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Idioms and Phrases

Idioms and phrases refer to commonly used group of words in English. They carry a specific meaning and are used in specific situations. Phrases are usually made up of a few words and are used as a grammatical unit in a sentence; on the other hand idioms are full sentences. It is an important category in all competitive exams. Candidates preparing for competitive examinations must practice idioms and phrases in their writing as well as speech. By listening to native speakers one will get acquainted with the nuances of the language. It will make them proficient while practicing. For attempting the questions in this section the candidates should know the rules of grammar. They should also pay attention to various exceptions to the grammatical rules. Good command over grammar is necessary to solve these questions.

List of important Idioms and Phrases
  1. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush
    Having something that is certain is much better than taking a risk for more, because chances are you might lose everything
  2. A bitter pill
    A situation or information that is unpleasant but must be accepted
  3. A blessing in disguise
    Something good that isn't recognized at first
  4. A man of action
    A man who is inclined to act first rather than think about things and discuss them.
  5. Add fuel to the fire
    To make a problem worse
  6. Every cloud has a silver lining
    Be optimistic
  7. From scratch / to start from scratch
    Start from the beginning with no prior preparation
  8. Face the music
    Said when someone accepts to confront the unpleasant consequences of one's actions.
  9. Gain ground
    To become popular, to make progress, to advance.
  10. Cross your fingers
    To hope that something happens the way you want it to.
  11. Couch potato
    Lazy person.
  12. Cost an arm and a leg
    Extremely expensive.
  13. Cry over spilt milk
    When you complain about a loss from the past.
  14. Don't put all your eggs in one basket
    Do not put all your resources in one possibility.
  15. Lend me your ear
    To politely ask for someone's full attention.
  16. Picture paints a thousand words
    A picture will be far more descriptive of something than words can ever be.
  17. Raw deal
    Said when someone is ill treated.
  18. Red handed
    Be discovered in or just after the act of doing something wrong or illegal
  19. Spill the beans
    To reveal a secret.
  20. Turn a blind eye
    Refuse to acknowledge something you know is real.
  21. Until one is blue in the face
    Pointless efforts while trying to convince someone or change his mind.
  22. Walk on air
    Very excited or happy.
  23. You can't judge a book by its cover
    Decisions shouldn't be made primarily on appearance.
  24. Zero tolerance
    No crime or law breaking big or small will be overlooked.
Directions: which of the phrases (a), (b), (c) and (d) given below each sentence should replace the phrase printed in bold type to make the sentence grammatically correct? If the sentence is correct as it is, mark (e) i.e. No correction required as the answer.
  1. Why do you wish to tread on the toes?
    a) To give offence to them
    b) To treat them indifferently
    c) To follow them grudgingly
    d) To be kicked by them
    e) No correction required
  2. To keep one's temper
    a) To be in good mood
    b) To preserve ones energy
    c) To be angry
    d) To be aloof from
    e) No correction required
  3. To play second fiddle
    a) To be happy
    b) To reduce importance of one's senior
    c) To support the role and view of another person
    d) To do back seat driving
    e) No correction required
  4. Action is the glorious principle of life and the one that saves man from _____.
    a) The use of faculties, physical or mental
    b) Stagnation and unhappiness
    c) The sorrow of fellow beings
    d) The prerequisites of happiness
    e) No correction required
  5. Being the head of a large family it difficult to keep his head above water.
    a) To take rest
    b) To work properly
    c) To avoid quarrel
    d) To keep out of debt
    e) No correction required
  6. To leave someone in the lurch
    a) To come to compromise with someone
    b)Constant source of annoyance to someone
    c)To put someone at ease
    d)to leave someone at a time when they need you to stay and help them
    e) No correction required
  7. And really the only reason you were there was because you had a bone to pick with him.
    a) You wanted to have a discussion with him
    b) You wanted to chat
    c) You wanted to talk
    d) You wanted to have an argument with him
    e) No correction required
  8. He doesn't really go around with many people because he is a bit a lone wolf.
    a) Single person
    b) Lonely person
    c) Unhappy person
    d) Simple person
    e) No correction required
  9. I don't honestly think he is capable of being polite as the leopard never changes his spots.
    a) Always complain
    b) Differ in opinion
    c) Never change
    d) Shout
    e) No correction required
  10. The issue was taken before the Municipal Corporation meeting last week.
    a) Taking place at
    b) Taken after
    c) Being taken up
    d) Taken up at
    e) No correction required
  11. As the maestro lifted his baton the theatre was so still you could hear _____.
    a) His heartbeat
    b) A pin drop
    c) Bird wings
    d) Drum beating
    e) No correction required
  12. I don't agree with you, but your idea certainly gives me food _____.
    a) For fun
    b) For consideration
    c) For thought
    d) For thinking
    e) No correction required
  13. Look, I will pay you back. Would you please call the _____.
    a) Hunters off
    b) Tigers off
    c) Dogs off
    d) Apes off
    e) No correction required
  14. Just a moment... I've got the answer on the _____ of my tongue.
    a) Top
    b) back
    c) Tip
    d) Front
    e) No correction required
  15. I'm afraid Chess isn't my cup of _____.
    a) Tea
    b) Coffee
    c) Wine
    d) Java
    e) Milk
  16. I think I understand the nuts and _____ of the operation.
    a) Screws
    b) Hammer
    c) Nails
    d) Bolts
    e) No correction required
  17. Oh, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said that. I guess I really put my_____ in my mouth.
    a) Foot
    b) Hand
    c) Elbow
    d) Knee
    e) No correction required
  18. I'll be back in the twinkling of _____.
    a) An eye
    b) A Lighting bolt
    c) A smile
    d) A laugh
    e) No correction required
  19. He is plain, simple and sincere man. He will always call a spade a spade.
    a) Find meaning or purpose in your action
    b)Avoid controversial situations
    c) Be outspoken
    d) Resist from making controversial statement
    e) No correction required
  20. He has rejoined after a week and looks run down.
    a) Cheerful and bubbly
    b) Weak and tired
    c) Active and energetic
    d) Busy and preoccupied
    e) No correction required
  21. To hit the nail on the head
    a) To do the right thing
    b) To destroy one's reputation
    c) Announce one's fixed views
    d) To teach someone a lesson
    e) None of these
  22. All these promises these politicians make are just _____ in the sky.
    a) Pie
    b) Ocean
    c) Music
    d) Rags
    e) No correction required
  23. The small amount of money donated is just a _____ in the ocean compared to the large sum of money needed.
    a) Spot
    b) Drop
    c) Speck
    d) Sea
    e) None of the above
  24. They had had a dispute yesterday. That's why she gave him the cold _____.
    a) Arm
    b) Hand
    c) Shoulder
    d) Music
    e) None of the above
  25. He has been successful in his life. He went from _____ to riches.
    a) Rags
    b) Shoulder
    c) Colours
    d) Poor
    e) None of the above
1) a 2) a 3) c 4) b 5) d 6) d 7) d 8) b 9) c 10) d 11) b 12) c 13) c 14) c 15) a 16) d 17) a 18) a 19) c 20) b 21) a 22) a 23) b 24) c 25) a
Published date : 23 Jan 2014 12:54PM

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