Common English Phrases in Sample Sentences

Posted On: July 13, 2013

Use of English Idioms in Real Life Conversational English

Ten sentences follow using idioms. The phrases or phrasal verbs are in bold. Descriptions or definitions are below the sentence.

He doesn’t get into work until 10am. Can we put off the meeting until then?
“Get into” – arrive
“Put off” – delay

He is running late as got on the wrong bus, so he will be in sooner or later.
“Got on” – boarded
“Sooner or later”- sometime, but we don’t know exactly when

Please take that phone off of the desk, we will put the computer on the desk instead. 
“Take [something] off”- remove
“Put [something] on” – place something on top of
“Take on” has the opposite of “take off.”
“Put off” is the opposite of “put on.” 

These phrases can be used for getting dressed or undressed as well.

I really gotta take off… the meeting has already started.
“Take off” – leave in a hurry (secondary meaning)

She took off about 10 days to take a trip to Hawaii.
“took off”- asked for leave/days off (third meaning)
“take a trip” – go away/vacation

He was able to come up with the answer right away.
“Come up with” – reveal/say/tell
“Right way” – immediately

More idioms for “hurry and finish.”

Because he got up late, as usual, everything was delayed.

“Got up”- woke up from sleep
“As usual”- normally

When I see a new word, I don’t know how to use, I look it up, think over how to use it, and then try to write a sentence with it.  
“Look it up”- Search and find something in a book/on Google
“Think [it] over”- consider something  (a similar phrase is “I’ll think about it.”)

We were on the lookout for hiring new employees, but had to put it off due to budgetary constraints.
“On the lookout”- searching/recruiting
“Put it off”- delay

After living in the US for 25 years, that NRI has finally returned to India for good.

“For good”- Forever

Here are 10 more sentences follow using idioms. The idioms are in bold.
Can you make out (identify) the meaning of the idioms or phrasal verbs in bold?

  1. Sandra is in a hurry to turn in that report. (“in a hurry” and “turn in” are two different idioms)
  2. Because the connection was so bad, he hung up the call.
  3. The boss counts on his staff to look over the reports for mistakes before sending them to the clients.
  4. If you can’t attend the conference call, let the team know ahead of time.
  5. Don’t point out his faults in front of the team.
  6. If the meeting starts at 9am, don’t come exactly on time, but come at least five minutes early so that we can actually start on time.
  7. If the economy gets better, we can get more clients.
  8. I think you had better finish those last few lines of code so we can turn that over to the client on time.
  9. Although we are almost done, I would rather call it a night and finish the rest in the morning. (“would rather” and “call it a night/day” are two different idioms)
  10. It’s better if we figure out how to solve this problem on our own.

Jennifer Kumar, author, is a fluency coach who helps English learners to improve their confidence talking with US Citizens at work, at school, or wherever life takes them! Get in touch with Jennifer for more information. 




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