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Thursday, October 4, 2012

To Pull Something Off

To pull something off: to succeed in doing something difficult or challenging

Example 1:

Taka: I just took the official TOEFL test and it was so hard! I’m really tired.

Sarah: Really? Why did you take it so early? You’ve only been in TOEFL class for a month.

Taka: Yes, but in order to get accepted to the University of Oregon, I have to submit my score earlier than I first thought. So, I had to take the TOEFL test now.

Sarah: Oh, I see. How do you think you did?

Taka: Well, I’m not sure. I’ve been studying pretty hard in class and I think I’ve really been improving. Even though the test was hard, I think that I pulled it off and will get the score I need to go to university.

Sarah: Wow! That’s great! I wish that I could pull something like that off. I’ve been in TOEFL class for three months and I still don’t think I can get the score I need.

Taka: I’m sure you will soon. Just study hard and be positive.

Sarah: Thanks for the advice!

Example 2:

Ken: So, we had a huge 30th surprise birthday party for my sister last weekend. We had over 100 people in the restaurant with decorations. On top of that, we had to keep it a secret so that it would be a surprise for her. I really didn’t think we could pull it off.

Jackie: So how was it? Was she surprised?

Ken: Actually, I think everything was great. She was really surprised and everybody had a great time. In the end, I really think we pulled the whole thing off!

 Jackie: Well, I’m glad it turned out to be a good party. What a nice thing to do for your sister!

 Ken: Yes, we are really close and I wanted to do something special for her birthday.

To pull something off means to succeed in doing something that is initially difficult or challenging. In the first example, Taka wasn’t ready to take the TOEFL test and get the score he needed to go to university. However, in the end, he pulled it off and got the score he needed. In the second example, Ken planned a big surprise party for his sister with about 100 people attending. At first, he didn't think he could keep it a secret, but in the end, Ken pulled it off and had a successful surprise party.

This idiom can be found in the upcoming new edition of Reading Horizons. This book is used at LSI schools in the level 6 Reading/Vocabulary classes. For more information, please visit:

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


Idiom: Jerk - Used as a noun

 Example 1:

Tina: I cannot stand Kevin. He is such a JERK!

Selma: Wait a minute….I thought you were dating him and everything was wonderful!

Tina: Yes, we have been dating for about two months, but he is still a JERK! I just found out that he has been dating two other girls at that same time! No wonder he was always late picking me up for our dates.  He told me that I was the only girl for him and I believed him!

Selma: Wow! He is a jerk. Why don’t you just break up with him and go out with a nice guy for a change?

Tina: Well, I don’t know…maybe I should give Kevin one more chance. Even though he’s a jerk, he is still a lot of fun to be around.

Selma: OK….If that’s what you want. I still think you should look for someone else.

Tina: Well, I’ll think about it. See you later.

Example 2:

Kitty: My professor is such a jerk! Half of the time he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Then, he gets mad at the class if we don’t understand him.

Jolene: Really? I heard that his class is really interesting. Are you talking about Professor Jones who teaches American History?

Kitty: Yes! He’s so mean and doesn’t listen to any of our questions. Plus, his tests are impossible to complete. I think he really just wants to flunk everyone in class. He doesn’t care about his students at all!

Jolene: It’s so hard to believe that we are talking about the same professor.

Kitty: Well, we are and he’s a big jerk. Believe me! He doesn’t care about the students and only thinks about himself and his academic career. The other day, he left class early just to be interviewed on TV!

 Jolene: Wow! He sounds like a jerk. I wonder what happened to make him change so much.

 Kitty: I don’t know, but I’m really thinking about dropping his class.

A “jerk” is a word used to describe people who are mean, selfish, or foolish. In the first example, Tina’s boyfriend went out with other girls when they were dating and didn’t tell her. In the second example, the professor is selfish and is only thinking about himself while treating the students really poorly.

This idiom can be found in the LSI textbook Speaking Savvy, Unit 7, Part 1. This book is used at LSI schools in the level 5 Listening/Speaking classes. For more information, please visit: