TO PUT YOUR FOOT IN IT

 A:           That woman you were talking to just now. She didn’t look very pleased as she walked away. Did you have a disagreement over something?

 B:           Not exactly. It was all very embarrassing, actually.

 A:           Well what happened?

 B:           We were talking about that man over there.

 A:           What – that one? With the dreadful hair and those awful clothes?

 B:           Exactly. I just said how odd I thought he looked.

 A:           And?

 B:           He happens to be that woman’s husband

 A:           Oh dear. You really put your foot in it, didn’t you?

OUT OF THE BLUE

 A:           Where’s Helen these days? I haven’t seen her for ages.

 B:           She left town when she got married.

 A:           Married? I didn’t even know she had a boyfriend.

 B:           I don’t think anybody did. It was all very sudden. Nobody knew about it till afterwards.

 A:           Well – who did she marry?

 B:           Someone from out of town. Even her family didn’t meet him till the day of the wedding. They were all totally taken by surprise. It came quite out of the blue.

TO COST AN ARM AND A LEG

 A:           Oh no!

 B:           What’s happened?

 A:           I’m all right.

 B:           I’m not worried about you. What did you drop?

 A:           It was an accident. I’m afraid it just slipped out of my hands.

 B:           My china horse! Oh no! Have you any idea how much it cost?

 A:           I’m terribly sorry. I’ll buy you another one

 B:           Don’t be silly. You couldn’t afford one of those. It cost an arm and a leg.

TO TURN OVER A NEW LEAF

 A:           Good heavens! Gerald’s drinking orange juice! Is he ill or something?

 B:           No, he’s fine. In fact I think he’s healthier than he’s been for a long time.

 A:           He certainly looks fit. What’s he been doing?

 B:           Well, he’s given up all his bad habits. He’s careful about what he eats. He takes regular exercise. And you know how much he used to drink!

 A:           Yes­.

 B:           Well he never touches it now.

 A:           Good for him!

 B:           And he’s given up smoking too. He’s really turned over a new leaf.

TO GIVE SOMEONE THE COLD SHOULDER

 A:           What’s the matter with Catherine?

 B:           What do you mean?

 A:           I passed her in the street today and she looked straight through me.

 B:           Really? Perhaps she didn’t see you.

 A:           She saw me all right. I smiled and said hello. But she looked straight at me and never said a word.

 B:           You must have upset her. You know how sensitive she is.

 A:           Well I can see no reason for her give me the cold shoulder. 

TO BEAT ABOUT THE BUSH

 A:           Come in. Oh it’s you, Zen. What can I do for you?

 B:           Well, it’s Julie really. She keeps saying she needs a break. She wants us to get away for a few days. I was… er… wondering er… whether…

 A:           I haven’t got all day. Get to the point.

 B:           Well there isn’t much work in our department at the moment, is there? And we’re all here too: no one’s off sick or away on holiday.

 A:           For goodness sake, stop beating about the bush. What exactly is it that you want to say?

TO TWIST SOMEONE ROUND YOUR LITTLE FINGER

 A:           Is that George over there?

 B:           Where? Oh yes. That’s George.

 A:           He doesn’t look very happy, does he? And he looks so old! Has he been ill?

 B:           No. He got married, you know.

 A:           No I didn’t know.

 B:           That’s his wife: That tall woman next to him. She seems to be doing all the talking.

 A:           Yes, he’s as quiet as a mouse when she’s around. And he never really gets away from her – he doesn’t go out with us anymore. And he never does anything without asking her first. He’ll do anything for that woman. She can twist him round her little finger.

TO GET SOMEONE’S BACK UP

 A:           Have you been waiting long?

 B:           About a quarter of an hour. What do you want – the number 73 bus?

 A:           Yes.

 B:           So do I. Do you know there have been four seventy-two’s while I’ve been standing here.

 A:           Yes. It makes me so angry!

 B:           I agree. Oh look, there’s a bus coming now. Is that a seventy-three?

 A:           I think so. Yes, it is: At last. In fact there’s another one behind it. And another! Three seventy-three’s all at once.

 B:           Typical! Isn’t it maddening! And if you try to complain they don’t take any notice at all. It really gets my back up.

HE WOULDN’T HURT A FLY

 A:           Who’s that man with Sally? He looks like a boxer.

 B:           Oh – that’s Terry. He’s a truck driver as a matter of fact.

 A:           Good heavens – not at all Sally’s usual type, is he?

 B:           Oh, I don’t know. You can’t always judge by appearances, you know.

 A:           Well I wouldn’t like to have an argument with him.

 B:           I agree he looks like a rough sort of character

 A:           I bet all he is interested in is beer and football.

 B:           But you’re wrong. Actually he’s a very interesting man to talk to. He’s very polite and civilised, and he never raises his voice. In fact, he’s the gentlest person I’ve ever met. He wouldn’t hurt a fly.

BE BLUE IN THE FACE

 A:           Why on earth did you start talking to Jack about politics?

 B:           The subject just came up.

 A:           Well you know very well what his views are, and you’ll never get him to change his mind.

 B:           I suppose you’re right.

 A:           It just makes him angry, when you start telling him what you think the government should do.

 B:             OK, I won’t discuss it in future.

 A:           That would be the wisest thing, I’m sure. You can argue till you are blue in the face, but he’ll never agree.

AS FIT AS A FIDDLE

 A:           Zen! How are you?

 B:           Hello Kam! I’m fine thanks. How are you?

 A:           Great. But I heard you were sick.

 B:           Oh, it was nothing much. I was off work for a couple of days with a bad chest, but I soon got better. I’m as fit as a fiddle now, thanks.

 A:           Good.

RIGHT UP HIS STREET/ALLEY

 A:           Oh no! Not again!

 B:           What’s the matter with it?

 A:           I don’t know. Sometimes it just won’t start. I don’t know what’s wrong with it.

 B:           I know. I’ll ask my brother to have a look at it if you like.

 A:           Oh, great! Does he know about cars then?

 B:           Yeah – cars, motor bikes, vans – he spends nearly all his time either taking engines to pieces or putting them back together again. In fact, anything mechanical is up his alley.

TO POUR COLD WATER ON SOMETHING

 A:           I’ve just had a marvelous idea.

 B:           I’ll believe it when I see it.

 A:           If we didn’t go to a hotel this year, but went camping instead, we could have a whole month’s holiday, not just a week’s!

 B:           Camping! I don’t want to sleep in a tent, thank you! I wouldn’t be able to sleep. It’d be freezing for one thing. And what if it rains? And where do you think we’d actually put the tent? On the beach? So that we’d be washed away by the sea in the middle of the night? No thank you very much.

 A:           But it would mean we could afford to go away for a month – surely that’s worth it, isn’t it?

 B:           No, it isn’t. I don’t want to go away for a month – it’d be so boring.

 A:           Why do you always pour cold water on my ideas?

 B:           Because you never have any good ideas. That’s why.

TO GET COLD FEET

 A:           When are we going to get a new car?

 B:           I don’t know. We can’t afford it now that you’ve stopped work.

 A:           Did you talk to your boss today?

 B:           Yes.

 A:           Did you ask him for more money?

 B:           Well…

 A:           Oh, David, you promised!

 B:           I didn’t promise…

 A:           Yes, you did. Your were going to tell him you’d leave if he didn’t give you a pay rise.

 B:         Well that wouldn’t do much good, would it? If I ended up losing my job we’d have no money, at all.

 A:           Oh, come on, stop making excuses. You didn’t say anything because you got cold feet again. No courage, that’s your trouble.

TO HAVE THICK SKIN

 A:           How’s Martin getting on at school?

 B:           Well, his last report wasn’t very good actually.

 A:           Oh dear. Why not?

 B:           Because he just won’t work. He’s only interested in sport, and he just won’t put any effort into anything else at all. We’ve tried everything we’ve stopped his pocket money – we don’t let him go out in the evenings. In fact, last week we even went to see his headmaster. But he just doesn’t take any notice of anybody.

 A:           But surely he can’t enjoy all that? I mean, it’s not very pleasant to be criticised all the time, is it?

 B:           It doesn’t matter what you say, it won’t upset him: he’s got a thick skin.

NOT MY CUP OF TEA

 A:           That’s five. You and me that’s seven. We really need another man. Who else could we ask?

 B:           What about Arthur?

 A:           Arthur? No. He’s so boring.

 B:           Oh I don’t agree. He’s always got lots to talk about.

 A:           Exactly. He never stops talking.

 B:           Well his stories are very interesting:

 A:           To him, maybe. Not to anybody else. But he’s too conceited to realise.

 B:           Conceited? Arthur conceited? I’m really surprised at you, Kam.

 A:           Look, mate. He just irritates me. I’m sorry, but he’s really not my cup of tea.

TO GO LIKE A BOMB 

 A:           Zen!

 B:           Hi!

 A:           I didn’t see you at Sarah’s party last week. Did you come along later?

 B:           No. I didn’t go. I didn’t think it would be much fun really. Were there many people there?

 A:           Oh, about sixty I should think. All very nice too. And there was lots of food, and the music was fantastic. I didn’t get home till three in the morning!

 B:           Oh – Sarah’s parties are usually pretty dull.

 A:           Well this one certainly wasn’t. In fact it couldn’t have been better.

 B:           In that case I’m sorry I missed it.

 A:           I’m sorry you did too. It really went like a bomb

GET IT OFF YOUR CHEST

 A:           Morning!

 B:           Oh. Hello.

 A:           You don’t look very happy today. What’s the matter?

 B:           Oh. Nothing.

 A:           Come on now. Tell me what’s wrong.

 B:           There’s nothing wrong. I’m quite all right thank you.

 A:           Look, something’s obviously worrying you. Why don’t you talk to me about it. I’ll help, honestly.

 B:           Well ….

 A:           Come on. You know you can trust me. Tell me all about it. You’ll really feel much better if you get it off your chest.

 B:           All right then…

TO BREAK THE ICE

 A:           Nice party, isn’t it?

 B:           Yes. Was that Maria I saw you talking to?

 A:           Yes. She’s such an interesting girl, isn’t she?

 B:           Terribly shy though. How did you manage to get her talking?

 A:           Well I really wanted to meet her. So I thought if I stood near her, she might start a conversation.

 B:           Maria? Speak first? Never.

 A:           Right. I just stood there. And then someone accidentally knocked her arm. Her glass flew out of her hand and her drink spilt all over my dress.

 B:           Were you cross?

 A:           Not at all. It meant she had to say something to me

 B:           Oh. It broke the ice, did it?

 A:           It certainly did. We talked and talked after that.

HIS BARK IS WORSE THAN HIS BITE

 A:           Look over there, Zen. It´s the boss having a go at John for making personal phone calls during work time.

 B:           Good heavens. That looks viscous?

 A:           Oh, I happened to be making a personal call yesterday when he walked in on me. It was only a couple of minutes, but he gets angry very easily.

 B:           I’d heard he’s got a bad temper. But I didn’t realise it was as bad as that. I’m glad he’s not my boss.

 A:           Oh, he’s not too bad really.

 B:           You mean you like him?

 A:           Well, we’ve had him for three weeks now, and I think he’s quite nice when you get to know him. Actually he can be very kind and helpful. Look! Now, he is offering John a coffee. His bark’s much worse than his bite.

LIVING IN CUCKOO LAND

 A:           You know that little clothes shop opposite the post office.

 B:           You mean the one next to the little cafe?

 A:           Yes, that’s the one. It’s closed down.

 B:           Mmm, I know. Since when were you interested in clothes shops?

 A:           I’m thinking of buying it.

 B:           Buying it? Whatever for?

 A:           I think we could turn it into a cafe.

 B:           We? I don’t want to work in a cafe, thank you very much. Anyway there’s a cafe next door. In fact there are several cafes in that street already.

 A:           That’s because people need cafes in that area.

 B:           How could you possibly afford to buy the place anyway?

 A:           I’d borrow the money from the bank.

 B:           They’d never lend you that much money. It’s just not practical. Do you think you can start running a cafe just like that? You can’t even cook! You’re living in cuckoo land, that’s your trouble.

TO TURN A BLIND EYE

 A:           … fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen. And fifty. Two hundred and seventeen pounds fifty.

 B:           And how much should there be?

 A:           It’s right. There’s thirty extra because we were thirty short yesterday.

 B:           And why were we thirty short yesterday?

 A:           Well, Stephen borrowed thirty last night.

 B:           Borrowed? Did he ask you first?

 A:           No. But he paid it back this lunch-time after he’d been to the bank

 B:           After you’d mentioned you were thirty short, I suppose.

 A:           Yes. But I’m sure he was going to pay it back anyway.

 B:           Hmm. He’l1 have to go. We can’t trust him. If he takes the shop’s money without asking you or me first, we don’t know what he might do.

 A:           But I’m sure he never intended to keep it. And he’s a good worker. Let’s forget about it. Couldn’t we turn a blind eye just this once?

B:            I’m afraid not. We can’t just ignore something serious like this. He’ll have to go.

TO LET THE CAT OUT OF THE BAG

 A:           Bye. Have a nice weekend.

 B:           You too. Bye … Goodnight Kam.

 C.           Bye Zen. See you later.

 B:           Er…

 C:           You are coming to the party, aren’t you?

 B:           Erm. Yes, I am. But you’re not supposed to know about that! Elizabeth said it was going to be a surprise for your birthday.

 C:           Yes, well. She was doing so much cooking last night, it was obvious she was planning something. I kept asking her what was going on, and in the end I got it out of her: she told me about tonight’s party.

 B:           So Elizabeth let the cat out of the bag, did she?

 C:           Yes. I’m afraid so.

 B:           See you later then. Bye.

 C:           Bye.

TO PULL THE WOOL OVER SOMEONE’S EYES

 A:           Have you heard about Jones – you know – the new man?

 B:           No. What?

 A:           He’s disappeared. Apparently he’s on the run from the police.

 B:           Good heavens: What’s he done?

 A:           They say he’s stolen money from several previous employers. And Jones isn’t his real name, of course.

 B:           The director must be furious.

 A:           He is! It’s turned out that all Jones’s letters of reference were false, but no one bothered to check them. He fooled everybody.

 B:           Well, they wouldn’t, would they? I mean, he seemed such a nice man. So polite. Quite charming.

 A:           Good liars usually are charming. That’s why we believe them.

 B:           Well, he certainly pulled the wool over my eyes.

TO GET TO THE BOTTOM OF SOMETHING

 A:           I’m back.

 B:           Oh, hello dear. James was here this afternoon.

 A:           Really? What did he want?

 B:           I’m not sure. He left these cigars for you.

 A:           For me? That’s nice.

 B:           And look at the flowers he gave me.

 A:           Good heavens. It’s not like James to be so generous.

 B:           No, it’s very unusual.

 A:           I wonder what he wants. Is he in some sort of trouble?

 B:           Not that I know of.

 A:           Well there must be some reason for him to be so nice. This isn’t like James at all.

 B:           No, it isn’t. You’d better ask some of his other friends.

 A:           I will. He must be up to something, and I want to know what it is. I’ll ask around until I find out what’s going on.

 B:           Good.

 A:           Don’t worry. I’ll get to the bottom of it. Meanwhíle, I think I’ll try one of these cigars.

TO TAKE THE WIND OUT OF SOMEONE’S SAILS

 A:           I wanted to introduce my sister to Sarah, the girl of my dreams I met recently.

 B:           What happened?

A:            I arranged for all of us to meet at my favourite bar. When we got near the place, my sister shouted to someone. It was Sarah. They happen to know each other quite well.

 B:           That must have taken the wind out of your sails.

 A:           It sure did.

A PAIN IN THE NECK

 A:           We have just had three new students join our class?

 B:           What are they like?

 A:           Two of them seem to be quite nice, but one of them keeps asking the teacher too many      questions.

 B:           That could be annoying.

 A:           Yeah; he is a pain in the neck. I wish he would stop.

TO SHOW SOMEONE THE ROPES

 A:           Zen. I would like you to get to know Mark Johnson. You’ll be working quite closely together.

 B:           I see.

 A:           In fact, it might be a good idea if you started with showing him round the office.

 B:           sure.

 A:           If you can spare a few moments, Zen?

 B:           Of course. It’ll be a pleasure.

 A:           Good. I’ll leave him in your capable hands then. Please, show him where everything is and explain the office routine. This way you can show Mark the ropes.

 B:           Yes, of course.

OVER MY DEAD BODY

 A:           Dad.

 B:           Yes.

 A:           Could I borrow the car on Friday evening please?

 B:           Friday? Well…Where are you thinking of going?

 A:           I was hoping of going to the coast.

 B:           Just for the evening?

 A:           Well, no. I was thinking of staying away till Sunday actually.

 B:           So in fact you want the car for Friday evening, all day Saturday, and all day Sunday. Well you can forget it. The answer’s No.

 A:           Oh, go on Dad. Please. I’ll bring it back on Saturday if you like.

 B:           Over my dead body. You’re not staying away even one night with my car.

TO BARK UP THE WRONG TREE         

 A:           What is it, Brown?

 B:           It’s Mrs Ellis, sir. She’s just provided Jackson with a perfect alibi.

 A:           Mrs Ellis? What’s she got to do with this case? She isn’t a friend of Jackson’s, is she?

 B:           No sir. That’s why it’s such a good alibi. She says she saw Jackson walking in the park at six o’clock. That’s exactly the time the money was stolen.

 A.           I know the time the money was stolen, Brown.

 B:           Yes sir. I just thought I ought to tell you straight away about Mrs Ellis, sir.

 A:           And I was ninety-nine percent certain that Jackson had done it.

 B:           Yes. We’ve been barking up the wrong tree, haven’t we sir?

 A:           All right, Brown. Thank you. You can go now. — He’s right though: if what Mrs Ellis says is true, we have been barking up the wrong tree.

I WOULDN’T TOUCH IT WITH A BARGE POLE

 A:           Oh, no. That’s three times this car’s broken down in the last week. I’ll have to get a new one.

 B:           A brand new one or second-hand?

 A:           Oh, it’ll have to be second-hand. I can’t afford a brand new one. There’s a little two-door Fiat I might buy.

 B:           How much?

 A:           About fifteen hundred, I think.

 B:           That’s not bad. Where did you see it?

 A:           It’s George’s. You know George, at the tennis club. He wants to sell his car.

 B:           Good heavens, you’re not serious, are you? Have you seen the way he drives? I wouldn’t want any car of his.

 A:           Oh.

 B:           And I wouldn’t trust George to ask a fair price either.

 A:           It was just a thought.

 B:           No. If I were you, I wouldn’t touch it with a barge-pole. I’d steer clear of George and his car, if I were you.

TO FEEL THE PINCH

 A:           Hi, Zen.

 B:           Oh, hello, Kam. How’re things?

 A:           Fine. What about you? How’s work?

 B:           Well, it could be better.

 A:           You’re still with the same company , aren’t you?

 B:           Oh yes. But business hasn’t been too good this year, and I’ve had to take a cut in salary.

 A:           This is bad news. Still, I suppose we’re lucky to have jobs at all these days.

 B:           Mmm.

 A:           You are managing then? For money, I mean.

 B:           Well it’s not always easy. Especially now we’ve got the baby.

 A:           Oh yes, of course.

 B:           And Sheila’s not working any more, so there’s even less money coming into the house.

 A:           I can see things  must be a bit difficult for you.

 B:           Well, we’re certainly feeling the pinch.

TO KEEP YOUR FINGERS CROSSED

 A:           Look at the time. I’ll have to go. Do I look all right?

 B:           You look very nervous actually.

 A:           I mean my clothes, my hair. … Is it OK?

 B:           Yes, you look fine.

 A:           Right. I’d better be off then.

 B:           You’ve got plenty of time, you know.

 A:           Yes, but I don’t want to risk being late.

 B:           Oh, stop worrying. I’m sure you’ll get the job.

 A:           Do you really think so?

 B:           Of course. I’m sure you’re exactly what they’re looking for.

 A:           Let’s hope so. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

 B:           I will. Good luck.

 A:           Thanks.

TO KEEP IT UNDER YOUR HAT

 A:           You look a bit worried. What’s on your mind?

 B:           Oh, nothing.

 A:           Come on. I can see something’s bothering you. What is it?

 B:           Well. Don’t tell anyone, but I think the boss is leaving.

 A:           Really. What makes you think that?

 B:           I heard him talking to the personnel manager of another firm…

 A:           On the phone, you mean? I see.

 B:           Well anyway it sounded as if he was going to work for them.

 A:           That is interesting. Wait till Smith hears about this.

 B:           No. You mustn’t tell anyone, please. If he found out he’d know I must have been listening in. Please don’t mention it to anyone.

 A:           OK. I’ll keep it under my hat.

A CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK

 A:           Your nephew takes after his father, doesn’t he?

 B:           Johnny? In what way?

 A:           Well I often see your brother repairing his car…

 B:           Yes, he’s quite a good mechanic.

 A:           And I see Johnny likes taking things to pieces too.

 B:           Unfortunately he can’t always put them back together again.

 A:           And they both like football, don’t they?

 B:           Yes.

 A:           And loud music.

 B:           Oh. I’m sorry.

 A:           And they both watch their daughter whenever she’s around: in fact they can’t take their eyes off her.

 B:           Oh. But Johnny’s only eleven.

 A:           Well, anyway, he’s just like his father. He’s a real chip off the old block.

TO SET THE CAT AMONG THE PIGEONS

 A:           Zen!

 B:           Oh, hello kam. What are you doing here?

 A:           Never mind that. What have you been saying about me behind my back?

 B:           What do you mean?

 A:           Peter says you’ve been telling everyone I’m going out with Margaret. He’s furious!

 B:           All I said was I’d sometimes seen you and Margaret together.

 A:           Sometimes? When exactly?

 B:           Well, one day last week, I think.

 A:           Once! When we met by chance when I was shopping.

 B:           Oh.

 A:           And you know very well how possessive Peter is of Margaret.

 B:           Is he?

 A:           I don’t know how I’ll convince him of the truth now. You’ve certainly set the cat among the pigeons this time! 

PLAIN SAILING

 A:           How did the meeting go?

 B:           Oh, quite well, thanks.

 A:           Better than you’d expected?

 B:           Well, yes, it did actually.

 A:           I told you it would be all right, didn’t I? So what happened?

 B:           Well, I described my proposals, I told them what the advantages of the new system would be, and I said how long I thought it would take to change over.

 A:           Were there any objections?

 B:           Not really.

 A:           What about the chairman?

 B:           He did ask me a few tricky questions. But nothing I hadn’t already thought of. After I had answered his points, it was plain sailing. There were no more difficulties at all and everybody seemed to agree with my point of view.

 A:           Well done.

TO PULL SOMEONE’S LEG

 A:           Who was that?

 B:           My sister.

 A:           Oh. What did she want?

 B:           Just a chat. I’m her only brother, you know.

 A:           Hmm.

 B:           She was feeling a bit lonely, I think. I, er, invited her for the weekend.

 A:           What! Oh Zen! You might have talked to me about it first.

 B:           Well I know what you would have said, don’t I.

 A:           The spare room isn’t ready. I’ve got dozens of things to do this weekend. And everything takes twice as long when your guests are round, getting in the way all the time.

 B:           What have you got against my poor old sister?

 A:           Nothing personal, mate.

 B:           Well she won’t be disturbing you this weekend. She isn’t coming. I just wanted to see your reaction.

 A:           You mean you haven’t invited her for the weekend?

 B:           No, of course I haven’t. I was just pulling your leg.

 A:           Grr. Uh!

IT MADE MY BLOOD BOIL

 A:           You don’t sound very cheerful. Have you had a bad day?

 B:           Not really. It was the journey home.

 A:           Oh. Had to wait a long time at the bus-stop, did you?

 B:           No. It was this man on the bus…0oh, he made me so angry!

 A:           Why? What happened?

 B:           Well the bus was packed and a lot of people were standing. Then a seat came free, and I stood back to let an old lady sit down. But before she could get there, a man from behind me just threw himself into it.

 A:           You shouldn’t get upset about these things.

 B:           I was furious. I glared at him, but he just sat there and smiled.

 A:           Try to forget about it.

 B:           Oh, it makes my blood boil when people behave like that.

TO BE IN DEEP WATER

 A:           So you want to borrow some money, Zen.

 B:           Yes.

 A:           What exactly is your financial position?

 B:           Well. Last year I invested ten thousand in a new company. But business was very bad and I lost all my money.

 A:           Oh dear.

 B:           Then the company I was working for had financial difficulties, and I lost my job.

 A:           That is bad.

 B:           I’m still looking for another job. I haven’t finished paying for my house yet, and we’ve just had a fire, so I need some money for the repairs.

 A:           I see. You are in deep water, aren’t you?

TO HAVE BUTTERFLIES IN YOUR STOMACH

 A:           Hello Zen.

 B:           Hello, Kam.

 A:           I saw you on television last week. I thought you were ever so good.

 B:           Thanks. I don’t think I’d like to do it again though.

 A:           Why not? Don’t you enjoy it?

 B:           Well, I was so nervous.

 A:           You didn’t look nervous.

 B:           Well I was. When the cameras were on me, my heart was beating so fast. And my knees were shaking. And my mouth was so dry I could hardly speak. It was terrifying.

 A:           Really? You didn’t look at all worried.

 B:           Well, I can tell you, when it was my turn to speak, I really had butterflies in my stomach.

LIKE LOOKING FOR A NEEDLE IN A HAYSTACK

 A:           Oh. Isn’t Mr. Barlow here?

 B:           Not unless he’s hiding under that pile of papers.

 A:           Very funny. Good heavens. His desk is in a mess, isn’t it?

 B:           Oh it’s always like that. Anyway did you need Barlow specially? Or can I help?

 A:           Well he told me there’s a letter he wants me to see.

 B:           Who from?

 A:           From the Ministry, I think.

 B:           Well, you can have a look on his desk if you like. I don’t suppose he’ll mind.

 A:           Oh, this is useless! I’ve never seen such a muddle. It’s like looking for a needle in a haystack. ­

TO RUN BEFORE YOU CAN WALK

 A:           Hello, Zen. Had a nice holiday?

 B:           Oh, hello, Kam. I didn’t see you. Yes, it was lovely, thank you. Except that –

 A:           Where’s Maria?

 B:           Well, she had a little accident. A: Oh no. Nothing serious, I hope.

 A:           No, not really. Just a broken leg.

 B:           Oh dear. Of course, she’d never been skiing before, had she?

 A:           No. And you know what she’s like.

 B:           Yes.

 A:           Even though she couldn’t ski, she wasn’t satisfied for the slopes for beginners – oh no, she had to go on the ones intended for experienced skiers.

 B:           Yes, she would.

 A:           Well, I hope she’s learned her lesson now. That’l1 teach her to try to run before she can walk.

TO HAVE SOMEONE EATING OUT OF YOUR HAND

 A:           How’s Henry getting on with his new boss?

 B:           Oh fine, much to my surprise.

 A:           I know what you mean! He was absolutely convinced that he’d never work for a woman and that all the other men would agree with him.

 B:           Well, it looks as though they’ve changed their minds, doesn’t it. No one has resigned anyway.

 A:           Not even Henry?

 B:           Not even Henry! In fact she’s so charming they’ll do anything for her. She’s really got them eating out of her hand. 

OVER THE MOON

 A:           Where’s David? Isn’t he coming down to dinner?

 B:           He was here earlier, but I think he was too excited to sit around any longer, and he went out to celebrate with some of his friends.

 A:           Celebrate what?

 B:           Well, your remember that interview he went to last week?

 A:           Mm.

 B:           He got a letter from the firm today. They’ve offered him the job.

 A:           Oh that is good news. He must be feeling very pleased with himself.

 B:           Pleased? He’s over the moon about it.

WALKING ON AIR

 A:           I’m a bit worried about Tony. What’s the matter with him?

 B:           Tony? Nothing. Why?

 A:           Well he seems so excited all the time – and he smiles at everybody and tells jokes and laughs. I don’t know, it just seems unnatural.

 B:           Well, keep it a secret, but the thing is – while he was on holiday, he met someone.

 A:           Oh, I see. Ho, ho! So he’s found a girl-friend at last, has he?

 B:           Yes. You have no need to worry about Tony. At the moment he’s walking on air.

TO HOG THE LIMELIGHT

 A:           What’s on T.V. tonight? Anything good?

 B:           Well, there’s that new chat show. You know, the one we watched last week.

 A:           Oh yes, I remember.

 B:           Well? Shall we watch it?

 A:           The trouble with that programme is, as soon as anyone says anything interesting, the stupid host cracks a joke or changes the subject.

 B:           Mmm.

 A:           And he never lets the guests talk to each other. Sometimes they hardly get a word in at all.

 B:           Yes. He does like to be the centre of attention, doesn’t he.

 A:           That’s putting it politely. He hogs the limelight the whole time.

TO SEE EYE TO EYE

 A:           You know that John and Sue are coming to dinner next Thursday?

 B:           Yes. Why?

 A:           Well – I was wondering whether we could ask Robert as well.

 B:           Robert? I don’t think that’s a good idea really.

 A:           Why? What have you got against him?

 B:           I haven’t got anything against him. But you know that John and Robert always argue whenever they’re together. They disagree about religion, they disagree about politics – in fact, they don’t see eye to eye about anything.

NOT OUT OF THE WOOD YET

 A:           We’ve had a really good week, you know.

 B:           Well it’s certainly better than when we started.

 A:           Do you think we’ll be able to have a holiday this year? Just for a few days?

 B:           Well – I’m not sure. We are beginning to do well, but I don’t think we can afford to close down at the moment – not even for a few days.

 A:           Oh.

 B:           We’re still in debt you know. We ought to try and pay off the bank loan as soon as we can.

 A:           I suppose you’re right.

 B:           And there’s the money your father lent us. I know business is going well, but we’re not out of the wood yet.

BE IN A FINE PICKLE

 A:           Isn’t Peter here tonight?

 B:           Ooh, I doubt it. Haven’t you heard?

 A:           Heard what?

 B:           Sally’s left him.

 A:           Why? What happened?

 B:           He’s gambling again.

 A:           Oh dear. I thought he’d cured himself of that since he got his new job.

 B:           That’s what everyone thought. And it’s what he promised Sally. But the other day he got his first pay cheque…

 A:           Oh no. Surely he didn’t …

 B:           Yes. He put the whole lot on a horse. The horse was sure to win. It was a certainty. So Sally wouldn’t find out. Or that’s what Peter thought. 

 A:           And of course he lost.

 B:           Every penny. He never learns. And Sally just won’t take it anymore. So she’s gone.

 A:           Poor old Peter. So now he’s in a fine pickle.

TO GET A KICK OUT OF SOMETHING

 A:           Oh look, there’s one of those new telephone booths.

 B:           Oh yes. They’re not very attractive, are they?

 A:           I think the idea was to make them vandal ­proof, actually.

 B:           Well I hope they’ve succeeded. You get sick of smashed-up telephones. Why do they do it?

 A:           What – the vandals, you mean?

 B:           Yes. Why are they so destructive?

 A:           I suppose they must find it exciting or thrilling in some way. Well they obviously get a kick out of it, or they wouldn’t do it.

THE PENNY DROPPED

 A:           Oh, I’m glad it’s Friday.

 B:           Me too. I’m worn out.

 A:           How was your last lesson?

 B:           Awful. I spent nearly the whole time trying to convince young Simpson that minus five degrees is warmer than minus twenty.

 A:           Oh dear.

 B:           Well I asked him whether he knew why ice-cream melts. I told him to imagine what would happen to his ice-cream if he set the freezer at five degrees below zero instead of twenty below. I think that was when the penny dropped. But I hope he doesn’t actually try it out at home!

TO HAVE ITCHY FEET

 A:           How’s your brother?

 B:           Paul? Oh he’s fine. Settling in nicely, as far as we can tell.

 A:           Oh. Has he moved then?

 B:           Oh, didn’t you know? He’s gone abroad again. He’s working in Turkey now.

 A:           Turkey? But he’s only just come back from South America.

 B:           Yes, I know:

 A:           And before that he was in the Middle East. What’s the matter with him? Isn’t he ever going to settle down?

 B:           I doubt it; he likes travelling too much to stay in one place for long.

 A:           Yes. He really has got itchy feet, hasn’t he?

NOTHING TO WRITE HOME ABOUT

 A:           Did you do anything exciting over the weekend?

 B:           Well, we went to the theatre on Saturday night.

 A:           Oh I bet that was nice. What did you see?

 B:           It was the new play with Maggie Smith.

 A:           Oh yes. Did you enjoy it?

 B:           Well, I always like Maggie Smith, of course. But the play itself isn’t very good.

 A:           What didn’t you like about it?

 B:           Oh – the ending was poor – and, in fact, the whole plot was a bit silly. You couldn’t really believe in it.

 A:           You enjoyed Maggie Smith though.

 B:           Oh yes. But apart from her, it was nothing to write home about.

TO PULL YOUR SOCKS UP

 A:           French: he takes no interest in the subject. Maths: he has the ability but refuses to work. Biology: a very poor result. English: he has done no work at all this term. Hmmm.

 B:           It’s not a very good report, is it.

 A:           You can say that again. Have you talked to him about it?

 B:           Yes. In fact I let him read it.

 A:           And what was his reaction?

 B:           It didn’t seem to bother him.

 A:           What’s the matter with him? Can’t he see he’ll never get anywhere if he goes on like this?

 B:           That’s exactly what I said. He won’t pass his exams next term unless he begins to put some effort into his work. And if he fails his exams he’ll lose his place at University.

 A:           Yes. If he’s serious about going to college, he really will have to pull his socks up.

OFF THE TOP OF ONE’S HEAD

 A:           Hi Zen. How are things?

 B:           Oh fine. By the way, thanks for your advice.

 A:           What advice was that?

 B:           Don’t you remember? Jean and I were having problems and you said to leave her alone for a couple of days, to think things out.

 A:           Did I say that?

 B:           Yes. One day last week. Tuesday I think it was.

 A:           Really?

 B:           Mmm. You must remember! I came to your house and told you all about it, and you said “Leave her alone for a couple of days”.

 A:           Oh, yes… But actually I think I just said the first thing that came into my head.

 B:           Well it was jolly good advice, even if it was off the top of your head.

TO DROWN YOUR SORROWS

 A:           Isn’t that Bill sitting at the bar?

 B:           Oh yes.

 A:           He doesn’t look very cheerful, does he.

 B:           I’m not surprised.

 A:           Why? What’s happened?

 B:           Well, you know he used to go out with Sarah before he met Diane,

 A:           Yes….

 B:           – and they are still very friendly. In fact he took her out to lunch today.

 A:           And?

 B:           And Diane saw them together.

 A:           Oh, I see. Tricky. What did Diane say?

 B:           Not a word. She threw the ring back at him.

 A:           Oh dear.

 B:           So now he’s drowning his sorrows, I suppose. Shall we go and cheer him up?

ONE’S HAIR STANDS ON END

 A:           I had a terrible experience last night.

 B:           Really? What happened?

 A:           Well I was working late, because I wanted to finish some typing.

 B:           You didn’t get locked in, did you?

 A:           No, it wasn’t quite as bad as that. But all of a sudden the lights went out.

 B:           Oh dear.

 A:           Well, I managed to find my way to the door, and then just as I was going to walk out of the office, I heard these footsteps coming slowly along the corridor.

 B:           It was probably the caretaker.

 A:           You’re right. It was. But I’d thought I was all alone in the building, and it was dark. And you think of all the horror movies and murder and things like that, don’t you? Anyway, I know my hair stood on end.

TO LAND ONE ONE’S FEET

 A:           Where’s Sally these days? I haven’t seen her for ages.

 B:           Oh she’s in Paris. She went about three weeks ago.

 A:           For a holiday you mean?

 B:           No. She’s living there.

 A:           I didn’t know she was planning to leave England.

 B:           She wasn’t. But she lost her job last month, you remember.

 A:           Oh yes.

 B:           So she just packed her bags and went to Paris. On her first day there she met someone who had this flat to let. And then the next day the same person introduced her to an art dealer who was looking for a personal assistant.

 A:           Good heavens. She was lucky, wasn’t she.

 B:           Well you know Sally: she always lands on her feet.

TO FLY OFF THE HANDLE

 A:           Isn’t that letter ready yet?

 B:           Which letter?

 A:           The one to the bank.

 B:           Erm,…

 A:           I gave it to you half-an-hour ago –

 B:           I’m sorry , I can’t …

 A:           and asked you to do it straight away.

 B:           Oh yes. I remember.

 A:           Good heavens, girl, what’s so difficult about typing one letter?

 B:           Nothing, I …

 A:           Then why haven’t you done it?

 B:           I have done it.

 A:           Well for goodness sake where is it then?

 B:           I put it on your desk. When why on earth didn’t you say so?

 A:           Idiot

 B:           Wow, he’s got a temper, hasn’t he?

 C:           Yes. He often flies off the handle – you’ll get used to it.

One thought on “Idioms in use!”

  1. Great content! Super high-quality! Keep it up! 🙂

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