Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Don't let the cat out of the bag

This expression is pretty much the same as the previous one from last week's blog. When you don't let the cat out of the bag, you're keeping something under wraps, which means you're keeping a secret. 

As you know, some people have no problems keeping the cat in the bag. Others, however, have trouble doing this because secrets are sometimes like a cat inside a bag that's screaming and moving violently trying to escape. 

like this:
1. I swear; if you let the cat out of the bag, I'm going to be pissed.
2. I can't believe you let the cat out of the bag after I specifically told you not to. What's wrong with you?
3. No one was supposed to know about the surprise bonuses yet, but one of the secretaries let the cat out of the bag.
4. Did you let the cat out of the bag after I told you not to?
5. Please don't let the cat out of the bag. My parents will kill me of they find out I got arrested.

Alright, everyone. The same challenge as the one last week. Tell us the last time you let the cat out of the bag. Tell us what happened and practice your English.

Good luck,
the small guide

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

keep it under wraps

Keeping something under wraps means keeping it a secret. We use this expression whenever we tell someone something that we want to stay confidential.

like this:
1. The staff will have to know about the recent changes, but let's keep it under wraps until we finalize everything.
2. Have you heard? David and Sandra got engaged. We have to keep it under wraps for now, though. She hasn't told her parents.
3. Don't tell Tom anything. That guy has a hard time keeping things under wraps.
4. Do you want to keep the plans for a merger under wraps for now?
5. He's working on a project that he wants to keep under wraps right now. He said he'd let everyone know once it's finished.

Are you keeping something under wraps from someone? Do you want to tell us about it? We won't tell. We promise.

Good luck.
the small guide

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

screw something up

A lot of you may be familiar with this one already. When you screw something up, you make a mistake and usually ruin something. This something can be anything--a computer, a project, a relationship, you name it--because as you know, you can screw up anything. You can screw up plans for the weekend by working; you can screw up a piece of equipment by not following instructions; you can screw up a relationship with your significant other by saying or doing something awful that makes him or her angry. 

This phrasal verb has the same meaning as mess up, which you may be familiar with. The teacher messed up means the same thing as The teacher screwed up, which means the teacher made a mistake.

like this:
1. The soup's too salty because John screwed up. He didn't follow the recipe.
2. They might fire him. He screwed up the report, and the company lost a lot of money.
3. Don't bring up politics or religion at the dinner table, ok? ... or you'll screw things up.
4. His cable company keeps screwing up his bill so he might switch to another company. 
5. Don't bring your dog to the wedding or you'll screw up everything.  

Everyone screws up now and then. What have you screwed up lately? Tell us and practice your English. You can comment here or on Facebook. ... or if you're not registered to either of these, you can go to the small guide site and write me an email.

Good luck!
the small guide

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Get ready to Try This!

Hi there, followers!

It's time to click on over to the small guide site for our newest exercise. Check your knowledge and proficiency of English expressions--the one's you've learned from this blog--and fill in the blanks. Don't be nervous; you can check your answers right away by mousing over the blanks. Don't put it off! ... and Good luck!

Joe Yu
the small guide