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PRAXIS I Writing

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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book


Idioms are often referred to as slang expressions. Idioms are simply expressions that have a completely different meaning than the individual words that make up the expression. For example, the phrase add up is an idiom that has the meaning of not consistent, as shown in this example:

  • When I asked the teenagers where they had been, their stories did not add up.

The English language has many idioms. Be prepared to identify any errors with idioms for the multiple-choice writing portion of the PRAXIS I exam. To assist you, Table 3.4 lists some of the more commonly used idioms along with their meanings.

Table 3.4 Common Idioms



As easy as pie



The test questions were as easy as pie.




I was getting very antsy waiting for the bell to ring.

Beat around the bush

To avoid an issue or a question


-He beat around the bush when I asked him where we were going.

The bottom line

The most important piece of information


The bottom line was that we could not afford a new house.


Untrue; not believable


-The story he told us about his childhood sounded a little far-fetched.

Go with the flow

One step at a time; take things as they come


-We didn’t make any definite plans for our vacation. We decided to just go with the flow.

Jump the gun

To act hastily


Jim jumped the gun on buying a new television.

Keep an eye on

To watch out for


The neighbor kept an eye on our house while we were away.

Leave well enough alone

Take no action


-Even though her children were once again late for dinner, Mary decided to leave well enough alone.

Live and let live

To let others live as they choose


-Even though I was against the move, I decided to live and let live.

Make a mountain out

To overreact of a molehill


-My mother tends to make a mountain out of a molehill if we are late getting home.

Not on your life

Definitely not


-When I asked my friend if she was going to move back home, she said, "Not on your life."

Once in a while



Every once in a while, we go to the drive-in.

Rain or shine

No matter what


We planned on going to the lake rain or shine.

Sleep on it

To decide later


I wasn’t sure of my decision yet, so I decided to sleep on it.

State of the art

Up-to-date; latest technology


The new school was state of the art.

Under the weather

Ill; not well


-I was feeling under the weather, so I decided to take the day off work.

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