Do you know your colloquial pairs?
Many of my IELTS students make a point of studying their idioms and phrasal verbs, mostly as it’s a clear cut way to show fluency and develop a more natural and advanced way of speaking English. However, there is something else which can also help here. This is the use of colloquial pairs. You will surely all now about ‘pros and cons’ from learning how to speak about advantages and disadvantages, and this is indeed a colloquial pair, however what about others?
What is a colloquial pair? Well these are pairs of words that have a special significance, such as idioms or slang. You must take care not to put them in the wrong order however, as while these pairs may be understood in a reversed order, they will sound incorrect to a native speaker.
- prim and proper
- to and fro
- odds and ends
- hard and fast
- tooth and nail
- pros and cons
- by and large
- down and out
- length and breadth
- safe and sound
So, can I give you some examples? Well, I’m very ‘prim and proper’ about my colloquial pairs so I must make sure I use them correctly! I believe that ‘by and large’ these are phrases which are essential to add to your vocabulary if you want to speak like a native, and there is nothing we can do to change that! I’m afraid these rules are set ‘hard and fast’ and we can’t make any exceptions.
Why not look the other pairs up online and see if you can use them?
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