1) a fill-in exercise; We got a sentence where we had to fill in the correct missing word. Behind each sentence we had a description and according to this description we had to look for the missing word ... easy.
-> Don't ... my patience. -> the word we had to fill in was "try". I didn't know this one, just couldn't come up with the word so I went for an alternative namely; "Don't put my patience to the test".
My question is whether this is a good solid alternative. According to what I know, as far as my feelings go and to what I have heard... it is !
I would prefer 'Don't test my patience.' but your alternative is OK except that it doesn't fit in the gap so would be wrong in the test.
2) Written exercise; Pushing the evelope, is an idiom. I know it for years and used it in a paragraph that I wrote. The sentence was: "Since the arrival of digital photography you (as a photographer) have been able to push the evelope."
I was taking here about the technical aspect of photography. And what I want to stress is -> pushing the bounderies, looking for the limit of what is possible.
My question; Is this correct ? Because, my teacher (who is native American) underlined it and marked it with a question mark because she didn't know it.
I am British and I have never heard of the idiom 'pushing the envelope' either. Where did you learn it? 'pushing the boundaries' is, of course, fine.
As for fluency written or spoken practice is the answer. I found that my written Russian improved no end through 'chatting' on ICQ. Mainly because I had to answer immediately and couldn't keep referring to a dictionary.