3 April 2014

Success and failure idioms





Most people have a burning ambition which they hope to achieve. Hopefully, they will do their best to fulfill their ambition. However, it might be thwarted or frustrated. Not many people, unfortunately, achieve their life's ambition. And most of us have at least one unfulfilled ambition.


rising star - a person who is likely to be successful;
> Joanna's still young but I think she's going to do well here.
You're right. She's definitely one of the rising stars.

burning ambition - very great ambition;
> I've always had a burning ambition to be an actress.

up-and-coming - likely to achieve success soon or in the near future;
> You play basketball, don't you? Has your team won anything this season?
No, but next year will be better. We've got some up-and-coming young players who are hungry for success.

the sky's the limit - there is no limit;
> What's the pay like in your company?
Well, if you work hard and you're good at selling, the sky's the limit.

the world's sb's oyster - if the world is someone's oyster, they can do what they want to or go where they want to;
> Jack chose to do computing at university.
Well, he's a clever guy. Once you've got the degree, you can get a job almost anywhere you want - the world's your oyster.

NOTE: Today oysters are expensive and few people eat them, but a hundred years ago they were eaten by everyone. They were one of the commonest forms of seafood. 

go up in the world (US move up in the world- to have more money or a better social position than you had before;
> He used to sleep on the floor of a friend's flat and now he owns a chain of hotels. That's what I call going up in the world.

hungry for success strongly or eagerly desirous; 
You play basketball, don't you? Has your team won anything this season?
No, but next year will be better. We've got some up-and-coming young players who are hungry for success.

high-flyer (also high-flier) - someone who has a lot of ability and a strong wish to be successful and is therefore expected to achieve a lot;
High-flyers in the industry typically earn 25% more than their colleagues.

move heaven and earth - to do everything you can to achieve something;
> She'll move heaven and earth to get it done on time.

pull your socks up - to make an effort to improve your work or behaviour because it is not good enough;
> He's going to have to pull his socks up if he wants to stay in the team.

set your heart on sth - to want to get or achieve something very much;
> My sister doesn't want to go to university. She's setting her heart on becoming a singer.

leave no stone unturned - to do everything you can to achieve a good result, especially when looking for something;
> The police said that they were confident of finding the escaped prisoners and would leave no stone unturned until every one of them was back under lock and key.

set your sights on sth - to decide to achieve something;
> Justin has set his sights on winning the competition.

pull out all the stops - to do everything you can to make something successful;
> They pulled out all the stops for their daughter's wedding.

stop at nothing - If you stop at nothing to achieve something, you are willing to do anything in order to achieve it, even if it involves danger, great effort or harming other people;
> Andrew is ruthless.He stabbed Jack in the back, and reported Jill for being late. He's determined to become Area Manager.  He'll stop at nothing until he gets the job.

 get left behind - not adapting quickly enough; not keeping up with others;
> People who have never used a computer get left behind when it comes to using social media like Twitter.



And now a quick revision.

Complete the expressions:

  1. ........ and coming
  2. a .......... ambition
  3. the world's your.........
  4. set your ........ on
  5. get ....... behind
  6. ......... for success
  7. a high-........
  8. go up in the.........
  9. move.......... and earth
  10. a rising..........
  11. pull your......... up
  12. the sky's the.........
  13. stop at..........
  14. leave no......... unturned
  15. pull out all the............

Is there anything you would move heaven and earth to achieve?

Photo source: harveymackay.com

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