Teaching Colloquial English : Fruit and Vegetable Idioms

Here's another in our Language Snippets series. These activities focus on idiomatic English and can be used as fillers with more advanced classes. They focus on expressions referring to different types of fruit and vegetables, and you might start with a warm-up to revise as many types as possible. You could : ask students to write down all the types of fruit and vegetables they have eaten in the last week; ask them in pairs to try and think of one type of fruit or vegetable for every letter of the alphabet; or take in pictures of as many types as you can and see how many they can name. After that, use the first activity below, which is intended as presentation of the idioms. The second activity can be used for consolidation a few lessons later to see if students have remembered the expressions.

Presentation activity

Read the examples – each contains an idiom (indicated in italics). What do you think it means ? Complete each explanation by choosing one of the following adjectives :

lively / wrong / perfect / embarrassed / angry / identical / calm / expert

1. Janet and her mother are as alike as two peas in a pod. It’s incredible – they’re completely …………………………
2. David is the apple of his mother’s eye. She’s convinced he’s ……………………………..
3. The project was very successful at first, but then it all went pear-shaped. Everything went completely ……………………..
4. Paul went red as a beetroot when he realised that I’d overheard what he said. He was so ………………………….
5. When the fire broke out everybody panicked. Except Jane. She stayed as cool as a cucumber throughout. She phoned the fire brigade, got everyone out of the building – she stayed completely ………………….
6. If you want to know about the pros and cons of nuclear energy, ask Linda. She really knows her onions. It’s a field which she’s ………………… in.
7. They’re nice kids, but they’re so full of beans it gets a bit tiring. They’re so ……………………
8. Brian went bananas when he found out his son had crashed the car. I’ve never seen him so …………….

Consolidation activity

1. If you are very calm you are as cool as ..... a) a melon b) a cucumber b) an onion
2. If you get embarrassed, you go red as a ........ a) beetroot b) tomato c) radish
3. If you are very knowledgeable about a certain subject, you know your ....... a) potatoes b) asparagus c) onions
4. If children are very energetic, you say they are full of ....... a) beans b) peppers c) carrots
5. If someone thinks you’re wonderful, you are the ........ of their eye. a) peach b) strawberry c) apple
6. If something goes badly wrong, it all goes .........-shaped a) cabbage b) pear c) plum
7. If you get really angry, you go ..... a) bananas b) raspberries b) avocados
8. If you look very similar to another person, the two of you are as alike as two ........ in a pod. a) cauliflowers b) lentils c) peas

Acknowledgement

Photo provided under Creative Commons Licence by t-mix via
flickr

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