Here is a list of idioms and phrasal verbs attached to a unit we study with third-year IE and IBA students:
1. to brief/draw a picture
2. to take a leaf out of someone's book
3. to open a can of worms
4. to carry the can
5. to call the shots
6. to call it a day
7. to chew things over
8. chicken and egg situation
9. (being) chicken (adj.)
10. to call someone's bluff
11. cutting edge
12. to cost/pay/charge the earth: to cost an arm and leg
And here is a dialogue I made up using the idioms:
Susan: OK, I am going to call it a day for today. I have been working at the spreadsheets all day. My neck is aching terribly. And, besides, I am nearly done with my task.
Jill: Well, I must take a leaf out of your book, Sue. You are so well-organized.
Susan: You are flattering me, Jill. Anyway, thanks. But you canít but notice that if I fall behind with any of my tasks, Ms Granger will jump at me right away. I have been in these shoes, and do not feel like being the one to carry the can.
Jill: But we all get it in the neck from her from time to time. She calls the shots here and it is quite natural for her to boss us around.
Susan: You are absolutely right, Jill! That is the reason why I try to be so well-organized. Just do not want to open a can of worms. Last time when I missed a deadline, Ms Granger threatened to transfer me to the warehouse, to get the feel of the place. And just a few days before that she had praised me for doing a great job at the department.
Jill: Oh, come on! Barking dog never bites, they say. You are being chicken, that is the name of the game. You do not have the guts to call her bluff.
Susan: Oh, no! I just canít! I am out of my element when I have to argue with my boss.
Jill: OK, chew things over at home. An office is not the right place for that.
Susan: Well, Jill, if I ever make myself stand up to Ms Granger, I will risk ending up with a classic chicken and egg situation. Why was I late with completing my task? Because my time management is poor and so on. And this kind of argument might run for hours on end.
Jill: Fine, just forget what I have advised you to do. Wow! You have got a new phone!
Susan: ErÖ yeah, I have. It cost me an arm and a leg.
Jill: Cutting edge technology does not come cheap. Could you brief me on how it works. The phone looks to be full of frills and I have no idea what they are for.
Susan: Oh, sure. Look Ö
Does it sound OK to a native speaker's ear?
P.S. I resume working on a series of educational cartoons based on the idioms we study thanks to free points granted to us by a major American company which creates text-to-movie cartoons. As these lists of idioms were compiled many years ago, I would appreciate it if you could point out the idioms that sound out of place in my scripts and my mistakes.
Thank you for the time and help.