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Idioms: Forking Brilliant
Idioms can come about from almost anything, and we have quite a few relating to such simple things as items we eat with and from, most of which are very commonly used in the language. Look in your kitchen drawer and you’ll be able to find many things from which we get idioms. Here’s an example of just a few that are used frequently:
1. Under the knife
To have an operation, be on the operating table, have surgery.
- More and more people nowadays are going under the knife for cosmetic procedures.
- John’s going under the knife on Tuesday; he’s having a kidney stone removed and he’s terrified.
2. An atmosphere you could cut with a knife
A tense situation which makes all involved feel uncomfortable. Usually occurs when anger or tension is felt between people and we feel this is about to show itself or come to the surface in some way.
- I arrived home and my flatmate had had an argument with her boyfriend, you could tell – you could cut the tension with a knife. I went straight to my room!
- When Josh walked into the room everybody went quiet, as we had been talking about him. You could have cut the atmosphere with a knife – nobody wanted to be the first to speak.
3. Fork out
Have to spend money on something you may be reluctant to spend it on.
- I had to fork out £56 this month for the gas bill – for some reason, it’s been really high this month and I’m thinking of complaining.
- When we bought the new flat, we had to fork out for a new sofa, table, and chair set; the ones the old owners left were just disgusting.
To be given assistance to the point where you no longer have to do anything for yourself or on your own behalf. Discourages independent thought and action. We can also use it when someone gives us information in an incredibly simple way, often patronising.
- To be given assistance to the point where you no longer have to do anything for yourself or on your own behalf. Discourages independent thought and action. We can also use it when someone gives us information in an incredibly simple way, often patronising.
- Some newspapers just spoon-feed the general public with lies, and they believe, because they don’t do enough research to know better.
5. To have enough on one’s plate
To have quite enough responsibility or work to do.
- Jordan has enough on his plate without you bothering him about your problems; just wait until he’s less busy and you can tell him then.
- What with the part-time degree, job, and a child to raise, I think Sara has quite enough on her plate at the moment.
6. To be handed something on a plate
To not have to make any effort in order to gain or have something. Not having to work in order to achieve or obtain something of benefit to you. Nowadays the term can easily be used in a sexual manner; with the idea of a person being ‘easy’ to get into bed.
- George was handed the job on a plate. His father is the director, so naturally, he was first to be offered it.
- Some girls just hand it out on a plate and it’s so unattractive: I like a girl who shows me she’s interested but keeps her distance and dignity.
7. Dish out
To supply with a large measure. Can be used literally with food (to serve), but also with other concepts such as advice, information, and news – concepts relating to receiving information on the part of the listener/reader.
- My mum dishes out criticism to me on the phone and I just don’t listen any more – there are only so many times you can hear ‘Why don’t you have a girlfriend?’
- Isaac is really good at dishing out the best advice – I always go to him when I have problems.
Come and see our school and take a free level test
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- Much, Many, Few, Little
- Tail Questions – Part II
- Using ‘Should’ for the Past and Future
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