60 Incredibly Useful Phrases for Fluent English Conversation (Binomials)


Now first and foremost I want to tell you about a way of expression that

native English speakers use time and time again but are much, much less used

by learners of English I am of course talking about binomials or binomial

pairs now I will say this loud and clear if you are learning English and you want

to sound fluent, even if you're not fluent, you should start using them. It is

after all part and parcel of the English language from Shakespeare to Lady Gaga

everyone uses binomials and sooner or later, in order to reach an

advanced level, little by little and step by step, you have to start adding them to

your conversation as soon as you do native English speakers will think "wow

this person speaks English good and proper he or she is using binomials", ok

that's a slight exaggeration because even though they use them all the time

I don't think native speakers know the linguistic term binomial pairs

unless you're a nerdy English teacher like me but after this video you will

because today we are going to get to the nitty-gritty of binomials you're going

to learn 60 of them give or take one or two but I'll keep it short and

sweet so please, take a moment away from the

hustle and bustle of your daily life to study this important lesson because it's

now or never so stay tuned

Hello and welcome to letThemTalk and today we're going to talk all about

binomials so think of them as kind of a library of short fixed expressions

usually in pairs but sometimes with three or four words which are often

joined with AND such as "loud and clear", "I hear you loud and clear" or OR such as

"take it or leave it", "this is my final offer you can take it or leave it" though

there are other forms too and we'll look at that. the human brain is far too lazy

and limited to invent original expressions for every conversation when

we communicate we usually follow a formula which borrows heavily from

pre-existing terms so when native speakers are communicating they will

pepper their expression with binomial pairs which are clear, short and

understood by everyone. Did you know that binomials are just as common in English

as phrasal verbs? that's right so do use them. So let's have a look at some

different types of binomials first of all binomial word order is generally

fixed so, for example, you can say "rise and shine",

"wake up now it's already 9:00 a.m. rise and shine" but you cannot say "shine and

rise" that doesn't mean anything. Binomials can contain nouns for example

"flesh and blood" which means a relation or a member of the family for example "I

know he's rude and cruel but I can't abandon Tommy he's my brother is my flesh

blood". They can use verbs for example "sink-or-swim" which means either

you fail or you succeed, for example, "new businesses entering the market don't get

any help from anybody so it's sink or swim", or adjectives for

example "sick and tired" which means to be fed up of something or someone "every

time we meet you at least 20 minutes late I'm sick and tired of it". Now

let's have a look at the sound patterns that most binomials fall into first of

all you have rhyming binomials such as "mumbo jumbo", "astrology is just a load of

mumbo jumbo", "culture vulture", "she goes to the museum, the opera, the theater

something like that every day she's such a culture vulture". "Wine and

dine", "our hosts were very kind they wined and dined us throughout our stay". You

have alliterations where the first letter or sounds in the phrase is the

same as the second one for example you "live and learn" from "rags to riches", "this

is a story of rags to riches from a poor child in the ghetto to a multi-million

dollar business empire". I guess you could reverse this one a tale of riches to

rags when you you start off rich and end up poor but almost all the time you

can't reverse then "tried and tested", "wearing a helmet is a tried and tested

way of making a bike journey safer so you

do it". Next we have repeating the same word. "time after time", "you make the

same mistake time after time". "Let bygones be bygones", "the argument we

had happened over 10 years ago let bygones be bygones and let's be friends

again". "All in all", "all in all this is the best smartphone on the market". Now as

well as binomials which have two main words you do have trinomials

for example "beg steal and borrow", "I will do anything to make you happy I will beg

steal and borrow". "Tom Dick or Harry", "look ask any Tom Dick or Harry and they will

tell you broccoli is good for you why do you think you know better". "(Any) way shape or

form", "no absolutely not you cannot be part of this organization in any way

shape or form". What's interesting is that some words that are obsolete in genuine

English are still used and understood when they are used as a binomial pair so

for example "spick-and-span" which means very clean or tidy "when I get back I

want this house looking spick and span" However the words spick and span

separately are not used in modern English they are archaic by "hook or by

crook", "by hook or by crook I'll find out the

name of the person who betrayed me". so we are more or less halfway through

so let's go through a few more binomials so we can reach the magic figure of 60

that I promised to teach you let's go. "By and large", "by and large, pigs are

more intelligent than dogs" it's true by the way so love dogs but

love the pigs too. "Tall dark and handsome", "Detective Smart was tall dark and

handsome and about 30 years old". "Safe and sound", "Oh there you are, it's

late I was worried about you I'm glad you are safe and sound."

"Ups and downs", "life has its ups and downs there are joyful times but difficult

moments too". "Pure and simple", "you are the best pure and simple"

"Pride and joy", "Our new grandson is our pride and joy". "Now and then", "now and then

I wonder what life would have been like if I had stayed in Scotland". "Back and

forth", "grandmother sat in her rocking chair swaying back and forth all evening".

like that. "Wear and tear", "The uniform needs to be replaced every couple of

years because of wear and tear". "Down and out", "after his wife ran off with the

butcher and he lost his job at the post office

he ended up down and OUT (*not about) asking passers-by for spare change in the city

centre". "Tooth and nail", "I will fight this case tooth and nail in the court until I

am proved innocent". "High and dry", "when the principal actress got sick at the last

minute without a replacement the theatre was left high and dry". "Law and order",

"after the Revolution there was a complete breakdown in law

and order". "Odds and ends", "I'll be back soon I've just got a few odds and ends

to finish up at the office". "Odds and ends" can also refer to an

assortment of small things for example "in this box I keep the odds and ends I

need for sewing" "Song and dance",

"ok the spoon was dirty sorry but it's not that serious don't make a song and

dance about it". "An arm and a leg", "My new car is my pride and joy but it cost me

an arm and a leg". "Tit for tat", "Jane didn't come to Sara's birthday party and now

sara has not invited Jane to her wedding it's clearly a case of tit for tat". "Black

and white", now this also has two meanings so "free trade is not a black and

white issue there are advantages and disadvantages", "you have no excuses the

rules were written in black and white before you started". "Done and dusted", "now

the deal is done and dusted we can go out and celebrate". "Far and wide", "we have

looked far and wide for a replacement but so far without success". "Pros and cons",

"there are pros and cons of living in a big city". "(Any) ifs and buts", "now I don't want

to hear any ifs and buts just do what I told you to do".

"Born and bred", "I'm a Londoner born and bred". "Rough and ready", "the accommodation

in the village was rough and ready but it was good enough for our needs".

"Through thick and thin", "My wife has stood by me for over 30

years through thick and thin". Now it's your turn write a sentence using a

binomial in the comments and I want no Ifs and bats from you just do it don't

make us some dance bout it I've been with you through thick and thin dear viewer but

now it's time to rise and shine I don't want any mumbo-jumbo though ...