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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Second Nature

Idiom: second nature; used as a noun



First Example:
John trained Luana on a new job at work.  At first, she was very nervous about it, and she was afraid she would do it wrong.  But after doing it for a couple days, it became second nature to her.  She can't believe she ever thought this was difficult!

Meaning: "Second nature" is an adjective phrase that is used to describe a behavior or trait that has become such a habit, it almost seems to have been part of a person from birth. This idiom is usually used to describe something is easy and natural for one person (but not necessarily to other people).  In the example, Luana was at first nervous about her new task at work, but she quickly learned that it was actually very simple.  Notice that the phrase is followed by "to her."  While not required (as in the next example), "second nature" is commonly used with "to +person."

Here is another example:               
Son: Mom, do you think I'll pass my driving test?
Mom: I'm sure you'll be fine. And if you fail the first time, you can take it again later.
Son: I'm sure you passed your test the first time.
Mom: Actually, I failed my first two driving tests.
Son: Really?!  But you're such a good driver.
Mom: Like you, I was really scared during my driving tests.  Plus, I was a pretty terrible driver.  I ran a stop sign during my first test, and I hit another car in my second test before I could even leave the DMV. 
Son: Wow!  I didn't know that!
Mom: I've driven a lot since then, and now it's second nature; I don't even think about it when I drive.  I'm sure you'll be fine.  And think of this way: even if you fail the first time, you'll probably still do better than hitting a parked car in the parking lot.
Son: Thanks mom.

In this case, the son is nervous about his driving test since he's a new driver, but his mom explains that now that she has been driving for years, driving is second nature to her.  She doesn't even think about how to drive because she just knows how.

This idiom is from the upcoming edition of LSI's book "Reading Horizons," which will be used in the Level 6 Reading classes. For more information, please visit http://www.languagesystems.com/   

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