Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Use of Tenses in sentence formation ------- Case of Conditional sentences





We make use of tenses in sentence formation. Tenses are of three types namely :



Present Tense, Past Tense & Future Tense.



Errors generally occur due to incorrect use of a tense in sentences. These can be avoided by understanding proper use of a tense and  meaning of the sentence.



There are  conditional sentences. Formation of which needs to  be studied. These  sentences are of three types:-


In First case although action is to take place in future but while writing a sentence we use present tense in both parts of the sentence. There is possibility that action may or may not take place in this case. For example-



If I go to Delhi, I shall bring a watch for you.



In this case both the actions are to take place in  future time

but in making its sentence
we use present tense (present indefinite tense) in first part on which action of the second part depends
and in second part we use future tense(future indefinite tense).


Some Examples: 


Unless you walk faster, you will be late.

If you do not work hard, you will not succeed.

If you finish your work in time, you will get a prize.

Unless you complete your work, I shall not allow you to leave. 


Here action  is to take place in future in both the cases but we donot use future tense in both parts of the sentence.



In these sentences, action may relate to present or future time.



1.   If action is to take place in present time, we use present tense in both the conditional as well as  main parts of the sentence.  




If I take stale food, I fall ill.

If a player gets a prize, it encourages him.

If water freezes, it turns into ice.

If I walk fast, I get tired.

If one takes exercise, one remains fit.




2.    If action is to take place in future time, we use present tense in  the  conditional clause and future tense in  main part of the sentence.  





If I feel unwell, I shall call a doctor.

If I visit him, I shall remember you to him.  

If I see you here again, I shall report to the principal.

If you  continue to work with this company, you will certainly get a pay hike.



If the main part of  the sentence contains order, request or instructions etc. the main part is changed to imperative sentence. e.g. 



If you meet his parents, please pay my regards to them.

If he feels unwell, ask him to take medicine.

If she goes to market, tell her to bring fruit for me.




If action relates to past period, we use past tense in both the parts of the sentence. e.g.


As it rained, I did not go to my office. 

If a dispute arose, our village panchayat decided the matter.  

Until you provoked him, he remained silent.

As both of them failed to solve the dispute, they referred the case to police.



There is exception to this. In this case action has already taken place in the past but in the sentence we use past tense in the conditional part of the sentence and future tense in the main part. e.g.


Boys decided that if all went well they would play a match the next day.

The principal announced that if he stood first he would be awarded a prize by the school.


3. Sometimes action was to take place but it did not. For these sentences Past Future tense is used in the main part of  the sentence. e.g.


 a)  For action supposed to be taking place in present time :


If I were in the chair, I would not allow this to happen.

If you were in the office, you would not do this.

If I were in Delhi, I would visit you.


 b) For action supposed to be taking place in past time :



If I had enough money, I would have helped you.

If you had  worked hard you would have passed.



For imaginary situations : 


If I were a king I would have helped the poor.

What would you do if you encountered a ghost?



In these sentences in place of   ' if ' ,  other words like 'Had' , 'Were' or 'Should' are also used. e.g. 

If I were you, I would not have agreed to his proposal.

If you had worked hard you would have passed.

Had you worked hard you would have passed.      (Past tense)

Should you work hard you would be successful.  (Present tense).




ERRORS IN THE USE OF TENSES :



Sometimes sentences appear to be correct but grammatically they are  not. e.g. following sentences.


I did not make up my mind yet.

I have painted this picture yesterday.

It started raining before we reached there.

He told me that he was living there for two years.



All the above sentences are incorrect though these do not appear to be. Besides these appear to convey some sense or meaning too to the reader.


Following are correct sentences :



I have not made up my mind yet.

I painted this picture yesterday.

It had started raining before we reached there.

He told me that he had been living there for two years.



1. Past Indefinite tense is used wrongly in place of Present Perfect tense :



He did not pay his dues yet.

He still did not agree to his father's proposal.

In these sentences Past indefinite tense is used but words like 'yet' and 'still' indicate that Past Perfect tense is required here.

He has not paid his dues yet.

He still has not agreed to his father's proposal.



2.Continuous tense is used wrongly in place of Perfect continuous tense.



He is living in this house from  1998.

She was doing this job for the last two years.

It will be raining from morning.



As these sentences depict time of action Perfect continuous tense and not simple continuous tense is to be used in these sentences.


He has been living in this house since 1998.

She had been doing this job for the last two years.

It will have been raining since morning.



3. Present Perfect Tense is used wrongly in place of Past indefinite Tense.


His father has started a new factory yesterday.


He has not attended the office last Monday.


She has not gone to the market yesterday.


He has passed his examination in first division.


She has married a doctor last month.


The patient has died an hour ago.


I have completed my task last evening.


We all had gone to see her yesterday.


I have applied for this job last Monday,


I had gone to see a movie yesterday.


The child has stopped crying just a moment ago



The words yesterday and last Monday depict action in the past. In these sentences Past indefinite tense instead of Present or Past Perfect tense is to be used. The sentences given above would have been correct if these did not have word yesterday or Last Monday.



His father started a new factory yesterday.

He did not attend the office last Monday.

She did not go to the market yesterday.

He passed his examination in first division.

She married a doctor last month.

The patient died an hour ago.

I completed my task last evening.

We all went  to see her yesterday.

I applied for this job last Monday.

I went to see a movie yesterday.

The child stopped crying  just a moment ago.


4. Past Perfect Tense is used wrongly in place of Past indefinite Tense.




He had painted a beautiful painting yesterday.

She had gone to market last Sunday.

The boys had gone to the cinema  two days ago.

He had resigned from his service last April.



As action took place in the past, past indefinite tense will be used in these sentences.


He painted a beautiful picture yesterday.


She went to the market last Sunday.


The boys went to the cinema two days ago.


He resigned from his service last April.

 

4. Past Indefinite Tense is used wrongly in place of Past Perfect Tense.



It started raining when we reached home.

The patient died before the doctor came.

I  finished my homework before she came.



Here first action has already been completed before the second started. For first part of the sentence Past Perfect tense is used. 


It had started raining when we reached home.


The patient had died before the doctor came.


I had finished my home work before she came.



5 Future indefinite Tense is used wrongly in place of Future Perfect Tense.


I shall finish my work before you will arrive.


The labourer will complete his work before the sun will set.


I shall reach home before it will start raining.


Boys will reach their school before the bell will ring.



In this case, action in both the cases is to take place in future . One action will be over before the other starts. Instead of Future Indefinite tense in first part of the sentence Future Perfect tense will be used and in the second part of it, Present Indefinite tense is used.


I shall have finished my work before you arrive.

The labourer will have completed his work before the sun sets.

I shall have reached home before it starts raining.

Boys will have reached their school before the bell rings.








In examination the candidates are required to correct the given incorrect sentences due to errors of tenses.


Saturday, 19 July 2014

IDIOMS AND IDIOMATIC EXPRESSIONS --- EXERCISES BASED ON EXAMINATION QUESTIONS

                                                                                                                    (continued from last post)
An Idiom or idiomatic expression is a form of expression of words in their peculiar form as prevalent in a language.The words used have different meanings to their  literal meanings. An idiom has its metaphorical rather than literal meaning. The use of words in an idiom is fixed.These idioms undergo changes with the passage of time. 

The usage of idioms enhance the beauty of a language and give richness to it. Idioms usually  comprise of a few words but these words have their own meanings different from their literal meanings. Just as  the meaning of put is d   ifferent from when some words are added  to it as --Put up, Put out , Put off  or To put up for a rainy day etc. These words are to be used as they are and these cannot be changed at all. The grammatical use of these words is fixed.For example  He has his own axe to grind cannot be changed to ground his axe or some other form. Idioms have their meanings in metaphorical sense rather than literal one. 

Idioms add richness to a language but their correct and appropriate use is necessary. Further to list of idioms with their meanings and usage in previous post, here are examples of questions  generally asked in this respect in examination question papers.


Exercise No 1  ( IDIOMS & IDIOMATIC EXPRESSIONS)

In the following question is given an idiom or idiomatic expression followed by four options of its meaning. Out of the given options choose one that expresses the meaning best. In case there is none of these choose the Sr. no. 5.


1. Point blank

1. To be confused   2. to blame someone 3. To say in plain words 4. to forget  5. N.O.T.

2. Beside oneself

1. Near someone 2. to call someone  3. to be overpowered by 4. obsessed with 5. N.O.T.

3. Hang in the balance

1. To take measurements 2. To share with someone 3. To be undecided 4. to show off 5.N.O.T.

4. To nip in the bud

1. a good start 2. a bad start 3. to control in the beginning 4. to allow to progress 5. N.O.T.

5. Under fire

1. to catch fire 2. to be very popular 3. to face criticism 4. in hearth  5. N.O.T.

6. Wet blanket

1. to face a problem 2. to show indifference 3. a person who spoils fun 4.a useful thing 5.N.O.T.

7. Above board

1. in a sea ship  2. in a voyage 3. beyond any doubt 4. Not so popular 5. N.O.T.

8. At loggers' heads

1. to be friends 2. to take revenge 3. to disagree or dispute 4. to be helpful 5. N.O.T.

9. Go to dogs

1. to go mad 2. to be a pauper 3. to be ruined 4. to lose heart  5. N.O.T.

10. Make good

1. to benefit someone  2. to earn enough money 3. to compensate loss 4. to be helpful 5. N.O.T.


( Answer : 1 to 10 - 3. )




Exercise No 2  ( IDIOMS & IDIOMATIC EXPRESSIONS)

In the following question is given a statement which contains an idiom or idiomatic expression written in italics. It is followed by four options of meaning of the italicized portion. Out of the given options choose one that expresses the meaning best. In case there is none of these choose the Sr. no. 5.


1. The final round of talks between authorities and representatives of employees is in progress. An agreement between the two sides appears to be round the corner.

1. appears impossible 2, difficult to reach 3. nearer  to be finalised 4. doubtful 5. None Of These.

2. He is very distressed and depressed these days because of demise of his son in the prime of
 his life.

1. at the end of 2. in the beginning 3. at a young age 4. on completion of  5. N.O.T.

3. The preparations of his son's marriage are going on in full swing.

1. very slow 2. very fast 3. in good speed 4. collectively 5. N.O.T.

4. In the world of today no nation or an individual can plough a lonely furrow.

1. remain indifferent 2. do not help others 3. remain isolated 4. command order  5, N.O.T.

5. As the negotiations are going on it appears that an agreement between the two nations is in the offing. 

1. in the air 2. at the end 3. about to happen 4. to be doubtful 5. N.O.T.


6. It appears that riches have turned the head of the merchant.

1. change decision 2. to feel dizzy 3. to be arrogant 4. to make sad 5. N.O.T.

7. His friends are in the habit of putting a spoke in his wheel.

1. to cooperate 2. to make popular 3. to create hindrance 4. to give money 5. N.O.T.

8. You need not worry about anything we all are always at your beck and call.

1. on speaking terms  2 to help  3. at one's disposal 4. to give moral support 

9. A man having no control over his passions is, to all intents and purposes a beast.

1. deliberately 2. with no feelings 3. in practical terms 4. nearly almost  5. N.O.T.

10. Now a days our uncle's visits to our house are few and far  between.

1. Very frequent 2. not so important 3. very rare 4. to come to an end 5. N.O.T.

( Answer : 1 to 10 - 3. )





Exercise No 3  ( IDIOMS & IDIOMATIC EXPRESSIONS)

In the following sentences there is a blank space which can be filled with an idiom or idiomatic expression. Choose out of the given options one that suits the most to be filled in the blank. In case there is none of these choose the Sr. no. 5.

1. After taking a little rest for a few hours in the tavern, the travellers................on their onward journey to their final destination.

1. set in 2. set about 3. set out 4. set up 5. None of these.

2. The boss on returning from his week  long tour was................to find all the things lying in his office at sixes and sevens.

1. taken in 2. taken for 3. taken aback 4. taken after 5. N.O.T.

3. All the visitors have been waiting for the chief guest for the last two hours but he has not.......................so far.

1. turned on 2. turned down 3. turned up 4. turned out 5. N.O.T.

4. His parents advised him to ...................some money for his future needs but he did not pay any heed to their advice.

1. Put up 2. Put up with 3. Put by 4. Put out 5. N.O.T.

5. All the persons standing there made after the thief but he managed to ...............with the necklace of the lady.

1. make up  2. make over 3. make off 4. make out 5. N.O.T.



Answers : 1 to 5  ---3.




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Friday, 18 July 2014

IDIOMS AND IDIOMATIC EXPRESSIONS --------THEIR MEANINGS AND USAGE 5(5) (In continuation of last post)

                                                                                                                         (continued from last post)
An Idiom or idiomatic expression is a form of expression of words in their peculiar form as prevalent in a language.The words used have different meanings to their  literal meanings. An idiom has its metaphorical rather than literal meaning. The use of words in an idiom is fixed.These idioms undergo changes with the passage of time. 

The usage of idioms enhance the beauty of a language and give richness to it. Idioms usually  comprise of a few words but these words have their own meanings different from their literal meanings. Just as  the meaning of put is different from when some words are added  to it as --Put up, Put out , Put off  or To put up for a rainy day etc. These words are to be used as they are and these cannot be changed at all. The grammatical use of these words is fixed.For example  He has his own axe to grind cannot be changed to ground his axe or some other form. Idioms have their meanings in metaphorical sense rather than literal one. 

Idioms add richness to a language but their correct and appropriate use is necessary. Here is a list of idioms with their meanings and usage though it is illustrative and not exhaustive.


T,U,V to Z


Turn coat : ( a person who changes his principles or party easily) :

A turn coat never commands  respect in the society.


Tell - tale : ( a person in the habit of backbiting) :

He is a tell tale and everyone jeers at him.


Turn a blind eye: ( to ignore something or someone ) :

Parents cannot afford to turn a blind eye towards their children's faults.

Turn  a deaf ear : ( not to listen to ) : 

The authorities turned a deaf ear to  demands of  the employees. 

Turn turtle : ( to overturn ) : 


The bus after striking against a tree turned turtle and rolled down the road.

Turn one's head : ( to make one arrogant ) :

It appears that riches have turned his head.

Turn one's back : ( to ignore, to turn one's face from ) :

All his friends turned their back from him during days of adversity.

Turn tables  : ( to reverse the action on the person ) :

Ultimately he managed to turn the tables against his rivals.


Turn down : ( to refuse) : 

The authorities turned down all the demands raised by the employees.

Turn over a new leaf : ( to start a new phase ) :

My friend  turned over a new leaf after his marriage.


Turn up : ( to come back ) :

All the friends went out for a picnic and they did not turn up till evening.


Take for : ( to consider erroneously) :

The child dreaded to take a piece of rope for a snake in dark.

Take to : ( to start a  habit of ) : 


He took to drinking after he suffered heavy losses in his business.

Take in ( to be deceived,cheated) :

The merchant is too clever to be taken in by your proposal.

Take aback : ( to be astonished ) : 

All the guests were taken aback when the chief guest reached before time.

Take after : ( to be similar to, to resemble ):

Children take after their parents.


Take to heart : ( to consider seriously ) :

The son took his father's words to heart and mended his ways.


Take ill : ( to feel bad ) : 

We should not take ill of what he said.


Tongue in cheek : ( not meant to be taken seriously) :

In the beginning he seemed to be serious but later everybody found him tongue in cheek and started laughing.


Take one's breath away :  (  to astonish or surprise ) :

The bride's beauty took  the guests' breath away.

Under one's nose : ( to happen in one's presence or knowledge) :

All this happened under principal's nose and he did not take any action against these boys at that time.


Under the carpet : ( keep something secret ): 

In the beginning all the things were kept under carpet but not for long and soon every body knew about it.


Under radar : ( under constant vigil ) :

His activities were kept under radar and soon he was caught taking bribe  red handed.


Under the table : ( In unauthorised  way) :

We had to pay money under the table to get the work done.


Under one's thumb : ( in control of ):

She has kept her husband under her thumb.


Under one's skin : ( to irritate or annoy) :

Children get under my skin as they make such a loud noise.


Under fire : ( face criticism) :

Her behaviour in the party yesterday brought her under fire among all.


Under cloud : ( under suspicion) :

Her recent actions have put her whole career under cloud.


Up to the neck : ( involved completely) :

The merchant is under debt up to the neck. 

Up to the ears :( involved completely) :


The merchant is under debt up to the neck. 


Up and doing : ( to take part actively) :

The examinations are drawing near, be up and doing.



Vicious circle : ( sequence of bad events or things) :


The young man is caught in a vicious circle of his bad  habits.


Vouch for : (  to assure or guarantee ) :

The parents vouched for the good behaviour of the student to the principal.


Vent on : ( to express strong feelings or emotions) :

She vent her frustration on her family.

Vie for : ( to strive for better ) :

Both the boys are intelligent enough and both vie for the first position in the competition.





Weather storms : ( to face difficulties ) :

His father  weathered many storms in his life.


With open arms : ( welcome whole heartedly ) :

The host welcomed all the guests with open arms.


A wild goose chase : ( a useless activity) :

It is a wild goose chase  for you to compete with him in the examination.


Win laurels : ( to bring honour ) :

Our hockey team won laurels for the college in the tournament.


Walk over : ( easy victory) :

Our team was given a walk over in the tournament as the other team did not turn up to platy.


Walk out : ( to go out in protest) :

The opposition party walked out of the house over the new bill. 


Wet blanket : ( a person who spoils the fun) : 

We took him along with us to have fun but he turned out to  be wet blanket.


Wash one's dirty linen : ( to expose one's dirty secrets) :

Do not wash your dirty linen in the public.


Wash one's hands off : (  to dissociate or delink from something) :

As things became worse, the chairman washed his hands off the whole incident.


White elephant : ( expensive burden ) :

This old bus has proved a white elephant for our school.


White lie: ( a lie not to hurt others) :

She told a white lie and it was not intended to hurt others.


Word of mouth : ( to come to know from conversation among people) : 

 We all came to know about this incident from word of mouth.


Wrong side of  : ( above certain age) :

He is on the wrong side of fifty.




Yeoman's service : ( to do an exemplary job ) :

He did yeoman's service during his service in the office.


Yell out : ( to burst out in anger) :


The old man was feeling very  angry and he yelled out at the shopkeeper.


Yearn for : ( to long for, to pine for ) :

The young lady was yearning for her love.


Yes-man : ( one who agrees with persons in authority) :

We should not expect much action from him because he is a yes-man of the boss.



Zenith of power : ( at the top of authority) : 


Our institution was at the zenith of power during the period you were its president.











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IDIOMS AND IDIOMATIC EXPRESSIONS --------THEIR MEANINGS AND USAGE 4 (5) (In continuation of last post)

                                                                                                              (continued from last post)
An Idiom or idiomatic expression is a form of expression of words in their peculiar form as prevalent in a language.The words used have different meanings to their  literal meanings. An idiom has its metaphorical rather than literal meaning. The use of words in an idiom is fixed.These idioms undergo changes with the passage of time. 

The usage of idioms enhance the beauty of a language and give richness to it. Idioms usually  comprise of a few words but these words have their own meanings different from their literal meanings. Just as  the meaning of put is different from when some words are added  to it as --Put up, Put out , Put off  or To put up for a rainy day etc. These words are to be used as they are and these cannot be changed at all. The grammatical use of these words is fixed.For example  He has his own axe to grind cannot be changed to ground his axe or some other form. Idioms have their meanings in metaphorical sense rather than literal one. 

Idioms add richness to a language but their correct and appropriate use is necessary. Here is a list of idioms with their meanings and usage though it is illustrative and not exhaustive.


P, Q, R,S


Pack of cards : ( unexpectedly weak thing ) :

Down fell the huge building like a pack of cards and no body could help it.


Part and parcel : (  significant part ) : 

The secretary is  part and parcel of the club.


Point blank : ( in clear terms ) : 

I never expected that he would refuse point blank to help me.


Poke one's nose into : ( to meddle with others' affairs) :

He is in the bad habit of poking nose into the affairs of others.


Put heads together : ( to discuss and decide something jointly) :

All the members of the committee should put heads together and take further course of action.


To play a second fiddle : ( To act as a subordinate to someone ) :

The manager plays a second fiddle to the boss.


To put a spoke in one's wheel : ( to disturb ) :

His friends tried to put a spoke in his wheel by raising a dispute with him but he thwarted their attempt.


To put the cart before the horse : ( to do a work in a wrong way ) : 

Making arrangements of the party before its date is fixed is like putting the cart before  the horse.


To plough a single furrow : ( to do a job all alone ) : 

He is intelligent  enough to handle his project himself. He'll plough a single furrow for it.


Pandora's box : ( to start many different types of problems ) :

Sadly, his attempt to bring peace between the two brothers opened pandora's box of allegations against him. 


Penny wise and pound foolish  : ( to save miserly on useful things but spend lavishly on useless things) :

His saving in expenses on children's education is penny wise and pound foolish because he makes lavish expenses for his night parties. 


Pass the buck : ( to shift one's responsibility to others) :

The boss was clever enough to pass the buck of his failure to the manager.


Play along : ( to pretend for something to make one happy ) :

The manager had to play along his subordinates in order to get work done from them.


Play down :  ( to try to show something less important ) : 

The boss played down in the meeting the claims made by the manager about his achievements.


 Play around: ( to be silly ) : 

No one likes him as he starts playing around before others.


To play havoc with  : ( to be ruined ) :

Heavy rains played havoc with crops standing in fields.








In quick succession : ( quickly one after  the other ) : 

The police man shot three bullets in the air in quick succession.


A queer fish : ( a  person with a strange behaviour ) : 

The new arrival behaves like a queer fish as he is  facing a great difficulty in adapting to the new atmosphere.


Quick as  a  flash : ( to act very fast ) : 

You will have to work quick as a flash to complete the project in time.


Quick off the mark : ( to start a work quickly ) : 

The students were quick off the mark to complete their home work.


Quick on the trigger : ( to respond quickly ) :

The president was quick on the trigger to accord his consent to the bill.


Queer one's pitch : (to interfere in others' affairs ) :

He always tries to queer others' pitch by back biting.


Quids in : ( to gain  money from little ) :

If all goes well, this deal  will make the party quids in.


Quick buck : ( to gain money quickly and easily ) :

He made a quick buck by selling his old ancestral property.






Root and branch  : ( Completely ) : 

The huge building was destroyed root and branch in a fire.


To rock the boat : ( to upset the balance) : 

The farmer's  loss due to heavy rains has rocked the boat and he is in a fix now.


To read between the lines : ( to understand carefully ) : 

You will see through his trick only if you read his message between the lines.


Red carpet : ( to give special welcome to an important person) :

The visiting guest will be given a red carpet welcome by the host.


Rhyme or reason : ( having no logic) :

The guests got annoyed with the host without any reason or rhyme.


Raise eyebrows : ( to raise doubts or surprise ) :

His sudden departure from the scene raised eyebrows of many people.


Red tape : ( delay to official bureaucracy ) : 

Due to red tape  work in  government offices is unduly delayed.


Red letter day : ( important day ) :

Today is a red letter day for our club as it started functioning this day ten years ago.



Rank and file : ( all the common members of an organisation) :

The new president of the club  is very popular among its rank and fie.


Rags to riches : ( to rise from a poor state to richness) :

The chief minister is very humble in his behaviour because he rose from rags to riches.


Raw deal : ( to be treated unfairly ) : 

All the candidates faced a raw deal in the interview as no rules were observed there.


To run into sand : ( to face failure ) ;


All his plans ran into sand for want of sufficient funds.

Run the gauntlet : ( to face with harsh criticism ) :

Initially he had to run the gauntlet of the people for implementation of his scheme but later he was able to win them over.

Rob Peter to pay Paul : ( to create another problem to solve the first) :

The farmer raised a bank loan to pay his previous dues robbing Peter to pay Paul.





Safe and sound : ( quite right without any harm or loss ) :

He reached his destination in time and quite safe and sound.

Sail in the same boat ; ( in  a similar condition ) :

Both the brothers are sailing in the same boat. The both are under heavy debts.

Sink one's differences : (To resolve disputes with someone ) : 

Both the friends sank their differences and started their relations afresh.


Sum and substance : ( in short gist of something ) :

The writer has given sum and substance of the story in this paragraph.


Square meal : ( sufficient food for a time ) :

His income is so small that it is so difficult for him to arrange a square meal for his family.

Smell a rat : ( to have a doubt ) :

He is not fair in his dealings. I small a rat in all of these.






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Monday, 14 July 2014

IDIOMS AND IDIOMATIC EXPRESSIONS --------THEIR MEANINGS AND USAGE 3 (5) (In continuation of last post)

                                                                                   (continued from last post)
An Idiom or idiomatic expression is a form of expression of words in their peculiar form as prevalent in a language.The words used have different meanings to their  literal meanings. An idiom has its metaphorical rather than literal meaning. The use of words in an idiom is fixed.These idioms undergo changes with the passage of time. 

The usage of idioms enhance the beauty of a language and give richness to it. Idioms usually  comprise of a few words but these words have their own meanings different from their literal meanings. Just as  the meaning of put is different from when some words are added  to it as --Put up, Put out , Put off  or To put up for a rainy day etc. These words are to be used as they are and these cannot be changed at all. The grammatical use of these words is fixed.For example  He has his own axe to grind cannot be changed to ground his axe or some other form. Idioms have their meanings in metaphorical sense rather than literal one. 

Idioms add richness to a language but their correct and appropriate use is necessary. Here is a list of idioms with their meanings and usage though it is illustrative and not exhaustive.


K, L, M, N, O.


Kith and kin : ( relatives, near and dears) :

He invited all of his kith and kin to attend the party.


Keep under lock and  key : ( to keep things a place duly locked) :

 Her mother advised her to keep all her precious things under lock and key.  


Keep an eye : ( to observe stealthily ) :

The teacher kept an eye on all the students during the examination.


Keep at bay : ( to remain away from) : 

It is better you keep bad habits at bay.


Keep soul and body together : ( to make one's living ) : 

It is very difficult for a poor person like him to keep his soul and body together.


Keep up : ( to maintain ) :

You  are faring well in the class. You must keep it up.


Keep at arm's length : ( to keep one away) :

It is in your own interest that you keep  rogues like him at arm's length.


Kick a habit : ( to stop doing something) :

He just could not kick his habit of smoking.


Keep one's head above water : ( to be able to survive ) :

By doing extra work after his office hours he is keeping his  head above water.


To keep under one's hat : (to keep something secret ) : 

He gave me this information but advised me to keep it under my hat.


To keep the wolf away from the door : ( to keep poverty off from oneself) :

The poor fellow toiled hard throughout his life to keep the wolf away from the door.






To lead a cat and dog life : ( to live a life a strife torn life ) :

It is so bad to see the couple leading a cat and dog life.


To live from hand to mouth : ( to expend whatever is earned ) : 

In these days of high prices an average man lives from hand to mouth.


Life and soul : ( prime member) : 

The chief manager is life and soul of the office.


To leave in the lurch : ( to deceive , to leave when one is in trouble) :

A  fair weather friend cannot be trusted upon. He is sure to leave one in the lurch.


To lick the dust : ( to suffer a loss, to be ruined) :

It is due to his bad habits that he is licking the dust today.


Laughing stock : ( someone or something people laugh at ) : 

His ride in that old car has made him a  laughing stock among his friends.


Lend one's ear :  ( to listen to someone  ) : 

If you tell your problem to him he will certainly lend his ear to you with great sympathy.


Leave no stone unturned : ( to make all efforts , to try all ways ) : 

The host  left no stone unturned to make comfortable arrangements for stay of all the guests.


Labour of love : ( to do a task without any interest of money or reward ) : 

His father after retirement from his active service continues to serve the company as a labour of love.


Let bygones be bygones : ( to forget about grievances of the past ) : 

Both the brothers let the bygones be bygones and restarted their relationship of love with each other.


Like a fish out of water : ( in a miserable condition ) : 

Since he lost his service he has been feeling like a fish out of water.


Like a duck to water  : ( to feel at home in a job or a  work )  : 

He gladly joined the school to work as a teacher and he feels there like a duck to water.


Let the cat be out of the bag : ( to let a secret become open to others ) :

Our plans remained a close secret throughout the time because none of us let the cat be out of the bag.


Lion's  share:  ( a major portion of ) : 

A lion's share of the property of the deceased father went to his elder son.


Like a wildfire : ( to happen very quickly ) :

The news of suspension of the manager spread like a wildfire in the office.


Lock stock and barrel : ( to do an act wholly or completely ) : 

The family had to leave that house lock stock and barrel after that incident. 


Lip service : ( to make fake promises or show sympathy in words without any practical action ) : 

You cannot depend upon a person like him because he extends to all lip service only .


To look blank :  ( to act without any emotions or feelings ) :

The young boy looked blank when was declared unsuccessful in his examination. 


Lock horns : ( to create a dispute about something) : 

The new  manager and  the boss are locking their horns over their own ways of administration in the office.


Lose no time : ( spend no more time , without any delay ) : 

The young boy standing there lost no time and rushed the patient to a nearby hospital.  


Look before you leap ( to think before doing  an act) : 

 While making such a huge investment you must think before you leap and should not act in haste.






A  mare's nest : ( apparently important but actually insignificant thing,fiasco ) :

He started his expedition tour but eventually it turned out to be a mare's nest.


To make the mare go : ( to make the things possible ) : 

He bribed the official concerned and this made the mare go. 


To make up one's mind : ( to decide  ) : 

After his son's marriage, the merchant made up his mind to give a lion's share of his property to him.


A maiden speech : ( First speech) : 

The captain of our team made a very impressive maiden speech today.


To miss the boat  OR to miss the bus : ( to lose a chance ) : 

You must act with a great care while making a deal of this plot otherwise you may miss the boat.


With might and main : ( with full force) : 

I assure you if you attempt your examination with might and main, there is not the slightest chance to lose.


Meek and mild : ( gentle and quiet ) : 

Rabbit is a meek and mild animal. 


Man of letters : ( a scholar,a learned person) : 

Our school principal is a man of letters.


Man of his word : ( a person who fulfills his promise ) :

You can depend upon him undoubtedly he is a man of his word.


Man of straw : ( not so important, insignificant ) :

I always considered him a very influential person but he turned out to be a man of straw.


Man of parts : ( Learned or able person ) : 

His son is a man of parts. He will definitely go far in his career.  


Mark time : ( to wait for the right opportunity to act ) : 

He is marking time only and he will certainly avenge upon her whenever there is a chance. 


Much ado about nothing : ( to show off  for nothing ) : 

He made much ado about nothing for such a trivial incident happened with him in the school.


Make amends of : ( to make for the loss ) : 

We should give him a chance to make amends of his follies of the past.


Make a clean breast of : ( to accept in clear terms ) :

The manager made a clean breast of his fault before the boss and was thus  saved from any punishment.


Make over : ( to hand over ) : 

Finally the children were safely  made over to their parents.  


Make up with : ( to befriend some one ) : 

His brother is a very noble person. You should try to make up with him.


To make one's mark : ( to do something important ) :

Before long he is sure to make a mark in his career.


Move mountains : ( to make all efforts ) : 

He moved mountains to achieve the first position in the examination.







Nook  and corner : (  all the places ) : 

She searched her necklace in every nook and corner of the house but could not find it .


Null and Void : ( to be ineffective ) : 

The newly elected house made all the rules framed by the previous house null and void.


Now  and then : (  sometimes, off and on ) :

He goes  to see his parents in the village off and on.


Nip in the bud : ( to finish in the beginning ) : 

It is always wise to nip the evil in the bud.


A narrow escape : ( to be saved from a danger ) :

His car met with an accident on the road and all the occupants of the car had a narrow escape.


Near and dear : ( Relatives and friends ) : 

He invited all his near and dear to attend his party.


No love lost : ( not good relations, enmity )  :

The two brothers are at daggers' drawn with each other and there is no love lost between them.


Nuptial Knot : ( marriage tie , to marry ) :

Last Sunday his son and his friend's daughter were tied in nuptial tie. 







Open secret : ( a secret known to all ) : 

His failure in the examination is an open secret now.


Out and out : ( completely ) :

He is out and out a  gentle man.


Over and over again : ( repeatedly ) : 

He requested the shopkeeper over and over again to change the suit but he turned down his request.


Off and  on : (  sometimes, occasionally ) : 

He used to come to our place off and on. 


Once for all : ( For ever, for good ) : 

He left India for China once for all.


Of one accord : ( to agree jointly ) :

The jury was of one accord on award of punishment to the accused.


Of one's accord : ( willingly ) : 

His son left the house of his own accord.


Of the first water : ( of a high degree, in absolute terms ) :

He is a fool of the first water. Do not trust on him.


On the spur of the moment : ( Immediately at that moment ) : 

The captain of the winning team made an impressive speech on the spur of the moment.

His father called for a doctor for him on the spur of the moment.


On the verge of : ( near to , approximately, almost ) : 

The poor family is on the verge of starvation.
This bridge appears to be on the verge of breaking. It can give way at any moment.


On rocks : ( in a difficult situation ) : 

Unless he abandons his bad habits of drinking and gambling he soon will be on rocks.


On one's last legs : ( at a final stage ) :  

Illiteracy in the state is on its last legs.


On the silver platter : ( easily available ) : 

By using modern technology one gets all types of information on the silver platter but how far it is correct is not certain.


On ice : ( anything kept pending for the time being ) :

For want of funds he has kept all his  projects on ice.


On tenterhooks : ( to be impatient and wait excitingly ) : 

All the students were on tenterhooks until their result was declared. 


On the cards : ( expected to happen soon ) : 

A cabinet reshuffle is on the cards and it is likely to be announced at any moment.


On the fly  : ( to act without giving any thought or any preparation) : 

The boss is not in the habit of taking decisions on the fly. He will take his own time to decide in the matter.


On the map :( to become very popular due to some reason) :

The fact that the topper of the IAS examination belongs to our village has brought our  tiny village on the map.


On the sly : ( to act in a secret way ) : 

The manager  hobnobbed with the clerk on  the sly and leaked out  information to the party.


On the trot : (continuously at a  stretch  ) : 

He absented himself from the office for three days on the trot.


On one's last legs : ( at last stage ) :  

I fear that the patient is on his last legs now.


Out of sorts : ( feeling unwell or distressed ) :

 I am feeling myself out of sorts and shall not be able to attend the office today.


Out of the blue: ( all of a sudden, unexpectedly ) : 

His suspension from the service came to him out of the blue.








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Friday, 11 July 2014

IDIOMS AND IDIOMATIC EXPRESSIONS --------THEIR MEANINGS AND USAGE 2 (5) (In continuation of last post)



                                                                                                                       (continued from last post)
An Idiom or idiomatic expression is a form of expression of words in their peculiar form as prevalent in a language.The words used have different meanings to their  literal meanings. An idiom has its metaphorical rather than literal meaning. The use of words in an idiom is fixed.These idioms undergo changes with the passage of time. 

The usage of idioms enhance the beauty of a language and give richness to it. Idioms usually  comprise of a few words but these words have their own meanings different from their literal meanings. Just as  the meaning of put is different from when some words are added  to it as --Put up, Put out , Put off  or To put up for a rainy day etc. These words are to be used as they are and these cannot be changed at all. The grammatical use of these words is fixed.For example  He has his own axe to grind cannot be changed to ground his axe or some other form. Idioms have their meanings in metaphorical sense rather than literal one. 

Idioms add richness to a language but their correct and appropriate use is necessary. Here is a list of idioms with their meanings and usage though it is illustrative and not exhaustive.



D, E, F, G, H, I, J.


Double Deal : ( To cheat , to act with a view to cheat) :

He is notorious for his double dealing. Beware of him.


Double Edged : ( An argument or action having effect both ways ) :

He is a very clever fellow. He has put forth a double edged argument and wants to gain both ways.


Double take : ( to act in a slow manner ) : 

The whole family is shocked over this incident. They will take a  double take to decide their further course of action.  


Die in harness : ( to die while working, to die in office or on duty  ) :

Our prime minister was very faithful to his duty so he died in harness.


Down the drain : ( something gone wasted ) : 

As the government has announced a change in the policy, his whole investment in the business has been down the drain. 


Down and Out : ( Very poor and needy person):

The government has framed many policies for upliftment of down and out families.


Doldrums : ( to be in difficulty or poor or bad condition) :

Paucity of funds has put all his schemes in doldrums.


Dog's life : ( bad days, miserable life) :

After separation from each other both husband and wife are leading a dog's life. 


Draw near : ( approach, to come nearer): 

The students have started burning midnight oil as their examinations are drawing near.


Ducks and Drakes : ( Wastage, to squander away ) :

After the death of their father the illiterate sons played ducks and drakes with his wealth.


Dillydally : (To be indecisive, uncertain to vacillate) : 

He is certain to lose the game due to his dillydally attitude towards the issue.


To die a do  a dog's death : To die an heroic death :

The traitors were imprisoned by the king and were kept there in chains to die dog's death. 





Extempore : ( to do a work without any prior preparation) :

The young boy delivered his speech extempore.


End in smoke : ( to end without any fruitful result) :

His all efforts to bring unity between the  two brothers ended in smoke.


End in draw : ( to end without any result) :

The hockey match played yesterday ended in a draw.


Every dog has its day : Every one has a chance of his success) :

Do not lose heart because every dog has its day. 


Eye opener : ( To come out with a startling results) :

A surprise visit of the boss to the office proved an eyeopener for him.


Eye for eye : ( to award punishment in the same  proportion as that of crime) :

Justice does not demand an eye for eye treatment to petty criminals. They need to be treated with mercy. 


Eye ball to eye ball : ( face to face ) :

Such issues cannot be discussed over telephone. There is a need to have an eyeball to eye ball discussion for it.


Eye candy : ( someone attractive in appearance) :

The sweet baby is her mother's  eye candy.


Every nook and corner : ( to  search everywhere ) :

The children searched every nook and corner to find out their ball but they did not find it.


Every  cloud has a silver lining : ( there is always a ray of hope in adversity ) :

Do not lose heart  be brave. Remember every cloud has a silver lining in it.


Etched in stone : ( very rigid and not possible to be changed) :

These rules are not etched in stone. These have been framed  by the committee itself and can  easily be modified.


Elbow room : ( enough space ) :

You better sell off the old items of furniture because it will provide elbow room for the new items.


Elbow grease : ( hard labour) : 

It needs enough money and elbow grease to run a business successfully these days.


Easy Peasy : ( very easy to perform ) :

 It is easy peasy. Just try  push this block lightly and it will go.


Easy come easy go : ( Money is spent in the same manner as it is earned) :

A gambler gets money but he loses or spends too lavishly because it is true that  easy come easy go.

Eat a crow ( to admit defeat or mistake ) :

He is very confident of his success. He will never eat a crow. 


Eat my hat ( to tell something with confidence) : 

That boy is always late in the class. I shall eat my hat if he comes in time today.


Eat  a humble pie : ( to feel ashamed for a deed or action) :

Do not do anything for which you have to eat  a humble pie later.


Eat like a bird : ( to eat  in a little quantity) :

The child was eating like a bird. His mother helped him to finish his meals.


Eat like a pig : ( to observe bad table manners while eating) :

It does not look nice if one eats like a pig during a dinner  party.


Eat like a horse : ( to eat too much ) : 

The child eats like a horse but strange enough still he is so thin.


Eagle eye : (  a person with very sharp observations) :

The inspector had an eagle eye and he was able to  find out the whole truth of the case.


Earn livelihood : ( to earn money to run the household)  :

As the elder son grew up he started doing petty jobs to earn livelihood for his poor parents.


Early bird : ( One  who starts his work ahead of others) :

An early bird has always better chances of winning the  race in comparison to his competitors.


Early to bed : ( one who sleeps early at night) :

Early to bed and  early to rise in the morning always keeps a man fit and healthy.






A Fair weather friend : ( a selfish friend ) :

Do not believe upon a fair weather friend because he always leaves others in the lurch. 


Far and wide : ( from distant places) :

People from far and wide came to see the exhibition.


Far and  away : (certainly) :

Our team will far and away win laurels for the school.


To feather one's nest : ( to amass wealth by all means) :

His father is busy in feathering his nest.


To feather one's cap : ( a remarkable achievement worth praising ):

By winning a gold medal in the examination she has added another feather in her cap.


A flash in the pan : ( a short lived happiness or pleasure) :

His enthusiastic outburst about his victory in the debate turned out to be a flash in the pan.

Feet of clay : (A cowardly timid or a week person) :

A person with feet of clay like him cannot win the challenge.


Fishy : ( something doubtful) :

We should not accept his offer as I think there is something fishy in it.


Fall foul of : ( to fight or dispute ):

He is in the habit of falling foul with every body.


Full swing : ( to beat its peak , complete, in fullness) : 

The winter sale of  ready made garments is in full swing these days.

The  preparations for the annual day function of the school are going on  in full swing. 


Full of beans ( a person with a lot of energy ): 

The young boy being full of beans  is sure to win the competition.


Full Circle : ( Complete the circle of time ) :

Nature has completed its full circle as he is  penniless after living more than half of his life as a wealthy man.



From the horse's mouth : ( hear directly from the concerned person) :

We must believe upon his statement as this news comes from the horse's mouth. 


From  pillar to post : ( to move from one place to another place) :

The young man is moving from pilllar to post these days in search of a suitable job.


From the bottom of one's heart : ( with deepest feelings or emotions) :

My daughter sent to me her wishes from the bottom of her heart on my birthday eve.
I send from the bottom of my heart  my best wishes to you on your birthday.


From rags to riches : ( to become wealthy after living in poverty) :

The inherited property of his parents  turned him from rags to riches.


From scratch ( to start from nothing):

He started his life from scratch after destruction of his house in a big  fire last year.


Foul Play : ( something wrong or irregular) :

The police is suspecting a foul play in the accident of his son.


Flesh and blood : ( a human being ) : 

Einstein said ," Generations to come will hardly believe that a man flesh and blood like Mahatma Gandhi had ever come on this earth."

Foot the bill : ( to make payment of the bill):

No matter. He who is hosting the dinner  party will foot the bill today. 

Fourth estate ( Media people particularly newspapers ) :

It is the prime duty of the fourth estate to act with great responsibility and avoid gaining cheap popularity.


Feel at  home : ( to feel comfortable with a person or at a place):

We all the members of our family feel at home at your place.









Go Scot free : ( to be saved from punishment, to go without any punishment) :

You should get an action initiated against the culprit otherwise he will go scot free.



Gather dust : ( to remain unused or unattended) :

After gathering dust for two years in the shelf the case file  of the culprit has been reopened now.

Gather pace or speed : ( to act or move fast) :

After the minister's  intervention  in the case it gathered pace and its early decision is expected now.

Give vent to : ( to express, to speak out ) :

The old lady should give vent to her pent up feelings otherwise she will grow sick.


Get on the nerves : ( to trouble or create difficulty to irritate) :

The children got on my nerves as they had been making a loud noise for the last two hours outside my room.

Give the nod : ( to grant permission ) : 

The ministry has not given its nod yet for starting the new project.


Give someone hand : ( to extend help) : 

I shall be gladly giving my hand to you in getting your project executed.


To Give up : ( to leave, to abandon) : 

We should not give up our hopes and we should make another full hearted attempt.


Ghost of a chance ( very little or no chance ) :

There is a ghost of a chance that he will come to the office in time today.


Good  for nothing : ( useless fellow) :

The manager in his office is good for nothing fellow. One cannot depend on him for anything.


Go to dogs : ( to be ruined ) :

His whole family went to dogs due to his bad habits of drinking and  gambling.


Greenhorn : ( novice, a person without experience) :

This young boy though green horn  has excelled well in the competition.


Grease the palm : ( to bribe) : 

These days it is very difficult to get any work done without greasing someone's palm.






Hand to mouth : ( in poor condition) :

The old man is living from hand to mouth as he has no source of his livelihood. 


Hale and heart : ( in sound condition of health) : 

I wish you to be always hale and hearty.


Hand in glove : ( to have close relationship) :

Both the friends are hand in  glove with each other. 


Hair stand on end : ( to be bewildered ) :

On seeing a dog standing before him, the child's hair stood on end. 


Hue and cry : ( Loud cry ) :

Seeing a dacoit in the house the owner of the house raised a hue and cry.


Hard and Fast : ( in strict terms) :

There is no hard and fast rule to be observed in this office.


High handed : ( in a rough and rude way ) :

The visitors were given a high handed treatment in the office and were prohibited from their entry.


Healthy as a horse : ( very stout and healthy person) :

The youngman appeared to be as healthy as a horse.


Headstrong:( a stubborn person) : 

He being a headstrong person is not liked  by any person in the office.


Hair's breadth : ( very narrow ) :

A cyclist moving on the road had a  hair's breadth escape from being hurt yesterday.


High and dry ( to be alone without any help) :

All his friends left him one by one   and he was finally left high and dry.


Hit the bull's eye : ( to achieve the desired target) :

The youngman hit the bull's eye and achieved a distinguished position in the competition..


Hit the nail on the head: ( to do the right thing) :

The authorities hit the nail on the head and rounded up all the culprits in the area.


Heart  in one's mouth : ( to be afraid or scared):

The child felt his heart in his mouth when he saw a snake on the ground.


To have a heart laugh: ( to be extremely happy, overjoyed ) : 

We all the friends had a hearty laugh when we saw the circus show.


Himalayan task : ( very difficult task) : 

It is not a Himalayan task to pass this examination now.


Himalayan  blunder : ( a major mistake) :

He committed a Himalayan blunder by going against the wishes of his parents.





In Cold blood :  ( mercilessly, in a cruel way ) :

The terrorists  killed so many innocent people in cold blood.


Ins and outs : ( secrets, complete details ) : 

All the ins and outs of the office are in the knowledge of the manager.


In the  prime of  :( in young age) :

He is shocked because his son died in the prime of his age.


In hot haste : ( in a great hurry) : 

His father is in a hot haste of amassing huge wealth for his family.


In round numbers : ( approximately) : 

There were four thousand persons in round numbers present in the function.


In  the face of : ( during something happening) :

Brave persons do not lose heart in the face of an adversity.


In the heart of : ( in the middle of ) : 

His house is situated in the heart of the city.


In the guise of : ( in the garb of ) : 

The police man went to the place of the incident in the guise of an ordinary person. 


In the soup : (in a trouble ) : 

Your mistakes will one day land you and members of your family in the soup.


In hot water : ( in trouble) :

The manager will be in hot water if he does not obey the  orders of the boss.


In a pickle : ( to be in a trouble or mess ) :

He is always in a pickle due to his nature of  being indecisive.


In a jam : ( in a trouble ) :

I extended a helping hand to my friend when he was in  a jam.


In a cleft stick : ( in a difficult situation) :

By disobeying the orders of  his boss he has placed himself in a cleft stick.


In nutshell :( in brief ) : 

The manager explained the whole of the incident in nutshell to the boss.


In a jiffy : ( very fast quickly ) :

Everything happened in a jiffy and we could not understand anything.


In the know  of : ( in the knowledge of )  : 

The  whole of the incident was already in the know of the boss.


In the loop : ( to be apprised of ) : 

The new boss is not in the habit of keeping his manager in the loop about his actions.


In the offing : ( likely to start soon ) :

Many new government schemes about the welfare of the poor are in the offing.






Jack of  all trades : ( a person who undertakes many odd jobs) : 

It is better to spend some money more and get the work done from an experienced person rather than from a jack of all trades.


Just in the nick of time : ( just at the appointed time) :

His friend reached on the spot in the nick of the time and saved their honour. 


Just off the boat : ( not having any experience ) :

He is acting like being just off the boat but he is an experienced person.


Just coming up to : ( likely to happen soon) : 

We are just coming upto there with our friends now.


Just around the corner : ( likely to happen soon ) : 

With the intervention of the chairman, reconciliation between the two parties appears to be just around the corner.



Your views/suggestions about the post (or correction of error if any ) are solicited. Do post/e-mail















Thursday, 10 July 2014

IDIOMS AND IDIOMATIC EXPRESSIONS ----- THEIR MEANINGS & USAGE 1 (5)



An Idiom or idiomatic expression is a form of expression of words in their peculiar form as prevalent in a language.The words used have different meanings to their  literal meanings. An idiom has its metaphorical rather than literal meaning. The use of words in an idiom is fixed.These idioms undergo changes with the passage of time. 

The usage of idioms enhance the beauty of a language and give richness to it. Idioms usually  comprise of a few words but these words have their own meanings different from their literal meanings. Just as  the meaning of put is different from when some words are added  to it as --Put up, Put out , Put off  or To put up for a rainy day etc. These words are to be used as they are and these cannot be changed at all. The grammatical use of these words is fixed.For example  He has his own axe to grind cannot be changed to ground his axe or some other form. Idioms have their meanings in metaphorical sense rather than literal one. 

Idioms add richness to a language but their correct and appropriate use is necessary. Here is a list of idioms with their meanings and usage though it is illustrative and not exhaustive.

'A , B , C' 


All agog : (To be in the state of excitement) : 

All the player were all agog with joy for their  victory in the match.

Above Board : ( Something in its  proper and appropriate form, without any doubt) : 

 The deal finalised between the two merchants is above board.
His character is vouched above board by his all seniors. Nobody can doubt about his honesty and integrity.


Across the Board :  (Something applicable to all) :

The education system of our country needs an overall change across the board.


At a low ebb : ( Decreasing or Diminishing order ) 

His reputation is at a low ebb these days. 


A damp squib :  (An unsatisfactory or discouraging result ) : 

He started preparations for his competition examination with a great pomp and show but ended with a damp squib.


An Acid Test  : ( An action to check goodness or effectiveness of a thing ) : 

The acid test of a good leader is how much he wins the public faith when he goes among the people.


Add an insult to injury : ( To worsen a situation):

She was very annoyed with her husband and her sister's remarks only added an insult to injury.


Add fuel to the fire :  ( To make a  situation worse ):

He was  feeling very sad due to his bad result and your speech added fuel to fire.


Avail oneself of : ( To get benefit or a chance ) :

The candidates must avail themselves of this extra chance of appearing in the examination.


Act the goat : (To act deliberately in a silly way) :

The inspector acted the goat to bring out the truth from the people present there.


After your own  heart : ( To think in the same way as you do ) : 

Your wife is after your own heart. Why don't you have your confidence in her actions?


Albatross around your neck : ( A problem due to one's own action that impedes one's success) :

The irresponsible behaviour of  his son towards his family is an albatross around his neck.


All and Sundry : ( All or each and every body) : 

Her parents invited all and sundry to attend the marriage party of their daughter.


At the eleventh hour : ( At the last moment): 

The chairman announced at the eleventh hour a  change in the venue of the meeting.


All Greek : ( Something that is beyond one's understanding) :

The mechanic explained working of the new machine to us but it was all Greek for all of us. 


At Sea (  to be not in the know of ) :

The young man is at sea with the working of  this new machine.


At Odds : ( Not to agree with someone ) :

Both brothers are always at odds about education of their children.


At Loggerheads : ( To have difference or dispute with someone ) :

Both the brothers are at loggerheads with each other over possession of this piece of land.


At the drop of the hat : ( To an action immediately ) :  

At the drop of the hat the bidder will have to pay  the whole of the amount to the seller.


Apple of eye : ( A loved one ) :

The young boy is a an apple of eye of his parents.


Apple of Discord : ( A cause of a dispute) :

This piece of land is an apple of discord between the two brothers.


At all costs: ( in all cases or under all circumstances ) :

The merchant has made up his mind to purchase this house at all costs.


Apt to : ( Liable to ) : 

The students residing in a hostel are apt to fall in bad company.


Axe to grind : ( to have one's interest in an action) :

The manager had his own axe to grind in the deal being finalised with the merchant.


At the end of the day : ( at the conclusion of an action) :

At the end of the day all the visitors were very satisfied with the hospitality extended to them.


At arm's length :  ( To keep oneself away from) :

His father advised him to keep his greedy friends at an arm's length.






Bag and Baggage : ( For ever ) : 

My friend left India for Canada bag and baggage.


Bad Blood  : ( ill will due past ill behaviour ) :

The differences between the two brothers were ironed out and there is no bad blood between them now.


Back foot : ( to be defensive or at a receiving end) :

This action on the part of the leader put his party on the back foot.


Babe in arms : ( A novice or an inexperienced person) :

His father is a babe in arms in the field of business and I am sure he will be a big loser.


Beat about the bush : ( to talk in irrelevant way ) :

Do not beat about the bush, Let us come to the point and start our work. 


Beat a dead horse : ( an attempt to revive an action which is no more current now ) :

If you think that his father will forgive him and accept him back in his family you are beating a dead horse.


Bear fruit :   (to bring forth result  ) :

At last his efforts bore fruit and he was able to convince his parents about his marriage.


By and By : ( Slowly one after the other ) :

All the employees left the office by and by and soon the office was closed.


Bear the brunt : ( bear the loss ) :

The children who do not obey their parents are sure to bear the brunt. 


Below the belt : ( an action that is unfair ) :

It was not expected from  a person like him to hit below the belt by offering bribe to the witness.


Big Bucks : ( to earn a lot of money) :

The hoarders are making big bucks these days.


Between the lines : ( to understand the actual meaning ) :

If you read between the lines of the message you will see him through his trick.


Beside the point : ( irrelevant to the main issue) :

All the members present in the meeting found his suggestion beside the point and turned it down.


Beside Oneself : ( for one to be over in one's feelings ) :

He was beside himself with anger when he heard this. 


Black and white ( to put in writing ) : 

The agreement between the two parties was brought in black and white.


Black Sheep : ( one who does not fit in the system , someone odd ) :

No body wants to become a black sheep among his friends and relatives.


Bread and Butter : ( Something relating to livelihood of someone): 

The child when grown up arranged bread and butter for his family. 


Break the ice:  (To start a thing  for the first time) :

The leader broke the ice and started dialogue with the opposition party leaders.


Break the duck :  ( To do something for the first time) :

The young boys broke the duck and started a new business with their friends successfully.


Bolt from the blue : ( Something happening suddenly and unexpectedly) :

A prize for him in the function came to him as a bolt from the blue.


Blue Blood : ( Someone belonging to a royal family) :

A person with blue blood has enough with him to spend and spare.


Bury the hatchet : ( to forget about old differences and have peace with someone) :

The two friends buried their hatchet and started a new life.

Burn the candle at both ends : ( To lead a life style that has a bad effect on health) :

He is burning the candle at both ends to make both end's meet. He is not taking care of his own-self.

By dint of : ( as a result of, by means of or with help of ) :

He by dint of hard work passed his examination by securing good marks.


By Leaps and bounds : ( Something happening in large quantity ) :

The merchant is increasing his business by leaps and bounds.

Build castles in the air : ( to think about in  an imaginary way ) :

Those who build castles in the are sure to come to grief.

Beast of Burden : (an animal used for carrying goods, a very laborious person ) :

It appears that his boss considers him a beast of burden as he always burdens him with extra work.

Beast of prey : ( animal for hunting ) :

Lion is a beast of prey.










Cut no ice : ( To have no effect on something) :

His objections to our proposal in the meeting could cut no ice and our proposal was accepted by the house.


Cooked and fried : ( In ready made form , ready to use form ) :

He needs not to make any big preparations for the function because everything is available in cooked and fried form these days.


Cut and dried : ( Something already decided) :

All the members participated in the meeting but it appeared that everything was cut and dried.


Cut to the quick : ( to hurt someone's feelings ) :

The harsh remarks of her father about her behaviour in the function cut her to the quick.


Call a spade a spade : ( to say things in a straight forward way ) :

Nobody likes him in the office because of his habit of calling a spade a spade.


Cloud nine : ( to be very happy ) :

She is at cloud nine these days as she has won the first prize in the competition.


Clean slate : ( untarnished image or record of someone) : 

Nobody can raise a finger towards him as he has a clean slate career of his service.


Clean hands : ( without any illegal or immoral act on one's part) :

The authorities tried hard to make a search about her activities but she came out with clean hands.


Clean break : ( to break completely from someone or something) :

She left the city bag and baggage as she wanted to make a clean break with her past.


Chew the cud : ( to remember something nostalgically ) :

Both the friends chewed the cud for long hours as they met each other after a very long time. 


Chip off the old block:(to be identical in appearance or character) : 

Both mother and her daughter are chips of the old block. They  behave alike.


Cry wolf : ( a false warning ) : 

We should not depend upon that fellow for feedback of our project as he is a cry wolf.


Cry hoarse: ( to cry loudly for long ) :

The baby had to cry hoarse before his mother gave him milk.


Chase a rainbow : ( to think of achieving that is not achievable ) :

His son is chasing a rain  bow if he thinks that he will pass IAS examination.


Cry in wilderness : (  to try something without any response) :

His repeated requests to the principal to readmit his son in the school proved a cry in wilderness as he was finally rusticated from his school.


Cog in the machine : ( something of little importance for the whole system) :

He always boasted of his high position in the office but he turned out to be a cog in the machine.


Cry over spilt milk : (to  repent after an action is over ) :

It is of no use to cry over spilt milk as his result is already out and he has failed in the examination.


Close fisted : ( a miser person) :

He is a close fisted person and we should not expect that he will foot the bill of the party.

Catch at a straw : ( to get some help at the  time of need ) :

The principal's statement in our favour proved for us like a drowning man catching at a straw.


Catch one unaware : ( to catch hold of someone unprepared) :

The students were busy in talking with each other but the teacher caught them unaware.


Chicken hearted : ( a coward or a week person) :

We should not expect this type of act of bravery from a chicken hearted person like him.


Catch someone's fancy : ( to appear appealing to someone) :

The proposal forwarded by the manager caught boss's fancy and he gave his approval to it.


Cave in ( to slip or fall into the ground ) :

During the recent rains the road caved in at many places and the route remained closed for many days.


Catch sight of : ( to have a glimpse of ) :

Suddenly a child playing in the middle of the road caught sight of the driver of the moving bus and he applied brakes of the bus immediately.


Chalk out : ( to make a plan ) :

Before starting this project we all must sit together and  chalk out our plan how to execute it .


Come  upon : (to meet by chance):

While moving in the market place yesterday I came upon  one of my old friends of school days.


Come off : ( to take place) :

His marriage ceremony comes off  on tenth of the next month.


Comes of : ( to belong to )  :

He comes of a very noble family. 


Come out with : ( to put forth) :

The chairman rejected all the previous proposals and he came out with a new proposal  in the meeting.


Come across : ( to meet someone by chance) :

Yesterday I came across my school teacher in the market.


Come about : ( to happen or to come into existence) :

The old man was unable to explain how the incident came about.


Come out with flying colours : ( to be victorious) :

Our football team played the match very well and finally came out with flying colours.

                                                                                                      (Continued in next post)


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