English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions
Choices - Options - Alternatives
|about turn / about face||This term refers to
a complete change of opinion or policy.
The ambassador's recent declarations indicate an about turn in foreign policy.
|any port in a storm||
When you have no choice,
any port in a storm refers to a
solution you accept, which in normal
circumstances you would find unacceptable.
The hotel was substandard, but it was a case of any port in a storm;
all the others were full.
|argue the toss||If you argue
the toss, you dispute a decision or
choice which has already been made.
The final choice was made yesterday, so don't argue the toss now!
|between the devil and the deep blue sea||If you are
between the devil and the deep blue sea,
you are in a situation where there are to
equally unpleasant alternatives.
When the new product didn't take off, the management was caught between the devil and the deep blue sea : develop a new marketing campaign or drop the product.
|as broad as it's long||This expression means that there is no
real difference which alternative is chosen.
Take the high-speed train, or fly and take a taxi? It's as broad as it's long.
catch 22 situation refers to a
frustrating situation where you cannot do
one thing without doing a second, and you
cannot do the second before doing the first.
I can't get a job without a work permit, and I can't get a work permit without a job. It's a catch 22 situation!
|cherry pick||When you cherry pick, you
choose something with great care and select
only the best.
Top university graduates are often cherry-picked by large companies.
|different strokes for different folks||Each individual has their own tastes and
requirements. What suits one person may not
Alison really enjoys gardening, whereas Julie finds it a chore. Different strokes for different folks!
|embarrassment of riches||When there is much more of something
than necessary, and it is difficult to make
a choice, you have an
embarrassment of riches.
Our hosts presented us with an embarrassment of riches. There was so much food that we didn't know where to start!
|fait accompli||This French expression refers to
something that has been done and cannot be
He used his savings to buy a motorbike and then presented his parents with a fait accompli.
|on the fence||When faced with a choice, a person who
is on the fence
has not yet reached a decision.
The candidates have such similar ideas that many electors are still on the fence.
|hedge your bets||If you hedge your bets, you
choose two or more courses of action in
order to reduce the risk of loss or error.
The company hedged its bets by developing a second line of products.
|horns of a dilemma||If you are on the horns of a dilemma,
you are faced with a choice between two
equally unpleasant options.
I'm on the horns of a dilemma; I have to choose between a boring job with a good salary or a more interesting job with a lower salary.
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