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English Essay

I am in the cafe, looking out through the windowsill. Everything seems to be similar to those days
where I had been sat here with her - unless, she is not here. My peppermint tea started to cooled by
time. The sky was full of cotton-wool clouds. It was the part she like the most among her saddest
days, to have a sit with me in this cafe, drank some hot peppermint tea that warmed her after
enduring situations that freeze her into an ice cube although in this hot September's summer.
She was a fine girl with a heart-shape face, ruddy. She has a very nice almost-shaped eyes with a
dark green lens Her hair tamed and lustrous. In my eyes, she was a beauty that born as a Cinderella.
Her life was a succession of heartbreaks. I had used to be the one who sits beside her, lending her a
shoulder when she needed just so much. Before I go to a longer description about her, I would like
you to know her name - Oh Young.
It was September and of course, summer. Her father was home from Birmingham. He was a teacher
that worked in Birmingham while Oh Young and her mother was left in Buffalo, New York. People will
thought that persons who has a life in this big city, would be the most pleasure, completely has a
misconception. When the summer came and the school was off for a month, Oh Young's father will
returned to visit Oh Young and her mother - the moment when Young hate the most!
Young wished she never had a father or at least, her father had died or something so she never need
to suffer as much as when he was around. Young's father was a hot-tempered man. He never curve a
smile to anyone yet he still loves Young. He cares for Young with his life but Young's mother will be
thrashed if she had done something that was irritating him - something that Young never did me
could ever understand. No one knew what was his problem. How could he loves his daughter without
loving the woman who had gave a life to the daughter?
I still remember the night when Young tapped on my windowsill when the rain pelted down from the
sky. She was drenched with rain pours. My room was already off from light as I was about to sleep
but Young canceled it for me. I opened up my sliding door, letting her to step in to my room.
Fortunately, I hve a stairway to my room from outside the house so she could come over easily
without my parents noticing it. She was shivering and quickly, I enveloped her with a nice and
comforting towel. I asked her what was happening until she had came here, in this weather.
"My father ..."
Then, I put her in my arms and comforted her by stroking her hair. I knew she need it to let her
blurted out everything in her mind.
"He had killed her."
Then, she burst out into tears, a heavy one. I was shocked, adrenaline was pumping. My face was out
of blood. I was loos of words. I gave Young a tight hug and let her cried as much as she wanted while
myself, could not ever believe what she had said before.

I gave her a change and let her sleep on my bed with me sleeping besides her. She told me that her
father had hitted her mother on the head and suddenly, blood spurts around the floor. Her mother
had collapsed on the floor. She added tenderly, "I didn't know what was happening. He moved to my
sie and told me not to be scared of him. How crazy that idea was?! But then, he took out his
cellphone and called the police and told them he had killed his own wife."
She could not continue anything and started to cry over again. She felt that the world was collapsed
upon her. The cold night had pierced her every bones.
On the next day, Mr. Oh, Young's father was on the first page of the newspaper. He was caught by
the police and jailed until the end of his life. Young was free from him but also lost her mother, a
person where she had been depend on so far. I let her to stay in my house for a while before
everything return back to normal - although I never know when.
I told Young that I was out to the kitchen to take something for her to eat She nodded. Her eyes
were puffy and red after all the crying. Downstairs, I took out bunch of chocolate bar and brought
them to her in my room. I opened the door and everything was quite, more quite than usual. I looked
for her every inches of the room but she was not there! She was gone! Then, I grimed when my eyes
spotted the opened sliding door. A note was left on my study table, filled with her neat hand writing
saying,
"Drenched in my pain,
Becoming who we are,
As my memory rest,
I never forget what I lost,
Wake me up when September ends.
Thanks, Mi-ra. We will meet up later (not September, for sure)"
It was 'Wake Me Up When September Ends' by Green Day, a favorite of hers. The song was totally
into her, telling the world how much she hate September and how she wished for September to just
go away. She might had let her mother gone, buried under the earth in the casket but she will never
forget that she had lost her. And that was the last note I ever received from Young until now. She
was gone of nowhere.
Today is my birthday, the 23rd. I could not believe I had reach this age with success and cheers
while my other partner, Young had put her life into something I never know what.

A Road Accident

Road accidents are reported in newspaper and on television every day. There are more
frequently caused by reckless drivers rather than faulty vehicles. Last Saturday, while I was
travelling from Ipoh, I witnessed a serious accident. The scene of the accidents was vivid in my
mind.
A motorcyclist was following behind was taxi very closely. He was so impatient that he was
trying to overtake my taxi even near a sharp bend. At that critical moment, there was an oncoming
car. The taxi driver swerved to the roadside and I got a terrible jolt. It was too late for the
motorcyclist to avoid the car. His motorcycle ran against the bumper of the car and smashed its
windscreen. The motorcyclist somersaulted over the car and was found lying in a pool of blood. It
was a scene to chill the flesh! The car driver, who was cut by the flying glass, was in a state of
shock.

All

that

happened

in

split

second

and

fear

overwhelmed

us.

The taxi driver stopped his taxi and I quickly ran to the nearest to the nearest telephone
booth to inform the police and the hospital. From a distance I could see some people trying to help
the injured motorcyclist and the car driver. They carried them into one of the onlookers car and
sent them to the hospital for treatment. Meanwhile the taxi driver tried to control and directs the
traffic. Soon the police arrived and they promptly took some measurements and evidence. After
that they moved the damaged car and the motorcycle to the roadside to ease the traffic congestion.
They also took down the evidence provided by witnesses and onlookers. Some sweepers were clearing
the

debris

and

the

blood

stains

on

the

road.

When the taxi finally continued the journey, I silently thanked God for my narrow escape. I
learned a good lesson that impatience and recklessness would bring harm and danger. I was happy to
see that Malaysians are public-spirited and they render help to others readily. Since then I
remember and follow the saying more haste less speed and prevention is better than cure. I believe
good road manners and roads safety campaigns can help to reduce the number of road accidents
which cause injuries, loss and lives and properties.

DIRECTED: ARTICLE / REPORT: Newspaper Article / Report


There has been an attempted robbery in your area. As a newspaper reporter, you have been assigned
to write a report of the incident for publication in a local newspaper. Using the notes below, write
out your report.

couple taking a walk

two men approached them

ordered couple to give jewellery

a struggle husband injured

one neighbour taking a dog for a walk

heard shouts went to investigate

robbers saw dog fled

couple made police report

Couple Foils Robbery Attempt


PULAU PINANG, Thu An elderly businessman and his wife foiled a robbery attempt by two men
armed with a screwdriver and a knife. The victims were reported safe from any bad injury.
Tan Ah Wok, 60 and his wife were taking a morning walk near their home in Helen Heights
yesterday when two men on a motorcycle stopped them under the pretext of asking for directions.
As Mr. Tan was giving directions, one of the robbers pointed a knife at him and ordered them to
keep quiet. He then relieved Mrs. Tan of her jewellery and instructed Mr. Tan to hand over his ring
and watch. When he refused, a struggle ensued. Meanwhile, his accomplice grabbed a helmet and hit
Mr. Tan on the head with it. On seeing this, his wife started screaming.
One of their neighbours, R. Subramaniam, who was taking his dog for a walk, heard the
screams and when to investigate. On seeing Subramaniam and his dog, the robbers fled. I was taking
my dog for a walk when I heard someone shouting for help. Knowing that something was wrong, I ran
there as fast as I could. Before I reached the scene, the robbers fled on a motorbike. They were
probably afraid of my Rottweiler.
Mr. Tan, who suffered a small cut on his head, was given outpatient treatment at a private
clinic. He said that it was a horrified experience as he never expected the two men would attack his
wife and him. He thought that they were lost and needed help. He also mentioned that the guard who
in charge nowadays easily allowed the strangers to enter their residents. State CID Chief Supt
Harun Din advised him and the people to be more careful in giving help to strangers. The guard also
must be stricter in letting people from entering any residents without proper permission.
He added that the suspects, aged between 25 and 30, were believed to be illegal immigrants.
He said there had been similar incident last week when two men approached a factory worker who
was on her way home after work. The duo then relieved her gold chain and cash. He advised the
residents to be alert and reports to police any suspicious-looking characters lurking in their area.

DIRECTED: REPORT Report to Principal


You are very disappointed by the conditions and services provided by your school canteen. You
decide to write a report to inform your school principal about the poor conditions and services of
the canteen. These would include:

insufficient table and benches

food and drinks not covered


too little food counters

dirty and clogged drains smelly

food expensive and lacks variety

To

inadequate food late comers have nothing to buy, to eat

cold food not fresh

rude canteen workers


:

From :
Date :

Mr. Hasnan bin Jalal,


The Principal,
Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Permata
Malik bin Abdul
24 March 2011

Report about the School Canteen


I am writing this report is to draw your attention regarding the school canteen. Many of the
students of Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Permata are unhappy about the conditions at the school
canteen. There were lots of complaints regarding this issue.
In the first place, there are insufficient tables and benches. Our school has a
student population of over 1 000. There is only one period of recess time for all forms. More than 80
per cent of the students go to the canteen during recess to buy food and drinks. Unfortunately,
there are only about twenty-five tables and fifty benches which can accommodate less than half the
number of students. As a result, many students have to stand while eating.
The food sold at the canteen not only expensive but lacks of variety. The menu is the same
every day. For the past five years, ever since the present canteen management took over, students
go back to the same food.
The hygiene and preparation of food leave a lot to be desired. The food and drinks are not
covered. They way canteen attendants dress speak volume about hygiene. With their lackadaisical
attitude, the food they sell would one way or the other become contaminated.
My fourth complaint about the canteen pertains to the etiquette of the canteen workers.

They are rude and arrogant. They often shout at students. The students are always on the receiving
end of their bad moods.
We hope that conditions at the canteen will improve. The canteen should provide better
amenities. There should also be a different menu everyday so that students will not have to taste
the same food day in and day out. Cleanliness should be given top priority.
We hope that you will look into our complaints and take steps to remedy the situation. The
students are prepared to boycott the canteen if their complaints go unheeded.
Reported by:
Malik
Malik bin. Mohd Jalil
DIRECTED: REPORT Police Report
You witnessed an accident. The police officer has asked you to make a report. Use the points given
below:
-

when the event happened

where the event took place

how it happened

description of the vehicles

step taken

To:

Sergeant Razali Kamrin

From: Julia Selamat


Date: 7th September 2011
Report of the accident on Jalan 2/14
On 7th September 2011 at 10.30 a.m., I was walking alone Jalan 2/14 which is next to the
childrens playground. As I was about to cross the road to enter the park, I saw a car driving swiftly
down Jalan 4/14. It was a Honda Civic with the number plate BEH 9110. Another car, a Toyota Vios
1.5 with plate number WHM 4657 came out of Jalan 4/14 as well. The Honda Civic was driving too
fast that make it did not have time to avoid collision.
The accident caused a loud crash. The Honda Civic hit the Toyota Vios on the drivers door.
The door could not be opened and the driver had to get out from the passengers door. The driver of
the Toyota Vios was lucky as he survived with no physical injuries. Both air bags popped up when they
collided to each other. They both were fortunate as their car was not badly damaged and dented.
The Toyota Vioss windscreen was shattered to pieces. The Honda Civics headlight and signal light
were smashed. There was plenty of glass on the road. The two drivers startled to argue. The driver
of the Honda City was a woman. They blamed each other and the argument stopped when her mobile
phone rang. Most of the passerby slowed down their vehicle to watch the accident. Some pedestrian
came by and offered help.
As it happened, I ran into my house which is close by. I called the nearest police station and in ten
minutes, a police car drove up. I told the police officer I had witnessed the accident and offered to

come out to the station to give a statement. The cars were towed to the side of the road first, and
then were brought to the police station before to workshop. Pictures were taken for insurance claim.
In my opinion, the driver of the Honda City is to blame for the accident. She was driving too fast
and did not pay any attention to vehicles coming out from the side road. The driver of the Toyota
Vios should have stopped at the junction.

Julia Selamat
Julia Selamat

CONTINUOUS WRITING: SAMPLE ESSAY ARTICLE: ONE-WORD ESSAY


Pollution
Pollution is an issue of concern in the modern world that we live in today. There are many types of
pollution, namely air, water and noise. Pollution in our environment will undoubtedly affect our quality
of life. Our naturally beautiful world becoming ugly because it is suffering from the effects of
environmental pollution. Pollution can also cause various health problems and other negative effects.
Air pollution is caused by the emission of toxic gases from vehicles, factories and open burning.
Nowadays, there are more and more vehicles on the road as society gets more affluent. More and
more people strive to have a better quality of life by having the convenience of driving to their
destinations instead of taking public transportation. Automobiles provides transport to millions
people around the world to enable them to travel to their workplace, school and other places,
therefore, the air around us is getting more polluted by the carbon dioxide that is emitted. Carbon
monoxide is another type of gas which harmful to the environment as it can cause the reduction of
oxygen in the bloodstream.
Another example of contributor to the air pollution is the manufacturing factories. The
manufacturing of products in factories to meet the growing demand of society is also causing air
pollution. Factories release toxic gases to the environment. Some factories also use coal to generate
heat and energy. As a result from the burning of coal, carbon dioxide is released into the
environment.
Besides factories, many people are still practising open burning as a way of disposing their
household wastes. Although burning our household wastes is a convenient way of getting rid of our
rubbish, it is harmful to the environment as it contributes to the worsening of the air quality. As a
result, air pollution causes people to suffer from health problems such as chest pain and asthma. In
extreme cases, people can contract lung cancer.
Water pollution is also a problem that we are currently facing. The marine life is the first to
suffer from water pollution as they depend on the nutrients in the water to survive. As a result, we
are robbed of beautiful sea corals and unique species of fishes. Besides ruining our marine heritage,
the disappearance of marine life will affect the livelihood of fishermen, not to mention our source of
food. Water pollution is caused by harmful waster from industries, farms and sewerage systems
which are dumped into our sources of water such as rivers and lakes. This irresponsible act
contaminates our drinking water and can cause serious health problems and can even culminate in
death.

Noise pollution is another form of pollution. Noise from heavy machinery and vehicles can
cause hearing problems and in extreme cases, deafness. As there is growing number of vehicles on
the road, we are exposed to noise pollution every day. The government in advanced countries
encourage their citizens to take the public buses and trains by providing an affordable and efficient
transportation system. This effort discourages people from driving their private vehicles and
consequently reduces the number of vehicles on the road.
We must work together to reduce pollution so that the future generations can live in a
healthy, unpolluted environment. As the saying goes, precaution is better than cure. Lets hands on
hands together by recycle and conserve the world for the better future.
ARTICLE: Article for School Magazine / Newsletter
In spite of governments clear call to students to study English well, many students still show very
little interest in studying the language. As Chairperson of the English Language Society, you are
going to try to persuade the students to study the language by writing an article in the school
newsletter. In the article you have to tell the students the importance of studying the language.
Your article is given in the point form below:

will help you to further your studies

will help you to get a job

will help you in your job

will help you in your travels

will help you to enjoy many interesting programmes in television

will help you to appreciate many of the worlds most beautiful literary works

The Importance of Studying English


It is a big concerned for teenagers nowadays as they are unaware of the importance of
English language as they tend to ignore to learn the language. Students attitude towards the
language is also crucial to make sure that these teenagers can face the future world better by
learning English language as it is an international language.
Although the government has repeatedly told us of the importance of English, many students
are still not bothered about studying it seriously. There is also a campaign that still on to make all
the Malaysian becomes a better English learner, which is Enhance Proficiency in Bahasa Malaysia,
Strengthen the English. English is the most important and the most useful language in the world
today. There are many reasons why you should study the language properly.
First and foremost, English will definitely help you a lot when you want to further studies.
Almost all books at university are written in English in all subjects. Plus, it is a compulsory for any
candidate to pass English with credit before entering any universities. So, if you are poor in English,
you will blow you chance for better education or worse, you are going to have a big problem studying
at university.
The second reason why you have to study English well is that it will help you to get a job.
When you go for a job interview, the interviewer will surely talk to you in English. The first

impression you should give in order to success and have the job is, to respond in English fluently.
Your chances of getting the job are very slim if you stutter while interviewing.
A good command in of English will also help you greatly in your job. If the company you work
is actively involved in international trade, you have to speak to prospective customers in English.
Miscommunication might occur if your English is bad. And this will put your company at risk and you
will likely be dismissed if this happen.
Good English will also help you a lot when you travel. Every country in the world studies
English. Even the roadside stall-holders in China speak fairly good English! At least some of the
people you meet on your travels in other countries can understand English. The language is certainly
practical when you are lost in your trip. Communication problem will not happen if you can converse
well in English. Inevitably, English is one of the languages used in any airport in the world in making
announcement. Knowing English well, therefore, make travelling overseas easier.
Besides all these, entertainment is one of the major advantages you will experience if you
good in English. You will enjoy televisions best programmes. We must admit that many of the best
programmes are produced by the Americans and British companies. High self confidence influenced
by the programmes will indirect inculcate in yourself when you are fluent in the language. Quality
time is worthily spent if you understand and enjoy the programmes.
Based from all the above elaboration, I hope that students will see the importance and
realise how importance the language is for their own future. Although it is a second language in our
country, it is now a main language all over the world.

SPM Directed Writing: Informal Letter


You recently went an expedition with your classmates to Langkawi. You have been asked to write a
letterto your cousin about your visit to Langkawi Island.
Rosni Alias
No.3,Jalan Sutera,
Taman Cempaka,
43600 Bandar Baru Bangi,
Selangor.
12 March 2012.
Dear Zarina,
How's life? I hope you are in the best of health. How's my beloved Uncle Johari? I miss him
too.The reason I write this letter is to tell you about my expedition to Langkawi. Guess what? We
just came back from Langkawi . I went there with 25 of my classmates and my class teacher. Mr,
Zaid had kindlly accompanied us for the 3 day-trip. You should have joined us. It was such an
awesome experience!
Well, on the first day, we arrived at Langkawi in morning after a short flight. Then, we were
taken to Langkawi Geopark, a UNESCO World Heriatage Site where we could see magnificent rock
formations. We were taught the history of the place and some fossils of fish could also be sighted.
This is a wonderful opportunity to understand geogical aspect of the island at the Geopark.
After visiting Geopark, we were taken to Pulau Dayang Bunting which about an hour boat ride. I
forgot to mention that the boat ride itself was so exciting and adventurous. Upon arrival at the
island, we were greeted by monkeys and soon, we saw a breathtakinng lake, with its gree clear water.

Not forgetting the fish spa where thousands of catfish nibble at your feet when you lower feet into
the water. Again, this is a new experience for me. Other than that, we could really enjoy the
beautiful scenery of the island.
The next day, we went to Underwater World where we saw the penguin, giant fishes, colourful
onemones and all sorts of marine life there.I'm sure, it's heaven for fish lovers. One advantage of
this trip is I could learn about themarine life. Well, on the final day, we went to Mahsuri Tomb and
Padang Mat Sirat to relive the legend of Mahsuri. It was a good experience since I managed to see
the historic sites and understand Mahsuri legend better. Other than that, I also learn about the
importance of being true to our words and do not spread false gossips since these can lead to
horrible consequences. I also managed to make friends with some other tourists visiting the site.
Okay, I guess I have to have to pen off now. Hope to see you in the next letter. Please convey
my love and regards to my uncle and aunti. Take care!
Love,
Rosni
DIRECTED: FORMAL LETTER: Letter of Complaint
Raju a/l Lingam,
123 A, Lorong Bahagia,
Taman Sentosa,
07231 Bandar Baru Sentol,
Kelantan
_______________________________________________________________________
The President,
Bandar Baru Sentol Council,
Kompleks Utama,
07200 Bandar Baru Sentol

16 JUNE 2011

Dear Sir,
Uncollected Rubbish and Clogged Drains
I am writing this letter is to attract your attention to the above title. As the representative of the
community, I am calling to tell you that the 300 odd residents living in Taman Sentosa are extremely
unhappy about the lackadaisical attitude of the local town council towards the uncollected rubbish
and clogged drains in our area.
2.

The rubbish in our area has not been collected for more than a week. The rubbish is

supposed to be collected on alternate days but this has not been the case. The town council workers
collect the rubbish according to their own whims and fancies. The uncollected garbage has attracted
not only flies and mosquitoes but also wild dogs which had attacked the residents on several
occasions. These stray animals also scatter the rubbish and make the roads dirty and smelly. As a
result, residents have to bear the discomfort of stench from the garbage and risk their health.
3.

We are also disappointed with the town council workers for not clearing the clogged drains

which are filled with rubbish. The drains would usually overflow when there is heavy rain and the
rubbish would then flow into the compounds of our houses. Besides, putting up with the unbearable
stench emitted from them, the residents have to spend hours cleaning their compounds of rotten
vegetables, food leftovers and other rubbish.

4.

Due to dengue outbreak recently, we are really concerned about the residents health

especially the children. Fogging service also was not done accordingly to the schedule. The fogging
authority only did their job whenever a case of dengue aroused. They even fogging the
neighbourhood late at night that caused us to leave the residents. They need to consider the
residents who have babies and also to those who need to wake up early in the morning for work. The
fogging also caused the people to have breathing problem when we were not told the exact time of
fogging.
5.

We have made numerous appeals to the Municipal Council to look into our complaints but to no

avail. We have been putting up with this predicament for more than a week. We hope the health
authorities would do something to check these health hazards.
Thank you.
Yours faithfully,
Raju
(RAJU a/l MANIAM)

Common Idioms List


Set 1
Common Idioms

Definitions

It cost me an arm and a leg to take my trip to Very expensive


Australia.
I was over the moon when he asked me to
marry him.

Extremely pleased or happy

You are taking your IELTS test next week??


Doing or starting something too early
Arent you jumping the gun. Youve only just
started studying.
He comes round to see me once in a blue
moon.

Happening very rarely

Hes got a chip on his shoulder.

Feeling inferior or having a grievance


about something

I reckon getting a band 7 in IELTS will be


a piece of cake! Im very good at English.

Very easy

The money sent by comic relief to help poverty A very small part of something much
in Africa is just a drop in the ocean. They
bigger
need far more than this.
Getting a low score the first time I took IELTS Something positive that isnt

was a blessing in disguise. It forced me to


study extremely hard so I got a much better
score the next time.

recognized until later

We have to actually do something about global Its better to actually do something


warming. Actions speak louder than words. rather than just talking about it
I bumped into Jenny in town the other day. It's Meeting someone you would not
a small world.
have expected to

Set 2
Common Idioms

Definitions

Oh well, I got 5.5 in IELTS again.Back to the


drawing board!

When an attempt to do something


fails and it's time to start all over
again using different methods

I hate my job so much I cant bare going to


Having two very bad choices.
work, but if I quit I dont think I can get another
job. Im really stuck / caught between a rock (note: stuck/caught can be omitted)
and a hard place.
I have to bite my tongue so I dont say what I Wanting to say something but
really think of him!
stopping yourself.
Come on, cut to the chase. We havent got all Leave out all the unnecessary details
day!
and just get to the point
Are you putting all of your savings into that
company? Dont put all your eggs in one
basket.

Putting all of ones resources into one


possibility

Try not to worry about it. Every cloud has a


silver lining.

Believing that every bad situation


has a positive side / eventually leads
to something good

It was difficult when I moved to another

To become comfortable in what you

country but I eventuallyfound my feet.

are doing

My parents are very fixed in their ways. They Not wanting to change from the
wont start using the internet.
normal ways of doing things
I think he got up on the wrong side of the
bed this morning. He is in a terrible mood.

To refer to someone who is having a


bad day

My mother will always go the extra mile to


help people.

Doing much more than is required


when doing something

Set 3
Common Idioms

Definitions

I think youve hit the nail on the head. Thats Say exactly the right thing
the reason he didnt get the job.
Todays going so badly. If its not one thing,
its the other.

When everything seems to be going


wrong

I just said it in the heat of the moment. I was Saying or doing something suddenly
angry. I know I shouldnt have.
without thinking about it
Keep an eye on him. I think he may cheat in
the exam.

Watch someone or something


carefully

Have you heard? John down the road


has kicked the bucket.

Died

I dont want to argue with him again. Its better Avoid a conflict
to let sleeping dogs lie.
I told him what gift you have bought him for his Tell someone something that you
birthday. Sorry, I didnt mean to let the cat out were not supposed to
of the bag.

Dont tell her what you really think of her if


Hurt or upset someone who is
shes helping you with your English! Dont bite helping you
the hand that feeds you.
Im not sure which party he is going to vote for. Not making a firm decision between
Hes sitting on the fence.
different choices
Everything she does is very over the top. She Excessive
cant just have a few drinks se has to get
really drunk.

Set 4
Common Idioms

Definitions

Lets keep studying for IELTS.Practice makes Continuously doing something to


perfect.
improve
Dont get upset about what he said. Hes
just pulling your leg.

Joking around

Sorry but I think Ill take a rain checkon that.

To decline an offer that you will take


up later

As a rule of thumb, I dont study at weekends. Principal that is strictly adhered /


I spend the time with my family.
kept to
I can smell a rat. He said he has a PhD but he To sense that something is not right
cant even remember which university he
studied at.
Shes the spitting image of her mother.

To look exactly like someone else

The ball's in your court now. What are you


going to do?

Telling someone it's now their turn to


make a decision

Unfortunately I think hell be studying for


IELTS until the cows come home. His
English is very poor.

For a very long time

It was all tongue-in-cheek. He didnt really


mean what he said.

Something said in humour rather


than seriously

Shes feeling under the weathertoday so she Unwell


wont be going to work.

Set 5
Common Idioms

Definitions

We've had some big disagreements over the years, but its
all water under the bridge now. We get on fine.

Things from the past that are not important


anymore

You are what you eat so its better to have a healthy diet.

If you eat bad food, youll be unhealthy, if


you eat good food, youll be healthy

You cant judge a book by its cover. I need to get to know


him before I decide what he is like.

The belief that outside appearances do not


reveal what someone or something is
really like

We're really working against the clock now. We must hurry. Not having enough time to do something
Why are we bothering? We'reflogging a dead horse. Our
online business is making no money, so we should move on
and do something else.

Attempting to continue with something that


is finished / over

I bent over backwards to help him. I hope he appreciates it.

Doing all you can to help someone

So you have the IELTS test today??Break a leg.

Good luck

Ok, I'm playing devil's advocatehere, but if marijuana is


legalized, isn't it more likely young people will smoke it?

To put forward a side in an argument that


may not be your own in order to show the
counter-argument / ensure all sides are
discussed

Hold your horses! We haven't won anything yet.

Telling someone who is getting ahead of


themselves to wait / be patient

She is driving me up the wall. She won't stop talking.

Annoying or irritating somebody

1. Piece of cake No, when someone says that the assignment they just finished was a piece of
cake, it does not mean that their professor gave them a red velvet cupcake for their midterm paper,
what piece of cake actually means is that something is very easy to complete.
2. Costs an arm and a leg It would be a strange world we lived in if buying that fancy shiny purse
literally required us to chop off our body parts to give as tribute to the Louis Vuitton gods. When
something costs an arm and a leg it actually means that something is very expensive.
3. Break a leg Oh, look, another idiom about legs. Youre about to take your dreaded calculus final
and before you head into your classroom your roommate texts you, Break a Leg! Why, you think in
your head, would he ever wish that upon me? I thought we were cool with each other. Well, your
roommate surely doesnt want your bones to break while walking to your seat in the exam room thats
for sure. Break a leg actually means good luck!
4. Hit the books If youre a student in an English speaking environment youre probably going to be
hearing this phrase a lot. Before you imagine students running into their campus library and punching,
kicking and wrestling apart the complete works of Shakespeare, we would just like to say that hit
the books actually means to study. There there, you can still punch books in your spare time if you
want, we wont judge you.
5. Let the cat out of the bag Why would someone put their cat in a bag? What did the cat ever
do to them? Our last idiom actually means to disclose a secret that was supposed to be kept, well, as
a secret. The next time someone lets the cat out of the bag do not immediately pick up your phone
and call animal cruelty control.

6. Hit the nail on the head This idiom has to do with doing or saying something that is precisely
right. If you dont understand this, just think about that sweet feeling you get when you swing a
hammer at a nail and hit it perfectly.
7. When pigs fly So, have you ever seen a pig fly before? Never? Me neither. This idiom basically
means that something will never happen, like fat little pink mammals soaring toward the sun!
8. You cant judge a book by its cover How many awesome books do you think youve never read
in your life just because the cover did not catch your eye? This idiom does not only apply to books
however, but can be used for everything in general. Essentially it means that you should not decide
upon something based just on outward appearances.
9. Bite off more than you can chew Imagine your waiter brings you the biggest juiciest
hamburger from your favorite American restaurant. In your hunger, you grab it quickly and take a
giant bite out of it. Unfortunately, the bite youve taken is too big, and you end up looking like an
idiot trying to shove this bite down your throat while drinking water and trying not to choke. That is
the most literal sense of the meaning, but in general it just means to attempt to take on a task that
is too much for you to handle.
10. Scratch someones back We all know how difficult it is to scratch that itch on your back that
your hand just arent flexible enough to reach, so why would you want to scratch some random
persons smelly back? Because if you do, they may eventually be willing to scratch your own smelly
back when you need it! What this idiom means is to help someone out with the assumption that they
will return the favor in the future!

1. The best of both worlds means you can enjoy two different opportunities at the same time.
By working part-time and looking after her kids two days a week she managed to get the best of both worlds.
2. Speak of the devil this means that the person youre just talking about actually turns up at that moment.
Hi Tom, speak of the devil, I was just telling Sara about your new car.
3. See eye to eye this means agreeing with someone.
They finally saw eye to eye on the business deal.
4. Once in a blue moon an event that happens infrequently.
I only go to the cinema once in a blue moon.
5. When pigs fly something that will never happen.
When pigs fly shell tidy up her room.
6. To cost an arm and a leg something is very expensive.
Fuel these days costs and arm and a leg.
7. A piece of cake something is very easy.
The English test was a piece of cake.
8. Let the cat out of the bag to accidentally reveal a secret.

I let the cat out of the bag about their wedding plans.
9. To feel under the weather to not feel well.
Im really feeling under the weather today; I have a terrible cold.
10. To kill two birds with one stone to solve two problems at once.
By taking my dad on holiday, I killed two birds with one stone. I got to go away but also spend time with him.
11. To cut corners to do something badly or cheaply.
They really cut corners when they built this bathroom; the shower is leaking.
12. To add insult to injury to make a situation worse.
To add insult to injury the car drove off without stopping after knocking me off my bike.
13. You cant judge a book by its cover to not judge someone or something based solely on appearance.
I thought this no-brand bread would be horrible; turns out you cant judge a book by its cover.
14. Break a leg means good luck (often said to actors before they go on stage).
Break a leg Sam, Im sure your performance will be great.
15. To hit the nail on the head to describe exactly what is causing a situation or problem.
He hit the nail on the head when he said this company needs more HR support.

To test your new-found knowledge here are some sentences to practice with. Fill in the blank!
A) I cant afford this purse! It _______. I wont be able to pay my rent!
B) His birthday was supposed to be a surprise! I cant believe you _____. Now he knows!
C) Ha! John has been promising to paint the house for five years. Maybe when _______.
D) Yeah, itll _______. I need to sign some papers at Jennys school anyway so ill pick her up for you too.
E) I dont really like going out to bars anymore. I only go _______.
F) Im sorry I cant come into work today. Im ________. I have a sore throat and runny nose.
G) They tried ________ when installing the pipes for the house and now we have leaks only one month after purchasing
it!
H) We missed our flight to Paris because the connecting flight was late and to ______ they made us pay for a new ticket
as if it was our fault!
I) I cant wait to see you perform on stage tonight! ______!
J) Jane is just never on time to work, its really annoying. O wow, ______ here she comes
K) So were going to London, then Munich, then we will fly out of Athens, right? Great. Im so glad to be traveling with
someone I _______ with.

L) Wow, she found her dream man and has now landed an amazing job. She really does have ______.
M) OK, she might not be the most attractive but _________. Im sure she is a sweetheart.
N) I have been trying to figure this out for ages. Thanks so much, youre right. You _______.
O) I cant believe that was our test. I think it was easier than some of our homework! It was a ______.