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

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Helena Daily English
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One of the best ways to improve communication skills is to become familiar with the language by reading, building vocabulary, and discussing what you study in daily conversations. Helena Daily English blog provides the Daily English knowledge that you can study and then try to apply in everyday situations
1. to blow out: to explode, to go flat (for tires); to extinguish by blowing

  • Ex: On our trip to Colorado, one of the car tires blew out when it hit a large hole in the road.
  • Ex: Little Joey wasn’t able to blow all the candles out, so his big sister helped him
2. to become of: to happen to (a missing object or person)

This idiom is always used in a clause beginning with what.

  • Ex: What has become of my pencil? I had it ten minutes ago, but now I can’t find it.
  • Ex: I wondered what became of you. I looked around the shopping center for two hours, but I couldn’t find you at all.
3. to shut up: to close for a period of time; to be quiet, to stop talking

The second definition of this idiom is impolite in formal situations.

  • Ex: During the hurricane, all the store owners shut their shops up.
  • Ex: Bob’s sister told him to shut up and not say anything more about it.
  • Ex: The student got into big trouble for telling his teacher to shut up.
4. have got: to have, to possess

  • Ex: Curtis has got a bad cold. He’s sneezing and coughing a lot.
  • Ex: How much money have you got with you right now?
5. have got to: must (also: have to)

  • Ex: She has got to go to Chicago today to sign the contract papers.
  • Ex: I have to be back home by two o’clock or my wife will feel ill at ease.
6. to keep up with: to maintain the same speed or rate as

  • Ex: Frieda works so fast that no one in the office can keep up with her.
  • Ex: You’ll have to walk more slowly. I can’t keep up with you.
7. on the other hand: however, in contrast

  • Ex: Democracies provide people many freedoms and privileges. On the other hand, democracies suffer many serious problems such as crime and unemployment.
  • Ex: My sister takes after my father in appearance. On the other hand, I take after my mother.
8. to turn down: to reduce in brightness or volume; to reject, to refuse

  • Ex: Please turn down the radio for me. It’s too loud while I’m studying.
  • Ex: Laverne wanted to join the military but the recruiting officer turned her application down because Laverne is hard of hearing in one ear.
9. fifty-fifty: divided into two equal parts

  • Ex: Let’s go fifty-fifty on the cost of a new rug for our apartment.
  • Ex: The political candidate has a fifty-fifty chance of winning the election
10. to break in: gradually to prepare something for use that is new and stiff ; to interrupt (for the second definition, also: to cut in)

  • Ex: It is best to break a new car in by driving it slowly for the first few hundred miles.
  • Ex: While Carrie and I were talking, Bill broke in to tell me about a telephone call.
  • Ex: Peter, it’s very impolite to cut in like that while others are speaking.
11. a lost cause: a hopeless case, a person or situation having no hope of positive change.

Ex: It seems that Charles will never listen to our advice. I suppose it’s a lost cause.

Ex: The police searched for the missing girl for two weeks, but finally gave it up as a lost cause. Ex: Children who have committed several crimes as teenagers and show no sorrow about their actions are generally lost causes

12. above all: mainly, especially

  • Ex: Above all, don’t mention the matter to Gerard; he’s the last person we should tell.
  • Ex: Sheila does well in all her school subjects, but above all in mathematics. Her math scores are always over 95 percent.

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