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ESSENTIAL ENGLISH IDIOMS (Phrasal Verbs)
( Elementary )
Every week one lesson, 12 new idioms + one exercise
for elementary English learners.
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Here are the most common and essential English idioms which are used commonly in our daily conversations. At least two examples are attached to the idioms for the better comprehension. At the end of the idioms some tests and questions have been provided to you.
to get in/ to get on: to enter or to board a vehicle
To get in is used for cars, to get on is used for all other forms of transportation.
- It’s easiest to get in the car from the driver’s side. The door on the other side doesn’t work well.
- I always get on the bus to work at 34th Street.
to get out of/to get off : to leave or to descend from a vehicle
To get out of is used for cars, to get of is used for all other forms of transportation.
- Why don’t we stop and get out of the car for a while?
- Helen got off the train at the 42nd Street terminal.
to put on: to place on oneself (usually said of clothes) (S)
- Mary put on her coat and left the room.
- Put your hat on before you leave the house.
to take off : to remove (usually said of clothes) (S)
- John took off his jacket as he entered the office.
- Take your sweater off. The room is very warm.
to call up: to telephone (also: to give someone a call ) (S)
To call can be used instead of to call up, as in the first example below.
- I forgot to call up Mr. Jones yesterday I’d better call him now.
- Call me up tomorrow, Jane. We’ll arrange a time to have lunch together.
- I promise to give you a call as soon as I arrive in New York.
to turn on: to start or cause to function (also: to switch on) (S)
- Please turn on the light; it’s too dark in here.
- Do you know who turned the air conditioning on?
to turn of f : to cause to stop functioning (also: to switch off, to shut off ) (S)
Turn on and turn off, as well as their related forms, are used for things that flow, such as electricity, water, gas, etc.
- Please turn off the light when you leave the room.
- Are you really listening to the radio, or should I turn it off?
right away: very soon; immediately (also: at once)
- Dad says that dinner will be ready right away, so we’d better wash our hands and set the table.
- Tell Will to come to my office right away. I must see him immediately.
- Stop playing that loud music at once!
to pick up: to lift from the floor, table, etc., with one’s fingers (S)
- Harry picked up the newspaper that was on the front doorstep.
- Could you pick your toy up before someone falls over it?
sooner or later : eventually, after a period of time
- If you study English seriously, sooner or later you’ll become fluent.
- I’m too tired to do my homework now; I’m sure I’ll do it sooner or later.
to get up: to arise, to rise from a bed
For the last definition a noun phrase must separate the verb and particle.
- Carlo gets up at seven o’clock every morning.
- At what time should we get the children up tomorrow?
at first : in the beginning, originally
- – At first English was difficult for him, but later he made great progress.
- – I thought at first that it was Sheila calling, but then I realized that it was Betty.
A. Choose the appropriate idiomatic expression to substitute for the italicized word or words in each sentence below.
1. His alarm clock is always set for six o’clock. He arises at the same time every day.
a. turns off
b. gets up
c. puts on
2. She telephoned her friend to tell him about the meeting. They decided to drive there together.
a. turned on
b. took off
c. called up
3. It’s 4 P.M. now, and this important letter must be mailed today. Can you take it to the post office immediately ?
a. at first
b. right away
c. sooner or later
4. Be sure to switch off the light before you leave the house.
a. to turn off
b. to take off
c. to get off
5. Pat placed her new hat on her head while looking in the mirror.
a. picked up
b. put on
c. gets on
6. Remove your jacket and sit down for a few minutes.
a. Turn on
b. Get on
c. Take off
7. I want to stay unmarried for a while, but I hope to get married eventually.
a. sooner or later
b. right away
c. at first
8. In the beginning I thought that it was Bob who was in the car.
a. To get on
b. At once
c. At first
9. He boarded the bus at Broadway and 79th Street.
a. got off
b. got on
c. picked up
10. John took the pencil with his fingers and began to write a note.
a. turned on
b. got off
c. picked up
B. Fill in each blank with the appropriate form of an idiomatic expression from this unit.
Jean’s alarm clock makes a loud ringing noise. She _____________________ the alarm clock immediately after it rings each morning. However, she doesn’t rise from bed _______________. She waits a few minutes before she _______________.
Jean enjoys lying in bed for a while, but ________________ she gets up. Then she ______________ the bedroom light and goes to her closet. She _______________ her pajamas and ______________ her work clothes.