Tag Archives: motion

I’ll make my own way

i will make my own way phrase

Photo credit: toomanymornings.com

Last week I started giving Russian lessons to a student… actually, three students (I’ve gone from zero to three in a week!), but this one turned out to be an author of books on Business English. I was astonished! He showed me one of his latest books with basic Business English phrases and I wished I had this book years ago, when I was a student myself. Somehow we were never taught the ‘real’ English, but some ancient form of it (and I don’t mean Old English either – they’ve made us work really hard on that one).

There was one phrase in that little book that caught my attention – I must admit I haven’t come across this one before – ‘to make your own way‘, as in:

– Shall I send a car for you?

– No, thanks, I can make my own way.

And another example:

– Is it still possible for someone to pick me up, or should I make my own way to the airport? (Wordreference.com)

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Can I squeeze past?

can i squeeze past phrase

Photo credit: dailytelegraph.com.au

First of all, Happy New Year to the loyal readers and subscribers of this blog – it’s great to have you on board. I’ll do my best to keep it up in 2014.

Second… it’s time for a new post, I think.

I’ve been trawling through my vast linguistic archives in search of an interesting word or phrase, and I stumbled upon ‘Can I squeeze past?‘ – a handy phrase for when you find yourself in a place full of people and you need to get past them. I’ve used it a lot at a Christmas party, where I also happened to inadvertently jump the queue – I haven’t felt that embarrassed in a long while.

It’s been, what, two or three weeks, but the festive season seems but a distant memory now, at least to me.

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I’ll be right back

i'll be right back phrase usage

Photo credit: cheezburger.com

While this is not a particularly tricky or advanced phrase, it’s still very handy in situations when, say, you are with other people and you want to excuse yourself and go to the loo, for instance, but you don’t want to just disappear without a word, nor do you want to specify where you’re going. This is when the phrase ‘I’ll be right back‘ comes in very handy.

There are also some variations of the phrase – I’ll be right in / up / down / etc. – that you can explore here.

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Top 5 most used phrasal verbs

top 5 most used phrasal verbs in EnglishPhoto credit: adamique.wordpress.com

There are loads of  phrasal verbs in English, and I’ve tried to pick those that are absolutely indispensable in everyday life. In my experience these are the most commonly used phrasal verbs, at least I hear them all the time.

1) Pop in

It means to go somewhere briefly. You usually pop into a shop, to a greengrocer’s, to a pharmacy, that kind of thing.


– Once you’re ready, it’s good to get out at least once a day, even if it’s just to pop to the local shop. A change of scene will make you feel better, while your baby benefits from fresh air (BBC).

– Why don’t you pop in and see us this afternoon? (Cambridge Online Dictionary)

2) Turn up

It has several meanings, but the most common, in my experience, are ‘to come somewhere, especially without any prior arrangement’ or ‘to happen’.


– She failed to turn up for work on Monday (MacMillan Dictionary).

– She said she’d let me know if anything new turned up (Cambridge Online Dictionary).

3) Top up

You can top up your phone, in other words, pay for it. Or you can add more water to a teapot or a cup to make it full. So, if you’re having tea in a café you can ask for a top-up. It’s something I didn’t know until I was actually offered one.


Top up with £15 for unlimited calls, texts and 100MB of data (for once text messages from my mobile operator came in handy).

– Complimentary top-up on tea and coffee (newinnharborne.co.uk).

Here’s an interesting account of the differences between ‘a top up’ (British English) and ‘a refill’ (American English).

4) Drop off / Pick up

These are really useful if you’re driving or you ask somebody to drive you somewhere. They pick you up at a certain place and then they drop you off.


– Can you drop the kids off at school this morning? (MacMillan Dictionary).

– A truck picks up the recycling once a week (Cambridge Online Dictionary).

5) Come up with

It means to think of something, such as an idea or a plan. However, I’ve written about this phrasal verb before.

P.S. And here are some links to Top 10 Phrasal Verbs and an Infographic of Most Common Phrasal Verbs.

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To run an errand

run errands

Photo credit: neoporter.com


Last week I quit my job and moved house, but now I finally have some time to catch up with my blog. I have done most of the unpacking yesterday and today treated myself to a class in the gym and had some errands to run after that.

I’ve come across this expression quite a lot and I thought it deserved mentioning here, as it’s part and parcel of the everyday life. According to Cambridge Online Dictionary, it means ‘to go out to buy or do something’, in other words it’s all these things in our to-do lists that demand our immediate attention but quite often tend to get postponed.

Here are some examples of how it can be used:

– After school he runs errands for his father (Cambridge Online Dictionary).
– This is a great “must-have” top! I wear mine for workouts as much as I do for running errands! Love it!
– I usually wake up at around 1.30pm when I am working, and have a bit of lunch at home, and then I will try to go the gym for around an hour. I may run other errands afterwards (The Guardian).
– New fathers should talk a lot, run errands – and embrace the washing machine (The Guardian).
PS. And you know what, I briefly met our landlord and pernickety he was.
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To stay put

to stay put meaning

Photo credit: mikyag.blogspot.com

I’ve heard this expression a few weeks ago, when I went to apply for my visa. The process involves quite a bit of waiting, which can be quite tiring for kids (well, parents too). There was an American family with three children and all of them were quietly reading or watching cartoons on their iPads, so when the parents were told that they were free to go for a walk and come back in an hour or so, they decided to stay put so as not to disturb the children.

The meaning is not hard to guess – to remain in the same position.

Here are some examples:

– Stay put. I’ll be back in a minute (MacMillan Dictionary).

– If you go for a new job you will face the stress of a new role (which may impact on your ability to conceive), having to wait to start a family, and potential hostility at your new role if you become pregnant as soon as you start trying. I think you should stay put. This way, you can start a family straight away (The Guardian).

– Then, earlier this afternoon, an order came down from a Moscow city court to clear the camp. The protestors were split: some suggested relocating to the Old Arbat, a famous Moscow street; others wanted to gather in front of a statue to Karl Marx; and a third faction proposed staying put and waiting for the riot police. (The Economist).

– Most employees plan to stay put, reveals Deloitte global survey (hrmagazine.co.uk)

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To shoot off

shoot off meaning

Photo credit: Science Photo Library

Here’s another common phrasal verb that I’ve heard on many occasions, which means  ‘to leave quickly or suddenly’. This is how it’s used:

– I need to shoot off in about five minutes, is it OK with you?

– I’ll have to shoot off as soon as the lesson finishes, otherwise I’ll miss my train (usingenglish.com).

– The touring All Blacks arrived in Britain in September that year, much to the delight of rugby fans everywhere. These days, with the advent of efficient air travel, we are used to short tours – rugby sides come, play one or two games and then shoot off again (BBC).

– The Ministry of Defence file reports that witnesses said the UFO hovered for several minutes above a field before shooting off in a flash of light (The Guardian).

– The Khmer elite runners, most of the top team, jogged up and down to warm up, bouncing as if they were on springs. Finally we were off. I tried to settle into my pace and not shoot off too fast (The Guardian).

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