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How do you spend your time in the dog days of summer? Do you prefer to soak up the sun or get lost with your head in the clouds during the summer holidays? Wait. What? Dog days of summer? What does that mean? Ahh, idioms! That’s right, we’re focused on a few summer idioms you can use in your English conversations.

The following summer-inspired idioms are perfect for daily conversations with friends and at work.

Like Watching Grass Grow

If something is like watching grass grow then it means it is super boring. Grass grows very slowly and it’s not exciting to watch, is it?

  • It’s been raining all week and there’s nothing to do! This summer is like watching grass grow.

A Fair-Weather Friend

This sounds like it could be positive but it’s not. Fair weather is another way of saying nice or good weather. But a fair-weathered friend is someone who is only your friend when things are good. If challenges or difficulties start, then your friend is gone and not there to help you.

  • I was so hurt during the divorce when I realized that Alice was such a fair-weathered friend. I really thought she would be there for me during that difficult time but she disappeared from my life as soon as things got hard.


Travel on a Shoestring

Summer is a season when usually go on vacation and travel. To travel on a shoestring or a shoestring budget means to travel very cheaply. For example, you might stay in youth hostels instead of a hotel. The goal is to spend as little money as possible.

  • When I was a college student I didn’t have any money so I always traveled on a shoestring.

Soak Up Some Sun

To soak up some sun means to lie in the sun and enjoy the sun’s rays on your skin.

  • I can’t wait to get away and soak up some sun on the beach next week! It’s the perfect way to relax during a summer vacation.


Have a Green Thumb

To have a green thumb means that you are great at gardening or have a natural talent for gardening. It is important to note that this can only be used for gardening or growing plants; this idiom cannot be used for other natural abilities.

  • Wow! Look at your vegetable garden! It’s so vibrant and full – you must have a green thumb! Unfortunately, no matter how hard I try, I can’t keep any plants or flowers alive.


Social Butterfly

A social butterfly is someone who likes to be around people, who likes the company of others. This is someone who loves talking to everyone at the party and can do so easily, moving from one person to the next.

  • John is such a social butterfly! He’s out every night of the week and knows everyone in this city. I don’t know how he has so much energy!


Dog Days of Summer

The dog days of summer are the hottest days of the summer. These are the days that are so hot, you don’t have the energy to do anything but sit. These are also periods of time when nothing is really happening.

  • I wish I could go home from work early today. It’s impossible to get any work done during these dog days of summer!


Summer Fling

A summer fling is a short romance or dating relationship during the summer period; it’s a romance that isn’t meant to be serious or long-term. Imagine a boy and girl who date only during the summer and then stop their romantic relationship at the end of summer.

  • I can’t believe Susan’s a teenager already! She had her first summer fling with a boy from summer camp but thankfully it wasn’t too serious. I’m not ready for her to grow up so fast!

Full of Hot Air

To be full of hot air means to be full of nonsense or to have nothing to say that makes sense. This expression can be used when someone says things that sound like nonsense or aren’t believable.

  • Why are so many politicians full of hot air? It’s hard to believe anything they say!
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Oana Iscru | Communication Trainer – English & Romanian


Advanced Travel Vocabulary in English
with Real-Life Stories

Everybody loves traveling! I would like to share some advanced travel vocabulary in English so you can tell your own travel stories more easily.

Below you can find 3 different stories encapsulating highlighted useful vocabulary and groups of words that often go together or collocations.

Sharon’s Travel Story: A Staycation on a Tight Budget

When I was younger, I had a real sense of adventure. I loved backpacking, camping in the woods, sleeping in tents and spending the evening next to the campfire. As a child, I remember trying to build a fire from scratch by rubbing two sticks together. I think my entire family laughed while I worked at it for an hour. Unfortunately, I never succeeded.

But I do have such good memories of camping and hiking with my family. Every summer my parents would pack up the kids and the dog into the car, pack all our outdoor gear on the roof of the car and fill coolers full of food.

My mom would pack all the usual stuff: trail mix, fruit, marshmallows to roast over the fire, stuff to make sandwiches, etc. We’d take a road trip to the mountains in Colorado, find our spot to set up camp and pitch our tents near the river. I loved listening to the sound of the river at night!

I haven’t camped for years! Neither David nor I can take that much time off of work. It makes me a little sad that Sophie, our daughter, won’t have those same memories.

But last year we did do something a little fun, a little different: we had a staycation. The two of us could only get 4 days off of work and we were on a tight budget. We hadn’t enjoyed everything the city has to offer for ages so we decided to just pretend to be on vacation here at home. We visited the museums, went to the theatre, we even took a day trip to the coast a few hours away for a day of sun, sand, and surf.

We have some wonderful photos (and memories) of our picnic dinner watching the sunset on the beach.

Lara’s Travel Story: Anything All-Inclusive

Ugh! I hate planning vacations. I mean, I do love traveling but I don’t want to think about it. All those little details – I can’t be bothered!

I prefer those all-inclusive kinds of vacations for a little R&R. You know, those places where all you do is show up and that’s it.

You have breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Activities, the beach, the pools, dancing. Sure, they usually cost a little more but if I don’t have to plan everything then it’s worth it. The only thing is you have to be careful of those hidden extras! I’ve definitely been surprised by the final bill a few times.

My fiancé and I are talking about an all-inclusive cruise for our honeymoon. It sounds amazing but I’ve never been on a ship for that long.

I’m a little nervous about seasickness I do love the idea of island-hopping. Plus the ship has a ton of amenities with its multiple pools, fitness centres, and restaurants. What I need to figure out is what to pack for a cruise. I’m actually terrible about over packing.

Jean-Luc’s Travel Story: Exotic Adventure

I’m always dreaming of my next far-off, exotic destination. I’ll go anywhere as long as it’s adventurous.

Last year I chartered a boat with a friend to sail around the Greek Islands. In the afternoons, we’d pull into ports, dive into the water, enjoy dinner on the beach and then head back to the boat for the night. On really warm nights we actually sleep right on the deck under the stars.

What’s next? I don’t know. Maybe Colombia, Peru, or Chile? I’ve never been to South America and I love the idea of spending time in the Andes Mountains. Hiking in the middle of nowhere, you know what I mean?

Those kinds of places give you such a better perspective on life. It’s easy to forget we’re all just a tiny piece of this earth.

Or maybe Thailand? That’s another of my bucket list destinations.

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