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Speak English Like an American Lesson 17 Idioms and Expressions MCQ Test

Speak English Like an American Lesson 17 Idioms and Expressions MCQ Test

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LESSON 17 – Carol Tells Bob the Good News


Carol phones Bob to tell him the cookies are selling very well and that she needs another 1,000 by the morning. Bob isn’t sure he can make the cookies so quickly, but Carol insists.

Carol: Bob, your wife’s cookies are selling like hotcakes!

Bob: How many did you sell, Carol?

Carol: We’ve sold out. I need more right away! Bring me another 1,000 by tomorrow at 9 a.m.

Bob: That’s a tall order, Carol.

Carol: Don’t blow it, Bob! Susan’s Scrumptious Cookies could really take off.

Bob: I know, but I’m not sure we have enough time to bake all those cookies.

Carol: Bake all night if you have to. Burn the midnight oil! If you work hard now, you’ll be sitting pretty in a few years.

Bob: Rest assured that I’ll do my best to deliver the goods.

Carol: Okay, now let’s stop the chitchat. You’ve got work to do!


  • (to) blow it

 to spoil an opportunity

EXAMPLE 1: The actress got nervous and forgot all of her lines. She really blew it!

EXAMPLE 2: I’ll give you one more chance, but don’t blow it this time!

SYNONYM: to screw up [slang]. Example: I can’t believe you screwed up during the interview by asking for six weeks of vacation before you even got the job offer!

  • (to) burn the midnight oil

 to stay up late studying or working

EXAMPLE 1: Michael burned the midnight oil studying for his algebra test.

EXAMPLE 2: The project is due tomorrow and we’re far from finished. We’re going to have to burn the midnight oil tonight.

  • chitchat

 casual conversation; gossip

EXAMPLE 1: Peter told Heather to stop the chitchat and get back to work.

EXAMPLE 2: Okay, enough chitchat! Let’s start discussing this week’s reading assignment.

SYNONYM: to shoot the breeze

NOTE: Chitchat can also be a verb. Example: Amber and Ted were chitchatting all night long.

  • (to) deliver the goods

 to meet expectations; to do what’s required

EXAMPLE 1: Peter thought Bob wasn’t delivering the goods, so he fired him.

EXAMPLE 2: I’m depending on you to finish the job on time. I know that you can deliver the goods!

SYNONYM: to cut the mustard. Example: If you can’t cut the mustard here, you’ll have to find a new job.

  • (to) do one’s best

 to try as hard as possible

EXAMPLE 1: Although Ted did his best, he still failed his chemistry test.

EXAMPLE 2: You might not get a perfect score on your history test, but just do your best.

SYNONYM: to give it one’s all

  • rest assured

 be sure

EXAMPLE 1: Rest assured that the police will find the thieves.

EXAMPLE 2:  Rest assured I’ll take good care of your dog while you’re on vacation.

  • right away


EXAMPLE 1: When Meg realized her house was on fire, she called the fire department right away.

EXAMPLE 2: You need some sugar for your cookies? I’ll bring some over right away.

  • (to) sell like hotcakes

 to sell fast; to be a popular item

EXAMPLE 1: Those new Fubu blue jeans are selling like hotcakes. All the girls love them.

EXAMPLE 2: Stephen King’s new novel is selling like hotcakes.

  • (to be) sitting pretty

 in a good position (often financially)

EXAMPLE 1: After Chad won the lottery, he was really sitting pretty. He quit his job and bought a mansion in Malibu, California.

EXAMPLE 2:  Gina was one of the first people to work at, and she made millions on her stock options. Now she’s sitting pretty.

  • sold out

 completely sold

EXAMPLE 1: Becky was really disappointed when she found out that the Britney Spears concert was sold out.

EXAMPLE 2: Susan’s cookies were very popular at the bake sale. In fact, they sold out in just 20 minutes!

  • (to) take off

 to become popular; to grow suddenly

EXAMPLE: Julia Roberts’ career took off with the film “Pretty Woman.”

NOTE: “Take off” has several other meanings:

    1. Remove. Please take off your shoes before coming inside our apartment. We just vacuumed this morning.
    2. To leave. We’re taking off now. See you later!
    3. To deduct. The waiter forgot to bring us drinks, so he took $10 off the bill.
    4. To leave the ground. The airplane took off on time.
  • tall order

 a task or goal that is difficult to achieve

EXAMPLE 1: It’ll be a tall order to find a new governor as popular as the current one.

EXAMPLE 2: You want me to figure out how to clone your pet rabbit? That’s a tall order!

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