Basic English Usage

Expressions 3

You must read the words and phrases out loud.

come ~ arrive, move, happen, change (and more)

come around = change your opinion about something

We are surprised Justin agreed to help out. We were sure he would never come around after we messed things up so badly last year.

come across = find by chance

You should carefully inspect the packages when they arrive. If you come across any damage or any addressing errors, please let us know.

come across as X = display a certain behavior or emotion

If you don't want to come across as a jerk, you should avoid criticizing the things she likes to do.

come up short = to not be enough

Six of us contributed to the proposal, but we still managed to come up short. We were not awarded the contract.

Expressions in a story:

You visit an electronics store and come across a low-price computer. You turn it over and see that it comes up short: you need twice as much memory. But the price is really good.
You ask a salesperson if he has another model with more memory.
He acts bored. He doesn't seem to care that he comes across as lazy.
His superviser shows up and tries to convince you that you don't need that much memory in your computer. But you are unlikely to come around on that issue.

out ~ visible, moving, unaware (and more)

out in the open = revealed

The company is for sale. They just announced it. It's out in the open now.

out from under X = changed from being a problem

The company could not get out from under its debts, so the owner has to try to sell it.

out of it = confused; unconscious; not accepted in a group or activity

I never heard about the decision. I was so focused on my programming that I didn't notice people talking about the sale of the company. Alice, in the next cubicle, says I'm always out of it. She may be right.

out for = aggressively determined to do something

The rumor is that our main competitor is out for blood: they may buy our company and sell it off in parts.

Expressions in a story:

We are finally getting out from under our financial commitments. But I have to say I must be out of it: I didn't know that our competitor was out for revenge for hiring away their best designers. Now that it's out in the open, though, perhaps we can negotiate a peaceful resolution.

strings ~ connections

strings attached = limitations or obligations

Their proposal to buy our company does have strings attached: we have to accept that they may sell or shut down the factory in Malaysia.

strings = (abbreviated form of "strings attached")

I'll give you all the help you need, no strings. You won't owe me anything.

Expressions in a story:

You own a high-quality trumpet. You offer a friend the opportunity to borrow it for a concert, no strings attached.
He plays the concert, brings it back to you, and says that you can borrow his flugelhorn if you want.
You say, "Thanks, but it really was no strings. You don't have to offer me anything in return."

Lesson: Expressions 3
Module: Expressions
Course: Basic English Usage