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lesson link TEACHERS NOTES

Sport in the Oxford Idioms Dictionary


Introduction
As students progress beyond intermediate level, an appreciation of idiom becomes increasingly important. Idioms can present several problems for language learners. Idioms, by definition, have meanings that are greater than the sum of their parts: Knowing the words cat, dog and rain will not help you to know exactly what is meant by raining cats and dogs (although this one is usually pretty easy to guess for students). When it comes to production, the main difficulty is that the particular form of idioms is usually quite fixed, and important to get exactly right: You cant say raining dogs and cats, or snowing cats and dogs, for that matter. This lesson takes these factors into consideration, while looking at idioms that have something to do with the world of sport. The first activity presents idioms that originally came from a sporting usage, but which are now used more widely. The second activity presents idioms that do not have a sporting origin, but are often used when talking about sports. The third activity provides students with opportunities to put the idioms into use. Level Time Aim Materials Intermediate and above 60 minutes To introduce and practise some idioms connected with the topic of sport. One worksheet per person and at least one copy of the Oxford Idioms Dictionary for learners of English per pair or group of students.

Procedure
If the students are working in groups sharing a copy, make sure that they take turns using the dictionary, so that they can all have practice in how to find the idioms and the notes.

Activity 1: Idioms with sporting origins [20 mins]


Students should be familiar with the idea of an idiom (an idiom is an expression which has a different meaning from the meanings of the individual words in it). Brainstorm a few examples on the board, and try to elicit and recycle any idioms that the class might have met recently in lessons. Put students in pairs or small groups. Make sure that they know where to find information about the origin of an idiom in the dictionary it is usually given in a blue box below the entry. For more advanced groups, you may prefer to make them do the exercise first, before letting them check their answers. Ask students to complete the first part of the exercise, then check answers together and resolve any difficulties. They can then decide which phrases best complete the sentences in the second part.

Sport in the Oxford Idioms Dictionary

PHOTOCOPIABLE

Oxford University Press 2012

lesson link TEACHERS NOTES


Answers a SPORT archery athletics baseball boxing basketball cricket football horse racing IDIOM the butt of sth set the pace way out in left field the gloves are off a slam dunk on a sticky wicket blow the whistle by a short head MEANING the person that people make jokes about do sth at a speed that others must follow wrong, strange or unusual stop being gentle in an argument something that is certain to be successful in a difficult situation stop sb doing sth illegal by a little

b 1 Why do I always have to be the butt of your stupid jokes? 2 His energy and motivation set the pace for the rest of the team. 3 Hes often right, but this time I think hes way out in left field. 4 Ive tried being patient with you, but now the gloves are off! 5 We won the contest easily. It was a slam dunk. 6 If he doesnt tackle unemployment, the Prime Minister will be on a sticky wicket. 7 She decided to blow the whistle on her colleagues illegal activities. 8 It was very close, but she lost the vote by a short head.

Activity 2: Idioms used in sport [15-20 mins]


These idioms dont originate from sports, but are often used when talking about sports. Ask students to complete the exercise, again using the dictionary to help them. Check answers together when they have had time to complete the sentences. Answers 1 All opponents must remain outside the penalty area until the ball is in play. 2 The final score was 8 - 0. We won the match hands down. 3 He was exhausted, but determined to go the full distance. 4 The runners are under starters orders And theyre off! 5 She played well, but she was no match for the defending champion. 6 Their team might be stronger, but were determined to put up a good fight. 7 Were over the moon that weve actually made it into the finals. 8 It was a humiliating defeat. We really got taken to the cleaners.

Activity 3: Guess the idiom [15 mins]


Go through the example with the class, to make sure that they understand. When they have had enough time to prepare their sentences, ask each pair to say their (second) sentence to the rest of the class. If your class has a competitive streak, you can easily turn this activity into a game by awarding pairs with a point if they guess another pairs idiom, and a further point if they can reproduce the sentence with the idiom correctly and accurately.

Extension activity
Students may be interested in talking about idioms in their own L1. Ask students to provide examples of idioms in their language, and provide good word-for-word and overall translations for them. This can be particularly interesting in a classroom with a mixture of nationalities.
Sport in the Oxford Idioms Dictionary
PHOTOCOPIABLE

Oxford University Press 2012

lesson link WORKSHEET


Sport in the Oxford Idioms Dictionary
Activity 1: Idioms with sporting origins
a Many English idioms came originally from talking about sports, and later became more widely used. Work with a partner and look at the list of idioms. Match each idiom with one of the sports on the left and a meaning on the right. Check your answers in the Oxford Idioms Dictionary. SPORT tennis archery athletics baseball boxing basketball cricket football horse racing IDIOM way out in left field the ball is in your court by a short head on a sticky wicket blow the whistle the gloves are off a slam dunk set the pace the butt of sth MEANING do sth at a speed that others must follow wrong, strange or unusual the person that people make jokes about by a little it is sbs turn to speak, act, etc. next in a difficult situation stop sb doing sth illegal something that is certain to be successful stop being gentle in an argument

b Complete the sentences using words from the idioms. Use one word for each gap. Example Ive given them a list of the changes that I think are necessary, so the their court now. 1 Why do I always have to be ______________ 2 His energy and motivation ______________
______________ ______________ ______________ ______________

balls

in

your stupid jokes?

for the rest of the team. . !

3 Hes often right, but this time I think hes ______________ 4 Ive tried being patient with you, but now ______________ 5 We won the contest easily. It was ______________

______________ ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________

______________ ______________

.
______________

6 If he doesnt tackle unemployment, the Prime Minister will be ______________ ______________ ______________ . 7 She decided to ______________
______________ ______________

on her colleagues illegal activities. .

8 It was very close, but she lost the vote ______________

______________ ______________ ______________

Sport in the Oxford Idioms Dictionary

PHOTOCOPIABLE

Oxford University Press 2012

lesson link WORKSHEET


Activity 2: Idioms used in sport
Some English idioms are used frequently when talking about sports. Look up the idioms in the dictionary, and use the information to complete the sentences. cleanersdistancefighthandsmatchmoonplaystarters 1 All opponents must remain outside the penalty area until the ball is in ______________ . 2 The final score was 8 - 0. We won the match ______________ down. 3 He was exhausted, but determined to go the full ______________ . 4 The runners are under ______________ orders And theyre off! 5 She played well, but she was no ______________ for the defending champion. 6 Their team might be stronger, but were determined to put up a good ______________ . 7 Were over the ______________ that weve actually made it into the finals. 8 It was a humiliating defeat. We really got taken to the ______________ .

Activity 3: Guess the idiom


Work with a partner. Choose an idiom from Activity 1 or Activity 2. Write a new sentence that uses the idiom. Now write a second version of the sentence that means the same thing, but does not use the idiom. For example: Im over the moon that I won the gold medal. Im very happy that I won the gold medal. Read your second sentence out to the class. See if they can guess the first sentence that you wrote.

Sport in the Oxford Idioms Dictionary

PHOTOCOPIABLE

Oxford University Press 2012