A long shot
When something is very unlikely, but you still give it a try.
“It’s a long shot, but if you happen to be free on Saturday you could join us for a walk in the mountains.“
Have a grasp of something
Understand it well.
“You have a good grasp of English grammar. Can you help your classmate with the relative clauses homework?“
Pick your brain
Ask for information to someone who knows about a certain subject.
“Can I pick your brain about web design?“
The elephant in the room
Something obvious that no-one wants to bring up or talk about, and therefore remains ignored.
“Their grandfather’s racist behaviour had been the elephant in the room for years, but now it was time to address it.“
Better late than never
Done late, but at least done.
“Sorry I didn’t remember yersterday, but better late than never. Happy birthday!.“
Come to nothing
When something comes to nothing, it fails.
“Our plans to spend a week on the Isle of Wight came to nothing.“
The cherry on the cake
One last thing that makes something good, even better.
“They all reunited for lunch in the garden after a long period apart, and the sunny weather was the cherry on the cake.“
“Despite my wish to explain my view, I gave him my undivided attention until he finished speaking.“
Not connected to the main electricity grid or other public supplies such as gas.
“They are working towards their objective to move into a sustaible off-the-grid home in the country.“
Out of your depth
To feel like you don’t belong because you are not prepared to deal with what is happening in a certain situation or with a group of people.
“During the first month of her educational exchange in Boston, she felt out of her depth in most classes, but it all changed when she got used to the American system.“
Out of character
Not behaving as one usually does; uncharacteristic.
“Crying in public was totally out of character for her, always so calm and in control.“
See the back of
This phrase can be followed by someone or something and it means that your are glad and relieved that you will not have to deal with it/him/her… any more.
“Seeing the back that unispiring desk job was a moment of pure joy.“
A turning point
A time of significant change that will affect the future.
“Inheriting a farm in the south was a turning point in his life.“
A wealth of
A large amount.
“If one takes the time to think about it, there is a wealth of things to be thankful for every single day.“
That’s not to say (that)
We can use this phrase to correct what we just said. It means: it doesn’t mean (that).
“The book is dense and full of complex ideas, buy that is not to say she didn’t understand it.“
A quick fix
A quick solution to a problem that will only solve it temporarily, but is not effective in the long term.
“This stone wall will work for now, but it’s only a quick fix. We will need to build something more solid if we want to prevent landslides.“
Be all very well
To indirectly show that you disagree with something.
“That dream of becoming a farmer is all very well, but are you aware of the full-time commitment it entails?“
Have it in for someone
You can say that someone has it in for you when they clearly dislike you and make things difficult for you.
“The teacher had it in for her because she had been late for class more than once, even though it hadn’t been her fault at all.“
Have a beneficial effect. Also, do wonders.
“Swimming regularly works wonders for your health.“
Free up time
Find time to do something
“We are both busy. but let’s free up some time next week to go for a long walk and catch up.“
Behind closed doors
Done in private.
“On the surface, they looked like a happy couple but what happened behind closed doors remained a mystery.“
Take your mind off something
Stop worrying or thinking about something unpleasant
“Let’s go for a walk. That will help you take your mind off things.“