Use These 3 New Year’s Idioms to Save Time In 2018

Posted By Judy on 01-25-2018 Categories - Uncategorized,

Use These 3 New Year’s Idioms to Save Time In 2018

Did you know that using idioms correctly is one of the best ways to help you sound like a native Englsih speaker? That’s why I always tell my students to have a good number of idioms “up their sleeve” (see what I did there?) to use in different social situations. For example, imagine there was a magic pill to instantly improve your English. If someone asked if you wanted one, that decision would be easy, right? And the perfect idiom to use would be to say that your decision was a “no-brainer!”

So, the right idiom, when used correctly, builds understanding and closeness between you and your listeners. There is nothing better than a good idiom to create a small, emotional bond between you and the person you’re talking to. For that reason, and since it’s the start of a new year, I wanted to teach you 3 of my favorite idioms. Best part? Not only can you use them immediately, you can use them to reclaim your most valuable resource – time! So let’s check them out now. Ready?

 

New Year’s Idiom #1 “Flake”

The Urban Dictionary defines a flake as “someone who makes plans with you, promises to do things with you (or for you), but never seems to follow through.” Okay, so let’s break this down. Do you know people who make plans with you or promise to hang out with you, but never do? I think we’ve all encountered people like this in our lives. Well, in English we call these people “flakes.” So let’s say our friend Munhee is a flake. A typical text conversation may go something like this:

Once people think of you as a flake, it’s very hard to change their minds about you. In fact, let’s take a quick look at how Nick feels about Munhee a few weeks after the birthday incident.

And let’s take a quick look at the English transcript for this video:

Without using “flake”

Chung: Hey Nick!

Nick: Hey Chung, how’s it going?

Chung: So far so good. By the way, is Munhee coming with us to the party tonight?

Nick: You know, I totally doubt it! She always says she’s gonna come, but she never actually does.

Chung: Yeah, she never keeps her promises. She’s… (thinking of the right word to say) anyway, I don’t believe her.

Nick: Yeah, me neither.

Using “flake”

Chung: Hey Nick!

Nick: Hey Chung, how’s it going?

Chung: So far so good. By the way, is Munhee coming with us to the party tonight?

Nick: You know, I totally doubt it! She always says she’s gonna come, but she never actually does.

Chung: Yeah, she never keeps her promises. Yeah, she’s such a flake!

Nick: Yeah, I hope she doesn’t flake tonight!

 

Not pretty, right? But I want to mention one more interesting point. Notice how Nick said, “Yeah, I hope she doesn’t flake tonight!” Until now, we’ve been using the word “flake” as a noun. But you can also use it as a verb, just as Nick did in the video. So New Year’s Idiom #1 is “flake,” and by getting rid of all the flakes in your life, you can save yourself a ton of time and energy in 2018! Now let’s move on to Idiom #2.

 

New Year’s Idiom #2 “Catch You At A Bad Time” 

So the official definition of “catch you at a bad time” is “to attempt to speak or deal with someone at a time that is inconvenient for that person.” Don’t worry if this sounds a little confusing. Let’s break this down. A very easy example of “catching someone at a bad time” would be if you were trying to start a conversation with someone while they were on the phone. Obviously, they would be busy, so you would be “catching them at a bad time.”

However, this also goes for social situations as well. For instance, if you walked into a room and saw a co-worker comforting a sobbing friend, would you interrupt them to ask them what they wanted for lunch? I hope not!

In fact, let’s look at a real life example by watching a quick video.

I hope that makes things a bit clearer for you. And let’s take a quick look at the transcript.

Without using “Catch you at a bad time”

Chung: Hey Nancy…

Nancy: Hey Chung, why do you look so sad?

Chung: My dog died yesterday. He was just seven years old…

Nancy: Wow, was he sick–?

Gabby: Hey guys, hey! Wanna get some coffee? Now? Or later? Or, not at all?

(Awkward silence)

Using “Catch you at a bad time”

Chung: Hey Nancy…

Nancy: Hey Chung, why do you look so sad?

Chung: My dog died yesterday. He was just seven years old…

Nancy: Wow, was he sick–?

Gabby: Hey guys, hey! Wanna get some coffee? Sorry, am I catching you at a bad time? I’m so sorry about that. I’ll catch you guys later.

Nancy: That’s okay, Gabby.

As you just saw, Chung was pouring his heart out to Nancy, telling her about the tragic death of his beloved dog. It was a very emotional situation. Suddenly, in barges Gabby, looking for someone to grab coffee with. It was obviously not the right time to ask, which means she was “catching them at a bad time!”

Can you think of some ways you can use this helpful idiom? Remember, you can use this idiom in two ways. You can either let some unaware individual know that they’re catching YOU at a bad time, or you can ask someone whether you’re catching THEM at a bad time. Either way, you’re saving time!

Now, let’s move onto Idiom #3!

New Year’s Idiom #3 “Up To Something”

The official definition of this idiom is, “doing something wrong or secret.” But you actually use it when you think someone else is doing something wrong or secret. (Okay, so this idiom isn’t exactly about saving time, but I had to include it because it’s so useful!)

For example, do you remember a time when someone was acting strangely, and later you realized it was because they were planning or doing something secret or wrong?

For example, if you have a co-worker you don’t get along with, and suddenly they start acting really nice to you, then you have every right to suspect that they might be “up to something!” Or if your husband or wife suddenly starts working until midnight every night, and you know there’s a hot new intern at the office, they might be “up to something.”

The thing is, this idiom isn’t always used in a negative context. For example, let’s pretend that it’s your birthday, and you’re at work, but for some reason, there’s no one around. Suddenly you get a phone call from your boss asking you to come to the conference room. This is a good time to think that your co-workers might be “up to something,” and hopefully, it’s a surprise birthday party!

But for the most part, this idiom is used when you believe someone is doing something wrong. In fact, let’s watch an example of this in the video below.

And let’s review the transcript just so you’re 100% clear with what’s going on.

Without using “Up to something”

Ross: Hey Chung!

Chung: Hi Ross!

Ross: What’s that?

Chung: Nick got me a present.

Ross: Wow, it looks expensive! I didn’t know you guys were so close.

Chung: No, he hates me! I think he has a different purpose or plan. I don’t understand why he got me a present.

Using “Up to something”

Ross: Hey Chung!

Chung: Hi Ross!

Ross: What’s that?

Chung: Nick got me a present.

Ross: Wow, it looks expensive! I didn’t know you guys were so close.

Chung: No, he hates me! I think he’s up to something…

So remember, you can use this idiom any time you believe someone is doing something wrong or secret.

For example:

“The children are very quiet. They must be up to something.”

“I saw Karen making copies at the office at 1am last night. I think she’s up to something.”

“This Thursday is our 3 year anniversary, and Chad asked me to meet him at the park where we first met. I think he’s up to something.”

And that’s New Year’s Idiom #3! I hope you feel confident enough to start layering all 3 idioms smoothly and naturally into your conversations. Like I mentioned before, using idioms correctly can mean the difference between sounding like a fluent English speaker and someone who’s just learning the language. So get started immediately!

Share Post:
FacebookTwitterShare
Share:
  • Logo
  • Logo