Essential Idioms Lessons 1-4

This comes from a pdf file that I found online. I own the 5th Edition of a book called Essential Idioms in English--Phrasal Verbs and Collocations. The book I own has 39 lessons and in addition to the idioms and their definitions and examples using the targeted idioms, there are exercises. Each Lesson features two sets of exercises. The lessons are grouped into Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced. The book was written by Robert . This book was introduced to me by Belinda.


to get in/to get on: to enter or to board a vehicle To get in is used for cars; to get on is used for all other forms of transportation.

o It's easiest to get in the car from the driver's side. The door on the other side doesn't work well.

o I always get on the bus to work at 34th Street.

to get out of/to get off: to leave or to descend from a vehicle. To get out of is used for cars; to get off is used for all other forms of transportation.

o Why don't we stop and get out of the car for a while?

o Helen got off the train at the 42nd Street terminal.

to put on: to place on oneself (usually said of clothes) (S)

o Mary put on her coat and left the room.

o Put your hat on before you leave the house.

to take off: to remove (usually said of clothes) (S)

o John took off his jacket as he entered the office.

o Take your sweater off. The room is very warm.

to call up: to telephone (also: to give some one a call) (S) To call can be used instead of to call up, as in the first example below.

o I forgot to call up Mr. Jones yesterday. I'd better call him now.

o Call me up tomorrow, Jane. We'll arrange a time to have lunch together.

o I promise to give you a call as soon as I arrive in New York.

to turn on:

to start or cause to function (also: to switch on) (S)

o Please turn on the light; it's too dark in here.

o Do you know who turned the air conditioning on?

to turn off:

to cause to stop functioning (also: to switch off, to shut off) (S) Turn on and turn off, as well as their related forms, are used for things that flow, such as electricity, water, gas, etc.

o Please turn off the light when you leave the room.

o Are you really listening to the radio, or should I turn it off?

right away: very soon; immediately (also: at once)

o Dad says that dinner will be ready right away, so we'd better wash our hands and set the table.

o Tell Will to come to my office right away. I must see him immediately.

o Stop playing that loud music at once!

to pick up: to lift form the floor, table, etc., with one's fingers (S)

o Harry picked up the newspaper that was on the front doorstep.

o Could you pick your toy up before someone falls over it?

sooner or later: eventually, after a period of time

o If you study English seriously, sooner or later you'll become fluent.

o I'm too tired to do my homework now; I'm sure I'll do it sooner or later.

to get up: to arise, to rise from a bed; to make someone arise (S) For the last definition a noun phrase must separate the verb and particle.

o Carla gets up at seven o'clock every morning.

o At what time should we get the children up tomorrow? at first: in the beginning, originally

o At first English was difficult for him, but later he made great progress.

o I thought at first that it was Sheila calling, but then I realized that it was Betty.


to dress up: to wear formal clothes, to dress very nicely

o We should definitely dress up to go to the theater.

o You don't have to dress up for Mike's party. at last: finally, after a long time.

o We waited for hours and then the train arrived at last.

o Now that I am sixteen, at last I can drive my parents' car.

as usual: as is the general case, as is typical o George is late for class as usual. This seems to happen every day.

o As usual, Dora received first prize in the swimming contest. It's the third consecutive year that she has won.

to find out: get information about, to determine (S) This idiom is separable only when a pronoun is used, as in the second example.

o Will you please try to find out what time the airplane arrives?

o I'll call right now to find it out. to look at: give one's attention to; to watch

o The teacher told us to look at the blackboard and not at our books.

o I like to walk along a country road at night and look at the stars.

to look for: to try to find, to search for An adverb phrase such as all over can be put between the verb and preposition, as in the second example, however, the idiom cannot be separated by a noun or pronoun.

o He's spent over an hour looking for the pen that he lost.

o So there you are! We've looked allover for you.

all right: acceptable, fine; yes, okay This idiom can also be spelled alright in informal usage.

o He said that it would be all right to wait in her office until she returned.

o Do you want me to turn off the TV? Alright, if you insist.

all along: all the time, from the beginning (without change)

o She knew all along that we'd never agree with his plan.

o You're smiling! Did you know all along that I'd give you a birthday present?

little by little: gradually, slowly (also: step by step)

o Karen's health seems to be improving little by little.

o If you study regularly each day, step by step your vocabulary will increase.

to tire out: to make very weary due to difficult conditions or hard effort (also: to wear out) (S)

o The hot weather tired out the runners in the marathon.

o Does studying for final exams wear you out? It makes me feel worn out!

to call on: to ask for a response from; to visit (also: to drop in on)

o Jose didn't know the answer when the teacher called on him.

o Last night several friends called on us at our home.

o Shy don't we drop in on Sally a little later?

never mind: don't be concerned about it; ignore what was just said

o When he spilled his drink on my coat, I said, "Never mind. It needs to be cleaned anyway."

o So you weren't listening to me again. Never mind; it wasn't important.


to pick out: to choose, to select (S)

o Ann picked out a good book to give to her brother as a graduation gift.

o Johnny, if you want me to buy you a toy, then pick one out now.

to take one's time: to do without rush, not to hurry This idiom is often used in the imperative form. (See the first example)

o There's no need to hurry doing those exercises. Take your time.

o William never works rapidly. He always takes his time in every thing that he does.

to talk over: to discuss or consider a situation with others (S)

o We talked over Carla's plan to install an air conditioner in the room, but we couldn't reach a decision.

o Before I accepted the new job offer, I talked the matter over with my life.

to lie down: to place oneself in a flat position, to recline

o If you are tired, why don't you lie down for an hour or so?

o The doctor says that Grace must lie down and rest for a short time every afternoon.

to stand up: to rise from a sitting or lying position (also: to get up)

o When the president entered the room, everyone stood up.

o Suzy, stop rolling around on the floor; get up now.

to sit down: to be seated (also: take a seat)

o We sat down on the park bench and watched the children play.

o There aren't any more chairs, but you can take a seat on the floor.

all (day, week, month, year) long: the entire day, week, month, year

o I've been working on my income tax forms all day long. I've hardly had time to eat.

o It's been raining all week long. We haven't seen the sun since last Monday.

by oneself: alone, without assistance

o Francis translated that French novel by himself. No one helped him.

o Paula likes to walk through the woods by herself, but her brother prefers to walk with a companion.

on purpose: for a reason, deliberately This idiom is usually used when someone does something wrong or unfair.

o Do you think that she didn't come to the meeting on purpose?

o It was no accident that he broke my glasses. He did it on purpose.

to get along with: to associate or work well with; to succeed or manage in doing (also: to get on with)

o Terry isn't getting along with her new roommate; they argue constantly.

o How are you getting on with your students?

to make a difference (to): to be of importance (to), to affect This idiom is often used with adjectives to show the degree of importance.

o It makes a big difference to me whether he likes the food I serve.

o Does it make any difference to you where we go for dinner?

o No, it doesn't make any difference. o It makes no difference to Lisa either.

to take out: to remove, to extract (S); to go on a date with (S) (also to go out with)

o Student, take out your books and open them to page twelve. o Did you take Sue out last night?

o No, she couldn't go out with me.


to take part in: to be involved in, to participate in (also: to be in on)

o Martin was sick and could not take part in the meeting yesterday.

o I didn't want to be in on their argument, so I remained silent.

at all: to any degree (also: in the least)

o Larry isn't at all shy about expressing his opinions.

o When I asked Donna whether she was tired, she said, "Not in the least. I'm full of energy."

to look up: to locate information in a directory, dictionary, book, etc. (S)

o Ellen suggested that we look up Lee's telephone number in the directory.

o Students should try to understand the meaning of a new word from context before looking the word up in the dictionary.

to wait on: to serve in a store or restaurant

o A very pleasant young clerk waited on me in that shop.

o The restaurant waitress asked us, "Has anyone waited on you yet?

at least: aminimum of, no fewer (or less) than

o I spend at least two hours every night on my studies.

o Mike claims that he drinks at least a quart of water every day.

so far: until now, until the present time (also: up to now, as of yet) This idiom is usually used with the present perfect tense.

o So far, this year has been excellent for business. I hope that the good luck continues.

o How many idioms have we studied in this book up to now?

o As of yet, we have not had an answer from him.

to take a walk, stroll, hike, etc.: to go for a walk, stroll, hike, etc. A stroll involves slow, easy walking; a hike involves serious, strenuous walking.

o Last evening we took a walk around the park.

o It's a fine day. Would you like to take a stroll along Mason Boulevard?

o Let's take a hike up Cowles Mountain this afternoon.

to take a trip: to go on a journey, to travel

o I'm so busy at work that I have no time to take a trip.

o During the summer holidays, the Thompsons took a trip to Europe.

to try on: to wear clothes to check the style or fit before buying (S)

o He tried on several suits before he picked out a blue one.

o Why don't you try these shoes on next?

to think over: to consider carefully before deciding (S)

I'd like to think over your offer first. Then can we talk it over tomorrow?

o You don't have to give me your decision now. Think it over for a while.

to take place: to occur, to happen according to plan

o The regular meetings of the committee take place in Constitution Hall.

o I thought that the celebration was taking place at John's house.

to put away: to remove from slight, to put in the proper place (S)

o Please put away your papers before you open the test booklet.

o John put the notepad away in his desk when he was finished with it.

Activity: Have a conversation in English with one of more people. Look for ways you can "naturally" incorporate the aforementioned idioms into the conversation. Remember that in a conversation you may ask questions, volunteer information, ask questions, and/or make requests.

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