Expressions and Idioms Glossary

Ok, here is the final glossary!

In this one, I’m going to compile all the useful expressions, idioms, collocations and other patterns that I used in my blog that I think will be helpful in conversations.

Again, I’ll update this glossary sometimes with new expressions, so please check it out again once in awhile!

A certain amount of


– A specific but unknown amount

“You can only bring a certain amount of money, but I don’t know how much exactly.”

As you wish


– Indicates that the speaker will comply with the listener’s wishes/commands (very formal, archaic)

“Waiter!  Could you take these plates please?”

As you wish.”

Be beyond words


– Unable to be expressed by words

“The beauty of this ocean is beyond words.”

Be born with a silver spoon in one’s mouth


– Be born into affluent or fortunate circumstances, usually wealthy.

“He’s never worked a day in his life. He was born with a silver spoon in his mouth.”

Be consistently active


– Take the same or similar actions regularly

“You just need to be consistently active to stay healthy.”

Be driven by


– feel pushed or extremely motivated

“He studies English because he‘s driven by a desire to live in America some day.”

Be familiar with


– have good knowledge about

“I‘m not familiar with this area, can you show me around?”

Be going on

– Continue, happen

“Even after everybody went home, he went on working.”

“Person A: My neighbor always plays loud music until after midnight.
Person B: Really? How long has that been going on?”

Be (highly) regarded


– be considered as someone respectable or admirable

“Celebrities are usually highly regarded in society.”

Be in the same boat


– be in the same or similar situation/circumstances.

“I’d like to lend you some money, but I’m in the same boat as you: I don’t have any money, either!”

Be open (with s/o):


– Candid, frank, receptive, free of prejudice

“It’s nice to be open with someone you love.”

Be particular (about N)


– fussy, difficult to please.

“She’s very particular about music:  She only listens to very famous J-pop singers.”

Be worth it


Having a quality or qualities that make it worthwhile

“Being a parent is tough, but it’s worth it.

By law


– be true according to the law

“You are required to file taxes every year by law.”

Circle of friends


– One’s group of friends

“He has a very big circle of friends.”

Cut (#) part(s) from s/t

何か から[#つの]部分をカットする

– Remove a section of something from something

“I didn’t like the movie. They cut too many parts from the book.”

Deeply ingrained


– Firmly established (usually in someone’s mind)

“He has a deeply ingrained work ethic, that’s why he’s such a hard worker.”

Develop into

– slowly/gradually become/change

“Because he didn’t go to the doctor to get treated, his cold developed into bronchitis.”

End up


Become ___ in the end.

“He put all his money on the number 23, but ended up losing it.”

Even if


– indicates that a possible situation would not prevent something from being true or happening

Even if you can’t speak English now, it doesn’t mean you can’t learn.”

Extrinsic motivation


– Being motivated by external factors

“Money is an example of extrinsic motivation.”

Get along with


Maintain a harmonious relationship with

“I don’t love my father in law, but we get along.”

Get s/o to do s/t


– Find a way to persuade or force someone to do something

“He always finds a way to get other people to do his work for him.”

Give s/o space


– Allow a period of time apart

“I don’t want to talk to you right now, please give me some space.”

Glass ceiling(s)


– A discriminatory barrier that prevents women from rising to higher positions, especially in a corporation.

“The only reason she hasn’t become a manager yet is because of this company’s glass ceiling.”

Have mixed feelings (about N)

名詞についての 複雑な心境 [です]。

– have both positive and negative feelings

Moving to Tokyo would give me a good opportunity to get a great job, but really crowded and noisy, so I have mixed feelings about it.

How ADJ is N


“How old is this house?”

Human rights


– something that people deserve to have or be able to do

“The freedom of speech is one of the most important human rights.”

I guess…


Hmm. The map said the restaurant was here, but I don’t see it. I guess this is the wrong place.

I would have to say…

– 私が言うとしたら。。

– I normally don’t say this, but I feel compelled to say…

“I like Tokyo and Osaka, but I’d have to say Osaka is better.”

Ignorance is bliss


People are happiest when they don’t know something.

“Look at that small child, so happy. I guess it’s true: ignorance is bliss.”

In general


– about or affecting the majority

“Japanese food, in general, is healthy.”

In summary


– indicating that the speaker is saying or explaining something briefly or shortly

In summary, our company is doing well.”

In the world


“Tokyo is the biggest city in the world.”

Intrinsic motivation


– Being motivated by internal factors

“Too many rewards can reduce intrinsic motivation.”

It’s okay to V-O


“I don’t know if it’s okay to smoke in here.”

Look like


– Look similar to

You look like a Buddhist monk with your haircut.

Lose motivation


“After the divorce, I lost motivation to keep working at a job I didn’t like.”

Majority vote


– a vote which more than half of the voters cast.

“In order to pass this bill, we need a majority vote.”

Make ___ different from/than ___


– Distinguish ___  from ___

“The food and hospitality make Osaka different than Tokyo.”

Make a gesture


– Gesture

“I don’t understand this gesture that you are making.”

Move up (in N)


– Improve one’s standings or rank

“I heard he has his own company now! He’s really moving up in the world.”

Mutual friends


– A group of three or more friends who all know each other.

“We had mutual friends in college so we hung out a lot together.”

No matter Q/W-S-V-O


– It doesn’t matter Q/W S-V-O.

No matter what I say to her, she won’t listen.”

Not… any more


– Something that was true before but is not true now and will not be true in the future.

“When I was a kid, I collected baseball cards, but I don’t collect them any more.”

Not to mention


– in addition to

Old/New friends


– A friend who you have known a long/short time.

“He’s a very old friend of mine from elementary school.”

“Let’s go to this party and make some new friends!”

Once a(n) N, always a(n) N


– If someone becomes a(n) N once, they will always be a(n) N.

“I wouldn’t go out with him.  You know what they say: once a cheater, always a cheater.”

Out of N


– Among

Out of the four seasons in Japan, spring is my favorite.”

Pros and cons


– The good points and bad points

Before taking this job, you need to weigh the pros and cons.

Put s/o (up) to s/t


– Urge or force to an action

“I didn’t want to do it, but my friend put me up to it.”

Safety net


– Guaranteed financial security

“I hope you have a safety net in case your business venture doesn’t succeed.”

See a difference


– to recognize, notice, realize or understand that something is different

“Did you cut your hair? Sorry, I don’t see a difference…”

Senior citizen


– An older person.

“Many movie theaters offer discounts for senior citizens.”

Stay the same


– Remain in the same way, state or situation

“They say the more things change, the more they stay the same.”

The point of ___ is


The purpose trying to be reached

The point of the story is (that) it’s important to be honest.”

There are all kinds of people in this world


Can you believe that guy?  He was so rude.  Well, I guess there really are all kinds of people in this world.

Vote against


– express one’s disapproval through election

“I didn’t like that presidential candidate, so I voted against him.”

Vote for


– express one’s approval through election

“I liked that presidential candidate, so I voted for him.”

(The) Welfare system


“Many people say Sweden has the best welfare system in the world.”

What do you think of…?


What did you think of that movie?  Was it good?

What is about N is ADJ?


English is hard?  What is so hard about it?

What is ADJ (about N) is


– Explaining why or how something is ADJ.

What is great about marriage is the companionship.”


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