English idioms


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    №19 to be in a predicament — to be in a dangerous, awkward or unpleasant situation
    1. I felt a sharp anger against him for the predicament in which he had placed me. (A. Cronin)
    2. … he had not realized, what circumstances were soon to teach him, that his predicament was not one that could be improved by thinking. (J. Wain)
    3. To them he narrated Veronica’s predicament and they imme¬diately offered to adopt the child as soon as it was born — or say a month after. (A. Coppard)

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    №20 to put (set) somebody (something) right — to restore to order, to a good condition; to correct something, or some¬ body’s ideas
    1. This is Dr. Bulcastle. He’s going to see what can be done to put you right again. (J. Wain)
    2. I was thinking about our awful misunderstanding and wonder¬ ing how on earth I could put it right. (A. Cronin)
    3. He got a small model made and tried it out one afternoon, but it wasn’t a success. He was a stubborn boy and he wasn’t going to be beaten. Something was wrong, and it was up to him to put it right. (W. S. Maugham)

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    №21 in the long run — eventually; before all is over; finally; after many changes of fortune, successes and failures
    1. He filled a pipe and tried his best to feel that, after all, in the long run Dinny would be happier unmarried to him. (J. Gals¬ worthy)
    2. “Naturally 1 don’t approve of them,” said Emery, still uncertain whether he felt more annoyed or pleased at Clayton’s insistence that in the long run they were both good fellows more or less on the same side. (J. Lindsay)
    3. Hospital meant charring as far as work went but in its social atmosphere it meant something more interesting, more romantic, and, in the long run, more respectable. (J. Wain)
    Note: In the long run means ‘over a period of time’ or ‘at the end of a long period of time’. In the end means ‘something less vague’. It is a more particular point of time.
    In the long run it will not matter to us whether we stay at Brighton or Hastings. They are both seaside towns so 1 cannot understand why my parents are making such a fuss about the choice.
    But: In the end we decided to stay at Brighton because my mother said there was more to do there if it rained. I must tell him about it in the end.

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    №22 the fat is in the fire — a step has been taken, some¬ thing done, which commits to further action, or will produce excitements, indignation etc. 1. He rose. “Well, the fat’s in the fire. If you persist in your willfulness, you’ll have yourself to blame.” (J. Galsworthy) 2. Then the fat was in the fire! Dear Mamma took up the tale. (R. Aldington) 3. “Yes,” murmured Sir Lawrence, watching her, “the fat is in the fire,” as old Forsyte would have said. (J. Galsworthy)

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    №23 out of the blue (out of a clear sky) — a sudden surprise, something quite unexpected
    1. A life, they say, may be considered as a point of light which suddenly appears from nowhere, out of the blue. (R. Aldington)
    2. We were sitting at the supper-table on Carey’s last day, when, out of the blue, she spoke. “How would you like to live in London, Jane?” (J. Walsh)
    3. “Well, there’s one happily married couple, any way,” I used to say, “so congenial, and with that nice apartment, and all. And then, right out of a clear sky, they go and separate.” (D. Parker)

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    №24 to put up with — to bear, to endure, to tolerate
    1. If only he could be happy again she could put up with it. (J. Galsworthy)
    2. She’s my sister. We put up with each other. (I. Murdoch)
    3. I want to know how long this state of things between us is to last? I have put up with it long enough. (J. Galsworthy)

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    №25 not to care two pins about (not to care a hang, fig, hoot, etc.) — to care nothing
    1. I don’t care two pins if you think me plain or not. (W. S. Maugham)

    2. Caroline does not care a hang for woods at any time of the year. (A, Christie)
    3. … a laugh you couldn’t trust, but a laugh which made you laugh back and agree that in a crazy world like this all sorts of things didn’t matter a hang. (Or. Greene)

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    №26 as a matter of fact — in fact, in reality; to be exact, really
    1. “Haven’t you finished?” — “As a matter of fact, we haven’t begun.” (A. Cronin)
    2. “Do you happen to have any cigarettes, by any chance?” — “No, 1 don’t, as a matter of fact.” (J. Salinger)
    3. I’ve been meaning to have a word with you as a matter of fact. (Gr. Greene)

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    №27 to be all for — strongly in favour of, to want it to be so, definitely to want something
    1. Mother, I’m all for Hubert sending his version to the papers. (J. Galsworthy)
    2. “I’m ready to welcome what you call half the truth — the facts.” — “So am I. I’m all for it.” (J. Priestley)
    3. Anthony was all for the open fields and his friends, Steve on the other hand took little notice of other children. (G. Gordon)

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    №28 to take a fancy to (for) somebody (to take a liking to somebody, to take to somebody) — to become fond of, to like (often followed by immediately)
    1. 1 met this young man in the train Just now, and I’ve taken a fancy to him already.
    2. Mr. Short himself had taken a liking to George. (G.Gordon)
    3. He had a warm, cheerful air which made me take to him at once. (A. Cronin)

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    №29 to do smb a good turn
    them too and that you’re just dying to do them a favour. It’s sort of funny, in a way. (J. Salinger)
    2. This is for a friend who’s done me a good turn. (1. Mur¬doch)
    3. “1 came to do you a good turn,” she said. (J. Wain)

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    №30 it serves you right — you have got just about what you deserve for your behaviour or actions
    1. You took money that ought to have fed starving children. Serve you right! If I had been the father of one of those children, I’d have given you something worse than the sack. (B. Shaw)
    1. “Served him right,” said Drouet afterward, even in view of her keen expiation of her error. “I haven’t any pity for a man who would be such a chump as that.” (Th. Dreiser)
    3. And as to confiscation of war profits, he was entirely in favour of it, for he had none, and “serve the beggars right!” (J. Gals¬worthy)

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    №31 what’s the odds? — is it of any consequence? what difference does it make?
    1. 1 reckon Morrey’s right. Lost faith in Hannans myself. But what’s the odds? (K. Prichard)
    2. “You mean the gold stealing and illicit buying?” — “You know what I mean. And if you’re not in on it, they’ll think you are. So what’s the odds?” (K. Prichard)
    3. Later Alice challenged him. “I can’t say I like him,” he an¬swered. “But what’s the odds?” (J. Lindsay)

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    №32 to be beside oneself — to be wildly excited, mad, out of one’s senses
    1. Charles stared about him, almost beside himself. He actually felt tears of rage and humiliation forcing themselves up. (J. Wain)
    2 Stroeve had always been excitable, but now he was beside himself; there was no reasoning with him. (W. S. Maugham)
    3. So you can imagine how embarrassing it all is. I’m simply beside myself. (I. Murdoch)

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    №33 to set one’s mind on something — to be intent on; to be determined about
    1. It was true that he had his ways. When he set his mind on something, that was that.
    2. I may as well tell you that I should have thrown it up, only, I’m not in the habit of giving up what I’ve set my mind on. (J. Galsworthy)

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    №34 to take pains (be at pains) — to take the trouble to get something or do something; to try to do something
    1. … a queer, penetrating look mingled, too, with intelligent interest which, as our eyes met, he took pains to conceal. (A. Cronin)
    2. They took pains not to stand next to one another or begin any private discussion (J. Wain)
    3. Now that her means were adequate she took great pains with her dress (W. S. Maugham)

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    №35 into the bargain — beyond what has been stipulated; extra; besides; in addition
    1. “I know it’s a bit thick to rob you of a cheroot and then grill you with personal questions into the bargain,” he began. (J. Wain)

    2. To break up a home is at the best a dangerous experiment, and selfish into the bargain. (J. Galsworthy)
    3. She is an excellent teacher and a good housewife into the bargain,

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    №36 somehow or other — by some means; in some way that is not mentioned or explained
    1. … and somehow or other we’re going to swim. (J. Gals¬ worthy)
    2. Somehow or other he had heard of a box-kite… and the idea appealed to him at once. (W. S. Maugham)
    3. At last, somehow or other, it (the tent) does get up, and you land the things. (Jerome K. Jerome)

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    №37 at that — moreover (nearly always used to qualify some¬ thing already mentioned)
    1. And it occurred to me as I said that it mightn’t be such a bad life at that. (I. Murdoch)
    2. He was twenty-five and not a thing to show for it except his life in the army. A damn good life at that — up to a point. (D. Cusack)
    3. He has lost his umbrella, a new one at that. (A. Hornby)

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    №38 to talk shop — to speak of business matters; to talk of the business that concerns one; to talk about one’s everyday work with someone who also does the same job
    1. As they walked up the street together they began to talk shop. (A. Cronin)
    2. 1 hope you weren’t talking shop. I hate talking shop. (J. Braine)
    3. … two other assistants who had withdrawn to a corner to talk shop. (M. Wilson)

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