Giving Advice

09.11.2017 |

Episode #3 of the course English idioms (B2) by Kasia Sielicka, PhD


“I am so sorry you have problems at work,” said Susan sympathetically. “For me, it’s quite the opposite. I’m even expecting a bonus! I’m going to buy a new lipstick, some fantasy books, maybe a new sofa…” she continued dreamily.

“Whoa!” Alice stopped her friend’s daydreaming. “Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched! Wait till you actually have the bonus in your pocket!”

“Oh, come on,” said Susan, a bit angrily. “Don’t be silly! Of course I’ll get the bonus! And a pay raise! They love me at my workplace!”

“Well, I hope you’re right, but don’t take anything for granted,” replied Alice, worried about her friend’s excessive self-confidence. “Whatever you do, tread carefully.”

“Okay, I will,” agreed Susan reluctantly. “Anyway, what about your work problems? I think you should take the bull by the horns and tell your boss directly that you’re fed up with the way they’re treating you!”

“What?! Are you kidding me?” exclaimed Alice, shocked. “After I messed up the computer and derailed the whole project, I think that’s the last thing I should do! I’d better keep a low profile for the next few days and wait for things to calm down a little.”

“All right, all right,” agreed Susan amicably. “Take your time, then, if that’s what you want. Anyway, you might be right. You’ve always been quite happy with most aspects of your job. By confronting your boss, you might actually throw the baby out with the bathwater.”

“Yeah…” agreed Alice. “It’s so nice you care about me. But don’t lose any sleep over it—these are my problems, and you have enough of your own. Like your health. I’m really worried about you.”

“Thanks, but don’t let it get you down. I think I’m not dying after all. Maybe it is just a cold…”


Idioms Explained

“Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched” means that you shouldn’t make plans that depend on the success of something before it actually happens.

“Don’t be silly” is used when you think a comment you’ve just heard someone say doesn’t make sense.

When you take something for granted, you don’t appreciate it because you think it will always be there. For example, many people take their mothers for granted, not appreciating their love and care. It’s a negative expression.

When you tread carefully, you are very careful what you do or say so you do not make a mistake or cause a problem.

When you take the bull by the horns, you deal with a problem in a very direct and confident way, even though it’s a little risky to do so.

When you keep a low profile, you try to stop people from noticing you.

When you take your time, you don’t hurry.

If you throw the baby out with the bathwater, you accidentally get rid of the good and useful aspects of something while you’re trying to get rid of its negative aspects.

When you don’t lose sleep over something, you don’t let it worry or upset you. A similar expression is, “don’t let it get you down.


Tomorrow, you will meet Susan’s brother! Do you think he’ll be more lucky and rational than Susan? Stay tuned!


Recommended book

The Elements of Eloquence: Secrets of the Perfect Turn of Phrase by Mark Forsyth


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