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Một số “cấu kiện” tiếng Anh thông dụng – the English we speak

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Out of juice:

When you’ve used all the battery power of something like a mobile phone, so that it doesn’t work anymore, we can say it’s ‘out of juice’. It’s a slang expression.

Sometimes if a person feels low on energy, they could say ‘I’m out of juice’. Also if your car is low on petrol, you could say ‘The car’s running out of juice.’


  • My laptop’s out of juice. This is so frustrating.
  • I am packing three spare phone batteries so I don’t run out of juice on my climbing trip.

Take a back seat:

‘To take a back seat’ is an idiom that means to give up control and let someone else take responsibility.


  • Mary was happy to take a back seat and let Jim run the meeting.
  • I’m going to take a back seat this year and let you decide where we go on holiday.
  • Now he’s getting older he’s decided to take a back seat in running the company.

The penny dropped:

In English when we say ‘the penny dropped’ we mean somebody has finally realised or understood something.


  • Susan keeps postponing the wedding, Joe. When is the penny going to drop? She doesn’t love you!
  • If your boss doesn’t appreciate you, why not leave a job advert from another company on your desk? That will make the penny drop!


Drink someone under the table:

in English, when you say you can drink someone under the table, you mean that if you and your friend both drink the same amount of alcohol, your friend will be very drunk, but you will be fine. In other words, you’re saying that you’ve got a much higher tolerance of alcohol than another person.


  • I do like a gin and tonic after a hard day at work but Alan can drink me under the table!
  • When Beth realised she could drink anyone under the table she decided to stop drinking alcohol and go into rehab.


Me time: 

Me time is an expression which means time we have for ourselves to do just what we want.


  • I’ve just sent my mum to a spa in the countryside. She’s been taking care of the whole family and is really in need of some me time!

A: Oh, six in the morning! I’m going to be late for work!
B: Ignore the alarm clock today. It’s Sunday! Stay in bed till late and have some me time.



Cyberbullying includes things like spreading lies and rumours online, sending or forwarding unpleasant messages via instant messaging, text or on social networks.


  • Kate is a victim of cyberbullying. It’s so bad she doesn’t want to leave the house. Someone from school has put messages on social media saying she’s ugly and she should die. It’s terrible!
  • Experts say people should protect themselves from cyberbullying by not taking everything to heart.


In black and white:

When something is in black and white it is clearly written down so it is believed to be true.


  • I have it here in black and white – I’ve got the job!
  • I’m not going to start celebrating until I’ve seen the deal in black and white.
  • We didn’t believe the bank’s offer of a loan until we saw it in black and white.


Give me credit:

To give me credit means give me praise or appreciation for something I’ve done.


  • We must give credit to our sponsors who helped pay for this new building.
  • I’ll give her credit for her beautiful handwriting, but the answers she gave in the test were all wrong!
  • Give me credit – I worked all night to get the project finished!


Sleep on it:

When someone says they’re going to sleep on it, they mean they’re going to spend some time thinking about something before making a final decision.


  • We couldn’t decide which car to buy so we decided to sleep on it – we didn’t want to buy the wrong one!
  • Thanks for your job offer but I need some time to think about it. Let me sleep on it and I’ll give you an answer tomorrow.
  • He told me he’d have to sleep on it before he could agree to my request for a pay rise.


In a sticky situation:

in a situation that is difficult to get out of


  • I’m in a sticky situation: I said I’d go to the cinema with Pete but I’ve also promised to go for a drink with John.
  • It was a sticky situation – neither side would agree on who caused the accident.
  • We’re in a sticky situation – we’ve got to catch the train but we haven’t got enough money to buy a ticket.


Done and dusted:

it means something has been completed successfully, there’s no more work to be done on it.


  • The dispute between me and the council about my parking ticket has been resolved. It’s done and dusted.
  • After two months of hard work, the project is finally done and dusted.
  • About this logo design… as far as I’m concerned, it’s done and dusted.



‘to frogmarch’ means to force someone who is unwilling to move forward or to walk somewhere, often by holding their arms tightly.


  • The drunken suspect was handcuffed by the police and frogmarched to the waiting police van.
  • In major sporting events, if you disrupt the game, you risk being frogmarched out of the stadium by security guards.


On the ball (also ‘to keep your eye on the ball’):

When you are ‘on the ball’, it means you are alert and quick to react to things.


  • The interviewer raised tough questions but Ma Yun was on the ball.
  • Financial management is not a job that everyone can do. You have to keep your eye on the ball at all times.


Chill pill:

When you tell someone to take a chill pill, you are telling them to calm down and relax.


  • Stop shouting at the referee and take a chill pill.
  • She was getting so stressed about what her boss said to her that I told her to just take a chill pill – everything would be fine.
  • My wife’s working so hard, she needs to take a chill pill, otherwise she’ll make herself ill.


A close shave:

A close shave describes a situation where you have a narrow escape from something bad.


  • We ran to catch the train – it was a close shave but we just managed to get on.
  • I had a close shave when a fast car just missed me as I was crossing the road.
  • It was close shave but I don’t think my mum saw us smoking.


Out for the count:

Too tired and fall asleep quickly


  • Jack had so much to drink last night that when he got home he was out for the count.
  • There was some trouble outside my house last night but I didn’t hear it: I was so tired I was out for the count.



Used to describe when things or people are very intense.


Have a good holiday?

To be honest, not really. We were up at 6am every day to get as much sightseeing done as possible and didn’t get to bed till midnight. It was so full-on. I feel like I need another holiday.

  • I really don’t like children’s parties. All those excited, screaming kids. It’s too full-on.
  • London’s too full-on. I need to move to the countryside.


Eat humble pie:

When we say someone has to ‘eat humble pie’, we mean they have to admit they can’t do something they boasted about. It’s a bit humiliating for them.


  • The factory owner had to eat humble pie after a lot of customers complained about his product.
  • Peter is so arrogant. He said he could finish the work much quicker than anybody else in the office. I hope he has to eat humble pie.


Face the music:

To face the music is another way of saying you have to accept the consequence of your mistakes.


  • Whoever keeps missing these deadlines will have to face the music.
  • After two years of stealing from the family who hired her, the nanny was caught stealing red-handed. Now she has to face the music.


Take to the cleaners:

When we say we’re going to ‘take someone to the cleaners’, we mean we’re going to take a lot of money from them.


  • My husband cheated on me with my best friend! I’m going to get the best divorce lawyer in town and take him to the cleaners!
  • My team has the best players and we’ll take you to the cleaners in this Sunday’s match!


Take for a ride:

When we say someone is ‘taking you for a ride’, we mean he is deceiving you.


  • That hotel took me for a ride. When I booked a room they said they’d give me a full cooked breakfast but all I got was a cup of coffee and a piece of toast. I’m never going back there again.
  • Don’t be taken for a ride. If an offer seems too good to be true, it’s probably not real.


Butter up:

When you say you’ll ‘butter someone up’ you mean you’ll be especially nice to them in the hope they’ll do something good for you in return.


Johnny: I was very impressed with your presentation, Mrs Beany. You are really intelligent and perceptive and…

Mrs. Beany: Don’t waste your time buttering me up, Johnny. I’m not raising your salary anytime soon.

  • The director was always ready to butter up Angelina Jolie. He knew she was looking for her next role and he wanted her in his movie.


Give the cold shoulder:

It means they are rejecting you or ignoring you.


  • After Mary divorced her rich husband all their friends gave her the cold shoulder. She was not invited to their lavish parties anymore.
  • My brother told our parents I haven’t been studying at all and my marks are low. I’m not happy and I’ve been giving him the cold shoulder. Let’s see if he’s got the message.

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