Confused Expressions Exercise (196)

In each sentence, choose the expression's standard form to fill the blank.

  • That poor woman has had ___________ since she lost her job.

  • If you aren’t willing to work hard, you’ll ___________ in this profession.

  • _____________, character is seen in what you do, not what you intend to do.

  • Now that she is free from her abusive husband, she feels she has _____________.

  • Can you really ________ which of these students will succeed in college by looking at their SAT scores?

Answers and Explanations

1. That poor woman has had a tough row to hoe since she lost her job.

The expression derives from an agricultural image of someone hoeing a row of corn or other farm crop.

2. If you aren’t willing to work hard, you’ll fall by the wayside in this profession.

The wayside is the ground along the side of a road or a path.

3. When all is said and done, character is seen in what you do, not what you intend to do.

The meaning of the expression is "after all discussion and arguments to the contrary have been exhausted."

4. Now that she is free from her abusive husband, she feels she has a new lease on life.

A leash is a cord attached to an animal’s collar to control it. A lease is a contract that grants a person the use of property for a set number of years. The word has long been used figuratively to mean the length of time a person has to live.

5. Can you really single out which of these students will succeed in college by looking at their SAT scores?

The expression "single out" means "to identify or select one among many."

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