What are binomial expressions?
Something related to mathematics, right? Well, they are used widely in the English language as well!
What is a binomial expression or binomial pair in English?
It’s an expression comprised of two words that are joined by a conjunction. These two words are usually ‘and’ or ‘or’ and the word order is fixed.
Learning about binomial expressions is immensely helpful for a student of English. One sounds more natural while speaking, learns about the various vagaries and intricate details, and becomes more expressive.
Here is a list of the most useful binomial expressions in the English language:
1. Safe and sound
Meaning: When someone is safe and out of danger.
Usage: During the war, the civilians took shelter in the underground bunker where they were safe and sound.
2. Peace and quiet
Meaning: A period of calm and silence, especially after a noisy or disturbing phase
Usage: After the high-decibel political elections, we all need some peace and quiet and in our lives.
3. Sick and tired
Meaning: Bored to the point of weariness, annoyed and frustrated
Usage: Martha was sick and tired of the sexist jokes made by her boss.
4. Bits and pieces
Meaning: A collection of small pieces, small individual things, sundry little items, tasks, and chores
Usage: Before we leave for the vacation, there are some bits and pieces we have to cover up.
5. By and large
Meaning: Mostly, generally on the whole
Usage: By and large, the people of the city are nice and helpful. However, there are a handful who sully the image with their obnoxious behavior.
6. Give or take
Meaning: Within a specified amount, apart from
Usage: The new Windows update works pretty well, give or take a few glitches every now and then.
7. More or less
Meaning: To a certain extent, approximately
Usage: They kept the secret more or less hidden from the hostel warden.
8. On and off
Usage: Ross and Rachel had an on and off relationship in the TV show FRIENDS.
9. Part and parcel
Meaning: An integral or essential piece
Usage: Rude customers are part and parcel of the job of a support executive.
10. Short and sweet
Meaning: Brief in duration, especially when attributing to an unpleasant task
Usage: The speech by the CEO was short and sweet.
11. Sooner or later
Meaning: At some future time, eventually
Usage: Sooner or later, the truth will come out. So it is better to be honest about the mistake right now.
12. Step by step
Meaning: Progress gradually from one stage to the other
Usage: The entire process was explained to the client step-by-step.
13. Neat and tidy
Meaning: Clean, in a state of order
Usage: The clothes were kept neat and tidy.
14. Wine and dine
Meaning: To treat someone to a fine meal
Usage: The company treated the prospective clients to an expensive wine and dine.
15. Up and down
Meaning: Upward and downward in an alternate manner; used for emotions, fortunes etc
Usage: The firm’s financial fortunes fluctuated up and down during the year, but it still turned a profitable quarter.
16. Back and forth
Meaning: Go from one position to another and back again
Usage: The argument of the defense counsel was going back and forth.
17. Far and wide
Meaning: Over a large area
Usage: The manager’s intellect was spread far and wide in the industry.
18. Loud and clear
Meaning: In a clear and understandable manner
Usage: The resounding defeat of the corrupt politician indicated that the message was loud and clear.
19. Skin and bones
Meaning: Very thin, from the lack of nutrition
Usage: Oliver Twist looked nothing more than skin and bones because of a lack of food.
20. Odds and ends
Meaning: Miscellaneous things
Usage: His bag was filled with an assortment of odds and ends.
21. Make or break
Meaning: Be a crucial factor in determining the success of anything
Usage: The form of Sachin Tendulkar was a make or break factor in the success of the Indian cricket team.
22. Take it or leave it
Meaning: A situation that has to be accepted without any change, or get rejected outright
Usage: The deal was finalized after a long time, so take it or leave it.
23. Wear and tear
Meaning: Damage and depreciation resulting from regular use
Usage: The wear and tear of the car was way too much after 6 years of use.
24. Little by little
Meaning: A small amount at a time
Usage: Little by little, the students of Pep Talk India improved themselves to become accomplished speakers.
25. Spick and span
Meaning: Clean and spotless, as if brand new
Usage: He cleaned out the closet so well that it was all spick and span.
26. Slice and dice
Meaning: Break larger information into smaller parts and understand it from different viewpoints to understand it better
Usage: The earnings call of the company was deconstructed by the analyst, allowing them to slice and dice the entire information.
27. Win or lose
Meaning: Whether you succeed or fail
Usage: Win or lose, we are proud of ourselves for having come this far.
28. Do’s and don’ts
Meaning: Instruction or warnings about what to do and not to do in a particular situation
Usage: The do’s and don’ts for the religious pilgrimage were listed by the authorities.
29. Live and learn
Meaning: Learn from the experiences that life gives us
Usage: I was not allowed to go on the trip because of the health restrictions. Well, we live and learn!
30. Done and dusted
Meaning: Be completely finished or ready
Usage: We are done and dusted with the critical project, after putting in long hours of work.
31. Down and out
Meaning: Without money, a job, or a place to live in
Usage: After the recession hit in 2008, Sahil was down and out after being given the pink slip in his firm.
32. High and dry
Meaning: Without resources or help
Usage: The impoverished families were left high and dry by the government after it took over their land.
33. Rain or shine
Meaning: Under any circumstances (work done)
Usage: I am determined to pass the CA exam this time, come rain or shine!