Hi, it’s Ted here, and welcome to this Speak More Clearly video!

In this engaging and informative video lesson, we dive into the popular TV show “Modern Family” and explore eight commonly used idioms and phrases derived from its witty dialogues. Not only will you discover the meaning and usage of these idiomatic expressions, but you’ll also learn how to incorporate them naturally into your conversations so you can improve your English fluency and American accent.

 I’ve also created a dialogue using the idioms for you that we’re going to practice together so you know when to use them.


Part 1: Learn 8 commonly used idioms from the Modern Family 

1. Cards on the table
Meaning: To be honest and open about your feelings and intentions

2. Make ends meet
Meaning: To earn just enough money to live on

3. In better shape
Meaning: If someone or something is in shape, or in good shape, they are in a good state of health or in a good condition

4. Measure up
Meaning: Being able to live up to another’s standards or expectations that they impose upon you

5. Butterflies in my stomach
Meaning: To have a nervous feeling, or nervous feeling in your stomach area

6. Déjà vu
Meaning: A feeling of having already experienced the present situation

7. Make a scene
Meaning: To behave in a loud, angry way in public

8. To take a chance on someone
Meaning: To give someone or something an opportunity to succeed when there is a likely risk that they or it, may fail or result in a negative outcome


Part 2: Practice your American pronunciation!

Here’s a practice dialogue in which all these idioms are used, and at the same time, you can practice your American pronunciation.

Listen to exactly how to say things and try mimicking. Exactly copy where the voice pitches or intonation goes up higher or down lower. Don’t forget to listen for and use your linking in word combinations such as fora for a few, etc.

Sample practice dialogue:

Ron: John, I’m really having trouble making ends meet lately. My wife’s been sick and unable to work for a few months. Hopefully, soon our finances will be in better shape, but at the moment it’s tough. I was wondering if you would consider me for the supervisor’s job that’s opened up. I could really do with the extra money to help make ends meet.

John: I tell you what Ron, because you’ve worked for us for so long, I’d like to put all my cards on the table, and not hold anything back from you. You measure up in most areas for the supervisor’s position. But you don’t measure up when it comes to your personal time management. You’re notoriously late most days.

Ron: I see. This is like Déjà vu from the last time I asked for a job promotion at my last company. I understand, and if you take a chance on me, I give you my guarantee I’ll arrive on time every day. I don’t want to beg, but I really need this promotion so we can make ends meet!

I don’t want to make a scene, so I’m asking you courteously and quietly, to consider me first for the position.

John: As I said, Ron, you don’t measure up.

Ron: How about this. You give me a 2-week trial as supervisor.

I already know the job well, because I used to help Sally out when she was supervisor. You don’t have anyone lined up to fill the position, and it will take you a couple of weeks to advertise anyway. It costs you nothing to say yes to giving me a trial. It will cost you nothing to say yes.

John: Alright, a 2-week trial it is then, but you better measure up.

Ron: Thank you, John. You won’t be sorry. 

I’ll go back to work now. Have a good one.

Later, when Ron recounted the conversation to his wife, Ron said that the whole time he was speaking, he could feel butterflies in his stomach because he was so nervous that John would say no to the trial.

Did you find this video lesson useful? Keep praticising!

Keep going over and over the passage or the video, making sure that whatever pronunciation element you’re working on is said correctly. Keep practising to improve your English fluency and enrich your understanding of idiomatic expressions.

We have training lessons in our American accent course on linking and lots of linking practice, so you sound flowing and fluent in English.

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