lesson 6

Food Idioms and a Job Evaluation


Have you ever had a terrible job evaluation or school evaluation?


I have been very busy recently. I have a lot on my plate at work and at home. That is why, when I was asked to meet my supervisor to talk about my job performance, I was on edge. I always have to walk on eggshells when I meet him. He is negative about everything that I do so I take what he says with a grain of salt. Many of the things that he says do not make sense. I always end up feeling bad after I talk to him. However, this time was different. He explained in a nutshell how I could improve my job performance. He was very positive. His ideas gave me much food for thought and I think that I will be able to work hard to improve my performance in the future.

Reading Questions

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

1. Does this person have a lot on his plate?

2. When was he on edge?

3. When must he walk on eggshells?

4. Why does he take what the supervisor says with a grain of salt?

5. What does not make sense?

6. What does he always end up with after he talks to the supervisor?

7. What did the supervisor explain in a nutshell?

8. What gave this person food for thought?

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. If you are eating something and you have a lot of food on your plate, then you may have too much food to finish. What do you think that to have a lot on your plate means in the following sentence?

My friend has a lot on his plate these days.
a)   seems reasonable
b)   has many things to do
c)   is eating a lot

2. The girl is on edge because of her exam schedule.
a)   reasonable
b)   busy
c)   nervous

3. Do you think that if you were walking on eggshells, you would have to be careful? What do you think that to walk on eggshells means in the following sentence?

Our boss is in a bad mood today so we have to walk on eggshells around him.
a)   to be very careful
b)   to be very busy
c)   to talk quickly

4. Some food may be difficult to eat but it is easier to eat if you add a small amount of salt to it. If someone is saying something that is difficult for you to believe, then maybe you need something in order for you to believe it. What do you think that to take something with a grain of salt means in the following sentence?

I take things with a grain of salt when I talk to my neighbor. I can never believe what she says.
a)   am usually nervous
b)   believe things with much doubt
c)   am always very brief

5. The boy was very upset and did not make sense.
a)   was difficult to understand
b)   was easy to understand
c)   made me nervous

6. We ended up going to the beach yesterday.
a)   went to the beach although we had not planned to go
b)   decided not to go to the beach
c)   never went to the beach

7. A nutshell contains the main or most important part of a nut. What does in a nutshell mean in the following sentence?

The policeman explained the problem in a nutshell.
a)   in a nervous manner
b)   in a reasonable manner
c)   very briefly

8. Food is something that you can chew slowly before you eat it. What could food for thought mean in the following sentence?

The bank manager gave us much food for thought.
a)   information to think about
b)   information that was too brief
c)   information that was not useful

Your score is: ___  out of 8

Statement and Response

Choose the best response to each of the following statements:

1. “Last night we ended up going to a movie.”
a)   “Why didn't you go to the movie?”
b)   “I thought that you planned to stay home.”

2. “I have to walk on eggshells around my aunt.”
a)   “Why do you have to be so careful?”
b)   “Yes, she is a very relaxed person.”

3. “My friend has a lot on her plate now and is very busy.”
a)   “It is good that she has lots of free time.”
b)   “Really, what is she doing?”

4. “The speaker gave me much food for thought.”
a)   “I thought that he was boring as well.”
b)   “I also liked him.”

5. “Recently, my supervisor is always on edge.”
a)   “Why does he have so much stress?”
b)   “Why is he so relaxed?”

6. “I told my friend in a nutshell about my problem.”
a)   “Why did you describe it in so much detail?”
b)   “How did he react?”

7. “The things that the woman says never make sense.”
a)  “I can never understand her either.”
b)  “She is a very clear and organized speaker.”

8. “I always take what my supervisor says with a grain of salt.”
a)  “Maybe you should take him more seriously.”
b)  “Maybe you should not take him so seriously.”

Your score is: ___  out of 8

Grammar Focus

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

1. I told my friend the story ______________.
a)   in nutshell
b)   in nutshells
c)   in a nutshell

2. “You should take what she says ________________ .”
a)   with salt
b)   with a grain of salt
c)   with some salt

3. The man is nervous and ________________ .
a)   on an edge
b)   on the edge
c)   on edge

4. The difficult question was ______________ .
a)   food for thought
b)   food thought
c)   thought food

5. I have a lot _____________ now.
a)   on plate
b)   in my plate
c)   on my plate

6. Last night I ________________ staying home.
a)   ended on
b)   ended up
c)   ended over

7. I have to ___________________ around my boss.
a)  walk on eggshells
b)  walk with eggshells
c)  walk the eggshells

8. The man never ________________ .
a)  makes up sense
b)  makes the sense
c)  makes sense

Your score is: ___  out of 8

Discussion Questions

Answer the following questions using the idioms from this section:

1. Do you have a lot on your plate at the moment?

2. Do you know anyone who has too much on his or her plate these days?

3. Do you sometimes feel on edge? Why?

4. Do you know anyone who is always on edge?

5. Is there anyone who you must walk on eggshells around when you meet him or her?

6. Do people have to sometimes walk on eggshells around you?

7. Do you take it with a grain of salt when someone criticizes you?

8. Do you know anyone who you have to take things that he or she says with a grain of salt?

9. Do you have a friend who sometimes does not make sense?

10. Does everything that you say always make sense?

11. Do you sometimes end up doing something different than what you had planned?

12. What did you end up doing last weekend?

13. Can you summarize your future plans in a nutshell?

14. What, in a nutshell, did you study at school?

15. What has given you food for thought recently?

16. Have you said something that gave someone food for thought recently?

Role Play

Student A: You have a lot on your plate recently and you are on edge much of the time. You have much stress. You are trying to tell your friend in a nutshell what is happening in your life.

Student B: You are listening to your friend and trying to give some advice that will be food for thought for him or her.

lesson 6