Life in Chicago
- Car & Travel Idioms with Patrick
- Chip off the old block
- Five New Idioms
- Cupid's Arrow and Idioms about Love
- Play It By Ear
Car & Travel Idioms 2. In this video, Patrick discusses expressions "put on the brakes", "asleep at the wheel", "speed bump", and "ride shotgun". If you missed the first part you can find it here.
TRANSCRIPT: Hello again everybody. This is Patrick with part two of our driving and travel related idioms. This first one that I want to talk about is - when you're going to fast, what do you do? You put on the brakes. We understand that - we could say the brake or the brakes. If you are reading a very formal instruction manual it would say, "to slow down, apply the brakes." But nobody says that. We say, we put on the brakes. To put on your brakes is to put your foot on the break pedal to slow down your car. If we say, to put the brakes on something, it means that if there was a project that we were doing - and we are not quite finished with the project - but for some reason we had to stop doing that project. The boss told us to put the brakes on the recycling project until we finished our other duties. To put the brakes on something is to slow down what you're doing so you can do something else.
Now we were talking about how this is the steering wheel. If you are asleep at the wheel, that means that the thing that you are doing - you made a mistake. A big mistake. Imagine if you fell asleep while you were driving and how dangerous that could be. So if someone is asleep at the wheel it means something happened that was bad while they were in charge. For example: Let's say that - they often use this in newspapers to talk about politicians. They might say, "Well, it seems that the mayor was asleep at the wheel. Otherwise he would have prevented the transportation accident from happening." In other words, if the mayor was doing his job and paying attention, this accident would not have happened. Asleep at the wheel.
Now, I want you to imagine that you are driving your car and you are driving on a small street where there are houses. There are houses where families live. Children might live there. There might even be a school on this street. It's not a city street. You don't want to be driving as fast on that street. Now, on residential streets - on streets where families live, a lot of times, they will build something in the road that looks like this. This thing is called a speed bump. It exists to reduce speed.
Now. How do we use this? Let's talk about - you're doing a group project. You're doing research for a presentation and suddenly you have no internet and you're not able to complete your PowerPoint slides. So the next day, you tell your teacher, "Teacher, we hit a speed bump last night in our project. We lost the internet." You were working on your project, you were working on your project, you were working on your project - OH - you hit a speed bump. It caused you to slow down your work. Speed bump.
The last one I want to talk about is about is another one of my favorite ones. And this is this: to ride shotgun. I want to talk about ride for a moment. When you're driving the car - you're driving the car - oh really? - I guess what I mean is when you're sitting behind the steering wheel you are driving. When you're over here, you are riding. Now, this seat next to the driver is called the passenger seat but it's also called the shotgun seat. And we all learned this phrase when we were teenagers or younger. Think back to when you were a teenager (unless you are a teenager). Imagine that time when your first friend got his or her driver's license. Remember that feeling of freedom? So your friend's got a car - you don't know how to drive yet - and you and a couple other friends are with your friend in the car. And you're walking out of a store and you're walking toward the car and someone yells, SHOTGUN!! And what that means is the person who yelled shotgun - they basically said, "I get to sit in the passenger seat next to the driver - the rest of you guys, you have to sit in the back seat." The shotgun seat is the passenger seat next to the driver. Now, why is it called shotgun? Now this goes back to when we were first building our country. When we came over here and we started moving west and settling our land and our horses and our wagons. Now imagine there weren't a lot of police back then. So all of your stuff - everything you own - is in a wagon. You're driving a wagon and it would be very easy for someone to come up and steal from you or murder you or whatever the bad guys did. So it was much easier when you were riding in your wagon to have your friend sit next to you with a shotgun so they could shoot anybody who tries to put you in danger. That's where shotgun comes from and we use it to this day when we talk about driving - RIDING- next to the person who is driving.