12 English Phrasal Verbs and Idioms for Learning & Improving 4 skills | Lesson 5 – Intermediate Level

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1. to do without: survive or exist without something (also: to go without)

  • Ex: With prices so high now, I’ll have to do without a new suit this year.
  • Ex: As a traveling salesperson, Monica can’t do without a car.
  • Ex: It’s a shame that so many poor people in the world have to go without basic necessities of life such as nutritious food and suitable shelter
2. according to: in the order of; on the authority of

  • Ex: The students on the football team were ranked according to height, from shortest to tallest.
    Ex: According to my dictionary, you are using that word in your essay incorrectly.
3. to be bound to: to be certain to, to be sure to

This idiom is used when the occurrence of an event seems inevitable or unavoidable.

  • Ex: We are bound to be late if you don’t hurry up.
  • Ex: With the economy improving now, their business is bound to make more money this year.
4. for sure: without doubt (also: for certain)

  • Ex: In the dark, I couldn’t tell for sure whether it was Polly or Sarah who drove by.
  • Ex: I now for certain that Gene will move back to Washington next month.
5. to take for: to perceive or understand as

This idiom is usually used when someone is mistakenly perceived. A noun or pronoun must separate the idiom.

  • Ex: Because of his strong, muscular body, I took him for a professional athlete. As it turns out, he doesn’t play any professional sports.
  • Ex: What do you take me for — a fool? I don’t believe what you’re saying at all.
6. to try out: to test, to use during a trial period

  • Ex: You can try out the new car before you decide to buy it.
  • Ex: I can let you try the computer out for a few days before you make a decision.
7. to tear down: to destroy by making flat, to demolish

  • Ex: The construction company had to tear down the old hotel in order to build a new office building.
  • Ex: The owners had to tear the house down after it burned down in a fire.
8. to tear up: to rip into small pieces

  • Ex: Tom tore up the letter angrily and threw all the pieces into the trash can.
  • Ex: He told the lawyer to tear the old contract up and then to prepare a new one
9. to go over: to be appreciated or accepted

This idiom is usually followed by the adverb well. (In Lesson 6 this idiom has the meaning to review, as in the second sentence of the second example below.)

  • Ex: The teacher’s organized lessons always go over well with her students.
  • Ex: The comedian’s jokes weren’t going over well; the audience wasn’t laughing much at all. I think that the comedian should go over his material more carefully before each act.
10. to run out of: to exhaust the supply of, not to have more of

  • Ex: We ran out of gas right in the middle of the main street in town.
  • Ex: It’s dangerous to run out of water if you are in an isolated area.
11. at heart: basically, fundamentally

This idiom is used to describe the true character of a person.

  • Ex: James sometimes seems quite unfriendly, but at heart he’s a good person.
  • Ex: The Fares often don’t see eye to eye, but at heart they both love each other very much
12. about to: ready to, just going to

  • Ex: We were about to leave the house when the phone rang.
  • Ex: I’m sorry that I broke in. What were you about to say?