IDIOM CONNECTION

Lesson 48

Color Idioms and a Bad Job

Introduction

Have you ever worked for a terrible boss or supervisor?

Reading

Most people think that I am a good worker and that I always work hard. However, in my present job, I always seem to be in the black books of my supervisor. For him, everything is black and white. He can never see the gray areas of an issue. We often argue about some small work detail until we are both blue in the face. Last week, he told me out of the blue that my job performance was not good. He did not explain why. He never explains why. This situation is not good. I do not want to stick with a job that causes me so much stress. I plan to deal with this situation soon. Tomorrow, I will pick up a copy of a weekly job advertisement magazine and I will begin to look for another job.

Reading Questions

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

1. In whose black books is the employee?

2. What is always in black and white for the supervisor?

3. Who can never see the gray areas of an issue?

4. Who often argues until they are blue in the face?

5. What did the boss say out of the blue last week?

6. Does the employee want to stick with a stressful job like this?

7. What does he plan to deal with soon?

8. What will he pick up tomorrow?

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. The origin of black books appears to be an actual book in which the crimes of criminals were written. Later, it began to be used for people when they were not in favor. What does to be in someone's black books mean in the following sentence?

I forgot to phone my friend. I am now in her black books.
a)    telling everybody about her
b)    in disfavor with her
c)    angry with her

Your answer:   ___  out of 1

2. Black and white are two colors or things that are opposite to each other. They are also clearly different. What does in black and white mean in the following sentence?

The woman sees every problem in black and white.
a)    as a good topic for discussion
b)    as a very complex matter
c)    as either right or wrong

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

3. Gray is a color that is between black and white. It is neither black nor white. What would the gray areas mean in the following sentence?

The government policy seems to have many gray areas.
a)    areas that are not clear
b)    areas that are clearly described
c)    areas that are very strange

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

4. The parent and child argued until they were blue in the face.
a)    very tired
b)    very sad
c)    tired and angry and upset

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

5. If lightning comes out of the sky there must be clouds. If lightning came out of a clear blue sky, this would be totally unexpected and you would be very surprised as this is not possible. What would out of the blue mean in the following sentence?

The girl told her parents out of the blue that she wanted to get married.
a)    without any warning
b)    very carefully
c)    in a sad voice

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

6. The boy will not stick with a project for a long time.
a)    begin
b)    do a good job with
c)    continue with

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

7. The man had many financial problems that he had to deal with.
a)    do something about
b)    tell his friends about
c)    agree with

Your answer is: ___  out of 1


8. The woman picks up a coffee every morning before work.
a)    makes
b)    gets
c)    sells

Your answer is: ___  out of 1



Match the Sentences

Choose the answer that best matches each sentence:

1. The woman is in the black books of her supervisor.
a)    She is not very flexible.
b)    She is a hard worker.
c)    She is in trouble.

Your answer:   ___  out of 1

2. The case is black and white. This affected the decision of the judge.
a)    The judge became angry.
b)    It was easy for the judge to decide the case.
c)    The case was very complicated.

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

3. There are many gray areas in the company employment policy.
a)    The policy is clear.
b)    The policy is new.
c)    The policy is not clear.

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

4. The two men on the train platform argued until they were blue in the face.
a)    They were having a small discussion.
b)    They were not very excited.
c)    They had a serious disagreement.

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

5. Our boss told us out of the blue that the meeting was canceled.
a)    There was advance warning of the announcement.
b)    The announcement was sudden.
c)    Nobody said that the meeting had been canceled.

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

6. My cousin never sticks with a job for a long time.
a)    She changes jobs often.
b)    She almost never changes jobs.
c)    She has never worked.

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

7. I plan to quickly deal with my bank problem.
a)   I do not need to talk to my bank.
b)   I will talk with my bank soon.
c)   I need to change banks quickly.

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

8. I picked up a copy of the essay guidelines from my teacher.
a)   I must visit my teacher about my essay.
b)   I will visit my teacher to get the essay guidelines tomorrow.
c)   I already saw my teacher about the essay guidelines.

Your answer is: ___  out of 1




Grammar Focus

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

1. I was late for my class. Now, I am _______________ my instructor's black books.
a)    on
b)    in
c)    over

Your answer:   ___  out of 1

2. Everything is _______________ black and white for my friend. He is not flexible at all.
a)    in
b)    on
c)    to

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

3. There are many gray areas __________________ the new law.
a)    too
b)    if
c)    in

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

4. I argued with my friend until I was blue _______________ the face.
a)    over
b)    above
c)    in

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

5. The coach told the team out _______________ the blue that they were not working hard enough.
a)    in
b)    of
c)    at

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

6. The man never sticks _____________ a job for a long time.
a)    for
b)    of
c)    with

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

7. I plan to deal ________________ the problem in my schedule tomorrow.
a)   with
b)   to
c)   for

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

8. My friend often picks _________________ a coffee before he starts work.
a)   down
b)   up
c)   over

Your answer is: ___  out of 1




Discussion Questions

Answer the following questions using the idioms from this section:

1. Were you ever in someone's black books at your high school?

2. Are any of your friends in your black books now?

3. Do you know anyone who sees everything in black and white?

4. Are you a flexible person or do you see everything in black and white?

5. Are you flexible and able to see the gray areas of an issue?

6. Do you know any issues with many gray areas?

7. Have you recently argued with someone until you were blue in the face?

8. Do you know anyone who often argues until he or she is blue in the face?

9. Has anyone told you anything out of the blue recently?

10. Have you told anyone something out of the blue recently?

11. Do you know anyone who will not stick with a job for a long time?

12. Do you like to stick with things that you begin?

13. Do you have any problems that you must deal with now?

14. Have you had to deal with any computer problems recently?

15. Where do you usually pick up your favorite magazine or newspaper?

16. Have you had to pick up anything at the store recently?

Role Play

Student A: You work in a fast food restaurant. Your supervisor says that your job performance is not very good. He says that you are lazy and often come to work late.

Student B: You are the supervisor and you are talking with the employee.

Lesson 48