Free idioms worksheet for ESL teachers and students, to learn idioms and prepare ESL lesson plans. (Free download available.)

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Idioms You Need to Know

Exercise 1

Kevin: I can make it. I’m out to win!

Ella: You’ll make it Kevin. Just put your best foot forward in all you do.

Kevin: I certainly try. I know life has its ups and downs and hard times to get through, but it’s important to make best of every situation.

Ella: That’s right. And if a plan falls through, we have to try and try again.

Kevin: I don’t give up, Ella, you know that. I’m determined to make out well.

Ella: Why not? Just be on your toes and keep your eyes open. There are opportunities everywhere. You only have to search out and take advantage of them whenever possible.

Kevin: Well, Ella, like you, I’m go-getter, so I’m sure to make it!

Ella: With your confidence and optimism, you will. You’ve already come a long way.

Definitions and your own sentences. Match the definitions with the list provided below.

  1. Out to win:

________________________________________________________________

  1. To put one’s best foot forward:

________________________________________________________________

  1. Ups and downs:

________________________________________________________________

  1. To make the best of:

________________________________________________________________

  1. To fall through:

________________________________________________________________

  1. To give up:

________________________________________________________________

  1. On one’s toes

________________________________________________________________

  1. To keep one’s eyes open:

________________________________________________________________

  1. To search out:

________________________________________________________________

  1. To take advantage:

________________________________________________________________

  1. Go-getter:

________________________________________________________________

  1. To come a long way:

________________________________________________________________

Exercise 2

Aldi: I can’t wait to get going with my new classes at Stanford.

Njel: Neither can I. Which classes did you sign up for? I signed up for Biochemical.

Aldi: I signed up for that, too, and also for a computer technology course.

Njel: Do you think you can handle two courses at the same time?

Aldi: I hope so. I want to make out well in spite of language barrier.

Njel: Then, you’ll just have to put your best foot forward, and give it all you’ve got.

Aldi: That’s right. I want to keep up with the class. I certainly don’t want to fall behind the others.

Njel: Oh, you’ll keep up if you pay attention to the instructors, take notes, and burn the midnight oil.

Aldi: I guess so, but we’ll both have to get used to studying.

Njel: Well, with perseverance and determination, I’m sure we’ll have it made.

Aldi: I think so. I have set my sights on a bright future. We both will definitely out to win.

Njel: Yeah … a bright future for us. Education is the key. 

Definitions and your own sentences. Match the definitions with the list provided below.

  1. To get going:

________________________________________________________________

  1. At the same time:

________________________________________________________________

  1. In spite of:

________________________________________________________________

  1. To give something all one’s got:

________________________________________________________________

  1. To keep up:

________________________________________________________________

  1. To fall behind:

________________________________________________________________

  1. To take notes:

________________________________________________________________

  1. To burn the midnight oil:

________________________________________________________________

  1. To have it made:

________________________________________________________________

  1. To set one’s sights on:

________________________________________________________________

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