Number one for English language teachers

Your English: Idioms: ground

Type: Article

It’s time to break new ground with another set of idioms from Tim Bowen

‘The prisoner escaped from a maximum security jail through a tunnel dug under the perimeter fence and it is believed he has gone to ground somewhere in the vast forest surrounding the jail.’ If a person goes to ground, they hide from people who are trying to catch them, usually for a lengthy period of time. 

If you are described as being on dangerous ground, you say something that is likely to offend other people or make them angry, as in ‘He was on dangerous ground when he started criticising the behaviour of local people’. 

If you are on shaky ground, you are not sure about the facts of what you are saying, as in ‘Here, I must admit, I am on shaky ground’. On the other hand, being on safe ground means that you are likely to be correct and uncontroversial, as in ‘The conversation was becoming rather embarrassing so I tried to shift it to safer ground’. 

If you stand your ground, you refuse to change your opinions, beliefs or decisions despite pressure to change them, as in ‘He stood his ground in the face of fierce criticism from his opponents’. 

To get something, such as a project, off the ground means to start it and make it successful, as in ‘How much money will we need to get this idea off the ground?’ 

If you break new ground, you do something that has never been done before, as in ‘Her sensational new exhibition is really breaking new ground’.

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