123 useful English Phrases

Expression 1: as easy as pie means “very easy” (same as “a piece of cake”)
Example: He said it is a difficult problem, but I don’t agree. It seems as easy as pie to me!
Expression 2: be sick and tired of means “I hate” (also “can’t stand”)
Example: I’m sick and tired of doing nothing but work. Let’s go out tonight and have fun.
Expression 3: bend over backward means “try very hard” (maybe too much!)
Example: He bent over backward to please his new wife, but she never seemed satisfied.
Expression 4: bite off more than one can chew means “take responsibility for more than one can manage”
Example: John is so far behind in his studies. Besides classes, he plays sports and works at a part-time job. It seems he has bitten off more than he can chew.
Expression 5: broke means “to have no money”
Example: I have to borrow some money from my Dad. Right now, I’m broke.
Expression 6: change one’s mind means “decide to do something different from what had been decided earlier”
Example: I was planning to work late tonight, but I changed my mind. I’ll do extra work on the weekend instead.
Expression 7: Cut it out! means “stop doing something bad”
Example: That noise is really annoying. Cut it out!
Expression 8: drop someone a line means “send a letter or email to someone”
Example: It was good to meet you and I hope we can see each other again. Drop me a line when you have time.
Expression 9: figure something out means “come to understand a problem”
Example: I don’t understand how to do this problem. Take a look at it. Maybe you can figure it out.
Expression 10: fill in for someone means “do their work while they are away”
Example: While I was away from the store, my brother filled in for me.
Expression 11: in ages means “for a very long time”
Example: Have you seen Joe recently? I haven’t seen him in ages.
Expression 12: give someone a hand means “help”
Example: I want to move this desk to the next room. Can you give me a hand?
Expression 13: hit the hay means “go to bed” (also “hit the sack”)
Example: It’s after 12 o’clock. I think it’s time to hit the hay.
Expression 14: in the black means “the business is making money, it is profitable”
Example: Our business is really improving. We’ve been in the black all year.
Expression 15: in the red means “the business is losing money, it is unprofitable”
Example: Business is really going poorly these days. We’ve been in the red for the past three months.
Expression 16: in the nick of time means “not too late, but very close!”
Example: I got to the drugstore just in the nick of time. It’s a good thing because I really need this medicine!
Expression 17: keep one’s chin up means “remain brave and keep on trying”
Example: I know things have been difficult for you recently, but keep your chin up. It will get better soon.
Expression 18: know something like the back of your hand means “know something very, very well”
Example: If you get lost, just ask me for directions. I know this part of town like the back of my hand
Expression 19: once in a while means “sometimes, not very often”
Example: Have you been to the new movie theater? No, only see movies once in a while. I usually stay home and watch TV.
Expression 20: sharp means “exactly at that time”
Example: I’ll meet you at 9 o’clock sharp. If you’re late, we’ll be in trouble!
Expression 21: sleep on it means “think about something before making a decision”
Example: That sounds like a good deal, but I’d like to sleep on it before I give you my final decision.
Expression 22: take it easy means “relax”
Example: I don’t have any special plans for the summer. I think I’ll just take it easy.
Expression 23: to get the ball rolling means “start something, especially something big”
Example: We need to get this project started as soon as possible. I’m hoping you will help me get the ball rolling.
Expression 24: up to the minute means “the most recent information”
Example: I wish I knew more about what is happening in the capital city. We need more up to the minute news.
Expression 25: twenty-four/seven means “every minute of every day, all the time”
Example: You can access our web site 24/7. It’s very convenient!
Expression 26: about to (do something):
– to be on the point of doing something – I was about to leave when the phone rang.
Expression 27: according to (someone or something)
– as said or told by someone, in agreement with something, in the order of something, in proportion to something
– According to our teacher, there will be no class next week. We did everything according to the terms of our agreement.
Expression 28: account for (something)
– to provide an explanation or answer for something
– The bad weather accounts for the fact that few people came to the meeting.
Expression 29: after all
– considering the fact that something happened, something that is usually assumed “You don’t need to phone him. After all, he never phones you.”
Expression 30: all of a sudden
– suddenly, without advance warning All of a sudden it became cloudy and began to rain.
Expression 31: as a matter of fact
– actually “As a matter of fact, we have been to the history museum many times.” learn
Expression 32: as far as
– to the extent or degree of something As far as I know the movie will start in a few minutes.
Expression 33: as for
– with regard to, concerning “As for me, I think that I will return home now.”
Expression 34: as if
– in the same way that something would be, that
The drink tastes as if it were made with orange juice. It seemed as if the whole town came to the concert.
Expression 35: as long as
– provided that, on condition that “As long as you promise to be careful you can borrow my car.”
Expression 36: as soon as
– just after something, when I phoned my friend as soon as I finished dinner.
Expression 37: as to
– with regard to, according to
“As to your question, I will answer it tomorrow.” The players were put into groups as to their ability
Expression 38: as well
– in addition, also, to I plan to take a computer course this summer as well.
Expression 39: as well as
– in addition to “Please bring your swimming suit as well as your towel.”
Expression 40: back and forth
– backward and forwards, first one way and then the other way The argument went back and forth before the judge made a decision.
Expression 41: better off
– to be in a better situation than before My friend would be better off if he sold his old car and bought a new one.
Expression 42: break down (something)
– to divide something into parts, to separate something into simpler substances
We tried to break down the problem for further study. The sugar began to break down soon after it was swallowed.
Expression 43: break up
– to separate, to divide into groups or pieces, to put an end to something
Nobody wanted to break up their groups. We usually break up into small groups during our class.
Expression 44: by the way
– incidentally “By the way, could you please bring your laptop computer tomorrow.”
Expression 45: carry out (something)
– to put something into action, to accomplish something, to do something The scientist wanted to carry out several experiments before discussing the new medicine.
Expression 46: come on!
– please, hurry, go faster
“Come on, I only have a few minutes before I must go.” “Come on, stop doing that.”
Expression 47: come up
– to happen unexpectedly I will not be able to go to the party if something else comes up. come up with (something)
– to produce or find a thought/idea/answer I tried to come up with a name for the new magazine.
Expression 48: deal with (something)
– to be concerned with something, to take action about something We will deal with the boxes tomorrow.
Expression 49: end up (doing something or going somewhere)
– to do something that one had not planned to do, to go somewhere one had not planned to go
We ended up going to a restaurant after the movie last night.
Expression 50: figure out (someone or something)
– to try to understand someone or something, to solve something I finally figured out how to use the new DVD player.
Expression 51: fill in (something)
– to write words in blank spaces “Please fill in this form and give it to the receptionist.” find out (something)
– to learn or discover something My mother is angry at me because she found out that I had quit my French class.
Expression 52: first of all
– the very first thing, First of all, we prepared the garden and then we planted the seeds.
Expression 53: for good
– permanently The city will close the public swimming pool for good next week.
Expression 54: for sure
– without doubt, certainly, surely “I will go to the movie with you for sure next week.”
Expression 55: get back to (something)
– to return to something I was happy to get back to my work after my holiday.
Expression 56: get into (something)
– to become interested or involved in something
I do not want to get into an argument with my friend. We will get into the details of the plan tomorrow.
Expression 57: get into (somewhere)
– to enter somewhere
My friend wants to get into a good university. I bumped my head as I was getting into the car.
Expression 58: get out of (somewhere)
– to leave somewhere, to escape from somewhere I want to hurry and get out of my house.
Expression 59: get rid of (something)
– to give or throw something away, to sell or destroy something, to make a cold or fever disappear
I bought a new television set so I want to get rid of the old one.
Expression 60: get through (something)
– to complete something, to finish something
My friend is having trouble getting through her final exams. I have much reading that I must get through before tomorrow.
Expression 61: go ahead
– to begin to do something “Let`s go ahead and start now. We can`t wait any longer.”
Expression 62: go on
– to continue The game will probably go on for an hour after we leave
Expression 63: go over (something)
– to examine or review something
The accountant will go over the books tomorrow. We plan to go over that question tomorrow.
Expression 64: go through (something)
– to discuss something, to look at something, to do something The teacher decided to go through the exercise before the test.
Expression 65: go with (something)
– to choose one thing rather than another We decided to go with the small rental car rather than the large one.
Expression 66: hang out (somewhere/with someone)
– to spend one`s time with no great purpose, to spend leisure time with friends
Recently my friend has been hanging out with a group of people who are not a good influence on him.
Expression 67: have (something) to do with (something)
– to be about something, to be on the subject of something, to be related to something
“The book has something to do with cooking but I am not sure if you will like it.” That problem has nothing to do with me.
Expression 68: hold on
– to wait a minute, to stop, to wait and not hang up the phone “Please hold on for a minute while I lock the window.”
Expression 69: in a way
– to a certain extent, a little, somewhat In a way I want to go to the new restaurant but in a way I don`t really care.
Expression 70: in case
– if, if something should happen I will take my umbrella in case it rains.
Expression 71: in common
– shared together or equally, in use or ownership by all I had nothing in common with the other members of the class.
Expression 72: in detail
– giving all the details, item by item The saleswoman explained about the new product in detail.
Expression 73: in effect
– for practical purposes, basically, The man’s silence was in effect a way of disagreeing with the other people in the meeting.
Expression 74: in fact
– actually, the truth is The man has been to China before. In fact, he has been there three times.
Expression 75: in favor of (someone or something)
– to approve or support someone or something
Everybody is in favor of the new police chief. My company is not in favor of changing our holiday schedule.
Expression 76: in general
– in most situations or circumstances In general, most of the people in our apartment are happy with the new manager.
Expression 77: in order to
– for the purpose of They have decided to close down the school for the summer in order to do some major repairs.
Expression 78: in other words
– in a different (usually more direct) way
“In other words, if you do not finish the assignment by Wednesday you will not pass the course.”
Expression 79: in place
– in the proper place or location Everything in the room was in place when we arrived for the meeting.
Expression 80: in some ways
– in some unspecified way or manner, by some unspecified means In some ways I know what my friend means but in some ways I do not.
Expression 81: in terms of (something)
– with regard to something
In terms of our agreement with the other company we were not allowed to sell the products online.
Expression 82: in time
– early enough I did not come home in time to meet my cousin.
Expression 83: keep (someone or something) in mind
– to remember and think about someone or something I told my co-workers to keep the new starting time for work in mind.
Expression 84: kind of
– somewhat, more or less, moderately I was kind of tired when I arrived home last night.
Expression 85: look for (something)
– to try to find something, to hunt/search for something My friend has been looking for her credit card all morning but she can`t find it.
Expression 86: look up (something)
– to search for something in a dictionary or other book
I will look up my friend’s name in the telephone book. I looked up the word in the dictionary
Expression 87: make a difference
– to cause a change in a situation It does not make a difference whether our boss comes to the meeting or not.
Expression 88: make sense
– to seem reasonable His new proposal really does make sense.
Expression 89: make sure
– to make certain, to establish something without a doubt I want to make sure that my friend is going to meet me tomorrow.
Expression 90: more or less
– somewhat, to some extent I more or less have decided to study business next year.
Expression 91: no matter
– regardless No matter how hard that I try, my piano teacher is never satisfied.
Expression 92: not at all
– certainly not I am not at all happy with my new computer.
Expression 93: of course
– certainly, definitely, naturally “Of course you can use my car if you want to.”
Expression 94: on the other hand
– however, in contrast, looking at the opposite side of a matter
He is very intelligent but on the other hand, he is very lazy and always gets low marks at school.
Expression 95: on time
– at the scheduled time, exactly at the correct time, punctually Our train arrived exactly on time.
Expression 96: once again
– again, one more time, once more I tried once again to phone my boss at his home .
Expression 97: open to (something)
– to be agreeable to learn or hear about new ideas or suggestions Most members of the class were open to the teacher’s ideas.
Expression 98: pick up (something)
– to get or receive something
I will pick up my dry cleaning tomorrow. I picked up a copy of the newspaper at the station.
Expression 99: point out (someone or something)
– to explain or call attention to someone or something My teacher was very kind when she pointed out the mistakes that I had made.
Expression 100: put out (something)
– to produce or make something (a product/brochure/report/CD/movie/paper) The company puts out a newsletter every month for the employees.
Expression 101: regardless of (something)
– without considering or thinking about something, without regard to something Regardless of the weather we are going to go fishing tomorrow morning.
Expression 102: right away
– immediately “I forgot to bring my book but I will go home and get it right away.”
Expression 103: rule out (someone or something)
– to decide against or eliminate someone or something
The police ruled out the man as a possible bank robber. We decided to rule out Monday as the day to have our meeting.
Expression 104: run into (something – a fact/trouble/problems/difficulty)
– to experience something, to encounter something
The mechanic ran into trouble when he was fixing my car. I ran into some interesting facts when I was researching my essay.
Expression 105: set up (something)
– to establish something, to provide the money for something
The newspaper company provided the money to set up the new travel magazine. The company set up a unique situation to test the new product.
Expression 106: show up
– to appear, to arrive, to be present “What time did your friend show up for the party?”
Expression 107: so far
– until now So far no one has entered the speech contest at the television station.
Expression 108: so to speak
– as one might or could say, this is one way to say something
We had a good time at the restaurant, so to speak, although the service was not very good.
Expression 109: sort of (something)
– to be almost something, to be similar to something, to be not quite something
“Did you finish cleaning the kitchen?” “Sort of, but not really.”
Expression 110: stick with (something)
– to continue doing something, to not quit something My brother has been able to stick with his trumpet lessons since he was a child.
Expression 111: take advantage of (someone or something)
– to use someone or something for one’s own benefit We took advantage of the beautiful weather and went to the beach.
Expression 112: take care of (someone or something)
– to look after or give attention to someone or something You should take care of your health or you will become sick.
Expression 113: take out (something)
– to remove something from somewhere, to extract something
The teacher told us to take out our books. I took out some onions from the refrigerator.
Expression 114: take over (something)
– to take control of something, to take command of something The large company wants to take over some of the small companies in our area.
Expression 115: take place
– to happen, to occur The soccer game took place on the coldest day of the year.
Expression 116: to the extent that
– to the degree that, in so far as
I plan to provide information about the new company policy to the extent that I am familiar with it.
Expression 117: turn in (something)
– to give something to someone, to hand something to someone I arrived at school early so that I could turn in my essay.
Expression 118: turn out
– to be found or known, to prove to be true It turned out that more people came to the party than we expected.
Expression 119: up to
– until, as far as a certain point, approaching a certain point
Up to last week I had never been inside a bowling alley. There were probably up to thirty people at the meeting.
Expression 120: up to (someone) to decide/do (something)
– to be responsible to choose or decide something It is up to the company president to decide when the meeting will start.
Expression 121: used to
– accustomed to My friend is not used to living in such a big city.
Expression 122: with respect to (something)
– referring to something, concerning something I do not know what the company will do with respect to the old computer system.
Expression 123: work out (for the best)
– to end successfully I hope that everything will work out for my friend when she moves to London next week.

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