Idioms in English letters and e-mails

1. Idioms in sentences

  • I have been busy at work again working long days.
  • We have a plan which will be put into action.
  • One piece of good news to come out of this week is ...
  • We try and fill the gap.
  • We drove the car until the tank ran dry.
  • But there was more to come.
  • Things are there on the horizon.
  • That brings me on to something else.
  • It is a saying that we have here.
  • It only leaves me now to wish you ...
  • We have given this a lot of thought.
  • The outline of one's life story.
  • We talked about the "good old days."
  • Enjoy it whilst you can because life is short.
  • It is a saying that we have here.
  • The good thing about computer is that errors can easily be removed.
  • Writing and sending letters will keep the postman in his job.
  • If everyone contacted each other on computers then the postmen would disappear.
  • My next communication will be on the e-mail.
  • We have been having many problems.
  • It is a well quoted phrase in this country.
  • More of this in my next letter.
  • We never expected to be grandparents but once it happened we were very pleased.
  • The baby was exactly four kilogrammes at birth.
  • You have the ideal situation with your close links to both Vienna, the city of culture and the quiet country residence.
  • Maybe one day, our government will agree to the use of the Euro currency.
  • The sooner the better, it makes things so much easier.
  • We all hope that common sense will come out on top.
  • The Stock Market her is not doing well and therefore some of my investments will not be as profitable as we hoped.
  • How are you both, we trust you are well.
  • Hello again as we approach the end of another year
  • We trust that you are both well as we enter the colder months.

2. Work and occupation

  • to resolve some queries on a particular large project
  • My employer took me out for a good lunch.
  • I assume that all is progresseing well.
  • This is very good news.
  • This would not cause us any problems at all.
  • We look forward to hearing from you again on this situation.
  • I was tidying up our study last week.
  • It appears to be.
  • I spent more time going over things than actually producing new work.
  • to be familiar with something to sort out one's problem
  • My expertise is constantly in demand.
  • I am very busy at work at the moment trying to complete important projects in my rundown to retirement.
  • We would not have ignored your situation, if we were aware of it.
  • Against all my earlier predictions I am now getting so excited about it and I am counting the following months.
  • I promise not mention it to you again until next year when it becomes a reality.

3. Computer and other technical problems

  • My children are always using their computers and are more expert than I am and so they can help me overcome a problem.
  • The reason that I am writing a letter to you is that I have a virus or whatever on my computer system.
  • When on-line it suddenly appears and tells you that you have sixty seconds to go before the system shuts down.
  • The seconds start ticking away on the screen from sixty downwards to nil.
  • When it reaches this point the screen "freezes" and the computer is not able to continue.
  • So you have to turn off the computer and start all over again.
  • Because the screen "freezes", whatever you were working on at that time is then lost forever.
  • I have telephoned the company where I purchased our computer and they gave me advise on what to do.
  • I tried to carry out the procedures that they said were necessary but, with my poor knowledge of how computer systems operate, I quickly failed to progress very far...
  • I will have to take my computer to the shop where I have purchased it and request that they sort out my problem.
  • Presumably if I tried to e-mail you I could be sending the virus on to you also.
  • We are getting lots of messages regarding products that we do not like and do not want to know about.
  • Somehow people get hold of our e-mail address and send rubbish to it.
  • My computer kept letteing me down so we were in need of something newer.
  • My brother has the "know how" on fixing broken computers.
  • We purchased a laptop computer - much more compact and ideal for letter writing.
  • These are the wonders of laptop technology.
  • Letter writing, keeping accounts etc. this is probably all we will now need a computer for.
  • A digital camera is an ideal "companion" for the lap top computer on which I can "download" my photographic efforts.
  • Each evening we were viewing the photos that we took during the day instantly deleting the ones that we did not want.
  • We have not learned how to do this on the e-mail yet.
  • This is the first letter brought to you by the wonders of laptop technology.
  • We are amazed at how compact it is but also surprised how heavy it is.
  • It stops operating whilst it is being used.
  • Our replacement is a laptop computer that is more compact.
  • The laptop is able to carry out all of the functions that we reqire to do.
  • I bought a camera mostly with the money that was donated to me from my company.
  • There will be many more photographs to follow in the future.
  • A digital camera is an ideal "companion" for the laptop computer.
  • We have now satellite television and are absolutely amazed at the large choice of programmes that are available.
  • The problem with cable television ist that you have to dig up the pavements to take a line into each houshold that wants it.
  • The advantage of it is that telephone connections and internet links can also be made on the cable at a cheaper rate than through the normal British Telecom network.
  • My computer problems continue - this is the second attempt that I am making to communicate with you.
  • I get close to the end and then „zapp“ - it all disappears off of he screen.
  • A friend recommended that I take it to a Computer expert to get it corrected.
  • My friend thinks that my whole system needs to be downloaded and re-set.
  • At the moment, if I do anything on the computer I always print what I have done in case it gets lost in the computer.

4. Free time activities

  • My spare time has been very short.
  • That will give me a lot more leisure time than I have now.
  • I have a few hours on my bicycle at the weekend.
  • We were having an overnight stop on our way.
  • ... to spend a long evening over a splendid dinner ...
  • to sort and pack things into the car ...
  • to take two days off of the week
  • We are doing some walking.
  • We are also getting out on our feet and doing more walking.
  • There are not so many people about and the people we do meet on these walking occasions are obviously also retired from their work, so we have something in commeon to talk about to start with.
  • Usually about fifteen people turn up each time.
  • The walks are led by a guide and last a half a day and take place once a week.
  • So we have met another circle of people who we did not know to start with.
  • Trying to learn skiing at a higher age ... ... would probably finish up with broken bones at the first attempt.
  • We have two spare bedrooms.
  • We have another holiday coming up next month.
  • We return to France again to the same people that we stayed with earlier in the year.
  • Since the birth of Jack we have been seeing Philip, Judy and Jack about every two or three weeks.
  • Jack is doing very well and we can monitor his progress.
  • We were very pleased but not "over the moon" when the announcment was first made.
  • A lot of time recently has been taken up helping to get the house sorted.
  • They have bought an older property that does reqire a lot of work, mainly decorating, to get it into "shape" again.
  • But the good news is that "we are slowly getting there".
  • We seem to have a busy schedule over the next few days.
  • It is good that we are both connected on the e-mail again.
  • So we have to sort and pack our things into the car.
  • We have been having very good weather but today the rain has returned - only a short time we hope - but it does help the garden.
  • We hope to send you photographes of the christening event soon, probably through the post because we have not learnt to do this on the e-mail yet.
  • We enjoy a very relaxing time when we are there and catch up on reading our books if we are not walking.
  • I do not mind helping them because I quite enjoy it and it helps me to keep my mind occopied also.
  • Unusually the stairs do not have a light installed and so it is hazardous at night.... Before this we helped to clear the growth that filled the garden that they have.
  • Already is it starting to look good.
  • Our car is going well - we do not drive it too fast and "take our time" when we are out in it. It is all good fun.
  • The good news is (!) that it is all free.
  • This would not cause us any problems at all.
  • We have two spare bedrooms. So we are able to see his progress.
  • A lot of time has been taken up to get the house sorted.
  • For our petrol fuel consumption we are getting around thirty eight miles per gallon fuel consumption, this tranlates to something like fourteen kilometres per litre of petrol. (if my arithmetic is correct)
  • As you will know, I am keen on photography.
  • The payment that we received was much better than we thought it would be.
  • Many people here are ordering their cars on the internet.
  • We may soon be changing our car for a new one.
  • We traded in our Audi A3 for an Audi TT.
  • There are now only two of us to consider and the necessity for four seats in the car does not exist any more.
  • Before we made sure that there was enough room in the boot for our two cases.
  • We have only done some local driving.
  • We are told.
  • Perhaps I should start to close this letter.
  • It has been in the news on more than one occasion.
  • The new shape Golf has been on sale for longer on the continent.
  • It has been in the news on more than one occasion.
  • Perhaps I should start to close this letter.
  • Their house is located in the town of Colchester.
  • Usually the garden is very long – about fourty metres I would guess. (like a bowling alley)
  • Philip and his girlfriend Judy are getting on very well together.
  • Her parents originally lived in London but they moved north some years ago.
  • They have decided that there is no time to waste.
  • The prosessions went on all day.
  • We collected our mother to take her over to my brother's house for an afternoon get together.
  • Talks were under way to take this next step forward.
  • to give someone a present for a wedding anniversary
  • The present was much admired by all.
  • I will keep my fingers crossed.
  • The good news for me is  that on these days the trains are only half full and the roads are deserted.
  • We are about to go on our big holiday.
  • We are going to Canada and are really looking forward to this our first step out of Europe.
  • Canada is very different to England.
  • As usual we drove right down to the water's edge to study what was going on.
  • We could see a huge column rising from the sea right up to the clouds.
  • The cities appear to be spacious with few narrow streets.
  • Food in a restaurant is probably half the cost of a meal in England and you get twice as much.
  • Vancouver is a beautiful city sitting on a very busy river.
  • On arriving home we felt rather tired and the condition lasted for over week. Jet lag appearently.
  • We are having a big Commonwealth athletics event which is being held in the north of England.
  • He was tipped to get a gold medal, but was narrowly beaten and actually finished in third place.
  • As you could see from our recent postcard we did have a late holiday this year by returning to the Canary islands.
  • The temperatures were in the upper twenties and lower thirties centigrade and were therefore very enjoyable.
  • On this occasion we stayed at a different hotel to the one that we nomally go to.
  • This is because our old hotel has now been converted into "self catering" appartments which means that you have to purchase and cook all your own meal reqirements yourself.
  • This must be difficult for the people staying there because the nearest shops where food can be obtained from is probably a three kilmetres walk away.
  • That aside, all is now resolved.
  • ... in the distant past
  • Hence the abundance of wines and olive trees.
  • Their daughter lives up stairs accessed by an external stone staircase.
  • They have a beautiful house with a large garden allotment that overlooks the local vineyards.
  • The scenery and the occasional glass of the local fermented grape juice makes it something of a small paradise for us.
  • ... when she visits home at the weekends.
  • Despite the slight language barrier we do get on very well with our hosts.

5. London

  • The London eye is a new version of the Prater Wheel.
  • Initially the Eye was only meant to stay there for a limited period of time.
  • Westminster bridge is crossing the Thames.
  • It has become so popular with both tourists and Londoners that it may be there for ever.
  • Once upon a time these people would have been taken to the Tower of London to be beheaded.
  • What we call terrace houses are smaller houses all joined together in a straight line.
  • We walked across London to try to get to Buckingham Palace but were stopped by millions of people that arrived there before us ...
  • Instead we stayed in Trafalgar Square which is at the start of the Mall which is the road that leads up to Buckingham Palace.
  • We were able to watch the Royal family on the balcony of the Palace on an enormous twenty metre by twenty metre television screen.
  • There is I believe a very strong support for the Royal family in this country- although this may be mostly from the older generation.
  • We went to London to pay our respects to the dead Queen's mother.
  • All schoolchildren were given a one day holiday to celebrate.
  • We went to London to see the Queen on one of the many ceremonies arranged for this historic event.
  • It was impossible for more people to enter.
  • We watched it all happen on a massive screen which was about ten meters square
  • Many keen followers are taking days off of work to watch the matches on television.

6. Health care and the house

  • ... to be pestered by ...
  • Older people should keep a close eye on their health if they want to have a long life.
  • It has been medically proven that one or two glasses of red wine a day is good for you also.
  • We trust that you are both well. We have some windows that are in need of replacement.
  • We are considering installing those windows made with plastic frames.
  • We have spoken to many manufactures.
  • They do need some works to be done to it.
  • They seem to be the "best buy".
  • Two weeks ago my mother suffered two strokes.
  • She was left with no feeling in her left arm and unable to walk.
  • The residential home does not have the facility to carry out the clinical procedures necessary.
  • So we have the task of locating and transferring her to a nursing home.
  • I will visit two such establishments and try to make an assessment on which will be the best for her.
  • The antbiotics have "done their job" in putting one back to normal.
  • to have the "flu" jab, as we call it
  • We hope that the antibiotics have „done their job“ in putting you back to normal.
  • You were unfortunate to make contact with a person with the virus.
  • Many people are currently enquiring at their doctors when they can have the „ flu“ jab as we call the influenza injection.
  • Terrace houses are smaller houses all joined together in a straight line.
  • Terassen Häuser sind kleinere Häuser, in einer geraden Linie aneinander gereiht.
  • Of course they need some works to be done to it.
  • The windows require replacement.
  • The garden at the back is only about four or five metres wide, but unusually very long, about forty metres I would guess, like a bowling alley.

7. Weather

  • ... a long period without any appreciable rainfall.
  • Have experienced floods because so much rain came in a very short time.
  • Good weather is the main ingredient of an enjoyable holiday.
  • Weather here is very unpredictable.
  • We do benefit from the "tail end" of the Gulf stream.
  • A warm current without which it would be much cooler.
  • ... a large land mass to give more settled weather.
  • We felt that we were in a "different world".
  • This is the earliest that we have had snow for many years.
  • It was all gone by the next day.
  • We had the worst weather on record.
  • ... to experience record high temperatures
  • The weather is still very unseasonable.
  • Mankind is often fighting a losing battle when he is up against the natural elements.
  • There are many theories linking this to global warming.
  • The theories of global warming are being questioned.
  • The cloud was very dark, almost black in colour and it soon became apparent that it was moving towards us getting bigger and bigger.
  • By now three or four more cars had seen this phenomena and arrived at this lonely spot to investigate.
  • It soon became obvious that this was a tornado or a whirlwind, what the Americans call a „twister“.
  • We could see that the surface of the sea underneath was very choppy and we could also see that the column was in fact sea water that was sucked up into a huge cloud at the top of  the column.

8. Seasons/Holidays

  • Summer season is now under way.
  • The autumn season almost appears to have been by-passed.
  • As if over night, we seem to be plunged into the start of winter with low temperatures.
  • Christmas is almost upon us yet again.
  • Christmas has crept up on us ... there are only a few weeks left to prepare for it.
  • Weather is very "Christmassy" this year with some snowfalls and sharp morning frosts upon us already.
  • There are many theories linking this to global warming.
  • The theories of global warming are being questioned.
  • So we have now reached the Christmas break when I can put work to one side for a while whilst I use up the few days of holiday time that I have left.

9. Time

  • The winter Olympics are only two months away with a start being made on 12th of February.
  • The games will run for three or four months.
  • That could have been as long as the fifties.
  • Races were held up here until the late seventies.
  • We look forward to the end of the school term.
  • We are already half way through the year.
  • The anniversary will be here soon.
  • I have tried to keep up with the year's events.
  • It takes up a lot of time.
  • We enjoy the slow pace of life.
  • We all need to relax and unwind even more these days.
  • I hope to work less hours each week for less pay.
  • The cost is now very reaonable compared with what it was a year or so ago.
  • To retire at an earlier age than is normal.
  • I am now well into reading the book from cover to cover!
  • It will take a while for everyone to settle down.
  • We have the next event coming up soon.
  • I do not write the letters all in one go(!) but gradually.
  • Time is getting short.
  • Time will tell.
  • We have only limited time.
  • This is very time consuming.
  • I must speed up.
  • ... one day a week.
  • ... over the period of a few weeks.
  • ... at this rate of writing progress.
  • ... to celebrate an anniversary.
  • ... by which time ...
  • ... on previous occasions
  • There is time for more discussion on this topic in a future letter.
  • I have more time on my hands.
  • This process can take up to four weeks.
  • The delivery period is approximately four months.
  • We will speak about this and arrange dates in the future.
  • We will return to the same people that we stayed with earlier in the year.
  • We enjoy a relaxed time and catch up on reading our books.
  • Jack is doing very well and we can monitor his progress.
  • I have always sorted out her affairs on her behalf.
  • Before this letter runs into the next page, we will say goodbye for now.

Thanks to Helmut.