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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

To Zero in On

Meaning: Direct one's attention to, concentrate or focus on

Example 1:
Tom: Did you hear about that big bank robbery yesterday on Main Street?

Sarah: No! What happened?

Tom: Well, a couple of guys dressed up as clowns went into the bank around 1:00 yesterday and stole almost $100,000 in cash!

Sarah: Really? Do the police have any idea who the robbers could be?

Tom: Well, the police have zeroed in on a couple of guys working at a local circus that is in town for a few weeks. They think perhaps that is where the guys got their wigs and make up for the clown costumes. Plus, the men were seen running toward the circus area after robbing the bank.

Sarah: Well, I guess it wasn’t too hard to zero in on those two. They must not be very smart!

Example 2:
Ken: So, have you found a new house yet.

Jack: Well, we have been looking at so many different houses in the past couple of weeks, but we haven’t zeroed in on any one special house yet.

Ken: Don’t worry. Take your time so that you find the house that is just right for you.

Jack: Yes, I know. But I don’t want to take too long because the kids are tired of living in this small apartment we rented while looking for a house.

Ken: I’m sure after looking at all those different houses, you’ll be able to zero in on one soon and move in right away.

Jack: I hope so!

To Zero in On means to direct one’s attention to someone or something or to focus on someone or something. In the first example, the police have zeroed in on who the bank robbers are since they were seen running toward a certain area of town. In the second example, Ken is trying to find a new house, but has not zeroed in on a house yet because he has looked at so many different houses.

This idiom can be found in the 2nd edition of Reading Horizons. This book is used at LSI schools in the level 6 Reading/Vocabulary classes. For more information, please visit:

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