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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Phase Lesson #11 "On The Fly"

The phrase "on the fly" indicates that something is created, or an action performed when it is needed. There is no planning involved, you just do it at that moment.
Consider the text of the example below:

Two friends have been separated for a long time and they had an opportunity to see each other once again. They wanted to go a restaurant to have dinner to talk about old times. The restaurant would be determined "on the fly!"

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Lesson #10 "Until The Cows Come Home"

This phrase indicates "a long time!"


In the southern rural portion of the United States where families had cows, they would turn them loose to graze and the cows would be gone all day. At evening time the cows would come home.

When a person uses this phrase, they are indicating in the sentence that someone is doing something that they will continue to do for a relatively long time. Consider the examples below:

1. Serious basketball players will practice basketball "until the cows come home!"

2. When a comedian "get on a roll" (get a momentum in joke telling) they will have you laughing "until the cows come home!"

3. Some people will argue with you "until the cows come home!"

As you can see from the example sentences, using this idiom is communicating that someone will do something for a relatively long time, not necessarily literally, but figuratively. This phrase is commonly used in American daily life and the person listening will understand exactly what is meant, now you will too!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Lesson #9 "The Proof Is In The Pudding"

This phrase is used to communicate that the results are the most important thing which gives credibility to the means of obtaining the results.

For example, if someone was making pudding (which is a sweet dessert, different than ice cream) and didn't follow a recipe but put a little of this and a little of that (ingredients) into making the pudding and afterwards, upon tasting it, it tasted delicious! This would indicate it wasn't the recipe, but the skill of the Cook for the good results.

There are different situations that this phrase can be used, it also indicates that it doesn't matter what you say or do but what are the end results? Consider the examples below:

Example 1
A father says to his son: "Son, everyday after school you've been going to your room and closing the door. After seeing your school report card, "the proof is in the pudding" of what you've been doing in your room! These straight A's shows that you've been studying!" Congratulations Son!

Example 2
A certain school continually has graduates which excel in their area of study, "the proof is in the pudding" as to the caliber of teachers and administrators in that school!

Example 3
There is a phrase that says, "practice makes perfect" but if you do inferior work, "the proof is in the pudding" that you really haven't been practicing!

I hope these examples will help you to understand the phrase, "the proof is in the pudding." If so, please leave a comment, thanks!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Lesson #8 "At The Drop Of A Hat"

This phrase indicates telling someone you would do something quickly without taking the time to think about it.

This phrase is taken from the fact that if a hat falls off of your head, it falls quickly to the ground.

Consider the examples below:

1. If I had the opportunity to travel around the world, I would do it "at the drop of a hat!"

2. If I could retire early, I would do it "at the drop of a hat!"

3. If I could visit Paris France, I would go there "at the drop of a hat!"

This type of phrase is used often in everyday American English during informal speaking.

If you read this blog to learn English, please make a comment so I can know how to help you.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

ESL Phrase Lesson #7 "A Happy Camper" or "Not A Happy Camper"

The phrase "A Happy Camper" means having a contented feeling about service rendered to you or a state of satisfaction.

Background for the phrase:
A Camper is a person who sleeps in the woods in a tent or a camper type vehicle for the fun of it. Since they may be sacrificing the conveniences of home, such as no television, shower, electricity, etc. they are enjoying "getting back to nature" away from people, noise, etc. In this condition, they are "happy!" therefore, they are "A Happy Camper!"
However, if bugs, insects, rain, wind, noise, thunder, lightening, cold, etc. begin to cause them problems, then, they are "Not A Happy Camper!"

As used in everyday American English, we would take these meanings and use them to describe if we are happy about a service we received, such as in a restaurant or if we are not happy about the service we received.
Consider the examples below:

A. The food was very good, "I'm a Happy Camper!"

B. The service was terrible, "I'm not a Happy Camper!"

Saturday, May 3, 2008

ESL Phrase Lesson #6 "A Done Deal"

This phrase is used to describe that there has been a final decision, an agreement, or the completion of something.

Example 1:
The company spent many hours searching for the right person to do the job and now it's a "done deal!"

Example 2:
Joe is the driver for a delivery company and he has 15 important deliveries in his work day. His supervisor Bob is concerned that he makes all of his deliveries by a certain time. Consider the conversation below:

Bob: I think I'd better call Joe on the cell phone to determine his status, Hello Joe, have you completed your deliveries?

Joe: It's a "done deal" Bob!

Monday, March 31, 2008

ESL Phrase Lesson #5 "On The Same Page"

This idiom is used when one person is trying to make sure another person has the same understanding on a topic or is using the same source of information to eliminate any confusion.

Sample Sentence:

Mary: Hello Sue, I'm calling you on the telephone to remind you of the meeting we have for tonight at 7:3opm and the proper location, I wanted to make sure we were "on the same page" since this meeting is very important.

Sue: Thanks Mary, I really appreciate the "heads up" (notice) concerning this meeting, I hope to see you there!

Mary: No problem!

You can see from the conversation that Mary wanted to make sure Sue knew the proper time and location of the important meeting. The phrase was used to confirm that they both had the same understanding of the meeting.