John joins Sylvia at a table in the school library.
John: Hi, Sylvia. What’s with all the papers everywhere?
Sylvia: I just finished a pile of homework for my next class.
John: How’s that class going? I’ve heard that the material in that
course is kind of run of the mill.
Sylvia: Actually, the course material is pretty good, but the teacher isn’t exactly the cream of the crop. I’m sure his days are numbered.
John: It's a shame you didn’t get the other instructor who’s teaching that class. I’ve heard she’s really interesting. Will you have the same teacher next semester?
Sylvia: I hope not. I won’t know for sure until next semester’s schedule is posted. I’ll keep my fingers crossed. How’re things going
John: So far so good, but I’m going to have to buckle down. My first
crack at the TOEFL exam is coming up soon. If I start slacking off now, I’ll have to cram for the entire week before the exam. I really need to get a good score if I hope to go to graduate school in the States some day.
Sylvia: When do you take the exam?
John: It’s slated for the middle of next month. I’ve forgotten the exact date. I’ll have to look into it.
Sylvia: Well, don’t get too stressed out about it.
John: I promise I won’t lose any sleep over it.
Sylvia: What are you up to this weekend?
John: I plan on hooking up with a girl I met at the new disco that just
opened. There’s only one hitch – my friend wants to join us.
Sylvia: Oh, no! That could be a problem. Two’s company, three’s a
crowd – wouldn’t you say?
John: Exactly. I get the feeling my friend likes her, too. Maybe I’ll just
ditch him at the library before the date.
John: No, I’m just pulling your leg. To tell the truth, I’m not sure what to do. I’ll have to sleep on it, I guess. What’ve you got planned for the weekend?
Sylvia: Not too much. I’ll probably just run a few errands.
John: That’s it?
Sylvia: Well, it’s my homestay mother’s birthday on Sunday. I should
probably buy her a gift. She said she doesn’t want us to make a fuss
over it. But she’d be crushed if everyone forgot her big day.
John: How old is she?
Sylvia: I’m not sure, but she’s getting on. Maybe sixty something. She’s still young at heart, though. She jogs four times per week, plays
tennis in the summer, and even skis every winter.
John: That’s impressive. Look at the time! I’ve gotta run. I’ll take to you again later. See you.
adj = adjective
i = idiom
n = noun
v = verb
What’s with . . . ? (i) – Why is / are . . . ? What’s the problem with . . . ?
Example: What’s with Harry? He doesn’t seem to be himself lately.
pile (n) – a lot, a stack, a load, a bunch, a ton
run of the mill (i) – average, ordinary
In this expression, “run” is a noun, not a verb. It means:
; a period of operation of a machine (usually in a factory)
; the output (commodity or product) during this period
There are many 'run of the...' phrases that have been used to denote that a commodity is ordinary. The meaning of all of these phrases is broadly the same, i.e. they refer to products that come direct from the mill in an ungraded state and may contain some imperfections.
cream of the crop (i) – the best (of a group)
one’s days are numbered (i) – someone will get fired or die soon
keep one’s fingers crossed (i) – hope for the best, for a good result
buckle down (i) – become serious about one’s work. Work energetically and with great effort.
first crack (i) – a first attempt at trying something
slack off (i) – reduce the amount of work one does. Get lazy.
cram (v) – study hard for a short period of time, especially before an
slate (v) – schedule
look into something (i) – investigate something; check it out.
stressed out (i) – feel more stress than someone can handle.
lose sleep over something (i) – worry about something
up to (i) – doing; occupied with.
Note: Depending on the context (as well as the intonation of the speaker), this can also mean,
“Scheming or devising something bad.” Up to no good.
Example: What are you up to? Trouble, I bet!
hook up with someone (i) – get together with someone.
hitch (n) – problem.
two’s company, three’s a crowd (i) – a third person isn’t welcome.
ditch someone (v) – lose someone on purpose.
pull someone’s leg (i) – joke, tease, kid.
sleep on something (i) – consider/think about something (overnight) before making a decision.
errand (n), run an errand (v) – a short trip to do a chore (buy groceries, go to the bank, etc.)
That’s it? (i) That’s all – nothing more?
make a fuss over something (i) – overreact; make a big deal.
crushed (adj) – deeply disappointed; devastated.
getting on (i), getting on in years (i) – getting old.
young at heart (i) – have a youthful attitude.
run (v) – leave.