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Speak English Like an American Lesson 11 Idioms and Expressions MCQ Test

Speak English Like an American Lesson 11 Idioms and Expressions MCQ Test

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LESSON 11 – Bob Drives a Hard Bargain


Carol from the Village Market calls Bob to discuss Susan’s Scrumptious Cookies. Carol and Bob discuss how much Bob will receive for each cookie.

Carol: Hi Bob. How’s it going?

Bob: Fine thanks, Carol. How are you?

Carol: Can’t complain. Bob, I’ve had a chance to crunch some numbers. I can pay you 50c per cookie.

Bob: That’s out of the question. At that price, it’s not worth our while. The ingredients alone cost us 30c per cookie.

Carol: Okay, let me sweeten the deal — 60c per cookie?

Bob: Carol, my wife and I need to make a living from this business.

Carol: Okay, okay, you’ve twisted my arm. I’ll pay you 75c per cookie. Take it or leave it!

Bob: Now you’re talking! We’ll take it.

Carol: You drive a hard bargain, Bob.

Bob: Yes, but we make a good cookie.

Carol: Let’s get the ball rolling. Bring me 2,000 cookies on Monday morning by 9 a.m.


  • can’t complain

 things are going well; I’m fine

EXAMPLE 1: “How’s business, Mike?” – “Can’t complain. I sold a lot of computers this month.”

EXAMPLE 2: “How are things going at your new job?”- “Can’t complain.”

  • (to) crunch numbers

 to perform calculations (especially financial calculations)

EXAMPLE 1: Scott loves to crunch numbers, so he decided to become an accountant.

EXAMPLE 2: Wendy spends all her time at work in front of the computer crunching numbers and analyzing sales data.

  • (to) drive a hard bargain

 to be tough in negotiating an agreement; to negotiate something in one’s favor

EXAMPLE 1: I wanted to pay less for the car, but the salesman drove a hard bargain.

EXAMPLE 2: Eric drove a hard bargain and got the company to raise their salary offer by $15,000.

  • (to) get the ball rolling

 to get started

EXAMPLE 1: Let’s get the ball rolling on this project. We’ve only got one week to finish it.

EXAMPLE 2: If we don’t get the ball rolling on our vacation plans soon, we’ll end up going nowhere.

  • How’s it going?

 How are you?

EXAMPLE 1: “How’s it going?” I asked Ted. “Everything’s fine. How are you?” he replied.

EXAMPLE 2: “How’s it going?” Vladimir asked me. “Not bad,” I replied.

  • (to) make a living

 to earn enough money to support oneself

EXAMPLE 1: Many people laugh at him, but Bill actually makes a living selling gourmet dog food.

EXAMPLE 2: Danny makes some money playing his guitar on street corners, but not enough to make a living.

  • now you’re talking

 you’re saying the right thing

EXAMPLE 1: You want to offer me free tickets to the J. Lo concert? Now you’re talking!

EXAMPLE 2: You’d like to offer me a $10,000 raise and a corner office? Now you’re talking!

  • out of the question


EXAMPLE 1: My friend Emily wanted me to climb Mount McKinley with her, but I told her it was out of the question.

EXAMPLE 2: You want to borrow my new car and drive it across the country? I’m sorry, but that’s out of the question.

  • (to) sweeten the deal

 to make an offer more attractive

EXAMPLE 1: IBM offered to sweeten the deal by giving John a company car if he agreed to work for them.

EXAMPLE 2: We really want you to take the job here at Magna Corporation, so let us know what we can do to sweeten the deal.

  • take it or leave it

 accept or reject an offer, usually a final one

EXAMPLE 1: The highest salary we can offer you is $50,000 a year — take it or leave it.

EXAMPLE 2: I’m offering to do the dishes for one week if you’ll help me with my science project. Take it or leave it.

  • (to) twist (someone’s) arm

 to persuade someone; to convince someone

EXAMPLE 1: Ted didn’t want to get another tattoo on his back, but Amber twisted his arm.

EXAMPLE 2: Okay, you’ve twisted my arm. You can borrow my new car and drive it across the country.

  • worth one’s while

 worthy of one’s effort or time

EXAMPLE 1: It would be worth your while to audition for the game show Jeopardy. You’d probably win a lot of money.

EXAMPLE 2: Let me make it worth your while to work weekends. I’ll pay you an extra $10 per hour on Saturdays and Sundays.

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