Study English every day--absolutely free!
(more about these lessons and the teacher)

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Jiminy Speak 1


GET READY:

Do you know who the character above is? What movie is he in?

READ THIS:

Have you seen the Walt Disney movie Pinocchio? One of the key characters is Jiminy Cricket, who plays Pinocchio's conscience. The film was made in 1940, and Jiminy speaks like a "hipster," someone who enjoyed listening to jazz and being "cool."

Here are seven of Jiminy's expressions:

a. Pretty as a picture: This is a commonly used simile. I guess it assumes that the picture is "pretty," not ugly.

b. You never saw such a place: Whenever we see something unusual - maybe because it's beautiful, or funny, or just strange, - we can use this expression. It could mean that the thing described is really, really good - or really, really bad. It's good for more than places, too. "My friend just got a dog. You never saw such a mutt!"

c. the most fantastic clocks you ever laid your eyes on: To "lay eyes on" something is to see it; "(most) fantastic" can be changed for any superlative. So "the prettiest face you ever laid your eyes on," "the most exotic place you ever laid your eyes on," etc.

d. This is my idea of comfort: Jiminy says this as he lies down; it indicates strong approval. Any noun can be used at the end, so, at a restaurant: "This is my idea of food"; in a club: "This is my idea of music"; etc.

e. As I live and breathe: A general expression of surprise, it's usually used when you see someone you haven't seen for a while: "As I live and breathe! My old English teacher!" To be honest, the expression is outdated, so it will sound humorous when you use it.

f. Hey, what the...: The "…" indicates that another word might go here. Often, it's an impolite word (a nicer one might be, "What the hell?") But you can just leave the final word off, as Jiminy did, and still get the same effect.

g. Well, I'll be!: Similar to "What the…" this is actually an unfinished expression, and again the last word might be impolite. (A milder one: "I'll be damned.") It could, however, also be a more positive word, and can even be expanded by the use of a noun: "Well, I'll be a monkey's uncle," or "Well, I'll be a ring-tailed cat," etc. The final words can be nonsense and still have the same impact.

NOTES:

Some of Jiminy's expressions might be a little old-fashioned and sound funny, but all of them are still being used today.

PRACTICE:

Use one of the above terms in each of the following sentences. Be sure to use the correct form.

1. I saw a comedy yesterday, and laughed a lot. It was the __________.
2. __________? Who stepped on my foot?!
3. My friends got married yesterday, and it was wonderful. You __________.
4. Bob's office mates have a surprise for him. They jump up and yell "SURPRISE"! and he says, "__________!"
5. Wow! I love your place! This __________.
6. Former classmate: "Hey, Mike." Mike: "Well, my old school buddy! __________!"
7. The beach we went to was __________.

QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION OR WRITING:

1. Have you heard any of these expressions before? How do they sound to you: old-fashioned? normal?
2. Did you notice? The first for expressions above describe something, and are generally very positive; the last three express surprise. What are some other expressions that can be used to describe things positively, and to express surprise?
3. Make up some scenes that end with these expressions, and practice them with a friend.

ANSWERS TO THE PRACTICE:

1 c I saw a comedy film yesterday, and couldn't stop laughing. It was the funniest movie you ever laid your eyes on.
2 f Hey, what the...? Who stepped on my foot?!
3 b My friends got married yesterday, and it was wonderful. You never saw such a wedding.
4 g Bob's office mates have a surprise for him. They jump up and yell "SURPRISE"! and he says, "Well, I'll be!"
5 d Wow! I love your place! This is my idea of a home.
6 e Former classmate: "Hey, Mike." Mike: "Well, my old school buddy! As I live and breathe!"
7 a The beach we went to was (as) pretty as a picture.

This lesson is ©2012 by James Baquet. You may share this work freely. Teachers may use it in the classroom, as long as students are told the source (URL). You may not publish this material or sell it. Please write to me if you have any questions about "fair use."

No comments:

Post a Comment