Tag Archives: everyday

I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it

I stopped teaching when I had Alisa, but 7 months on I have a new student learning Russian and I’m really enjoying our lessons. On Saturday he asked me about words in Russian that can be used at the beginning of a phrase, or as a filler, but I know that once students learn a filler word it’s impossible to unlearn it – it crops up everywhere! So I diplomatically evaded this and my student said ‘OK, I will cross that bridge when I come to it‘, which is a wonderful phrase, and brand new to me!

The meaning is fairly clear – it’s about dealing with a problem only when it arises.

Here are some examples:

  • You’ll need to repave it every few years, but I guess you’ll cross that bridge when you come to it (Oxford Dictionaries)
  • ‘What if the flight is delayed?’ ‘I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.‘ (The Free Dictionary)
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I spoke too soon

i spoke too soon phrase

Photo credit: masetv.com

One thing I realised pretty soon after having a baby was that the moment you think you have it all figured out and under control – be it feeding, napping, sleeping at night or understanding your baby’s cues – things suddenly change! I guess many mothers would agree.

A few weeks ago when we went to a Baby Club run by the local children’s centre. I try to go every week, as it’s one of the few opportunities I get to speak English (and just speak to somebody other than my husband and baby!), unless Alisa decides to have a nap right before we’re supposed to leave.

Last time we went there was a mum whose baby seemed tired and unsettled, so she fed and cuddled her, it seemed to work, so she said ‘You seem pretty chilled now’, and the baby started crying again. ‘I spoke too soon!‘ said the mum. It’s a great expression that I haven’t really come across before and it’s definitely handy for talking about your baby!

A few more examples:

  • He won’t be home for hours yet … Oh, I spoke too soon – here he is now! (Cambridge Dictionaries Online)
  • A few days ago I said my job is pretty stress-free, but I spoke too soonthe stress level at work has gone way up this week (The Free Dicitonary).
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Bumble along

bumble along meaning

Hi dear readers,

Once again I have to apologize for the prolonged silence on this blog, but this time I have a really good excuse – her name is Alisa and she is six months old already! It wouldn’t be true if I said that I didn’t have a single moment to write a blog post since she was born, but I definitely have much less time and different priorities these days. That said, I’ve been keeping track of some of the cool phrases I learnt over the past few months and I intend to share them with you!

Today’s phrase – ‘to bumble along‘ – means ‘to go about bunglingly, awkwardly, mindlessly, etc., during some task or in general’ (The Free Dictionary), or, in other words, to not have a clue about what you’re doing, which describes perfectly the way (most) new parents feel. This was exactly how we felt after coming home with a newborn, and as we bombarded the midwife with hundreds of questions about our baby she said ‘Don’t worry, everyone just sort of bumbles along and then you’ll figure out what she wants’. This is true, 6 months down the line things have become fairly straightforward… Or have they? 

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To have somebody down as…

have somebody down as phrase meaning

Photo credit: dailymail.co.uk

Hi there,

Apologies again for my rather long absence – there’s been a lot going on lately (and there’ll probably be even more on going on soon – details later), but I reckoned that even one new post is better than none, so here you go!

I’ve been watching BBC’s Doctor Foster drama lately, and there was a phrase in one of the previous episodes that caught my attention – ‘I’ve always had you down as (organised)’. I’ve come across it before and I think it’s a great phrase to embellish your vocabulary. Essentially it just means to ‘consider somebody to be of a certain type’, but it sounds so much nicer!

Here are some more examples:

– I never had Jake down as a ladies’ man (Oxford Dictionaries).

– The tabloid press has had him down as a privacy-obsessed neurotic weirdo pretty much ever since, and there is very little he can do about it (The Guardian).

– I had him down as a coffee-boy layabout, as I used to call him, and thought he was rather arrogant. But when I got to know him – it’s quite tragic really. I had an unhappy childhood, too, so there was a bit of an understanding there, although we never talked about it (The Guardian).

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Swanky

swanky meaning

Today’s linguistic revelation came from… a pot of yogurt. I never win anything in these contests, but at least I can learn a word or two – that’s my consolation prize!

A ‘swanky‘ hotel stay is the one that’s going to be ‘luxurious and expensive’, according to the Oxford Dictionary, but totally free for you if you’re lucky enough to win it!

Here are some ‘swanky’ examples:

– The latest swanky spa to make a splash on the London scene is Notting Hill’s Hydro Healing, where treatments to help with common ‘lifestyle disorders’ (I think that means tiredness, stress and overflowing toxins) have an aquatic focus (The Guardian).

– The outlook is bleak for swanky stores, much better for discount chains (The Economist).

– The chink of wine glasses, the clatter of cutlery and the chatter of low voices fill the warm air of the latest swanky restaurant to open in London (The Economist).

 

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Everything but the kitchen sink

 everything but the kitchen sink meaning

I apologize for my prolonged absence and for not posting anything for months. I cannot even say that I was extremely busy – at least not all of the time – but there was a fair amount of things going on and maybe I just needed a bit of a break from the blog as well. From now on I hope to be able to update this blog more often!

I took this picture near where I live. It’s an advertisement for Gumtree – a website where you can sell or buy pretty much anything, from cars to furniture (and some people do sell sinks there!) – and it reminded me of a funny expression ‘everything but the kitchen sink‘, which means, well, everything you can imagine.

Here are some examples:

– The kitchen needs to look at its salads which contain everything but the kitchen sink (Oxford Dictionary).

– Peter went to London for the weekend with a huge bag of things – clothes, computers, his special shampoo… He really took everything but the kitchen sink (BBC Learning English).

– So he took the “everything but the kitchen sink” approach to reform – ranging from a ban on MPs getting involved in lobbying through to fixed-term parliaments. He even talked about moving towards a written constitution (BBC).

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To double-bag

double-bag verb meaning usage

Photo credit: apartmenttherapy.com

First, I apologize for neglecting this blog a little bit – it was a combination of looking for work, too much work, holidays and other stuff that just tends to happen all at the same time.

Second, there’s a new word I wanted to share. The other day my husband and I popped into a supermarket to get some food to celebrate his new job (and a dream job at that!). The guy at the till managed to stuff everything into one bag, but as I tried to lift it the bag seemed perilously heavy. So he asked ‘Shall I double-bag it for you?’ That seemed like a reasonable thing to do, considering there were two bottles of wine that I was reluctant to lose.

The meaning should be pretty clear – you just use two bags instead of one to hold your shopping. Just in case. Dividing it between the two bags would work equally well, though!

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Top 5 most used phrasal verbs

top 5 most used phrasal verbs in EnglishPhoto credit: adamique.wordpress.com

There are loads of  phrasal verbs in English, and I’ve tried to pick those that are absolutely indispensable in everyday life. In my experience these are the most commonly used phrasal verbs, at least I hear them all the time.

1) Pop in

It means to go somewhere briefly. You usually pop into a shop, to a greengrocer’s, to a pharmacy, that kind of thing.

Examples:

– Once you’re ready, it’s good to get out at least once a day, even if it’s just to pop to the local shop. A change of scene will make you feel better, while your baby benefits from fresh air (BBC).

– Why don’t you pop in and see us this afternoon? (Cambridge Online Dictionary)

2) Turn up

It has several meanings, but the most common, in my experience, are ‘to come somewhere, especially without any prior arrangement’ or ‘to happen’.

Examples:

– She failed to turn up for work on Monday (MacMillan Dictionary).

– She said she’d let me know if anything new turned up (Cambridge Online Dictionary).

3) Top up

You can top up your phone, in other words, pay for it. Or you can add more water to a teapot or a cup to make it full. So, if you’re having tea in a café you can ask for a top-up. It’s something I didn’t know until I was actually offered one.

Examples:

Top up with £15 for unlimited calls, texts and 100MB of data (for once text messages from my mobile operator came in handy).

– Complimentary top-up on tea and coffee (newinnharborne.co.uk).

Here’s an interesting account of the differences between ‘a top up’ (British English) and ‘a refill’ (American English).

4) Drop off / Pick up

These are really useful if you’re driving or you ask somebody to drive you somewhere. They pick you up at a certain place and then they drop you off.

Examples:

– Can you drop the kids off at school this morning? (MacMillan Dictionary).

– A truck picks up the recycling once a week (Cambridge Online Dictionary).

5) Come up with

It means to think of something, such as an idea or a plan. However, I’ve written about this phrasal verb before.

P.S. And here are some links to Top 10 Phrasal Verbs and an Infographic of Most Common Phrasal Verbs.

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