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.

The summer heat is subsiding and there is a hint of fall in the air, which means kids will soon be heading back to the classroom. Let’s hope that this new school year is filled with exciting lessons, fun adventures, and lots of learning.

Here are four idioms – expressions in which the meanings of the individual words are different from the meaning of the saying – which all relate to studying and school related items.

  • Hit the books — Study very hard.
    “Fatima wants to make the honor roll, so she is hitting the books extra hard this semester.”
  • Teacher’s pet — A student who is a teacher’s favorite.
    “Hanad brings his teacher special presents and the other students think that he is trying to be the teacher’s pet.”
  • Don’t judge a book by its cover — Don’t pre-judge something/someone’s worth by its/their outward appearance.
    “The chef’s ‘Signature Dish’ did not look very appetizing but when I tasted it, the flavors were amazing. I learned that I should not judge a book by its cover.”
  • Ace a test — To get a very high score on a test
    “Colette studied very hard for her exam and she aced the test.”If you have questions about sayings you have heard Americans use that you don’t understand, or 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 Masters Degree in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages).