In this episode from Perfect English Podcast, you will learn some English idioms about having problems. Listen to the podcast first and then take the quiz to check your understanding of what you learn in the podcast.

Perfect English Podcast – Episode 66 – Idioms – Having Problems Audio

Perfect English Podcast – Episode 66 – English Idioms – Having Problems Quiz

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Choose the word that completes the idiom.

Taxes are, unfortunately, _______.

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Choose the word that completes the idiom.

The police explored a number of leads, but each time they came up against a brick _____.

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Choose the word that completes the idiom.

So now we are all going to have to ______.

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I hoped I'd find the address I needed in the library, but I drew a ____.

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Choose the word that completes the idiom.

Not having enough savings to set up a business was a major stumbling _____.

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Choose the word that completes the idiom.

Easier ________.

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Choose the word that completes the idiom.

I'm clutching ______ now.

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You'd better stop talking or you'll dig yourself into a deeper _____.

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I put my _____ it.

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Choose the word that completes the idiom.

Stranded on the island with no money and no luggage, we were well aware that we were in dire ______.

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Choose the word that completes the idiom.

I wish I could leave my job, but they've got me over a _____.

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Choose the word that completes the idiom.

If you take on any more work, you'll be spreading yourself too _____.

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English Idioms - Having Problems Quiz
English Idioms - Having Problems Quiz

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Episode Transcript

0:04
Welcome to a new episode from perfect English podcast. Today we’re going to learn some idioms that we can use to talk about having problems, or to express different kinds of problems we might have. Before we start, let me tell you that I have left a link in the episode description that will take you to a quiz you can take after listening to this episode to check your understanding of the idioms we’re going to talk about. But now without further ado, let’s get to it. And let’s start talking about these idioms we can use to express our situation when we have problems. Now, the first idiom we’re going to talk about is come up against a brick wall. So it is come up against a brick wall. We say I’ve come up against a brick wall. And what does that mean? That means something is blocked. me from doing what I want to do. For example, we can say I was tired I had been working real hard for a long time and I felt that I’d come up against a brick wall. I arrived at a situation in which something is stopping me from doing what I want and preventing me from making any progress. That is the meaning of come up against a brick wall. Now of course we don’t say it split like that. We say come up against a brick wall, we say it connected. And now let’s move to the next idiom. And that is put my foot in it. You need to know that we can say put my foot put his foot, put your foot, my is variable, you can change it if you want. But the idea is put your my etc foot in it and this idiom is used to talk about something you say that is tactical And embarrassing if someone puts their foot in it or puts their foot in their mouth, they accidentally do or say something which embarrassing or offends people. For example, our chairman has really put his foot in it. Poor man, though he doesn’t know it. He said something embarrassing, and usually it’s not intentional. So sometimes it happens. You put your foot in it, you say things, you do things that embarrass you or embarrass other people. You do that unintentionally, but it happens. So that is the second EDM we learned today, put your foot in it or put my foot in it. And now let’s move to the third EDM of the day and that is in dire straits when I say I’m in dire straits. Now that ADM is mostly British and to be in dire straits means to be in a position of acute difficulty of A lot of difficulty, a very difficult and sometimes dangerous situation. For example, the company’s closure has left many small business owners in desperate financial straits. Or we can say, if we had a child, we’d be in really dire straits. So as you noticed, we can say Dire Straits or desperate straits as well. So the idiom again, I’m in dire straits, or I’m in desperate straits, and that means in a very difficult or even dangerous situation. And now to the next idiom, I’ve dug myself into a hole, I’ve dug myself into a hole to dig yourself into a hole. Now when I say I’ve dug myself into a hole, that means I have myself caused the problem that will be difficult to escape from. Sometimes we even use it only in a hole. We say I’m in a hole and if you say that you are in a hole, you mean that you are in a difficult or embarrassing situation. For example, He admitted that the government was in a dreadful hole or simply in a hole. Okay, so again, I’ve dug myself into a hole means that I have myself caused a problem that will be difficult to escape from. And now let’s move to the next idiom. I’ve spread myself too thin, I’ve spread myself too thin. What does that mean? If you spread yourself too thin, you try to do a lot of different things at the same time with the result that you cannot do any of them properly. And that happens to a lot of us all the time. We try to do too much in the limited time we have and we end up doing nothing or we do all of these things, but not properly not as properly as we want them to be.

4:58
For example, that company grew too fast and spread itself too thin across too many diverse areas. So that can happen to companies as well. It’s not for individuals only. So remember, when I say I’ve spread myself too thin, that means I’m trying to do too many things at the same time with the result that I can’t give any of them the attention they need, and I can’t achieve proper results with any of them. And now let’s move to the next ADM. I’ve been left holding the baby. What does it mean? I’ve been left holding the baby. Now if you are left holding the baby, you are put in a situation where you are responsible for something often in an unfair way because other people fail or refuse to take responsibility for it. For example, you go off around the world and leave me to hold the baby that could be a wife telling her husband About the responsibilities, he leaves her while he travels all over the world doing business or doing whatever. But the idea is that is unfair, we use left holding the baby to talk about the situation when other people do not accept responsibility and they leave it all up to you. And it is not fair because it shouldn’t be your own responsibility. And now let’s move to the next idiom. And that is over a barrel over a barrel, we can use it like they’ve got me over a barrel, and if we say they’ve got me over a barrel, it means that they have put me in a situation where I have no choice over what I can do. They leave me powerless, I can do anything about it because I don’t have the power to change or choose. So that is they’ve got me over a barrel and now for the next EDM and that is a stumbling block. You can say for example, I’ve come up with a gainst a stumbling block what is a stumbling block mean? a stumbling block is a problem which stops you from achieving something. For example, we say his lack of speed is a major stumbling block to a premier ship return. So remember, I’ve come up against a stumbling block, and that is a problem which stops me from achieving something. And now for the next idiom, and that is clutching at straws, or what does it mean to clutch at straws? If you clutch at straws, you rely on ideas, hopes or methods which are unlikely to be successful because you are desperate and cannot think of anything else to try. For example, this extraordinary speech was made by a man clutching at straws to gain much desired publicity. So if you say I’m clutching at straws Now that means I am in such a difficult situation that I will try anything because I am desperate. I need a solution. I may try anything. And now for the next idiom I’ve drawn a blank What is the meaning of draw a blank? Now when you draw a blank, you’re simply unsuccessful in an attempt to do something to find information to achieve something that you hope for, but you are unable to do it. You are unsuccessful, you draw a blank. For example, we can say I searched among the bottles and under the behind the inside everything I could think of and draw a blank. What does that mean? I was not able to find what I wanted to find. I was unsuccessful. And now for the next EDM face the music. Now if you face the music, you put yourself in a position where you will be criticized or punished for something you haven’t Done. So here we’re talking about something you deserve. It is a problem, obviously. But it is a problem that you deserve. Not like when we say left holding the baby, you are left with responsibility for something in an unfair way. When you face the music, it is fair because you accept criticism or punishment for what you have done. For example, we can say sooner or later, I’m going to have to face the music. I know what I’ve done. And I know that someday I will be punished for it or at least criticized for it. So I’m saying I have to face the music. And now

9:39
we have two more idioms to go. The first one is fact of life. For example, we say taxes are unfortunately a fact of life. What does that mean a fact of life. That means an unpleasant situation which has to be accepted because it cannot be changed. You say That something which is not pleasant is a fact of life when there is nothing you can do to change it, so you must accept it. Another example we can say stress is a fact of life from time to time for all of us. This is something we cannot escape, it will happen to us from time to time, hopefully not most of the time, but it is a fact of life, it will happen, but pay attention a fact of life must not be confused with a phrase the facts of life, which is slightly in direct or humorous way of referring to information about sexual reproduction. So pay attention. Don’t use it in this way. It means something completely different. Our ATM again is a fact of life taxes are a fact of life. Stress is a fact of life. Remember, don’t say the facts of life. Okay. And now for the last idiom for today. And that is easier said than done. If you say that something is easier said than done, you are emphasizing that although it sounds like a good idea, in theory, you think it would be difficult to actually do it. For example, avoiding mosquito bites is easier said than done. So yeah, it’s easy to talk about it and think about it. And in theory, it should be possible. But in reality, if you are in a place with a lot of mosquitoes, you will be bitten, it’s not easy to avoid it. Another example, one person says to another, why don’t you take the train to work, then you would avoid all the traffic jams. And the person responds, easier said than done. There are no trains at the right time. So here easier said than done. Again, talks about something you say when something seems like a good idea, but it’s difficult to actually do. So these were all the idioms I wanted to share with you that express the idea of having problems. We talked about different idioms that mean different kinds of problems you might have in your everyday life are very useful. They’re common, they are used. They’re not those idioms that nobody uses. Or they’re very regional where they’re used in only one place and not the other. And now before I leave, don’t forget to take the quiz and check your understanding of the idioms we talked about today. This is your host, Danny saying thank you very much for listening to another episode from perfect English podcast. I will see you tomorrow in a new episode. Thank you very much.

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