15 Conversational English phrases with “IN” and “ON”

Conversational English phrases with “in”

in the same boat

“I’ve been looking for a job for months, but I haven’t found anything.”

“I’m in the same boat, so I know how you feel.”

in the same boat = in the same situation

in the market for

“Are you in the market for a new phone? There’s a great sale this week at Best Buy.”

“Really? I’ll have to check it out. I’ve been thinking of getting a phone for my daughter.”

in the market for (something) = interested in buying that particular thing

in a tight spot

“Boy, am I in a tight spot – my sister’s wedding is on the same weekend as a major business conference that I’ve already bought tickets to!”

“Ouch! Well, you can’t miss the wedding. Maybe you can sell the tickets or transfer them to someone else.”

in a tight spot = in a difficult situation

in full swing

“How was your trip to Colorado?”

“It was nice. The ski season’s in full swing so it was hard to find a hotel, and we ended up staying with friends.”

in full swing = at the higest level of activity

in over your head

“I heard you started your own business. How’s that going?”

“Oh, it’s all right. A lot of days I feel like I’m in over my head, but I’m lucky to have some good advisors.”

in over your head = too deeply involved beyond what you can manage; having more difficulties than you are capable of handling

in a rut

“Why did you join the military?”

“Well, my life was sort of in a rut – nothing but going to work, coming home, eating, and sleeping. I really wanted some excitement or adventure.”

in a rut = in a boring routine of habits that doesn’t change

in dire straits

“Oh, so you grew up in Middletown – do you still live there?”

“No. The city’s in dire straits. There’s been a huge increase in crime and unemployment over the past few years.”

in dire straits = in an extremely serious bad situation

in mint condition

“Here’s a washing machine for sale – the ad says it’s only a year old and is in mint condition.

“Really? Let me see the pictures.”

in mint condition = in perfect condition, as if it was new

Conversational English phrases with “on”

on the fritz

“Whoa, it’s really hot in here.”

“Yeah, I know – my air conditioner’s on the fritz. Sorry.”

on the fritz when a piece of machinery/equipment is broken or not functioning properly

on edge

“What was it like performing in front of 500 people?”

“I was definitely a little on edge before getting on stage – but once the music started, I calmed down.”

on edge nervous, tense, worried about something

on a roll

“My baseball team has won our last five games!”

“Awesome – you’re on a roll!

on a roll = having a period of many successes in a row

on the mend

“How’s your mom doing?”

“She had knee surgery last week. She was in a lot of pain the first few days, but now she’s on the mend.

on the mend = recovering and beginning to get better after a surgery or sickness

on its last legs

“I’ve had to get my car repaired three times in the past month.”

“Sounds like it’s on its last legs. You should probably start looking for a new one.”

on its last legs = when a machine is old and will probably stop functioning soon

be hell-bent on

“My boyfriend is hell-bent on quitting his job and pursuing a career in music.”

“Hmm… I don’t suppose you could talk him into at least getting a part-time job?”

be hell-bent on doing something = be completely determined to do something, especially something that other people thing is wrong or not a good idea

get on someone’s good/bad side

“I’m starting a new job next week – got any tips for me?”

“Definitely try to get on your manager’s good side – it’ll pay off in the future.”

get on someone’s good/bad side = do things to make that person have a lasting good/bad impression of you

Learn practical spoken English for daily life:

15 Conversational English phrases with "IN" and "ON" Espresso English

Learn more about the Speaking Course