IDIOM CONNECTION

Lesson 39

Exaggerate Idioms and a Small Problem

Introduction

Do you know anybody who always seems to have a big problem?

Reading

My friend always exaggerates everything. She will look for a small problem and then she will blow it out of proportion. Last week she had a problem, so to speak, in a restaurant. According to her, the restaurant staff were not polite while she was waiting for her table. She immediately flew off the handle and asked for the manager. That is her style. She always tries to make something out of nothing. The manager listened carefully to her story and tried to understand what had taken place. Of course, he always has to support the customer, although in this case the customer seemed to be making a mountain out of a molehill.

Reading Questions

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

1. What does her friend blow out of proportion?

2. Did her friend have a problem, so to speak, last week?

3. The restaurant staff were not polite according to who?

4. Did the woman immediately fly off the handle?

5. Does she always try to make something out of nothing?

6. Did the manager try to understand what had taken place?

7. Was the customer probably making a mountain out of a molehill?

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 underlined idioms:

1. Blow can be used when you are talking about air or wind that is moving. The wind blows and sometimes moves things. Out of proportion means the wrong size or amount of something – especially in relation to something else. What do you think that to blow something out of proportion means in the following sentence?

The woman tried to blow the problem out of proportion.
a)    make a big issue about the problem
b)    calm the situation
c)    deal with the situation quickly

Your answer:   ___  out of 1

2. So to speak is used to say that what you just said is not totally accurate but it is partly true or it could be true.
The man is a good singer, so to speak.
a)    it totally true and accurate
b)    especially at speaking
c)    as you could say

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

3. According to our teacher, we will have a test next week.
a)    As I told
b)    As told by
c)    Probably

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

4. At one time they used an ax to cut wood and to chop down trees. Sometimes the head of the ax would fly off the handle. This could cause a lot of trouble. What do you think that to fly off the handle means in the following sentence?

The customer flew off the handle at the restaurant.
a)    talked in a loud voice
b)    became angry
c)    was very calm

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

5. Sometimes people will make trouble because of something that is not very important. What does to make something out of nothing mean in the following sentence?

My friend tried to make something out of nothing in the supermarket.
a)    make the situation calm
b)    do nothing
c)    say that something was a problem when it was not

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

6. The meeting will take place next week.
a)    be scheduled
b)    be canceled
c)    happen

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

7. My friend said that of course, I could borrow some money from her.
a)    maybe
b)    certainly
c)    possibly

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

8. A mole is a small animal that lives under the ground and creates hills of dirt which are called molehills. The hills are quite small. What do you think that to make a mountain out of a molehill means in the following sentence?

The girl is making a mountain out of a molehill with the small problem.
a)    not really doing anything
b)    trying hard to make progress
c)    making a big problem out of a small problem

Your answer is: ___  out of 1



Match the Sentences

Choose the best answer for each sentence:

1. My friend tried to blow things out of proportion in the restaurant.
a)    He was quiet and in a good mood.
b)    I tried to make him calm.

Your answer:   ___  out of 1

2. The woman is a good piano player, so to speak.
a)    She is basically not a bad piano player.
b)    She cannot play the piano at all.

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

3. According to our supervisor, there will be a holiday next week.
a)    Our supervisor said that there will be a holiday next week.
b)    Our supervisor did not say anything about a holiday next week.

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

4. The woman flew off the handle when her child came home late.
a)    The woman was very angry.
b)    The woman was not very angry.

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

5. The airline passenger tried to make something out of nothing when his dinner was not warm.
a)    He tried to exaggerate the problem.
b)    He did not try to exaggerate the problem.

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

6. The music festival will take place next week.
a)    It was really very good.
b)    It should be very good.

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

7. Of course, my friend will go to his exercise class today.
a)   He will definitely go to his exercise class.
b)   He will probably go to his exercise class.

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

8. Our teacher always makes a mountain out of a molehill when there is a small problem.
a)   She likes to make a small problem big.
b)   She never tries to make a small problem big.

Your answer is: ___  out of 1




Grammar Focus

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

1. The customer tried to __________________________ at the restaurant.
a)    blow things over proportion
b)    blow things out of proportion
c)    blow things into proportion

Your answer:   ___  out of 1

2. The man is a famous person, _________________ , in his company.
a)    so speaking
b)    so speak
c)    so to speak

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

3. ___________________ the announcer, the plane will be thirty minutes late.
a)    According in
b)    According to
c)    According of

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

4. The man _____________________ at the gas station.
a)    flew over the handle
b)    flew on the handle
c)    flew off the handle

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

5. The woman often tries to ___________________________ when she has a problem.
a)    make something out of nothing
b)    make something into nothing
c)    make something over nothing

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

6. The meeting ______________________ next week.
a)    will taken place
b)    will take place
c)    took place

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

7. “_______________ , I want to go to the game.”
a)   In course
b)   Of course
c)   Off course

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

8. The man _________________________ with the problem at the supermarket.
a)   made a mountain in a molehill
b)   made a mountain over a molehill
c)   made a mountain out of a molehill

Your answer is: ___  out of 1




Discussion Questions

Answer the following questions using the idioms from this section:

1. Do you know anyone who likes to blow things out of proportion?

2. Have you ever blown something out of proportion?

3. Do you have big plans, so to speak, for your next holiday?

4. Who is the most interesting person, so to speak, that you have ever met?

5. According to the weather forecast, what will the weather be like tomorrow?

6. Do you often make plans according to what the weather will be like?

7. Do you know anyone who has flown off the handle recently?

8. Do you ever fly off the handle for a small reason?

9. Do you ever make something out of nothing when you have a problem?

10. Do you know anyone who always makes something out of nothing?

11. Has any important event taken place in your family recently?

12. Do you know any sports event that will take place next year?

13. Of course, it is important to exercise, but do you exercise every day?

14. Of course, you should not eat too much junk food, but do you sometimes eat too much anyway?

15. Did any of your teachers ever make a mountain out of a molehill about a small problem when you were a student?

16. Have you ever made a mountain out of a molehill about something?

Role Play

Student A: You are downtown shopping with your friend. You are in a department store and the store clerk was not friendly to you. Your friend flies off the handle and begins arguing with the clerk. Your friend always tries to make something out of nothing so you try and make him or her act more calmly.

Student B: You are angry. According to you, the store clerk was very impolite. You believe that you are not trying to make a mountain out of a molehill. You are arguing with your friend about this.

Lesson 39