Get Your Ducks in a Row

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There are many references to ducks in the English language. We love ducks here! I don’t really know why. They quack loudly and can even bite if you get too close.

Anyways, here are some “duck” expressions to add to your collection:

UGLY DUCKLING

Ugly ducklings are people that were unattractive when they were young, but they blossomed into very attractive adults. It comes from a fairy tale about an ugly duckling (baby duck) that grew up to be a beautiful swan.

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TO GET YOUR DUCKS IN A ROW

To get your ducks in a row means to get organized and sort out all of the details of a project. This phrase could refer to the orderly line that ducklings often form behind their mother. Continue reading

Speak of the Devil

It’s not as bad as it sounds.

“Speak of the devil” is a fairly common idiom in English, and it usually doesn’t refer to the actual devil. We say this expression when we’re talking about someone that isn’t present and then that person appears. It’s another way of saying “We were just talking about you!”

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Owen: “Xander seems to love his new job.”

Mae: “Definitely! I think public relations suits him well.” (Xander arrives) Continue reading

Baseball Idioms

Baseball represents a major part of American language and culture. Whether you enjoy the sport or not, it’s good to know relevant terminology in English.

Below are a few expressions you might hear at work or in everyday conversations that originated in the great sport of baseball. If you’re not familiar with basic baseball vocabulary, there is a matching exercise at the bottom of this post to help you better understand the baseball idioms I’ve included.

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  • CURVEBALL: A pitch that unexpectedly curves from its straight path towards home plate, making it more difficult to hit.

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In English, when you figuratively throw somebody a curveball, you surprise them or do something that they don’t expect. For example, “Professor Noteware really threw us a curveball with that pop quiz on the first day of class.”

  • TO STRIKE OUT: When a batter fails to hit three pitches that were in the strike zone, he or she is out and must leave the batter’s box. Continue reading

Up My Alley

Let’s take a look at some informal ways to express a perfect fit 🙂 … or a less-than-perfect fit :(.

If something is right up someone’s alley, it means that it suits them perfectly and is compatible with their interests.

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  • “Caroline is passionate about zoology and journalism. A job at National Geographic would be right up her alley!

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  • “I think restaurant design is right up your alley. You have a ton of experience in restaurant management, and you’re crazy about interior design!”

If something fits someone like a glove, it means that it fits their body perfectly (usually referring to clothing) or that it suits them well. Continue reading

This Post Is on Fire

Fire is mother nature’s hottest element. When uncontrolled, fire can wreak havoc*. However, when contained, it brings us warmth on cold winter days, helps us prepare tasty treats, and makes our birthdays just a little bit more special.

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Let’s take a look at some fire-related vocabulary and phrases.

  • FIRE – FUEGO, DESPEDIR/ECHAR, DISPARAR

You probably already knew what fire means when used as a noun. Nevertheless, there is a lesser-known expression that contains this word: “to be on fire.”

“To be on fire” can be literal, like you are LITERALLY ON FIRE and need to STOP, DROP, and ROLL…

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…OR “to be on fire” could mean that you’re doing something really well and are unstoppable. For example, people might say that a basketball player who scores 20 points in 10 minutes is on fire. Continue reading

As Easy as Pie

In English, we have many colloquial ways of expressing that something is very easy to do or understand. For some reason, most of these idioms mention sweet treats…now I’m getting hungry.

  • As easy as pie

“Getting into the party without an invitation was as easy as pie.”

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  • Walk in the park

“That job interview was a walk in the park.”

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*We can also use “no walk in the park” to indicate that something is very difficult.

“That job interview was no walk in the park.” Continue reading