24 de fevereiro de 2024

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Idiomatic Expressions 3 (for C1/C2 students)

Idioms play a crucial role in language learning. Our students may feel comfortable with the meaning of  “very rarely”, but what about the idiomatic “once in a blue moon” which they are very likely to hear in colloquial everyday dialogues? In this post we are going to focus on the following 10 idioms:
BY THE BOOK – A BLESSING IN DISGUISE – PUT SOMEONE ON THE SPOT – CUT TO THE CHASE – OUT OF THE BLUE – TIE THE KNOT – LAST DITCH EFFORT – BLOW THE WHISTLE – AGAINST ALL ODDS – PLAY HARD TO GET

I – MEANING/EXPLANATION OF THE IDIOMS + EXAMPLE SENTENCES

  1. By the book: according to the rules, legal requirements or official procedures

Ex.: “You can trust David, he´s a serious and reliable businessman and has always done everything by the book.”, Hank told a friend.

  1. A blessing in disguise: something that at first seems to be a problem, but later turns out to be an advantage

 Ex.: The storm turned out to be a blessing in disguise. It helped the firemen put out the fire in the building! 

  1. Put someone on the spot: put someone in a difficult situation by asking them a difficult or embarrassing question

Ex.: Jake did really put Roger on the spot when he asked him where he had been all morning. 

  1. Cut to the chase: say what really matters without delay; get to the point

Ex.: “I´m sorry, I´m in a big hurry. Can you, please, just cut to the chase and tell me what happened?”, Mr. Smith asked Tracy. 

  1. Out of the blue: all of a sudden; suddenly and unexpectedly

Ex.: Evelyn had been working there for over twenty years when one day, out of the blue, she announced that she was quitting her job. 

  1. Tie the knot: get married

Ex.: “I heard your brother is finally going to tie the knot with Suzy. Is it really true?”, Andy asked Stuart.

  1. Last-ditch effort: a final effort when all the other possibilities have been exhausted; a desperate final attempt

Ex.: “I made a last-ditch effort to try to get them to agree with my plan, but unfortunately it didn´t work.”, Gary told a friend. 

  1. Blow the whistle on: report someone´s wrongdoing

Ex.: Fortunately there´s always someone willing to blow the whistle on law-breakers.

9. Against all odds: even though it seems completely impossible or unlikely; despite very low probability

Ex.: The weaker wrestler won the fight against all odds.

  1. Play hard to get: pretend to be uninterested in a romantic relationship

 Ex.: “I´m sure she thinks I´m attractive, she´s just playing hard to get.”, said Bill to a friend at the pub.

II – EXERCISE 1:  MULTIPLE CHOICE ACTIVITY 

  1. “I think you are too young to tie the knot.”, Barry told Mike.
    a) Barry thinks Mike is not old enough to make commitments.
    b) Barry thinks Mike is too young to live on his own.
    c) Barry thinks Mike is too young to get married.
    d) Barry thinks Mike is too young to start a business.
  2. If someone is put on the spot, they…
    a) are asked a difficult or embarrassing question.
    b) feared for their ruthlessness.
    c) criticized unfairly.
    d) are given more work than they can handle.
  3. “We were in the school library talking about the history assignment when Jeff showed up out of the blue.”, Kate told Connie.
    a) Jeff had a good excuse for showing up late.
    b) Jeff showed up suddenly and unexpectedly.
    c) Jeff kept everybody waiting but eventually showed up at the school library.
    d) Jeff was angry his classmates had not told him where they would meet.
  1. “Could you cut to the chase, please?”, Don asked Fred.
    a) Don wants Fred to finish the report ASAP.
    b) Don wants Fred to give him a buzz later.
    c) Don wants Fred to get to the point.
    d) Don wants Fred to be a more productive and helpful employee.

5. If something is done by the book, it…
a) is done according to the detailed instructions contained in the company´s manual.
b) is done with the help of an attorney.
c) is done in a sloppy fashion.
d) is done according to the rules, legal requirements or official procedures.

III – EXERCISE 2: MATCH THE IDIOMATIC EXPRESSIONS WITH THEIR DEFINITION 

LAST-DITCH EFFORT       A BLESSING IN DISGUISE        PLAY HARD TO GET

AGAINST ALL ODDS           BLOW THE WHISTLE ON

1._________________________ against all expectations.

2._________________________ pretend to be uninterested in a romantic relationship.

3._________________________ report someone´s wrongdoing.

4._________________________ a desperate final attempt.

5._________________________ something that at first appears to be bad, but is

actually good.

 

IV – KEY TO EXERCISES

Exercise 1

  1. c          2. a          3. b         4. c        5. d

Exercise 2

  1. against all odds     2. play hard to get     3. blow the whistle on     4. last-ditch effort     5. a blessing in disguise

FALE TUDO EM INGLÊS AVANÇADO – Author: José Roberto A. Igreja / Disal Editora

José Roberto A. Igreja is the author and co-author of several ELT books, including:

LET´S TALK ABOUT IT! – The Ultimate ELT Conversation Book, now available on the Amazon stores of the following countries:

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Let's Talk About It!: The Ultimate ELT Conversation Book (English Edition) por [Jose Roberto A. Igreja]

600 Phrasal Verbs (with Jonathan T. Hogan)

Talking Business

How do you say … in English?

Fluent Business English (with Robert C. Young)

What to say when …?

False Friends

English for Job Interviews (with Robert C. Young)

Essential American Idioms! (with Joe Bailey Noble III)