USEFUL PHRASES IN CONTEXT

Deporte, Gimnasia, Rana, Gracioso, Gimnasio, AjustarA phrase a day, keeps your English in shape.

Break a leg!

Wishing good luck to someone who is going to give a performance, like actors or musicians.

“You are going to dash them with your voice. Break a leg!.”

Drive someone mad

If something drives you mad, it annoys you very much.

“It drives me mad when people ask you a question and then don’t listen to the answer.”

Easy money

Money that is obtained too easily or by dishonest means.

From BBC World News:

Jessica* is also 24. She admits to selling fake Covid-19 certificates to people who wanted to travel abroad by advertising her services on social media.

She says it was “easy money”.

Bark up the wrong tree

Imagine a dog chasing a cat. You see the cat climb a tree, and then, the dog appears in the scene and starts barking up a tree but not the one the cat has climbed. Conclusion, if you are barking up the wrong tree, you will not obtain what you want because you are not asking the right person, in the right place, etc.

“Don’t ask me. I can’t help you with that. You are barking up the wrong tree.”

That’s about it

There is no more to be said or done.

From The Irish Times:
“Lockdown comes with perks – for example, getting to have a small lie-in each day, and… that’s about it.”

Click to read the article.

Coming of age

Reaching adulthood but in this case, also the name of a band.

From UK-BBC News:
“TikTok ‘coming-of-age’ trend helps band gain millions of fans.”

To a T /  to a tee

Perfectly. Just right.

“Your new job suits you to a T.”

 

Slip through your fingers

Losing something, like a person, a prize or an opportunity.

From BBC World Service:

In the dark

Not knowing or being informed about something.

From UK-BBC News:

The upper hand

If you have the upper hand, you have more power.

Origin explained here: The idioms.

“As things are today and in spite of the vaccines, the coronavirus still has the upper hand.”

Lose track of time

If you lose track of time, you are not aware of what time it is perhaps because you are engrossed in doing something.

“We were so absorbed in the conversation that I totally lost track of time and broke the curfew.”

Swim against the tide

To do things differently or behave in an unconventional way compared to other people.

“I see why you are tired. That constant swimming against the tide can’t be easy.”

Against all odds

If something happens against all odds, success wasn’t expected. The opposite was more likely to happen. Connecting this idea to yesterday’s example:

“Against all odds, she transformed a loss-making company into a profitable one.”

From strength to strength

More and more successful.

“Ever since she took over, the company is going from strength to strength.”

By a twist of fate

By chance and changing everything.

“By a twist of fate, the main character ended up becoming a spy.”

Half the battle

It is like saying you have made great progress towards your objective. You are a lot closer to achieving it.

“They had raised enough funds to rebuild the school. That was half the battle.”

Count your blessings

Appreciate the good things in your life.

“I get it. Life can be tough but now, stop for a moment and count your blessings. It will make you see things from a different angle.”

Lose face

To lose people’s respect.

“After the incident, the hospital feared losing face. They found a scape goat that they could blame and fire. Luckily, it all was uncovered eventually.”

Turn the tables

Reverse the situation from being in a weaker position to being in a more advantageous position.

“During the final, the tables were turned when the local team proved to be stronger than their rivals had expected.”

Not/never in a million years

It will never happen.

“When asked if he would get married again, he replied with no hesitation: Not in a million years!”

I don’t buy it.

If someone is telling you something that you don’t believe, you can say that you don’t buy it.

“Another excuse for not having done the homework? I don’t buy it!.”

Can’t get your head around something

Hard to understand and/or accept.

“This Chromecast system works randomly. I can’t really get my head around it.”

Test the water/waters

To make a preliminary approach to see how things go before taking further action.

“He was advised to test the waters before moving his business to another region.”

To be a thing

If something “is a thing” (informal), it exists and people know about it.

“I didn’t know that UV toothbrush sanitisers were a thing.”