Instructions: Print this idioms worksheet, or its pdf version here. (Don't worry if printing is a problem for you. Just write your answers in order on a sheet of paper, then check your list against the answers when you finish.) Fill in the blanks using the prepositions below to form these common idioms. (You can find them, and more, on the List of Idioms, A-F, List of Idiom Definitions, G-L, Idiom Meanings List M-S, and Common Idioms List, T-Z. For an explanation of phrasal verbs like the ones in this exercise, see Phrasal Verbs.
Then click on the Answers link at the bottom of the page to see how many you used correctly.
1. Quiet! Dad is trying to figure _____ how to pay all the bills! They keep ____ coming even though his pay is reduced. He needs to keep track ______ the ones he can’t pay yet so he can pay them first when we get some money. It’s so hard to make ends meet in this economy!
2. I really look ____ ____ Ana. She’s quiet, and she doesn’t stand ____ in a crowd, but she’s dependable. You know if she promises something she’ll follow _______ with it.
3. Bill finally got _____touch ______ his mother. He realized he can’t take his parents ________ granted; they won’t be around forever. He said he needed to take advantage ______ his opportunity to call her while she can still hear the telephone!
4. Can you cover _____ me while I’m in the meeting? I’ll take some of your patients the next time you need a break.
5. Jim often misses work, but he always shows ______ when there’s an office party.
6. Those bills aren’t our responsibility. It’s _____ _____the Accounting Department to pay them.
7. You made so many mistakes on this essay you should just do it _________.
8. That cat is always _______ the way. I tripped over her again, and almost fell down.
9. If you put _______ resolving the problem with Joe, it will go _______ getting worse.
10. Since Barbara brought _______ the layoffs, I think we should discuss them first.
11. You need to make ______ the time you missed when you were sick.
12. That storyteller makes _____ interesting stories. I never know how they will turn ______. Will the lovers make ______ after their fight? Will the good guys win? Read on!
13. A man’s drowning! Can you swim? It’s _____ ______ you to rescue him!
14. You can’t back ______ now! You promised to finish the costume before the play!
15. Some boys love to take _______ clocks or motors so they can figure _____ how to put them together again.
16. Our supervisor looked ______ buying new equipment so she could get rid _____the old.
17. Maria was so scared of the test she passed ______ before the teacher even finished passing _______ all the exams.
18. Once when my friend was shopping until very late, her husband got worried. When she got home he told her, “I was _____ ____ call the police!”
19. All the people in my department are friendly. We get ________ well _________ each other.
20. Watch _____! (or: Look out!) The boss is in such a bad mood he blew _____ at Larry over a very small mistake.
21. When you read, it isn’t necessary to look _____ every word you don’t know.
22. Karen is so patient she put _____ _______ her husband’s messiness for a long time before she complained.
23. Tim’s joke went right _______ my head. Tim really gets _____ my nerves sometimes; what he says is silly and doesn’t make sense. You showed _____ just ______ time; I was ______ ______ blow ______ at him.
24. He had to give _______ eating doughnuts for breakfast when he got diabetes.
25. If you miss class, you need to do extra homework to catch ______ ___________ your classmates.
26. The doctor says I should cut _________ _______ all fatty foods, but he says I need to cut out potato chips entirely.
27. People shouldn’t put __________ seeing the doctor when they’re afraid they have cancer. If it really is cancer, it’s better to catch it early.
28. Don’t come _________ to work until you get _________ the flu.
29. Be sure to buy enough bread and eggs, so you won’t run _______ _______ food when your grandchildren are visiting you.
30. I asked Sue, “Who looks ________ (or takes care of) your baby while you work?”