Learning Idioms in Context Robert's Big Dream

Here is a story of a fresh graduate who is always happy and positive. You’ll find idiom definitions, example sentences, conversations, and a short quiz after reading the story.

Robert just graduated in college a few months ago. There is a dime a dozen about this young man but you can still learn from him. He is one of the many aspirants to become a famous actor. Nothing is terrible about it, but chances are closing to his door as he always focuses on growing to be a star. Any penny for your thoughts about this? There is nothing wrong to dream, but achieving it is a different story as you need to be realistic. This got into a snowball effect. Robert ignored other opportunities. With this, he is experiencing difficulties when he decided to look for a job. 

Let’s face it: A lot of people in today’s world hopes to be successful like their model icon Jack Ma or Warren Buffet, two of the successful businessmen in the world. There is nothing wrong to be like them, but weighing the situations and realities in life should be part of the decision in leading your journey in life to be successful. While it is true that you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink, and the probability of achieving your goal in life should always be realistic. Despite the failure, Robert is still very positive. He keeps on smiling in every rejection he received from every audition. He can wait. 

Robert has always been patient and kind to everybody though he has encountered many failures in life. He believes that “you can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar”. He always stays kind to the needy and be there for all his friends when they need him. This is Robert, the man who has a big dream with a big heart. 

A dime a dozen

  • things that are common, easy to acquire, and of no or little value
Example Sentences

Watching movies online is a dime a dozen nowadays, but this act is illegal.

Businesses that are losing money are a dime a dozen.

A. I am afraid I’ll get a low paying job.

B. Life doesn’t need to be complicated, Ella. Jobs with low salary are a dime a dozen, but you need to do your best to get the high paying ones. 

A penny for your thoughts

  • it is a way of asking what others are thinking
Example Sentences

You are serious today, a penny for your thoughts.

The group has been so quiet about the low result of their project then suddenly the leader asked, “A penny for your thoughts, guys.”

A. Hi Bill, this is our new classmate. Do you know her, a penny for your thoughts?

B. No, this is the first time I met her.

A snowball effect

  • a situation in which an action or event leads to the same actions or events
Example Sentences

We have to start thinking that we can win the game today and it will be a snowball effect.

Ella has been so positive in life. Her outlook in life has a snowball effect.

A. You keep on failing all your weekly quizzes. What is happening to you?

B. I think my initial failure to my science subject has a snowball effect on all subjects. 

You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink

  • you can provide ideas or offer assistance to others, but you cannot force them to accept whatever you offer
Example Sentences

Bob always wanted me to become a lawyer, but his father wanted him to be a cop. It is happening that you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.

My best friend is still single, and this causes his unhappiness. I had told him to try accepting suitors, but he refused. Things are getting worse that no matter you wanted to help, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. 

A. Shane is still not listening to us. He always plays mobile games, and his studies got affected.

B. Yes, I have tried my best to advise him about the harmful effects of too much playtime in mobile games, but as you know, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. 

You can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar

  • You can get people to agree with you quickly by being kind or polite instead of being rude.
Example Sentences

Ana has been acting rude due to the restaurant server gave the wrong meal but did not get any refund because of her attitude. Put yourself in Ana’s shoes next time and be kind and you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

At all times, you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. This is a good practice that makes you a better person.

A: This hotel is expensive, but the air conditioner is not working. Let’s talk to the hotel manager and make a scene unless he gives us a full refund.

B: We can get the refund if we ask nicely. You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.


1. Life is too short. Things that are _____________ should be ignored and aim to be successful.

2. Candy’s girlfriend is nice and pretty. Do you know her, _______________.

3. Word of mouth causes ____________ that leads some businesses to their success.

4. Many of his friends tried to offer help but he did not accept them. It is always true in some cases that ___________________________.

5. Ruben has been the king of politeness and has won most of his classmate’s trust. With this, it is authentic that ________________________.

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