IBPS RRB Phrases and Idioms | IBPS RRB 2018


In everyday conversation, we use a lot of phrases and idioms, irrespective of whatever language you might speak. For example, if you want to say that something is old in Hindi, we say “Baba Adam ke zamaney ka hai“. You might have similar idioms in Tamil, Telegu, Bengali, Gujarati or any other language that you might use. Similarly, in English, you have different phrases and idioms that help in better communication. In the English language paper in IBPS RRB Mains, you have to answer questions on idioms and phrases. Let us see how you can answer the IBPS RRB phrases and idioms questions in a smart way! Let’s begin!

Analyzing IBPS RRB Phrases and Idioms

Let us first analyze the questions on phrases and idioms that come in the IBPS RRB exam. Before you start your bank exam preparation, it really helps if you could know about the questions that come in the exam. Let us analyze the IBPS RRB phrases and idioms questions a little bit closer.

Average Number of Questions: The average number of questions vary from year to year. If you look at the previous year question papers, you would find that about 2-3 questions come from phrases and idioms every year. However, the number can go up in the coming years. In IBPS RRB mains 2018, you can expect at least 3 questions or even more from idioms and phrases.

The Level of Difficulty: The questions on idioms and phrases are generally easy to solve. However, in some years, some of the questions were of moderate difficulty.

The Amount of Practice That You Need: Idioms and phrases don’t really need intense practice every day. If you could solve 20-30 questions every week, then that would be more than enough. It would help you if you could go through some of the most common idioms and phrases. We would be providing some at the end of this post.

Some Facts About the IBPS RRB Idioms and Phrases Questions

What is the structure of the questions asked about idioms and phrases in IBPS RRB?

The structure of the questions is rather simple. There can be two types of questions. The first one is pretty straightforward. You would be given a phrase and be asked to choose the right meaning from the list of given options. However, these type of questions has become rare nowadays in IBPS RRB. The second type is more common. In this type of questions, you would be given a sentence. The first part would be a normal sentence but the second part of the sentence, you would have the idiom. The two parts would have a certain connection. You would have to choose the right answer from the options.

Example: His birthday was supposed to be a surprise! I can’t believe you let the cat out of the bag.

a) to let the pet roam around freely
b) to try to save someone from a disaster
c) to  make someone subordinate
d) to accidentally reveal a secret

Do I need to learn all of the idioms and phrases?

Well, there are hundreds of thousands of idioms in the English language. Learning them would take months of dedicated preparation. This is not exactly needed. You can easily understand a particular idiom or phrase by following a simple trick.

Is there any book that I can follow?

Most standard grammar books would have a section on idioms and phrases. Check out the following books:

They should be enough to cover the topic pretty well. Now, let’s look at the right approach to solving the question

Solving IBPS RRB Phrases and Idioms Questions

Let’s take a look at how you should approach such questions in your RRB exam. The approach is rather simple and it doesn’t require you to be a master of the English language. So, let us look at the steps you should follow to solve IBPS RRB phrases and idioms.

We are going to take the example that we cited above and see the step by step approach in which you can solve questions like these.


His birthday was supposed to be a surprise! I can’t believe you let the cat out of the bag.

a) to let the pet roam around freely
b) to try to save someone from a disaster
c) to  make someone subordinate
d) to accidentally reveal a secret

Solution: Here we have to find the meaning of the idiom ‘cat out of the bag’. Let us see how we can do that.

STEP 1 – Understand – The first thing that you need to do is read the sentence and understand what it is all about. Here we can guess that two people are talking about the planned surprise for another person’s birthday

STEP 2 – Look for clues – You need to look for clues that might unravel the meaning of the idiom. From the first part of the sentence, we get the word ‘supposed’. This means that something was planned. At the start of the second sentence, the person exclaims ‘I can’t believe’. This probably means that the other guy did something that spoiled the surprise.

STEP 3 – Look at the options – From the above step, it is clear that we should be looking for something that is similar to spoiling a surprise. In option (d), we get that. All the others are way off.

STEP 4 – Answer – Select Option (d) as the answer

Answer: Option (d)

Practice Questions

Question 1: I’m sorry I can’t come into work today. I’m feeling under the weather. 


(a) that weather is good
(b) it seems as it will rain
(c) to feel as if under suspicion
(d) to not feel well
(e) to be doubtful about the work

Answer: d

Question 2: I have been trying to figure this out for ages. Thanks so much, you’re right. You have to hit the nail on the head.


(a) to repair perfectly
(b) to hit exactly the right place
(c) to describe exactly where the actual opportunity lies
(d) to describe exactly what is causing a situation or problem
(e) all are correct

Answer: d

Question 3: We missed our flight to Delhi because the connecting flight was late and to add insult to injury they made us pay for a new ticket as if it was our fault!


(a) to be compensated
(b) to make a situation worse
(c) to be reprimanded
(d) to be praised
(e) to be ruined

Answer: b

Question 4: Rupa might not be the most attractive but you can’t judge a book by its cover.I’m sure she is a sweetheart.


(a) to prove someone innocent
(b) to make someone a cheater
(c) to not judge someone or something based solely on appearance
(d) to select a book by seeing its contents
(e) to select a book by its quantity

Answer: c

Some Common Idioms for IBPS RRB English Preparation

Here are some of the common idioms that are commonly asked in IBPS RRB mains exam

A blessing in disguisea good thing that seemed bad at firstas part of a sentence
A dime a dozenSomething commonas part of a sentence
Beat around the bushAvoid saying what you mean, usually because it is uncomfortableas part of a sentence
Better late than neverBetter to arrive late than not to come at allby itself
Bite the bulletTo get something over with because it is inevitableas part of a sentence
Break a legGood luckby itself
Call it a dayStop working on somethingas part of a sentence
Cut somebody some slackDon’t be so criticalas part of a sentence
Cutting cornersDoing something poorly in order to save time or moneyas part of a sentence
Easy does itSlow downby itself
Get out of handGet out of controlas part of a sentence
Get something out of your systemDo the thing you’ve been wanting to do so you can move onas part of a sentence
Get your act togetherWork better or leaveby itself
Give someone the benefit of the doubtTrust what someone saysas part of a sentence
Go back to the drawing boardStart overas part of a sentence
Hang in thereDon’t give upby itself
Hit the sackGo to sleepas part of a sentence
It’s not rocket scienceIt’s not complicatedby itself
Let someone off the hookTo not hold someone responsible for somethingas part of a sentence
Make a long story shortTell something brieflyas part of a sentence
Miss the boatIt’s too lateas part of a sentence
No pain, no gainYou have to work for what you wantby itself
On the ballDoing a good jobas part of a sentence
Pull someone’s legTo joke with someoneas part of a sentence
Pull yourself togetherCalm downby itself
So far so goodThings are going well so farby itself
Speak of the devilThe person we were just talking about showed up!by itself
That’s the last strawMy patience has run outby itself
The best of both worldsAn ideal situationas part of a sentence
Time flies when you’re having funYou don’t notice how long something lasts when it’s funby itself
To get bent out of shapeTo get upsetas part of a sentence
To make matters worseMake a problem worseas part of a sentence
Under the weatherSickas part of a sentence
We’ll cross that bridge when we come to itLet’s not talk about that problem right nowby itself
Wrap your head around somethingUnderstand something complicatedas part of a sentence
You can say that againThat’s true, I agreeby itself
Your guess is as good as mineI have no ideaby itself

Here are some more:

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bushWhat you have is worth more than what you might have laterby itself
A penny for your thoughtsTell me what you’re thinkingby itself
A penny saved is a penny earnedMoney you save today you can spend laterby itself
A perfect stormthe worst possible situationas part of a sentence
A picture is worth 1000 wordsBetter to show than tellby itself
Actions speak louder than wordsBelieve what people do and not what they sayby itself
Add insult to injuryTo make a bad situation worseas part of a sentence
Barking up the wrong treeTo be mistaken, to be looking for solutions in the wrong placeas part of a sentence
Birds of a feather flock togetherPeople who are alike are often friends (usually used negatively)by itself
Bite off more than you can chewTake on a project that you cannot finishas part of a sentence
Break the iceMake people feel more comfortableas part of a sentence
By the skin of your teethJust barelyas part of a sentence
Comparing apples to orangesComparing two things that cannot be comparedas part of a sentence
Costs an arm and a legVery expensiveas part of a sentence
Do something at the drop of a hatDo something without having planned beforehandas part of a sentence
Do unto others as you would have them do unto youTreat people fairly. Also known as “The Golden Rule”by itself
Don’t count your chickens before they hatchDon’t count on something good happening until it’s happened.by itself
Don’t cry over spilt milkThere’s no reason to complain about something that can’t be fixedby itself
Don’t give up your day jobYou’re not very good at thisby itself
Don’t put all your eggs in one basketWhat you’re doing is too riskyby itself
Every cloud has a silver liningGood things come after bad thingsby itself
Get a taste of your own medicineGet treated the way you’ve been treating others (negative)as part of a sentence
Give someone the cold shoulderIgnore someoneas part of a sentence
Go on a wild goose chaseTo do something pointlessas part of a sentence
Good things come to those who waitBe patientby itself
He has bigger fish to fryHe has bigger things to take care of than what we are talking about nowby itself
He’s a chip off the old blockThe son is like the fatherby itself
Hit the nail on the headGet something exactly rightby itself
Ignorance is blissYou’re better off not knowingby itself
It ain’t over till the fat lady singsThis isn’t over yetby itself
It takes one to know oneYou’re just as bad as I amby itself
It’s a piece of cakeIt’s easyby itself
It’s raining cats and dogsIt’s raining hardby itself
Kill two birds with one stoneGet two things done with a single actionby itself
Let the cat out of the bagGive away a secretas part of a sentence
Live and learnI made a mistakeby itself
Look before you leapTake only calculated risksby itself
On thin iceOn probation. If you make another mistake, there will be trouble.as part of a sentence
Once in a blue moonRarelyas part of a sentence
Play devil’s advocateTo argue the opposite, just for the sake of argumentas part of a sentence
Put something on icePut a projet on holdas part of a sentence
Rain on someone’s paradeTo spoil somethingas part of a sentence
Saving for a rainy daySaving money for lateras part of a sentence
Slow and steady wins the raceReliability is more important than speedby itself
Spill the beansGive away a secretas part of a sentence
Take a rain checkPostpone a planas part of a sentence
Take it with a grain of saltDon’t take it too seriouslyas part of a sentence
The ball is in your courtIt’s your decisionby itself
The best thing since sliced breadA really good inventionas part of a sentence
The devil is in the detailsIt looks good from a distance, but when you look closer, there are problemsby itself
The early bird gets the wormThe first people who arrive will get the best stuffby itself
The elephant in the roomThe big issue, the problem people are avoidingas part of a sentence
The whole nine yardsEverything, all the way.as part of a sentence
There are other fish in the seaIt’s ok to miss this opportunity. Others will arise.by itself
There’s a method to his madnessHe seems crazy but actually he’s cleverby itself
There’s no such thing as a free lunchNothing is entirely freeby itself
Throw caution to the windTake a riskas part of a sentence
You can’t have your cake and eat it tooYou can’t have everythingby itself
You can’t judge a book by its coverThis person or thing may look bad, but it’s good insideby itself

So, these were some of the things that you can try out for solving IBPS RRB phrases and idioms questions. For more such interesting and useful articles on IBPS RRB preparation, keep browsing our website.

Best of luck!

Team Topprnotes.

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