Learn English Phrases – On the right track / Get back on track

 

Everyday English Speaking Course

Hello students, it’s Shayna, your teacher at EspressoEnglish.net and today’s phrase of the day is “on the right track.” If you are on the right track, it means that you are going in the right direction, but this means the right direction in terms of progress, not physical movement.

Let me show you what I mean. Let’s say I’m teaching a class and I ask the class a question. A student answers the question and his answer is close but not exactly what I was looking for, I could say, “That’s not quite correct, but you’re on the right track,” meaning that his thinking process was going in the right direction.

The opposite of “on the right track” is on the wrong track, and this means going in the wrong direction. Again, in terms of progress, not in terms of physical movement, like driving a car or walking.

For example, let’s imagine that in your country a new law is passed saying that politicians don’t have to obey the law, they can do whatever they want. Well, you could say, “Hmm. This country’s really on the wrong track,” meaning that the progress and development of the country is moving in a bad or wrong direction.

One final expression for today is to get back on track, and this means to return to the right path, or the right direction.

For example, imagine you’re in a meeting at work and the meeting is focusing on a specific topic. However, during the discussion, your co-workers start talking about different topics that are not the main focus of the meeting, until one person finally reminds everybody of the main topic, and then the discussion returns to that main topic.

Then you could say, “The discussion went off on a tangent for a while…” (Off on a tangent means the conversation went in a different direction outside the main topic) “…but then it got back on track.”

Another example is, if your New Year’s resolution was to go to the gym three times a week, but last week you were very busy and you didn’t go to the gym. You could say, “I skipped a couple of workouts last week but this week I’m going to get back on track.”

Now you know three expressions with the word “track.” On the right track, meaning to move or progress in the right direction; on the wrong track, meaning to move or progress in the wrong direction; and get back on track, for returning to making good progress in the right direction.

That’s all for today. Tune in tomorrow to learn more English phrases and expressions.

You’ll learn hundreds of conversational English expressions in this course:

Everyday English Speaking Course

Learn more about the Speaking Course