Tina: Where is Tom? He said he would be here an hour ago!
Kerri: Yes, we made these plans last week and confirmed everything last night!
Tina: He only lives 5 minutes from here. Where could he be?
Kerri: It beats me! He really has no excuse for being late!
Ken: I just heard about a guy who survived five weeks in the middle of the ocean in a small lifeboat. He only had a small amount of food and water. Also, there was a big storm while he was on the lifeboat. How could he still be alive?
Joe: It beats me how he survived in such a dangerous environment! What an amazing story!
The expression it beats me is used when a person does not know the answer to a question. It is also something a person says when he cannot understand something.
In the first example, two women are waiting for Tom. They arranged this meeting far ahead of time and even confirmed it with Tom the night before. Also, Tom lives very close to the meeting place, so he really has no excuse for being late. Kerri does not know why he is late and cannot even imagine an excuse.
In the second example, a man survived at sea for five days in a lifeboat without a lot of food and water. It’s an unbelievable story and Joe cannot understand or figure out how the man could survive when many people would die in the same situation.
This idiom can be found in the LSI textbook Speaking Savvy. This book is used at LSI schools in the level 5 Listening/Speaking classes. For more information, please visit: www.languagesystems.com