Phrasal Verbs, Idioms and Other Expressions Using ‘CUT’

Phrasal Verbs

Exercise 1: Replace the words and expressions in bold with a phrasal verb. You will need to use some of the phrasal verbs more than once.

cut across * cut back on * cut down on * cut in * cut off * cut out * cut out of * cut through

1. I was cutting the grass when the lawnmower suddenly stopped working.

2. Did you see how that Mazda suddenly drove in front of the Audi?

3. We will have to reduce staff costs at work if we want to continue operating as normal.

4. We were in the middle of a telephone conversation when we were suddenly disconnected.

5. I don’t understand why all my friends have suddenly started ignoring me. (You will need to put the phrasal verb on either side of me: “…my friends have _____ me _____.”)

6. I wish you wouldn’t interrupt me while I’m talking.

7. The traffic noise is terrible, and even closing the windows doesn’t remove it. (You will need to put the phrasal verb on either side of it: “…closing the windows doesn’t _____ it _____.”)

8. She decided to stop eating sweet things so as to lose weight.

9. He didn’t pay his bill, so the power company stopped his electricity.

10. To save time, we decided to go over the field instead of walking around it.

11. To save time, we decided to go through the shopping centre instead of walking around it.

12. The air conditioning will automatically start working when the room gets too warm.

13. Our house is isolated from the rest of the town.

14. My father didn’t include us in his plans. (You will need to put the phrasal verb on either side of us: “My father _____ us _____ his plans.”)

Correct Answers

  1. cut out
  2. cut in
  3. cut back on or cut down on (cut down on is usually used when you reduce something from your diet. For example, you might cut down on the amount of meat you eat, or you might cut down on the number of cigarettes you smoke)
  4. cut off
  5. cut me off
  6. cut in
  7. cut it out
  8. cut out
  9. cut off
  10. cut across or cut through
  11. cut through (not cut across, because a shopping centre is a building, not an open space)
  12. cut in
  13. cut off
  14. cut us out of

Exercise 2: Decide if the definitions given for the idioms and other expressions in bold are true or false.

1. Someone or something that is a cut above other people or things is much better than those people or things.

2. If you are having a conversation with someone and you cut them short, you stop talking so that they can say something.

3. If you are cut up about something (for example, you are cut up about the way you are treated by someone), you are very happy and

4. If somebody cuts you dead, they shout at you because they are very angry.

5. A new employee in your company doesn’t cut the mustard. In other words, he / she is not good enough.

6. Something in a shop that is described as cut-price is more expensive than it should be.

7. If your friend has a plan, and you cut the ground out from under his feet, you offer to support him, usually by lending him money.

8. A business that is described as cutthroat is a one that has a disadvantage because it is smaller than other businesses making the same product or offering the same service.

9. When someone cuts loose (for example, they cut loose from their family), they stop being influenced or controlled by them.

10. If you cut off your nose to spite your face, you work so hard and for so long that you become ill.

11. You have a train to catch and you are cutting it fine. This means that you have arrived at the station very early and have plenty of time before the train leaves.

12. If something is described as cut and dried (for example, “The issue of pay rises is cut and dried.”), it is being talked about very carefully.

13. If something is described as cutting-edge (for example, cutting edge technology), it is very dangerous.

14. If you say to someone “Cut it out!”, you are telling them to stop doing something that you do not like.

15. If, in a meeting, you cut to the chase, you waste time by talking about small, unimportant issues rather than issues which are more urgent.

16. A cutting remark is a remark that is cruel and intended to upset someone.

17. If you are in a difficult or unpleasant situation and you decide to cut and run, you pretend that the situation is not so difficult or unpleasant and continue behaving as normal.

18. If somebody tells you something important or impressive, and you say “That doesn’t cut any ice with me“, you are telling them that you have had the same experience yourself.

19. If you are doing a job and you cut corners, you do not do the job as thoroughly as you should, especially because you want to finish it as quickly as possible.

20. If you cut somebody down to size, you talk kindly to them and help them because they are very upset.

21. If somebody says something to you that cuts you to the quick, they offer you a suggestion or an idea which would help you a lot.

22. Somebody cuts a dash in the new clothes they are wearing. In other words, the clothes make them look stupid.

23. If you cut something short (for example, you cut a visit short), you arrive early.

24. If something cuts both ways, it has both good and bad aspects.

25. You and your friend own a car together, and your friend wants to sell it. You tell him that you want your cut. This means that you want to decide whether or not the car is sold.

Correct Answers

  1. True.
  2. False. You interrupt them so that they cannot finish what they are saying.
  3. False. You are very upset or offended.
  4. False. They pretend not to see or recognise you.
  5. True.
  6. False. It is cheaper than the normal price.
  7. False. You spoil his plans by doing the same thing better than him, or by doing it before him.
  8. False. It is one that behaves in an unfair or immoral way in order to get an advantage over other businesses.
  9. True.
  10. False. You do something that is intended to harm someone even though you know it will harm you too.
  11. False. If you cut it fine, you are giving yourself only a very short time to do something. In this case, you might miss your train as a result.
  12. False. It is already clearly decided or settled.
  13. False. It is extremely modern and advanced.
  14. True.
  15. False. You start dealing with the most important aspects of something rather than things that are less relevant.
  16. True.
  17. False. You get out of that situation.
  18. False. You are telling them that you are not impressed or influenced by what they are telling you.
  19. True. You might also want to save some money.
  20. False. You make them accept that they are not as important or impressive as they believe they are.
  21. False. They say something that makes you feel very upset. We can also say cuts you to the bone or cuts you to the heart.
  22. False. The clothes make them look very attractive.
  23. False. You make something last for less time than planned.
  24. True.
  25. False. You want your share of any money that is made.
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