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English Vocabulary Lesson Sports Idioms November 28th, 2017

Welcome back!
Today we are going to learn about some common idioms related to sports. Every country and culture has their own local sports, but of course there are others which are common around the world. Sports and athletics can be a great way to meet new people, practice your English, and have fun! What better way to combine all three than by learning about these helpful idioms?

Let’s go!

First, let’s start with an example dialogue you might hear which includes some sports idioms. The two characters are co-workers discussing a difficult assignment.

Melissa: I’ve been writing these manuals all day! I don’t know if I have enough time to finish them.
Charlotte: Don’t throw in the towel yet! I can help you with them. Let me take a look.
Melissa: But Charlotte, you work in a different department. This might be out of your league.
Charlotte: Hey! I’m sure that I can help in some way, even if it’s not my specialty.
Melissa: Okay. The ball is in your court. I’ll give you one of the manuals to finish for me.
Charlotte: Awesome! It will take me a little while to learn the ropes of writing manuals, but I’m sure I can look it up on the internet.
Melissa: It’s great that you want to take the bull by the horns, but be sure you double-check your work.
Charlotte: I always cover my bases. You don’t need to worry about me. This will be the best manual ever!

Take a look at the underlined idioms. Can you guess their meaning in the text?
Here is the list of idioms:

  • To throw in the towel
  • To be out of someone’s league
  • The ball is in your court
  • To learn the ropes
  • To take the bull by the horns
  • To cover your/my bases

Now, let’s see the meaning of each one

To Throw in the Towel
To quit or to give up

To throw in the towel

To be Out of Someone’s League
Doing something that you are not prepared for

The Ball is in Your Court
It is up to you to make the next move

The ball is in your court

To Learn the Ropes
To know or learn how to do something, especially a job

Learn the ropes

To Take the Bull By the Horns
To deal with a difficult situation in a direct way

Grab the bull by the horns

To Cover the Bases
To prepare for every possibility

Cover your bases