lesson 22

Cleaning Idioms and a Visit By a Friend


Do you like cleaning your house or apartment or room?


My friend plans to drop by for a visit later today. My apartment is a mess. My friend is a very organized person and I want everything to be spic-and-span for her visit. I will have to spend all day cleaning and sprucing up my apartment. First, I will do the dishes which have piled up during my very busy week at work. Next, I will wipe off the stove and the top of the refrigerator. Finally, I will straighten up the sofa and the magazines in the living room. My apartment will then be as clean as a whistle and I will be able to relax and wait for my friend to arrive.

Reading Questions

Answer the following questions. The answers can easily be found in the reading above.

1. Who plans to drop by for a visit later that day?

2. When does she want everything spic-and-span?

3. Will she spruce up her apartment?

4. Will she do the dishes first?

5. When did the dishes pile up?

6. Will she also wipe off the top of the refrigerator?

7. Does she plan to straighten up the sofa?

8. Will her apartment be as clean as a whistle?

Making Connections and Idiom Meanings

Some of the idioms have another meaning or are connected to another meaning. Use this information to help you choose the correct meaning for each of the following idioms:

1. to drop by
a)   to drop something during a visit
b)   to stop someplace for a short visit
c)   to plan to visit someone

2. to be spic-and-span
a)   to be a little messy
b)   to be very clean
c)   to be disorganized

3. Spruce is an old word that referred to Prussia (Pruce) which is in Germany. This later began to mean spruce leather which was beautiful Prussian leather from Germany. This leather was used to make yourself or something else look good. What does to spruce up mean today?
a)   to make something look better
b)   to wash some dishes
c)   to break something

4. to do the dishes
a)   to buy some dishes
b)   to wash and dry some dishes
c)   to break a dish

5. to pile up
a)   to forget something
b)   to accumulate
c)   to remember to do something

6. to wipe off something
a)   to destroy something
b)   to clean the surface of something
c)   to bring something

7. to straighten up something
a)   to make something neat and organized
b)   to try and sell some things
c)   to create a mess

8. as clean as a whistle
a)   not too clean but not too dirty
b)   very clean
c)   very dirty

Your score is: ___  out of 8

Multiple Choice

Choose the best answer for each sentence:

Choose the idiom which correctly completes each sentence:

1. The woman ___________________ the bank to get some money.
a)   spruced up
b)   dropped by
c)   dropped her purse at

2. The school classroom was __________________ because they cleaned it for the concert.
a)   very noisy
b)   spic-and-span
c)   rather small

3. We plan to ________________ our house before my mother visits because we want it to be clean.
a)   draw a picture of
b)   think about selling
c)   spruce up

4. The woman always likes to ________________ quickly after eating dinner.
a)   do the dishes
b)   buy new dishes
c)   spruce up the dishes

5. Many newspapers have been _________________ in our house this month.
a)   burning
b)   piling up
c)   waiting

6. The piano top is dusty so I will ______________.
a)   do the dishes
b)   pile it up
c)   wipe it off

7. The little boy had to stay home and _________________ his room.
a)  drop by
b)  pile up
c)  straighten up

8. The kitchen in the restaurant is _________________.
a)  as clean as a whistle
b)  doing the dishes
c)  piled up

Your score is: ___  out of 8

Grammar Focus

Choose the word or expression that makes each of the following sentences correct:

1. I plan to drop __________________ my friend's house for a visit.
a)   by
b)   over
c)   to

2. Everything in my apartment is spic-and-span ________________ my mother's visit.
a)   in
b)   for
c)   to

3. We spruced ___________________ our office for the party.
a)   down
b)   over
c)   up

4. I always do _________________ dishes after we eat.
a)   a
b)   the
c)   this

5. The dirty clothes of the child are beginning to pile _________________.
a)   up
b)   down
c)   over

6. I wiped ________________ my laptop because it was dirty.
a)   over
b)   off
c)   in

7. The students stayed after school to straighten ________________ the classroom.
a)  down
b)  up
c)  in

8. Our house is as clean as _______________ whistle.
a)  a
b)  the
c)  an

Your score is: ___  out of 8

Discussion Questions

Answer the following questions using the idioms from this section:

1. Do you sometimes drop by a friend's house in the evening?

2. When was the last time that you dropped by a convenience store?

3. Is your apartment or house always spic-and-span?

4. Are your friends' houses usually spic-and-span?

5. Would you like to spruce up your house or apartment?

6. Do you know anyone who recently spruced up his or her house?

7. Do you do the dishes immediately after you eat?

8. Do you know someone who usually likes to do the dishes?

9. Is any of your work piling up at the moment?

10. Do you know anyone whose work is always piling up around him or her?

11. Do you sometimes wipe off your computer screen?

12. How often do you wipe off the screen on your television?

13. How often do you straighten up your apartment or house?

14. Do you need to straighten up your desk at the moment?

15. Do you have friends who like to keep their home as clean as a whistle?

16. How long does it take to get your house as clean as a whistle?

Role Play

Student A: You are a university student and you share your room with another student who is very messy. Your mother will drop by for a visit next week and you want everything spic-and-span for her visit.

Student B: You are a very relaxed person. You do not care if dishes pile up in the sink and you never bother to straighten up your things. You think that your friend worries too much.

lesson 22