Phrasal Verbs, Idioms and Other Expressions Using ‘set’ – True or False

Phrasal Verbs True False

Look at the definitions for each phrasal verb and idiom in bold and decide if they are TRUE or FALSE.

  1. If something sets people against each other, it encourages them to work together.
  2. If your plans are set back, this means that their progress has been delayed.
  3. If you set down something in writing, you write something on a piece of paper so that it will not be forgotten and can be looked at later.
  4. If you have just set off on a trip, you have just finished it.
  5. If someone sets you up, they have arranged a situation so that you are blamed, especially if it is something illegal.
  6. If you set up a company, you have closed a company down because of, for example, financial difficulties.
  7. If something sets off an alarm, it stops the alarm from working properly.
  8. If something you buy sets you back a lot, it has cost you very little money.
  9. If you set aside some money, you spend it quickly, usually on something that you do not need.
  10. If something such as bad weather sets in, it starts to happen and is not likely to stop for a long time.
  11. If you set someone straight or right, you tell them the right way to do something, or you correct them on a mistake they have made.
  12. If you have your heart set on something, you are very angry and want to get revenge.
  13. If you set up home, you lose your home and become homeless.
  14. If you are set up for life, you do not have enough money to live on.
  15. If one action sets the stage for a second action, it prevents that action from taking place.
  16. If you are set against or dead set against something, you are in favour of it or want it.
  17. Someone who is set in his / her ways is not willing to change his / her opinion or way of doing things.
  18. If you have a set-to with someone, you enjoy a drink or a meal with them.
  19. If someone sets the cat among the pigeons, they have an idea that everyone tries to copy.
  20. If a noise sets your teeth on edge, it is so unpleasant that you cannot listen to it.
  21. If someone sets the ball rolling, they stop working and do something else.
  22. If someone tells you to set your (own) house in order, they are telling you to apologise to someone for something that you have said or done.

Correct Answers:

  1. False. It causes them to fight or argue, even though they were in a friendly relationship before: “A bitter industrial dispute set worker against worker”.
  2. True. “Spending cuts have set the project back by several months”. This can also be a noun: a setback.
  3. True. “She set her concerns down in a letter and gave it to her manager”.
  4. False. You have just started it: “We set off early the next morning”. We can also say set out.
  5. True. “She claims she is innocent and someone has set her up”.
  6. False. You have started a business: “The group plans to set up an import-export business”.
  7. False. It makes it start, usually accidentally: “When Jeff pushed the door open, he set off the alarm”.
  8. False. It has cost you a lot of money: “His new car has set him back almost £25000”.
  9. False. You save money to use for a particular purpose. “We’ve set aside some money for a holiday”. We can also say put aside.
  10. True. “Let’s go inside. It looks like the rain has set in”.
  11. True. “I always thought that Sydney was the capital of Australia until someone set me straight”. We can use put instead of straight.
  12. False. You want something very much: “I’ve got my heart set on the new Mazda MX5”. We can also say to set your heart on something: “I’ve set my heart on the new Mazda MX5”.
  13. False. You begin living in a particular place or with a particular person. “Many people set up home together before getting married”. We can also say set up house. 1
  14. False. You have, or have been given, enough money so that you do not have to work for the rest of your life: “Her inheritance set her up for life”. We can also say set for life.
  15. False. It creates the conditions in which something is likely to happen: “The workers’ demands were rejected, setting the stage for a strike”.
  16. False. You are completely opposed to it: “She’s dead set against giving her children fast food”.
  17. True. “Mr Bridger is old, stubborn and set in his ways”.
  18. False. You have a short quarrel or fight with them: “I had a bit of a set-to with Carol earlier”.
  19. False. They cause trouble by doing or saying something: “He really set the cat among the pigeons when he accused us of not working hard enough”.
  20. True. “What’s that horrible noise? It’s really setting my teeth on edge”.
  21. False. They make something start: “There are several things we need to discuss. Who wants to set the ball rolling?” We can also say start or get the ball rolling.
  22. False. They are telling you to improve the way you behave or do things, especially before criticising how other people behave or do things: “Before you criticise my bad habits, you should set your own house in order”. We can also say get or put your house in order.
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