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More Speak English Like an American Lesson 19 Idioms and Expressions MCQ Test

More Speak English Like an American Lesson 19 Idioms and Expressions MCQ Test

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Lesson 19: Mark and Sara Make Plans


After trying all the dumpling places on their list, Sara and Mark conclude that Madame Chu’s are the best. They don’t know how they’ll get the recipes from her, but they decide Ron might have an idea. They go shopping for frozen dinners to see what their competition is planning and then go out to celebrate their last night in town.

Sara: These dumplings are for the birds!

Mark: Well, we’ve tried every place on our list. Madame Chu’s dumplings are the best.

Sara: How are we going to persuade* her to give us her recipes?

Mark: That’s the $64,000 question!

Sara: Well, we have to get her to fork over the recipes. We can’t return to the office empty-handed.

Mark: We won’t. I’ll let Ron know all about Madame Chu. I’ll just let him know we hit a snag in the negotiations with her.

Sara: Maybe he’ll know how we can get her to part with her recipes.

Mark: He should. That’s why he makes the big bucks!

Sara: Let’s go buy some frozen dinners from Fu Dong so we can see what Grand Foods has up their sleeve.

Mark: Right! This is our last chance. Tonight’s our last night here.

Sara: Let’s go out on the town to celebrate.

Mark: I’m up for that. After we go shopping, let’s go to dinner and then we’ll go dancing. We’ll paint the town red!

* persuade – to convince; to make someone take a certain action


  • for the birds

 lousy; worthless

Example: This new diswashing detergent is for the birds. The dishes are still dirty.

  • $64,000 question

 the most important question; a question that’s very important but difficult to answer

Example: “What will your son do if he doesn’t get into medical school?” – “That’s the $64,000 question!”
Note: This expression comes from an American game show from the 1950s called “The $64,000 Question.” The last question on each show was worth $64,000.

  • (to) fork over

 to give, usually unwillingly; to pay

Example: The New York Yankees had to fork over $52 million to get the baseball star to sign a contract.

  • empty-handed

 with nothing; without a gift

Example: Let’s pick up a bottle of wine so we don’t go to the party empty-handed.

  • (to) hit a snag

 to meet some difficulty

Example: The new Internet dating site has hit a snag. They have 500 women signed up and only 20 men.

  • (to) part with

 to give up something valuable; to give with reluctance

Example: “If Alan needs the money, he should sell his art collection.” – “He’ll never part with his paintings.”

  • (to) make the big bucks

 to make a lot of money; to be well-paid

Example: If you want to make the big bucks, you should go into investment banking.

  • (to) have up one’s sleeve

 to have something secret in development or ready to use

Example: When Apple Computer said they would announce a new product soon, many people wondered what they had up their sleeve.
Note 1: You will also see the variations “to have a card up one’s sleeve” and “to have an ace up one’s sleeve.”
Note 2: This idiom comes from gambling, where players sometimes cheat by hiding a card up their sleeve.

  • (to) go out on the town

 to go out and have fun for the evening (usually at bars, restaurants, or clubs)

Example: You passed the citizenship exam? We should go out on the town to celebrate!

  • (to be) up for

 (to be) interested in; (to be) ready to

Example: Would you be up for going out for a drink after the movie tonight?

  • (to) paint the town red

 to go out and enjoy oneself (often by drinking a lot)

Example: Let’s go to Manhattan to celebrate New Year’s Eve. We’ll paint the town red!

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