Fun Easy English Classroom January 25


Introduction to
American English

Today in the Fun Easy English classroom you are going to learn about American English idioms.
Hey if you cannot understand something on this page,
then use the Fun Easy English dictionary (opens in a new window)
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Idioms: Introduction

Knowing the idioms used in American movies, television, and popular music is very cool. You will be able to understand native American English.
American English idiom definition

An idiom is an expression whose meaning does not seem to follow logically from the combination of the meaning of its parts and the "rules of language."

Idioms are often classified as figures of speech.

Idioms are used extensively in American TV, movies, music, literature, and in conversations among native English speakers.
American English idiom example

"hang in there"

She plans to "hang in there" even though she is taking eight classes this semester.

The meaning of this idiom is to "continue despite difficulties."

The words "hang in there" have completely different meanings when separated.

hang - To fasten from above with no support from below.

in - Within the limits, bounds, or area of.

there - At or in that place.
Video: Idioms Introduction
From YOUR Teacher: Using Idioms

Studying idioms is important in order to understand American TV, movies, music, literature, and conversations among native English speakers. International students who are studying English should not use idioms too often in their daily conversations with native American English speakers. Idioms are generally an unsophisticated form of expression and can sound very strange if overused and especially if used incorrectly.
Additional Lessons
About These Lessons

The following classroom lessons are great for students who want additional conversation, listening, and reading practice.
  • Conversation Lesson - Beginner Level. Let's Learn English conversation lesson with a conversation video, a video script, audio listening practice, video speaking practice, video pronunciation practice, a new words section, and a writing activity.
Conversation Lesson 25 - Watch Out!
(Beginner - Conversation, Listening, Reading)

In this lesson Anna learns about a new game, "Catch Americana." She walks around the memorials to U.S. Presidents and learns fun facts by playing the game.
Lesson Video

Watch the video and then do the activities on this page.
Video Script

Anna: Hello from Washington, DC! This city has many monuments and memorials.
Anna: Today I am visiting the ones built in memory of our Presidents: Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Roosevelt.
Anna: I want to learn more about them.
Anna: Hey! Watch out!
Dan: Sorry! I didn't see you.
Anna: You were not looking. You should be more careful.
Dan: I know I should be more careful. But this game is really fun.
Anna: What kind of game?
Dan: You have to find things that aren't really there.
Anna: How can you find things that aren’t really there?
Dan: They're in your phone. See?
Anna: I see. It’s like a scavenger hunt.
Dan: That’s right!
Anna: I don’t have time for games. I want to learn about U.S. presidents.
Dan: Then you should play this game! When you find an American symbol, you win points and a Fun Fact about a U.S. President.
Anna: I have time for this game!
Dan: Here are the symbols that I caught: the Statue of Liberty for 20 points, Uncle Sam for 40 points and the American flag for 60 points.
Anna: What symbol are you looking for now?
Dan: I am looking for the bald eagle. That is 100 points! It should be near the Washington Monument.
Anna: This game is awesome.
Dan: You ought to buy the app right now. It’s called “Catch Americana.”
Anna: Got it. Catch Americana.
Anna: Thanks! Good luck!
Dan: Good luck to you too!
Anna: This is the Jefferson Memorial. I know that Thomas Jefferson signed the Declaration of Independence! Now, where is that symbol?
Anna: Here it is! My first one. It’s an American flag! I won 60 points!
Anna: An American flag works well for Thomas Jefferson*. I see lots of American flags on Independence Day!
Anna: Where is my Jefferson Fun Fact?
Voice: In his lifetime, Thomas Jefferson wrote about 19,000 letters!
Anna: I did not know that. Where is the next symbol?

Now practice listening to only the audio portion of the conversation.

In this video, you can practice saying the new words and learn how to make recommendations using "should."

This video teaches about past tense contractions, like "didn't."
New Words
  • Americana - n. things produced in the U.S. and thought to be typical of the U.S. or its culture
  • bald eagle - n. a very large bird of North America that has a white head and white tail feathers
  • build / built - v. to make (something) by putting together parts or materials
  • be careful! - interjection an instruction to take care in a particular situation
  • catch / caught - v. to capture and not allow (a person, animal, or fish) to escape
  • Declaration of Independence - n. the statement adopted by the Second Continental Congress meeting at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on July 4, 1776. It said that the thirteen American colonies would not accept British rule
  • find / found - v. to get or discover something or someone that you are looking for
  • flag - n. a piece of cloth with a special design that is used as a symbol of a nation or group
  • Independence Day - n. July 4 celebrated as a legal holiday in the U.S. in honor of the day when the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776
  • memory - n. the power or process of remembering what has been learned
  • in memory of or in someone's memory - made or done to honor someone who has died
  • ought to - modal verb. used to say or suggest that something is the proper, reasonable, or best thing to do. It has the same meaning as should and is used in the same ways, but it is less common and somewhat more formal
  • point - n. a unit that is used to score a game or contest
  • scavenger hunt - n. a game in which players try to find specified items within a particular period of time
  • should - v. used to say or suggest that something is the proper, reasonable, or best thing to do
  • Statue of Liberty - n. A large sculpture given to the United States from the people of France. It is a symbol of freedom and democracy
  • symbol - n. an action, object, event, etc., that expresses or represents a particular idea or quality
  • Uncle Sam - n. a common symbol of the government of the United States
  • Watch out! - phrasal verb. to be aware of something dangerous

In this lesson, Anna learns about a new video game. What games do you like to play? Write about the video games or other games you like. Write about it in the Facebook Comments section below. Use the Activity Sheet to play a game that helps you practice talking about games, sports, and leisure activities. Click lesson activity to get the printable PDF version. The page opens to a new window.
Conversation Lessons

Study all 52 English conversation lessons. Let's Learn English conversation lessons each with a conversation video, a video script, audio listening practice, video speaking practice, video pronunciation practice, a new words section, and a writing activity. These lessons are for beginners.
Source: Voice of America
Additional Information
Study Tips
(Beginner - Listening)

Avoid Ineffective Study Methods. An audio lesson to help you study English more effectively. The English is spoken at 75% of normal speed. Great English study tips.
Click here to visit the lesson page with the written script for this audio program.