terça-feira, 22 de dezembro de 2015

Idioms about food

I'm going to introduce you to a few idioms relating to food through a short story. Try to read the story first and guess the meaning of the idioms by context and only then read the following definitions that you're going to find right after the end of the story. Enjoy!

I've got a sister who can get away with almost anything. She's the apple of my father's eye. Despite trying to do the right thing and never disappointing any of my parents, my efforts never get acknowledged. On the contrary. I always seem to be a punching bag.

But now I know for sure she's the bad egg in the family and I can prove it. The other day she opened up to me and confessed she had a bun in the oven. Yes, that's what you heard. After treating me like a punching bag all these years, I was the one she picked to tell the biggest secret she's probably ever had. To make matters even worse, she doesn't even know who the father is. Can you believe that? I told her she should definitely tell our parents, but explain only the bread and butter of all that trouble she got herself into. If they ever imagine all the details of that mess, they'll probably die.

The day after I told her what to do, she went right up to our parents and told the whole story. She tried to butter them up first, but they were nuts about all that situation. Then she decided to be pretty straightforward and said: In a nutshell, I am pregnant and I don't know who the father is.


apple of one's eye          a person that is adored by someone     Baby Jessica is the apple of her father's eye.

bad egg               a person who is often in trouble              I don't want my little brother hanging around with the bad eggs on the street.

(have a) bun in the oven             be pregnant      I don't think Jan will come to the bar because she has a bun in the oven.

bread and butter            necessities, the main thing         Just explain the bread and butter of your report. You don't have to go into details.

butter someone up       be extra nice to someone (usually for selfish reasons) We'll have to butter Angie up before we tell her the news about the broken vase.

nuts about something, someone            like a lot               I'm nuts about classical music these days.

in a nutshell       simply   In a nutshell, I'm having a bad day.

segunda-feira, 14 de dezembro de 2015


Have you ever been in the middle of two very troublesome people? For example, you worked as a cupid for two friends of yours to get together and start dating. The problem is that they turned out to be the worst couple of all times and keep fighting over the silliest things. Unfortunately, you always end up in the middle of all that trouble.

One day, one of them asks you to come over to ask you for a big favor. He says he doesn't know how to get up the courage to say to her he met somebody else and needs you to break the news to her. At first you say there's no way you're getting your hands dirty just to make things more convenient to him, but after a lot of begging you end up giving in. Here's the dialogue between you and her:

  • I'm sorry but I've got some bad news to you. Your boyfriend met somebody else and told me to ask you to leave him alone.

  • What? I'll knock your lights out! How dare you come to my house and ruin my day like that as if it was nothing?

  • Hey! I'm just doing my job. Don't kill the messenger!

don't kill the messenger

Don't get angry at or punish someone who is simply delivering bad or undesirable news as he or she is not responsible for it.

segunda-feira, 7 de dezembro de 2015


When I decided to write this post, I immediately started to remember the times I got really really happy. Some memories of mine came to mind, but so did some of my friends and loved ones'. So I'll be using them as a way to introduce you to these awesome new idioms relating to happiness.

We know happiness is such a relative concept. But usually when we think about happiness, we relate it with pleasant moments that made our hearts race really fast and keep those seconds forever in our minds. When I achieved some of my goals, like getting my first job or getting into college or getting to meet my girlfriend's parents and finally having my first official girlfriend, I remember being tickled pink. Simple moments like going out for the first time alone with my friends at night were also very remarkable to me. I felt like a real adult and I had a whale of a time with them. And speaking of being independent and adult, I have a friend that was on cloud nine when he finally got his driver's license. It was something he had been trying to get for so long.

My brother for example has always dreamed about becoming a police officer. So can you imagine how happy he was when he found out he had actually passed the exam and got accepted? Guess he was happy as a clam. I have a friend who took part of an incredible exchange to Europe and seemed to be in seventh heaven the whole time down there. And what better way to describe a real state of great happiness than having your first kid? My brother is about to be a father and once he does he'll be over the moon.

Idioms used in the story:

(as) happy as a clam

very happy I am happy as a clam living all by myself in this little house by the sea.

have a whale of a time
tv. to have an exciting time; to have a big time.

tickled pink
Fig. very much pleased or entertained.

in seventh heaven
Fig. in a very happy state.

over the moon
extremely pleased and happy

on cloud nine
Blissfully happy


1. I am tickled ____ you could come this evening.
2. Ann was really in ______ heaven when she got a car of her own.
3. I am happy as a _____ living all by myself in this little house by the sea.
4. We had a _____ of a time at your party.
5. When he sent me flowers and a note, I was over the _____.
She just bought her first new car and she's on cloud _____.


1. pink
2. seventh
3. clam
4. whale
5. moon
6. nine

sexta-feira, 4 de dezembro de 2015


You're in the middle of a lecture and for a second you look around to see if people are paying attention. It turns out you've been talking to yourself for hours and no one in the room is even making an effort to even pretend they're listening. You get so irritated you start screaming into the microphone: I'M TIRED OF BEATING MY GUMS HERE AND YOU WON'T LISTEN TO A WORD I SAY. I NEED RESPECT!

You get home and you still can't forget how disrespectful those people at your lecture were. You're trying to go over your lecture in your mind word by word and see if part of their behavior was reasonable, but it's far from it. People were having bull sessions in each corner of the room as if there was no one in need of attention. They should have tried somewhere else to chew the fat. You were definitely not the problem there. Now you're so mad it seems you have diarrhea of the mouth. You go around looking for people to dish out insults, but there's no one to be found. You need to phone some friend to get that anger off your chest. You call a friend and ask her to come over. She rings the bell and starts to talk to you. But there's something wrong. Even she doesn't seem interested in your talking. It seems she's too busy with the things in her own mind to give you any kind of attention. Here's what you say:


Your friend can't believe how insensitive she's been to you and in an attempt to apologize she makes matters even worse: I'm sorry. I didn't mean to offend you. But you were running off at the mouth. I thought you wanted me here to just shoot the breeze, but I see the vibe is so much more stressful. I gotta go.

Idioms used in the story:

2. Bull session: a rambling group conversation
4. Diarrhea of the mouth: excessive talking
1. Beat (one’s) gums: to speak excessively and aimlessly
5. Dish out: to deliver critical comments
3. Chew the fat: to chat
7. Run off at the mouth: see “beat (one’s) gums”
6. Like talking to a brick wall: said of trying unsuccessfully to persuade or reason with someone
8. Shoot the breeze: to chat


1. My co-workers and I like to have ______________ in the restaurant after we close for the 2. night.Wow, he talks so much! Does he ever have ___________________!
3. You're just _________________. No one is listening.
4. She ____________ insults as easily as some of us dish out praise.
5. We spent the evening watching the TV and _______________.
6. He's just another one of these politicians who ______________ and have no attitude.
7. I've tried to discuss my feelings with her, but it's like ________________.
8. We spent the entire afternoon just __________________.


1. bull sessions
2. diarrhea of the mouth
3. beating your gums
4. dished out
5. chewing the fat
6. Runs off at the mouth
7. like talking to a brick wall
8. shooting the breeze

Por que dizemos "o' clock" em Inglês?

Já sabemos que o' clock é uma expressão usada para se referir a horas redondas. Ou seja, 8 o' clock, 10 o'clock, etc. Se você for um estudante que se contenta com a expressão em si e não gasta muito tempo questionando (não que isso seja necessariamente uma coisa negativa nesse contexto específico), provavelmente você nunca parou pra pensar o que é afinal e de onde veio a expressão o' clock.

Lá por volta do século XVIII, tempo em que a expressão o' clock teria origem, a única forma das pessoas terem acesso a hora exata era através da igreja (já que era o único relógio disponível nas grandes cidades da época). Nesse tempo, clock, que hoje conhecemos como relógio, era o equivalente a sino. Ou seja, se alguém lhe perguntasse as horas nessa época e você ouvisse o sino da igreja tocando numa hora exata, você diria a hora seguida da expressão "of the clock" ou "according to the clock".

Com o passar do tempo, não preciso nem falar que essa expressão foi ficando cada vez mais contraída dando espaço para a expressão o' clock que conhecemos hoje. Legal, não é? Deixe nos comentários o que você acha dessa história e se você já sabia. Take care!

quarta-feira, 2 de dezembro de 2015

25 expressões inglesas com referência religiosa

1. A Blessing in Disguise

Something awful that somehow leads to something wonderful is said to be a blessing in disguise.


Her being fired from that company was a blessing in disguise. She became self-employed and now has several sources of income.

2. A Mecca for Someone/Something

A place is a Mecca for someone/something if it is often visited by people with common interests.


Israel is a Mecca for history enthusiasts and religious people. The place is filled with ancient and sacred places.

3. An Act of God

An event is an act of God if it is not caused by humans and cannot be stopped by humans.


That earthquake was an act of God. It was impossible for us to predict it or be ready for it.

4. Baptism by Fire

Baptism by fire is an idiom that refers to a difficult experience that a person, who is new to a group, has to go through.


The new recruit had a baptism by fire. On his first day at the office, his boss ordered him to work overtime.

5. Bear/Carry One’s Cross

To bear/carry one’s cross is to carry on with life despite going through much difficulty.


Mimi’s in a tough situation but she knows that she has to bear her cross until her troubles are gone.

6. Crux of the Matter

A topic is the crux of the matter if it is the main problem in a broad issue.


To keep the meeting short, the chairperson immediately tackled the crux of the matter.

7. Devil-May-Care Attitude

A devil-may-care attitude is a way of behaving and thinking that is at ease, sometimes too at ease.


She used to have a devil-may-care attitude until she realized that she only has one life and would want to make the most of it.

8. An Eye for an Eye, a Tooth for a Tooth

An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth is an idiomatic expression that means a person must be punished by the same bad thing he or she did to another person.


The townspeople want an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. They want the accused to be killed because he is suspected of killing one of their neighbors.

9. Fall from Grace

A person who falls from grace goes from being popular to being unpopular because of his or her wrong actions.


The politician had a remarkable fall from grace after his extramarital affairs went public. From being the most popular presidential candidate a week ago, he is now the most hated.

10. Gospel Truth

Something is gospel truth if it is believed to be absolutely real and right.


Many people have now accepted human evolution as gospel truth.

11. Have a Close Call

To have a close call means to narrowly dodge a sure and serious danger.


Firefighters had a close call when they were able to run out of the burning building seconds before it fell apart.

12. Holier-than-Thou

Holier-than-thou is an idiom that can be used to describe a person who is self-righteous and thinks that he or she is absolutely moral.


Mommy has a holier-than-thou attitude and is convinced that she is right all the time.

13. In Limbo

A person is in limbo if he or she is in a situation that is uncertain, making him or her fearful.


He has been in limbo over his health tests. He fears that he might be carrying the virus.

Baptism by fire?  Well, it's another idiom!
Baptism by fire? Well, it's another idiom!
Source: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

14. In One’s Sunday Best

Somebody is in one’s Sunday best if he or she is remarkably well-dressed or seems to be wearing clothes that are apt for going to church.


Sophia was in her Sunday best when she went to the party.

15. In Seventh Heaven

The idiom in seventh heaven means “in a blissful state of mind or ideal situation.”


Mira was in seventh heaven when she won the lottery!

16. Let the Dead Bury the Dead

Let the dead bury the dead is an idiom that means the same as let bygones be bygones. Both these idioms mean “to forget about past conflicts and forgive people who caused us pain.”


She counseled her brother to let the dead bury the dead and start reconciling with his best friend.

17. Money is the Root of All Evil

People say that money is the root of all evil because they think that many conflicts are caused by fights over money.


Surely, money is the root of all evil. The two former best friends are now archenemies after fighting over money.

18. Raise Hell with Someone

To raise hell with someone is to behave very badly with another person.


The immigrant raised hell with her company when she was suddenly sacked for wearing her religious headdress at the office.

19. Sacred Cow

A sacred cow is a very special person or thing that many people do not want to be criticized.


The king is a sacred cow for these people. Anyone caught saying bad things about the king or his family is jailed without trial.

20. Salt of the Earth

Salt of the earth refers to people who are humble, clean-living, and moral.


The villagers are the salt of the earth. They work hard, say their prayers, and help one another.

21. Scare the Hell out of Someone

To scare the hell out of someone is to seriously frighten someone.


That doll scared the hell out of me! It suddenly talked!

22. Separation of Church and State

The separation of church and state refers to a provision in a constitution that says that the powers of the church should not overlap with those of the government.


There is a separation of church and state so bishops and cardinals should not interfere with the passage of laws.

23. Speak of the Devil

To speak of the devil is to talk about a person at the same time that the person walks into a room.


Speaking of the devil, Josh is now here.

24. Through Hell and High Water

Through hell and high water is an idiom that means to suffer from many kinds of troubles.


She has been through hell and high water in building her now successful business.

25. To Hell and Gone

To hell and gone is an idiomatic expression that can mean “completely lost.”


All his efforts is to hell and gone. Now he is broke and feels empty.

8 Idioms about DRAW

Growing up is sometimes a very painful experience. You need to know a lot of things to succeed, but it seems you're always drawing a blank. But we know the best way to learn new things and become wiser is by making mistakes. So don't worry!

One of the things we should always try to learn, though, especially if you're young and are fascinated by social media and sharing everything about your life, is that drawing a line between your private and public life is crucial. Some people don't understand that you don't have to expose yourself that much to draw other people's attention online. If a stranger came up to you in the middle of the street and drew you out on very private subjects, would you be OK about that? Of course you wouldn't. You gotta draw the line at irresponsible sharing.

And that's all. I'm afraid I'm drawing the post to a close. Now it's time for the quiz!

Idioms used in the story

1. draw a blank = not know the answer

2. draw a line between something and something else = distinguish between two things

4. draw interest = create interest, become popular

5. draw someone out = ask questions in order to get someone to speak in detail about something

6. draw something up = create a contract, proposal, report, etc.

7. draw the line at something = to set the limit of tolerance

8. draw to a close = end something


The new actor from South Africa is _________. I think she'll be a huge success.
The politician _________ at the death penalty.
I don't know answer. I'm _________.
I'd like to _________ the meeting _________. Thank you all for coming.
Ask her as many questions as you can, so you can _________. She's a fox!


drawing interest
drew the line at / draws the line at
drawing a blank
draw the meeting to a close
draw her out

terça-feira, 1 de dezembro de 2015

SCRATCH THE SURFACE: what does that mean?

One of these days I watched a lecture on a somehow complex theme and right after the end I had the chance to talk about it with a friend of mine who happened to be there watching the same lecture. I was curious to know what was his thoughts on what he had just heard and whether or not that was a good lecture to him.

He was pretty straightforward in his answer: I don't think the lecturer did a good job at all. Actually he barely SCRATCHED THE SURFACE!

scratch the surface

if you scratch the surface of a subject or a problem, you only discover or deal with a very small part of it

Another example I can think of happened just now while I was watching a movie (actually that was what encouraged me to write this post). Three girls were on a conference call and they were talking about this guy at school they considered a Greek god. One of them went as far as saying something like "I could write a thousand songs about him and I'd just be scratching the surface". In other words, that guy was so beyond words she could barely express how awesome he is in a thousand songs. That's a lot, right? Give your own examples down below in the comment section. Talk to you next time!

Quando usar a preposição BY?

Esse é o segundo post duma sequência especial para preposições inglesas. Confira o primeiro post aqui. Usa-se a preposição BY quando:

1 - o sentido é de NEXT TO:

a. She's sitting by her computer and talking on the phone.

b. These beautiful buildings are by the water.

c. Would you like to live or work by a river or a lake?

d. These office buildings are by a park.

e. They're sitting by each other and watching a movie.

2 - quando by equivale a "method", "way". Note que depois de by o verbo geralmente fica no gerúndio.

a. You can learn English by going online.

b. You can split wood by using an axe.

c. He's a loan shark. By making loans at high interest rates, he has become very rich. 

d. He's a surfer. He rides on ocean waves by using a surfboad.

3 - quando você se refere a meios de transporte. by = method of transportation

a. You can get around this city very easily by bus.

b. The fastest way to get around this city is by subway.

4 - quando by significa "before"

a. He needs to get to his meeting by 5:30.

5 - by também é usado com verbos de movimento, mostrando a ideia passar por um lugar e deixá-lo pra trás:

a. We walked by your house this morning.

b. Who was that man who just ran by us?

c. We drove by many motels before we found one
that had a "vacancy" sign.

6 - é usado antes de pronomes pessoais (me, her, him) para dar o sentido de que algo está a fácil de alcance de alguém:

a. Hilda always has a calculator by her when she
balances her checkbook.

b. Norio keeps a map by him when he drives to
a new place.

c. Do you have a dictionary by you when you write
essays in English?

obs: quando usado antes de pronomes pessoais como him ou her, o sentido é o que acabamos de ver no item anterior. Mas quando ele é usado antes de pronomes reflexivos, como himself, yourself, o sentido é de "alone" ou "without help". Veja:

a. Did Simone fix her car by herself? (Did she
fix her car without any help?)

b. No, thank you. I can do this by myself. (No,
thank you. I can do this alone. I don't need help.)

c. Youssuf is paying his college costs by himself.
(Youssuf isn't receiving a scholarship or other
financial help to pay his college costs.)

d. Hyo-Jin and her husband didn't paint their house
by themselves. They hired someone to help them.