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Speak English Like an American Lesson 16 Idioms and Expressions MCQ Test

Speak English Like an American Lesson 16 Idioms and Expressions MCQ Test

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LESSON 16 – Bob Brings the Cookies to the Village Market


Bob brings Carol the cookies. He tells Carol that baking the cookies was easy because he had lots of help.

Carol: Bob, how did the baking go?

Bob: Slow at first, but we’re getting the hang of it.

Carol: Once you learn the ropes, it becomes second nature.

Bob: To tell you the truth, I thought that baking 2,000 cookies would be a pain in the neck. But we managed to round up some helpers, and it was a piece of cake.

Carol: Well, thanks for coming in person with the cookies.

Bob: No problem. When will you need more?

Carol: It depends on how many we sell today.

Bob: How many do you think you’ll sell?

Carol: Maybe 500, maybe 2,000. Your guess is as good as mineIn any case, I’ll keep you posted.

Bob: Okay. Just give me a ring as soon as you know.


  • at first

 in the beginning

EXAMPLE 1: Nicole didn’t like Don Quixote at first, but after 200 pages she started to get into it.

EXAMPLE 2: Don’t get discouraged if you don’t succeed at first. The important thing is that you keep on trying!

  • (to) get the hang of (something)

 to learn how to do something; to acquire an effective technique

EXAMPLE 1: Billy had trouble learning how to ride a bike, but after a few months he finally got the hang of it.

EXAMPLE 2: When I went snowboarding for the first time, I kept falling down. But after a while, I got the hang of it.

  • (to) give (someone) a ring

 to telephone someone

EXAMPLE 1: Give me a ring tomorrow so we can discuss plans for this weekend.

EXAMPLE 2: If you’re free on Saturday, give me a ring and we can go to the movies.

SYNONYM: to give (someone) a buzz [slang]

  • in any case

 whatever the fact is; certainly

EXAMPLE 1: We can either go to the new Star Wars movie or see a play tonight. In any case, you’ll need to be at my house by six o’clock.

EXAMPLE 2: You’ll probably be too tired on Sunday to come over. In any case, give me a call in the morning to discuss.

  • in person

 personally; in one’s physical presence

EXAMPLE 1: Tim hoped that he and Svetlana would get along as well in person as they did over the Internet.

EXAMPLE 2: After hearing so much about Donna’s boyfriend, I’m looking forward to meeting him in person.

  • (to) keep posted

 to provide up-to-date information

EXAMPLE 1: Keep me posted about your plans for the summer. If you’re going to be at your cottage on the lake, I’d love to come visit.

EXAMPLE 2: Good luck selling your house and keep me posted! I’d love to know how much you get for it.

  • (to) learn the ropes

 to learn the basics

EXAMPLE 1: Mark learned the ropes of the restaurant business by working as a cook at Outback Steakhouse.

EXAMPLE 2: David worked at a big law firm for 10 years where he learned the ropes. Now he runs his own law firm.

  • pain in the neck

 an annoyance

EXAMPLE 1: Yesterday I had to stay home all day and wait for the repairman. What a pain in the neck!

EXAMPLE 2: Alice wants me to drive her to the airport early tomorrow morning. That’s going to be a pain in the neck!

  • piece of cake

 very easy

EXAMPLE 1: Nicole finished her physics test in just 25 minutes. It was a piece of cake.

EXAMPLE 2: The driving test is a piece of cake. Don’t worry about it.

SYNONYM: easy as pie. You should have no trouble passing the driving test. It’s as easy as pie.

  • (to) round up

 to gather people together

EXAMPLE 1: The town rounded up 200 volunteers to search for the hiker, who was lost in the woods of Yosemite National Park.

EXAMPLE 2: Let’s round up some volunteers to help bake cookies and pies for the bake sale.

  • second nature

 a behavior that has been practiced for so long, it seems to have been there always

EXAMPLE 1: Karen has been arguing with her husband every day for the past 20 years, so by now it’s just second nature.

EXAMPLE 2: With practice, riding a unicycle becomes second nature.

  • to tell you the truth

 to speak openly; to admit

EXAMPLE 1: To tell you the truth, Ted isn’t a very good student.

EXAMPLE 2: To tell you the truth, I didn’t even want to attend Katie’s wedding. But I knew she’d be offended if I didn’t go.

  • your guess is as good as mine

 I don’t know; I don’t know any more than you do

EXAMPLE 1: Will we ever find intelligent life on other planets? Your guess is as good as mine.

EXAMPLE 2: Will Ted graduate on time? Your guess is as good as mine!

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