Birthday: age, balloon, candle, ribbon


Idiom Explanation Example
ripe old age very old, usually used to talk about a long healthy life My grandfather lived to the ripe old age of 95.
act one’s age behave in an suitable way for your age Act your age Sally! That’s something my little brother would do.
come of age become an adult I feel so old now that my youngest daughter has come of age.

Candle Idioms

Idiom Explanation Example
burn the candle at both ends be exhausted usualy because of working extremely hard from the early morning until late at night Nadine looks terrible because she has been burning the candle at both ends. She needs a holiday.
can’t hold a candle to somebody be almost as good as somebody else at something No one can hold a candle to Mariah Carey. She is simply the best singer of all time.

Birthday Idioms

Idiom Explanation Example
in one’s birthday suit humorous, not wear any clothes When I’m home alone, I often walk around in my birthday suit.
go down like a lead balloon humorous, something you say or show is not well received The joke about steotypes went down like a lead balloon.
be my guest giving permission/ of course —Can I sit here?
—Be my guest!
tear something to ribbons damage or destroy something by cutting or tearing it The naughty dog has torn my favourite dress to ribbons.
display incorrect answers

Exercises C1

Choose the correct word to complete the sentences.

age – birthday – candle

  1. The others were good at drawing, but nobody could hold a   to Leo. He was by far the best.
  2. My mother says we have good genes and we’re all sure to live to a ripe old  .
  3. At the cricket match, a man ran onto the pitch in his   suit.

Choose the correct idiom.

  1. After he broke up with me, I was so angry I went home and …
  2. —You look terrible.
    —Yeah I know. We have exams next week and I’ve been up all weekend.
    —You should go home and get some rest. Don’t…
  3. The presentation was terrible, nobody liked my ideas.
  4. My father is so embarrassing. He’s always telling jokes and playing pranks on people. He behaves like a child and sometimes I wish he would just …
  5. —Can I borrow this pen?
    —Sure, …
  6. When Marty turned 18, colour TV had just been invented. He …

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