Idioms: a piece of cake

1st June 2020

New expressions for working life

Office Etiquette 101 | Kamdora
I’ll be with you in just a tic … bear with me

I start my speaking classes by explaining that I do not teach English, but Englishes; how the same sentences can be pronounced in Standard English, or in my London accent, in my east London accent, in my (attempt at an) American accent etc …

For those working towards an IELTS qualification, these distinctions are point-earners. Similarly, a knowledge of idiomatic English is so beneficial, not just for boosting scores, but for making students feel they are learning real English; this is how people REALLY speak.

Have a gander at this

(This is London slang meaning take a look at this):

11 of the UK's best farmers' markets ~ Rosemary and Pork Belly

You telling me they’re chattin’ away in Standard English ? Pull the other one.

(Are you trying to make me believe that the people are talking in Standard Queen’s English ? I don’t believe you).

English, as you can see and hear, is a multifaceted language, and I see so many problems in listening exercises, due to speed of speech, accents and unknown words or phrases. So let’s tackle idioms – expressions you will hear everyday, from street markets to politicians being interviewed on the news.

Let’s kick off (start) with some common idioms and expressions:

bear with me = please wait a short time

seems to me = I think, I believe but I can not be certain

do you follow ? = do you understand ?

hold the line = please wait on the phone a very short time

I’ll get back to you = I’ll reply to you as soon as possible (ASAP)

the day after tomorrow = in two day’s time

hit the ground running = to start work at a fast pace immediately

24 / 7 = all day, every day 

Now … practice: What idiom or expression ?

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“6 – 3 = 6 ……. ?”

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“I’m exhausted, I’ve been working …”

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“No, I’m busy tomorrow, how about … ?”

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“Let’s all work with energy and be successful. I want us to … !”

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I’ll see if the manager is in …

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“Well, I’m not sure of the answer, let me … “

Work in pairs – try to make sentences using these new idioms.

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PRACTICE TIME


Idioms – A random selection. Which do you know ? Which can you use in a sentence ?

same old, same old = same thing everyday, as always

stuck in a rut = no progress or change at all. Doing the same thing in life

raining cats and dogs = extremely heavy rain

chockablock = too busy to move – traffic

cooking the books = cheating with the accounts

cost an arm and a leg + very expensive

straight up  = serious, not joking

pulling my leg  = joking with me

learning the ropes = learning what the job involves

snowed under = very busy

let’s call it a day = we can finish work now

can you run that by me again ? = please repeat.

Team game

Teams ask each which idiom fits for:

Time to finish work // Bad weather // Stuck in traffic // Too much work

The accountant was writing false information // I am new at a job // iPhone 11 is not cheap // Sorry, can you explain again //

Everyday same thing // I must change jobs //

Are you joking with me ? // No, I am honest.

Aussie traveler is VERY honest about how he will spend two weeks ...

“You can believe me, mate !”

5 thoughts on “Idioms: a piece of cake

    1. It’s always interesting, linguistically, which idioms are used in English-speaking countries. For example, I think the nearest expression in the States would be ‘you’re puttin’ me on,’ which I said to death after hearing Dylan’s ‘Highway 61 Revisited.’

      Liked by 1 person

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