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Introducing Idioms: Be Confident and Correct!

1. Give it a shot

To give something a shot = to try to do something you haven’t done before

            I’m going to give it a shot.

            I think you should give tennis a shot.

Give it a shot – used to encourage someone to do something

To give something your best shot = to try your hardest to do something

            Give this exercise your best shot.

            I gave it my best shot.

TIP: Replace ‘try to do it’ with ‘give it a shot’

            It’s hard, but I’m going to try to do it anyway.

            It’s hard, but I’m going to give it a shot anyway.

2. Push the boat out

To push the boat out = to spend more money or put in more effort than usual

            We’ve pushed the boat out and bought a new car.

            You should push the boat out by making birthday cards yourself.

            They really pushed the boat out for his birthday party last year.

TIP: Add this phrase when talking about a very big celebration or party.

            It was a great party – we even drank champagne!

            They really pushed the boat out for the party – we even drank champagne!

3. Over the top

Over the top = extreme or exaggerated (in a bad way)

As an adjective – over the top

            Your reaction was over the top.

            The party was over the top – there was far too much food.

As a verb – go over the top

            There’s no need to go over the top – it’s not the Queen visiting!

            My mum goes over the top by grounding me whenever I get home late.

OTT = over the top

TIP: Replace ‘unnecessary’ with ‘over the top’, when someone has put in too much effort

            Buying every cake in the shop was unnecessary!

            Buying every cake in the shop was over the top!

4. No way

No way! = Definitely not!

No way! = I can’t believe it!

There’s no way (that) = It’s impossible that

There’s no way (that) = It is not going to happen that

            There’s no way (that) she made that dress herself.

            There’s no way (that) I’m buying you another mobile phone.

TIP: Replace the exclamations ‘Definitely not!’ or ‘I can’t believe it!’ with ‘No way!’

            “Will you come with me to Sarah’s party?” “Definitely not!”

            “Will you come with me to Sarah’s party?” “No way!”

            “I got 100% in my exam!” “I can’t believe it!”

            “I got 100% in my exam!” “No way!”

5. Go for it

Go for it = do it (encouragement or permission)

            You should go for it!

            I should have gone for it.

            Go for it!

TIP: Replace ‘do it’ with ‘go for it’ (when encouraging someone to do something)

            “I might enter a marathon.” “Yes, I think you should do it!”

            “I might enter a marathon.” “Yes, I think you should go for it!”

6. In the dark

To be in the dark = to not know about something other people know about

To be left in the dark = to not be told about something

To keep someone in the dark = to not tell someone about something

TIP: Use this idiom when you’re writing about a secret

            “Why aren’t you telling me the secret?”

            “Why are you keeping me in the dark?”

7. Get it off your chest

To get something off your chest = to talk about something that’s been upsetting you

            There’s something I need to get off my chest.

            Getting problems off your chest is better than never talking about them.

            I’ve been worrying about it all night and I want to get it off my chest.

TIP: Replace ‘tell you something’ with ‘get something off my chest’

            Nick, I need to tell you something.

            Nick, I need to get something off my chest.

8. Bite your tongue

To bite your tongue = to not say something that you want to say

            I had to bite my tongue.

            You should have bitten your tongue.

            Bite your tongue!

TIP: Replace ‘Don’t be so rude!’ with ‘Bite your tongue!’

            “I hate going to my aunt’s house!” “Don’t be so rude!”

            “I hate going to my aunt’s house!” “Bite your tongue!”

Using Idioms: Quiz

 

Select the correct idiom for each sentence from the list below.

 

  1. I can’t believe that she started crying when I said I couldn’t go to the party. It was totally _______________________.
    1. over the top
    2. go for it
    3. bite your tongue

 

  1. _______________________ you’re going to fail that exam – you studied very hard for it!
    1. Go for it
    2. In the dark
    3. There’s no way

 

  1. My parents _______________________ about my mother’s illness until the doctors knew how bad it was.
    1. got it off their chest
    2. gave it a shot
    3. kept me in the dark

 

  1. It’s his 18th birthday, so we should _______________________ and do something really special.
    1. push the boat out
    2. over the top
    3. get it off our chest

 

  1. There’s a writing competition in the local newspaper, and I think you should _______________________!
    1. bite your tongue
    2. give it a shot
    3. go over the top

 

  1. I wish you hadn’t _______________________ about your money problems, because I might have been able to help.
    1. pushed the boat out
    2. gone for it
    3. kept me in the dark

 

  1. “Do you think I should become a vegetarian?” “_______________________!”
    1. Get it off your chest
    2. Go for it
    3. Push the boat out

 

  1. I know you’ve never done this before, but _______________________.
    1. no way
    2. be left in the dark
    3. give it your best shot

 

  1. If you ever need to _______________________, you can speak to the school counsellor.
    1. get something off your chest
    2. bite your tongue about something
    3. keep someone in the dark

 

  1. I can’t believe I told him that I didn’t like his new suit! I should have just _______________________.
    1. bitten my tongue
    2. given it a shot
    3. no way

Using Idioms: Quiz

 

Select the correct idiom for each sentence from the list below.

 

  1. I can’t believe that she started crying when I said I couldn’t go to the party. It was totally _______________________.
    1. over the top
    2. go for it
    3. bite your tongue

 

  1. _______________________ you’re going to fail that exam – you studied very hard for it!
    1. Go for it
    2. In the dark
    3. There’s no way

 

  1. My parents _______________________ about my mother’s illness until the doctors knew how bad it was.
    1. got it off their chest
    2. gave it a shot
    3. kept me in the dark

 

  1. It’s his 18th birthday, so we should _______________________ and do something really special.
    1. push the boat out
    2. over the top
    3. get it off our chest

 

  1. There’s a writing competition in the local newspaper, and I think you should _______________________!
    1. bite your tongue
    2. give it a shot
    3. go over the top

 

  1. I wish you hadn’t _______________________ about your money problems, because I might have been able to help.
    1. pushed the boat out
    2. gone for it
    3. kept me in the dark

 

  1. “Do you think I should become a vegetarian?” “_______________________!”
    1. Get it off your chest
    2. Go for it
    3. Push the boat out

 

  1. I know you’ve never done this before, but _______________________.
    1. no way
    2. be left in the dark
    3. give it your best shot

 

  1. If you ever need to _______________________, you can speak to the school counsellor.
    1. get something off your chest
    2. bite your tongue about something
    3. keep someone in the dark

 

  1. I can’t believe I told him that I didn’t like his new suit! I should have just _______________________.
    1. bitten my tongue
    2. given it a shot
    3. no way

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