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Thursday, January 26, 2017

To go overboard

Idiom: To go overboard – to be very enthusiastic; to do or say too much because a person is too enthusiastic about something; to do something in an extreme or excessive way.

Context #1 – Two friends are talking at a party

Tina: Did you see Maria? I mean, I know this is supposed to be a dressy party, but my goodness!
Sherri: I know! She really went overboard with all her makeup. No one wears that much makeup, not even models for a photoshoot!
Tina: True. She has so much makeup on, she doesn’t even look like herself!

Context #2 – Two roommates are talking

Susan:  Wow! Look at all this food! I thought we were inviting just Jim from next door, not the whole apartment complex!!!
Paul: Yes, I know. Do you think I went a little overboard?
Susan: A little? Paul, we have enough food to feed everyone in the neighborhood for the next week!
Paul: Sorry. Maybe we can take the extra food to a homeless shelter.
Susan: That sounds like a plan.
Paul:  Next time, I won’t go overboard!

Meaning: To go overboard means to do or say too much because of being overly enthusiastic about something. In the first dialogue, Maria put too much makeup on for the party. Even though it is a dress party, she should not have put on so much makeup. In the second context, Paul cooked too much food for the one guest they were having over to dinner. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

To hit the nail on the head

Idiom: To hit the nail on the head - get it right, get it, guess correctly, speak (the) truth

Context #1 – Students are in English class

Teacher: OK. Can anyone tell me what the word “affluent” means?
Student 1: To be sick?
Teacher: No, that’s not what it means. Good try, though. Anyone else?
Student 2: To have a lot of money or to be rich. For example, the new US president is very affluent.
Teacher: That’s right! You hit the nail on the head! That is exactly what it means and you gave a good example.

Context #2 – Two friends talking about a couple they know

Sara: Did you hear what Jim said about Winnie and Bill?
Pat: No, what did Jim say?
Sara: He said that Winnie and Bill are getting a divorce!
Pat: What? Jim hit the nail on the head! How could he possibly know that? I didn’t think anyone else knew about it.
Sara: Well, Jim overheard them fighting on Saturday and they must have mentioned it.

Meaning: To hit the nail on the head means get an answer to something correct or to speak the truth. In context 1, the second student answers the teacher's question about what the word means. In context 2, Jim speaks truthfully about his friends getting a divorce.