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    Audio exercise: Idioms

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    Business Spotlight Audio 11/2021
    A man with a briefcase

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    Erin Perry: OK, let’s “skill up” on our language now with some idioms relating to starting a job. First, listen to a dialogue between Kerry and Billy. The language they use is simple.

     

    Kerry: We’re not going to make you start something new without preparing you first, Billy. I’m going to take care of you this week and show you how the job should be done. I’ll try not to make you feel uncomfortable. 

    Billy: To be honest, I feel uncomfortable because I’m in an unfamiliar environmentUmfeldenvironment.

    Kerry: That’s totally normal. We’ll all help you so that your relationship with the boss doesn’t start badly.

     

    Perry: Now you’ll hear the same dialogue again, but this time Kerry and Billy use more idiomatic language. Listen out for the idioms. 

     

    Kerry: We’re not going to throw you in at the deep end, Billy. I’m going to take you under my wing this week and show you the ropes. I’ll try not to breathe down your neck.

    Billy: To be honest, I feel like a fish out of water.

    Kerry: That’s totally normal. We’ll all help you so that you don’t get off on the wrong foot with the boss. 

     

    Perry: Now, it’s your turn to form the idioms you’ve just heard. You’ll hear a description of a situation and the beginning of an idiom with two suggestions, a) and b), for the appropriate idiom. In the pause, choose the correct option. OK? Here’s the first one.

     

    1. Ingram: If someone makes you start something new without preparing you first, they throw you in…

    a) at the deep end.

    b) deep and icy water.

    [ping-pause]

    Ingram: a) is right. You are “thrown in at the deep end” if you have to start something new and are not prepared for it. Next one.

     

    2. Ingram: Someone who helps you to to cope with sth.mit etw. zurechtkommencope with a new situation such as starting a job, takes you…

    a) under their wing.

    b) under their roof.

    [ping-pause]

    Ingram: a) is right. Someone “takes you under their wing” if they take care of you in the first days or weeks of a new job. OK, next one.

     

    3. Ingram: Someone who explains to you how things are done in a new job, shows you…

    a) the tricks.

    b) the ropes.

    [ping-pause]

    Ingram: b) is right. If someone “shows you the ropes”, they tell and show you how things work in a new job. Next one.

     

    4. Ingram: Someone who makes you feel uncomfortable because they watch everything you do, breathes down…

    a) your neck.

    b) your back.

    [ping-pause]

    Ingram: a) is right. If someone “breathes down your neck”, they monitor you closely and often in an unpleasant way. And the next one.

     

    5. Ingram: If you feel uncomfortable in an unfamiliar environment, you feel like a fish…

    a) in dirty water.

    b) out of water.

    [ping-pause]

    Ingram: b) is right. You “feel like a fish out of water” if you do not feel comfortable in a unfamiliar situation.

     

    6. Ingram: If your relationship with a colleague or boss starts badly, you get off…

    a) on the wrong foot.

    b) with your left foot.

    [ping-pause]

    Ingram: a) is right. If your relationship with a colleague or boss starts badly, you “get off on the wrong foot”.

     

    Perry: Well done. Did you get all those idioms right? If not, go back and try the exercise again.

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