Level 1 Idioms – Unit 05


Barb:    It’s too hot in here.  How do you turn on the air conditioning?

Bob:    It’s easy as pie.  Just push the button marked ‘start.’  Then turn the dial up to maximum.

Barb:    Okay.  But when we checked in, the desk clerk said it takes about half an hour to cool the room down.  I think I need something cold to drink now.

Bob:    Speak up.  I can’t hear you over that noisy air conditioner.

Barb:    I’m going to the vending machine in the lobby to get some pop.  Would you like anything?

Bob:    No thanks.  I’ll stick with ice water.  You could bring up some more ice, if you don’t mind.  I don’t want to run out.

Barb:    [Later]  I couldn’t get any pop.  The vending machine broke down, and they shut down the ice machine for servicing.  Let’s just check out of here and find a better motel.

Click on the audio recording  below to hear the lesson.

Pronunciation Exercise:  Listen and repeat the vocabulary on the audio file below.


maximum:   the highest setting
• desk clerk:   the person you talk to when you register.
• vending:   selling
• lobby:   the big room inside the front door of a motel or hotel
• if you don’t mind:  if it isn’t a problem for you
• servicing:  fixing and cleaning a machine

Pronunciation Exercise:  Listen and repeat the idioms on the audio file below.


turn on                start the operation (of a machine, lights, etc.)
easy as pie         very easy to do
turn up                increase (sound, light, or heat) / arrive
check in (to)     register (at a motel or hotel)
speak up             speak more loudly / say something (at a meeting/in class)
stick with           continue using (something) / stay with (someone)
run out (of)       not have any more
break down       stop working (machine)
shut down          stop (a service or business) for a short time or permanently.
check out (of)   leave (a motel or hotel) / borrow (something) from a library


Easy as pie and a piece of cake mean the same thing.

Turn up has 2 meanings.  The other one is “arrive.”
Example:  How many people turned up at the meeting last night?
It has the same meaning as show up. (Unit 03)

Speak up has 2 meanings.  The other one is “say something (at a meeting/in class).”
Example:  There are a few students who speak up in class, but most of them don’t usually say anything.

Stick with has 2 meanings.  The other one is “stay with (someone).”
Example:  When we go into the mall, stick with me.  I don’t want you to get lost.

Run out and be out are closely related.  Run out is an action, and be out is a condition (no action).
Example:  I ran out of milk, and if there’s one thing I don’t like, it’s to be out of milk.

Break down and out of order (Unit 01) are closely related.  Break down is an action, and out of order is a condition (no action).

Check out, meaning “leave (a motel or hotel),” is not followed by of if there is no object after it.
Example:  What time do we have to check out?

Check out has 2 meanings.  The second meaning is “borrow (something) from a library.”
Example:  You can’t check out reference material from the library.


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© 2004 Ambien Malecot


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