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English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions


Choices - Options - Alternatives

(Choices Idioms page 1 :   about turn   → horns of a dilemma)

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 A 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 suit another.
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 changed.
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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