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KA WORDCAST Idioms and Phrasal Verbs
Lesson 27: WALK THIS WAY
Walk This Way-Aerosmith with Run DMC
In this season of KA Wordcast: Idioms and Phrasal Verbs, we’ve been introducing important idioms, phrasal verbs, and other common English expressions and showing you how to put them to good use in your own writing and conversation. In the past few weeks, we have looked at idiomatic expressions and phrases based on action verbs—run, hop, skip, and jump. Today, we’ll examine some very useful phrases based on the word WALK. There are dozens of WALK-based phrasal verbs and idioms, but today we will only look at the “Top 15”—the ones that you are most likely to hear or see on TV and in film, in books and the mass media, on the Web, and in everyday conversation.
This lesson is available to download in PDF format. To test your knowledge of today’s phrases before the lesson begins, try taking the quick “pre-test” that is downloadable from our website. Then, after the podcast, use the answer sheet to see how well you did. Always keep in mind that the best way to give your English speaking and writing skills a real boost is to review and practice what you’ve learned, over and over again … which is what these Wordcasts are all about.
As explained in previous Wordcasts, a phrasal verb is an idiomatic expression made up of a verb and another element such as a particle, preposition, or combination of both. An idiom, on the other hand, is a combination of words that has a figurative meaning separate from its literal or real meaning.
1. WALK AWAY/WALK AWAY (from)
Literally, when you WALK AWAY, you leave or depart from a particular place on foot.
I tried to apologize to Abigail for wrongly accusing her of plagiarizing her term paper, but she turned and WALKED AWAY without saying a word.
I saw one man threatening another on the train station platform and thought about getting involved, but then I decided it wasn’t any of my business and just WALKED AWAY.
A recent survey revealed that most people simply WALK AWAY when approached by charity fundraisers.
The two bank robbers were caught on a CCTV camera casually WALKING AWAY from the scene of the crime.
More figuratively, if you WALK AWAY from someone or something, you leave or abandon that person or situation, often (but not always) because you are angry or upset, because you want to avoid confrontation or responsibility, or because you are no longer interested.
“You can’t just WALK AWAY FROM this mess you made, Tilly,” the mother shouted at her daughter. “Get back in here and put away all your toys!”
Instead of WALKING AWAY FROM someone just because you’ve had a disagreement, talk to him or her and try to reach an understanding.
WALKING AWAY FROM your student-loan debt is only a temporary solution. Sooner or later, you’ll have to pay the loans off, so you might as well start now.
To WALK AWAY can also mean to escape being badly hurt in an accident.
Gladys totaled her car when she slammed into the barrier, but she WALKED AWAY without a scratch.
Residents of the local farming community were surprised to learn that the pilot who had crash-landed his small plane in a cornfield WALKED AWAY without any injuries.
2. WALK AWAY WITH
When you WALK AWAY WITH a person, object, or animal, you literally leave or go away, taking that person or thing with you. WALK AWAY WITH can also mean to take or steal something, or to win a prize or victory very easily.
James: Have you seen Penny by any chance? I promised to meet her here, but I’m a little late.
Carli: She was just here talking to Robbie and Millie. She WALKED AWAY WITH them a few minutes ago.
I set my camera down here on this table and turned away for just one second and someone WALKED AWAY WITH it.
Mom: I don’t understand how you could have lost your new cell phone on the first day of school, Donnie.
Donnie: I didn’t lose it, Mom. Someone must have WALKED AWAY WITH it.
The Jefferson Raiders are expected to WALK AWAY WITH the state girls’ basketball championships again this year.
It doesn’t look as if the Mariners will WALK AWAY WITH the pennant this season after all. They haven’t been playing well recently and have actually lost five in a row.
Finally, to WALK AWAY WITH can also mean to feel a particular emotion when you leave a situation.
Even though I won the argument with my classmate James, I WALKED AWAY WITH a bitter taste in my mouth.
If you’ve spoken truthfully and apologized sincerely for your actions, at least you can WALK AWAY WITH a clear conscious.
3. WALK OFF WITH
Like WALK AWAY WITH above, WALK OFF WITH can also mean to take or steal something.
One UK sporting goods chain had to file for bankruptcy after looters all across the country WALKED OFF WITH millions of pounds’ worth of products during last year’s street riots.
In the department store, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a little old lady take a DVD off the shelf, slip it into her handbag, and WALK OFF WITH it.
The moment little Mark dropped a piece of pork on the floor, our dog Lady, who was waiting patiently under Mark’s highchair, picked it up and WALKED OFF WITH it.
4. WALK OFF/ WALK OFF (SOMETHING)
Like WALK AWAY above, to WALK OFF literally means to suddenly leave or depart from a particular place. It can also mean to accidentally fall off some high place while walking.
I don’t know what I said to upset her, but Lizzie picked up her bag and phone, stood up, and WALKED OFF right in the middle of my story.
Believe it or not, a tourist in Melbourne, Australia, had to be rescued by the local fire department after she accidentally WALKED OFF a pier while checking her Facebook page.
Sometimes, to WALK OFF also means to quit a job, suddenly and unexpectedly.
Most of the wait staff at McGregory’s Restaurant WALKED OFF their jobs when the manager announced that they will no longer be allowed to keep their own tips.
Duncan WALKED OFF his job at the language school at the most inopportune time—just when the busy summer term was about to begin.
To WALK OFF (used with an object) simply means to go for a walk until something such as a headache, a bad mood, or the feeling of being too full after a big meal goes away.
I’m stuffed! Why don’t we go for a walk in the woods and WALK OFF that huge Thanksgiving dinner we just ate?
Sometimes, the only way to get rid of a negative feeling is to just WALK it OFF.
5. WALK IN ON
When you WALK IN ON someone, you walk into a room when that person is doing something private or something that he or she wants to keep secret.
Not expecting anyone else to be in the classroom, I accidentally WALKED IN ON what appeared to be a very important and private meeting between the principal and my homeroom teacher.
How embarrassing! My little brother and his friends just WALKED IN ON me while I was getting dressed.
Make sure you knock on the fitting room door before you barge in. You don’t want to WALK IN ON anyone.
6. WALK INTO
To WALK INTO (used with an object) means to be walking along and accidentally hit a part of your body against something.
Cathy: How did you get that horrible bruise on your leg, Ethan?
Ethan: Last night, I was going across the football field in the dark and WALKED INTO that bench on the sidelines.
While shopping for Christmas presents last week, I literally WALKED INTO my English teacher and nearly knocked her over.
More figuratively, if you WALK INTO a job or position, you find or get it easily.
Alison had been nervous about making a new start, but she WALKED straight INTO an excellent teaching post at a school for returnees almost as soon as she arrived in Tokyo.
Sam: How did you get a job working on the set of the new Star Wars film?
Warren: I wish I could say I just WALKED INTO it, but I actually had to go through a grueling recruitment and elimination process.
7. WALK OUT (ON or OF)
When you WALK OUT ON someone, you leave that person suddenly and usually without explanation. When you WALK OUT OF something, you leave a job or place or position of responsibility in the same sudden way.
I think Angie is having a difficult time learning to be a mom because her own mother WALKED OUT ON her and her sister when Angie was only eight years old.
Why would you WALK OUT ON such a great opportunity? Most people would do anything to be Professor Palmer’s lab assistant.
Allan WALKED OUT OF the police station on his last day on the job and never looked back.
You can also WALK OUT OF a meeting or some kind of performance, which means you leave before the end because you are angry or bored.
It’s no wonder so many people WALKED OUT OF the lecture hall this morning. The guest speaker was just plain dull—and what he said was pointless.
Strange Days is the only movie I have ever WALKED OUT OF. It was just too graphically violent and far-fetched for my liking.
The host was asking the young star so many personal and rude questions that she took off her mike and WALKED OUT OF the interview.
Finally, WALK OUT is often used alone to mean to stop working as a way of protesting something. To go on strike is a close equivalent. A WALKOUT is a strike or protest.
Only about 20 percent of the teachers in the county actually WALKED OUT during the recent strike because most teachers have signed a “no-strike” agreement with their schools.
New York City train drivers are staging a three-day WALKOUT next month, which could bring the world’s financial capital to a standstill.
8. WALK someone THROUGH something
To WALK someone THROUGH something means to explain step by step how a process or task is done or why some action was or is being taken.
On our first day of junior high school, some of the ninth graders WALKED us THROUGH all the school rules and procedures that we are expected to follow.
“As it is the first class, let me WALK you THROUGH the syllabus,” Professor Chang said.
Stephanie’s manager asked her to WALK the new recruits THROUGH the company’s health and safety policies.
Roland, you say that you want to transfer to a different school, but can you WALK us THROUGH the reasons why?
Before the final day of the trial, the defense team prepared themselves by WALKING THROUGH their closing arguments, making sure that they hadn’t omitted any vital information.
A WALK-THROUGH is a tour of an area or a demonstration of how to do some task.
During a WALK-THROUGH of the university campus led by the Dean of Students, Fiona took lots of notes on and many photos of the main buildings and landmarks.
Charles gave us a WALK-THROUGH to demonstrate how the new reading curriculum should be taught.
A WALK-THROUGH can also refer to a brief rehearsal of a play or other performance, often done during the early stages of the production as a means of getting ready to go into actual rehearsals.
Not all the actors were present for the first WALK-THROUGH, but we managed to get through the entire play by asking the actors to double up on roles.
Now let’s take a look at a few WALK-based idiomatic expressions that are not only very commonly used but also a lot of fun to know and learn about.
9. WALKING ENCYCLOPEDIA
If you have a friend who is a WALKING ENCYCLOPEDIA, he or she is filled with all kinds of information and can be relied on to answer any question you may have—just like an encyclopedia or Wikipedia. We also sometimes use WALKING DICTIONARY to describe someone who has a large active vocabulary and knows a lot about words and their usage and origin.
Maryanne: Do you want to join our quiz team, Clive? We need someone who knows a lot about baseball.
Clive: Why don’t you ask Steve? He’s a WALKING ENCYCLOPEDIA of sports trivia.
Ernesto Baron was an inventor and broadcaster in the Philippines who was widely known as The WALKING ENCYCLOPEDIA for his remarkable knowledge of general information.
Hiro’s fluency in English is definitely impressive, but I wish he would stop showing off in class and use simpler words. Not all of us are WALKING DICTIONARIES.
10. A WALK IN THE PARK
Literally, A WALK IN THE PARK is just what it says it is—a nice stroll through some park. But figuratively, A WALK IN THE PARK is something that is very easy to do, and often quite pleasant. A breeze, a cakewalk, a cinch, and child’s play are some informal synonyms.
Thanks to the tutor who helped Lisa with her accountancy studies all through college, the exam for the Level Two Diploma in Accounting was a WALK IN THE PARK for her.
David’s used to running full marathons, so a 10-K race is a WALK IN THE PARK for him.
Vince: The guidebook described this trail as a moderate, leisurely walk, but I’m exhausted. How much farther do we have to go?
Hannah: Another three kilometers or so. And you’re right. It’s not exactly a WALK IN THE PARK, is it?
11. WALK ON AIR
If you are WALKING ON AIR, you are very happy. Some synonyms include cheerful, delighted, overjoyed, elated, and in seventh heaven.
After receiving top marks on his GCSE’s, Brian was WALKING ON AIR for weeks.
Henry: What’s up with Wendy? She’s more cheerful than usual these days.
Carli: Ever since she got her acceptance letter from Yale, she’s been WALKING ON AIR. I would be too if I were in her shoes.
The proud owners of the Greyhound Pub were WALKING ON AIR and giving their customers complimentary snacks after the pub was voted the “Best Eatery in Britain.”
12. WALK ON EGGSHELLS
Imagine that you walk into a chicken coop and find the floor scattered with eggs. You don’t want to break them, so you walk very carefully. To WALK ON EGGSHELLS can be used literally to mean to walk or take steps in a careful, gingerly manner, as in:
Ever since Peter slipped on the ice and sprained his ankle last winter, he’s been WALKING ON EGGSHELLS whenever he goes outside on a cold day, whether there’s ice on the ground or not.
More commonly and figuratively, to WALK ON EGGSHELLS means to try very hard not to upset someone. Synonyms include (to speak) inoffensively, diplomatically, tactfully, or delicately.
Jessica: How’s Dad?
Zachary: He’s stressed about work, so we’ve all been WALKING ON EGGSHELLS for weeks. I think he could really use a nice long vacation.
When you have a teenager in the house, you have to learn to WALK ON EGGSHELLS. They are so sensitive at that age!
Kristy’s singing voice isn’t that fantastic, if you ask me. I’m tired of WALKING ON EGGSHELLS around her and pretending that she’s got a shot at being the next American Idol.
13. WALK TALL
To WALK TALL means to walk with your head held high—that is, to be very proud of something you have done.
The outgoing president didn’t accomplish all that he set out to do, but he can WALK TALL knowing that he was the defender of the poor and disadvantaged and always on the working person’s side.
Having been named starting quarterback for Friday night’s game, Bob’s been WALKING TALL around school all week.
14. WALK ALL OVER someone
If you WALK ALL OVER someone, you take advantage of that person or treat him/her badly or without respect. Some close equivalents include exploit, manipulate, take liberties with, and impose on.
“Don’t let your students WALK ALL OVER you, Sophie,” the headmistress advised the new teacher. “Give them weekend homework no matter how loudly they protest and moan.”
“I know that I am new to the department, but I’m not about to let anyone WALK ALL OVER me,” Amy told her best friend one day. “I have a lot of experience, and I’m good at what I do.”
People will WALK ALL OVER you, Sarah, because you’re too generous with your time. It won’t hurt to put your foot down now and then and just say “no.”
15. ALL WALKS OF LIFE
When people talk about ALL WALKS OF LIFE, they are referring to all the different family and ethnic backgrounds, careers and jobs, lifestyles, and social standings that people have.
We accept students from ALL WALKS OF LIFE into our school and offer generous scholarships to qualified students from lower-income families who might otherwise not be able to attend.
People from all WALKS OF LIFE have come forward and pledged donations to help save the county’s fresh water resources from being contaminated by industrial pollutants.
Despite what you may believe, most golf clubs these days include members from all WALKS OF LIFE. They are no longer as exclusive as they used to be.
Now that you have a good understanding of all the key phrases we have examined today, you can go back and check out your score on the “pre-test” exercise. How did you do?
The next KA WORDCAST: Listen Up! airs on Tuesday, October 7, 2014.
The next KA WORDCAST: Idioms and Phrasal Verbs airs on 20th of October,2014.