Hard: Work your socks off
Premier Vocabulary is a mini-podcast for you to learn football English one word at a time. We have three different levels for you: easy, medium and hard.
This episode is easy so we’re looking at common football words and phrases. Things you use and need to know to play the game.
Learn more football vocabulary with Premier Skills English. Each lesson in our Premier Vocabulary section looks at one football word or phrase. This lesson looks at the phrase to work your socks off.
You can find more lessons on the side of this page.
Rich: Hello my name’s Rich and welcome to Premier Skills English - Premier Vocabulary.
Jack: Hi there! I’m Jack. We’re here to help you with your football English. Premier Vocabulary is a mini-podcast for you to learn football English one word at a time.
Rich: We have three different levels for you: easy, medium and hard.
Jack: This episode is hard so we’re looking at more difficult football phrases and idioms. These phrases can be used to talk about football but are also useful when talking about other topics.
Rich: The phrase we are looking at in this episode is: to work your socks off.
Jack: It’s an idiom which means to work very, very hard. It can be used in or out of football. Listen to this example:
Rich: She worked her socks off to get where she is today.
Jack: In this example, you might be speaking about someone who has done very well in their chosen profession.
Rich: Imagine someone who is a fantastic surgeon. A surgeon would normally need to get very good results at school then they would need to study medicine at university.
Jack: Then they may need to go to a specialist medical school. They would need to do all the training to be a general doctor before they could specialise in becoming a surgeon.
Rich: Then they would need more training in a hospital. This could all be more than 10 years of training and studying.
Jack: If you want to become a surgeon, you definitely need to work your socks off!
Rich: Let’s think of a football example. Listen to this.
Jack: They deserve a point. They’ve worked their socks off this afternoon.
Rich: OK, here we are talking about a specific match and one team that have worked very, very hard.
Jack: We usually use the phrase to work your socks off when we are speaking about a team that has battled a lot, a team that maybe doesn’t have more natural talent or skill than the other team but works very hard together.
Rich: We also use the phrase to talk about individual players - often midfield players or strikers playing on their own up front. He’s worked his socks off in midfield today.
Jack: Or she’s worked her socks off up front on her own today.
Rich: The idiom to work your socks off is also a cliche in football. A cliche is a phrase that is used too much and is the easy thing to say.
Jack: If a team has worked hard or a manager thinks his or her team has worked hard the manager will often use this phrase. Listen to this:
Rich: We worked our socks off today we were very unlucky or I think we deserved a point we worked our socks off on the pitch today.
Jack: You might also hear people saying we ran our socks off today. The meaning is exactly the same: We ran our socks off or we worked our socks off.
Rich: Work your socks off, run your socks off. Can you think of any more?
Jack: What about I danced my socks off last night?
Rich: yes, that works. I wonder if there are any others?
Jack: There is the final whistle!
Rich: We’ll be back soon with more Premier Vocabulary from Premier Skills English.
Jack: Bye for now and enjoy your football.
Which team works their socks off most in the Premier League?
When do you have to work your socks off?