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Idioms and phrases-CSEET

Idioms and phrases-CSEET

Every language has its own idioms and expression and the English language has plenty of phrases that is useful to learn. Idioms are words or phrases that aren’t meant to be taken literally and usually have a cultural meaning behind them. Most of the English idioms you hear are offering advice’s but also contain some underlying principles and values. You have probably heard some of them, especially in TV-shows and movies, and wondered why you can’t understand these idioms even though you fully understand the words. To learn English idioms and expression it can take some time but there are some of them that are more popular than others that will come handy if you know them. When you learn English idioms and phrases you will sound more confident especially when you speak with native English speakers. If you can’t understand idioms you will not be able to understand the context. That is why we have gathered some of the most common English idioms and phrases so you will understand the true meaning of them.

Here are the most common English idioms and phrases that will enrich your English vocabulary and make you sound like a native speaker. Now with even more idioms and phrases added!

Idioms and Phrases

A simple word like go is a part of a child’s vocabulary, so much so that the primitive bushman had an equivalent for it in his language. But look at the following sentences:

(i)    Ever got a Mumbai number at first go?

(ii)   He is always on the go.

‘Go’ is no longer a simple word from a child’s vocabulary.

Take ‘fall’-the sparrow’s fall, and the Roman Empire’s fall, and so on. Now combine ‘go’ with another simple word ‘down’. Look at ‘the boxer going down on the first count. In the company of ‘down’, ‘go’ has changed beyond recognition. There is more to it. Think of Churchill who would go down in history as the man who saved England from total collapse. This time the meaning has changed without ‘go’ forming a new alliance.

A literal translation of this two-word combination ‘go down’ will not help. And this happens very often with many words in English. ‘Go down’ has to be understood in its own right and in its particular context. This is an ‘idiom’ which the dictionary defines ‘as the form of expression peculiar to a language.’

As such idioms are not peculiar to English language alone, they are found in other languages as well. But, as already said, they cannot be transliterated [to change (letter, words, etc.)] into corresponding characters of another alphabet or language] from one language to another. All such combinations of words used in a peculiar fashion are called idiomatic expressions.

A Phrase is a group of words, a part of sentence which does not make a complete sentence, but has an independent meaning and makes some sense: on the hill, about town, under the tree, etc.

A phrase is quite often equivalent to an adjective, adverb or noun. We would here, however, confine ourselves to phrases which are used idiomatically.

In the language itself, therefore, idioms are the source of sparkle and polish. Very often an idiomatic expression has no exact equivalent in the language itself. Take for example, ‘bring up’. We know by long usage what it means. And yet the dictionary meaning ‘rear’ is at best a poor substitute for it.

The list below is by no means exhaustive. Even so it is fairly long. A glance at them will brush up your memory. You would come across these expressions, and need them yourself, quite often in your career. Use of idiomatic expressions in writing enriches your language.

Some Verbal Idioms

We shall begin with idioms, each consisting of a verb and a preposition. A single verb can give us a number of idiomatic expressions by attaching different prepositions to itself. For example, turn out (to expel), turn up (to appear at some place), turn down (to reject some request or appeal), etc. You may have become familiar with the usage of most of the verbal idioms. To refresh your memory here are just a few:

  1. Beat back (compelled to retreat) The firemen were beaten back by the flames and the building was reduced to ashes.
  2. Boil down to (to amount to) His entire argument boiled down to the fact that he would not join the movement unless he saw some monetary gain in it.
  3. Cast aside (to reject, to throw aside) People normally cast aside truth and honesty for immediate gains.
  4. Cut off with a shilling (to give someone a mere trifle in the will) The father was so angry with the son over his marriage that he cut him off with a shilling.
  5. Gloss over (to ignore) Even if you are an important person your faults cannot be glossed over.
  6. Labour under (to suffer from some disadvantage or distress) Let us not labour under the delusion that our friends will come to our aid in times of difficulty.
  7. Play off against (to set one party against another for one’s own advantage). It best serves the interests of the super powers to play off one poor nation against another.
  8. Pull one through (to recover, to help one recover) Armed with the latest medicines, the doctor will pull him through.

Idiomatic expressions in which the principal word is the verb

  1. Cast a slur upon (by word or act cast a slight reproach on someone) Many a men cast a slur on their own good name by some mean act.
  2. To catch a Tartar (to encounter a strong adversary) When Hitler marched on to Russia he hardly knew that he would catch a Tartar in the tough people of that country.
  3. To cut the Gordian knot (to remove a difficulty by bold or unusual measures) The Indian Parliament threw out the Bill for Abolition of Privy Purses. The Government cut the Gordian knot by abolishing the purses through a Presidential Ordinance.
  4. To fall to someone’s lot (to become someone’s responsibility) It has fallen to the lot of the eldest brother to pay off the debts of the father.
  5. To get the upper hand or to get the better of (to prevail over) Hari got the better of Suresh in the Degree Examination.
  6. To give someone the slip (to dodge someone who is looking for you) The police had nearly arrested the dacoits when the latter gave them the slip and hid himself in the Chambal ravines.
  7. A give and take policy (a policy of mutual concessions) A give and take policy alone can restore peace between India and Pakistan.
  8. To go to rack and ruin (reach a state of despair through neglect) If a big war comes, our economy will go to rack and ruin.
  9. To have a bone to pick with (to have a difference with a person that has not yet been fully expressed) The extreme leftists have a bone to pick with the police and if ever they come to power.
  10. To have the whip hand (to have a position of power or control) Even after the split in the party he has the whip hand in the party.
  11. To have too many irons in the fire (to have so much work in hand that some part of it is either left undone or done very badly) His performance is poor because he has too many irons in the fire.
  12. To have the right ring (to be genuine) The Americans’ pronouncements of world peace do not usually have the right ring.
  13. To have an axe to grind (have personal interests to serve) Bigger nations supply arms to the smaller ones primarily because the former has their own axe to grind.
  14. To keep a thing to oneself, to keep one’s own counsel (to be silent about one’s intentions) A great leader must ultimately keep his own counsel.
  15. To keep the wolf from the door (to keep away extreme poverty and hunger) Lakhs of people in India still have to fight daily to keep the wolf from the door.
  16. To make short work of (to bring to sudden end) The locusts made short work of the standing ripe corn.
  17. To make amends (to compensate or make up for a wrong doing) By being polite today, he has made amends for his past insolence.
  18. To make common cause (to unite in order to achieve a shared aim) During the elections the princes made a common cause with the rightist parties. Both went down.
  19. To make a virtue of necessity (Pretend or believe that something which one is obliged to do or accept is good for one’s character, moral development, etc.) When a Minister knows that he is going to be booted out of the cabinet he makes a virtue of necessity and resigns ‘on health grounds’.
  20. To make much ado about nothing (to make a great fuss about a trifle) Crying over the loss of ten rupees is really making much ado about nothing.
  21. To make a cat’s paw or a tool of someone (to use someone as a means of achieving one’s goal) The super powers have made a cat’s paw of the smaller nations of Asia in their game of power politics.
  22. To put the cart before the horse (reverse the proper order or procedure) Preparing the blue print of a project without analysing market potential is like putting the cart before the horse.
  23. To rise to the occasion (show the daring, imagination etc., which fits a particular occasion) A flood threatened to burst the reservoir but the villagers rose to the occasion and did not relax till they had made all secure.
  24. To set store on (to consider to be of a particular degree of importance) India did set much store on the Indo Soviet Treaty of friendship.
  25. To set one’s own house in order (to arrange one’s affairs harmoniously) Let Pakistan set his own house in order before talking about the welfare of the Kashmiris.
  26. To take the bull by the horns (deal decisively with a difficult or unpleasant situation) The doctor had to take the bull by the horns by deciding to amputate the patient’s leg in order to save his life.
  27. To take a leap in the dark (take a risky action/step in the hope that it is right) You took a leap in the dark in going into partnership with that man.
  28. To throw cold water upon (to discourage someone from doing something) The doctor threw cold water upon my plans for a world tour by declaring that I would not be able stand the strain of it.
  29. To throw in the sponge/towel (to give up a contest/acknowledge defeat) Faced with stiff competition from big companies, many a small companies throw in the sponge.
  30. To turn the tables (gain an advantage after having been at a disadvantage) Pakistan started with a blitzkrieg but the superior tactics of our armed forces soon turned the tables on them.

Miscellaneous Idiomatic expressions formed with the help of verbs

  1. To cook or doctor an account/a book (to tamper with or falsify the facts of figures/ accounts) From the balance sheet presented to the shareholders, the company seemed to be flourishing, but later on it turned out that the management had cooked the accounts.
  2. To bear the brunt of (to bear the main force or shock of) The infantry forces have to bear the brunt of a battle.
  3. To beard the lion in his den (to oppose or challenge someone in his stronghold place) The Indian Army broke through strong Pakistan fortifications, and in the Shakargarh area bearded the lion in his own den.
  4. To blunt the edge of (to make something less effective) Time blunts the edge of grief.
  5. To burn the candle at both ends (to make too great a demand on one’s physical or mental resources by overwork or overindulgence in some activity) In any kind of job, especially academic, you cannot afford to burn the candle at both ends, if you want to be productive every day.
  6. To cross the Rubicon (to take an important action or step that cannot be reversed) The Government will have to think of many things before nationalising the textile industry for once they cross the Rubicon there will be no going back.
  7. To curry favour (to win favour by gifts or flattery/try to flatter) He was trying to curry favour with the boss by offering him an expensive gift.
  8. To flog a dead horse (waste one’s energies on a lost cause) We will be flogging a dead horse if we try to make Sanskrit the national language of India.
  9. To feather one’s nest (to provide for oneself through dishonest means) Many bureaucrats feather their own nest while they have the opportunity.
  10. To eat humble pie (to have to humiliate oneself) Since no one came to his support he had to eat humble pie and give in to their demands.
  11. To eat one’s words (to retract one’s assertions under compulsion) It is hard for a haughty man to have to eat his words.
  12. To throw down the gauntlet, to take up the gauntlet (to issue a challenge, to accept a challenge). In order to defend his title the young Brazilian wrestler threw down the gauntlet.
  13. To run the gauntlet (to undergo severe criticism or ill treatment) Most books have to run the gauntlet of the literary critics.
  14. To burn one’s fingers (to get oneself into trouble through miscalculation/ foolishness) If you’ve never played the stock market in the past this is not the time to start, as you are likely to burn your fingers.
  15. To force one’s hand (to compel one to do something unwillingly or earlier than when one wished to do it) The Government wanted to do all that it could to meet the workers’ demands. But the violence by the strikers forced their hands to declare a lockout.
  16. To haul over the coals (reproach/reprimand someone severely) If your bad habits become known, you will get hauled over the coals and you richly deserve it too.
  17. To let the grass grow under your feet (to unnecessarily cause delay in taking action) The authorities should listen to students’ grievances. If they let the grass grow under their feet the situation would turn from bad to worse.
  18. To lord it over someone (to behave in a superior or domineering manner with someone) The intoxication of power is so strong that when a man gains it he begins to lord it over his fellows.
  19. To mind one’s P’s and Q’s (to be punctiliously careful about one’s speech or behaviour) The manager suspects his chief clerk of dishonesty, and if the clerk does not mind his P’s and Q’s, he will soon find himself out of job.
  20. To pass muster (to be accepted as satisfactory) Though my work in college was not as good as it could have been, it passed muster and I got good results.
  21. To pay one back in one’s own coin (to give tit for tat; to retaliate) Howsoever revengeful you may be, unless you are strong enough you cannot pay him back in his own coin.
  22. To plough a lonely furrow (to work without help or support) In the organised society of today no individual or nation can plough a lonely furrow.
  23. To rest on one’s laurels (to rest satisfied with one’s achievement and make no further efforts) Even if he wins the biggest award, a film star will never rest on his laurels. He will try to reach greater heights of stardom.
  24. To harp on the same string (to keep repeating the same things over and over again) This gentleman keeps harping on the same string that he is from Oxford and deserves the best.
  25. To rise like a phoenix from its ashes (the phoenix is a mythical Arabian bird. It had no mate but when it was about to die, it made a funeral pile of wood and aromatic gums and burned itself to ashes on it. From the ashes a young phoenix is believed to have risen; to rise up to former glory after being totally destroyed) Germany was completely decimated in the Second World War. But it has risen like a phoenix from its ashes.
  26. To rule the roost (be the one who directs others in a business, community, household, etc.) In rural areas it is normally the Sarpanch who rules the roost.
  27. To scatter to the winds (to waste (i) to scatter) Whatever we had gained by independance we scattered to the wind.
  28. To see which way the wind blows (to observe what influence, whether it is favourable or adverse, is likely to affect the existing state of things) In party-politics people sitting on the fence keep on watching which way the wind is blowing before deciding whom to support.
  29. To see a thing through coloured spectacles (to regard something unfavourably because of one’s prejudices)
  30. Pakistan has for long looked at India through coloured spectacles and never trusted even the most genuine of her peace moves.
  31. To see through something (to understand the true nature of something beneath deceptive appearances) They saw through the game of the enemy.
  32. To speak volumes about (to have abundant evidence about something) The success of democracy in India speaks volumes about the maturity of her people.
  33. To split hair (quibble or argue on minor points) As the drought played havoc in Bihar, the authorities were busy splitting hair trying to decide whether there was ‘scarcity conditions’ or ‘famine’.
  34. To steal a march on (to do something so as to gain an advantage over another) While we were still debating the desirability of joint ventures with foreign concerns, Singapore and Malaysia stole a march over us and opened their gates to foreign investment in a big way.
  35. To stick at nothing (behave in an unscrupulous way to get what one wants) An ambitious politician will stick at nothing if that serves high ends.
  36. To strain every nerve (to use one’s utmost efforts) We have to strain every nerve to get over the poverty line.
  37. To stretch a point (to extend a regulation/definition to cover something not included in it) Targetting small bakeries as part of the drive to move polluting industries from residential areas to industrial ones is stretching the point a little too far.
  38. To strike while the iron is hot (to take immediate advantage of an opportunity) By going in for general elections immediately after the war, the Congress struck while the iron was hot.
  39. To talk shop (to discuss matters connected with one’s trade or profession) During tea breaks at any seminar you will always find the participants talking shop.
  40. To tie somebody’s hands (to restrict somebody’s activities) Although the management was aware about the severe financial crises one of their employees was going through, it could not pass the loan for it hands were tied by the Company’s policy.
  41. To throw mud at (to talk ill of) Some people specialise in throwing mud at others.

Idiomatic phrases formed by the combination of a noun and an adjective each, noun phrases and adverbial phrases

  1. Bad blood (ill will towards each other, enmity) There has been bad blood between India and Pakistan since 1947.
  2. A bone of contention (subject of dispute) Kashmir continues to be a bone of contention between India and Pakistan.
  3. A bosom friend/pal (A very intimate and trusted friend) Bosom friends never betray one another.
  4. Like a bull in a China shop (someone who is too clumsy, rough, coarse, etc. to suit his/her surroundings and company or to handle a delicate situation) Don’t let him handle the labour problem, with his short tempered nature he will only be like a bull in a China shop and worsen the situation.
  5. A cold-comfort (inadequate consolation) The mere promise of a better future is only cold comfort to the frustrated youth of today.
  6. Creature comforts (material comforts that contribute to physical ease and well-being) A poor labourer is more concerned about creature comforts than spiritual development.
  7. A dog in the manger (a person who prevents others from having things that he does not need himself)) The affluent nations follow a dog in the manger policy. They would rather destroy what they can’t use themselves than give it to the poor nations of Asia and Africa.
  8. Elbow room (adequate space to move or work in) Too many rules and red-tapism hardly gives one elbow room to try out new methods that might prove more profitable for an organisation.
  9. A fair-weather friend (a friend who deserts you in difficulties) A fair-weather friend disappears the moment your money disappears.
  10. French leave (absence from work or duty without permission) Don’t take too many French leaves now, it will mar your chances for a promotion.
  11. Good offices (influence) One can get a good job only through the good offices of someone in power.
  12. A herculean task (a job requiring greater effort) Eradication of poverty is a herculean task requiring the collective efforts of the entire country.
  13. Lynch law (Mob law, law administered by private individuals and followed by summary execution) In African countries they often resort to lynch law to punish criminals.
  14. A maiden speech (the first speech of a new member in a public body as in Town Hall or in Parliament) Every MP looks forward to his maiden speech because it is an opportunity for him to make a good impression.
  15. A nine-day wonder (a person or event that attracts a lot of notice for a short time but is soon forgotten) The controversy of the match-fixing charges in the cricket match was but a nine- day wonder.
  16. The rising generation (the young people). The rising generation is quite techno-savvy.
  17. Scot free (without suffering any punishment or injury) Because he had influential connections, the culprit went scot free.
  18. A sheet anchor (a dependable person, or thing relied upon in the last resort) In times of immense strain and problems, one’s family and friends are one’s sheet anchor who keep one from giving in.
  19. Tall talk (boastful language) If we have no real accomplishments, we indulge in tall talk to delude ourselves and others too.
  20. A white elephant (something expensive to maintain) I had to dispose off the car as it turned out to be a white elephant.
  21. A white lie (a harmless lie told to avoid hurting someone’s feelings) His white lie that everything was alright with him, helped soothe his agitated mother, who had heard that he had met with an accident.
  22. A wild-goose chase (a useless search, investigation or enterprise) The hoaxer had sent the police on a wild-goose chase.
  23. An apple of discord (a subject of dispute/rivalry) Kashmir continues to be the apple of discord between India and Pakistan.
  24. The gift of the gab (eloquence, fluency in speech) The gift of the gab invariably makes for a successful politician.
  25. The ins and outs (the full details, intricacies, complications of a thing) We are yet to learn the ins and outs of the Mao-Nixon agreement.
  26. The lion’s share (an unfairly large share) The big nations continue to have the lion’s share of world trade.
  27. The three R’s (mastery in reading, writing and arithmetic) The three R’s have been the main focus of primary education for many decades now.
  28. Penelope’s web (a work which seems to be going on and yet never comes to an end) A housewife’s chores are a Penelope’s web.
  29. The powers that be (any governmental, legislative, managerial body) Unless you agitate against powers that be, they will never do anything for your welfare.
  30. The pros and cons (various points or arguments for and against someone or something) Before taking a major decision it is always best to weigh its pros and cons.
  31. By the skin of one’s teeth (narrowly escape or avoid by a small margin) The storm broke up the ship but the sailors escaped by the skin of their teeth.
  32. A storm in a tea cup (a great fuss over a trifle) The commotion over the bomb explosion turned out to be a storm in a tea cup; it was a Diwali cracker burst by an urchin.
  33. Null and void (invalid, valueless, no longer in force) The court declared the appointment of the managing director by ‘X’ limited null and void.

Prepositional and other Phrases in English used with the verb “to be”

  1. To be worth its weight in gold (extremely valuable) In the desert a bottle of water is often worth its weight in gold.
  2. To be Greek or double Dutch to one (unintelligible, incomprehensible language) He spoke so fast that all he said was double Dutch to the audience.
  3. To be at sea (confused, uncertain) I am quite at sea as for as economics is concerned.
  4. To be at sixes and sevens (in a state of confusion or disarray) I haven’t had time to arrange everything, so I’m all at sixes and sevens.
  5. To be at one’s wits end (be completely at a loss as to what to do) With the master shouting from the bathroom and the mistress from the kitchen the servant was at his wits end as to who to attend first.
  6. To be in the doldrums (feeling depressed; in low spirits or depression) He has been in the doldrums ever since his wife left him.
  7. To be on the wane (becoming weaker or less vigorous) After the second World War, the British rule was on the wane.
  8. To be on the carpet (being severely reprimanded by someone in authority) The unpunctual clerk was repeatedly on the carpet.
  9. To be on one’s last leg (near the end of life, usefulness or existence) With the increasing use of computers in offices, it seems the typewriter is at its last leg.

Idiomatic expression belonging to particular subject

(i)    Money, debt, business, etc.

  1. Ready money or cash (money immediately available for use) Earlier it was time consuming to withdraw cash. Today ATMs provide ready money in no time.
  2. Bad debts (debts regarded as irrecoverable) Every year the company compiles a list of bad debts and writes them off.
  3. In short supply (not easily available) Sugar is in short supply because of the strike in sugar mills.
  4. To bring a thing under hammer (to sell something by auction) If a person goes insolvent, his creditors bring everything that he owns under hammer to recover their money.
  5. To drive a hard bargain (insist on the best possible price when negotiating with somebody) The Sheikh drove a hard bargain while selling oil to western countries.
  6. To pay one’s way (earn enough to cover one’s expenses) While at college, he paid his way by working as a newspaper vendor.

(ii)   Warfare

  1. To take something by storm (to capture a place by sudden and violent attack) The men mounted an all out attack from air and land and soon took the enemy country by storm.
  2. To strike one’s flag or colours or to show the white (to surrender) After the army surrounded their hiding place, the terrorists showed the white and were thereafter captured.

(iii)  Sea and ships

Many of the expressions belonging to this group are used metaphorically, i.e., in areas other than that to which they belong.

  1. To weather the storm (to come out of a crisis successfully) In a crisis it is unity which helps a nation to weather the storm.
  2. To sail before the wind (sail in the direction in which the wind is blowing or act in a safe way) An opportunist is one who sails before the wind (Its opposite is to sail close to the wind, i.e., behave or operate in a risky way).
  3. To cast anchor (to settle in a place for the time being) After travelling around the world, he finally cast anchor in Paris because he liked the city.
  4. To give a broadside (a naval phrase meaning to charge at once at an enemy by arranging all the guns along one side of a ship. Metaphorically it means to make a vigorous attack upon an opponent) The Prime Minister bore all criticism with patience and then gave a broadside that silenced all criticism.
  5. To be in the same boat (be in the same difficult circumstances as others) In a nuclear war, the rich and the poor nations will be in the same boat. None will be able to protect itself.
  6. To take the wind out of one’s sails (upset or disturb an overconfident or pompous person) Before he goes any further, confront him with the evidence of his wrong doings and take the wind out of his sails.

(iv)  Fire, light, candles

  1. The game is not worth the candle (the advantage or enjoyment to be gained is not worth the time spent in gaining it) Journey to the moon is an elaborate and costly affair and some people with a pragmatic approach feel the game is not worth the candle.
  2. Not hold a candle to something or someone (be inferior to someone) She writes quite amusing stories but she can’t hold a candle to the more serious novelists.

(v)   Death

All the phrases given below mean, ‘to dies a natural death’ as opposed to a violent or sudden death (from murder, in accident or in battle-field, etc.). These phrases also apply to death after a long illness.

To pass away, to go the way of all flesh, to breathe one’s last, to be gathered to one’s fathers, to join the great majority, to kick the bucket.

1. ‘The best of both worlds’ – means you can enjoy two different opportunities at the same time.
“By working part-time and looking after her kids two days a week she managed to get the best of both worlds.”

2. ‘Speak of the devil’ – this means that the person you’re just talking about actually appears at that moment.
“Hi Tom, speak of the devil, I was just telling Sara about your new car.”

3. ‘See eye to eye’ – this means agreeing with someone.
“They finally saw eye to eye on the business deal.”

4. ‘Once in a blue moon’ – an event that happens infrequently.
“I only go to the cinema once in a blue moon.”

5. ‘When pigs fly’ – something that will never happen.
“When pigs fly she’ll tidy up her room.”

 

With our live online teachers, we will guide and support you to a 6. ‘To cost an arm and a leg’– something is very expensive.
“Fuel these days costs and arm and a leg.”7. ‘A piece of cake’– something is very easy.
“The English test was a piece of cake.”

8. ‘Let the cat out of the bag’ – to accidentally reveal a secret.
“I let the cat out of the bag about their wedding plans.”

9. ‘To feel under the weather’ – to not feel well.
“I’m really feeling under the weather today; I have a terrible cold.”

10. ‘To kill two birds with one stone’ – to solve two problems at once.
“By taking my dad on holiday, I killed two birds with one stone. I got to go away but also spend time with him.”

11. ‘To cut corners’ – to do something badly or cheaply.
“They really cut corners when they built this bathroom; the shower is leaking.”

12. ‘To add insult to injury’ – to make a situation worse.
“To add insult to injury the car drove off without stopping after knocking me off my bike.”

13. ‘You can’t judge a book by its cover’ – to not judge someone or something based solely on appearance.
“I thought this no-brand bread would be horrible; turns out you can’t judge a book by its cover.”

14. ‘Break a leg’ – means ‘good luck’ (often said to actors before they go on stage).
“Break a leg Sam, I’m sure your performance will be great.”

15. ‘To hit the nail on the head’ – to describe exactly what is causing a situation or problem.
“He hit the nail on the head when he said this company needs more HR support.”

16. ‘A blessing in disguise’ – An misfortune that eventually results in something good happening later on.

17. ‘Call it a day’ – Stop working on something

18. ‘Let someone of the hook’ – To allow someone, who have been caught, to not be punished.

19. ‘No pain no gain’ – You have to work hard for something you want.

20. ‘Bite the bullet’ – Decide to do something unpleasant that you have avoiding doing.

21. ‘Getting a taste of your own medicine’ – Being treated the same unpleasant way you have treated others.

22. ‘Giving someone the cold shoulder’ – To ignore someone.

23. ‘The last straw’ – The final source of irritation for someone to finally lose patience.

24. ‘The elephant in the room’ – matter or problem that is obvious of great importance but that is not discussed openly.

25. ‘Stealing someones thunder’ – Taking credit for someone else achievements.

To test your new-found knowledge here are some sentences to practice with. Fill in the blank!

A) I can’t afford this purse! It _______. I won’t be able to pay my rent!
B) His birthday was supposed to be a surprise! I can’t believe you _____. Now he knows!
C) Ha! John has been promising to paint the house for five years…. Maybe when _______.
D) Yeah, it’ll _______. I need to sign some papers at Jenny’s school anyway so i’ll pick her up for you too.
E) I don’t really like going out to bars anymore. I only go _______.
F) I’m sorry I can’t come into work today. I’m ________. I have a sore throat and runny nose.
G) They tried ________ when installing the pipes for the house and now we have leaks only one month after purchasing it!
H) We missed our flight to Paris because the connecting flight was late and to ______ they made us pay for a new ticket as if it was our fault!
I) I can’t wait to see you perform on stage tonight! ______!
J) Jane is just never on time to work, it’s really annoying. O wow, ______ here she comes…
K) So we’re going to London, then Munich, then we will fly out of Athens, right? Great. I’m so glad to be traveling with someone I _______ with.
L) Wow, she found her dream man and has now landed an amazing job. She really does have ______.
M) OK, she might not be the most attractive but _________. I’m sure she is a sweetheart.
N) I have been trying to figure this out for ages. Thanks so much, you’re right. You _______.
O) I can’t believe that was our test. I think it was easier than some of our homework! It was a ______.

Answers: 6, 8, 5, 10, 4, 9, 11, 12, 14, 2, 3, 1, 13, 15, 7.

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