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Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Snowflake (noun)

Situation #1: Two friends
Mia: George is such a jerk.                                             
Henry: What happened?
Mia: Well, he said something racist, so I called him on it, and I asked him not to say stuff like that, at least not around me. 

Henry: Did he apologize?
Mia: No. He said I was acting like "a special snowflake" and that I needed to grow a thicker skin. So I told him I'd rather be a sensitive snowflake than a racist jerk.
Henry: Wow.  

Explanation: When used as a putdown, "snowflake" means that a person is being too sensitive about a sensitive topic. Using "snowflake" as a putdown became popular after the movie FIGHT CLUB, where it is used to suggest that someone thinks they're special and is too sensitive. More recently, this usage has been embraced politically by conservative people when putting down liberal people who claim offense at potentially intolerant language.
Situation #2: Two friends
Chad:  Did you see that new comedy that just came out? I went with my girlfriend, and it was so gay.
Sam: Dude, don't call things "gay."
Chad: What? Why not?
Sam: Because it's homophobic.
Chad: What? I'm not homophobic! Don't be such a snowflake. You know what I meant.
Sam: I'm not being a snowflake. My brother is gay, and he's cool. If you think a movie is lame, call it "lame." Using "gay" in a negative way is just continuing negative stereotypes about gay people. And that's homophobic.
Chad: Ok. I get it. Sorry.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Take (something) in Stride

Take (something) in stride - To deal with something bad without much effort; to deal with (something difficult) in a calm way.

Two students are talking about the TOEFL class
Jay: Hi, Cheri! How did you do on yesterday's practice TOEFL test?
Cheri: Actually, I really messed up. I didn't even finish it, so I got a super low score.
Jay: Sorry to hear that. Don't you need to get a high score in just a few weeks?
Cheri: Yes, I do.
Jay: You don't seem very upset about your low score.
Cheri: No, I'm trying to take it in stride and just remain calm about it. If I freak out, it won't help me.
Jay: Taking it in stride is a good idea. If you want, I can help you study for the next TOEFL test. I got a high score yesterday, and I have the time.

Two friends are talking about another friend
Jack: Did you hear that Janet broke up with Bob and started dating his brother?
Jan: Really? Bob loves her so much. He must be so unhappy!
Jack: Actually, he is just taking it in stride. I saw him at the gym the other day, and he was playing basketball with his friends. He looked happy.
Jan: That's nice. I'm glad he is just moving on.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

To have a good head on ones shoulders

Context 1
Jim: I like the new quarterback on our high school football team this year.
Steve: Yeah, me too.  He is a very good player and he seems like he has a good head on his shoulders.

Context 2
Sara: I heard we hired a new secretary for the office.
Amy: Yes, her name is Suzie.  She is a very hard worker and she has a good head on her shoulders.

Meaning: This American idiom is used to describe someone who is acts maturely and has good, sound judgement.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Stab in the back - Meaning: To betray someone

Hey Laura,

I am writing you this e-mail to let you know how upset I am with what you did!
I thought you were my best friend... I told you I wanted to apply for the new position as head teacher at our school.
I told you I was going to apply, but you went ahead and did it before me! I heard you got the job.
That was a stab in the back!
Congratulations... You got a new job, but you lost a friend.

Good bye,


In this example, Ericka felt betrayed because Laura knew she was interested in the new position. She applied for the job, didn't say anything to Ericka, and she got the job!

Ericka felt like that was a stab in the back and ended their friendship. How sad...

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Square Away

The expression, “square away,” is typically used to describe someone who is
performing at a high level of satisfaction or expectation, and continues to do so now or for an extended period of time (Sit 2). It can also be applied to things, places, or anything of high order or discipline. It also means to take care of your
responsibilities (Sit. 1).

Situation 1:
“Before leaving on vacation, Charlie made sure that his room, bills, and work were all squared away.”

Situation 2:
“Victor is always squared away when it comes to doing his job correctly and in a timely fashion.”

Situation 3:
“The Louvre Museum’s security is squared away. They have all sorts of alarms
and sensors that can monitor the art displays, in case someone wants to touch it or move it.”

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Half-hearted (used as an adjective)

The expression, “half-hearted,” is typically used to describe an unenthusiastic effort or disinterest in performing a particular action. This expression invokes the image of a “half-heart” to show a lack of enthusiasm about a certain activity.

Situation 1:
“It was obvious from his half-hearted kicks that the boy did not share the others’ enthusiasm at playing soccer.”

Situation 2:
“After having lost their chance at winning the championship, the disappointed basketball players half-heartedly gave their opponents congratulations.”

*Note that in situation 2, half-hearted is used as an adverb to describe the degree in which the players gave their congratulations to their opponents.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Out of your mind

Out of (one's) mind (used as an adjective or adverb)

Situation #1: Two friends
Edward: What's going on with Tom? He's acting weird.
Jean: Oh, he's completely out of his mind right now. His girlfriend dumped him, and now he's acting crazy. But he'll be fine once he calms down.

Explanation: To be "out of (one's) mind" means that the person is not thinking clearly, and usually suggests that the person is acting crazy, as in the example above. In addition, the expression can be altered with certain words for additional meanings, as seen below:


Situation #2: Two friends
Frances: Do you have any plans tonight?
Bill: No, and I'm bored out of my mind! What's going on?
Frances: Let's get dinner then.
Bill: Cool.

Explanation: To be "bored out of (one's) mind" means to be extremely bored. 

Situation #3:Two friends
Kim: How was the party last night?
Jack: Not great. Steve got drunk out of his mind, and he tried to start a fight at the bar, so I had to give him a ride home.
Explanation: To be "drunk out of (someone's) mind" means to be extremely drunk, usually to the level that the person will not remember his/her actions the following day.