93% of People Can't Complete These Common Phrases. Can You?

By: Isadora Teich
Image: shutterstock

About This Quiz

Think you can complete these common phrases? Some sayings are funny, some teach lessons, and others help paint a picture or make a point. All languages are full of proverbs and wacky sayings, and none more so than English. Many experts think that it's possible for English to have the largest vocabulary of any language spoken today, leading to even more possibilities for playing with language.  

Of course, while many things are considered common sense or common knowledge, that does not mean that everyone knows them. It is often taken for granted that "everyone knows" certain things, when in reality there are large gaps in general knowledge. Sometimes these are harmless, sometimes they are funny, and sometimes they can cause problems. What they say about assuming things is often true. The sayings that are popular also evolve as rapidly language itself does. New sayings, new words and new slang develop and disappear all the time in any living language. This is how language works. After all, most people don't use the same slang and sayings that their grandparents did.

If you think you know your English sayings and can get a handle on completing them perfectly, then give this quiz a shot! 


__________ flies when you're having fun.

This is a common phrase. It means that you don't notice time passing when you are enjoying yourself.

Speak of the __________.

This is a funny old phrase. It's used when the person you are talking about coincidentally appears.

__________ your bridges.

If someone is "burning their bridges" they are not literally burning bridges. They are intentionally ruining their connections or opportunities.

_________ it out of your system.

Getting something out of your systems means to do something you really want to do, so you can move on. Usually, this involves making less than perfect choices.

Hit the ___________.

This phrase means to go to sleep. "Hit the hay" is also commonly used.

No ________, no gain.

This saying means that things don't come for free. It is necessary to work for what you want.

Pull someone's _________.

This is a common one. It means to joke with someone.

Wrap your ________ around it.

To wrap your head around something means to understand it. If you can't wrap your head around something, you can't understand it.

It's not __________ science.

This phrase is often used to express that something is not complicated. It means that compared to rocket science, whatever is being talked about is simple.

________ in disguise.

Things are commonly described as being blessings in disguise. It means that they seemed bad at first, but actually had positive results.

You can't have your _________, and eat it too.

This saying has evolved over the centuries from an old proverb, which literally means that you can't eat your cake and expect to still have it. It has come to have a similar meaning to, "You can't have it both ways."

________ the weather.

If someone is under the weather they are not feeling well. This is a common expression.

Better late than ________.

This phrase is incredibly common. It means it is better to do something late than to not do it at all.

Cut him some __________.

You can cut anybody some slack. It means to go easy on someone and not be so critical.

Give them the _________ of the doubt.

To give someone the benefit of the doubt means to trust what they say, even if you aren't 100% sure. This is another one of those common phrases that is incredibly confusing when taken literally.

Let them off the __________.

To let someone off the hook means to not hold them responsible for something. If you decide to let things go, you are letting someone off the hook.

Miss the ________.

If someone has missed the boat, they are too late. Often they have missed out on some sort of opportunity or trying to do something that is out of fashion.

Call it a _______.

This phrase is used as part of a sentence. It means to stop focusing or working on something.

On the _________.

If someone is on the ball, they are doing an excellent job. This phrase is usually used as part of a sentence.

You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him _________.

This phrase means that you can do your best to help someone fix their problems, but ultimately it's on them. After all, you can offer advice, but it is up to the other person to take it to heart.

______ the nose.

If something is "on the nose," it's accurate. Calling a shouting salesman annoying, for example, would be on the nose.

Get your act __________.

This phrase is used by itself. It means that whoever it is said to needs to do a better job and get their life together.

The best of both _________.

Someone who is experiencing the best of both worlds is in luck. They are getting the benefits of two very different situations at once.

Off their ________.

There are many sayings used to say that someone is crazy in English. This is one.

Get _________ out of shape.

This means to be upset about something. Many people who have upset other people use it when they think the people they have upset are overreacting.

We'll cross that ________ when we come to it.

This phrase is used by those who want to deal with problems as they occur. It is a stand-alone sentence.

Get out of __________.

This is a common one used as part of another sentence. It means that something has gotten out of control.

You can _______ that again.

This is not literally an invitation to repeat. Saying this means that you agree with someone.

Don't judge a __________ by its cover.

This saying warns against judging things based on appearances alone. After all, many books have similar covers but are wholly different inside.

_________ around the bush.

Have you ever stalled talking about something uncomfortable directly by being vague about what you mean? Then you have beaten around the bush.

Hang in ________.

This common phrase is used alone. It means to keep persevering in the face of adversity.

Make a ________ story short.

To make a long story short means to condense something you are talking about. It is used as part of a sentence.

Go back to the _______ board.

This phrase means to start over. It refers to the fact that many plans begin with initial sketches or rough drafts.

__________ does it.

This one is used as a complete phrase. It means to take more care and time when handling something and slow down.

This is the last _________.

If someone says this to you, they are not very happy with you! It means that their patience has run out.

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!

Explore More Quizzes