IDIOM CONNECTION

Lesson 40

Dog Idioms and an Election

Introduction

Have you ever voted in an election?

Reading

The old politician had built up a political organization that was very dishonest. He was used to the dog-eat-dog world of local politics and it was all that he knew. Recently, the public wanted more honesty in their government. Because of this, he was now in the doghouse with the voters just as the government was planning to hold an election. A younger politician was offering a new vision. However, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks and the old politician could not change. The two candidates were neck and neck throughout most of the campaign. Finally, election day came and people voted. The winner was the younger politician with his promise of honesty in government. It was a very close election and the younger politician only won by a nose.

Reading Questions

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

1. What had the politician built up?

2. Was he used to the dog-eat-dog world of local politics?

3. Was he now in the doghouse with the voters?

4. Was the government planning to hold an election?

5. Can you teach an old dog new tricks?

6. Were the two main candidates neck and neck during the campaign?

7. Did the younger politician win by a nose?

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. Build usually means to construct or make something. Up can mean that something is in an improved or advanced state. What does to build up mean in the following sentence?

The city wants to build up the area near the new subway.
a)    control
b)    develop and make bigger
c)    plan

Your answer:   ___  out of 1

2. The woman is not used to driving in the city.
a)    accustomed to
b)    finished with
c)    thinking about

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

3. Some people do not like the dog-eat-dog world of being a salesperson.
(dog eat dog is used as a noun but when it is used as an adjective, it becomes dog-eat-dog)
a)    intensely competitive
b)    friendly
c)    interesting

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

4. Most people live in a house or apartment. If you had to go and stay in a doghouse, it would not be pleasant. What could to be in the doghouse mean in the following sentence?

The man is in the doghouse with his wife because he arrived home late.
a)    in trouble
b)    very happy
c)    talking

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

5. The city holds an election every three years.
a)    thinks about having an election
b)    has an election
c)    should have

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

6. Sometimes a dog that is old will be difficult to teach. This expression can also be used for people. What do you think that you can't teach an old dog new tricks means in the following sentence?

My friend will never change the way that he does things. You can't teach an old dog new tricks.
a)    You cannot easily teach some people to learn new things.
b)    You cannot teach someone to do more than one thing.
c)    It is difficult to teach all people.

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

7. In a horse race two or more horses may be running neck and neck so it is difficult to know which horse will win the race. What does neck and neck mean in the following sentence?

The election was very interesting. Two politicians were neck and neck until the last week of the election campaign.
a)    almost equal
b)    working hard
c)    not ready to start

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

8. In horse racing, a finish of a race can be so close that only part of one horse's nose reaches the finish line before another horse. What could to win something by a nose mean in the following sentence?

The runners were almost equal but the winner won by a nose.
a)    won easily
b)    won by a small amount
c)    should also win the next race

Your answer is: ___  out of 1



Match the Sentences

Choose the answer that best matches each sentence:

1. The coach tries hard to build up the confidence of the players.
a)    The coach always supports his players.
b)    The coach always criticizes his players.
c)    The coach is new and has many things to learn.

Your answer:   ___  out of 1

2. The tourist is used to driving a much bigger car.
a)    The tourist has much experience driving a much bigger car.
b)    The tourist has much experience driving small cars.
c)    The tourist does not like to drive a different car.

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

3. It is a dog-eat-dog world in the fast food business.
a)    The fast food business is very stressful.
b)    The fast food business is very relaxing.
c)    The fast food business has many new jobs.

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

4. The woman is in the doghouse with her boss.
a)    The boss is angry at the woman.
b)    The boss is happy with the woman.
c)    The woman is angry at her boss.

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

5. The school will hold an election for school president soon.
a)    There will be an election for school president.
b)    There will not be an election for school president.
c)    The school does not have a school president.

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

6. The older man is a good example of why you can't teach an old dog new tricks.
a)    The man can easily change his habits.
b)    The man cannot easily change his habits.
c)    The man has many problems.

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

7. The two bicycles were neck and neck during most of the race.
a)   Nobody was winning during most of the race.
b)   There was a clear winner during most of the race.
c)   One of the bicycles was very fast.

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

8. The new school board president won the election by a nose.
a)   He easily won the election.
b)   He did not easily win the election.
c)   He was in an election for the first time.

Your answer is: ___  out of 1




Grammar Focus

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

1. The small company wants to build ______________ their sales group.
a)    over
b)    down
c)    up

Your answer:   ___  out of 1

2. The young boy is becoming used _______________ riding his new bicycle.
a)    to
b)    too
c)    two

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

3. It is dog ________________ dog in parts of the business world.
a)    ate
b)    eat
c)    eaten

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

4. The boy is ________________ the doghouse with his friends because of his bad behavior.
a)    in
b)    on
c)    into

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

5. The small country will ________________ an election next year.
a)    held
b)    hold
c)    holding

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

6. You can't teach an old dog _________________ tricks and my grandfather will never change his habits.
a)    newer
b)    newest
c)    new

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

7. The two cars were neck ___________________ neck during most of the race.
a)   in
b)   and
c)   on

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

8. The man won the singing contest by ___________________ nose.
a)   the
b)   a
c)   an

Your answer is: ___  out of 1




Discussion Questions

Answer the following questions using the idioms from this section:

1. What techniques do you think will build up a person’s confidence?

2. How would you build up a weak sports team and make it stronger?

3. Are you used to the transportation system in your city?

4. Is there anything that you are not used to at the moment?

5. Do you know any dog-eat-dog professions or jobs?

6. Have you ever experienced a dog-eat-dog situation?

7. Have you ever been in the doghouse with someone?

8. Are you in the doghouse with anybody right now?

9. Do you know any country that will hold an election soon?

10. Did your school or university ever hold an election for something?

11. Do you believe that, for some people, you can't teach an old dog new tricks?

12. Do you think that, for yourself, it is possible to say that you can't teach an old dog new tricks?

13. Have you ever been neck and neck with someone in a race?

14. Do you know an election where the candidates were neck and neck?

15. Have you ever won a race by a nose?

16. Do you know any election where one candidate won by a nose?

Role Play

Student A: Your friend always arrives late when you meet. You will never become used to this bad behavior and you are very tired of it. You are angry at your friend.

Student B: You know that you are in the doghouse with your friend but there is not much that you can do about it. You do not think that you can change because you believe that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks.

Lesson 40