Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Learning English Idioms through Context

Here is a dialogue with three friends who meet up after not having seen each other for a long time. Try reading the dialogue one time to understand the gist without using the idiom definitions. On your second reading, use the definitions to help you understand the text while learning new idioms. You'll find idiom definitions and a short quiz on some of the expressions at the end of the story. (If your students are younger, you can easily adapt the story to make it more age-appropriate).


Party On Dudes!

Tom: Dude! I haven't seen you for ages! How are you doing?
Andy: I'm doing great. It's good to see you again. What have you been up to lately?

Tom: Nothing much. You know, the job, the wife, the kids, the dog, lots of responsibility. Still, it's a good life I lead. Nothing to complain about.
Andy: I'm glad to hear it. Have you seen Peter lately?

Tom: Speak of the devil! Here he comes now!
Andy: No, you're kidding ... You're right. There he is! Well, this is my lucky day. First I see my roommate from college, and then here comes our favorite drinking buddy.

Tom: Yeah, Peter's quite the party animal. Seems like the gods are trying to tell us something. I think we need to hang five together.
Peter: Hey dudes! What's up? Long time no see!
Andy: You can say that again. What have you been doing lately?

Peter: Oh you know, twiddling my thumbs. I haven't really done much of anything for the last few weeks. 
Tom: That can't be true. You were always a kick in the pants. I can't imagine you've been domesticated.

No, no, I'm still single. I'm just mellowing out in my old age.
Andy: Ha! That doesn't sound like you. Hey, let's go to a bar.
Peter, Tom: Sounds like a good idea...
(three hours later somewhere in a bar)
Tom: Dudes, I have to get going. I need to conk out. Tomorrow's another day.
Andy: Why would you want to leave now?! We're feeling no pain!

Tom: Right, but tomorrow I'll be feeling plenty of pain right between the eyes!
Andy: (lets out a belly laugh) Come on, just hang around and shoot the breeze.
Peter: Yeah, at least one more for the road.

Tom: OK, OK, you've convinced me.
Andy: Name your poison.

Tom: I'll have a whisky sour.
Peter: Make that two, bartender. 

Tom: So Peter, what about your presentation tomorrow?
Peter: Oh that, yeah. I guess I'll have to wing it. I'm not going to get any work done tonight.

Tom: That's our party animal.
Andy: Party on, dudes!

Idioms Used in the Dialogue
belly laugh = to laugh hard from your abdomen
conk out = to go to sleep
dude = idiomatic / slang greeting used when addressing someone
feel no pain = to have consumed a lot of alcohol or other drug and feeling very good
hang five = to spend time relaxing
kick in the pants = a lot of fun
mellow out = to calm down relax
name your poison = to choose which type of drink / substance you would like
one for the road = a drink before leaving
party animal = someone who likes to consume a lot of alcohol or drugs
shoot the breeze = to speak have a relaxed conversation
speak of the devil = phrase used when someone appears shortly after s/he is mentioned
twiddle one's thumbs = to waste time
veg out = to relax by doing nothing in particular watching TV or some other easy activity
wing it = to improvise do something by intuition rather than following a set plan

Party Animal Quiz
  1. I'm exhausted! I'm going upstairs to ______________ for a few hours.
  2. I've got vodka, gin and whiskey. _______________ and I'll pour you a glass.
  3. My cousin Tom is a _______________. He never stops!
  4. Let's go home and ___________ in front of the TV.
  5. Let's have _________________ before we go home tonight. I'm buying!
  6. Bungee jumping is a real ___________________!
  7. What are you doing? - Nothing, I'm just _______________.
  8. I don't know all the details. I'll have to ____________ at the meeting. 
Source: http://esl.about.com/od/advanced-idioms/fl/Party-On-Dudes.htm

Quiz answers can be found by following the link - and will also be made available with my next post.

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