Search This Blog


Thursday, October 11, 2012


Idiom: must-see; used as an adjective. 

First Example:
Samantha: I'm trying to decide what movie to watch tonight.  Can you suggest any old movies?  I want something romantic.
Rebecca: Have you seen Casablanca
Samantha: Yeah, I cried at the end.
Rebecca: What about Gone With the Wind
Samantha: Yep - but that's old.  Maybe something a little newer.
Rebecca: I assume you've already seen Titanic
Samantha: Actually, I haven't.
Rebecca: Really? You have to watch Titanic! It's one of the must-see movies of the 90s!  I thought everyone had already seen it.  How could you have missed it? 
Samantha: Uh, I was born in the 90s.

Meaning: "Must-see" is an adjective that means something should be seen by everyone. This idiom is usually used for movies and plays.  In the example, Rebecca says that Titanic is a must-see movie, which means she thinks everyone should see Titanic.  

Here is another example:
Stephanie: I saw the musical The Book of Mormon last night on Broadway.
Harry: How was it? 
Stephanie: It was just OK.  I had heard so many good things, I thought I was going to love it, but I wouldn't say it's a must-see.
Harry: That's too bad.  I was excited to see it.

Meaning: In this case, Stephanie said that The Book of Mormon wasn't a must-see, so she doesn't think everyone should see it.  notice that even when used as a noun, there is a hyphen between the two words.
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   

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Personal Space

Idiom: personal space; used as a noun. 

First Example:
Erica: Matt is so weird!  He's always invading my personal space.
Christina: Me too!  He always stands too close.  Do you think he just does it to girls?
Erica: I don't know.  Let's ask Tom.  Hey Tom!
Tom: Yes?
Christina: Erica and I have a question.  We noticed that Matt sometimes gets a little too close.  Does he do that to you as well?
Tom: Yes!  He apparently doesn't understand what personal space is.

Meaning: "Personal space" is an invisible border around a person that is considered unacceptable to cross. While the exact size varies by person and culture, most people feel uncomfortable if someone else stands closer than approximately 2 feet from him/her.  In the above example, Erica, Christina and Tom all agree that Matt often stands too close; most likely, Matt's idea of personal space is just smaller than theirs.  Notice that Erica uses the verb "invade" to describe the way Matt crosses this invisible line; most people think of the area directly around themselves as their own, personal space, and it is an invasion of privacy to cross it.

Here is another example:
Daniel: I hate the subway after work! 
Helen: Why? 
Daniel: Everyone is so crammed in there.  I get claustrophobic*.
Helen: Weird.  I hate when other people invade my personal space too, but it doesn't really bother me on the subway.  I guess it's because I know it's not their fault.
Daniel: You're lucky. I flip out when strangers are that close.

*claustrophobia is a fear of small spaces.

Meaning: In this case, Daniel and Christina are talking about the crowded subway. For most people (like Helen), personal space invasions don't bother them as much when it's caused by a crowd; however, some people (like Daniel) are so bothered by personal space invasions that they become frightened. 

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