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Tuesday, February 27, 2018

To look after

Idiom: to look after (something/someone); used as a verb.

First Example: Herb was going on vacation, but he was worried about his cat, so he asked Cindy to take care of it. She agreed, and she looked after his cat while Herb was out of town.

Meaning: "to look after (something)" means to take care of something, often something that isn't yours. In this example, Cindy is taking taking care of Herb's cat while he's out of town. This idiom can apply to any situation where someone takes care of something else, but it's usually used for people and things that can't take care of themselves or are likely to get into trouble (such as an animal, a child or an elderly person). It's used in the simple past tense in this example to explain that she isn't caring for the cat anymore.
Here is another example:

Second Example: Both of Billy's parents work, and they don't get home until after 6:00 pm. Billy is old enough to be alone, but his little sister, Melody, isn't, so Billy looks after Melody until his parents get home.

Meaning: In this case, Billy is looking after his little sister, who is too young to take care of herself and might get into trouble if left alone. This idiom can be used for short-term care (such as the first example, which only happened for a few days/weeks) or long-term care (such as this example, which happens every school day). In this example, it's used in the simple present tense to clarify that Billy regularly does this.
This idiom is from LSI's book "Speaking Transitions," which is used in the Level 4 Listening/Speaking classes.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

To mingle

Example 1:

Jason: I really want to make many friends while I'm here in the USA. Do you have any advice for me, Shelby?

Shelby: Well, I think you should try to mingle with your classmates as much as possible. Don't be shy. Introduce yourself to as many people as you can. You can meet many people this way!

Jason: Thanks! I'm going to a party tomorrow night. I will try it!

Example 2:

I took my girlfriend to my company's holiday party last weekend. As soon as we arrived, she started introducing herself to all of my co-workers. She mingled with everyone all night! I didn't see her again until we were ready to go home.


to mingle 
verbit means to mix socially with other people when at a party or other social occasion. This verb implies that the person who is mingling is moving from one person to another to meet and/or chat for a brief period. A person who mingles does not stay in one place with one specific person/group for very long.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Significant other

Idiom: significant other; used as a noun.

First Example:

Christina: Bryan, I just got a wedding invitation from my friend, Ryan. Would you like to go with me?

Bryan: Sure, but can you bring a guest?

Christina: Hmm. Well, it says the only guests allowed are children and significant others.

Bryan: Then I don't think I should go. Roommates don't count as "significant others."

Meaning: "Significant other" is used as a vague term for another person's partner in a romantic relationship. It is often used formally in things like invitations, when it's possible the person could have a husband/wife or boyfriend/girlfriend. In the above example, Bryan says he can't go because "significant other" means more than a friend or roommate. However, "significant other" can also be used informally, either because a person wants to keep his/her private life secret, or in a question to find out a person's relationship status and/or sexual orientation.

Second Example:

Laurie's Boss: Who was that on the phone?

Laurie: My significant other - I need to pick up some eggs on the way home.
Here, Laurie is avoiding telling her boss what her relationship is exactly to the person who called her, so she just said it was her "significant other."

Third Example:

Laurie's Boss: Why do you always use "significant other?" Why don't you just say "boyfriend" or "husband"?

Laurie: Because "Susan" is actually my girlfriend, but I didn't want my sexuality to make you uncomfortable.

Laurie's Boss: Oh, of course it doesn't make me uncomfortable! Actually I should have guessed.My little brother used to use "significant other" all the time for his boyfriend, Christopher.
Here, Laurie used "significant other" to hide the fact that she is a lesbian.
This idiom is from LSI's book "Reading Horizons," which is used in the Level 6 Reading classes. 

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Those three little words

First Example:

Rachel: How was your weekend?
Charlene: Fantastic! Tom took me to a really amazing restaurant, and then we went for a walk on the beach.
Rachel: Aww! That sounds so sweet!
Charlene: And then the best part - he finally said those three little words I've been waiting for.
Rachel: Wow! So you guys are really getting serious! 
Charlene: I think so.

Meaning: The expression "those three little words" refers to the phrase "I love you."  Since "I love you" is considered such a strong and powerful thing to say, we often use the phrase "those three little words" to refer to the phrase in conversation.  Usually, this is used when at least one person in a couple hasn't said it to the other, but it can also be used for the first time one partner says "I love you" to the other, as in the above example.  In this example, Charlene is excited because Tom finally told her that he loved her.  

Here is another example:

Dale: How are things going in your new relationship?
Colby: Pretty well.  I can't believe we met online.
Dale: How long have you guys been going out?
Colby: A little over a month.
Dale: Wow! If you don't watch out, someone's gonna slip up and say those three little words!
Colby: It wouldn't surprise me. I'm actually really happy
Dale: Glad to hear it.  You two seem like a really great match.

In this instance, Colby says that his new relationship is going really well, and Dale jokingly warns that someone is going to slip up (which means "make a mistake") and say "I love you" to the other.  This expression is often used in contexts such as this, when a relationship is getting serious but no one has said "I love you" to the other person yet.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

To have (something) both ways

Idiom: to have (something) both ways; used as a verb.

First Example: Mario has been dating Erika for six months, but he also likes Tina and would like to ask her out. Mario wants to have it both ways. He would like to date both Erika and Tina.

Meaning: to have (something or it) both ways means to get the best of a situation by getting the benefits of two opposite things. In this example, Mario likes his relationship with Erika, but he also likes Tina. However, he can't date both of them at the same time because he has been dating Erika for six months. This idiom can apply to any situation where there are two opposite things that can't be done at the same time. It's used as an infinitive in this example. 
Here is another example: 

Second Example: John works long hours and makes a lot of money, but he would like to have more time off to do the things he enjoys. However, John can't have it both ways. He either works hard and makes a lot of money, or he takes more time off and makes less money. 

Meaning: In this case, the two opposite things are working a lot and taking more time off. John can't make a lot of money if he does both of these things at the same time. He must choose one thing. In this example, it's used with the modal "can't." 
This idiom is from LSI's book "Speaking Savvy," which is used in the Level 5 Listening/Speaking classes. 

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Get shredded

Example 1: 

John: Did you try the new exercise routine by Arnold Schwarzenegger? It's guaranteed to get you shredded! 

Paul: OMG! I have to try it! 

John: Totally, man! I can teach you but be prepared for a lot of physical pain.  

Paul: You can count on me! 

Meaning: Means well defined muscles especially in the arms and abs.

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