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Thursday, September 22, 2011

To Be Blown Away

Example 1:
Terry: I just got back from vacation and I had a wonderful time!

Sandy: Oh, really? Where did you go?

Terry: I went to Montego Bay in Jamaica. It was absolutely amazing! There was so much to do and the beautiful sunsets on the beach just blew me away! I really didn’t want to come back to work!

Sandy: Wow! That sounds great. I bet it was hard to come back home!

Example 2:
Ken: I just watched a news report last night on how poverty is so widespread in countries around the world. What is even worse is that people in those countries have a difficult time doing anything about their lives. Also, it is very hard to get clean food, water, and medical supplies to the ones who need them.

Joe: It blows me away how difficult life can be for so many people around the world. We should feel lucky to live in a place where we don’t have to worry about getting clean food and water every day.

The expression to be blown away is used to express surprise or shock at something that has happened. It can be used in both negative and positive situations.

In the first example, Terry just came back from an amazing vacation. The beauty of the place he visited surprised him in a very positive way.

In the second example, Ken and Joe are talking about poverty in the world and how hard it is for some people to survive. Joe is shocked in a negative way about this fact.

This idiom can be found in the LSI textbook Speaking Transitions. This book is used at LSI schools in the level 4 Listening/Speaking classes. For more information, please visit:

It Beats Me!

Example 1:
Tina: Where is Tom? He said he would be here an hour ago!

Kerri: Yes, we made these plans last week and confirmed everything last night!

Tina: He only lives 5 minutes from here. Where could he be?

Kerri: It beats me! He really has no excuse for being late!

Example 2:
Ken: I just heard about a guy who survived five weeks in the middle of the ocean in a small lifeboat. He only had a small amount of food and water. Also, there was a big storm while he was on the lifeboat. How could he still be alive?

Joe: It beats me how he survived in such a dangerous environment! What an amazing story!

The expression it beats me is used when a person does not know the answer to a question. It is also something a person says when he cannot understand something.

In the first example, two women are waiting for Tom. They arranged this meeting far ahead of time and even confirmed it with Tom the night before. Also, Tom lives very close to the meeting place, so he really has no excuse for being late. Kerri does not know why he is late and cannot even imagine an excuse.

In the second example, a man survived at sea for five days in a lifeboat without a lot of food and water. It’s an unbelievable story and Joe cannot understand or figure out how the man could survive when many people would die in the same situation.

This idiom can be found in the LSI textbook Speaking Savvy. This book is used at LSI schools in the level 5 Listening/Speaking classes. For more information, please visit: