How To Use British Set Phrases


What is a set phrase? Set phrases or idioms – chunks of language, indivisible combinations of the words, which you understand, as a rule, in a figurative sense. The meaning of the phrase is not determined by the meaning of its constituent words. It is often difficult to guess the meaning of an idiom, to grasp it with the help of its constituent words if you are not familiar with it. Dear readers, remember that our college essay editing service is always ready to help you with your essays and other papers.

For example, “to be in the same boat”. Literally, it means, "to be in the same boat", but the meaning of an idiom is the other: "to be in the same situation, to experience the same difficulties”.

I will try to help you. I was in the same boat.

Idioms are called stable and indivisible phrases because they are used in the unchanged form. For example, no one says, “to sit together in the same boat”, or “to be in the same vessel”. The idiom is used as a ready-shaped pattern for some typical situations. Perhaps, you can guess the meaning of the expression about the boat, especially when you hear it in the context, but there are some idioms, the meaning of which is impossible to guess. If you have some problems with set phrases in your essays, do not be upset; contact our editing and proofreading experts, and they will settle all your issues.

Yesterday I had bought a Saturday night special but I didn’t know where to hide it.

Sorry, what? I want to buy ... Saturday night special? Saturday night special? Maybe I'm afraid to go on sale on Saturday?

«Saturday night special» is a small pistol or revolver. This phrase arose in the 1960s (now infrequent) and came from the fact that often this cheaper and available weapon was used during drunken brawls in bars, which often occurred on a weekend evening. Standing customers of hot spots frequently had that gun, so often during the conflict, somebody took out a "special meal". Our professionals of editing and proofreading service always pay attention to such rare notions and be sure that we will meet all your requirements.

How many idioms are there in the English language?

There are thousands of idioms in the English language, but the exact number is impossible to call, just as it is impossible to name the exact number of words in the language. For example, there are 5782 lexical entries in the Cambridge International Dictionary of Idioms (M. McCarthy, 1998), but actually, this number does not matter much. English idioms are not less living units of speech than words, and their number is constantly changing. Some idioms live for centuries, while others fell out of use very quickly. Generally, set phrases and idioms show the mentality of the nation, and native speakers of almost every language often use them in their conversation. The following post may also give you some useful information:

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English idioms, proverbs, conversational formulas, phrasal verbs and other related speech units.

Idioms are easily confused with proverbs, various speech patterns, phrasal verbs. Sometimes even scientists find it difficult to differentiate them. Idioms are a variety of formulaic language – stable and indivisible phrases that should be understood and studied as a single unit of speech, rather than a group of words. Our paper proofreading service is at your disposal 24/7, so do not hesitate to share your problems with our professional team.

These patterns include:

1. Salutations and requests.

- How is it going?

- I congratulate and wish all the best!

2. Prepositional phrases or set expressions with prepositions.

- By heart

- At any rate

3. Proverbs, sayings, aphorisms.

- Two wrongs don’t make a right.

- Fortune favors the bold.

4. Composite verbs.

- To break down

- To cheer up

5. Stable phrases, collocations.

- The fast train (the word “quick” is not associated with the «train »)

- To break the law (it is commonly accepted variant of this notion)

6. Colloquial speech cliches

- Are you kidding me? (You must be joking!)

 - I ain’t no money. (I haven’t got money.)

7. Idioms

- At the drop for a hat

 - Don’t put all your eggs in one basket

As you can see, the line between idioms and similar expressions is sometimes very unclear. For example, the phrasal verb to look for cannot be called an idiom - it does not have anything idiomatic, that is, a figurative meaning. However, the phrasal verb to sail through can be easily confused with the idiom, because it has the figurative meaning. If you are looking for the information about best college essay editing service, you can find it here:

When talking about the beauty and richness of a language, we often turn to its phraseology, stock of idioms, because idioms are closely linked with culture, history and customs of native speakers. However, when learning a foreign language, especially at the initial stage, there is no need to pay too much attention to idioms- there are things of higher priority. In addition, because of its imagery, brightness and interesting etymology idioms are stored easily, and some of them are easily deciphered without a dictionary.

We appreciate your opinion and always have some questions for you. Analyzing your answers, we get some new information and often use it in our activity. How often do you use set phrases or idioms in your conversation? What pieces of advice can you give those who study idioms? If you know any interesting idioms, expressions, sayings, which somehow surprised you, write in the comments! Dear readers, you can freely contact us, if you want your essay edited and proofread qualitatively. We deal with all types of mistakes, so you may be sure your professor will be completely satisfied. Do not hesitate to make your order right now; we are striving to help you. Join us!

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