Today I’m going to teach you 10 Commonly Used Cat Idioms that I either use myself quite often or that I at least hear being used by other native English speakers.
Watch a LIVE VIDEO CLASS on these 10 idioms here:
1. Has a cat got your tongue?
Figurative meaning: Said to someone when you are annoyed that they won’t speak.
Literal meaning: This idiom apparently began being used by children back in the late 1800s with no sensible derivation known. It’s not hard to imagine this sort of expression being used in children’s language in the school playground.
Example: “Why won’t you say anything? Has a cat got your tongue?”
Other forms: Cat got your tongue?
2. A cat nap
Literal meaning: The idea here is that cats have numerous short naps every day. So, if you have a short sleep say, after lunch, it’s considered “a cat nap”.
Example: “I might have a cat nap before dinner.”
Other forms: To cat nap.
3. Curiosity killed the cat
Literal meaning: The origin of this idiom isn’t very clear, but the basic idea is that if you’re a cat who is too curious you may end up in a lot of trouble, e.g. chasing a bird too far up a tree or a rat too far down a drain, and the cat could be killed as a result.
Example: “Don’t ask so many questions about your birthday party. Remember, curiosity killed the cat!”
4. To let the cat out of the bag
Figurative meaning: To disclose a secret.
Literal meaning: The most likely origin of this phrase is very old originating in the 1500s and which refers to trying to trick someone at market by giving them a cat in a sack, or bag, instead of a piglet. Obviously, if you let the cat out of the bag then you disclosed the secret.
Example: “He let the cat out of the bag and accidentally told her about her surprise present.”
5. A copycat
Figurative meaning: Someone or something that copies, imitates, mimics, or follows the lead of another. Often used by children for other children who copy exactly what they do or say.
Literal meaning: The origin of this idiom isn’t very clear but may refer to the copying behaviour of kittens copying their mother. The expression dates back to at least the 1890s.
Example: “Stop looking at my test answers James! Don’t be such a copycat!”
Other forms: A copy-cat; a copy cat. Also used as a verb: to copycat (something).
6. A cat burglar
Figurative meaning: A burglar who gains entry into a building without while avoiding detection through the use of agility and stealth.
Literal meaning: This phrase refers to the way a cat uses agility and stealth to sneak up on its prey.
Example: “A cat burglar broke into the bank’s vault and stole a lot of money.”
7. To rain cats and dogs
Literal meaning: The true origin of this phrase is unknown, however, the most probable explanation is that it originates from England in the 1700s when storm drains would often carry dead dogs and cats away when heavy rain fell. Thus, the possible connection between heavy rain and cats and dogs.
Example: “I walked outside and got saturated because it was raining cats and dogs!”
8. There’s more than one way to skin a cat
Figurative meaning: There’s more than one way of achieving a certain goal.
Literal meaning: This idiom’s earliest usage dates back to the 1840s, and literally alludes to the fact that there are many ways of achieving the goal of skinning a cat.
Example: “He’s only tried using cheese to catch mice, but as they say “there’s more than one way to skin a cat” and there’s definitely more than one way to catch a mouse!”
Other forms: There are many ways to skin a cat.
9. A scaredy-cat
Literal meaning: These idioms both allude to the skittish and frightful behaviour of cats.
Example: “Don’t be such a scaredy-cat, just try it!”
Other forms: Fraidy-cat
10. To put the cat among the pigeons
Figurative meaning: To do or say something that will make a lot of people angry or worried.
Literal meaning: This idiom refers to the act of letting a cat go inside a dove house where pigeons are kept where the cat would scare all the birds whilst hunting and killing some of them. So, if you put the cat among the pigeons it means you tell a person or group of people something that is likely to scare or worry them, or at the very least ruffle some feathers.
Example: “If we tell the employees we have to fire one of them next week we’ll be putting the cat among the pigeons.”
Other forms: To set the cat among the pigeons.
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About the AuthorI learn languages, teach Australian English, and love all things science and nature!
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By pete — 1 year ago
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AE 375 – Expression:
To Throw Your Hat In The Ring
But seriously, Nev, like, how (are) you holding for cash? I’m a bit bloody broke.
Listen, mate. What are you talking about?
There’s no cash here. Here, there’s no cash. Alright? Cash, no. Robbo?
Oh! G’day, guys! What’s going on?
That was a scene from the movie Chopper.
“So, cash? No cash. Here, no cash. Robbo? No cash.”
It’s a classic one, guys. That is probably the most famous scene from that film. Every Australian is going to know what you’re talking about if you say, “No cash! Here, no cash.” So, it’s a classic. I really recommend that you go and check out the movie Chopper, which is about a famous Australian convicted criminal and gang member known as Mark Brandon “Chopper” Read.
The movie was filmed in the year 2000, and it stars one of Australia’s most famous actors Eric Bana. So, you might know this guy from more recent Hollywood films, but he’s one of my favourite Australian actors. He’s is absolutely brilliant, and he nails, he absolutely nails the mannerisms and the way that Chopper speaks in this movie. So, check it out. Chopper. (It’s a) great movie about the Australian underworld in the 1980s and the 1990s in Melbourne.
Alright, guys. So, welcome to the Aussie English podcast, the number one Australian English podcast that is specifically designed to teach you Aussie English. Whether you want to understand Australian English, whether you want to speak like an Aussie English speaker, this podcast is the podcast for you. And it’s brought to you by The Aussie English classroom. This is the product that I sell guys that is the way in which I make a crust, I earn a living, and I can better help you improve your Aussie English when you sign up and give it a go. So, you get exercises learning phrasal verbs, learning Australian slang, listening comprehension, pronunciation, grammar, all that jazz, and you can try it for one dollar for your first month. It’s incredibly affordable after that. It’s about the cost of a coffee per week. So, get in there and give it a go, guys. The link will be in the transcript.
Anyway, let’s get into today’s joke. So, today’s Australian joke, guys, is what is the difference between an Aussie wedding and an Aussie funeral? Okay? What’s the difference between an Aussie wedding and an Aussie funeral? The difference is that there’s one less drunk at the funeral. Do you get it? There’s one less drunk at the funeral, because he’s dead, or she’s dead. So, there’s one less person who is intoxicated with alcohol, who’s drunk, at the funeral, because unfortunately they’re in the casket, they’re in the coffin, they’re dead.
So, that is another example of Australian humour where we’re poking fun at ourselves, we’re taking the piss out of ourselves, we’re taking the Mickey out of ourselves, because we don’t take ourselves that seriously.
Anyway. I hope you like that joke. It’s a bit of a dad joke, but it’s funny nonetheless.
So, today’s expression, todays expression is, “to throw your hat into the ring”, “to throw your hat into the ring.” This one was suggested by Jangsher. So, thank you Jangsher who suggested this in the Aussie English Virtual Classroom Facebook Group. You guys can jump in there. Every Monday we suggest new expressions and then everyone votes on those expressions. And the winner is the one that I do for the weekend.
So, let’s go through and define the words in the expression “to throw your hat into the ring”, “to throw your hat into the ring.
So, “to throw”, the verb “to throw”. I’m sure you guys will know the verb “to throw”. This is to launch something, this is to propel something, with force through the air by a movement with the arm and hand. So, you pick up a ball and you throw the ball. If you’re walking your dog on the beach, you might pick up a stick and throw the stick. If you’re an aborigine living out in the wild, hunting animals, you know, a few thousand years ago, you might throw a boomerang to try and catch a kangaroo or maybe some birds. Ok? So, that is the verb “to throw.”
Synonyms for this verb include: to chuck, to turf, and to piff. “To piff” is one that I used all the time as a kid in primary school. Piff the ball over here! Piff it over here, mate!
“A hat.” “A hat” is a piece of clothing that you wear on your head.
So, other synonyms for a hat include: a cap. You could have a wide brimmed hat, if it’s a really sunny day. If you’re feeling incredibly dapper, you’re wearing a suit, and you’re from the 1800s, you might be wearing a bolo hat. If you’re in the Outback of Australia, out in the bush, out in the sticks, you might be wearing an Akubra hat, an Akubra hat. Think Crocodile Dundee. He’s not an Akubra-style hat that he wears. And if you’re an American going to a baseball game, you might wear a baseball cap. That’s the one with the brim just at the front. I think you will have seen me in some videos wearing a baseball cap.
The word “into”. So, this is a particle, guys. This is a particle that means for something to move within something else. “Into”. So, you might put something into something else, you might move something into something else, shift something into something else, or throw something into something else. I threw the ball into the air. I threw a boomerang into the air. I picked my hat up and threw it into the air.
And the last word in the expression, guys, “to throw your hat into the ring”, is “a ring”, and “a ring” in this sense is a boxing ring where boxers fight, you know? So, like Muhammad Ali or Floyd Mayweather. They fight in a ring, in a boxing ring, which funnily enough isn’t actually the shape of a ring, which is a circle, it’s the shape of a square. So, a boxing ring is the shape of a square.
Let’s define the expression “to throw your hat into the ring.” So, “to throw your hat into the ring” means to make or take up a challenge. So, to demonstrate one’s willingness to join an enterprise. Ok? So, a challenge. To take part in something, to get involved in something. That’s the meaning of “to throw your hat into the ring.” So, if I throw my hat into the ring, I want to be involved. I want to take part. Or I might throw my hat into the ring because I want to take up this challenge. I’m demonstrating my willingness to take part.
The origin of this expression is somewhat interesting. It originates from the early 1800s. So, 1800s. And, “ring” here refers to the circular space that appears within a crowd of onlookers, so a crowd of people looking on at this ring within the crowd, which may have occurred because two people are boxing, or two people are fighting. So, if they didn’t have “a ring”, per se, a boxing ring, and two people wanted to fight they wanted to box, if they’re doing this, often a crowd is obviously going to form around these two people. You might see this at high schools when two kids fight. A ring of onlookers, a ring of, you know, a crowd of people, will form around these two people. So, that’s probably where, funnily enough, that’s probably where the word “ring” comes from to me boxing ring, because before we had proper boxing rings it would have just been in a crowd.
Anyway. The origin of the expression “to throw your hat into this ring”, into the ring that forms in a crowd, it originated when you would have people who wanted to fight, and in order to sort of put themselves forward instead of trying to shout over the hubbub of the crowd, instead of trying to scream out, you know, “I’m interested. I want to fight. Let me box.”, they would take their hat off, and then throw it into the ring in the crowd. So, they would throw their hat into the ring to say that they wanted to fight. And more recently obviously, it’s become a way of expressing that you want to take up a challenge or get involved. Ok?
So, before we get into the examples, I wanted to mention a similar expression, “to throw in the towel” or “to throw the towel in”. This originates from boxing as well, and literally, it is for your coach to throw your towel, as the boxer, to throw your towel into the ring to say that you give up. You’ve been defeated. He’s said, “Look, you’re not winning. You’re getting smashed. There’s no chance that you’re going to win. You’re just going to get injured. You’re going to get knocked out.” So, he throws in the towel to show that it’s over. We give up. Our corner of the boxing match throws in the towel and we submit.
Figuratively though, “to throw in the towel” is to give up, to surrender, to submit, to concede defeat. So, I might use that, figuratively, if I’m at work, and I decide I’m giving up for the day. I want to go home. I throw in the towel and I go home.
So, don’t get it confused with that, guys. Ok?
Alright, some examples. Some examples of how to use the expression “to throw your hat into the ring.
So, number one. Example number one. Imagine you’re having a meeting at work where there’re tons of people, there’s a heap of people, who are being asked to volunteer to complete a certain task at work. However, completing this task is going to require that you and whoever else puts their hand up, whoever else volunteers to complete this task, you guys are going to have to stay late on a Friday night and continue with the hard Yakka at work instead of going out with your mates. Anyway. You decide you’re keen to do this. You decide you’ll put your hand up, you’ll take part, you’ll get involved, you’ll take up the challenge, so you throw your hat into the ring. Ok? You throw your hat into the ring and you say I’ll do it.
Example number two. Imagine you’re a plumber. And a cool kind of derogatory but funny slang term for plumber in Australia is “a dunny diver”, “a dunny diver”. So, someone who dives into dunnies, and “dunny” is a slang term for toilet. So, you’re a plumber, you’re a dunny diver, and you and your plumber mates are at work. You show up for the day. You show up to work. Your boss comes up to you guys and says, “Look, guys, we’ve got a really dodgy job today. It’s going to be a bad one. (It’s a) really smelly, messy job, but someone’s going to have to do it.” So, something’s gone awry in someone’s toilet, someone’s loo, someone’s dunny. Something’s gone bad, something’s gone wrong. And no one’s keen to put their hand up first, but you decide you’re not a wuss. You’ll throw your hat in the ring and take up this challenge. So, “I’ll do it, mate. It’s all good. I’ll throw my hat in the ring. I’ll take up this challenge.”
Example number three. So, you hanging out with your mates at a barbie. Ok? This time you’re a girl, you’re a woman, you’re a sheila, and all your mates are sheilas. Ok? so, “sheila” is a slang term for woman. So, you’re hanging out with your sheila mates at a barbie, a barbecue, having some snags, having a chat, maybe you’re drinking some champagne, you know, kicking back with your girl mates, your girlfriends. And you decide that you want to start a business selling lippy. And “lippy” is a slang term for lipstick. The stuff that you put on your lips, if you’re a woman, before you go out. So, you want to sell lippy, maybe other cosmetics and make-up products as well, and you ask your girlfriends if anyone is willing to chuck their hat in the ring, to throw their hat in the ring, and get involved. “Any of you sheilas want to get involved with this business plan selling lippy that I have?” One of the chicks says, “Yep! It’s totally up my alley. I absolutely love make-up. I love lippy. I love business. So, I’ll throw my hat in the ring and I’ll take part in this venture. I’ll take up this challenge of starting this business with you.
So, those are the examples, guys. I hope you get by now the expression, “to throw your hat in the ring”, which means to make or take up a challenge, to demonstrate one’s willingness to join an enterprise or start a venture, or to take part in something, or to get involved in something. So, it’s all pretty much the same thing. Ok? To throw your hat in the ring.
So, as usual, let’s go through and listen and repeat exercise, guys. Find somewhere quiet, find somewhere away from other people, if you don’t like practicing in front of other people, and practice your pronunciation as an Aussie just like me. So, listen and repeat after me guys and let’s smash this out. Let’s do this. Ok? Let’s do it.
Listen & Repeat:
I threw my hat into the ring.
You threw your hat into the ring.
He threw his hat into the ring.
She threw her hat into the ring.
We threw our hats into the ring.
They threw their hats into the ring.
It threw its hat into the ring.
Good job, guys. Good job.
So, that expression is pretty cool, guys. And I’m going to go over some stuff in today’s Aussie English Classroom with all the exercises and bonus content for this stuff, where we talk about the connected speech in “I threw my hat into the ring.” So, I would actually say that as, “I threw my hat into the ring”, instead of, “I threw my hat into the ring”. “I threw my hat into the ring.” So, there’s some cool stuff going on there, guys. If you want to learn how to break that down and how to pronounce all of that stuff like a native Aussie English speaker, make sure you join up to the Aussie English Classroom. It’s one dollar for your first month. Give it a go.
Anyway, before finishing up, guys, let’s do the Aussie English Fact, although today, it’s going to be a series of facts, a whole bunch of facts, a heap of facts all about Mark Brandon “Chopper” Read. So, about Chopper, the guy that we were talking about at the start of this episode. So, that was who the film Chopper was made about.
So, this guy is quite an interesting character. He was born on the 12th of November in 1954, and fortunately or unfortunately, he died in 2013. So, he grew up in Melbourne, in the suburbs of Collingwood, Thomastown, Fitzroy, and Preston, and unfortunately, he had a really horrible childhood, which isn’t a surprise with a lot of violent criminals. He was severely bullied at school and he got into hundreds of fights. He was sexually molested as a child, and he was placed in foster care. His parents were pretty full on. One of them was a soldier from the Korean War, and I think his mother was incredibly religious, a Christian. And he was put into foster care, moved around quite a lot, and then later in his teens, he was put into several mental institutions, and he even claimed that he received electroshock therapy, which is where they put electric probes on your head and shock your brain. So, (a) pretty full on childhood.
As a young adult, he became an accomplished street fighter. So, he became really good at fighting with his hands in the street, maybe kicking people as well. And, he was the leader of the Surrey Road Gang. So, he became the leader of a gang of other youths. He began his career robbing drug dealers. So, people who sell drugs. And these drug dealers were based in massage parlours in the Prahan area of Melbourne, and I assume they were probably also brothels where prostitutes work.
Crazily, this is a crazy fact too, he only spent 13 months of his time outside of jail between the ages of 20 and 38. So, less than one month of every year between the ages of 20 and 38 he spent outside of jail. And he was convicted for things like armed robbery, firearm offenses, assault, arson, he even impersonated a police officer, and he kidnapped a few people as well.
He started prison wars with his gang the notorious Overcoat Gang. He had the tops of both of his ears cut off by fellow inmates. And this was done on purpose because he wanted to leave H Division, which was the division that he was kept in in Pentridge Prison. And he wanted to do this to avoid being ambushed by other inmates, because of this gang war. So, he actually had another inmate, a friend of his, or at least someone he knew, cut the top of both of his ears off in order to be temporarily removed from that part of the prison in order to save himself, I guess.
A few other crazy facts. He got interviewed on 60 Minutes, a news show in Australia, and he played Russian Roulette with himself. That is where you put one bullet in a revolver, you spin the chamber, and then you put it to your head and pull the trigger. So, he actually did that in an interview on TV. And what’s worse is that he did the same thing again and ask the reporter if she wanted to play. She said no, but she still pointed the gun at her and pulled the trigger. Fortunately, there was no bullet in the gun chamber and she survived.
Despite claiming to have killed 19 people in his criminal career, and attempting to murder a further 11 people, he was actually never convicted of murder. He never went to jail for the crime of murder. How crazy is that?
And he had his last interview two weeks before his death from liver cancer in 2013. Funnily enough, again, on 60 Minutes. So, he got interviewed two weeks before his death on there in which he confessed to committing four of these apparent 19 murders. So, he at least says he was a little more honest there and openly talks about four murders.
Anyway, he’s quite a character I really recommend that you check out the movie Chopper. Check out the actor Eric Bana. He’s got a great Aussie accent. He’s an amazing actor. And, I guess, also, I’ll include a few links in here for you to learn more about Chopper Read on Wikipedia, and I’ll also link the YouTube interview with 60 Minutes.
So, I hope you enjoy this episode, guys. I know it was a long one, but I hope it’s full of great content, great vocab for you to learn obviously about violent crime in this case, but interesting stuff nonetheless. And I will see you in the next episode. Catch you later, guys.
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By pete — 1 year ago
AE 335 – Expression:
To Let Someone Off The Hook
What’s up guys? Here’s a little surprise for today.
I thought that I would give streaming the Expression episode for the podcast, that’ll come out tomorrow, I thought about streaming that online, instead of just recording it here as I usually do behind my mic.
So, I mean I do the usual format. I guess, first, I want to give a shout out to the patrons, Veronica Pineal, as well as Maria Haro.
Thank you guys so much for being patrons via my Patreon page and supporting the podcast.
You guys are amazing.
And everyone else who’s been supporting the podcast there too, thank you so much.
Crazy fact about Australia.
I thought I would start introducing these more at the start of these podcast episodes.
Australia is as wide as the distance between London to Moscow.
So, if you’re from Europe and you know where London is in England and you know where Moscow is in Russia, Australia’s width goes from London to Moscow.
So, how crazy is that? Anyway.
Give me a thumbs up, give me a love heart if you guys can hear me okay, if the audio is okay via the live feed.
And if you can give it a quick share, ’cause I’m going to do that now quickly just to give it a bit of a boost on Facebook.
And then we can get into the expression episode for today.
But let me know what you think.
Would you like these expression episodes to be streamed on Facebook Live so that you guys can interact with me during and at the ends of these episodes?
So, I’ll just give this a quick share. All right.
So today’s expression is “to let someone off the hook”, “to let someone off the hook”.
And I’m getting these suggested in the Aussie English Virtual Classroom now.
So, I’m actually setting it up with a poll each week where any expressions that are suggested I’ll put in the poll, and you guys get to vote on which expression I do.
And so, this one this week is “to let someone off the hook”.
And it was picked or suggested by Laleh.
And then, you guys in the group all voted for this one to be this week’s expression.
So, as usual guys, let’s dive in and define the different words or the different verbs, nouns, everything inside the expression.
The verb “to let”, “to let”. If you let someone do something you’re allowing the person to do something.
So, it means to allow. You’re permitting the person to do something.
So, it also means that you permit the person to do something.
You could let someone go outside. You could let your friends come over.
You could let people out of a classroom at the end of the day.
So, it’s just allowing them to leave. Permitting them to leave.
Permitting them to do something. Allowing them to do something.
When we turn this into a phrasal verb and we say “to let off” instead of just “to let” this means to release, to release something.
So, if you let someone off for something it means that you release them of, I guess, responsibility of that thing.
So, you let them off, you let them off. It can also mean to emit something.
So, if you let off a smell or you let off a sound it means that you emit the sound or the smell.
So, it’s coming away from you. You’re releasing it. So, that’s “to let off”, “to let off”.
“The hook”. “A hook”. “A hook” is a curved piece of wire that is often used for catching animals or hanging things on.
So, a hook is this shape, a hook.
And often it has a little sharp end with what we call a barb.
And we’ll use it on the end of a fishing rod, for example.
We cast out the hook. We pull it in, when we catch something on the end of it.
So, that’s what a hook is.
A curved piece of wire that will be used to catch animals, and we might use it for hanging clothes on as well.
If we come inside we might take our hat off and hook the hat up or hook our jacket up.
That’s what “a hook” is.
When we combine all of this together to form the expression “to let someone off the hook”, you’ve got to imagine in your head that this person is stuck up on a hook.
Imagine like a hat or a coat. They’re on the hook.
And the hook in this expression would be like trouble that they’re facing punishment.
And if you let them off the hook you’re allowing them to avoid blame for something, avoid responsibility for something, and avoid obligation to do something that might be not what they want.
Right? So, let’s go through some examples for the expression “to let someone off the hook”.
As usual guys, I’ve got three examples here for you.
Imagine the first one is that you are a kid in a classroom and you’re doing some naughty stuff.
Maybe you’re swearing. You’re throwing paper planes.
Maybe you’re writing some notes and you’re passing them to your friends.
You know, maybe you’ve got a crush on the girl at the front of the class, and you’ve written her name down and a love heart and you’ve passed it to her.
You’ve got in trouble, ’cause the teachers seen you doing all this naughty stuff, or he’s heard you swearing, and has said, “Alright. I’m going to give you detention for misbehaving. You’ve been misbehaving. You’ve been doing the wrong thing, and I’m gonna give you detention. Come and see me at the end of the class, and I’m going to hold you in after class during lunch.”
So, imagine that you do that.
The class finishes, you go up, and at the end he says, “You know what, forget about it. I’m going to I’ll let you off the hook. I’m going to release you from your obligation to come to detention from your punishment. I’m going to let you off the hook this time, but next time I’m not going to let you off the hook so easily. Next time, you’re going to stay “on the hook”, figuratively, and you’re going to have to go to detention. So, I’ll let you off the hook this time. You can go.”
Example number two, might be that a policeman is using his radar gun or his laser gun to catch people who are speeding in their cars.
So, you’ve got a policeman, he’s on the side of the road, he’s hidden somewhere he’s obscured from view.
The cars driving really fast can’t see him.
So, they’re driving along and maybe they’re doing five kilometres over the speed limit.
So, they’re doing 105 in a 100 zone. Maybe they’re doing 150 in 100 zone.
Although you’re probably not going to get let off the hook, in this case if you did 150 in 100 zone.
But say you’re doing a few kilometres above the speed limit and you get pulled over, and the cop says, “How fast we drive and mate? How fast do you think you are going?”.
And you said, you know. “Oh, I don’t know. 103. I know it’s 100 zone. I’m really sorry. But yeah maybe 103?”.
And he says, “Yeah, it was actually 103. Look, it’s not that bad. I’m not going to give you a fine this time. I’m gonna let you off the hook, but I’m going to give you a warning, and I want you to be careful next time not to speed.”
If you were doing 150, so half the speed again, in 100 zone I doubt that the policeman would ever let you off.
You would go possibly to jail for that amount of speed over the limit. You’d get in quite a bit of trouble.
He would not let you off the hook with a warning in that case. So, that’s the second example.
Number three, imagine that you’re arrested by a policeman.
They come to your house at night and they say, “We’re arresting you for murder. You’ve been implicated in a murder that’s happened. We’re taking you to jail.”
You know you’re innocent. You’ve said, “Look, I didn’t do it. I’m innocent. I didn’t murder anyone.”
The police investigate further. They do more investigation. And they find the culprit.
They find the criminal who actually committed the murder. They find the real guy.
And they arrest him and then they let you off the hook.
So, this time, it’s not so much that you’ve done anything wrong and you’re escaping punishment, but you’re escaping punishment for something that they thought you had done.
But this time they’re letting you off the hook because they found the real culprit.
They found the real criminal that did the thing. So, that’s the idea.
“To let off the hook” is to escape punishment, to escape obligation, to be released from something.
And it’s commonly used everywhere, guys.
All English speakers everywhere will know the phrase “to let (someone) off the hook”.
So, as usual, let’s do some listen and repeat exercises, guys. It’s, I guess, “as usual” on the podcast, although, I’ve never done this obviously via streaming to you guys.
So, now is your chance to do some listen and repeat exercises with me right here.
Go and find somewhere where you’re away from other people, you’re on your own, in your bedroom, or if you’re out and about in the street go find a place where no one can hear you, and you can practice comfortably and on your own.
And let’s dive in and do some listen and repeat exercises.
First of all, I’m just going to say the expression. I’ll break it apart and then repeat it a few times.
And then, I go through the expression “I let him off the hook”, and I’m going to go through all the different pronouns.
We’ll conjugate it through. Although, it’s going to be in the past so it’ll be the same.
Anyway, listen and repeat after me guys.
Listen & Repeat:
To let off.
To let off.
To let off.
To let off the hook.
To let off the hook.
To let off the hook.
Good job. Now I’m going to say this phrase using different pronouns.
We’re going to say it the Simple Past. So, it’s in the Past tense.
And remember, “let” is one of those weird irregular verbs.
I think So… It’s just. Actually, no, it’s not a regular.
Anyway. Just listen and repeat after me guys. Ignore that.
Listen & Repeat:
I let him off the hook.
You’ve let him off the hook.
He let him off the hook.
She let him off the hook.
We let him off the hook.
They let him off the hook.
It let him off the hook.
Good job guys. Good job.
It does feel a bit weird doing that in front of the camera here, because usually when I do these I actually say them really quickly, like, with no gap between them.
I’ll say I let him off the hook. You let him off the hook. He let him off the hook. And then I insert space in between.
So, it feels really weird to kind of sit here in silence, but I hope you enjoyed it.
Now let’s go through the pronunciation and connected speech side of this episode.
I want to draw your attention, I want to get your attention,
I want you to focus on two points, in the expression that we just went over here “to let him off the hook “, you let him off the hook, he let him off the hook etc..
There’s two cool things that are happening here in English.
The first thing is H deletion, H deletion.
So, what’s happening there is that the H at the start of the word “him” is disappearing.
And we do this quite a bit when words like “him” or “her” are said really quickly in the middle of a sentence we’ll get rid of the H.
So you will have heard me say “I let_-im off the hook”. “You let_-im off”. Let_-im.
There’s no “let him”, it’s “let_-im”. You’ll also hear this when I say things like “I can see_-er”. ”
You can watch_-im”. “He can call_-er”. “I said to_-im”. So, the H disappears.
So, when you go back and listen to this check out whether or not you can hear the H when I’m speaking really quickly they’re like a native.
The second thing that I want to draw your attention to is the T-flap.
The T-flap is when we say T’s in English, but it sounds a little bit closer to a D.
And so, I’m doing this in the word “let”, I’m saying the T there properly. “Let”, “let”.
When the T is followed by a vowel sound, “let_-im”, you’ll hear there that I’m not saying “leT -im”, I’m saying “let_-im”, “let_-im”.
And that’s the T flap in English.
And so, we’ll do the listen and repeat episode, episode… exercise* one more time, and I want you to pay attention to the T-flap at the end of “let”.
It’s going to be “let_-im”. And I want you to pay attention to getting rid of the H at the start of the word “him”.
So, let’s do it one more time guys, and then we’ll finish up.
And if you have any questions… this’ll be interesting, for the first time one of these expression episodes is live.
You guys can ask me questions straight away about this expression, about this pronunciation, and we can get through some of those questions.
So, let’s go through. Listen and repeat after me again guys.
And pay attention to the T-flap, “Let_-im”, and getting rid of the H, The H deletion, at the start of “him”.
It just sounds like “-im”. Let’s go.
Listen & Repeat:
I let him off the hook.
You let him off the hook.
He led him off the hook.
She led him off the hook.
We led him off the hook.
They let him off the hook.
It let him off the hook.
That’s it guys. Good job. Good job.
Let me know what you think of me streaming these episodes.
I’m thinking that I might do this more often, because I like interacting with you guys more.
I want you to be able to ask some questions directly related to this expression, to this episode, but also more broadly English if you like, and we can spend the last five minutes of the episode chatting about any problems that you currently have.
So, if you’ve got some questions now’s the time to ask.
They can be about anything, but if you do have them about this expression, about the words in this expression, about how to use this expression, put them in the comments section below here.
And other than that, let me know what you think of this episode.
Did you like the fact that I streamed the expression episode this time?
I guess the good thing too is that I’ll be able to put it up on YouTube. OK?
So, let me know what you think of that. Anyway, alright.
Some questions here. Can you use it in the opposite meaning, “you didn’t let him off the hook”?
You definitely can, Diana. You definitely can.
So, you can let someone off the hook or you cannot let someone off the hook. “Yesterday, I let him off the hook for shouting in class”, or you could say, “Yesterday I didn’t let him off the hook for shouting in class”.
So, yeah, you can definitely say it in the positive, “I let him off the hook”, or you can say it in the negative, “I didn’t let him off the hook” FOR whatever the thing is.
And the thing at the end there I guess I should point out is that you get let off the hook FOR something, FOR something that you’ve done.
So, make sure that you use the preposition “for” if you want to talk about the thing for which you are being let off the hook or the thing for which you are not being let off the hook.
So, what Simon said here? Awesome. Thank you, dude. He’s from England and he’s saying “G’day”.
How’s it going? Have any of you guys got any other questions before I finish up?
Because I want to keep the expression episodes for the podcast under 20 minutes.
So, if you have any quick questions that I can answer regarding this expression regarding the pronunciation in this episode regarding anything then feel free to ask.
Can you use “off the hook” in writing? You definitely can, Eileen.
You definitely can use “off the hook”.
The interesting thing there is that if you say “off the hook” by itself I think that can mean two things.
So, that can mean related to this expression “to be let off the hook”, but if you say that something “IS off the hook” it has… It makes me feel like it sounds like something is going crazy.
“Oh, man that movie was off the hook!”.
Although, it’s probably another expression “off the something”, off the, off the.
Anyway, it’s making me think of that. But you can definitely use it in writing if someone gets let off the hook.
It’s not slang at all. It’s a common expression.
You could use this in British English, American English, Australian English any kind of English.
It’s very very common expression.
Is it literally… does it literally mean to be freed from an obligation? Kate, it certainly does.
And it can be more like an obligation in that you’re being punished for something like you’ve done something wrong.
You’re going to get in trouble and then they let you off it. They let you escape punishment.
And in that way, I guess, the obligation would be that you have to face the punishment.
But I could also, say, imagine that I’m coming home after work and my wife wants me to cook dinner.
If I said, “I don’t really want to cook dinner”, and she said “Alright, I’ll let you off the hook tonight, but you’re doing it tomorrow.
You’re cooking tomorrow. I’ll cook tonight, but you are cooking tomorrow.
I’ll let you off the hook this time, but tomorrow it’s your turn.”
That’s where you could use it as well where you’re literally being freed, you don’t have to do this thing, this obligation, which is cooking dinner.
And Simon, Yeah, it could be “off the wall”. I can’t… “It’s going off”.
‘Cause it’s that idea, “off the hook”, “off the charts”, “off the wall”. I don’t know.
There’s some expression there that I’m thinking about when a party’s going crazy.
Australians could also say I think “it’s going off + something”, and I think it’s “off the hook”, but I’m having one of those brain freeze moments.
Anyway, one minute left guys. Any other questions before we finish up for today?
Any other questions? Feel free to chuck them below.
Otherwise, I’m going to finish up and I will probably do this next week as I enjoyed streaming this episode for you guys.
So, it looks like it’s it’s going, going, no more questions?
Going, going, going, gone…
Right cool. We’ll finish up there, guys. You did great. Thanks for joining me.
Again, give it a share, give it a like, if you want to support the channel and spread the word.
And if you want all the bonus content for this episode, all the extra exercises for pronunciation, grammar, phrasal verbs, the vocab that’s used here, sign up to be a member in the Aussie English Classroom at TheAussieEnglishPodcast.com.
You can try out for a dollar for the first four lessons, for a month.
Give it a go. Let me know what you think, and I’ll see you in class.
See you guys.
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By pete — 3 years ago
In today’s lesson we’re “gonna” go over the Aussie pronunciation of “going + to” and when it’s more natural to say “gonna” or “goin’ de”. After that I’m “gonna” talk about the expression to be “as mad as a cut snake”.
Come over to the Aussie English Facebook page and chat to the many other Aussie English learners. Practice a few of these words or phrases, ask any questions you may have, and be a part of the conversation! All the best guys!
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