Essential Idioms in English. Lesson 2

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to dress up: to wear formal clothes, to dress very nicely

  • We should definitely dress up to go to the theater
  • You don’t have to dress up for Mike’s party.

at last: finally, after a long time

  • We waited for hours and  then the train arrived at last.
  • Now that I am sixteen, at last I can drive my parents’ car

as usual: as is the general case, as is typical

  • George is late for class as usual. Thiss seems to happen every day.
  • As usual, Dora received first prize in the swimming contest. It’s the third consecutive year that she has won.

to find out: get information about, to determine

This idiom is separable only when a pronoun is used, as in the second example.

  • Will you please try to find out what time the airplane arrives?
  • I’ll call right now to find it out.

to look at: give one’s attention to: to watch

  • The teacher told us to look at the board and not at our books.
  • I like to walk along a country road at night and look at the stars.

to look for: to try to find, to search for

  • An adverd phrase such as all over can be put  between the verb and preposition, as in the second example. However, the idiom cannot be separated by  a noun or pronoun.
  • He’s spent over an  hour looking for the pen that he lost.

all right: acceptable, fine: yes, okay

This idiom can also be spelled alright in informal usage.

  • He said that it would be all right to wait in her office until she returned.
  • Do you want me to turn off the TV? Alright, if you insist.

all long: all the time from the beginning (without change)

  • She knew all along that we’d never agree with his plan.
  • Did you know all along that I’d give you a birthday present, or were you surprised?

little by little: gradually, slowly (also: step by step)

  • Karen’s health seems to be improving little by little.
  • If you study regularly each day, step by your vocabulary will increase.

to tire out: to make very weary due to difficult conditions or hard effort (also: to wear out)

  • The hot weather tired out the runners in the marathon.
  • Does studying for final exams wear you out? It makes me feel worn out!

ro spend time: to do an activity over a period of time

  • Adrian would rather spend time watching TV  than doing homework.
  • I spent too  much time getting ready this morning, so I was late for work.

never mind: don’t be concerned about it: ignore what was just said

  • When he spilled his drink on my coat, I said, “Never mind.It needs to be cleaned anyway”.
  • So you weren’t listening to me again. Never mind: it wasn’t important.

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