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If you want to say that you are finding your English studies difficult, you can say that learning English ‘drives you bananas’. To ‘go bananas’ means to go crazy; it’s similar to the expression ‘round the bend’, which some of our students will already have learned. Of course, learning a foreign language is never ‘a piece of cake’ (an adjectival phrase which means ‘very easy’). ‘In a nutshell’ – in brief, in short – it can be tiring at times. However, ‘that’s the way the cookie crumbles’ – it’s the way things are, and we have to accept them.

Your Callan teachers wil help you with any expressions you encounter – but are having trouble understanding. We know you are all ‘sharp cookies’ – that you are not easily deceived (a ‘sharp cookie’ is an intelligent person, quick to pick up new information and not easily fooled). Any English teacher ‘worth their salt’ (deserving of respect because they are good at what they do) will have many English expressions to teach you. After all, an English teacher who didn’t know a few idioms would be ‘as useful as a chocolate fireguard’ – in other words, of no practical use whatsoever (in the same way a chocolate fireguard would melt and not protect us from fire!).

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Sometimes you may feel that your Callan teachers’ constant corrections mean you are not getting better. This may leave you feeling ‘cheesed off’ (frustrated and/or bored). However ‘to make an omelette, we need to break a few eggs’ – i.e. we often need to endure a few unpleasant situations – e.g. being corrected – in order for things to get better and for us to make important changes. The truth is that you are getting better – repetition will eventually ‘bear fruit’ (produce the desired results) in the end.

So, although it may feel as though you are ‘treading water’ (making no progress despite trying to advance), if you keep studying your hard work will mean you don’t end up ‘with egg on your face’ (embarrass yourself) when speaking English in a native environment. Feeling like ‘a fish out of water’ (feeling uncomfortable in a foreign or unfamiliar place) can be a dispiriting experience: we need all the help we can get.

When students first come to Callan School Barcelona – and undertake a very different method of learning English – some wonder if it will be their ‘cup of tea’ (whether they will enjoy it or not. If you like something, it is your ‘cup of ‘tea’). Eventually, students engage in the classes and are often ‘full of beans’(enthusiastic and full of energy).

Passing the exams will then be ‘the icing on the cake’ (an extra benefit from an already positive situation – e.g. ‘His teacher’s positive feedback was the icing on the cake’). Don’t worry if you fail your Callan exam the first time you take it – you will get ‘another bite of the cherry’ (another opportunity to do something you didn’t succeed at doing before). ‘Don’t cry over spilt milk’ – don’t worry or stress about something that is done and over with, that you cannot change – instead, remain ‘as cool as a cucumber’ (calm under pressure) and be prepared for the re-test.

Soon your English could be ‘the best thing since sliced bread’ (extremely good)! Why not try out your knowledge of a few food-related English idioms with our blog test?


A. Porter

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