Speaking English – How to use idiomatic pairs

http://www.engvid.com/ High and low? Now and then? Thick and thin? Did you know that when these simple words are used together in pairs, they get new meanings? Learn to use popular idiomatic pairs like these in English conversation and writing. Guaranteed to improve your English by leaps and bounds! http://www.engvid.com/speaking-english-idiomatic-pairs/

TRANSCRIPT

Hi, my name is Rebecca. And in today’s lesson, I’m going to show you a fun and easy way to improve your English, improve the quality of your English when you speak and when you write. And that’s by using something that we call “idiom pairs”. So, what are “idiom pairs”? Idiom pairs are two words that we use together and produce a different meaning than when we use those words separately. Let me show you what I mean. What I’m going to do first is instead of telling you the meanings of these words, of these idiom pairs, I’m going to read a sentence and you try to figure out if you understand the meaning, and afterwards I’ll explain the meaning to you. Okay?

So, the first one: “I searched high and low for my glasses, but I couldn’t find them anywhere.” Right? “I searched high and low for my glasses, but I couldn’t find them anywhere.” So what does the idiom pair: “high and low” mean? What do you think? Okay. Well, “high and low”. When we say: “I searched high and low”, it means I searched everywhere. I searched all over the place; I searched up, and I searched down. So, “I searched high and low.” I searched everywhere. Okay?

Next one: “Your house is always spick and span. How do you do it?” Okay? “Spick and span”. “Spick and span”, by the way, can be written with the “k” or without the “k”. All right? So what do you think it means if you say to someone: “Your house is always spick and span. How do you do it?” Well, it’s a compliment, it means very, very clean. All right? So if you say something’s spick and span, it means it’s very clean.

Next one: “They’ve been married for over 50 years and have been through thick and thin.” What does that mean? “Thick and thin.” “They have been through thick and thin” means they’ve been through many hard times, good times, and bad times; many difficult times, many easy times. “Thick and thin” — all kinds of experiences. Okay?

Next one: “His condition is still touch and go.” “His condition is still touch and go.” Any idea what that means? Well, that one means that his condition is still uncertain; a little bit risky. The doctor cannot predict what is going to happen. Okay?

Next one: “Your English has improved by leaps and bounds.” “Your English has improved by leaps and bounds.” For sure, when you use these expressions, your English will improve by leaps and bounds. So what do you think it means: “leaps and bounds”? All right? Well, “leaps and bounds” means a lot, tremendously. Okay? So if you say to someone: “Your English has improved by leaps and bounds”, your English has improved a lot; it’s improved greatly. All right?

Next one: “We only see each other now and then.” “We only see each other now and then.” What do you think it means? Well, “now and then” means you don’t see that person very often; you meet infrequently, not very often. Okay?

So these six idiom pairs are quite easy. Try to remember what they are, try to use them in conversation, and you might be very surprised to find that people are telling you that your English has really improved. Okay? So, that’s it for now. If you’d like to do a quiz on this, please visit our website: www.engvid.com. Thanks for watching.

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