Welcome to American English Idioms: Lesson 7. In this lesson you have 3 American English idioms to read, listen to, translate, and pronounce in English. Please focus and do your best so that you can learn and improve your knowledge of American English idioms. Don’t forget to use the comments section below to share your thoughts and what you’ve learned today.
Directions 1: Watch the video 2 or more times, and pay close attention to the audio and text.
Directions 2: Read the following text in English, then translate it using the translator on this page into your language if needed. When you finish, feel free to write a comment in the comments section below and let us know how you feel about what you’ve learned, as well as what you’ve learned.
AX TO GRIND – a hidden reason for wanting something or for not liking someone or something
1. Don’t listen to Claudia when she tells you how bad that teacher is. She has had an ax to grind since he failed her last year.
2. Why do you keep telling me not to buy anything from that store? Do you really think they sell bad products, or do you have some kind of an ax to grind?
BACK TO SQUARE ONE, GO – return to the beginning
1. The editor didn’t like the article I wrote for the newspaper. She told me to redo it, so I guess I’ll have to go back to square one.
2. The builders constructed a building that didn’t meet the city’s requirements. Now they’ll have to tear it down and begin building again. They’re back to square one.
Synonyms: start from scratch
Compare to: back to the drawing board
Whereas back to the drawing board is used for the idea of re-planning or redesigning, back to square one can apply to starting any activity over. The expression originates from the idea of a game board on which square one is the square where the game begins.
BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD, GO – return to the planning stage of a project
1. Our plan to raise money for a new swimming pool didn’t work. Now we’re back to the drawing board and trying to think of a better plan.
2. The idea of buying computers for the public schools through the lottery failed. The city leaders had to go back to the drawing board to think of another way to come up with the money.
Compare to: back to square one The expression originates from the idea that plans and designs are developed on a drawing board.