Vocabulary 04 - Binomial Expressions 1
You might be wondering what binomial expressions
, a term used in mathematics, is doing in an English quiz! One of the dictionary meanings of binomial is ‘referring to two names or terms’
. Binomial expressions (or pairs) consist of two words that are joined by a conjunction such as and
Some examples of binomial expressions are 'black and blue', 'hand to mouth'
and 'now or never'
. Binomial expressions have characteristics that are unique to them. Generally, the order of the words is always maintained. For example, when the order of the words in 'HAND to MOUTH' is changed to 'MOUTH to HAND' it does not sound appropriate does it? Similarly, the expression 'NEVER or NOW 'looks quite odd but 'NOW or NEVER' seems right. Even the conjunction used is unique to that pair. You do not see an expression such as 'BLACK for BLUE'.
There are other binomial pairs, such as 'bit by bit', 'one to one' and 'side by side', where the same word is used twice to make the emphasis stronger. Binomial expressions are so powerful that they help the writer or speaker to forcefully put forth his views using the utmost economy of words. Sometimes when a whole paragraph cannot convincingly put forth a view point a carefully chosen binomial expression can get the job done. If you want to describe two persons who are diametrically opposite of one another you could do so by listing out their characteristics in a long paragraph or you could simply say ‘they are as different as chalk and cheese’.
Binomial pairs are a boon to any writer or speaker. You should familiarise yourselves with as many pairs as possible and the quiz that follows helps you to do just that.