A fly on the wall

PUBLISHED : Monday, 27 June, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 27 June, 2011, 12:00am


'Do not remove a fly from your friend's forehead with a hatchet.' Chinese Proverb

Fly nouns

A fly is a pesky little insect that flies around annoying people. But what sort of 'flies' are these?

1 a fly-drive holiday

a. a vacation where you take a plane to your destination and then continue by car

b. a vacation that is spoiled by long delays at the airport

2 fly-tipping

a. the illegal dumping of rubbish at the road-side or in the countryside

b. suddenly fainting in a public place

3 a no-fly zone

a. the air space over a country or city where planes are not allowed to fly

b. an aerosol that contains fly-killing liquid

4 fly-posting

a. the illegal sticking of posters or adverts on walls

b. posting letters without a stamp on them

Your turn

Put the correct 'fly' noun into these sentences

1 During the Olympics, there was a ............ over the centre of Beijing.

2 We are going to take a ................ to America next year.

3 Don't dump your rubbish there! Didn't you know that ........ is illegal?

Flying verbs

Work out the meanings of these phrasal verbs and then use them in the sentences below.

1 to fly at somebody

a. to suddenly lose your temper and start shouting at someone

b. to tell someone how much you admire them

2. to fly the flag

a. to visit a foreign country for the first time

b. to show support for your country or a special group that you belong to

3 to make the fur fly

a. to cause a lot of trouble

b. to make someone very happy

4 to let fly

a. to lose your temper and say exactly what you are thinking

b. to take a plane for the first time

5 to fly off the handle

a. to react in a very angry way to something someone has said or done

b. to feel very upset by a sad piece of news

Your turn

1 He seems very irritable. He (flies off the handle / makes the fur fly) at everything I say.

2 Mum (let fly / flew the flag) when she read my school report last night.

3 If you tell the boss what you know, you will certainly (make the fur fly / fly off the handle) in the office.

4 He (flew at me / flew the flag) last night for no reason whatsoever.

Flying expressions

What has someone said to you if they say ...

1 He wouldn't hurt a fly

a. He wouldn't harm anything or anybody.

b. He is very violent and vicious.

2 Go fly a kite!

a. Will you go out with me?

b. Go away! I don't want anything to do with you.

3 Pigs might fly!

a. That is impossible and will never happen.

b. I think everything will be sorted out quickly.

4 Sparks will fly

a. That will cause a fire.

b. That will cause a great deal of trouble.

5 I'd love to be a fly on the wall

a. I'd love to secretly hear what they say or see what they do

b. I'd like to tell them off


Fly nouns: 1. a, 2. a, 3. a, 4. a

Your turn: 1. no-fly zone, 2. fly-drive holiday, 3. fly-tipping

Flying verbs: 1. a, 2. b, 3. a, 4. a, 5. a

Your turn: 1. flies off the handle, 2. let fly, 3. make the fur fly, 4. flew at me

Flying expressions: 1. a, 2. b, 3. a, 4. b, 5. a