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Thursday, August 15, 2013

To Slip Out

Idiom: to slip out; used as a verb

First Example:
Randy: Why did you leave class early?
Henry: I felt my phone vibrate.
Randy: Why wasn't it off?
Henry: My sister went into labor this morning, so I left it on vibrate in case she had the baby while I was in class. 
Randy: Did she?
Henry: Yeah.  My mom called to tell me the good news.  I tried to slip out quietly.
Randy: Oh, the teacher noticed.  As soon as you left, he gave us a pop quiz, saying that you'd miss points for answering your phone during class.
Henry: Oh no!
Meaning: The phrase “slip out” means to leave a place quietly without being noticed.  It has a similar meaning to "sneak out," although "sneak out" implies you are doing something wrong ("slip out" is neutral). In the example, Randy tried to slip out of the classroom to answer his phone; however, he wasn't successful at being unnoticed.   Look at another example:
Maria: Where do you want to sit?
Anthony: I like to sit on the aisle at movies.
Maria: Really?  I normally try to sit in the middle so I can see the center or the screen.
Anthony: Yeah, I think most people do, but I prefer the aisle so I can slip out if I need to go to the restroom.                                                       
Maria: That's a good idea.  I hate having to walk past people during the movie.
In this case, Anthony sits on the aisle during movies so he can quietly leave, or "slip out", of the theater to use the restroom.   Notice that in this example, Anthony isn't doing anything wrong, so you probably wouldn't "sneak out" in this situation.

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

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Idiom: run-of-the-mill; used as an adjective

First Example:

Lance: Did you do anything special this weekend
Nancy: Not really. Just relaxed at home.  Oh, I went and saw that big blockbuster this weekend.
Lance: How was it?
Nancy: Not great.  It's your typical, run-of-the-mill action movie. 
Lance: Oh that's too bad. I really like the lead actor.
Nancy: He was OK, but the movie itself is nothing special.  I'd say wait for the DVD to watch it; it's not worth a trip to the movie theater.

Meaning: The expression “run-of-the-mill” means that something is ordinary, with no special features or characteristics.  It has a similar meaning to the word "mediocre," which means that something is not special (this usually has a negative connotation, as it is usually used to describe things that are supposed to be special). In the example, Nancy describes the new blockbuster as being "run-of-the-mill,” suggesting that Lance wait for the movie to come out on DVD to watch it.  Also, notice that “run-of-the-mill” uses hyphens; they should always be used with this expression.  Look at another example:

Mark: Did you see Tania's engagement ring?
Brianna: No.  Did you.
Mark: It's huge!
Brianna: Really?                          
Mark: We're not talking about some run-of-the-mill 1 carat diamond engagement ring.  The center diamond is over 2 carats, and there are smaller diamonds along the band.  I asked Jim how much he spent on it, and he said it cost almost $10,000!
Brianna: Wow!  His business must be doing well!   

In this case, Mark uses the expression "run-of-the-mill" with a negative to emphasize that Tania's engagement ring is not ordinary; due to the size of the diamond and cost of the ring, it an extraordinary ring that is not “run-of-the-mill." Using the expression in this way (with a negative to emphasize that something isn't ordinary) is fairly common.

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