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Language tip of the week: life

ILearn English with Macmillan Dictionaryn this weekly post, we bring more useful content from the Macmillan Dictionary to English language learners. In this series of  language tips we look at how metaphor is used to express some common concepts in English. This week’s tip looks at metaphors used to talk about life:

Life is like a journey, and your experiences are like different parts of a journey. Dying is like travelling to another place.



The baby arrived just after midnight.
He came into the world in 1703.
I set out to become a doctor, but it never worked out.
She went through life without ever knowing the truth.
It’s all been an uphill struggle.
We seem to be at a crossroads.
His life took an unexpected direction.
He embarked on a new career.
You’ve got to move on and forget about what’s happened.
Will they go the distance?
She’s well on the way to recovery.
They’re over the hill now.
His grandmother passed away/on last year.
They remembered the departed in their prayers.

Events in your life are like games, with people trying to win, or with things happening by chance.

I’m on a winning/losing streak.
You win some, you lose some.
It’s all been a race against time.
This is not a level playing field.
They’re planning to drop out of the rat race.
Is he in/out of the running?
The election will be a one-horse race.
They asked, but their parents wouldn’t play ball.
This development has been on/in the cards for some time.
If you play your cards right, you shouldn’t have any problems.
The cards were stacked against us.
Then they played their trump card and we gave in.
We just had a lucky throw of the dice.
All bets are off – nobody knows what will happen now.

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Liz Potter

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