Memorial Day is just around the corner so let’s remember those who died while serving in the country's armed forces by learning some related idioms!
All’s fair in love and war.: any conduct is permissible in certain circumstances, (often used as an excuse for deception.)
E.g. Jim cheated on the entrance exam, but he really want to get into that school, and all's fair in love and war.
In order to get Sally to go out with him, Joe lied and told her that her boyfriend was cheating on her. All's fair in love and war.
tug of war: a struggle for supremacy, a strenuous contest between two sides, either physical or figurative .
E.g. There's a constant political tug of war between the ruling parties.
Our dogs love to play tug of war with their new toys.
battle something out: to fight about something to a conclusion
E.g. The two brothers have not talked in years, we wish they just went into an alley to battle out their differences.
The Senate and the House do not agree on the bill, so they will have to battle it out and come up with a comprise.
half the battle: a significant part of a big effort
E.g. Getting through the interview was half the battle, not I have to prove myself in the position.
I have got all the ingredients for the Thanksgiving dinner, that’s half the battle won!
to dodge the bullet: to successfully avoid a very serious problem or failure
E.g. Peter dodged a bullet. He got a "D" on the final exam so he did not fail the class.
The company laid of 80% of their employees, but they kept me. I dodged that bullet.
to make peace with: to accept something (not desirable), to stop arguing with someone
E.g. He knows that he is too old to play become a professional soccer player, and he's made his peace with that.
After years of arguing, the brothers finally made peace with each other.
Last time we had taken a look at expressions with exclamation marks so why not learn some with question mark this week?
What’s the deal?: used when asking someone to explain what they have been doing or what they are planning to do
E.g. You haven't been talking to me all week - what's the deal?
So, what's the deal? Are we going out to dinner or not?
What’s up? What’s cooking? What’s new? What’s happening? : usual way to greet someone
E.g. A: Hi Mary. What’s cooking?
B: Not much. I’m just finishing up my housework.
A: Hey John. What’s up?
B: Oh, not much. I’ve been getting everything ready for our family trip this weekend.
What’s the catch?: used when something sounds too good to be true
E.g. A: You can get this brand new car for $50/month!
B. What’s the catch?
A: This job will pay you a $1000 per day!
B: That sounds great but what’s the catch?
What’s the drill?: used when inquiring about the rules and procedures
E.g. I just started my new job today but I need to order some supplies. What’s the drill?
I need to apply for new license plates. What's the drill?
What are you getting at?: used when inquiring about the other person’s intention, what he/she is implying, to clarify their message
E.g. Why are you looking at me like that? What are you getting at?
A: You know I liked you better when we were in high school. B: I don’t understand. What you getting at?
It raises a question mark: there is a feeling of doubt about the ability or quality of something a question mark over something,
E.g. The recent actions of the government scandals raised a question mark over their ability to lead.
Jill’s husband has been working long hours and disappearing for days which raises a question mark over his commitment for his family.
Can an American English speaker train their mouth and tongue to speak like a Brit? What really is the difference between the two English accents? According to Barbara Berkery, a dialect and voice coach that trains many actors to perfect their accent, Americans speak with wide, almost grinlike mouths. British speech requires a dropped jaw and vertically open lips. (Imagine you are blowing kisses and then say the word “swan.”) Clearly enunciate consonants. Don’t, for example, say T’s as D’s (it is “butter,” not “budder”). “That’s a very American thing,” Berkery says. You should hear the full T at the end of “cat.”
Berkery trained Renee Zellweger to sound British for her role in the movie “Bridget Jones’s Diary.” In this article on the NY times, Berkery says before filming started, Zellweger used an alias to get a temp job at a London publishing house where everyone assumed she was British. Order at a restaurant or ask to try on clothes in a department store in your new patois. “Use the accent with strangers, otherwise you’ll never get it,” Berkery says.
This is great advice for learners of any accent in fact, trying out what we've learned in a real life situation. If we don't use it, we will never know how we sound.
Team of Hansa One Directors, Trainers and Instructors sharing experiences and interests on all things cultures and languages.