Thursday, January 27, 2011

the dead of winter

This idiom conjures up images of darkness and freezing temperatures. Because of this, it has a slightly negative ring to it. However, people usually just use it to refer to the time of year that they're talking about, and they usually mean the middle of winter. This expression is often used when telling a story or when you want to emphasize the fact that it is, in fact, winter and that it's freezing.

like this:
1. Our story begins in the dead of winter, in a land where the sun doesn't rise in January and the villagers ...
2. We were in Virginia in the dead of winter, and he wanted to go to the beach! Can you believe that?
3. We love going there in the dead of winter when the tourists are gone, and the place is so quiet.
4. Alright, alright! I'll go with you to Alaska, but just not in the dead of winter.
5. We enjoyed our summer vacation there so much, we went back in January to see what it's like in the dead of winter.

When I think of the dead of winter, I think of a little village covered in snow; it's freezing, and there's a warm glow coming from people's windows. Of course, depending on where you are, there doesn't have to be any snow and sometimes, it may not even be freezing. For example, you can say, "I can't believe it's the dead of winter, and it's 50 degrees!" This means that you expect the middle of winter to be cold, but it isn't.

What do you think of when you picture the dead of winter? Let us know.

Joe Yu
the small guide 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Money is no object.

When you say money is no object, you're saying that you don't need to worry about money when you go shopping. This means that you probably have such a huge budget that if you're buying a shirt, for example, it doesn't matter if it costs $12.00 or $1,000.00; you will be able to afford it and, therefore, will have no problems buying it.  

As you can probably imagine, most people who use this expression are usually rich. However, it's still a fairly common expression because a lot of people say this as a joke or to talk about somebody who's rich. 

like this:
1. Build me the best swimming pool you can build. Money is no object.
2. They just renovated their house from top to bottom. They hired a designer and told her that money was no object.
3. I'm getting it for you, so pick any coat you want. Money is no object.
4. Lunch is on Tom, so order whatever you want. He just won the lottery, so money is no object.
5. He just bought another Mercedez; money is never an object for him.

If money were no object for me, I would pack my bags and travel around the world. What about you? What would you do if money were no object for you right now?

Hope to hear from you. Good luck!
Joe Yu
the small guide

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Hear me out

Hearing someone out means listening to what a person has to say even if you don't want to. You may not agree with the ideas; you may think they are stupid or ridiculous, but if the person wants you to hear him out, he just wants you to listen and to give him and his ideas a chance. 

As you can probably imagine, sometimes people say this out of frustration as when someone disagrees with you so strongly that he or she is no longer open to anything you have to say. If you really want this person to listen, you say, "Just hear me out." Then you speak your mind.

like this:
1. I know you don't agree with this, but just hear me out. I think I have some good ideas.
2. We strongly suggest you hear out what your lawyer has to say. It's your only hope.
3. I know; you're angry with them, but let's just hear them out. They might be able to give us some clues as to what exactly happened.
4. Please just hear us out, and if you still want to call the police, there's nothing we can do.
5. We agree with you; she's nuts. But let's just hear her out. You never know; she may actually know a better route.

Alright, I know most of you don't like repetition when it comes to practicing English, but just hear me out. Rereading old exercises over and over is an excellent way to get more comfortable with English and improve your language skills. So get to it.

Good luck.
Joe Yu
the small guide

Friday, January 7, 2011

Time to visit tsgs

That's the small guide site as in I just posted a new Try This! exercise to check how much you remember and are able to use the expressions on this blog. Give it a shot. If it's too difficult, you can mouse over the blanks to see the answers, and of course you can always come back here for a review.

Good luck!
the small guide 

Monday, January 3, 2011

Try your hand at something

Trying your hand at something simply means trying out an activity to see if you'll like it or enjoy doing it. This is usually about an activity you've never done before and that seems interesting, enjoyable, or a good idea. However, if you've already done the activity in the past, you can just say you'll try your hand at doing it again. Perhaps this time, you'll succeed or will like it better.

You can try your hand at mountain biking or windsurfing when you're on vacation. In business, you can try your hand at buying and selling or Internet marketing. You can even try your hand at writing poetry or songs in your spare time.

like this:
1. We tried our hand at bread making over the holidays. We really enjoyed it.
2. Why don't you try your hand at cross-country skiing this winter. I think you'll like it.
3. He's trying his hand at web design again. This time, he bought some books, and he's thinking of taking a class at a local college.
4. She's a huge movie buff, so she tried her hand at screenwriting over her summer break and sold a script to a Hollywood producer.
5. Let's try our hand at using chopsticks; I think we can do it.

Have you tried your hand at anything lately? Remember, it has to be something you've never done before and that seems interesting or something that you'd like to try again to get better results. Let us know. Tell us about it here on the small blog, on Facebook, or on the small guide site.

Good luck.
the small guide