Each month, Let’s Talk will focus on sayings that might sound funny or confusing to a new language learner. So if you have ever thought “What did they mean by that?” or “What are they trying to say?” this column is for you.

It is hard to believe that summer is over and we are moving into fall. The cooler weather means warm sweaters, pumpkins, and hopefully lots of beautiful colors in the fall foliage. The vibrant colors of fall are just what we need before entering the darker days of winter.
Here are four idioms – expressions in which the meanings of the words are not the same as the meaning of the saying – that one might hear used in connection with color.

Get the green light
Approval to begin to do something
“Aar got the green light to start interviewing candidates for the new high school principal position.”

Roll out the red carpet
Greet someone with a warm welcome
“It is always nice to roll out the red carpet when guests visit your home.”

Out of the blue
“Out of the blue, Yasmeen received a call from an old friend.”

In black in white
In writing
“John complained to his landlord about the increase in rent because his lease states, in black and white, that there can be no increases within a calendar year.”

If you have questions about sayings you have heard Americans use that you don’t understand, or if you have questions about American culture, please email your questions to Claudia at [email protected] and “Let’s Talk” will be happy to help.

Claudia Jakubowski has her master’s degree in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages