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 English Idioms and Expressions 

Idioms: Efficiency and Competence-2
from:  'explore all avenues'  to: 'think on your feet'


  • explore all avenues
    • If you explore all avenues, you try out every possibility in order to obtain a result or find a solution.
      "We can't say it's impossible until we've explored all avenues."

  • fast track something
    • If you decide to fast track something, such as a task or project, you give it high priority so that the objective is reached as quickly as possible.
      "In view of the number of homeless, it was decided to fast track the construction of low-cost housing."

  • get it down to a fine art
    • When you learn to do something perfectly, you get it down to a fine art.
      "Entertaining her husband's business associates is not a problem for Jane; she's got that down to a fine art!"

  • fine-tooth comb
    • To go over something with a fine-tooth comb means to examine it closely and thoroughly so as not to miss any details.
      "The police are examining the scene of the crime with a fine-tooth comb."

  • get one's act together
    • If you get your act together, you organise your affairs better than you have done previously and deal with things more efficiently.
      "Jack's plan won't work unless he gets his act together."

  • get (something) off the ground
    • If you get something off the ground, you put it into operation after having organised it.
      "After a lot of hard work, we finally got the campaign off the ground."

  • get your ducks in a row
    • If you get your ducks in a row, you get things well organised.
      "We need to get our ducks in a row if we want our project to succeed."

  • get the show on the road
    • If you manage to put a plan or idea into action, you get the show on the road.
      "OK, we've got all we need, so let's get the show on the road."

  • go all out
    • If you go all out to achieve or obtain something, you make a great effort, using all possible strength and resources
      "The candidate went all out to obtain the nomination."

  • go the extra mile
    • If you go the extra mile, you do more than what is expected of you.
      "You can count on Tom; he's always willing to go the extra mile."

  • go to (great) pains (or lengths)
    • When trying to achieve something, if you go to great pains or great lengths, you do everything that is possible in order to succeed.
      "The two parties went to great lengths to reach an agreement."

  • half the battle
    • This expression refers to a significant part of the effort or work needed to achieve something.
      "We've already obtained a loan for the project - that's half the battle!"

  • keep your nose to the grindstone
    • A person who keeps their nose to the grindstone is someone who concentrates on working or studying hard.
      "She was so determined to get into the college of her choice that she kept her nose to the grindstone all year."

  • keep your options open
    • When you keep your options open, you postpone making a decision so that you can choose among several possible courses of action.
      "The offer sounds good, but keep your options open until you're sure it's the best choice."

  • keep your fingers on the pulse
    • If you keep a finger on the pulse, you are constantly aware of the most recent events or developments.
      "A successful investor keeps his finger on the pulse of international business."

  • kill two birds with one stone
    • If you kill two birds with one stone, you succeed in doing two things at the same time.
      "By studying on the train on the way home, Claire kills two birds with one stone."

  • know the ropes
    • Someone who knows the ropes is familiar with the way something is done and/or knows how to do it.
      "Charlie can fill in for Sam. He knows the ropes."

  • not let grass grow under feet
    • If someone does not let the grass grow under their feet, they do not delay in getting something done.
      "As soon as he received the permit, he started to build. He never lets the grass grow under his feet!"

  • think on your feet
    • A person who thinks on their feet is capable of adjusting rapidly to new developments and making quick decisions.
      "Good lawyers need to be able to think on their feet when pleading a case."

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