Binomials

There are many phrases in English that use two words connected with ‘and’. For example wine and dine, home and hosed. These expressions are known as binomials. In these phrases the word order is usually fixed; we always say ‘wine and dine’, we never say ‘dine and wine’.

Home and hosed – safe and successful.
Ex: I’ve passed the test so I’m home and hosed for the time being.
Time and again – repeatedly
Ex: He was asking himself the same question time and again.
Wine and dine – eat and drink well.
Ex: We used to wine and dine in expensive restaurants every night during our holiday in Greece.
Alive and well – healthy and active
Ex: I came down with flu last week but I’m alive and well now.
Divide and rule – the policy intended to keep someone in the position of disagreement for easier manipulation.
Ex: The government’s policy of divide and rule caused great disorder in the country.
Up and down – move repeatedly forwards and backwards along the given path.
Ex: We were walking up and down the beach every evening.
There and then – happens immediately
Ex: Ashley felt that she should tell him the truth there and then.
More and more – increasingly
Ex: Stephen became more and more calm and stable.
Give and take – people should cooperate and compromise in order to be successful.
Ex: Every relationship requires lots of give and take.
Home and dry – to have finished something successfully.
Ex: Bob and Lucy have signed the contract so they’re home and dry now.
Dribs and drabs – small, negligible amounts
Ex: I haven’t eaten anything properly today. Just dribs and drabs here and there.

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Expressions with ‘Touch’

Get in touch (with someone) – to initiate contact with someone.
Ex: I’ve been trying to get in touch with you all morning. Where have you been?
Lose one’s touch – lose an ability to do something as well as we used to.
Ex: It seems like Jane’s lost her touch with skiing.
Magic touch – ability to do something excellently.
Ex: My mum has a magic touch when it comes to cooking pasta.
Keep in touch – stay in contact with someone.
Ex: I’ve always been trying to keep in touch with my schoolmates.
Out of touch – lack of information or communication.
Ex: I’m out of touch with Brenda so I couldn’t tell you when she’s coming.
Soft touch – easy person.
Ex: Clara is a soft touch. We can always persuade her to babysit for us.
Touch-and-go – critical situation.
Ex: Everything was touch-and-go before Pauline’s operation.
Touch base – to talk to someone for a while.
Ex: While we were in Italy we touched base with some old friends.
Finishing touch – final details that complete one’s work.
Ex: I just need to add final touches to my new vase.
Touch a sore spot (point) – sensitive matter.
Ex: We shouldn’t touch a sore spot and ask him about the accident.
Touch a nerve with – make someone upset.
Ex: Any talk of raising the cost of oil touches a nerve with citizens.
Lose touch with – lose contact with someone.
Ex: Although they lived in different countries, they’ve never lost touch with each other.

Idioms about Money

Earn a fortune to earn a lot of money

He made a fortune on the stock market.

Tighten your belt – to reduce the amount of money that you normally spend.

We’ve had to tighten our belts since my wife lost her job.

Chicken feed – an amount of money that is too small to be significant.

It’s a nice job but the salary is chicken feed.

Feel the pinch – to have financial problems because you are not earning as much as you used to earn.

When his parents lost their jobs they began to feel the pinch.

Hard up not having enough money.

I’m hard up these days.

Keep the wolf from the door – to have just enough money to buy basic necessities.

He works two jobs to help keep the wolf from the door.

Have deep pockets – to have a lot of money

This company has deep pockets.

Get your fingers burnt – to suffer loss as the result of doing something risky

He got his fingers burnt in foreign markets.

Cost an arm and a leg – to be extremely expensive.

The fur coat cost her an arm and a leg.

Expressions using ’clothes’

Gloves are off
A situation which includes a serious dispute or even fight in order to achieve something.
Ex: I have been a friendly person so far, but now the gloves are off!
Below the belt
If something is below the belt, then we are talking about unacceptable behavior.
Ex: He told her that she was stupid which she felt as a hit below the belt.
Be tied to your mother’s/wife’s apron strings
Refers to people who are not capable of making decision independently or without their mother or wife.
Ex: He is 45 years old but he’s still tied to his mother’s apron strings.
Put a sock in it!
Impolite way of telling someone to be quiet.
Ex: Can’t you stop talking! Put a sock in it!
Big girl’s blouse
Used to insult a person who other people believe is behaving in a weak manner.
Ex: ‘I can’t help you carrying these books’ ‘Oh, please stop being such a big girl’s blouse.’
Keep it under your hat
To keep something a secret.

Ex: I’ve heard that Jane is having an affair but keep it under your hat.

 

Time-off Expressions

To take time off – to be absent from work, at home, or on vacation.
Ex: I’m going to take a few days off to visit my parents.
To take a vacation – to take time away from work, especially when you travel
from pleasure.
Ex: I’m taking my vacation next month. We’re going to Greece.
To take a sabbatical – to take time away from work to study or travel, usually
while continuing to be paid.
Ex: He’s on sabbatical while he does his MBA. He’ll be back next month.
To take unpaid leave – to have an authorized absence from work but without
salary.
Ex: She’s taken some unpaid leave while she moves the house.
To be off sick – to be absent from work due to illness.
Ex: When you’re off sick, you must provide a doctor’s note.
Sick leave – the time when you can be absent from work, often while being
paid part or all of your salary.
Ex: She is having an operation and she’ll be on sick leave for the next two months.
Maternity leave – the period a mother is legally authorized to be absent from
work before and after the birth of a child.
Ex: Her maternity leave finishes next week but she is not coming back to work.
Parental leave – the time that a parent is allowed to spend away from work to
take care of their baby.
Ex: He has taken parental leave to look after the baby while his wife returns to
work.
Statutory sick pay – the money paid by a company to an employee who
cannot work due to illness.
Ex: If you are absent from work due to illness, you may be able to claim sick pay.
A public holiday – a day when almost everybody does not have to go to work
(for example in the US July 4th or January 1st).
Ex: We have 25 days paid holiday plus 10 public holidays.

‘Luck’ expressions

Wish you good luck with these ‘luck’ expressions:

Twist of fate
A change in a sequence of events.
By a twist of fate, they met again in New York.
A stroke of good luck
Something good that happens when you least expect it.
I opened the book on exactly the same page by a stroke of good luck.
Golden opportunity
An excellent opportunity that is unlikely to be repeated.
This is a golden opportunity we must appreciate.
Jump at the chance
To quickly and unexpectedly get a lucky opportunity.
When the band singer became ill, Bob jumped at the chance and became famous.
Cross your fingers! (Keep your fingers crossed!)
Hoping the things will happen the way we want them to.
I’m having a driving test in the morning so cross your fingers.
Lucky guess
Happening by chance.
I didn’t know the answer. It was just a lucky guess.