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Speak English Like an American Lesson 4 Idioms and Expressions MCQ Test

Speak English Like an American Lesson 4 Idioms and Expressions MCQ Test

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LESSON 4 – Nicole’s Day at School


Nicole tells her mother Susan about her successful presentation at school. Her brother Ted overhears and interrupts the conversation.

Susan: How was your day at school today, Nicole?

Nicole: It was great, Mom. I gave a presentation on Hillary Clinton in government class. Afterwards, my teacher paid me a compliment.

Susan: What did she say?

Nicole: She said my presentation was head and shoulders above the others.

Susan: Way to go!

Nicole: She also said I should go into politics, just like Hillary.

Ted: You’re so gung ho about school. It drives me crazy.

Nicole: Ted, don’t butt in! You’re just jealous.

Ted: Right. You hit the nail on the head. I’m green with envy.

Nicole: Would you just shut up? You’re on thin ice with me right now.

Ted: Oh no! Look at me. I’m shaking in my shoes!


  • (to) butt in

 to interrupt; to interfere

EXAMPLE 1: Nancy is always butting in to other people’s business.

EXAMPLE 2: Sara is really rude. She always butts in to other people’s conversations.

  • (to) drive one crazy

 to annoy someone very much

EXAMPLE 1: Don’t ask Mrs. Smith how old she is. It drives her crazy.

EXAMPLE 2: Please stop chewing gum so loudly. It’s driving me crazy!

SYNONYMS: to drive one nuts; to drive one up the wall

  • (to) go into

 to enter a profession

EXAMPLE 1: Lisa enjoys arguing with people, so she decided to go into law.

EXAMPLE 2: Do you like solving people’s problems? If so, you should consider going into psychology.

NOTE: “Go into” has several other meanings, including:

    1. Enter. Go into the house and get a pen.
    2. Enter another emotional state. Sally went into hysterics.
    3. Discuss details. I don’t have time now to go into the whole story.
  • green with envy

 desiring another’s advantages or things

EXAMPLE 1: When Daniel got promoted to vice president of the bank, his colleagues were green with envy.

EXAMPLE 2: You won the lottery? I’m green with envy!

  • gung ho

 very enthusiastic; very excited (about something)

EXAMPLE 1: Heather is really gung ho about her new job.

EXAMPLE 2: Sharon really loves college. She’s very gung ho.

NOTE: If the expression “gung ho” doesn’t sound like English to you, there’s a reason. It comes from a Mandarin Chinese phrase meaning “working together.” A US Marine Corps commander in China adopted this expression as the motto for his battalion during World War 2 and from there it sailed over to the United States and came into common use.

  • head and shoulders above

 far superior to

EXAMPLE 1: The Boston Symphony Orchestra is head and shoulders above any other orchestra in the area.

EXAMPLE 2: I can’t believe you only won second prize in the competition. You were head and shoulders above the first-prize winner!

  • (to) hit the nail on the head

 to be right

EXAMPLE 1: Dawn hit the nail on the head when she said that Tiffany is jealous of Amber.

EXAMPLE 2: Steve hit the nail on the head with his idea of moving his company’s manufacturing facility to China.

  • (to be) on thin ice (with someone)

 to be in a dangerous position; to be temporarily on somebody’s bad side

EXAMPLE 1: Joey was on thin ice with his mom after he spent his lunch money on candy bars.

EXAMPLE 2: Bill was on thin ice with his girlfriend after she saw him at the movie theater with another girl.

NOTE: There is also the variation “to skate on thin ice.” Joey knew he was skating on thin ice when he bought candy with his lunch money.

  • (to) pay (someone) a compliment

 to give someone a compliment; to offer someone an admiring comment

EXAMPLE 1: Professor Russo paid Jennifer a compliment. He said she had a beautiful smile.

EXAMPLE 2: Isn’t it wonderful to pay someone a compliment? It makes them feel good, and it doesn’t cost you anything!

  • (to) shake in one’s shoes

 to tremble with fear; to be afraid

EXAMPLE 1: Brianna is scared of her French teacher, Monsieur Le Monstre. Whenever he speaks to her, Brianna starts shaking in her shoes.

EXAMPLE 2: During the storm, Billy was hiding under his kitchen table and was really shaking in his shoes.

  • shut up

 be quiet, stop speaking; Stop speaking!

EXAMPLE 1: The professor talked for hours. I thought he’d never shut up.

EXAMPLE 2: Nicole kept telling Ted to turn down his stereo. Finally, he got angry and said, “Shut up!”

NOTE: Remember that telling somebody to “shut up!” is rude. It’s better to say “Be quiet!” or more politely, “Please be quiet!”

  • Way to go!

 Good work!

EXAMPLE 1: You won $2,000 in the poetry writing contest? Way to go!

EXAMPLE 2: That was an interesting article you wrote. Way to go!

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