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Idiomatic Expressions for Writing

Mistakes are often made with the small words (prepositions) that you have
to use after many verbs in English: for example for in 'wait for a bus' or
for in 'deprive somebody of something'. This is a very common testing point
in Section C of the exam - in cloze and proofreading exercises.

1.above all 最重要者:
especially, most importantly 
In choosing one's career, one should consider his aptitudes (學能) academic 
background, and above all his interest

2.according to 根據:
in relation to, corresponding to 
We must be ready to modify (改變) our plan according to new changes in 
circumstances. Achilles' heel 致命錯誤或弱點:
weakness or fault that is fatal 
Dishonesty is an Achilles' heel of a politician. Once discovered, his career 
will be severely jeopardised (嚴重被危害).

4.after all 不要忘記:
don't forget 
Married women should not be so eager to pursue (追求) their career. After 
all, rearing (養育) a family is an important and formidable (艱巨) task.

5.against all odds 排除萬難:
despite strong opposition or disadvantage 
Against all odds, he managed to swim to the shore after shipwreck(艱巨).

6.against a rainy day 未雨綢繆:
In anticipation of hard times 
The habit of saving something against a rainy day is almost unheard of among 
young people as they see the value of such saving continuously eroded (侵蝕) 
by inflation.

7.ahead of / in advance of one's times 前衛:
Basically deviants (不合常規或慣例的人) are those who are ahead of their 
time and therefore are not accepted by their contemporaries (同時期的人).

8.ahead of time/schedule 比預期早:
The highway was completed nearly two months ahead of time/schedule.

9.air one's vlew/opinlon 發表個人意見:
There are/exist several channels (渠道/途徑) for citizens to air their 

10.all being well 一切順利:
if nothing goes wrong
No one will doubt that Hong Kong, all being well, wig continue to 
prospers (繁榮).

11.all but 除了…其餘:
all except
All but four of the boys in A. Yiu's class passed their public examinations.

12.all day and every day 不停地:
without stop
In the last few months before examinations, Wendy studied all day and every 
day in order to attain a better result.

13.all ears/eyes 全神貫注:
attentive by listening or looking closely
When the teacher came to the most important part of the lecture, the students 
were all ears and eyes lest (恐怕) they missed the main.

14.all in all 總括來說:
all things considered
All in all, Peteris not so unreliable as he appears to be.

15.all that gilsters is not gold 外表的美麗或價值是不可靠的
Don't be taken in (受騙)by his appearance. All that glisters is not gold.

16.all of a sudden:
suddenly, unexpectedly, in a spilt second
All of a sudden, Mary scurried (疾走) out of he classroorn.

17.all the same  雖然如此
There was no news; she Fenton hoping all the same.

18.all things considered 總括來說:
all in all
All things considered, I still prefer to live in the New Territories. 

19.all thumbs 笨拙:
clumsy in handling things
I was all thumbs yesterday, since I broke everything I touched. 

20.all work and no play 只有工作,沒有娛樂:
All work and no play isn'tgood for anyone. on and so forth 諸如此類:
In order to succeed, we need patience, diligence, persistence, and so on 
and so forth.

22. anybody's guess 沒有肯定答案:
  not certain/known
 Who murdered the child is anybody's guess.

23. anything but 絕對不是:
  certainly not
 He is anything but considerate.

24. around/round the clock 不停地:
 The deadline (限期) is tight so he has to work around / round fire clock. 

25. (as) bilnd as a bat 瞎眼:
  unable to see something that is obvious to others
 I am as blind as a bat without my glasses.

26. (as) busy as a bee 非常忙碌:
  very busy, fully occupied
 John is as busy as a bee, preparing for the examination.

27. as chance will/would have it 巧合:
  by coincidence
 I'm going to New York myself tomorrow as chance will have it, so maybe 
we can travel together.

28. (as) clean as a new pin 非常潔淨:
 Mary is a cleanliness fanatic (潔癖的人) ;she keeps her house as clean as 
a new pin.

29. (as) cool as a cucumber 冷靜:
  controlled, sober
 Not many people can stay/keep as cool as a cucumber in an emergency 

30. (as) cunning as a fox 非常狡猾:
  sly, scheming
There is a good deal of foul play (不法事) in the property business (地產行業). 
The people involved are cunning as a fox.

31. as far as I can see 依我的判斷:
  in my judgement
 As far as I can see, war within the next twenty years is inevitable (無可避

32. as far as I am concerned 依我而言:
As far as I am considered, there isn't a shadow of a doubt (毫無疑問) that the 
wide gap between the rich the poor is the main cause for the increasing crimes.

33. as for 至於:
  with reference to
 As for you chances of passing the examination, I'm afraid they are rather 
slim. (微).

34. (as) like as two peas 非常相似:
  very similar in appearance
 To the layman 's eye (在外行眼中), the two vases are as like as two peas.

35. as/so long as 只要:
  provided that
 Loving you is easy so long as it doesn't last.

36. as a matter of fact 事實上:
  the fact is that
 As a matter of fact, politicians always say things which they don't believe 

37. as one/you might say 或許下可以這樣說:
 I don't  mean I disagree with you. I just believe your idea can be improved, 
as you might say.

38. as much as to say 就等於話:
 She was staring at him with her round eyes as much as to say, 'you have 
gone too far.'

39. as obstinate/stubborn as a mule 非常固執:
 You cannot reason with him (與他說道理); he is as stubborn as a mule.

40. as a rule 常常:
  almost always
We don't as a rule give discounts customers, but are willing to make an 
exception (例外) in your case.

41. (as) sound as a bell 非常健壯:
  in good physical condition
 My grandfather is over ninety but is still as sound as a bell.

42. as alwayslever/usual 像慣常的:
 John was again late for school today, as always/ever/usual.

43. at all costs 無論要付出任何代價:
 Since we are just animals, our business is to survive at all costs.

44. at all events 無論怎樣:
  in any case, whatever happens
At all events, we should stick to our principles (原則) and should not 
easily yield to pressure (屈服於壓力).

45. at one's (own) discretion 由某人決定:
 The personnel manager (人事部經理) can employ anyone at his own 

46. at the eleventh hour 最後一刻:
  at the last minute
At the eleventh hour, candidates outside the examination centre were still 
looking through their notes.

47. at the expense of 犧牲了:
 It is sad to see that our society prospers at the expense of the natural 

48. at face value it 表面價值:
We should not take things at their face value. We have to study them 
carefully before we accept them.

49. at first sight/glance 未加研究:
At first sight/glance, the problem seemed insoluble (不能解決), but we found 
a solution after careful study.

50. at full speed 全速:
 After the thieves got into their getaway car, they left the scene at full 

51. at large 總括來說:
  generally speaking 
 People at large long for peace when they are satisfied with their lives.

52. at the outset 最初:
  In the beginning period (of something) 
 At the outset of his career John had met with (上週) many difficulties.

53. at short notice 坦白地說:
 In advertising company, everything is in a rush, and one should expect 
changes at short notice.

54. bad news travels 醜事傳千里:
No sooner had the examination results been released than everybody knew John 
failed. Bad news travels fast.

55. to be frank/honest 坦白地說:
  speaking honestly 
 I should think to be frank/honest, Igave more than I took in my 
relationship with her.

56. be nobody s business 與人無關:
 How I lead my life is nobody's business.

57. be nobodys fool 聰明:
 When it comes to businesses (講到生意), she is nobody's fool.

58. be so goodikind as to:
 Would you be so good/kind as to help me open this door

59. to be sure:
 To be sure, reading more is more important than writing more in learning 
a language.

60. be tantamount to 一樣,相同:
  be virtually the same as
 In some cases, parental neglect (父母的疏忽) is tantamount to cruelty.

61. beauty is but/only skin deep 外表美麗不重要:
Even though beauty is but/only skin deep, most people feel more comfortable 
with pretty women than ugly ones.

62. behind somebody's back 在人背後:
They enjoyed talking about John behind his back, telling stories that even 
they knew were exaggerated.

63. believe it or not 信不信由你:
Believe it or not most English teachers in Hong Kong don 't know anything 
about phonetics (拼音法).

64. the best/worst of 最好/壞的是:
The best of being a teacher is the holidays he/she gets; The worst of it 
is that he/she is comparatively low-paid.

65. better bad now than worse later 先苦後甜:
 We should spend less and save more. Better bad now than worse later.

66. one s/the better half 妻子/丈夫:
 Everyone admires John because his better half always stands by him.

67. better late than never 遲到好過無到:
All his friends encouraged John to get married even though he was 50. They 
said, better late than never.'

68. worse still 更差是:
 No one likes his new book. Worse still, many people openly criticise it.

69. the black sheep 羞恥:
In the past, divorced people were the black sheep of the society, but 
nowadays, such social stigma has gradually disappeared.

70. a blue film 色情電影:
No one wili deny that the obscene (色情) message in some blue films can do 
great harm to young people.

71. a bolt from the blue 晴天霹靂:
 The death news of his father came as a bolt from the blue.

72. break the news 告知
 Amy and Peter rang up from Canada to break the news that they were 
having a

73. break the rules 犯規:
 Peter is very naughty and keeps breaking file school rule.

74. break the ice 破僵局:
 We wished John had been with us at the meeting. He would have been able 
to break the ice.

75. break the silence 打破沈默:
John was always the first one to break the silence in class discussion while 
others were just pretending to thinking.

76. break the barrier 驅除障礙:
 Love and concern certainly can break the barrier between generations.

77. broaden/widen one's horizons 增加視野及知識:
 One should travel more to broaden/widen one's horizons.

78. by all means 當然/最好不過:
  of course, certainly, please do
 x: I'll come straight to that point if I may.
 y: By all means!

79. by and by 遲一些/將來:
  in the near future after a little time
 Things are bound to get better by and by.

80. by common consent 一致同意:
 By common consent, all members of the trade union wig condude (結束) 
their strike tomorrow.

81. by and large 一般而論:
  on the whole, generally speaking
 Hong Kong people by and large are hardworking and can adapt to 
different situations.

82. by the way/ by(e) 講開又講:
 '... Thanks for telling me this. By the way/by(e), how do you know I am at 
John's place.'

83. by trial and error 嘗試與失敗:
 By trial and error, the scientist finally discovered a new chemical 

84. the calm before the storm 風暴前夕的寧靜:
 She kept her composure (鎮定) while he was breaking the news. Seas just 
the calm before the storm.

85. change for the better/worse 轉好/壞:
 Each innovation (改進) is a chhange for the better.
 The amendment (修改) to the proposal is actually a change for the worse.

86. change hands 易手:
 The hotel has changed hands several times and is now better managed 
than ever.

87. the climate of opinion 民意氣候:
 No politician can afford to go against the dimate of opinion; he only dares 
to dhange it

88. a close/narrow shave 有驚無險:
  narrow escape
John witnessed an armed robbery and was almost shot by the cold-blooded 
robbers. It was such a dose shave.

89. common ground 共通點:
  a basis for shared interests
 Since Peter and Mary have sufficient common ground, they can be good 

90. one's conscience picks one 良心發現:
 His conscience packed him soon after he had cheated in the examination.
 He pricks of conscience must have made him confess his sin to the 

91. (sb) a fortune 極昂貴:
 He has just bought a house which costs him a fortune. Since then, he is 
left penniless.

92. couldn't care less 毫不在乎:
While everyone was complaining about the low pay rise, John couldn't care 
less because he had already resigned.

93. court death 求死似的
 He drives his car so fast and wildly as if he were Courting death.

94. crack a joke 說笑話:
 John is never serious Even when something is going wrong, he will crack 
aJoke or two.

95. a crash course 特快課程:
John is an impatientman. He is onlyinterestedin crash courses and think 
that regular courses are too slow. 

96. crocodile tears 佯裝的悲哀:
There is no use shedding a few Crocodile tears; everyone knows she is not 
sorry for her deed (所作所為).

97. the crux of the problem 問題的情緒:
How to deter people form crimes is he crux of the problem So we  need to 
impose stricter penalty on culprits (犯罪者).