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According to someone

As someone says.
Per someones statement.
When someone says: According to my brother, youre not innocent, they mean something
like: He says youre not innocent.
be obliged to (somebody) for (something) - be thankful to somebody for something
e.g. Thank you very much. I am much obliged to you for your help.
in question- of whom (which) we are talking
e.g. The book in question is already out of print.
settle the question - decide upon, make clear
e.g. I'm tired of waiting. It's good time to settle this question once and for all.
Suffice (it) to say: it is enough to say
Used to indicate that one is saying enough to make ones meaning clear while withholding
something for reasons of discretion or brevity: used for saying that the statement that you
are making contains your main idea, although you could say more about it
Suffice it to say that they were not considered suitable for this project
Im not sending a gift - I think a card will suffice (be enough).
The two examples should suffice (be enough) to prove this point.
I appreciate it: say this when you want to thank someone who has done a lot to help you.
Thanks for helping out on Sunday - I appreciate it.
I couldnt have managed without your support and encouragment. I really appreciate it.
be indebted to: to feel very grateful to someone for something they have given you or done
for you.
We are indebted to the National Archives for permission to print these photographs.
she said that she was greatly / deeply indebted to everyone who had supported her
gobsmacked: so surprised that you cannot speak.
how did you feel when you heard that your wife was excepting triplets? Gobsmacked
absolutely gobsmacked.
would rather (do something) - more willingly
e.g. He said he would rather stay at home than go to the concert.
give one's regards - convey one's greetings
e.g. Give my best regards to your family.
in (or with) regard to - in (or with) respect to
e.g. In (or with) regard to your last question, I'll make the following statement.
running - in succession, one after the other
e.g. She was sitting over her report for three hours running.
to say nothing of - not to mention
e.g. 1 am having a hard time with biology, to say nothing of physics.
so to speak - speaking in general terms
e.g. He is so to speak the chief of this society.
so as to- in order to
e.g. We spoke in a whisper so as not to wake them up.
it stands to reason (that...) - it is perfectly clear and logical (that...)
e.g. It stands to reason that this invention will introduce some changes.
be supposed to - be expected to
e.g. He is supposed to arrive at five.
supposing (that...) - suppose (that...)
e.g. Supposing it rains, what shall we do?
After all - I) considering everything
e.g. He is not a bad student after all.
2) in spite of everything e.g. She was right after all.
With open arms--warmly, with a hearty welcome
e.g. He was received with open arms when he returned to his home town.
As it were- so to speak, in other words
e.g. He became, as it were, a kind of hero in our town
As yet- up to now
e.g. There has been no change as yet.
but for- if it were not for
e.g. But for your help, we should have failed.
in case of- in the event of
e.g. Refer to your dictionary in case of difficulty.
on the contrary - just the opposite
e.g. He is not lazy, on the contrary, he is very diligent.
count on - rely on
e.g. You can always count on my assistance.
of course - certainly, naturally
e.g. "Do you study hard?" - "Of course, I do."
or else - otherwise
e.g. Hurry, or else you'll be late.
ever so much - very much
e.g. Thank you ever so much for this book.
in the face of - confronted by
e.g. What could we do in the face of all those hardships?
hold true (of) - be true or valid
e.g. What I told you about his lack of training also holds true of his brother.
keep track of - keep in touch with
e.g. We read newspapers regularly so as to keep track of current events.
not in the least - not at all
e.g. "Am I troubling you?" - "Not In the least."
in full swing- at the maximum point of activity, at the hight of activity.
e.g. The party was in full swing by ten o'clock: everybody was having a fine time.
at your convenience - at a time or place that suits one, at a convenient time, at a time that
suits you, when it suits you, in your own time, when you have a minute, when you can;
do make an appointment at your convenience.
if you would like to discuss this matter further, please do not hesitate to arrange a meeting at
your convenience.
rest assured: to be assured; to be certain.
Rest assured that you'll receive the best of care. Please rest assured that we will do
everything possible to help.
please be assured that I will do all I can to assist in the smooth transfer of my responsibility
before leaving.
To be honoured:delighted
I would be honoured to accept.
Peter Alliss says he would be honoured to be asked.
I am honoured" to be here, or "I am honoured" to be with you, it means that they see this as
a great privilege, and that they are happy that it is happening.
in honour of: As a celebration of or expression of respect for:
a dinner given in honour of Nevinson
Accept (a bill) or pay (a cheque) when due:
the bank informed him that the cheque would not be honoured (accepted).
rest assured: to be certain something will happen
I know this fellow well, and you can rest assured he will give you good advice.
(that's) fine with me and (that's) fine by me; (that's) okay by me; (that's) okay with me
That is agreeable as far as I am concerned. (The expressions with by are colloquial.)
Sue: I'm giving away your old coat. Bob: That's fine with me.
Sally: Can I take twenty dollars out of your wallet? Fred: That's okay by meif you can find
it, of course.
as far as something is concerned and so far as something is concerned
having to do with something; pertaining to something; as for something.
This bill? As far as that's concerned, the committee will have to take care of it.
As far as the roofs concerned, it will just have to last another year.
have a duty/responsibility/obligation etc (to do something)
if you have a duty, responsibility etc, you should or must do something
I understand that the school and the LED have a duty of care towards my child, and so I
would like to request a meeting at your earliest convenience to discuss this.
I have a duty to report anything suspicious to the police.
Employers have an obligation to provide safe working conditions.
(be excused) (Used by school pupils) be allowed to leave the room, especially to go to the
Please, Miss, can I be excused?
My son,Tony, will be attending your school from the beginning of next term, and I am writing
to ask that he be excused (be allowed not to attend the religious class) from religious
education classes.
Outstanding: Not yet paid, resolved, or dealt with:
much of the work is still outstanding
Julians outstanding debts
In my previous correspondence to you I requested repairs to be completed to 56 Kayside
Close. the following items remain outstanding: The kitchen tap is leaking and the sealant
round the bath needs replacing.
Proximity: nearness in space, time, or relationship.
"do not operate microphones in close proximity to television sets"
subsequently: after a particular thing has happened; afterwards.
"many of the Scots who voted for Union subsequently changed their minds"
synonyms: later, later on, at a later date, at some time/point in the future, at a subsequent
time, afterwards, in due course, following this/that, eventually, then, next, by and
through thick and thin - through all difficulties
e.g. They will back you up through thick and thin.
fit for their purpose: something that is fit for purpose is good enough to do the job it was
designed to do.
Under the Sale of Goods Act 1979, purchased items should be of satisfactory quality and fit
for their purpose.
comprehensible: something the is comprehensible is easy to understand because it does
not contain any complicated information and is expressed in very clear language.
Live up to = meet one's expectations
The movie did not live up to all the good reviews.
The hotel really lives up to its reputation. It's excellent.
A: Why did you change universities?
B: Clown College really didn't live up to my expectations.
Appreciative: feeling or showing gratitude or pleasure:
an appreciative audience.
the team are very appreciative of your support.
Commitment: The state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc.; An
engagement or obligation that restricts freedom of action:
The companys commitment to quality.
Unfortunately I have a prior commitment (arrangement) that needs me to leave before the
awards ceremony at 2.00p.m.
synonyms: responsibility, obligation, duty, tie, charge, liability, burden, pressure;
undertaking, task, engagement, arrangement
gracious: Courteous, kind, and pleasant, especially towards someone of lower social status;
kind, courteous, and compassionate.
He graciously accepts your to a reception for Dr. Maureen Bell on Sunday, February 19, at 8
p.m at the University of Manchester Auditorium.
Regrettably: Unfortunately (used to express apology for or sadness at something):
Regrettably, last nights audience was a meagre one.
Regrettably, we will have to leave early due to a previous appointment.
use this when you consider the existing situation to be unsatisfactory. e.g.. The poor and
disadvantaged will, regrettably, be the ones to suffer as a result of the new law.
Gladly: willingly or eagerly; with pleasure or gratitude; happily.
I would have gladly paid for it.
she offered me a lift and I gladly accepted.
with pleasure, happily, cheerfully; More
willingly, readily, eagerly, freely, without hesitation, without reluctance, with good
grace, ungrudgingly;antonyms: reluctantly, unwillingly
I would gladly have given him the money
be pressed for time (money, etc.) - be short of time (money, etc.)
e.g. I am very much pressed for time. We have to hurry.
Hang in there means keep trying or participating; persist. Hang in has the same meaning.
I always keep telling myself, "Hang in there, what you're doing is important and it does make
a big difference...
Teach your children to hang in there when the going gets tough, but know when to let them
throw in the towel
to live up to something; live up to somebody's expectations/ its reputation [Note: to live up
to your promise: to fulfil your potential]
The holiday didn't live up to our expectations.
in favour of = support or approve of something .
Although I want to join the army, my parents are not in favour of it.
After the big test, we were all in favour of going out for a drink.
A: Why didn't you vote for him?
B: Because he is in favour of raising taxes.
As opposed to: Comparison of two very different things
Usage: A (situation), as opposed to B (opposite situation)
I did very well in academic endeavours, as opposed to my brother, who excelled at
basketball and other sports.
Australia collected 16 medals at the Olympics, as opposed to Canada, which collected only 1
Further to: refer to an earlier contact, letter, conversation, meeting, etc.:
Further to your invitation by fax this morning, I am pleased to accept the position od social
worker in the hospitals department.
Sincerely: in a sincere or genuine way.
"I sincerely hope that we shall have a change of government"
I sincerely wish you all success in it. Your effort will undoubtedly benefit many.
synonyms genuinely, honestly, really, with all sincerity, truly, truthfully, wholeheartedly, with
all one's heart, from the bottom of one's heart, earnestly, fervently, seriously;
staggering: so surprising or great that it is difficult to believe. A staggering amount is an
astonishing, astounding, stupefying amount. Anything staggering blows your mindIf the
President gets shot, that's staggering news. If there's a major earthquake, that's staggering.
Alien life contacting the Earth would be extremely staggering. Anything that knocks your
socks off or makes your mind reel is staggering.
scrutiny: careful and thorough look at or examination of something
One drawback to
being famous is that your private life usually comes under scrutiny
on the tip of one's tongue - on the point of being uttered or spoken
e.g. I know that man. His name is on the tip of my tongue, but I can't remember it.
slip of the tongue - an unintentional remark or word
e.g. I did not want to offend you; it was just a slip of the tongue.
tongue-tied - unable to speak through shyness, fear, etc.
e.g. The boy was so shy that he was absolutely tongue- tied.
make use of - utilise, use
e.g. Soon you will be able to make use of your English.
I wonder - I am curious to know
e;g. I wonder whether he will ring you up.
no wonder - not surprising that...
e.g. She refused to come and no wonder.
if the worst comes to the worst - if things become as bad as possible
e.g. If the worst comes to the worst, we can always ask James to help us out.
in the course of: during, as a normal part of, esp. with work, duties, etc.
more to the point: used to say that something is more important than something else
up to scratch: as good as something/somebody should be
unnerving: that makes somebody feel nervous or frightened or lose confidence
lost in a big city after midnight can be an unnerving experience.
weigh something up to assess
We'll have to weigh the situation up very carefully before we take any action.
I weighed up all the pros and cons before I decided to leave the old job and take the new
avoid doing something, especially in a dishonest way
The businessman had been dodging
his taxes for years when he was finally caught.
Come up against something to meet or face
You come up against all sorts of discrimination when you work for a big company.
We came up against a number of problems when we tried to open a branch in France.
forensic: connected with the scientific tests used by the police when trying to solve a crime.
period of time leading up to an important event
In the run-up to the election the parties
were trying everything to gain extra votes.
that can be believed or trusted
If you dont have a credible explanation for your late payment, you will receive a fine
wary: careful when dealing with somebody/something because you think that there may be
a danger or problem
I keep telling my young daughter to be wary of strangers who offer
her sweets.
go down (well/badly etc)
to be received; to produce a particular reaction; be remembered or recorded in a particular
The ideas we had for the future didn't go down well at the meeting.
How did your suggestion go down?
So you told your boss that he didn't know how to manage people. I can imagine how that
went down.
The plan to put rents up has not gone down well with tenants.
put something forward
Submit a plan, proposal, or theory for consideration:
the authority put forward positive proposals
does not add up means it does not make sense; something about it is contradictory. This
expression is usually in the negative, but not always: With this new piece of information, it's
all starting to add up means it's starting to make sense.
after all means considering everything that has happened. after all means despite what
happened, or what was thought, before. When it is at the end of a sentence, after all usually
expresses surprise, indicating that something was unexpected. For example:
What a charming amusement for young people this is, Mr. Darcy! There is nothing like
dancing after all.
When all is said and done, at the end of the day is the same as after all.
Along the lines of means similar to. Sometimes on the lines of has the same meaning.
The President is expected to outline his proposal to create jobs and ways to pay for the plan.
"I hope I hear something along the lines of incentives that would help small business owners
like me," said Scott
around the corner means nearby or on the next street)
It's a fun time of year, the playoffs are right around the corner and we thrive in these
At the drop of a hat means immediately, without planning.
European nations, which for centuries had fought each other at the drop of a hat, had not
done so for four decades.
Seize the moment and seize the time mean take action immediately when an opportunity
Still, it takes money and manpower to seize the moment. Santorum is raising money, but far
less than Romney, and he has virtually no organisation.
To shy way from something is to avoid it, often because of some degree of fear.
Were a nation of doers and a nation of builders. And weve never shied away from
competition. We thrive on competition. President Barack Obama
The sky is the limit means there is no limit. It is frequently spoken or written as the sky's
the limit.
I want to get back on the field and keep ascending, keep rising. The sky's the limit for me.
When asked if the Chinese market could one day equal the U.S. market in terms of sales,
he said, "The sky is the limit.
If you can think on your feet, you can react quickly and effectively
We want to make sure our students can think on their feet.
Uncharted territory means a situation that has not existed before.
We are in uncharted territory with bringing this system back because of the amount of
damage and saltwater in our system.
Waste your breath means speak when no one will listen or agree.
Save your breath means do not talk because no one will listen.
Thus, "Don't waste your breath" and "Save your breath" usually have the same meaning.
Dont waste words is a similar expression describing talk that accomplishes nothing.
What goes around comes around means that the effects, or consequences of actions will
be felt by those who do them
There is another reason for the majority to handle that power with a little more humility: what
goes around comes around.
When all is said and done and at the end of the day have similar meaning: "considering
everything, and regardless of what has happened." The phrase after all often is used with the
same meaning.
Remember, at the end of the day campaigns are about the candidates
To take the stance (that)
Meaning: To decide on something, argue for something, or fight for something
Usage: A (person or group) takes the stance that B (argument)
1. The senator wanted to read the report, but the army took the stance that it should remain
2. Although the train lost his luggage, they took the stance that it was his fault for not tagging
it properly.
3. If you are going to take that stance, then there is no way for us to reach a compromise.
Essence: the most basic and important quality of something that make it different from
anything else the essence of.
This is the essence of the problem as I see it.
In essence: most importantly
His speech was, in essence, a plea for understanding and conciliation.
Trait: one type of feeling or behaviour that is particularly noticeable in a person or group of
Its a human trait to joke about subjects that make us uncomfortable.
Family trait:a trait shared by members of the a family:
Pride seem to be one of our family traits.
Streak: a part of someones character that is quite different from the rest of their character,
especially one that makes them behave badly/mean/nasty/violent etc.streak.
she had a mean streak that she didnt bother to hide.
The District Attorney argued that Johnson has a violent streak and is a danger to society.
Cut corners means do something in a way that is quick, easy or not following all rules.
We dont cut corners. We dont work with frozen products. It is all here for you to see.
Cut to the chase means get right to the point, or go directly to the most important part.
Something that is cutting-edge or on the cutting edge is the most advanced. The phrase
usually refers to science and technology. Leading edge is frequently used with a similar
Getting away from fossil fuels to a renewable energy source is a very positive, very green
thing to do," Kelly told The State in 2006. "We are excited about being on the leading edge of
Don't get me wrong means don't misunderstand me, or have no doubt about this. When
expressed by or for a group, such as in a newspaper editorial, it's don't get us wrong.
The expression usually has the same meaning as make no mistake.
A double-dip recession comes after a short economic recovery, so that two recessions
Down in the dumps means sad, gloomy or depressed.
I would say six months ago, people were a little down in the dumps. We do think there's a
little bounce in our step around what happened last week,
Down the drain is similar or To go down the tubes . It usually means wasted is to fail,
deteriorate or be discarded.
They dont care if your family doesnt get fed or your credit goes down the tubes.
Foot-dragging, or dragging one's feet, is acting slowly or taking no action, to avoid
cooperating or obeying an order.
France and Britain had been calling for a no-fly zone for two weeks, he said Wednesday, but
other nations dragged their feet.
A person with egg on his face is embarrassed, exposed to ridicule.
And obviously it puts egg on our face and we deserve any criticism we get
Politicians didn't want the strike to happen...It's egg on their faces.
The eleventh hour means the latest time possible.
The White House and Congress reached an agreement to raise the borrowing limit at the
eleventh hour.
If you have, or keep, your eyes on the ball (or eye on the ball), you are focusing on what
is important.The opposite, eye off the ball, means not focusing on what is important:
The official said the White House wanted to use the drone program smartly to pick off al
Qaeda leaders and the Haqqanis. "It's about keeping our eyes on the ball," the official said.
Face the music means deal directly with something difficult or bad.
Fair game usually means allowed, permitted, or accepted.
Everything is fair game for the dirtiest political fighting. Any idea is twisted and shot down,
just because it came from the other side.
Follow suit means do what was done previously
The markets largely had been expecting a downgrade and possibly other agencies may
follow suit.
The Senate did their part. Now its up to the House to follow suit
For all intents and purposes means in practical terms, or in reality.
You probably don't recall such a situation because, for all intents and purposes, it doesn't
exist in this state.
If by some miracle there were to be peace with Israel next week, it could only be with the
Palestinians of the West Bank. Gaza to all intents is out of the equation.
A foregone conclusion is an inevitable event something that happens, or will happen, no
matter what else is said or done.
Councilman Dan Deceder said closing the pool was a foregone conclusion ... not
completely because of economic reasons, but, more importantly, because of safety reasons.
From the horse's mouth means from the best possible source of information, the source
with the most knowledge or authority. Straight from the horse's mouth means directly from
the authoritative source.
I felt like I did enough, but to hear it from the horse's mouth was pretty satisfying.
To get a handle on a problem is to understand it and be able to solve it, or get the problem
under control.
Hope that Europe is getting a handle on its debt crisis has grown in recent days...
Four years ago, they figured out his real name; two years ago, they got a handle on where
he lived.
In sports, getting the handle or finding the handle means holding or catching the ball. If
"he couldn't find the handle," he dropped the ball or failed to catch it.
In sports get hammered often means lose by a large margin.
I kept telling the captain we're going to get hammered by this storm and he scoffed at me.
A slang meaning, less often seen in the news, is get drunk or affected severely by drugs.
If you get your head around something you understand it.
But even after the firm won some awards for the progressive arrangement, clients couldn't
quite get their heads around the idea.
To get the ball rolling is to get something started. To keep the ball rolling is to make
something continue happening.
If approved, the school district will get the ball rolling on those projects by requesting
approval for planning and design from the School Facilities Commission.
Get to the bottom of something means get a complete explanation, a full understanding.
Investors need to feel that the people in charge are getting to the bottom of the problem and
trying to resolve the problem, not just coming up with some convenient solution
Get to the roots and get the lowdown have similar meanings.
To get wind of something is to find out about it or hear it in an unofficial way.
When we get wind of missing cookies and empty milk jugs, we know Santa has been through
our neck of the woods.
give a piece of ones mind
If you give someone a piece of your mind, you are angry and telling the person why you are
angry. Scolding often has the same meaning.
Glass ceiling means an invisible barrier that prevents the careers of some people from
advancing. It most frequently refers to discrimination against women.
There is a glass ceiling in politics. We only have seventeen percent...women in the House
and senate.
Gloom and doom means severe pessimism; warnings that things are going wrong or will go
badly in the future.
For all the gloom and doom about what happens if the United States defaults on its debt, you
House Republicans credit for fighting hard for serious reductions in spending.
Going forward means in the future.
This is a good report. It is telling us that the housing market is improving and there is no
reason to think that this will not continue going forward.
Gut reaction and gut response mean a response made without thinking. A variation with
the same meaning is gut-level response.
Gut feeling: idea or emotion formed without thinking; intuition. A variation is a feeling in one's
Most people have a gut feeling that something has gone terribly wrong, but that doesn't
mean that they understand what is happening.
Gut call: decision using instinct more than thinking.
I think you sit there and talk about what's going to be wise, but sometimes you have to make
a gut call.
Go with one's gut: take action or make a decision without thinking; act on instinct.
I went with my gut and reconnected with the reasons I started in music: the love, the passion,
the need to create.
Hating someone's guts is not much different from hating, but expresses the idea with more
Those of you who hate my guts, well, you're forgiven.
Break even means finish without winning or losing.
To hit the ground running means to be active and productive from the start.
I think students should work during their time at law school to volunteer, intern, do part-time
work at various agencies, solo practitioners, small firms, and put themselves in a position
where they can really hit the ground running coming out of law school.
in accordance with - according to
e.g. We must play the game in accordance with the rules.
Hit the nail on the head means get something exactly right. The phrase usually expresses
agreement with a statement or idea.
The reader hit the nail on the head with her comment about the rudeness of customers
handing crumpled bills to salesclerks.
In league with means in the same category as
The $50 billion valuation puts Facebook in league with publicly traded Tencent Holdings
The meaning of in league with is determined by context.
Meanwhile, Pakistan ... where terrorism runs rampant and the military is in league with
( working together or allied with) the Taliban..
In the heat of the moment means during a brief time of intense emotion.
The real issue is how do we make sure that we have an effective police force in which
officers have the training and support and oversight (surveillance, supervision) to make
good choices in the heat of the moment.
Hands down means easily, without any doubt
He's the best player on the market, hands down.
If you are in the loop, you are in a group that receives information. If you do not get that
information, you are out of the loop.
The mayor wants to pretend that he was not in the loop with regard to those incidents.
Being in the know is knowing something that other people don't know
The wide variety of topics covered in talks and the Q-and-A period afterward can be as
valuable to those in the know as to those merely interested in learning something new
In the nick of time means at the exact time it is needed or required.
It's the third time this year a government budget crisis has been averted just in the nick of
In the nick of time and just in time have the same meaning.
Jump on the bandwagon do something that is popular or part of a trend. They hope to
share in the success of others, or take part in something popular.
Governor Pat Quinn jumps on the Twitter bandwagon as a new way to reach out to people in
A knee-jerk reaction or response means doing or thinking something automatically, without
thinking about it carefully.
Remember, when someone upsets you, the first response that comes to mind is usually a
bad one. Self-defence instructors call this a "knee-jerk response.
If something knocks your socks off, it is unusually impressive or exciting or amazing.
If you know something inside and out, you know it completely. To know something inside
out has the same meaning.
If you know the ropes, you know how things are done and how to succeed. If you do not
know the ropes, you may have to learn the ropes or have an experienced person show you
the ropes.
My experience with being on the city council is still very new," she said. "I have been learning
the ropes
To take the stance (that): To decide on something, argue for something, or fight for
1. The senator wanted to read the report, but the army took the stance that it should remain
2. Although the train lost his luggage, they took the stance that it was his fault for not tagging
it properly.
To walk on eggshells: To be very careful; to try not to offend someone
1. The leader of the opposition is walking on eggshells after her unkind words were printed in
all the major newspapers.
2. That clothing store is walking on eggshells after the complaint from the consumer rights
3. The export supplier was walking on eggshells following the report of more cattle disease in
the country.
Related Expressions: To tread softly / To hold back
To stir up controversy: To encourage debate; to make people think
1. The new movie is going to stir up controversy regarding the treatment of minorities in
2. That comedian loves to stir up controversy whenever she gets a chance.
3. Stirring up controversy about overpopulation is easier than finding a solution.
Related Expressions: To spark a debate / To cause a stir
To shoulder: To accept responsibility for something
1. His parents shouldered the financial burden for his college fees. He didnt have to work at
To remain upbeat (about): To feel positive or optimistic, even though something is difficult
1. The prime minister told the newspaper that he
2. She remained upbeat even during the difficult chemotherapy treatment.
To put on the market: To begin selling something
1. The pharmaceutical company has no idea when the new product will be put on the market
in Japan.
2. She expects that the music label will put her debut CD on the market sometime next
3. The toy was put on the market in January, but recalled in May because of consumer
Related Expressions: To be out / To hit the shelves
To pour a lot of money into: To spend a lot of money on something (over time)
1. Hes poured a lot of money into that sports car. It seems to need repairs almost every
other week.
2. The fledgling company did well by pouring a lot of money into research and development.
Last but not least means last of the things mentioned, but not the least important.
back out of withdraw, end an obligation or promise.
I made a deal with my friend to help him at work. When I became too busy, I had to back out
of it.
boil down: make shorter by giving the basic or most important facts , condense.
This whole complicated situation just boils down to something simple...its either a yes or a
can of worms - complex problem or complicated situation. It opened up a large can of
worms when the company decided to talk about the union contract.
catch on understand, figure out. I am beginning to catch on to this algebra.
chip in contribute. We are all going to chip in and give the teacher a gift.
clear go through. When will this check clear my bank?
count on rely on, trust. I could always count on my best friend.
comeback to be successful again. The actress made an outstanding comeback on the
stage, after her bout with pneumonia.
con lie, swindle, trick. His boss conned him into working on the weekend for no pay.
crop up happen quickly without warning. I had to stay at work late yesterday. Some new
work cropped up.
dawn on: become clear, begin to understand; suddenly realise. It finally dawned on me that I
missed our anniversary.
come on strong - overwhelm with excessively strong language or personality.
The car salesman came on too strong and angered my wife.
do without live without something. When the television broke, I knew that I could do
without it for a week or two.
dwell on talk and think about something all the time. I know it is a big decision, but you
shouldnt dwell on it all day.
egg someone on push, urge. My wife didnt want to take the job, but I egged her on.
fair and square honest, honestly. I won the contest fair and square.
fall behind not be able to keep up, fail to maintain a schedule or rate of speed. When she
couldnt go to school because of her illness, she significantly fell behind in her work.
figure out try to understand, solve. She couldnt figure out one of her math problems.
situation that exists because of something that has happened in the past Also money,
property or work that people leave when they die: Despite his comparatively short life,
Mozart left a rich legacy of music which is popular centuries later.
arguably: used to introduce your opinion
or belief as a way of making it stronger Related to argue in the sense of make your point.
Often used before a comparative or superlative form: arguably the best in the team.
bystander person who is present at something but is not involved
Terrorists were clearly
targeting the military parade with last weeks bomb, but dozens of bystanders were also
account for something
to explain
to give an explanation for something
Well, how do you account for the fact that there's 20,000 missing?
There's a lot of money not accounted for.
pick up get or obtain something
He came back from Africa because he picked up a virus
and had to be treated in hospital.
back down
to abandon your position in an argument
The argument lasted for hours because neither of them would back down.
He backed down when it became clear that nobody else supported him.
frame of mind: way you feel or think about something at a particular time
Youre too upset
to talk about this now. Lets leave it until youre in a better frame of mind, OK?
The bottom line - the message; the conclusion
most important thing that you have to consider or accept
There are many problems with
this book, but the bottom line is that it doesnt make interesting reading!
seal the deal (to) - to come to an agreement; reach an agreement; clinch the deal
How did the meeting yeasteday went down? What's the bottom line? we sealed the deal.
bide ones time wait patiently for the right opportunity.
Im just going to bide my time. I know that eventually a position will open.
bark up the wrong tree make a wrong choice or a false assumption.
If he thinks that Im going to help him paint his house, well hes barking up the wrong tree.
reputable that people consider to be honest and to provide a good service
It is unthinkable that such a reputable company would deceive the public into buying faulty
boost: make something increase, or become better or more successful
Rays confidence
was boosted when he received top marks in his first assignment.
reckon: think something or have an opinion about something
I reckon !500 for a home
cinema is a very reasonable price, what do you think?
tempting attractive in a way that makes people want to have or do something
A weekend skiing is a very tempting offer, but Im afraid Im too busy.
spacious: large and with plenty of space for people to move around in, usu. within a
building, e.g. rooms, offices
take for granted: believe something is true without first making sure that it is
Youd better
ask Maggie whether shell help you out or not, dont just take it for granted.
duress: threats or force that are used to make somebody do something
The prisoner
claimed that he had signed the statement under duress.
Back someone/something up to support
Everyone backed him up when he complained about the conditions at work.
I'll listen to your complaints about the conditions at work when you have some evidence to
back them up. Whenever you write a new report, remember to back it up on CD.
save something from being lost completely
When fire crews had put out the blaze, the
couple were allowed back into the flat to salvage their few remaining possessions.
stamp out: stop something from happening or stop somebody from doing something, esp.
by using force or authority
the area around a particular place
The only hospital in the vicinity with an accident and
emergency department is an hours drive away.
touch on something to mention
I'd like to touch on a number of subjects in this meeting.
The manager didn't touch on the subject of staff reductions in the meeting with the union rep.
go into something
to talk about in detail
"What about the plans for the new building?" " We can go into that later, after this meeting."
You don't need to go into all the details. Just tell me yes or no.
Put something off: Cancel or postpone an appointment with someone:
Cause someone to lose interest or enthusiasm:
she wanted to be a nurse, but the thought of night shifts put her off
Cause someone to feel dislike or distrust:
she had a coldness that just put me off
call something off: Cancel
We had to call off the meeting because the manager was on a trip.
No one told me you'd called it off. I came all the way from Barcelona!
bring something forward
to arrange to have or do earlier, Move a meeting or event to an earlier date or time
Next week's meeting has been brought forward from Tuesday to Monday.
We've decided to bring the launch date forward to take advantage of the pre-Christmas
increase in trading.
put something off to postpone, delayed, reschedule. cause or arrange for (something) to
take place at a time later than that first.
the report isn't finished yet, so we'll have to put the meeting off until next week.
The expansion programme has been put off until the economy improves.
range of things that a subject, organisation, activity, etc. deals with
The police are
broadening the scope of their investigation.
face up to something
to accept a situation and take action
You have to face up to the fact that things have changed since you opened the company.
You need to modernise.
We argued for hours, but he finally faced up to the problem and he's going to call a meeting
to discuss it next week.
look into something to investigate
What about that problem with the agency? Have you looked into it yet?
I apologise for the delay. We're looking into the causes now, and hope to have everything
back to normal by this afternoon.
not at all important
Can we leave that for another meeting? Replacing a few chairs is
rather trivial compared with the rather larger matter of the new school roof.
not clear, dark or dirty with mud or another substance
premium: extra payment added to the basic rate
It was an important document so I
decided to pay the premium for registered mail
enduring: lasting a long time without any loss of quality or importance
rewarding: worth doing, that makes you happy because you think it is useful or important
Being a nursery school teacher might mean hard work, but its certainly a rewarding
state-of-the-art: best available because it uses the most up-to-date techniques or
In your (own) back yard: used to describe something that affects you personally
many people support the idea of a new airport, theyre not so keen when its in their own
back yard.
untapped: available but not yet used, usually to describe a supply of something
According to some scientists we only use 10 per cent of our brain, which means we could
have untapped mental powers waiting to be discovered.
get something across
to make people understand
The advertising campaign should get it across to people that our product is the best.
The company is in financial trouble, and this meeting has been called to get that message
get down to something to start
I'll just introduce everyone, and then we'll get down to business. We've been chatting far too
long. It's time we got down to some work.
put something forward to make a suggestion
The new manager put forward her ideas for cutting costs as soon as the meeting started.
She wanted a ban on overtime, but I put that forward at the last meeting and everyone
thought it was a terrible idea.
relentless not stopping or getting less strong
dwell (on something): think or talk a lot about something, esp. something that it would be
better to forget
unexpected twist: unexpected change or development in a story or situation
The film had
an unexpected twist where the main character discovered that he was actually dead!
the way in which future events might develop Often used in the expression worst-case
scenario to mean the worst that could possibly happen.
he gift of the gab: ability to speak easily and to persuade other people with your words
vivid: that produces very clear pictures
in your mind
It was such a vivid dream that I wasnt sure if Id dreamt it or it had really
labour-intensive: (of work) needing a lot of people to do it
The clothing industry is very
labour intensive as so much of the work is still done by hand.
cater for: provide the things that a particular person or situation needs or wants
language course caters for people with different backgrounds.
mind-boggling: very difficult to imagine or to understand, extremely surprising
The rate of change in the computer industry in recent years is absolutely mind-boggling.
prevail: exist or be very common at a particular time or in a particular place
labour is cheap and profits are rising, but these conditions may not prevail in the market for
very much longer.
bogus pretending to be real or genuine; fake
Never respond to bogus emails that ask for your bank details. They are not sent by the
bank and you are likely to lose money.
crucial: extremely important, because it will affect other things
touching: causing feelings of pity or sympathy, making you feel emotional
Her efforts to
help her family were rather touching.
disruptive causing problems, noise, etc. so that sth cannot continue normally
children are not allowed in the cinema as they can be very disruptive.
distressing making you feel extremely upset, especially because of sbs suffering
documentary about people in central Africa was so distressing, I couldnt stop thinking about
come up with something to think of, to think and produce solutions to problems.
The manager's secretary came up with a really good idea in the meeting.
We've been trying to find a solution to the problem for a long time now, but we still haven't
come up with anything.
crack down (on something) to act more strictly, take a serious measure to control sth.
Staff have been told they can't send personal emails from work. Management will be
cracking down in future. If we want to save money we should begin by cracking down on
personal phone calls made from work.
extensively very much, to a great degree
After travelling extensively all over the world, Mark decided to settle down in his hometown
(of buildings, clothes, objects, etc.) in poor condition because they have been used a lot
fishy suspicious, false sounding. Your company is giving you a month off from work? That
sounds a bit fishy.
defeat or destroy something completely, esp. somebodys feelings, hopes or beliefs
shattered his dreams of competing in the Olympics.
Also: suddenly break or make something break into small pieces.
take a turn for the worse: suddenly get worse Also used of people suffering from an illness:
Margaret had been getting better, but shes taken a turn for the worse, so were calling the
unforeseen: that you did not expect to happen Often used with the following expression:
Due to unforeseen circumstances, the library will be shut this afternoon.
fishy: that makes you suspicious because it seems dishonest
Dont you have a feeling
theres something fishy about his explanation for the missing money?
flop failure His business ended up being a flop.
foot the bill pay. Who is going to foot the bill for the office renovations?
doomed: certain to be destroyed, die, suffer, fail, etc.
Having not been properly thought
through, the prisoners escape plan was doomed from the start.
conventional: following what is traditional or the way something has been done for a long
We decided to try out something new, as the conventional methods didnt work out.
reckless: showing a lack of care about danger and the possible results of your actions
readily: quickly and without difficulty
She readily agreed to change our plans, once it was clear we could not stay at the village
any more.
pay-off : advantage or reward resulting from a situation or something you have done
The pay-off from all this exercise is that I get a fantastic figure!
in due course: at the right time and not before
Please fill in this application and we will inform you of the best available job in due course.
footage: part of a film showing a particular event
Amateur footage of the 2004 Asian
tsunami was shown around the world.
area of a city that is very poor and where the houses are dirty and in bad condition
drag on: to continue slowly and boringly
The meeting dragged on for hours and we still didn't come to a decision.
The chairman's speech seemed to drag on for ever. I had difficulty staying awake.
drag something out: to prolong unnecessarily
The presentation should only last two hours, but they want me to drag it out for three. It's
usually a four-day course, but I can drag it out with some practice sessions if you like.
draw something up to prepare, to compose
If you decide to buy the company, we can draw up a contract within seven days.
We'll have to draw up a list of all the people who might want to attend the conference.
end up as something
end up somewhere
end up doing
something to eventually become
to eventually find oneself/itself
She started in the company as a secretary. Who would have thought she would end up as
the managing director?
The plane was diverted because of fog, so we ended up in Barcelona instead of Valencia.
That temporary secretary is completely useless! He made so many mistakes in the report
that I ended up doing it myself.
from the bottom of ones heart - with great feeling, sincerely. My sister thanked me from
the bottom of her heart for saving her dogs life.
get round to
find the time to do something
Sorry, I meant to do the washing up, but I didnt get round to
show off: try to impress others by talking about your abilities, possessions, etc.
My uncle
likes to show off about how many expensive cars he owns.
be better off: used to say that somebody would be happier or more satisfied if they were in
a particular position or did a particular thing
Youd be better off catching the bus today.
Theres a problem with the trains.
without trace: without leaving a sign that somebody/something existed or was present Often
used in the expression disappear without trace.
comprehensible: that can be understood by somebody
The book offers easily comprehensible advice on how to solve everyday health problems.
proficient: able to do something well because of training and practice
Shes proficient in
several languages.
unwind: stop worrying or thinking about problems and start to relax
I like to unwind in the evenings by listening to classical music.
from scratch from the very beginning, starting with raw materials. This chocolate was not
made from a cake mix, she made it from scratch.
take on begin to handle, commit oneself to, accept. He took on a great challenge when he
became the CEO of a bankrupt company.
get at-mean, hint. You tell me that I am slow at work. What are trying to get at.
Food gives your body energy and nutrients. If a book, article, or idea is "food for thought,"
it means it provides interesting information that is worth thinking about - it's energy and
nutrients for your mind.
I didn't think I would enjoy the poetry reading, but I'm glad I went. It gave me a lot of food for
reckon on something to expect
He's decided to resign from his job? Well, I hadn't reckoned on that happening.
I think we can probably reckon on a minimum of 25 people coming to the training course.
back out (of something)
to break an agreement
to not do what you said you would
The two companies were going to merge, but one of them backed out at the last minute.
One company backed out of the deal because of rumours about the other company's
branch out (into something) to expand into new areas
If you want the company to grow, the business will have to branch out into new areas.
We're involved in all areas of the hotel business now, but we started with a restaurant and
then branched out.
Address: Here, address is used as a verb and it means deal with a problem. Its a little bit
formal. How do you think the government will address the issue of global warming.
Virtually impossible Here virtually means almost. Virtually is often used with the word
impossible. To say something is impossible it means that there is absolutely 0% chance of
something happening. It cant happen. If you say virtually impossible it means that there is
almost no chance of it happening, but maybe in some strange case it might happen.
Utterly It means completely, totally or 100%. Some examples are:
Shes utterly beautiful.
That idea is utterly stupid. He is utterly unaware of the dangers of smoking.
Undisputed: Something that is undisputed means that no one will disagree with it. For
example, it is an undisputed fact that the earth moves around the sun. Everyone agrees with
Whats the catch? : If you ask Whats the catch?, you are asking about what the
downside of something is. A salesperson will often only tell you the benefits of buying the
product. They make deals which at first appear really good to try to convince people to buy.
The downside or catch is often hidden. In this case, the seller told him he could buy the TV
channels and not pay at all for a whole year. The catch was that he had to pay some kind of
service charge for this service. The funny thing was, the seller still said there is no catch.
He tried to make the service charge seem like something really small and unimportant, even
though he didnt say the amount. He just said it was small.
Fair enough: This is something we can say when we agree with someones point. It means
you understand their point of view and are willing to agree with them.
Dont be so down on yourself : This expression means, Dont have such a negative
attitude about yourself. Dont think of yourself as being useless and worthless.
Grey area: This is something that is debatable or unclear. Dating in the office is a grey area
means that its not certain whether dating someone in the office is ok or not.
Frowned upon: This phrase mean that people dont approve of some kind of behaviour. Its
not illegal but people look down upon it. Wearing those kind of ugly clothes to such a nice
restaurant is frowned upon. It means you can do it but people wont like it.
Ripped off : Getting "ripped off" often means paying too much money for something. In this
case, getting ripped off refers to being totally cheated and not receiving the product at all.
Premium: Paying a premium for something means that you pay extra money for some
quality service. You have to pay a premium to shop at a brick and mortar store for example.
come to grips with accept a difficult truth about something.
I finally came to grips with the fact that I needed to stop eating junk food and start exercising.
vicious cycle - A vicious cycle is talking about when one bad decision makes it more likely
to make another bad decision which in turn causes you to make another bad decision. Pretty
soon most of your decisions are bad and your life is out of control.
been there have been in the same situation before. I know how you feel. Ive been there
put something off to postpone
put someone off to dissuade, to distract
The report isn't finished yet, so we'll have to put the meeting off until next week.
The expansion programme has been put off until the economy improves.
What do you mean, he wants to come to the office this afternoon? Can't you put him off? Can
I borrow your office? The roadworks outside my window are putting me off my work.
put someone through to connect by phone
Hello, could you put me through to the Sales Department, please?
I'm sorry, you were put through to this extension by mistake. I'll transfer you to the right
ego boost: An ego boost is a lift to your self-esteem or confidence. You might get an ego
boost if your boss tells you that you are doing a great job and wants to give you a promotion.
happened to be there: This means that someone was coincidentally at a place. This person
was there by chance and you didnt make plans for this to happen.
line of work - The type of work that you do. An insurance salesman might say, "Appearance
is very important in my line of work".
look at the big picture - Looking at the big picture means to look at the entire situation.
Dont just focus on one small part of the situation.
Dont worry so much about not getting that job. Look at the big picture. Youre a young smart
guy with a good education and some work experience. Im sure another opportunity will
come along soon.
Theres a lot more to - If you say, "there is a lot more to something" it means that this
"something" is a little more complicated than it first appears. There is a lot more to being a
model than standing in front of a camera trying to look pretty.
Beat the odds - If you "beat the odds" it means that you were able to accomplish something
that most people in your situation couldnt. She had cancer and the doctors told her she only
had a 10% chance to survive. Her positive attitude and the love and support from her family
and friends helped her to beat the odds. She cured the disease and is now leading a happy
and healthy life.
Glamorous - If something is glamorous, it means it is exciting, desirable, and fashionable.
We often think that movie stars have a very glamorous lifestyle.
Thin margins - Here, "margin" refers to the difference between the cost to the restaurant
and the selling price. For example, if it costs you $10 dollars to buy something and you sell it
for $100, you have a huge margin. If you buy it for $10 and sell it for $10.50 you have a very
small or thin profit margin. A thin profit margin is a very small difference between the cost and
the price. Obviously businesses love when they can have huge profit margins.
Phenomenon - a phenomenon is a fact that is fascinating and perhaps a little surprising.
That economist is trying to explain the phenomenon of coffee being more than double the
price in big cities.
I highly doubt it: This is an equivalent statement to, "I really dont think so", or "I think there
is almost no chance of that happening".
move around and talk to different people in a group, usually at a party
Dont just stand
there on your own! Go and mingle with the other guests!
take the side of
feel or express support for somebody in an argument or discussion When used with a name,
this is more often take sides with somebody, take somebodys side: Whenever theres a
disagreement, you always take Helens/her side.
decisive making decisions quickly and
with confidence
If you are first at the scene of an accident, taking decisive action may save
someones life.
conscientious: careful and concerned to do things correctly
Mark has contributed well in
class and maintained a high standard in his homework.
modestly: not talking much about your own abilities
down-to-earth: sensible and practical, in a way that is friendly and helpful
Intuitive able to understand something without knowing the facts
broaden your horizons: extend the limits of your interests or knowledge. The possessive
adjective can change to any person, singular or plural.
pay off be successful and bring good results
Im hoping all this hard work will pay off in
the end.
for the sake of it: doing something because you want to, not for any particular reason
Dont just get married for the sake of it; find someone you love first!
moody: having the way you are feeling at a particular time change quickly and often
is very moody he can be really angry one minute and then perfectly calm the next
compelling: that makes you think something is definitely true
There is compelling
evidence that the factory has been polluting the nearby river for years.
the physical or mental strength that enables you to do something difficult for long periods of
It takes a lot of stamina to run a marathon.
perspective: way of thinking about something or attitude towards it
The threat
of terrorism has put a whole new perspective on foreign travel for many people.
regime: method or system of organising or managing something
Im starting a new
exercise regime. Im going to go running every day and go to the gym twice a week.
tune into: become aware of
Its difficult to tune into what teenagers really need nowadays.
go swimmingly: happen without any problems or difficulties
Theres no need to worry, the
arrangements for the wedding are going swimmingly and it should be a fantastic occasion.
pessimistic: expecting bad things to happen
I dont know why Mike is so pessimistic about his exam results. Hes never failed an exam
so far!
passionate: having strong feelings of enthusiasm for something or belief in something.
come in (useful): be useful, often referring to a specific job or situation
I dont normally
carry much small change but it comes in useful for the coffee machine at college.
reflect (on): think carefully and deeply about something
Before I decide on such an
important issue, Ill need some time to reflect.
accomplished: very good at a particular skill
an accomplished pianist If no skill is
mentioned, this means having a lot of different skills: highly accomplished.
inclined (to do something): likely to do something
Johns not inclined to lie, so Id believe
him if I were you.
rolling in it - This expression means to have or get a lot of money. He wasnt making any
money for years and now hes rolling in it.
Get back in the game - This means to get back in the "dating game". Single people are
considered to be "in the game" because they are always potentially looking for dates.
Wouldnt even know where to begin This phrase means is often used when you would
like to do something but you have absolutely no idea as to how to do it.
Id love to own my own website but I wouldnt even know where to begin since I know
nothing about computers.
pan out If something pans out it means that the desired outcome happens. Of course, if
something doesnt pan out it means it didnt work. Ex. We all planned to go on a trip last
winter bur for some reason things didnt pan out.
on board the agreement to do a plan with others. Ex. Ok guys. If we are going to succeed
with this new plan weve got to make sure everyone is on board.
reliable source a trusted source of information It could be a person, a newspaper, or a
magazine that you trust. Ex. You should be careful where you get your information from on
the Internet. Many websites are reliable sources of information
Being the topic of conversation: If something is "the topic of conversation" it means it is
the subject of many conversations.
Notion: A general understanding, opinion, or belief.
I dont agree with the notion that people shouldnt eat meat.
Chip in: Chipping in for something means paying part of the money. You could say to
your brothers and sisters, Lets all chip in and get mom something really nice for her
Pitching in: This is the same meaning as chipping in. It just means to pay part of
Clueless It means having no knowledge about.
He is utterly clueless about how to treat woman.
Im clueless about computers.
My friend is absolutely clueless about how to save money.
beware of someone or something to be cautious and watchful about someone or
something. Beware of Ted. Hes acting irrational. You should beware of the dog.
beyond ones means more than one can afford. Im sorry, but this house is beyond our
means. Please show us a cheaper one. They feel that a Caribbean cruise is beyond their
Be obliged: be indebted or grateful:
if you can give me a few minutes of your time Ill be much obliged
advise against something to suggest that something not be done.
Lisa always advises against hasty actions.
to excel at: to be very good at something
At school she excelled at everything except maths.
Skeptical: If you are skeptical of something it means that you believe that it is very possibly
untrue. You could say, although that new product looks really good on TV, Im skeptical that
it would work that well in real life.
to do likewise: to do the same (used at the end of a sentence)
James joined the army, and his brother did likewise.
a foregone conclusion: a result that you can predict with absolute certainty
Of course Benning will win. It's a foregone conclusion.
a done deal a completed deal; something that is settled. Its too late. Its a done deal. The
sale of the property is a done deal. There is nothing that can be done now.
Naive someone who lacks experience and understanding about something. We often
describe someone who makes an immature decision as naive. I think he is very naive to
think that it is a good idea to get married to his girlfriend after only knowing her for one week.
Why would you give him your bank account password? You are so naive.
Predictable someone who doesnt do many new and exciting things. We often use this in a
bad way meaning the person is a little boring and not adventurous. Even though she thought
her boyfriend was good person, she decided to leave him because he was too predictable.
Confrontational Someone who is very direct and will express their opinions even in
situations where someone might not like it. For example, if you see someone smoking and
you walk up to them and tell them that it will kill them, thats being confrontational.
Conceited Someone who has an overly favourable opinion of themselves and their own
abilities. Its used in a negative way.
Self-conscious Someone who worries too much about what other people think of them.
Its not good to be self-conscious when learning a new language. My friend is so self-
conscious that she wont even sing in front of her close friends.
Rational Someone who is reasonable and uses good judgment to make decisions. They
are usually calm and not so emotional. Its much easier to negotiate with rational people than
emotional ones.
Approachable If someone is approachable it means that it appears that they will be
friendly if you go up to talk to them. They seem easy to talk with and to get to know. People
who are relaxed and have a nice smile are approachable.
Down to earth Someone who is down to earth is practical, realistic, and in touch with the
lives of regular people. People who are down to earth are reasonable and dont have a lot of
crazy ideas. Often people think that movie stars and celebrities are not down to earth
because their lives are so different from everyone else.
Methodical Someone who does everything in a slow, planned, and systematic way.
Methodical people are careful and never skip steps when doing things. They dont mind
taking a long time to do things because they think that the extra effort is worth it.
Critics Movie critics are people who have the job of watching movies and writing
descriptions and ratings for those movies. I cant believe the critics didnt like that movie. I
havent seen that movie but apparently the critics love it.
Underrated Not given the praise that is deserved. I think he is an underrated basketball
player. That means that most people dont realise how good he really is at basketball.
Worth watching This means that it wont be a waste of time to watch it. You can also say
worth doing or worth going. worth doing something means its a good idea to do and you
wont regret it. It wasnt my favourite place for a vacation but it was definitely worth going.
That means that going on that vacation was still better than not going and you dont regret it.
Underdog : This is the person or team that is not expected to win. For example, since Roger
Federer is the number 1 tennis player in the world right now, anyone who plays against him
is the underdog. The person or team who is expected to win the match is known as the
favourite. Many sports fans like to cheer for the underdog because they like to see new
people or teams have a chance to win.
Cripple : cause harm to, slow down, make weaker. Cripple the economy means to make the
economy much worse.
Talk her out of this talking someone out of something means you persuade or convince
them not to do something. Michelle wanted to quit the basketball team but the coach talked
her out of it.
Sneak out: "Sneaking" means to do something in a way that other people dont notice. If you
are "sneaking out" of the house it means that you will leave the house quietly so that no one
knows you are gone.
Make an exception: This means to allow something that is normally not allowed in a similar
Ex. She told me she usually doesnt kiss on the first date, but I guess she made an exception
because of my charming behaviour.
In retrospect: "In retrospect" means, "looking back on the situation". Here is an example, "I
spent all my savings last year and now I am having money problems. In retrospect, I wish I
had saved it.
Bounce back : "bouncing back" from something means that you were able to recover from a
bad situation.
Ex. Roger Federer is usually good at bouncing back after a bad match. She was able to
bounce back quickly after finding out her boyfriend met a new girl.
pumped about this - If you are pumped about something it means you are very excited
about it. Ex. Shes really pumped about her new job.
Has a nice ring to it- this means that the title sounds good or impressive. Ex. I think the job
title of CEO for a major corporation has nice ring to it.
Showcase - Display yourself to many people. Participating in the TV show American Idol is
a great opportunity for young singers to showcase their talent.
Best route to take: A "route" is a choice or set of choices. People have lots of different
options in their lives. Each option is a different route. Clearly some routes are better than
Justify: To "justify" something it basically means to prove it is reasonable. You are not a kid
anymore. You make your own decisions without having to justify them.
Don't sell yourself short: This phrase means, "don't undervalue yourself". Give yourself
Take your mind off this : Taking your mind off something means to stop thinking about it.
Ex. Your job seems to be causing you a lot of stress. You need to go on a vacation to take
your mind off of it.
It's all in your head: This phrase means that it is untrue in reality, but only seems true from
the person's point of view.
On the fence: If you are "on the fence" it means you havent made a decision yet.
She is still on the fence about whether or not to go to graduate school in the fall.
dead last the very last to finish in some kind of a race or competition. Ex. Out of the 10
finalists, Steve came in dead last. This means that Steve finished 10th out of the total of 10
people in the competition. He did the worst out of everyone.
adhere to something
1. to stick to something.
The stamp wont adhere to the envelope.
2. Fig. to follow or stick to a particular course of action, plan, or set of beliefs.
If you dont adhere to the proper routine, you will confuse the other workers.
after all
1. anyway; in spite of what had been decided. (Often refers to a change in plans or a
reversal of plans.) It looks like Tom will go to law school after all.
2. recall- ing or considering the fact that. Dont punish Tommy! After all, hes only three years
after all is said and done Clich when everything is settled or concluded; finally.
After all is said and done, it will turn out just as I said.
and what have you and more things; and other various things.
Their garage is full of bikes, sleds, old boots, and what have you.
The merchant sells writing paper, pens, string, and what have you.
answer to the description of someone: to match a particular set of physical or facial
Chuck answers to the description his sister gave us.
The man in police custody answers to the description of the burglar.
Anytime you are ready. and Anytime youre ready. a phrase indicating that the speaker is
waiting for the per- son spoken to to make the appropriate move or action. Mary: I think its
about time to go. Bill: Anytime youre ready.
Surgeon: Shall we begin the operation? Nurse: Any- time youre ready, Doctor.
Anything you say.Yes.; I agree.
Mary: Will you please take these blouses over to the cleaners? Bill: Sure, anything you say.
as a matter of fact actually; in addition to what has been said; in reference to what has been
said. As a matter of fact, John came into the room while you were talking about him. Im not a
poor worker. As a matter of fact, Im very efficient.
as a last resort as the last choice; if everything else fails. Call me at home only as a last
resort. As a last resort, the doctor will perform surgery.
as a matter of course normally; as a normal procedure. The nurse takes your temperature
as a matter of course. You are expected to make your own bed as a matter of course.
as we speak and even as we speak Clich just now; at this very moment. Im sorry, sir,
consoled the agent at the gate, the plane is taking off as we speak. Tom: Waiter, where is
my steak? Its taking a long time. Waiter: It is being grilled even as we speak, sirjust as you
as a rule in general; usually. As a rule, men should wear tuxedos at formal dinners. As a
rule, the bus picks me up at 7:30 every morning.
as such in the way something is; as someone or something is. I cannot accept your
manuscript as such. It needs revisions. You are new to this job, and as such, I will have to
train you.
assume liability for something to accept the responsibility for paying a cost. Mr. Smith
assumed liability for his sons student loans. The store assumed liability for the injured
customers hospital bills.
at a premium at a high price; priced high because of something special. Sally bought the
shoes at a premium because they were of very high quality. This new sports car sells at a
premium because so many people want to buy it.
at the mercy of someone and at someones mercy Fig. under the control of someone;
without defense against someone. We were left at the mercy of the arresting officer. Mrs.
Franklin wanted Mr. Franklin at her mercy.
back to basics return to basic instruction; start the learn- ing process over again. Class,
you seem to have forgot- ten the simplest of facts, so its back to basics for the first week of
back to square one Fig. back to the beginning. (As with a board game.) Negotiations have
broken down, and its back to square one. We lost our appeal of the lower court decision, so
back to square one.
back to the drawing board Fig. time to start from the start; it is time to plan something over
again. (Plans or schematics are drawn on a drawing board. Note the variations shown in the
examples.) It didnt work. Back to the drawing board. I flunked English this semester. Well,
back to the old drawing board.
backfire on someone [for something, such as a plot] to fail unexpectedly; to fail with an
undesired result. Your plot backfired on you. I was afraid that my scheme would backfire on
Be my guest. Help yourself.; After you. (A polite way of indicating that someone else should
go first, help himself or herself to something, or take the last one of something.)
Mary: I would just love to have some more cake, but there is only one piece left. Sally: Be
my guest. Mary: Wow! Thanks! Jane: Heres the door. Who should go in first? Bill: Be my
guest. Ill wait out here. Jane: Youre so polite!
be that as it may Clich even if what you say is true. I am sorry to hear about your troubles,
but, be that as it may, you still must carry out your responsibilities. Be that as it may, I still
cannot help you.
bear in mind that... to remember [something]; to con- sider [something].Bear in mind that
the trip will be expensive. I asked the teacher to bear in mind that I am just a beginner.
becoming on someone [of clothing] complimentary to someone; [of clothing] enhancing
ones good looks. (*Typically: be
; look
The dress you wore last night is not becoming on you. That colour is very becoming on you.
a bed of roses a luxurious situation; an easy life. Who said life would be a bed of roses? If I
had a million bucks, I would be in a bed of roses.
beef something up

to add strength or substance to some- thing. Lets beef this music up
with a little more on the drums. They beefed up the offer with another thousand dollars.
below par not as good as average or normal. I feel a little below par today. I think I am
getting a cold. His work is below par, and he is paid too much money.
The best-case scenario Clich the optimum outcome being considered. (Compare this with
the worst-case scenario.). Now that weve seen the negative angle, lets look at the best-
case scenario. In the best-case scenario, were all dead eventuallybut then thats true of
the worst- case scenario also.
The worst-case scenario Clich the worse possible future outcome. Now, lets look at the
worst-case scenario. In the worst-case scenario, were all dead.
beyond a reasonable doubt almost without any doubt. (A legal phrase.) The jury decided
beyond a reasonable doubt that she had committed the crime. He was also found guilty
beyond a reasonable doubt.
*beyond help and *beyond repair beyond the help of anything; not able to be fixed.
(*Typically: be ~ ; get
.) The poor dog that was hit by a truck is beyond help. This old car is
beyond repair.
beyond measure in an account or to an extent more than can be quantified; in a very large
amount. They brought in hams, turkeys, and roasts, and then they brought vegetables and
salads beyond measure. They thanked all of us beyond measure.
betwixt and between 1.between (people or things). I liked the soup and the dessert and all
that came betwixt and between. I sat betwixt and between all the actors who werent on
stage. 2. Fig. undecided about some- one or something. I wish she would choose. She has
been betwixt and between for three weeks. Tom is so betwixt and between about getting
married. I dont think hes ready.
a bit much beyond what is needed or tolerable. The speech she gave in acceptance of the
award was a bit much. She went on and on.
boil down to something 1. and boil down. [for a liquid] to be condensed to something by
boiling. Boil this mixture down to about half of what it was. 2. Fig. [for a complex situation] to
be reduced to its essentials. It boils down to the question of who is going to win. It boils
down to a very minor matter.
bright and early very early in the morning or the work- day. Yes, Ill be there bright and early.
I want to see you here on time tomorrow, bright and early, or youre fired!
brief someone about someone or something and brief someone on someone or something
to tell someone a summary with the essential details about someone or something. We need
to brief the president about the latest event. I have to brief Michael on the new procedures at
buy something. to believe something someone says; to accept something to be a fact. It
may be true, but I dont buy it. I just dont buy the idea that you can swim that far.
by the same token Clich a phrase indicating that the speaker is introducing parallel or
closely contrasting information. Tom: I really got cheated! Bob: You think theyve cheated
you, but, by the same token, they believe that youve cheated them. Some say he is a real
charmer, but by the same token others are put off by his manner.
by virtue of something because of something; due to something. Shes permitted to vote by
virtue of her age. They are members of the club by virtue of their great wealth.
call (all) the shots to decide on the course of action; to be in charge. Why do you have to
call all the shots? Do what youre told. Ill call the shots.
Call again. Please visit this shop again sometime. (Said by shopkeepers and store clerks.)
Thank you, said the clerk, smiling, Call again. Clerk: Is that everything? John: Yes. Clerk:
Thats ten dollars even. John: Here you are. Clerk: Thanks. Call again.
Call my service. Please dont call me directly, but through my answering service. (Not a
friendly or encouraging invitation.) Good to talk to you, but I gotta go now. Call my service. I
cant talk now. Call my service.
catch sight of someone or something and catch a glimpse of someone or something to
see someone or something briefly; to get a quick look at someone or something. I caught
sight of the plane just before it flew out of sight. Ann caught a glimpse of the robber as he ran
out of the bank.
certain sure very sure. Tom: Are you sure you saw Bill at work today? Mary: Certain sure.
If you keep hanging around with them no-good kids, youll get in a heap of trouble for certain
change of scenery a move to a different place, where the surroundings are different. I
thought I would go to the country for a change of scenery. A change of scenery would help
me relax and organise my life.
collaborate with someone or something to work together on something with someone or a
group. I will collaborate with Amy on this research. I was forced to collaborate with a totally
uninformed committee.
come about 1. to happen. How did this damage come about? This came about due to the
windstorm. 2. [for a ship or boat] to turn. Look how easily this boat comes about. Now,
practice making the boat come about.
come along (with someone) to come with or go with someone. Please come along with me
to the store. Come along, lets go.
come as no surprise will not be surprising [for some- one] to learn [something]. It will come
as no surprise for you to learn that the company is losing money this year. It came as no
surprise that the president had been lying.
come from nowhere to come as a surprise with no warning. The dogs came from nowhere
and attacked my cat. The whole set of problems came from nowhere. There was no way we
could have foreseen them.
come into effect to become valid, effective, or operable.When did these rules come into
effect? They came into effect while you were on vacation.
come in handy [for something] to be useful. I think that this gadget will come in handy in the
come into play to become an important factor in some- thing; to go into force. All your hard
practice and preparation will now come into play in the finals.
come into fashion to become stylish or fashionable. Do you think that a design like this will
ever come into fashion? That kind of dance will never come into fashion.
Back of my mind If you have something in the back of your mind it means you arent
always thinking about it but it is still there. You think of it from time to time.
Hassle If something is a hassle it means it is annoying and frustrating to deal with. Id like
to go watch the game live, but its such a hassle to drive there, pay for parking, walk all the
way to the stadium and listen to the screaming fans. I think Ill just stay home and watch it on
Delicate situation A situation that you must handle carefully to avoid hurting someones
feelings. Telling someone you think they have an alcohol problem is a delicate situation.
come on the scene and arrive on the scene 1 to arrive at a place. When we came on the
scene, the ambulances were already there. The police arrived on the scene and began
directing traffic. 2. Fig. to become part of a situation. She thought she was in love with Harry
until Bob came on the scene.
come off second best to be second to someone or something; to get the poorer end of a
bargain. As usual, he came off second best with a little less prize money than the winner. I
dont want to come off second best again.
come to a halt to stop; to slow down and stop. Slowly, the train came to a halt. After the bus
came to a halt, more people got on.
come to a conclusion 1. to reach a decision. We talked for a long time but never came to
any conclusion. Can we come to a conclusion today, or do we have to meet again? 2. [for a
process] to reach the end and be finished. At last, the yearlong ordeal of buying a house
came to a conclusion. I was afraid that the opera would never come to a conclusion.
come to a dead end and reach a dead end 1. Lit. to reach a point where one can go no
farther and can turn in no new direction. The road comes to a dead end about a mile farther.
2. Fig. to have run out of possible ideas, solutions, energy, etc. Ive come to a dead end. Im
fresh out of ideas. The committee reached a dead end on the matter and tabled the whole
come to rest to stop; to slow down and stop. The ball rolled and rolled and finally came to
rest. Where did the ball come to rest?
come to grips with someone or something Fig. to begin to deal with someone or something
difficult or challenging in a sensible way. We must all come to grips with this tragedy. I cannot
come to grips with Ed and his problems.
come to terms (with someone or something) 1. to come to an agreement with someone. I
finally came to terms with my lawyer about his fee. Bob, you have to come to terms with
your father. 2. to learn to accept someone or something. She had to come to terms with the
loss of her sight. She couldnt come to terms with her estranged husomebodyand.
come to light Fig. [for something] to become known or to be discovered. Many surprises
have come to light since then. Nothing new has come to light since we talked last.
come to ones feet to stand up. The audience came to its feet, cheering. Fred came to his
feet to greet Roger.
come to ones senses to begin thinking sensibly. Im glad he finally came to his senses and
went on to college. I wish you would come to your senses and look for a better job.
come to think of it I just remembered. Come to think of it, I know someone who can help. I
have a screwdriver in the trunk of my car, come to think of it.
contrary to something in spite of something that seems to suggest otherwise; regardless of
something else. Contrary to what you might think, I am neat and tidy. Contrary to public
opinion, my uncle is well and healthy.
Could I be excused? Would you give me permission to leave?; Would you give me
permission to leave the table? (Also used with can or may in place of could.) Bill: Im
finished, Mom. Could I be excused? Mother: Yes, of course,

when you use good manners
like that.
Could you excuse us, please? and Can you excuse us, please?; Would you excuse us,
please?; Will you excuse us, please? We must leave. I hope you will forgive us. (A polite
way of announcing a departure.) ! Bill: Could you excuse us, please? We simply must rush
off. Alice: So sorry you have to go. Come back when you can stay longer.
correlate with something to match or equate with something. 1.This does not correlate with
your earlier story. 2. What she said yesterday does not correlate with what she is saying
correspond to something to match up with something; to harmonise with something. This
pin on this part corresponds to the receptacle on the other part it fits into.
correspond with someone (about someone or something) correspond (with someone)
about someone or some- thing to write letters back and forth with someone about someone
or something. 1. I will have to correspond with the manager about that. 2. I corresponded
about this with my brother. 3.I corresponded with my brother for over a year. 4. We
corresponded about Fred.
Could I get by, please? Would you please allow me space to pass by? (Also used with can
or may in place of could. May is almost too polite.) 1.Poor Bill, trapped at the back of the
elevator behind a huge man, kept saying, Could I get by, please? 2. Can I get by, please?
Jane said, squeezing between passengers on the crowded bus.
Ive got my fingers crossed: "Crossing two of your fingers" is considered to be a symbol for
good luck. If you say that youve got your fingers crossed about something, it means you are
hoping you will be lucky enough that it will happen.
Ive got my fingers crossed that the weather will be nice tomorrow. Were planning on going
to the beach.
Pretty much : "Pretty much" is slang and means "basically" or "most of the time".
In the example above, if someone asks, "What do you usually do in the evenings after
The answer might be, "I pretty much just stay home and read".
brighten up to become brighter; to lighten, especially with sunshine. The sky is brightening
up a little. When the morning sky brightens up just a little, the birds begin to sing.
bring out the best in someone to cause someone to behave in the best manner. This kind
of situation doesnt exactly bring out the best in me. Good weather brings out the best in me.
but for someone or something: if it were not for someone or something. But for the railing,
Id have fallen down the stairs. But for the children, Mrs. Smith would have left her husband
and years ago.
between jobs and between projects unemployed.
Interviewer: Tell me about your current position. Job candidate: Im between jobs right now.
When Jill was between projects, she took a computer class at the community college.
benefit by something and benefit from something to profit or gain by something. We hope to
benefit by the collapse of our competition. We will all benefit from the new tax laws.
beg to differ (with someone) Fig. to disagree with someone; to state ones disagreement
with someone in a polite way. (Usually used in a statement made to the person being
disagreed with.). I beg to differ with you, but you have stated everything exactly backwards. If
I may beg to differ, you have not expressed my position as well as you seem to think.
Believe you me! Inf. You really should believe me!; Youd better take my word for it! Alice: Is
it hot in that room? Fred: It really is. Believe you me! Sue: How do you like my cake? John:
Believe you me, this is the best cake Ive ever eaten!
he best things come in small packages. and Good things come in small packages.
Prov. Small pack- ages often contain valuable things. (Sometimes said of petite or short
people.) Jill: Im upset at George. He only gave me this tiny box for my birthday. Jane: Dont
get upset till you know whats in it. Good things do come in small packages. Child: I hate
being so short. Grandmother: You shouldnt. The best things come in small packages
the best of both worlds a situation wherein one can enjoy two different opportunities.
(*Typically: enjoy ~ ; have
; live in
.) When Don was a fellow at the university, he had the
privileges of a professor and the freedom of a student. He had the best of both worlds.
Donna hated to have to choose between retirement and continuing working. She wanted to
do both so she could live in the best of both worlds.
the benefit of the doubt a judgment in ones favour when the evidence is neither for one nor
against one. (*Typically: get
; have
; give someone
.). I thought I should have had the
benefit of the doubt, but the judge made me pay a fine.
Repulsive causing a feeling of strong dislike
When I opened a bottle of two- week old
milk, there was such a repulsive smell that I was nearly sick.
sinister seeming or being evil or dangerous
Some horror films have such sinister music
that that alone can scare you!
a stones throw a very short distance away
agitated: showing in your behaviour that you are anxious and nervous
change direction suddenly, esp. in order to avoid hitting somebody/something
Seeing the tree at the last minute, the bus driver swerved violently and managed to avoid it.
credit (somebody/something with) believe that somebody/something has a particular good
Do you expect me
to believe that ridiculous excuse? Credit me with some intelligence!
Intimidating frightening or threatening
The first day at school can be quite intimidating for many children.
at a stretch continuously; without stopping. We all had to do eight hours of duty at a stretch.
The baby doesnt sleep for more than three hours at a stretch.
end for yourself
take care of yourself without any help from anyone else
I wouldnt advise leaving home
until youre old enough to fend for yourself.
catch sight of: see something suddenly and usu. only for a moment
get to grips with: begin to understand and deal with something difficult
After the first
couple of months, I started to get to grips with the local customs.
grounding training in the basic parts of a subject
You really cant expect to pass any
language exam without a proper grounding in its grammar.
sought-after: wanted by many people, because it is of very good quality or difficult to get or
to find
Nicole Kidman is perhaps the most sought-after Australian actress today.
take its toll: have a bad effect on somebody/something, cause a lot of damage, deaths,
suffering, etc.
Poor diet will eventually take its toll leading to a variety of diseases.
reciprocate: behave or feel towards somebody in the same way as they behave or feel
towards you
He smiled but he began to feel awkward as his smile was not reciprocated.
refurbishment: cleaning and decoration of a room, building, etc. in order to make
it more attractive, more useful, etc.
The theatre is closed for refurbishment, it will open
again next October.
throw away or get rid of something/somebody because you no longer want it/ them
ditched Steve at the weekend but whereas shes very upset about it, he doesnt seem to be
too bothered.
staggering so surprising or great that it is difficult to believe
all its cracked up to be: as good as people say Usually used in the negative: Wed heard
that Oxford had fantastic shops, but now weve been, I can tell you its not all its cracked up
to be.
Nip (something) in the bud means stop it early, before it gets worse or makes something
bad happen.
They've got to nip this thing in the bud before it really gets out of hand.
A no-brainer is an action or decision that requires no thought
My hope is, is that we can see a different course taken by Congress. This should be a no-
brainer President Barack Obama, warning against automatic cuts in government spending
Nothing to sneeze at means not to be disregarded or downplayed or minimised.
Pressure in the Earth surely isn't anything to sneeze at (not to be disregarded). That's
perhaps one of the lessons of the oil spill caused by the Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of
as shown in the above example variations using anything have the same meaning.
If something happens on your watch or under your watch, it happens when you are on
duty and have responsibility.
we need to intercede to make sure that a disaster doesn't happen on our watch as has
happened in the past when the international community stood idly by." President Barack
the President meant that if a disaster happened we would share responsibility for it.
While American families struggle to pay gas prices that have doubled on his watch, the
President's only solutions are to target oil and gas producers for higher taxes and now to
dramatically increase federal regulation
To be on the ball, or have a lot on the ball means to be skilful, competent or engaged in
successful activity
We need to get on the ball and to do our best to purchase right and feed ourselves right.
Houston Chronicle.
On the bubble means on (or near) the line between two outcomes often, between
successful and unsuccessful, such as being chosen or not chosen.
On the money means accurate.
I'm more interested in two of Palin's bigger points, one of which is disingenuous, the other
right on the money.
If you are on someone's radar, they are aware of you or your location. Off the radar is the
opposite: you are not visible, or they are not aware of you. If you are doing something below
or under someone's radar, you are doing it in a way that will not get their attention, or will
not be detected. Sometimes under or below the radar means little noticed or publicised, as in
the Los Angeles Times example.
Start, start off, or get off on the right foot means have a good beginning. On the wrong
foot, a bad beginning.
Gov. Bill Haslam is starting on the right foot, working with his Democratic predecessor to
shape his first state budget.
On the same page means cooperating, working together, or in agreement.
I think Occupy Wall Street's agenda and the agenda of my campaign have really been pretty
much on the same page.
Ive seen marriages break up over this because the partners were not on the same page.
If you are negotiating and put something on the table, you want to discuss it. Taking it off
the table means you are refusing to discuss it.
I think the military option has to be on the table, and both candidates have said that.
When a statement is quoted or taken out of context, it is repeated briefly or without enough
detail, so that its original meaning cannot be understood.
out of line means to behave badly or unacceptably.
Cassidy said he'd had some beers but wasn't drunk or out of line.
If something is out of the question, it is impossible or will not be considered.
Many experts believe that with Congress deeply divided along partisan lines, reaching
consensus on a thorough overhaul is out of the question.
To put a positive spin on something means to make it sound less bad than it actually is, or
even to sound good when it's bad.
As a matter of course: routine, the usual
In the Northeast and the Midwest, as a matter of course, getting down to business is the rule.
There is a minimum of small talk until the main order of business is addressed.
Speaking of...,talking of...you can use these phrases to change the subject, but the new
topic must have some verbal connection with another person, or perhaps you yourself, have
just been talking about.
I keep remembering what you said. forget about the past. think of the future. that is right.
speaking of the future, Im going to be in London tomorrow.I would like to take to dinner
In retrospect, with hindsight, on refelection. when I/you think about it. sometimes you
may want to say you have changed your opinion about something now that you can look
back on it.
In retrospect our responsibility looks daunting, but at the time it did not worry us in the least.
As ever stubborn, I couldnt bring myself to agree with the board judgement, but with
hindsight they were right.
he has just issued a statement saying that on reflection, he regretted the remarks and
withdrew them.
Take on: opinion of;
What is your perception on this topic?, its basically asking for your opinion on something.
Rain check: the possibility to do something at another time. How about a rain check?
I would love to but I cant really make it tomorrow; may be can I take a rain check or can you
give me a rain check?
Able to make it: able to attend
Sorry, I cant make it. Thank you for inviting me. (If you dont want another invitation dont ask
for a rain check.)
I would love to join you next time. I wont be able to make it [tomorrow, next week, then].
Drop in: visit without notice, without making arrangements
Tied up: busy, occupied.
Im sorry, I [am busy, am tied up, have another appointment].
On the company: the company pays for this, picks up the expense.
Is this on the company? I mean does the company cover this expense?
Potluck dinner: everyone invited brings something to eat
Is this a potluck dinner?
Handy: useful; simple to use
Whether answering a call or making one, it is important to have paper and pen or pencil
handy to jot down information.
Upbeat: optimistic
Put a smile in your voice even when you speak over the telephone. Believe it or not, you
sound better over the phone when you are upbeat and have a smile on your face.
Pay off: it will be worth it
Clearly and precisely state your purpose for calling. Remember focus and simplicity. Be
certain you understand everything about the call. Dont pretend to understand, dont fake it
(pretend). Pay full attention to the call; it will pay off.
Dont fake (pretend) understanding. It might come back to haunt you (cause problems) .
Do not be afraid to ask questions. There are no dumb questions! It is better to ask a question
twice than to act on the wrong information. I didnt catch that (didnt hear/understand
that). Please repeat it. How do you pronounce your name? I really want to say it correctly.
Rephrase: say it in other words
Please let me spell that. I would like to rephrase that.
to take It for granted that: to believe or assume that something is a fact because it is
He took it for granted that we all understood French, and he started reading as a poem by
Rimbaud. None of us understood a word.
to take somebody for granted: not to treat somebody with the respect they deserve and
not thank them for their help; instead, you simply expect them always to be there when
She left him because she said he always took her for granted.
to take something In your stride: to accept and deal with something bad or unpleasant
without worrying about it or getting upset
Most people would be devastated if they lost their jobs, but Geraldine seems to have taken it
(all) in her stride.
to be taken aback: to be surprised
We were taken aback by the news.
The news took us aback.
to take exception to: to be offended/made angry by
He took exception to the way his neighbours always parked their car outside his garage.
Hilarious A very good word to use which means very funny.
My friend is hilarious.
I find that movie hilarious.
Last night was hilarious.
What you just said was hilarious.
"Sense of humour" a sense of humour is talking about if a person is either funny or good
at accepting jokes. People who have a good sense of humour are often very easy-going.
She has a really good sense of humour.
A good sense of humour is important to me when finding a boyfriend.
A good sense of humour is more important than physical appearance. He has a good sense
of humour about himself. (doesnt take himself too seriously, can make fun of himself)
Id had it. I was sick of it. I had enough, I couldnt take it anymore. I needed something to
have had enough to have had as much of something as is needed or will be tolerated. !
Stop yelling at me. Ive had enough.
No more potatoes, please. Ive had enough.
Im leaving you, Bill. Ive had enough!
have had it (up to here) to have reached the end of ones endurance or tolerance. (When
used with up to here, can be accompanied by a gesture, such as the hand held at the neck.)
Okay, Ive had it. You kids go to bed this instant.
Weve all had it up to here with you, John. Get out!
have pity on someone or an animal to have compassion toward someone or an animal.
(See also take pity on someone or an animal.). Please! Have pity on us. Let us come in!
have the courage of ones convictions to have enough courage and determination to carry
out ones goals.
Its fine to have noble goals in life and to believe in great things. If you dont have the
courage of your convictions, youll never reach your goals.
Jane was successful because she had the courage of her convictions.
have to do with something to be associated with or related to something.
Sallys unhappiness has to do with the way you insulted her.
My illness has to do with my stomach.
have to live with something to have to endure something.
I have a slight limp in the leg that I broke last year. The doctor says Ill have to live with it.
We dont like the carpeting in the living room, but since money is so tight well have to live
with it.
Here we go again. We are going to experience the same thing again.; We are going to hear
about or discuss the same thing again. John: Now, I would like to discuss your behaviour in
class yesterday. Bill (to himself): Here we go again.
Fred: We must continue our discussion of the Wil-son project. Sue: Here we go again. Fred:
Whats that? Sue: Nothing.
(I) cant help it. There is nothing I can do to help the situation.; That is the way it is.; There is
nothing I can do. (Often in answer to a criticism.)
Mary: Your hair is a mess. Sue: Its windy. I cant help it.
Fred: I wish youd quit coughing all the time. Sally: I cant help it. I wish I could too.
I can live with that. Inf. That is something I can get used to.; That is all right as far as Im
Sue: I want to do this room in green. Bill: I can live with that.
Clerk: This one will cost twelve dollars more. Bob: I can live with that. Ill take it.
(I) cant argue with that. Inf. I agree with what you said.; It sounds like a good idea.
Tom: This sure is good cake. Bob: Cant argue with that.
Sue: What do you say we go for a swim? Fred: I cant argue with that.
(I) cant complain. and (I have) nothing to complain about. Inf. a response to a greeting
inquiry asking how one is or how things are going for one.
Sue: I How are things going? Mary: I cant complain.
Mary: Hi, Fred! How are you doing? Fred: Nothing to complain about.
(I) cant thank you enough. Fig. a polite expression of gratitude.
Bill: Heres the book I promised you. Sue: Oh, good. I cant thank you enough.
Tom: Well, here we are. Bill: Well, Tom. I cant thank you enough. I really appreciate the ride.
I owe you one. Inf. Thank you, now I owe you a favour.; I owe you something similar in
Bob: I put the extra copy of the book on your desk. Sue: Thanks, I owe you
I rest my case. 1. Lit. I have completed the presentation of my argument. (Said by a lawyer.)
Clearly the defendant is guilty. I rest my case.
2. Fig. What you just heard sums up my point of view.
Your remark just supported my position! I rest my case.
(I) wouldnt bet on it. and (I) wouldnt count on it.
Fig. I do not believe that something will happen. (Also with that or some specific happening.
See examples.)
John: Ill be a vice president in a year or two. Mary: I wouldnt bet on that.
John: Ill pick up a turkey on the day before Thanksgiving. Mary: Did you order one ahead of
time? John: No. Mary: Then I wouldnt count on it.
in a sense in a way; in one way of looking at it.
In a sense, cars make life better.
But, in a sense, they also make life worse.
in effect producing a particular effect; effectively.
In effect, this new law will raise taxes for most people.
This policy harms domestic manufacturers. In effect, all our clothing will be made in foreign
in essence basically; essentially.
I have lots of detailed advice for you, but in essence, I want you to do the best you can.
In essence, lightning is just a giant spark of electricity.
in due course and in due time; in good time; in the course of time; in time in a normal or
expected amount of time.
The roses will bloom in due course.
The vice president will become president in due course.
Ill retire in due time.
Just wait, my dear. All in good time.
Itll all work out in the course of time.
In time, things will improve.
in lieu of something Fig. in place of something; instead of something. (The word lieu occurs
only in this phrase.) They gave me roast beef in lieu of ham. We gave money to charity in
lieu of sending flowers to the funeral.
in perspective within a reasonable view or appraisal. (*Typically: be
; get something
have something
; put something [into]
.) Lets try to keep everything in perspective. If
we put the matter into perspective, I think we can discuss it reasonably.
in progress under way; happening; developing or moving right now. Dont enter the studio.
Theres a show in progress. We now return you to the regularly scheduled show in
in proportion showing the correct size or proportion relative to something else. That mans
large head is not in proportion to his small body. The cartoonist drew the dog in proportion
to its surroundings.
in pursuit of something chasing after something. 1. Bill spends most of his time in pursuit of
money. 2. Every year Bob goes into the countryside in pursuit of butterflies.
in retrospect and in hindsight reconsidering the past with the knowledge one now has. 1.
In retrospect, I would have gone to a better college. 2. David realised, in hindsight, that he
should have finished school.
in the context of something in the circumstances under which something happens or has
In the context of a funeral, laughing loudly is inappropriate.
In the context of an argument, it is fine to speak firmly.
in the interest of someone or something as an advantage or benefit to someone or
something; in order to advance or improve someone or something.
In the interest of health, people are asked not to smoke.
The police imprisoned the suspects in the interest of the safety of the public.
in the interim (between things) in the meantime; in the time between the ending of
something and the beginning of something else.
In the interim between her morning and afternoon classes, Susan rushed home to get a book
she had forgotten.
My favourite show starts in five minutes, but Ill talk to you in the interim.
in (the) light of something Fig. because of certain knowledge now in hand; considering
something. (As if knowledge or information shed light on something.)
In light of what you have told us, I think we must abandon the project.
In light of the clerks rudeness, we didnt return to that shop
in the drivers seat Fig. in control; in charge of things. (As if one were driving and controlling
the vehicle.)
Now that Fred is in the drivers seat, there is a lot less criticism about how things are being
Joan cant wait to get into the drivers seat and do what she can to turn things around.
in the event of something if something happens; on the chance that something happens.
In the event of his late arrival, please call me.
In the event of rain, the parade is canceled.
in the pipeline Fig. backed up somewhere in a process; in process; in a queue.
Theres a lot of goods still in the pipeline. That means no more new orders will be shipped for
a while.
Your papers are in the pipeline somewhere. Youll just have to wait.
in the making in development; in the process of developing.
This is a real problem in the making. Lets try to keep it from getting any worse.
*in the trust of someone under the responsibility or in the care of someone. (*Typically: be
~ ; leave someone or something
; place someone or something
The state placed the orphan in the trust of the foster parents.
Our bonds are left in the trust of our broker.
in the wake of something Fig. after something; as a result of some event. (Alludes to a
ships wake.)
We had no place to live in the wake of the fire.
In the wake of the storm, there were many broken tree limbs.
In the unlikely event of something and in the unlikely event that something happens if
somethingwhich probably will not happenactually happens.
In the unlikely event of my getting the job, Ill have to buy a car to get there every day.
In the unlikely event of a fire, please walk quickly to an exit.
in view of something in consideration of something; because of something.
In view of the high cost of gasoline, I sold my car.
I wont invite John to the meeting in view of his attitude.
Intermingle with someone to mingle or merge with people.
The mugger intermingled with the people on the street and could not be recognised.
Lets intermingle with the guests.
intervene in something to get involved in something.
I will have to intervene in this matter. Its getting out of hand.
I want to intervene in this before it becomes a major problem.
It is never too late to mend. Prov. It is never too late to apologise for something you have
done or try to repair something you have done wrong.
Sue: I still miss Tony, but its been a year since our big fight and we havent spoken to each
other since. Mother: Well, its never too late to mend; why dont you call him up and
Its a deal. Okay.; It is agreed.
You want to sell me your stereo for $100? Its a deal.
Bill: Lets go to dinner together tonight. Mary: Its a deal.
(It) suits me (fine). It is fine with me.
John: Is this one okay? Mary: Suits me.
John: Id like to sit up front where
I can hear better. Mary: Suits me fine.
Ive done my do. I have done my share.
Tom: Arent you going to finish cleaning the kitchen? Jane: Ive done my do. You can do the
I feel Ive done my do, and someone else should do the rest.
keep sight of someone or something to keep someone or something in view.
Try to keep sight of the skier.
I want to keep sight of the children at all times.
know someone by sight to recognise a persons face, but not know the name.
Im afraid I dont know her by sight.
I know all my employees by sight.
last but not least Clich last in sequence, but not last in importance. (Often said when
introducing people.)
The speaker said, And now, last but not least, Id like to present Bill Smith, who will give us
some final words.
And last but not least, here is the final graduate.
no ifs, ands, or buts (about it) and no buts about it Fig. absolutely no discussion,
dissension, or doubt about something.
I want you there exactly at eight, no ifs, ands, or buts about it.
This is the best television set available for the money, no buts about it.
nothing to speak of not many; not much.
John: Whats happening around here? Bill: Nothing to speak of.
Mary: Has there been any rain in the last week? Sally: Nothing to speak of.
Conventional view: The common or most popular opinion on something.
In the book Tim challenges the conventional view that the goal of a business should be to
maximise profits.
Out of the woods means no longer in trouble or difficulty. The expression is often used in
the negative.
To be sure, the housing sector is far from being out of the woods. Construction activity, sales,
and prices remain much lower than they were before the crisis.
If you think outside the box, you think creatively, without restricting your thoughts to the
way things have been done before, or what people expect.
...sometimes when you don't understand certain things, you have to step outside the box a
little bit to see what's going on.
..Be bold. Think outside the box. Take risks," Bloomberg said in his address
par for the course means typical, or as expected.
It was par for the course from [Governor] Scott, who has taken his war on the federal
government, and Obama in particular, from the campaign trail straight into the state's most
powerful political office.
A person who pays the price suffers a consequence. It may be a result of his own
behaviour, or the actions of someone else.
A price to pay, when not referring literally to money, means a cost or consequence.
Politicians have to understand that there's a price to pay for voting to redefine marriage - it is
not what the people of Washington want," Plante said.
Worst-case scenario often describes something that might happen in the future, but may
also be used to describe a past event.
The worst-case scenario is that the storm hits in the mid-Jersey area.
If you pick my brain, you ask me questions and try to learn things that will be useful. When
the plural brains is used instead of brain in the expression, the meaning is the same.
Your parents are one of the best resources for job-search advice, and it's wise to pick their
brains on occasion.
Point fingers and point the finger mean blame someone.
Sadly when a tragedy occurs, people want to point fingers and try to sensationalise the
When push comes to shove, a decision or action can no longer be delayed.
The party has banged the drum [campaigned] for spending cuts but shies away now when
push comes to shove on politically volatile programs like Medicare.
As of yet = until this time; so far
As of yet, he has not been paid by the company.
The date for the final lest has not been announced as of yet.
A: Are the new computers in?
B: I'm sorry, sir. They have not arrived as of yet.
Ultimate goal: The "ultimate goal" is the real goal or the end goal you have. Someone could
say, "Im working as a waitress now to save some money, but my ultimate goal is go back to
school to get my MBA"
Maximise: If you "maximise" something it means you try to increase it to the greatest amount
possible. Many companies try to maximise their profits, even at the expense of the
Awkward silence: Awkward silence describes this situation; Imagine two people are on a
date and they are both feeling uncomfortable because they cant think of anything to say to
each other. This time seems to last a long time. This uncomfortable time period is called an
"awkward silence".
Imagine if a couple that had lived together just broke up. One of them is packing their things
and getting ready to move out of the house. They both feel sad but say nothing to each other.
This time period is called an "awkward silence"
Hes under the impression: If someone is "under the impression" of something it means
that they think it is true. Usually we use this when someone thinks something is true but in
fact they are wrong.
Hes under the impression that his girlfriend never lies to him.
Take him for being: If you "take someone for being" something it means that you think they
are that kind of person.
I cant believe she is a famous model and actress. I took her for being a normal high school
You are way off base: If someone is "way off base" it means that they are totally wrong
about something. They are not even close to being right.
Ex. A: I thought that eating only one meal a day would be a good way to lose weight.
Plays a huge role: This phrase means, "is a very important part of". Many child
psychologists believe that teachers play a huge role in the healthy development of young
Bound to happen: If something is "bound to happen", it means that it was going to happen
sometime in the future.
Dont worry so much if you dont like your job. If you keep improving yourself and keep
meeting new people, getting a new job is bound to happen.
be bound to/be sure to/ be certain to: If something is bound to happen it is certain to
happen, especially because that is what always happen
The kids bound to be hungry when they get home - they always are.
the drop in prices and lack of demand are certain to affect the manufacturing industry.
take the opportunity to do something: I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all
for your help.
Grab the chance: to quickly use an opportunity to do something, especially when you think
you might not get another chance.
Knowing how difficult it is to find a job I grabbed the chance to be trained as an electrician.
The inevitable: something that is definitely going to happen and cannot be avoided or
It is time they accepted the inevitable and got a divorce.
happen to do something: if you happen to do something, you do it by chance and not
because of any particular reason or plan.
be at the root/bottom of: to be the basic cause of a problem or serious situation.
Simple greed is at the root of most white-collar crime.
At the bottom of the countrys economic problems is its overwhelming debt.
Underlying: underlying cause/reason/factor etc. a cause, reason etc that is one of the the
most basic and important, but which is not easy to notice.
they were treating only the symptoms of the disease rather than its underlying cause.
On the face of it Fig. superficially; from the way it looks.
This looks like a serious problem on the face of it. It probably is minor, however.
On the face of it, it seems worth- less.
On the mend getting better; becoming healthy again.
I cared for my father while he was on the mend.
I took a leave of absence from work while I was on the mend.
On the horizon 1. Lit. appearing at the boundary between the earth and the sky.
There is a storm on the horizon. 2. Fig. soon to happen.
Do you know whats on the horizon?
There is some excitement on the horizon, but I cant tell you about it.
On the money and on the nose exactly right; in exactly the right place; in exactly the right
amount (of money).
Thats a good answer, Bob. Youre right on the money.
This project is going to be finished right on the nose.
On the road to recovery Clich recovering; getting better; improving.
Its been two weeks since her surgery, and she is on the road to recovery.
reminiscent of someone or something reminding someone about someone or something;
seeming like or suggesting someone or something.
This fragrance is reminiscent of fresh flowers.
Janes dress seems reminiscent of the style worn in the 1920s.
rest on ones laurels Fig. to stop trying because one is satisfied with ones past
Despite our success, this is no time to rest on our laurels.
We rested on our laurels too long. Our competitors took away a lot of our business.
rest assured to be assured; to be certain.
Rest assured that youll receive the best of care.
Please rest assured that we will do everything possible to help.
retaliate against someone or something to take revenge against someone or something.
The striking workers will retaliate against the company with a protest march.
The students retaliated against the administration.
Grunt work: "Grunt work" is work that is usually boring and takes a lot of effort but not a lot
of thought. Many bosses like to relax as much as they can and get their secretaries to do
most of the grunt work.
Gig: A "gig" is a slang term for a job. Its often used for a job that is only temporary like a
musician working in a busy restaurant for only the weekend.
You cant always use "gig" in the place of "job". You cant say, "What is your gig?"
It isnt worth it. 1. Its value does not justify the action you propose.
Mary: Should I write a letter in support of your request? Sue: No, dont bother. It isnt worth it.
John: Do you suppose we should report that man to the police? Jane: No, it isnt worth it. 2.
Its importance does not justify the concern you are showing.
Tom: Im so sorry about your roses all dying. Mary: Not to worry. It isnt worth it. They were
sort of sickly anyway.
John: Should I have this coat cleaned? The stain isnt coming out. Sue: It isnt worth it. I only
wear it when I shovel snow anyway.
Its about time! Inf. It is almost too late!; Ive been waiting a long time! (Said with
So you finally got here! Its about time!
They finally paid me my money. Its about time!
its high time. it is about the right time for something.
Its high time we were leaving.
Its high time you started thinking about saving for your old age.
(Its) not supposed to. and (Someones) not supposed to. a phrase indicating that
someone or something is not meant to do something. (Often with a persons name or a
pronoun as a subject. See the examples.)
Fred: This little piece keeps falling off. Clerk: Its not supposed to.
Bill: Tom just called from Detroit and says hes coming back tomorrow. Mary: Thats funny.
Hes not supposed to.
striking it rich to get a lot of money quickly for some reason. In this dialogue Alex made a
lot of money in the stock market. Ex. He struck it rich from winning the lottery.
What does that entail? This question is used when you want to know more about the
specifics of something.
If your friend was applying to some university and you didnt know the application procedure,
you could ask them, "what does the application procedure entail?"
That means, "what exactly to you need to do to apply for the school"
The answer might be something like, "I need to give them my resume along with a personal
essay stating why I believe Im a good choice for the program".
Which is often the case : You can use this in the middle of an "if" sentence if the "if" part is
what usually happens.
Someone could ask, "What do you usually do in the evenings after work?" The answer might
be, "If I have to get up early the next day, which is often the case, then I usually just stay
home and read."
Implications: The implications of something means what that something "implies".
Implications are what will happen as a result of doing something.
Turn things around : "Turning things around" means to change a bad situation to a good
A company that has been losing money might hire a new CEO to try to turn things around.
Dont hold your breath - This phrase basically means, "I dont think it will happen". Holding
your breath means to stop breathing. It is saying, "dont hold your breath waiting for
something like this to happen because it probably wont happen"
It is similar to saying, "I wouldnt count on that"
I wouldnt count on that - "Counting on" something means depending or relying on it. I
could say, you cant "count on" flaky people. Even if they promise to meet you at a time and
place, you never know if they will actually do it.
Gimmick : an advertising trick to try to persuade people to buy a product. Gimmicks seem
cool and useful when you first hear about them, which makes people want to buy the
Savvy : Being savvy means being good at something. We often say "consumer savvy" or
"internet savvy". Consumer savvy means you are a good shopper and know how much to
pay for things. Internet savvy means you are really good at using the Internet.
Pathetic : Pathetic means really weak or bad.
He only knows how to cook eggs. Thats pretty pathetic.
He sleeps in until noon every day and doesnt accomplish anything. Thats so pathetic.
Empty promises - If someone makes a promise that they cant keep it is called an empty
Last but not least means last of the things mentioned, but not the least important.
Android users can now access their voicemail offline, theres improved text message
notifications, and last but not least, group messaging.
A last-ditch effort, attempt or action is a final try when failure is imminent.
The Democrats plan to make a last-ditch attempt to approve the nomination, but the Senate
Republicans seem determined to block it.
If you leave no stone unturned, you check every possibility or do everything possible to
accomplish a task.
He has written nearly 100 columns for the newspaper, including one in 2009 that defended
the original phone-hacking inquiry, saying that only top detectives had been assigned to it
and that the inquiry had left no stone unturned.
Less is more means less (or fewer) is better.
The beef itself is so full of flavour that less is more when it comes to the seasonings
Let sleeping dogs lie means don't risk starting trouble if you don't have to. A related
expression is leave well enough alone.
If you let the cat out of the bag, you reveal information and it is no longer a secret. If the
cat's out of the bag, a secret has been revealed.
I guess the cat's out of the bag," Kelly Ryan, a spokeswoman for American Ballet Theatre,
said in an e-mail message on Wednesday, confirming that the company would be returning
for a week's engagement this fall.
If you will not lift a finger, you will not make any effort to do something or help.
Dear Mr. Dad: A few months ago you answered a question from a reader whose teenager
was refusing to do chores. My situation is similar, except that it's my husband who won't lift a
Light at the end of the tunnel means a way to see or hope for the end of something difficult
or unhappy.
Because there is no vision, there is no light at the end of this tunnel...that makes it more
frustrating for everybody, especially the young adults.
Like clockwork means regularly, predictably or exactly on schedule.
Hough notes that while strong quakes have hit the region about 400 years apart, they don't
happen like clockwork.
Live up to means meet a standard or expectation. The meaning of measure up to is often
If a charter school doesn't live up to the goals in its charter, that school is closed. That is
accountability, folks
Lose face means suffer public embarrassment.
Since neither company is willing to back down and lose face, analysts see a stalemate as
most likely.
Save face means avoid public embarrassment.
It helps Pakistan "save face" at home by addressing concerns over sovereignty...
Make do means manage; get along in the absence of something better.
I bought a pair of discontinued wall fixtures at a deep discount something that would make
If you can't make heads or tails of something, you can't understand it at all. Without a head
or tail, a top or bottom, a beginning or end, it is hard to make any sense of it.
It takes time for current events to have deeper understanding and wisdom, but it's imperative
to dig right in...and do our best to make heads or tails of it all.
Make no mistake means don't misunderstand me, or have no doubt about this, or make
sure you listen to what I'm going say now. Sometimes it serves as a more emphatic version
of but, as in, I am usually a nice person but make no mistake, it is not a good idea to make
me angry.
"Make no mistake: our efforts will fail in Afghanistan and Pakistan if we don't invest in their
future." President Barack Obama
Make no mistake: These kids are shooting real guns.
In all the examples, the warning is about understanding the statement:
In all the examples, the warning is about understanding the statement: President Obama
was not warning us to avoid a mistake in foreign policy, he was saying we should not make a
mistake about what he was saying.
An expression with a similar meaning is don't get me wrong.
Im not going anywhere in particular.
What restaurant were you thinking of going to tonight?
Nowhere in particular
Whats the worst that could happen? This is a question to ask yourself or someone else
if they are considering not doing something. The idea is that if the worst thing that can
happen isnt really that bad, then you should do it.
Pull up a chair
Sit down with us, or join us at the table.
Work wonders
Do a lot of good for something.
That investment will work wonders for your bank account.
If you find a beautiful girl who likes you it will work wonders for your confidence.
Confidence or belief in yourself.
If you have a high self-esteem then you think you are a capable person and like yourself.
If you have a low self-esteem you get discouraged easily and dont have a lot of self-
next to nothing almost nothing or very little. I accomplished next to nothing today.
Second to none better than everything else.
This is an excellent carsecond to none.
Her suggestion was second to none, and the manager accepted it eagerly.
Apparently obvious, evident or easy to have seen. Here Jeff had apparently taken the
proposal off my desk and shown it to the boss. We didnt seen him take the proposal but we
think it is obvious that he did.
Go for it! Inf. Go ahead! Give it a good try!
Sally: Im going to try out for the basketball team. Do you think Im tall enough? Bob: Sure
you are! Go for it!
Bob: Mary cant quit now! Shes almost at the finish line! Bill: Go for it, Mary
Took credit say or show that you did something(even if you didnt do it). Here Jeff took
credit for my work. He said he did the proposal even though he didnt.
Considering the fact that... - This means thinking about the situation. Here "I wasnt in
much of a position to deny anything considering the fact that I had the scissors in my hand.
Hard to deny I did it because she saw me do it."
I know this is going to sound hard to believe but... You are showing the listener that you
admit it is not an easy thing to believe. You hope that by admitting this, it will give the listener
more chance to believe you.
to be indicative of: to clearly show something
The fact that he does so little is indicative of his lack of interest In his work.
to be Justified In doing something: to have a good reason for doing something
The local council were perfectly justified in evicting them - they hadn't paid their rent for
to elaborate on something: to explain something in more detail
Would you care to elaborate on that statement?
to embark on a Journey: to start a long journey
In 1778 he embarked on a journey that was to take him halfway round the world.
to endeavour to do something: (formal) to try to do something
I shall endeavour to do my best.
to merge with: to join together to form one (company)
If BMY merges with Vectron, the resulting company will become the biggest automobile
manufacturer in the world.
a report on: a report describing
The ecology agency have produced a report on the devastating effect insecticides are having
on the environment.
(to be) under the impression that: to wrongly believe that something is true , permissible or
a fact
I was under the impression that the concert started at 7:30, not at 7:00.
But rest a assured: but do not worry
We are sorry that your luggage has been mislaid by the airline but, rest assured, we will find
But rest assured ...: but I promise you
We are not sure where the meteor is going to hit, but rest assured that, as soon as we know,
you'll know.
First-hand is something you've done personally. Second-hand is something someone told
you they've done
no wonder .../small wonder ...: it's not surprising
The last time you ate was yesterday morning?! No wonder/ small wonder you're hungry!
with all due respect, ...: (formal) polite way to introduce criticism, contradiction, etc
But sir, with all due respect, you can't do that. It's only going to cause more problems
something is long overdue: something (e.g. a change/a reform/a promotion, etc) should
have happened a long time ago
His promotion came as no surprise. Actually, it had been long overdue.
(to be) In the grips of: to be experiencing something bad (weather, famine. etc) and not be
able to control or stop it. Switzerland is in the grips of its worst winter on record.
To bring something to somebody's attention: (formal) to tell somebody (normally a person
in a position of authority) about a problem or something bad that is happening
I'm sorry, Sir Geoffrey, I was under the impression that Mr Smithers had brought it to your
to bring back memories: to remind somebody of something (usually happy)
Hearing that song brought back memories of his university days.
to come over: (i) to pay a visit to someone's house (ii) I don't know what has come over
somebody: I don't know what has happened to somebody (implying they are behaving
strangely and out of character)
Why don't you come over and we can watch the match together?
I'm sorry for that outburst last night. I don't know what came over me.
to come to terms with: to learn to accept a bad /new thing
She couldn't come to terms with her husomebodyand's death.
to com into effect/operation: to officially start to happen/to be used
The new law/rule/system will come into effect on September 26
to come as a surprise: to be surprising [Note: (i) to come as no surprise: not to be
surprising (ii) to come as something of a surprise : to be a little surprising
It came as a surprise to John to find out that Bill had resigned.
to come to light: to become known
If the truth/this information/this story ever comes to light, it will bring down the government.
to come up with: to think of an idea, excuse, an answer to a question/a solution to a
He was late again. He had to come up with a convincing excuse.
Who came up with that idea?
somebody is in for it: somebody is going to be in trouble
"Now I'm in for It, he thought. He'd forgotten to get her the library books.
dwelling on something thinking about a situation over and over again. Maybe hed be
thinking about how if he had studied more, then he would have passed the exam.
I told him that although its annoying, theres no point in dwelling on it.
I'm off: I'm leaving (usually only used with the pronouns I and we)
Right, I'm off. Thanks for the coffee.
to be off: if meat, fish or a dairy product (milk, cream, yoghurt, etc) is/smells off, it is/smells
bad or rotten; [Note: if a sports match or meeting is off, it has been cancelled]
Don't use the milk. It smells off.
Tomorrow's staff meeting is off. Mr Hudson is ill.
to be off to: if somebody is off to a particular place, they are going there
I'm off to Rome on Saturday.
to attribute something to: to say that something was caused by
Most historians attribute his downfall to his involvement in the Redgate scandal.
The aftermath of: the period of time following a war, tragedy or natural disaster (e.g.
earthquake, volcanic eruption)
In the aftermath of catastrophes like this, it is not unusual for governments to appeal for aid
from the international community.
It's high time: you really should [ note: its high time you/he/she, etc + past tense]
It's high time you got a job .
Second to none If you're second to none, you're first. It's just another way of saying that
nobody is better than you. Or, to rephrase your example, Nobody has more strength of
character than you. It means the best, as in your in second place behind no-one - first place
all the way. the group has a reputation that is second to none in the building industry
in lieu of: instead of
We used to give our landlord vegetables from our garden in lieu of the rent.
in keeping with: suitable in relation to something
This new tax is very much in keeping with the revenue policies outlined in our election
by any/no stretch of imagination
an expression used to emphasise the fact that something is not true [Note: By no stretch of
the imagination can start a sentence, in which case it is followed by an inversion]
By no stretch of the imagination could you call it a cosy room.
(something is) to ones advantages: something gives you an advantage (i.e. it helps you to
be better/more successful than others)
The fact that Johnson had been with the company for six years was obviously to his
to such an extent that... so much that...
Poor visibility hampered rescue efforts to such an extent that the search for the fishing boat
had to be called off.
let's face it,....: we must accept that
I know it is disappointing that we have to close the shop, but let's face it, there's nothing we
can do.
to back down: to accept that the person you are arguing with is right and that you are wrong
He knew I was right, but he refused to back down.
to seek advice: to ask (and probably pay) somebody (a doctor, a lawyer) for professional
If the symptoms persist, you should seek medical advice.
(not) to pull your weight: (not) to do your fair share of the work
If you don't start pulling your weight in this office, you wi/l be asked to resign.
legend has It that: there is a legend that says ... [Note: rumour has it that: there are
rumours that say]
Legend has it that if you pull the sword from the stone, you will become king of England.
Rumour has it that his wife wrote all of his novels.
wreak havoc: to cause chaos and/or a lot of damage
Last night's heavy snowfall has wreaked havoc throughout the south of England.
raise public awareness of something: to improve peoples knowledge. We must raise
public awareness of the problems facing refugees.
not to ring true: if an excuse, explanation, etc doesn't ring true, you find it difficult to believe
to have a reputation for: to be well known for
Mr Simpson has a reputation for being a fair-minded teacher.
restrictions on: limits on
There are no restrictions on the amount of perfume that you can bring into this country.
cater for: to provide things/a service that somebody needs or wants [Note: to cater for all
tastes: to satisfy and provide for all likes/ interests]
Our holiday company mainly caters for young professionals in search of adventure.
In the aftermath of something: in the period of time following a disaster (earthquake, bomb
explosion, etc), tragedy or a war
The President declared a state of emergency in the aftermath of the earthquake.
to comment on something/somebody: to give an opinion about something/somebody
The minister's wife was asked to comment on her husomebodyand's resignation.
To run a temperature: to have a high temperature
You dont look very well. Are you running a temperature?
to edge towards: to move slowly towards something
She edged cautiously towards the parcel.
to edge out: to just manage to beat somebody or get in front of them
The company has edged out others in the same field.
To frown upon/on something: to disapprove of something (not somebody)
In this company, failing to recycle paper is frowned upon.
as a last resort: if nothing else works I'll get the money somehow. As a last resort, I could
sell my car.
the last straw: the final bad thing that happens to you - coming after a number of other bad
He'd been moved into a smaller office and he'd lost his secretary. Reducing his salary was
the last straw. He quit.
at full blast: at maximum volume
They had their radio on at full blast.
touchy subject: a sensitive issue; a topic that is likely to bring out emotion in people
Dont ask Joy how old she is. Age is touchy subject for her.
full responsibility: all the blame for something bad that has happened
I will take full responsibility if we do not succeed in getting the contract.
a party is in full swing: the party has reached its highest level of activity
It was late when we arrived and the party was in full swing.
cutting-edge technology: the latest and most advanced technology
Using cutting-edge technology, we have designed a car that will outperform any other in its
Time is the essence - we must act quickly; Time is very important at this point
Time is of the essence in addressing global warming
strong language: bad and offensive language
The film was given an 18 certificate because it contained a lot of strong language.
to be In the public eye: to be continually appearing on TV, in newspapers and magazines
Constantly being in the public eye is one of the drawbacks of being famous.
the hot favourite: the one that everyone expects to win (the race, match, etc)
He is the hot favourite to win the title.
To fill someone in - to give someone the latest information
I missed the meeting this morning, so can someone fill me in on what was discussed.
a steady Job: a regular, stable and serious job which you are likely to have for some time
As a student, I don't have a steady job.
beyond ones wildest dreams: more than one could ever have imagined or hoped for
Now that they had won the lottery, they were rich beyond their wildest dreams.
In a split second: very quickly
took my eyes off my bag for a split second and it was gone!
a narrow margin: if you win something (generally an election) by a narrow margin, you only
just beat your opponent(s)
The party won the election by a very narrow margin.
to draw somebodys attention to something: (formal) to make somebody notice
I'd like to draw your attention to clause 34 in the contract.
to opt out: to choose not to participate in something
Those who wish to do so may opt out of the pension plan.
to own up: to confess
The little boy owned up to breaking the window.
besiege someone or something with something 1. Lit. to attack someone or a group with
something. We besieged the enemy with bombs and bullets. 2. Fig. to overwhelm someone
or something with something. They besieged us with orders for the new book. We besieged
the company with complaints.
So much for that. That is the end of that.; We will not
be dealing with that anymore.
John tossed the stub of a pencil into the trash. So much for that, he muttered, fishing
through his drawer for another.
Mother: Here, try some carrots. Child (brushing the spoon aside): No! No! Mother: Well, so
much for that.
The defending Champion is the person who won the Championship Title last year.
They have returned to the Championship to defend that title and to try to win again
take the stage Fig. to become the centre of attention; to become the focus of everyones
Later in the day, the problems in the warehouse took the stage, and we discussed them until
You cant mean that! Inf. Surely you do not mean what you said!
Bill: I hate you! Mary: You cant mean that.
Sally: The cake burned and theres no time to start another before the party. Mary: You cant
mean that!
sure thing - an outcome that is assured
Gary bet all his money on a horse named Trixie, thinking she was a sure thing.
Nicole has a good chance of getting accepted to Yale, but it's still not a sure thing.
(to) live with it - to accept a difficult reality EXAMPLE 1: Your boss is an idiot. Live with it.
Your hair will never be straight. Just live with it!
NOTE: There is also the expression "to learn to live with it," which means to get used to
something annoying or difficult. Example: Sandra knew that Roger would always throw his
dirty clothes on the floor. She'd just have to learn to live with it.
fair and square - honestly
Did George Bush win the 2000 presidential election fair and square? That depends on
whether you ask a Democrat or a Republican!
Tony won the ping pong tournament fair and square.
to beam: to smile with happiness showing in all your face
He beamed at us. "I passed he said.
a rewarding Job: a job that satisfies you because you feel that you are doing something
important or useful
Not only do I earn a fortune but it is a very rewarding job.
a competitive salary: a good salary for the job that you are doing
Do you want a rewarding job in advertising, with a competitive salary and excellent career
a sound working knowledge of: to know something (a language, a computer program, an
area of business) very well
A sound working knowledge of Quark is essential.
to take over something from somebody: to replace somebody who has left their job
(permanently or temporarily)
David has resigned. I wonder who will take over from him.
To be highly critical of somebody/something: to criticise somebody/something very
The report was highly critical of the new bill.
to be well worth doing: to be a very good thing to do because you will get some benefit
from it
His new book is well worth reading.
to categorically deny something/doing something: to completely and strongly deny
He categorically denied being involved.
to distinctly remember something/doing something: to clearly recollect something/doing
I distinctly remember telling you...
to be strictly confidential: to be top secret (for report, records, information, etc)
what Ive told you is strictly confidential and off-the-record.
to rely heavily on something/somebody: to depend greatly on
the university relies heavily on donations from ex-students to finance research projects.
to be vitally important: (often used in the phrase: it is vitally important that..)
It is vitally important that the press do not get wind of this.
to apologise profusely: (formal) to apologise a lot [Note: please accept our profuse
apologies (formal)]
She apologised profusely for having made such a terrible mistake.
to be bitterly disappointed: to be very disappointed
I was bitterly disappointed when I found out I hadn't got the job.
to borrow heavily: to borrow a great deal of money [Note : to be heavily in debt: to owe a lot
of money]
We'll have to borrow heavily if we are to get this project off the ground.
Why are we so heavily in debt?
(to) blow things out of proportion - to exaggerate; to make more of something than one
They sent a 12 year-old boy to jail for biting his babysitter? Don't you think they're blowing
things out of proportion?
Sally called the police when her neighbour's party got too loud. I think that was blowing
things out of proportion.
SYNONYM: To make a mountain out of a molehill
to) get one's act together - to get organised; to start operating more effectively
If Ted gets his act together now, he might be able to get into a good college.
We'd better get our act together. Otherwise, we're going to miss our flight.
(to) look forward to - to anticipate eagerly
I'm looking forward to my trip to Mexico next month.
Ron has worked as a high school teacher for over 40 years. He's really looking forward to
retiring next year.
(to) strike it rich - to attain sudden financial success
Chad struck it rich with the winning lottery ticket.
Craig hopes to strike it rich so he can quit his job and open a winery in California.
no laughing matter - nothing to joke about; something serious
When the tornado came into town, it was no laughing matter.
Jim might have been fooling around when he hit John,but he really hurt him. It was no
laughing matter.
on the job - at work
Jennifer has four men on the job painting her house.
Dan got fired for drinking on the job.
all along - throughout; from beginning to end
Jenny told Nicole she would vote for her, but all along she was planning on voting for Andrea.
I never believed Joel when he told us he was marrying a princess from Denmark. I knew all
along that he was lying.
first things first - let's focus on the most important thing or task first
You want to work here at Lulu's Dance Club? First things first, have you ever worked as a
dancer before?
You want to ask your teacher if you can hand in your paper two weeks late? First things first,
you'd better think of an excuse.
(to) cut it out - stop it; stop the annoying behaviour
Tracy was chewing gum loudly during the movie. Her boy- friend finally told her to cut it out.
Cut it out! Stop trying to pull my shoes off!
(to) freak out [slang] - to respond to something irrationally or crazily; to overreact
Ashley's parents freaked out when she told them she was dropping out of college to become
an actress.
Don't freak out when I tell you this, but I lost the laptop you lent me last week.
in progress - happening; under way; going on now
The play is already in progress, so you'll have to wait until intermission to sit down.
Once the test is in progress, you will not be allowed to leave the room.
Big deal! - So what? That doesn't really matter.
You won five dollars in the lottery? Big deal!
Your father has a job with a big company in New York City? Big deal!
(to) wrap up - to finish
If you wrap up your homework by eight o'clock, we'll have time to catch a movie tonight.
Okay folks, let's wrap up these exercises so we can go home early tonight.
(to be on a) winning streak - a series of wins
The basketball team hasn't lost a game all season. They're on a winning streak!
You won 10 games in a row? You're on a winning streak!
(to) wine and dine - to take someone out for an evening or an expensive meal
Donna wined and dined Bob and Susan and then presented them with a contract for the sale
of Susan's Scrumptious Cookies.
Kate was wined and dined during her trip to Santiago.
to be deadly serious (about something): to be very serious
I think he was deadly serious when he said he was taking us to court.
to be deeply divided: not to be united, in strong disagreement (for members of a group)
The members of the committee were deeply divided over whether or not to call a strike.
to deeply regret: to regret very much
I deeply regret telling him.
to desperately need : to need very much
Julie quit, so we desperately need a new secretary.
to be excruciatingly painful: to be extremely painful
It was excruciatingly painful. Did you see the size of the needle?
to fall miserably: to fail totally [Note: it was a miserable failure]
He tried to stop eating chocolate but he failed miserably.
to freely admit: to be willing to admit (a bad thing)
I freely admit that I made a mistake when I invested the company's money in stocks.
to be fully booked/booked solid: used to describe a theatre, restaurant, hotel, etc where all
the seats, tables, rooms, etc are occupied
Thats easy for you to say Sometimes good advice is hard to accept. Often the person
giving advice isnt the one who actually has to make the difficult change. For example, if I
passed my math exam and my friend failed, its easy for me to tell him not to worry about it.
Its easier said than done Its much easier to make the plan than to follow it. For example,
I could say you should exercise for an hour per day. Thats easier said than done.
Look on the bright side Think about the good points in a situation. For example, if you get
fired from a job. You could think about how now you have some time to relax and find an
even better job.
The past is the past the idea here is that things that happened before have already
happened. You cant change them so there is no point in thinking about it or dwelling on it.
Learn from your mistakes and move on.
couldnt help but an uncontrollable force to do something or behave in some way.
What are you up to? - This means what are you doing? it is a very casual expression and
you can use it in past, present, and future. What were you up to last night?, What are you
up to now?, and What are you up to next weekend?.
Im definitely up for something - This means you definitely want to do something. You
arent sure what but you dont just want to sit around and do nothing. If you say. Im up for
anything that means that you dont care and will do anything the other person suggests. You
are not picky if you are up for anything.
Ill keep you posted - A very useful expression that means, I will keep you informed or I
will let you know
Get back to me - That means tell me when you get the answer
I really dont know how to say this A way to tell someone you are about to tell him
something sensitive or some bad news.
Dont take this the wrong way This tells someone that you are not trying to make them
angry at all. You are trying to help. If you tell someone, I think you should start going to the
gym. The other person might think you mean they are fat. But maybe your real meaning is
that you want them to keep healthy. So if they got angry, they took it the wrong way.
Something came up: Something came up means that some other more urgent thing
happened which caused you to change your original plan. It can be used as an excuse. It
often implies that whatever came
up is a little personal and you hope the other person will understand that you dont wish to
tell them the exact reason.
Postpone : Postponing something means to delay something. The sentence Its raining so
todays football game will be postponed until next Friday, means that the football game was
originally scheduled for today but now it will played on Friday instead.
Bend the rules: Bending the rules means to allow for some flexibility in the rules. For
example, imagine you were only allowed to drive at 85 km per hour on a certain road, and a
policeman found you driving 87 km per hour. If he was nice and didnt give you a fine, he
would be bending the rules.
Point taken: If someone criticises you about something and you agree with them, you could
say,point taken. It basically means,I agree with what you just said.
Prospect: the chance of being successful at something in the future, especially your job.
Employers are now offering more jobs with quality training and excellent career prosprcts.
Customise: to change something, such as a car or a piece of equipment, to suit a particular
person or group of people. The computer programs can be customised for individual users.
Unequivocal: so clear that the meaning or intention cannot be mistaken or doubted.
the European Parliament has given the plan its unequivocal support.
the answer to your request was an unequivocal no.
To be well worth doing: to be a very good thing to do because you will get some benefit
from it. His new book is well worth reading.
to know full/perfectly well: to know exactly what you are doing/to understand perfectly what
the consequences of your actions are/will be
You knew full well that you were breaking the rules.
To refuse point blank to do: to firmly refuse to do something
He refused point blank to hand over the document.
badly-run: badly and inefficiently managed and organised
Its a mystery how such a badly-run company could have made so much money.
a close-knit community: a community in which everyone knows each other
In such a close-knit community everyone knew what you had said five minutes after you had
said it.
far-fetched: unlikely to be true or practical; far-fetched idea/story/excuse
That a crocodile ate your homework is a far-fetched excuse.
far-reaching: having a big impact on a large number of people, with effects that will last for a
long time. far-reaching actions/events/ consequences.
long-winded: a long-winded speech/ explanation/account/answer/report continues for too
long and is boring as a result
The bride's father gave the most long-winded speech I have ever heard in my entire life.
nerve-(w) racklng: making you feel very tense and worried
Appearing on television can be a nerve-wracking experience.
by the sound of It. ... based on what somebody has told me/what I have read/heard ...
I haven't seen Andy for ages, but by the sound of it, he is doing really well.
to come to one's notice: (formal) to find out about something
It has come to our notice that you have not paid your council tax for the past six months.
to hand in your notice: to resign from your job
He handed in his notice because he had found a better job.
To be plain sailing: to be easy and uncomplicated to do
Once we had secured financial backing, setting up the business was plain sailing.
to make it plain that: to make it very obvious/clear that
She made it plain that he would be expelled if he did not behave himself.
plain English: English that is clear and easy to understand
I like this particular manual because it is written in plain English
At such short notice : with little advance warning so that you are probably unprepared for it
'The meeting has been moved to tomorrow afternoon', he said and apologised for telling us
at such short notice.
To be running late: to be delayed
They were running late at the dentist's so I had to wait longer than I'd expected for my
First-hand- experience you know from doing it or being there, you have experienced it
to take It for granted that: to believe or assume that something is a fact without thinking
about it
He took it for granted that we all understood French, and he started reading us a poem by
To put It bluntly: used to introduce something which is very direct and which might offend or
Well, to put it bluntly, I think that what you did was inexcusable.
to be due back: to be expected to return
He's due back from work in half an hour.
In due course: at some time in the future, when the time is right
Our roads are far too congested and we will be addressing this problem in due course.
something doesnt count: something is not valid
He's put the ball in the back of the net! No, no, it doesn't count. He was offside
to count for: to be regarded as important or valuable [generally used in the expression:
(somebody's experience, record , etc) must/ will count for something]
Surely the fact that I've never been in trouble before must count for something.
the wrong way round: opposite to how it should be
No wonder the audience were laughing; he was holding the cue card the wrong way round.
At the end of the day: (informal, spoken) the most important thing is/What you must
remember is
You may disagree with him, but at the end of the day, he is your boss and as such you have
to respect his decisions.
no one In their right mind would: only a crazy person would...
No one in their right mind would invest in that company.
get a move on: (informal) hurry up
Get a move on! We're late.
to make a big thing out of something: (informal) to exaggerate the importance of
Calm down. Why are you making such a big thing out of it?
first thing : before you do anything else I've got a meeting first thing on Friday.
beforehand: before something happened/ has happened
Do not attempt to change a light bulb without switching off the power beforehand.
In the meantime: between now and a particular time in the future or between two events in
the past
Normal service will be resumed shortly; in the meantime, here's some light music.
more often than not: very often
More often than not, he was broke
to schedule something: to formally arrange something for a particular time
I've scheduled your meeting with Mr Crofts for Monday 16th May.
for five solid hours: for five hours without stopping
I've been writing this for five solid hours and I still haven't finished.
for the best part of : for almost
I've been waiting for you for the best part of an hour.
to be cutting It fine: (informal) not to be leaving yourself much time to arrive on time
That will only give us twenty minutes to get to the theatre and that is cutting it very fine.
(to be) at the mercy of: not to have the power to protect yourself from
No shelter was in sight and they were at the mercy of the storm.
Unconditional love: unconditional love is exactly what it sounds like. It means loving
someone no matter what. It doesnt matter what kind of mistakes they make, you will still love
them anyway. Its important for children to feel that their parents love them unconditionally.
Youre on: This phrase is used to agree with or accept the terms of a bet. If your friend says
to you, Ill bet you 10 dollars that I can been you at tennis, you could reply with youre on.
That means, Sure, Ill make that bet with you.
Backing out: Backing out of something, like a bet, means that you say you wont do it
anymore, even though you had previously agreed to do it.
Slippery slope: This phrase means that once you start doing something a little bit, its hard
to control yourself. It is a kind of bad habit that is easy to pick up. If you love to eat chocolate,
its hard to only eat a little piece and then stop. You could say, Ive decided not to eat any
more chocolate. Once I start I cant stop. Its a really slippery slope for me.
I dont buy it: This phrase means, I dont believe it. Imagine your friend said to you, Kevin
said that he won a medal in the Olympics. You could say, I dont buy it. Hes always making
up stories.
to ensue: to follow as a result
Having performed several fire drills, the students knew what to do in the event of a fire
without panic ensuing.
In jeopardy: If something is in jeopardy it means it is at risk. Shes in jeopardy of losing
her job means, she might get fired.
To crave: to really want, especially attention/recognition/security/acceptance/food [Note:
noun: craving)
He's not the kind of actor who craves media attention.
to bluff: to pretend to do something that you know you will not do
He said he'd resign but I knew he was only bluffing.
to oust: to remove a person from a position of power
Attempts to oust the chairman of the board failed.
To heckle: to shout and interrupt somebody who is speaking in public
No sooner had he stood up to speak than a number of people in the audience started
heckling him.
to harbour: (i) to hide and offer protection to a criminal (ii) to have (a thought, emotion,
secret) in your mind for a long time
Harbouring a known criminal is a punishable offence.
Even years later she still harboured feelings of jealousy towards her sister.
to scrap: to decide not to continue with a plan/project because you believe it to be useless
or impractical. The government decided to scrap its plan to reintroduce the tram, claiming
that it would not be feasible.
to mar: to ruin, to spoil
It was an excellent match, which was marred by a last-minute brawl involving all the players
and both managers.
to endeavour: (formal) to ry
We will endeavour to comply with your request.
to stumble: to catch your foot on something and almost fall
She stumbled on the table leg, and almost fell into the wedding cake.
something Is long overdue: something (e.g. a change/a reform/a promotion, etc) should
have happened a long time ago
His promotion came as no surprise. Actually, it had been long overdue.
to be painfully thin: to be extremely thin (for people or animals)
You need to eat more. You're painfully thin.
to be patently obvious: to be clearly obvious
It was patently obvious that he was lying. His story was full of inconsistencies.
to condone: to accept that something is morally right.
Whilst I cannot condone this kind of behaviour, I do understand it.
I cannot condone the use of violence under any circumstances.
to boycott: (i) to refuse to do business with a company or country (especially by refusing to
buy products from that company or country) as a way of protesting (ii) to refuse to take part
in an organised event (the Olympics, the World Cup, etc) as a way of protesting
The only way to stop them experimenting on animals is to boycott their products.
Boycotting a sporting event by not participating in it is not considered an effective form of
to be spotIy clean n: to be very clean(for rooms,furniture, hands, clothes)
"GO" soap leaves your clothes spotlessly clean.
to be stunningly beautiful: to be extremely beautiful (for women, places, etc)
It's a stunningly beautiful country.
It's Just gone one o'clock: it is a couple of minutes past one o'clock
What's the time? It's just gone half past three.
to be (a bit/rather) pushed/pressed for time: to be busy and not to have much time to
I'd love to stay and chat, but I'm a bit pressed for time. Why don't we meet up next week?
the underdog: the person/team that is thought to be weaker than their opponent in a
competition/game, election, etc - and therefore... unlikely to win.OPP. favourite.front-runner.
Just because he's the underdog. doesn't mean he can't win.
to underestimate: to think that something so is weaker/smaller/shorter/safer! cheaper, etc
than they really are
We underestimated the time it would take us to cross the mountains.
understatement: a statement which does not fully express the extent to which something is
The door opened and in walked John. "It's a bit cold, " he said. It was something of an
understatement as it was absolutely freezing.
outstanding: (i) excellent (ii) not yet paid, solved or done (of debts, problems, work)
an outstanding athlete/student
The facilities at the hotel were truly outstanding.
Most work has been handed in but there is still one project outstanding.
well-earned: well-deserved a well-earned holiday/ rest/break
After working flat out on the project, he took a well-earned rest.
to outweigh: to have greater importance than
The advantages of the scheme far outweigh the disadvantages.
overgrown: if a garden is overgrown, it is covered in untidy plants
Her garden was overgrown and littered with rusty cans.
overgrown: if a garden is overgrown, it is covered in untidy plants
Her garden was overgrown and littered with rusty cans.
overlook: (i) to ignore and forgive somebody's mistake (ii) if a building, room or window
overlooks a particular place, it offers a view of it
I'll overlook your carelessness just this once.
He's got an amazing flat which overlooks the Coliseum.
To exacerbate: to make a bad situation worse
I know Mary is your sister, but if you interfere in her marriage, you will only exacerbate the
To boost: to cause to increase/ improve/be more successful
boost sales/confidence/morale/ ego
"You're the best student I've got," he said, in a feeble attempt to boost her confidence.
To dwindle: to become less and less or fewer and fewer [Note: adj: dwindling]
The number of gorillas living in the wild has dwindled to two hundred.
We had to close the shop because of soaring overheads and dwindling sales.
To glean: to find out facts or information in small amounts and with difficulty
I gleaned what information I could about him from books in the reference library.
Jeopardise: to risk losing or ruining something that is very important or very valuable; to
Your foolish remarks could jeopardise the success of these talks.
What you did has jeopardised the lives of everyone on this expedition.
to linger: (i) to stay at a place for some time, not wanting to leave (ii) linger on: to stay and,
though probably becoming weaker, not go away
A number of people were still lingering (around) outside the theatre long after the concert had
The memory of that night will forever linger on in my mind.
to lurch: to move forward suddenly and violently
He slammed on the brakes and I put out my hands as I lurched forward
overseas: outside your own country and across the seas; often used with the verbs live and
He lives overseas.
What I would really like to do is work overseas.
to vow: to promise yourself or somebody else (infinitive/clause)
He vowed never to go there again.
to deem: (formal) to consider
The headmaster will take whatever action deemed necessary to prevent this kind of incident
from ever happening again.
If the doctor deems it advisable, then you will need to have an operation.
to fend for yourself: to look after yourself without having to depend on other people
I was 15 when my parents died. In those days there wasn't a social services system so I was
left to fend for myself.
overwhelming: very big and strong; used for abstract things (not people, buildings, etc)
[Note: an overwhelming victory: a total Victory in which the opponent is completely defeated]
I suddenly felt an overwhelming desire to shout.
to be underway: (i) to have already started (ii) to start moving (for transport)
Plans to extradite the wanted men are already underway.
Food will be available in the cafeteria once the ferry gets underway.
to undermine: to make somebody's confidence or authority weaker or less effective
By constantly questioning his decisions, she was trying to undermine his authority.
Nail-biting: very exciting and dramatic, because you do not know what is going to happen.
The final would be decided on penalty kicks. It was going to be a nail-biting five minutes.
outrageous: (i) shocking and unfair (ii) unusual and amusingly shocking
Have you seen the prices they are charging in that shop? They are outrageous.
In walked Cheri wearing an outrageous hat.
Have you seen the outrageous colour they have painted their house?
check up on somebody: make sure that somebody is doing what they should be doing
Can you please check up on the children they must be up to something.
engaging: interesting or pleasant in a way that attracts your attention.
A story, song, or person that is engaging is entertaining, fun, and interesting you want to
see or hear more.
To remember the meaning of engaging, it might help to think of what engaged means. When
a couple is engaged, they've agreed to get married. When something or somebody is
engaging, you want to spend more time with them too. Boring is the complete opposite of
engaging. Think of your favourite movie or TV show especially one you can't stop
watching it must be very engaging.
from/at the outset: from/at the beginning
You must be prepared to work hard on this course from the outset
Invariably: used to emphasise that something is always true or always happens.Invariably
describes things that don't change and never vary they're predictable. Many people
invariably start each morning with a hot cup of coffee.
the restaurant is invariably full, but its primarily for tourists.
In retrospect: thinking now about the past, often with a different view from the one you had
then. SYN looking back, on reflection, with hindsight.
In retrospect, I wish Id gone to university.
happen to be something do something by chance. Dina happened to be mention that she
liked their head of department, and she thought he liked her too.
You often use happen to be in sentences beginning with there. For example, instead of
saying 'A post office happened to be in the next street', you say 'There happened to be a
post office in the next street'.
There happened to be a policeman on the corner, so I asked him the way.
In due course: at the right time and not before. if you say that something will happen in due
course, you mean that it will happen at a suitable or appropriate time in the future You will
receive notification of the results in due course.I will go to university in due course.
after a certain period/ in due time They're working on the plan and will announce it in due
Cutting-edge (technology): the most advanced (technology) in the field.
brand new Sony G5000 mobile phone- cutting-edge technology at its very best.
This computer has the edge over other models because it has such a huge hard drive [is
slightly better than]
Keep something in perspective: not allowed a problem to have too much importance. keep
in perspective means to stay focused so that your aim/thoughts/ideas are in context with
what you're trying to get at. it is important to keep things in perspective and not to dwell on
only one incident.
kept in perspective means the same thing, except in the past tense. so "as long as it is kept
in perspective" means as long as you stay focused on the main topic you're supposed to
present. don't give examples and get carried away/forget what point you were trying to get
to be perfectly honest ...: to be completely truthful
To be perfectly honest, I didn't understand a word of what he said.
surely you re not (doing something) ...: I think that something would be a mistake [Note:
surely: I believe that]
Surely you are not going to take them up on their offer.
Surely that is illegal?
Burning the candle at both ends: This phrase means that you are staying up late and then
waking up early the next day. It means you are not getting enough sleep.
Holding a grudge: If someone upset you in the past and you havent forgiven them, then
you are holding a grudge. It means that you are still angry with them and wont forget about
what they did wrong.
Lame excuse: A lame excuse is a very bad or weak excuse. If your friend cancelled dinner
plans with you and told you the reason was that he wanted to stay home and watch TV
instead, you could say, thats a pretty lame excuse.
to come to somebody's rescue/to come to the rescue of somebody: to save somebody
from a dangerous/difficult situation
Firemen had to come to the stranded woman's rescue.
to come to a (complete) standstlll/ halt: to stop moving [Note: if a city/factory/airport/
production comes to a complete standstill, there is no longer any activity]
All of a sudden, the train came to a standstill/halt.
The airport came to a complete standstill as a result of the air traffic controllers' strike.
Take something in your stride: accept and deal with a difficult situation without letting it
worry you.
Conventional normal, traditional
Many people think conventional means of transport like
the car and bus will not exist in the near future.
Unconventional not the same as everyone else, doing things differently
Our new teacher
is quite unconventional. He lets us sit on the floor or on each others desks if we want to!
Staggering: A staggering amount is an astonishing, astounding, stupefying amount.
Anything staggering blows your mind.
Causing great astonishment, amazement, or dismay; overwhelming: a staggering
achievement; a staggering defeat.
Give something your all use all your energy and effort to do something. I gave it my all, but
only managed to come second in the race.
Self-esteem: the way you feel about yourself ( high/low self-esteem). How you feel about
yourself your self-worth or your pride in yourself is called self-esteem. It may be a blow
to your self-esteem, for example, to find out you didn't get chosen for the scholarship you
applied for.
down-to-earth direct, frank, and honest. 1. You can depend on Ann. Shes very down-to-
earth. 2. Its good that shes down-to-earth and will give us a frank response.
practical; not theoretical; not fanciful. 1. Her ideas for the boutique are always very down-to-
earth. 2. The committees plans for the village are anything but down-to- earth.
get down to the nitty-gritty to get down to the basic facts. Stop messing around and get
down to the nitty- gritty. If we could only get down to the nitty-gritty and stop wasting time
get the most out of someone or something to achieve the greatest output of work, effort,
production, etc., out of someone or something.
I do what I can to get the most out of life.
I try to get the most out of my employees.
Give credit where credit is due. Prov. Acknowledge someones contribution or ability. Jill:
Jane, that was a wonderful meal. Jane: I must give credit where credit is due; Alan helped
with all of the cooking.
Ellen: Roger is pompous, petty, and immature. I think hes completely worthless. Jane: Now,
Ellen, give credit where credit is due; hes also extremely smart.
Give me a rest! Inf. Stop being such a pest!; Stop bothering me with this problem! (Compare
this with Give it a rest!)
Go away and stop bothering me! moaned Bob. Give me a rest!
Bob: I need an answer to this right away! Bill: I just gave you an answer! Bob: That was
some- thing different. This is a new question. Bill: Give me a rest! Cant it wait?
Give it a rest! Inf. Stop talking so much. Give your mouth a rest. (Familiar or rude. Compare
this with Give me a rest!)
Mary: So, I really think we need to discuss things more and go over all our differences in
detail. Bill: Stop! Ive heard enough. Give it a rest! Mary: Oh, am I disturbing you?
Tom: Now, I would also like to say something else. Alice: Give it a rest, Tom. Were tired of
listening to you
Ego: a person's sense of self-esteem or self-importance.
"he needed a boost to his ego"
Your ego is your conscious mind, the part of your identity that you consider your "self." If you
say someone has "a big ego," then you are saying he is too full of
To articulate something: express your thoughts clearly in words. To articulate is to say
something. And, if you say it well, someone might praise you by saying you are articulate.
Trivial- not important or serious. Something that is trivial is not important or significant, such
as the trivial details you shared with me about your trip to the post office this morning.
Address something: to think about a difficult situation and decide how to deal with it.if you
address a problem, you start trying to solve it.
weve got to address the lack of experience in the exam.
Face the prospect of (of/that...): recognise the possibility that something may happen.
particular event which will probably or definitely happen in the future - used especially when
you want to talk about how you feel about it. (prospect of)
Greeks face the prospect of new general elections next month.
Inevitable :If something is inevitable, it will definitely happen, like death or tax season.
if you say something is inevitable, you give the sense that no matter what scheme you come
with to get around it, it's going to happen sooner or later. You can use all the skin products
you want, but wrinkles are inevitable.
Apparent clear, easily seen.

Hes moving his whole family to France. Its apparent that he no
longer wants to live in England.
Apparently: according to what you have heard or read. SYN evidently. Apparently the
company is losing a lot of money.
according to the way someone looks or a situation appears, although you cannot be
sure:SYN (obviously). She turned to face him, her anger apparently gone.
Presumably: used to say that you think something is probably true. When you add
presumably to whatever you're saying, you're giving notice that you think what you're saying
is true but telling your listener not to ask for the evidence.
a fiasco: a complete disaster
The party was a complete fiasco .
a stalemate: (i) a situation where no further progress can be made (ii) (in chess) a position
in which neither player can make a move allowed by the rules so the game ends with neither
player winning
The management weren't prepared to make any concessions, so negotiations reached a
stalemate. The chess game between the two Grandmasters ended in stalemate.
Only nine people turned up and we had a power cut.
Strangely ( enough): used to show that something is surprising. SYN oddly/curiously
(enough). They said the restaurant was always busy, but surprisingly it was almost empty.
Strangely enough, I wasn't that disappointed.
standpoint: point of view
From the government's standpoint, the results of these local elections are very encouraging
Obviously: Something obviously true is clearly, totally, unmistakably true. There's just no
doubt about it. used when giving information that you expect other people to know already or
agree with. SYN clearly.
Practically: means nearly, almost, virtually. like being practically broke if have three
dollars left in the whole world. Virtually/practically all the shops were closed when I got into
It also means done in a practical way if you wear sneakers on a long walk, youre dressed
practically.There are two main senses of practically. If you have practically no free time, you
have nearly no free time. If your hair is practically blonde, it is almost blonde. Also, this word
can refer to the sense of practical as sensible and realistic. A smart worker will know how to
get the job done practically (efficiently). A smart investor will invest money practically
(wisely). Doing things practically is the opposite of being reckless and unrealistic.
Naturally: used to say something is normal and not surprising. as might be expected SYN of
course. The lawyer sent us a huge bill. in a natural or normal manner. speak naturally and
Basically: used when giving the most important fact. SYN essentially. we got there early
essentially/basically because we werent sure when it stared.
Ultimately: means "at the very end of the process." e.g. Your strategy of robbing banks with
a water gun worked a few times, but ultimately it was unsuccessful. Use ultimately when you
want to stress that there are many different elements of something, but in the end there's one
clear conclusion.
Traditionally: according to the past custom. Anything done traditionally is done according to
customs handed down over time. Traditionally, dessert is served after a meal, although many
kids would love to change that one. Cake for dinner, anyone?
Theoretically: used to say that something could possibly happen or be true, but is unlikely.
In theory; according to the assumed facts.
Theoretically we could still lose the championship.
logically: if we are to act sensibly and with sound reasons. logical Adj. logic N.
logically, you should now do the same to him. Logically, we should consult a lawyer if there is
a legal problem.
Equally: Use the adverb equally to mean "the same way" or "in similar shares." Something
that's divided equally is split evenly or fairly between people. Your mom might say that she
loves you and your brother equally in other words, her affection is fairly distributed
between the two of you. If you are equally disturbed by total silence and loud noises, it
means that both bother you, to the exact same degree.
Realistically: if you think about something realistically, you think about it in a practical way
and according to what is actually possible: You can't realistically expect to win the whole
competition. Realistically, people wont give up their cars unless public transport is greatly
Comprehensive: When you want to describe something that includes all or almost all facts
or details that may be necessary, you can use the adjective comprehensive. If you get the
comprehensive treatment at a spa, it might include massage, manicure and a facial. the
government gave a comprehensive list of improvement in the bill.
Comprehensible: to be understood. its a clear and comprehensible document.
Conceivably possibly
This time next year we could conceivably be in South America.
Leave a lot to be desired inadequate, not as good as it could be
Our doctors handwriting
leaves a lot to be desired. You can hardly read it!
I can't put my finger on: to know that something is wrong or different, but be unable to say
exactly what it is. I couldn't put my finger on what it was, but there was something different
about her appearance.
I don't know off-hand: (informal) I can't tell/answer until I have checked first
"What time do we land?"
"I don 't know off-hand. I'll have to check the tickets."
Off the top of one's head: information given immediately without full knowledge of the facts
Off the top off my head, I would say that it will cost about 2,000.
to have/give somebody a head tart: to have/give somebody an advantage over a
competitor (in business)/other people (in life)
We sent him to a private school to give him a head start in life.
Unforeseen: something(problem/difficulty} one did not expect to happen
Barring any unforeseen problems, we should have the building finished by next Tuesday.
Intermittent: happening often but not at regular intervals
We can expect an overcast day, with intermittent showers.
Incompetent: not having the ability to do a particular job properly
The Minister of Transport was shown to be incompetent when his privatisation plans failed.
Uneventful: a period of time during which nothing exciting happens
Until he won the lottery he had led a pretty uneventful life.
unprovoked: if an attack is unprovoked, you are attacked in some way having done nothing
to deserve it or cause it to happen
He was injured in what is believed to be a totally unprovoked attack.
unruly: badly behaved, undisciplined
The children were running round and screaming in a most unruly manner.
Inaccessible: impossible to reach
In winter the cabins at the top of the mountain are virtually inaccessible.
to be prohibitively expensive: to be too expensive for most people to afford
It's an excellent restaurant but it is prohibitively expensive.
something is readily available: something can be easily bought or obtained
Cheap accommodation is readily available in the city centre.
to think on your feet: to be able to give good answers to unexpected questions
The ability to think on your feet is essential if you want to be a politician.
to grab an opportunity/chance (with both hands): to quickly accept a good opportunity,
especially because you think you will not get that opportunity again
When the opportunity to work abroad presented itself, he grabbed it with both hands.
Theres every Indication (to suggest ) that something will happen: all the signs show
that something will very probably happen
There's every indication to suggest that by the end of the year the economy will be on its feet
to Iron out problem: to solve and get rid of small problems
His job is to help people who have just set up a business to iron out any problems they might
on your doorstep: very near where you live or where you are staying
I have all the shops and services I need right on my doorstep.
to stand on your own two feet: to stop depending on others because you are old enough
to do things for yourself.
Frank is an adult now, capable of standing on his own two feet.
to be second to none: to be at the very least, as good as the very best
Their in-flight entertainment is second to none.
to have hit the nail on the head: to have just said something that is exactly right
You've hit the nail on the head. What they need is publicity.
something rings a bell: something sounds familiar
Smee? That name rings a bell.
a ring of truth: if you think a story/ excuse/alibi has a ring of truth about it, you think that it
could possibly be true
Normally, when he was late, he gave a pathetic excuse, but not this time; what he said had a
ring of truth about it.
to be In the same boat: to have the same problems
Times are hard, but we're all in the same boat.
In my book ...: in my opinion
He took it without permission. In my book, that is unacceptable.
frame of mind: how you feel, the mood you are in
It might not bother him but it all depends on his frame of mind at the time.
to pull strings: to use influence/ connections
We had to pull strings to push the business deal through quickly.
glimmer of hope: a little bit of hope/a faint hope
There was still a faint glimmer of hope that some kind of agreement would be reached before
the call came for an all-out strike.
The heat of the moment: if you do something in the heat of the moment, you do it without
thinking (because you are very angry or very excited)
She only said those hurtful things in the heat of the moment.
To live in the lap of luxury: to have lots of money , lots of possessions and lead a very
comfortable life.
Many people say that their dream is to win the pools and live in the lap of luxury.
a figment of b's Imagination: something that you think is real but which in fact is not
What he thought he saw was a figment of his imagination. He's been watching too much TV.
the crack of down: very early in the morning , at sunrise
Catching the six o'clock ferry will mean getting up at the crack of dawn.
Not a shadow of (a) doubt: no doubt at all that something is true
There is not a shadow of doubt in my mind that Healey committed this crime.
all along: all the time. from the very beginning
None of it was true. He had been lying to her all along.
every so often/every now and then: occasionally
He was reading a letter. It must have been funny, because every so often he'd burst out
having: when (introduces the first of two connected actions in the past and is followed by a
past participle form)
having taken my details the policeman told me could go.
round the clock: all day and all night, without a break
We will have to work round the clock if we want to get this finished in time.
on the dot: exactly (for time)
You must be there for your interview at 9 o'clock on the dot.
Long-Iastlng: lasting for a long time
long-lasting peace/effects
It is hoped that this meeting will pave the way for long-lasting peace.
long-lost: somebody or something you haven't seen for a long time
One day her long-lost sister whom she'd last seen thirty years before, turned up out of the
long-running: that has continued for many years (used only before a noun)
'Coronation Street' is the longest- running soap opera on British television.
long-standing: that has continued or existed for a long time
a long-standing agreement/ arrangement/argument, etc
They have a long-standing arrangement to go to the cinema on Saturdays.
Long-winded: (for speeches, lectures, explanations, essays) lasting for a long time and
using far too many words - and being boring as a result.
All I got was a long-winded explanation that I couldnt understand.
the other day: (inf) a few days ago
I saw John the other day. He sends his regards.
Seldom: (formal) not very often He seldom makes public appearances.
Seldom have we had such appalling weather.
shortly: very soon
This film will be over shortly, then you can switch channels.
straight away: immediately
I could tell straight away that something was wrong.
an outburst: a sudden explosion of anger
I wanted to apologise for my outburst last night. I hope you know I didn't mean the things I
an outcry: an angry protest by a lot of people
The government's decision to privatise the rail network has provoked a huge public outcry.
an outfit: a set of clothes, especially women's clothes
Do you like my new outfit? I bought it for Paul's wedding.
outlandish: very strange and unusual
outlandish ideas/pair of trousers, etc
Her clothes were outlandish, as were her hair and make-up.
outlook: attitude to life and the world
My outlook on life has changed a lot since Jamie was born.
The chance are that something will happen: something will probably happen
Man will definitely walk on Mars and the chances are that this will happen in the next thirty
to be bound to happen n: to be certain to happen (because it always happens). There's
bound to be heavy traffic at this time of day.
to opt for/to do: (formal) to choose (to do) something
My choice was between a company car or a 5% increase in my salary. After much
deliberation, I opted for the car.
to be short listed: to be chosen from a large number of applicants for a job to join a much
smaller group, all of whom will be interviewed and one of whom will be given the job
Three hundred people applied for the job, but only six were shortlisted for interview.
to have nothing In common ( with somebody): not to share the same ideas. background,
qualities, etc
He was very nice, but I won't be seeing him again. We had nothing in common with each
to be on a different wave length: to have very different ideas and attitudes
My parents and I are on a different wavelength when it comes to taste in music.
to think/say/do otherwise: to say/ think/do something different from what has already been
mentioned; always comes in the second half of a sentence
It was clearly a penalty, but the referee thought otherwise.
to be much the same as: there is not much difference between
Her reaction to the news was much the same as mine.
to be (totally, quite) unlike: to be different from
the new vector on V is unlike any other computer on the market!
the nick of time: if something happens in the nick of time, it happens just in time to prevent
something bad from happening
The firemen arrived in the nick of time to save our house from being burned to the ground.
to be baffled: to find it impossible to explain/understand/solve (a mystery, a problem, a
puzzle, etc)
Why, when one person yawns, does it make other people yawn? It is a mystery that has
baffled scientists for years.
to be devastated: to be extremely upset or disappointed
I'd set my heart on buying that house and I was devastated when they sold it to someone
else. We were devastated when we found out that she had died.
to be enthralled: to be so interested in something that it has completely captured your
The Sultan was enthralled by Scheherazade's stories.
be/feel flattered: to feel very pleased because somebody has said something nice about
you/has done something special for you.
He felt flattered by Einstein's comment, of course.
to be stunned: to be extremely surprised
We were stunned by the news.
there's no call for something: nobody wants (to buy/have/own) something any more; [Note:
there is no call for something that somebody says/does: what somebody says/does is
offensive and unnecessary]
We stopped selling records because there's no calf for them any more. Everyone wants CDs.
There's no calf for such rude behaviour.
there's no denying: everyone must/would admit that
There is no denying that, under this government, the country has made great leaps forward.
there' no harm In doing something: you lose nothing by trying something
He will almost certainly say no, but there is no harm in asking him, is there?
there's no need to: it is not necessary to
It's an informal meeting, so there is no need (for you) to wear a suit.
there's nothing like: nothing is better than
There's nothing like a long, hot bath to help you relax after a hard day at work.
there's no point (In) doing something: doing something would be a waste of time/serve no
There's no point (in) asking him for more money. We both know he is going to say no.
there's no question of something happening: something will definitely not happen
There's no question of his being asked to resign.
there's no such thing as: something does not exist
Some people say that there's no such thing as an honest politician.
There's no way I refuse to ...: I absolutely refused to
There's no way I'm going to let them get away with this.
Exhaustive means performed comprehensively and completely. extremely thorough and
When you recruit a new employee (or spouse), you undertake an exhaustive search for the
best talent.When you are exhaustive about something, you are testing all possibilities or
considering all elements. If you want to become an attorney you will need an exhaustive
knowledge of the leather bound books in the law library. When you exhaust something, you
use it up entirely, so something exhaustive is complete. After your exhaustive tour of Rome,
you're exhausted.
Exclusively: Something occurring exclusively is only happening or available in one special
circumstance, like a song thats exclusively for sale on one web page, but not anywhere
else.Something exclusive is only available in one way, like a newspaper with an exclusive
interview no one else was able to get. Things happening exclusively are also available in a
select waynot for everyone. If a boxing match is shown exclusively on pay-per-view, its
shown only on pay-per-view. If I work exclusively for one company, I dont work for any other
companies. If a singer sings exclusively at one club, thats the only place to hear her.
Excruciating: Something thats really intense or extremely painful is excruciating. If you go
skiing and break your leg in several places, the ride from the slope to the hospital will be
excruciating unless you're unconscious, too.Excruciating doesn't just hurt. It feels like
torture. Extremely painful injuries are certainly excruciating, but sometimes so are tedious
tasks or long waits: Watching the old lady in front of you pay for her groceries one nickel at a
time can be just as excruciating as for broken ribs, especially if you're in a hurry.
Insight into something: a clear understanding of what something is like. working for a
number of employers gives you an insight into different companies.
Intuition is a noun whose definition means that someone uses quick understanding to
interpret but without using reasoning or perception, a snap judgment. If we use our intuition it
means that we don't always make the correct interpretation. The ability to understand or
know something because of a feeling rather than by considering the facts [= instinct]:Intuition
told her it was unwise to argue.
an idea about what is true in a particular situation based on a feeling rather than facts: We
should trust our intuitions.
Subjective having an opinion based on a personal point of view
The judges opinion in the
singing competition is always subjective because they each like a particular type of music.
next to worthless having almost no value
Billys car is next to worthless. Hes going to
have to pay to get it taken away!
Unbeatable impossible to do better than
The advert says that the prices in this shop are unbeatable and they certainly are good.
Underlying cause/principle/problem etc the cause, idea etc that is the most important,
deep rooted although it is not easily noticed: The underlying causes of her depression.
Seize the chance: take and use an opportunity
When the teacher gave the students the day off Laura seized the chance to go to London
to visit her brother.
Conscientious (adj) doing work well and on time
Chris is conscientious and wont go out
until hes finished his homework.
Invaluable: something invaluable has such great value that its value can't be calculated.
very useful or valuable. her advice was invaluable.
In favour of in support of. Are you in favour of wearing a school uniform? I think its a
terrible idea!
Reckon think. I reckon its going to rain later on. Look at the sky.
handy useful
Its very handy to have a friend whos good at English! He can help me with
my translations.
Moody bad-tempered or upset for no obvious reason
Ken is always moody when the
weathers bad.
Committed (to) having made a decision to definitely do something
The government is
committed to improving life for poorer people in our society.
Sensible doing things for a good and logical reason. Its sensible to take an umbrella if it
looks like rain.
mouth-watering making you want to eat it
The picture of the meal was so mouth- watering
that he suddenly became hungry.
Easy-going relaxed and rarely getting angry
Dad wont mind if you borrow the car. Hes very easy-going.
Exhaustive very thorough, having done everything possible
The police carried out an
exhaustive search of the area for the missing child.
Modesty the fact of not telling everyone about your achievements
Its important for
children to learn modesty. People dont always want to hear about how clever you are!
On the contrary the opposite of what has just been said. I thought Ken liked Brad Pitt films.
On the contrary, he hates them.
Sceptical not wanting to believe something
Many people were sceptical about the usefulness of the Internet when it started.
In response to to answer
In response to your questions about who your new teacher will
be, Im afraid you will have to wait for a couple of weeks.
Let down feeling of disappointment because something isnt what was expected
I felt
really let down when Mike didnt get tickets for the concert because hed promised he would.
Climax the most exciting or important event
The climax of the film was when the hero
jumped out of the plane
landmark something such as a large building that you can see clearly from a distance and
will help you to know where you are
The clock tower on the church is a local landmark.
Fit in with support
These results fit in with the idea that the climate is definitely changing
Track down find somebody/something after a difficult search
I finally tracked my brother down. He was playing computer games at his friends house.
Set up organise, start
A group of film stars set up a charity to help young people in this
Sense of humour ability to appreciate funny situations
I could never marry somebody who
doesnt have a good sense of humour. Life would be so dull!
to blow your chances: to ruin your chances (of getting/achieving something). He blew his
chances of a promotion when his boss overheard him criticising the firm's methods.
(let's) face it - accept a difficult reality
Let's face it, if Ted spent more time studying, he wouldn't be failing so many of his classes!
Let's face it, if you don't have a college degree, it can be difficult to find a high-paying job.
After all - despite everything; when everything has been considered; the fact is
You'd better invite Ed to your party. After all, he's a good friend.
It doesn't matter what your boss thinks of you. After all, you're going to quit your job anyway.
Appeal to be popular with
Brad Pitts new film will appeal to people who have seen the
previous two films in the series.
Be better off having more money or being in a better position
Youd be better off asking
Rita about the homework. I wasnt listening!
figure out understand something
I cant figure out what Ive spent all my money on this
Considerate thinking about other peoples feelings. David is very considerate and never
says anything to hurt other people. Consideration (n), consider (v)
have (some) merit/be of merit (= be good)
The suggestion has some merit.
(to) save the day - to prevent a disaster or misfortune
The Christmas tree was on fire, but Ted threw water on it and saved the day.
We forgot to buy champagne for our New Year's party, but Sonia brought some and really
saved the day!
(to) go back to the drawing board - to start a task over because the last try failed; to start
again from the beginning
Frank's new business failed, so he had to go back to the drawing board.
The president didn't agree with our new ideas for the company, so we had to go back to the
drawing board.
Industrious: If someone comments that you are very industrious, they are complimenting
you for working hard and tirelessly. You can have the evening to yourself if you're industrious
enough during the afternoon to get your homework and chores done.
To revitalise is to restore something to life or give it new life. Revitalising adds newness and
strength. to put new strength or power into something. They hope to revitalise the
neighbourhood by providing better housing.
Appalling: Something that is appalling is awful or horrible, causing dismay or disgust. It's
definitely not appealing.
Thriving: growing and developing, and very successful. SYN flourishing.
Vibrant colours are bright. Vibrant sounds are loud and resonant. Vibrant people are ones
you rememberthey're bright and full of personality. full of life and energy.
Stunning: extremely attractive or impressive. SYN beautiful.
Prague is a stunning city, and this thriving capital makes a romantic and vibrant city-break( a
trip into a city, taken for pleasure) destination.
in/during/over the course of something: while something is happening or continuing.
The insurance covers you if you are injured in the course of your employment. During the
course of the morning I learned a lot about the project.
Sentimental: often disapproving making people experience feelings of sadness, sympathy,
etc. in a deliberate and obvious way. Call a person sentimental if he or she is led more by
emotions than by reason. If you have a sentimental attachment to a favourite stuffed animal,
you'll probably even bring it to college with you.
Unanimously: If a group decides something unanimously, it means that every single
member is in agreement. A vote passed unanimously has no one objecting to it.
Phenomenally: in a very great or impressive way. SYN extraordinarily. his reaction was
phenomenally quick. phenomenally successful,and unanimously acclaimed by the critics. A
must-see thrilled.
Chronologically in order of age or time
All our reports are filed chronologically so that we
can access the information for any particular year.
Desperately: extremely or very much. When you do something desperately you do it with
extreme urgency. If faced with a life-and-death situation, you might fight desperately, using
any means possible to overcome the obstacles and survive. You can have anything you want
if you want it desperately enough. You must want it with an inner exuberance that erupts
through the skin and joins the energy that created the world.
Pursuit means the act of pursuing or striving towards goals.In pursuit of happiness, man is
prone to do many counterintuitive things: work much, sleep little, spend grandly, and
complain often about what he has.
Assimilate something: learn and get used to something which is new and different
assimilation N. it take time to assimilate new ideas.
Segregation is a system that keeps different groups separate from each other, either
through physical dividers or using social pressures and laws.For many decades in the United
States, separate but equal was the phrase used to describe the unjust racial segregation of
black people and white people. There are harmless types of segregation as well, like "the
segregation of dog food and human food in your cupboards."
When you think of the word destitute, which means poor or lacking other necessities of life,
think of someone who is in desperate need. A very, very tight budget is poor. Living on the
streets is destitute.
amid: while noisy, busy, or confused events are happening - used in writing or news reports:
The dollar has fallen in value amid rumours of weakness in the US economy. Demonstrators
ripped up the national flag amid shouts of 'Death to the tyrants!'
among or surrounded by things: He sat amid the trees.
bubble (in finance) a temporary and fragile situation caused by a rapid increase in
the bubble will burst the situation will end, and people will lose money.
Current yields may be low, but the underlying outlook is healthy.
Scandals involve public figures who have been behave in a dishonest or immoral way that
shock people. For example, if a politician is found guilty of taking bribes, that's a scandal
that will rock your town, causing outrage not to mention the end of that politician's career.
Foreclosure: When a homeowner can't afford to pay her mortgage, she might face
foreclosure, which is when a bank repossesses a borrower's house. A bank most often starts
foreclosure proceedings against someone who's taken out a loan to buy a house when that
person stops making monthly payments. The agreement a borrower makes when she gets a
bank mortgage is that she'll pay a certain amount of money every month, and failing to do it
means risking foreclosure. Once you have become too far behind on mortgage payments to
get back on track, the lender will begin the foreclosure process. This means they will legally
take back the house theyre financing and attempt to sell it to recoup losses on that loan.
Defaulting on a mortgage loan occurs when a homeowner fails to make payments in full
and on time. There are serious repercussions (something that happens because of another
action) to defaulting on a home loan, though the exact consequences may vary in time frame
and severity depending on the mortgage lender involved.
A repercussion is something that happens because of another action. You could quit paying
your rent, but getting evicted from your apartment might be the repercussion.
The situation today is quite different. In 2007, the housing bubble burst (the bubble will end,
and people will lose money), the economy collapsed, and almost five million peoplenearly
26 percent of the economically active populationare officially registered as unemployed.
Many tens of thousands of people have been evicted or face foreclosure (if a bank
forecloses, it takes away someone's property because they have failed to pay back the
money that they borrowed from the bank to buy it) and eviction due to defaults (homeowner
fails to make payments in full and on time) on their mortgage payments. Many are left with
heavy debts even after their homes are repossessed.
she is one several up-and-coming [becoming more and more popular/famous] . Shes been/
felt on edge [nervous, agitated, anxious] all day. actresses who have appeared in the new
nightmare INF an experience that is very unpleasant.
dissuade (from) persuade somebody not to do something
My parents dissuaded me from
buying a new car because it would be far too expensive.
boom a quick increase of business activity. The boom has created job opportunities.
Hopeful home purchases during Spains economic boom have turned into a nightmare of
foreclosures, evictions, and over-indebtedness amid the economic crisis.
Progressive happening or developing gradually over a period of time
- The progressive increase in population
- Britain's progressive decline as a world power
progressively: increasingly, more and more
Petition (n)
list of peoples signatures attached to a document that asks somebody in authority to do or
change something
I signed a petition today to save our local hospital from closing
Scandal shocking event that people think is wrong
The prince caused a scandal by
running away and marrying an unknown student.
Ongoing not finished, still continuing
The investigation into the shooting is ongoing. They
wont stop until they find the killer.
Single out choose one for attention from a number or group
The programme singled out
Lewis Hamilton as the most successful sportsman of the year.
Onlooker person who watches something that is happening but is not involved in it
police told all the onlookers at the scene of the accident to go home.
Come/spring to mind [immediately think of something] Id like to get him a special birthday
present, but nothing spring to mind. Slip your mind [forget about something] I was going to
ring her to wish her happy birthday, but it slipped my mind. Bear/keep something in mind
[remember information when making a decision or thinking about a matter] bearing in mind
that it was your first attempt, I think you did very well.
Take something for granted accept something without thinking about it. We take air travel
for granted but a hundred years ago it wasnt possible.
hilarious: very funny indeed
I've never laughed so much in my
life. It was hilarious.
appalling: very bad
appalling film/director/acting
a twist: a surprise in the plot of a film or play
Far from being predictable, the film has a surprising twist at the end.
predictable: when what is going to happen is obvious
predictable ending
The script: the written form of a film or play
Having read the script, the actress accepted the part.
A blockbuster: a very successful film which makes a lot of money
Ben Hut" is one of the biggest blockbusters of all time.
electrifying: very exciting
an electrifying performance/opening sequence
first-rate : excellent [Note: third-rate: very poor quality or standard] first-rate film/cast
To draw up: to stop in a vehicle
I drew up at the traffic lights.
A taxi drew up outside my house.
To hit/slam on the brakes : to brake quickly and suddenly
Seeing the boy, he hit the brakes and the car screeched to a halt
The lights changed: the traffic lights turned red or green
It took ages for the lights to change.
Demanding needing a lot of skill, patience, effort, etc.
The work is really demanding at the
moment and I havent had a day off for weeks.
publicity stunt unusual action to gain attention for a particular cause or to advertise
Protestors threw purple powder over the Prime Minister as a publicity stunt.

interestingly, not easy to explain
Intriguingly, Frances left the party ten minutes after she had arrived.
I wonder why.
Soar rise suddenly and quickly. SYN rocket
share prices have soared
Surge (in something) a large and sudden increase in the amount or value of something.
surge V.
the market is now expecting a surge in the value of the euro.
Gain an improvement or increase. Opposite of Loss
the dollar made significant gains.
Hike INF a sudden or significant increase in the level or amount of something. OPP. cut
Another hike in the rate is possible.
Plummet fall suddenly and quickly. SYN plunge.
The price has slumped to its lowest level.
Slash something reduce something by a large amount.
The government has slashed the child benefit budget by half.
Turbulence a lot of sudden change ( also a bumpy ride INF). Turbulent ADJ.
There is likely to be short-term turbulence in the market.
Volatile likely to change suddenly. volatility N.
the market remains volatile.
Rally increase in value after a period when it has fallen. SYN recover/ bounce back.
The pound rallied later in the day
Buoyant confident, successful, and staying at a high level. SYN healthy
The market is still buoyant.
Snap something up buy something quickly, usually while it is cheap or available.
the advice is to snap up the share while you can.
Slump fall by a large amount. slump N ( economic slump OPP. economic boom)
The price has slumped to its lowest level.
to plummet: to fall dramatically (e.g. for prices)
The price of oil continues to plummet and has now reached an all-time low of 50 cents a
to plunge: (i) to fall dramatically (for prices and temperatures) (ii) to dive into water (iii) to
move forwards and then fall a long way down
The temperature plunged to a record low.
He plunged into the sea and swam towards the shore.
The car crashed through the barrier and plunged over the cliff.
to slump: to suddenly or dramatically fall (for prices and business)
We were doing very well for the first three months of this year and then, for no discernible
reason, our sales slumped.
to overhear: to unintentionally hear somebody talking to somebody else
As I walked past his office, I overheard him tell his secretary that he was thinking of
to rocket: to increase dramatically (for prices)
House prices have rocketed by 65% in the last ten months.
to soar: to increase dramatically (for prices and temperatures)
Soaring inflation has made it impossible for people to manage.
to slash: to cut something violently with a knife
He looked at his car. Someone had slashed the lyres.
to trim: to make something neat by cutting away untidy pieces
Your hair needs trimming.
on the ... side: a little bit too ... [Note: to be a bit on the short/heavy/long/thin/cold, etc side:
to be a little too short/heavy/long/ thin/cold , etc)
This essay is thought-provoking and well-written. However, I think it is a little bit on the short
to be on the verge of: to be very close to
on the verge of tears/extinction/a nervous breakdown
Seeing she was on the verge of tears, I changed the subject.
to be on the brink of: to be very close to
on the brink of collapse/war/a breakthrough/a successful career
Negotiations between the two countries are on the brink of collapse.
Wipe something off something remove something from something, quickly and completely.
The recession has wiped billions off the stock market round the world.
Turmoil a state of great confusion.
The market is still in turmoil.
Remain unchanged/stable SYN stay the same
prices have remained unchanged.
there has been stability in the markets.
go up, rise, increase, grow
prices have risen by 10 per cent.
go down, fall, drop
Interest rates fell last month.
A steady increase: slow but regular and continuing.
A steady increase in the interest rate.
A slight rise: very small
A slight rise in costs
A gradual rise slow and over a long period of time
A gradual rise in profits.
A sharp fall in sales very large and sudden.
An initiative is the start of something, with the hope that it will continue. Government and
business start initiatives all the time. You can also talk about initiative as a personal quality. A
person with initiative is motivated to do things. If you take the initiative, you're willing to get
things done on your own. Taking initiative can be risky: If you do something on your own
initiative, then there's nobody you can blame if it goes wrong.
fulfilling giving personal satisfaction. SYN rewarding.
Self-esteem: the way you feel about yourself ( high/low self-esteem). How you feel about
yourself your self-worth or your pride in yourself is called self-esteem. It may be a blow
to your self-esteem, for example, to find out you didn't get chosen for the scholarship you
applied for.
dent (somebodys confidence, reputation, etc) damage somebodys confidence, etc.
Trivial- not important or serious. Something that is trivial is not important or significant, such
as the trivial details you shared with me about your trip to the post office this morning.

Teenagers are never satisfied with their appearance and this can dent their self-esteem.
Dont make light of these worries even if they seem trivial to you. Explain that other dont
notice the detail that we notice in ourselves.
Ambition is a strong desire to achieve. It's what Macbeth had too much of, and what
slackers have too little of. If a person has ambition, the goal is usually wealth, power, or
In my opinion, / In my view, / To my mind, / To my way of thinking, / Personally I
believe that / It strikes me that / I feel very strongly that / I am inclined to believe that /
It seems to me that / As far as I am concerned, / I think that (Personal opinion) the world
would be a much better place without nuclear power.
One advantage of / Another advantage of / One other advantage of / A further
advantage of / The main advantage of / The greatest advantage of / The first advantage
of (To list advantages) travelling to work by bicycle is that it is cheap; you dont have to pay
for fuel.
One disadvantage of / Another disadvantage of / One other disadvantage of / A further
disadvantage of / The main disadvantage of / The greatest disadvantage of / The first
disadvantage of (To list disadvantages) travelling to work by bicycle is that you have no
protection from the wind or rain.
Firstly, / First of all, / In the first place, / Secondly, / Thirdly, / Finally, / To start with, (To
list points): people who live in the country suffer far fewer health problems than those who
live in the city.
Clearly, / Obviously, / Of course, / Needless to say,(To emphasise what you say) if
everyone were allowed to carry a gun, the crime rate would rise considerably.
Up to a point, / To a certain extent, /To some extent, / In a sense, / In a way,(To make
partially correct statements) this is true as women in society are far less likely to use physical
violence than men.
As a general rule, / Generally, / In general, / On the whole (To make general statements)
people who exercise regularly suffer fewer stress-related problems than whos who dont.
It is popularly believed that / People often claim that / It is often alleged that / Some
people argue that / Many argued that / A lot of people think that / A lot of people
believed that (To state other peoples opinion) the earth is the only planet in our solar
system that has ever supported life.
Contrary to popular belief, the earth is not the only planet in our solar system to have
supported life
It is a known fact that smoking causes cancer, yet / however / nevertheless, / but / at the
same time / even so, / still, / nonetheless, millions of people around the world continue to
Although / Even though / Regardless of the fact that / Despite the fact that / In spite the
fact that / While (To make contrasting points) it is a known fact that smoking causes cancer,
millions of people around the world continue to smoke.
A Following on from our telephone conversation
B Following on from our chat
A I fancy the job I saw in the paper
B I would like to apply for the post of
A Im writing back to
B In reply to your letter dated
A Send me the red shirt from your catalogue
B I would like to order item no...
A Thanks for the brill invite
B Thank you for the invitation
A I am writing to complain
B Im cheesed off about
A Get this sorted quickly.
B Please give this matter your urgent attention
A I look forward to seeing you on
B See you shortly
A Thank you for your cooperation
B Thanks for everything
A Give us a bell if you need anything
B Please let me know if you require further details
A I hope you will consider my application
B Let me know when you want to interview me
A I look forward to meeting you on
B Itll be great to get together on
A Have put in the money.
B I have enclosed a cheque.
A I want this sorting now!
B Please would you give this matter your immediate attention.
A I want
B I would like
A You are wrong.
B There seems to be a mistake
A Straight away
B As soon as possible
A I need
B Can you supply?
A Give my love to
B Give my regards to
A I want to know about
B I am enquiring about
A I am enquiring about
B Let me know if its not OK.
A Please confirm the arrangements.
B Heres my application form.
A I am enclosing my application form.
B I got your letter.
A I received your letter.
B I would like a new one.
A Please send me a replacement.
B I am not paying you until you finish the work.
A I am withholding payment until the work is completed.
B I took the book back to the shop.
A I returned the book to the shop.
Dear Mr Sexton,
I thought Id write/ I am writing to complain about the state of the yard/condition of the
playground. Over the last two weeks, I have noticed loads of rubbish/a great deal of litter.
I reckon/It is my opinion that this litter is a health hazard. For example, yesterday a year 4
boy fell over and cut his hand on a broken bottle. The boy Im talking about/The boy in
question needed four stitches.
Furthermore/On top of this, the litter is an eyesore. Our school has beautiful views of the
river and these are wrecked/spoiled by the litter.
I believe/I reckon that there are a load of things/a number of things that you could do to
fix/rectify this problem. Firstly, it may be possible for you/you could purchase additional litter
bins. This would help stop/prevent people discarding their litter recklessly/willy-nilly.
Whats more/In addition, I think that our school needs better/more adequate security to
prevent vandals littering.
To finish/In conclusion, I hope you will take my concerns seriously and I look forward to
your reply/you writing back to me.
Yours Sincerely/Yours Faithfully
Thank you for your letter of ... Thanks for your letter of ...
I am writing with regard/reference to ... I am writing about ...
We regret to inform you that ... We are sorry to tell you that ...
We require five further rooms. We need five more rooms.
We were surprised to learn that ... We were surprised to hear that ...
We would like to purchase ... We would like to buy ... We would like to request ... We would
like to ask for ...
As you will appreciate, ... As you will understand, ...
We trust this is satisfactory. We hope this is satisfactory.
We hope this is convenient for you. We hope this suits you.
If you need any further assistance, ... If you need any more help, ...
Should you have any further queries, ... If you have any other questions, ...
We look forward to seeing you.We are looking forward to seeing you.
With reference to or (your letter of April 15
, we would like to confirm your registration).
We would be grateful (if you could send us your contact information.)
to overlook vb if A overlooks B (a view), you can see B from A because A is higher
breathtaking n incredible; amazing; wonderful
Wolin National Park is one of the smallest national parks in Poland, but also one of the most
spectacular. There are steep cliffs overlooking the Baltic Sea to the north, with
breathtaking views.
in honour of exp if something is done "in honour of" someone, it is done as a mark of
respect for that person
to pursue a career exp to do things related to your career (your profession/job)
without a trace exp with no evidence/sign of where it is
the recession n a period of poor economic activity.
up-front adv if you pay money up-front, you pay it before receiving a service or goods
relentless adj without stopping; without interruption
to lift someones spirits exp to do something that makes another person feel happier
to be booming exp if business is booming, things are going really well
At the moment, business is booming. More and more companies now require their
employees to take professional exams.
due to exp if someone is due to do something, they are going to do it
Duchess of Cornwall was due to turn on the Christmas lights at Londons Burlington
Arcade, which was first opened in 1819.
to indulge vb if you indulge yourself in a feeling, you allow yourself to enjoy/ experience/
suffer from that feeling.
to become apparent exp if something becomes apparent, it is obvious eventually.
to mastermind vb to plan and direct something complicated and complex.
In total, twelve people from the French wine industry were convicted of masterminding a
lucrative plan.
to come to light exp if something "comes to light", people discover information about it
the going rate exp the usual price
a hectolitre n 100 litres
Discovery of the scam came to light by chance. During an audit of the French wine
merchant in March 2008, investigators noticed that the business was buying pinot
noir from local co-operatives for !58 a hectolitre (hl) despite a going rate of !97.
a disgrace n if you describe something as a disgrace, you think it is terrible/bad
This disaster hurts the image of our country. It hurts the honest small wine producers. And,
most importantly, it hurts the client. It is a disgrace.
to get a feel for something exp to start to understand how something works
Well, to be honest, I didnt really take to Bristol that much in the beginning. Id got used to
being in London, and I guess suddenly being in a much smaller city made me feel a bit
claustrophobic. But after a couple of weeks I started to get a feel for the city, and I realised
that I couldnt compare it to London, it was
a totally different kettle of fish and it had a different rhythm to the capital. Now, I look back
on my three years in Bristol with very fond memories. The only thing I dont miss is the rain
to take to a person/place exp to start to like a person/place
to get used to something exp to become accustomed to something
I guess exp I suppose
to get a feel for something exp to start to understand how something works
a totally different kettle of fish exp something completely different
pretty tough exp quite difficult
to put something to rest exp to stop talking about something or referring to it
to go through something exp to experience something bad
hypothetical adj based on possible ideas, not real ones
Thats fine but its still raising the same question (still cause question to be asked)
that the trial did and its done.
as a consequence of
as regards
as to
by means of
by virtue of: Because or as a result of:
they achieved pre-eminence by virtue of superior military strength
in virtue of his position he was impartialfor the purpose/purposes of
for the reason that
for which (there is)
in accordance with
in addition to
in as much as
in association with
in case of
in conjunction with
in connection with
in excess of
in favour of
in order that/to
in regard to
in respect of
in terms of
in the absence of
in the affirmative
in the case of
in the context of
in the course of
in the event that/of
in the nature of
on alert: ready to deal with anything (used for the police, the army, etc)
After the recent spate of forest fires, the fire brigade has been put on alert.
on arrival: when one arrives (e.g. at an airport)
The President was greeted on arrival by a brass band.
on balance: all things considered
The government's record is, on balance, good.
on behalf of: as a representative of
On behalf of the committee, I'd like to thank you for all your hard work.
on condition that (formal) if, and only if
I will lend you my car on condition that you return it by ten o'clock.
on offer: available to be bought or used
There are far too many medical schemes on offer; I can't tell which one's the best.
on paper: theoretically
It is a wonderful plan on paper, but will it work in practice?
(to refuse to do something) on principle: to refuse to do something because of a moral
code one believes in
I will not buy any of their products on principle. They import from countries that use child
on purpose: intentionally
He says it was an accident, but I'm sure he did it on purpose .
on second thoughts: a phrase used to say that you have changed your mind about
A cheese and tomato sandwich, please ... No, on second thoughts, I have egg mayonnaise.
to be on the brink of: to be very close to
on the brink of collapse/war/a breakthrough/a successful career
Negotiations between the two countries are on the brink of collapse.
to be on the cards: it looks as if something is likely to happen [Note: something has been on
the cards for ages: something is no surprise because it always seemed likely that it would
With three goals to one, it looks like another United victory is on the cards.
there had been unrest leading up to [if a problem or series of action lead up to an important
event, they come before it or cause it] the riots in London in August 2011. the fatal police
shooting of 29-year-old Mark Duggan sparked off [cause sty to start or develop, especially
suddenly]protests, and violence broke out [ (of a fire, fight or war) begin] when 120 people
marched on[Walk along public roads in an organised procession as a form of protest]
Tottenham Police Station. Cars were set on fire [make sty start on fire], shops were looted,
[Steal goods from (a place), typically during a war or riot] and a man who was trying to film
the events was beaten up [hit or kick somebody hard, many times] by rioters. the following
day the trouble spilled over [increase and then affect other areas] into other districts, and on
Monday, gangs of youths wrecked havoc [cause very great harm or damage] in many parts
of the capital, burning down [be destroyed or destroy something by fire] buildings and
looting from shops. it was thought that gang leaders were able to organise the riots using
their mobile phones.
Initially, the police came under fire [ be attacked or criticised] for their slow response to the
events, but by Tuesday morning they were on the streets in force [in large number], and the
trouble had died down. In the wake of [happening after an event or as a result of it] the
violence, the prime minister promised that no one would get away with [escape punishment
after doing something wrong] robbery and thuggery, and following eyewitness reports and
examination of the CCTV footage, the police arrested over 2,000 people.
How did we meet?
Conrad joined the company where I work last May. I remember his very first day - we were
queuing up together at the staff coffee machine, and I suddenly realised he was trying to
chat me up. This took me a bit by surprise because he was junior to me in the company
and also three years younger. But he was very self-confidence, in fact, a bit too self-confident
for my liking, so when he asked me out the following day, I made it very clear the answer
was no. But that didnt put him off at all. He kept on asking, and in the end I just gave in. I
agreed to go to a friends party with him, and actually we had a really nice time. He was quite
different when we were on our own, and we started going out together, its been three
months now. Weve fallen out a couple of times when he hasnt showed up for a date or
hes been late, but we always seem to make up, and were still together.
queue (up) wait in a line of people to do something, have something, or go somewhere.
Chat somebody up INF start a conversation with somebody because you are romantically
attracted to them.
take somebody by surprise do something that is unexpected and may shock somebody.
for my liking if you say that somebody is too self-confident for your liking, you would like
them to be less self-confident.
Ask somebody out invite somebody to go somewhere with you, especially as a way of
starting a romantic relationship with them.
Put somebody off make somebody not want to do something, or make somebody not like
keep on doing something do something many times.
In the end finally; after a long period of time or series of events.
give in (to somebody/something) agree to do something that perhaps you you did not want
to do.
on your own alone; not with other people.
go out together (of two people) spend time together in a romantic relationship. (also go out
with somebody).
fall out (of two people) have an argument or no longer be friends. (also fall out with
show up INF arrive where you have arranged to meet somebody.
make up (of two people) end a disagreement and become friends again. (also make up with

my father was a very conscientious man; he never took time off work unless he was really
sick [ always took his work very seriously]. Joss is a somewhat naive person; he thinks love
can solve the worlds problems [ willing to believe simple things perhaps because of
inexperience]. Telephone salespeople often take advantage of gullible people. [easily
deceived]. Flora is such a modest person [ prefers not to exaggerate her own qualities or
talk about her achievement]. My boss is such a flirt, though I would never call her that to her
face. Nobody in the office is safe [ make constant romantic approaches ]. English people are
traditionally thought of as rather reserved [ not immediately sociable]. page 56 cambridge
We will split the bill, shall we? [each person will pay for him/herself]. Lunch is on me today
[inf. I am paying for you or it is my treat]. will you join us [come with us] for dinner at the City
Plaza hotel? Wed like you to be our guest [ formal: we will pay]. let me get this. [ inf. pay the
bill this time]. I was wined and dined every night by New York office [invited out to
restaurants]. I am teetotal [never drink alcohol]. We can grab a bite to eat on the way [have
a quick meal]. I wont have any more wine thanks. I dont want to overdo it [eat or drink too
much]. Bens a bit of a fussy eater [choosy or person who has very particular demand when
eating]. I have a sweet tooth and can never say no to cakes or biscuits [love sweet things].
In the Bella Roma, the service was impeccable [perfect, can not be faulted] and quick; at the
Casa Italia its always a bit sluggish [rather slow]. in the new place the waiters are
courteous [polite] and friendly without being overbearing [ too confident/ too inclined to tell
people what to do]. In the other place they tend to be sullen [bad-tempered/ unwilling to
smile] and the service is rather brusque [quick and rude], which I find very off-putting [make
yo feel you do not want to go there again]. But at Bella Roma theyll go out of their way to
give you what you want [o everything possible]. why not come home and eat with us? youll
have to take pot luck [eat what were eating, nothing special]. Help yourself to some nibble
[ things like nuts, crisps, etc. before a meal]. Im afraid I have to count the calories/ I have
to be a bit calorie-conscious these days [ be careful how much calories I eat]
Theyre a good company. they always make sure you get prompt [quick, without delay] reply
to any query [question or enquiry about service] and they are very responsive to complaints
[ they listen, take them seriously and act]. when I rang to ask if I could change the delivery
date, they were very accommodating [willing to understand and help] and got back to me
[ called me with an answer to my query] within ten minutes with a new date. Whenever I ring
I get impeccable [ 100% perfect] service; theyre always very helpful and obliging [willing
and happy to do things for you], whatever the problem is.
Hes looking so miserable! what can we do cheer him up? [make him feel happier]. Come to
the bar with us - work isnt everything. You need to chill out! [ inf. relax]. You really must try
to say calm. Dont get so worked up about it [upset]. Hes still angry. Wait until he has
simmered down before talking to him [become calmer]. the food looked so good, I got a bit
carried away and ordered far took much [lost control, became excited]. Knowing that I
wouldnt tell anyone else, Susanna opened up to me a little [told some secrets]. Being
spoken to like that really took me aback [surprise/shocked me]. Anne was bubbling over
with excitement at the thought of seeing her boyfriend again [full of]. Our business went
trough a bad patch [experienced a bad period] last year. But things seem to be picking up
[improving] now. Last year the company decided to branch out into some new lines
[expand]. Weve been snowed under with work all month [ had a lot to deal with]. House
prices fell steeply earlier this year but now they seem to have boomed out [reached the
lowest point from which they will not fall any further].
We can catch up with all the gossip? [get up-to-date with]. I have been meaning [ been
thinking] to tidy my desk for ages [long time] but I just never get round to it [find time
for].look page 208.
The odds are hell get the job [it is likely that]. The odds are against her passing the exam
[it is unlikely that]. They are bound to get married in the end [almost certain to]. Accident
will happen! [accident are inevitable]. I should be so lucky [that is not likely!].
Oh dear, more homework! what a pain!/ what a drag! [ what a nuisance!].
Whats eating him?/ Whats got into him?/ Whats bugging him?/ whats (up) with him?
[whats the matter with him?].
Devaluation/evaluation of the currency may be necessary [reduction/increase in value
against other currencies]. a country may suffer from a slump in prices for its good [serious
fall/collapse in prices]. Fiscal measures [ measures concerning taxes, etc] may be used to
boost the economy [give the economy a lift] when it is in recession.
an outstanding account: an account that has not yet been paid.
to default on a payment: to fail to pay something that had been agreed.
to acknowledge receipt: to inform the sender when something is received.
to put in/submit a tender: to supply a written offer to do a job for an agreed price.
to win a tender: to be give a job, after submitting a tender.
Incompetent [failing through insufficient skill, knowledge or training]. It was just bad service;
they were completely incompetent. Sense of urgency [feeling that your request is important
or urgent] . They never seem to have any sense of urgency when you ring them; Its
exasperating [intensely irritating; infuriating]. Under guarantee/warranty [having a written
promise by a company to repair or replace a faulty product for free within the mention
periods]. MY TV broke down but it was still under guarantee/warranty so I didnt have to pay
to get it repaired.
Pamper yourself with our new perfume [ treat yourself to something luxurious]. Indulge
yourself within the best [allow yourself something enjoyable]. Live in the lap of luxury for
two weeks [in a very luxurious way]. All our computer are state-of-the-art [use the very latest
technology]. Buy our latest CD player-many innovative features [original and interesting].
the design of our bed is unsurpassed [the best there is]. our car leaves other cars
standing [are much better than other cars]. Rock-bottom prices in our sale [extremely low].
Prices slashed! [dramatically reduced] . Bargain galore! [a huge number of products on
sale at ridiculously low prices].
Ambitious [having or showing a strong desire and determination to succeed] Achievers
[people determined to succeed and achieve great things].
Underlying issues it means there is more to it that can be seen at a glance [deeper issues
that has to deal with before doing something else].
Drop me a line when you have a spare moment [send me a short letter, postcard or email].
Reading between the lines, I think hes feeling a little lonely [I am trying to understand his
real feelings from what he says]. It is foolish to sign on the dotted line until you have
checked all the details [formally agree to something by signing a legal document]. The
bottom line is the childeren must be protected [the most important fact].
Imran knew he was in line for [likely to get (used about something good)] promotion last
year. However, foolishly, he said something out of line [ not suitable, that should not have
been said ( or something done)] at a meeting and that was the end of his hopes for a while.
Im not sure what he said exactly, but it was something along the lines [ similar to] of the
problems of the company being down to inefficient management. Anyhow, hes learnt that it
is not a good idea to step out of line-[behave in a way that is not what is expected of you] at
least not in his line of work - [profession] and he seems to be going along/on the right
lines now [ be doing something in a way that will bring good results]. As long as he dont say
anything along/on the same lines again [ of a similar kind (sometimes i a similar way)] -
at least not until hes got his promotion, when he can be one of the inefficient managers
The recent release of fifty-year-old documents has shed/throw a great deal of light [help
people understand a situation] on the political crises of the 1950s. Some unexpected
information about the government of the day has been brought to light [to discover facts
that were previously unknown] and some surprising facts about the politicicans of the time
have also come to light [gives a similar idea of unknown facts becoming known] . Its been a
very difficult year, but at last I feel I can see the light at the end of the tunnel [something
makes you believe that a difficult and unpleasant situation is coming to an end].
Parents who dont control their children have a lot to answer for [are the main cause of the
problems or are responsiible]. that restaurant is not all its cracked up to be [is not as good
as people say it is]. This computer has the edge over other models because it has such a
huge hard drive [is slightly better than]. Her spoken English leaves a lot to be desired [is
not as good as it should be/ as we might expect]. The suitcase is a bit on the heavy side
[heavier than you want it to be]. The accommodation was a bit rough and ready [crude and
lacking sophistication].
Growing increasing in size, amount, or degree. Obesity is a growing problem.
get to grips with something begin to understand and deal with something difficult.
Im just beginning to get to grips with my new job.
to simmer down (of feelings): to calm down , having been very angry
I'd wait for him to simmer down before talking to him.
to take something with a pinch of salt: not to believe that something is completely
accurate or true.
He may say he's a top golfer, but you have to take everything he says with a pinch of salt.
something is not my cup of tea: (informal) I don't particularly like something.
Opera isn't really my cup of tea.
to grill somebody: to ask somebody a lot of questions (often in an aggressive way) to make
them confess to something.
The police grilled him for 4 hours but he told them nothing.
to act on a tip-off: if the police act on a tip-off, they use information they have been given to
try to prevent a crime or seize a criminal/illegal goods
Acting on a tip-off, the police raided a house in central London and seized 30,000 worth of
stolen goods.
to be convicted of a crime: to be found guilty in a court of law of a crime you have been
accused of committing
He was convicted of a crime which he hadn't committed.
to make off with something: to steal and escape with something
A group of armed men held up a restaurant in the northern suburbs of Quito and made off
with 2,000 from the till.
to be on the loose: to have escaped from prison and not been captured by the authorities
Of the four inmates that broke out of Maidstone prison last week, only one is still on the
to get away with something: to do something wrong or illegal and not be punished for it
If you think you can get away with blackmailing the president, then you've got another think
to track (somebody/something) down : to look for and find
They tried to flee the country, but the police tracked them down.
to be on the run: to be trying to escape or hid from the police.
He decided to give himself up to the police after being on the run for two years.
to fit a description: to look exactly like somebody (a criminal) that has been described
If you see a man who fits this description, please contact your local police station
to be in/taken into police custody: arrested and kept in prison while waiting to go to court
He was taken into police custody pending trial.
To press charges agains somebody: to make an official accusation agains somebody,
which has to be decided in a court of law.
will the police be pressing charges, after all?
an alibi: a person or story which proves that somebody was not in a place when a crime was
committed [Note: watertight alibi: alibi that is impossible to disprove]
We checked out his alibi and it is watertight. He was at a party when the robbery took place.
to hand down a sentence: ( a judge) to announce in a court of law what sentene a criminal
will receive.
it was one of the longest prison sentence ever handed down in an America court of law.
to take a shine to somebody: (informal) to begin to like somebody, having only known them
for a short time
Mrs Harris has taken a real shine to him, hasn't she?
to envisage: to expect
We do not envisage having any problems.
It is envisaged that by the year 2017 nearly 80% of the population will own a computer.
to entitle somebody to something: to give somebody the right to have something
Overwhelming too strong to ignore
When we passed the cake shop I had an
overwhelming desire for a cream cake.
go on about talk about something too often
Hes been going on about his holiday for two
weeks now. Im getting fed up!
Dedicate give a lot of time and effort to a particular activity
Mother Teresa dedicated her
life to helping poor people.
Reflect (on) think carefully and deeply about
The story is about an old man who reflects on his life.
meant to do something if somebody is or was meant to do something, they have been
asked to do it. my brother was meant to pick me up at the airport, but he didnt turn up.
Sum up: Give a brief summary:
Gerard will open the debate and I will sum up
Compulsive people have irresistible urges to do certain things, like a compulsive gossip who
simply cannot keep a secret.
Do no such thing: refuse to do the thing you have been asked to do.
Underlying ( in finance): An underlying number or situations shows that what the true
amount or level of something is. Yield:( the total profit or income you get from a business or
investment). Outlook( the probable future for something).

Current yields may be low, but the underlying outlook is healthy.
Stipulate: to stipulate something means to demand that it be part of an agreement. So when
you make a contract or deal, you can stipulate that a certain condition must be met. if an
agreement, law, or rule stipulates something, it must be done [= state]. Laws stipulate the
maximum interest rate that banks can charge. Stipulate that: The regulations stipulate that
everything has to comply to the relevant safety standards.
Imminent: Something that is imminent is just about to happen. likely to happen soon. A new
trade agreement is imminent.
Come forward offer help, give requested information
Two people who had seen the
accident finally came forward.
Underpin something: support or form the basis of something:
there is good global growth which will underpin corporate profit, and many companies are
currently looking strong with few significant debt burdens.
Speaking of
Meaning: One topic reminds someone of another topic, and the conversation changes.
Usage: Speaking of A (topic), B (related topic)
1. Speaking of Beckhams change of venue, do you think itll benefit MLS?
Change of venue: MLS: (American) Major League Soccer
2. Speaking of new places to eat, I really enjoyed lunch at that new Italian restaurant uptown
Italian restaurant: Uptown
3. Speaking of government spending, I think the new roadwork project is totally
Government spending: Roadwork project:
Related Expressions: Now that you mention it / Come to think of it
In the wake of
Meaning: A recent event is still having an effect (usually a bad effect); Following the recent
event; Happening after an event or as a result of it.
Usage: In the wake of A (event), B (action, effect)
1. In the wake of the recent terrorist incidents, airport security has really been tightened.
Terrorist incidents: To tighten security:
2. Everyone was evacuated from the building in the wake of the bomb threat.
To evacuate a building: Bomb threat:
3. Many jobs were lost in the wake of the economic downturn.
Economic downturn:
Related Expressions: In the aftermath of / To have no alternative but to
(In a) bid to / for
Meaning: Someone is trying to get something.
Usage: In a bid to A (goal), B (person, group) does C (action)
1. The new tax cuts are part of the mayors bid for re-election.
A tax cut: Mayor: Re-election:
2. In a bid to stop the protestors, the company offered to move the new construction site
away from the riverbank.
Protestors: Construction site:
To make a comeback
Meaning: To become popular again (trend, person, etc.)
Usage: A (person, activity) makes a comeback
1. Disco music is starting to make a comeback in come trendy nightclubs.
Disco music: Trendy nightclubs:
2. Elvis Presley songs are making a comeback with todays younger generation.
Younger generation:
3. After so many losses in the boxing ring, I dont think that he will be making a comeback.
Boxing ring:
Related Expressions: A new lease on life / Second time around
bring the house down also bring down the house
to entertain people very successfully, so that they laugh or clap for a long time
The clown sang a duet with the talking horse, which brought the house down every night.
To shape up to be
Meaning #1: To become
Usage: A (situation, person) shapes up to be B (description)
1. He is really shaping up to be a great employee, in terms of his diligence and enthusiasm.
Diligence: Enthusiasm:
2. This is shaping up to be an exciting hockey season because of the skill of the goalie.
Hockey season: Goalie:
to be in good shape: to be fit and healthy. It's an extremely difficult climb, but we're in very
good shape.
Shape up
1. to develop.
The state of the economy is shaping up as a major political issue. Everyone's waiting to see
how the new football season will shape up in September.
2. to improve your behaviour or performance.
He promised me he was going to shape up and stay out of trouble.
3. to get into better physical condition.
The astronauts shape up before a mission by working with small weights and doing
4. to improve; to reform.
I want to get things shaped up around here. I guess I'd better shape up if I want to stay in
5. to assume a final form or structure.
The game plan for the election was beginning to shape up. Her objectives began to shape up
in her senior year.
Shape someone up
to get someone into good physical shape; to make someone behave or perform better.
I've got to shape myself up to improve my health. The trainer was told that he'd have to
shape up the boxer before the fight.
To make the best of
Meaning: To enjoy something or use something, even though it is not perfect
Usage: A (person, group) makes the best of B (situation) by doing C (action)
1. We made the best of the accommodation even though the hotel room was really cramped.
Accommodation: Cramped:
2. Even though the catering for the party was bad, we made the best of it and tried to enjoy
Catering: To enjoy oneself:
3. The a-bomb survivor made the best of the short speaking time, and made a very moving
A-bomb survivor: Speaking time: Moving speech:
Related Expressions: To tough it out / To look on the bright side
In question: under consideration, involved or already being discussed n: person, affair,
publication, travel agency. This is the man in question.
the object in question is not my father.
In a good cause: for a good purpose; in order to achieve something worthwhile or valuable.
be; fight; suffer, be wounded
1.much larger, stronger, more important etc than anything else in a situation
overwhelming majority: An overwhelming majority voted against his proposal.
overwhelming odds: The odds against them winning seemed overwhelming.
2.an overwhelming emotion is very strong, often so strong that you cannot think or behave
I had the overwhelming desire to get up and leave.
Sometimes people feel overwhelmed by emotion, and this can be a positive or negative
experience, depending on the emotion. For example, you might feel overwhelmed by
gratitude if your friend takes excellent care of your fish, but overwhelmed with grief if the fish
is accidentally flushed in your absence
That / Which is to say
Meaning: Summarising a situation, or recommending action
Usage: A (facts). That is to say B (summary of the same facts)
1. Annual temperatures are rising and the polar ice caps are melting. That is to say, global
warming is a serious problem.
Annual temperatures: Ice caps: Global warming:
2. He lost his last job because hes a drinker, and he hasnt worked in two years. That is to
say, we shouldnt hire him.
To lose a job: A drinker:
3. She is appearing in a new Steelberg movie, and she just won an Oscar. Which is to say,
shes the hottest star in Hollywood.
To appear in a movie: To win an Oscar:
Related Expressions: In other words
Some / no leeway
Meaning #1: A compromise is possible/not possible.
Usage: There is some/no leeway regarding A (situation)
1. Because of his contract, there was no leeway for the hockey player to retire.
Hockey player: To retire:
2. The new highway construction is scheduled to begin in the summer, but there is some
leeway regarding the exact starting date.
Highway construction: Starting date:
Meaning #2: To be given freedom
1. The judge granted the police leeway to record the womans telephone conversations.
Judge: To grant: To record phone conversations:
2. The professor granted him leeway to turn in his thesis after the deadline had passed.
To turn in a thesis: Deadline:
Related Expressions: Room for negotiation (Meaning #1) / Carte blanche (Meaning #2)
To take / treat .... seriously
Meaning: To pay attention to something; to be nervous about something
Usage: A (person, group) takes B (news) seriously
1. The airport officials took the bomb threat seriously and closed the departures lounge.
Airport officials: Bomb threat: Departures lounge:
To take the stance (that)
Meaning: To decide on something, argue for something, or fight for something; an attitude or
view about an issue that you state.
Usage: A (person or group) takes the stance that B (argument)
1. The senator wanted to read the report, but the army took the stance that it should remain
To remain classified:
2. Although the train lost his luggage, they took the stance that it was his fault for not tagging
it properly.
Luggage: His fault: To tag luggage:
3. If you are going to take that stance, then there is no way for us to reach a compromise.
To reach (a compromise):
Related Expressions: To adopt a position / To dig ones heels in
To give someone the benefit of the doubt
Meaning: To have faith in someone; to trust someone even though their story sounds false
Usage: A (person, group) gives B (person, group) the benefit of the doubt
The record company decided to give the fledgling group the benefit of the doubt, and offered
them a contract.
To give a green light to
Meaning: To approve something; to proceed with or continue something; to give permission.
Usage: A (person, group) gives a green light to B (project)
The Ministry of Transport has given the green light to the restructuring of the national
To brace (for)
Meaning: To prepare for something difficult
Usage: A (person group) braces for B (future event)
1. The weather forecaster said that we should brace ourselves for a week of sub-zero
Weather forecaster: Sub-zero temperatures:
2. The employees braced themselves for layoffs following the news that the company was
closing some of its stores.
Layoffs: Closing stores:
3. The pilot said, Brace yourselves for impact! just before the plane crashed.
Pilot: Impact:
Related Expressions: To prepare for / To steel oneself
Bound to (be)
Meaning: Something is almost certain to happen.
Usage: A (person, group, situation) is bound to B (action) because C (reason)
1. That bus line is bound to do well. They provide passengers with good service at
reasonable prices.
Bus line: Good service: Reasonable prices:
2. Hes such a big star that his latest movie is bound to make millions.
Big star:
3. The pileup this morning is no surprise to me. There was bound to be an accident at that
dangerous intersection someday.
Pileup: Dangerous intersection:
Related Expressions: Odds are.... / Dollars to donuts
No stranger to
Meaning: Someone is very familiar with something.
Usage: A (person, group) is no stranger to B (experience)
1. The rap star is no stranger to controversy. Last years album was also strongly criticised by
Rap star: Controversy: Criticised:
2. She is no stranger to tragedy. Both of her parents were killed when she was still a child.
3. That artist is no stranger to adversity. He has yet to sell a painting.
Artist: Adversity:
Related Expressions: To be second nature / Like the back of one hand
No wonder that
Meaning: The result is natural, or the result is expected.
Usage: It is no wonder that A (result)
With A (situation), it is no wonder that B (result)
1. It is no wonder that her book is selling well. The publishing company has been really
promoting it for the past few months.
Selling well: Publishing company: To promote something:
2. It is no wonder that the athletics coach was fired. His team hadnt won for more than a
Athletics coach:
3. With the lack of safety at that factory, its no wonder that the accident happened.
Lack of safety:
Related Expressions: To serve someone right / Par for the course
On the rise
Meaning: Something is increasing.
Usage: A (activity) is on the rise
1. Crime is on the rise in almost every urban centre.
Crime: Urban center:
2. The tourism industry is doing well because the number of international travellers is on the
Tourism industry: International travellers:
3. The number of high-end coffee shops is on the rise.
High end:
Related Expressions: An upswing / A dime a dozen
Public outcry over
Meaning: People are very angry about something; there is a lot of media attention
Usage: There is a public outcry over A (some topic)
1. There was a public outcry over the shoddy work methods used in construction of the
nuclear power plant.
Shoddy work methods: Nuclear power plant:
2. The public outcry over the beef infected with mad cow disease caused some politicians to
lose their jobs.
Infected: Mad cow disease:
3. The new security at the airports is the result of the public outcry over the bomb threats.
Airport security: Bomb threats:
Related Expressions: A stink about / Raising Cain
Rapped (for)
Meaning: Someone is punished or criticised.
Usage: A (person) is rapped for B (action)
1. The busboy was rapped for stealing money from the till.
Bussboy: The till:
2. The teacher was rapped by the principal for not finishing the class on time.
Principal: Not finishing on time:
3. The plant manager was rapped for his lack of
leadership during the emergency.
Plant manager: Lack of leadership: Emergency:
Related Expressions: In the hot seat / Take the heat
To cause a stir
Meaning: To start a debate; to make trouble; to be the centre of attention
Usage: A (person, group) causes a stir by B (action)
1. The new designer is causing quite a stir in the fashion industry with her avant-garde styles.
Designer: Fashion industry: Avant-garde:
2. The fast food chain caused quite a stir by offering free hamburgers as part of their 50th
anniversary celebrations.
Fast food chain: Anniversary celebration:
3. News of the wiretapping by the police has caused a stir among civil rights groups.
To stir up controversy
Meaning: To encourage debate; to make people think
Usage: A (person, group, topic) stirs up controversy
1. The new movie is going to stir up controversy regarding the treatment of minorities in
The treatment of: Minorities:
2. That comedian loves to stir up controversy whenever she gets a chance.
Comedian: To get a chance:
3. Stirring up controversy about overpopulation is easier than finding a solution.
Related Expressions: To spark a debate / To cause a stir.
To get the ball rolling
Meaning: To begin some project; to encourage others to begin something
Usage: A (person, group) gets the ball rolling by B (action)
1. He got the ball rolling on environmental issues by signing the new anti-pollution law.
Environmental issues: Anti-pollution law:
2. I got the ball rolling on my job search by writing up my resume.
Job search: Resume:
3. The director got the ball rolling on the new movie by having each of the actors do a walk-
Director: Walk-through:
Related Expressions: To kick things off / To start things off
To follow in (the footsteps of)
Meaning: To copy someone or something else; to do the same work or achieve the same
success as someone else before you.
Usage: A (action, situation) follows in the footsteps of B (action, situation)
1. The singer is going to follow in the footsteps of his idol, Elvis, and someday become a
Singer: Idol: Superstar:
2. That coffee shop is following in the footsteps of the major department stores by offering
free delivery during the holidays.
Coffee shop: Free delivery: The holidays:
3. He followed in his brothers footsteps and entered art college.
To gain momentum
Meaning: Some activity is becoming more common. The progress and development that is
becoming faster and stronger.
Usage: A (activity) is gaining momentum
1. The peace talks are gaining momentum, and there may be a diplomatic solution in a few
Peace talks: Diplomatic solution:
2. Theres no question that use of the internet has gained momentum, especially among
young people.
3. The idea of flex time is gaining momentum, and our company may introduce it soon.
Flex time:
Related Expressions: To pick up steam / To get
To draw attention to
Meaning: To make people see something; to focus or talk about something
Usage: A (person, group) draws attention to B (fact, situation)
1. He drew attention to the poor living conditions by inviting newspaper reporters to inspect
the tenement.
Poor living conditions: Newspaper reporters: To inspect:
The neighbourhood association is hoping to draw public attention to the dangers of bicycling
while carrying a young child.
Neighbourhood Association:
3. His mission is to draw attention to the dangers of nuclear weapons.
Mission: Nuclear weapons:
Related Expressions: To underscore / To hammer home
To dawn on
Meaning: To suddenly understand; to realise
Usage: A (fact) dawns on B (person)
1. It suddenly dawned on the translator that he could be more successful working freelance.
Translator: To work freelance:
2. After a year of marriage it dawned on her that her husomebodyand had only married her
for her money.
For money:
3. The seriousness of his brush with law only dawned on him many weeks later.
To credit ... to
Meaning: To thank someone or something for your success
Usage: A (person) credits B (good fortune) to C (action, person, force)
1. The old man credits his longevity to his habit of drinking one glass of sherry every day.
Longevity: Sherry:
2. She credited her splendid showing at the Olympics to her many years of hard work.
Splendid showing: Years of hard work:
3. The actor credits his successful career to his choice of movie roles.
Actor: Career: Movie roles:
Related Expressions: To owe it all to / To chalk it up to
Sleep on It

Meaning: Wait until the next day to make a decision


Leah was asked to give a speech on her experience as a hurricane victim. She wasnt sure if
she was ready to give one, so she decided to sleep on it.

When asked whether John had made his decision about taking a job in Alaska, he said he
needed more time and would sleep on it.

Lose Your Train of Thought
Meaning: Forget what you were talking about
Linda lost her train of thought in the middle of her speech. She decided to start a new topic
since she could not remember what she was talking about.

During the lecture, the professor lost his train of thought several times. The students had to
remind him of the topic being discussed.

I just lost my train of thought. said Cindy as she struggled to remember the topic of
To crack down / A crackdown on
Meaning: The government or the police are working hard to stop something illegal
Usage: A (police, government) cracks down on B (illegal behaviour)
Go the Extra Mile
Meaning: Do more than expected
Cheryl always went the extra mile at work by coming in early and staying late.
For his science project, Sam went the extra mile to make sure he got a good grade by paying
attention to every detail.
On Valentines Day, Lisa went the extra mile for her boyfriend. She got him tickets to go see
his favourite baseball team.
To take a toll on
Meaning: To cause trouble; to cost someone time, money or effort
Usage: A (bad situation) takes a toll on B (person, group, resource)
1. The long court battle is taking a toll on his health.
Court battle: Someones health:
2. The concern over Mad Cow Disease is taking a toll on the dairy industry.
Mad Cow Disease: Dairy industry:
3. Wheat prices are rising as the drought takes its toll on this years crops.
Wheat prices: Drought: Crops:
Related Expressions: To wear him/her down / To take the wind out of ones sails
Whatever it takes
Meaning: Someone plans to do something, even if it is difficult or expensive.
Usage: A (person, group) does whatever it takes to B (achieve some goal)
1. Since Ive enrolled in graduate school, Ill do whatever it takes to get my degree.
To enroll: To get a degree:
2. The explorers say that they will do whatever it takes to reach the top of Mt. Everest.
To reach the top:
3. Shell do whatever it takes to get that promotion, even if it means working overtime every
To get a promotion: To work overtime:
Related Expressions: Dead set on / Do or die
To be on the safe side
Meaning: Being extremely careful
Usage: To be on the safe side, A (person, group) B (action)
1. Even though the tests were negative, the doctor decided to remove the lump to be on the
safe side.
Negative test results: To remove a lump:
2. You should bring two flashlights when you climb Mt. Fuji, to be on the safe side.
3. Bring an umbrella with you just to be on the safe side. It might rain later.
Related Expressions: To play it safe / To hedge ones bets
(to) talk over - to discuss
Dave and I spent hours talking over the details of the plan.
Before you make any big decisions, give me a call and we'll talk things over.
easier said than done - more difficult than you think
You want to climb Mount Everest? Easier said than done!
Moving into a new home is easier said than done.
(to) hang in there - to persevere; to not give up
I know you're four games behind, but you can still win the tennis match. Just hang in there!
Hang in there, Don! Your invention will soon be a success.
if worse comes to worst - in the worst case; if absolutely necessary
Ted's car isn't running well. If worse comes to worst, he can take the bus to school.
I know you're running out of money. If worse comes to worst, you can always sell some of
your jewelry.
last resort - if there are no other alternatives left; the last solution for getting out of a difficulty
EXAMPLE 1: David was locked out of his house. He knew that as a last resort, he could
always break a window.
EXAMPLE 2: I don't like taking medicine. I'll only take it as a last resort.
(to) look on the bright side - to be optimistic; to think about the positive part or aspect of a
Leo was upset that his soccer game was canceled. His mother said, "Look on the bright side,
now you can stay home and watch TV."
You lost your job? Look on the bright side, now you'll have more free time!
(to be) stressed out - under severe strain; very anxious
EXAMPLE 1: Al is so stressed out about his job that he can't sleep at night. EXAMPLE 2:
You've been so stressed out lately. You really need to take a long vacation!
(to) tell off- to scold; to tell someone in strong words what one really thinks
When Ted showed up for chemistry class a half an hour late, his teacher really told him off.
Patty is going to tell off the plumber because the pipes he said he fixed are still leaking.
(to) think big - to set high goals
Why run for Governor of New York? Think big: run for President of the United States!
Ken and Sandra hope to sell their house for $3 million dollars. They always think big.
(to) stab someone in the back - to betray someone
Jill and Heather were friends, until Heather stabbed Jill in the back by stealing her boyfriend.
You're firing me after all I've done for this company? You're really stabbing me in the back!
(to) slack off- to waste time
Amanda doesn't get much done at the office. She's too busy slacking off.
I'd better stop slacking off. My essay is due in two hours.
NOTE: People who slack off all the time are called "slackers."
(to) stand a chance - to have the possibility of success
Although the American figure skaters were good, they didn't stand a chance of winning a
gold medal at the Olympics.
Wilton High School has the best soccer team in the state. I'm afraid we don't stand a chance
against them!
(to) cut class - to miss class without an excuse
Ted often cuts class to spend more time with his girlfriend.
If you keep cutting French class, you're going to fail it.
(to) give (someone) credit - to acknowledge someone's contribution; to recognise a positive
trait in someone
EXAMPLE 1: The scientist gave his assistant credit for the discovery. EXAMPLE2: I can't
believe you asked your boss for a raise when your company is doing so poorly. I must give
you credit for your courage!
(to) give credit where credit is due - to give thanks or acknowledgement to the person who
deserves it.
I will be sure to thank you when I give my speech. I always give credit where credit is due.
(to be) on edge - nervous; irritable
EXAMPLE 1: Whenever Susan feels on edge, she takes several deep breaths and starts to
feel more relaxed.
EXAMPLE 2: Ever since his car accident, Neil has felt on edge.
Out of this world - delicious
EXAMPLE 1: Mrs. Field's oatmeal raisin cookies are out of this world! EXAMPLE 2: Mmmm,
I love your chicken soup. It's out of this world!
bright and early - early in the morning
Our flight to Berlin leaves at 7:00 a.m. tomorrow, so we'll have to get up bright and early.
We have lots of cookies to bake so we'll have to start bright and early tomorrow.
Suffice: be enough or adequate.
"a quick look should suffice"
be enough, be sufficient, be adequate, do, serve, meet requirements, satisfy
demands, answer/fulfil/meet one's needs, answer/serve the purpose, pass
needless to say - obviously
You've got a test tomorrow morning. Needless to say, you can't stay out late tonight.
Needless to say, you shouldn't have waited until Christmas Eve to do your shopping. The
stores are going to be very crowded!
SYNONYM: it goes without saying.
You've got a test tomorrow, so it goes without saying that you can't stay out late tonight.
(to have) mixed feelings - to feel positive about one aspect of something and negative
about another
When our houseguests decided to stay for another week, I had mixed feelings. On the one
hand, I enjoyed hanging out with them. On the other hand, I was tired of cooking for them.
I have mixed feelings about the president of our company. He's good with the clients, but
he's nasty to his employees.
(to) give it a shot - to try something
I've never tried to make wine in my bathtub before, but per- haps I'll give it a shot.
You can't open that jar? Let me give it a shot.
SYNONYMS: to give it a try; to try one's hand at something
NOTE: "To give it one's best shot" means to try as hard as one can. I know you're nervous
about the interview just give it your best shot.
crash course - short and intensive instruction
Yesterday, Joan's son sat down with her for a couple of hours and gave her a crash course
on using the Internet.
Rachel had a date on Friday night with an auto mechanic. He gave her a crash course on
changing her oil.
(to) not have a clue - to know nothing about
Bob talks about working at McDonald's, but the truth is he doesn't have a clue about making
"Do you know how to fix a broken printer?" - "No, I don't have a clue!"
Help yourself - serve yourself
Help yourselves to cookies and coffee," said Maria before the meeting started.
You don't need to wait for me to offer you something. Please just help yourself to whatever
you want.
NOTE: Pay attention to the reflexive form: Help yourself in singular, help yourselves in plural.
(to be) in a bad mood - unhappy; depressed; irritable
After her boyfriend broke up with her, Nicole was in a bad mood for several days.
I don't like to see you in a bad mood. How can I cheer you up?
(to) cheer someone up - to make someone happy
Susan called her friend in the hospital to cheer her up.
My father has been depressed for weeks now. I don't know what to do to cheer him up.
NOTE: You can tell somebody to "Cheer up!" if they are feeling sad.
(to) talk into - to persuade; to convince
Chris didn't want to jump out of the plane, but Erin talked him into it.
Stop trying to talk me into going to the dance club on Saturday night. I already decided that
I'm going to Maria's party instead.
(to) sit tight - to wait patiently
Nicole won't hear back from the colleges she applied to until April. For now, she'll just have to
sit tight.
Sit tight, the doctor will be with you in a few minutes.
can't complain - things are going well; I'm fine
"How's business, Mike?" - "Can't complain. I sold a lot of computers this month."
"How are things going at your new job?"- "Can't complain."
conventional wisdom - a widely held belief
According to conventional wisdom, a diet high in salt can cause high blood pressure.
Challenging conventional wisdom, the psychologist said that sometimes it's healthy to be in a
bad mood.
no wonder - it's not surprising, I understand now why something happen or not happen.
EXAMPLE 1: Brian's entire body is in pain. It's no wonder since he ran a marathon
EXAMPLE 2: No wonder you're cold it's January and you're walking around outside
without a coat!
SYNONYM: small wonder
(to) get the hang of (something) - to learn how to do some- thing; to acquire an effective
Billy had trouble learning how to ride a bike, but after a few months he finally got the hang of
When I went snowboarding for the first time, I kept falling down. But after a while, I got the
hang of it.
When push comes to shove
When things get really bad.
When you have no other choice.
When it becomes absolutely necessary.
When push comes to shove, Ill tell them what I really think of them!
your guess is as good as mine - I don't know; I don't know any more than you do
Will we ever find intelligent life on other planets? Your guess is as good as mine.
Will Ted graduate on time? Your guess is as good as mine!
(to) keep posted - to provide up-to-date information
Keep me posted about your plans for the summer. If you're going to be at your cottage on the
lake, I'd love to come visit.
Good luck selling your house and keep me posted! I'd love to know how much you get for it.
second nature - a behaviour that has been practiced for so long, it seems to have been
there always
Karen has been arguing with her husband every day for the past 20 years, so by now it's just
second nature.
With practice, riding a unicycle becomes second nature.
rest assured - be sure
Rest assured that the police will find the thieves.
Rest assured I'll take good care of your dog while you're on vacation.
Overriding: overriding need/concern/consideration etc. the thing that is most important and
must be dealt with before anything else.
The overriding need here is to end the civil war.
An overriding concern to secure business efficiency.
a necessity n something that is necessary / important
enthusiastic adj if you are enthusiastic about something, you are excited about that thing
what have you been up to? what have you been doing?
to get on well with: to have a good relationship with
unflattering adj if something is unflattering, it makes someone appear unattractive
to diffuse the tension: to cause the tension to go away
The Italian journalists piece was accompanied by unflattering photographs of robust (large)
women performing a version of a popular dance.
to name after: if you name A after B, you give A the same name as B
an ongoing dispute: a fight that has been going on for a long time
to sneak into a place: to enter a place secretly
to confiscate something: to take something away from someone as a form of punishment
a tranquilliser n a drug that causes you to be calm
egotistical adj only thinking about yourself
patent infringement n commercially developing an idea that belongs to someone else.
to come up with exp to think of.
to come across as exp if you "come across as" rude / nice, etc. you appear to be those
well-meaning adj having good intentions.
a runner-up n the person who comes second in a competition
to deny the existence of exp to say that something doesnt exist.
yum yum! exp an expression indicating that you like the food or the food is tasty
a siege n a situation in which a town or city is surrounded by a hostile army
to topple vb to make a system or government fail / fall
an insurgency n a campaign of guerrilla or urban warfare
Sixty years after the Spanish departure from Cuba, Fidel Castro and his guerrilla army enter
Havana. A two-year insurgency topples a corrupt government.
The Siege of Leningrad ends when the Red Army liberates the city. the siege lasted for three
vigorous growth: a lot of growth
an upbeat mood n a positive feeling about something.
to lift spirits exp to make everyone feel more positive.
to boom vb if business is booming, it is doing very well
to launch vb if you launch a product, you start to sell it on the market
multitasking n doing more than one job at the same time
in the way exp if something is in the way, it is blocking you or obstructing you
Barack Obamas speeches are impressive in that he accepts that there are problems and
obstacles in the way.
to fidget vb to move about nervously
Obamas body language is also important. Obama doesnt fidget when debating with an
insincere adj not honest
Hilary Clinton, for example, was often criticised for appearing aloof (with an air of superiority
about you). And she was accused of often avoiding direct eye contact, therefore appearing
insincere (not honest).
even the great Martin Luther King, has also guaranteed a safe victory. Has he done it (to
succeed)? Yes, he has.
aimed at exp if a product is aimed at a group, it is for that group
a line of something exp a selection of a particular type of product that a company makes/
Baby Einstein is a line of multimedia products and toys that are aimed at children aged 3
months to 3 years old.
overwhelmed adj if you are overwhelmed by a feeling, that feeling is very strong and you
dont know how to deal with it.
I was so overwhelmed that I didnt talk for an hour? And the wife replies, Yes, honey, that
was the happiest hour of my life.
to get your act together exp if you tell someone to "get their act together", you tell them to
be more organised.e.g. I wish you guys could get your act together.
to get cut off exp. if youget cut off, your phone suddenly stops working
to get to grips with something exp if you "get to grips with something", you start to
understand how it works
I am trying to getting to grips with a bank machine that has just swallowed our bank card.
to rub someone up the wrong way exp to annoy someone
to get to you exp to annoy you / to make you angry
airlines who refuse to keep us up-to-date with the latest travel information really rub us up
the wrong way.
The mobile phone is one gadget (a device for doing a job) thats guaranteed to irritate us at
some point or another. Dead batteries, no coverage or getting cut off in the middle of an
important call are all capable of driving us to the edge. But what really gets to us are those
automated customer service calls that keep us waiting with irritating music.
a put-down n a comment that is designed to make someone feel stupid
a wisecrack n a comment that is designed to make others laugh
One of the most famous judges in the UK is Simon Cowell. Hes notorious (famously, but for
something bad) for his insults, put-downs and wisecracks about contestants and their
abilities, and hespopularly known as the King of Mean.
a nervous breakdown n a mental disorder that a person experiences. It is a type of severe
she was unable to cope with the pressure and attention and she suffered a nervous
breakdown soon after.
to have sympathy for exp if you "have sympathy for someone, you appreciate/understand
their situation and/or feel sorry for them.
to compliment vb if someone "compliments" you, they say something good about you.
to date from exp if an object dates from a particular period or date, it was created in that
period or on that date
a spot of exp a bit of
water and have a leisurely picnic. For a spot of walking, go to the University of Oxford
Botanic Garden.The University of Oxford Botanic Garden. This fascinating garden dates
back to 1621when Henry Danvers (the 1st Earl of Danby) contributed 5,000 to set up a
garden for the glorification of the works of God and for the furtherance of learning.
to stretch vb if something stretches from A to B, it goes from A to B.
its wide fields stretch from Merton College right down to the Thames
stunning adj very beautiful or spectacular. (stunning views of Christ Church College)
to issue an apology exp to formally say you are sorry.
to cast a critical eye on something exp to analyse something in depth.
to go through phr vb if someone "goes through" a text, they read it carefully in order to
check it.
to point the finger at exp to accuse someone of something.
incensed adj extremely angry
with impunity exp freely; without any danger of punishment.
Many are incensed at the way individuals are able to go about banning books with such
the economic slump n a period of poor economic activity.
a trail of exp if there is a "trail of" X, there are many examples of X along a path/route that
you are travelling along
a conspiracy n a secret plan to do something illegal
a cover-up n if there is a "cover-up", people try to hide a crime or mistake
to delve deeper exp to investigate something in more detail.
Put to good use use this phrase to describe when something is used well and at its full
potential. Make sure you put your survival skills to good use when you go for your
backpacking trip! Once again take a note of how simply the abstract concept is described in
this phrase instead of using more complex verbs such as implement or utilise you can
just say put to good use. Brilliant, isnt it?
Put my finger on it when you cant really tell what is wrong or what has changed, but you
have a feeling that something isnt right, you can say: Theres something different about
Jack today, but I still cant put my finger on what exactly it is! This idiom comes from a real
world when you can actually put your finger on something you can spot, so people started
using it figuratively (when speaking about abstract concepts).
Put too much thought into it have you ever done a lot of thinking about something only to
realise it wasnt worth your time and effort? Its exactly the type of a situation when you can
use this expression. Dont put too much thought into planning the project before youve been
even granted the permission to go ahead with it!
Put my mind at ease means that something calmed me down. I dont need all this stress
so tonight Ill just relax, watch a film and put my mind at ease.
Stay put stay where you are for the time being; dont move. Stay put till I tell you to start
walking, Ill think of something to distract the dog!
Put a stop to simply means to stop! This expression is actually longer than its meaning,
but it can be very well used to emphasise that something REALLY needs to be stopped.
Listen, this bullying has been going on for way too long we need to put a stop to it!
How to put it this is one of those hesitation phrases that will help you to buy a little bit of
time before you start formulating your answer. Well how to put it You see, its more
complicated than you think it is!
Nicely put! simply means nicely said. The verb to PUT in this context means to say as
in - you can put it in your own words.
Put something behind you forget about something, usually bad experiences. I know the
loss of your spouse still hurts even after all these years, but I think now its time to put it all
behind you and move on with your life!
Put forward to make a suggestion. During the meeting a lot of ideas were put forward by
a number of regional managers but they were all rubbished by the chief executive.
Put out to extinguish a fire, to extinguish a cigarette. If you cant put out a fire within 30
seconds, you have to evacuate the building. Put out the cigarette and go back to work, your
boss is roaming around the building and he might catch you here any minute!
Put somebody down to disapprove of someones performance, or behaviour. My team
leader always puts me down so now Im not even trying to exceed out targets!
Put together to build something. See how simplistic this phrasal verb is? Just think about it
when you build something, you actually do PUT STUFF TOGETHER, right? Ive never put
together any flat-pack furniture, but Ill give this simple PC desk a go!
Put up with to be OK with something that irritates or annoys you. Listen, I cant put up
with Marks constant whistling, Im going to tell him to stop doing it!
Put through used when someone makes another person to go through difficulties. My
husomebodyand has put me through a lot during the ten years of our marriage, so now Im
going to get a divorce and get on with my own life!
Put through another meaning of the same phrasal verb to connect with another person
during a phone call. Hi, Im calling in connection with my latest electric bill; can you put me
through to the billing department, please?
Bottom line the profit or loss figure. This term originates in real life accountancy whereby
you draw a bottom line in the books and then you write the final figure of profit or loss.
Mounting debt a massive, constantly growing debt.
Debt consolidation when you have a number of loans such as a car loan, personal loans
and credit card debt all put together in order to make it easier to manage your personal debt,
its called debt consolidation.
Defer a payment if you want to postpone a payment (pay it at a later date), you can say
things like Id like to defer my car loan repayment, is that possible? when visiting your bank
and youre going to sound really smart and professional!
Pay in instalments this financial English expression describes dividing a lump sum of
money into smaller parts and paying them over a longer period of time. For example, when
youre buying a new PC or laptop, you can ask the hardware store shop-assistant: By the
way, can I pay for this PC in instalments? And if yes, then whats the maximum term you
Call a meeting off this is how cancellation of a meeting can be described using the
phrasal verb to call off.
Embrace every opportunity means to use every opportunity.
Gain momentum this phrase describes a specific business-related activity that becomes
bigger and more profitable over time: Now that weve opened this new shop and started the
marketing campaign, we just need to wait and see if this operation gains momentum and
becomes profitable in long term.
Get straight to the matter can be used during a meeting to invite all those present to start
discussing the important issues.
Get your priorities right in business its important to prioritise the important tasks and
focus on them, and thats when this phrase can be used.
I have a first-hand experience in this is to be used whenever you want to say that youve
dealt with the same specific task previously.
Lets run through them quickly when you have little time left during a meeting, this is
how you suggest to go through the specifics in a quick manner without going into details.
Lets not make any rash decisions this is what it normally said when theres a difficult
decision to be made and its quite clear that a final decision cant be made as of yet.
Push my agenda in this context agenda means my plan of action, and to push my
agenda means to actively pursue my plan and make sure my interests are looked after first.
Scale up means to increase the level of current business model, for example: Now we have
3 shops, but our plans are to scale up our operation and have 10 shops by the end of next
Further your career when an industry professional wants to climb the career ladder and
get a promotion or go for a new job according to their increased qualification, its said they
want to further their career.
Glass ceiling this English idiom describes an un-equal working place where certain
groups of people cant move up the career ladder hence the term glass ceiling you can
see that there are promotional opportunities, but you just cant avail of them!
Good command of English when a persons English is just good enough to do their job,
this phrase is the best fitting one to describe that level of English.
Go the extra mile when someone works really hard to achieve goals, its said they go the
extra mile to achieve whats required of them.
I brought this issue up with my supervisor it means you mentioned the problem to your
Land a job simply means to get a job. Also to land a position.
Live up to their responsibilities to do their job properly and perform all the related duties
and tasks.
Utilise your full potential this English phrase means to use your potential to its maximum.
Events leading up to the accident this English collocation can be used to describe what
happened before the accident in question.
Facts are speaking for themselves facts are so obvious that further explanation isnt
even needed.
Heinous crime particularly vicious and outrageous criminal activity.
Illicit affairs illegal, unlawful dealings and activities.
Led to discovery when evidence is found as a result of specific actions, for example: The
latest police search led to discovery of a massive drugs operation involving up to 20
Sending out a strong message when an influential group of people such as the
government or company management make a decision to deal with unwanted activity, its
said theyre sending out a strong message: Latest anti-corruption legislation is sending out a
strong message that white-collar crime wont be tolerated!
Shed some light on something provide some degree of clarity in the matter, for example:
Hopefully the next police report is going to shed some light on our case because currently
we have very few facts to support our allegations.
Sparked heated debates when somebodys comments result in emotional public
discussion, its said that it sparks heated debates.
Unbiased opinion is a fair and subjective opinion; it isnt in favour of any specific party
With an immediate effect something thats going to happen immediately: The court
decision is to be implemented with an immediate effect.
In-depth research a very thorough and comprehensive research.
Pitch to your client try to sell an idea to your client.
Released to the general public when a product or a service is released to the general
public, it simply becomes available for everyone to buy.
Throw ideas around to generate new ideas; to brainstorm.
Media buying when advertisers purchase huge add placements in newspapers, billboards,
TV, radio and online, it can be described using this specific advertising industry term.
Cold-calling is part of the telesales process whereby potential customers are contacted
without their consent (permission); needless to say, nowadays such marketing activity has
lost its appeal because its fairly ineffective.
Early warning signs this is how youd describe early symptoms of a disease.
Under the weather this English idiom means that youre unwell: You dont look well, are
you all right? Well Im a bit under the weather, but Im not too bad!
Coming down with the flu (cold) this is how you describe the very process of developing
cold symptoms. Its a handy phrase to use when letting your employer know youre getting
sick: Im coming down with flu so I dont think Ill be able to come into work tomorrow!
Special needs assistance if a person requires round-the-clock assistance due to their
specific medical conditions, its said they require special needs assistance.
Is this treatment covered by insurance? this is a question typically asked by patients
before getting any medical assistance so that they have a fair idea of where they stand in
terms of potential expenses.
Comply with orders listen to and obey orders.
No civilians were harmed this English phrase is used to reassure everyone that the
ordinary citizens werent harmed during an operation.
Remanded in custody when someone is remanded in custody, it means theyve been
arrested and kept in prison awaiting a trial.
Ringed with chain link and topped with razor wire when a facility is surrounded by a
metallic fence with razor wire on top, its said its ringed with chain link and topped with razor
Sprayed with bullets this phrase can be used when describing an act of shooting when
plenty of bullets were fired and the object had been literally sprayed with bullets.
Come up to standards this phrase can be used when you have to discuss meeting
specific standards: The latest batch of goods we produced definitely doesnt come up to
standards and I think we need to review our manufacturing process!
Full capacity is how you describe a full manufacturing capacity, for example.
Integral part is a very important part of a process; its something that the process cant
happen without.
Making the last minute decisions sometimes when the production schedule is very tight,
its necessary to make quick decisions, and this is how those decisions are called!
Step up a notch to increase intensity of some process We have to step it up a notch
and serve more customers every day because our management arent happy with the
current performance levels.
Tight production schedule this is how you describe a very busy production environment.
Biological parents this is how you describe real parents of a child.
Emotionally attached this phrase can be used to describe the fact that a child is very
close to a particular person: I noticed Emma is emotionally attached to her child-minder
more so than to her mother!
The apple doesnt fall far from the tree! this typical English idiom can be used when
describing a childs behaviour which is very similar to that of their parents.
Acting out this phrasal verb describes loud and often attention-seeking behaviour such as
disobeying adults, shouting and hurting other kids. Example sentence: I cant understand
why Sarah is constantly acting out while at school at home shes a lovely and quiet child
Healthy balanced diet to insure an optimal childs physical and also mental development,
its essential to provide them with plenty of high-quality nutrients which can be described in
other words as healthy balanced diet.
Attain a degree this is how you describe getting a degree in a specific academic field.
Common denominator this mathematics term can be used whenever you want to
describe characteristics shared by a number of objects: Aspiration to excel in test results is
the common denominator of all first-year students.
Conventional wisdom is a widely accepted general knowledge that everyone agrees on
such as the food pyramid in nutrition or the role of exercising in prevention of cardio-vascular
Elaborate on it explain the matter in a bigger detail.
Learning curve describes ones learning experiences; if youre making good progress in
your studies, its said youre on a fast learning curve.
Social acceptance when society generally accepts certain behaviour and standards, we
talk about social acceptance.
Transcend boundaries of to go beyond certain limitations; for example: Peoples desire
to gain better education transcends boundaries of geographical location and available
With flying colours means with great success My son graduated with flying colours!
Describing Your Profile
Im a wide profile sales/marketing/customer support professional this is a general
phrase used to describe industry/-ies youre been working in. If you say wide profile instead
of just Ive been working in , it will sound smarter and more professional!
I perform well under pressure is a phrase you can use to describe that youre an employee
very well capable of working when theres a lot of pressure and youll do your best to get
things done.
Im used to working in a busy environment similar to the previous one, and you can use
it interchangeably with I perform well under pressure during an interview so that you dont
constantly repeat yourself.
Customer-orientated means you value customers and youll be polite and efficient when
dealing with them. Remember customers are life-blood of every business, so this is what
every potential employer will want to hear from you!
Meeting targets is a professional way of saying getting things done in time. In terms of
work and professional environment, targets is the word thats used to describe tasks and
assignments, so you should use it to sound like a true professional.
Handle stress easily this phrase is especially relevant in customer support and other
industries when dealing directly with customers starting with catering and ending with direct
Team player if youre a likeable person who gets along well with others while at the same
time being able to maintain professional relationship instead of filling your workplace with
gossip then youre a team player!
Can-do attitude means you dont accept defeat and you dont get confused the moment
situation gets difficult and complicated at work. You just get things done, you cheer others up
in your workplace and youre the right person for the job youre going for!
Drive to succeed is one of characteristics of a typical career person, and you definitely want
to mention that during the interview or in your CV. Your future employer will look for someone
whos naturally driven by success, so make sure to describe yourself as such a person.
Results driven this phrase is somewhat similar to the previous one with emphasis on
results. Success is a more general term; results imply youre good at meeting targets, too.
Eager to learn use this English collocation to stress the fact that youre always taking
opportunities to acquire new knowledge. Its going to send a message to your interviewer
that youre not afraid of new duties and responsibilities!
Good at multitasking use this phrase to convince your future employer that youre not
easy to give into despair when things are getting hectic and you have to juggle a lot of
responsibilities at the same time.
Describing Previous Experience and Your Current Position
I have years experience in the field this phrase allows you to describe your
experience precisely while using professional lingo at the same time.
Proven track record when you say, for example I have a proven track record in
telecommunication it means youve been working in the sector and you have an official
employment history and related references.
Work against the clock this is a perfect way of describing a fast-paced work environment
in your previous or current job. Another good job-seeking related word combination to go with
this one is to meet deadlines We often have to work against the clock to meet deadlines
during the busy season.
SLA (Service Level Agreement) is a standard term used across industries whenever two
parties have agreed on certain targets in terms of performance. Its especially relevant for
customer support based positions where every individual has to work towards meeting
Service Level Agreements such as responding on e-mails within a certain period of time,
logging phone calls properly and ensuring timely resolution of customer problems. So if
youve been having similar responsibilities in your current/previous job but you didnt know
its called meeting SLAs make sure you use this smart phrase in your CV and job
Liaise with other departments its a fancy way of saying to communicate with other
departments. If youre willing to get the job though, you may as well learn the word liaise.
When it comes to speaking about your communication between departments in your
company, youll know exactly what phrase to use!
Explaining Why You Want This Job
This question comes up during every job interview, and oftentimes interviewees arent quite
sure how to respond to it. Its essential therefore that you learn a few phrases you can use
exactly for this purpose!
Also remember never speak ill of your previous/current jobs or employers! Even if youre
going for a new job because you hate your boss, never admit to it during an interview. Thats
when the following phrases come in handy:
I want to further my career in sales/marketing its a perfect way of saying that there
arent any promotional opportunities in your current job without admitting to it directly.
In line with my qualifications if you tell your future boss that you want to get this job
because its in line with your qualifications, its going to send a message that youre a person
fully aware of what your expertise is. And I dont think theyll keep probing you during the
interview until they get you to confess that youre just unhappy with your current job. Theyll
take this answer as a satisfactory response and be happy with it!
I want to take on more responsibility a totally valid phrase you can use when aiming for
a slightly higher position. Just like when using the first phrase in this section you can use this
sentence, highlight the fact that youre an ambitious professional but dont say directly
Nobody will promote me in my current company
The Tricky Part of Any Interview Salary
In 9 situations out of 10 youre looking for a better pay when going for a new job, arent you?
But what if the advertised position doesnt have a price-tag attached to it? The problem is
you cant just tell your potential employer right upfront I want to get paid 12$/h!
Thats when you have to be smart and use the right phrases to send a message to the
interviewer that youre aware of what your experience and skills are worth.
Competitive salary you cant go wrong with this one if you say that youre expecting a
competitive salary, it means you know what the industry average is and youd like to get at
least that amount of hourly wage.
My remuneration was adequate if you dont want to reveal how much you earned in your
previous company, this is the phrase to use!
I expect experience based remuneration as I already told you mentioning numbers
during a job interview speaks of bad manners, so if youre quite an experienced
professional in a certain field, its safe to say that you expect your experience to reflect on
your remuneration package.
My salary expectations are in line with my qualifications and education same thing as
the previous phrase but with an emphasis on your qualifications and education. This is a
good way of emphasising your educational background and its role in your career of
course, if you have something really relevant to bring to the table. If you expect your
bachelors diploma to work as a salary-boosting factor when applying for a catering position
better think twice!
What Sets You Apart From Other Candidates?
Its another one of those questions that can make or break your job interview. The thing is
while both you and your future employer know that youre probably not a unique person
among other job-seekers out there, youve just got to sell yourself as the best person
possible for the position!
And of course dont forget that being a foreign English speaker, you have to sell your
spoken English skills as well, so thats when the following phrases come in handy:
Im self-motivated this phrase is kind of overused, but if you really mean it, it says a lot
about you as a worker. It means you dont have to be constantly supervised and youre
mature enough to take on responsibility!
I take pride in my work this a great phrase and I bet your future boss wants to employ
someone who takes pride in his/her job and is enthusiastic enough to make sure day-to-day
tasks are run effectively.
Im very attentive to detail heres a quality that can really set you apart from others. I
know from my own experience that small mistakes can lead to big expenses down the road
for your employer, so having someone on board whos going to be meticulous when it comes
data entry and similar tasks is very important!
Im 100% involved while performing work-related duties means youre really dedicated
and your future boss wont have problems with you not completing your tasks and
Im good at resolving problem situations dont forget to mention a difficult situation from
your past which you resolved successfully. Typically it involves dealing with a difficult
customer, but it can also include resolving other problems delivery issues, technical
problems and whatnot.
Language Skills
Its of the utmost importance for you as a foreign English speaker to describe your English
and other language skills so that those descriptions properly portray your capability of using
the respective languages. Heres how to describe your English skills other than just fluent:
I have effective communication skills in English both verbally and in writing. Its a
perfect way of elaborating on the matter in your CV because it also explains that youre good
both at writing and speaking. Fluent is a term that can be stretched; this phrase, however,
leaves very few questions to be asked!
Ive been speaking English for the last years you can use this sentence to alleviate
any doubts that your English mightnt be good enough for the job.
Ive been working in an English speaking environment for the last years same as
the previous one, with a slight emphasis on your work-related spoken English skills. Its going
to send a strong message to your future employer that you wont have any problems
communicating with your fellow employees and supervisors!
My English is competent for this industry its a way of admitting that your English
mightnt be 100% fluent yet you can deliver 100% results in the respective industry. Youre
probably better off avoiding this phrase unless you run into some English fluency issues
during the interview and then this might be your last chance to salvage the situation.
Conversation Starters & Greetings
How are you getting on? just another way of saying how are you?
You doing OK? asked when the person has had some tough experience recently and you
want to ask politely if theyre OK.
Hi, ! Whats new? this is a very informal way of greeting a close friend or anyone who
you see on a regular basis and you want to ask has anything happened since you last met.
Hi, ! Whats up? the same as above with a difference that youre probably not that
interested in what news the other person might have.
Hi, ! Long time no see! used when you havent seen the person for a long period of
time and you want to state that fact in the greeting.
Hi, ! Have you been keeping busy? just a standard enquiry with little or no direct
Do you mind me asking? a typical way of asking something that might be a slightly
personal question.
OK, heres the thing a very handy way to start making your point if youre not sure how
to begin the sentence.
Typical Responses
Thanks, Ive been keeping busy just a standard response to a standard greeting with
little or no direct meaning.
Thanks for asking, Im fine, how are you? a typical response and counter-question to a
greeting phrase how are you?
Hi, how youre doing! Its good to see you! a typical response to a greeting from
someone you havent seen for a while.
Cant complain a response to a standard greeting like How are you? Its not as exciting
phrase as Thanks, Im great! but it doesnt mean youre having some problems in your life.
Can you say it again, please? a request to repeat the question if you didnt understand
what was said. This can also be used when the native speaking person speaks a bit too fast
they should get the hint and slow down a bit. But if they dont, you can ask a more direct
Can you slow it down a bit, please?
And how about you? a typical response when youre not sure what to ask next so youre
asking the other person the same think they asked you. You can respond with this counter-
greeting on nearly all standard greetings.
To the best of my knowledge when youre 99% sure about the statement youre
making. Also a good start of a response you want to take a bit more time to consider what
youre going to say.
As far as I know the same as above.
Good for you! a response to someone telling you about their success in something or
some good news that theyre happy about.
Cant argue with that used when you agree with the statement of the other person.
How do you know? a counter-question you can ask when someone surprises you with a
question about something theyre not really expected to know.
Thats a good one! a surprise response to funny or surprising news from your chat
Really? Tell me more about it! used when you want your chat partner to tell me about
what he/she just said.
Frankly speaking, just a way to start your response. It indicates that youre about to
open up and be very honest with your chat partner. A great way of establishing an immediate
Well, to be honest with you, the same as above.
No problem a typical response to a small request youre happy to do. This one is
especially used when responding to superiors requests and it sounds more enthusiastic than
if you simply say sure or OK.
Never mind, its fine! - this phrase is used when the person offers to do a favour for you but
its not really necessary.
Never mind, forget what I just said this phrase is to be used when you said something
that wasnt important at all but your chat partner wants you to repeat it. You can also use this
phrase if you feel that he/she might be slightly annoyed or offended by your question or
comment so you want to end it there.
You got me there this can be said instead of I dont know it will sound more casual and
not as defensive as the old I dont know!
Youve got to be kidding me! said when someone tells you something that borders on the
unbelievable and you want to express your surprise.
Thats a good question. a phrase used when you want to take your time to think over the
question. This is an ideal phrase to use when youre stuck but instead of remaining silent you
can start your response with this phrase.
Well, how to put it in the right words. the same as above.
That would be great! a response to an offer that youre really happy about.
you know what I mean? this is quite an overused phrase but you can definitely use it
at the end of a sentence if you want to emphasise what you just said.
You see, the thing is that this is how you begin a sentence when youre asked to
explain something.
Industry Small-talk (NEW!!!)
Another day! this is just a short phrase you can use to start your working day with. It
doesnt necessarily mean your job is boring; it merely states the fact that you all have a
brand new working day ahead.
Nose to the grindstone! this one is a typical English idiom, and it means to start working
hard and be 100% focused on what youre doing. Typically youd use this one at the end of a
conversation as a way of indicating youre going back to your work-related duties.
How was your weekend? you can use this small-talk greeting to inquire about the
persons weekend and its a typical small-talk phrase youd hear on a Monday morning.
Anything new going on? again, a typical phrase to be used when coming into work
especially after a weekend or a few days off.
The boss is in a mood you can use this small-talk phrase to let your colleagues know
your boss is in a bad mood and its best to steer clear to avoid trouble. Please note you dont
even have to say in a BAD mood; the word mood says it all just on its own.
All work and no play! this is another English idiom and you can use it when having a
conversation about going out and taking some rest. Heres a typical sentence: Hey Jim, why
not go out tonight, weve been working so hard all work and no play!
Better keep the head down today this English idiomatic expression comes in handy when
you need to advise someone to stay quiet and avoid problems. Maybe its because that
persons been out drinking the night before, maybe its because theyve been giving others
hard time and the boss is after them there are many situations when this small-talk phrase
can be used!
Thank heavens its Friday quite obviously youll be using this English small talk phrase
when greeting your work colleagues on a Friday morning as we all know, Fridays are the
most awaited days of the week, and everybodys looking forward to the weekend ahead!
You working the weekend? in case youre doing shift work, this is a handy phrase to use
when asking your colleague if she or he is going to work during the weekend.
Are you working hours in? lets say, for arguments sake, you notice someone staying at
work longer than normally, so you want to inquire for the reason theyre doing this. Your best
guess is that the person in question has taken some extra time off work, so you want to ask
them if theyre working those hours in now. Well, this is the perfect phrase for the occasion!
Im tired I got no sleep last night I guess this phrase is pretty self-explanatory, isnt it?
Had a few drinks so Im flying under the radar! if you went out the night before, its
totally understandable youll want to stay put and keep a low profile in case someone from
the management realises youre not fully capable of fulfilling your work related duties!
Can you cover me? this is a typical way of asking someone if they can work in your place
while youre taking a couple of hours off work to deal with your personal stuff.
Departure Phrases
Id better be going followed by a simple phrase like its too late, or have lots to do and
indicator youd like to walk off and finish the conversation.
OK, Im sorry but I have to leave now! used when your chat partner has clear intentions
of continuing the conversation but you just need to go so youre making it clear that you need
to go.
See you later! used when you know that youll be seeing each other again sometime.
See you around! the same as above
Keep in touch! a good-bye phrase meaning you want the other person to get in touch with
you every now and then and that youve the same intentions.
It was nice seeing you, take care! a good-bye phrase used when you know that you
wont see the person for a while.
Its been good talking to you! the same as above phrase.
Hope to see you again! you can use this phrase when finishing a conversation with
someone youve just met.
Say hello to ! a short and handy way of saying to remind someone from you.
English Small Talk Phrases With THING
What do you think about the whole thing? a handy way to ask for someones opinion
on something that the other person is already familiar with. Basically you dont need to
explain the problem in detail, you just use one or two words before the word thing that
would make it clear what the story is about. Moreover, you dont have to make sure they
correspond to the rest of the sentence in terms of grammar, just stick them in So what do
you think about the whole who gets the best score thing? What do you think about the
whole promotion thing?
This whole thing looks really messed up (pretty bad etc.) the same as previous
phrase just stick the relevant word or words in between the words whole and thing
and there you go! You have a perfect way of making a comment about some problem. This
whole bank bailout thing looks really messed up!
The thing is that - this is a great way to start explaining your point when someone asks
you to explain something. A more formal way of responding to a question would be The
reason for is the following or Let me explain you why or whatever would be the most
fitting sentence for a particular occasion. The thing is that is a universal phrase you can
use in nearly all situations when youre asked to explain something!
Heres the thing - this English small talk phrase is a brilliant way to start a conversation if
you want to make an offer, ask for a favour or advice, or explain a problem. OK, heres the
thing I cant make it to 9:30 tomorrow morning, can you fill in for me?
How are things? a typical greeting phrase you can use when addressing people youre
familiar with or if you get to know them in a less formal setting Hi Tom, how are things?
You can also say Hows things? and dont get confused by bad grammar in the phrase.
Conversational English is full of grammar mistakes!
Things are looking up means that youre satisfied with your life and everything seems to
be happening for the better.
Things are pretty bad this is what youd say if youre asked How are you? or How are
things? and you have to admit that youre in a pretty bad situation at the moment. Normally
though, unless youre in really deep trouble, dont start crying on someones shoulder. On 9
occasions out of 10 the average person would say that everything is fine even if they had
some issues. Its a way of programming yourself for success
Theres one more thing just another way of saying I have something else to say in this
English Collocations With the Word THING
Do the right thing this is a typical way of saying that one has to do whats right and listen
to ones conscience.
Sure thing this collocation which is also an idiom at the same time (but do we really need
to know what exactly it is to be able to use it in real life conversations?) can be used both as
an affirmative reply and part of a sentence where you explain that something is very certain.
So if your friend invites you round to his house tonight, you can tell him Sure thing! And if
youre asked what type of a beverage youre going for, your response could be Come on,
dont you know beer is a sure thing for me?
The real thing you can use this collocation to describe something you really like or
something whose authenticity cant be disputed. Lets say for instance, youre looking at a
very expensive sports car on the street you can use the real thing to say Yeah, thats the
real thing!
Sort of thing is a collocation used in phrases like Im not into that sort of thing or Thats
the sort of thing I like! Its a casual way of commenting on something that your chat partner
talks or asks you about. How about we do a parachute jump? Sorry pal, but Im not into
that sort of thing!
Type thing similar to a collocation sort of thing. Most commonly used in phrases
beginning with Its a type of thing
Nicest thing Id imagine this collocation is normally used by girls in phrases like Thats the
nicest thing anyone has ever said to me!
The next big thing when youre describing a breakthrough in science and technology, you
can describe it as the next big thing Did you know cloud computing is the next big thing?
In the thick of things this is a way of describing buzzing activity. Sorry, Ill get back to
you later on, Im in the thick of things now! is what youd say if you were very busy at work
and a friend of yours rang you to have a chat about something. I got caught up in the thick
of things you can use this phrase to explain that you got very busy with something due to
certain circumstances.
First thing in the morning when you promise someone to do something very early in the
morning, you can use this collocation. Typically its used at work when you make promises to
your customers or superiors OK, our technician is coming to your house first thing in the
morning, so may rest assured youll even get to watch the morning news when hes gone!
Its a thing of the past you can use this phrase to refer to traditions people dont observe
any more, or when talking about outdated things in general. Analogue phones are the thing
of the past, and now it actually would be cool to own one!
To put things in perspective
means to see the bigger picture. You can use this English phrase whenever you find
yourself in a situation when your perception of something changes because of new
information that allows you to see things objectively. After watching news you realised that
you can actually consider yourself lucky to be in a situation where you are in relation to
where many others find themselves in; its like as if youd look at the situation from outside
and distance yourself from your own problems and worries. If you say Well, it really puts
things in perspective you dont really have to add anything to it, so much can be said with
a single phrase.
You can use variations of this phrase to get perspective on, to see something in
perspective. You should get perspective on your life and maybe youll start to understand
why things always go wrong for you. [Person #1] Listen, I think I havent been fair to my
wife on occasions, shes not the only one giving hard time to the partner. [Person #2] You
see youve started seeing your marriage in perspective!
Im not in a position to
This phrase is a formal way of declaring that youre not able to do something. In practical
terms you can use this phrase when you explain that you cant perform a certain task or
provide requested information because you need to consult with someone with bigger
authority before you can do whats asked from you, for example: I had to wait on my
supervisor to come in because Im not in a position to tell the girls on the production floor
what to do.
This English phrase is also quite often used as a polite refusal to do something if you dont
want to go into details or if you dont want to share confidential information. Youd often hear
politicians use a phrase Im not in a position to comment on this right now if they dont want
to speculate on something and would rather prefer to consult with their colleagues so that
they come up with the best answer.
So whenever you find yourself in a situation when you cant take action, provide
information or voice your opinion because youre restricted by your position in an
organisation, youre not competent enough to do it or you dont want to jump to rash
conclusions, you can use this smart and handy phrase Im not in a position to
In some way, shape, or form
This phrase doesnt really allow you to substitute a couple of sentences of explanations with
a single phrase because all it means is in some way, somehow. I still chose to add it onto
the list of phrases on this blog post because it sounds smart, and after all we have to admit
that sometimes a longer sentence just sounds better.
Well have to come up with a new product packaging solution which in some way, shape or
form would represent our companys core values.
I might as well just say: Well have to come up with new product packaging which
represents our companys core values and the message wouldnt be lost by omitting the
phrase in some way, shape or form. Still I think that if you include the phrase, it adds a
certain depth to your message; youre kind of implying that there might be countless
solutions and its going to be hard work, but youll still have to make it happen and somehow
youll get it done.
You can also use the same phrase to emphasise a negation, you can use it whenever youd
say in any way when denying something.
I have never been involved in any way, shape or form in the activities youre accusing me
of! In this example the phrase is used effectively to make a very strong claim when
speaking, youd stress every one of those words way, shape, or form to make a triple
emphasis on the fact that youre not involved in those activities youre accused of.
You can rest assured that
is a more formal way of saying dont worry; Ill take care of it. This phrase is very useful
working with customers and can be used to reassure them of certainty of your commitment
to them. For instance, if you work at a service desk of some service provider, you can use
this phrase if a customer voices concerns of some sort. Last time the technician arrived ten
minutes past two and I had already left. Can you make sure hes not late this time? Im
sorry to hear you had to spend another weekend without broadband; this time Ill leave
specific instructions to the technician and you can rest assured that hes going to stick to the
specific hours.
Just compare these two sentences Dont worry, well figure out a way to make it happen
and Please rest assured that well find the best possible solution. You have to agree that
the second sentence rings with authority and will give the customer a peace of mind while
the first one might not completely calm them down.
Speaking in terms of
I simply love this phrase because it allows you to give weight to what youre saying and
youre going to sound so much more fluent! Compare these two sentences If we look at
how efficient the production process is its rather obvious theres lot of improvement to be
made and Speaking in terms of efficiency of the production process, its rather obvious
theres lot of improvement to be made. The phrase speaking in terms of sounds smart, and
creates an impression you really know what youre talking about, doesnt it?
So whenever you would say in relation to, regarding, concerning, speaking about or
talking about, you can use the phrase speaking in terms of or simply in terms of instead.
Given the importance of
is a very handy phrase you can use to start making your point related to something very
important. To put it simply, its just another way of saying [The subject] is very important,
so or [The subject] is a big issue, so but as we concluded previously sometimes you
may want to use a more sophisticated phrase to show yourself in a different light, especially
when speaking with your superiors at work, lecturers at a college and similar situations.
Given the importance of the mounting personal debt levels nationwide, I propose to put
more restrictions on the personal loan application process in our bank.
You can, of course, say The mounting personal debt levels nationwide is a big issue, so I
propose to put more restrictions on the personal loan application process in our bank; its
just that I think if you begin the sentence with given the importance, it prepares the listener
for some proposal or conclusion and it makes them more attentive.
You cant really start a sentence with: Given the importance of rising crime figures and
then NOT give additional information as to what it is that has to be done once the crime level
is so high.
In other words its an ideal phrase in situations when youre talking about some issue and
youre putting forward a solution or concluding what should be done.
A couple more smart English phrases that will come in handy:
Due to unforeseen circumstances
This is a very formal phrase and you can use it to explain a situation when something
unexpected happened. Most likely youve heard it before in official cancellation
announcements on TV or radio news The show has been cancelled due to unforeseen
circumstances; well reveal more details in the next news update.
Given the right circumstances OR given the right conditions
This phrase is used to state, for example, that certain things are likely to happen or that you
would do something if certain conditions are met. Given the right circumstances, I could
overcome my fear of heights.
Such is the complexity of the issue, that
You can begin a sentence with this phrase if you want to describe how difficult is the issue at
hand. Such is the complexity of the issue, that I cant think of a single strategy to solve the
Irrespective of the results
Use this phrase to emphasise that certain things would or should happen no matter what the
outcome is. You should abstain from using alcohol irrespective of the pregnancy test results
just in case the test is faulty.
To draw parallels between
This is figurative way of saying that you find similarities between certain things or events, for
example an event from the past and something thats happening right now. I think we can
draw parallels between current financial crisis and the one preceding the Big Depression in
the beginning of the 20th century.
All things being equal
simply means that your statement is true if everything happens as expected. I should
make it back to LA by Thursday, all things being equal. You can also use this phrase when
comparing something to stress that your statement is true if other circumstances remain the
same Unfortunately natural athletes will lose to drug enhanced athletes nine times out of
ten, all other things being equal.
The bottom line is
This is a very handy phrase you can use when ending a conversation or a presentation and
you want to make one last statement to conclude all that was said previously. So, the bottom
line is irrespective of the variety of different research results we looked at, you should not
consume any amount of alcohol before driving!
Exhilarating experience super-exciting experience such as a parachute jump, for
Ad nauseam when some activity is repeated all over and over again till youre sick of it,
you can use this phrase to describe how you feel about it. For example Ive tried to explain
it to him ad nauseam but he just doesnt understand what Im talking about
Atrocious crime especially vicious and cruel crime resulting in a number of victims.
Begging and cajoling when youre trying to convince someone to change their mind and
they finally give in, you can say that After plenty of begging and cajoling I finally managed to
convince my mom to allow me to go to the trip to Utah.
Detrimental effect a bad, negative effect.
Eliminate from the equation exclude something from a number of factors to be considered
in relation to the main issue. Example: When talking about day-to-day stress management,
its important to eliminate unnecessary distractions from the equation so that you can be
more focused on your tasks at hand.
Endowed with the ability When someone or something is endowed with the ability, it simply
means they possess (have) this particular ability. All human beings are endowed with the
ability to love and take care of others.
Evoke emotions when something makes us feel a certain way. For example Hard rock
evokes depressive emotions whereas upbeat, cheerful music lifts up our mood.
Gain momentum normally used in business English to describe economical processes
that require some time to reach their full potential. A good example would be a start-up
business that demands a lot of investment and effort to establish, but when its gained
momentum, it practically starts to run itself.
Heinous crime especially gross and inhuman crime.
Unilateral decision decision made by only one person or group of people without taking
others opinion into consideration. This phrase was used a lot during the financial crisis a few
years ago in Ireland (its where I live so thats why Im using the example of Ireland!) when
the government decided to guarantee bank losses without taking into account the opinion of
other political parties.
Hinder communication to prevent communication. The word hinder can be used pretty
much as a substitute to the word prevent in any context!
Conditions that exacerbate this phrase is most commonly used in medical context when
speaking about diseases that may get worse because of certain factors. Heres a good
example Are you aware that you work in conditions that may exacerbate your
asomethingma? You should change your job immediately!
Illicit affairs illicit simply means illegal so when you hear the word illicit used in
combination with words such as affairs, it means that some criminal, unlawful activities are
being discussed.
Oblivious to totally unaware of something. When a person is going through a really
intense emotional suffering, they may become oblivious to their surroundings and people
around them at times. Also, when youre simply deep in your thoughts, you may become
temporarily oblivious to whats going on around you.
Ambiguous situation a situation that can be interpreted in two ways; its when theres no
clear-cut answer to a particular problem. In sports, for example, judges decisions are
sometimes disputed but its all because the situation during a game is so ambiguous that its
almost impossible to ascertain (find out) the truth. Also, when someone sends you an e-mail,
for example, and you can interpret their instructions in many ways, you can say that the
instructions are ambiguous and you cant really take action in case you get it wrong.
Eloquent fluent, someone who has a way with words. If you can speak fluent English and
youre really good at it, you can say youre an eloquent English speaker. Just bear in mind
you have to be REALLY good at it to be considered eloquent not every native English
speaker is eloquent, for that matter.
Media-perpetuated when certain subject is being constantly mentioned in media
Internet, newspapers, radio and TV its said that its media-perpetuated. Lets say, for
example, the current obsession with dieting and slimming has led to an increasing number of
eating disorders among teenagers, and its strongly believed its a direct result of the media-
perpetuated images of skinny models and celebrities.
Transcends boundaries surpasses, goes beyond certain limits. Love and compassion
transcends any racial and religious boundaries meaning that the concepts of love and
compassion dont choose people based on their origin and religious beliefs.
Hes adamant that he insists that You can use this sophisticated English word when
describing a 100% certainty of someone or yourself. Hes adamant that the goods were sent
out to the customer.
Unsolicited advice advice that hasnt been asked for. If someone is telling you what to do
without you having asked them for advice, you can say its unsolicited advice.
NEW! Amalgamate the data you can use this expression when youre putting some figures
together. For example, when youre doing a stock take of inventory and then all those figures
have to be combined, you can say that youre going to amalgamate the data so you wont be
able to attend to other work-related duties. Personally I love this English sophisticated word
because it originates from the noun amalgam which means an alloy of mercury with
another metal and I think its got a unique vibe to it!
NEW! Irrevocably linked you can say that somethings irrevocably linked when it cant be
undone, when it cant be taken apart. This English sophisticated collocation is best used in
figurative speech for example: The tobacco trade and government tax income are
irrevocably linked and I simply dont believe the State wants us to quit smoking for good.
Subliminal aversion to subconscious (youre not even aware of it) disgust towards
Excruciating pain very intense, strong pain.
Perseverance is the key to success perseverance describes the quality of someone
whos being very persistent and hard-working.
Good luck with your future endeavours good luck with your future attempts to achieve
something, to achieve goals etc.
Paramount very, very important, top-priority, of the utmost importance. Its paramount that
you log out of the system first before shutting the PC down or else all the data will be lost!
Dont exert yourself too much dont put too much pressure on yourself, dont work too
hard. You can say this kind of thing to a friend of yours whos just been sick and has just
returned back to work, for example.
Reciprocal something that goes both ways; mutual. If someone tells you It was nice
meeting you!, you can say Reciprocal! which means the experience of you meeting
them was also pleasant. Of course, its going to sound very smart, but its going to be correct
nonetheless. Another use of this word reciprocal links its used among website owners
and bloggers to describe links pointing to each others websites.
Fluctuations this economy related English word describes a process that changes over
time especially price changes. Heres an example: Forex traders make money by trading
on currency price fluctuations. It can be also used in other contexts; I, for example, like to
describe the changing English fluency (one day you can speak fluently, the next day its gone
down followed by another day of good fluency) with this word
come in handy: to be useful in a particular situation; to be advantageous and yield benefits;
pay off.
I knew this jacket would come in handy one day.
Somebodys take on something: someones attitude or opinion about a situation.
whats your take on the oil crises?
Up for something: willing to do a particular activity
what do you feel like doing? Id be up for just about anything
breathe/rest easy to relax and stop feeling
worried: Just three more questions and then you can breathe easy. I wont rest easy until I
get my passport back.
something comes easy (to somebody) used for saying that it is not hard for someone to
do something
easier said than done informal used for saying that something is a good idea but will be
difficult to achieve: Some people want the UN to withdraw, but thats easier said than done.
easy come, easy go spoken used for saying that someone has spent money quickly, after
getting it easily, and that they should not worry because they have spent it
easy does it spoken used for telling someone to do something carefully or gently, especially
when they are moving something large
go easy on somebody mainly spoken to not be very angry or severe when you are dealing
with someone: Go easy on her: shes only a kid.
go easy on/with something mainly spoken used for telling someone not to use, eat, or
drink too much of something: Didnt the doctor tell you to go easy on the salt? take it easy 1
informal to rest and not do things that will make you tired: Take it easy and dont tire yourself
out. 2 spoken used for telling someone to be calm when they are upset or annoyed: Hey,
cool down! Take it easy. 3 mainly American spoken used for saying goodbye to someone: Ill
talk to you later. Take it easy. Bye.
Keep Me in the Loop
To keep someone in the loop is to keep them informed.
I really want to know what is going to happen so keep in the loop.
Down to Earth
If you are down to earth, you are very sensible, reasonable and realistic.
I admire him. He is so down to earth.
Peter is the nicest person I have ever met. He is so down to earth and easy to get along with.
She may be rich and famous but she lives her life very down to earth.
I have been burned = I have been cheated
So did you end up going on a date with her? No, I got burned. She went out with another
I will never buy another used car. I got burned on the last one I bought.
No Strings Attached
If something comes no strings attached, it comes without any conditions. That means there
are no hidden clauses.
We are giving away free eBooks , no strings attached.
He said he would do it for free, no strings attached.
Yet to happen
When someone says: It has yet to rain, it means: It hasnt rained yet.
When someone says: I have yet to see her, it means: I havent seen her yet.
You are overreacting!
Take it easy.
You shouldnt get so upset.
Its not as bad as you think.
You bet!
This is a nice thing you might say if someone says Thank you, or if someone asks you to do
something. It is equivalent to saying:
No problem.
My pleasure.
No, thank YOU.
Dont mention it.
Youre welcome.
Also: Sure thing!
You want to bet?
Are you sure?
Are you sure enough to bet on it?
You are kidding!
Are you sure?
Are you serious?
Are you kidding me?
You must be joking!
You must be kidding!
Youve got to be kidding me!
You cant be serious!
See: You are kidding!
You do the math.
Figure it out.
See for yourself.
You have the facts. Think about it
Youre being watched.
Be careful.
You are under surveillance.
Im watching you. Ill be watching you.
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Youre killing me.
This is too much.
I cant take it any more.
I cant do this any more
Youre on.
Lets do it.
Okay, I accept.
I accept your challenge.
I accept what youre saying.
Yours truly
Every time theres a problem they start blaming yours
truly! Am I the only one making mistakes?
Youve been had.
They lied to you.
You have been cheated.
Also: You have been scammed.
You got it!
Thats it.
Thats correct.
You have the right idea.
Right on.
Bulls eye.
Youve got it.
There you go.
Thats my girl. Thats my boy.
You think?
This is a sarcastic way of saying: Really?
To date
So far.
As of now.
As of this date.
This is the largest project of its kind to date.
Compare to: Up-to-date.
Time is of the essence.
Time is extremely important and limited (indicating a critical deadline for accomplishing
I want you to know that, per our contract, time is of the essence. Therefore, if you dont meet
any of the deadlines, youll be penalised accordingly.
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Time is running out.
Hurry up.
The end is near.
We dont have much time.
Taking a chance
Taking a risk.
Shes taking a big chance by quitting her job in this economy. Either shes very brave, or
shes simply crazy!
Also: Risking it.
Also see: Going out on a limb
Taking a toll
Having a negative effect.
When someone says: If the new law is passed it will take a toll on us, they mean something
It will affect us in a negative way. It will wear us out.
Taking for granted
Not appreciating someone or something fully.
Assuming they will always be there.
A. I think my secretary is upset with me.
B. Thats because youre taking her for granted.
A. How am I doing that?
B. Shes always there, she does everything, and you dont pay her much or even thank her
or compliment her for what she does!
Weve been taking cheap gas for granted.
Dont take me for granted. I may not be around much longer!
Taking it out on someone
Blaming someone.
Punishing someone for something that they typically are not responsible for or didnt do.
I took it out on him because I was mad at him, but it wasnt really his fault that I lost my
Dont take it out on yourself. Its not your fault that he didnt listen to you!
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Taking it to heart
Taking something seriously.
Getting upset over something.
Taking measure
Getting ready.
Taking the necessary steps to do something.
Taking ones time
Not rushing.
Im taking my time because Im mad at these guys. So, leave me alone and dont rush me!
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Taking place
Q. When did the fight take place and where?
A. It happened this morning right over here.
Taking sides
Choosing sides.
Choosing one side (of the issue or argument) to agree with.
Id like everyone to know that Im not taking sides with either Republicans or Democrats on
the immigration issue. I have my own ideas!
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Taking someone for a ride
Cheating someone.
Making people believe a lie.
Making someone believe that something will be done or will happen that wont.
A. You know what? Im going to buy Sammys car.
B. Oh, boy! He sure is going to take you for a ride. His car isnt worth a cup of coffee!
Taking something in stride
Taking things as they come, without getting upset about them.
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Taking something lightly
Not taking it seriously.
Were talking about safety on the road and in the air. Please dont take it lightly.
Taking the bull by the horns
Origin: Sports
Trying to solve the main problem.
Taking action directly, head on, where it counts.
By addressing the manufacturing crisis, were taking the bull by the horns because thats our
most serious problem.
Taking the heat
Being criticised.
Tolerating criticism.
My wife is very outspoken and has taken a lot of heat for her comments.
Tell me about it!
Oh, I know.
I totally agree!
I know all about it.
A. I was just outside. Its so cold!
B. Tell me about it!
Oh, dont I know it! (Not a question.)
Tell off
Angry comment.
Telling someone exactly what you think of them, their actions, or their words, etc.
If someone says: Sue told Jane off, they mean something like:
Sue told Jane exactly what she thought about her lies.
Toned down.
Calmed down.
When someone says: Her optimism is tempered by what she knows, they mean something
like: Because of what she knows, her expectation has been
Thanks to
Because of someone or something.
Thanks to her Ive got a good job.
Thanks to the economy were all in trouble.
Thanks to the rain we cant go swimming today.
That said
Now that I have said that.
Now that that has been said.
When someone says: That said, lets leave, they mean: Now that I have said that, lets leave.
That being said.
Having said that.
That having been said.
Think nothing of it.
Its not a big deal.
Dont think about it.
When someone says: I think nothing of going there, they mean something like:
Going there is not a big deal.
It is also used in response to Thank you!
A. Thank you very much for taking me home.
B. Oh, think nothing of it. It was a pleasure!
Thinking highly of
Having a lot of respect for someone.
I think highly of my parents, means:
I respect my parents very much.
I have high regards for my parents.
I think my parents are great people.
Thinking the world of someone.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Thinking twice about something
Not making a decision right away.
Thinking about something seriously.
Giving something serious consideration.
Also see:
Second thought.
Compare to:
On second thought.
Through the roof
Very high, as in:
Q. Now that the prices are coming down, are you going to buy a house?
A. I was hoping to, but home prices are still through the roof.
Over-reaction or anger, as in:
When Joe finds out how bad the situation is, he will go through the roof!
Through and through
She read the report through and through.
Hes an honourable man through and through.
Also: Completely through something.
The bullet hit him and went in through and through.
Throwing in the towel
Origin: Sports
Giving up.
Q. What happened to the new teacher?
A. Oh, she threw in the towel and quit after only two weeks at the school.
Time is running out.
Hurry up.
The end is near.
We dont have much time.
To begin with
First thing.
In the beginning.
Before you say anything.
To begin with, I wasnt even in town when the accident took place.
Its not that she broke up their friendship. They were never friends to begin with!
To be sure
For sure.
Were sure.
It is known for a fact.
To be sure, she has openly talked about the issue, means something like:
We know for a fact that she has talked about the issue in public.
To ones credit
Deserving credit.
Giving credit where credit is due.
When someone says: He was wrong but, to his credit, he quickly apologised, they mean
something like: He deserves credit because, when he realised that he was wrong, he quickly
To ones hearts content
To ones hearts delight
To ones hearts desire
To satisfy ones heart.
To ones complete satisfaction.
A. Please dont let the kids eat too much ice cream.
B. Oh, its a birthday party! Im going to let them eat ice cream to their hearts content.
To say the least
The least I could say.
The least that could be said.
When someone says: I was surprised, to say the least, they mean something like:
I was surprised, and then some.
I was at least surprised, if not shocked.
The least I can say is that I was surprised
To ones name
Owned by one.
Belonging to one.
They have a lot of assets to their name, means:
They own a lot of things. Theyre rich.
Ive only got three dollars to my name, means:
I only have three dollars. Im completely broke.
To the best of my ability
As well as I can.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
To the best of my knowledge
As far as I know.
o the best of my recollection
As far as I remember.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
To this end
To that end
To which end
So. Therefore.
For this reason.
For that purpose.
Ill be going to Europe, to which end I need to get my passport renewed.
To top it off
To complete.
To add on top.
He had a high-paying job. To top it off, they gave him a bonus, too!
Too good to be true
Not true.
When someone says: This story is too good to be true, theyre telling you that they dont
believe the story.
Tracking down
Looking for something or someone (for a long time) and finding them.
Also see:
Running someone down.
Turning out to be
Becoming someone (or something) at the end, usually with a touch of surprise.
After my doctors visit, I received a message to call his office, which scared me, but it turned
out to be nothing serious. I had merely left my jacket there!
This guy followed me in his car for several blocks. He turned out to be an old friend,
however, and we had lunch!
Compare to: Ending up.
Under the weather
Feeling a little sick.
Q. How are you feeling?
A. Im feeling a little under the weather.
Q. Is it bad?
A. No, Ive just got a cold.
Addressing something
Not ignoring it.
Talking about it.
Taking care of it.
Paying attention to it.
Taking by storm
Overtaking fast.
Succeeding in a sudden and overwhelming way.
A. Everybody on the Internet is suddenly talking about global warming.
B. I know. Its taken the Internet by storm.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Taking exception to
Objecting to something.
Disagreeing with something.
I take exception to what youre saying. Your assessment of my involvement in this matter is
totally wrong.
Taking into consideration
When someone says: Dont forget to take my experience into consideration, they mean
something like:
Remember that I have experience.
Remember that you should think about my experience.
Giving thought to.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Taking issue with
Disagreeing with someones perspective, actions, or words.
He doesnt want to take issue with her because he doesnt like speaking or going against
Turning on someone
Betraying someone.
Turning against someone.
A. I thought they were friends!
B. They were, but recently they have turned on each other.
Turning someone on
Attracting someone sexually or romantically.
Finding someone sexually or romantically attractive.
Q. Does she turn you on?
A. Oh, yes. I find her to be very sexy.
Not being faithful.
Cheating in a romantic relationship.
When someone says: Sue is two-timing her boyfriend, they mean something like:
Shes with him but shes seeing someone else, too. Shes cheating on him. Shes a two-
A continuous operation.
Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
Turning things around
Making improvements.
When someone says: Hell start to turn things around, they mean something like:
Things will change. Hell make things better.
Also: Taking a turn for the better.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Turning to something
Becoming active or involved in something.
Turning to art means: Becoming an artist.
Turning to God means: Becoming religious.
Turning to crime means: Becoming a criminal.
Turning something on its head
Changing something completely.
Changing things, or the direction of things, to ones advantage.
Turning something upside-down.
Under scrutiny
Being investigated or watched.
Wan Toe is under scrutiny. They are watching everything he does very carefully.
Under surveillance.
Living in a fish bowl.
Under the magnifying glass.
Two sides to every story
Consider all of the facts before you make a decision.
Always listen to both sides of a situation before you make a judgment about it.
Under the gun
Facing a tight deadline.
Under (a lot of) pressure.
We are under the gun to get the play on the road by next week.
Under the hat
When someone says: Keep it under your hat, they mean something like:
Do it quietly;
Keep it a secret;
Keep it to yourself;
Dont tell anybody about it; etc.
Also see: Sweeping something under the rug
Under someones thumb
Under someones control.
When someone says: Adolpho is under Julias thumb, they mean something like:
Hes under her full control.
Hes her puppet.
Shes playing him like a violin.
She has him wrapped around her little finger.
Under way
In progress.
Being done.
A medical study on the effects of third-hand smoking is under way at this very moment.
Up for something
Ready, or in line, for something, as in:
This time, Im up for promotion.
Next year, shes up for re-election.
Interested in something or doing something, as in:
Are you up for some mountain climbing today?
Up for grabs
Available for anyone to take.
Q. By the way, I know that your chief engineer has retired. Is his position filled?
A. No, its up for grab
Up on something
Familiar with something.
Having current information about something.
Im afraid Im not up on the history of my country!
Also: Up-to-speed.
Up to date
The most recent version.
Including the latest changes.
This report was printed last week and is our most up-to-date document. Feel free to use it in
your research.
Compare to: To date.
Up to speed
Aware of, or familiar with, whats going on.
Q. Are you up to speed with our computer system?
A. Ive worked on similar systems, so Im sure itll be okay.
Q. What about the case? Are you up to speed with the case?
A. No, sir, Ill have to study the case and prepare myself.
Also see:
In touch.
Up to date.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Promising and new.
Showing signs of success.
Q. Why are you interested in helping her?
A. Shes an up-and-coming singer, with potential. If I help her now, she might help ME later!
Upper hand
When someone says: We have the upper hand in the negotiation, they mean something like:
We have an advantage over them.
Were in a better position than them.
Q. Do you want to negotiate with Richard?
A. Not really. I have the upper hand here.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Upside down situation
A money losing operation or business.
Were losing money on this building. Its been an upside-down investment for us ever since
we bought it!
Under water
In trouble.
In financial trouble.
Financially speaking, when you owe more (on a loan) than the property is worth.
Also see:
Upside down situation.
This is an abbreviation for:
Very Important Person.
Guest of honour.
Wait a sec.
Wait a minute or wait a second.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Wait until the dust settles.
Wait until things are clear.
Wait until we know whats going on.
Wait until we know what were doing.
All but
Almost, nearly all, as in:
The chairmans visit was all but certain. Im surprised he canceled it!
Everyone (or everything) except, as in:
All but the morons stayed home during the heavy snow.
Twenty four hours a day.
Weve been working around-the-clock to meet our deadline, I mean ALL of the time!
Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
I cant overemphasise this.
Its very important.
I cant emphasise it enough.
I cant emphasise it any more than this.
I beg to differ!
I disagree.
Im sorry, but youre wrong.
A. I think health insurance should be provided by the government.
B. Oh, I beg to differ!
Compare to:
On the contrary.
I appreciate it.
Thank you for what you did.
I understand what you did, and I thank you.
I can understand what you went through to do it, and I thank you for it.
I cant stand it any more.
I cant do it any more.
I cant handle it any more.
I cant tolerate it any more.
I cant put up with it any more.
I cant thank you enough.
Thank you very much!
No amount of thanks would be enough.
I could use some help here.
I need some help.
The food could use some salt.
They could use some guidance.
I couldnt agree with you more!
I agree with you completely.
I could not agree with you more than I do.
When someone says: I cant agree with you ANY more, it means they DONT agree with you!
Theyve stopped agreeing with you.
couldnt be happier.
Im very happy.
Im as happy as possible.
Couldnt be colder;
Couldnt be less helpful;
Couldnt be more helpful; etc.
Are you with me?
Do you understand?
Another meaning:
Do you agree with me?
Related: Youre either with us, or against us!
As luck would have it
As it turned out.
The way it happened.
As luck would have it, I had left my wallet at home. So I couldnt buy the jacket!
As we speak
Even as we speak
Right now.
At this very moment.
As of some time
Depending on how it is used, As of some time means until, or starting.
As of yesterday, we had not received a notice! (Until yesterday.)
As of yesterday, were not friends anymore! (Starting yesterday.)
Anyones guess
Anybodys guess
No one knows.
No one knows for sure.
When someone says: The answer is anybodys guess, they mean: No one knows the
When someone says: What shell do is anyones guess, they mean: We dont know what
shell do.
Also: Your guess is as good as mine!
Appealing to people
Attractive to people.
Something that people like.
If something appeals to you, you like it.
Along the lines of
Something like that.
When someone says: Sohaila said something along the lines of quitting school, they mean:
She said she doesnt want to go to school anymore, or something like that.
Also: Something to that effect.
All walks of life
When you say People from all walks of life were in attendance, it means:
All kinds of people were there.
All professions and classes were represented.
Assuming you are right
If youre right.
Lets say youre right.
Supposing youre right.
Assuming it will rain; assuming we still have time; etc.
Making it
Reaching ones goal, maybe even with some difficulty.
Q. How are you feeling?
A. Ive made it, what else can I ask for? Im telling you,
I feel good!
Q. You left home late. Did you make it to the party?
A. Yes, we did. We almost missed it, but we did get there.
At a moments notice
Very fast.
At any time.
Dont worry! Just call me and Ill be there at a moments notice.
Firemen need to be ready to respond to an alarm at a moments notice.
At each others throats
Verbally fighting.
Arguing very angrily.
A. I thought they were going to kill each other.
B. I know, they were really going at each others throats!
Duking it out.
Going at each other. Letting each other have it.
I couldnt care less.
I dont care.
I dont care at all.
Im not interested.
Compare to: Who cares?
couldnt have said it better myself!
I agree with you completely.
I would have said the same thing.
I couldnt agree with you more.
I couldnt have said it any better
couldnt help laughing.
I laughed.
I kept laughing.
I couldnt stop myself from laughing.
Similar usage:
I cant help crying, means: Im crying.
I couldnt help talking, means: I kept talking.
Another usage:
When someone says: I cant help but think about the situation, they mean: I keep thinking
about it.
On the horizon
Close by.
Can be seen.
In the near future.
Practical and affordable electric cars are on the horizon. I think theyll be here soon.
On the house
This usually refers to drinks and it means the management pays for it.
To show our appreciation for your continued business, tonight the drinks are on the house!
Compare to: My treat.
On the line
At risk.
Im risking everything, and I have to be careful. My neck is on the line, you know!
My ass is on the line! (Same thing, but not polite.)
I rest my case.
Im finished arguing.
Im not arguing any more.
Ive said all Im going to say about it. I have nothing more to add.
Also it is sometimes used to conclude that the speaker is right.
A. Where were you when the robbery took place?
B. I dont remember.
A. You dont remember? Well, I rest my case. (Which means something like: As you can see,
I was
Compare to:
Case closed.
I wouldnt change it for the world.
Im not sorry about it.
I would do the same again.
Im glad it happened the way it did.
I wouldnt change it, no matter what
I wouldnt do it.
Dont do it.
You shouldnt do it.
If I were you, I wouldnt do it.
I dont recommend that you do it.
If youre asking me, then dont do it.
Ill take that as a No.
Ill understand that your answer is No.
Then your answer is No. Is that right?
Ill be damned if ...
The following examples show when someone wants to strongly, and rudely, object to doing
(or having done) something:
Ill be damned if I go there, means something like:
I definitely wont go there!
Ill be damned if I knew, means something like:
I really didnt know!
Hell if I do it!
Damned if I do it!
A semi-humorous response would be something like:
You may very well be damned, but you still have to do it!
Im afraid ...
An expression of concern.
When someone says: Im afraid so, they mean something like:
Im sorry, but thats true;
Im sorry to say that what youre saying is true.
Im afraid its going to explode, means something like:
Im sorry to say that its going to explode.
I have a bad feeling that its going to explode.
m done.
I give up.
Im leaving.
Im finished.
Also, related and humorous:
Stick a fork in me! Im done.
Ive had it up to here!
This is used (usually while motioning to ones eyes or over their head) to show ones
frustration with someone or something.
When someone says: Ive had it up to here with them, they mean something like:
Im sick of them;
Im tired of them;
Im fed up with them;
I dont want to deal (or work) with them anymore; etc.
Ive had it up to my eyeballs.
Im up to my eyeballs in this mess.
At large
As a whole, as in:
The city at large.
Not specific to a certain area, as in:
The representative at large.
Free, not in captivity, as in:
The killer is no longer at large. He has been arrested.
At the end of the day
In the end.
When its all over.
All things considered.
Considering everything.
At the end of the day YOU have to decide what you want to do with your life, not me!
When its all said and done.
Back in the day
A long time ago.
Years, maybe decades or generations, ago.
Q. Isnt it funny that your mom still sends handwritten letters to her friends?
A. Yeah. Actually, back in the day, that was the only way to communicate!
At the risk of
Taking the risk of.
Running the risk of.
If you say: At the risk of offending you, heres what I think, you probably mean:
I hope you dont mind, but I think youre wrong;
I may be offending you, but I think youre a moron;
I hope Im not upsetting you, but I think youre crazy; etc.
Back on ones feet
Back to ones normal condition with respect to health, finances, etc.
Ive been down with the flu, but I hope to get back on my feet soon.
He lost everything due to the economy, but he hopes to find a job and get back on his feet

Back to square one

Starting over again.
Re-doing everything from the beginning.
A. Hideko, the test results dont look good!
B. Well, I guess its back to square one, right?
Starting from scratch.
Ball is in your court.
Origin: Sports
Its up to you.
Its your turn.
Its your decision.
Balancing act
Doing, or trying to do, more than one thing at a time.
A. The government needs to do a lot about health care, jobs, the war, recession, etc.
B. They will need to do a real balancing act if they dont want to fail.
Bargaining table
A place for negotiations.
When someone says: Theyre still at the bargaining table, they mean something like:
Theres still hope;
Theyre still talking;
They havent stopped negotiating;
They havent come to a decision yet; etc.
If I may say so
This is a nice way of expressing your opinion, even if no one is asking for it. It sounds as if
youre asking someones permission to do so (although youre not, because youre doing it
anyway) and it makes your unsolicited advice or opinion sound less offensive.
When someone says: If I may say so, its getting late, they mean something like:
May I say something? Its getting late.
Forgive me for saying this, but its getting late.
Be as it may
Be that as it may
Although that may be true.
A. I think John means well.
B. Be that as it may, hes an idiot!
Having a take on something
Having an opinion.
Having a different perspective.
Q. Our new principal is really good! What do you think?
A. I have a different take on her decisions than you do.
Having an edge
Having an advantage.
You should be more careful because she has an important edge over you.
Having catching up to do
When you say: They have a lot of catching up to do, you mean something like:
Theyre behind in their work.
They havent seen each other for a long time and will have a lot to talk about.
Having a sense of humour
Being funny.
Appreciating something humorous.
Understanding comical words or situations.
Having a say (in something)
Being involved (in something).
Being in a position of authority (about it).
Being allowed to say something (about it).
Opposite: Having no say (in something).
Having an agenda
Having something other than the obvious in mind.
Doing things for reasons other than what is announced.
A. I dont know why Fred is suddenly interested in helping the poor!
B. He has a personal agenda. Its not as if he is suddenly a caring man!
Having empathy
Having understanding.
Feeling and understanding other peoples pain.
Having guts
Having courage.
Not being afraid.
When someone says: Toshiro has guts, they mean something like:
Hes brave.
He takes risks.
He speaks out.
Hes not afraid.
He says whats on his mind.
Also: Being gutsy.
Having no idea
Having NO knowledge (on the subject of conversation).
Q. What will you do now?
A. I have no idea. I really dont know.
Q. How does this work?
A. I have no idea. I dont know anything about it. I dont understand it.
Beats me.
Search me.
You got me.
I dont know.
Thats beyond me.
I dont have a clue.
Im drawing a blank.
Its beyond comprehension.
Your guess is as good as mine.
If I told you once, I told you twice!
Ive told you many times!
If I told you once, I told you twice. I dont want you to drive my car!
Having in store
Having in possession.
Having something planned or prepared for the future. (Could be negative or positive.)
A. I wonder what the economy has in store for us this year, raises or lay offs!
B. Ill tell you in a few months.
Whats in store for us?
Having issues
Having problems with something or someone.
Q. Is there something going on between your teams?
A. They have some issues with us, but were working to resolve everything soon.
On budget
A project that is completed (or is likely to be completed) at or within the estimated cost.
On cloud 9
On cloud nine
Feeling free.
Having a good time.
Being under the influence of recreational drugs.
Behaving in a manner that is not considered to be normal.
Feeling elated or thrilled about something wonderful that has happened.
On ones own
Not having help from others.
Because of ones own efforts.
There was no one there. I thought, Wow. Im really on my own here.
Son, if you stay in college, Ill help you in any way that I can. If you drop out, however, I wont
be helping you. Youll be on your own.
On par with
On a par with
On the same level.
Im happy to tell you that your daughter is on par with the other kids.
On pins and needles
Nervously waiting for something or someone.
A. Lets go out for lunch.
B. I cant. Im on pins and needles waiting to hear about my scholarship.
The tingling feeling in ones legs (due to low blood circulation) resulting from sitting in certain
positions for too long.
On second thought
After review, as in:
I was thinking of going to the movies with my friends. On second thought, however, I decided
to stay home.
Compare to:
Second thought.
Having second thoughts.
Be put under
Be sedated or drugged into unconsciousness.
Q. Why didnt you tell them they were operating on the wrong knee?
A. I was put under! I didnt know what was going on.
On someones payroll
Indebted to someone.
Someones employee.
When someone says: Theyre on the insurance companys payroll, they could mean either of
the following:
Theyre the insurance companys employees. (Positive connotation.)
The insurance company pays them to do their dirty work. (Negative connotation.)
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
On the back burner
Something that:
Is not a rush job.
Can be done later.
Is not important at this time.
Has been discontinued temporarily.
Q. Are we working on the budget report today?
A. No, were doing the scholarships. The budget report will be on the back burner for a
Opposite: On the front burner.
On the contrary!
I beg to differ.
Contrary to that.
The opposite of something.
Contrary to what youre saying.
A. I think huge taxes should be imposed on Japanese cars to help the Americans.
B. On the contrary, that will hurt us, as our manufacturers will stop trying to improve their
On the fence
Not taking sides or making a decision.
Q. Do you think the others will join us?
A. Joey is still on the fence about it, but Ken and Mitch are both coming with us.
Managing to do something
Being able to do something, despite low expectations.
She managed to remember the speech.
Do you think you can manage to do it alone?
I think I can manage to get there ahead of time.
Mark my words
Listen to what I am saying.
Remember what Im saying.
It will happen the way Ive said it will happen.
I know that you dont take me seriously but, mark my words, one of these days Im going to
become famous.
Read my lips.
Having ones fingers crossed
Keeping ones fingers crossed
Warding off evil. (A superstitious belief.)
Hoping for something to happen or not to happen. (Wishful thinking.)
I just had an interview. I had my fingers crossed most of the time throughout the interview.
Some school kids believe crossing their fingers behind their back while making a verbal
promise means that they dont have to honour their promise!
Crossed fingers.
Crossing ones fingers.
In the public eye
In public.
In public view.
In front of every body.
Where it will be public knowledge.
In touch
Involved in communication.
Maintaining contact with someone.
Having an understanding of the situation.
When someone says: Im in touch with Freddy, they mean:
We call each other, we sometimes meet, etc.
When someone says: Im in touch with our community, they mean something like:
I know how people feel, what their problems are, etc.
When someone says: Keep (or stay) in touch, they mean: Dont stop communicating with
Compare to:
In tune with
In agreement with.
Im definitely in tune with my wifes feelings. I can tell when shes had a bad day before she
even says anything.
Also: In harmony.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
In witness protection
In the Witness Protection Program
Hiding or living in an undisclosed location, with the help of the government, and with a new
In protective custody.
Under police protection.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Inflated ego
Feeling of self-importance.
Having too much self confidence, excessively
bragging about ones accomplishments, being conceited.
Ins and outs
Q. Are you new here?
A. Yes. Ive just started working, and I dont know the ins and outs of the system yet.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Inside the box
This has to do with:
Old ways.
Traditional ways.
Doing things, or thinking, within the usual and commonly accepted ways.
When someone says: I want you to stop thinking inside-the-box, they mean something like: I
want you to become more creative, and think of new alternatives.
Compare to:
In-your-face (attitude)
When someone says: She has an in-your-face attitude, they mean something like:
She is uncompromising.
She always wants to fight.
She doesnt want to give up anything.
Shes unafraid of what you might say or do.
Also: All-up-in-your-face attitude.
Late someone
A polite way of referring to a person who is not living.
Sitting on the dock of the bay was performed by the late, great Otis Redding.
Latter, former
When someone says: Jenny and Diana are both
beautiful, but I prefer the latter to the former, they mean:
Diana is more beautiful than Jenny!
Laying eyes on something
Seeing something.
Ever since I laid eyes on that old Mercedes, Ive wanted it.
Laying hands on something
Im willing to pay a lot of money to lay my hands on an old Beatles album.
Get hold of something.
Get ones hands on something.
It didnt cross my mind.
It never crossed my mind.
I didnt think of it
Q. Didnt you think about calling her and telling her that she was in danger?
A. No, sir, that thought didnt cross my mind!
Also see: It never occurred to me.
Let bygones be bygones.
Move on.
Forget about it.
Forgive and forget.
Forget about the bad things that happened between you guys.
Let it all hang out.
Talk about it.
Be totally honest, and dont hold anything back.
Say all that is on your mind, and dont miss anything.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Let it ride.
Wait, dont do anything.
Let the situation continue.
Lets let it ride for a while, and see what happens.
Lets ride it out.
Let it ride for now.
Let it blow over, or wait until it blows over.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Let me have it!
See: Hit it.
Let me put it this way!
Let me explain.
This is what I mean.
Let me say it this way.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Lets hear it.
Start talking.
I am listening.
Tell me about it.
Let us know about it.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Lets cross that bridge when we come to it.
Lets not worry about it now.
Well worry about it when its necessary.
Q. What if we dont get the money by tomorrow?
A. Well, lets cross that bridge when we come to it.
It never occurred to me.
I never thought of that.
It never occurred to me that my own friends would desert me!
Also see:
It didnt cross my mind.
It goes without saying.
It is accepted.
It is understood.
Everyone knows it.
Theres no need to say it.
It is needless to say.
A. It goes without saying that college graduates make more money than us.
B. Why do you say it then?
Letting go of
Releasing, as in:
Let go of my arm. I have to leave.
Moving on, forgetting about it, as in:
Let go of the past. You have to move on with your life.
Letting go
Forgiving and forgetting.
Q. Are you still mad at your boss?
A. No, Ive forgiven him. You have to learn to let go, otherwise youll just hurt yourself.
Letting someone down
Disappointing someone.
Not supporting someone.
Letting someone down easy, means: Being kind to them when youre letting them down.
Letting someone have it
Hitting or attacking someone, verbally or physically.
Q. Why did you fight with your uncle?
A. I didnt really want to but, when he started bad mouthing my dad, I let him have it!
Lighten up!
Take it easy.
Dont be so serious.
Dont take things so seriously.
It got me thinking.
It made me think.
It made me start to think.
It got me working means: It made me work.
It got me running means: It made me run.
Middle of nowhere
Not a known location.
Far from populated areas.
He lives in the middle of nowhere. The nearest store is 25 miles away.
When someone says: Were in the middle of nowhere, they mean something like: Were lost.
We dont know where we are.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Someone who is between the approximate ages of 40 and 60 years old.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Might as well
When someone says: We might as well go home, they mean something like:
Lets go home!
Theres nothing else to do here. Lets go home!
Q. Its almost noon. Do you want to have lunch?
A. Yeah, we might as well!
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Milking the situation
Taking advantage of a situation by trying to extend the process.
Trying to get as much from a situation as you possibly can.
He always milks these lucrative government contracts for as much as he can.
Mind your Ps and Qs.
Dont be nosy.
Dont be sarcastic.
Mind your manners.
Dont be a smart ass.
Mind your own business.
Be careful about what youre saying or doing.
A very long time.
When someone says: The electric car technology is light-years away, they mean:
That technology wont be available for a very long time.
Lions share
Major share.
Largest part of something.
Long face
Sad looks.
Unhappy face.
Serious looking.
Q. Why the long face?
A. I lost a lot of money in the stock market today.
Long running
Being around for a long time.
Q. What are your favourite long-running TV shows?
Long term, Short term
Long-term, Short-term
Long term:
These are plans, policies, expenses, etc., for the distant future, such as building more
schools to provide education for more children.
Short term:
These are plans for the near future, such as purchasing more school buses.
Also see:
In the long run.
In the short run.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Long time coming
Expected for a long time.
Well, were finally going to have some new health care policies, changes that were a long-
time coming.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Long time in the making
In progress for a long time.
The conflict in the region has been a long time in the making. It didnt just happen, you know!
Many years in the making.
It has its blessings.
There are certain good things about it.
A. One thing good about smoking is that people dont get too close to you during breaks.
B. Sure. Smoking has its blessings!
It has its problems.
It has its disadvantages.
It has its ups and downs.
Looking inward
Examining ones thoughts and beliefs.
Ive been looking inward, wanting to know what I really want to do, or who I really am.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Looking over ones shoulder
Not feeling safe or secure.
Having worries about being followed, identified, attacked, etc.
A. She knows her ex-husomebodyand is in prison, but shes still worried.
B. I know. Shes constantly looking over her shoulder!
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Looking the other way
When you say: Hes looking the other way, you could mean any of the following:
He cant see us.
He doesnt want to talk to us.
He doesnt want to get involved.
Hes helping us by pretending that he doesnt see us. That way we can do whatever we want
to do, and he wont get in trouble for helping us.
Looking up to someone
Admiring someone.
Being proud of someone.
I look up to my father. Im so proud of him.
Looking down on someone.
Main Street
The general public.
Ordinary, everyday people and their businesses.
The effects of higher gas prices are felt on Main Street, means something like:
Higher gas prices are hurting ordinary people.
Compare to:
Wall Street.
It leaves much to be desired.
Its very bad.
Its very unsatisfactory.
Your sons behaviour leaves much to be desired. Actually, it reminds me of yours!
Having second thoughts
Having doubts, as in:
I know that I said I would go on the trip with you guys, but now Im having second thoughts
about it. Sorry, I wont be going!
Compare to:
Second thought.
On second thought.
Having someone do something
Making, telling, ordering, arranging for, or asking someone to do something.
Ill have my secretary call you.
Please have your brother come to my office.
Having the last word
Making the final decision, as in:
Q. Are you going to buy that dream car of yours?
A. I can dream as much as I want but, as you know, my wife will have the last word!
Saying the last statement that is uttered in an argument, as in:
Whenever we argue, Suzie always has to have the last word!
Compare to:
Last word.
Heres the thing!
Let me explain.
Heres the story.
Heres something you should know.
Hold that thought!
Just a minute.
Dont forget what you were saying.
Hold that thought while I order some food.
Holding a grudge
Not being able to forgive someone for something theyve said or done.
Staying angry with someone, maybe even with the thought of taking revenge, long after an
incident has passed.
Also see: Having an axe to grind.
How are things on your end?
How are things with you?
How are things in your area?
How will that play out?
How will it work?
What will happen?
How will it unfold?
Last but not least
The last one, but not the least important one.
The last reason, but not the least important reason.
And last, but not least, I want to thank my parents, without whose support I wouldnt be
standing here today.
Last straw
Final straw
The final, very small problem that causes a failure, or an angry outburst, or a chaotic
situation, after a series of other smaller problems have happened.
Q. Did Michelle leave her husomebodyand just because he got drunk?
A. She had wanted to leave him for some time. His getting drunk was the last straw!
Last word
The end of something.
Saying the last words in an argument.
When someone says: We havent heard the last word on immigration, they mean something
Its not finished yet.
We havent seen the end of it.
There will be more discussions.
Compare to: Having the last word.
If you cant take the heat, stay out of the kitchen!
If you cant handle it, then dont do it.
If you cant handle the stress, then dont take on a tough job.
If you will
If you are willing.
If you feel that way.
If thats how you want to look at it.
This expression can be used to allow the listener to play a role in accepting the speakers
choice of words or to imagine what the speaker is trying to convey.
Think of her as your friend, if you will.
I was feeling very sick, afraid of dying if you will, so I stayed home.
Beating a dead horse
Repeatedly talking about something.
Talking about something that has already been decided.
Wasting ones time talking about something that wont change.
Q. Can we talk about my trip now?
A. Come on, stop beating a dead horse! We have already decided that youre not going.
Before one could say ...
Very fast.
He is the fastest locksmith Ive ever seen. He unlocked the door before I could say: This is
the door!
Begs the question
Makes you wonder.
Raises the question.
Q. The teachers decision yesterday begs the question: Did she consider all of the facts?
A. Ive asked myself the same question. I dont think she considered everything!
Also: Beg the question.
Begging the question.
Behind closed doors
In private.
Private matters.
Toshiro wanted all family matters to stay behind closed doors. His wife didnt; she decided
Being critical of ...
Criticising someone or something.
Not approving someone or something.
The opposition is being critical of the governments latest economic plans.
Being let go
Getting fired.
Being dismissed from a job.
Q. What happened to Jenny?
A. They found her sleeping on the job. She was let go this morning.
Being up to something
Planning to do something sneaky, as in:
I dont usually see you at the office on weekends, but
youre here today! What are you up to?
Ricky is up to something. I can tell by the way he stops talking whenever I come around.
Hes hiding something. Hes up to no good!
Being able or willing to do something, as in:
Q. Are you up to going to the movies?
A. No, not today. Lets do it tomorrow.
Believe you me!
Believe me you!
Believe me!
Also: You better believe it!
Beside the point
Not the issue.
Something else.
Not what were talking about.
Q. Did you also want to talk about my trip?
A. Yes, but thats beside the point. That is not really why I called you.
Better part of
Most of.
I spend the better part of the year in California;
We were sleeping for the better part of the lecture; etc.
Blessed with something
Fortunate or lucky to have a special skill, or gift, or position, or home, etc.
Q. Do you think she has a great voice?
A. Oh, yes! Shes blessed with one of the greatest voices ever.
Blowing out of proportion
Making something seem more serious (or important, or spectacular, etc.,) than it actually is.
A. Im sure this was a minor accident but, the way your son explained it, I was really worried.
B. I know, he has a habit of blowing things out of proportion.
Blowing someones mind
Being amazing.
It will blow your mind, means:
Its great;
Youll love it;
Its unbelievable;
Youll be so surprised; etc.
Also see: Knocking someones socks off.
Boiling down to ...
Coming down to ...
Basically meaning ...
Removing all of the extra things and giving the main idea or point or the heart of the matter.
When someone says: It all boils down to them not liking us, they mean something like:
Considering everything, they dont like us;
The conclusion is, they dont like us; etc.
Bottom line
In the end.
The end result.
The main point.
When someone says: The bottom line is that you have to pay, they mean something like:
You have to pay, no matter what.
All things considered, you have to pay.
Bring it on!
Im ready when you are!
Brushing something off
Being dismissive.
Not taking it seriously.
My cousin doesnt accept criticism. He simply brushes it off.
Burning a copy
Making a copy.
(Mostly applies to CDs and DVDs)
Burning the candle at both ends
Working too hard.
Overextending oneself.
Doing too many things at once.
It pays to do something.
Its worth doing it.
Q. Do I really have to follow these rules?
A. Yes, it pays to follow them if you want to get ahead in this company.
Q. Does it pay to go to college?
A. Of course it does. If you dont, you might end up like me!
It spells something.
It signals something.
Its a sign of something.
A. Our teenage sons are home by themselves this weekend while were here on a trip.
B. Two teenagers, an empty house, and parents on a trip. That spells trouble!
Something that isnt true or real.
Pretending, in a playful way, as kids do.
Are you feeling sorry for the characters in the movie? Dont. Its only make-believe!
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Make it so.
Do it.
Make it happen.
Make it a reality.
Make my day!
Make me happy!
Make my day a good one!
Make today worthwhile for me!
Make yourself at home.
Feel welcome.
Make yourself comfortable.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Making a case
Proving a point.
Proving that the case is valid.
When you say: Tanya made her case through dozens of old letters, you mean something
She used the letters to prove her point.
Making a case for something
Providing a convincing proof or argument for something.
For many people, Im sorry to say, the case for global warming has not been made yet.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Making a difference
Having an effect.
Doing something (usually good) for others.
When someone says: It makes a big difference, they mean something like: It is very
A. Name two people who have made a difference.
B. Mahatma Gandhi and Louis Pasteur.
Leaving a mark.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Making a habit of
Doing something regularly or on a regular basis.
If you say: Tomiko has made a habit of coming to work late everyday, you mean: Tomikos
coming to work late on a regular basis.
Making a point
Stressing a point.
Emphasising something.
Q. Why does my father keep talking about my grades?
A. Hes trying to make a point.
Making a splash
Making a noticeable appearance.
She made a big splash at the party. Everybody noticed her there.
Making do
Managing things when theres little money.
Working with what you have or what youve been given.
Managing to make things happen in financially difficult situations.
Times are tough, and Im trying to make do with whats available.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Making ends meet
Earning just enough money to live and pay the bills.
Q. Hows life treating you?
A. Well, not very good. Im trying to make ends meet.
Making a living.
Making headlines
Being on the news.
Being mentioned by the media (radio, TV, magazines, etc.,) in a big way.
When someone says: Well be making headlines, they mean: Well be on the news, and
everybody will be talking about us.
Making light of the situation
Making the situation seem unimportant.
Treating something as if it was not serious.
She made an effort to make light of the altercation, but everyone there knew that it was
Making off
Leaving in a hurry.
Stealing. (Used with with.)
Mr. Made off made off with billions of dollars!
Making the grade
Passing the test.
At the rate youre going, you will probably not make the grade.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Making up ones mind
Making a decision.
Q. Have you decided what you want to do tonight?
A. No, I havent. I cant make up my mind.
By all means
For sure.
Of course.
Q. Will you cooperate with us?
A. Yes, by all means. You can be sure.
By proxy
Through a representative.
When the political prisoner married her husomebodyand, she did it by proxy because they
wouldnt let him in the prison!
By the book
According to the law, or according to the rules.
I want you to do everything by the book to make sure that we wont make a mistake again!
Call me!
Telephone me.
Give me a call (or a ring, or a buzz, or a jingle).

Calling for something

Asking for something, as in:
Q. What do these people want?
A. Nothing unusual. Theyre calling for justice!
Requiring something, as in:
Q. What kind of an agreement do you have?
A. Well, for one thing, it calls for the strike to end on Monday.
Being appropriate for something, as in:
A. I got my raise.
B. Great, this calls for a celebration!
Calling it a day
Stopping to work, usually for the day.
Thats enough work for today. Its time for me to call it a day and go home, or to the movies,
whichever is closer!
Calling on
Making a request.
Im calling on you to punish her.
Im calling on all of you to participate in our fight against elderly abuse.
Calling the shots
Making the decisions.
Telling people what to do.
Q. Whos calling the shots around here?
A. I am.
Q. Well, then, can I borrow your step ladder for a few minutes?
A. I dont know. Let me ask my wife!
Can do without.
Something thats not really needed.
A luxury car is a nice thing to have, but its something that I can do without.
Cant afford to do something.
Not being able, or willing, to do something for some reason.
I cant afford to miss this class. If I miss it, I wont graduate.
You cant afford to stay home from the party, because youll miss all the fun.
Cant let this get to you.
You cant let this affect you.
You shouldnt let this ruin your plans, or our life, etc.
A. Now that Ive lost my job, I dont know what we can do!
B. Oh, we cant let this get to us. Well think of something.
Cant wait (to do something).
Being so anxious and eager (to do something) that its difficult to wait until the time comes.
I cant wait to see you.
He cant wait to go home.
She couldnt wait to finish college.
Case closed
Origin: Legal
Mystery solved.
No more discussion.
When someone says: Im not buying a new car, case closed, they mean something like:
My decision on buying a new car is final.
Im not buying a new car, and I dont want to talk about this subject any more; etc.
Compare to: I rest my case.
Cashing in
Profiting from something.
Making money on something.
Also see:
Capitalising on something.
Cashing out
Getting all of ones money out of an account.
Im not happy with this bank! Id like to cash out and
close my account.
In real estate:
A cash-out refinance is a type of refinance that will result in a new (larger) loan, but will let
the borrower have some cash to use as he or she pleases.
In the hole
Financially in trouble, or in debt, as in:
Im always in the hole, which is why I cant go on a vacation.
Loss of money, as in:
Because of this deal Im $500 in the hole.
Caught red-handed
Caught doing something wrong.
Caught while committing a crime.
Q. Why are they holding him? How do they know hes guilty?
A. They caught him red handed. He couldnt deny it!
Caught in the act.
Caught with his pants down.
Caught with his hands in the cookie jar
Centre stage
Centre of attention.
Position of importance.
The oil prices have taken centre stage again.
ill will
Bad feelings.
Feelings of hostility.
Privately wishing someone misfortune.
The initial secrecy by her husomebodyand toward her created some of the ill will between
In light of
In light of your numerous mistakes, Im reconsidering the extent of your future participation in
our activities!
in (the) light of something
Fig. because of certain knowledge now in hand; considering something. (As if knowledge or
information shed light on something.) In light of what you have told us, I think we must
abandon the project. In light of the clerk's rudeness, we didn't return to that shop.
in (the) light of something
for the reason given In light of how much our own costs have gone up, we have to raise
prices to our customers.
In its entirety
In its complete form.
If you just wait a minute, Ill tell you the story in its entirety.
Changing for the better
Things getting better.
Conditions improving.
The economy has been bad, but I can see things changing for the better.
Turning for the better.
Changing for the worse.
Changing hands
Changing ownership.
Ownership of something going from one person to another.
Charity begins at home.
Take care of those who are close to you (your family, friends, community, hometown, etc.,)
before you attend to others.
In effect
Effectively, or for all practical purposes, as in:
She is my wife. In effect, she is my boss!
Enforced, or observed, as in:
The cell phone law is in effect in San Diego. So, theyd better not catch you using your cell
phone while driving!
In hindsight
When one looks back.
When someone says: In hindsight, we didnt do it right, they mean something like:
Now that I think about it, I realise we really screwed up!
If I knew then what I know now, I would have done it differently!
Chasing rainbows
Going after something thats not achievable.
Coming a long way
Doing very well.
Accomplishing a lot.
Achieving a lot compared to where someone has started from.
When someone says: Youve come a long way, they mean something like: Youve been very
Coming across as
Appearing to have a certain characteristic or personality.
When someone says: Sumaya is coming across as being truthful, they mean something like:
She seems to be a person who tells the truth.
Coming clean
Telling the truth.
When someone says: Bill came clean on Monica, they mean something like: He told the truth
about the Monica incident.
Coming from behind
Coming forward from a weak position.
Q. Were you surprised that our team won?
A. Of course, nobody thought they would win. It was a true come-from-behind victory!
Consumed by something
Only thinking about one thing, as in:
My mother-in-law is consumed by greed.
Crack of dawn
Very early morning.
The very beginning of a new day.
Ive been working since the crack of dawn.
Cracking down
Origin: Legal, Political
Enforcing the existing regulations.
The police should really crack down on violence, and arrest some of these drug dealers
before things get even worse.
Creating a buzz
Getting people to talk about you or your product.
Making yourself or your product interesting so that everyones talking about you or it.
Catch phrase.
Crossing the line
Origin: Sports
Doing or saying the wrong thing;
Going too far in what was said or done; as in:
I dont care who he is. He crossed the line and needs to apologise.
Joining the other side, as in:
Cut out for
Made for.
When someone says: This job was cut out for you, they mean something like: It was made
for you. It is perfect for you.
Just like that
(Usually said while snapping the fingers:)
Very fast.
My wife is very strong. She could break your neck just like that!
Q. Did it take them long to change your tire?
A. No, they did it just like that!
Keeping it on the down-low
Keeping something a secret.
Q. When are you getting your promotion?
A. Its not a sure thing yet. Lets keep it on the down-low for now.
Keep in mind!
Bear in mind!
Also: Keep it in the back of your mind!
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Keep it up!
Be good.
Keep the spirit up.
Youre doing a good job.
Keep up the good work.
Keeping a low profile
Not attracting attention.
Trying not to be noticed.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Keeping an eye on
Watching someone or something carefully.
Im not sure about this guy. Keep an eye on him for a while, until we know more.
Keeping in line
Origin: Military
Staying in ones place.
Keeping someone (or something) under control.
When someone says: I want you to keep the kids in line, they mean: I want you to keep the
kids under control, and make them behave.
Keep your shirt on!
Dont rush.
Wait for a while.
Dont get too excited just yet.
Hold it.
Hold on.
Hold your horses.
Keep your pants on.
Keeping one on ones toes
Staying alert.
Keeping one busy.
Being ready to respond.
I dont have time to go anywhere. The kids are constantly keeping me on my toes.
Keeping ones eyes open
Being careful, watchful, observant, etc.
Theres some broken glass on the floor. Keep your eyes open while Im vacuuming the floor.
Keeping ones feet on the ground
Keeping both feet on the ground
Having a solid foundation.
Being sensible and reasonable.
Not forgetting ones humble beginnings
Not losing ones balance while reaching for higher goals.
Q. Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars. Who said that?
A. Who else? Casey Kasem!
Keeping ones head down
Not attracting attention.
Trying not to be noticed.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Keeping ones head in the game
Origin: Sports
Staying focused.
Paying attention to what one is doing, or needs to be doing.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Keeping ones head up
Being or feeling proud.
Continue to stand tall, even if youve just experienced a disappointment.
Keep your head up, son. Were all proud of you!
Keep your chin up!
Keeping ones head above water
Trying to stay in business.
Trying not to fail in difficult times.
Saving, or trying to save, oneself.
Saving, or trying to save, ones business.
cutting corners
Doing things cheaply.
Not following all of the rules.
Lowering the quality to save money.
A. I know for a fact that some of the contractors are cutting corners to save money.
B. If thats true, it may be unsafe, and may even be illegal. I think we should fire them.
Keeping pace
Origin: Military
Not being too far behind.
Staying close, as in a race.
When someone says: The worlds oil supply is not keeping pace with demand, they mean
something like: Not enough oil is being produced to meet the demand.
Keeping someone company
Staying with them.
Please keep him (his) company. Hes been very lonely since his dog left him for his
Knowing how it is
Not being naive.
When someone says: I know how it is, they mean something like:
You cant fool me.
I know whats going on.
I wasnt born yesterday.
Knowing the ropes
Knowing all of the details.
Knowing the tricks and rules about something.
Q. When are you going to publish your book?
A. I dont know. Im looking for someone who knows the ropes to help me with it.
Knowing the score
Knowing the tricks.
Being experienced.
I know the score, means something like:
Im not naive.
You cant fool me.
I know whats going on.
Landing a job
Getting a job.
Q. Have you found a job yet?
A. Yeah, I landed one last week
Landing on ones feet
The ability to survive a difficult situation satisfactorily.
A. Alicia is in trouble again. I wonder what shell do!
B. Oh, dont worry about her. Somehow she always manages to land on her feet.
Keeping tabs on
Keeping an eye on
Watching someone or something carefully.
Q. Do you really trust our new security guard?
A. No. As a matter of fact, Ive started keeping tabs on him!
Keeping close tabs.
Kick the habit
To quit an addiction.
To stop doing something thats difficult to stop doing.
Isnt it time you kicked the habit and stopped smoking, you moron?
In a nutshell
Summing things up.
Summarising something.
A. Im in a hurry. Please put it in a nutshell for me.
B. In a nutshell, Im late because my car broke down!
in a pickle
In a mess.
In extremely bad shape.
In a tough situation that may not be easy to get out of.
in chief
The top person.
The top person in each field.
Commander-in-chief; etc.
Its a tie.
Its a draw.
In a sporting event, when someone says: Its a tie, or its a draw, they mean: The two sides
have equal scores.
Its the X that counts.
The answer is X.
X is the important thing.
Its the X that makes a difference.
Its the spirit that counts.
Its the money that counts.
Its the winning that counts.
Its the end result that counts
ts all Greek to me.
Its unfamiliar to me.
I dont understand it.
ts a wrap.
Origin: Movie industry
Were done.
It is finished.
Its a wrap, we can go home now.
Wrap it up, means something like: Stop what youre working on, put everything away, and get
ready to go home.
Jumping on the bandwagon
Being opportunistic.
Joining a popular movement without necessarily believing in it.
Hes not really interested in saving energy. He has simply jumped on the green bandwagon
(because thats the cool thing to do these days).
Jumping the gun
Origin: Military
Acting too quickly or without thinking.
Starting something before youre supposed to.
Q. Detective, the man youre holding has only one ear. Is it true that hes the One-Eared
A. Sorry, we wont jump the gun on his identity before conducting a full investigation.
Dark horse
A promising, but previously unknown, political candidate.
Someone you dont expect to win, but who ends up winning.
Day of reckoning
Judgment day.
Day of judgment.
The day when you have to answer for your actions.
No sooner ... than
An example is needed:
When you say: No sooner had Tom eaten the fish than he began to feel sick, you mean:
As soon as Tom ate the fish, he felt sick.
No stone unturned
When someone says: Weve left no stone unturned, they mean:
Everything possible has been done.
Weve done everything thats necessary.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
No two ways about it
Theres no other way.
Q. I thought we were going to the movies first?
A. No, well have dinner first, and dont argue with me. There are no two ways about it!
No wonder!
Small wonder!
Its no surprise.
We shouldnt be surprised that this is the case.
No wonder everybody loves the new dance show. Its very entertaining!
With gas prices being so high, its a small wonder that they all stayed home during the
Not thinking much of
Not taking someone or something seriously.
They dont think much of me, means:
They dont take me seriously.
They dont think very highly of me.
They dont think I have anything significant to offer.
They dont think I am good enough or important enough.
Not giving someone much credit.
Not to be sneezed at
To be taken seriously.
Not to be taken lightly.
Not to mention
When someone says: Wendy Crewson is beautiful, not to mention sophisticated, they mean:
Wendy Crewson is beautiful AND sophisticated.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Nothing doing
No way.
Its no use, or its no good.
It wont work. Dont waste your time.
Q. Will you pay for my ticket?
A. Nothing doing!
Nothing short of something
This means something or a lot of something, and is best explained through examples:
When someone says: Her victory is nothing short of anticipated, they mean: Her victory is
anticipated or strongly anticipated.
When someone says: Evas recovery was nothing short of a miracle, they mean: Her
recovery was a miracle.
Nothing to it
It isnt true.
Its very easy.
Its not important.
Dont worry; it doesnt mean anything
Deal with it!
Handle it!
Accept it!
Look. I dont like it any more than you do, but we have to get rid of our cat. Deal with it!
Its a deal!
I agree.
Lets do it.
A. Ill do my homework regularly if you buy me a drum set.
B. Its a deal!
Dedicated someone or something
An item or person assigned for a specific purpose.
We have a dedicated computer for the kids, means something like:
Grown-ups should use another computer.
We have hired a dedicated weight and balance engineer, means something like:
He only does weight and balance calculations. For design purposes we go to our design
Departure from the norm
Not normal.
Not the usual.
What youre proposing sounds okay to me. For him, however, its a departure from the norm
and doesnt make sense.
Dirt cheap
Very cheap or inexpensive, as in:
You can build your own computer at home. The parts are dirt cheap.
Also see:
Dime a dozen
Very cheap or inexpensive, as in:
I can find cheap polyester shirts everywhere. Theyre a dime-a-dozen these days!
Do over
A second chance.
I wish there was a do-over for life.
Dont be a stranger!
Keep in touch.
Call, or come and see us, from time to time.
Dont bet on it!
Dont be so sure.
A. I think this time they will come to an agreement about the global warming issue.
B. Dont bet on it!
Dont hold your breath!
Dont be long.
Do it quickly.
Come back soon.
Dont take too much time
Dont get me wrong.
Dont misunderstand me.
Oh no, thats not what I meant!
Dont go there.
Dont even go there.
Dont talk about it.
Dont you dare talk about it!
Dont bring it up, Im serious!
Q. Do you want me to tell your wife?
A. Oh, dont even go there, or youll be sorry.
Dont leave me hanging.
Tell me now.
Dont keep me waiting and wondering.

Dragging on
Taking too long.

Drifting apart
Gradually becoming separated, emotionally or otherwise.
Dropping the ball
Origin: Sports
Screwing up.
Missing an opportunity.
Making a mistake, especially a simple or stupid mistake.
You really dropped the ball when you wrecked my car and didnt even tell me about it.
In hot water
In trouble.
Under pressure.
Political scandals have landed several public figures in hot water.
Also see:
In deep shit. (Not a polite thing to say.)
In police custody
In jail.
Under arrest.
In the interest of justice
For justice.
If justice is to be served.
When someone says: In the interest of justice, he should be imprisoned, it means:
If you want justice, he should go to jail;
If justice is to be done, he should go to jail.
Based on the new DNA evidence, we must put him in
jail in the interest of justice.
For the sake of justice.
In the long run
In the short run
Considering the distant, or near, future.
Providing education for our children will benefit us in the long run. In the short run, however,
it will obviously hurt us because of its cost.
Also see:
Long term.
Short term.
It wont do.
That wont do.
It wont work.
It isnt enough.
It isnt the right one.
It isnt good enough.
It isnt good for this job.
A. Im sorry I didnt call you, but Ill come in tomorrow and work overtime.
B. No, that wont do. Youre fired!
It wont cut it.
It will never do.
Missing link
Something that needs explaining.
Theres a missing link here. Something that we cannot see or cannot explain.
Referring to the origins of man, as it relates to a stupid person, calling someone dumb, like a
Something missing without which something else will be incomplete.
We have a missing link here without which these theories do not make any sense.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Missing the boat
Being too late.
Missing an opportunity.
Are you coming to the movies with us? Make a decision fast, or youre going to miss the
It sucks.
Its bad.
I hate it.
Q. Dont you hate it when you have a flat tire on a rainy day?
A. Yes! It sucks!
In ones element
In an enjoyable environment.
In an area someone has expertise in.
In familiar or comfortable surroundings.
Q. Are you a comedian first, or an actor?
A. Im really a comedian. Of course, I can act, but Im not in my element when I do so.
In ones own right
Because of ones own ability, skills, accomplishments, etc.
When someone says: Zoobinshid deserves praise in his own right, they mean: We must give
him credit for what hes accomplished himself, and on his own.
I know that Jane Fonda is Henry Fondas daughter, but shes a great actor in her own right.
Easy to look at
Pleasant looking.
Easy on the eyes.
Q. So, what do you think of her?
A. Well, I must admit, shes really easy on the eyes!
Emotional roller coaster
This has to do with being moody.
Q. Why did you break up with your girlfriend?
A. She was on a constant emotional roller coaster! I couldnt take it any more.
Having mood swings.
Eleventh hour
Last minute
When someone says: We came up with a decision at the eleventh hour, they mean: A
decision was made at the last minute.
Eat your heart out!
When someone says: Im going on a trip, eat your heart out, they mean something like:
Im going on a trip but youre not. I hope that makes you jealous!
When someone says: I just got a promotion, eat your heart out, they mean something like:
I got a promotion but you didnt, and I know thats killing you!
Depending on who says it and how it is said, this could be a mean or a humorous statement.
Money is no object.
This is used when the price of something is not an issue.
Please arrange to have a piano in there for Farimah to practice on. And, remember, money is
no object!
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Money talks!
Money buys influence.
Money helps to solve everything.
If you have money, you can do anything.
If you have money, people will listen to you.
More pronounced
More obvious.
More noticeable.
Moving on
Not dwelling in the past.
Continuing with ones life.
When you say: The earthquake survivors are moving on with their lives, you could mean
Theyre rebuilding their homes.
Theyre not just talking or thinking about it anymore.
Theyve put the incident behind them and are looking forward.
Also see: Picking up the pieces.
My bad
My fault.
My mistake.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
My lips are sealed.
I wont say a word.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Cheap things are expensive. Spanish.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
My treat
Its free.
Ill pay for it.
I just got a raise today and I want to take all of you to lunch. My treat.
Also: Its on me.
Compare to: On the house.
Nail biter
A tense situation.
A very close ending.
A situation where one starts biting ones nails out of nervousness.
The game on Sunday was a nail-biter, with the visiting team scoring a winning touchdown in
the last five seconds.
Nailing someone (down)
Locating, identifying, apprehending, or controlling someone or something.
The police have nailed the suspect and are in the process of taking her to jail.
Im happy to announce that we have nailed the heat exchanger problem down and well be
having a quick solution in the next couple of weeks!
Also: Pinning down.
Much less
When someone says: He cant swim, much less dive, they mean:
If he cant swim, then obviously he cant dive.
He cant swim. How do you expect him to dive?
Also see: Let alone.
Next to nothing
Almost nothing or very little, as in:
It costs next to nothing.
Also see:
Next up
Nickel and dime
Small amounts of money.
When someone says: Dont nickel-and-dime me, they mean:
Dont waste my time over small change.
When someone says: This business will nickel-and-
dime me to death, they mean:
This business is going to gradually bankrupt me with all of these small expenses.
When someone says: He nickel-and-dimed this into a big business, they mean:
Little by little, he made it into a big business.
Nipping something in the bud
Taking care of a problem in its early stages.
I should have nipped my accident problem in the bud before the insurance company became
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
The main thing.
Heart of the matter.
Okay everyone. Enough with the small talk. Lets get down to the nitty-gritty!
No can do
No way.
I cant do it.
Its impossible.
A. Lets go on a trip.
B. No can do!
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
No contest
No challenge.
No argument.
When someone says: She pleaded no contest to the charges, they mean:
She offered no argument.
She didnt challenge the charges.
She didnt admit that she was guilty, but she also didnt say that she was innocent.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
No contest
Not enough challenge.
When someone says: Did you see the match last night? It was no contest, they mean:
It wasnt a fair match.
The two sides were not fairly matched.
One side was very clearly superior to the other.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
No doubt
Certainly. Without a doubt.
No doubt shell join us for dinner.
No doubt about it.
No question about it.
No less
When someone says: He walked outside for a long timein a severe storm, no lessbefore
going back home, they mean something like:
Even though it was a severe storm, he walked for a long time before going back home.
Surprisingly enough, he walked for a long time, in a severe storm, before going back home.
No love lost
A lot of hatred.
A history of disagreement.
When someone says: There is no love lost between
them, they mean something like:
They really hate each other and always have.
No match
Origin: Sports
When one side is clearly and overwhelmingly superior to the other side, a comparison or
competition between the two sides becomes meaningless and wont be fair. In such cases,
the less superior side is no match for the other.
A slide rule is no match for modern calculators.
A car is no match for a truck, if were talking about load capacity.
A bicycle is no match for a motorcycle, if were talking about speed.
No matter what
In any case.
Without condition.
Well do it, no matter what, means:
Well do it.
Well do it anyway.
Well do it no matter what happens
Now, if you will excuse me!
Im sorry, but I have to leave.
Please excuse, me as I have another appointment.
Nothing to show for it
A waste of time or money.
We spent a lot of time and money bidding on this project, but we lost the bid. Now we have
nothing to show for it. However, our competitors DO have something to show for
it: a huge contract!
Number is up.
Time to go.
Time to die.
My number is up, means something like:
Im dying.
I have to go, or its my turn.
I dont have any more time.
Number one
Im doing this for number one! Myself.
Objective, subjective
An objective person:
Considers the facts, not emotions.
Does not let his/her personal feeling influence his/her decisions.
A subjective person.
Odd hours
Unusual hours.
Late night hours
Odds and ends
Little things.
Various pieces.
Miscellaneous items.
Q. What did you use to make this quilt?
A. Oh, just some odds-and-ends of fabric that I had lying around the sewing room.
Of two minds
Off limits
Available to certain people.
Not available to everybody.
When someone says: The cafeteria is off-limits, they mean something like:
We dont have permission to go there.
When someone says: Hey, guys, the mayors family is off-limits, they mean something like:
Dont photograph them.
Dont make jokes about them.
Dont write about their private lives.
Off schedule
Behind schedule.
If you say: The construction is off-schedule, you mean:
It wont be completed on time, as previously planned
Off the cuff
Without preparation.
Sir, now that youre an elected official, you should be more careful about making some of
your typical, off-the-cuff remarks. You could get in trouble!
Also: Off the top of ones head.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Off the record
An unofficial statement.
When someone says: Im going to tell you this off-the-record, they mean something like:
Ill tell you, but you cant use my name.
Ill tell you, but you cant use it against me.
Ill tell you, but Ill deny it if you tell anybody.
On behalf of
Speaking for.
As a representative of.
On behalf of my family, I thank you for being here. Speaking for myself, however, I wish youd
all go home!
On the level
Someone who tells the truth.
If youre on the level, youre being straight with people.
Q. What do you think of the new guy?
A. I dont really know him, but he seems to be on the level.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
On the line
At risk.
Im risking everything, and I have to be careful. My neck is on the line, you know!
My ass is on the line! (Same thing, but not polite.)
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
On the menu
On the table
On the agenda.
Available options.
The things to talk about or make decisions about.
When someone says: That wasnt on the menu, they mean something like:
I didnt know that. I didnt agree to that.
When someone says: Whats on the table? they mean something like:
What are we going to talk about?
What options, or choices, do we have?
On the offensive
Attacking and/or questioning someones actions.
Your opponents seem to be vulnerable now. Its time for you to go on the offensive, and start
questioning their motives.
Compare to: On the defensive.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
On the other hand
Looking at it from another point of view.
On the real
For real.
Doing serious stuff.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
On the rise
Going up.
Getting bigger.
Becoming more noticeable.
As more and more banks are running into trouble, the number of banks going bankrupt is on
the rise.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
On the rocks
Having problems or facing certain failure, as in:
Our relationship is on the rocks.
A drink served with ice cubes, as in:
Do you like your drink straight or on the rocks?
On the run
Avoiding arrest, or something, or someone.
Q. Is your husand still on the run?
A. Yes hes hiding from the police. From me, too!
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
On the same page
On the same wavelength
Being in general agreement.
When you say: Were on the same page, you mean something like:
We agree with each other.
We understand each other.
We both know what were talking about and were in agreement.
Also see: Seeing eye-to-eye.
On the sidelines
Not being actively involved.
She wont be working, as shell be on the sidelines temporarily. We wont hear from her for a
On the up-and-up
Frank. Honest.
Someone who tells the truth.
If youre on the up-and-up, youre being straight with people.
I dont trust the politicians in Congress. I dont think theyre on the up-and-up with the people.
Another meaning:
Someone who is successful.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
On the verge
About to happen.
Close to something happening.
Q. Why are you so quiet these days?
A. I think we are on the verge of another recession!
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
On the wagon
Not drinking.
Being, and staying, sober.
Q. Hey Joe, you want a drink?
A. No, thanks. Im on the wagon!
Although this expression primarily relates to drinking, it can also apply to other activities,
theyre on the up-and-up with the people.
Another meaning:
Someone who is successful.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
On the verge
About to happen.
Close to something happening.
Q. Why are you so quiet these days?
A. I think we are on the verge of another recession!
On the wagon
Not drinking.
Being, and staying, sober.
Q. Hey Joe, you want a drink?
A. No, thanks. Im on the wagon!
Although this expression primarily relates to drinking, it can also apply to other activities,
such as going on a diet, working out, etc.
Compare to: Off the wagon.
On thin ice
On risky ground.
In a dangerous situation.
When someone says: Youre walking on thin ice, they mean:
What youre doing is risky. Please be careful.
A. Im dating my bosss daughter, and he doesnt know.
B. Youre skating on the thin ice corner of the lake, buddy!
On slippery slopes.
On slippery or shaky grounds.
Compare to: Walking on eggshells.
On track
On the correct path.
Proceeding according to the plans.
Q. Is he on track to fix the problems?
A. Yes, hes going in the right direction, doing the right things.
Once in a blue moon
Not often.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
One down, two to go
We have finished one. We must do two more.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
One for the road
One more (drink) before I go.
This usually applies to alcoholic drinks, but it can also apply to food items, a hand of cards,
One of a kind
Very rare.
Like no one else or nothing else.
One in a million.
One too many
Too many.
One more than enough.
One unit more than the allowable amount.
A. Your honour, I only committed one burglary.
B. Well, that is one burglary too many! Take him away.
Ones backyard
Nuclear waste? Never. Not in my backyard!
We dont want any sex offenders in our backyard.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Ones cup of tea
Something one likes.
Q. Do you want to come and sit here in the sun with me?
A. Sitting in the sun may be your cup of tea, but its not my cup of tea!
Ones cut
Ones take
Ones share of the profits.
Q. You seem very happy! Whats your take?
A. Im doing this for a friend. Im not getting anything.
Ones piece of the action.
Ones share of the action.
Ones honour
If you say: Were having a party in Ayshas honour or in honour of Aysha, it means:
Were having a party to honour Aysha or to show our respect for her.
If you say: Helga told us on her honour (or upon her honour) that she was not involved, it
Helga gave us her word of honour (similar to being under oath) that she was not involved.
This is an informal exclamation and is used to express admission to, or surprise at, or
apology for, making (or almost making) a mistake.
Oops, I did it again!
Oops, I didnt mean that!
Oops, I almost ran into you!
Open ended
Without limits.
I dont like open-ended contracts because I dont want to get into a situation without clear
guidelines and limitations.
An open-ended-question is a question that allows or encourages discussion.
An open-ended-agreement is an agreement that allows future changes.
An open-ended-discussion is an open discussion with no set limits.
Open season
Origin: Sports
A period during which certain restrictions dont apply.
Q. Do you know that everybodys killing rats?
A. I know! Its open season on them!
Q. Speaking of open season, are Republicans still taking heat for the bad economy?
A. Yeah, everybody is still blaming them.
Compare to:
Fair game.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Open secret
A secret that everyone is aware of.
Its supposed to be a secret, but its not really.
The candidates infidelity was an open secret among his staffers.
Opening a can of worms
Asking for trouble.
Creating, or uncovering, new problems.
A. Lets just change the bulbs, not the fixtures. Otherwise, well be opening a can of worms.
B. Why?
A. Well, if you want to change the fixtures, well have to cut into the wall. Then we may have
to change the wiring, bring things up to code, etc.
Optional material
Not standard.
Available at extra charge.
Available but not necessary.
Q. Do you have automatic transmission and air-conditioning on this car?
A. Well, yes. Automatic transmission is standard, but air-conditioning is optional.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Or else
This is a warning and means something like:
If not, youll be sorry.
If not, Ill do something bad to you.
If not, something bad will happen to you.
A. Tell me where my books are, or else!
B. Or else what?
A. Or else I wont tell you who came here looking for you!
Or otherwise
Or in other ways.
Or in ways other than that.
I dont trust him, professionally or otherwise, means something like:
I dont trust him at all! Whether from a professional point of view, or from other points of view,
I dont trust him!
Im not in a position to go on a vacation, financially or otherwise, means something like:
I cant go on a vacation! Because of financial reasons, family problems, etc., I cant go on a
Out of line
Origin: Military
Out of place, as in:
Youre out of line. Please step back in line.
Disrespectful, as in:
You were out of line. You should apologise.
Not in the expected place, as in:
Were way out of line with these results. Lets do the calculations again.
Inappropriate, as in:

lShe was out of line with that remark. It was the supervisors responsibility to say it.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Out of sight, out of mind
If people dont see you, theyll forget you.
If you want people to remember you, stay in sight.
If you dont see something or someone, you might forget about them.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Out of the blue
Appearing or happening suddenly, as in:
We were walking when, out of the blue, my wife started crying!
Q. Were there any rumours before they started the lay-offs at your company?
A. Nothing! It was totally out of the blue!
Coming out of nowhere, as in:
Q. Didnt you see the policeman before you ran the red light?
A. No, he came out of nowhere!
Out the window
When someone says: If my demands are not met, the script goes out the window, they mean
something like:
I will not use it.
You can forget about it.
There wont be a script.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Out there
A. I must say, I find your story somewhat hard to believe.
B. I know it sounds a bit out there but, believe me, it did happen!
Outside the box
Out of the ordinary.
Not in the traditional way.
Try to be original, and think outside the box for a change!
Compare to:
Inside the box.
Over my dead body!
I wont do it!
I wont let it happen (as long as Im alive).
A. Im going to take your sister to the party.
B. Over my dead body!
Over-rated, Under-rated
Over-rated. (Has a negative connotation.)
Worse than people think.
Not as good as people think.
Under-rated. (Has a positive connotation.)
Better than people think.
Not as bad as people think.
I hate it when I see a lot of under-rated supporting actors struggling in life, while a few over-
rated ones command millions of dollars for their mediocre performances, just because!
Very little.
Q. How much are you getting paid at this job?
A. Peanuts!
Also see: Next to nothing.
Picking someones brain
Asking someone questions.
Getting ideas from someone.
After I picked her brain long enough, I knew what she was talking about.
Hey Joe, let me pick your brain. Do you know if we ever worked on the 747 nose section?
Picking up on something
Getting the message, usually without talking about it.
I didnt really want to go to the party. Fortunately my wife quickly picked up on that and came
up with an excuse.
Over ones head
Going outside the chain of command, as in:
Q. I hear your supervisor is mad at you. Why did you go over his head?
A. Well, he kept putting off my promotion. I had to talk to the director directly
Too difficult or complicated, a
Q. Did you understand the problem?
A. No, it was way over my head.
Too much to handle, if used with in, as in:
A. Youre in over your head. You should hire someone to help you.
B. No, I can do it. I just need a little more time.
Compare to:
Biting off more than one can chew.
Picking up the pieces
Getting back, or trying to get back, to normal.
First it was the fire, then the mudslide, and now the earthquake. Weve lost almost
everything! But were picking up the pieces and moving on.
Picking up steam
Getting better or stronger.
Its only two months into the campaign, and his campaign is already picking up steam!
Gaining strength.
Gaining momentum.
Popping up
Appearing suddenly or unexpectedly.
I thought he was out of town, but he kept popping up in places I frequented.
Potentially dangerous
Something that has the potential for being dangerous or risky at any time, even NOW.
Related: Potentially funny, explosive, etc.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Pounding the pavement
Walking on the street.
Looking for something, usually employment.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Pouring cold water on something
Discouraging something.
Having a negative effect on it.
Putting an end to it, or attempting to stop it.
They havent poured cold water on the latest rumour yet, so I guess its true!
Also: Throwing cold water on something.
Pregnant pause
A long period of silence.
A quiet moment before some information is revealed.
A period of silence designed to give importance to what is said next.
A period of silence to allow the listener to digest what has just been said.
Pride oneself
Be proud of something.
When a company says: We pride ourselves on being number one, they mean: Were proud
of being number one.
Over the edge
Beyond help.
Losing ones mind.
My friend has gone over the edge, means:
Theres no hope for him; or
I believe hes lost his mind.
Pulling someones leg
Kidding someone.
Saying something to someone jokingly.
A. I hate it when he says these things.
B. Oh, dont mind him. Hes just pulling your leg!
Putting things into perspective
Keeping things in perspective
Remembering what is important.
Looking at things in proper context.
Putting things in their proper place compared to other things.
You see the cute little umbrella, I see the big storm coming. Yes, its beautiful but, when you
put it into perspective against the storm, it wont look cute anymore!
Compare to: Seeing the big picture.
Putting up with
Tolerating something or someone.
Q. How do you like working in the desert?
A. Well, Im putting up with it.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Putting your foot down
Being determined.
Being firm in your decision.
Not changing your mind or backing down.
When someone says: Im putting my foot down, they mean something like: Ive made my
decision and Im not changing it.
Its my way or the highway.
Racing against time
Having little time.
Rushing to meet a deadline.
Trying to do something as quickly as possible.
Beating the clock.
Racing against the clock.
Rain check
A promise to do something in the future. An example is when you get a rain check to be able
to purchase an item (which is presently not available) in a store at the current sales price.
Im sorry I cant go to the movies with you tonight. Can I take (or get) a rain check?
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Raining cats and dogs
Raining very hard.
Pouring, or pouring buckets.
Raising a point
Bringing attention to something.
Raising an issue.
Raising a question.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Raising eyebrows
Surprising people. (Not a negative thing.)
Making others uncomfortable. (Negative.)
The new regulations are certain to raise a few eyebrows.
Raising the bar
Origin: Sports
Using higher standards.
Making it more difficult to do something by adding to the requirements.
Im not happy with the performance of our new recruits. I think we should raise the bar a few
notches the next time we hire someone.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Raising the stakes
Increasing the risks.
When you say: The stakes are high, it means: This is a very risky situation!
Majority of a group.
Lower-level personnel.
Ordinary members of a group, not the leaders.
A. All Wall Street people got big year-end bonuses.
B. Not really. The top guys did, but the rank-and-file didnt get any!
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Rather than
Instead of.
Reaching for the moon
Being ambitious.
Wanting to do or achieve great things.
A. I remember how Madonna said early on that she wanted to rule the world!
B. I know! Shes been reaching for the stars ever since the beginning.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Reaching out
Trying to communicate, help, etc.
You must reach out to the people, and help them with their problems.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Reading between the lines
Reading the hidden or subtle meaning.
Searching for the message behind the message.
If you read between the lines, youll know that Im really trying to make it work.
When someone says: Inger says she hates you, but you have to read between the lines,
they mean something like:
If you pay attention to her actions, youll see that she actually loves you!
Red tape
Unnecessary paperwork forced upon people who have to do official business.
Q. Couldnt we become just a little bit more efficient?
A. No, not as long as we have to deal with all of this red tape. Its too much paperwork.
Rhetorical question
This is a statement to stress a point, but it is in the form of a question, to which an answer is
not expected.
A. Why am I so stupid?
B. Well, there are no easy answers!
A. Oh shut up! That was a rhetorical question.
Other examples:
Why are some people so mean?
Why does it have to rain so much?
Whats the matter with the economy?
Compare to:
Figure of speech.
Zip it!
Shut up.
Dont talk.
Dont say a word.
Keep your trap shut.
Keep your mouth shut.
It Cant Hurt = there is no harm trying
You must try a new diet. It cant hurt.
You must get a second opinion. You know, it cant hurt.
When pigs fly
Refers to something that is highly unlikely or effectively impossible
"Swansea City will come top of the Premier League when pigs fly"
Hands down
Refers to something that is certain or indisputable
"Pepsi is the best cola on the market, hands down"
Down in the dumps
When someone is upset for a long time they are down in the dumps
"She's been down in the dumps since she lost her job last month"
Raining cats and dogs
Raining especially heavily
"Dear me, it's raining cats and dogs!"
Driving me up the wall
When something is annoying someone to an extreme degree
"The noise coming from next door is driving me up the wall!"
All Greek to me
When something is impossible for you to understand
"I just don't understand American Football. It's all Greek to me."
Keep your chin up
Stay optimistic, don't let your troubles get you down
"Don't worry, keep your chin up and everything will be fine!"
Hold your horses
Slow down, be patient
Usually spoken as a sentence on its own "Woah! Hold your horses!"
All in the same boat
All in the same position, in the same situation
"It's not just you who's been fired, we're all in the same boat"
Loose cannon
When someone is rogue or unpredictable
"Inspector Kowalski is a loose cannon, he never plays by the rules!"
Rise and shine
Wake up and be happy
"Rise and shine, it's a brand new day!"
Under the weather
Down in the dumps
"I've been feeling a little bit under the weather recently"
Stretch your legs go for a walk after sitting for a long time
Incorporate include as part of something
The report incorporated a lot of our ideas.
impersonal not very friendly or showing
an interest in individuals
The letter from the company was very impersonal and didnt
encourage me to want to work there.
Reluctant not enthusiastic or willing about doing something
I was reluctant to play tennis yesterday because I was very tired.
At the forefront something or somebody that leads the way for something new
This band
is at the forefront of a completely new trend in music.
Session length of time spent doing an activity
The course is divided into two-hour
integral being an essential part of something that cannot be separated from the whole thing
Healthy meals are an integral part of the hospital
boost make stronger
Their new CD boosted the bands popularity a lot.
excruciatingly very painfully
The play was excruciatingly boring and we left after half an
stimulate make something grow stronger
Stories can stimulate childrens imaginations.
Overshadow undermined or take importance away from other things or people
was a brilliant dancer but her achievements were overshadowed (undermined) by those of
her elder sister.
draw the line put a limit on
I sometimes use other peoples ideas but I draw the line at
copying their work directly
breakthrough an important development that may lead to a significant achievement
Scientists have made a breakthrough in finding a new drug for malaria.
Stereotype typical person, the way everyone thinks a particular type of person should be
Jack is the stereotype of a professor. He has a long beard, grey hair and thick glasses.
Pose a problem make difficult
His age poses a problem. We really need someone older.
Controversial creating strong and different opinions
The subject of religion is controversial
so we dont discuss it.
ironically strangely or amusingly because unexpected
Ironically the weather in Spain for
their beach holiday was worse than in England!
realise an ambition achieve something that you want to do very much
I dont think Maria
will ever realise her ambition of being a pop star.
In the pursuit of trying to find out more about something
Many explorers died in the pursuit of knowledge in the 18th century.
highlight emphasise something so that people give it more attention

The film highlighted the situation of poor people in the cities.
Strike somebody (as) give somebody a particular impression
It strikes me as strange that Harry should leave without telling us where he was going.
Personable pleasant, likeable
Lindas boyfriend is very personable and her parents like
him a lot.
high-profile famous, often seen by the public
High-profile athletes are put under a lot of pressure to perform.
THE WORST CASE SCENARIO. The worst possibility that you might experience or in the
worst situation.
Trying to persuade someone to do something (Common, why are you afraid to go to the
event, the worst case scenario is you being asked a question, and its no big deal really!)
" Discussing the various eventualities and trying to prepare for the worst (So, the
worst case scenario is the whole computer network going down, see we need to buy
another backup server!)
Worst possible environment or outcome out of the several possibilities in planning or
simulation. Imagining a worst case scenario helps in planning expenditure cuts, in
formulating contingency plans, and in setting aside enough reserves to cushion the impact if
the event or situation actually occurs.
contingency plans
Organised and coordinated set of steps to be taken if an emergency or disaster (fire,
hurricane, injury, robbery, etc.) strikes.
not to be sneezed/sniffed at (informal)
1. if something, especially an amount of money, is not to be sneezed at, it is large enough to
be worth having And there's the increase in salary to be considered. 3000 extra a year is
not to be sneezed at.
2. if something or someone is not to be sneezed at, they are important or dangerous enough
to deserve serious attention Goodman is not a man to be sniffed at. (American & Australian
BROUGHT TO MY ATTENTION. something has been pointed out to you
Imagine yourself having a conversation with someone, and during that conversation you
want to say that something has been brought to your attention, in other words something
has been pointed out to you.
Dont bottle up your grief: Dont keep things to yourself, but share your grief to lighten it.
I suggest you get it off your chest: I suggest you open out and share your grief
You have to come clean: You have to make a confession or disclose the truth.
You will see him in different light once you know more details: You will know his real
worth once you have the facts.
Think outside the box and be open-minded: Accept new ideas.
Please get down to the basics: Please work on the core principles.
He has run into large debts: He owes a lot of money.
Lets get cracking: Lets begin work.
He worked round the clock for it: He worked very hard for it.
Its at your discretion: The decision is totally yours.
Send the instructions in black and white: Send these instructions in writing.
The experts point all the trends leading to catastrophe: The specialists give various
reasons why it will fail disastrously.
The cheating comes in various packages: There are different ways to cheat
Although the damage is done, you have to get things back into shape: Although major
damage has been done, you will have put things back into order.
We need no X-ray to find out what actually happened: Its clearly visible and requires no
special instruments to reveal what occurred.
They live from hand to mouth: They are barely able to meet all their monthly expenses.
This will help you extend your reach immensely: This will allow you to increase your
influence greatly.

You are on the right track: You are doing a fine job.
No matter how seemingly unimportant he is, he will be needed: He will still be useful to
us although he does not seem very worthwhile.
Get your act together and do it: Concentrate on the job at hand and get things done.
Hang in there and you will get your dues: Dont give up and you will get paid or rewarded.
You will have to go the extra mile: You will have to put in the extra effort.
Listen to the proposal and dont knock it down so early: Dont discard the proposal in the
early stages without listening to it till the end.
I am quite at sea when it comes to shares: I can hardly understand the share business.
She made the most of the opportunities: She grabbed all the opportunities and
Its an irreversible crisis and everything is lost: It is not possible to repair the damage
done, as things have been lost permanently.
Are you looking to shoot the moon? You are being too ambitious.
You must get your act together and do this job properly: Improve your performance to
get this work done properly.
Dont bite off more than you can chew: Take only those responsibilities that you can
Down the road you will remember my advice: You will remember my words later.
Lets have a brainstorming session: Lets discuss the issue in a group to come up with
different solutions.
You must get into the nitty-gritty of things: You must investigate the intricate details about
Dont rush me into any decisions: Dont ask me to decide in a hurry.
Your efforts will not be in vain: Your efforts will not be wasted.
Take it with a pinch of salt: Dont consider all of it to be true.
Dont make a big deal out of it: Dont get upset about a minor thing.
You cant turn your back on us: You have to support us and must not let us down.
Time is running out, so talk business: There is no time to waste, so come to the point
Dont be overawed by his personality: Dont be afraid of his reputation.
Tone up your voice: Improve and modulate your voice.
Be wary of him: Be careful of him
We will have to cut corners: We will have to control expenses.
Cut down your expenditure: Reduce your expenses
What hope is there? Everything is lost.
Grin and bear it: Accept and live with the situation.
You have to come to terms with it: You have to accept the reality.
You should not get consumed by self-focus: Think about others also.
Dont get carried away: Dont be overenthusiastic.
Dont indulge in procrastination: Dont keep postponing or delaying things.
It will stir up new ideas: It will help new ideas come up.
If you put two and two together you will see a clear picture: Analyse it in more detail and
you will find the truth.
A closer look will reveal a hidden pattern: If you study things in detail you will uncover the
real facts.
You must get to the heart of the matter: You must find out the real truth.
Please pull up your socks: Be more careful and improve your performance.
You might have to eat your words, so think before you speak: You may be proved wrong
so think before you say anything.
Where does that get you? How does it benefit you?
Dont hedge the issue: Face the issue like a man
You have to chart your own course: You will have to make your own plans.
You must always be on guard: Be careful and alert.
Just keep a normal friendship going: Dont break up the relationship completely but
remain friends.
Dont harbour bad feelings against her: Dont think badly about her.

I am cheesed off with you: I am put off by you
Dont be daft: Dont behave senselessly.
Be patient, the apple will fall in your lap: Be patient, you will succeed.
Take the bull by the horns: Face the issue and fight it out.
Dont throw in the towel: Dont give up or surrender.
It is high time you wrap up the whole game: Its time you finish the game.
Dont let your husomebodyand off the hook: Dont let your husomebodyand get away
without facing the consequences.
Please keep your nose out of it: Please stay out of this issue.
I suggest you dont stick your neck out: I suggest you dont get involved or take a risk.
It was imprudent of him to say this: It was unwise of him to say this.
You have to work against time: You are short of time and will have to make up for it.
Try to read between the lines: Try to perceive things that are hidden and not stated clearly.
Your performance is not up to the mark: Your performance is not good enough.
Dont think over it dish it out to him: Dont hesitate to teach him a lesson.
Dont be a doormat: Dont allow others to take advantage of you and do as they please.
Do chip in: Please contribute.
This property changed hands recently: This property was sold recently.
My offer to you still holds good: The offer that I made you is still valid.
This will be the framework of our next project: Our next project will be based on this
I am done for: I am ruined.
Its difficult to make both ends meet: Its difficult to survive financially every month.
I will get it by hook or by crook: I will get it through any means, fair or unfair.
His business has fallen flat: His business is doing very badly.
His bills have run up to a large amount: He made major purchases and has big amounts
to pay.
The two brothers have fallen out: The two brothers fought and are no longer together.
I would like to settle the matter out of court: I wish to have an out-of-court compromise.
He was frantic to salvage whatever he could: He desperately wanted to minimise the
damage and recover whatever he could.
The share market nose-dived in one session: The rates in the share market dropped
drastically in one trading session.
The boss gave the go-ahead to my project: The boss agreed to my project and gave it the
green signal.
The price of land has been jacked up: The price of land has been raised deliberately
It will have a profound effect on our sales: It will have a major impact (usually negative)
upon our sales.
I have paid through the nose for it: It was very expensive.
All my projects have run into the ground: All my project works have been stalled or have
He may not be all he seems: He is a different man from what he appears to be.
I dont see it that way: I dont look at the issue from this perspective.
This is arguable: This issue is debatable.
It would be a lot better for you: It will be in your interests.
He is a pain in the neck: He is a nuisance.
He loves his own voice: He loves to talk non-stop.
I am sure you will pull it off: I am sure you can do it.
I wonder if I have gone too far: I hope I havent crossed the limits.
It is simply out of this world: This is an excellent thing.
He has taken offence at it: He did not like it and is angry.
Things at business are a little shaky now: Business is not doing well.
First quench your thirst: First drink some water.
You will have to take the plunge: You will have to take some action.
Dont just think, but take a shot at it: Stop wasting time simply thinking, but take some
Will you please do a head count? Will you please count every person here?
Gentlemen, please chill out: Gentlemen, please relax and take it cool.
Will you tell me what is eating you? Will you tell me what is bothering or worrying you?
Please shell out some money: Please contribute some money.
The final decision rests on your shoulder: The final decision is yours.
Lets set the ball rolling: Lets begin work.
You cant wash your hands off this affair: You were also responsible for this affair and
cannot escape blame.
Dont open this can of worms: Dont try to investigate this dirty matter.
you have to start from scratch: You must start from the very beginning.
Dont get tied up with old ideas: Forget the old way of thinking and adopt new ideas.
You cant impose your will on children: Children might think differently and you should
accept it.
This is awfully out of date: It is not relevant and is now out of fashion.
I think it serves you right: I think you deserve what you got.
You must learn to hold your tongue: You must learn to be silent.
You will have to live in harmony with: You will have to live peacefully with.
She would have to tread her ground carefully: She has to be watchful.
Far from it : not it at all; not at all.
Do I think you need a new car? Far from it. The old one is fine. Bill: Does this hat look
strange? Tom: Far from it. It looks good on you.
After all means considering everything that has happened.
1. despite what happened or was the situation before Now that I know what upset you,
maybe we can figure out how to work together after all.
Usage notes: used to emphasise a change
2. anyway; in spite of what had been decided. (Often refers to a change in plans or a
reversal of plans.) It looks like Tom will go to law school after all.
3. recalling or considering the fact that. Don't punish Tommy! After all, he's only three years
Along the lines of also along those lines means similar to. Sometimes on the lines of has
the same meaning.
can't remember exactly what words he used but it was something along those lines. I was
thinking of doing a dinner party along the lines of that meal I cooked for Annie and Dave.
think my point is very much along the lines of things that I heard Steve and Ana suggest
Around the corner means imminent; about to happen soon.
It's a fun time of year, the playoffs are right around the corner and we thrive in these
Scrutiny (#skru$t%n%) n, pl -nies is when you look at something really closely, like when you
are checking a test for mistakes. Scrutiny can also be an intense look, like when your mother
looks at you trying to tell if you might be lying.
1. close or minute examination
2. a searching look
e.g. Politicians private lives are under scrutiny because the public want to know what kind of
people they are.
If something is taken for granted, it's a given. You can count on it. In fact, you are already
counting on it.
Most Americans take for granted the right to vote.
Granted as an adjective means "given," and it usually follows "take for" or "taken for."
If you take someone for granted, you count on that person but you may not always show
your appreciation.
regardless of: If something is done without consideration, it's done regardless, usually
followed by the word "of." Today you can sit wherever you'd like on a bus, regardless of your
race, but this wasn't always the case. (without exception; without being affected by
All citizens have the right to vote regardless of ethnicity or creed
Back-to-back means consecutively. When two events happen back to back, they happen
one after another, and nothing else happens in between.
The work at an orchestra is also more intense: a week can be packed with rehearsals,
meetings and back to back concerts.
To go back to square one is to return to the beginning. It often suggests having to repeat
action or work, so it expresses disappointment or some other negative feeling. This negativity
makes back to square one slightly different from come full circle, which otherwise has a
similar meaning.
Because without them [spending cuts], the country would go back to square one in terms of
its lack of credibility and essentially would leave the euro.
Back to the drawing board means starting over after a failure or rejection.
If something is now on the drawing boards, it is in a planning stage or being developed. The
singular or plural of board in this idiom may be used without changing the meaning.
If the ball is in your court, it is your turn to do something.
the ball is in the government of Irans court, and its well past time for Tehran to adopt a
serious, good-faith approach to negotiations...
A ballpark estimate is a calculation made quickly, without as much work as a formal
estimate might require. A ballpark figure is the number produced by estimating quickly.
Ballpark is sometimes used as an adjective in other phrases, with the same meaning.
Behind the scenes means where the audience can't see which typically refers to theater,
movie or television productions. When there are no "scenes," the idiom means out of public
view or knowledge.
Beyond a shadow of a doubt means completely certain.
Beyond doubt has the same meaning, but a shadow of a doubt adds emphasis, asserting
that not even a tiny amount of doubt exists
It's not a job, it's so much more. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is what I was
meant to do
A big picture is a broad overview or understanding, not focused too much on details. A big-
picture person, as in the Harvard Business Review example, is someone who is good at
keeping a wider perspective and not getting too involved in details.
Booked solid means sold out, or a schedule completely filled.
This year, the tours, offered twice a day until Halloween, were booked solid by early
October, with more than 1,000 visitors expected.
Brace yourself means get ready for something, usually something challenging or difficult.
One literal meaning of brace is strengthen (or as a noun, something used to strengthen
something else).
Now brace yourself for another blow: Getting the right treatment at an affordable price can
be next to impossible, even with health insurance.
To buy time is to do something that delays an unwanted event.
Senate negotiators agreed on a way to raise enough money to extend the expiring
provisions for two months...it would buy time for lawmakers to come up with an alternative
both parties can accept...
By the same token means "according to that thinking," or "for the same reason.
Americas ability to project power all over the globe remains essential...By the same token,
Americas traditional allies and friends in Europe and East Asia remain invaluable partners on
nearly everything we do.
Cast a shadow means create (or created) a sense of gloom, bad feeling or pessimism.
Something that is not what it's cracked up to be is not as good as its reputation suggests.
Cut corners means do something in a way that is quick, easy or not following all rules.
If something crosses your mind, you think of it briefly. An expression with similar meaning is
pass through one's mind.
It never crossed my mind that I wasn't going to make it
Cut to the chase means get right to the point, or go directly to the most important part.
Something that is cutting-edge or on the cutting edge is the most advanced. The phrase
usually refers to science and technology.
Leading edge is frequently used with a similar meaning. Both use the allusion to physical
edges as a metaphor for the first things to achieve an advance or change.
That's why weve got the best universities and colleges in the world. That's why we have
cutting-edge research...
When an idea dawns on a person, he or she begins to understand it or be aware of it.
In sports get hammered often means lose by a large margin. A slang meaning, less often
seen in the news, is get drunk or affected severely by drugs.
f you get your act together, you prepare to work or perform competently. The phrase is
often used negatively, implying that the work or other activity needs improvement.
To be on the ball, or have a lot on the ball means to be skilful, competent or engaged in
successful activity.
A wake-up call is an event that alerts someone to the need for action or change.
You bet and you betcha are an emphatic way of saying, "Yes, that is correct" or "it is
Don't hold your breath means don't wait for something that is unlikely to happen, or will
take a very long time.
I won't hold my breath means, "I don't expect this to happen soon, and it probably won't
happen at all.
Don't get me wrong means don't misunderstand me, or have no doubt about this.
The expression usually has the same meaning as make no mistake.
Don't get us wrong. We love the Perkiomen Creek. But the old girl came too close as
Hurricane Irene churned through the valley last weekend.
In retrospect = looking back at the past
in retrospect, I should have studied harder in high school. You can see ail of your past
mistakes easily in retrospect.
A: Wow, I am so full!
B: Me, too. In retrospect, we should have ordered only one pizza.
more often than not = usually
More often than not, he spends his holidays with his parents.
She works late more often than not.
A: We'd better take an umbrella.
B: Right. It rains more often than not this time of year.
Think highly of = have a good opinion
Her teacher thought highly of her ability to draw.
He doesn't think very highly of his neighbours.
A: Mr, Henry is such a great teacher!
B: Yes. All the students think highly of him.
As of yet = until this time; so far
As of yet, he has not been paid by the company.
The date for the final test has not been announced as of yet.
A: Are the new computers in?
B: I'm sorry, sir. They have not arrived as of yet.
go without saying = obviously; everyone knows
Will it snow this winter?" "That goes without saying."
It goes without saying that you have to attend class to get a good grade.
A: You should wear a seat belt when you drive.
B: That goes without saying.
keep one's fingers crossed = wish for good luck
We kept our fingers crossed as they announced the results of the contest.
Good luck! I'll keep my fingers crossed.
A: Are you going to ask her for a date tomorrow?
B: Yeah. Keep your fingers crossed!
For the most part = generally
For me most part, I enjoyed the time I spent in the country.
For the most part she was satisfied with her performance.
A: How's your new job?
B: It's very interesting for the most part.
To salvage
To salvage something is to save it...before it's too late. You might try to salvage your
damaged reputation by defending yourself, or salvage a burnt piece of toast by scraping off
the black residue.
Come in handy informal Turn out to be useful:
the sort of junk that might come in handy one day
Come in handy
Meaning: You can say something might come in handy if you think it might be useful.
For example:
It's a good thing you took those extra clothes. They came in handy after I fell in the river.
Aftermath (n.)
This word refers to the effects or consequences after an event (usually a tragic one, like a
war). The aftermath of an earthquake would include many collapsed buildings, injured
people, etc.
Backfire (v.)
If something backfires, it goes wrong and has the opposite effect than intended. If a company
launches a TV commercial to increase sales, but the TV commercial is offensive and sales
decrease instead, then you could say the commercial backfired.
If something is thriving, it's doing well so well you could call it "booming." A thriving retail
business sees its products flying off the shelves.
The verb thrive means to flourish or grow vigorously, and it can be applied to something like
a business or to something or someone's actual health. Plants can thrive in a greenhouse,
and children can thrive if they eat well and exercise.
Thriving can also be used more figuratively "The women thrived on gossip; they loved
knowing who was dating or divorcing whom."
To strive
To strive is to endeavour, reach, or strain for something above or beyond. try very hard to do
We strive for self-improvement, a better world, or success in general.
describe something more like a conflict with oneself, the attempt to overcome limitations and
stay focused on a goal, regardless of whatever quarrels or disputes come up.
Use the word, legacy, for something handed down from one generation to the next. A retiring
company president might leave a legacy of honesty and integrity.
An inspiration is a product of your thought, like a brilliant idea. If you have the next
revolutionary inspiration like the printing press, the telephone, or the computer, you may just
change the world.The noun inspiration can also mean a sudden intuition or idea, or
something that arouses your desire to take action. You may find that doing some routine
provides inspiration (gets your creative juices flowing), like going for a walk, looking at art, or
reading a great poem. Inspiration can also mean breathing in or inhaling.
Under the impression that
Believing, mistakenly or on the basis of little evidence, that something is the case:
he was under the impression that they had become friends
needless to say - obviously
Example 1: You've got a test tomorrow morning. Needless to say, you can't stay out late
Example 2: Needless to say, you shouldn't have waited until Christmas Eve to do your
shopping. The stores are going to be very crowded!
That said...
- Knowing that...; In light of that...
(to) sit tight - to wait patiently
Example 1: Nicole won't hear back from the colleges she applied to until April. For now, she'll
just have to sit tight.
Example 2: Sit tight, the doctor will be with you in a few minutes.
(to) tell someone off - to scold; to tell someone in strong words what one really thinks
Example 1: When Ted showed up for chemistry class a half an hour late, his teacher really
told him off.
Example 2: Patty is going to tell off the plumber because the pipes he said he fixed are still
(to be) up in the air - not yet determined; uncertain
Example 1: It might rain later, so our plans for the picnic are up in the air.
Example 2: Our trip to Russia is up in the air. We aren't sure we'll get our visas in time.
English Idiom: Across the Board

Meaning: Applying to all members or categories


Every employee was nervous after hearing about the across-the-board lay-offs. However,
they could not say they did not expect it since the company was doing poorly for years now.

Allison wanted to make sure the consensus to change the companys location was across
the board for all stakeholders.

The across-the-board economic stimulus boosted the politicians approval ratings, but only
deepened the debt crisis nationwide.
English Idiom: Address an Issue

Meaning: Analyse and start to deal with an issue


When politicians make speeches, they are supposed to address the issues that people care
about most.

If Jack was going to heal from the pain of his past, he needed to address the issues that
really bothered him.

Addressing important issues such as foreign policy is a part of any presidents job.
4. English Idiom: Against the Clock

Meaning: Work very fast because of a deadline

Jim and Samantha needed to work against the clock in order to finish their marketing
research project in time.

For Allen to make the deadline of his final paper, he drank five cups of coffee and worked
against the clock.

Sally didnt want to work through the holidays, so she worked against the clock and
completed her report before the deadline.
7. English Idiom: Back Burner

Meaning: Giving something low priority


Janes plans for her sisters surprise birthday party were put on the back burner after her
house was robbed.
Frank had to put his vacation plans on the back burner after he got laid off from his job.

Arnold wanted to take his kids to the amusement park, but had to put that idea on the back
burner. The weather was poor and his kids caught a cold.
8. English Idiom: Back to Back

Meaning: Directly after one another


Jane liked watching her favourite show back to back.

Lisa read all of her favourite authors books back to back.
Adam bought the DVD of the sitcom Friends so that he could watch the episodes back to
9. English Idiom: Ballpark Figure

Meaning: An estimate


The potential client asked Jamie for a ballpark figure on remodelling the entire house.

Before Amanda invested in the company, she requested ballpark figures of their income
projections for next year.

Joe gave Kyle a ballpark figure when Kyle asked how much his wedding was going to cost.
10. English Idiom: Bite Off More Than You Can Chew

Meaning: Take on something that is too much to handle


Mandy realised she bit off more than she could chew at the last minute. Now, she was cast in
three plays and needed to learn three different roles.

Bill worked two jobs and was always tired. He did not want to admit that he bit off more than
he could chew because he enjoyed the extra income.
meticulous: (-/+) if somebody is meticulous , they are very careful about what they do,
paying attention to small details and making sure that everything is correct or in order
Mother was always meticulous about her appearance.
Inquisitive: (i) (-) if somebody is inquisitive,they
are always trying to find out about other people's lives, often by asking a lot of questions (ii)
(+) interested in many different things and always wanting to know more about them (often
used about children)
She was nervous. The man in front of her was being unusually inquisitive.
He is a very inquisitive child. He's going to love school.
reckless: (-) if somebody is reckless, they do dangerous things without thinking about the
consequences of their actions (a reckless driver) [Note: reckless driving also used to descr-
ibe actions]
That was a very reckless thing to do. Do you realise you put your own life in danger?
cheerful: (+) if somebody is cheerful, they are happy and in a good mood
Why are you so cheerful today?
apologetic: to say or show you are sorry for doing something
Audrey was extremely apologetic for having kept us waiting so long .
breathtaking: *** very beautiful,
surprising or impressive
breathtaking view/scenery
For a child of his age, his knowledge of the subject was breathtaking.
gripping: *** very exciting; for films and books
It was a gripping tale of murder and intrigue.
prolific: *** producing a large number of works (for artists, composers and writers)
sporadic: *** happening at irregular intervals
sporadic fighting/shots/violence/ outbreak
staunch: * very loyal
staunch supporter/friend/ally/ Democrat, etc
dreadful: *** very bad 1 dreadful weather/mistakes/acting
lousy: *** (informal) very bad
lousy day/hotel/teacher/singer
flawless: *** perfect, with no faults
flawless complexion/performance
unblemished: *something that has not been spoilt or harmed
scruffy: *** untidy (for people/places)
old and worn out (for clothes)
scruffy pair of jeans/flat/boy
a stalemate: (i) a situation where no further progress can be made (ii) (in chess) a position
in which neither player can make a move allowed by the rules so the game ends with neither
player winning
The management weren't prepared to make any concessions, so negotiations reached a
The chess game between the two Grandmasters ended in stalemate.
standpoint: point of view
From the government's standpoint, the results of these local elections are very encouraging
on your doorstep: very near where you live or where you are staying
I have all the shops and services I need right on my doorstep.
frame of mind: how you feel, the mood you are in
It might not bother him but it all depends on his frame of mind at the time.
to pull strings: to use influence/ connections
We had to pull strings to push the business deal through quickly.
to chair a meeting: to be in charge of a meeting
They have asked me to chair the meeting.
In my book ...: in my opinion
He took it without permission. In
my book, that is unacceptable.
to have second thoughts: to change your mind [Note: to be having second thoughts: to
be having doubts about a decision]
Are you sure you won't have second thoughts about emigrating?
never In a million years: emphasises that something will/would definitely not happen (+
Never in a million years will he agree to something like that.
to b second to none: to be. at the very least, as good as the very best
Their in-flight entertainment is second to none.
to be back to square one: to return to the very beginning of a plan/project/attempt because
no progress has been made
When planning permission for the new sports complex was refused, they were back to
square one.
something rings a bell: something sounds familiar
Smee? That name rings a bell .
to be In the same boat: to have the same problems
Times are hard, but we're all in the same boat.
to hinge on: to depend on
In the end, his future hinged on a
decision that was to be made by the Florida Supreme Court.
to Iron out problem : to solve and get rid of small problems
His job is to help people who have just set up a business to iron out any problems they might
to have hit the nail on the head:to have just said something that is exactly right
You've hit the nail on the head. What they need is publicity.
to have (got) a lot on your plate: to have a lot of problems to worry about /be very busy
I've a lot on my plate at the moment, what with reorganising the department and everything.
to grin and bear It: to accept an unpleasant situation without complaining (probably because
there is no choice)
A shorter lunch break is new company policy, so we'll just have to grin and bear it.
bright and early: (to wake up/get up/leave) very early in the morning (has a positive
If we leave bright and early tomorrow morning, we should get there by midday.
by and Large: generally
By and large, most people would prefer to have a badly paid job that they liked rather than a
well paid job that they disliked.
to be few and far between: not to be very common/to be very difficult to find
Good jobs are few and far between in days of high unemployment.
Ins and out : the details of a complicated situation/problem/ system/proposal
We have yet to discuss all the ins and outs of his proposal.
peace and quiet : calm and tranquillity
We took a couple of days off and went to the country for a bit of peace and quiet.
pride and joy: something/somebody that a person is very proud of and which/who is very
important to them
His car/daughter/garden is his pride and joy.
up-and-coming: somebody who shows a lot of promise and will probably be very successful
in the future
up-and-coming artist/tennis player /pianist/writer
The government has introduced a scheme Where by up-and-coming young athletes will
receive financial support.
to have up and downs: to have good times and bad times
What family doesnt have its ups and downs?
wear and tear: damage caused to furniture/clothes/equipment, by daily use
Even allowing for wear and tear, these chair covers should last for at least fifteen years.
well and truly: completely (often used with lost and beaten)
After walking for three hours, we realised that we were well and truly lost.
As we had been well and truly beaten the Saturday before, the manager decided to make
wholesale changes to the team
to win fair and square: to win fairly (often used when you have been accused of cheating)
What do you mean I cheated? I won fair and square, and you know it.
touch and go: doubtful (used with reference to important or life- threatening situations)
It was touch and go whether they would allow us to leave the country.
pushing and shoving: push ing (used with reference to crowded places)
After a lot of pushing and shoving, I finally made it to the counter where everything had been
reduced by 50%.
safe and sound: safe and unharmed (used when somebody has not been harmed despite
being in a potentially dangerous situation)
odds and ends: small unimportant objects
Everything had been packed away in boxes except for a few odds and ends.
once and for all: definitely and finally so that you end all doubt and uncertainty
given : when you consider/think about
Given her lack of experience, I think that she has done remarkably well.
granted/admittedly: used to accept that what the person one is arguing against says , is
true; granted can be followed by that while admittedly cannot
Granted that by not joining the single currency we will preserve one facet of our national
identity. But is it really worth it?
Admittedly, John is a brilliant athlete.
In accordance: conforming to
The estate will be divided among his heirs, in accordance with his will
I can't put my finger on: to know that s this wrong or different,but be unable to say exactly
what it is
I couldn't put my finger on what it was, but there was something different about her
to make mess : to cause untidiness
Look at the mess you've made. Clear it up right now
to make a killing: to make a lot of money in a business transaction
If we sell it now, we'll make a killing.
to make a loss: to lose money
In its first year, our company made a loss of 40,000.
to make amends: to compensate for having done something bad to somebody/for
disappointing somebody
I know I've let you down, but I promise I'll make amends.
to make an arrest :to arrest somebody
The police broke up the demonstration and made a number of arrests.
to make a come back: to try and become popular/important again, having been out of the
public eye for some time
He's too old to make a comeback. He can't sing any more.
to mak confession: to confess
I've got a confession to make. I'm not really a lawyer.
to make a discovery:to discover (often with regard to medicine/science)
It is one of the most important discoveries to be made this century.
to make donation: to give money to a good cause/charity
Would you like to make a donation for the flood victims?
to make an allegation: to allege (to claim that something is true or to accuse somebody of
doing something wrong, even though there is no proof to support your claim or accusation)
to make way for: (i) to move to one side so that somebody/something can pass (ii) to create
a space for something
A voice called out "Make way for the King! and a golden carriage rolled into sight.
We'd have to knock down that wall to make way for a new desk.
to make a big thing out of something i to make a mountain out of a molehill : (informal) to
exaggerate the importance of something
Calm down. You're making a mountain out of a molehill.
It make no odds: (i) it does not make any difference (ii) I don't mind
It makes no odds whether we run or hide. Either way they'll find us.
"Pizza or pasta?" "You choose . It makes no odds to me."
accept: to receive, to agree
I accepted the terms of the contract.
except: exclude, but
We have all the items you ordered except the down quilt.
ad: abbreviation for
The ad must be placed by 10:00 a.m.
add: to perform a mathematical procedure
Please add 6 percent sales tax to the purchase price.
addition: also; mathematical procedure;
Do you want to order the matching earrings in addition to the necklace?
edition: a particular version of a document
This is the third edition of the textbook.
advice: recommendation, guidance Can you give me some advice
on a gift?
advise: to recommend, to suggest Id advise you to give a gift certificate.
affect: to influence
Your latest payment of $55.70 will affect the balance you own on this account.
effect: an accomplishment; to bring about; being in full force The summer sale will be in
effect until August 1.
aid: the act of helping Our Web site should aid you in ordering online.
aide: person acting as an assistant The political candidates brought their campaign aides to
the meeting.
all ready: completed
The order is all ready to send.
already: before, so soon
I have already sent an invoice.
bare: naked
This cape is a perfect cover
for bare arms on chilly nights.
bear: a type of animal
The rug is made from bear skin.
bear: to hold up, support; to be accountable for
We cannot bear the responsibility for misuse.
be: a verb form; used as a helping verb
Our agents will be with you as soon as possible.
bee: an insect
Customers enjoy our clover honey made by wild bees.
beside: next to
The price appears beside the product description.
besides: in addition, also
Besides the camel-hair blazer, we sell a camel-hair overcoat.
billed: to present a statement of
costs or charges
You have been billed for your entire order.
build: to construct
All the parts are in the box, but you will have to build the model.
brake: a device for stopping or slowing motion
We are recalling all 2000 models because of a problem with the brake.
break: to separate into parts; to smash
If you dont package the crystal carefully, it will break.
buy: to purchase
You have to buy the ink cartridges for the printer.
by: next to; not later than We hope to ship your order by Monday.
choose: to select
You may choose either of the free gifts.
chose: past tense of choose
Last year you chose to receive a cash rebate.
complement: to complete
The red shoes will complement the outfit.
compliment: to praise
Id like to compliment you for your good work.
continuously: uninterrupted or constant
The video is played continuously.
continually: reoccurring often
We continually review and update our policies
do: to perform or execute
I was unable to do the work you described.
due: owed as a debt; expected Payment is due upon acceptance.
dual: composed of two, a double purpose
The tote bag has dual compartments.
duel: prearranged formal combat We prefer to mediate your complaint, not engage in a duel
with you.
dyeing: colouring with a dye
Im dyeing the shoes according to your instructions.
dying: ceasing to live
The plant you purchased is dying because of poor care.
envelop: to surround
We envelop the vase with foam to prevent breakage.
envelope: container for a letter Return your payment in the brown envelope we provided.
insure: to protect against financial loss
You can insure the building against fire damage.
ensure: to make certain
We do everything to ensure your satisfaction.
farther: used to describe a
measure of physical distance
Our Connecticut store is farther from you than our New York store.
further: used to describe advancement of a non-physical distance We are further along than
we thought
for: preposition used to indicate aim, object, purpose, or recipient of an action
We will be happy to process the return for you.
fore: before; in front of
This scale-model schooner comes with fore-and-aft rigging.
four: numeral
Please send me four copies of the book.
forth: forward in time, place, and order
Despite setbacks, we are moving forth.
fourth: a number
This is the fourth time Ive asked you to take me off your mailing list.
hear: to perceive sound Despite the noise, I was able to hear your complaint.
here: at or in this place
Click here to learn more.
hole: an opening
To attach, insert the string in the hole.
whole: entire; complete
I will tell you the whole story.
knew: was aware of
He knew of the product defect.
new: recent, unfamiliar
The raincoat is a new addition to our catalog.
loose: not tight
After the accident, the cars bumper was loose.
lose: to misplace
I frequently lose my keys.
made: constructed; forced All of our products are made in the United States.
maid: a servant
The rate includes daily maid service.
mail: postal material
The mail is delivered in the morning.
male: a man or boy Please indicate whether the applicant is male or female.
maybe: perhaps, possible He said that maybe the order would be processed today.
may be: might be, could be
We may be able to build a product that meets your needs.
morning: before noon The stockholders meeting is scheduled for the morning.
mourning: period of grieving We are still mourning the death of our companys president.
no: not any; negative
We have no excuse for misplacing your order.
know: to have knowledge of
We know we can handle your order promptly and efficiently.
overdo: to do too much If you overdo your workout, your muscles will be sore.
overdue: beyond the expected time Your payment is 30 days overdue.
pair: two of a kind
The socks you returned were not a pair.
pare: to peel
The cake will taste sour if you
dont pare the apples before baking
pear: a fruit
The pear was not ripe.
passed: overtook, moved ahead;
went beyond, surpassed
Our new truck passed all the safety tests.
past: an earlier time
Those software failures were in the past.
peak: to approach the top or maximum
Hotel rates peak during tourist season.
peek: to glance quickly
I peeked at your order but didnt review it carefully.
personal: private.
We consider your medical history to be a personal matter.
personnel: employees
All of our accounting personnel will work on the project.
plain: simple
The black dress is plain but elegant.
plane: airplane
The plane has a business class section.
pray: to utter a prayer; make an urgent plea
We pray that youll make a contribution to this worthwhile charity.
prey: an animal hunted for food; to victimise
The salesman was fired because he preyed on elderly couples.
precede: to go before
The 1992 and 1994 editions precede the current one.
proceed: to continue
I got permission to proceed with the transaction.
principal: head of a school Mr. Jones was named principal of Maywood Elementary School.
principal: a sum of money You paid back the principal of your loan.
principle: a rule; standard of good behaviour
The decision was based on principle, not profit.
read: to have examined or grasped written material
He read our mission statement on
our Web site.
red: colour
The coat comes in black or red.
sale: the exchange of goods and services for money
The sale of the business took
place in March.
sale: disposal of goods at a lower price
We are having a sale on all of our computers.
sail: to travel by water
The ship with your goods is scheduled to sail on Monday.
scene: part of a play
The carpenters built sets for ten scenes.
seen: perceived with the eye
The shoplifting was seen by the store detective.
seems: appears
Resolving your problem seems simple.
seams: lines formed by sewing together fabric
This model sewing machine will guide you to sew straight seams.
sew: to stitch
A beginner could sew this dress.
so: therefore
He left a message, so I returned his call.
sight: the act of seeing Customers were excited by the sight of the new model.
site: a location
To register, visit our Web site.
cite: to quote
Please cite all of your sources of information.
stationary: not movable
The office furniture is stationary.
stationery: writing paper
Our most popular product is stationery.
than: compared with
The 1,000DS has more storage space than the 200DS.
then: at that time; next in time First we will bill you then we will ship your order.
their: belonging to them
We used their research in our book.
there: in that place
Place your returned items over there, on the counter.
theyre: contraction for they are Theyre the ones who registered
for the course.
thorough: complete
We gave your complaint a thorough review.
through: from beginning to the end
We couldnt make our way through
the contract.
thru: informal for through
You can order food at our drive- thru window.
threw: tossed
Because your son threw the ball, your insurance will not pay to replace the window.
to: in the direction of
We sent it to the buyer.
too: also
Check out our new model, too.
two: numeral
We shipped two of the items you ordered.
undo: to reverse
Im sorry that we cant undo our error.
undue: excessive; not just or proper We determined the damage was caused by undue
waist: middle of the body
The size 10 dress has a 32-inch waist.
waste: to consume carelessly Your old dishwasher wastes energy and water.
wait: rest in anticipation We wait for the newest model.
weight: a measure of heaviness The shipping and handling fees are based on the weight of
the package.
waive: to give up a claim Well waive the interest charges.
wave: a surge or rush
All of the robots were purchased by the first wave of customers.
where: at or in what place Where is your store located?
weather: state of atmospheric conditions
Our Web site has a link to the local weather forecast.
whether: if
Im wondering whether I can return the item I purchased online.
were: contraction for we are Were the leading manufacturer of computer chips.
were: form of the verb to be Both companies were founded
in 1999.
wood: lumber
The entire chair is made of wood.
would: auxiliary form of helping verb
I would have sent you a refund if you had returned the jacket.
write: to form letters/words Please write to us if you have other questions.
right: correct, or direction
It broke because you did not use it the right way.
Turn right at the stop sign.
your: belonging to you Bring your identification when you register.
youre: contraction for you are You are the winner of the contest.
nitty gritty may mean small details
1Brian promised that he would tidy his room, but he left it in a mess as usual. 2. I used to
share a room with my sister when I was young.3. My aunt has a very large house. She let
out one of the rooms to a student.
Verb + house
build a house
share a house
demolish a house
renovate a house
break into a house
move house
Common expressions
live in a house
stay at someone's house
pass someone's house
lock yourself out of the house
Verb + stairs
use/take the stairs
climb the stairs
run up/down the stairs
fall down the stairs
Common expressions
carry something up/down the stairs
a flight of stairs
the top/bottom of the stairs
Verb + room
share a room
tidy your room
let out rooms
Common expressions
a bright room
a comfortable room
tidy/an untidy room
a single/twin/double room
the spare room
the next room
the room is crowded
the room is locked
a waiting room (at the station or hospital)
I.Note these different types of room:
the bedroom
the living room/the sitting room
the dining room
the bathroom
2. Note these expressions:
Their living room has a wonderful view. It looks onto the lake and you can see the mountains
in the distance.
Our living room overlooks the park.
Have you seen the film or read the book, A Room with a View?
3. Note the prepositions in these expressions:
I looked around the room, but I couldn't see her.
She was standing across the room from me. (on the other side of the room)
Verb + floor
mop the floor
sweep the floor
scrub the floor
cover the floor (with carpets)
Common expressions
lie on the floor
sleep on the floor
slip on the (wet) floor
pile (books) on the floor
spill (coffee) on the floor
Note: In the UK. we talk about the ground / first / second floor of a building:
The canteen is on the ground floor of the building.
I hope you like climbing stairs. My office is on the top floor.
2. If you drop something. it falls on the floor: Excuse me, your wallet has fallen on the floor.
3. If you drop something outside, it falls on the ground.
Verb + carpet
hoover the carpet
lay a carpet
ruin a carpet
a carpet wears
Notice this expression:
I swept the dirt under the carpet when my mother wasn't looking.
2. You clean a carpet with a vacuum cleaner, sometimes called a hoover:
How do you expect me to hoover the carpets with this ancient hoover? It must be 30 years
Common expressions
paint a wall
a thick I thin wall
an outside wall
drill a hole in a wall
(the garden) is surrounded by a wall
cover a wall with (pictures)
a high I low wall
hang a (painting) on the wall
push (a chair) against the wall
Note: You can also stick something on a wall or pin something to a wall:
He stuck a picture of his cat on the wall above his bed.
There were some photographs from their holiday pinned to the wall.
Common expressions
touch the ceiling
stare at the ceiling
a (light) hangs from the ceiling
a high/low ceiling
Note these expressions:
Water was dripping from the ceiling.
There was a large spider on the ceiling above my bed.
Verb + door
open the door
close / shut the door
slam the door
lock the door
knock on the door
break down the door
Common expressions
hold the door open
the door leads to the (kitchen)
enter by the (front) door
stand outside a door
There's someone at the door.
Note these expressions with 'door handle':
I turned the door handle and pushed the door open.
My jacket caught on the door handle as I was leaving the room.
Common expressions a light bulb
switch the light on I off
leave the light on
the light comes on
a light switch
switch off the light
the light is on / off
the light goes out
Verb + window
open I close a window
break a window
dean the windows
the windows steam up
Common expressions
look through a window
the view from the window
the sun shines through the window
see (your) reflection in the window
Verb + heating
turn the heating on / off
install central heating
the heating can break down
set the heating to come on at 5 and go off at 9
a (house) has heating
repair the central heating
Verb + table (at home)
sit at a table
leave the table
lay / set the table
clear the table
Verb + table(in a restaurant)
book a table
manage to get a table
be shown to your table
Common expressions
reach across the table
sit round the table
set a place at the table
a coffee table
Note: Here are different kinds of table:
kitchen table / dinner table / side table / coffee table/ dining table / folding table
2. You play pool on a pool table, and billiards on a billiard table.
Common expressions open a drawer
lock a drawer
at the back of the drawer
look in a drawer
the top / bottom drawer
the drawer is stiff
Common expressions
sit in a chair
lean back in your chair
push back your chair
get up from your chair
fall off your chair
flop into a chair
Verb + mirror
look in the mirror
stand in front of the mirror
break a mirror
Adjective + mirror
a full-length mirror
a large / small mirror
the bathroom mirror
the hall mirror
Note these types of car mirror:
I adjusted the side mirrors. then glanced in the rear-view mirror to see if anyone was behind
Verb + bed
go to bed
get out of bed
make your bed
change the bed
put (the children) to bed
Kinds of bed
a single / double bed bunk beds
a soft / hard bed
a spare bed
an unmade bed
a(n) (un)comfortable bed
Common expressions
lie in bed (all morning)
be in bed by (12) o'clock
spend (a week) in bed
have breakfast in bed
smoke in bed
be tucked up in bed
why do I always have to make the bed / they're safely tucked up in bed!
Expressions with sheet
change the sheets
clean / dirty sheets
Expressions with blanket
an extra blanket
a warm blanket
Expressions with pillow
prop (yourself) up with a pillow
cry into your pillow
Expressions with mattress
sleep on a firm mattress
It's a very hard / soft mattress.
Expressions with wardrobe
open / close the wardrobe
hang (your shirts) in the wardrobe
a fitted wardrobe
Expressions with alarm
set the alarm (for 7 o'clock)
the alarm goes off / rings
hear the alarm
Expressions with curtains
open / close the curtains
draw the curtains
Note these expressions:
I was so tired last night I was asleep before my head hit the pillow!
When my parents turn the lights out, I read my book under the blankets with a torch.
2. Note that we usually refer to an alarm clock as 'an alarm'.
Don't forget to set the alarm.We have to be up early tomorrow.
3. Draw the curtains can mean either open or close them.
Verb + bath I shower
have / take a bath/shower
get into the bath / shower
get out of the bath / shower
clean the bath / shower
Adjective + bath / shower
a hot bath / shower
a long bath / shower
Verb + bath
lie in the bath
run a bath
the bath overflows
Verb + shower
turn on/ off the shower
have a quick shower
have a cold shower
There's nothing I like better than a long bath
The bath has overflowed!
Note these common expressions:
Could you see who is at the door? I'm in the bath.
Turn the taps off or the bath will overflow!
Common expressions
a dish towel
a bath towel
dry yourself with a towel
a clean / dirty towel
a dry I wet towel
a beach towel
paper towels
Note that we talk about a bath towel, but a face cloth.
I. The informal word 'loo' is often used for toilet:
Ill just go to the loo before the film starts.
2. In the UK public toilets are sometimes called public conveniences.
3. In the US, the toilet in your home is the bathroom, and in a public place it is the rest room.
page 26
diverse n. Various; showing a lot of differences within a group
India is one of the most linguistically diverse countries in the world.
Various languages are spoken on the Indian subcontinent. diverse
adapt v. To adjust to the circumstances; to make suitable
Dinosaurs could not adapt to the warmer temperatures.
The teacher adapted the exercises for his more advanced students.
evolve v. To develop; to come forth
Modern-day sharks evolved from their ancestor Eryops, which lived more than 200 million
years ago.
constraint n. Something that restricts thought or action
The constraints of military life kept Eileen from seeing Private Morris more than once a
arbitrary adj. Chosen simply by whim or chance, not for any specific reason
The decision to build a school in Blackberry Township was
arbitrary, without any thought to future housing patterns.
convey v. To transport from one place to another; to transmit or make known
A messenger conveyed the princes letter to the commander of the army.
discretely adv separately; distinctly
In order to understand how engine worked, each component must be studied discretely.
acquisition n. The act of taking possession of something
Our recent acquisition of over 2,000 books makes ours the biggest library in the region.
consciously adv. With awareness of ones actions
He may have hurt her feelings, but he never would have done so consciously.
Intuitively adv By means of a natural sense about thins that are hard to observe; naturally.
Many mother know intuitively when something is wrong with their children.
fatally adv. Causing death or disaster
The soldier was fatally wounded in the battle.
amend v. To change for the better
The residents voted to amend their neighbourhood policy on fences.
biased adj. Leaning unfairly in one direction
Her newspaper article was criticised for being heavily biased toward the mayors proposal.
distinctly adv. Clearly
I distinctly remember saying that we would meet at noon.
annex v. To make something (usually land) part of another unit
Bardstown grew by annexing several farms at the north edge of town.
Prevailing adj Strongest or most common
The prevailing attitude among our neighbours is to be friendly but not too friendly.
elite adj. Belonging to a special, honoured group
Messner is an elite climber who recently ascended an 8,000-meter mountain without extra
dynamic adj. Full of energy
This job requires a dynamic person, someone who will look for
opportunities instead of just waiting around for them.
entrepreneurial adj. Able to create business opportunities from a wide variety of
Many engineers of the 1970s made great computers, but only a few were entrepreneurial
enough to see the business possibilities in the new machines.
advocate v. To speak out in favour of something
Some environmentalists advocate removing large dams from the Columbia River.
allegedly adv. According to what people say
The chief financial officer of the company allegedly took company money for his personal
apprehend v. To capture
The police apprehended the robbery suspect as he tried to get on a bus to Chicago.
Inquiry n An investigation
The FBI launched an inquiry into the relationship between organised crime and the trucking
implicate v to suggest that someone was involved in a crime or other wrong behaviour.
No group claimed responsibility for the bombing, but the type of explosive used implicates
the RFA militant.
Objectively adv based on unbiased standard, not on personal opinion.
I dont like Mr.Rowan, but looking objectively at his sales numbers, I saw that he was a very
valuable employee.
cynically adv. Disrespectfully; emphasising the weaknesses of otherwise respected things
Employees of the Roadways Department cynically referred to their boss as the banker
because he took so many bribes.
Having integrity means doing the right thing in a reliable way. It's a personality trait that we
admire, since it means a person has a moral compass that doesn't waver. personal honesty
and good character.
we dont have a problem with our employees stealing from the store because we hire only
people with a lot of integrity.
Something prevalent is common in a particular place at a particular time. Prevalent things
are hard to avoid. When you see the word prevalent, think "It's everywhere!
When something is common, it's prevalent. You could say drug use is prevalent among
criminals. You could say good study habits are prevalent among good students. If a certain
opinion is common, then that's a prevalent view in society.
abduction n. Kidnapping
Pirates got many crew members by abduction, snatching unlucky citizens from seaport
addictive adj. Making someone want it so much that the person feels ill without it
Some drugs, like heroin or methamphetamines, are addictive to almost everyone who tries
cohesion n. Ability to stay together as a unit
Family cohesion is difficult if young people have to go far away to find work.
affection n. An emotional closeness or warmth
I show affection for my girlfriend by spending time with her, not by spending money on her.
devotion n. A willingness to keep supporting someone you admire Grant showed great
devotion to his wife, supporting her during her long illness.
context n. A larger environment that something fits into
In the context of Soviet Russia, public art had to be about the triumph of communism and its
Context means the setting of a word or event used to talk about any circumstance in which
something happens.
You might say that you can't understand what happens without looking at the context. When
someone takes your words but makes it sound like you meant something else, they've taken
your words out of context.
ambiguous adj. Having more than one possible meaning
The sentence Its hard to say is ambiguous, with different meanings in different contexts.
connotation n. A meaning implied, not stated directly
When my boss says,Thank you,the connotation is that shes done talking and I should
charismatic adj. Extremely attractive and charming
Because of the sparkle in his eye and his confident style, John F. Kennedy was a charismatic
Affiliated. To be in close connection. The local television stations are all affiliated with major
Amenities. Attractive and convenient material comforts. Whenever Nancy showed the
smallest townhouses to her clients, she always pointed out the many wonderful amenities,
hoping no one would notice the size.
Amidst. Among, between. Meredith found one black gumdrop amidst the many yellow, red,
and orange ones.
Dazzling. Something exciting or beautiful; blinding light. The local baseball team often
Pamper. To give a lot of care and attention to someone. When Sally is depressed she
pampers herself with a shopping spree.
Panoramic. A view that can be seen from all sides. The Empire State Building offers a
panoramic view of New York City.
Spacious. Having a lot of space; very large and open. Being used to a tiny apartment, Bill
found Marie's home quite spacious.
Strive. To work toward a goal with great effort. It is difficult to believe that some people never
strive to improve.
Stroll. To walk slowly and in a relaxed way. Mr. and Mrs. Oglesbee strolled through their
garden every evening.
Background. Education and work experience. Can also mean family, ethnicity, religion, etc.
The applicant's background was in education; she'd always worked as a teacher.
Detail oriented. Capable of paying careful attention to details. Many positions require that
candidates be detail oriented.
Proficient. Thoroughly capable in a skill. Do you feel proficient in Spanish yet, or are you still
Prospective. Potential or expected in the future. I'd like you to meet my prospective
assistant. I'd like to know what you think of him before I decide to hire him.
Multitasking. Working on several projects at the same time, usually of different natures.
Brad is great at multitasking, often doing filing, answering the phone, and scheduling
appointments for his boss at the same time.
Pending. Waiting, something not yet decided Jordan has a lot of pending projects; he
doesn't know if they'll be approved or not.
Perseverance. The ability to persist in an undertaking. Even though Natalie isn't the least bit
interested in Jack, his perseverance is amazing. He never gives up!
Prioritise. To organise or accomplish according to importance, to be able to do projects in
order of importance. Sometimes it helps a person's stress level if he or she prioritises
everything that needs to be done and sets aside what is less important.
Recruit. A new comer to an organisation. Someone persuaded or convinced to join an
organisation. The army is always looking for new recruits.
Team player. Someone who works well with others. Most companies like to hire team
players because they know that these individuals will promote a good working environment
for everyone.
Work ethic. Responsible moral philosophy or code of conduct at work. Elbert was fired
because he didn't have a good work ethic. He always got to work late, and he didn't take his
duties seriously.
Work toward. To make an effort to accomplish a long-term goal. Carl is working toward a
degree in medicine so that he can become a doctor.
Route. Service area or path assigned to a mail carrier to deliver mail in an eight-hour day.
This route is a mail carrier's nightmare, because there's a dog in every other yard and it's all
Expedition. A long journey taken for a specific reason; the group taking such a trip. Ed
Rumswell and George Clark planned an expedition to the top of Mt. Whitney.
Picturesque. A scene so perfect that it looks like a picture; a very charming scene. The
quaint mountain cabin nestled among the hills and the trees looked quite picturesque.
Pristine. Fresh, clean, not polluted, in original condition. It's rare to find a truly pristine beach
anywhere in the world.
initiative. A way that citizens can petition to propose a law and submit it to legislators for
approvaI. Many people were so fed up with smoking in public that they began an initiative to
ban smoking in public places.
Bruise. An injury where the skin is not broken, but blood vessels are ruptured, causing a
discolouration of the skin. Although Ray looks terrible because of all the bruises he received,
he really wasn't hurt too badly in the car accident.
Courtesy. Considerate behaviour, good manners, politeness. It's important to show courtesy
and call before visiting a friend or neighbour.
Someone who is complacent has become overly content the junk-food-eating couch
potato might be feeling complacent about his health.
even though complacent people may seem pleased with themselves, we are rarely pleased
with them. They are unconcerned by things that should concern them, and they may neglect
their duties. A complacent person might be heard saying, "Ehh, don't worry about it!" when
there really is something to worry about.
to revive: to bring back to life again
to have bad feelings towards someone: to dislike someone; to feel hatred towards
to bear witness to something: to see something as it happens
He also bears witness to the end of civilisation. He sees a whole society destroyed because
of warfare, disease, environmental destruction and moral collapse.
I completely agree. This family is still grieving (if a person is grieving, he/she is sad
because something tragic has happened) and I dont think they should be subjected to (to
force someone to experience something unpleasant) this kind of thing.
OK. But he cant be tried (to be in a legal process to decide if you are innocent or guilty)
again, so we should put this topic to rest (to stop talking about something or referring to it)
and not make the family go through (to experience something bad) it again.
A snog (informal) = a passionate kiss that may last several minutes.
A peck = a light, soft, quick kiss.
A kiss on the cheek = a light, friendly kiss on the cheek.
A French kiss = a kiss involving the tongue. The French call this type of kiss the English
to flatter: to say good things about someone in an exaggerated way often because you
want something from that person
Research has shown that a kiss can boost (to increase suddenly and quickly) your self-
esteem. In theory, when youre kissing, youre happy, and this makes you feel good about
to appeal to someone: to ask someone to do something urgently
to come forward: to agree to do something; to offer to do something
to endure: to suffer a painful experience without giving up or avoiding it
cant see anything wrong with X: cant see what the problem with X is
to give someone the benefit of the doubt: to believe someone, even though you arent
catch you later: inform see you later
I bet: I am sure
to come to mind: to think of
to stick around: to stay in a place
to pig out: to eat a lot of food very quickly
its quite a sight: its incredible to watch
to figure out: to understand
to take a step back in time: to go back in time; to experience the past
As you leave Kansas City, you feel like you've taken a step back in time.The big city is gone
and in its place are small towns and crop fields.
on the downside: on the negative things
On the downside, I'd say that many Kansans are very sheltered(protected; with few
experiences of life outside your town/family) and don't pay much attention to life outside
the US.
Yeah, definitely. There's all kinds of things that they can discover out there (in space) .
fancy coming along? would you like to come?
to give up your dream: to stop trying to achieve your dream in life.
to get your hand on something: to obtain something
The film's villain (the bad person in a film) is an old man called Potter. Potter controls most
of the town, and the only institution he doesn't own is the Bailey Building and Loan Society.
He's willing to do anything to get his hands on it: lying, cheating, and bribing.
icy water: very cold water
In a moment of desperation, George decides to commit suicide. He finds a bridge and
prepares to jump into the icy water.
to grant a wish: to tell someone they can ask for anything they want
In Trafalgar Square you'll find an extraordinarily large Christmas tree.This tree has been
donated by Norway every year since 1947 as a token of appreciation (an action that show
you are grateful for something) for the role Britain played in the liberation of Norway in
World War 2.
Groups come from all over Britain to sing and often to raise money for good causes (to
collect money for charity).
to wine and dine someone: to take someone to bars and restaurants as a way of
entertaining them.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs wined and dined the prince for two days. It was only when
the royal visitor had left, that the authorities realised that Nigeria is in fact a republic.