Tag Archives: english phrases

Common phrases

Common Phrases in English


Idiomatic Phrases in Everyday English


An idiomatic phrase, multi-word expression, or idiom, is a multi-word or multi-morphemic utterance at least one of whose components is selectionally constrained or restricted by linguistic convention such that it is freely chosen.

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. All of the words in this expression are chosen restrictedly, as part of a chunk.

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).

Both kinds of expression are phrasemes, and can be contrasted with ’’free phrases’’, expressions where all of the members (barring grammatical elements whose choice is forced by the morphosyntax of the language) are chosen freely, based exclusively on their meaning and the message that the speaker wishes to communicate.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.


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


English phrases and idioms

English phrases and idioms

English Grammar Video


Ten Phrasal Verbs You Probably don’t Know



Spoken English Phrases with “Up” and “Down”



be up and about

‘Hunter is completely better,’ he said. ‘He’s up and about again…’ (I. Murdoch, ‘The Flight from the Enchanter’, ch. XXX)


be up and coming

Don’t think so much of these towns. Kind of pretty, cottages with vines and all that, but you Don’t get any feeling that they’re up and coming and forward-looking, like American burgs. (S. Lewis, ‘Elmer Gantry’, ch. XXX)


on the up and up

1. …that person has always been on the up-and-up with us; his information has been reliable. (E. S. Gardner, ‘The Case of the Horrified Heirs’, ch. 6)
2. I don’t want to do anyone an injustice. I want to play it on the up-and-up. (E. S. Gardner, ‘The Case of the Crimson Kiss’)


be up

1. Something must be up, the children are not usually as quiet as that.
2. Haven’t seen you in a month of Sundays. What’s up?


cut up

1. The kids have been cutting up all morning.
2. He thought I was only cutting up.
3. He likes to cut up at parties.


get up

I like to get up to soft music, not shouting voices.


cash down

He took his note case from his dress coat pocket. Four hundred pounds, in fives and tens – the remainder of the proceeds of his half of Sleeve-links, sold last night, cash down, to George Forsyte… (J. Galsworthy, ‘In Chancery’, part I, ch. II)


down and out

‘What is he doing out there?’ Sally queried. ‘He’s broke, from all accounts,’ Dinny replied. ‘Lost his case against Paddy Cavan – and is down and out…’ (K. S. Prichard, ‘Golden Miles’, ch. 53)


down with..!

Down with colonialism!


get a down on smb.

Young M: “…You know what the Law is, once they get a down on you.” (J. Galsworthy, ‘Windows’, act III)



1. She doesn’t like down movies.

2. She downed her sandwich in record time.

3. He downed a guy with one blow.


down at heel

Some three or four years later I began to use for cleaning purposes a sometimes drunken and always impoverished and down at heels yet rather intelligent and interesting village character – Johnny Morton by name… (Th. Dreiser, ‘A Gallery of Women’, ‘Bridge Millanphy’)




English Grammar Video


Words that Look Similar but Sound Different



The Greatest English Idioms with ON and OFF



on and on

They rambled on and on about their grandchildren.



“On-duty time” now defined to include driver’s time to load, eat, fuel, etc.


be on

1. What is on at the Bolshoi Theatre today?

2. Two firemen must be on from midnight to 6 o’clock.

3. Is she still talking? What’s she on about this time?


go on

1. We began work at 12 and went on till half-past one.

2. Do go on, I am listening.

3. He goes on to quote two passages from Seneca.

4. For the first two days he went on very well.

5. How is your work going on?


be going on with

The king is now determined to go on without parliament at all.


let on

1. He’s not as rich as he lets on.

2. You mean you knew all the time and never let on?


pay off

It’s a good feeling to pay off the house after all these years.


do off

In this poem you have the whole toiling life of a ploughman and his horse, done off in two or three touches.


go off

A gun goes off every day to mark exactly one o’clock.

The light went off as the policemen entered the room.


buy off

His sister threatened to tell the police, so he had to buy her off.


cry off

Jim had arranged to play in the game, but he cried off at the last minute, so we had to find another player.


cut off

The army was cut off from its supplies.


die off

The deer in the forest are all dying off from disease.


dry off

After a swim we dried off in the sun.



English Grammar Video


Ten English Phrases for Extreme Emotion 



The Best Idiomatic Phrases with GET and AFTER



get about

Stories have been getting about concerning the government’s secret intentions.


get home

1. I’ve been working on my book for the past two years, and last night I got home.

2. In the quarter-mile Jones led from the start and got home by at least ten yards.


get ahead

Jane used to be slow in class, but now she is getting ahead.


get along

Does he get along with his mother-in-law?


get along with you

Oh, get along with you! Do you think I’d believe a story like that?


get around

1. When are you going to get round to our house?
2. Do get your new boyfriend round to see us.


be after

She’s been after me for a year to buy her a new coat.


be after someone or something

He had liked her well enough at the beginning, no doubt, though it was her money he was after all the time.


go after

She’ll have to spend every morning going after a job.


run after

Don’t expect me to run after you all your life.


look after

We can’t let him live to tell stories about us to the police. Leave him to me, I’ll look after him.


dance after smb.’s pipe

I thought I had the prettiest girl in the Castle dancing after my whistle. (W. Scott, ‘Peveril of the Peak’, ch. VII)


after hours

The soldier was caught sneaking into the barracks after hours.