Today’s idiom: “To Play Your Trump Card”

4 Feb

No, this idiom does not mean that you are friends with an idiot in the White House.

play-your-trump-card

In many card games, a TRUMP card is more powerful than the other cards. When you play this card, it beats the other cards.

So, the idiom “to play your trump card”, means that you are using an advantage that will help you to succeed in a situation.

Example: “In his job interview at Hitachi, he played his trump card when he answered a question in Japanese.”

“Go” and its prepositions and articles

29 Dec

To say that you’re going somewhere can be complicated in English. For example, we say: “go home” (no prepositions and articles), but “go to school” (preposition but no article), or “go to the supermarket” (preposition and article).

This chart shows typical examples of using GO correctly:

go-and-how-to-use-it-correctly-with-prepositions-and-articles

Saying HOW MUCH of something

27 Nov

In English, how do we say HOW MUCH of something we have? How do we measure things like chocolate, coffee or bread, for example?

This chart by vocabularypage.com shows some common ways of expressing quantities, or how much:

measure-words

Today’s expression: “so hungry I could eat a horse”

28 Aug

When you’re really, really hungry, the most common way to express it is by saying “I’m so hungry I could eat a horse”.

If you know a similar expression in another language, which animal is used there?

so hungry I could eat a horse

Today’s idiom: “To sweep someone off his/her feet”

6 Aug

To sweep someone off their feet has nothing to do with using a broom. Although, if you get in the way of someone sweeping the floor, this may happen quite literally!

We use the verb “sweep” not only for cleaning, but also for big, fast movements. So “to sweep someone off their feet” means to make someone fall very much in love with you, usually quite suddenly, and usually with some romantic actions.

sweep someone off their feet

Today’s idiom: “Knight in Shining Armour”

10 Jul

A “knight in shining armour” is someone who rescues you from a difficult situation. It is used mostly in a romantic context, for example “She’s waiting for a knight in shining armour to rescue her from her boring and lonely life”. However, it can be used in any situation where someone is hoping for a rescuer to come along. For example, “Our business is in big trouble. We really need a knight in shining armour to come and invest a few million dollars in us.”

knight in shining armour

FOR, SINCE or DURING?

4 Jun

When talking about time, we often want to say WHEN something started, HOW LONG it lasted, or what else is happening AT THE SAME TIME. To express these concepts, we use the prepositions SINCE, FOR and DURING. But how do we use them correctly? This chart should help:

FOR SINCE & DURING

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