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Speak English Like an American Lesson 2 Idioms and Expressions MCQ Test

Speak English Like an American Lesson 2 Idioms and Expressions MCQ Test

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LESSON 2 – Bob Returns Home With Bad News


Bob tells his wife Susan that he lost his job. Susan suggests that he start his own business.

Susan: What’s the matter, dear?

Bob: Susan, I got canned today at work.

Susan: But Bob, you were Peter’s right-hand man!

Bob: Yes, and he stabbed me in the back.

Susan: Keep your chin up. Maybe he’ll change his mind and take you back.

Bob: When pigs fly! Once he makes up his mind, he never changes it. Besides, I told him off.

Susan: Look on the bright side: you won’t have to set eyes on Peter ever again.

Bob: Thank goodness for that!

Susan: Hang in there. I’m sure you won’t be out of work for long.

Bob: In the meantime, we’ll have to live from hand to mouth.

Susan: Don’t get too stressed out, Bob. We’ll make ends meet.

Bob: I can always get a job at McDonald’s as a last resort.

Susan: I don’t think they’re hiring right now.

Bob: If worse comes to worst, we can sell our home and move into a tent.

Susan: Let’s think big! Maybe you can start your own business.

Bob: Easier said than done!


  • (to) change one’s mind

 to change one’s opinion or decision

EXAMPLE 1: Brandon wasn’t going to take a vacation this year, but then he changed his mind and went to Bora Bora for two weeks.

EXAMPLE 2: Why aren’t you applying to medical school this year? Did you change your mind about becoming a doctor?

  • easier said than done

 more difficult than you think

EXAMPLE 1: You want to climb Mount Everest? Easier said than done!

EXAMPLE 2: Moving into a new home is easier said than done.

  • (to) get canned

 to lose one’s job; to get fired

EXAMPLE 1: After Chris got canned, it took him a year to find a new job.

EXAMPLE 2: Lisa is a lousy secretary. She deserves to get canned!

SYNONYMS: to get sacked; to be given the ax

  • (to) hang in there

 to persevere; to not give up

EXAMPLE 1: I know you’re four games behind, but you can still win the tennis match. Just hang in there!

EXAMPLE 2: Hang in there, Don! Your invention will soon be a success.

  • if worse comes to worst

 in the worst case; if absolutely necessary

EXAMPLE 1: Ted’s car isn’t running well. If worse comes to worst, he can take the bus to school.

EXAMPLE 2: I know you’re running out of money. If worse comes to worst, you can always sell some of your jewelry.

  • (to) keep one’s chin up

 to stay positive

EXAMPLE 1: Even when he was unemployed and homeless, Bill managed to keep his chin up.

EXAMPLE 2: Keep your chin up! You’ll find your lost dog soon.

  • last resort

 if there are no other alternatives left; the last solution for getting out of a difficulty

EXAMPLE 1: David was locked out of his house. He knew that as a last resort, he could always break a window.

EXAMPLE 2: I don’t like taking medicine. I’ll only take it as a last resort.

  • (to) live from hand to mouth

 to barely have enough money to survive

EXAMPLE 1: Jenny was earning $5 an hour working at the store. She was really living from hand to mouth.

EXAMPLE 2: George is really poor. He lives from hand to mouth.

  • (to) look on the bright side

 to be optimistic; to think about the positive part or aspect of a situation

EXAMPLE 1: Leo was upset that his soccer game was canceled. His mother said, “Look on the bright side, now you can stay home and watch TV.”

EXAMPLE 2: You lost your job? Look on the bright side, now you’ll have more free time!

  • (to) make ends meet

 to manage one’s money so as to have enough to live on; to be okay financially

EXAMPLE 1: Kimberly wasn’t able to make ends meet so she had to ask her parents to pay her rent.

EXAMPLE 2: If you can’t make ends meet, you’ll need to start spending less.

  • (to) make up one’s mind

 to reach a decision; to decide

EXAMPLE 1: Stephanie couldn’t make up her mind whether to attend Harvard or Stanford. Finally, she chose Stanford.

EXAMPLE 2: Do you want an omelette or fried eggs? You’ll need to make up your mind quickly because the waitress is coming.

  • out of work

 unemployed; not working

EXAMPLE 1: Gary was out of work for a year before finding a new job.

EXAMPLE 2: Bob is out of work. Do you know anybody who might want to hire him?

  • right-hand man

 the most helpful assistant or employee

EXAMPLE 1: Juan’s right-hand man helps him make all of his decisions.

EXAMPLE 2: When Jack Thompson retired as president of his company, his right-hand man took over.

  • (to) set eyes on

 to look at; to see for the first time

EXAMPLE 1: Ted was in love from the moment he set eyes on Amber.

EXAMPLE 2: Susan knew from the moment she set eyes on Ted’s friend Lucas that he would be trouble.

  • (to) stab someone in the back

 to betray someone

EXAMPLE 1: Jill and Heather were friends, until Heather stabbed Jill in the back by stealing her boyfriend.

EXAMPLE 2: You’re firing me after all I’ve done for this company? You’re really stabbing me in the back!

  • (to be) stressed out

 under severe strain; very anxious

EXAMPLE 1: Al is so stressed out about his job that he can’t sleep at night.

EXAMPLE 2: You’ve been so stressed out lately. You really need to take a long vacation!

  • (to) tell off

 to scold; to tell someone in strong words what one really thinks

EXAMPLE 1: When Ted showed up for chemistry class a half an hour late, his teacher really told him off.

EXAMPLE 2: Patty is going to tell off the plumber because the pipes he said he fixed are still leaking.

  • thank goodness

 I’m grateful; I’m relieved

EXAMPLE 1: When Ted came home at 4 a.m. last Sunday, his mother said, “Thank goodness you’re home! I was so worried about you.”

EXAMPLE 2: Thank goodness you didn’t go to California on Monday. It rained there every day this week.

  • (to) think big

 to set high goals

EXAMPLE 1: Why run for Governor of New York? Think big: run for President of the United States!

EXAMPLE 2: Ken and Sandra hope to sell their house for $3 million dollars. They always think big.

  • What’s the matter?

 What’s the problem?

EXAMPLE 1: What’s the matter, Bob? You don’t look very happy.

EXAMPLE 2: Oscar looks very pale. What’s the matter with him?

  • When pigs fly!


EXAMPLE 1: Will Ted teach Nicole how to play the guitar? When pigs fly!

EXAMPLE 2: Sure, I’ll give you my new laptop. When pigs fly!

SYNONYMS: when hell freezes over; never in a million years

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