English Online with Speak Method



Online Classes Pronunciation Facts R, Th, T and other sounds 500 Words Practice
Local Classes Business Communication TOEFL Prep ESL Stories
Contact Us
Vowel Sounds
Grammar and Idioms Learn by Language

Idioms: English Expressions

Study 10 idioms below. Then answer the questions.

break the ice
to start a conversation or relationship when there is a difficult or untried situation
I got into a terrible fight with my friend, and we hadn't talked for days. Today I saw her sitting alone and decided to break the ice.
count on ______
to rely on, to place trust in
Can I count on you to finish your half of the project?
Yeah, you can count on me.
count ___ in
to include in a group or in a project
I love planning birthday parties. If you are looking for help, count me in!
We need one extra person for the committee. Can we count you in?
drag ____ feet
to do something slowly, often lazily
He's a good software programmer, but he's been dragging his feet lately.
go the extra mile
to do the work required and also to exceed it
I know I need to go the extra mile if I want to get this job.
hit the sack
to go to bed
I was reading until 2am. Then, I had to hit the sack.
keep _____ head above water
to barely survive (to keep from drowning)
It's not easy to keep your head above water in a tough economy.
My wife and I have kept our heads above water, but that's it. We have no savings.
lighten up
to stop being serious
You've had a hard year, but you need to lighten up. If you're serious all the time, you'll have a heart attack!
Hey, lighten up! It's not so bad.
make a bundle
to make a lot of money
Our finances are o.k. right now, but it would be great if we could make a bundle and pay off our house.
I think he made a bundle at that company.
____ gut tells me
the intuition says ...
My gut tells me to buy the condo, even though I'm not sure of the value.
His gut told him to ask the girl out. He had a feeling she might say yes.

Answer the Questions

1. When was the last time you had to break the ice?

2. Out of everyone you know, who do you count on the most?

3. If you were going to be counted into a new social group, what would it be?

4. Do you know anyone who is always dragging his or her feet?

5. Do you believe in going the extra mile or in being moderate in your work?

More Questions

6. What time do you usually hit the sack?

7. Do you know anyone who is struggling to keep his or her head above water?

8. If you have had a bad day, what makes you lighten up?

9. What is the easiest way for an average person to make a bundle?

10. Think about a time when you listened to your gut (intuition). What did your gut tell you to do?

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

no hard feelings
no negative feelings, often used in an apologetic way
I hope you don't have any hard feelings about losing your job. Fifty other people were laid off too.
Sorry I spilled the water! No hard feelings, right?
on the dot
on time
He came at 10am on the dot.
out of the question
beyond argument; do not try to ask questions or argue
My son wants to have a birthday party with 50 friends. I told him that was out of the question. He can have 30 friends at most.
put your foot in your mouth
to say something embarrassing without intention
I told my mother-in-law that she had a flattering, hefty figure. Too late, I realized I'd put my foot in my mouth.
R and R
literally "rest and relaxation," time off from work, time to relax
After doing my taxes, I'll need some R and R.
Let's go out of town and get some R and R.
second nature
easy, natural
Calculus is hard for me, but for my best friend, it's second nature.
sleep on it
to wait at least a day before making a choice
I might drop the class, but I'm not sure yet. I'll sleep on it first.
take off
1) to leave
2) to gain popularity, to grow suddenly
1) He thought the marriage was O.K., but then his wife suddenly took off.
2) She was a waiter until her acting career took off.
talk behind ________ back
to gossip, to talk about a person negatively when the person is not there
My best friend was talking behind my back. I couldn't believe it!
that's putting it lightly
this expression means that the person agrees and also thinks the situation is worse or harder than what was said
"There is a new policy that all employees have to be at work by 7am. It's so annoying!"
"That's putting it lightly!"

Answer the Questions

1. Do you know anyone who often has hard feelings about things that happen?

2. Do you usually show up for appointments on the dot?

3. Is there a lifestyle (amount of money, marriage ...) that is out of the question for you?

4. Do you remember a time when you put your foot in your mouth?

5. When was the last time you had serious R and R?

More Questions

6. Do you have a talent or skill that is like second nature?

7. Do you usually sleep on tough decisions or do you make them quickly?

8. Can you think of a star whose career suddenly took off?

9. Do you know anyone who talks behind people's backs?

10. Do you think American English is a little different from British English or is that putting it lightly?

Contact us
* Speak Method is a part of I.E. Tutoring which holds the copyright to all materials on this site.