Voice 1: 'To let the cat out of the bag' is a popular idiom that means to reveal a secret that you promised to keep to yourself.
Voice 2: 'Don't let the cat out of the bag' means 'Don't tell anyone. It's a secret'. Listen to this conversation between a sister and a brother. Tom has let the cat out of the bag, and Annie is not pleased.
Annie: Why have you told Aunt Gloria? I asked you to keep it a secret. You've spoiled everything. You’re the only one in the family to let the cat out of the bag – why did you open your big mouth?
Tom: I'm so sorry. It was an accident. I didn't mean to. I'm really sorry.
Annie: Well, apologies are no good, you've already done the damage. Everyone is annoyed with you. I wish I'd never told you! I should have kept you in the dark. I will never tell you a secret again. Never.
Tom: It just slipped out when I was talking to Aunt Gloria. I didn't think. I didn't tell her directly, but she just put two and two together and realised what was going on. What can I do to make things right?
Annie: Don't be stupid! There is nothing you can do. The cat's out of the bag now. Just keep your big mouth shut if anyone tells you a secret again. Think before you speak in the future.
Tom: I really am so very sorry.
Annie: I know. So you keep saying. I've nothing more to say on the matter. Just think about what you've done and realise how you've spoiled things. I hope you've learned a lesson from all this.
Voice 1: Now, let's look at another popular idiom. The top bit of the nail is called the head. When you hammer a nail into something, you try to hit the nail on the head. When you do, you knock the nail straight into the wood.
Voice 2: The idiom “to hit the nail on the head” means to understand exactly what is causing a problem. Listen to the following examples.
Voice 3: I think that went very well. Bob is always quiet in meetings, and never says much when other people are around. But when he does speak, he usually hits the nail on the head. What he said this morning was spot on.
Voice 4: You hit the nail on the head last night when you told Donna why she’d never get a good job. She doesn’t care about her appearance or dress smartly when she goes to interviews. It makes her look so unprofessional.
Voice 5: Dad hit the nail on the head when he told Johnny why he needed to buy a new laptop – the one he has now is too old and keeps crashing.
Voice 6: When Sally told Mr Lee that the company is losing money because there are too many bosses and not enough people working in production, she really hit the nail on the head.
Voice 7: I think Mick hit the nail on the head when he said our new manager needs to get out on the shop floor more often and actually deal with customers.