toe, elbow, neck, shoulder


Idiom Explanation Example
toe the line follow rules/
accept authority (often unwillingly)
Melissa hates her school uniform. She wishes she could at least wear nail polish. But if she wants to get good marks, she has to toe the line and do as she is told.
on your toes ready, alert Our maths teacher keeps us on our toes by giving us random tests at least twice a month.
make someone’s toes curl a reaction of embarrassment or joy Seeing my parents kiss is embarrassing. I wish they wouldn’t do it inf front of me, it makes my toes curl.


Idiom Explanation Example
elbow-to-elbow close together There must have been 200 school children all standing elbow-to-elbow at the gate, waiting for the bell to ring.
give someone the elbow BrE, reject someone, or end a romantic relationship Laurence was angry when Rebecca gave him the elbow for another man.


Idiom Explanation Example
break your neck to do something go to extreme effort to do something I broke my neck trying to finish this report on time and you haven't even said thanks!
neck and neck even or level in a race The horses were neck and neck until the last 500 metres of the race.
neck of the woods a specific area I don't often go to your neck of the woods.
You mean London?


Idiom Explanation Example
have a chip on your shoulder resentment or self-consciousness due to a feeling of inferiority Despite her successful career Kim always had a chip on her shoulder about not going to university.
head and shoulders above someone/thing much better than someone/thing Although he was the youngest pupil, he was head and shoulders above the rest of the class.
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Exercises C1

Complete the sentences with the words below.

elbow – neck – shoulder – toe

  1. Which   of the woods do you live in?
  2. Luke still has a chip on his   about being teased at school.
  3. Maria, if you don't start to   the line, you will be expelled from this school!
  4. She was heartbroken after he gave her the  .

Choose the correct idiom.

  1. It was a very close race and I didn’t know who was going to win until the very end.
  2. The fisherman stood all crowded together, there wasn’t much room on the pier, as they all tried to catch the best fish of the day.
  3. The health department carries out spot checks on different restaurants every day …
  4. Joey wanted to get an A+ so badly that he studied all weekend for the exam, something he wouldn't usually do.
  5. Learning about animal reproduction in biology embarrassed Lisa.
  6. Tony is the best singer in the choir and he always gets the solos.

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