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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

To Take Lightly

Idiom: to take lightly; used as a verb

First example: Monica told Jeff he needed to complete his work by the end of the day. Important clients were coming in the morning, and they wanted to see the finished product. Unfortunately, Jeff took Monica’s directions lightly. He spent most of his day talking to co-workers and didn’t finish his work. The next morning, when the clients came and found the product unfinished, they were angry. As a result, Jeff was fired.

Meaning: “To take lightly” is the opposite of “to consider seriously.” Monica told Jeff specific instructions, and gave him a good reason for why he needed to finish his work. However, Jeff did not pay attention to how important it was for him to complete his work. If Jeff had not taken her instructions lightly, he would have finished his work on time.

Here is another example.

Second example:

Lisa: Hi Barry, I have a problem I’d like to discuss with you.
Barry: Sure, go ahead and tell me.
Lisa: Well, I’m a little embarrassed because it seems like a silly issue.
Barry: Don’t be embarrassed. I never take your problems lightly. I know you only talk to me about serious issues.
Lisa: Thanks, Barry. Okay, this is what I’m worried about…

Meaning: In this situation, Lisa is a little embarrassed to share her problem. She is afraid that Barry won’t think it’s a serious issue. But Barry tells her that he never takes Lisa’s problems lightly. He understands that Lisa’s problem is an important concern. This gives Lisa confidence to tell Barry what is bothering her.

This idiom is from LSI's book "Reading Horizons," which is used in the level 6 Reading classes. For more information, please visit

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