Learn English Phrases – Put your foot down / The last straw


Everyday English Speaking Course

Hello students, this is Shayna, your teacher at EspressoEnglish.net, and I’m back with two more English phrases today. The first one is: “put your foot down.” If you “put your foot down” in a situation it means you make a decision and then you assert that decision or that position very strongly.

Here’s an example: After my son failed 3 tests in a row, I put my foot down and said he couldn’t watch television until he improved his grades. As you can see, “I put my foot down” means I made a decision, I enforced that decision very strongly, and nothing can change it, it’s a firm decision.

Let’s take that same situation, and use it to learn the other phrase. My son’s grades were not so great during the whole year, but when he failed his final exam, that was the last straw, I put my foot down and said he couldn’t watch TV until he improved his grades.

The next expression is; “the last straw,” and this means something that is the last thing in a sequence or a series of annoying or bad events, and “the last straw” is the final thing which provokes a decision or an action.

Here’s another example using “the last straw”: let’s say I live in an apartment which is not so great. It has had several problems over the years; the roof leaks, the power goes out frequently, there are bugs in the apartment, it’s just not a great place to live.

But then, the landlord decided to increase the rent. Well, that was the last straw. I decided to move out. Again, “the last straw” is the final event in a sequence of things that are bad, and “the last straw” is the one that finally makes that situation impossible to tolerate.

So, let’s review: Our two expressions for today are “put your foot down,” meaning to make a decision, a firm decision, and assert it strongly in a situation; and “the last straw,” meaning the final event in a sequence of events which finally makes the situation intolerable, forcing you to take action.

Thanks for joining me today, and I’ll see you next time.

You’ll learn hundreds of conversational English expressions in this course:

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