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Idioms: English Expressions

Study 10 idioms below. Then answer the questions.

keep ____ posted
give me updates, tell me of new things that happen
I know you're busy interviewing for new jobs. Keep me posted on how it's going.

lights are on, but nobody's home
a humorous way of saying that someone is not thinking clearly or has a blank expression
I couldn't believe what my friend said. Sometimes, when he talks, it's like the lights are on, but nobody's home.

mom 'n pop
a small store or restaurant (from the tradition of a small family running a shop)
There's a good mom 'n pop convenience store on the corner.

have a clue
not have a clue
to have an understanding
to have no idea or understanding
Let's hope the new manager has a clue about running a business.
I don't have a clue what you're talking about.

one track mind
to think of one thing only and not see other possibilities
Stop talking about soccer! You have such a one track mind.

push one's buttons
to frustrate or bother someone by doing things that are known to be annoying or sensitive to the person
The argument was terrible. She knows I'm a Republican, and she was talking bad about Republicans. She really pushed my buttons.

roll with the punches
to adapt when there are difficulties or hardships
A journalist has to know how to roll with the punches. It's a tough job!

not set in stone
not established, decided
We have a business plan, but it's not set in stone. We are still discussing ideas and making changes.

state of the art
very new, the latest
It's a state of the art laptop.

take something the wrong way
to think that words or actions are negative when they are not meant to be, often given as an excuse before light criticism or humor
I wanted to give her a complement, but I might have confused my words. I hope she didn't take it the wrong way.
Don't take this the wrong way, but you have the messiest kitchen I have ever seen.

Answer the Questions

1. Is there anyone who keeps you posted about your work or studies?

2. Do you know someone who seems as if the lights are on, but nobody's home?

3. Is there a mom 'n pop store or restaurant near your home? Do you go there?

4. What is one subject you don't have a clue about?

5. Do you know anyone who has a one track mind?
What does that person think about all the time?

More Questions

6. If someone was going to push your buttons, what subject might the person use?

7. Do you easily roll with the punches?

8. Do you have an appointment or social this week that is not set in stone?

9. Do you have any state of the art devices?

10. Did you take something the wrong way last week? Or do you know anyone who might have?

Now learn 10 more idioms. A blank ____ indicates a place for a pronoun.
Then answer more questions about your everyday life.

talk over
to discuss, to exchange opinions
We need to talk over the changes in this contract.

think outside the box
to think creatively or in a new way
The usually advertising campaign did not work. We have to think outside the box and find a new method.

touch base with
to contact, to briefly chat with
I will touch base with the other team manager when we meet our goals.

up in the air
not known, uncertain, undecided
Most of the lay-offs are completed, but his job is still up in the air until this December.

work out the kinks
to make straight or clean, to get rid of problems
The business plan looks good, but we still need to work out the kinks.

wine and dine
to treat very well, to schmooz
Are you planning to wine and dine the new manager?

you could hear a pin drop
it was very quiet, usually an important statement or action follows
When he said the company might go under, you could have heard a pin drop, but then his wife made a very funny joke and everyone laughed.

a quick study
very smart, can easily learn
I do not know how to tutor students in test preparation, but I'm a quick study. Tell me which test you need, and I will prepare.

barking up the wrong tree
complaining to the wrong person, making an issue with the wrong person
I hope I'm not barking up the wrong tree in applying for this job, but I think my business experience will help with your non-profit work.

break a leg
an expression that means, good luck! usually used in theatre
I hope you enjoy your first show as an actor. Break a leg!

Answer the Questions

1. Did you talk over an important issue with a friend or coworker last week?

2. Do you know someone who thinks outside the box only when needed?
Do you know someone who thinks outside the box all the time?

3. Did you touch base with a teacher, manager or boss last week?

4. Are your weekend plans up in the air?

5. Do you need to work out the kinks in your English?

More Questions

6. Have you ever been wined and dined? What was the occasion?

7. Is there a room or building that is usually so quiet you could hear a pin drop?

8. Generally speaking, are you a quick study?

9. Can you think of a time when you were barking up the wrong tree?
Can you think of a time when a friend did this?

10. Do you need good luck on any current project or goal? If so, break a leg!

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