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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

To fall for someone

Example 1:

Veronica: I want to tell you something, but please don’t run away.
Charles: Is it pretty bad?  I’m not sure, but okay tell me.
Veronica: I have fallen for you
Charles: Really?  I fell for you too.

Example 2:

Nick: I’m not happy that my sister is dating someone I hate.  It’s just not fair.
Every: What?  Your sister fell for that crazy guy from the concert.  Not good.


To Fall For Someone means to fall in love with a person.  In the first example, both Veronica and Charles liked each other and decided to confess.  In the second example, Nick was upset that his sister made poor choice in men, as his friend Emery described him as “crazy guy.”

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Thursday, November 9, 2017

To Fancy Someone or Something

Idiom: To fancy someone means to be attracted to or like a person; to fancy something means to want something (like an object or product) or to want to do something (like an activity).

Context #1

Millie: Hey, Val. You look happy. What are you thinking about?

Val: Oh, hi Millie. Well, you know that I fancy that new guy in class, right?

Millie: The guy from New York? Bill?

Val: Yes. That guy. Well, he just asked me out a few minutes ago. We are having dinner together on Friday night!

Millie: Great news! He obviously fancies you, too!

Context #2: Two friends are talking about a weekend trip

Candy: I'm so excited about this weekend! I really fancy skiing, especially at Big Bear mountain!

Tarik: I know. It is going to be so fun! Do you have all your skiing gear?

Candy: Yes. Here it is.

 Wow! I really fancy your ski goggles! They are so cool. 

Candy: I just bought them at that new sporting store down the street. They were really cheap and there are many colors to choose from.

Explanation: To fancy someone means to be attracted to or like a person; to fancy something means to want something (like an object or product) or to want to do something (like an activity). In context 1, Val fancies Bill and she is happy because he just asked her out on a date. In context 2, Candy fancies skiing (an activity) and Tarik fancies Candy's ski goggles (thing).

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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

To Lose One's Train of Thought

Idiom: To lose one's train of thought means to forget what one was talking or thinking about.

Context #1 – Two students talking after history class

Mitzi: Ms. Cranston is so strange! Did you see what happened today?

Valerie: No, I wasn't in class today. What happened?

Mitzi: So she was in the middle of giving the lecture. A student in the front raised his hand and asked a question. It seemed like the student's question made Ms. Cranston lose her train of thought because after she answered the student's question, she just stood there for like two minutes saying nothing and staring into space. It was so weird!

Valerie: Mitzi, you are new in the class. I had Ms. Cranston last year and she always loses her train of thought when students ask questions. She can't seem to get back to where she was in the lecture.

Mitzi: Really? Wow, that's too bad for her. Maybe we should try to help remind her when this happens.

Valerie: Well, you could try!

Context #2: Two friends are talking about a weekend trip

Cassie: Hi Tabitha. How was your weekend?

Tabitha: Oh, it was great! Tom and I went camping in the woods and we had such a strange experience at night. It was late and we were setting up the tent and getting ready for bed. Tom had just finished putting away our hiking gear when......

Cassie: Wait a minute! Where did you go camping? Was it near here or did you have to drive far?

Tabitha: What? No, it was at Mt. Baldy which is not very far away. Ummmm.....Oh Cassie, don't interrupt. Now I've lost my train of thought. What was I saying?

Cassie: You were saying that you were getting ready for bed and Tom was putting away the hiking gear.

Tabitha: Oh, right. He was putting away the hiking gear when all of a sudden we heard a loud noise and then a growl! We saw a bear right there in front of us and we were so scared. But then the bear just turned around and went back into the woods.

Cassie: Wow! You were lucky!

Explanation: “To lose one's train of thought" means to forget what one was talking or thinking about. In context 1, the teacher, Ms. Cranston, often loses her train of thought (or forgets what she was lecturing about) when students interrupt with questions. In context 2, Tabitha lost her train of thought when Cassie interrupted her with a question.

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Monday, November 6, 2017

A wolf in sheep’s clothing

Example 1:

Madeline: Watch out for him. I don’t believe he’s the “nice guy” everyone thinks he is.
Sally: How do you know?
Madeline: I don’t really have any proof, but I get a sense he’s just a wolf in sheep’s clothing. He’s being nice now, but he’ll take advantage of you if he can.
Example 2:

Allison: I just had the greatest experience at the used-car dealer! I met the nicest salesman who showed me so many great cars. He promised me he’d give me the best deal.
Bradley: Be careful, buddy! Used-car salesmen are not known for being the most honest people. They’re often characterized as wolves in sheep’s clothing. Just make sure that what he promises is what you pay. And DON’T sign anything until you’re sure.


A wolf in sheep’s clothing is a biblical idiom that is used to warn people against individuals who do not show their true intentions in order to gain from unsuspecting people. Imagine a wolf, generally a dangerous animal, disguising itself as a sheep in order to take advantage of someone. 

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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

As quiet as a mouse

Example 1:

Mom: Shhhh! The baby just fell asleep. It took my so long to put her to bed.
Dad: OK. So I guess I shouldn’t watch the football game in the next room?
Mom: Don’t even think about it! I need you to be as quiet as a mouse.

Example 2:

Sharlene is a brand new student in my class. She’s in our advanced class, but I can’t tell if she speaks English very well; she’s as quiet as a mouse and almost never answers when the teacher calls on her.


To be as quiet as a mouse means to be extremely quiet. In Example 1, Mom tells Dad that he must be extremely quiet because the baby has just fallen asleep. In Example 2, Sharlene is a very quiet and shy student. 

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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

A Ripoff

Context #1

Jim: Wow!  Look at the ticket prices for the Jay-Z concert.  The cheapest tickets in the seats way up at the top are over $200!
David: That's a ripoff!

Context #2

Sara: I need to get my oil changed, but the place I went to was going to charge me $100.
Christine: Don't do it!  That's a ripoff!  You should try somewhere else.

Meaning: "ripoff" is a noun, and it is used for any time something is unreasonably expensive.  Sometimes it's because something is just too expensive, and sometimes it's because people are being dishonest and trying to take money from the customers or consumers.

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Monday, October 9, 2017

Wet Blanket


: I can’t wait to go to Bangkok.  It’s going to be so much fun. There are so many places to see.
Vijo: I hate the city. I prefer a more quiet countryside place. The city is for unstable people.
Kim: Oh, don’t be such a wet blanket. Why do you always have to complain when I want to do something that’s fun for me?  We always do what you want and I never complain.
Vijo: You’re right, I’m sorry. I always seem to have this behavior when this happens. I’m sorry; I’m just really uncomfortable with city people. I’ll give it an honest try this time.
Kim: I would really appreciate that. Nobody likes a wet blanket

Meaning: The expression "wet blanket" means a person that is always negative and usually ruins other people’s good times. 

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Haste makes waste


: I heard you won some money from the lottery. 
Michael: I did.  I’m going to buy a house, and a boat, and get married, and……
Ina: Whoa! Wait a second. Don’t you want to save or invest some of that money? Also, don’t you want to wait to get to know your girlfriend better before you make a mistake? I mean haste makes waste, don’t you think?
Michael: What are you saying? I mean, I love her and I want to share my new wealth. Besides, I always wanted all that other stuff.
Ina: I know you’re excited right now, but you have to think about things before rushing and making mistakes that could cost you more in the future.

Meaning: The expression "haste makes waste" means to rush into something, or do something quickly, with the possibility of making mistakes that may cause one severe problems or a waste of money and/or materials.

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Thursday, October 5, 2017

A Bull in a China Shop

Idiom: A bull in a china shop: behaving like a clumsy or careless person and causing damage in situations that require careful thinking or actions.

Context #1 – Two salespeople are discussing a wealthy client

Mitzi: Hey, Valerie! How did it go yesterday at Mrs. Christensen’s penthouse? I heard it’s really gorgeous and full of expensive furniture and art.
Valerie: It was an absolute disaster. I’ll be lucky if I still have a job when the boss finds out about my visit.
Mitzi: Why? What happened?
Valerie: Well, my babysitter was sick yesterday, so I had no choice but to take along Jason, my three-year-old son.
Mitzi: Oh, no!
Valerie: Oh, yes. As you know, he is a very active little boy. He was like a bull in a china shop. He caused so much damage by knocking stuff over and breaking her expensive things.
Mitzi: I’m so sorry, Valerie. Maybe the boss will understand. I’ve heard she has children, too.
Valerie: Well, I hope so. I’ve offered to pay for all the damage Jason caused.

Context #2: Two friends talking after class

Cassie: I can’t believe how Sherry acted during our class meeting!
Tabitha: I know! Didn’t anyone tell her that the situation was delicate and that we had to be careful with our complaints to the teacher?
Cassie: I told her that we needed to be careful. Mr. Johnson is a good teacher, but he just needs to talk slowly and write more on the board. We didn’t want to hurt his feelings.
Tabitha: Well, she obviously didn’t listen. Sherry was like a bull in a china shop and just went on and on complaining about every little thing Mr. Johnson does. I thought he was about to cry!
Cassie: She was careless with her words, and I think she messed everything up even more.
Tabitha: I’m going to go talk to Mr. Johnson now and tell him that Sherry doesn’t represent us.
Cassie: Good idea. I’ll go with you.

Explanation: “A bull in a china shop” is used for a person who breaks things or who often makes mistakes or causes damage in situations that require careful thinking or behavior. In the first context, Valerie’s 3-year old son caused a lot of damage in the penthouse apartment full of expensive things. In context 2, Sherry complained very carelessly about the teacher when everyone had agreed to be careful and respectful in their criticism. Therefore, Sherry behaved carelessly, or like a bull in a china shop.

Monday, October 2, 2017

A miss is as good as a mile

Idiom: A miss is as good as a mile - A near miss is still a miss and is no better than missing by a big margin. In other words, losing is still losing.

Context #1

Timothy: Hi, Samantha. What’s wrong?
Samantha: I feel so bad because my basketball team played for the championship last night and we lost. It was our big chance and we failed!
Timothy: What was the final score?
Samantha: It was 82-83 in overtime. We missed a free throw at the very end and the other team won by a point.
Timothy: Well, it sounds like the game was really close and your team played well.
Samantha: Does the score really matter? A miss is as good as a mile. Losing a game by one point is still losing.
Timothy: I see your point.

Context #2

Sal:  Good Morning, Mr. Smith. I’m so sorry I’m late.
Mr. Smith: This is the third time in a week, and we really needed you today in the meeting. Everyone else from the department was there.
Sal: I only missed the train by one minute! It was pulling out of the station just as I arrived. I almost made it. So then I had to wait another hour for the next train.
Mr. Smith: Well, a miss is as good as a mile. Being late for the train one minute is the same as being late an hour. You still missed it. You need to make a greater effort to be on time.
Sal: You are right. It won’t happen again.

Meaning: A close miss is still a miss, even if it’s only by a small margin. In context 1, Samantha’s basketball team lost the championship by 1 point, but they still lost, so the margin didn’t really matter. In context 2, Timothy only missed the train by one minute, but he had to wait one hour for the next train. Therefore, there was no difference in missing the train by one minute or one hour. He was still late.

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Thursday, September 21, 2017

To Add Fuel to the Fire

Idiom: To add fuel to the fire - To do or say something to make a problem or bad situation worse; to further anger a person or group of people who are already angry

Context #1

Dan: Hey, Juan. Did you see the huge fight at the soccer match last night?
Juan: No, I didn’t. What happened?
Dan: Well, the home team was losing badly, but the visiting team was really playing dirty. The crowd was already angry.
Juan: Well, that’s understandable.
Dan: But then the fans from the visiting team started laughing and taunting the home team crowd by calling them names like “losers.” Of course, this only added fuel to the fire and the crowd got even angrier.
Juan: Wow! So the crowd attacked the visiting team’s fans?
Dan: Yep! The crowd started throwing things at the fans and then even punched some of them!
Juan: Well, I guess that is what happens when you add fuel to the fire, especially in front of a crowd of people!

Context #2

Samira: Did you see the president’s speech last night about the conflict going on right now?
Polly: Yes, I did. Unfortunately, I think the president only added fuel to the fire because now the situation is even worse and the countries in the conflict are even more hostile.
Samira: I agree. What was the president thinking? He needs to be more diplomatic in his words in order to calm the situation down.
Polly: Right! Hopefully, he will be more careful in his next speech and try to predict peace instead of war.
Samira: Well, we can only hope. It seems like this president enjoys adding fuel to the fire. It’s good for his ratings.

Meaning: To add fuel to the fire means to make a situation worse or to further anger a person or group of people. In context 1, the fans from the visiting team added fuel to the fire, or made the home team crowd even angrier, by calling the crowd names. In context 2, the president made the conflict even worse by not using diplomatic language or language that would make the situation calmer.

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Monday, September 18, 2017

Right Off The Bat

Idiom: Right off the bat – Immediately, Instantly, Without Hesitation

Context #1

Tanya: Hi, Suzy. What’s wrong?
Suzy: Oh, hi Tanya. I’m so disappointed in my new apartment.
Tanya: What do you mean?
Suzy: Well, I was told that is was a fully furnished, new apartment, but I noticed that the heated floors and the electric fireplace are not turned on yet. It’s just really upsetting.
Tanya: Are you serious? Suzy, it’s September and still hot outside. You don’t even need those things yet. Besides, you can’t expect everything to be ready right off the bat. It’s a new apartment and they are still finishing things off.
Suzy: I guess you’re right. It's just that I paid a lot of money for that apartment, so is it too much to ask for things to be done right off the bat?
Tanya: I see your point.

Context #2

Sam:  Hey, Patricia. You look like you are in pain. What happened?
Patricia: Oh, I just went to my first bicycle lesson yesterday. I fell off the bike and crashed right off the bat.
Sam: Bicycle lesson? Do they actually have those types of lessons? Didn’t you learn how to ride a bike when you were a child?
Patricia: No, Sam, I didn’t! I know it’s strange, but I never learned and it’s super scary for me, especially since I hurt myself yesterday.
Sam: I learned right off the bat when I was six years old. It’s so easy.
Patricia: Well, good for you, Sam. It’s easy for children to learn, but for adults, it is more challenging.
Sam: I guess you are right. Good luck and be careful!

Meaning: “Right off the bat” means instantly or without hesitation. In context 1, Suzy expected everything in her expensive new apartment to be ready instantly or right off the bat. In context 2, Patricia doesn’t know how to ride a bike, and when she tried, she fell off the bike right off the bat. Sam responded that as a child, he learned right off the bat. 

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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Bite off more than you can chew

Example 1: 

Christina: What's wrong?​ You look so stressed out​!

Adam: I am. I have 4 homework assignments tonight, a math test tomorrow, and I have to memorize my lines for the school play this weekend. Plus, I told my neighbor I would help her paint her house tomorrow!

Christina: Wow, that is too much! I think you bit off more than you can chew

Adam: You're right. I shouldn't have accepted so much responsibility, there's no way that I can do it all by myself.
Example 2:

Chase: How is your new job?

Austin: It's OK, but I'm a little bit nervous. Today was my first day, and my boss already assigned me 3 important projects. 

Chase: Wow, does he know that you don't have any experience?

Austin: I was afraid to tell her because I wanted to impress her. I think I may have bitten off more than I can chew. 

Chase: Maybe you can ask one of your coworkers for help so you don't have to do all the work by yourself!

Meaning: To try to do more than you are able to do; To try to do something that is too difficult for you.

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