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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Read between the lines

Example 1:

Will: Mary won’t return my calls.  I’m not sure if she’s sad or sick.
Heather: Did anything happen? 
Will: I told her I liked her as a girlfriend, and she just disappeared.  I’m not sure why she won’t return my phone calls.
Heather: You have to read between the lines Will.  I don’t think she likes you the same way, and she’s trying to show you by staying away.

Example 2:

Mark: I can’t understand what the point of this statement is.  I can understand the words and content, but not the main idea.
Alice: Sometimes you have to read between the lines to understand what someone is trying to tell you.
Mark: What do you mean?
Alice: Well, sometimes things have a hidden meaning or implied meaning.  Look for clues.

Read between the lines means to look for a the meaning of something hidden in a statement.

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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

To fall for someone

Example 1:

Veronica: I want to tell you something, but please don’t run away.
Charles: Is it pretty bad?  I’m not sure, but okay tell me.
Veronica: I have fallen for you
Charles: Really?  I fell for you too.

Example 2:

Nick: I’m not happy that my sister is dating someone I hate.  It’s just not fair.
Every: What?  Your sister fell for that crazy guy from the concert.  Not good.


To Fall For Someone means to fall in love with a person.  In the first example, both Veronica and Charles liked each other and decided to confess.  In the second example, Nick was upset that his sister made poor choice in men, as his friend Emery described him as “crazy guy.”

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Thursday, November 9, 2017

To Fancy Someone or Something

Idiom: To fancy someone means to be attracted to or like a person; to fancy something means to want something (like an object or product) or to want to do something (like an activity).

Context #1

Millie: Hey, Val. You look happy. What are you thinking about?

Val: Oh, hi Millie. Well, you know that I fancy that new guy in class, right?

Millie: The guy from New York? Bill?

Val: Yes. That guy. Well, he just asked me out a few minutes ago. We are having dinner together on Friday night!

Millie: Great news! He obviously fancies you, too!

Context #2: Two friends are talking about a weekend trip

Candy: I'm so excited about this weekend! I really fancy skiing, especially at Big Bear mountain!

Tarik: I know. It is going to be so fun! Do you have all your skiing gear?

Candy: Yes. Here it is.

 Wow! I really fancy your ski goggles! They are so cool. 

Candy: I just bought them at that new sporting store down the street. They were really cheap and there are many colors to choose from.

Explanation: To fancy someone means to be attracted to or like a person; to fancy something means to want something (like an object or product) or to want to do something (like an activity). In context 1, Val fancies Bill and she is happy because he just asked her out on a date. In context 2, Candy fancies skiing (an activity) and Tarik fancies Candy's ski goggles (thing).

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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

To Lose One's Train of Thought

Idiom: To lose one's train of thought means to forget what one was talking or thinking about.

Context #1 – Two students talking after history class

Mitzi: Ms. Cranston is so strange! Did you see what happened today?

Valerie: No, I wasn't in class today. What happened?

Mitzi: So she was in the middle of giving the lecture. A student in the front raised his hand and asked a question. It seemed like the student's question made Ms. Cranston lose her train of thought because after she answered the student's question, she just stood there for like two minutes saying nothing and staring into space. It was so weird!

Valerie: Mitzi, you are new in the class. I had Ms. Cranston last year and she always loses her train of thought when students ask questions. She can't seem to get back to where she was in the lecture.

Mitzi: Really? Wow, that's too bad for her. Maybe we should try to help remind her when this happens.

Valerie: Well, you could try!

Context #2: Two friends are talking about a weekend trip

Cassie: Hi Tabitha. How was your weekend?

Tabitha: Oh, it was great! Tom and I went camping in the woods and we had such a strange experience at night. It was late and we were setting up the tent and getting ready for bed. Tom had just finished putting away our hiking gear when......

Cassie: Wait a minute! Where did you go camping? Was it near here or did you have to drive far?

Tabitha: What? No, it was at Mt. Baldy which is not very far away. Ummmm.....Oh Cassie, don't interrupt. Now I've lost my train of thought. What was I saying?

Cassie: You were saying that you were getting ready for bed and Tom was putting away the hiking gear.

Tabitha: Oh, right. He was putting away the hiking gear when all of a sudden we heard a loud noise and then a growl! We saw a bear right there in front of us and we were so scared. But then the bear just turned around and went back into the woods.

Cassie: Wow! You were lucky!

Explanation: “To lose one's train of thought" means to forget what one was talking or thinking about. In context 1, the teacher, Ms. Cranston, often loses her train of thought (or forgets what she was lecturing about) when students interrupt with questions. In context 2, Tabitha lost her train of thought when Cassie interrupted her with a question.

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Monday, November 6, 2017

A wolf in sheep’s clothing

Example 1:

Madeline: Watch out for him. I don’t believe he’s the “nice guy” everyone thinks he is.
Sally: How do you know?
Madeline: I don’t really have any proof, but I get a sense he’s just a wolf in sheep’s clothing. He’s being nice now, but he’ll take advantage of you if he can.
Example 2:

Allison: I just had the greatest experience at the used-car dealer! I met the nicest salesman who showed me so many great cars. He promised me he’d give me the best deal.
Bradley: Be careful, buddy! Used-car salesmen are not known for being the most honest people. They’re often characterized as wolves in sheep’s clothing. Just make sure that what he promises is what you pay. And DON’T sign anything until you’re sure.


A wolf in sheep’s clothing is a biblical idiom that is used to warn people against individuals who do not show their true intentions in order to gain from unsuspecting people. Imagine a wolf, generally a dangerous animal, disguising itself as a sheep in order to take advantage of someone. 

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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

As quiet as a mouse

Example 1:

Mom: Shhhh! The baby just fell asleep. It took my so long to put her to bed.
Dad: OK. So I guess I shouldn’t watch the football game in the next room?
Mom: Don’t even think about it! I need you to be as quiet as a mouse.

Example 2:

Sharlene is a brand new student in my class. She’s in our advanced class, but I can’t tell if she speaks English very well; she’s as quiet as a mouse and almost never answers when the teacher calls on her.


To be as quiet as a mouse means to be extremely quiet. In Example 1, Mom tells Dad that he must be extremely quiet because the baby has just fallen asleep. In Example 2, Sharlene is a very quiet and shy student. 

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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

A Ripoff

Context #1

Jim: Wow!  Look at the ticket prices for the Jay-Z concert.  The cheapest tickets in the seats way up at the top are over $200!
David: That's a ripoff!

Context #2

Sara: I need to get my oil changed, but the place I went to was going to charge me $100.
Christine: Don't do it!  That's a ripoff!  You should try somewhere else.

Meaning: "ripoff" is a noun, and it is used for any time something is unreasonably expensive.  Sometimes it's because something is just too expensive, and sometimes it's because people are being dishonest and trying to take money from the customers or consumers.

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