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Step on Someone's Toes
Step on Someone's Toes English, baby! Video Lesson

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Date: Nov 19 2013

Themes: Soap Opera, Work

Grammar: Adjectives


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They may be small, but toes are essential to everyone. Toes help a person walk and balance, so it’s important to take care of them. Unfortunately, toes are also fragile, which makes it easy for them to get hurt. If you’ve ever stepped on someone’s toe (or felt someone stepping on yours), you know that no matter how small they are, a crushed toe is extremely painful.

Imagine that you and a friend work at the same company. You have a lot of tasks to do each day, and so does your friend. Some of those tasks are big and some small. One day, your friend completes one of your tasks for you without asking. The next day he does something else, and the day after something more.

Your friend may be trying to help, or he may be trying to get your boss’ attention. Either way, he’s stepping on your toes by doing your work. Even if they’re small tasks, you feel it when those tasks are taken from you. The tasks are essential to your job at the company, just like your toes are essential to keeping your body upright.

Lily worries that she’s stepping on Jeff’s toes in this English lesson about job responsibilities.

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Lily:  Hey, Jeff?

Jeff:  What?

Lily:  Nothing, nothing.

Jeff:  What? OK, it’s just that I’ve got a bunch of stuff to do over here.

Lily:  I know. That’s actually what I wanted to talk to you about, because Amanda had this idea that maybe I could take over some of your responsibilities now that I’m back. She thought it might help me with my confidence or something.

Jeff:  OK.

Lily:  But I told her that I wanted to check with your first, because I don’t want to be stepping on your toes at all. I don’t want you to think that I’m trying to take your job or anything.

Jeff:  No, no, no, no. It’s OK. I’m glad you asked. I actually have a lot to do over here.

Lily:  I mean, because I know that I was acting weird before when I was trying to take all of those tasks away from you, and I was obsessed with trying to make Amanda like me. And it seemed like I would do anything to get ahead.

Jeff:  First of all, like I said, I have a ton of stuff to do. I’m totally overwhelmed over here. And I really appreciate the offer, and you wouldn’t be stepping on my toes at all.

Lily:  Are you sure? Because the last thing I want you to do is think that I’m stepping out of line or anything like that.

Jeff:  No. No, no, no, no. Come over. Take a look at these spreadsheets.

Lily:  Alright!

Jeff:  Ow! You just crushed my toes!

Lily:  I’m sorry.

Jeff:  Don’t worry about it.


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Amanda wants Lily to take on some of Jeff’s responsibilities, because she thinks that it will make Lily feel better at her job. Lily feels nervous about sharing this idea with Jeff, because not so long ago, Lily completed some of Jeff’s tasks without asking first. She was trying to make Amanda like her, but the whole thing blew up in her face.

When Jeff learns about Amanda’s plan, he’s more than happy to have Lily’s help. Jeff is feeling overwhelmed with how much work he has to do. He’s not worried about Lily stepping out of line, because he knows she’s sorry for what happened before. Jeff knows that Lily only wants to do the right thing.

When was the last time you stepped on someone’s toes? What happened?



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12:49 AM Jan 19 2017 |



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11:23 AM Oct 22 2015 |



This idiom seems to be very useful in some instances happen in office. there was an incident where i had done work of my team mate in his absense, after my boss checked that work and acclaimed me infront of him at that time he felt jealous so that doesnot mean i was stepping on his toes…

12:46 PM Nov 27 2013 |



There was an incident that my college and I needed to train a group of kids on a dance. It was a team work for a year end performance. But, she always avoided the task whenever a practice needed. Eventually, I had to train the bunch of kids all on my own. On the presentation day, she just sat down and watched the performance. Fortunately, it was a marvelous dance, and I received a lot of praises. Of course I got all the credit. 

After the performance, she told everyone that I made everyone felt that she didn’t do her job. See, I didn’t step on her toes. I didn’t step out of line , either. I spent the efforts to get things done, but I got the blame. 

02:36 AM Nov 25 2013 |



Iran, Islamic Republic Of

im a student at  highschool

when i come back from school my toes have bad pain because others step on my toes :(

when i stepped on someones toes i try to ask sorry because i know how much painfull it is

04:32 PM Nov 20 2013 |




So far,I havn’t stepped on someone’s toes in my working place.

02:57 AM Nov 20 2013 |

2 people like this




It’s a good point actually. Very sutle issue but both sides are well aware what’s going on. At work, it should be nipped in the bud. I don’t mean kind hearted Lily. She’s an angel and Jeff knows that her intentions are sincere and not aimed to replace Jeff or please the boss. And she asked about it which is a very wise thing to do. Usually when a person wants to step on your toes, he/she doesn’t ask, just complets the job and then make a point or make his endeavors visible to a boss how good and smart he is and make the chief believe he’s the right candidate for the position that poor Petrov can’t “tackle”. When someone steps on my toes, I totally don’t like it and try to oppose it. Sorry.

02:45 AM Nov 20 2013 |

GrammaristSuper Member!

United Arab Emirates

This phenomena is dominant in workplace, especially in schools and companies. You would see people stepping on their colleagues’ toes and pretending that they just help them when they actually promote for themselves. However, I hate asking people to do some of my duties even if it is delegation, which seems good and beneficial for both parties, but sometimes you have to give in in some circumstances where you feel pressured or overwhelmed. These trusted people, who you delegate your work for, will take some of the heavy loads off your shoulders. Who knows? One day you will return the favor!! it is kind of win-win game !! the most important element is that you should select the right person. 

we cannot isolate ourselves forever and so do our peers. perhaps by uderstanding our relationship, one can tell if he/she is sure to let other take over some tasks ..

01:39 AM Nov 20 2013 |




I don`t like to step on anybody`s toes.  As it is, I have myself a lot  to take care for than  thinking on  crossing boundaries and  taking upon me  duties that are none of my business. 

08:42 PM Nov 19 2013 |

adward SD

adward SD


haha,it‘s pretty funny but i don’t like im being done what like that。it’s 

damn it!

02:27 PM Nov 19 2013 |

1 person likes this



its always bad and painful to step on someone’s toes ..especially in dance :))

11:47 AM Nov 19 2013 |




not so long ago, i step on my godfather’s toes receiving and forwarding one urgent courier, and this on his behalf.he was upset and explained me why.and his reproach was actually justified, i thought that i was doing well, i was naive.i wouldn’t do that anymore…

11:21 AM Nov 19 2013 |

2 people like this



In september this year, my master was on his trip and a paper needed his sign . It was so urgent that i stepped on his toes and signed the paper with his name. Have it done, the awkard things comes.  I don’t know how to tell him about the story,also i worried that he will mistake me, think me as a despicable person. Fortunately, my boss is a well-formed person, he knew the truth and started a chat with me ,talking about the sign .He is so big-hearted and didn’t metion the sign at all! The stone in my heart dropped to the ground!

02:54 AM Nov 19 2013 |

2 people like this

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