Speak English Like an American » LESSON 18 - Everyone Bakes Cookies

Everyone Bakes Cookies

Bob tells his family the cookies are selling well. He asks his kids to help bake more cookies for tomorrow. Nicole says she's too busy to lend a hand.

Bob: The cookies are selling like hotcakes!

Ted: Way to go, Dad!

Bob: I need you kids to help out tonight with the cookies. We need another thousand by morning.

Nicole: One thousand by tomorrow morning? That's impossible!

Ted: Amber and I will lend a hand. She's a real night owl, so she won't mind staying up late.

Bob: Nicole, we'll need your help too.

Nicole: Bake cookies the night before the elections? Nothing doing!

Ted: Lighten up, big shot! You're running for high school president, not President of the United States.

Nicole: Ted, you really get on my nerves sometimes.

Bob: Okay, kids, let's stop fooling around. We need to get the show on the road!

  • big shot
    a powerful or important person
    EXAMPLE 1: Martin has become a real big shot in Hollywood. This year he produced several movies.
    EXAMPLE 2: Adam is a big shot in Silicon Valley. He started a very successful software company.

    NOTE: This expression can also be used in the negative sense, to mean somebody who thinks they're very important. Example: Now that she's been promoted to vice president, Beth thinks she's such a big shot!

  • (to) fool around
    to waste time, or spend it in a silly way
    EXAMPLE 1: If we keep fooling around here, we'll be late to the restaurant!
    EXAMPLE 2: Stop fooling around! You've got lots of work to do.

    NOTE: This expression also can mean to have casual sexual relations. Example: Steve and Tanya were fooling around in the back seat of the car when a policeman knocked on the window.

  • (to) get on one's nerves
    to annoy or irritate someone
    EXAMPLE 1: My neighbor's dog barks all night. It really gets on my nerves.
    EXAMPLE 2: Please stop whistling. It's getting on my nerves!

    SYNONYMS: to get under someone's skin; to bug someone [slang]

  • (to) get the show on the road
    to start working; to begin an undertaking
    EXAMPLE 1: We can't afford to waste any more time — let's get the show on the road!
    EXAMPLE 2: Kids, let's get the show on the road. We don't want to be late for the movie!
  • (to) help out
    to give assistance; to help
    EXAMPLE 1: Amber offered to help out in the kitchen by chopping nuts.
    EXAMPLE 2: I'd be happy to help out by baking cookies for the picnic.

    SYNONYM: to lend a hand

  • (to) lend a hand
    to help
    EXAMPLE 1: When Amber saw Susan washing the cookie sheets, she offered to lend a hand.
    EXAMPLE 2: Would you mind lending a hand in the garden? We need to finish planting these flowers before it starts raining.
  • (to) lighten up
    to stop taking things so seriously
    EXAMPLE 1: Lighten up! I'm sure Ted was only joking when he said your guitar playing gave him a headache.
    EXAMPLE 2: Don always takes his job so seriously. He needs to lighten up.

    SYNONYMS: chill out [slang]; take it easy

  • night owl
    a person who enjoys being active late at night
    EXAMPLE 1: Sara goes to sleep every night at 3 a.m. She's a real night owl.
    EXAMPLE 2: I never go to bed before midnight. I'm a night owl.
  • Nothing doing!
    Not a chance!
    EXAMPLE 1: You want me to buy the Golden Gate Bridge from you for a million bucks? Nothing doing!
    EXAMPLE 2: You want me to write your paper on Catherine the Great? Nothing doing!

    SYNONYMS: No way! Not on your life!

  • (to) sell like hotcakes
    to sell fast; to be a popular item
    EXAMPLE 1:  Those new Fubu blue jeans are selling like hotcakes. All the girls love them.
    EXAMPLE 2: Stephen King's new novel is selling like hotcakes.
  • (to) stay up
    not to go to bed; to stay awake
    EXAMPLE 1: Ted and Amber stayed up all night talking about cookies.
    EXAMPLE 2: Whenever I stay up late, I regret it the next morning.
  • Way to go!
    Good work!
    EXAMPLE 1: You won $2,000 in the poetry writing contest? Way to go!
    EXAMPLE 2: That was an interesting article you wrote. Way to go!
Practice The Idioms

Fill in the blank with the appropriate word:

  1. I was really proud of my friend for winning an Olympic medal. "Way to _____ !" I told her.
    • a) do
    • b) succeed
    • c) go
  2. Amber loves to cook, so she never minds lending _____ in the kitchen.
    • a) herself
    • b) a hand
    • c) her hands
  3. Vanessa is definitely not a night _____. She likes to be in bed by nine o'clock every night.
    • a) bird
    • b) hawk
    • c) owl
  4. After Mr. Digby was elected president of the company, he thought he was a real _____ shot.
    • a) big
    • b) huge
    • c) large
  5. You're taking everything too seriously. You need to lighten _____.
    • a) above
    • b) up
    • c) down
  6. Let's go! We're already late. Let's get the show on the _____.
    • a) street
    • b) way
    • c) road
  7. When people near me whisper during a movie, it really _____ on my nerves.
    • a) gets
    • b) acts
    • c) scratches
  8. Nicole's teacher asked her to help a new exchange student from Argentina with her English homework. Nicole was happy to help _____.
    • a) around
    • b) out
    • c) in

Choose the best substitute for the phrase or sentence in bold:

  1. You want me to drive you all the way to Toronto during this snowstorm? Nothing doing!
    • a) Great idea!
    • b) No problem!
    • c) Not a chance!
  2. Len and Ben, college roommates, stayed up until 3 a.m. talking and drinking beer. No wonder they didn't wake up until noon the next day!
    • a) didn't go to bed
    • b) went to bed
    • c) didn't eat dinner
  3. Michael used to work the late shift at McDonald's — from midnight to 8 a.m. He didn't mind since he's a night owl.
    • a) a wise person
    • b) a person who goes to sleep early
    • c) a person who likes to stay up late
  4. The man behind me on the bus wouldn't stop whistling. It really got on my nerves!
    • a) entertained me
    • b) annoyed me
    • c) relaxed me
  5. Our plane leaves in just two hours. If we don't get the show on the road, we're going to miss it.
    • a) go into the street
    • b) get ready to go
    • c) call the airline
  6. You want to attend Yale University? Call my friend Penny. She's a real big shot on the admissions committee.
    • a) a powerful person
    • b) a big mouth
    • c) a useless person
  7. Ted was fooling around with his friends when he should've been studying for his chemistry test.
    • a) acting like a fool
    • b) putting time to good use
    • c) wasting time
  8. You got a big promotion at work? Way to go!
    • a) Too bad!
    • b) Good job!
    • c) Sorry to hear that!
Answer Key
Practice The Idioms
  1. c
  2. b
  3. c
  4. a
  5. b
  6. c
  7. a
  8. b
Bonus Practice
  1. c
  2. a
  3. c
  4. b
  5. b
  6. a
  7. c
  8. b
Answer Key
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