B2 · C1 · Idioms

Idiom: When the cows come home

Photo by Alaina McLearnon from Unsplash

If you ask permission to, say…, borrow your mum’s car to attend a beach party (where your mum suspects there will be a lot of boozing), promising that you will get back before dawn and your mum’s answer is ‘I’ll lend you the car when the cows come home.’ What exactly did she say? Will she lend you the car? Check the meaning of this idiom on the button below.

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Advanced C1 listening · B2 · C1 · Idioms

Listening Advanced C1: Do We Really Need the Moon?

Image Jason Blackeye

There has been a lot of talk about the moon lately because fifty years ago man set foot on it.  There also seems to be a lot of debate related to whether this actually happened or if it was merely propaganda due to the Space Race. Aware as I am that this information will most probably remain a mystery as well as providing a nice subject for an English class debate, I’ve used a video from BBC Earth to explore the topics of Science and Technology and The Natural World within the subject of space travel/exploration because this is one of the possible questions you could be required to deal with in a speaking test.

As an introduction, we’re going to see some idioms that use the words ‘moon and stars’. Afterwards, as a second step, I’ve posted an activity where you can try to predict some of the reasons why the moon is important for life on earth. A third step implies watching a video and doing a true/false activity related to the information you extract. But we’re not going to finish here, instead we’re going to listen to the same video again (although much more carefully this time), to develop listening strategies for very specific words you hear in the video as this activity is a filling the gap one.

B2 · Idioms

English idioms: To go bananas

bunch of bananas1

 

In the next activity on word formation, you may notice  that I use the expression ‘to go bananas’. Well, that’s another one of those food idioms. Can you guess what this idiom means? If I went bananas one of those days in which many of  my students didn’t do their homework, what do you think happened to me? Did I go all yellow as if I were suffering from jaundice? Did I sort of peel? Just for the sake of learning a little more English and having some fun, you might want to make a guess on the link below.

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Idioms · Learning English with songs

Listening activity Upper intermediate B2: Katy Perry’s Roar

This song’s real fun! Makes you feel good and strong and ready for almost any of the daily battles we come across.

This song by Katy Perry is about overcoming a bad situation in life, may that be at work, in a romantic relationship or a challenge we had set ourselves and somehow failed to achieve. It is about a person who used to accept a situation, even though she was not happy about it, but one day,  felt tired of feeling this way and decided to face her problems and sort them out. I think it’s definitely a very motivational and inspiring song.

The video is quite funny and has used the cliché of Tarzan (King of the Jungle), but in a humerous way, representing the typical things Tarzan did ( like killing crocodiles or any other animal in sight), however, adapting them to the female role represented in the video.

Here I’ve used the video for the purpose of learning some expressions and idioms related to problems and relationships. I hope you enjoy it.

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Learning English with songs · phonetics

Listening Intermediate B1: Friday I’m in Love

Robert_Smith_of_The_Cure_live_in_Singapore_1_August_2007

This great song by the British band The Cure really puts one in a happy mood and I must say, that it doesn’t matter how old the song is or how many times you hear it, it’s always smashing.  Apparently the song was written in response to press criticism  accusing the group of being incapable of writing anything cheerful (if you want to know what  the press meant by this,  look for their song ‘Lullaby’, even though I don’t agree).  The meaning of the song is not clear. Some say it’s about love, some say it’s about enjoying Friday more than being in love with a person they probably meet on  this day, and some people even go a bit further in their interpretation (there may be minors reading this post, so I’ll leave this to your own imagination). Whatever conclusion you arrive at, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it anyway. In this Learning English with songs, you can learn a couple of colour idioms and other expressions related to feelings as well as doing some phonetics.

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