More Colloquial Expressions
Pipe dream: something impossible or unrealistic.
e.g. The Mayor said that building another highway would be a pipe dream in the current economic environment.
Snap it up: be quick.
e.g. "Snap it up! We need to finish it before noon."
No can do: I cannot do it.
e.g. "Can you do this now?" "No can do.”
Says who?: who do you think you are to say that?
e.g. "I heard you were reprimanded by your boss for being late again." "Says who?"
Try as I may: I regret or fail to do something.
e.g. "Can you do something with this machine?" "Try as I may, I can't make it work."
Search me: I don't know; I don't have the answer.
e.g. "Do you know the author of this quotation?" "Search me."
Keep one's shirt on: calm down; don't get too excited.
e.g. "Cool off! Keep your shirt on. This is not the end of the world."
I am like you: we share the same opinion.
e.g. "I don't like cheese in my food." "I am like you: cheese makes me feel sick."
See to it right away: take care of a complaint or problem.
e.g. "The tap is leaking." "Yes, I'll see to it right away."
I spoke too soon: spoke without getting all the facts.
e.g. "You were wrong about that." "I'm sorry. Maybe I spoke too soon."
So much for that: that's the end of that.
e.g. "Well, so much for that. I'm not going to get involved any more. That's it!"
What would you say if: asking for an opinion; what about?
e.g. "I heard you were recently offered a job." "What would you say if I decline the offer?"
It could have been worse: accept an apology.
e.g. "I'm sorry I broke your glass." "It could have been worse."
Sorry I asked: I wish I had not asked.
e.g. "I didn't pass my test." "Sorry I asked."
Spare me the details: don't want to hear; avoid an unpleasant subject.
e.g. "Today I got fired." "Spare me the details!"
Speak out of turn: speak at the wrong time.
e.g. "Beware of what you're going to say at the meeting. Don't speak out of turn by talking about your divorce."
e.g. "Last night my husband came home dead drunk." "What else is new?" (i.e. he is always drunk)
You could have fooled me: I would have thought otherwise.
e.g. "We're not getting along well; we've too many differences." "You could have fooled me! I thought the two of you are cut out for each other."
Copyright© 2018 by Stephen Lau