The Borneo Post - Good English
Phrasal Verbs: Changing Courses
In the same breath When you say two things in the same breath, you say two very different or contradictory things.
How can the manager praise my colleague and talk of his average performance in the same breath?
Take away your breath If someone or something takes your breath away, it astonishes you.
His diving catch at the crunch moment in the match took my breath away.
Sell like hot cakes If something sells like hot cakes, it sells very fast.
More than five thousand cars sold so far. The new model is selling like hot cakes.
Burn the candle at both ends If you burn the candle at both ends, you work excessively hard, say, by keeping two jobs or by leading a busy social life in the evening.
Mitch is burning the candle at both ends. He is working two jobs, one in the evening.
Separate the wheat from the chaff If you separate wheat from the chaff, you separate valuable from worthless.
The new testing procedure to evaluate employees will separate the wheat from the chaff.
Change tune If you change your tune, you change the way you behave with others from good to bad. After he came to know that I’m close to the power in the organisation, he changed his tune.
Run around in circles To be active without achieving any worthwhile result
He ran around in circles trying to bring us on board for the new cause. Turn the clock back If you turn the clock back to an earlier period, you return to that time.
Turning the clock back to our glory days is fruitless. We’ve to work harder and smarter in the present.
Against the clock If you’re working against the clock, you’re working in great hurry.
With only half the syllabus studied, I raced against the clock to be ready for the exam on Monday.
Close the door on someone If you close the door on someone or something, you no longer deal with it.
The country decided to close the door on talks till other outstanding issues are resolved.
Burn the midnight oil To work late in the night
I had to burn the midnight oil for nearly three months to write my first book.