Idioms are a fun way to improve your English conversation skills. Here you’ll learn 9 must-know idioms and how to use them accurately in conversation. They all involve fruit! I think you’ll have fun with this.
YouTube blocked? Click here to see the video.
Hey guys! Here with my husband, David. And today, we’re going to go over nine idioms that are related to fruits. This is a follow-up to the fruit vocabulary video that we just did.
The first idiom you may have heard of is comparing apples to oranges. David, what does this idiom mean?
>> It means that you’re comparing two things that shouldn’t be compared.
>> Like they’re so different that comparison doesn’t really work.
>> Apples to oranges, come on! Those are two different fruit eating experiences.
>> They’re both fruits. That’s about it.
>> You can’t compare them.
>> No. He can’t compare them.
Alright, let’s think of an example.
So the one that I thought about was something that comes up when people discuss sports is that it’s fun to compare teams from two different eras. So right now, in American basketball, well basketball, the NBA, basketball has gone global now so there’s lots everywhere but in the NBA, the Golden State Warriors are a historically good team.
They just won another–
>> They just won their 3rd championship in 4 years.
>> So they won 3 out of 4.
And, so now, the discussion is comparing them with other teams from other eras and specifically, people are talking about the Bulls’ team from the 90s that have Michael Jordan.
Everyone knows and remembers Michael Jordan’s basketball play.
Pretty much in consensus, he was the best player ever.
But it’s really hard to compare those two teams and say: Who is the best team of all time? because the game has changed a lot. Three-point shooting has become much more common and much more important. Bulls play defense in different ways. There have been obviously rule changes in the time since then. And so we can have debates about it but comparing Jordan’s Bulls to the current Warriors is like comparing apples to oranges.
Because the sport itself has changed so much.
Yeah, I think that that’s a big part of it. Right?
And the styles that people play.
Okay, the next idiom, apples again. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Have you ever heard this idiom before?
David, what does this idiom mean to you?
So to me, it’s this idea that, you know, an apple tree drops its fruit close to where the tree grew and it means, as we use it, that a child of someone is often very similar to their parent. It means that there may be traits that are real similar and I think as we were getting ready, I think that it means often a negative connotation.
>> Mmhmm. And I heard you say that and I didn’t really agree.
>> Oh yeah?
I mean, definitely, we hear it negatively. For example, if you know a grown man with a really bad temper and maybe you see his kid is starting to develop a temper, has meltdowns, you could say: Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
And that’s negative but I also think it can be used just as easily in a neutral or a positive situation. For example, as you know, Stoney has taken to music big time, singing all the time, playing on, playing drums on anything that looks a little bit like a drum. And I was the same way as a kid. I sing all the time. All the time. And then I went on to get a Master’s Degree in opera. So, I feel like with singing and me and Stoney, you could say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
>> And I don’t think that’s negative. I don’t know. Maybe you think it’s negative .
>> No. I think that’s pretty neat.
You may have heard a person described as a ‘bad apple’ and this basically just means ‘not a good person’.
>> Can you think of any ‘bad apples’?
>> I could think of a couple but I’ll refrain.
Yeah. So someone who’s very negative or not cooperative, hard to be around, or does something really terrible, is a liar, is a cheater, you could say: he’s a bad apple.
>> Or she’s a bad apple. It’s not always men.
Um, there’s another idiom that plays on this idea of a bad apple and that’s something like: A bad apple spoils the whole bunch.
I think that’s from the idea that when the apple is rotting, that mold can literally spread to the next apple in the bunch. To me, that comes up, I was thinking of an example, I was doing a training and there was a group of people at a back table and they were really disengaged, they were kind of talking to each other in the back, and not just whispering but audibly talking.
>> While you were trying to present something?
>> While I was presenting and…
>> It kind of, it soured the whole room.
And everybody then was kind of distracted and looking back trying to figure out what was going on. And so that one bad table of people kind of soured the whole room.
>> Let’s move on from apples to bananas.
Okay, if someone is ‘bananas’, then they’re crazy. It can mean lots of different things, right? It can mean crazy energized like um, you could say: These kids are bananas! If there’s a birthday party and they’re all super hyper.
Um, when else could you use it? How else would you use it?
There’s another use that is more like someone is not in touch with the here and now or is having a psychiatric, I don’t know, situation, where people would say: Yeah, I think he’s kind of going bananas. It’s not a kind or friendly way to refer to that. You would sort of only use that in very informal settings where you know people really well. But it means, it can mean ‘going crazy’ in that sense too, like, really lose in touch with the here and now.
>> Yeah. So you could say ‘he is going bananas’, you could also say ‘he’s bananas’.
I’m also thinking about my friend who has some dogs and she said when the fireworks go off with the Fourth of July or New Year’s or something, that her dogs are just insane. They get super scared and they’re hyper all over the place. And that, as another thing I thought of, is like those dogs are bananas when the fireworks go off. And it’s too bad, she really feels bad for them ’cause they are scared. I think they think their lives are ending or something.
Cherries. I just popped my first bag of cherries for this season and I’m enjoying them. And so is Stoney. Okay, but cherries, there’s an idiom here and it’s the phrase: to cherry pick. And basically, this means to choose all of the best options.
So it can be seen as sort of negative if someone comes through and cherry picks all the best options for something. Like, this is a weird example, maybe, but let’s say there’s a buffet of food, a whole bunch of people. You know, we’re all friends and family here, and someone goes through and cherry picks the buffet, and gets like all the good stuff and leaves all the rest of us, friends and family, with the less good stuff.
That person, yeah, that person cherry picked the buffet. And then the result was, I didn’t get the cupcake that I wanted ’cause I was at the end of the line. That never actually happened.
Um can you think of another way, another example for using cherry pick?
So we talk about it too in terms of political campaigns. That’s what I thought about, where, in American politics, there are so many commercials that are made and often, one candidate will cherry pick some fact about another candidate to make a negative commercial or to show them in a negative light. So maybe there’s 2 or 3 things about that other candidate, that really stand out in a negative fashion, instead of talking about that whole candidate’s stands on the different issues, et cetera, they just cherry pick a couple facts and make a really biting, nasty commercial.
Mmm hmm. That makes me think that that could also work well if there was an interview happening, and the person who is being interviewed cherry picks the questions ahead of time and they were like: Send me the questions you’re thinking about asking. Okay, you can only ask these 3 or whatever. Then that’s like just picking the ones that are going to put that person in the best light possible.
>> Right. Right.
>> Cherry pick.
Wait a second, back to basketball. Isn’t this a term for a play in basketball?
Well, cherry picking is when one person runs down the floor almost before your team even has the ball. It’s kind of like hanging out the far end so that as soon as we get the ball, we just chuck it down the field and that person is cherry picking.
Okay. So, ’cause I was trying to read about this and I didn’t quite get it and one of the things that I read was like if you’re doing, if you’re cherry picking, you’re not even playing defense?
Like, the whole time, you’re just hanging out, waiting for the fast break?
>> Right. Exactly.
Because I knew that I heard that in basketball terms before but I didn’t know exactly what the play was.
Yes, that’s it.
Grapes. A tasty fruit and a great idiom. To hear it through the grapevine. Okay, what does this mean? This means if you picture a grapevine, and there are these bunches of grapes, you know as you go down.
>> All connected.
>> All connected.
If you hear something ‘through the grapevine’, that means you didn’t hear it directly from the person that was affected. But you heard it from someone who heard it from someone who heard it from someone. All connected. And sometimes, you don’t even really know, you don’t remember the person you heard it from or what their source was back to the actual person. But you heard it.
>> Yeah. And often it, the message has been passed along so many times that it’s not quite accurate.
>> Yeah. It can change.
So you might say: Well, I don’t know if this is quite right. I just heard it through the grapevine, but here’s what I heard, and use it as a caveat.
It can be a little gossipy, right?
>> If you hear some…
>> It implies some gossip.
>> Not always, though.
>> No, not always.
I mean, ’cause I see it, the example I was thinking about was we just had some friends over and they had heard about my job change of a year ago but not directly from me, they had heard through mutual friends so they…and I hadn’t talked to them, they came over and they said: So we heard through the grapevine that you have a… you know, you’re no longer working at the school? And I said: Oh yeah! Yeah, you’re right! Didn’t hear it from me but that’s exactly right.
>> Yeah. So someone was talking about you, updating them on your life, said this, and then…
>> They might not even have remembered whor said that to them.
>> But they knew they heard it through the grapevine.
>> Very possible.
This reminds me of a great song from so long ago. Do you know this song? Great song. I heard it through the grapevine. And in this song, this guy is like: I know you’re going to break up with me. Not because you told me, but because you told someone else and it eventually got back to me and now I know. And the guy is really sad in the song.
Let’s move on to something more tart. Lemons. The idiom I’m thinking of is “When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade” which, of course, is sweet and everyone loves lemonade. Okay, so lemons.
So this is basically saying when something happens that’s generally not great, you can turn it into something good . It’s up to you to do that.
And lemons are sour and puckery but if you add some sugar, you get something delicious. Um, so the thing that I thought of was that when I’m doing well and in a good space, and get stuck in a line at the grocery store, if I decide, you know what? This is a great opportunity to slow down, take some deep breaths, kind of do some meditative walking. It’s actually a great thing.
>> So you’re meditatively walking while you’re in line for the grocery?
>> Sure, when I’m in a good place. When I’m not, I’m feeling like throwing things.
>> Yeah! ‘Cause you’re like “Ugh this is wasting my time!”
It’s wasting time but really, if I was going to make lemonade there, it’s like, you know what? I rarely get to slow down, enjoy just being around people, there are no responsibilities on me right now, I just have to stand here, I can, you know, this is actually pretty great!
Yeah. So it’s so much about how you approach a negative life situation.
It’s like, are you going to treat it as lemons? Are you going to turn into lemonade? I was thinking about one time, my computer broke, this was before I worked quite so much, and I was like: Oh! That’s a bummer! But actually, I realized not having a computer for a couple days was really freeing! And so I just went with that. I don’t…I’m not going to answer any emails. I’m not going to check any social media. It was great! Um, and this is also making me think about just the calling something a lemon. You know, this is moving on to a different idiomatic use now for this word.
Like a used car could be great, could be fine, or could be a lemon, something that is constantly giving you problems, constantly breaking down. Um, can you think of any… I mean, used car I feel like is such a…
That’s really a word to use.
Such a strong connection to the word ‘lemon’. But you could maybe use that, I actually think I used that once. I was on the phone with Apple, I was going to order a Apple certified, like used computer. Oh, I had and there was something not working with it and I was talking to tech support, we were working through this, and I said: I kind of feel like I got a lemon here.
And they were like: You didn’t. Calm down.
But so I also used it with that. So It could be for something that’s expensive, maybe that’s used, or it wouldn’t even have to be used but something that’s not functioning well at all, not meeting expectation or standards.
>>That could be called a lemon.
Okay and the final idiom: low-hanging fruit. So if your think about an apple tree which we have already talked about with the one idiom, apple trees are big and it can take a lot of effort to get to the top. Actually, I should put in a clip of that great fruit tree from Ginny’s house. Okay, so fruit from the top of the tree is harder to get than fruit from the bottom of the tree. Um, there’s this, my friend has a great fruit tree in the back of her house and we were, all of the low-hanging fruit had already been picked because it’s the easiest. Maybe you can just reach up and grab it without even getting any equipment but we had to get this ladder and then this great fruit picker to get the fruit off from the top cause this tree was really tall. Anyway, this is opposite, low-hanging fruit is the fruit that’s at the bottom of the tree that’s the easiest to get. And we use this idiom to mean the easiest thing. It’s often what you would want to do first. Um, do you have an example of this?
I do. Yeah, and I thought about my work as a therapist and if people come in and start to do work with me and they’re really depressed, one of the things that I want to recommend first is that they start to do some exercise or to really increase their level of exercise. We’re going to get into talk therapy and we’re going to maybe talk about medication, there’s lots of things that you can do…
>> But one of the….
>> Higher branches,
>> Higher branches.
>> More effort.
One of the things that no matter who we are or where we are, we always have the opportunity to exercise in some form and there’s a direct, you know, correlation to feeling better into our mental health so that’s low-hanging fruit for people who aren’t feeling great.
>>’Cause it’s easier, you can do it quickly.
Um, I was thinking another example for this would be when we sit down and we’re doing our budget. and if we, you know, feel like: Okay, we spent too much this month. What can we do? The low-hanging fruit would be the easiest thing to cut out. The thing that would be the least hard to give up. For example, when we order in food, I always prefer to eat it home anyway. I like going out but if we’re going to eat it home, then I just, I want food that we’ve made ourselves. And so that could be an easy way to say: Well, we’re not getting carryout anymore. We’re just going to make something simple, fast, that’s going to be cheaper than ordering out so that would be low-hanging fruit ’cause I kind of prefer that anyway.
>>Mmm hmm. Good example.
Okay guys, so those were some idioms about fruit. If you didn’t see the fruit vocabulary video, be sure to check that out. You can click the link here, or in the description below. Are there any other fruit idioms that you can think of that we missed? Put it in the comments below, let us know, we’ll try to define them. And if you can think of any other categories of idioms that you’re curious about, let us know and maybe we can make a video about it in the future.
>>It’d be great!
Okay guys, that’s it and thanks so much for using Rachel’s English.