Idioms and Phrasal Verbs to talk about conflict

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Hey guys!

Everybody knows the importance of learning some phrasal verbs, 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 post, you learn some phrasal verbs, idioms and expressions to communicate in a more natural way when speaking English in a foreign country.

* hang in the balance – uncertain; at a critical stage.

His survival hung in the balance for days.

* be locked in battle / dispute – if you say that people are locked in conflict or in battle, you mean they are arguing or fighting in a fierce or determined way, and neither side seems likely to stop.

Environmental groups are locked in a battle with the council over the proposed new bylaw.

* a crying need for sth – if you say that there is a crying need for something, you mean that there is a very great need for it.

There is a crying need for more magistrates from minority communities.

* free sb/sth up – cause someone or something to become available or no longer devoted to a particular obligation.

They say they can’t free up any other land for the construction of popular houses.

* stand firm – refuse to change a decision, position, etc.

The judge stood firm in her ruling.

* be poles apart – have nothing in common.

The two sisters had ceased to communicate with each other—their ideas were now poles apart.

* meet sb halfway – reach partial agreement with sb, or give sb part of what they want.

Its unlikely that the government can meet the protesters halfway.

* a running battle – an argument that lasts over several different occasions.

I’ve had a running battle with the neighbours over whose responsibility that fence is.

* side with sb – support one person or group in an argument.

If ever there was any sort of argument, she’d always side with my father against me.

* be in the firing line – be in a position where you are likely to be criticized or blamed.

Affirmative action policies and programs are on the firing line.

* bite the bullet – force yourself to do something unpleasant or difficult, or to be brave in a difficult situation:

I hate going to the dentist, but I’ll just have to bite the bullet.

* stick to your guns – continue to have your beliefs or continue with a plan of action, even if other people disagree with you.

Despite harsh criticism, she’s sticking to her guns on this issue.

* fight a losing battle – try hard to do something when there is no chance that you will succeed.

I’ve been trying to organize this mess, but I think I’m fighting a losing battle.

* have/keep a foot in both camps – have some involvement with or support for two opposing sides.

When my friends split up, I felt like I had a foot in both camps.

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

Source: Idioms and Phrasal Verbs – Advanced / Ruth Gairns and Stuart Redman – Oxford

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