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- aches and pains – minor pains that are continuous and unpleasant due to physical work or old age, but usually not very serious.
– Tom is tired of hearing about all her grandma’s aches and pains.
– You might have all sorts of aches and pains when you get older.
- achieve a goal – to do something that you’d planned or hoped to achieve.
– I think she will be able to achieve her goal of losing ten kilos before Christmas.
– He hasn’t yet achieved his goal of buying the house of 1 million dollars.
- acute illness – any illness that develops quickly.
– It may be severe and last a relatively short period of time. She died of an acute illness.
– Her father dropped dead of an acute illness.
- all along – all the time, from the very beginning.
– I think she’s been cheating us all along.
– He knew all along that it wasn’t her real name.
- all in good time – used when somebody wants to do something soon but you want to wait a little.
– I know you wish your house had sold already, but all in good time.
– When are we going to open the presents? All in good time.
- all over again – used for saying that you do the whole of something again starting from the beginning:
– At the police station they asked me the same questions all over again.
– The computer crashed and deleted all my work – I had to start the essay all over again.
- an arm and a leg – is used to describe anything that is considered to be extremely expensive.
– Large houses cost an arm and a leg to maintain.
– I’m sick of paying an arm and leg for rent in this town.
- around the clock – all day and all night without stopping.
– The company worked around the clock to repair the problem.
– For the past 4 days, they’ve been working around the clock and through the night.
- ask a favor – to ask somebody to do something for you because you need their help, support or approval of something.
– Can/ Could/ may I ask you a favor?
– I would like to ask a favor of you.
- as a matter of fact – used when adding more details about what you have just said.
– Have you had many visitors yet? No, as a matter of fact you’re the first.
– I knew him when we were in college – as a matter of fact we were on the same course.
- as (one ) pleases – in whatever way one wishes or which suits one best:
– I’m really not concerned with what way you go about researching your report. Do as you please, so long as the report is good.
– He looks at himself in the mirror any chance he gets; he’s as conceited as you please.
- at ease – feeling relaxed, especially in a situation in which people might feel a little nervous.
– She felt completely at ease with Bernard.
– She had an ability to put people at their ease.
- at the drop of a hat – if you do something at the drop of hat, you do it immediately without stopping to think about it.
– People will file lawsuits at the drop a hat these days.
– India is one part of the world I would go to at the drop of a hat.
- attract attention – to make someone notice you or something.
– Movies with excellent actors and actresses always attract great attention.
– He has tried to attract her attention, but she hasn’t noticed him yet.
- an awful lot – a very large amount.
– His wife has spent an awful lot of money on clothes these days.
– John is a famous lawyer. He gets an awful lot of clients.
- badly need – need something very much.
– They badly need the money.
– She badly needs to clean her room.
- balanced diet – a diet that contains adequate amounts of the nutrients necessary for good health.
– Eating balanced diet is one of the most important things everyone should try.
– If you need to live healthily, you should eat balanced diet.
- barely able to do something – used for saying that it is possible for someone to do something but only with difficulty.
– She was barely able to see the bridge in the fog.
– His mother was barely able to read and write.
- bear in mind – to remember.
– Bear in mind that I can’t run as fast as you.
– Bear in mind that he is not as young as he was, so don’t walk so fast.
- beyond your wildest dreams – you are emphasizing that it is better than you could have imagined or hoped for.
– She had already achieved success beyond her wildest dreams.
– I want to make you happy beyond your wildest dreams.
- bide your time – to wait patiently for a good opportunity to do something.
– He’s just biding his time until a permanent job opens up.
– So you bide your time, just kind of for that perfect moment.
- big mouth – if someone is or has a big mouth, they often say things that are meant to be kept secret.
– He went and opened his big mouth and told them the whole story.
– I’m sorry. I wasn’t supposed to tell you! Me and my big mouth.
- box of birds – be fine or happy.
– Once she’s had some time to cheer up, she’ll be a box of birds again, don’t worry.
– He described the dogs as a box of birds.
- break bread with – share a meal with someone.
– To break bread with one’s enemy is the fastest way to find common ground.
– Please come by and break bread with us sometime, I would like to break bread with you.
- breaking news – current news that a media organization gives special or live coverage on.
– I was watching the game when some breaking news came on, so I missed Mario’s goal.
– We interrupt this broadcast with some breaking news about the crisis in the Middle East.
- breathtaking scenery – extremely impressive, striking and beautiful views.
– We floated down a river in a canoe and enjoyed the breathtaking scenery.
– People enjoy visiting Amirsoy mountain because of its breathtaking scenery.
- break the mold – to do something in a new way.
– She really broke the mold with her innovative approach to this notification system – several companies have since adopted her method.
– She broke the mold by being the first person in her family to go to the university.
- bring something to an end – to make something finish.
– I think it is time to bring the meeting to an end.
– The conflict has been brought to a close end.
- bury the hatchet – to stop an argument and become friends again.
– Can’t you two just bury the hatchet?
– You two really did bury the hatchet, didn’t you?
- bury your head in the sand – to ignore an unpleasant situation and hope it will stop if you do not think about it.
– If you bury your head in the sand now, you may lose your house.
– You’ll never solve your problems if you just bury your head in the sand – you have to face them.
- cast doubt on someone / something – to make something seem less certain, good, or real.
– The recent downturn in sales casts doubt on the company’s future.
– Fresh information that casts doubt on his integrity.
- casual relationship – a relationship that isn’t serious and doesn’t last a long time.
– They are just in a casual relationship, but they enjoy each other’s company.
– We’re now just in a casual relationship, but we hope that it will soon become quite serious.
- center of attention – a person or thing that excites everyone’s interest or attention.
– Helen likes to be center of attention.
– Jane was the center of attention at her wedding.
- chance of a lifetime – an extremely important and or fortuitous opportunity, especially one that is not likely to ever present itself again.
– They offered me the chance of a lifetime to travel the world and write about my experiences abroad.
– Make sure you take advantage of our sale, it’s a chance of a lifetime.
- a change of heart – a move to a different opinion or attitude.
– You can have your money back if you have a change of heart.
– She was going to sell her house but had a change of heart at the last minute.
- change (one’s) tune – to change one’s attitude opinion, manner, or stance on something typically in a way that is more positive or agreeable.
– The mention of a hefty tip really changed the host’s tune, so I think he’ll be able to find us a table after all.
– After I threatened him with no allowance, my son changed his tune and started doing his chores.
- cheesy smile – a smile which is very obvious but looks false or not sincere.
– She snapped a cheesy smile at him.
– He flashed a cheesy smile at me before he looks down at his notes.
- circle of friends – a number of close friends who meet regularly to do things together as a group.
– We have a large circle of friends and acquaintances.
– He is one of my close circle of friends.
- cock (one’s) ear – to listen intently.
– I’m about to give you some important instructions , so cock your ear.
– The little dog looked up and cocked its ears.
- come up with an idea – to think of an idea.
– He is broke. He has to come up with an idea for making money.
– He came up with an idea for starting his business.
- contrary to popular belief/opinion – used to say that something is true even though people believe the opposite.
– Contrary to popular belief, a desert can be very cold.
– Contrary to popular belief, many cats dislike milk.
- cost a fortune – to cost a lot of money.
– It costs a fortune to get the motor car fixed.
– A week in a five-star hotel costs a fortune.
- critically ill – extremely/dangerously ill.
– He became critically ill and were a waiting surgery.
– He begged her to take care of him because he was critically ill.
- cross(one’s) mind – if an idea crosses your mind, you think about it for a short time.
– When was the first thing that crossed your mind when you won the prize?
– I haven’t thought of my high school English teacher in years, so I’m not sure why she crossed my mind today.
- daily life – all the things / activities that you do every day as part of your normal life.
– Travelling is a great way to escape the routines of our daily life.
– Surfing the internet has become part of my daily life.
- dead tired – completely exhausted or fatigued; extremely tired.
– Tom was dead tired after working continuously 14 hours since this morning.
– I was dead tired, so I had an early night.
- deal with – to take the necessary action, especially in order to solve a problem.
– Don’t worry, I’ll deal with this.
– The council has failed to deal with the problem of homelessness in the city.
- do a favor – to do something to help someone as an act of kindness.
– Would you please do me a favor and take my son to the school?
– My brother did me a favor by lending me his car.
- down on your luck – to have no money because you have had a lot of bad luck over a long period of time.
– When someone is down on their luck, friends are very difficult to find.
– The program is for motivated people who are temporarily down on their luck.
- eat like a horse – to eat a lot / to eat large amounts of food.
– Jane’s so thin even though she eats like a horse.
– My mom always cooks a lot of food when my friends and I come for lunch because we eat like horses.
- environmentally friendly – not harmful to the environment.
– Local businesses are encouraged to produce environmentally friendly products.
– Most organic products are environmentally friendly.
- embark on a career – to begin a career.
– My brother embarked on a career as a game developer last year.
– Encouraged by her father, Sarah embarked on a career in literature.
- extended family – a family unit including grandparents, parents, children, aunts, uncles, and other relatives.
– My brothers and I have been grown up in an extended family.
– Most Chinese elderly people live in an extended family, usually with a son or daughter and grandchildren.
- face (the) facts – to accept or confront the truth about something or its consequences.
– It’s time to face facts: there’s one way for us to recover from this financially.
– Eventually, you will have to face the facts. Times are hard.
- feel at home – to feel comfortable and relaxed as if you were in your home.
– Jane liked her dormitory room. She really felt at home there.
– By the end of the first week, Tom was beginning to feel at home in his new job.
- foregone conclusion – a result that is obvious before it happens.
– It was foregone conclusion that he’d go into politics.
– The result of the election seems to a foregone conclusion.
- for good – permanently, without the possibility of change in the future
– She’s gone and this time it’s for good.
– Have they split up for good, do you think, or is it only temporary?
- from all walks of life (from every walk of life) – from various levels of social position or achievement.
– In my work I see people from all walks of life.
– Our volunteers include people from all walks of life.
- from time to time – occasionally, sometimes.
– This restaurant is pretty good. I come here from time to time.
– From time to time, I like to go fishing instead of going to work.
- give a hand – to give someone help, support or assistance.
– Hey Bill, could you give me a hand with these suitcases? They are heavy.
– If I have any trouble with my homework, please give me a hand.
- give a hoot about – to care at all about someone or something:
– Many of my friends don’t give a hoot about college basketball.
– It isn’t that I give a hoot about jewelry, except diamonds, of course.
- go wild – to behave in a very excited uncontrolled/ to get very angry.
– The crowd went wild as soon as Cristiano Ronaldo scored a goal.
– When he told her what he’d done, she went wild.
- go with the flow – to do what other people are doing or to agree with other people because it is the easiest thing to do:
– Just relax and go with the flow.
– When you’re new in a school, it’s easiest to just go with the flow for a while, and see what people are like.
- have a change of heart – to experience a change in one’s opinion or feelings on a matter.
– The government seems to has a change of heart over the newly implemented tax policy.
– I think it’s perfect time to propose her now – before she has a change of heart.
- head over heels (in love )– fall deeply and completely in love especially suddenly.
– She and her husband make an amazing couple. They are head over heels in love and are very supportive of each other.
– We used to be head over heels, but now we just annoy each other most of time.
- hide one’s light under a bushel – to keep quiet or conceal one’s talents, ideas or accomplishments.
– I didn’t realize that Bill could play the guitar – he’s been hiding his light under a bushel.
– Please don’t hide your light under a bushel. We know you can play this game very well.
- hold (someone or something) dear – to consider someone or something to be very valuable or important, especially at a personal level.
– I consider myself pretty gregarious person, but there are only a few people I truly hold dear.
– Even though this old pocket watch doesn’t work anymore, I still hold it dear as it was the last thing my grandfather ever gave me.
- have a wealth of – have a lot of
– Jim has a wealth of teaching experience.
– Russia has a wealth of coal and timber.
- have in common – have the same interests, attitudes etc as someone else.
– I found I had a lot in common with these people.
– We don’t really have much in common.
- incurable disease – a disease that cannot be cured.
– He was diagnosed with an incurable disease.
– She is suffering from an incurable disease.
- in someone’s corner – giving one’s full support to someone.
– I’m nervous about the trial, but I’m glad I have you in my corner.
– I feel a little bad that he’s going into the meeting with no one in his corner.
- in vain – unsuccessfully.
– I tried in vain to start a conversation.
– All the police’s efforts to find him were in vain.
- jump to a conclusion – to decide, guess, evaluate or judge something without a sufficient examination of the facts.
– Don’t jump to conclusion! Perhaps it was her father who was having dinner with.
– Let’s find out more before jumping to any conclusions. Wait until we hear what he has to say.
- just about – almost exactly, very nearly.
– John can do just about anything when he’s on his game because he has a good understanding of it.
– I’ve just about finished my essay.
- key issue – a very important subject or problem that people think or talk about, or need to deal with.
– Health care could become the key issue in political debate.
– The key issue is whether workers should be classified as ‘employees’.
- keep under one’s hat – to not reveal or discuss something publicly.
– I’ll tell you about it if you promise to keep it under your hat.
– Keep this under your hat for now, but Greg is definitely the one getting the promotion.
- keep up with your studies – to make progress or learn at the same level as others.
– Keep up with your studies or you’ll fall behind.
– If you want to be a successful student, you must keep up with your studies at college.
- keep (close) watch over (someone or something) – to guard , protect, or ensure the welfare of someone or something, often through close observation.
– I felt better sending the kids to camp when I knew Mrs. James would be there to keep close watch over them.
– I can’t help but feeling that I had an angel keeping watch over me that day.
- know inside out – to know everything or nearly about someone or something, to be thoroughly familiar with someone or something.
– I’ve read this book so many times that I know it inside out.
– I just think you should know a person inside out before you decide to marry them.
- lead to believe – to cause someone to believe something untrue.
– I had been led to believe that if I worked hard, I wouldn’t lose my job.
– He led to believe that this product was guaranteed.
- leap to conclusions – to make a decision about something too quickly without knowing all the facts.
– He saw the two of them together and leaped to the wrong conclusion.
– You’re always leaping to conclusions whenever I make the slightest criticism of our relationship.
- lend color to something – to make something , especially something unusual, appear likely or true.
– We have new evidence that lends color to the accusation of fraud.
– We cannot do anything that will lend color to our opponents’ allegations about us.
- look on the bright side – to find good things in a bad situation.
– Look on the bright side no one was badly hurt.
– All of this is bad news for the human race , but look on the bright side.
- low hanging fruit – something that can be achieved very easily.
– The easy changes have all been made. All the low-hanging fruit has been picked.
– I’m a great believer in picking low-hanging fruit. Start with what’s easy, and go higher later.
- make common cause with – to work together with a person, group etc that you do not usually agree with, in order to achieve a shared aim.
– Several different religious groups have made common cause in the campaign.
– Environment protesters have made common cause with local people to stop the setting up of the factories and iron industries on fertile land.
- off the top of one’s head – without careful thought or investigation.
– I can’t tell you off the top of my head.
– There are some good restaurants around here, but I can’t tell you their names off the top of my head.
- once in a blue moon – very rarely.
– Do you ever eat pork? “Only once in a blue moon“. I prefer beef.
– Once in a blue moon, there’s an issue I can’t resolve.
- once in a while – sometimes but not regularly.
– Once in a while she phoned him.
– You meet some really interesting people every once in a while.
- on cloud nine – extremely happy
– I was on cloud nine once I had completed it.
– I guarantee you, within half an hour, you’ll be on cloud nine.
- out for the count – unconscious, or sleeping are not likely to wake up.
– I didn’t even hear you come in – I was so tired that I was out for the count as soon as my head hit the pillow.
– The rowdy customer was out for the count when the bouncer punched him in the head.
- out of habit – without thinking, because you always do a particular thing.
– I locked the door out of force of habit.
– Many people add to their food out of habit, without even tasting it first.
- out of your depth – not having the knowledge, experience, or skills to deal with a particular subject or situation.
– I was out of my depth in the advanced class, so I moved to the intermediate class.
– I’d always struggled at school. I hated it and felt out of my depth.
- pick sb’s brain(s) – to ask someone who knows a lot about a subject for information or their opinion.
– Can I pick your brain about how you got rid of those weeds?
– Have you got a minute ? I need to pick your brains.
- put your feet up – to relax, especially by sitting with your feet supported on something.
– He says it gave him time to put his feet up and relax.
– That boy needs a lot of teaching, he thought, putting his feet up.
- rack your brain(s)– to try very hard to remember or think of something.
– I racked my brains, trying to remember his name.
– They sat in silence, racking their brains for the name of the road.
- rush hour – the time of day when traffic is at its heaviest.
– Many accidents happened during the rush hour this morning.
– I always try to avoid travelling during the rush hour.
- steady job – a job that offers constant and reliable income (you will be paid regularly)
– It isn’t easy to find a steady job these days.
– Her parents would like her to get a steady job.
- stimulate growth – to encourage something to grow or develop.
– Innovation has stimulated the growth of economy.
– An increase in the amount CO2 has stimulated the growth of tropical trees.
- stop dead in (sb’s or sth’s) tracks – to instantly stopping and remaining motionless, silent, and/or inactive upon encountering something.
– The sound of leaking water stopped me dead in my tracks, and I cringed at the thought of yet another home repair.
– Even though we were talking quietly, the noise stopped the deer dead in its tracks.
- strike a balance – to give the correct amount of importance or attention two separate things.
– Successful relationships strike a balance between these two needs.
– Every team has to strike a balance between youth and experience.
- surf the Net/ Internet – to look quickly through information on the Internet for anything that interests you.
– We give them quizzes on Britain and allow them to surf the Net.
– Who spends an inordinate number of work hours surfing the Internet?
- take sth/sb for granted – 1) to believe something to be the truth without even thinking about it; 2)If you take situations or people for granted, you do not realize or show that you are grateful for how much you get from them.
– I didn’t realize that Melanie hadn’t been to college – I suppose I just took it for granted.
– One of the problems with relationships is that after a while you just take each other for granted.
- take stock – to think carefully about a situation or event and form an opinion about it, so that you can decide what to do.
– When markets touch new highs, investors need to take stock.
– I am currently taking stock of our position.
- throw a tantrum – to suddenly become very angry and unreasonable, often screaming , crying.
– Her son threw a tantrum and screamed loudly.
– Alex threw a tantrum in the shop because her mom wouldn’t buy her any sweets.
- tight schedule – many things to do in short time.
– They are working to a tight schedule.
– We have a very tight schedule today. We won’t have enough time to hang out for beer as usual.
- turn over a new leaf – to change one’s behavior usually in a positive way.
– Jason has really turned over a new leaf – he hasn’t been in the slightest bit of trouble in months.
– I have made a mess of my life. I’ll turn over a new leaf and hope to do better.
- up in arms – very upset or angry about something.
– The whole town is up in arms about the addition of a new shopping center.
– Mom was really up in arms after I dented her brand-new car.
- waste your breath – talk or give advice without effect.
– The tone of her voice told him he was wasting his breath.
– Don’t bother trying to change my mind about this you’re wasting your breath!