English Lessons


Some Common English Idioms, Part II

An idiom is basically a phrase that is figurative and used to describe literal situations with words that may not be clear to a non-native speaker. Last month we went through a selection of common idioms, and in this lesson we can go through some more that you may hear when you are speaking English with somebody.


So I think to kitesurf all year around, um, as a job and to do it 24/7, you need a break, and I mean, it may not seem like time off!

Captions 19-21, Sam Light: In a Nutshell

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The slang expression "24/7" is best explained in this video: 


It's basically 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Caption 22, World's Toughest Job: Official Video

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What do you want to get off your chest?

Caption 16, Comic-Con 2015: Jennifer Lawrence

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To "get something off your chest" is to admit something that has been bothering you.


Alaska's wide and very isolated mountains ranges are a paradise for these animals, but a nightmare for us, because it's like trying to find a needle in a haystack.

Captions 35-37, Nature & Wildlife: Search for the Ghost Bear

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A needle is a small, very fine object, and to find it in a haystack, which consists of countless fine pieces of hay, is very difficult indeed—and this phrase thus means that something is very difficult or nearly impossible. 


If I was, for instance, being put into a courtroom with lawyers, I am not a lawyer, so therefore, I would feel like a fish out of water.

Captions 14-16, English: common phrases

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To feel "like a fish out of water" thus means to feel out of place or uncomfortable.


Hang in there, guys!

Caption 56, Movie Trailers: Disney's Frozen

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To "hang in there" means to be patient and to wait for something.


But they don't know where they're going in the fast lane.

Captions 16-17, Echosmith: Cool Kids

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This is often used in the expression "to live life in the fast lane," which means figuratively to live an exciting or stressful lifestyle, which may, depending upon the context, be a good or bad thing. The phrase is often about somebody who is on the verge of losing control of their life. A song by the 1970s pop group the Eagles called "Life in the Fast Lane" states that it will "surely make you lose your mind."  


Further Learning
Go to Yabla English and watch the "Common English" videos Part I and Part II to learn more about some English idioms. 

El verbo inglés to be (ser)

El verbo "to be" forma parte, en su forma infinitiva, de una de las líneas más famosas de la literatura mundial:


To be, or not to be, that is the question. (Ser, o no ser, esa es la cuestión)

“Hamlet“ de William Shakespeare


La mayoría de los verbos describen la acción, pero "ser" describe un estado del ser: cómo o qué eres o cómo es alguien. La conjugación en tiempo presente de "to be" es: I am (yo soy); he, she, o it is (él, ella, eso es); you are; they are; and we are (tú eres, vosotros sois, ustedes son, ellos/as son, nosotros/as somos)


"To be" puede describir tu nombre y tu profesión:


Hello, Yabla students! My name is Jack Thomas,

Hola, estudiantes de Yabla. Mi nombre es Jack Thomas.

uh, I'm... a finance student here.

Eh, soy... un estudiante de finanzas aquí.

Subtítulo 1,   An American - in London

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Puedes describir cómo te sientes:


Excited: "I've never been to New York before, and I am so excited to go!"

Emocionada: "¡Nunca antes he estado en Nueva York, y estoy tan emocionada de ir!"

Subtítulo 16, English with Lauren - Emotions

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Si la frase es una negación, la palabra "not" aparece después del verbo:


I am not a lawyer.

No soy un abogado.

Subtítulo 15, English - Common Phrases

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En la primera persona singular, "I am" (yo soy) a menudo usa la contracción "I'm"; "he is," "she is," or "it is" (él es, ella es, eso es) cambia a  "he's," "she's," or "it's"; "you are" (segunda persona singular o plural) cambia a  "you're"; y "they are" (ellos/as son) a "they're" así como "we are" (nosotros/as somos) a "we're":


Today we're at the top of the Empire State Building.

Hoy estamos en lo más alto del Empire State Building.

Subtítulo 3, English for Beginners - Letters and Numbers

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See how we're part of the global economy?

¿Ves cómo somos parte de la economía global?

Subtítulo 13, Dissolve Inc. - Generic Brand Video

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Aprendizaje adicional


Vea algunos videos en Yabla English y encuentra otros ejemplos del verbo "to be" usado en contexto en conversaciones reales.


(Versión en español de: Antonio Fuentes)

The English Verb "to be"

The verb "to be" is, in its infinitive form, part of one of the most famous lines in world literature:

To be, or not to be, that is the question.

—from "Hamlet" by William Shakespeare

Most verbs describe action, but "to be" describes a state of being: how or what you are or how somebody is. The present tense conjugation of "to be" is: I am; he, she, or it is; you are; they are; and we are.

"To be" can describe your name and your profession:


My name is Jack Thomas. I am a finance student here.

Caption 1, An American - in London

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It can describe how you are feeling:


I've never been to New York before, and I am so excited to go!

Caption 16, English with Lauren - Emotions

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If the sentence is a negation, the word "not" appears after the verb:


I am not a lawyer.

Caption 15, English - common phrases

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In the first person singular, "I am" is often contracted to "I'm"; "he is," "she is," or "it is" to "he's," "she's," or "it's"; "you are" to "you're"; "they are" to "they're" and "we are" to "we're":


Today we're at the top of the Empire State Building.

Caption 3, English for Beginners - Letters and Numbers

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See how we're part of the global economy?

Caption 13, Dissolve inc. - Generic Brand Video

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Further Learning 
Browse some videos at Yabla English and find some other examples of the verb "to be" used in context in real conversations.


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