3 Ways To Use “Give Me A Break” – English Idiom Lesson & Mp3

happy-english-give-me-a-break-idiom

As an idiom in English, the phrase give me a break has three different meanings and uses. For today’s English lesson, let’s have a look at this common and very useful idiom. By the way, the pronunciation is Gimme a break! Check the audio file below.

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First of all, we use give me a break to mean “I don’t believe you!” or “That can’t be true!” When someone says something that sounds unbelievable or untrue, you can say, Give me a break! Here are a few examples:

  • Bob: I heard that someone jumped off the Empire State Building with a parachute.
  • Joe: Give me a break! The security in that building is too tight for such a stunt.
  • Ted: Joe said that he saw Johnny Depp at the diner on 6th Ave.
  • Jen: Give me a break! I doubt any movie star would eat at that crappy diner.

We also use Give me a break! when someone is bothering us. In this case it means, “Stop bothering me, please!” or “Ok, that’s enough!”

  • Jack: Are you finished yet? I want to watch TV?
  • Jane: Jack! Give me a break! I told you I am studying for an important exam. Go watch TV at your friends house.
  • Dan: Isn’t dinner ready yet? I’m so hungry!
  • Serena: Oh, give me a break! It’s not easy to cook popovers.

Lastly, we use Give me a break! when someone is scolding us or reprimanding us for something. Here, the meaning is “Don’t be so harsh!” or “Please be more lenient with me.”

  • Boss: You know you’ve been late twice this week.
  • Worker: Can you give me a break? My daughter caught the flu and I’ve needed more time to care for her in the morning.
  • Policeman: Miss, you were driving too fast on that street.
  • Danielle: I’m sorry officer. Please give me a break! I am going to a job interview and if I am late, I’ll never get the job.

If you know anyone who has trouble with this English language point, why not help them out! Just share this lesson with them. Thanks for studying today!

 

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How To Ask & Answer “Do You Mind”

How To Ask & Answer “Do You Mind1”

A lot of English learners tell me that they have trouble with the question, “Do you mind….” It’s a bit of a complicated question to ask and answer, partly because of the meaning of the word mind. As a verb, mind means to be bothered or to be upset by something. Look at this sentence:

  • I mind people smoking in a restaurant.

It means, I am bothered by or upset by people smoking in a restaurant. For today’s English lesson, I am going to show you the two ways we use Do you mind…, a very common question in English conversation.

Asking someone to do something for you
First of all, you can use Do you mind + VerbING (gerund) when you want to ask someone to do something for you. In this case, Do you mind means Do you have any problem… (or) Does it bother you to…

  • Do you mind closing the window?
  • Do you mind helping me with my homework?
  • Do you mind smoking somewhere else?

Asking permission
On the other hand, when you want to do the action, or you want a third person to do the action, you can do it this way:

  • Do you mind me closing the window?
  • Do you mind Jack helping me with my homework?
  • Do you mind us leaving the party early tonight.

You can also use Do you mind if + sentence.

  • Do you mind if I sit here?
  • Do you mind if I close the window?
  • Do you mind if I smoke here?

Note that we generally do not say “Do you mind you…” or “Do you mind if you…” For example, these sentences is not natural:

  • Do you mind you smoking somewhere else?
  • Do you mind if you smoke somewhere else?

So how do you answer these questions? Remember that Do you mind means Do you have any problem, so how you answer depends on the situation.

Situation #1. Someone asks if they can sit at your table and you think it is not a problem. You are OK if they sit at the same table. You can answer like this:

  • Question: Do you mind if I sit here?
  • Answer: No, I don’t mind. Please have a seat. (or) No, I don’t mind. (or) No, go ahead.

In general, when someone asks Do you mind and you do not mind, the usual answer is “No, I don’t mind” or “No, go ahead.” Here are some more examples:

  • Question: Do you mind if I open the window?
  • Answer: No, not at all. Please do so.
  • Question: Do you mind if I turn on the TV?
  • Answer: No, go ahead.
  • Question: Do you mind if I leave work early today?
  • Answer: No, not at all.

Situation #2. Someone asks if they can sit at your table, but you think it is a problem. You are not OK if they sit at the same table. You can answer like this:

  • Question: Do you mind if I sit here?
  • Answer: I’m sorry, this seat is taken. (or) I’m sorry, I’m waiting for someone.

So, when someone asks Do you mind and you do mind, the usual answer is “I’m sorry, but…” and then say the reason why it is a problem. Here are some more examples:

  • Question: Do you mind if I open the window?
  • Answer: I’m sorry. I feel cold, so please don’t
  • Question: Do you mind if I turn on the TV?
  • Answer: I’m sorry. I’m studying right now.
  • Question: Do you mind if I leave work early today?
  • Answer: I’m sorry. We’re too busy today.

If you know anyone who has trouble with this English language point, why not help them out! Just share this lesson with them. Thanks for studying today!

 

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When Do We Use “I Were” Instead Of “I Was”

I was home all day yesterday and heard a lot of noise coming from my neighbor’s house. It seems like they are having some work done there. If I were them, I would ask the carpenter to not make noise on a Sunday. I wish I were braver, because if I were, I would have gone over there and yelled at them!

For today’s free English Lesson, I’m going to show you some special cases when we use “I were” instead of the usual “I was.”. Have a look at the paragraph above once more and then check the lesson.

I am sure you know how to form and use the past tense of the “be” verb. We use was for singular subjects, and were for plural subjects, like this:

  • I was at home all day yesterday. ←Singular subject
  • The pen was on the table. ←Singular subject
  • We were at home all day yesterday. ←Plural subject
  • The pens were on the table. ←Plural subject

However, there are two basic exceptions to this rule. The first is after “if” in a conditional sentence. After “if”, we use were:

  • If I were taller, I would be a better basketball player. Not, If I was taller….
  • If Jack were here, he could fix the computer for us. Not, If Jack was here….
  • If I were you, I would quit that job and get a better one.

As well, we use were after “wish”:

  • I wish I were taller.
  • I wish Jack were here to fix the computer.
  • I wish I were good at sports!

Well, I hope you found this lesson helpful. How about writing a few sentences using If I were or If I was in the comment box below? I’ll review them for you!

If you know anyone who has trouble with this English language point, why not help them out! Just share this lesson with them. Thanks for studying today!

 



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