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Thursday, April 28, 2011

To Cost an Arm and a Leg

To Cost an Arm and a Leg

Example Dialogues:


Joanna: How much did you pay for you car?
John: It was $12,000.

Michelle: How much was dinner?
Maria: It was $24.00

Lia: How much was the hospital bill?
Eric: It cost an arm and a leg!
Lia: What? Are you ok? An arm and a leg? What do you mean?
Eric: Haha, don’t worry, Lia! My arms and legs are safe! When we say something cost an arm and a leg, it means something was very very expensive! It’s an idiom!
Lia: Oh…ok. You scared me! So… how much was it?
Eric: I was in the hospital for three days and it cost me $150,000
Lia: Wow, that really did cost an arm and a leg! Sorry to hear that, but I am happy that you are not sick anymore!
Eric: Thanks, Lia…

Hideka: Ligia, that is a really nice purse! It looks very expensive!
Ligia: Well… Thank you! Guess how much I paid for it.
Hideka: I don’t know, but I am sure it cost an arm and a leg! It looks really expensive!
Ligia: The original price was $400.00, but I bought it at ROSS for only $80.00!
Hideka: Wow! That was a great deal!


Meaning: To cost an arm and a leg means to be extremely expensive.
Watch this video to see an example of how to use the idiom to cost an arm and a leg:
www.howcast.com/videos/3100-How-To-Live-on-Practically-Nothing

These idioms are from LSI's book Speaking Savvy, which is used in the level 5 listening and speaking classes. For more information, please visit http://www.languagesystems.com/

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The history of the idioms “in the black” and “in the red”

Idioms: "in the black" and "in the red"; used as adjectives

Usually when accountants (people who work managing money) write down the amount of money they have available, they use a black pen to write the amount if they have enough money and a red pen to write the amount if they don’t have enough money or owe that amount. Some accounting computer programs also use black and red to indicate that. Read the following dialogue and see if you can guess the meaning of “in the black” and “in the red”:

Example Dialogue
Regina: Hey, Mark! Do you want to go to Disneyland with us next weekend?
Mark: I would love to go, Regina, but I am in the red ! I have to save money. Maybe next time… Thank you!
Regina: Well, I have good news! My sister sent me a $500.00 check for my 21st birthday! I am in the black now and I would be happy to pay for your ticket!
Mark: But, Regina… I have no idea when I’ll be in the black again to pay you back!
Regina: Please don’t worry about it, Mark… You are my best friend! I like you very much… I really, really like you… a lot!
Mark: Wow, thank you. I’ll accept your offer if you let me take you out on a date when I am not in the red anymore. What do you think?
Regina: YES! YES! Sure…

Meaning: As you probably noticed, being “in the black” means having enough money, and being “in the red” means not having enough money or owing money.


These idioms are from LSI's book Speaking Savvy, which is used in the level 5 listening and speaking classes. For more information, please visit http://www.languagesystems.com/