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 English Vocabulary for ESL learners 


BINOMIAL EXPRESSIONS

Fixed expressions where two words are joined by a conjunction or a preposition


Binomials, or binomial expressions, are frequently used by native speakers of English. The word order of a binomial pair is usually fixed, and to use them in a different order would sound strange to a native speaker.
Here are some common binomials:

BINOMIAL EXPRESSIONS MEANING EXAMPLE
Back and forth Going to and from a place. He's tired of travelling back and forth to London.
Bits and pieces Small items or personal belongings. Here's a cupboard where you can put all your bits and pieces.
Born and bred Be born and grow up in a particular place. I was born and bred in Madrid.
By and large On the whole, generally. He can be difficult but by and large he's a good kid.
Dos and don'ts A set of basic rules. There's a list of Dos and Don'ts on the wall for everyone who uses the kitchen.
Done and dusted Completely finished. We've finished the project. It's all done and dusted, so let's go and get a bite to eat!
Far and wide Over a large area. People came from far and wide to visit the exhibition.
Give or take More or less; plus or minus an amount or number. I'll be there at 9 a.m. give or take 5 minutes.
Hustle and bustle Noisy activity and surroundings. John moved to a small village to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Leaps and bounds Very quickly and greatly. Silvia's English has improved in leaps and bounds this year.
Loud and clear Easy to understand. The announcement was loud and clear; everyone understood.
Neat and tidy With everything in good order. I don't know how you manage to keep your desk so neat and tidy.
Odds and ends Various small items.
Small tasks to finish.
Part of the garage was full of odds and ends.
I've got to take care of a few odds and ends before I leave.
On and off Intermittently; sometimes. I've been suffering from backache on and off this past year.
Part and parcel An integral or essential part of something. Travel is part and parcel of the job.
Peace and quiet Freedom from stress and noise; a period of calm. I just can't concentrate. I need some peace and quiet.
Pros and cons
The good and bad sides of something; the advantages and disadvantages. Before we decide on anything we should discuss the pros and cons.
Rough and ready Hastily prepared but sufficient for the purpose. Without formality or refinement. The map of the area was rough and ready, but we found our way.
Rules and regulations Instructions as to what is allowed or forbidden. The rules and regulations in our school are very strict.
Safe and sound Not injured or hurt in any way. After the avalanche all of the skiers were found safe and sound.
Short and sweet Brief but pleasant or appropriate. His introductory speech was short and sweet - which suited everyone!
Sick and tired Annoyed or frustrated with something to the point of weariness. Tomo was sick and tired of having to explain the problem over and over again.
Spick and span Very clean and tidy; spotless. They cleaned up after the party and left the place spick and span.
Ups and downs A mixture of both good and bad experiences or events. Anne and Tony have had their ups and downs but they're still together.
Wear and tear Damage that happens gradually over time due to everyday use. After several years of wear and tear we had to buy a new sofa.




Please note that British English spelling is used on this website.

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