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Speak English Around Town Lesson 17 Idioms, Proverbs, Expressions MCQ Test

Speak English Around Town Lesson 17 Idioms, Proverbs, Expressions MCQ Test

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LESSON 17 – Dealing with Lost Luggage


Tom complains to Jim, a Flyaway Airlines representative, that his suitcase is lost. Jim asks him to fill out some paperwork and assures him his bag will likely be found.

Tom: Excuse me, I just arrived on the flight from Atlanta and my suitcase is missing.

Jim: Did you wait until all the bags were unloaded?

Tom: Yes, I did. My suitcase is not there.

Jim: Here’s a card with various suitcases. Which looks most like your piece of luggage?

Tom: It’s like this one, and it’s green.

Jim: Okay, I’ll just have you fill out this paperwork.

Tom: I had all my clothes for a meeting this afternoon in that bag. Now I’m in a bind.

Jim: We’ll reimburse you for clothing you buy today for up to $100.

Tom: I’m really pressed for time. I won’t have time to go shopping for a new suit now!

Jim: Well, we’ll do our best to track down your bag as quickly as possible.

Tom: What if my suitcase is lost for good?

Jim: Baggage usually turns up, so let’s cross that bridge when we come to it.

Tom: I’m really up the creek now. It boggles my mind how you can just lose someone’s luggage!

Jim: Let me give you a piece of advice. Next time, wear your suit on the airplane.

Tom: Thanks for the advice. Next time I think I’ll fly a different airline!


Language Lens: Count & Non-count Nouns

Count nouns (also called “countable nouns”) are people, places, or things that we can count. They can be singular (a chair, a cup, a cat) or plural (chairs, cups, cats).

Non-count nouns are materials, substances, concepts, information, etc. which we cannot count.

Here are some common non-count nouns:































Non-count nouns:
=> We do not use “a/an” directly before non-count nouns. To express a quantity of one of these nouns, use a word or phrase like:
◼ a piece of: a piece of bread, a piece of advice, a piece of news
◼ a cup of: a cup of soup, a cup of water, a cup of tea
◼ some: some information, some news, some furniture
◼ a lot of: a lot of water, a lot of luggage, a lot of happiness

=> Non-count nouns are always singular. Remembering this can. help you avoid a lot of mistakes.
Say: This is good news! NOT: These are good news!
Say: The equipment is heavy. NOT: The equipment arc hcarry.
Say: The information is valuable. NOT: The infonnation are valuable.
Say: My luggage is heavy. NOT: My luggage are heairy.
Say: The money is in the bank. NOT: The money are in the bank.

Count nouns:

=> A singular count noun always takes either the indefinite article (a, an) or the definite article (the):
◼ Tracy is looking for a job.
◼ Did Tracy get the job she applied for?

=> A plural count noun takes the definite article (the) if it refers to a definite, specific group. It takes no article if used in a general sense (generalizations):
The dogs you adopted are cute. ( specific => the)
Dogs are fun pets. (general => no article)

Using the quantity expressions much, many, a little, a few:

=> Use much with non-count nouns:
◼ How much change should we bring?
◼ I wish you much happiness. (I wish you a lot of happiness).*

=> Use many with count nouns:
• How many quarters should we bring?
• I took many great classes. (I took a lot of great classes).*

* Note: In statements like these, you can also use “a lot of” instead of “much” or “many.” It sounds more conversational.

Little/A Few
=> Use little with non-count nouns:
◼ We have made little progress since the summer.
◼ Sam has little money left.

=> Use few with count nouns:
◼ We have completed a few projects since the summer.
◼ Sam has a few dollars left.


  • (to) do one’s best

 to try hard

Example: I’ll do my best to finish the report by Friday.

  • (to) fill out paperwork

 to complete one or more forms

Example: Before seeing the doctor, you’ll need to fill out this paperwork.

  • for good

 forever; permanently

Example: After graduating from college, Ryan moved back in with his parents. They hope he’ll move out for good soon.

  • in a bind

 in a difficult situation; in need of help

Example: Our school is in a bind. We need $10,000 to buy new textbooks, but there’s no money in our budget for it.

  • it (or that) boggles my mind

 I’m very surprised by that

Example: Some people spend $100 a day to send their dogs to a spa. That boggles my mind!

  • let’s cross that bridge when we come to it

 let’s not worry about that until we need to

Example: “What if we can’t find a buyer for our house?” – “Let’s cross that bridge when we come to it.

  • pressed for time

 in a hurry; not having much time

Example: We asked the waiter to bring the check with dinner, explaining that we were pressed for time.

  • (to) track down

 to find (often after a long search)

Example: A Picasso was stolen from the Metropolitan Museum? I hope they can track down the thieves!

  • (to) turn up

 to be found

Example: Angela hopes her missing earring will turn up before the dance on Saturday.

  • up the creek

 in trouble; in a very difficult situation

Example: Our rent is due on Friday, and we have no money in our bank account. We ‘re up the creek!

NOTE: The longer form of this expression is: up the creek without a paddle.

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