Idiom 'A Bad Apple' - Advanced Idiom English

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In this lesson you will learn the meaning of the idiom ‘a bad apple’ and how to use it in your conversations.


Max: The idiom ‘a bad apple’ is used to describe someone who is inherently bad, dishonest or a troublemaker.

Nina: This idiom is actually a part of the proverb ‘one rotten apple spoils the whole barrel’, which means a single bad person in a group of good people, may influence all of them, causing them to do wrong as well.

Max: You are right, Nina. In fact, it may refer to anything which causes something wrong.

Nina: Did you just say ‘anything’? You mean it also applies to a ‘thing’, right? For example: The new sales policy is a bad apple for the whole industry.

Max: That’s correct! It means causing a bad influence. Everybody knows that Jimmy is a rotten apple in the committee.

Nina: Right! In fact, such a bad apple should be put behind bars! He’s a criminal!

Max: Correct! ‘A bad apple’ can even mean a criminal.

Nina: I mean it, Max! We had a real hard time because of him!

Max: Okay. Cool down, Nina! Believe me, he’ll be taken care of!

My Boy, Calvin.

Jane: Mrs. Austen, I want to talk to you about your son Calvin.

Austen: Yes Mrs. Jane.

Jane: He’s such a bad apple. He’s ruining my class.

Austen: Calvin? But he’s a very quiet boy. What is he doing?

Jane: He tells the class that I don’t teach well, and that the class is not learning anything.

Austen: Really, Mrs. Jane? Calvin is a very intelligent kid. Maybe the problem is you.

Pete and Selena.

Austen: Did you all reach a decision at the meeting today?

Jane: A waste of time. Pete seems to be a bad apple for the whole management.

Austen: Yeah, but I don’t believe that he’s the one to blame.

Jane: He’s the one who caused us to lose the contract because he insulted their CEO!

Austen: Bad apple!

Don’t Date Him!

Jane: Nina, is Irene dating that waiter at Ruffo’s?

Austen: Yeah, he is her new crush!

Jane: Sorry to hear that! Don’t you know he is a bad apple?

Austen: Is that true?

Jane: Yeah! He dates and dumps!

Austen: I’m calling her right now. She deserves to know.

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