Year 4 Language and Literature

Familiar Sayings

Beggars can't be choosers

Every culture has phrases and proverbs that make no sense when carried over literally into another culture.

Beggars can't be choosers

People use this saying to mean that when you are in a weak or disadvantaged position, you shouldn't be fussy about the help that may be offered - even if it isn't exactly the sort of help you want.

'I didnít have time to eat breakfast,' Supriyo said, 'and I'm starving. But the only thing left in the canteen for lunch is spinach salad - eeugh!' 'Beggars can't be choosers, Supriyo,' Nikki said. 'Looks as if you'll have to eat something healthy for a change.'

touch and go

Touch and go

This phrase describes a situation that is so difficult, no one knows how it will turn out.

Harold had been training to walk a tightrope, but today was his first day to perform for an audience. He took his first steps steadily and slowly, using a long pole to keep his balance. When he got to the middle, he looked down for a moment. He felt himself teeter. The crowd gasped.

Then, just in time, he regained his balance. The rest of his steps were strong and sure. Later Harold said: 'Everything was fine until I looked down. For a few seconds there, it was touch and go.'

This activity has been adapted from pages 80 and 84 of What Your Year 4 Child Needs to Know, which can be purchased here.

This activity has a connection: click below to see the related activity.

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