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Thursday, June 20, 2013

To get out of hand

Idiom: "to get out of hand”

Example #1:
Jim: Did you see what happened at Kim’s party last night?
Steve: No, I had to work, so I couldn’t go.  
Jim: Well, people just kept on drinking and drinking beer. Then there was a fight and things really got out of hand.
Steve: What happened then?
Jim: Then the police came, broke up the party, and everyone went home.
Steve: Sounds exciting!

Example #2:
Selena: I am so tired!!! I had to substitute teach a 5th grade class today.
Jackie: Oh, no! That must have been difficult.
Selena: Yes, it was. And every time I turned my back to write on the board, the kids would start playing and talking. After a while, things really got out of hand.
Jackie: What did you do?
Selena: Well, I sent about five kids to the principal’s office. I’m never teaching that class again!

Meaning: "To get out of hand" is a very commonly used idiom in American English. It is used to describe a situation that cannot be controlled. In the first example, the party goers are drinking and fighting, so things got out of control. In the second example, the 5th graders are out of control and not listening to the substitute teacher. This idiom can be found in the 2nd edition of Reading Horizons. This book is used at LSI schools in the level 6 Reading/Vocabulary classes. For more information, please visit:

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

To Bend Over Backwards

Example #1:

Joe: Wow! That was a great party at Sandy’s house. She really bent over backwards to make everyone feel right t home.
Steve: I know, she was so nice and talked to all the guests.
Joe: I’ll definitely go again if she has another party.

Example #2:

Sally: I can’t believe they have 10 kids, five boys and five girls!
Julie: I know and they really bend over backwards to treat each of their children equally.
Sally: That’s hard to do with so many children.
Julie: Yes, but I think they are doing it.

Meaning: "to bend over backwards" is a very commonly used idiom in American English. It means to make a special effort, especially in order to please someone. In the first example, Sandy bent over backwards to please her guests so that they would have fun. In the second example, the parents bend over backwards to treat each child in their family equally. Our students learn practical idioms like this in our Speaking and Listening classes at LSI. For more information, please visit