Basic English Usage

Expressions 5

You must read the words and phrases out loud.

out ~ distant, off, improper (and more)

out on a limb = in a risky situation [possible origin: An animal climbs out on a limb of a tree and then is afraid or unable to climb back.]

I'm going to go out on a limb and assume you already knew about the decision.

out of action = not able to work or function

I can't drive to our meeting today. My car is out of action. It needs a new transmission.

out of the question = not allowed; not possible

Let you pay for lunch? No way. That's out of the question. You paid for lunch the last five times. It's my turn.

see ~ agree, witness, assure (and more)

see eye to eye = agree

We are unlikely to see eye to eye: you always want perfection first and I think meeting the schedule is most important.

see daylight = progress enough to realize that success now seems possible

We worked long and hard on the proposal. Now we are beginning to see daylight. It's likely to be finished on time.

see to it = make sure something happens

If you see to it that Lin gets assigned to the project, I will see to it that Lee behaves better.

drawing board = place where something began

go back to the drawing board = start over, or redesign

Lily decided that if the software doesn't test well, we will have to go back to the drawing board and re-assess our assumptions.


square one = place where a process starts

go back to square one = start again, from the beginning

No one is happy we have to go back to square one: we thought we had made good progress, but now we have to begin again.

Lesson: Expressions 5
Module: Expressions
Course: Basic English Usage