Idiom of the Week: “Burn the Midnight Oil”


Hello and welcome to the first Idiom of the Week of 2015! I am so glad to get back into the routine of posting these little features here at My TEFL Adventures – it is becoming a wonderful habit. I am currently blogging about ‘habit’ on my personal blog – The Writing Rants… – I am taking part in the NaBloPoMo writing event. However; that has nothing to do with this week’s idiom…I have also been doing some crafting and I have been working a little late into the night.

This week’s idiom is about how people burn the midnight oil.

Picture from kittehkatbar at Deviantart

The meaning is “to stay up working, especially studying, late at night”


I have a big exam tomorrow so I’ll be burning the midnight oil tonight.

If you burn the midnight oil night after night, you’ll probably become ill.

History: Many people would have been working by the light of an oil lamp late in the night; as there would have not been any electricity like our lucky selves today.

Welcome to 2015…


I have been back at work for four days and it feels like I have been back four weeks! I am still down in the dumps about not accepting the job in Poland. I know that I have the finances to get myself over there and I can gain extra money when I am there; as Forever Living is available in Poland.

Work has been busy, so I have not been able to plan or post anything – I have not even been able to job search or contact IC Bilbao. That is my job for the weekend!

Idiom of the Week and Wordle Wednesday will start next week; is there anything else you think I should add to the site? I would love your feedback about these features or even about the entire blog. 2015 is a new year and I believe it is my year…do you agree?

Idiom of the Week: “Down in the Dumps”


Monday is here again and I cannot believe how fast the weekend went. I was doing a lot of crafting as on Saturday I have a Craft Sale in the local Town Hall; raising funds for my TEFL adventures. However; I have not been feeling my happy self. I have been ‘down in the dumps’ – guess what people? That is this week’s idiom of the week. It is not a pleasant idiom, I know but it is one I know I use myself. It is lovely to use when doing a novel for NaNoWriMo.

Down in the dumps means “A gloomy, melancholy state of mind; depression” or in simpler terms “unhappy”

This idiom would be good to use when teaching ‘Feelings’, ‘Emotions’ or even ‘Descripting People’

Idiom of the Week: “Bite off more than one can chew”


Something I feel that these idioms I am doing every week are now becoming a part of my life. I am always listening out for idioms on the radio, on the TV and in everyday life. It is surprising how many I hear or see in one day. Working in the educational sector is not really help; but it is good to find some useful idioms that I can share. This week’s idiom of the week comes from one of my current students; remember that the students I am currently working with are Deaf and the English language is particularly difficult for them to grasp. She said “I think that I have bitten off more than I can chew with this art project” I could not believe it! She said it perfectly and I knew that this would be this week’s idiom.

bite off more than one can chew – there are two meanings to this idiom:

1. to take a larger mouthful of food than one can chew easily or comfortably. I bit off more than I could chew, and nearly choked.
2. to take (on) more than one can deal with; to be overconfident.
(Sorry for the cute hamster picture; I am a bit of a fan when it comes to Hamsters!)

Idiom of the Week: “Can’t make heads or tails of something”


It is Monday once again which means that it time for this week’s Idiom of the Week. Over the weekend I decided to keep count of how many idioms I said. I did not realise but I use idioms more than I thought. I counted at least six different idioms on day – which was Sunday. I was in London with my mother. One of these six idioms I used was “I can’t make heads or tails of it”. I had an eureka moment; that can be this week’s idiom.

Can’t make heads or tails of something

The meaning is “can’t understand something at all; find something confusing and illogical”

Here are some examples:

“DeeDee can’t make heads or tails of her assignment. She should ask the teacher for help.”

“I can’t make heads or tails of why all these people are here!”

Idiom of the Week: “Be All Ears”


Once again Monday is upon us and it is time for this week’s Idiom of the Week. I think that this is one of the funniest idioms that most people use. This week’s idiom is be all ears. It is a rather informal idiom. I try to use this idiom when I am talking about ‘listening’.

I know that this image is not the most attractive; but it is just as informal as the idiom.

The meaning of this idiom is “to be very eager to hear what someone is going to say”

For example; ‘Do you want to hear what happened at the party last night?’ ‘Oh yes, I’m all ears’.

Idiom of the Week: “At the Eleventh Hour”


I cannot believe that another week has begun; which means it is now time for this week’s Idiom of the Week! The idiom for this week is At the eleventh hour”

“At the eleventh hour” means ‘at the last possible moment. (Just before the last clock hour, 12)’ or ‘almost too close’.

Here are some examples using the idiom:

She always turned her term papers in at the eleventh hour. We don’t worry about death until the eleventh hour.
Negotiators reached agreement at the eleventh hour, just in time to avoid a strike.

Idiom of the Week: Bad Mouth


The idiom of the week for this first week in November is Bad Mouth. I have found that the teenager population; here where I am currently that is, use this idiom rather a lot.


These definitions come from The Free Dictionary. Many thanks to them.

bad-mouth someone or something:

to say negative things about someone or something.

“Mr. Smith was always bad-mouthing Mrs. Smith. They just didn’t get along. John bad-mouths his car constantly because it is too small for him.”

bad-mouth somebody/something:

to say unpleasant things about someone or something, especially in order to spoil other people’s opinions of them.

“She’s always bad-mouthing her colleagues. Bad-mouthing the police is hardly an original occupation.”

I personally use this idiom rather a lot; as it seems that there are many negative speaking people in this world.

Idiom of the Week: “Add Insult To Injury”


Add insult to injury…

Meaning: there are three meaning to “add insult to injury”:

  1. to make a bad situation worse; to hurt the feelings of a person who has already been hurt.
  2. to make a bad situation even worse for someone by doing something else to upset them.
  3. to make a bad situation worse.

For example:

  • He said my clothes didn’t suit me, and then to add insult to injury he said I needed to lose some weight!
  • First, the basement flooded, and then, to add insult to injury, a pipe burst in the kitchen. My car barely started this morning, and to add insult to injury, I got a flat tire in the driveway.
  • The airline charged me extra for checking in a bike and then added insult to injury by charging me for a box to pack it in
  • The bank took back my car, and then added insult to injury by cancelling my credit cards!
  • First of all he arrived an hour late and then, to add insult to injury, he proceeded to complain about my choice of restaurant.


Idiom of the Week: “A Penny For Your Thoughts”


A penny for your thoughts. also A penny for them.

something that you say in order to ask someone who is being very quiet what they are thinking about ‘A penny for your thoughts.’
‘Oh, I was just thinking about how to tell him I’m leaving.’

The saying “a penny for your thoughts” is an English idiom simply asking people to volunteer their opinions on an issue being discussed. Though no payment actually changes hands, the phrase has become a regular part of the English vernacular. In modern usage, it is often stated as an indirect way of asking what someone is thinking about or what is bothering them. Its origins are fairly unknown though it dates back to at least the end of the Middle Ages.


This phrase is basically a proposal, and the speaker is offering to pay to hear the listener’s thoughts. It is an idiom, of course, and not meant literally so no real payment generally takes place. The idea, however, is that the person who says “a penny for your thoughts,” wants to know what the listener is thinking about and is showing interest through a symbolic offer of payment. It is also commonly used when someone seems to be deep in thought or troubled by an idea, as a polite way of giving the person an opportunity to express his or her ideas or concerns.



I would use this as a Plenary for the end of a lesson or even a unit. I would teach what this meant and why it is used in the world of English. Personally; I am always using this but not as much as I thought I did. I have found that people older them myself (a lady never tells her age) ask me (and others my age and below) “a penny for your thoughts” more.


Many thanks to WiseGeek and The Free Dictionary