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  • Vanessa: Hi, I'm Vanessa from SpeakEnglishWithVanessa.com.

  • Are you ready to expand your vocabulary? Let's talk about it.

  • Vanessa: Last week I shared a 90 minute English conversation

  • between my husband, Dan and I, where we talked about 12 different topics. In this way, you

  • could immerse yourself in English for an hour and a half, and learn over 200 new expressions.

  • In today's lesson, I'm going to take 25 of those expressions and explain them in detail.

  • I'll be explaining each new expression and then after my explanation, you're going to

  • see a clip from the original conversation with Dan. If you haven't watched that conversation

  • and make sure you do that. Vanessa:

  • Let's get started with the first one. Number one: To look like. To look like. In the conversation

  • with Dan, I said, "I mostly look like my mom," and this is talking about my physical appearance.

  • I resemble my mom. Or we could say, "It looks like it's going to rain. The sky looks similar

  • to the way that it looks when it's going to rain." So we have two things that look similar.

  • "It looks like it's going to rain," or "I mostly look like my mom." Let's take a look

  • at the clip from the original conversation so that you can see how it was used.

  • Dan: So appearance, I look mostly like my mom,

  • I think. Vanessa:

  • Okay. Dan:

  • I have more of her skin tone. I have her eyes. So appearance, I look mostly like my mom,

  • I think. Vanessa:

  • Okay. Dan:

  • I have more of her skin tone. I have her eyes Vanessa:

  • Number two: To a T. To a T. What is T? This is an idiom and it means perfectly. Exactly.

  • If we say, "She looks like her mom to a T," that means she looks like her mom exactly.

  • We often use this to talk about directions or to follow some instructions. So the teacher

  • might say, "You need to follow these instructions to a T. If you don't follow them to a T, you're

  • going to fail the exam." So you need to follow the instructions exactly. Follow them to a

  • T. Let's take a look at the clip from the conversation.

  • Vanessa: I think I look a lot like my mom.

  • Dan: Yeah, she looks exactly like her mom. They're

  • like to a T. Vanessa:

  • I think I look a lot like my mom. Dan:

  • Yeah, she looks exactly like her mom. They're like to a T.

  • Vanessa: Number three: Off the charts. This is a fun

  • idiom and it means more than expected. Dan said, "Her enthusiasm was off the charts."

  • We can imagine that maybe you're in some kind of business meeting and there's a chart that

  • shows some progress of the product that you're selling, and then all of a sudden the line

  • goes off the chart. That means that it was more than you expected. You didn't even have

  • a chart big enough to show the growth of that product, but it doesn't need to be a product

  • that we talk about. Instead, it could be enthusiasm. "Her enthusiasm was a way more than I expected.

  • It was off the charts." It doesn't need to be a positive thing though. You could say,

  • "Our heating bill was off the charts last month." That means it was so high that I could

  • have never expected that it would be so high. "Our heating bill was off the charts. It was

  • incredibly high." Vanessa:

  • All right, let's watch the original clip. Dan:

  • She was like bouncing. Vanessa:

  • I always have a lot of enthusiasm. That's true.

  • Dan: It was off the charts. She was like bouncing.

  • Vanessa: I always have a lot of enthusiasm. That's

  • true. Dan:

  • Yes, it was off the charts. Vanessa:

  • Number four: A gray area. The word gray, this color, it's not black, it's not white, it's

  • in the middle. So we're talking about something that's not clearly defined. It's not black

  • and white. It's gray. In the conversation with Dan, we said that, "The area between

  • childhood and adulthood is kind of a gray area. It's not that one day you wake up and

  • you're an adult. No, it's kind of a gray area." There are a lot of things in life that are

  • not clearly defined, especially when it comes to values or morals. So you might say, "Sharing

  • pictures of your child on social media is a gray area. Some people think it's not a

  • good thing. Some people think it is a good thing. Some people feel like, I don't know

  • what to think. It's kind of undefined. This is a new territory for new parents." This

  • is a gray area. All right, let's watch the original clips that you can see how it was

  • used. Vanessa:

  • Yeah, I think you can still be an adult just making your own decisions, but we still need

  • help from other people as adults, so it's a gray area.

  • Dan: Sure. Yeah.

  • Vanessa: Yeah. It's not so clear. I think you can still

  • be an adult just making your own decisions, but we still need help from other people as

  • adults, so it's a gray area. Dan:

  • Sure. Yeah. Vanessa:

  • It's not so clear. Vanessa:

  • Number five: To be paid under the table. Does this mean that Dan's boss literally gave him

  • money under the table? No. This just means that he was paid illegally. He wasn't officially

  • on a register as an employee of that restaurant. Instead, they just gave him cash. To be paid

  • under the table. When he said, "I was paid under the table," that was most likely because

  • of his age. I think he was probably too young to be officially an employee, and that's kind

  • of common in the US that if you get a job when you're too young, the boss will probably

  • just pay you in cash under the table, or if you have an odd job. Odd jobs are often paid

  • under the table. If you're babysitter, if you walk your neighbor's dog you're not going

  • to get a tax form that says you are the babysitter for this person. No, it's just between two

  • people. They just give you cash, or maybe they write you a little check, a personal

  • check. It's paid under the table. Vanessa:

  • All right, let's watch the clips that you can see how this was used.

  • Vanessa: Things you don't want to know when you visit

  • a restaurant. Dan:

  • And I was was paid under the table. Vanessa:

  • Oh really? Dan:

  • Mm-hmm (affirmative). Vanessa:

  • Why did they have to pay you under the table? Dan:

  • I don't know. Vanessa:

  • Things you don't want to know when you visit a restaurant.

  • Dan: And I was paid under the table.

  • Vanessa: Oh really?

  • Dan: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

  • Vanessa: Why'd they have to pay you under the table?

  • Dan: I don't know.

  • Vanessa: Number six: The meat. This is a little bit

  • of a funny metaphor here. We're not talking about meat like chicken or beef or pork. Instead,

  • we're talking about the majority of something. Usually we talk about the majority of money

  • or of revenue. Vanessa:

  • So Dan said that, "The meat of our tourism is nature in the US. Yeah, people go to New

  • York or LA, but a lot of people visit the US to see nature. This is the majority of

  • our tourism. The meat of our tourism." Or you might say, "Selling pottery is the meat

  • of the craft shops revenue. A craft shop might sell quilted things, or knitted scarves, or

  • paintings, or pottery, but if they sell a lot of pottery, if the pottery is really what

  • helps them to pay the bills, then that's the meat of their revenue." We might say, "Selling

  • pottery is the meat of the craft shops revenue." All right, let's watch the clips that you

  • can see how this expression was used. Vanessa:

  • I feel like a lot of tourism is natural tourism. Dan:

  • Yeah. The meat of our tourism is nature. Vanessa:

  • I feel like a lot of tourism is natural tourism. Dan:

  • Yeah. The meat of our tourism is nature. Vanessa:

  • Number seven: To crash somewhere. This doesn't mean that you're breaking or destroying something.

  • Instead, it's just an informal expression that means you're going to arrive somewhere.

  • It doesn't need to be arriving somewhere uninvited, but it does have this casual feeling to it.

  • So we could say, "We're going to crash their vacation." Dan and I were talking about how

  • his parents have a vacation planned to go to Hawaii, and he was trying to scheme a way

  • that we can go, they can watch our kids, and we can go and have fun on vacation. This is

  • not a positive situation. This isn't really probably going to happen, but we said, "We're

  • going to crash their vacation." We're going to arrive informally and kind of break into

  • the middle of their vacation and change their plans. Or we could use this in a less extreme

  • and just say, "If you need somewhere to stay, feel free to crash at my house."

  • Vanessa: Maybe if you're taking a long road trip and

  • halfway through the road trip you're going to be passing near where one of your friends

  • lives. That friend might say, "Oh, it's too far to go in one day. You can just stop at

  • my house and then drive the next day." So you might say, "You can crash at my house."

  • This means you can sleep there, you can just relax because driving all that distance in

  • one day is too much. "Feel free to crash at my house if you need to." All right, let's

  • watch the clips that you can see how this fun expression was used.

  • Dan: But if my parents are there-

  • Vanessa: They can watch our kids.

  • Dan: They can watch the kids!

  • Vanessa: So we're going to crash their vacation and

  • make them watch our kids? Dan:

  • But if my parents are there- Vanessa:

  • They can watch the kids. Dan:

  • They can watch the kids! Vanessa:

  • So we're going to crash their vacation and make them watch our kids?

  • Vanessa: Number eight: You can't go wrong with. This

  • means that it's impossible to make a bad decision about something. So I said, "You can't go

  • wrong with salmon. Salmon is a tasty food. Really any way that you cook it is going to

  • be great." So I said, "You can't go wrong with salmon." Or if there's something else

  • that everybody loves, it's impossible to do it incorrectly. You might say, "Oh, you can't

  • go wrong with a beach vacation. The beach will always be nice. It doesn't matter what

  • your plans are. If you just want to chill on the beach, or if you want to do a lot of

  • stuff, or go alone, or go with a lot of people, you can't go wrong with a beach vacation."

  • I hope you feel that way about my lessons. "You can't go wrong with Vanessa's lessons."

  • That means that any lesson that you watch, you'll learn a lot and hopefully have a good

  • time. All right, let's watch the clips that you can see how this expression was used.

  • Vanessa: Ah, yeah. Well, I think you can't go wrong

  • with Salmon. Dan:

  • Yeah, but it's just a very healthy meal that tastes very filling and fulfilling.

  • Vanessa: Ah, yeah. Well, I think you can't go wrong

  • with salmon. Dan:

  • Yeah, but it's just a very healthy meal that tastes very filling and fulfilling.

  • Vanessa: Number nine: To make it work. To make it work.

  • Does this have to do with going to work and having a job? No. Instead, we're talking about

  • succeeding even though there's some difficulties. So when we were talking about our office space

  • that we used to film in, Dan said, "We made it work." That means we made the small space

  • of the office acceptable for what we needed. "We made it work. The small space was difficult,

  • but we still tried to succeed." We made it work. Or if you want to have a little bit

  • of a longer sentence, you might say, "Having a long distance relationship is really tough,

  • but we will make it work." If your boyfriend is planning to 300 miles away and you're not

  • going to see him as often, you might say, "Oh yeah, it's so tough to have a long distance

  • relationship, but don't worry we will make it work. We are going to succeed despite the

  • difficulties." All right, let's watch the clip.

  • Dan: She used to film in a closet.

  • Vanessa: It wasn't a closet, but it was a really small.

  • Dan: Two closets combined.

  • Vanessa: Yeah, it was like a little triangle room.

  • Dan: It was very small.

  • Vanessa: But-

  • Dan: Hey, we made it work.

  • Vanessa: Yeah. It worked. We made it work.

  • Dan: She used to film in a closet.

  • Vanessa: It wasn't a closet, but it was a really small.

  • Dan: Two closets combined.

  • Vanessa: Yeah, it was like a little triangle room.

  • Dan: It was very small.

  • Vanessa: But-

  • Dan: Hey we made it work.

  • Vanessa: Yeah. It worked. We made it work.

  • Vanessa: Number 10: Where on earth? This is a fun,

  • shocked statement. Where on earth did you hear that? It means that you are completely

  • shocked that someone said something to you. Where on earth did you hear that? That sounds

  • like it's absolutely crazy. Or if you get a package in the mail, you might say, "Where

  • on earth did this package come from?" You're not actually talking about the globe, the

  • world, the earth. You're just saying, "I have absolutely no idea where this package came

  • from. Where on earth did this come from?" This is a really fun expression. It's a casual

  • expression, but it's a fun way to show shock. "Where on earth did you hear that?" All right,

  • let's watch the clips that you can see how it was used.

  • Dan: Me and my siblings, we all just made fun of

  • her. We were like, "Mom, you just made that up. Where on earth did you hear that?" But

  • really it's actually true. Dan:

  • Me and my siblings, we all just made fun of her. We were like, "Mom, you just made that

  • up. Where on earth did you hear that?" But really it's actually true.

  • Vanessa: Number 11: That's it. This means the end.

  • In our conversation, Dan and I were talking about the amazing bird, the albatross, but

  • when you are a small animal in the wild, in nature, your life is quite fragile and it's

  • the same for the albatross. "When the albatross first learns to fly, if he fails, that's it."

  • That means that some other animal will probably come and eat him, and his life will be over.

  • So we could say, "If he fails, that's it." Well, we can use this in a less serious situation.

  • Maybe if you're having a business meeting, the person who's leading the meeting might

  • say, "All right, that's it. See you next week." That's it. It's just an informal way to say,

  • "The end." "All right, that's it. I'll talk to you later. Bye." But not really. We have

  • more expressions to go. Okay, let's watch the clips that you can see how this was used.

  • Vanessa: So sharks gather there.

  • Dan: They wait for the babies.

  • Vanessa: And as the babies are learning to fly, if

  • they fail on their first try, that's it. Vanessa:

  • So sharks gather there. Dan:

  • They wait for the babies. Vanessa:

  • And as the babies are learning to fly, if they fail on their first try, that's it.

  • Vanessa: Number 12: Up to. We're not really talking

  • about down and up. Instead, we're talking about a maximum of something. So we were talking

  • about the bird, the albatross again, and we said "They can stay in the air up to 10,000

  • miles." Which is absolutely crazy. This is so long. So this is the maximum amount of

  • length that they can stay in the air. "Up to 10,000 miles." Or we could talk about your

  • car if you love to drive fast. I don't really, but maybe you do and you're looking for some

  • kind of sports car that can go really fast. You go to the store and you're going to buy

  • a new car, and the salesman says, "This car can drive up to 250 miles per hour." Wow.

  • You can drive so fast. So he's trying to sell you on the maximum that that car can drive.

  • "It can drive up to 250 miles per hour." All right, let's watch the clips that you can

  • see how this expression was used. Dan:

  • Once they actually get in the air, an albatross can stay in the air for up to 10,000 miles.

  • Vanessa: That's a lot.

  • Dan: Which is a lot of kilometers.

  • Dan: Once they actually get in the air, an albatross

  • can stay in the air for up to 10,000 miles. Vanessa:

  • That's a a lot. Dan: