09.11.2017 |

Episode #2 of the course English idioms (B2) by Kasia Sielicka, PhD


“Alice, I’m dying!” shouted Susan into the phone, now talking to her best friend, Alice.

“Why? Is your TV on the blink?” asked Alice matter-of-factly.

“TV?!” repeated Susan, furious. “I have a raging headache, my back is killing me, and that is only the tip of the iceberg!”

“Oh, we’re in the same boat!” exclaimed Alice, half-happy, half-depressed. “I have a cold too! I’m coming to you!”

“No, wait!” shouted Susan, terrified. “What if the viruses we have mutate and kill us?!”

“Well, I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it!” laughed Alice. “Be there in ten!” And she hung up.

Ten minutes later, Alice was at Susan’s place and saw Susan crying on the bed.

“My, my,” said Alice in a worried voice. “You really are in a tight corner. And your room!” she exclaimed, only now noticing the books and clothes lying on the floor. “It’s in a real state too! Come, let me make you some hot chocolate.”

A few minutes later, they were both drinking hot chocolate. Life seemed a little better.

“So, how are you?” asked Susan. “You’re ill too?”

“A bit,” answered Alice. “I also have some work problems. My boss asked me to do some programming, which really caught me off guard—I have no idea how to do that! I tried and killed the computer; the screen went black and that was it! That really threw a spanner in the works, as I couldn’t get any of my other work done. My boss got angry, so I told him it was his fault in the first place, as programming is not in my job description! That really put the cat among the pigeons. Honestly, me and my big mouth. If it continues like this, I might have to leave the company under a cloud!”

“Poor you,” said Susan, hugging Alice tightly.


Idioms Explained

If a piece of electrical equipment is on the blink, it is not working very well.

The tip of the iceberg is a problem or difficult situation that indicates a much more serious problem exists.

If two (or more) people are in the same boat, they are in the same difficult or unpleasant situation.

When you say, “we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,” you’re saying that you’ll worry about a problem when it happens, not before.

If someone is in a tight corner, they are in a difficult situation. You can also say “in a tight spot” or “in a tight situation.”

When a place is in a real state, it is in a bad or untidy condition.

If you are caught off guard, you are surprised by something you weren’t prepared for.

If you throw a spanner in the works, you do something that suddenly stops a process or a plan.

If you put the cat among the pigeons, you cause trouble by doing or saying something.

When you do something under a cloud, you do it with your reputation damaged because you may have done something wrong.


How will the girls get out of their problems? Find out tomorrow!


Recommended book

Scholastic Dictionary of Idioms by Marvin Terban


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