know the final outcome.

Second Example:

Lou: I need a new assistant. Mine is not working out.
Nico: Why not?
Lou: She gets hung up on little details, but our office is such a fast-paced environment. I need someone who can cut to the chase and get things done.
Nico: I think I know someone who might be perfect. I'll tell her to send you her resume.
Lou: Thanks!

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to drink like a fish

Idiom: to drink like a fish; used as a verb

First Example:

Darla: Oh, is Tom out sick?                          
Jane: You haven't heard? He got in an accident last night.
Darla: Was he drunk driving?
Jane: Yeah, how'd you guess.
Darla: I mean, he did drink like a fish. It was only a matter of time.

Meaning: The expression "to drink like a fish" means to excessively drink alcohol frequently. The expression is not used for someone who drinks on occasion (even if they get very drunk when they do drink), but rather, someone who drinks nearly every day.

Second Example:

Frances: I need to take it easy this weekend.
James: Why? You don't want to go out?
Frances: No, I've been going out too much. I think I've gone every night this month, and I've been drinking like a fish. I think I need to just chill and get some rest.
James: OK, but we're going out, so if you change your mind, you know where to find us!
Frances: The bar?
James: Of course!
Frances: You have fun. I'll stay in.

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finger lickin' good

Idiom: finger lickin' good; used as an adjective

First Example:

Billy: Have you been to that new barbeque place?    
Etta: Yeah, and their ribs really are finger linkin' good.
Billy: Ooh, that sounds good, and now I want ribs.
Etta: Let's go for lunch!

Meaning: The expression "finger lickin' good " is used for especially good food. It literally that the food is so good that you will lick your fingers after, although not everyone who says the expression will literally lick their fingers. "Finger lickin' good" was initially a slogan for Kentucky Fried Chicken (now KFC), and while it is still sometimes used by the company, it has become a popular expression outside of KFC.

Second Example:                               

Mom: What do you want for dessert for your birthday? Cake?
Son: No. Can you make that finger lickin' good brownie you made last month?
Mom: Sure! That was good, wasn't it?

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