Monday, May 21, 2007

Confusing Words


There are lots of useful English idioms. Here I've selected a dozen for you and grouped them under the topics of family, friends and work.


- be the spitting image of: look very much like someone else
Ex: She's the spitting image of her mother. You'd think they were sisters!

- run in the family: recur through successive generations

Ex: All three daughters are very musical. So was their mother and her mother too. It runs in the family.

- go through a bad patch: experience a period of difficulty

Ex: Our marriage is going through a bad patch at the moment, but we're still together.

- split up: end a marriage or relationship
Ex: They've been married for twenty-five years, but I now hear that they're splitting up.


- an old flame: someone you had a romantic relationship with in the past
Ex: I bumped into Linda the other day in the High Street. She's an old flame from my student days in Manchester.

- be in high spirits: be in a cheerful mood

Ex: You're in high spirits! You must have had some good news.

- hit it off with someone: enjoy someone's company

Ex: I'm sharing a flat with six other students but we all hit it off together.

- It's a small world!: expression of surprise when you meet an old acquaintance, usually in an unexpected place

Ex: Just imagine! I met my old violin teacher on the top of a mountain in Peru recently. Small world!


- get on in the world: be successful in one's job

Ex: Geraldine is now a senior executive in one of the world's largest oil companies. She's certainly got on in the world.

- go flat out: do something with all your energy

Ex: I've been going flat out today. I'm trying to get this finished by five o'clock.

- rake it in: make a lot of money quickly

Ex: He's raking it in. That's the third shoe shop he's opened in this area.

- make ends meet: just about manage financially

Ex: By giving private lessons on Thursday and Friday afternoons, I can just about make ends meet.

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