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10 common English Idioms & Expressions from Education


Hi. Welcome to engVid. I’m Adam. In today’s lesson I want to teach you
eight idioms that come from education. Actually, I have 10 of them, a couple of them
are just expressions, though, so I can add them to the other ones. Eight idioms. All of these come from education, but now
we use them to talk about other things that might not be related
to education at all. Okay? So, as you know, idioms are groups of words,
they’re expressions whose individual words, when they’re put together might not mean the
exact same thing as the words themselves. They can have completely unrelated meanings,
and we’re going to see some examples of these. So we’re going… We have a lot of ground to cover, so we’re
going to go slowly but surely through it all. So, what does it mean “to cover a lot of
ground” or “have a lot of ground to cover”? It means to have a lot of material or a lot of
information to get through, and understand, and make sure everybody gets. Right? When we cover a lot of ground, technically it
comes from the ground, and you cover ground means you move, you travel. But we use “ground” as information,
and “cover” means go over. So: “cover a lot of ground”, get
through a lot of information. Also, we “can’t teach
an old dog new tricks”. So what does it mean, you can’t
teach an old dogs a new trick? So imagine your
grandfather, okay? You are moving to another country because
you’re studying English, you want to immigrate to another country. You get to that country and you want to continue
speaking with your grandfather in your home country. So you’re trying to teach him Skype or you’re trying
to teach him, like, a mobile app, messenger, whatever. But your grandfather is trying, trying,
trying, he just doesn’t get it. And then finally he
says: “You know what? I don’t care. We’ll call each other on the
telephone once in a while.” So finally you give up,
you say: “You know what? You can’t teach an
old dog new tricks. We’ll just call on the phone.” It means as people get older, it’s
very difficult to change their habits. Okay? We’re not calling old people old dogs, it’s
just an expression, but basically old people don’t change habits very easily. You can’t teach them, so that’s
where the education comes in. Now, something or someone is “old school”
or he or she belongs to an “old school of thought” or to a particular
school of thought. So, if somebody is old school, he or she likes
something that is a little bit old-fashioned, likes to do something a little bit old-fashioned,
something that’s probably outdated, not modern. Okay? Now, it doesn’t have
to be about a person. It could be a thing. So, for example, if you… For example, if
you go to Cuba… Okay. Cuba has a lot of old cars
from the 1950s. Okay? Like Chevys, and
Fords, and whatnot. We can say: “Oh, wow, that’s
a really old-school car.” It has the old engines,
nothing computerized. It’s all carburetor and all kinds
of pipes all over the place. It’s very old school. It’s very cool, but it’s not modern.
Okay? So it’s something
that’s old school. When we talk about a school of thought, it means
it’s a particular way of viewing something or thinking about something. We especially use it to talk
about, like, philosophy. Okay? But even in science there are certain scientists
who basically subscribe to this particular school of thought. So, we use the word “subscribe”, means
they believe in doing it this way. Other scientists subscribe
to this school of thought. So, the… There was a scientist who said:
“This is the way we should do it.” There was another scientist who said:
“This is the way we should do it.” All the people who follow this way created a
school or a viewpoint, they created their own viewpoint. So different schools of thought. So, if we’re talking about how
to discipline children, okay? Some people like to sit their children down and
talk, talk, talk for hours to try to teach them something.
Other… In other cultures they just slap them on the
bum, the kid understands, never does it again. The slapping thing is a little bit old school,
we don’t really do that anymore, but it comes from an old school of thought where
punishment creates discipline. That’s… I’m not getting involved in the
actual question, that’s up to you. I’m just telling you
the expressions. “Learn the ropes”. Okay? So, if somebody needs to learn the ropes,
they need to learn how to do something. So when you join a company for the first time,
at the beginning you don’t know where the copy machine is, you don’t know where the fax
machine is, you don’t know how to do things around the office, so at the beginning you
have to learn the ropes, learn how everything works, and then you
become adjusted. I think it actually comes
from sailing, I’m not sure. All kinds of different ropes you need to learn
how to use them to sail your boat, but basically it means adjust to a new situation,
get to know it, move on. Now, if you’re going to “teach someone a
lesson”, it means you’re going to punish them. Okay? “I’m going to teach you a
lesson you won’t forget.” Right? So somebody did something bad to me, and I
want to get revenge, I want to teach them a lesson. I want to punish them so they understand that
what they did to me was bad and I’m going to do something worse for them. Now, the other side:
“to learn a lesson”. Of course, you go to school, your teacher
teaches you and you learn the lessons, but when we say: “Oh yeah, I really learned a
lesson from that experience”, it means you went through a bad experience, usually, and
you learned from it so you will not repeat it again. So it’s not necessarily punishment, but it
was a bad experience that you will avoid. To teach someone, somebody did something bad
to you and you will get revenge, you will punish them for it. “To school someone”, now, realistically you can
interpret this as to teach someone something. Right? To school someone in etiquette, means to teach
them etiquette or to teach them behaviour, etc. These days it’s used as a slang term,
it means to embarrass somebody. So if I’m playing basketball with a friend
of mine and, you know, I’m trying to do all these things and then suddenly he just steals
the ball and he goes and does a 360 slam dunk, he schooled me. He showed me how real basketball
players play and I am nothing. So he embarrassed me, he schooled
me in basketball or any situation. Okay? “‘A’ for effort”, good job, nice
try, but sorry, you’re not hired. You failed. You didn’t do the work properly. So if somebody says: “You get an ‘A’ for effort”,
it means: “I really appreciate that you tried so hard, but it’s not very good. You didn’t really succeed.
Sorry. Bye.” Right? “A” for effort, “B” or “C” or “D”
or “F” for actual accomplishment. Now, “to make the grade”. If somebody makes the grade, it means they
reached a certain quality or a certain level. Right? So, if you think about
the army and you… I’m sure all of you have seen enough Hollywood
movies that you know what Navy Seals are. So, Navy Seals are, like, Special Forces, they’re
very tough, very strong, very hardworking soldiers. Not everybody can
be a Navy Seal. Many soldiers try, but
only a few make the grade. They reach that level of ability
that they can join the Navy Seals. Right? So, “make the grade”
also comes from school. To get into university, you
need a 3.4 GPA, for example. If you don’t make that grade, 3.4,
you don’t get into university. But now we use this expression for all kinds
of things about reaching a certain minimal level quality, ability, etc. So, if you have any questions about these,
please go to www.engvid.com and ask me in the forum there. There’s also a quiz you can take to practice
your understanding of these idioms. Like my video and
subscribe to my channel. And come back soon, I’ll give you some
more good tips for English. See you then.

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