In today’s episode of Aussie English I’m going to go over how to use the words and expressions “a chug”, “to chug” and “to chug along”.
A chug – of a drink
Noun – to take a large gulp of a drink
- I took a long chug of my beer.
To chug – a drink
Verb – to consume in large gulps without pausing.
- He chugged his drink in one go.
- You are chugging down a lot of wine tonight.
A chug – of a motor
Noun – a muffled explosive sound or sounds
- I could hear the chug of the motorboat.
To chug – (a vehicle)
Verb – move slowly making a regular muffled explosive sound, as of an engine running slowly.
- The train chugged slowly into the station.
To chug along
Phrasal verb – to move along at a steady pace
- We chugged along for a two hours in the train.
- How’s it going?
- How’re you going?
- Yeah, chugging along
- Yeah I’m chugging along
- Yeah, chugging along ok.
- Yeah, getting there, chugging along.
- How’s your son going?
- yeah, he’s chugging along
- He’s doing what he always does.
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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About the AuthorI learn languages, teach Australian English, and love all things science and nature!
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By pete — 3 years ago
Learn Australia English in this post where I teach you how to use another 10 Commonly Used Bird Idioms that I either frequently hear or use myself.
1. Like water off a duck’s back
Figurative meaning: To have no apparent effect.
Literal meaning: This expression alludes to the fact that when water falls onto a duck’s back it just rolls off the oil coated feathers.
Example: When you insult me it’s like water off a duck’s back.
2. A night owl
Literal meaning: Owls are nocturnal animals, which sleep during the day and are active late at night when they hunt.
Example: His dad’s a night owl and works late each night.
3. The pecking order
Literal meaning: The expression originated from the 1920s when biologists discovered that chickens maintain a hierarchy with one bird pecking another of lower status. It began to be used to refer to human behaviour in the 1950s.
Example: On a covert mission navy seals will have a definite pecking order.
4. To play chicken
Figurative meaning: To play a dangerous game in order to discover who is the bravest.
Literal meaning: If someone is a ‘chicken’ is means they are a coward. So to play chicken implies that you are testing to see who has less courage and is ‘the chicken’.
Example: Two teenagers got into a car accident on the highway while playing chicken.
Other forms: To play the game of chicken.
5. To ruffle someone’s feathers
Literal meaning: This idiom is based on the idea of a bird whose feathers are not sitting neat and smooth because of fear, irritation or excitement.
Example: When I took my new job I didn’t mean to come in and ruffle anyone’s feathers.
6. To run around like a chicken with its head cut off
Figurative meaning: To run around frantically and aimlessly; to be in a state of chaos.
Literal meaning: The idea in this idiom is to liken someone’s behaviour to what happens to a chicken when it gets decapitated and continues to kick and flap about frantically.
Example: Every time there’s a crisis she runs around like a chicken with its head cut off.
Other forms: To run around like a headless chicken/chook.
7. To be a sitting duck
Literal meaning: This idiom alludes to an unsuspecting duck floating on the water whilst being hunted by a person or predator.
Example: The deer stood in the clearing like a sitting duck while the hunter loaded his rifle.
8. To spread your wings
Figurative meaning: To start to do new and exciting things for the first time in your life.
Literal meaning: This idiom alludes a fledgling bird learning to fly for the first time.
Example: Once he graduated from high school he could spread his wings and move out of his parents’ house.
9. To be an ugly ducking
Figurative meaning: Someone unattractive or unpromising who grows into an attractive or talented person.
Literal meaning: This idiom alludes to the fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen where a cygnet hatches with group of ducklings and is despised for its clumsiness until it grows into a beautiful swan.
Example: He always felt like the ugly duckling growing up in his family with three brothers.
10. To watch like a hawk.
Figurative meaning: To watch someone or something carefully or intensely.
Literal meaning: The idea in this idiom is that someone has the keen eyesight of a hawk and is watching something as a hawk would watch its prey whilst hunting.
Example: Ever since she got out of prison the police have been watching her like a hawk.
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By pete — 1 month ago
AE 515: 13 x Hand Expression + English Test
G’day, guys! What’s going on? I am Pete, the host of Aussie English and today I want to teach you a whole bunch of expressions to do with the hand. Let’s go!
Alright, so, number one, guys: is to live hand-to-mouth. To live hand-to-mouth. This means to live with the bare minimum of food of money of whatever resource it may be and to have none left over afterwards, to have none spare. For example: While studying at university I really lived hand-to-mouth. I’m still living hand-to-mouth even with this new promotion.
Number two: to be caught red-handed right? The idea there being you have blood on your hands because you have been caught in the act of doing something wrong or committing a crime. So, for example, the examiner caught the student cheating red-handed on the exam. I caught my son red-handed taking a cookie out of the cookie jar.
Number three: Second hand. Second hand. If you get something second hand, you’re getting it and it’s not new. It’s not brand new, it’s second hand, someone else has owned that before you so, for example, I’m going to buy a second-hand car. Did you get that jumper second hand from the op shop?
Number four: to give someone a hand, to give someone a hand, this means to assist someone with something they’re doing. Could you give me a hand with this heavy couch? I can’t really lift it on my own. I’m gonna give James a hand with his car on the weekend. We’re gonna repair it.
Number five: to be good with your hands. To be good with your hands. That one tends to be pretty obvious, but it’s usually used to mean that you are skilful with your hands when making something or when repairing something. Dave works as a plumber and has always been good with his hands. If you’re good with your hands, can you help me fix my broken camera?
Number six: at hand. To be at hand. I guess that’s you can reach that thing if it’s at hand, right? So, it is to be close by or to be readily accessible, you can get to it. So, for example, I’ll ring up the police and see if they have an officer at hand to investigate this crime. Do you have your mobile phone at hand?
Number seven: to wash your hands of something. To wash your hands of something. This means that you refuse to have anything more to do with something and it can be someone as well. After our fight, I washed my hands of Peter and I want nothing more to do with him. She washed her hands of cigarettes years ago, hasn’t touched a smoke since.
Number eight: to have your hands tied. To have your hands tied. If you have your hands tied, it is that you are unable to act freely and you have to follow the rules or abide by the law. The cop pulled me over and wanted to let me go, but his hands were tired and he had to give me the fine. The judge says her hands are tied and the law requires a harsh sentence.
Number nine: to know something like the back of your hand. If you know something like the back of your hand or more specifically if you know a place like the back of your hand, it is that you know that thing incredibly well, right? You would imagine you know the back of your hand pretty, well better than anyone else. I’ve lived in Melbourne my whole life and I know the place like the back of my hand. She knows this neighbourhood like the back of her hand.
Number ten: hands down! Hands down. This means easily and decisively, right? So, will usually use this when talking about the most extreme something, the best thing, the worst thing, right? For example: this restaurant is hands down the worst restaurant I’ve ever eaten at. The Matrix is hands-down the best film we’ve ever seen.
Number eleven: to take matters into your own hands. To take matters into your own hands. This means to deal with a problem yourself because the person who was meant to be dealing with it was unable to do so. After the police gave up the investigation, we decided to take matters into our own hands. I might have to take matters into my own hands. If you don’t deal with your misbehaving son.
Number 12: on one hand… on the other hand… So, we use on one hand or on the one hand to introduce a statement that we’re then going to compare to an opposite statement usually or a contrasting statement on the other hand. For example:
on one hand, I want to go to the party tonight, but on the other hand I have to study. On one hand, she wants to go to the gym and get fit, on the other hand, she’s too busy with work.
The very last one, guys, the very last one, number thirteen is: first-hand, and you can also hear this as second-hand and third-hand, fourth-hand etc. So, when we use first hand this usually means directly it’s happened to you directly. So, you’ll hear something first hand, you will learn something first hand, you will see something first hand and that means that you personally did that thing. If it’s second hand, it’s that you did so through someone else. If someone tells you a rumour about someone else, you’ve heard that rumour second hand or you’ve heard that information second hand through someone else and not the direct source, ok? So, examples: when the dog growled at the girl, she learned first-hand not to pull its tail. I heard second hand that Bill’s going to divorce his wife. So, there you go guys. There you go!
Those are 13 expressions that you can use that are related to the body part the hand. They’re very common, they’re very useful! So, learn those and if you have a video that you would like me to do in the future on expressions like this surrounding a theme, make sure to comment below and let me know which you would like me to do. And also, don’t forget to hit that like button and subscribe to see more videos like this. Thanks for joining me, guys. See you soon!
Let’s review with the test. I’ll show you the question followed by the answer if you need more time pause the video. Good job guys, well done! I hope you scored well, and I’ll see you next time.
Let’s review with a test!
I’ll show you the question followed by the answer. If you need more time, pause the video.
- If you’re comparing two contrasting things you use the expression _______.
- On the one hand, on the other hand
- Hands are tied
If you’re comparing two contrasting things you use the expression on the one hand, on the other hand.
- If you only make enough money for the bare necessities in life, you __________.
- Live hand to mouth
- Give someone a hand
If you only make enough money for the bare necessities in life, you live hand to mouth.
- If you decide to deal with a problem because the person who should have dealt with it has failed to, you have _______.
- Taken matters into your own hands
- Your hands tied
If you decide to deal with a problem because the person who should have dealt with it has failed to, you have taken matters into your own hands.
- If something is easily and decisively the best, it’s ______ the best.
- Hands down
- At hand
If something is easily and decisively the best, it’s hands down the best.
- If you know a location incredibly well, you ______.
- Know it like the back of your hand
- Take matters into your own hands
If you know a location incredibly well, you know it like the back of your hand.
- If you catch someone in the middle of committing a crime you _________.
- Wash your hands of them
- Caught them red-handed
If you catch someone in the middle of committing a crime you caught them red-handed.
- If someone or something you need is readily accessible, it’s _______.
- At hand
If someone or something you need is readily accessible, it’s at hand.
- If you are amazing at repairing or making things, you are ________.
- At hand
- Good with your hands
If you are amazing at repairing or making things, you are good with your hands.
- If you learn information directly from the source, you’ve learnt it _______.
- Hands down
If you learn information directly from the source, you’ve learnt it first-hand.
- If you assist someone with something, you ________.
- Give them a hand
- Are good with your hands
If you assist someone with something, you give them a hand.
- If you have to follow the law even if you don’t want to, your ________.
- Hands down
- Hands are tied
If you have to follow the law even if you don’t want to, your hands are tied.
- If you buy something that isn’t brand new, you’ve bought it _______.
If you buy something that isn’t brand new, you’ve bought it second-hand.
- If you no longer want anything to do with someone, you’ve ______.
- Washed your hands of them
- Caught them red handed
If you no longer want anything to do with someone, you’ve washed your hands of them.
Good job, guys! Well done! I hope you scored well and I’ll see you next time!
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By pete — 3 months ago
AE 498 – Expression: Down-to-Earth
Australia is a vast and lucky land. Beneath our feet is a treasure trove of unimaginable riches. But this story is about much more than precious minerals and dusty mineshafts. For 150 years, mining has changed the lives of us all in unexpected and extraordinary ways. It sparked waves of mass immigration and ignited political revolt.
G’day, you mob! Welcome to this episode of the Aussie English Podcast, the number one podcast for anyone and everyone wanting to learn English so… and the Aussie English Podcast guys is brought to you by the Aussie English Classroom. If you would like to learn English even faster and have access to weekly courses, videos, quizzes, vocab lists, all the extra stuff that will help you get your English to the next level, make sure that you go to theaussieenglishclassroom.com, sign up and it’s just a dollar for your first month. So, get in there and give it a go! You’ve got nothing to lose!
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Anyway, that aside, today’s intro scene, guys, was the intro to a documentary called Dirty Business: How Mining Made Australia, and this was on the Sterling Documentaries YouTube channel. So, I will put a link into the transcript today so that you can watch that entire documentary on their channel on YouTube if you so choose, it’s pretty interesting. And in today’s Aussie English fact we will go through mining and the history of mining in Australia.
Anyway, guys, as usual, let’s get into an Aussie joke before we go through the expression, the definitions, the examples of how I would use it, the listen and repeat exercise and then the fact, okay?
So, the Aussie joke today guys:
My dog used to chase people on a bike a lot. It got so bad, finally, I had to take his bike away.
So, this isn’t a question and answer joke this time, it’s a story and it’s funny because the first sentence has you thinking there is a dog chasing someone on a bike. A person who is on a bike, but actually it’s the dog who is on the bike chasing people, right? So, that sentence can be actually taken two ways and this is something interesting about English, right?
So, I’ll say the sentence again. My dog used to chase people on a bike a lot. So, he could be chasing people on a bike, as in people riding bikes or it could be that his dog was chasing people whilst the dog was on a bike, right? And then the last line, it got so bad, finally, I had to take his bike away. So, now you’re like, ahhhh, it was the dog’s bike. (I) got it, got it.
So, we have those jokes all the time in English where the first line sounds normal and then the second line shows you that it is not what you thought the first line was, okay?
So, today’s expression is ‘down-to-earth’, to be ‘down-to-earth’. And this was suggested by Lily in the private Facebook group for Aussie English Classroom members. Good job, Lily!
So, as usual guys, let’s go through and define the words in the expression ‘down-to-earth’, ok? ‘Down-to-earth’. I’ll break it up into the individual words.
‘Down’. Obviously, ‘down’ means downwards, right? The opposite of up or upwards, downwards is towards the ground, right? ‘Down’.
‘To’ is towards, in the direction of something.
And, ‘earth’ is the name of the planet, right? The planet Earth. But we often use this to mean the ground or the soil, right? If I’m standing up, usually my feet are on the Earth. If I am digging in the backyard, I might be moving earth around as in the ground or as in soil.
So, what does the expression ‘down-to-earth’ mean? And you’ll often hear this as a compound adjective, as in, someone is ‘down-to-earth’, or Pete is a ‘down-to-earth’ person, right? It could be an adjective in front of a noun as well.
So, if you are down-to-earth or if someone is down-to-earth, it can mean a few different things, although, they’re sort of similar, okay? Practical, reasonable, and friendly, if you’re a down-to-earth person. It could be also that you are practical and directly deal with people so you don’t sort of beat around the bush, right? You’re very straightforward. You’re down-to-earth. But, it can also mean someone who’s very easy to talk to, right? So, they’re not up in the clouds, their head’s not in the clouds, they’re down-to-earth, they’re easy to talk to.
So, let’s go through three examples of how I would use the expression to be ‘down-to-earth’, right? If someone’s ‘down-to-earth’, alright.
Example number one: imagine that you are a foreign student and you have arrived in Australia from somewhere overseas. You’re studying English, you’ve organised your school, you have organised your accommodation, but you need to find a job, right? So, you have asked your friends maybe at the school that you’re learning English at, where can I apply for a job? How do I apply? What do I need to do for my CV, my résumé? And then you get that all sorted, you print out a few copies of your résumé and you head down to a local coffee shop or a cafe where your friends have suggested that you could submit your resume or your CV and apply for a job. So, you do that, you go down there, and you find out the people there are really down-to-earth. So, you get along with them really well, you get along like a house on fire, and they decide that they will give you the job. So, lo and behold, you get the job, you really had a good time with them. They were really down-to-earth, you got hired and the rest is history. The people you talk to were really down-to-earth. They were very easy to talk to, very practical, very reasonable, very friendly.
Example number two: so, you are going to a party where you know that there are going to be loads of rich people, but you’re just an average Joe, right? You’re just an average middle-class, white-collar, or even blue-collar worker. So, you’re worried everyone at the party is going to be really pretentious, really pompous, stuck up and, quite frankly, unpleasant to be around because that’s your opinion. That is the stereotype of rich people, right? So, you show up in your modest car. Maybe it’s a Holden Commodore or Ford Falcon. You get out and you see Ferraris everywhere, Lamborghinis, Mercedes, BMWs, Audis, everywhere around you. The party’s in this huge house, a mansion with butlers, waiters, servants, gardeners running around at the guests’ beck and call the whole time. The grounds of the house are huge, massive lawns, fountains, statues, and you go in. Everything’s really extravagant. Everything is really gourmet food wise and everything is very luxurious. However, when you start chatting to people, you realise that despite these people being loaded, despite them having a lot of money, many of the guests are actually incredibly down-to-earth people. They are really down-to-earth, meaning that you can have great conversations with them. They’re very practical, they’re very direct, they’re very friendly. They just seem like normal down-to-earth people, right? So, the idea here being that you thought that they were going to be stuck up with their heads up in the clouds, you know, on a different level from you, but it turns out they were down-to-earth with their feet firmly placed on the ground, they were very well-grounded.
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Example number three: Imagine you’re a young lady. You’ve gone out on a date with a boy, you’ve hit it off, you’ve done really well, you decide you’re going to be in a relationship, and you want to take him home to meet the family, but you’re worried that your dad he has high expectations and he’s very judgmental when it comes to boys who want to date you, right? For your romantic partners. So, you’re worried about his high standards and how this boy that you’re seeing is going to perform. So, you take him over and when your dad meets your boyfriend, he quickly realises that he is a great kid, he’s a great guy, he’s got a good head on his shoulders, his head isn’t in the clouds. He’s very practical, direct, easy to talk to. Everyone gets along like crazy at dinner and when he leaves your father might talk to you and say, well done, he seems like a great guy. He seems like a very down-to-earth guy. I approve. Your boyfriend is very down-to-earth. He is an awesome guy.
Awesome, guys! well I hope you now understand the expression to be ‘down-to-earth’. This can be to be a practical, reasonable or friendly person. It can be that when you deal with people you do so in a very direct and practical manner and it can also mean that you’re very easy to talk to so, you’re very realistic when you talk to people.
So, as usual, let’s go through the listen and repeat exercise now, guys, where you guys can practice your pronunciation. So, listen and repeat after me, guys. If you’re working on your Aussie English accent, obviously, try and mimic my accent as much as possible as I have a general Australian accent. If you are working on a different accent just go with that, practice that accent. Let’s go!
To be down
To be down to
To be down-to-earth x 5
Good job, guys, good job! So now we’re going to go conjugate through the sentence. ‘I used to be down-to-earth’. ‘You used to be down-to-earth’. So, we’ll be using ‘used to’. And remember, if you ‘used to’ and ‘do something’, ‘be something’, whatever it is, it means that that thing used to happen previously quite a lot in the past, right, but it’s no longer happening. For example, I used to go to high school, I used to like surfing, I used to have a lot of friends, I used to live in Melbourne. It’s something that happened in the past, but no longer happens today, okay? So, let’s go!
I used to be down-to-earth.
You used to be down-to-earth.
He used to be down-to-earth.
She used to be down-to-earth.
We used to be down-to-earth.
They used to be down-to-earth.
It used to be down-to-earth.
Good job, guys! Remember, if you would like to go through this pronunciation exercise in more detail where I take you through step by step all the aspects of pronunciation, I talk about intonation and rhythm, things like that in a video make sure that you go to theaussieenglishclassroom.com. Sign up and you will get access to two days of video for this course that will go with this expression episode, as well as all of the previous courses and you can complete them in your own time, anywhere you like, online in the Classroom.
Anyway, guys, let’s get into the Aussie English fact for today and then we will finish up. Alright, so today’s expression was about Earth as in the ground. Therefore, I was thinking for the Aussie English fact maybe we could talk about mining in Australia, because mining is a relatively big deal in Australia.
So, mining in Australia is a significant primary industry and contributor to the Australian economy. I’m sure if you are here already, you’ve probably seen it on the news as they, the politicians, are always talking about mining.
Numerous different kinds of ores and minerals are mined across the continent and, historically, mining booms have encouraged immigration to Australia.
In the early days of Australia, when the colonies were being developed, mining contributed a significant amount to preventing potential bankruptcy of these early colonies so they were making a lot of money from mining.
Copper and silver were discovered in South Australia around the 1940s, which led to the export of the ore and a great deal of immigration of skilled miners and smelters into Australia.
The first economic minerals in Australia were silver and lead, and that started in 1841 in a mine at Glen Osmund in Adelaide, South Australia. The value of these mines though was soon overshadowed by the discovery of copper at places like Kapunda, Burra, and the Copper Triangle, they are three towns called Moonta, Kadina and Wallaroo. These are all indigenous names, I take it, and this was located at the top of the York Peninsula.
About 10 years later in 1851, gold was found in New South Wales and Victoria and the Australian gold rushes took off. The influx of wealth that the gold brought soon made Victoria Australia’s richest colony by far, and Melbourne, the largest city on the island.
By the middle of the 1850, 40% of the world’s gold was dug out of Australian soils.
Today, mining activity occurs in all states and territories across Australia, but only an estimated 0.02% of Australia’s land surface has directly been impacted by mining. That was actually a lot less than I had expected.
So, major active mines in Australia include the Olympic Dam, in South Australia. This is a copper, silver, and uranium mine believed to have the world’s largest uranium resource. And the Super Pit gold mine, which has replaced a number of underground mines near Kalgoorlie in WA, Western Australia.
So, which minerals and ores has Australia primarily mined? We mine iron ore and we’re the second largest supplier after China, supplying about almost a billion metric tons of iron ore every year, and that is 25% of the world’s output.
We mine nickel, 9% of the world’s output, aluminium that’s almost 30% of the world’s output, number one we are for aluminium. We mine copper, we mine gold, we mine silver, and we mine uranium. Those are the biggest ores and minerals that we mine in Australia. But we also mine diamonds, opals, zinc, coal, oil shale, petroleum, natural gas, silica, and other rare elements as well.
Despite the value of mining in Australia and the revenue that it generates for the Australian Government and obviously the Australian people, many people would like to see an end to mining in Australia, especially, for certain minerals and ores others such as coal, which is a relatively contentious mineral or that is dug up from the ground and burnt in order to create electricity, but it is relatively inefficient and it contributes heavily to climate change. That said, mining is arguably the backbone of the Australian economy and it will likely remain a big part of Australia into the future for better or worse.
So, I hope you enjoyed today’s episode, guys. I hope you have a great weekend and I’ll chat to you soon.
See you later!
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