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The most useful phrases for rephrasing and sentence transformations

Fixed phrases are an essential part of language learning as they will give the learner confidence to express their ideas in various ways. They are really useful for speaking and the learner will recognise them in both written and spoken language. In relation to exams they are essential for rephrasing exercises, for the B2 First and the Advanced C1. Learn how to use these fixed phrases in various situations so that you can use language in a flexible way.




For example, it is important to know how to relate similar expressions and also how to put them into a context.

Run out of – not have any left

We have run out of time to finish the exam.

Make ends meet – have enough money to pay for everything

I find it hard to make ends meet on such a low salary.

Shed light on something – reveal information about

I hope that this new information sheds some light on the situation.


  1. Not be bothered (infinitive) – not fancy

I can’t be bothered to do my homework this evening.

  1. Be bound (infinitive) – be likely

It is bound to happen again if you don’t try to change your habits.

  1. At its height – in the best moment

At its height the American economy was one of the most successful of all time.

  1. At that time – then

At that time, I still hadn’t found out about his mental problems.

  1. Ever since – from that point

Ever since you told me the news, I can’t think about anything else.

  1. For a long time to come – from now on

I think you shall enjoy your life here for a long time to come.

  1. On the outskirts – in the suburbs

When I have kids, I’d love to live on the outskirts of the city.

  1. Be on good terms with – get on well with

Although they are divorced, they are still on good terms.

  1. Bear in mind – take into consideration

We ought to bear in mind the deadline when making our plan of action.

  1. Brace yourself for – be prepared

You ought to brace yourself for any issues that might come up.

 11. For some… for others – not for everyone

For some people this means the end of a relationship, for others it does not.

  1. Pull yourself together – focus on something

Before we begin you need to pull yourself together and be ready to start.

13. Stand the test of time – show its value over a long period

I reckon the internet will stand the test of time.

  1. On average – as a norm

On average, people take about 4 months to prepare for the exam.

  1. As a result – in the end

As a result, we were late for the show and missed the first act.

  1. All in all – on balance

All in all, the meeting went as had been planned.

  1. Go with the flow – let yourself be influenced by the environment

I prefer to just go with the flow instead of trying to control everything.

  1. Instead of – rather than

Instead of complaining about it, maybe you should look for a solution.

  1. Change your mind – adapt your viewpoint

I was going to go out but I have changed my mind now.

  1. As well as – in addition to

As well as his lack of punctuality, he also reeks of alcohol.

  1. As long as – provided that

As long as he arrives on time, I don’t mind what he does.

  1. I’d rather + (bare infinitive) – would prefer

I would rather unwind by reading than disconnect by watching TV.

  1. Regret (not) + ing – feel sorry for

I regret not getting the job at the law firm.

  1. Be worth + ing – deserve the effort

Is it worth travelling to the west coast of the USA?

  1. As soon as – at the moment of

As soon as you arrive, give me a call.

  1. By the time – when

By the time the bus left, I was already fast asleep.

  1. On/at the point of – just about to

I was on the point of dropping out of university when I was offered a scholarship, so I stayed.

  1. Take ages (infinitive) – take a long time

It took ages to find a job in the end.

  1. Take by surprise – not expect

I was taken by surprise by her initial reaction.

  1. From time to time – every now and again

Could you come and visit me from time to time?

  1. A matter of time – a question of time

It is only a matter of time before you find a girlfriend.

  1. At this point – At a time

At this point I was beginning to get frustrated.

  1. During which – in this time

I did an internship during which I made some useful contacts.

  1. No longer – not any more

No longer am I going to wait for you to get ready.

  1. Undergo a change – experience a change

The company is undergoing huge changes

  1. Lead the way – give direction to

Part of running a company is leading the way by example.

  1. Be in demand – be popular

Electric cars are in great demand nowadays

  1. On purpose – intentionally

I’m so sorry, I didn’t do it on purpose.

  1. By accident – without intention

I broke your vase by accident, please forgive me.

  1. Be willing (infinitive) – want to

I am willing to try again if you give me the chance.

  1. Be praised for – receive a compliment for

I was praised for being the best student on the program.

  1. Be better/worse than expected – not as good as first though

The weather is going to be worse than expected.

  1. The pros and cons of – the advantages and disadvantages of

The pros and cons of being self-employed are debatable.

  1. On time – at the correct time

If you can’t arrive on time, you should get up earlier.

  1. On and on – again and again

You should persist and go on and on.

  1. Every now and then – occasionally

I get a little bit worried about my studies every now and again.

  1. Be just about (infinitive) – be at the point of

I was just about to say that! You tool the words out of my mouth.

  1. In this day and age – currently

In this day and age the job market is extremely competitive.

  1. From day to day – each day

From day to day you seem to be getting lazier and lazier.

  1. Sooner or later – at some point in time

Sooner or later, you will have to tell him the news.

  1. Any day now –soon

I will get paid any day now.

  1. Ages ago – a long time ago

It seems like ages ago since we last spoke.

  1. Be about time + past – at long last

It is about time you got a job and moved out of your parent’s house.

  1. Day by day – step by step

I seem to be improving day by day

  1. Little by little – bit by bit

Little by little you will recover from your injury and the accident.

  1. Last, but not least – at the end but not less important

We must do the shopping and last by not least, take the dog for a walk.

  1. Against the law – not legal

You are not allowed to do that; it’s against the law.

  1. Safe and sound – secure

We arrived home safe and sound at around 8pm.

  1. In fact – actually/ in reality

He is quite lazy, in fact, I am thinking of firing him.

  1. In terms of – regarding/ with regards to

What do you do? In terms of work, I mean.

  1. In relation to – linked to

In relation to the meeting yesterday, we need to check out your progress in the company.

  1. Be reluctant (infinitive) – not want

I am reluctant to take up a new hobby.

  1. On account of – owing to

On account of the weather, the trip shall be cancelled.

  1. Be at fault – be to blame

He was at fault for the error.

  1. Drop a hint about – insinuate

My teacher dropped a hint that the exam would be tough.

  1. Slip out of – drop

The vase just slipped out of my hand.

  1. As far as I know – I gather

As far as I know, we will need to replace the motor.

  1. To result in – ending in

The project resulted in us having to repeat almost all of the investigation.

  1. Take care of – look after

We ought to take care of ourselves.

  1. On foot – walking

Do you go to work on foot?

  1. Be similar to – like/ be alike

It is similar to what happened yesterday.

  1. Take a look at – view/check out

Could you take a look at my bike, please?

  1. as though – as if

He seemed as though he were uninterested.

  1. By chance – by coincidence

By chance, they had the exact thing I was looking for.

  1. By no means – not at all

By no means is he the strongest candidate.

  1. Owing to – As a result of/because of

Owing to delays on line 3, you ought to try and take a bus.

  1. By oneself – on one’s own

I enjoy working by myself more than in a team.

  1. In no time – soon

I learned German in no time.

  1. A means by which – a way of

He is very determined, a means by which he always achieves successful results.

  1. Take a chance – risk

I don’t want to take any chances on the deadline.

  1. Take place – be in a location

The film takes place in Tokyo.

  1. As it happens – as a matter of fact

As it happens, I have met you before.

  1. At a guess – I am no expert, but

At a guess, I would say that the play will last for 4 hours.

  1. It so happens that – as a result

It so happens that I speak fluent Spanish.

  1. Make sense – be logical

That makes sense since you used to work in the USA.

  1. Make up one’s mind – decide

I can’t make up my mind what to order.

  1. By all accounts – according to

By all accounts he is one of the best lecturers in the field.

  1. Pay attention to – focus on

We must pay attention to the teacher.

  1. See no point in/of – not understand the logic behind

I don’t see the point in learning Catalan.

  1. Have (little/no) difficulty in – have no trouble (ing)

I have difficulty in learning phrasal verbs.

  1. The benefit to/of – the advantage of

The benefits of having good language skills are endless.

  1. On balance – in conclusion

On balance, I think you ought to practice every day to improve.

  1. The downside of – the drawback of

The downside of being so intelligent is that most other people seem a little dim.

  1. Be in two minds – be undecided

I am in two minds on whether to order the fish or a salad.

  1. In a nutshell – to sum up

In a nutshell, you could either order by phone or online.

  1. Be up to date – be current

I am not up to date with the gossip in our office.

  1. Sort of – more or less

I sort of enjoy spending time at the beach.

  1. Just because – not reason behind something

Why do you like eating chocolate? I’m not sure, just because.

  1. Just in case – if needed

Just in case you need any information, you can visit our website.

  1. Only just – be the skin of one’s teeth

We only just made it out alive.

101. Under no circumstances – no way

Under no circumstances should you be late for the exam.

102. Be in one’s interest – be good for

It is in your interest to attend the meeting.

103. Had better (bare infinitive) – should

We had better set off early if we want to arrive on time.

104. Get something across to someone – explain something to someone

It can sometimes be difficult to get your point across to someone else.

105. Place the blame on – say someone is at fault

I placed the blame on one of my employees.

106. Go ahead – permission to proceed

You can go ahead and continue with your studies if you like.

107. Be capable of – be able + infinitive

You are much more capable of learning a language than you think.

108. Take for granted – not give credit for

You should not take your friends for granted.

109. Beforehand – in advance

I would book beforehand if I were you.

110. Have no recollection of – not remember

I have no recollection of that happening.



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