View Full Version : The Story of Bob Peter - Idioms 1/2

Apr 1, 2009, 08:38 PM
One of the keys to speaking like a native is the ability to use and understand casual expressions or idioms. American English is full of Idioms.

Bob works as a manger in a furniture Store. Peter, his boss, is not happy about sales. Bob’s new advertising campaign hasn’t helped. Peter decides to fire him.

Peter: Bob, I hate to break the news, but our sales were down last month.
Bob: Down again, Peter?
Peter: Yeah. These days, everybody’s shopping at our competition, Honest Abe’s Furniture Store.
Bob: But everything in there costs an arm and a leg!
Peter: That’s true. They do charge top dollar.
Bob: And their salespeople are very strange. They really give me the creeps.
Peter: Well, they must be doing something right over there. Meanwhile, we’re about to go belly-up.
Bob: I’m sorry to hear that. I thought my new advertising campaign would save the day.
Peter: Let’s face it: your advertising campaign was a real flop.
Bob: Well then I’ll go back to the drawing board.
Peter: It’s too late for that. You’re fired!
Bob: What? You’re giving me the ax?
Peter: Yes. I’ve already found a new manager. She’s sharp as a tack.
Bob: Can’t we even talk this over? After all, I’ve been working here for 10 years.
Peter: There’s no point in arguing, Bob. I’ve already made up my mind.
Bob: Oh well, at least I wont’ have to put up with your non-sense anymore! Good-bye to you and good-bye to this dead-end job.
Peter: Please leave before I lose my temper!

About to – ready to; on the verge of
Example 1: It’s a good thing Bob left the furniture store when he did. Peter was so angry, he was about to throw a dinning room chair at him.
Example 2: I’m glad you’re finally home. I was about to have dinner without you.
After all - despite everything; when everything has been considered; the fact is
Example 1: You’d better invite Ed to your party. After all, he’s a good friend.
Example 2: It doesn’t matter what your boss things of you. After all, you’re going to quite your job anyway.
At least - anyway; the good thing is that …
We’re run out of coffee, but at least we still have tea.
Tracy can’t afford to buy a car, but at least she has a good bicycle.
Note: The second definition of this phrase is “no less than”. There were at least 300 people waiting in line to buy concert tickets.
(to) break the news – to make something known
Eg 1: Samantha and Michael are getting married, but they haven’t yet broken the news to their parents.
Eg. You’d better break the news to your father carefully. After all, you don’t want him to have a heart attack!

(to) cost an arm and a leg - to be very expensive
Example 1: A college education in America costs an arm and a leg.
Example 2: all of the furniture at Honest Abe’s costs an am and a leg.

Dead-end job – a job that won’t lead to anything else
Ex 1: Diane realized that working as a cashier was a dead-end job.
Ex 2. Jim worked many dead-end jobs before finally deciding to start his own business

(let’s) face it - accept a difficult reality
Eg. Let’s face it, if Ted spent more time studying, he wouldn’t be failing so many of his classes.
Eg . Let’s face it, if you don’t’ have a college degree, it can be difficult to find a high-paying job.

(to) give one the creeps - to create a feeling of disgust or horror.
Eg. Ted’s friend Matt has seven earrings in each ear and an “I love Mom” tattoo on his arm. He really gives Nicole the creeps.
Eg. There was a strange man following me around the grocery store. He was giving me the creepts!

(to) go belly-up – to go bankrupt.
Eg. Many people lost their jobs and Enron went belly-up.
Eg. My company lost $3 million last year. We might go belly-up.

(to) give someone the ax - to fire someone
Eg. Mary used to talk to her friends on the phone all day at work, until one day her boss finally gave her the ax.
Eg. Poor Paul! He was given the ax two days before Christmas.

(to) lose one’s temper - to become very angry
Eg. Bob always looses his temper when his kids start talking on the telephone during dinner.
When Ted handed in his essay two weeks late, his teacher really lost her temper.

(to) make up one’s mind - to reach a decision; to decide
Eg. Stephanie couldn’t make up her mind whether to attend Harvard or Standford. Finally, she chose Standford.

(to) put up with: to endure without complaint
For many years, Barbara puts up with his mean boss every day.
Real flop or flop - a failure
Eg. The Broadway play closed after just 4 days – it was a real flop!
The company was in trouble after its new product flopped.

(to) save the day – to prevent a disaster or misfortune
The Christmas tree was on fire, but Ted threw water on it and saved the day.

(as) sharp as a tack - very intelligent
Jay scored 100% on his science test. He’s as sharp as a tack.

(to) talk over - discuss
Dave and I spent hours talking over the details of the plain.
Before you make any big decisions, give me a call and we’ll talk things over.

top dollar – the highest end of a price range; a lot of money
Nicole paid top dollar for a shirt at Banana Republic.

I can’t believe you bout a couch at Honest Abe’s . Everything in that store costs an arm and a …… ?

After Bob found out that his advertising campaign failed, he wanted to go back to the drawing …… ?

When somebody isn’t listening to you, there’s no …… in trying to argue with them.

Jose is really smart. He’s as sharp as a … ?

The salespeople at Honest Abe’s always look angry and never speak to anybody. No wonder they ……. Book the creeps.

Bob got fired. He isn’t looking forward to ….. the news to his family.

Bob thought his new advertisements would bring in lots of customers and save the …. ?

Fortunately, Bob no longer has to put ________ with his stupid boss at the furniture store.