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Thursday, July 19, 2012

To get a jump on

Idiom: to get a jump on 

First example: Annie knows that the stores will be crowded from Thanksgiving until the New Year holiday because people want to buy lots of gifts for the holidays.  Annie hates crowds and she tries to avoid them as much as she can.  This year, she plans to get a jump on her holiday shopping and start buying gifts during the summer and back-to-school sales.  If she does most of her shopping early, she will be able to relax and enjoy the holidays.
Meaning: “To get a jump on” means to get something started before it has to be started.  In other words, you begin something early to make sure it’s done on time.  In this situation, Annie will start shopping in the summer.  If she can get a jump on buying gifts, she won’t feel stressed during the regular holiday shopping season.

Here is another example:Second example: Peter works hard all week, so he likes to sleep late on the weekends.  He usually wakes up around 11 or 12 on Saturdays and Sundays.  But last weekend, his parents came to visit him Saturday afternoon.  Peter wanted to make sure his apartment was clean and that he had dinner prepared for his parents.  Friday night, he got a jump on all of the chores he needed to do.  Before he went to bed, he cleaned his kitchen and bathroom, and made the dessert for after dinner.  That made his Saturday much easier for him.
Meaning: In this situation, Peter wanted to make sure he was ready for his parents’ visit.  If he waited until Saturday to do everything, he might not have finished his chores before his parents arrived.  So he got a jump on all of the tasks he needed to do by starting them on Friday night.

This idiom is from LSI's
soon-to-be-published book "Speaking Horizons," which will be used in the level 6 Listening/Speaking classes. For more information, please visit

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