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Thursday, July 11, 2013

On A __ Scale

Idiom: On a __ scale; used as a prepositional phrase

First Example:
Daniel: Hey Deanna, I was in San Jose the other day and saw an ad for your company on TV.  I didn't expect to see anything outside of Los Angeles.
Deanna: Yeah, since we opened the San Francisco branch, we've expanded our advertising.  We're now advertising on a statewide scale.
Daniel: Wow.  Have you gotten any new clients out of it?
Deanna: Actually, yes.  I just signed a contract with a new client in Oakland, and I have a telephone meeting with a possible client from Northern California in half an hour. 
Daniel: Wow, that's great!  Congratulations.
Deanna: Thanks.
Daniel: And if you decide you want to break into the Las Vegas market, let me know.  I have some contacts there.
Deanna: I'll keep that in mind.

Meaning: The phrase “on a ____ scale” indicates a measurement of some kind.  The “____” is completed with an adjective that indicates size or range, such as with the example above: “on a statewide scale.”  This means that Deanna is advertising her company all over the state of California.  This idiom can be used with words suggesting large ranges ("statewide", "national", "massive", "grand") and small ranges ("local", "small", "limited").   Look at another example:

Deanna: What about your company?  Any plans to move out of Las Vegas?
Daniel: Right now, demand doesn't seem very high, so we're only advertising on a limited scale.  We're doing well locally, so we're playing it safe.
Deanna: Yeah, it can be risky to try to expand too quickly.  Glad to hear you're doing well though.
Daniel: Thanks.

In this case, Daniel is not advertising on a large scale, preferring to keep his business local, where he is already doing well.

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

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

In the Spotlight

Idiom: In the spotlight; used as a prepositional phrase

First Example:
Dani: How was the party last night?
Henry: It was pretty fun.  Tom was crazy.
Dani: What did he do?
Henry: He got drunk and performed a dance routine in the living room. 
Dani: He does love being in the spotlight.
Henry: Yeah.  And then to make sure he still had everyone's attention, he jumped into the pool!
Dani: With his clothes on?
Henry: Yeah. He tried to get other people to join him, but no one would.  Eventually, he got out of the pool and took a cab home, but it was pretty funny.

Meaning: The phrase “in the spotlight” means at the center of attention.  The idiom comes from the literal meaning of being in a spotlight while onstage.  However, the idiom can now be used in a non-literal sense when someone is at the center of attention.  In the example, Tom loves to be the center of attention, which explains his crazy antics.   Look at another example:

Marisol: Are you excited about your presentation in class tomorrow?
Yoshi: Not really.  I hate being in the spotlight.  I get nervous being in front of other people.
Marisol: Then you should try to shift the attention.
Yoshi: What do you mean?
Marisol: Well, try to interact with your audience so that it feels more like a conversation.  You have a lot of friends in that class.
Yoshi: That's not a bad idea.  Thanks for the advice.

In this case, Yoshi does not like being at the center of attention, and he isn't looking forward to his presentation, so Marisol suggests a way of making him feel less "in the spotlight."

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