Number one for English language teachers

Your English: Idioms: walk

Type: Article

Have you ever had to walk on eggshells? Tim Bowen walks us through another collection of idioms, step by step.

‘It’s a very delicate situation and the government is walking a tightrope’. This means that even a small mistake could have disastrous results. The expression walking a thin line can also be used here. If you have to walk on eggshells, you have to be very careful how you behave around a particular person because you might make them angry or upset, as in ‘Raising the topic of immigration is like walking on eggshells for many politicians’.

A person who can walk on water can do something that seems almost impossible, as in ‘As a football coach, he can pretty much walk on water’. It also conveys the sense that the person in question can do little wrong. If you are walking on air, you are extremely happy, or even exhilarated, because everything in life seems good, as in ‘Ever since they got engaged, they’ve both been walking on air’.

If you walk out of somewhere with your head held high, you remain proud and confident as you leave a bad situation, as in ‘He may have made some mistakes but, considering all the good things he’s done for that company, he’s walking out of there with his head held high’. If you walk someone off their feet, you make them very tired with a lot of walking, as in ‘She’s walked me off my feet with all that shopping’.

Using the imperative form to invite someone to take a walk, turns the impression into a moderately insulting way to ask someone to leave a place or go away.

If you walk someone through something, you guide them through it slowly (step by step).

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