Posted by: helpforyourenglish | January 8, 2011

Idioms: Go pear shaped, between a rock and a hard place

Idioms are expressions that have a different meaning from the single words in them, so you have to learn the meaning of an idiom and remember to always think of that idiom as that meaning and not the meaning of the single words in the idiom.

Here are two common idioms:

Go/gone pear shaped. It is common to use this in a sentence such as; It has gone pear shaped, or, Things have gone pear shaped.  The meaning has nothing to do with pears or shapes. The expression means that something has gone wrong, or something unwanted or unexpected has happened.

I found an article from the BBC about a farmer (Kenton Honeybun). He has been a farmer for many years but things have changed in the last ten years. He says costs are rising and income is going down. Last year he didn’t make a profit and this year his income is 30,000 pounds less than last year! He works very hard. He said, “I’ve had two afternoons off this year. I do not go on any foreign holidays.” For him and his farming business, things have gone pear shaped.

Mr Honeybun uses another common idiom: caught between a rock and a hard place. This means that he has to make a decision but he doesn’t like the choices available to him. He has to choose between two unpleasant or unwanted things. For Mr Honeybun, the choices are to give up his business or to keep losing money. It’s not an easy choice for him. He is caught between a rock and a hard place.

Here is a link to the article:


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