I’m Annemarie with Speak Confident English and welcome to this week’s
Confident English lesson. So last week I was walking to a coffee
shop to do a little bit of work and while I was walking I was chatting with
a friend of mine on the phone and we were talking about our life,
what we were up to, the things we were doing at work and she
it sounds like we both need to let down our hair.
We both need to let down our hair. What do you think she really meant by
that? She definitely was not talking about
some new hairstyle or fixing our hair, and the moment she said it,
I knew that I wanted to share this idiom with you.
It’s actually one of my favorite idioms and I realized that I haven’t done a
lesson on idioms in a really long time. So that inspired me to do today’s lesson
where we’re going to focus on eight common English idioms that focus on
different parts of the body. You’re going to learn exactly what those
idioms mean, how to use them with some examples,
and you’ll have the opportunity to practice as well. Idiom number one is to get cold feet.
Now, to be honest with you,
if you’ve watched any American rom-coms or romantic comedies,
you’ve probably seen a film about this idiom.
We’ll talk more about that in a moment, but let’s imagine that a guy,
we’ll call him Diego, is going to get married today and he’s
with his friend getting ready for the wedding,
the ceremony, and just before it all starts,
he turns to his best friend and he says, oh my gosh,
I don’t know if I can do this. I’m getting cold feet.
What do you think he means? If you’re not sure,
let me give you another example. Imagine that you have a presentation to
give an English next week. You’re preparing,
you’ve been working on it, but just before the meeting or the
conference, you tell your colleague,
is there any way we can cancel this? I’m getting cold feet.
The idiom to get cold feet is a great way to express that feeling of anxiety
or nervousness that you might have before a really big or important event
like a wedding or giving a presentation in English.
Now, if you ever know someone who has cold
feet about something, one of the most common things that we
say, one the most common pieces of advice is:
don’t worry, everyone gets cold feet,
you’re going to be fine. So the next time one of your friends or
colleagues has cold feet. You can definitely use that.
Now, as I said,
we do have a lot of rom-coms or romantic comedies about this in the United
States. If you’ve ever seen a film like the
Runaway Bride, Julia Roberts,
that is definitely a movie about getting cold feet.
Idiom number two is to get something off your chest.
Imagine that you’re at a cafe with a friend and you know that something weird
is going on. She’s acting strange and then she says
to you, I need to get something off my chest.
What do you think she’s really saying? We use that idiom when we need to tell
someone something that might be really difficult to say,
maybe it’s uncomfortable and we know that it will cause some stress or
tension. Maybe we’ve been hiding something or we
need to confess something. In all of those situations,
we can use that idiom. I need to get something off my chest.
Idiom number three, to have a chip on your shoulder,
to have a chip on your shoulder. We use that idiom to describe a
situation when someone suddenly gets angry or frustrated.
One moment everything’s fine and the next moment they’re super frustrated
about something really small or something that doesn’t seem very
important. For example,
maybe you come home and you’ve had a good day at work. It was a long day,
but it was a good day. You arrive home and there is stuff all
over the floor. It’s chaos.
There’s dishes in the sink that need to be cleaned,
there are socks and toys on the floor, and all of the sudden,
very quickly you become frustrated and angry,
so maybe one of your children or your spouse might say,
why do you have such a chip on your shoulder?
In other words, why are you getting so angry or
frustrated about something so small and usually that anger or frustration comes
from something in the past, something that annoyed us or bothered us
in the past and suddenly in this moment, that same situation makes us feel really
angry or frustrated. Number four,
to pull someone’s leg. Let’s imagine that you’ve just spent the
last three months working really hard to organize a big event at your work and it
has taken a lot of time, a lot of energy,
and the day before the big event, your colleague says,
Oh, did you hear we’re going to cancel the
event? You would probably feel a little bit
frustrated or shocked, and your friend then might say,
I’m just pulling your leg. What does your friend mean?
I’m just pulling your leg. We use that to say that we’re just
kidding or making a joke. Another example that I can give you,
and this one is true. My grandfather loved to pull other
people’s legs. It was something he did for fun.
He thought it was funny to always make jokes.
Idiom number five to let down your hair. This is the idiom I used at the
beginning of our lesson today when my friend told me on the phone that it
seemed like we both needed to let down our hair.
Let’s go back to that situation where you’ve just planned a huge event for
your work and the event goes perfectly. Of course,
after three months you’re feeling a little stressed,
so when the event is over, your friend says,
that was amazing. You did such a good job,
but now you need to let down your hair. What do you think your friend means?
Of course, your friend is trying to tell you that
now you need to relax, do something fun and just enjoy your
life or your day. Things have been really stressful and
now it’s time to just calm down. Idiom number six is a pain in the neck.
Now, once again with organizing an enormous
event, let’s imagine that 500 people came to
this work event. I’m sure that during the organization,
during those three months of putting all the details together,
there were probably some moments that were a pain in the neck.
Now we could say that and mean that you really do have pain in your neck,
but in this situation it means something a little different.
When we use this idiomatically, we use it to say that something is
annoying. It’s bothering us or it’s frustrating.
We can use this idiom to describe people as well.
It’s definitely not positive, but we can do it.
Maybe you have a colleague who’s always negative.
They always come late to work and so you might say,
Oh, my colleague is such a pain in the neck!
Idiom number seven to get out of someone’s hair.
This is one of my favorites. Let’s say you have a huge deadline at
work. You have one more day to finish a big
project and you really need to focus, but during the day,
all of your colleagues keep coming to your office with questions.
People are knocking on your door, someone’s calling your phone.
Every five minutes your children are calling you.
There’s so many things happening and you keep getting distracted,
so during the day you might start to think,
I wish everyone would just get out of my hair. What do you think that means?
We definitely use that idiom when we want to say that we wish someone or
other people would stop annoying us. Stop bothering us,
stop getting in the way, and finally our last idiom today to rub
elbows with somebody. This is definitely not about touching
someone else’s elbow. Let’s say that your company is planning
a end of the year party. Everyone in the company is invited and
you’re feeling kind of excited, but also a little nervous about rubbing
elbows with some of the senior level management and maybe the owner of the
company. What do you think that means to rub
elbows with senior level management or the owner of the company?
We use this idiom in situations where you’re going to spend time with someone
or with a group of people who you don’t normally spend time with.
So another example is, if you’re lucky,
when you go to Hollywood you might rub elbows with a celebrity,
and with that we’ve got eight English idioms that we use every day in English
and you should definitely start using these idioms as well. We’ve talked about what they mean.
You’ve got examples, and now it’s time for you to practice.
Now, before I share my practice questions
with you, if you enjoyed this lesson and found it
useful to you, be sure to let me know and there are
three great ways for you to do that. You can subscribe to this YouTube
channel and give this lesson a thumbs up,
share it with friends and colleagues on Facebook,
and be sure to share your answers to my practice questions.
You can share in the comments below this video or in the comment section at the
end of the online lesson. Now,
here are my three questions for you. Number one,
have you ever gotten cold feet? If you have,
what was the situation and what did you do about it?
Did you give up? Did you cancel the event or did you find
some way to go through with it to continue? Number two,
imagine that you need to tell your best friend something.
It’s something that you’ve needed to tell her for a very long time.
What would you say? And finally number three,
you’ve planned a really big vacation with your family and you decided to go
skydiving. It’s the very last moment and you’re
feeling super nervous, so what would you say?
Again, you can share your answers with me in
the comments just below this video or in the comment section of the online
lesson. Thank you so much for joining me and I
look forward to seeing you next week for your confident English lesson.