Idioms – Effort

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Hey guys!

Everybody knows the importance of learning some idioms and colloquial expressions, especially when you live in a foreign country. We always learn a lot of them by communicating with native speakers or watching movies and series. In this section, you learn some idioms and expressions to communicate in a more natural way when speaking English in a foreign country.

Here are a few Idioms related to the topic Effort.

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* break your (back/ neck / ass) – to work extremely hard to try to do it (quebrar a cabeça)

These days you have to break your back to make a business work.


* burn the candle at both hands – work overtime, get exhausted, sleep late and get up early (fazer hora extra, trabalhar exaustivamente, dormir tarde e acordar cedo)

Frank seemed to be burning the candle with both hands when he was working in two jobs.


* cut corners – to save time, money, or effort by not following the correct procedure or rules (agir conforme o jeitinho brasileiro)

He accused his manager of trying to save money by cutting corners on staff training.


* not do things by halves – when you always do things very well and thoroughly or in an extreme way (não fazer nada pela metade)

He never did anything by halves, he’s the best employee I’ve ever seen.


* do your best – when you try as hard as you can (fazer o seu melhor)

I’ll do my best to finish this project before the deadline.


* go all out – when you try as hard as possible to achieve something (dar tudo de si)

If I had to choose a major nowadays, I’d go all out for a degree in medicine.


* go the extra mile – when you make a special effort to do or achieve something (fazer algo a mais / ir mais além)

I discovered that going the extra mile has always been a feature of successful people.


* land on your feet / fall on your feet – when you are lucky and successful after a difficult experience (ter sorte ou sucesso depois de passar por uma situação difícil)

She has finally landed on her feet now that she has a good job and is happily married.


* not lift a finger / not raise a finger – not to do anything to help someone (não levantar um dedo)

The company’s manager refused to lift a finger / didn’t raise a finger to help the staff members.


* make a meal of something / make a meal out of something / make a big deal of something– to spend too much time and energy on it (fazer alarde, dar muita importância)

He’s only been asked to write a brief essay, but he’s making a meal of it / a big deal of it.


* pull your socks up – to make an effort to improve your work or behaviour (fazer um esforço a mais)

If he wants to be promoted, he’ll need to pull his socks up.


* pull your weight – when you work as hard as everyone else who is involved in the same task or activity (fazer a sua parte no trabalho)

I felt she wasn’t pulling her weight in the project, so I talked to our boss about it.


* work your fingers to the bone / work your (socks / tail / ass) off – when you work extremely hard (trabalhar pesado, dar duro, dar tudo de si)

I work my fingers to the bone to manage the company.

I work my socks / tail / ass off to offer my family a great quality of life.


I hope you learned some new idioms today, see you next time!

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