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Your English: Word grammar: suit

Type: Article

Word grammar has always been Tim Bowen’s strong suit.

As a verb, suit has two main meanings. It can mean to be convenient for someone, as in ‘The afternoon programme suits the needs of most of the children’ or it can be used to refer to a style or something you wear as in, ‘That new hairstyle really suits her’.

If something is extremely convenient, the expression suit someone down to the ground can be used, as in ‘Working at home in the afternoon suits him down to the ground’.

The expression suit yourself can be used for telling someone rather rudely to do whatever they want, even though it is not what you want them to do. It is often accompanied by a shrug of the shoulders: ‘You don’t agree? Suit yourself, then’.

As a noun, the main meaning of suit is a formal set of clothes made from the same cloth. It can also mean a claim or complaint that someone makes in a court of law, such as a libel suit or a paternity suit.

A pack of cards contains four suits, and, in colloquial language, a suit is a disparaging term for someone in a company who wears a suit and is in a senior position but is not regarded by the workforce as someone who does much work.

A person’s strong suit is something that they do well, as in ‘Tact has never been his strong suit’ and if you are in your birthday suit, you are naked, as in ‘I opened the dressing-room door and there he was in his birthday suit, smoking a cigar’.   

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