Idiomatic Expressions Exercise (73)

Revise these sentences so that the idiomatic expressions are rendered correctly.

Answers and Explanations

1.
Original: He said he’d touch bases with me tomorrow.
Correct : He said he’d touch base with me tomorrow.

The other person is touching just one base -- that of the person he is contacting.

2.
Original: I remember how I used to wile away the hours during summer vacation.
Correct : I remember how I used to while away the hours during summer vacation.

The expression "while away" refers to passage of time, not to trickery, which is the meaning of wile.

3.
Original: She awaited the news with baited breath.
Correct : She awaited the news with bated breath.

One’s breath is not baited, as if set up to be caught; it is bated (the word is a shortened form of abated), meaning "restrained."

4.
Original: We found ourselves in dire straights.
Correct : We found ourselves in dire straits.

The expression "dire straits" refers to difficulty, not an undeviating line.

5.
Original: The gophers are wrecking havoc with my garden.
Correct : The gophers are wreaking havoc with my garden.

Although havoc can involve wreckage, havoc is not wrecked; it’s wreaked, or caused.

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