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Speak English Like an American Lesson 12 Idioms and Expressions MCQ Test

Speak English Like an American Lesson 12 Idioms and Expressions MCQ Test

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LESSON 12 – Bob’s Big Cookie Order


The family is gathered around the dinner table. Bob tells them about his deal with the Village Market. He asks his kids for help baking the cookies.

Bob: I know I’ve been down in the dumps since I got fired, but things are looking up now. The Village Market wants to sell our cookies.

Nicole: That’s great news, Dad!

Bob: We’re going to have to bake like crazy over the weekend. They want 2,000 cookies by Monday.

Nicole: Two thousand cookies in three days? Don’t you think you’ve bitten off more than you can chew?

Ted: Yeah, you’re going to be running around like a chicken with its head cut off!

Susan: Fortunately, there are four of us here. You kids will have to pitch in too.

Nicole: Sorry, but I can’t. I have to finish Ted’s chemistry homework and then I’ve got to get going on my election speech.

Bob: What’s that about doing Ted’s chemistry homework?

Ted: Never mind! Amber will help out with the cookies instead of Nicole.

Susan: For heaven’s sake, Nicole! It’s like pulling teeth getting you to do any work around here.


  • (to) bite off more than one can chew

 to take on more than one is capable of; to take on too much

EXAMPLE 1: Jennifer is having a dinner party for 50 people, and she can’t even cook. I think she’s bitten off more than she can chew.

EXAMPLE 2: You agreed to host 50 exchange students from Korea? Aren’t you afraid you’ve bitten off more than you can chew?

SYNONYM: to be or to get in over one’s head. Example: Jennifer is in over her head with this dinner party!

  • (to be) down in the dumps

 to feel sad; to be depressed

EXAMPLE 1: It’s not surprising that Lisa is down in the dumps. Paws, the cat she had for 20 years, just died.

EXAMPLE 2: It’s easy to feel down in the dumps when it’s raining outside.

  • for heaven’s sake!

 A way of expressing emotions such as surprise, outrage, or impatience

EXAMPLE 1: Hurry up, for heaven’s sake! You’re going to be late for school.

EXAMPLE 2: Oh, for heaven’s sake! Yesterday, I made three dozen chocolate chip cookies, and today there’s only one cookie left!

SYNONYMS: for God’s sake, for goodness sake, for Pete’s sake

  • (to) get going

 to get started on something; to set off for a destination; to leave

EXAMPLE 1: If you don’t get going on your homework soon, you’re going to be up all night.

EXAMPLE 2: We’d better get going to the restaurant now. Otherwise, we’ll be late for our seven o’clock reservation.

SYNONYMS: to get a move on; to get the show on the road

  • (to) help out

 to give assistance; to help

EXAMPLE 1: Amber offered to help out in the kitchen by chopping nuts.

EXAMPLE 2: I’d be happy to help out by baking cookies for the picnic.

SYNONYM: to lend a hand

  • like a chicken with its head cut off

 in a hysterical manner; in a frenzy; in a very nervous way

EXAMPLE 1: Ken was late for work, and he couldn’t find his car keys. He was running around his apartment like a chicken with its head cut off.

EXAMPLE 2: Patricia ran around the school looking for her lost backpack like a chicken with its head cut off.

NOTE: This idiom is usually used with the phrase “to run around” as in the above examples.

  • like crazy

 with great speed or enthusiasm

EXAMPLE 1: When Pete Sampras won the tennis match, the crowd started cheering like crazy.

EXAMPLE 2: Ann ran like crazy, but she still didn’t manage to catch the bus.

  • like pulling teeth

 very difficult

EXAMPLE 1: It’s like pulling teeth getting Max to talk about his girlfriend.

EXAMPLE 2: Kyle hates to study. It’s like pulling teeth getting him to do his homework every night.

  • never mind

 don’t worry about something; forget it; it doesn’t matter

EXAMPLE 1: You forgot to pick up eggs at the supermarket? Never mind. I’ll get them tomorrow morning.

EXAMPLE 2: Never mind what your friends say. You need to do what you think is right.

  • (to) pitch in

 to help

EXAMPLE 1: Nicole offered to pitch in and clean up her neighborhood beach. She picked up five plastic cups and an old towel.

EXAMPLE 2: If you need my help, just ask. I’d be happy to pitch in.

SYNONYMS: to lend a hand, to lend a helping hand; to help out

  • (to) run around

 to move about quickly

EXAMPLE 1: I’ve been running around all day making final arrangements for our trip to Costa Rica tomorrow.

EXAMPLE 2: Debbie is exhausted. She ran around town all day today.

  • things are looking up

 things are improving

EXAMPLE 1: Elizabeth found a wonderful new job and just moved into a beautiful new apartment. Things are looking up for her.

EXAMPLE 2: Things are looking up with the economy.

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