Phrasal Verbs

Idiomatic Phrases in Everyday English

In the most extreme cases, there are expressions such as X kicks the bucket ≈ ‘person X dies of natural causes, the speaker being flippant about X’s demise’ where the unit is selected as a whole to express a meaning that bears little or no relation to the meanings of its parts.

At the other extreme, there are collocations such as stark naked, hearty laugh, or infinite patience where one of the words is chosen freely (naked, laugh, and patience, respectively) based on the meaning the speaker wishes to express while the choice of the other (intensifying) word (stark, hearty, infinite) is constrained by the conventions of the English language (hence, *hearty naked, *infinite laugh, *stark patience).

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English Grammar Video

English Vocabulary. Words for Birthdays


Common Phrases with BIRTH & SELL



give birth to smth.

Yet capitalism is itself incapable of… giving birth to this new art. (R. Fox, ‘The Novel and the People’, ch. IV)


in one’s birthday suit

They were sunbathing in their birthday suits.


sell one’s birthright

…I do not wonder that you, the prostrate sons of labour, are incredulous of the existence of such a man. But he who sold his birthright for a mess of pottage existed, and Judas Iscariot existed… and this man exists! (Ch. Dickens, ‘Hard Times’, book II, ch. IV)


sell off

The store is selling off their old television sets to make room for the latest models.


sell one’s life dear

Here and there a little group of shattered Indians marked where one of the anthropoids had turned to bay, and sold his life dearly. (A. C. Doyle, ‘The Lost World’, ch. XIV)


sell oneself

If you want to advance in the world of business, you have to know how to sell yourself.

Grammar Video


English Phrases for the Supermarket