22 June 2009

Video Lesson / Humor Spot: Looking Cool Driving a Minivan

The Guy's ManualA very funny video that contains some great idiomatic expressions. Other great funny videos can be found at the before mentioned link.

pointing finger 01 I recommend that you go through the vocabulary and expressions first before watching the video. If you enjoyed this video and/or you have questions, don’t hesitate to leave a comment at the end of the post.

1. a ride – This term is used for your vehicle or other mode of transportation. For example if you just bought the fastest and coolest sports car, you might ask your friends, “What do you think of my new ride?”

2. to have an edge – This expression is used to say that something has a strange quality that makes it interesting. Imagine a new cd comes out by your favorite singer and you find there is something about that is better than his previous cd, you might say, “There is an edge to this album that wasn’t there in the last one.”

In the video, the presenter states that the ride has all the edge of cottage cheese. In other words, there’s nothing esthetically interesting about a minivan! You can replace ‘cottage cheese’ with any other word or expression you like. For example, I might say just for fun, “That TV film had all the edge of watching paint dry.” In other words, it was uninteresting and boring.

3. the fast lane – If you live or travel in the fast lane, you have a wealthy, stylish and fast lifestyle. This would be like the fast and furious lifestyle of a Hollywood star always on the go, always going to parties and always travelling. The term comes from the lane of traffic on a highway used for those cars driving at higher speeds and need to go around slower moving traffic.

4. a nugget – You’ll recognize the term from McDonalds. A nugget also means a small piece of information or advice that can be useful, helpful or important. In the video you heard the presenter say “a nugget of wisdom.” You can also say a “a nugget of advice,” “a nugget of truth,” etc..

5. to hang in (on) there – This informal expression is used to express endurance, to continue doing something with determination in spite of difficulty or obstacles.

6. to mean business – This is an excellent and very common, informal expression to use when you seriously intend to do what you say you will do. You say this when you are very serious about something. “I don’t think he was joking this time, I think he really meant business when he said he’ll quit if doesn’t get a raise.”

7. tasteful – Showing good judgment about what is attractive or suitable

8. dashboard – This is the part of the car where you find your speedometer and other instruments such as your radio, CD player and cigarette lighter.

9. street cred – This is an urban slang expression indicating that you have respect on the streets, you know your environment and that you are just very cool! Cred is short for credibility.

10. a tip – A useful suggestion.

11. in-van entertainment – Here the presenter is referring to the music and nowadays the DVD players that can be found in our vehicles!

12. to go a long way towards doing something – If you say something goes a long way towards doing something, you want to say that it helps to achieve something. In the video, the DVD players go a long way to keeping the children quiet in the back of the van.

13. to richly deserve – This is a great expression to mean completely. “He gave them the credit that they so richly deserved.”

14. carpool lane – In many large cities throughout the United States you have a special lane reserved on the highway uniquely for those who carpool. To carpool is when two or more people, usually work colleagues, get together and use the same car to get to work. In some cities, such as Atlanta, the carpool lane is also known as the HOV lane (or high occupancy vehicle lane). If you are caught in this lane and you are alone in your car, you will be ticketed by the police. The act of sharing a car is called carpooling and those who practice this are simply called carpoolers.

15. (just) the tip of the iceberg – This wonderful expression is used to say a small or minor problem could in fact be the result of a more serious or deeper problem which we don’t see or of which we are not aware. Now, in the context of the video, the presenter used it to say that he knows a lot of things but the tips and advice he gave about looking cool in a minivan are just a small part of his knowledge. He knows a lot more about a lot of other things, however his iceberg is melting he jokes!

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