1
   

ESL Practice

 
 
Roberta
 
Reply Sat 19 Jun, 2004 05:28 am
I have written many exercises for my ESL students. I would be happy to post them here and then discuss them. The exercises fall into two categories: dialogues and questions. The dialogues incorporate many informal English idiomatic expressions. The questions are very hard. They cover some of English's more challenging idioms and usage.

Here's a dialogue. Read it and then ask about expressions you don't understand. I encourage you to read it aloud so that you can get the feel of the language in your mouth.

Situation: Two old friends are sitting on a park bench shooting the breeze.

Friend 1: So I finally got Animal Planet on my cable.

Friend 2: Uh oh.

Friend 1: What do you mean? Uh oh.

Friend 2: I know you. Every time you come in contact with animals, there’s trouble.

Friend 1: Trouble. You’re kidding, right?

Friend 2: No. Wasn’t I the one who had to drag you kicking and screaming away from the polar bear exhibit at the zoo?

Friend 1: Kind of. But there was a baby polar bear. I had never seen one before in the flesh.

Friend 2: And what about the snow monkeys in Central Park. You’d still be there if I hadn’t dragged you away.

Friend 1: I’m sure someone would have thrown me out before now. And there were baby monkeys.

Friend 2: You can’t have every baby animal you see.

Friend 1: Who said anything about wanting a baby animal? I was just going to tell you about a show on Animal Planet.

Friend 2: Okay. So tell me.

Friend 1: It’s called That’s My Baby. It shows baby animals being born.

Friend 2: I knew there was an uh oh in there somewhere.

Friend 1: Come on. Give me a break. It’s a good show.

Friend 2: I could see the appeal.

Friend 1: Little baby animals being born. It’s wonderful.

Friend 2: What animals have they shown so far?

Friend 1: Horses, dogs, a whale, and a rhino. That’s my fav.

Friend 2: What’s your fav?

Friend 1: The baby rhino. I cannot believe how cute they are.

Friend 2: Rhino as in rhinoceros?

Friend 1: One and the same.

Friend 2: Cute?

Friend 1: As the dickens.

Friend 2: Aren’t they on the large side?

Friend 1: Sure, but the baby doesn’t know that. It’s just being a baby. He trots around, pokes his nose into things. Very, very cute.

Friend 2: You’re not going to tell me that you want a rhinoceros, are you?

Friend 1: No. Even I have to admit that a rhino would be impractical in the city.

Friend 2: I’m relieved to hear that.

Friend 1: I just want to meet one.

Friend 2: And where is this baby?

Friend 1: California, I think.

Friend 2: You’re not going to trek out there to see a baby rhinoceros, are you?

Friend 1: Nope. It could be all grown up by now. Who knows when the show was filmed. But don’t you think there’s got to be one closer to home?

Friend 2: I have no idea.

Friend 1: I’m going to check on the Internet.

Friend 2: Good idea.

Friend 1: If I find one not too far away, wanna come with me to see it?

Friend 2: That depends.

Friend 1: On what?

Friend 2: How far.

Friend 1: Let’s say a baby rhino was just born in the Bronx.

Friend 2: Sure, I’d go with you to the Bronx. Let’s face it. Someone will have to be with you to pull you kicking and screaming away.

Friend 2: You’re probably right.

Friend 1: That’s what friends are for.
  • Topic Stats
  • Top Replies
  • Link to this Topic
Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 1,245 • Replies: 17
No top replies

 
gustavratzenhofer
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Jun, 2004 05:35 am
Ok, Roberta, I'll play along.

As the dickens

Origin and meaning of quote, please.

(I'm always so nervous talking to you because of my plethora of grammatical errors)

Oh, and one more thing. I guess As the dickens wouldn't actually be considered a quote but rather an "idiom" as you say.

Work with me here, woman.

Damn it.... I'm trying.
0 Replies
 
Roberta
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Jun, 2004 05:48 am
Gus, Yes, you're trying--as usual. :wink: Dickens is a term that first appeared in the late 1500s. It was a euphemism for the devil. "Cute as the dickens" is a reference to something as cute as a little devil, imp, etc. Not a devil in the evil context.

I had no idea that English is a second language for you. Live and loin.
0 Replies
 
gustavratzenhofer
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Jun, 2004 05:55 am
My native tongue is Komi.

The transition to English has been a long and difficult one.

Friends like you have made it easier by paving the road for me.

Hey! paving the road Is that an idiom?
0 Replies
 
cavfancier
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Jun, 2004 06:05 am
I'd hate to think that any of our non-English speakers might interperet this as a dialogue about a bestiality problem. "Every time you come into contact with animals, there's trouble." That says it all.
0 Replies
 
gustavratzenhofer
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Jun, 2004 06:09 am
Roberta obviously put a lot of time and effort into the construction of this thread and I come along and destroy the damn thing.

Now what? I suppose I should apologize.

Sorry, Roberta. I hope this thread finds its way to the intended recepients.

<Gustav tiptoes out and gently closes the door behind him>
0 Replies
 
oristarA
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Jun, 2004 06:14 am
Hi Roberta, Long time no see. Smile

I've read through your thread.

(1) Friend 1: So I finally got Animal Planet on my cable.

Animal palnet is a show or a zoo, no doubt. Got it on one's cable? Hmm, I guess it meant "I enjoyed there -- the Animal Planet". But I am not sure if I should know the exact meaning of the idiom.

(2) Friend 2: Uh oh.

The friend is imitating the voice of a (snow) monkey, or whatso animal?

(3) Friend 2: No. Wasn't I the one who had to drag you kicking and screaming away from the polar bear exhibit at the zoo?

The idiom "kicking and screaming " seems not so clear to me. I think kicking
means frolicking, and screaming means crying because of the fear of the polar bear's stunt.

(4) Friend 1: Kind of. But there was a baby polar bear. I had never seen one before in the flesh.

In the flesh = in one's own person.

(5) Friend 1: I'm sure someone would have thrown me out before now. And there were baby monkeys.

Throw one out = to refuse one?

(Time for supper, I'd see you later)

(6) Friend 1: Horses, dogs, a whale, and a rhino. That's my fav.

Fav = favorite.

(7) One and the same = absolutely the same.

(8) Friend 1: As the dickens.

LOL. This reply is so cunning that surely lures some ESL students into the teacher's trap.

As the dickens = indeed. (I got this from my dictionaries)

(9) Friend 2: Aren't they on the large side?

On the large side? My wild guess is that means "on the large section of the show".


(10) Friend 1: Sure, but the baby doesn't know that. It's just being a baby. He trots around, pokes his nose into things. Very, very cute.

Poke one's nose into = to snoop.

(11) Friend 1: No. Even I have to admit that a rhino would be impractical in the city.

It seems the expression "that a rhino would be impractical in the city" is a pun.
The problem for my understanding it is: A rhino in the zoo of the city is so natural, how come can it be impractical?

(12) Friend 2: Sure, I'd go with you to the Bronx. Let's face it. Someone will have to be with you to pull you kicking and screaming away.

Pull away = drag away.

Still, I felt that "to the Bronx" might be a pun too. Smile
0 Replies
 
cavfancier
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Jun, 2004 06:31 am
oristarA wrote:
Hi Roberta, Long time no see. Smile

I've read through your thread.

(1) Friend 1: So I finally got Animal Planet on my cable.

Animal Palnet is a show a zoo, no doubt. Got it on one's cable? Hmm, I guess it meant "I enjoyed there -- the Animal Planet". But I am not sure if I should know the exact meaning of the idom.

(2) Friend 2: Uh oh.

The friend is imitating the voice of a (snow) monkey, or whatso animal?

(3) Friend 2: No. Wasn't I the one who had to drag you kicking and screaming away from the polar bear exhibit at the zoo?

The idiom "kicking and screaming " seems not so clear to me. I think kicking
means froliking, and screaming means crying because of the fear of the polar bear's stunt.

(4) Friend 1: Kind of. But there was a baby polar bear. I had never seen one before in the flesh.

In the flesh = in one's own person.

(5) Friend 1: I'm sure someone would have thrown me out before now. And there were baby monkeys.

Throw one out = to refuse one?

(Time for supper, I'd see later)


Let me see if I can address some of this. Animal Planet is indeed a cable show, dedicated to programs about animals. "So I finally got Animal Planet on my cable." This is typical of casual conversation, not necessarily grammatically correct, but a style of speaking that is in common usage.

"Uh oh" is not a monkey imitation, but that was a fun intereperetation. It is an idiomatic expression of "Oh no", an expression of perceived future trouble regarding a particular situation.

"Kicking and screaming" is an idiom relating to a child with a tantrum, as far as I know. I'll cite an example: A toddler throws tantrums, especially at the mall. He falls on the floor and flails his limbs about, crying and screaming all through it. There isn't much to do but pick him up and forcibly 'drag' him away, kicking and screaming. In Roberta's context, the idiom is used humourously.

As for the polar bear, "in the flesh" means seeing the animal live, in person, not just on TV.

"Throw one out" would refer to officials at the zoo forcibly making the friend leave for overstaying his welcome. In the context, he expects that this should have happened already, as he does not want to leave the animals.
0 Replies
 
cavfancier
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Jun, 2004 06:33 am
Hmm, I missed your edit there Oristar. I'll leave the rest to Roberta, including any errors I may have made.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Jun, 2004 06:47 am
Thanks for this idea, Roberta!

It will be very useful for me: I'm going to take the TOEFL exams in October. :wink:
(Actually that is much cheaper than the transfer to civil and notarial testified translation of my old as the hills military interpreter exams Laughing )
0 Replies
 
Roberta
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Jun, 2004 07:18 am
Hi Oristar, Glad to be back. Everything that Cav said is correct. Thanks, Cav. Here's the rest:

(6) Friend 1: Horses, dogs, a whale, and a rhino. That’s my fav.

Fav = favorite. YES, FAV IS FAVORITE

(7) One and the same = absolutely the same. NOT EXACTLY. THIS IDIOM IS USED IN IDENTIFICATION. IS THAT ORISTAR WALKING DOWN THE STREET? ONE AND THE SAME, MEANING, YES, THAT'S ORISTAR.

(8) Friend 1: As the dickens.

LOL. This reply is so cunning that surely lures some ESL students into the teacher's trap.

As the dickens = indeed. (I got this from my dictionaries) THE WHOLE EXPRESSION IS "CUTE AS THE DICKENS." I EXPLAINED THE MEANING OF DICKENS IN MY RESPONSE TO GUS.

(9) Friend 2: Aren’t they on the large side?

On the large side? My wild guess is that means "on the large section of the show". NO, THIS REFERS TO THE SIZE OF RHINOS. THEY'RE ON THE LARGE SIDE MEANS THEY'RE KIND OF BIG. ON THE LARGE SIDE, ON THE SMALL SIDE, ON THE SKINNY SIDE, ON THE DUMB SIDE.


(10) Friend 1: Sure, but the baby doesn’t know that. It’s just being a baby. He trots around, pokes his nose into things. Very, very cute.

Poke one's nose into = to snoop. TO POKE YOUR NOSE INTO THINGS CAN MEAN TO SNOOP, BUT NOT IN THIS CONTEXT. IT REFERS MORE TO CURIOSITY THAN SNOOPINESS.

(11) Friend 1: No. Even I have to admit that a rhino would be impractical in the city.

It seems the expression "that a rhino would be impractical in the city" is a pun.
The problem for my understanding it is: A rhino in the zoo of the city is so natural, how come can it be impractical? NO PUN HERE, ORISTAR. IT WOULD BE IMPRACTICAL TO HAVE A RHINOCEROS AS A PET IN THE CITY.

(12) Friend 2: Sure, I’d go with you to the Bronx. Let’s face it. Someone will have to be with you to pull you kicking and screaming away.

Pull away = drag away. YES.

Still, I felt that "to the Bronx" might be a pun too. THE BIGGEST ZOO IN NYC IS IN THE BRONX, SO THIS WAS A REFERENCE TO THE BRONX ZOO. THE BRONX IS ONE OF THE FIVE BOROUGHS THAT MAKE UP NEW YORK CITY: BROOKLYN, QUEENS, MANHATTAN, STATEN ISLAND, AND THE BRONX. THE BRONX IS ONE OF THOSE RARE PLACES THAT HAS A "THE" AS PART OF ITS NAME. MANY YEARS AGO, THE PART OF THE CITY THAT IS NOW THE BRONX WAS A FARM OWNED BY A DUTCH FAMILY CALLED BRONCK. WHEN PEOPLE WENT TO THE FARM, THEY SAID THEY WERE GOING TO THE BRONCK'S. THIS BECAME SHORTENED TO BRONX, AND THE "THE" STUCK. BTW, I WAS BORN IN THE BRONX AND GREW UP THERE.
0 Replies
 
oristarA
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Jun, 2004 09:55 am
Thanks for the corrections, Cav and Roberta.
0 Replies
 
Wy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Jun, 2004 07:54 pm
It would be practical to have a rhino as a pet in the country???
0 Replies
 
Roberta
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Jun, 2004 01:07 am
Wy, As Einstein suggested, everything is relative. In fact it wouldn't be practical to have a rhino as a pet anywhere. But if one were to have one, the country would definitely be more practical than the city.
0 Replies
 
oristarA
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Jun, 2004 01:59 am
Nothing is impossible and impractical! Razz

http://www.66wz.com/webportal/pics/1076633733051.jpg

Jim Soturner, resident of Alberta, Canada, rested with his pet -- a buffalo in his kitchen Feb 11. He has been raising the pet since it was very young. The pet now weighs 1500lbs, and every day visits the room where Soturners live.
0 Replies
 
roger
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Jun, 2004 02:21 am
I have to disagree with "impractical" related to the photo, Oristar.
0 Replies
 
Roberta
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Jun, 2004 04:24 am
Oristar, That seems a tad impractical to me.

Walter, I'm glad you like the idea.
0 Replies
 
oristarA
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Jun, 2004 04:33 am
Hmm, Roberta, just because your dear cat lives but not wants to let the big guy live there. Please let your cat learn the foreign policy of peaceful coexistence.
0 Replies
 
 

Related Topics

deal - Question by WBYeats
Drs. = female doctor? - Question by oristarA
Let pupils abandon spelling rules, says academic - Discussion by Robert Gentel
Please, I need help. - Question by imsak
Is this sentence grammatically correct? - Question by Sydney-Strock
"come from" - Question by mcook
 
  1. Forums
  2. » ESL Practice
Copyright © 2022 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.07 seconds on 11/30/2022 at 03:29:01