We use the expression train of thought to refer to the process of thinking about a sequence of connected ideas. We often use this expression to refer to an uninterrupted flow of ideas, or the development of a line of reasoning in our mind.
We use the expression half the battle to refer to the success that we feel when we’ve completed the most difficult part of a task, especially one that requires multiple steps. We use it to say that we’ve had a successful start to a task and that, as a result, we’re one step closer to achieving our goal. When we say that something was half the battle, it means that the most challenging part of the task is over so the path to success should be easier to manage.
When someone is on the ball, they pay close attention to the details of an activity or project. As a result, they are usually knowledgeable and quick to respond to changes.
Employers like to have employees who are on the ball because it means that they are competent and alert. This expression can be used in professional settings to make reference to someone’s work ethic. It can also be used in casual settings to say that someone is smart or organized in general. For example:
When you put something on the back burner, you put it on hold to deal with at a later time. You could put something on the back burner because it’s not important, it’s not urgent, or you just don’t have the time or resources to deal with it at the moment. Regardless of the reason, if you put something on the back burner, you have judged it to be low priority.
If you give someone the freedom to behave in an unsatisfactory way and you do not criticize them, then you cut them some slack. This does not mean that you are encouraging their behavior. Rather, it just means that you have decided not to judge their actions as harshly as usual.
When something takes a toll on you, it has a negative impact on your physical or emotional state. The impact usually happens slowly over time.
When you have a lot on your plate, you have a lot of important tasks to manage. This could mean that you’re trying to balance multiple projects at one time, or you’re dealing with one large, demanding project.
We use the term silver lining to emphasize hope or optimism about a negative situation. If you’re faced with an upsetting situation but you’re able to find something positive about it, then you’ve found the silver lining.
We often use this expression to convey optimism and to comfort someone during a difficult time. It can be used as a reassuring reminder that even the most unfortunate situations have a positive aspect. For example:
When you catch up with someone, you give them an update on recent events in your life. It is a friendly exchange of information, usually between two people who have not seen each other for a long time.
This expression is typically used to refer to social situations with friends and family. It can also be used in professional contexts if you are catching up about business subjects, or if you have a friendly relationship with the person. For example:
If you lose interest or focus in the task that you’re supposed to be doing and start doing another task, then you got sidetracked. This means that you shifted your attention away from your primary goal and started doing an activity that was, likely, less important. When you get sidetracked, you delay the progress of your main goal.