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Idioms with In and/or On




These come from the first 20 lessons 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 . The online pdf by the same author and publisher has fewer chapters and does not include the exercises.


English Idioms that Use In , On or Both In and On

These come from the lessons 1-20 of a book called Essential Idioms in English--Phrasal Verbs and Collocations by Robert J. Dixson.


LESSON 1

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 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 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?


LESSON 2

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?


LESSON 3

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.


LESSON 4

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.


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?


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?


LESSON 5

in a hurry: hurried, rushed (also: in a rush)

o Alex seems in a hurry; he must be late for his train again.

o She's always in a rush in the morning to get the kids to school.


LESSON 6

to count on: to trust someone in time of need (also: to depend on)

o I can count on my parents to help me in an emergency.

o Don't depend on Frank to lend you any money; he doesn't have any.


to go on: to happen; to resume, to continue (also: to keep on)

o Many people gathered near the accident to see what was going on.

o I didn't mean to interrupt you. Please go on.

o The speaker kept on talking even though most of the audience had left.



LESSON 7

on time: exactly at the correct time, punctually

o I thought that Margaret would arrive late, but she was right on time.

o Did you get to work on time this morning, or did rush hour traffic delay you?


in time to: before the time necessary to do something

o We entered the theater just in time to see the beginning of the movie.

o The truck was not able to stop in time to prevent an accident.



LESSON 8

to brush up on: to review something in order to refresh one's memory

o Before I traveled to Mexico, I brushed up on my Spanish; I haven't practiced it since high school.

o In order to take that advanced mathematics class, Sidney will have to brush up on his algebra.


to fall in love: to begin to love This idiom is used with the expression at first sight to indicate a sudden interest in love.

o Ben and Sal fell in love in high school, and got married after graduation.

o Have you ever fallen in love at first sight?



LESSON 9

to be in charge of: to manage, to have responsibility for

o Jane is in charge of the office while Mrs. Haig is a business trip.

o Who is in charge of arrangements for the dance next week?


to get in touch with: to communicate with, to contact

o You can get in touch with him by calling the Burma Hotel.

o I've been trying all morning to get in touch with Miss Peters, but her phone is always busy.


in no time: very quickly, rapidly This idiom can be used with the idiom at all to add emphasis to the certainty of the statement.

o Mac said that he'd be ready to leave in no time.

o We thought that the meeting would take two hours, but it was over in no time at all.


to cut down on: to reduce, to lessen (also: to cut back on)

o In order to lose weight, you have to cut down on your intake of sugar.

o The doctor told me to cut back on exercise until my back injury heals.


LESSON 10

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LESSON 11

from now on: from this time into the future

o Mr. Lee's doctor told him to cut down on eating fatty foods from now on, or else he might suffer heart disease.

o I'm sorry that I dropped by at a bad time. From now on I'll call you first.


LESSON 12

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LESSON 13

once in a blue moon: rarely, infrequently

o Snow falls on the city of San Diego, California, once in a blue moon.

o Once in a blue moon my wife and I eat at a very expensive restaurant.


to have on: to be wearing (S)

o How do you like the hat which Grace has on today?

o When Sally came into the room, I had nothing on except my shorts.


LESSON 14

to eat in/to eat out: to eat at home/to eat in a restaurant

o I feel too tired to go out for dinner. Let's eat in again tonight.

o When you eat out, what restaurant do you generally go to?


LESSON 15

to fill in: to write answers in (S); to inform, to tell (S) For the second definition, the idiom can be followed by the preposition on and the information that someone is told.

o You should be careful to fill in the blanks on the registration form correctly. o Barry was absent from the meeting, so I'd better fill him in.

o Has anyone filled the boss in on the latest public relation disaster?


in the long run: eventually, after a long period of time This idiom is similar in meaning to sooner or later (Lesson 1). The difference is that in the long run refers to a more extended period of time.

o In the long run, the synthetic weave in this carpet will wear better than the woolen one. You won't have to replace it so soon.

o If you work hard at your marriage, you'll find out that, in the long run, your spouse can be your best friend in life.


in touch: having contact

o James will be in touch with us soon to relay the details of the plan.

o I certainly enjoyed seeing you again after all these years. Let's be sure to keep in touch.


LESSON 16

to have in mind: to be considering, to be thinking (S)

o I don't want to see a movie now. I have in mind going to the park.

o It's up to you what we eat tonight. Do you have anything in mind?


to keep in mind: to remember, not to forget (S) (also: to bear in mind)

o I didn't know that Paula doesn't like vegetables. We should bear that in mind next time we invite her for dinner.

o Please keep in mind that you promised to call Stan around noon.



LESSON 17

on the other hand: however, in contrast

o Democracies provide people many freedoms and privileges. On the other hand, democracies suffer many serious problems such as crime and unemployment.

o My sister takes after my father in appearance. On the other hand, I take after my mother.


to turn down: to reduce in brightness or volume (S); to reject, to refuse (S)

o Please turn down the radio for me. It's too loud while I'm studying.

o Laverne wanted to join the military but the recruiting officer turned her application down because Laverne is hard of hearing in one ear.


fifty-fifty: divided into two equal parts

o Let's go fifty-fifty on the cost of a new rug for our apartment.

o The political candidate has a fifty-fifty chance of winning the election. T+


to break in: gradually to prepare something for use that is new and stiff (S); to interrupt (for the second definition, also: to cut in)

o It is best to break a new car in by driving it slowly for the first few hundred miles.

o While Carrie and I were talking, Bill broke in to tell me about a telephone call.

o Peter, it's very impolite to cut in like that while others are speaking.


LESSON 18

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LESSON 19

all in all: considering everything

o There were a few problems, but all in all it was a well-organized seminar.

o Leonard got a low grade in one subject, but all in all he's a good student.


to be in (the/one's) way: to block or obstruct; not to be helpful, to cause inconvenience (for both, also: to get in the/one's way)

o Jocelyn couldn't drive through the busy intersection because a big truck was in the way.

o Our small child tried to help us paint the house, but actually he just got in our way.


to put on: to gain (pounds or weight) (S); to present, to perform (S)

o Bob has put on a lot of weight recently. He must have put at least fifteen pounds on.

o The Youth Actor's Guild put on a wonderful version of Romeo and Juliet at the globe Theater.


in vain: useless, without the desired result

o All the doctors' efforts to save the injured woman were in vain. She was declared dead three hours after being admitted to the hospital.

o We tried in vain to reach you last night. Is your phone out of order? day in and day out: continuously, constantly (also: day after day; for longer periods of time,


year in and year out = year after year

o During the month of April, it rained day in and day out.

o Day after day I waited for a letter from him, but one never came.

o Year in and year out, the weather in San Diego is the best in the nation.


to catch up: to work with the purpose of fulfilling a requirement or being equal to others The idiom is often followed by the preposition with and a noun phrase. It is similar in meaning to keep up with from Lesson 17.

o The student was absent from class so long that it took her a long time to catch up.

o If you are not equal to others, first you have to catch up with them before you can keep up with them.


Lesson 20

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