Proverb of the Week!

A watched pot never boils


This proverb means that time seems to slow down when we wait anxiously for something to happen.


In Ireland when anybody calls to the house, we always offer our guest a cup of tea. If we watch and wait for the kettle to boil, it seems to take a very long time. Whereas, if we are chatting to our guest, the kettle boils before we know it!      Tea




An English novelist Elizabeth Gaskell first used it in ‘Mary Barton’ (1848), giving the exact wording of the current version.

“my master told me to see you to bed, and I mun. What’s the use of watching? A watched pot never boils, and I see you are after watching that weathercock. Why now, I try never to look at it, else I could do nought else. My heart many a time goes sick when the wind rises, but I turn away and work away, and try never to think on the wind, but on what I ha’ getten to do.”

Example Sentence:-

Tony said that he could not wait any longer for his birthday party. I told Tony not to think about it because a watched pot never boils.






We have a number of ways to say ‘goodbye’, some are informal and others are more formal. Let’s take a look at some of them.

Bye – is the standard way to say goodbye. You can use it with friends and family as well as in work situations.

Goodbye – is quite formal and we may use it when we are saying goodbye to someone we may not see again or if we are angry with someone (after an argument, for example)

Bye, bye – is often used by an adult talking to a younger child or between adults at the end of a telephone conversation 

Have a good day – this expression came from USA, but is in common use here as well. We may say it to a customer, a classmate or a family member (seeing a child off to school, for example) 

Take it easy – we use this expression to mean goodbye, but it also means we want the person to relax and unwind

  • See you later
  • Talk to you later
  • Have a good one

These are all quite informal and can be used in most situations. When we use them we appear relaxed and friendly

I’m off – is a common informal way to tell the people you are with that you are about to leave

Check this out to see some more ways to say goodbye


ACET Idiom of the Week!

This week’s idiom is put on your Thinking Cap!

thinking cap

What does this idiom mean?

To start thinking seriously about how to solve a problem or make some suggestions.

Example: Teacher to students: ‘I’d like you all to put on your thinking caps and suggest a few ways to solve this puzzle’

When did we start using this idiom?

Most people claim that the first instance of the expression is from an American newspaper from 1850s ‘……. and it obliges every man to keep his thinking cap’

Is there a real ‘thinking cap’?

There doesn’t seem to have been an actual thinking cap. But I wonder would it be helpful if you really needed to concentrate on a problem?


Some sentences using ‘thinking cap’

“It’s just a matter of someone putting their thinking cap on and making something work,” he said.    Courier, Sunday Mail


So put your thinking cap on and anything else you propose wearing today and find someone we can talk to before twelve thirty this afternoon. Dobbs, Michael The Touch of Innocents


You may well put your thinking cap on, if you’ve got one.’


ACET Idiom of the Week!

This week’s idiom is as Tough as old Boots!


This idiom has two different meanings.

If you describe someone as tough as old boots, then they are strong and don’t get hurt easily.

Example sentence:
A: How is John after his surgery?
B: He’s fine, you know him, he’s as tough as old boots.

If you enjoy eating a tender steak, then you wouldn’t want one that is difficult to eat or cut into. It also could be described as tough as old boots.

Example sentence:
Waiter: How is your steak, sir?
Customer: I’m afraid it is as tough as old boots, I can’t even cut it.

Below are links to two interesting articles which use the expression in an authentic way:-

ACET Idiom of the Week!

This week’s idiom is Dressed to Kill!
ball g
This idiom means to get really dressed up in fancy clothes in order to be noticed.

It is believed that this expression comes from the early 1900s.  When women get really dressed up, they can make other women die with envy and men die from heart palpitations because they look so well.

You can put it in a sentence as follows:-

  1. All the young people at the disco were dressed to kill.
  2. The actress was dressed to kill upon receiving her award.

I think because there is such high fashion nowadays that everyone is dressed to kill. 🙂