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concentration; consideration; focus; care; acknowledgment; recognition
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ESL Lesson: Colour Idioms

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Colour idioms or "A silver lining"

In this story will find idioms with colours. An idiom is a fixed expression with a certain meaning. Here are some examples:

— "If you keep spending your money like this you will be soon in the red."
— "Oh come one, we all tell a white lie sometimes, don''t we?"
— "When I left the house this morning the street was covered with black ice all over."

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Now read the short story and try to work out what the expressions in italics mean.

A Silver Lining

In a rash moment I said I''d buy my wife a car for her birthday. The trouble was she had set her heart on a particular colour — white. It had to be white at all costs. I pointed out till I was blue in the face — almost going out of my mind, that white was a very difficult colour to keep clean.

But she was adamant and so in the end I decided to surrender — to show the white flag, as it were. We looked at dozens of white and off white cars but none seemed to be worth buying.

Now, I''m a bit green — rather inexperienced, about buying cars. I''m the perfect customer as far as the secondhand car salesman is concerned. Take the first place we went to. The manager rolled out the red carpet — gave me preferential treatment, when he saw me coming. He started by showing me the most expensive models he could find, some of which made me turn green with envy — I was quite envious of anyone who could afford to buy one. But as soon as I mentioned the sort of age for the car I had in mind, he started to give me black looks — started to frown. I can''t describe the language he used when I gave some idea of the price I was thinking of because it would be red-pencilled — censored. From the beginning I was therefore somewhat browned off — fed up. Once in a blue moon — very rarely, I thought do you come across a genuine bargain. I mean some of the dealers are thoroughly dishonest or is it that they are simply telling white lies — only half-truths? The trouble is you have to buy a car in order to find out. At one garage I actually caught one of the salesmen red-handed — in the middle of his act, just as he was gluing back a chip of paint that had fallen off. I put a black mark against his name — didn''t think much of his reputation. But what really made me see red — get angry was when I was told that I would only get an old wreck for what I was prepared to pay. Perhaps I was being a bit moderate but then I didn''t want to end up in the red — in debt to the bank. The only way to deal with these salesmen is to put on a bold face. It doesn''t matter if you have a yellow streak — are a coward. You don''t have to accept the first price and whatever you do don''t give the green light — permission to continue with the sale until you''re absolutely satisfied.

One weekend I decided to leave my car at home and go by train to a large car centre. I was feeling in the pink — very fit as we approached the man standing by the sales office. He had one of those arrogant expressions that act rather like a red rag to me — somehow provoke me. I told him straight that I knew his centre had been black listed by motoring organizations — no longer approved by them and therefore it was no good him trying to whitewash — excuse all the stories I''d heard. That wiped the arrogant expression off his face. The only trouble was that I discovered that I''d not been talking to the sales manager but a fellow customer. In my confusion I tripped over a spare tyre, rolled over and ended up in a ditch.

When I got home I was black and blue all over — covered in bruises.

By the sixth weekend of looking I was understandably feeling rather blue — somewhat depressed. I''d even considered getting a car through the black market — by some dishonest means.

But every cloud has a silver lining — things improve in the end. And that Sunday was a red letter day — a special day to remember, since we finally found a car. We were out driving in the countryside when out of the blue — totally unexpectedly, we saw a notice advertising cars for sale in a farm yard.

We saw a man in a brown study — deep in thought sitting in a small hut. He was the farmer cum salesman from whom I eventually bought the car. He quickly dispensed with all the red tape — all the formalities and very soon I had it in black and white — in writing that the car belonged to me. It''s quite a good car and it''s white or to be more accurate, it''s more what you would call two tone.

You see with the white there''s quite a bit of brown — known less colourfully as rust.

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Next:ESL Lesson: Cool Expressions

Author: Alan Townend

English Grammar through Stories (PDF)
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