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Vocabulary 05 - Binomial Expressions 2
'Heads or tails' is a binomial expression, as is 'Win or lose'.

Vocabulary 05 - Binomial Expressions 2

Read the following sentences:

"After a few hard hours of sprucing up, my house was SPAN and SPICK and ready to receive my mother."
"SURELY but SLOWLY she gained confidence and is now able to perform in front of an audience."


Now read these sentences:

"After a few hard hours of sprucing up, my house was SPICK and SPAN and ready to receive my mother."
"SLOWLY but SURELY she gained confidence and is now able to perform in front of an audience."


What do you notice when you read these sentences? You should find that the second set of sentences is familiar and sounds more appropriate. The expressions ‘spick and span’ and ‘slowly but surely’ are known as binomial expressions. These expressions are formed by combining two words with the help of a conjunction such as ‘and’ or ‘or’. Generally, binomial expressions are inflexible in terms of the two words used and also in terms of the order in which they are used. For instance, SPICK and SLOWLY does not sound right.

Binomial expressions (or pairs) can also be formed by using two words along with a suitable word other than a conjunction, such as by or to. 'Hand to mouth' and 'side by side' are examples of binomial expressions which use words other than a conjunction to link them. Binomial expressions have the power to express something very well and in as succinct a manner as possible. Binomial expressions are very useful to have in your vocabulary and the quiz that follows will help you to learn more of them and increase the amount of words at your disposal.
1.
"Owing to the injuries caused by the --- on his knees, Rafael Nadal had to skip a major part of the 2014 tennis season." - Choose the appropriate binomial expression to fill up the blank.
Wear and tear
Nickel and dime
Milk and honey
Lost and found
'Wear and tear' is an expression used to describe damage sustained by advancing age and use. The other options are binomial expressions that can be used in other contexts. Can you find out their meanings?
2.
"While packing her suitcase for the trip Sunetra kept the --- to the last while she put the major items in first." - Choose the appropriate binomial expression to fill up the blank.
Long and short
Leaps and bounds
Hem and haw
Odds and ends
'Odds and ends' describes items that are unimportant and usually small in size and are varied in nature. The other options are binomial expressions that can be used in other contexts. Can you find out their meanings?
3.
"A person must know the --- of football thoroughly before he can aspire to become a football referee." - Choose the appropriate binomial expression to fill up the blank.
Slip and slide
Knife and fork
Rules and regulations
High and dry
'Rules and regulations' are conditions which everyone must follow for the better good of the people involved in any activity. The other options are binomial expressions that can be used in other contexts. Can you find out their meanings?
4.
"Ayesha wants to look ---, just like a lady." - Choose the appropriate binomial expression to fill up the blank.
Prim and proper
Heads or tails
Little by little
Pins and needles
'Prim and proper' describes someone who abhors rudeness and behaves in a very correct and formal way. The other options are binomial expressions that can be used in other contexts. Can you find out their meanings?
5.
"The kidnappers returned the kidnapped boy --- after receiving the ransom money." - Choose the appropriate binomial expression to fill up the blank.
Strange but true
Ups and downs
Safe and sound
Null and void
'Safe and sound' is an expression used when a person is unharmed in a situation of danger or harm. The other options are binomial expressions that can be used in other contexts. Can you find out their meanings?
6.
"Despite moving --- the street several times he was unable to locate his friend's house." - Choose the appropriate binomial expression to fill up the blank.
Hugs and kisses
Up and down
Toss and turn
Tooth and nail
'Up and down' is an expression used to describe some action that happens between the same two points repeatedly. The other options are binomial expressions that can be used in other contexts. Can you find out their meanings?
7.
"Thieves must realise that --- police and the law catch up with them." - Choose the appropriate binomial expression to fill up the blank.
Tit for tat
Sooner or later
Sugar and spice
Thick and thin
'Sooner or later' is an expression used to describe something that will eventually happen. The other options are binomial expressions that can be used in other contexts. Can you find out their meanings?
8.
"Tiger Woods has understood that criticism and praise are --- of the lives of sports celebrities." - Choose the appropriate binomial expression to fill up the blank.
Short but sweet
Spick and span
Time after time
Part and parcel
'Part and parcel' is an expression used to describe things that are essential to any activity. The other options are binomial expressions that can be used in other contexts. Can you find out their meanings?
9.
"The barbs and the counter barbs moved --- between the two impassioned speakers." - Choose the appropriate binomial expression to fill up the blank.
Wash and wear
All or nothing
Bigger and better
Back and forth
'Back and forth' is an expression used to describe an activity that keeps moving alternatively in opposite directions. The other options are binomial expressions that can be used in other contexts. Can you find out their meanings?
10.
"The Oscar Award winner's --- thank you speech was appreciated by one and all." - Choose the appropriate binomial expression to fill up the blank.
Short and sweet
Dead or alive
Fair and square
Fast and loose
'Short and sweet' is an expression used when something is said quickly, aptly and to the point. The other options are binomial expressions that can be used in other contexts. Can you find out their meanings?
Author:  V T Narendra

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