The Whiteboard today is the English Idiom "Draw the Short Straw". What it means and how to use it.

Here's something we were discussing the other day.

In this story, one of my students was trying to tell that, because he was the youngest, he was assigned to do a task that no one else wanted to do.

I told him that he had, unfortunately, drawn the short straw as he was delegated a task to do that he found quite unpleasant and didn't particularly, want to do.

He was chosen to tidy and clean up one of the offices for an impending visit. it was a job that everyone found quite boring and nobody volunteered to do it. Leaving the manager to make a decision, which of course, once my students name was mentioned to do it, everyone hurried to agree with the decision. Much to the weariness of my student.

He had drawn the short straw.

We use the English Idiom 'to draw the short straw' to show that someone has been chosen to do a task that no one else wanted to do. Usually the decision is then made by the boss and most of the time the person chosen will be a more junior member of the team.

So we can use it like this as:

  • No one volunteered to do the task, so because I was the youngest, I drew the short straw and had to do it.
  • I drew the short straw so it was my responsibility make sure the office looked its best. 

Hope you found this useful, let us know if you have any comments, suggestions or questions and I'll be only to happy to answer.

Ajarn Ken

english teacher and esl expert ajarn kenEnglish idiom Draw the Short straw

Draw The Short Straw

WE use to show that someone has been assigned to do a task that no one else wanted to do or volunteered to do. Usually a manager or someone senior will make that decision but sometimes it could go to a vote from the group to decide.

Useful Vocabulary

Delegated (verb 2) - When a boss or supervisor assigns work or a task for you to do

Particularly (adverb) - To emphasise a specific feeling about doing or not doing something

Impending (adjective) - An event that has been planned to happen and the moment is about to arrive

Weariness (noun) - To show that emotionally you have no energy or little energy or enthusiasm for a task

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