Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Pearson Brown English Lesson -Idioms "Animals"

Learn new expressions in English with these exercises:

If you have an idea that has become an obsession, you have a ‘bee in your bonnet’.

* He’s got a bee in his bonnet about politically correct language.
* She’s got a bee in her bonnet about recycling.

When somebody loses a boyfriend or girlfriend, we can tell them that there are lots more possible candidates with an expression about fish:

* There are plenty more fish in the sea.
* There are other fish in the sea.

If you disclose a secret, you ‘let the cat out of the bag’.

* The President’s visit was supposed to be confidential but somebody must have let the cat out of the bag.
* He thought she knew the secret and so he told her and let the cat out of the bag.

If you are in an environment or doing an activity where you know nothing, you are ‘like a fish out of water’.

* When they started talking about nuclear physics I felt like a fish out of water.
* I couldn’t understand anything I read or heard in Tokyo and I was a real fish out of water.

If there is a difficult situation but you take action to confront it you are taking ‘the bull by the horns’.

* I decided to take the bull by the horns and go in and ask for a raise.
* If he’s not doing his job, you are going to have to take the bull by the horns and tell him.

If somebody is very restless, they have ‘ants in their pants’ (often shortened in US English to ‘antsy’.)

* He can’t keep still. He’s got ants in his pants.
* The long wait made the children antsy.

A member of a family or other group who is embarrassing, undesirable or disreputable is called a ‘black sheep’.

* I was always considered the black sheep of my family because I was a socialist.
* My uncle went to prison and is considered the black sheep of the family.

Until/till the cows come home’ means ‘for a very long time’.

* They could argue until the cows come home and still not reach an agreement.
* “I could dance with you till the cows come home. Better still, I’ll dance with the cows and you come home.” (Groucho Marx)

In British English, for a very small space we can say that :

* There is no room to swing a cat.

(A cat was an old form of whip – not the animal!)

If you behave stupidly, carelessly or in a very casual manner, you ‘monkey around’.

* Stop monkeying around and get on with some work!
* Who has been monkeying around with this machine?

If you are very suspicious about something, you ‘smell a rat’.

* They said they will honor the contract but I smell a rat.
* He said he was qualified but I smelled a rat, checked up on him and found out that he wasn’t.

If something ‘goes to the dogs’, it is in a bad state or even ruined.

* Since he took over as chairman, the company has gone to the dogs.
* This part of town has really gone to the dogs in the last few years.



Pearson Brown English Lesson -Idioms "Way"

If you ‘pave the way’ it means to make progress easier.

* The agreement on trade paves the way for better relations between the countries.
* The discovery paved the way to the development of a new drug to treat diabetes.

If you are ‘set in your ways’ , you resist any changes.

* He’s only 45 but he is so set in his ways he could be 75.
* I’m too set in my ways to accept any changes.

If you climb through the ranks of a company and reach a high position, you have ‘worked your way to the top’.

* He started here as a young man and gradually worked his way to the top of the company.
* The best bosses have usually worked their way to the top and not been appointed from outside.

If you want to buy something for $200 and the person wants you to pay $300, you can agree to ‘meet halfway’ and pay $250.

* You want 600. I want 400. Let’s meet each other halfway and agree on 500.
* She wanted six weeks and he wanted ten. So they met each other halfway and decided on eight.

If you speak well (and usually persuasively), you have ‘a way with words’.

* Let her talk to them. She has a way with words.
* I know you have a way with words but you’re not going to get me to change my mind.

If you stop somebody from doing something, you ‘stand in their way’.

* I won’t stand in your way if you want to apply for that job.
* Nothing is going to stand in my way. I’m going to do it.

Sometimes discussions don’t stay on the subject and go ‘way off’ course.

* We’ve wandered way off the subject.
* I took a wrong turning and went way off course.

If you make a lot of effort and inconvenience yourself to help somebody, you ‘go out of your way’ to help them.

* I went out of my way to help him and he didn’t even thank me.
* Don’t go out of your way to do it but, if you see any Cadbury’s chocolate, will you get me some?

Some people want both to work less and to earn more money. They want to ‘have it both ways’.

* You can’t have it both ways. Which is more important to you?
* A full-time job and a full-time family carer? It’s difficult to have it both ways.

If you want to avoid somebody, you ‘keep out of their way’.

* The boss is in a bad mood. Keep out of her way.
* I wasn’t deliberately keeping out of your way.

If you change the order of two things, you put them ‘the other way round’.

* As Brian hasn’t arrived yet, we’re going to put the first two presentations the other way round and start with Jane’s.
* It’s not that she’s mad with him. It’s the other way round. He’s mad with her.

To my way of thinking’ means ‘in my opinion’.

* Jane is a better speaker to my way of thinking.
* To my way of thinking, we need to find a better candidate.

If you have no opinion between two choices, you don’t mind ‘either way’.

* Drive, if you prefer. I don’t mind either way.
* We could meet here or there. Either way is good for me.

On the way’ means that it is coming.

* I have a new baby on the way.
* She’s on her way but got held up in traffic.

If things have changed a lot, they have ‘come a long way’.

* We started out in one small office but we’ve come a long way since then.
* We’ve both come a long way since I first met you as an office junior.

When you give some information as incidental to the main conversation, you can introduce it by saying ‘by the way’.

* By the way, did I tell you that Leslie is going to Ghana?
* By the way, I’m taking tomorrow off.