287. VOCAB BATTLE!!! WITH AMBER & PAUL (exciting title)

aka “Vocabulary Game with Amber & Paul” or “Fifteen Fixed Expressions” (less exciting titles)

Learn more English expressions in this episode by listening to another vocabulary game with Amber Minogue and Paul Taylor.

The series of episodes featuring ‘fixed expressions’ and vocabulary games continues in this episode. The previous ones, entitled “Ten Fixed Expressions” (283) and “Ten More Fixed Expressions” (285) featured me testing Paul’s knowledge of multi-word expressions in English. He did better in the second episode than the first, although maybe that’s because of the way I explained the expressions rather than because of Paul’s lack of vocabulary. Nevertheless, the wider aim of these episodes is to teach you, my listeners, some vocabulary in the form of multi-word expressions.

What is a ‘fixed expression’?
Essentially, a fixed expression (according to me) is a vocabulary item comprising of a few words that always go together. That includes idioms, sayings, phrasal verbs, well-known quotes and collocations. All these things are lexical items which are included in the catch-all title of ‘fixed expressions’. The words are fixed together. They’re not just individual words combined, but they are discrete items of vocabulary in their own right.

So, fixed expressions are essentially ‘lexical chunks’. They’re not types of shelf unit or ikea furniture or anything like that. They’re just phrases in English. That should be clear.

I realise that the more I explain, the more confusing it is, so I’ll stop explaining now and we can start playing the game.

Let’s Play the Game
This time Amber is involved.
All three of us have short lists of five expressions.
We’re going to do three rounds of this game.
Round 1: Amber vs Paul (Luke is the Question Master)
Round 2: Paul vs Luke (Amber is the Question Master)
Round 3: Luke vs Amber (Paul is the Question Master)

Rules of the Game
The Question Master defines an expression without using the words in the expression.
The QM can also give little hints if necessary.
The two competitors race to guess the expression.
A point is awarded to the one who guesses the question right. If both competitors guess the expression at the same time, they both get a point.
Listeners can try to guess the expressions too. Did you guess them? Did you beat us?
If you don’t know the expression, listen carefully because we will explain, repeat and give examples.

So, it’s a fun game and a learning opportunity too, in one Great British package.

The Expressions in the Game
Here you’ll find lists of the fixed expressions in this episode. Listen to the episode to get the full definitions and examples, or search for the definitions online.

Luke’s Expressions
1. to be hard up
2. to be in the loop / to stay in the loop / to keep someone in the loop
3. “been there, done that, got the t-shirt”
4. to bend over backwards (for someone) (to do something)
5. to give someone the benefit of the doubt

Amber’s Expressions
1. to get your foot in the door
2. to show your true colours
3. over my dead body
4. in mint condition
5. to bite the bullet

Paul’s Expressions – Theme: Body Parts
1. to have two left feet
2. to be/fall head over heels in love with someone
3. (to do something) by the skin of your teeth
4. (give it some) elbow grease / (put some) elbow grease (into it)
5. to put your foot in your mouth

There are plenty of other expressions in this episode, so if you notice any other good ones please add them in the comments section below.


p.s. I’m going on my honeymoon in a couple of days so there will be no new episodes for a couple of weeks, but LEP will be back :)

  • Catherine Bear

    Hello, Luke, Amber, Hugo and Paul!

    Well done everybody! I’ve enjoyed every minute of your battle! Congrats, Amber and Hugo, you are the ultimate winners! :)

    Hope to listen to you soon in another battling episode. There are so many naughty fixed expressions out there, you know. And we want to learn them all in a funny way here in the Luke’s English podcast. ;-)

    Thanks and take care everybody,

  • Hannah

    Hi Luke! it’s my first time leaving comment, and I fall in love with all of you episode since october. I should find it earlier! I also introduce it to my friends

    I want to learn British accent, which is very elegant for me, since Im a girl, I would like to imitate the accent of Amber. Do you know where can I find a short talk by Amber?

    Im just wanting you to know how good is you podcast, and I would like to hear it more, I hope u wont stop it after u become a father haha.
    Anyway, happy new year! I hope u very well:)

    Listener from Taiwan

  • Ania

    I am sure l had mentioned it below other Amber’s & Paul’s episode… But it is worth of repeating: they are amazing! You three are a really great team! I am never tired of listening to the beautiful Amber’s voice and her lovely accent!

  • ptholome/Antonio

    Hi, happy group, Luke, Amber and Paul, and the baby!

    Listening again this podcast I want to write about what you say when politicians show their true colours.

    From my point of view, that is not really true. DSK behaviour was known by his fellow comrades in the Parti. But he was their best card to win the next French elections, so they preferred to shut up or lie to people. About Tony Blair, people refuse to understand that politicians, when they are elected, have to govern for the whole country and not for his voters. What matters really is if people have a job or not. That’s the main thing. Of course, the health, the education also, but first a job for everyone.

    To reach the Power, all politicians sell dreams, knowing that they are only dreams, but voters didn’t learn from the past. People prefer to believe to their newspapers, which are selling the politicians’ ideas they are supporting, instead to learn from the history.

    Most Politicians are naked, but their voters refuse to see it until it is too late or even never for certain of them.

    Well, I know it is not good to speak about politic though I think this only about the sentence: they show their true colours.

    It is always a pleasure to listen to your podcast because we notice something new each time we do it.

    I am looking forward seeing both of you in a short Periscope.

    Only some minutes, of course.

    See you

  • Zhenya

    Luke, this episode is a brilliant example of the preciousness of your podcast. To me the best part in it is when you& your guests mention their attitude toward an event/person/realia/phrase etc. When Paul mentions that he hates corporate language, when you confess that you also don’t always understand lyrics, when you all talking about Tony Blair and tell your thoughts about him etc. – these extracts are diamonds to me. Immidiately it shows me the similarity with us and at the same time gives insight into the world of real UK people, not the ‘official textbook version’ of people. I am not sure if I managed to articulate what I meant but I hope you understood )). Thank you a hundred times over for what you are doing and hearty greetings to all your guests.

  • Ksenia

    It’s an amazing episode! There are so many expressions that I never even heard of. Great!

  • julien

    i really appreciated this episode, this couldn’t be more authentic with the baby noises on background. Plus the dramatic situations:
    “is luke gonna loose the fixed expression battle in his own show?”
    “Is paul gonna score at all?” ( lol) yeah it was great, ,you, amber, and paul are great!!!
    thanks to the three of you!