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.