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  1. vectra's Avatar
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    #1

    hit pay dirt vs tap a gusher

    Hello,
    I am resuming work on the idioms we teach our students, and the two idioms which I find confusing are
    hit pay dirt and tap a gusher.

    As for hit pay dirt, the Dictionary of American Slang by Richard A. Spears gives the following definitions:
    1. tr. To discover something of value
    2. tr. To get to the basic facts of something

    As for tap a gusher, our university books of idioms give the following definition to start to earn good money from a great moneymaking structure.

    Here are some lines from my story. Could you tell me if they make sense?
    But Eric turned the tables on our competitors.
    First, Eric did not nickel and dime the local companies for every service we provide.
    Second, we tapped a gusher when we allowed local businessmen to invest their capital in some of our facilities.
    We did hit pay dirt back then. But the going was tough.
    Thank you for you time and help.

  2. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: hit pay dirt vs tap a gusher

    Quote Originally Posted by vectra View Post
    Hello,
    I am resuming work on the idioms we teach our students, and the two idioms which I find confusing are
    hit pay dirt and tap a gusher.

    As for hit pay dirt, the Dictionary of American Slang by Richard A. Spears gives the following definitions:
    1. tr. To discover something of value
    2. tr. To get to the basic facts of something

    As for tap a gusher, our university books of idioms give the following definition to start to earn good money from a great moneymaking structure.

    Here are some lines from my story. Could you tell me if they make sense?
    But Eric turned the tables on our competitors.
    First, Eric did not nickel and dime the local companies for every service we provide.
    Second, we tapped a gusher when we allowed local businessmen to invest their capital in some of our facilities.
    We did hit pay dirt back then. But the going was tough.
    Thank you for you time and help.
    This might be OK in AmE, it makes very little sense in BrE.

  3. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: hit pay dirt vs tap a gusher

    I've never heard the idiom tap a gusher in my life.

    The way I am familiar with the other is that when you hit pay dirt, you discover something of value. The second definition given is also not something I'm familiar with.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  4. vectra's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: hit pay dirt vs tap a gusher

    Hello,
    Thank you very much indeed for enlightening me about these two expressions.
    The thing is the six books of idioms we use were compiled in 2004, long before I started to teach at this university. I have no idea how they were selected. Each book contains 10 units with 10-12 idioms and phrasal verbs. Only students majoring in international economics and IBA do these idioms.
    When I started teaching English to the IE and IBA students, I wanted to make the process more interesting and engaging. That is why I took the idioms from Book 6 unit 1 and created a cartoon, having written the script. I deliberately conveyed the meanings of the idioms used in the cartoon by using different words and expressions.
    Here is a link to give you an idea what it is: revised Sales Manager and Erick

    Here is a list of them:
    1. a plum job
    2. to operate leanly
    3. Outsourcing
    4. to be left hanging in limbo
    5. to snap at smb’s heels
    6. to backlash
    7. to hit pay dirt
    8. to tap a gusher
    9. to nickel and dime
    10. to find one’s sea legs
    11. to flatten an organization
    12. a country-in-the-making
    As you can see some of them are not idioms at all. And here is my story:
    To: Pilar Rames
    From: Jane Morgan
    Subject: bumping into Eric
    Hi Pilar,
    It looks as if I am going to be up to my ears in work this week. Year-end reports, statements, balance sheets and all the jazz.
    But guess who I bumped into at the HQ today. Eric Henderson!
    He was on a short visit from Mandanga to submit the reports on the Mandanga subsidiary’s performance.
    You know, Pilar, since we outsourced our manufacturing facilities to Mandanga, the company’s profits have soared. Eric flattened the then failing subsidiary and turned it around. I know what he has been through and I wish all those who kept telling what a plum job he had got himself had been in Mandanga when he kicked off his implementation plan. According to internal information, the Mandanga subsidiary managed to find its sea legs without help from the parent company.
    We, at the HQ, were worrying at the time that the Mandanga subsidiary would not go it alone. Some strong competitors were snapping at our heels in the region. But Eric did it. First, he did not nickel and dime the local companies for every service we provide. Second, he tapped/hit a gusher when his subsidiary introduced the famous STARtrek navigation system on the local market.
    All this time Eric and the subsidiary have operated leanly, using only their resources.
    We did hit pay dirt back then when we promoted Eric to this position. Had it not been for Eric and his team, I do not know what situation the company would be in now. When the idea of outsourcing our manufacturing facilities spread around, the backlash from our employees was so strong that the idea was left hanging in limbo for a couple of months. Everyone at the company watched Eric and his team.
    Well, all is well that ends well. The situation down there in Mandanga is typical of processes taking place in countries-in-the-making.
    And I ended up having lunch with Eric. I insisted on going Dutch though, but he picked the bill.
    So, my friend Pilar, this is the news I wanted to share with you.
    Drop me a line if you are not too busy, OK?
    Love,
    Jane Morgan
    After thinking up such dialogues, I am always in great doubts as for the way they sound to a native speaker. As a result you watch me post questions on the Web.

  5. 5jj's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: hit pay dirt vs tap a gusher

    Quote Originally Posted by vectra View Post
    After thinking up such dialogues, I am always in great doubts as for the way they sound to a native speaker.
    I am afraid they sound very unnatural indeed; the dialogue for which you provided the llink would have many native speakers laughing out loud.

    I think you might do better to start a thread on how to teach idioms and see what ideas come from that. My personal experience is that any attempt (even by native speakers) to create dialogues containing pre-selected idioms is unlikely to sound natural.

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    #6

    Re: hit pay dirt vs tap a gusher

    They don't sound natural, but you are restricted by the choices and decisions made. I must say, I quite enjoyed watching the cartoon, and watched a second. They're not natural, the voices have machine intonation (teacup), but I think they could be used as a basis for a fun lesson around a rather rigid framework. As Fivejedjon says, it's hard to make a natural dialogue around a set list of idioms- we tend not to drop a dozen related idioms into a very short conversation.

  6. vectra's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: hit pay dirt vs tap a gusher

    Hello,

    A big thank you to you all!
    Your frank (or candid, I do not know which word is better) opinions are most welcome.
    Now I am going to rethink the whole idea about a cartoon-based course on idioms.
    I might try to use some other sites to create cartoons, but not the way I did with the idioms.

  7. 5jj's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: hit pay dirt vs tap a gusher

    Quote Originally Posted by vectra View Post
    Your frank (or candid, I do not know which word is better) opinions are most welcome.
    Both frank and candid are appropriate here.

    Indeed, they are quite restrained to me. Re-reading my first post, I now feel that my words "the dialogue for which you provided the link would have many native speakers laughing out loud" were over-frank and candid to the point of rudeness. I apologise for that. My words were far too dismissive of a serious, well-intentioned effort.

    As Tdol suggested, it could be the basis for a fun lesson. Each idiom on its own was used appropriately, and the cartoon could serve both to introduce the idioms and to to highlight the dangers of using too many idioms in a short space of time.

  8. vectra's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: hit pay dirt vs tap a gusher

    Dear fivejedjon,

    No hard feelings at all! Moreover, your comments were an eye-opener for me!
    All along my students were lukewarm about the cartoons: some of them are quite advanced in using the Web applications and even run their own forums about computer games. They found the script to be unreal.
    But I just dismissed their criticism and offered to create their own cartoons.
    My offer fell on not deaf but unwilling ears. It was a big disappointment for me.
    They did use some of the idioms in their presentations and it was great.
    I wish I could send you some of the presentations, I recorded them on camera; the size is big - 1Gb.
    So, the whole thing needs to be rethought. The owners of Xtranormal | Movie Maker granted me permission to use their service free of charge to create 15 more cartoons or films, and now I will have to go about it very carefully.
    Another conclusion I have drawn is that I have to keep on working at my English. A teacher who stops being a student, stops being a teacher.

    Best wishes,

  9. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: hit pay dirt vs tap a gusher

    Your students are lucky to have someone who cares so much about what is being taught!
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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