To be on call

Available to be reached by phone if needed at work (e.g. doctors)

“It is reassuring to know that there are vets on call if something serious happens to your pet at the weekend.”


In your element

In your natural environment and doing things you are familiar with

“We all left the planning in the group leader’s hands. Organising and distributing tasks, she was in her element.”


On your doorstep

Very close to where you live.

Similar to: At a stone’s throw away.

“The flat was very conveniently placed in a safe area of London and she had the tube station on her doorstep.”


Get to the bottom of something

To discover the truth about a situation.

“There have been a number of incidents in the building and the neighbours are trying to get to the bottom of the problem.”


A no-brainer

Simple to do or understand.

“They knew he would say yes to the salary rise. That was a no-brainer . “


There is more to it than meets the eye

Something is more complicated than it seems.

“Sharks have a fearsome reputation as killer creatures but there is more to it than meets the eye. “


For the most part

Mostly, usually

“Podcasts nowadays are incredibly assorted and for the most part, free of charge. “


At your fingertips

Accessible, easy to find.

“She may say she is hopeless at cooking and has zero imagination but there is no exuse really because nowadays, recipes are at our fingertips on the Internet. “


Get ahead of yourself

To do something prematurely.

“You are getting ahead of yourself by renting an apartment in London when you don’t still now if the company will take you on.”


Be in two minds

You can’t decide what to do.

“The student was in two minds about moving abroad.”


Can’t see the wood for the trees

Too involved in a situation or focused on the details and unable to see the bigger picture and understand the situation as a whole.

“She was so concerned with her day-to-day problems at work that she couldn’t see the wood for the trees. In the big scheme of things, she was a very successful entrepreneuse and her business was flourishing but her worries didn’t let her perceive it.”


Middle of the road

Not extreme but moderate. Acceptable to most people. Can be used about opinions, political beliefs, music, etc.

“The mayor was a very middle-of-the-road sort of person and managed to ward off fierce criticism.”


A foregone conclusion

A result that you can predict before it happens.

“The voters inevitably came to a foregone conclusion about the major blow to women’s rights that the candidate’s victory would represent.”


In one sitting

If you do something in one sitting, you set out to do a task and finish it in the one single period of time.

“The journalism student sat at his desk and read through a tabloid* and a broadsheet** in one sitting.”

(UK) *Tabloids: also called the gutter press are a kind of newspapers that are considered sensationalist and unrealiable journalism. ** Broadsheets on the other hand are quality papers, traditionally larger in size, thus the name. Although the size of some of them has changed, the name prevails.


The lesser of two evils

You have two choices and both of them are bad/unpleasant, but one seems less so than the other.

“Not knowing what politician to vote for, in the end he decided to choose the lesser of two evils, as it was always the case .”


A win-win situation

A win-win situation or result is good for anyone who is involved.

Going for a cycle with my dog is a win-win situation. He gets his daily exercise and I take a break and some fresh air.” 


To stock up on something

To buy a large amount of something and accumulate it for the future.

“In view of the snow forecast, remote communities are stocking up on food supplies.”


A fine line between

To express that there are similarities between two things that may seem initially different.

“There is a fine line between confidence and arrogance.”

Note: also A THIN LINE


Keep an eye out for 

To stay tuned to something. To keep looking for something and stay alert.

“She always keeps an eye out for gigs in the local area and then passes on the information to the rest of her pals.”


Start with a clean slate

Common phrase you hear a lot around New Year.

It means: a new beginning.

Note: Slate is a kind of rock that is split and used as material to build roofs. Also used for blackboards.

“January is regarded to be a clean slate by many. A time to start afresh and incorporate life changes and improvements.”