A - Z Index
Where am I? HKPU > ELC > CILL
> EAP > this page.
The aim of this page is to introduce some common idioms.
Introduction:Idioms are common in informal written and spoken
English, but tend to be avoided in academic writing. The language used in
seminar discussions is often quite informal, so it would be acceptable to
say:Hunt’s arguments do not hold water. In a written assignment,
however, it would be more appropriate to use a formal word such as unconvincing
or flawed instead of the idiom do not hold water.
Instructions:The ten sentences below contain idioms in
italics and brackets. Replace each idiom with a more formal word from the
following list. Type the word in the space next to the idiom.
1. Janice (put her finger on) the source of the problem.2. Tom was (in two
minds) whether to take
on another part-time job so close to the final examinations.3. Frank
decided to (throw in the towel) because he found the course too demanding.4. The
Engineering Department has a new course (in the pipeline) which is likely to be very
popular.5. It’s (on the cards) that a new CEO will be appointed before the end of the
month.6. There were doubts as to whether the company’s dealings were
(above board) ..7. The
company kept its new logo (under wraps) until the day of the presentation.8. Ursula
doesn’t like Rick very much so she tries to (steer clear of) him as much as possible. 9.
Paul’s account of the problem was a bit (over the top) . I don’t think it’s anything like
as serious as he makes out. 10. As usual, the shortage of money proved
to be the main (stumbling block) .
hits since 5 November 2004.
If you have any suggestions or questions, please e-mail us at