Idiom in S – Safety in Numbers

Welcome to 2018 first blog post! Christmas and New Year’s Eve are long gone and have left me with quite a few extra kilos on my hips…How bad is it for you?

Let’s tackle our weekly idiom!

What it means:

If a lot of people do something risky at the same time, the risk is reduced because there is safety in numbers.

When to use it:

Let’s have a look at some examples of when this idiom could be used.

  • It is commonly used with animals. Gazelles stay in packs as a defense mechanism against predators. Lions are less likely to attack an animal in a group, than one which is isolated. The groups can also come to the rescue of the lone animal. Safety in numbers…
  • Your parents probably used this idiom very often when you were a teenager. It still applies no matter what your age is though. When you go out, you should never have to walk alone outside in the street. Having someone, or even better a group, with you is the best protection as people are more likely to be intimidated and leave you alone.

Other interesting idioms:

Scaredy-cat – It is a person who gets scared easily by very little.

Safe and sound – If you are safe and sound, then nothing has harmed you.

Salt in a wound – If you rub salt in a wound, you make someone feel bad about something that is already a painful experience. (similar to add insult to injury)

Same old, same old – It means that something is the same, it does not change.

 

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Idiom in R – Red Carpet

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And here is the last post of the year.  Next one in 2018!

What it means:

If you give someone the red-carpet treatment, you give them a special welcome to show that they are important. You can roll out the red carpet too.

How to use it:

  • You might be invited somewhere and they treat you well.
  • Companies otfen give the red-carpet treatment to important clients

Other interesting idioms:

Rack your brain – If you rack your brain, you think very hard when trying to remember something or think hard to solve a problem, findf and answer and so on (‘Rack your brains’ is an alternative.)

Raise eyebrows – If something raises eyebrows, it shocks or surprises people.

Read between the lines – If you read between the lines, you find the real message in what you’re reading or hearing, a meaning that is not available from a literal interpretation of the words.

Recharge your batteries – If you recharge your batteries, you do something to regain your energy after working hard for a long time.

Red tape – This is a negative term for the official paperwork and bureaucracy that we have to deal with.

Keep on learning!

Xoxo

 

And don’t forget to follow My Little English Page on Facebook , Instagram and YouTube for regular updates.

Idiom in Q – Quiet as a Mouse

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We are so close to Christmas! Are you excited?

Tomorrow night, if you are as quiet as a mouse you might be able to hear the bells on Santa’s sledge.

What it means:

If somebody is as quiet as a mouse they make as little noise as possible.

When to use it:

  • In any situation when someone is trying to be unnoticeable. The person often acts a lot more quietly as well, avoiding rapid movement and sometimes remaining still.
  • It could be someone trying to hide to surprise a friend, a child trying to be forgoten after bringing home bad grades or even a shy person being very quiet.

Other interesting idioms:

Question of time – If something’s a question of time, it’s definitely going to happen but you just don’t know when.

Quick fix – A quick fix is an easy (usually temporary)  solution.

Quiet before the Storm – It is when you know that something is about to go horribly wrong, but hasn’t just yet.

 

Keep on learning!

Xoxo

 

And don’t forget to follow My Little English Page on Facebook , Instagram and YouTube for regular updates.

Idiom in P – Page-Turner

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Another week, another idiom. We tackle number 16 of our weekly post. Last time it was letter O so we covered ‘Off the Grid’ so make sure to check it out if you haven’t already.

What it means:

A very exciting book.

How to use it:

  • It is used to describe a book that is so interesting that you cannot stop reading page after page.

Example: The name of the wind is my favourite book. It is such a page-turner.

Other interesting idioms:

Packed like Sardines – If a place if very crowded you can say that you are packed like sardines (ex: We went to the club like night but left very quickly. We were packed like sardines so it was very unpleasant).

Pay on the nail – It means to pay quickly and it cash (ex: I don’t mind lending Jack money. He always pays it back on the nail).

Penny pincher – A penny pincher is either a mean person or someone who really doesn’t like to spend money (ex: She always goes for cheap products…even when the quality is bad. She is a reall penny pincher).

Pep talk – It is a conversation usually given to motivate or boos someone’s confidence (ex: When I was a teenager, my dance teacher used to give us a pep talk before every show. It always motivated us to do our best).

 

Keep on learning!

Xoxo

 

And don’t forget to follow My Little English Page on Facebook , Instagram and YouTube for regular updates.

Idiom in O – Off the Grid

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The 15th idiom of the series! Have you ever heard of this one? Well, sometimes it is good to get off the grid for a while.

What it means:

To make it simple it means “not connected”.

How to use it:

It can be used in many different ways. Here are just a few:

  • Not connected to social media or internet.

I tried contacting Pepe via Whatsapp but I just remembered that he is on a retreat so he will be off the grid for a while.

  • Not connected to services (water, electricity…):

Once our solar panels generate enough power, we’ll be able to go off the grid.

  • Not under governmental control:

The inventor of the Bitcoin currency is still unknown to this date. He is completely off the grid.

Other interesting idioms:

On a roll – If someone is on a roll they are experiencing good luck and success (ex: So, you found a ten pound note on the floor this morning and your boss gave you a day off? You’d better play the lottery today because you are on a roll).

On board – To be on board means that you are willing to do something (ex: I asked Mark if he wanted to come with us to Madrid this weekend and he said that he was on board).

Open book – If a person is an open book they are easy to understand and to know (ex: I know you like that boy, it is obvious. You are like an open book).

Open secret – Something that is supposed to be a secret but that everyone knows (ex: Marilyn Monroe and John Kennedy had a relationship. It was an open secret).

 

Keep on learning!

Xoxo

 

And don’t forget to follow My Little English Page on Facebook , Instagram and YouTube for regular updates.

Idiom in N – Nick of Time

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Because Taylor Swift used this expression in one of her songs, you have to learn it.

What it means:

If something is done in the nick of time it is done last minute. It could also mean that it was done just in time.

When to use it:

Let’s have a look at some examples.

  • A TV game show contestant could answer in the nick of time. The person used all the time available and answered at the last minute.
  • You need to go buy bread but are worried the bakery might already be closed. When you arrive just before they close and manage to buy your bread. You got there in the nick of time.
  • You had an essay due at midnight for university and sent it at 11h59…You handed in your essay in the nick of time.

Other interesting idioms:

Needle in a haystack – when you are looking for something difficult to find because of the surrounding it is like looking for a needle in a haystack (ex: looking for a particular person in a big crowd).

Nerves of steel – a person with nerves of steel does not get frightened easily.

Never a rose without a prick – it means that something good comes with something bad (ex: you find the perfect job which is very interesting and is well paid but you have a longer commute everyday).

No pain, no gain – Success comes with sacrifices (ex: if you want to lose weight, you have to exercise a lot. No pain, no gain!).

 

Keep on learning!

Xoxo

 

And don’t forget to follow My Little English Page on Facebook , Instagram and YouTube for regular updates.

Idiom in M – Make Someone’s Day

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It’s official! I am committing to posting a new idiom for this series every week. So make sure to follow the blog and you’ll receive a notification as soon as it is out every week.

What it means:

If something makes your day, it makes you very happy. I also feel that you need an element of surprise for someting to make your day. It is not just happiness, it is unexpected happiness.

When to use it:

You can use this idiom whether it is something or someone that makes you happy.

Receiving a message from a friend, finally finding that top you have been looking for, finding a 5 euro note in one of your pockets or even realising a new episode of your favourite TV show is out are all things that could make your day.

Other interesting idioms in M:

  • Make ends meet – If it is hard to make ends meet, it is difficult to live with the money you earn.
  • Make someone’s blood boil – Something that makes your blood boil makes you angry.
  • More than one way to skin a cat – This means that there is more than one way to achieve the same result.

Keep on learning!

Xoxo

And don’t forget to follow My Little English Page on Facebook , Instagram and YouTube for regular updates.

Idiom in L – Learn the Ropes

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New entry in the series, letter L.

What it means:

If you are learning the ropes of something, you are learning how to do it.

When to use it:

There are millions of ways and situations when you can use this idiom. When I started teaching, I had to learn the ropes of teaching, become familiar with what to do.

It is often associated to starting a new job and getting used to the new tasks it involves.

Here are 2 synonyms of learn the ropes:

  • get the hang of something
  • get the knack of something (the -k- is silent here, like in ‘know’)

Other Interesting Indioms in L:

Last laugh – to finally be more successful than someone who was unpleasant to you or finally succeed after experiencing setbacks.

Lay down the law – give instructions or orders in an authoritarian way (ex: when a mother tells you to clean up your room)

leading edge – sometimes cutting edge – refers to the most advanced position in a field (ex: leading edge technology)

 

Keep on learning!

Xoxo

 

And don’t forget to follow My Little English Page on Facebook , Instagram and YouTube for regular updates.

B2 Listening – Plastic Surgery

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And here we go with another Trinity style listening exercise. This one is for ISE II (B2) students, but feel free to challenge yourself with this exercise regardless of your level (as the listening is a bit long and on the higher spectrum of B2).

I chose the topic of plastic surgery specifically because it is a controversial topic. Which means the exercise is more focused on expressing ideas and opinion than fishing for pure facts like in the previous one (B1 Listening – Axolotls)

  • Audio clip:

 

  • Download this document for the script, the questions and the answers.

Plastic Surgery B2

You need to get 50% of the answers right. Let me know how it went in a comment below!

Keep on learning!

Xoxo

 

And don’t forget to follow My Little English Page on Facebook , Instagram and YouTube for regular updates.

5 (other) Great ESL Activities

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Since you all seemed to enjoy 10 Great Speaking Activities I decided to write another similar post. I hope you find this one as useful as the previous one and that your students have fun with the activities.

  • Fun Scattegories

This is more like a mix of scattegories and list 5 things. Divide your class into pairs or small groups. Write one of these on the board:

-things to say while breaking up

-things you say to avoid meeting your mother-in-law

-things racist people say to show they are not racist

-excuses for not having your homework

-things to say to get out of a parking ticket

Then tell your students to write 5 options. Warn them to be original as they will only get 1 point if another team has the same options, but 2 points if nobody has the same.

This is a nice, quick and easy activity that students usually really like.

 

  • The Forced opinion game

Randomly choose half of the class to be the agree side and the other half for disagree. Have them seat according to the opinion you have assigned them. It could be a good idea to tell your students that you are of course aware that whatever they will say during the game is not their real opinion. Then write one of the following on the board (feel free to add your own, the more controversial the better):

-Women should stay at home (If your male students are very shy I suggest making sure they are are on the disagree team for this one)

-Holy Week should be banned (this one works magic here in Seville)

-Politicians should earn more money

-Real Betis is better than Sevilla

-Being famous…what a horrible life

As you can see some of those statements can be quite difficult to agree (or disagree with) so I suggest you give your students a few minutes to think of some aguments and then just let them debate. Make sure everybody participates!

 

  • The Speculation Game:

This is a nice activity to apply the use of modal verbs (possibility, certainty, impossibility, speculation…). Here are a few examples of photos you can use for this activity.

 

Pair your students up and have them tell you what happened in those photos. Make sure they use modal verbs (e.g. The monkeys must have been curious).

To extend this activity tell your students to actually write the story of how this happened. You will see how imaginative those students of yours can be.

 

  • The Wikipedia Race

This game might be better for more advanced students.

Tell your students to get their phones out (has to be a smart phone as you need internet). Tell your students to go on Wikipedia. Look for random articles (it is an option on wikipedia) and choose 2. New tell your students to all go to the same one on their phones. The more similar the two articles the easier is will be so don’t hesitate to use your teacher veto on some of the articles suggested.

The goal is to get to the other article by only clicking on the links provided by Wikipedia. It is a really good exercise to practice reading fact and scanning for information (which is something students need to do for their exams).

  • The 5-second rule game

This is one of my new favourite games.

Give your students 5-6 little papers each. Tell them to write things to list on each paper ( ex: types of soups, words starting by the lette -e-, blue objects, things you cannot buy at the supermarket…) and then gather the papers.

Now one student will take a paper and has 5 seconds to list 3 of what is asked on the paper (or more depending on how advanced your students are). If the student doesn’t manage to list what he was supposed to, the person on the left gets 5 seconds as well. BUT none of the words mentioned by the previous student can be used. Continue until one of the students manages to do it (he gets the point). If none of them manages to do it, the first student gets the point. Then another student gets a paper and the game continues until the teacher says so (or maybe the end of the class).

It is actually a real game that you can buy in shops. If you decide to buy it, instead of making it as I suggest it, keep in mind that you will have to go through the cards first (some cards require pretty advanced vocabulary or a fairly advanced knowledge of British culture). It does come with a 5 second timer and this is very convenient.

 

Let me know how these activities went and which one your students preferred! Have fun and of course…

Keep on teaching!

XOxo

 

And don’t forget to follow My Little English Page on Facebook , Instagram and YouTube for regular updates.