On weekends I enjoy dropping in on old friends. If a friend wants to chat with me, I hope they feel free to drop in, too. If you’re walking down our street and want to find out more about Primavera English, ring the doorbell and drop in for a visit. Such a commonplace sentence, and yet when my twelve-year-old student read about Gloria dropping in on Julian, her eyebrows shot up and her jaw did some dropping of its own.
So, what does it mean to “drop in” on someone? It doesn’t mean, as my student discovered, that your friend falls through the ceiling. Rather, it means to “pay an unexpected or casual visit.” If you are planning to speak to a company’s CEO or pay for a spot in a busy restaurant, it would be best to call ahead and reserve a timeslot or table rather than just drop in. But friends drop in on each other all the time.
It would behoove English language learners to add this phrase to their idiom arsenal. As a friend to English-speakers, you’ll undoubtedly be invited to drop in yourself. Now you know not to cut a hole in the roof. Just ring the doorbell.