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Idiom: run-of-the-mill; used as an adjective

First Example:
Lance: Did you do anything special this

Nancy: Not really. Just relaxed at
home.  Oh, I went and saw that big
blockbuster this weekend.
Lance: How was it?
Nancy: Not great.  It’s your typical, run-of-the-mill action movie. 
Lance: Oh that’s too bad. I really like
the lead actor.
Nancy: He was OK, but the movie itself is
nothing special.  I’d say wait for the
DVD to watch it; it’s not worth a trip to the movie theater.

The expression “run-of-the-mill” means that something is ordinary, with no
special features or characteristics.  It
has a similar meaning to the word “mediocre,” which means that
something is not special (this usually has a negative connotation, as it is
usually used to describe things that are supposed to be special). In the
example, Nancy describes the new blockbuster as being “run-of-the-mill,”
suggesting that Lance wait for the movie to come out on DVD to watch it.  Also, notice that “run-of-the-mill” uses
hyphens; they should always be used with this expression.  Look at another example:

Mark: Did you see Tania’s engagement
Brianna: No.  Did you.
Mark: It’s huge!

Brianna: Really?        
Mark: We’re not talking about some run-of-the-mill 1 carat diamond engagement
ring.  The center diamond is over 2
carats, and there are smaller diamonds along the band.  I asked Jim how much he spent on it, and he
said it cost almost $10,000!

Brianna: Wow!  His business must be doing well!  

In this case, Mark uses the expression
“run-of-the-mill” with a negative to emphasize that Tania’s
engagement ring is not ordinary; due to the size of the diamond and cost of the
ring, it an extraordinary ring that is not “run-of-the-mill.”
Using the expression in this way (with a negative to emphasize that something
isn’t ordinary) is fairly common.

This idiom is from LSI’s new edition of “Reading
Horizons,” which will be used in the Level 6 Reading classes. For more
information, please visit

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