Catch Word #160 – To know the ropes

Do you know your stuff? If not, you’re going to want to listen to this episode! Today’s program is all about experts and how to describe them. Join Harp and Andrew as they share many useful expressions that will come in handy when talking about skilled and smart people!

Expressions included in the Learning Materials:ESL Podcast

  • An oldie but a goodie
  • To come in handy
  • Bibimbap
  • To know something inside out
  • To give someone a hand
  • A heads-up
  • To know the ropes
  • To be on its last legs
  • To know your stuff
  • Whoa
  • To know something from back to front
  • Forest Gump
  • To chill out
  • A know-it-all
  • The Simpsons
  • To hook someone up (with something)
  • Seinfeld
  • To give someone a ring

Informal Contractions in this Episode

Informal contractions are unofficial short forms of other words, and they’re usually only used in casual conversation. For example, when a native English speaker talks casually, they might say gonna instead of going to, or whaddya instead of what do you. Even though informal contractions are usually only used in spoken English, we include them in the Culips written transcripts to help you get used to how they’re used and what they sound like.

These are the informal contractions used in today’s episode, along with their meanings:

  • ’cause: because
  • gonna: going to
  • gotta: got to
  • kinda: kind of


Harp:              Hello everyone. This is Harp.

Andrew:         And I am Andrew and we are back with another Culips episode.

Harp:              Yes. Make sure you check out the website,, that’s C?U?L?I?P?, because that’s where you can find all our older episodes and also it’s the place where you can sign up and become a member.

Andrew:         Yes. And I recommend that you become a member because it will really help you with your English studies.

Harp:              Yes. Because when you’re a member you get access to the learning materials, which include a complete transcript, detailed explanations, and even a quiz for each episode.

Andrew:         Each episode. That is amazing.

Harp:              And like I said, we have a lot of old episodes, and while they’re old, they’re really fantastic.

Andrew:         Yup. They’re still good. Oldies but goodies.

Harp:              Exactly.

Andrew:         So, Harp, what’s new?

Harp:              Well, you know, I’m really craving Korean food.

Andrew:         Really? I crave Korean food all the time.

Harp:              Me too! It’s the best food. I love it so much. I really want to go eat some. Do you know any good restaurants?

Andrew:         There is a restaurant, actually, right down by the university. You should check it out. It’s called GaNaDaRa, which I think in Korean translates to, like, ABCD.

Harp:              Oh, interesting. OK, I’ll write that down and check it out, ’cause I need to eat some Korean food.

Andrew:         Yeah. You should go there for sure. It is great. They have just, like… Get the dumplings. The dumplings are good.

Harp:              Yeah? Do they have bibimbap?

Andrew:         Bibimbap? Yeah, of course. Yeah, it’s good.

Harp:              Nice! OK. So I think we should get started with today. We’re doing a Catch Word episode for you all.

Andrew:         That is correct. A Catch Word episode is where we talk about three different expressions that are all related and we tell you what these expressions mean and how you can use them in natural conversation.

Harp:              Yes. And today our expressions are all related to knowing something really well.

Andrew:         Mmhmm. If you are an expert in something, in doing something, then these expressions will come in very handy.

Harp:              Yes. So let’s get started with the first expression.

Andrew:         Sure. So our first expression is to know something inside out.

Harp:              Yes. To know something inside out.

Andrew:         Mmhmm. So if you know something completely, if you know it very well, then you know it inside out.

Harp:              And this expression makes sense. If you know something inside out, that means you know all the inside of it, you know the outside of it, you know everything about it.

Andrew:         Mmhmm. So you know the correct way to do something, or you know all the details and all the information about a certain subject.

Harp:              Yup. You’re an expert in this subject, whatever it is.

Andrew:         Exactly. And I think we use this expression a lot when we talk about business.

Harp:              Yes. That’s true. When you’re an expert in something, maybe you’re really knowledgeable about the stock market, you know it inside out.

Andrew:         Exactly.

Harp:              You know, I don’t like to say this about myself, though, because I feel like I’m always learning more, so I don’t think I know anything inside out, to tell you the truth.

Andrew:         It would be a little bit rude or arrogant if you described yourself as knowing something inside out. If I said, “I know everything about Canadian history. I know it inside out,” it kind of sounds like you’re bragging. I think you want to use this expression when you talk about other people.

Harp:              Yeah. If you said to me, “I know Canadian history inside out,” I would start challenging you right away, ’cause I think you… ’Cause I think you’d be bragging.

Andrew:         That is right. So maybe this is a word of warning that we can say to you, is to be careful when you’re using this expression. It is best used to praise somebody else and describe somebody else’s talents, and I would personally not use this expression to talk about myself.

Harp:              Very good point. I think we should start with an example.

Andrew:         Yup. Let’s do it. So we’ll give an example for to know something inside out.

Harp:              All right.

Harp:              You know, George, I’m just fed up.

Andrew:         Why?

Harp:              Well, I have to file my taxes by Monday and they’re just giving me a headache. I’m trying to use this online software. I don’t understand it. I don’t know which forms to fill out. I just hate tax season. It gives me a headache.

Andrew:         You should come over sometime and I will give you a hand.

Harp:              Oh. I totally forgot that you know taxes inside out. You were an accountant before, weren’t you?

Andrew:         Yeah. Actually, I used to be an accountant. I went to school for it and it’s really no problem at all. I can help you out.

Harp:              So, what are you doing Saturday afternoon?

Andrew:         I guess I am helping you with your taxes.

Harp:              Nice!

Harp:              So in this example, we had two friends talking about taxes and how one friend was having a really hard time with it. She found it really complicated. And the other friend was an expert. He knew taxes inside out.

Andrew:         Mmhmm. He used to be an accountant. He went to school for accounting. So he knew how to do taxes inside out.

Harp:              Yup. He was an expert at doing tax returns.

Andrew:         That is right. That is a good friend to have.

Harp:              A very good friend to have.

Andrew:         I think we should give one more example with this expression.

Harp:              OK.

Andrew:         Hey, I just wanted to give you a heads-up that my son is not gonna be able to make it to the soccer game this weekend.

Harp:              Oh no. Why not?

Andrew:         He’s just super busy this weekend. He’s got a lot of homework. He’s got a big project on Greek mythology and he won’t be able to make it.

Harp:              Oh. That’s not very fun. I think, though, that he should go the library and ask Anne the librarian, ’cause my son had to do the same project last year and she is an expert. She knows Greek mythology inside out.

Andrew:         Oh really? Anne. OK. I will pass that information on. That sounds great.

Harp:              Yeah. She works at the reference desk so you can find her there.

Andrew:         Thanks for the tip. That’s awesome.

Harp:              Hopefully he can make it to the soccer game.

Andrew:         Yeah. I hope so too.

Andrew:         In this example, we heard from two parents who were talking about a homework project that their kids have to do. And one parent brought up Anne, a reference librarian who is an expert on the subject of Greek mythology. She knows Greek mythology inside out.

Harp:              Yup. Which means she knows all about Greek mythology. She knows all the different gods. She knows all the different stories. She’s an expert. She knows it inside out.

Andrew:         That is right. So if you need help on this topic, go see Anne.

Harp:              Exactly. Go find Anne at your library.

Andrew:         All right, let’s move on to our second expression.

Harp:              Yes. Our second expression is to know the ropes.

Andrew:         To know the ropes. And this expressions means that you know how to do a job or an activity very well.

Harp:              Yes. It’s to understand how to do something, to know how to do it really well.

Andrew:         Mmhmm. So when you know the ropes, you know how to do something very, very well.

Harp:              Yup. And, actually, there’re, kind of, two different possible origins for the expression. It could be from sailing, where sailors needed to know how to work the ropes in order to do the sails and they needed to know the ropes really well. They needed to be experts or else they would be stuck in the middle of the ocean.

Andrew:         Yeah. You can imagine that a sailor would need to know which ropes to pull in order to move the sail in the correct direction to catch the wind and propel the boat forward.

Harp:              Yeah. And another possible theory about the origin of this is it could also be from theatre, where the ropes were used to raise the scenery, like, the pieces of scenery on the stage. So you needed to know which rope lifted what which piece of scenery. So you needed to know it really well.

Andrew:         Mmhmm. So we will talk more about these possible origins in the learning materials. But those are two theories that people have suggested are the origin of this expression.

Harp:              Yes. So, to know the ropes. Let’s give some examples with this expression.

Andrew:         Sounds good.

Harp:              Tony, do you know any good mechanics? My car… I think it’s on its last legs. It’s making a lot of funny noises and I could barely get it started this morning.

Andrew:         Hmm. Really? Well, yeah, you know what? I do know a good mechanic. I can give you his number if you’d like. He really knows the ropes and he can just probably fix your car really easily.

Harp:              I hope so, ’cause I don’t want to replace it yet. It’s not that old.

Andrew:         Yeah. Well go down, let him take a look. Like I said, he knows his stuff, so you should be good.

Harp:              So he’s an expert? You trust him?

Andrew:         Yeah. He’s also been very honest with me and reasonable, too. So, yeah, give him a try.

Harp:              Perfect. Thanks.

Andrew:         No problem.

Harp:              So in this example, we had two friends talking about a car and the need for a mechanic. And Tony recommended a mechanic who really knows the ropes. He really knows cars and should be able to fix it.

Andrew:         And that is the type of person that you want fixing your car, somebody who knows the ropes, somebody who is an expert.

Harp:              Yeah. Definitely. You don’t want someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing.

Andrew:         That is why I should never fix cars.

Harp:              That’s why I will never fix cars.

Andrew:         Yeah. All right. So let’s move on to our second example.

Harp:              OK.

Andrew:         I am really excited for my trip. I’m leaving next week. I can’t believe it. I’m going to Istanbul. I’ve always wanted to do this and finally the day has arrived. I’m leaving.

Harp:              Wow. That’s so exciting.

Andrew:         I gotta admit, though, I am a little bit nervous. You know, the culture is very different over there and I’ve never really been away from home before.

Harp:              Why don’t you call my friend Nick? He knows the ropes. He lived in Istanbul for almost 5 years.

Andrew:         Really?

Harp:              Yeah. He knows the culture. He was explaining to me all these different things. He knows the food. I’m sure he knows all the best places to go.

Andrew:         Whoa. Do you think he would mind if I gave him a call?

Harp:              Not at all. Here’s his number.

Andrew:         OK. Well I’ll call Nick and see what he has to say. Thanks a lot.

Harp:              No problem.

Andrew:         In that last example, we heard about a person who is going to be travelling to Istanbul, and he was a little bit nervous about the experiences that he will be having over there. So he talked to his friend and she recommended that he talks to Nick, because Nick knows all about Istanbul. He lived there for 5 years and he really knows the ropes. He knows the city inside out, you could say.

Harp:              Yup. He knows all the things to do and not to do, and things to bring with you, and he knows everything that you would need to know to go visit Istanbul.

Andrew:         That is right.

Harp:              Yes. Let’s move onto our last expression, which is…

Andrew:         To know something from back to front.

Harp:              Yes. To know something from back to front.

Andrew:         And if you know something from back to front, that means you have a very detailed and complete understanding of that thing.

Harp:              Yes. You know something really well.

Andrew:         So to me, when I think of this expression, I think of reading a book. And I just read the book all the way though and so when I finish the last page, I’m at the back, and that means that I now know this book from the back of the book to the front. I know the whole thing.

Harp:              Yes. Exactly. That’s a very good image to think about for this expression.

Andrew:         I don’t know if that is the true origin, but that is what I think about in my mind when I hear this one.

Harp:              It’s a good way to think about it to remember it. To know something from back to front, which means that you know it really well. You have a lot of knowledge about whatever it is.

Andrew:         Exactly. So I think we are ready to jump into some usage examples.

Harp:              I think you’re right.

Andrew:         OK. Let’s do it.

Harp:              I’m really sorry to bother you, but I just needed to escape.

Andrew:         Really? What’s up?

Harp:              Oh. Robert is quoting Forrest Gump again and again and again. He’s so annoying.

Andrew:         Oh no. Not again! He loves that movie.

Harp:              Yeah. He knows it from back to front, and I think he knows every single line in it. It’s like he wrote the film. He knows every single line.

Andrew:         Yeah. He really needs to get a life. I don’t know why he keeps quoting that movie. It came out 15 years ago.

Harp:              And he gets into character when he’s giving the lines. Ugh. It’s so annoying when he gets started.

Andrew:         OK. Well just chill out here for a bit and when he leaves then you can go back to work.

Harp:              OK. Thanks.

Andrew:         Yeah.

Harp:              So in this example, we had two colleagues talking about Robert. And Robert was a colleague of theirs, and he knew the lines of Forrest Gump, the movie, from back to front, which means he’s an expert on the movie. He knows all of the lines and he’s always quoting them.

Andrew:         And I think we all know somebody like this, or we have met somebody like this; somebody who just keeps talking about one thing, and especially quotes one movie.

Harp:              Yup. And they’re a know?it?all and they know everything about it. And it can get a little bit annoying sometimes.

Andrew:         Especially with the TV show The Simpsons. I don’t know. I have never watched The Simpsons, really, but some of my friends just are always, always, always quoting The Simpsons. And they know it back to front.

Harp:              For me, it’s Seinfeld. All my friends are obsessed with Seinfeld and I don’t know anything about it. And they’re always quoting it. They know it back to front.

Andrew:         It’s just one of those things that some people know really, really well.

Harp:              Yup. OK. Let’s give one more example with this expression.

Harp:              You know, I’m so excited that I got the transfer to work in our Portland office, but I’m really nervous about finding a place to live and finding my way around the city.

Andrew:         Oh. Just talk to John. He’ll hook you up. He knows the city back to front.

Harp:              Oh, you think? That’s a good idea. He’s really nice, too. You think he wouldn’t mind helping me?

Andrew:         Not at all. I’m sure that he’ll be really excited to have a friend move to Portland.

Harp:              It’ll be good, because I don’t know which neighbourhoods are cool so if he knows the city really well, that’s gonna be perfect.

Andrew:         Yeah. He won’t mind it at all. Just give him a ring.

Harp:              Good advice. Thanks!

Andrew:         So this was an example about John, who knows the city of Portland back to front. He is an expert. He knows all the cool things about the city and all the cool places to live, eat, shop, all of that. He knows all about Portland.

Harp:              Yup. And that means he knows it inside out. He is an expert.

Andrew:         One more thing about this expression. You can reverse it and it still makes sense. So you can say that you know something from back to front or from front to back and they both work.

Harp:              Yes, exactly. It’s a reversible expression. OK. So let’s do a quick recap of the expressions that we talked about today. We started with to know something inside out.

Andrew:         That is right. And then our second expression was to know the ropes.

Harp:              And our last expression was to know something from back to front.

Andrew:         And we hope that you now know all of these expressions inside out and from front to back.

Harp:              Exactly. But if you don’t, you can always sign up and become a member and we’ll give you even more explanations when you’re a member.

Andrew:         That is right. So go to and join us today.

Harp:              Yes. That’s it for us. We’ll talk to you soon.

Andrew:         Bye.


Detailed Explanation

An oldie but a goodie

An oldie but a goodie is a fixed expression that refers to something (like a song, joke, TV show, podcast episode, etc.) that is old but is still considered to be great. In this episode, Harp mentions that you can find the full archive of past Culips episodes online. Andrew responds by saying that the older Culips episodes are oldies but goodies. This means that even though the episodes are not new, they are still great learning resources for helping you study English! When something is an oldie but a goodie, it is great, despite its old age.


A related expression is a golden oldie. A golden oldie is a song, movie, or TV show that is old but is still well loved and popular.


Here are a couple more examples with an oldie but a goodie:


Carmen: Hey, I love this song. Turn it up!

Sara: Yeah, me too! It’s a classic.

Carmen: Totally. An oldie but a goodie!


Garth: I watched the movie Gone with the Wind again last night.

Alex: Again? Haven’t you seen it already a million times?

Garth: Yeah, but it’s one of my favourites. An oldie but a goodie.

To come in handy

To come in handy means to be useful. In this episode, Andrew mentions that today’s key expressions will come in handy whenever you need talk about experts. In other words, the key expressions will be useful when you talk about experts sometime in the future.


When something will be useful to you, you can say that it will come in handy. We discussed this expression in a previous Culips episode back in 2012. If you want to learn more about it, do a search for the Culips episode called I’ve got you wrapped around my finger.

And here are a couple more examples with to come in handy:


Jenna: What did you get for your birthday?

Andre: My dad bought me a pocket knife.

Jenna: Oh, that’s kinda cool.

Andre: Yeah. I probably won’t use it much, but it will come in handy if I ever go fishing or camping or something.


Paul: I just signed up for a German course at the community college.

Sylvia: I’m going to lend you my German–English dictionary. It’ll come in handy when you’re taking your class.

Paul: Great! Thanks!


In this episode, Harp says she is craving bibimbap, a Korean meal composed of rice, cooked vegetables, meat, spicy red pepper paste, and an egg. The ingredients are mixed together before you eat it.

To know something inside out

To know something inside out was one of the key expressions discussed in this episode. When you know something inside out, you understand everything about that thing. If you are very familiar with something and have an expert level of knowledge about that thing, then you know it inside out.


Here’s one more example with to know something inside out:


Robin: I’m a little worried that James might be lost. He’s usually on time for everything but he’s 20 minutes late already.

Tyson: There’s no way he’s lost. He knows this city inside out. I’ll give him a call to see what’s holding him up.


To give someone a hand

When you give someone a hand, you help them. In one of the dialogue examples in this episode, a tax expert offers to give a friend a hand doing her taxes. This means he’s going to help her do her taxes.


A hand can be used to mean help. When you think about it, this expression makes sense. When we help people, we usually do so by using our hands in one way or another. If you help someone move a box, then you use your hands to lift the box. If you help someone clean their room, then you use your hands to sweep up with a broom.


There lots of expressions that use the word hand to mean help. Here’s a short list of some of the ones that are most commonly used:

  • To give someone a hand: to help someone
  • To need a hand: to need help
  • Do you want a hand?: Do you want help?
  • I could use a hand: I need help.


And here are a couple more examples with to give someone a hand:


Jerome: Can I help you cook dinner?

Rina: No, I think I have it under control. But if you want, you could give me a hand by setting the table.

Jerome: Sure. No problem.


Frieda: Wow. Remodelling a house is a lot of work. I’m super tired from painting all day.

Tony: If you’d like me to give you a hand, just let me know. I’m happy to help.

Frieda: I could definitely use your help next week. I’ll give you a call this weekend to confirm the details.

Tony: Sounds good!

A heads-up

A heads-up is a slang expression that means a warning or a notification that something will happen. It is often (but not always) followed by the preposition about.

In one of the dialogue examples in this episode, a father tells his son’s soccer coach that his son will be absent from the next game. The father does this by saying he wants to give the coach a heads-up.

The origin of this expression is straightforward. Imagine someone is busy doing an activity and has their all of their attention focused on that activity. If a dangerous situation arises, they need to be warned to move their head up and stop doing that activity so they can avoid the dangerous situation. While originally the expression was used as a warning, it has evolved and can now be used to inform someone of or prepare someone for any situation that might occur in the future.


When you tell someone about something in advance, you give them a heads-up.


Here are a couple more examples with this expression:


Bill: I wanted to give you a heads-up that I won’t be coming to your party on Saturday.

Jeanie: Oh really? That’s too bad.

Bill: Yeah. Sorry about that. I forgot that we already had dinner plans that night.

Jeanie: Don’t worry about it. You’ll be missed though.

Bill: We’ll make it next time, I promise.


Val: How did you do on today’s pop quiz?

Jenny: Awful. I probably failed. I hate pop quizzes.

Val: Me too. The teacher could at least give us a heads-up or something the night before.

Jenny: Yeah. They’re very unfair. How can you do well if you aren’t given time to prepare?

To know the ropes

To know the ropes is another one of the key expressions discussed in this episode. When someone knows the ropes, they know how to do something very, very well.


As Harp and Andrew explain in this episode, this expression has a couple of possible origins. One explanation is that the expression started as a sailing term. If a sailor knows the ropes, then he understands how to use the ropes to navigate a ship.


The other origin story is that to know the ropes was originally a theatre expression. People who worked as production assistants for plays and performances needed to know how to pull the ropes that moved the theatre curtains, sets, and props. So when a stage hand knew the ropes, it meant that they were an expert at moving the stage props around and opening the theatre curtains.


Here’s one more example with the expression to know the ropes:


Sonia: I’m going to take a welding course in September.

Peter: That’s awesome. Do you want to be a welder?

Sonia: Yes, exactly. I’m a taking this course to learn all about welding. Once I know the ropes, I’m going to try to get a job in construction.

Peter: Excellent plan.

To be on its last legs

When something is on its last legs, it is in very bad condition and will stop working or break very soon. In one of the dialogue examples in this episode, a woman asks her friend to recommend a mechanic because her car is on its last legs. If she doesn’t take her car to a mechanic to be fixed soon, it will completely break down and be useless.


This expression was discussed by Harp and Andrew in a previous Culips episode, called Hanging by a thread, so check that one out if you’re interested.


Here are a couple more examples with this expression:


Richard: Hey, I saw you walking to work the other day while I was riding the bus. Don’t you usually ride your bike to work?

Heather: I usually do. But my bike is looking rough these days. I haven’t taken very good care of it and it’s on its last legs.

Richard: Same thing with my bike. That’s why I ride the bus!


Yao: What’s that noise?

Gene: Oh, that’s just my dishwasher.

Yao: Is it supposed to sound like that? It’s so loud.

Gene: It’s just really old and on its last legs. I actually bought a replacement and it should be delivered any day now.

Yao: Nice. If you need any help installing it, just let me know.

Gene: Thanks, yeah. That would be great.

To know your stuff

When you know your stuff, you understand a subject well or you are very good at doing something. For example, doctors know their stuff when it comes to medicine because they have completed lots of training and are experts on medicine and health.


In one of the dialogue examples in this episode, the characters talk about a mechanic who knows his stuff. This means he is a great mechanic. A person who knows their stuff is really good at doing something or knows a lot about a subject.


Here are a couple more examples with to know your stuff:


Clara: It’s hard to understand the news lately. Some of the events that are happening in the Middle East are so complex that it’s hard to know exactly what’s going on.

Yulia: You know what? I heard an interview with a history professor on the radio today and he talked about the history of the region. He really knows his stuff, and I feel like I know a little more about what’s happening in the news these days because after listening to him.

Clara: Oh really? I’ll try and find a podcast of the episode. I’d really like to hear him speak.


Oliver: I’m so glad we came to this concert. Look at the drummer! He’s amazing!

Emilie: No doubt! He sure knows his stuff! He might be the best drummer I’ve ever seen!

Oliver: Yeah, he’s great!


Whoa is an exclamation that can be used when someone wants to communicate that they are surprised or excited. It has the same meaning as wow. Whoa is mostly used by young people, and it is not common to hear an older person say whoa.


In a dialogue example in this episode, a man says whoa to express his excitement when he learns that he will be able to meet someone who can help him plan his trip to Istanbul.

Here’s one more example with whoa:


Lenna: My car was broken into last night.

Max: Whoa, no way! I’m sorry to hear that. Did the thief steal anything?

Lenna: Yeah, my CD player and all my CDs were stolen. Plus my driver’s side window was smashed in.

Max: That’s the worst!

To know something from back to front

When you know a subject extremely well, you know it from back to front. In this episode, Andrew explains this expression by comparing it to a book. When you finish reading a book, you then know the contents of the book all the way through, from the last page at the back of the book to the first page at the front.


However, this expression can be used to talk about knowledge of other subjects too. When you know a lot about a specific subject or topic, then you know it from back to front.


Here’s one more example with this expression:


Alonzo: I’m a little nervous about my piano recital tomorrow.

Stella: Why? I’ve heard you practise. You know your song from back to front. You’ll be fine.

Alonzo: Thanks for your vote of confidence. Playing in front of other people is just stressful.

Stella: Yeah, don’t worry. You’re going to kill it.

Forrest Gump

Forrest Gump is movie starring Tom Hanks. It was released in 1994 and was directed by Robert Zemeckis. The film was extremely popular and won several Oscars at the Academy Awards.


In a dialogue example in this episode, we hear about a man who loves to quote Forrest Gump. In fact, some very popular expressions come from this movie.


Here are some famous lines from the film:

  • “Stupid is as stupid does.”
  • “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”
  • “Run, Forrest! Run!”


To chill out

To chill out is a very casual slang expression that means to relax and unwind. When someone spends time chilling out, they relieve stress by doing something relaxing.


In a dialogue example in this episode, a woman is bothered by someone who keeps quoting Forrest Gump lines. Her coworker suggests that she chills out in his office until the Forrest Gump super-fan goes away. In other words, the coworker suggests that she waits and relaxes in his office until she is sure she won’t be bothered anymore.


We’ve talked about to chill out quite a bit in previous Culips episodes. If you’d like to hear us explain its use further, check out our episode from 2010 called It happened out of the blue.


Here are a couple more examples with this expression:


Austin: What are you doing this weekend?

Nicole: I think I’m just going to stay home and chill out. I’ve had a super stressful week!

Austin: Yeah. I heard the weather is going to be awful, so I think you’ve picked the right time to relax at home.

Nicole: I think so too!


Johanna: How was your vacation?

Archie: It was great.

Johanna: What did you do?

Archie: Most of the time I just chilled out on the beach. It was awesome!

Johanna: That sounds very relaxing!

A know-it-all

Someone who acts like they know everything can be called a know-it-all. Know-it-alls usually make a big effort to make sure that other people know that they know lots of information about a certain subject. A know-it-all brags about what they know, and because of this, they can be annoying sometimes.


In a dialogue example in this episode, there’s a know-it-all who keeps quoting lines from the movie Forrest Gump. Even though this movie is quite old now, the know-it-all keeps showing off by quoting from the movie. By doing so, he frustrates his coworkers.


Whenever someone knows a lot about a certain subject and shows off their knowledge by continually talking about that subject, they can be called a know-it-all.


Here are a couple more examples with this expression:


Lori: Don’t forget that we have dinner plans with Lee and Kevin on Friday evening.

Vince: Can we cancel? I really hate hanging out with Kevin. He is such a know-it-all. He always brags about how much baseball trivia he knows. I couldn’t care less about baseball.

Lori: I know you two really don’t get along, but I think it would be quite rude to cancel. Let’s just get it over with.

Vince: OK, fine.


Irving: Newfoundland only became a Canadian province in, like, 1947 or something.

Lorenzo: Actually, it was in 1949.

Irving: Do you always have to be such a know-it-all? It really gets on my nerves.

Lorenzo: Sorry. You’re the one who brought it up. I was just trying to help.

The Simpsons

The Simpsons is an American animated sitcom that airs on the Fox network every Sunday at 8pm. The show follows the funny adventures of the Simpson family and spoofs many aspects of American culture and society. It is the longest-running sitcom in TV history. The show began in 1989 and new episodes are still aired.


Seinfeld is an American sitcom that aired from 1989 to 1998. The show was set in New York City and followed the lives of the main character (Jerry) and his friends and neighbours. It was very popular and is still referenced often today. Some people consider it to be the best comedy program ever made.

To hook someone up (with something)

To hook someone up with something is a very casual slang expression that means to help someone get something. Usually this expression is used to talk about giving help, information, or a deal or discounted price as a favour. In a dialogue example in this episode, a man promises his friend that John will hook her up when she arrives in Portland. This means that John will give her information about life in Portland.


Whenever someone gets hooked up, it means they are given something by someone.


Here are a couple more examples with this expression:


Avery: Did you have a good time at the game last night?

Jessie: Yeah, it was awesome. Thanks again for hooking us up with the tickets.

Avery: No problem. It was unfortunate that I got called into work last night, but I was happy that the tickets didn’t go to waste and you were able to use them.


Nina: We should go to Jacob’s Steakhouse for dinner tomorrow.

Noah: Oh, very good idea. Remember last time we went there, they hooked us up with free dessert? They offer great customer service. I’d be happy to go there again.

Nina: Sounds good. I’ll make the reservations right now.


To give someone a ring

To give someone a ring means to phone them. This expression is frequently used in the UK, but is a bit less common in Canada and the USA. In a dialogue example in this episode, a man tells his friend to give John a ring. He doesn’t mean that John should be given jewellery; he just wants his friend to call John on the telephone.


Here are a couple more examples with this expression:


Elaine: What time should we meet tomorrow night?

Francis: I’m not exactly sure what my schedule will be like yet. How about I give you a ring once I figure everything out?

Elaine: No problem. Talk to you soon.


Chester: What time does the museum open?

Mary: I can’t remember. Let’s give them a ring and find out.

Chester: OK.



1.What’s a know-it-all?
a) someone who boasts about how much they know
b) someone who is smart but humble
c) someone of average intelligence
d) someone who pretends to know things but doesn’t

2. When you ring someone, what do you do?
a) call them on the telephone
b) send them an email
c) write them a letter
d) give them an engagement ring

3. Which of the following words means the same thing as whoa?
a) hum
b) why
c) wee
d) wow

4. What does to hook someone up mean?
a) to give something to someone
b) to take something from someone
c) to wrap someone up in rope
d) to tow a car

5. To come in handy and to give someone a hand mean exactly the same thing. True or false?
a) true
b) false

6. John: Jerry! I’m surprised to see you here. I thought you were travelling in Europe. Jerry: I came back last week. Sorry I didn’t give you a __________.
Fill in the blank.
a) heads-down
b) heads-here
c) heads-up
d) hands-free

7. Which of the following expressions has a much different meaning than the others?
a) to know your stuff
b) to know something inside out
c) to know better
d) to know something back to front

8. What can we call a classic song?
a) a goodie but an oldie
b) an oldie but a goodie
c) an oldie but a goldie
d) a goldie but an oldie

9. What kind of food does Harp mention she is craving at the start of this episode?
a) Italian
b) Japanese
c) Ethiopian
d) Korean


1.a       2.a       3.d       4.a       5.b       6.c       7.c       8.b       9.d

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