The Most Common Idioms To Boost Your IELTS Score – Topic: Help And Encouragement


bend over backwards or bend over backward

If you bend over backwards or bend over backward, you try very hard to help or please someone, even though it causes you trouble.

We bent over backwards to make them feel welcome and they didn’t thank us once.

be there for someone

If you are there for someone, you are ready to listen to their problems and to help and support them. [SPOKEN]

Jimmy is a good friend –  he’s always been there for me when i needed help or advice.

give and take

If you talk about give and take, you mean the way in which two people or groups in a relationship accept that they cannot have everything that they want and that they must sometimes give the other person or group what they want.

All good partnerships involve a bit of give and take.

hold someone’s hand

If you hold someone’s hand in an unfamiliar or difficult situation, you help and support them.

Tony will hold your hand through the sale, deal with offers and advise on any problems.

in the same boat

If two or more people are in the same boat, they are in the same unpleasant or difficult situation.

Don’t worry if you are going bald – 40 per cent of men under 35 are in the same boat.

keep your chin up

If you keep your chin up, you stay cheerful in a difficult or unpleasant situation.

Richards was keeping his chin up yesterday despite the continued setbacks.

lend a hand or lend someone a hand

If you lend a hand or lend someone a hand, you help someone to do something.

If I’d known you were having trouble, I could have lent a hand.

Could you lend me a hand with these books, please?

NOTE: A hand is used in many other structures with a similar meaning.

I used to give Mary a hand with the catering

Need a hand with those?

Do you want a hand with the children?

look the other way

If someone looks the other way, they deliberately ignore something bad that is happening when they should be trying to deal with it or stop it.

NOTE: You usually use this expression to suggest that this is a bad thing to do.

The government is fully aware of the problem but they just look the other way.

meet someone halfway

If you meet someone halfway, you accept some of their opinions or wishes, so that you can come to an agreement with them or have a better relationship with them.

The opposition is willing to meet the president halfway on his latest plans for the economy.

a pat on the back

If you give someone a pat on the back, you praise them for something they have done.

The industry can give itself a little pat on the back for the positive moves it has made to help its own recovery.

NOTE: You can also say pat someone on the back, or pat yourself on the back.

I thought the editor would pat me on the back and say, ‘Well done!’ Instead he fired me.

Today is a good day to pat yourself on the back for bravery and effort.

put your heads together

If people put their heads together, they try to solve a problem together.

If there’s a problem, we all just sit down, put our heads together and figure it out.

sing someone’s praises

If you sing someone’s or something’s praises, you praise them in an enthusiastic way.

Smith continued to sing Tony’s praises. ‘He’s so different, he’s so natural’, he said.

take someone under your wing

If you take someone under your wing, you start to look after them and make sure that they are well and have what they need.

NOTE: The image here is of a hen gathering her chicks under her wing.

She took the youngster under her wing, gave her advice and helped her prepare for the tour.

a tower of strength or a pillar of strength

If someone is a tower of strength or a pillar of strength during a difficult period in your life, they give you a lot of help or support.

My eldest daughter was a tower of strength for me when I was sick.

In her terrible sadness she has found Charles to be a pillar of strength.


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