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More Speak English Like an American Lesson 24 Idioms and Expressions MCQ Test

More Speak English Like an American Lesson 24 Idioms and Expressions MCQ Test

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Lesson 24: Madame Chu – Round Two


Mark and Sara returned to Madame Chu’s dumpling stand to talk to her about their business proposal. Madame Chu asks them not to waste her time. But when she hears their offer, she grows interested and asks them to return later in the day.

Sara: I think you should do the talking. I’m afraid I’ll get tongue-tied.

Mark: Right. From what I remember, Madame Chu can be a little scary.

Sara: But hopefully she’ll warm up to us!

(at Madame Chu’s stand)

Mark: Hello, Madame Chu. How are you today?

Mme Chu: What can I get for you?

Mark: I’d like to make you an offer. Let me start by saying that your dumplings are the best in Beijing.

Mme Chu: That’s why I don’t have time to stand here shooting the breeze with you. I’m expecting more customers any minute now.

Mark: We have a proposal for you. Instead of slaving away here day in, day out, you could cash in on your delicious dumplings.

Mme Chu: Listen, I’ve been around the block a few times. Don’t try to sell me a bill of goods.

Mark: Let me put my cards on the table. We’re from a food company in the United States, and we’ve come with a great offer.

Mme Chu: Oh, yeah? What are you offering?

Mark: We’d like to sell Madame Chu dumplings in the United States. We’d like to hire you.

Mme Chu: The last time we talked, I was under the impression you just wanted my recipes.

Mark: Right, but now I’ve got an offer you can’t refuse.

Mme Chu: I’ve got customers now. Come back at 5 o’clock, and we can get down to brass tacks.


  • tongue-tied

 unable to speak clearly because one is nervous or embarrassed

Example: When Beth’s boss asked her why she was gone for three hours for lunch, she became tongue-tied.

  • (to) warm up to someone

 to get comfortable with someone; to be nicer to someone after a period of time

Example: At first I thought our new neighbors were strange, but I’m starting to warm up to them.

  • (to) shoot the breeze

 to waste time talking; to chat

Example: The postal clerk was shooting the breeze with one of the customers as the line got longer and longer.

  • any minute now

 very soon

Example: I need to hang up. I’m expecting a phone call from my doctor any minute now.

  • (to) slave away

 to work very hard for not much reward

Example: Jennifer slaved away at a big law firm for 10 years before finally deciding she’d rather work as a teacher.

  • day in, day out

 every day, over a long period of time

Example: Kendra lives right near the airport, so day in, day out, she hears airplanes taking off and landing.

  • (to) cash in on

 to make money from; to profit from

Example: The mall is open until midnight the entire week before Christmas to cash in on the holiday shopping rush.

  • been around the block a few times

 has a lot of experience

Example: We’re looking for an experienced money manager to manage the new fund – somebody who’s been around the block a few times.

  • (to) sell someone a bill of goods

 to deceive someone; to cheat someone; to tell someone something that is not true

Example: When you buy your new house, be careful what kind of mortgage you take. Your mortgage lender may try to sell you a bill of goods!

  • (to) put one’s cards on the table

 to be honest with someone; to say openly what one is thinking about or planning

Example: Let me put my cards on the table. If I don’t get promoted this year, I’m going to leave the company.
Note: You will also see the variation “to lay one’s cards on the table.”

  • under the impression

 believing; convinced

Example: Jill is under the impression that if she does 100 sit-ups a day, she’ll flatten her stomach.

  • an offer one can’t refuse

 a great offer (note: sometimes also used to mean a bad offer one is forced to take)

Example: The car salesman said, “I’m going to make you an offer you can’t refuse!”

  • (to) get down to brass tacks

 to start discussing business; to come to the point

Example: With just a few months to go before the presidential election, the candidates are finally getting down to brass tacks.

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