For example: "Billy, go break a leg!" = "Billy, good luck!"
These are the Most Common Idioms used in English
Grant's TIP: You don't need to waste your time learning every idiom. There are 1,000's! Instead, just focus on learning the most common idioms first.
about to (do something)
- to be on the point of doing somethingI was about to leave when the phone rang.
according to (someone or something)
- as said or told by someone, in agreement with something, in the order of something, in proportion to somethingAccording to our teacher, there will be no class next week.
We did everything according to the terms of our agreement.
account for (something)
- to provide an explanation or answer for somethingThe bad weather accounts for the fact that few people came to the meeting.
- considering the fact that something happened, something that is usually assumed"You don't need to phone him. After all, he never phones you."
all of a sudden
- suddenly, without advance warningAll of a sudden it became cloudy and began to rain.
as a matter of fact
- actually"As a matter of fact, we have been to the history museum many times."
as far as
- to the extent or degree of somethingAs far as I know the movie will start in a few minutes.
- with regard to, concerning"As for me, I think that I will return home now."
- in the same way that something would be, thatThe drink tastes as if it were made with orange juice.
It seemed as if the whole town came to the concert.
as long as
- provided that, on condition that"As long as you promise to be careful you can borrow my car."
as soon as
- just after something, whenI phoned my friend as soon as I finished dinner.
- with regard to, according to"As to your question, I will answer it tomorrow."
The players were put into groups as to their ability.
- in addition, also, tooI plan to take a computer course this summer as well.
as well as
- in addition to"Please bring your swimming suit as well as your towel."
back and forth
- backwards and forwards, first one way and then the other wayThe argument went back and forth before the judge made a decision.
- to be in a better situation than beforeMy friend would be better off if he sold his old car and bought a new one.
break down (something)
- to divide something into parts, to separate something into simpler substancesWe tried to break down the problem for further study.
The sugar began to break down soon after it was swallowed.
- to separate, to divide into groups or pieces, to put an end to somethingNobody wanted to break up their groups.
We usually break up into small groups during our class.
by the way
- incidentally"By the way, could you please bring your laptop computer tomorrow."
carry out (something)
- to put something into action, to accomplish something, to do somethingThe scientist wanted to carry out several experiments before discussing the new medicine.
- please, hurry, go faster"Come on, I only have a few minutes before I must go."
"Come on, stop doing that."
- to happen unexpectedlyI 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/answerI tried to come up with a name for the new magazine.
deal with (something)
- to be concerned with something, to take action about somethingWe will deal with the boxes tomorrow.
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 goWe ended up going to a restaurant after the movie last night.
figure out (someone or something)
- to try to understand someone or something, to solve somethingI finally figured out how to use the new DVD player.
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 somethingMy mother is angry at me because she found out that I had quit my French class.
first of all
- the very first thingFirst of all we prepared the garden and then we planted the seeds.
- permanentlyThe city will close the public swimming pool for good next week.
- without doubt, certainly, surely"I will go to the movie with you for sure next week."
get back to (something)
- to return to somethingI was happy to get back to my work after my holiday.
get into (something)
- to enter something, to go into somethingI do not want any water to get into my car.
get into (somewhere)
- to secure a place in a college or university or courseMy friend wants to get into a good university.
get out of (somewhere)
- to leave somewhere, to escape from somewhereI want to hurry and get out of my house.
get rid of (something)
- to give or throw something away, to sell or destroy something, to make a cold or fever disappearI bought a new television set so I want to get rid of the old one.
get through (something)
- to complete something, to finish somethingMy friend is having trouble getting through her final exams.
I have much reading that I must get through before tomorrow.
- to begin to do something"Let`s go ahead and start now. We can`t wait any longer."
- to continueThe game will probably go on for an hour after we leave.
go over (something)
- to examine or review somethingThe accountant will go over the books tomorrow.
We plan to go over that question tomorrow.
go through (something)
- to discuss something, to look at something, to do somethingThe teacher decided to go through the exercise before the test.
go with (something)
- to choose one thing rather than anotherWe decided to go with the small rental car rather than the large one.
hang out (somewhere/with someone)
- to spend one`s time with no great purpose, to spend leisure time with friendsRecently my friend has been hanging out with a group of people who are not a good influence on him.
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.
- 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."
in a way
- to a certain extent, a little, somewhatIn a way I want to go to the new restaurant but in a way I don`t really care.
- if, if something should happenI will take my umbrella in case it rains.
- shared together or equally, in use or ownership by allI had nothing in common with the other members of the class.
- giving all the details, item by itemThe saleswoman explained about the new product in detail.
- for practical purposes, basicallyThe man's silence was in effect a way of disagreeing with the other people in the meeting.
- actually, the truth isThe man has been to China before. In fact he has been there three times.
in favor of (someone or something)
- to approve or support someone or somethingEverybody is in favor of the new police chief.
My company is not in favor of changing our holiday schedule.
- in most situations or circumstancesIn general, most of the people in our apartment are happy with the new manager.
in order to
- for the purpose ofThey have decided to close down the school for the summer in order to do some major repairs.
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."
- in the proper place or locationEverything in the room was in place when we arrived for the meeting.
in some ways
- in some unspecified way or manner, by some unspecified meansIn some ways I know what my friend means but in some ways I do not.
in terms of (something)
- with regard to somethingIn terms of our agreement with the other company we were not allowed to sell the products online.
- early enoughI did not come home in time to meet my cousin.
keep (someone or something) in mind
- to remember and think about someone or somethingI told my co-workers to keep the new starting time for work in mind.
- somewhat, more or less, moderatelyI was kind of tired when I arrived home last night.
look for (something)
- to try to find something, to hunt/search for somethingMy friend has been looking for her credit card all morning but she can`t find it.
look up (something)
- to search for something in a dictionary or other bookI will look up my friend's name in the telephone book.
I looked up the word in the dictionary.
make a difference
- to cause a change in a situationIt does not make a difference whether our boss comes to the meeting or not.
- to seem reasonableHis new proposal really does make sense.
- to make certain, to establish something without a doubtI want to make sure that my friend is going to meet me tomorrow.
more or less
- somewhat, to some extentI more or less have decided to study business next year.
- regardlessNo matter how hard that I try, my piano teacher is never satisfied.
not at all
- certainly notI am not at all happy with my new computer.
- certainly, definitely, naturally"Of course you can use my car if you want to."
on the other hand
- looking at the opposite side of a matterHe is very intelligent but on the other hand he is very lazy and always gets low marks at school.
- to be at the scheduled timeOur train arrived exactly on time.
- anew, againI tried once again to phone my boss at his home .
open to (something)
- to be agreeable to learn or hear about new ideas or suggestionsMost members of the class were open to the teacher's ideas.
pick up (something)
- to get or receive somethingI will pick up my dry cleaning tomorrow.
I picked up a copy of the newspaper at the station.
point out (someone or something)
- to explain or call attention to someone or somethingMy teacher was very kind when she pointed out the mistakes that I had made.
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.
regardless of (something)
- without considering something, at any rateRegardless of the weather we are going to go fishing tomorrow morning.
- immediately"I forgot to bring my book but I will go home and get it right away."
rule out (someone or something)
- to decide against or eliminate someone or somethingThe police ruled out the man as a possible bank robber.
We decided to rule out Monday as the day to have our meeting.
run into (something - a fact/trouble/problems/difficulty)
- to experience something, to encounter somethingThe mechanic ran into trouble when he was fixing my car.
I ran into some interesting facts when I was researching my essay.
set up (something)
- to establish something, to provide the money for somethingThe newspaper company provided the money to set up the new travel magazine.
The company set up a unique situation to test the new product.
- to appear, to arrive, to be present"What time did your friend show up for the party?"
- until nowSo far no one has entered the speech contest at the television station.
so to speak
- as one might or could say, this is one way to say somethingWe had a good time at the restaurant, so to speak, although the service was not very good.
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."
stick with (something)
- to continue doing something, to not quit somethingMy brother has been able to stick with his trumpet lessons since he was a child.
take advantage of (someone or something)
- to use someone or something for one's own benefitWe took advantage of the beautiful weather and went to the beach.
take care of (someone or something)
- to look after or give attention to someone or somethingYou should take care of your health or you will become sick.
take out (something)
- to remove something from somewhere, to extract somethingThe teacher told us to take out our books.
I took out some onions from the refridgerator.
take over (something)
- to take control of something, to take command of somethingThe large company wants to take over some of the small companies in our area.
- to happen, to occurThe soccer game took place on the coldest day of the year.
to the extent that
- to the degree that, in so far asI plan to provide information about the new company policy to the extent that I am familiar with it.
turn in (something)
- to give something to someone, to hand something to someoneI arrived at school early so that I could turn in my essay.
- to be found or known, to prove to be trueIt turned out that more people came to the party than we expected.
- untilUp to last week I had never been inside a bowling alley.
There were probably up to thirty people at the meeting.
up to (someone) to decide/do (something)
- to be responsible to choose or decide somethingIt is up to the company president to decide when the meeting will start.
- accustomed toMy friend is not used to living in such a big city.
with respect to (something)
- referring to something, concerning somethingI do not know what the company will do with respect to the old computer system.
work out (for the best)
- to end successfullyI hope that everything will work out for my friend when she moves to London next week.