A2 Basic UK 109 Folder Collection
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Hello, I'm Gill at engVid, and today's lesson is on some idioms, sayings, expressions which
come from sports - ball sports, sports played in a field or by a team, that kind of sport,
So, let's have a look here.
First of all, this is an appropriate one for the beginning of the lesson, because it says,
"Let's get the ball rolling.", and that's what people say when they want to make a start
with something.
So, in any sport, of course, you have to get the ball rolling, but in a metaphorical way,
in other contexts, if you want to get a meeting started, or a lesson started, or anything,
you say "Let's get the ball rolling.", meaning rolling along the ground, okay?
So, that could be any sport with any type of ball, okay?
Next one also mentions a ball, and it says, "Keep your eye on the ball.".
So in sport, of course, you have to look at the ball.
You have to focus, so it's about focus.
If you're playing football, for example, you need to see where the ball is, it's very important,
but in other contexts, metaphorically, in your work, for example, you have to keep your
eye on the ball - don't lose focus, so you don't want to lose focus by not looking at
the ball, so it's used in that metaphorical sense as well.
Just keep - keep your mind on what you're doing and don't let yourself be distracted
by anything else, okay?
Next one, so, goalposts are mentioned here, so that refers to any kind of sport where
there is a goal, that kind of goal in football, maybe that kind of goal in rugby, different
types of goals, and this is a bit like in ice hockey as well, as a goal, where you try
to score a goal by getting the ball into the goal.
But, if you say to somebody "You're moving the goalposts", you can't do that in sports.
Usually, well, always, the goal stays where it is.
It doesn't move.
It's sort of in the middle of the side at both ends, isn't it?
It's a very particular place, it has to be.
But, if you're having a discussion with somebody and you have different opinions and the other
person starts to argue in a slightly strange way, or they're changing the - changing the
focus of your argument, you could say to them "Now, you're moving the goalposts!" and it's
supposed to be a criticism, because it's somebody who is trying to play a trick, really, by
moving the goalposts so that they can win their argument and you lose your side of the
So, you have to try not to move the goalposts unless, well, if you like to argue that way
and you do move the goalposts, then that's your choice, but that's what it means, okay?
Next one, this is another playing field, either a football field, rugby field, cricket maybe,
but usually when there's a goal at both sides because if you say "We need a level playing
field" it means level.
If you have a sloping field, that's going to be an advantage to one side.
If you kick a ball down a sloping field, you can get to the goal much more quickly.
If the other team are having to kick the ball up a slope, that's making it very difficult
for them.
So, if someone says, "We need a level playing field.", in a metaphorical context, it's about
equality, really.
It's about equality and fairness.
To be fair to people, to give them an equal - not one person having an advantage over
another person, but make sure everybody's equal, so a level playing field.
Okay, next one, if someone is out of his league, the league is usually in football for example,
you have different leagues where people are at different standards, so the league is a
kind of standard, okay?
So, there's the league at the top, all the top teams are at the first division, it's
called in UK football the first division, and then you have the second division who
aren't quite so good, subdivision and so on.
So, if you're out of your league, in a football sense, you're in a team, maybe you're not
such a good player, but you're in a team of really good players, and then you aren't good
enough really to be in that top team, so you're out of your league.
So, if he's out of his league in that team, he's not really up to the standard of the
other players.
But, in everyday life, this is used sometimes, if someone isn't at the same high standard
as their colleagues, or sometimes if someone has a girlfriend or boyfriend who comes from
a different class, or they have a higher standard of education or there's something that makes
them a little bit unequal, you can say "That person's out of his league", or "Oh, she's
out of her league with that boyfriend", you know, that sort of thing.
So, if you're out of your league with somebody, it's not a very nice thing for anyone to say.
It may not be true, it's just opinion, really, so, okay, that's that one.
So, this one here, this comes from tennis.
So, if you've seen a tennis match, the two players are hitting the ball across the net
to each other, or four players if it's a doubles tennis match.
So, the court is a tennis court.
So, you've got the tennis court here, this is seeing it from above, and the net goes
across about this height, I think, and then they have to hit the ball over the net with
tennis rackets like that - a little bit like that.
That's not a very good drawing, sorry.
But this is the tennis court.
Each player is there hitting the ball across back and forward to each other, so if the
ball is in your court, the ball has come over to you, you have to try to return it.
If you don't, you lose the point and the other person wins the point and eventually you will
lose the whole game, or the match and the other person wins.
So, if "The ball is in your court.", metaphorically, it means it's for you now to do something.
You have to respond to someone, you have to answer a question, or you've been given the
opportunity to do something, you've now got to do it.
So, the ball is in your court.
The action is for you to take now.
It's your turn, okay?
So, this one, "I'm getting into the swing.", or sometimes "the swing of it", the swing
of doing something is when you're getting used to doing something.
You've been practicing for awhile and you're beginning to feel more confident doing it,
and this can either come from tennis, where the swing is like this with the racket when
you hit the ball, or it could come from golf, where you have a golf club and you swing like
that and hit the ball with the golf club, that's a swing as well.
So, to get into the swing means you've practiced it often enough to feel confident in what
you're doing.
So, if you're doing - if you've started a new job and you've been there for about a
month, say, and you're just beginning to find your way around and getting to know the system
and everything, and your boss might say to you "How are you getting on?
You've been here a month now, is everything okay?" you might say "Oh yes, I think I'm
getting into the swing of it now.
I'm getting used to it.", feeling more confident and learning how to do the job, okay?
Then, next one, "She's not feeling up to par.".
"Par" is a golfing term.
It's to do with a kind of standard of - to do with how many times a good golfer has to
hit the ball to get it into all the holes if it's an 18-hole golf course, what is their
sort of standard, how many hits do they have to make, on average, to get the ball into
the hole 18 times?
So, that's "par".
So, if she's not feeling to par, it means you can also say she's feeling below par,
you can say "below par" as well.
"She's feeling below par.", which means not at her usual standard, and feeling suggests
health and she's' not feeling very well, or she's catching a cold or something.
So, someone might phone up and say "I'm sorry, I can't come into work today, I'm really not
feeling well.
I'm not feeling up to par.", or "I'm feeling below par, I think I'm catching a cold or
the flu.", so it's to do with a level of ability, really.
And your normal standard of ability, you may feel below it sometimes.
Okay, and then finally, we have "par" again, which as I say comes from golf.
"It's par for the course."
The course is a golf course where you play golf, it's called a golf course, all the big
open green space of grass and everything else, sand pits and things and lakes where the ball
can go into the water.
Ah, things can go wrong!
Trees at the side where you can lose a ball, not a good idea.
Anyway, if you say, "It's par for the course.", that means that's normal, that's normal.
Again, the "par" here is the player's kind of normal standard, average standard of ability,
so if you say its par for the course, in a metaphorical way, it means, oh well, we're
used to that, that's normal.
In the job I do, the kind of job you do, you expect that kind of thing to happen.
Sometimes it sort of suggests that something has gone wrong and you say "Oh, don't worry,
it's par for the course, I'm used to that sort of thing going wrong."
You know, we're used to it, we know how to put it right, it's par for the course.
It's completely normal, it's happening all the time.
So, I hope that's a useful run-through of some idioms from ball sports, and hopefully
perhaps some vocabulary, some new vocabulary you've learned today as well.
So, if you'd like to go to the website www.engvid.com , there's a quiz there to test you on your
knowledge of the subject here, and thank you very much for watching, and see you again
Bye for now.
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Learn 9 English idioms from ball sports: out of your league, up to par, get into the swing...

109 Folder Collection
Flora Hu published on February 23, 2020
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