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Thursday, July 5, 2012

To Fix Up

To Fix Up

Meaning: To improve the appearance or condition of something

 Example 1:

Tom: It is so exhausting looking for a house. We have visited at least 10 different houses in the past two weeks and we still haven’t found one we like!

 Sarah: Are you looking for a new house?

 Tom: No, we don’t really have enough money to buy a new house. Instead, we are looking for an older house that we can fix up. We don’t mind doing a little work as long as the house is in a good location.

 Sarah: That’s what we did when we bought our house a couple of years ago. We had such a good time fixing everything up on the weekends. We especially liked painting everything. It was a great experience for the kids because they were able to fix up their rooms in any way they wanted.

 Tom: That sounds like fun! I hope we find something soon.

 Sarah: I’m sure you will. Good luck!

Example 2:

Ken: Wow! That’s a really old car! What year is it?
Jack: It’s a 1967 Mustang. Isn’t it gorgeous?

Ken: Well….it’s kind of old and rusty.
Jack: You have to use your imagination! After I fix it up with a new paint job and tires, it will be as good as new. Actually, it will be better than new!

Ken: You mean that you are going to fix this old car up? That’s going to take a lot of work!
Jack: Yes, it will, but in the end I’ll have a beautiful classic car. Since I’ll spend so much time fixing it up, the car will be special. You can’t find that in any of the new cars.

Ken: I see your point. Would you like me to help you fix it up on the weekend? My dad owns a tire shop and I can get you a great deal.
Jack: Sounds good! Thank you for the offer!

To fix up means to improve the appearance or condition of something. It is usually used when talking about older things that need changing to look better, like a house or car.
This idiom can be found in the LSI textbook Speaking Transitions. This book is used at LSI schools in the level 4 Listening/Speaking classes. For more information, please visit:

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

On Hand

Meaning: Present; available
Example 1:
Terri: Did you just see that used car with the “For Sale” sign parked over there? It’s a gorgeous car and it looks like new!

 Selma: Yes, I did. I called the number on the sign and talked to the owner. The mileage is really low and it drives perfectly.

 Terri: Well, you’ve been looking for a car. Why don’t you buy it?

 Selma: That’s just the problem. The owner needs to sell it fast, and he is willing to negotiate the price. But, he wants cash only.

 Terri: There’s a bank right down the street.

 Selma: Yes, I know, but I still don’t have that much cash on hand to pay for the car today and I’m afraid someone else will buy it if I wait until I can get the cash.

 Terri: I wish that I had enough cash on hand to lend to you because that is a really good deal for a car. Maybe you could borrow from your roommate?

 Selma: Yes, she might have enough cash on hand because she is really good at saving money. I think I’ll call her right now.

Example 2:

Ken: Oh, the kids are so bored and it’s summer! We have to do something. Can we play a game?
Jolene: Well…We could play volleyball at the beach, but I don’t think we have enough people on hand to make two complete teams.

Ken: I see. Why don’t we just play Frisbee at the beach. Do we have enough Frisbees on hand for 6 kids?
Jolene: Yes, I think we do. Also, Mrs. Smith already lives right on the beach and she is willing to watch the kids while they play.

Ken: That makes me feel better to have an extra person on hand to help with the kids. They can get pretty wild at times.

To be on hand means that someone or something is available or ready to be used. In example one, they are talking about having cash or money on hand. In example two, they talk about having people and things on hand to play at the beach.
This idiom can be found in the LSI textbook Reading Horizons. This book is used at LSI schools in the level 6 Reading/Vocabulary classes. For more information, please visit: