Idioms with numbers

Hello ESL friends,

Have you ever heard a native English speaker using some interesting slang or idioms to express their feelings in a conversation?
For example, have you ever heard someone says he or she is “dressed to the nines”? What do you think that means?
In today’s 10 minute lesson we will be focusing on some idioms relating to numbers that many native speakers use in their daily conversations.

At the eleventh hour 

An expression used to describe something that happens when it is almost too late, or at the last possible moment.
E.g.  John never has his project ready on time. He always leaves his work until the eleventh hour.

Dressed to the nines 

An expression used when someone is wearing very smart or glamorous clothes.
E.g. Wow! Why are you dressed to the nines? Is there a special occasion or what?

First and foremost

An expression used to state what a person considers to be more important than anything else.
E.g. I would like to give gratitude to my wonderful team first and foremost because if it wasn’t for them, this marketing plan would never have achieved such great results!

Five o’clock shadow  

An expression used to refer to the stubble on a man’s face at the end of the day when he had shaved early in the morning.
E.g. Before your date, you’d better go home and shave because that five o’clock shadow looks unattractive.

Get (or catch) forty winks

An expression used to describe a short sleep or rest, generally during the day.
E.g. He normally tries to get forty winks after lunch everyday.

One in a million

An expression used to describe something rare or unique.

E.g. Receiving a promotion within your first year at a company is really a one in a million chance

Two peas in a pod 

An expression used to say that two people are very similar.
E.g. Gina and Wendy have been two peas in a pod ever since they met in elementary school.

One-upmanship

An expression used to refer to the art of gaining and keeping the advantage over other people.
E.g. Despite the fact that his one-upmanship has made him an unpleasant man to be friends with, the success he has achieved in his career is still impressive.

Writing exercises.

If you would like to practice your writing skills, you can write answers to these questions and send your answers to me.

  1. Have you ever one-upped someone?  What did you do, and how did you feel about it?
  2. Could you and any one of your friends be considered two peas in a pod?  Tell the class why you are so close.
  3. When looking for a new job, what should be done first and foremost in your opinion?
  4. Do you find it necessary to catch forty winks before an important event (such as a meeting, party, etc.)?
  5. Have you ever done something “at the eleventh hour”? Describe it to your consultant and fellow students.
Try using the idioms you’ve learned today to talk about an interesting working experience of yours.
Getting my job was a one in a million chance.  I worked very hard to one-up all of the other applicants.  For example, I got letters of recommendation from some people who were very important in the community. I also made sure to get forty winks before I went to the interview so that I could be at my best…

That’s all for now, see you back here real soon.
Scott

Note: I have adapted my 10 minute lessons from lesson plans I use with my students live online. Classes are 50 minutes long and can be done 1-1 or in small groups. For more information please visit my website www.monumentenglish.com

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