Today’s expression: “Cost the earth”

22 Apr

Today is Earth Day, so it’s time for an expression with “earth”.

We all know that the earth is very precious. So when we have bought something very expensive, we can say that “it cost the earth”. For example:

Mary: “Wow, your new ring is really stunning!”
Susan: “Of course, it cost the earth!”

In this picture, though, the demonstrators have a more direct, literal meaning in mind. They are using this idiomatic expression, to say that we are destroying the earth in order to create energy:

cost the earth

Today’s idiom: “Easter Egg”

17 Apr

Yes, you read that correctly, an “Easter Egg” can be an idiom.

As an idiom, an “Easter Egg” is a secret message, or a surprise, hidden in a computer system or in a work of art.

You’ve probably seen some of the jokes in the Google search engine. For example, if you search for “askew”, Google shows the result on a page that is actually askew, i.e. tilted, as in this picture:

Easter Egg - Google askew

There are also hidden messages in some famous works of art. This article shows some of the secret and cheeky messages that Michelangelo painted into his scenes in the Sistine Chapel: http://www.cracked.com/article_18386_7-mind-blowing-easter-eggs-hidden-in-famous-works-art.html .

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

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