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More Speak English Like an American Lesson 18 Idioms and Expressions MCQ Test

More Speak English Like an American Lesson 18 Idioms and Expressions MCQ Test

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Lesson 18: Mark and Sara on the Dumpling Trail


In their search for dumplings as good as Madame Chu’s, Sara and Mark try Chan’s dumplings. They’re expensive compared to other dumplings, but Mark agrees to pay. Unfortunately, it turns out they’re inferior to Madame Chu’s dumplings.

Mark: Let’s see, number 10 on our list – Chan’s Dumplings. He’s asking8 yuan per dumpling. That’s highway robbery!

Sara: This is a place for tourists, and tourists always pay through the nose.

Mark: Let’s do the math here: 4 dumplings, 32 yuan. That’s about 4 bucks!

Sara: Well, it’s not going to break the bank.

Mark: These will be my treat.

Sara: Thanks, big spender.

Mark: Hmmm, not bad. But nothing to write home about.

Sara: No, no great shakes. Madame Chu’s dumplings are better by a long shot. We’ve only got two places left on our list to try. What if we can’t find better dumplings>

Mark: We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Sara: Let’s call it a day. I can’t eat any more dumplings today.


  • highway robbery

 charging too much money; overpriced

Example: Ten dollars for a glass of wine? That’s highway robbery!

  • (to) pay through the nose

 to pay a lot or too much money for something

Example: With oil prices so high, we’re going to pay through the nose to heat our house this winter.

  • (to) do the math

 to figure out how much something will cost; to calculate

Example: Let’s do the math. If we buy concert tickets for our 10 top clients, then at $50 per ticket, we’ll have to pay $500!

  • (to) not break the bank

 to not be too expensive; to be cheap

Example: we’re looking for a hotel in London that won’t break the bank. Do you have any suggestions?

  • my treat

 I’ll pay

Example: Put down the bill. Tonight’s dinner is my treat!

  • big spender

 someone who likes to spend money; a generous person (sometimes used sarcastically when someone offers to pay for something that doesn’t cost much)

Example: “My boss treated me to lunch at McDonald’s.” – “Wow, he’s a big spender!”

  • nothing to write home about

 nothing special; not very good

Example: “How was your dinner at Café Michel?” – “I was expecting great things, but it was nothing to write home about.”

  • no great shakes

 not very good

Example: My cell phone does have a camera, but the pictures it takes are no great shakes.

  • by a long shot

 by far; by a large amount

Example: “Was that $90 bottle of wine you bought the most expensive one in the store?” – “Not by a long shot. They had a bottle for $500.”

  • (to) cross that bridge when one comes to it

 to make a decision when needed and not before

Example: When a reporter asked the football coach what he would do if hs contract wasn’t renewed, he said, “I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.”

  • (to) call it a day

 to finish an activity for the day; to stop doing something

Example: After skiing for eight hours, Kim was ready to call it a day.

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