Nicole tells her mother Susan about her successful presentation at school. Her brother Ted overhears and interrupts the conversation.
Susan: How was your day at school today, Nicole?
Nicole: It was great, Mom. I gave a presentation on Hillary Clinton in government class. Afterwards, my teacher paid me a compliment.
Susan: What did she say?
Nicole: She said my presentation was head and shoulders above the others.
Susan: Way to go!
Nicole: She also said I should go into politics, just like Hillary.
Ted: You’re so gung ho about school. It drives me crazy.
Nicole: Ted, don’t butt in! You’re just jealous.
Ted: Right. You hit the nail on the head. I’m green with envy.
Nicole: Would you just shut up? You’re on thin ice with me right now.
Ted: Oh no! Look at me. I’m shaking in my shoes!
Idioms of the Lesson
(to) butt in – to interrupt; to interfere
EXAMPLE 1: Nancy is always butting in to other people’s business.
EXAMPLE 2: Sara is really rude. She always butts in to other people’s conversations.
(to) drive one crazy – to annoy someone very much
EXAMPLE 1: Don’t ask Mrs. Smith how old she is. It drives her crazy.
EXAMPLE 2: Please stop chewing gum so loudly. It’s driving me crazy!
SYNONYMS: to drive one nuts; to drive one up the wall
(to) go into – to enter a profession
EXAMPLE 1: Lisa enjoys arguing with people, so she decided to go into law.
EXAMPLE 2: Do you like solving people’s problems? If so, you should consider going into psychology.
NOTE: “Go into” has several other meanings, including:
1. Enter. Go into the house and get a pen.
2. Enter another emotional state. Sally went into hysterics.
3. Discuss details. I don’t have time now to go into the whole story.
green with envy – desiring another’s advantages or things
EXAMPLE 1: When Daniel got promoted to vice president of the bank, his colleagues were green with envy.
EXAMPLE 2: You won the lottery? I’m green with envy!
gung ho – very enthusiastic; very excited (about something)
EXAMPLE 1: Heather is really gung ho about her new job.
EXAMPLE 2: Sharon really loves college. She’s very gung ho.
NOTE: If the expression “gung ho” doesn’t sound like English to you, there’s a reason. It comes from a Mandarin Chinese phrase meaning “working together.” A US Marine Corps commander in China adopted this expression as the motto for his battalion during World War 2 and from there it sailed over to the United States and came into common use.
head and shoulders above – far superior to
EXAMPLE 1: The Boston Symphony Orchestra is head and shoulders above any other orchestra in the area.
EXAMPLE 2: I can’t believe you only won second prize in the competition. You were head and shoulders above the first-prize winner!
(to) hit the nail on the head – to be right
EXAMPLE 1: Dawn hit the nail on the head when she said that Tiffany is jealous of Amber.
EXAMPLE 2: Steve hit the nail on the head with his idea of moving his company’s manufacturing facility to China.
(to be) on thin ice (with someone) – to be in a dangerous position; to be temporarily on somebody’s bad side
EXAMPLE 1: Joey was on thin ice with his mom after he spent his lunch money on candy bars.
EXAMPLE 2: Bill was on thin ice with his girlfriend after she saw him at the movie theater with another girl.
NOTE: There is also the variation “to skate on thin ice.” Joey knew he was skating on thin ice when he bought candy with his lunch money.
(to) pay (someone) a compliment – to give someone a compliment; to offer someone an admiring comment
EXAMPLE 1: Professor Russo paid Jennifer a compliment. He said she had a beautiful smile.
EXAMPLE 2: Isn’t it wonderful to pay someone a compliment? It makes them feel good, and it doesn’t cost you anything!
(to) shake in one’s shoes – to tremble with fear; to be afraid
EXAMPLE 1: Brianna is scared of her French teacher, Monsieur Le Monstre. Whenever he speaks to her, Brianna starts shaking in her shoes.
EXAMPLE 2: During the storm, Billy was hiding under his kitchen table and was really shaking in his shoes.
1) be quiet, stop speaking
EXAMPLE 1: The professor talked for hours. I thought he’d never shut up.
EXAMPLE 2: Nicole kept telling Ted to turn down his stereo. Finally, he got
angry and said, “Shut up!”
NOTE: Remember that telling somebody to “shut up!” is rude. It’s better to say “Be quiet!” or more politely, “Please be quiet!”
Way to go! – Good work!
EXAMPLE 1: You won $2,000 in the poetry writing contest? Way to go!
EXAMPLE 2: That was an interesting article you wrote. Way to go!