A Young Man Lived In A Village

Learning Idioms in Context: A Young Man Lived In A Village

Here is a short story about a young man who lived in a village. You’ll find idiom definitions, example sentences, conversations, and a short quiz after reading the story.

There was a young man who lived in a village. He was one of the most responsible residents in that village. All the residents loved him. He was known to help anybody at the drop of a hat. Sometimes he bites off more than he can chew, but he never complained.

The longer he lived in that village, the more that he was on a wild goose chase due to some not genuine request, but he was still there to help. With this, people admired him. His attitude became contagious. He made himself available to those who were in need. On the other hand, it became natural that other people rain on his parade as they thought he was doing this with a purpose.

Some of his neighborhood created a feeling of unhappiness against him. But one day, when he turned nineteen years old, a fantastic thing happened. He received numerous birthday greetings. Most residents invited him to dinner, but he needed to take a rain check. Everyone thanked him for his effort to help others in times of need.   

The residents gathered together. The young man was asked:

“What motivates you to help us?”

Moral of the story: Always do good and ready to help others.

Bite off more than you can chew

Meaning
  • to promise something to do which is hardly achievable 
Example Sentences

I like to suggest that you don’t be afraid to bite off more than you can chew when you are not that skilled enough to complete the task.

Mylene bites off more than she can chew because she takes significant risks for every venture she is engaged for her business.

A: Are you sure that you can handle all these teams?

B: I am not sure as I bite off more than I could chew when I agreed to manage these three teams.

At the drop of a hat

Meaning
  • without any hesitation or immediately, without delay
Example Sentences

My father is my hero, and he is ready anytime for me at the drop of a hat.

Due to the traffic condition tonight, you can’t expect me to arrive in our meeting place at the drop of a hat.

A: What do you love most to do?

B: Travelling is one of my hobbies. I’m ready all the time at the drop of a hat.

On a wild goose chase

Meaning
  • to chase or search for something impossible to find 
Example Sentences

Jim has been on a wild goose chase trying to find for a blue rose in a nearby garden. 

Sam was on a wild goose chase trying to search for free food in the canteen yesterday. 

A: You look so tired. What happened?

B: My sister and I were on a wild goose chase after our dog vanished into woods.

Rain on someone’s parade

Meaning
  • to ruin or spoil someone’s plan 
Example Sentences

Daniel rained on his brother’s parade by giving him more tasks so that he cannot attend his classmate’s birthday party.

I don’t like to rain on your parade, but I think you are not capable of joining our group yet.

A: It seems that you wanted to say something. What is it?

B: It is never my intention to rain on your parade, but there is a piece of bad news.

Take a rain check

Meaning
  • to refuse or decline an offer nicely but might be taken up later
Example Sentences

Sharon has to take a rain check for a lunch invitation this Monday.

Alma cannot decide to join the annual camp, but she said that she would like to take a rain check on it.

A: Are you coming with us tonight?

B: I will take a rain check as I have a lot of tasks to finish.

Quiz

  1. I don’t want _______________ because it is very risky.
  2. Linda’s boyfriend is reliable because he _______________any time.
  3. Investigators are frequently _______________ .
  4. My mother has to _______________ as she never wanted to be a loser.
  5. Most of the time, wise people always _______________ before making a decision.

Learning Idioms in Context: Making New Friends

Here is a short story about Dave’s interest to make more friends. You’ll find idiom definitions, example sentences, conversations, and a short quiz after reading the story.

There was a young boy named Dave. He had one friend, and he wanted to make more friends. He thought that he was on the ball to make more friends in the neighborhood. 

Dave was never happy without a lot of friends around him, so he decided to go out alone without his mother. He spent his whole day walking around in the neighborhood but did not meet any new friends. He thought that he might be barking up the wrong tree, so he moved to another block. A few days later, he did not make any new friends.

Dave decided to travel to meet new friends in the next town. He thought that this would not cost an arm and a leg, but he has spent his extra allowance while travelling. After spending a month, he realized that he had thrown caution to the wind when he decided to move in this town to make new friends. He went back home, and his mom accepted him and let him off the hook.

Let someone off the hook

Meaning
  • to release someone from blame or responsibility
Example Sentences

Dale was suspected of cheating in their monthly exam, but he was left off the hook when he got a failing score.

Jenny was scheduled to clean their house, but her mom let her off the hook because Jenny has received an excellent score in her Math exam. 

A: Danny did not attend the orientation. Are you sure that he can follow all the rules?

B: He is a fast learner, so let him off the hook. I am sure that he will do good.

On the ball

Meaning
  • knowledgeable and competent
Example Sentences

The new company director is really on the ball as the sales target went beyond what’s expected. 

Rhea completed her report so quickly as she is on the ball with this kind of task.

A: Why is it that you can get that formula quickly? Is there any secret?

B: My mother said that I need to study well so that I will always be on the ball on any subject.

Barking up the wrong tree

Meaning
  • to make a wrong assumption or choice in something 
Example Sentences

Rexy is barking up the wrong tree because he always focuses on his problem rather than its solution. 

The cops were barking up the wrong tree as they point a man that was nowhere in the crime scene. 

A: Sara told me that I became so addicted to mobile games because I have my smartphone with me always.

B: She is barking up the wrong tree because I don’t see any mobile games app on your phone.

Cost an arm and a leg

Meaning
  • expensive
Example Sentences

I would love to invite all my friends and relatives for my birthday celebration, but this will cost an arm and a leg when I do that. 

To look pleasant and charming, most movie actors and actresses undergo cosmetic surgery that costs an arm and a leg for them. 

A: What’s your birthday wish gift this year from your parents?

B: I know this wish will cost an arm and a leg for my parents, but I hope I can have a new pair of Nike shoes.

Throw caution to the wind

Meaning
  • to decide without thinking of the risk or its adverse effects
Example Sentences

Tourists are warned not to throw caution to the wind when they visited an area for the first time. 

Samantha throws caution to the wind when she goes shopping as she always buys expensive dresses and shoes. 

A: I want to swim in the deep area now! Do you want to go with me?

B: I can’t! I never throw caution to the wind when I go swimming, as I am not sure about the sea current.

Quiz

1. Letty is always _____________ because she was the youngest in the group.

2. My mother is absolutely _____________ when it comes to cooking my favorite recipe.

3. My sister is _____________ because she always insists that our youngest brother eats all her food in the refrigerator.

4. Celia is very thrifty because she never tried to buy an item which ______________.

5. Teenagers usually ________________ and end up regretting it.

Learning Idioms in Context A Mother's Love

Learning Idioms in Context: A Mother’s Love

Here is a short story about the love of a mother to her child. You’ll find idiom definitions, example sentences, conversations, and a short quiz after reading the story.

Sarah was sitting in her bed, thinking of her child Emma. Suddenly, Emma came in and asked, “Hi, mom. I am looking for you because I like to hug you first before I hit the sack tonight.” 

Sarah smiled, hugged her daughter and replied, “Thank you for being such a lovely and obedient child.”

“It’s not rocket science to be an obedient child,” Sarah insisted. “I think I should be the one thankful as you never had the last straw no matter a perfect storm comes in anytime. I admire you for that, mom.”

Sarah smiled and said, “Emma, I am your mother, and I should be there for you no matter what happens. I make sure that you grow with a sense of responsibility and never miss the boat.”

Sarah and Emma went to bed with a smile.

Hit the sack

Meaning
  • go to bed
Example Sentences

George always plans to hit the sack at nine o’clock in the evening.

Samuel thinks that he should better hit the sack as soon as his mother arrived.

A: You look so tired. You need to rest now.

B: Yes, I will. I am going to hit the sack after I finish my homework.

It’s not rocket science

Meaning
  • something that is not difficult to do
Example Sentences

Going to the meeting on time is not rocket science.

Cleaning your house regularly is not rocket science.

A: I can’t think of other words anymore. I guess you win again.

B: It’s only a simple crossword, my friend. It is not rocket science.

The last straw

Meaning
  • someone’s patience has run out
Example Sentences

People always wait for the last straw before they take action for their country.

Jerry is not going to wait for the last straw as he immediately reported his sister’s dishonesty to their mom.

A: I am sorry. I was not able to arrive on time.

B: You are always late, and this will be the last straw.

A perfect storm

Meaning
  • a combination of challenging situations or events
Example Sentences

It’s almost a perfect storm if you studied all night for the whole semester, and yet you still get a failing score in your exam.

The governor is under a perfect storm of allegations about his performance and tax evasion issues.

A: How are you today? I heard about your company’s plan filing for bankruptcy.

B: Yes, that is correct. This will be a perfect storm for us as we are not sure about our job’s stability.

Miss the boat

Meaning
  • to miss something or lose an opportunity due to being too slow
Example Sentences

Be sure that you will not miss the boat when you always pay attention to other things instead of studying for your exams.

Eden and her friends are always searching for better opportunities so that they will not miss the boat.

A: You are still jobless right now? What are your plans?

B: I am planning to enroll in some workshops to upgrade my knowledge and skills. I still believe I have not missed the boat.

Quiz

1. ______________ as early as you can so that you can wake up early tomorrow.

2. Learning how to cook rice is not _______________.

3. The neighborhood is noisy all night, so I need to report them as I am not going to wait for ________________.

4. My sister has always experienced ________________ in her work due to her poor time management skills.

5. Glenda always ________________ as she never prepares well in her job interview. 

Learning Idioms in Context: Leticia’s Jobs

Here is a story about a lady who has a different job each day. You’ll find idiom definitions, example sentences, conversations, and a short quiz after reading the story.

On Monday morning, Leticia’s mother sent her off to work in their nearby garden. Leticia was under the weather that day, but she still obeyed her mother. Leticia watered all the plants and did the task with a smile. As she crossed a path to the other side of the garden, she dropped the bucket.

When she told her about it, Leticia’s mother shook her head. “Be careful next time,” she advised. “You should learn how to hold a bucket properly. You should practice today and remember that tomorrow when you go again in our garden.”

On Tuesday morning, Leticia’s mother sent her off to work in a nearby grocery store. Leticia did her job well, so the grocery owner gave her a bonus for that day. Leticia remembered her mother’s words, went to the mall to reward herself. On her way home, she realized that she had spent all her money.

When she told her, Leticia’s mother shook her head. “Be wise next time,” she advised. “You should learn how to spend your money wisely, get your act together, and save some for your future.” 

On Wednesday morning, Leticia’s mother sent her off to work in a park to offer volunteer work. Leticia did her job well, and the park manager gave her a beautiful white rabbit. Leticia remembered her mother’s words, so she decided to go home immediately without spending too much. But on her way home, the rabbit was frightened, jumped from Leticia’s basket into a nearby house, and never had the chance to find it. 

When she told her, Leticia’s mother shook her head. “Be quick next time,” she advised. “You should learn how to move fast and run after things quickly. Never try to get bent out of shape if you cannot get what you want.”

On Thursday morning, Leticia’s mother sent her off to work in a bakery. Leticia did her job well, so the owner gave her a dog. Leticia remembered her mother’s words, so she decided not to get the dog because she was afraid that she might not have caught it when it will suddenly run.

When she told her, Leticia’s mother shook her head. “Be grateful next time,” she said. “You should learn how to recognize the significance of rearing a dog. I believe that having a dog gives you the best of both worlds. it can be your cuddly companion at the same time bring health benefits to you.”

On Friday morning, Leticia’s mother sent her off to the nearby garden again. Leticia was under the weather again, so it was evident that cutting corners was her strategy. Leticia watered the plants inefficiently. A few minutes later, she thought that some plants might die soon because of what she did. With this, she went back and watered all plants again. But as she crossed a path to the other side of the garden, she saw a cookbook, kept it, and went home. Leticia remembered all her mother’s words, and she got back home without dropping the book.

When she told her, Leticia’s mother didn’t shake her head. She hugged and kissed her daughter and said, “You don’t need to go to work anymore, and you don’t need to remember many things. Read this cookbook and stay with me.”

After a month of preparation, she became an excellent cook for her mom. Leticia’s knowledge paved the way to establishing a small restaurant. Leticia has remembered all her mother’s advised. A few years passed, her restaurant became one of the most famous restaurants in their area. 

Cutting corners

Meaning  
  • to skip some specific steps or processes to make something easier to finish and this can harm the output
Example Sentences

Stop cutting corners when completing a project as it has to be undertaken efficiently, whatever the cost.

Leila secretly finishes her task too quickly by cutting corners, and this causes some problems in her output.

A: The accounting team was suspended due to some discrepancy issues found. 

B: Yes, the team is under investigation. When the director finds out that they are cutting corners, I am sure they will be fired. 

Get your act together

Meaning
  • to work more efficiently or organize yourself and work well with defined goals
Example sentences

You must get your act together if you wanted to be the next leader of the research team. 

The department head warned him to get his act together because he had a constant poor performance.

A: I heard our senior analyst had a hard time completing his weekly reports on time.

B: Yes, that is correct. Our manager warned him to get his act together. Hopefully, he can change for the better.

Under the weather

Meaning
  • someone feels sick
Example Sentences

My daughter did not go to school yesterday because she was feeling under the weather. 

After a long walk, Dana was feeling under the weather for the next few days.

A: I did not see Michael the whole day. What do you think has happened? 

B: Michael has attended a whole night party, so now he is under the weather

Bent out of shape

Meaning 
  • someone that is angry or annoyed
Example Sentences

You should talk to Jacky and apologize to her before she gets bent out of shape.

Carol has no right to bent out of shape to her sister as she intentionally harms her.

A: Our Math teacher has given us a very difficult quiz. 

B: I think she did that because she was bent out of shape. Most of us were not paying attention during our Math class a few weeks ago. 

The best of both worlds

Meaning
  • a situation wherein you can benefit desirable traits of two different things
Example Sentences

Mae believes that residing in a university dorm offers her the best of both worlds: a place where she can both study and meet new friends. 

My sister gets the best of both worlds because she always overeats but doesn’t get fat! 

A: Hey, I have bought this bicycle for a very minimal amount. You will be surprised at its cost!

B: Don’t party yet! Most of the time, you can never have the best of both worlds when you buy an item that is so cheap, but the quality is not guaranteed. 

Quiz

1. Some businesses were used to __________________ and this led them to bankruptcy after a few years.

2. Simon was warned to _________________ if he wanted to stay long in his current company.

3. Jake was a bit ____________________. With this, he decided to rest instead of going to the movies with his friends.

4. My father gets ____________________ when we pronounce his name incorrectly.

5. Brian has ____________________ because he lives in a small village but only two miles away from the city.