Phrasal-Verbs – Letter S

–  Phrasal-Verbs & Verb Phrases – Letter S  –


  • (to) Follow Suit – This is an Idiomatic Phrasal-Verb which is used to mean:  To do whatever others in a certain situation are doing – to do what is considered “suitable”.  Interestingly enough, this does not mean, to do what is “right” or “proper” or even to do what is logical, but to act in a way as to not cause any confrontation or to spark criticism from those who might judge one for doing something different…

“Well, it didn’t really seem like a good idea to completely lie about the situation at the time, but that is what everyone else was doing, but rather than simply follow suit, I decided to resign from my position.”  (true story)

(to) Sell (one’s self) – This is an idiomatic Phrasal-Verb which is used very often in situations like job interviews and things of like nature, and means:  To impress some person or a group by presenting one’s self in a way that causes the other or others to be interested and intrigued…  “Well, after going through all the candidates, I would say that Ana was the best.  Not only does she have the necessary qualifications, but she *sold herself* quite well.  I think she will be a great member of the team.”

(to) Sell (one’s self) Short – This is an idiomatic Verb Phrase which is different than to simply “Sell One’s Self”.  This phrase is used to describe the situation where-in a person does not give him or her self the credit that he or she rightly deserves.  This is often done out of modesty, but is also done (maybe even more-so) out of insecurity…  “Elina is always *selling herself short*.  She seems to think that she is an insignificant member of the team, but in truth, the entire operation would come to a halt if she were not here.”

(to) Show Remorse – This is a verb phrase which means:  To show that one feels very bad and/or regretful for some action that he or she did against another.  This can only be done in honesty and not as a show (even though some people try to pretend to show remorse, but that is not true remorse.)…  “The judge gave the criminal the full sentence for the crime because it was clear that he *showed absolutely no remorse* throughout the trial.”

(to) Sky-Rocket – This is an idiomatic phrasal verb which is most often used to describe things like prices (usually of things that we need in order to maintain our standard of living.)…  So to say that the price of oil has *sky-rocketed*, then that means that the price has raised so drastically over such a short period, that it is metaphorically like a rocket ship blasting off into space.  –  (Also note that this phrase is almost always in the past, continuous, or future tenses; never the infinitive  –  See Also:  (to) “Take A Nose-Dive”)

(to not) Sleep A Wink – This is an exaggerated phrase that we say when we want to stress that we are very tired because we had a very hard time sleeping the night before and when we did, it wasn’t very restful…  “With all the cats screaming all night long outside my window, I didn’t *sleep a wink*!”

(to) Sleep Heavily – This is an idiomatic verb phrase and collocation used to describe someone who is sleeping in a way that it would be very difficult to wake them.  This is usually a condition brought on by being very very tired from either physical exertion, mental stress or just being incredibly comfortable and in a state of peace.

(to) Sleep Late – This phrase means the same thing and is used in the same way as, to “Over-sleep”…  “If I *sleep late* again and miss my bus for work, the boss said he’s going to fire me!  Maybe I shouldn’t go to the rave party tonight.”

(to) Sleep Like A Baby – This is an idiomatic verb phrase, which also happens to be a metaphor and simply means that one is sleeping very peacefully.  This metaphor is not necessarily a very good one as a great many babies are not very peaceful sleepers and wake up crying all night long.  However, this phrase probably came about because when a baby is sleeping peacefully, people often think that a baby has no cares in the world and how that must be very very peaceful.

(to) Sleep Like A Log – This is an idiomatic verb phrase, which also happens to be a metaphor and simply means to sleep very deeply.  Since a log just sits there on the ground, they are heavy, and they don’t move…  And if you kick them with your foot, they don’t really respond in any way…  we say the same thing for a person who is sleeping so heavily that there is really nothing you can do to wake them…  “I was so tired after the long journey, and then after eating that huge meal and taking a hot shower, as soon as I hit that bed, I was *sleeping like a log*.”

(to) Soften The Blow – This is an idiomatic phrasal verb used to describe the action of doing or saying something in order to make some devastating news a bit less devastating.  This can be done by saying something nice about a person both before and after giving some harsh criticism, or by following up some bad news with some good news…  “We realize that it is a devastating thing to lose one’s job right before the holiday season, but *to soften the blow*, we have added a $50 coupon for Tesco, so that you can still buy that Christmas Turkey and a bottle of wine, even if you can’t afford any presents for your kids…  Good Luck!”

(to) Speak (one’s) Mind – This is an idiomatic verb phrase which is used to refer to the situation where-in a person says what he or she is thinking or feeling without filtering the words by what he or she thinks will be “acceptable” or will at least non-confrontational.  To put is another way – when a person *Speaks* (his/her) *Mind*, what is usually said can sometimes be confrontational or difficult for the person who is hearing what is said.

(to) Spread Like Wildfire – As wildfires can spread very rapidly, this verb phrase is used to mean that something is spreading very fast…  “It was slow-going in the beginning, but eventually, the idea that people need to have a facebook account *spread like wildfire* and now there are over a billion users worldwide.”

(to not be able to) Stand (something) – This is an idiomatic way of saying that one dislikes something so much that there is absolutely NOTHING about it that is good, and it drives him or her crazy…  “I *can’t stand it* when people cut in front of me or bump into me on the street and then don’t say “excuse me”.” – It is not necessary to put the particle “it” after the phrase, but it is very common.

(to) Stand Firm – This is an idiomatic phrasal verb which is used to mean:  be strong and confident, and not to waiver in the face of adversity or confrontation…  “When we go into the meeting, you must *stand firm*.  Don’t let the opposition intimidate you.”

(to) Stand (One’s) Ground – This is an idiomatic phrasal verb that comes from the military and in that context means, to not let the enemy take your position.  To be brave, fight hard, and not let the opposition win, no matter what.  Outside of the context of the military, it figuratively means the same thing, and is usually used in the context of debates, argument, negotiations and meetings…  “When entering into any negotiations, it is important to *stand your ground* because once you concede even a little bit, the other side will not stop pushing.”

(to not be able to) Stand (something) – This is an idiomatic phrasal used to say that one can not tolerate something, but is used to add emphasis to the fact that the person really does not like or agree with that thing.  It was originally the opposite of the phrase “to stand for something” which means to support something strongly, and probably came from a time when as a group, when people had to vote for something, they would “stand and be counted”…  Now, however, the meaning has changed a bit due to common usage…  “I *can’t stand* how language keeps changing according to the common practices of people of lesser understanding, rather than those people actually learning HOW to use the language correctly.”

(to) Stay A’Float – This is an idiomatic phrasal verb which means almost the same thing as the verb phrase “So keep one’s head above water” – In other words, it means to be “surviving” financially.  However if these terms where literal, to keep one’s head above water, just means “not drowning”, but one is still IN THE WATER!  But, to *stay a’float* insinuates that one is actually IN THE BOAT (out of and above the water,) so, taken in that way, this phrase means that a person is doing a bit better than the previous…  however, they are still “in the ocean” so they are not “to the shore” (making a profit/having a comfortable existence) yet.

(the) Starting-Price – See:  Phrasal Nouns – Letter “P” for “Price”

(to) Stick To (something) – This is an idiomatic phrasal verb which means to continue doing something; to not quit; to stay with something (idea, philosophy, some sort of “pursuit”).  The word “stick” is an informal slang term which means “to adhere to”.  So to *stick to* an opinion about something would mean to not be persuaded to change that opinion.  To *stick to* an activity would mean to continue doing it, even if it is difficult or has not shown the desired result yet…  “I still haven’t won a million dollars in the lottery yet, but I know that if I just *stick to* it, eventually I will win a huge amount of money.”

(to) Stick Together – “Stick” (as a verb) means to adhere to something; like a piece of tape is used to stick things together.  So this idiomatic phrasal verb uses the slang verb “stick”  to talk about situations wherein people or groups need to:  cooperate, work together, support each other, etc.  It is often used to talk about family, friends, co-workers & lovers…  “In tough times such as these, when the world is run by criminals, family and friends really need to *stick together* and help each other out, if they want to survive and thrive.”

–  ( Phrasal-VerbsLetter S )  –


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