Idiomatic and Colloquial Responses – Choose The Correct Word

Correct Word

Choose the correct word in bold to complete the responses in these dialogues. In one of them, all three options are possible.

1. “I’m feeling a bit miserable at the moment.”
“Jeer / Cheer / Sneer up!”

2. “Can we have your decision?”
“Um, let me dream / think / sleep on it.”

3. “I, er, um, well, you know, I, er, the thing is, you see, well…”
“Come on, spit / cough / blow it out!”

4. “I, er…………………………….”
“What’s the matter? Has the cat got your tongue / lips / teeth?”

5. “Come on darling, give me a great big kiss and then have a dance with me!”
“Go and take a running leap / jump / fall!”

6. “I’m taking my IELTS exam tomorrow.”
“Good luck. I’ll be keeping my toes / fingers / legs crossed for you.”

7. “Can I borrow your mobile to make a quick call?”
“Sure. Be my host / friend / guest.”

8. “It’s my birthday today.”
“Is it? Oh, well, many happy reruns / returns / repeats.”

9. “Could I use your car tonight?”
“I’d prefer / wish / rather you didn’t”

10. “I promise not to be late from now on.”
“Yeah right, that’ll be the day / week / month!”

11. “My girlfriend left me last week.”
“Oh dear, so you’re on the fence / wall / shelf again.”

12. “Do you know Patrick Hartley?”
“No, the name doesn’t ring any phones / bells / changes”

13. “I’m the boss here, and you will do what I say!”
“Stop throwing your weight / body / head around!”

14. “I’m afraid I’ve run out of coffee. I can only offer you tea.”
“That’s all right. Any harbour / dock / port in a storm.

15. “I’m sorry, but I forgot to do my homework again.”
“Again? It’s time you pulled your trousers / socks / pants up, young man.”

16. “I’m under too much pressure at college.”
“Well, if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the fire / oven / kitchen.”

17. “I failed my driving test again.”
“Oh, hard / bad / tough luck!”

18. “What’s the name of that restaurant we went to last week?”
“It’s on the tip of my tongue / finger / nose. I’ll remember it in a minute.”

19. “Have you ever been to hospital?”
“No, touch cloth / paper / wood.”

20. “Excuse me, could you take our picture?”
“Sure, give me your camera. OK, say chips / cheese / cheers everyone!”

Correct Answers: 

  1. Cheer
    (We say this when we want someone who is sad to be happy)
  2. sleep
    (The second speaker wants time to think about his / her decision)
  3. spit
    (The second speaker wants the first speaker to say what he / she means)
  4. tongue
    (The second speaker wants to know why the first speaker is having problems speaking)
  5. jump
    (The second speaker is angrily and very impolitely telling the first speaker to go away. Some people might say Get lost, Get knotted, Shove off, Take a hike, Sling your hook, Take a long walk off a short pier, Go and play with the traffic, Get on your bike, or other expressions which are much too rude to print here)
  6. fingers
    (The second speaker is saying that he / she hopes the first speaker will be successful)
  7. guest
    (Be my guest is a polite way of saying Yes you can. We can also say Help yourself)
  8. returns
    (This is a slightly more formal way of saying Happy Birthday)
  9. rather
    (This is a polite way of saying No you can’t)
  10. day
    (We say That’ll be the day when we don’t believe something will happen. We might also say “And pigs might fly!”)
  11. shelf
    (Someone who is on the shelf hasn’t got a girlfriend / boyfriend)
  12. bells
    (When something like a person’s name rings a bell, it sounds familiar to you, but you can’t remember why: “Have you been to that bistro on the High Street? It’s called Quasimodo” “Quasimodo? I’m not sure. The name rings a bell”)
  13. weight
    (Someone who throws their weight around uses their authority in an unreasonable or unpleasant way)
  14. port
    (We use this expression when something that we want or need is not available and we must have something else instead. Beggars can’t be choosers has a similar meaning)
  15. socks
    (The second speaker wants the first speaker to work harder)
  16. kitchen
    (This expression is used for telling someone that they should not do something if they cannot deal with the difficult or unpleasant aspects of it)
  17. hard, bad, tough
    (These all have the same meaning. Tough luck is more informal. Some people also say Hard cheese, but this is usually used in an ironic way)
  18. tongue
    (The second speaker knows the name of the restaurant, but cannot remember it at the moment)
  19. wood
    (We say touch wood to prevent bad things happening to us. Some people also touch a piece of wood when they say this)
  20. cheese
    (We say Say cheese when we take someone’s photograph and we want them to smile)
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