Cat got your tongue ? Time to talk idioms

6th June 2020

We had a number of blogs devoted to idioms, so now it’s time to practice using them as part of your everyday English. Not only will IELTS students earn points, but every student will feel closer to English, and sound more like a REAL native-speaker. You can only learn so much from text books …

So, without further ado, a range of dialogues for you to practice:

Dialogue 1

Hello, how’s it going ?

Great, thanks. What have you been up to ?

Oh, same old, same old. Nothing new. Are you busy ?

A little.

Do you want a hand ? (Dya wanna hand)

That would be wonderful. Can you take over for a moment ?

Absolutely !

I’ll be right back. I need to print out some documents.

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Dialogue 2

What shall I get on with ?

I just need you to finish off the progress reports.

Oh, piece of cake ! (pieceacake)

You’re an angel.

I know…hahaha.

Colleagues at office on coffee break | Free Photo

Dialogue 3

Hello, do you have a minute ?

Sure, what do you need ?

Could we have a little chat ?

OK, let’s go to my office. Have a seat. Now, what’s on your mind?

I’d like an increase in our budget. We desperately need a new photocopier.

Unfortunately, those things cost an arm and a leg. What is the exact price ?

I’ll find out and get back to you. We may have some money in our budget.

Office workers wasting time helping less tech-savvy colleagues

Dialogue 4

How’s the new girl ? Are you showing her the ropes?

She seems to be OK but I still need to keep an eye on her. Are we having a meeting later ?

No, it’s been called off.

Ok, back to work. I need to finish off some expense sheets. 

Yes, time is money.

See you later.

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Dialogue 5

What were you doing last night ? I tried to call.

I was watching TV. Was it important ?

We were having a party. I wanted you to come.

Your parties are such fun ! What did you do ?

We were all looking online for bargains. Anna bought some great shoes.

She’s always talking about buying shoes.

I was looking at the clothes from London. So stylish.

The friendship chat

Dialogue 6

Did you see the email from the Manager ?

Oh, that old windbag ! He was talking so much.

Yes, even his emails go on forever hahahah.

Did you bring your raincoat ? It was raining all night.

I know – it was raining cats and dogs.

They were thinking about calling off the meeting because of the rain.

Yes, maybe the traffic will be chockablock.

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Dialogue 7

Oh, do you know how to use this Zoom program ?

Yes, it’s very easy. It’s a piece of cake! Have you met Jane’s new boyfriend ?

He seems a real loser. As far as I’m concerned, she can do much better.

What does he do ?

Nothing, the work-shy layabout. I believe he wants her money.

In my experience, guys without jobs are hopeless. A waste of space !

How did she meet him ? She’s such a workaholic ! At the gym ?

Well, not at the gym, he’s no hunk ! It’s obvious to me it won’t last.

I’m convinced it’ll soon be over. She needs a good solid as a rock guy.

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Idioms Part 3: All above board, nothing under the table.

4th June 2020

Time to put your money where your mouth is !

We’ve had two previous posts chockablock with idioms. Now, when push comes to shove, can you use them in your everyday English. Remember, those studying for IELTS will get extra points by demonstrating a knowledge of idiomatic language … so pull your finger out and put your nose to the grindstone.

This is an extended dialogue sequence. Practice the idioms and intonation and stress. You may wish to try short sections first, before attempting the whole exercise.

Hello, how’s your day been ?

Oh, so-so. And you ? Did you finish off the reports ?

Yes, more or less. 

You better make sure they’re finished. You know what the Director’s like.

I know. If things aren’t done, all hell breaks loose !

Better keep on his good side. What else do you need to do ?

File some invoices, send off some emails and I need to get hold of Anna in HR.

I think she’s off sick today. 

That’s a pity. Did you finish the wages ?

Yes, piece of cake ! Now I’m going through all the bank statements for the last quarter.

Not cooking the books I hope. Are we still going out tonight ?

Oh, sorry, I can’t know. Something’s come up.

What ? I thought you wanted to see the film. Johnny Depp’s in it.

I know, but I have to work late. Why don’t you ask the Director ? He’s really into cinema.

I don’t think so !

Why not ? He’s such a charming man.

Well, I beg to differ. He’s an old windbag and he drinks like a fish !

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Mr Johnny Depp
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My manager drinks like a fish
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A charming man
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Talk, talk, talk … what an old windbag !

Idioms part 2: Are you pulling my leg ?

2nd June 2020

This blog is especially for my internet friend Silk Chatters, as she mentioned this idioms in a note. She has lots of interesting blogs, so have a gander at her page. Here’s a link to one of her blogs:

https://silkcordsblog.wordpress.com/2020/05/31/my-disgust-with-the-media-continues-to-skyrocket/

Idioms

Following on from yesterday’s blog, I’ve included some more everyday idioms, this time related to work. See how many you’ve come across. To kick off, many of my students are accountants. For that occupation we have:

Woman in Gray and White Pinstripe Dress Shirt Using Black Tablet Computer

number-cruncher = a slang term for an accountant

cooking the books = writing false information in accountants – a serious crime

What kind of work is accounting ?

Young bored office worker sitting at desk and working, she is ...

Exciting and adventurous … not really. My students complain that their work is uninteresting, boring and tedious. Idiomatically, we could say:

It’s like watching paint dry

same thing, day in, day out

same old, same old

How do you cope with pressure or cope with stress ?

How Accountants Can Combat Work-Related Stress | AccountingWEB

I will getaway from everything = Do something completely different

I take a breather. I take five (a short break from work)

I like to let off steam by

Ask each other: what do you do to let off steam ?

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Sing Karaoke
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Go Shopping

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Watch movies

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Idioms

Keep an eye on (watch something carefully)

under the table = to give money to someone unofficially

kick the bucket = to die (informal) Did you hear ? Old Tom kicked the bucket.

A spanner in the works = a serious problem

In the right ball park (US) = not correct but close

On the right track (UK) not correct but close

Now, practice:

That’s not right but you’re …

I had to pay … to get the paperwork stamped

Can you … on the food while I answer the phone ?

Oh, poor Mr Jones, he … last week

That’s a real problem. It puts a …

Journey in Life: "Throw a spanner in the works" nghĩa là gì?
Throwing a spanner in the works. The young lady is holding a spanner

Idioms / expressions (money)

money doesn’t grow on trees

time is money

on the money = exactly right 

costs an arm and a leg = very expensive.

Don’t stop working ! _________________________________

I can’t stay in a 5 star hotel, it ____________________

Be careful with your clothes, I can’t keep buying new ones _______________________ Yes, she’s always right, always _________________

New idioms / collocations

to get hold of someone = to speak to or meet someone

Hell breaks loose = will be a lot of trouble

to be into something = to like something very much

more or less = not 100% but almost.

I beg to differ = polite way to disagree

In the next blog, we’ll look at how these idioms can be used in everyday conversations

Remember: don’t get caught cooking the books – or you’ll get a massive fine.

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