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.