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English Idioms

“Learn the Ropes”

Learn the Ropes


  • learn the skills to do something

Frequency of Use: High

Sample Sentences

  1. I need to learn the ropes of the job as quickly as possible. 
  2. This training program will help you learn the ropes to move up in the company.
  3. It sometimes takes time to learn the ropes as a new teacher in our school.
  4. How long has it taken you to learn the ropes as a sales associate here?

Conversation Questions

  1. What is the best way to learn the ropes as an English teacher, so you can help your students the best way possible?
  2. What are the personal qualities that help people to learn the ropes in any job?

Speaking Situation

You have a friend who has started a new job as a server at a restaurant, but he is worried that he isn’t picking up the job as quickly as other servers are. He can’t remember the customers’ orders, he is slow at getting to the tables, and he has dropped a few plates on a couple of customers. He also overheard the manager commenting on your poor performance. He feels that he can’t quit the job because he depends on it to pay for his rent and school, and there aren’t other job openings in the area. What suggestions do you have for him so he can learn the ropes faster and make progress toward keeping his job?

Possible Answer

“Well, you could learn the ropes faster by asking other servers for advice. They might be able to share some tips with you.”

Language Activity

Sometimes, learners know the meaning of an idiom, but they don’t know how to use it correctly in conversation or writing. Thus, this activity checks your grammatical accuracy with the idiom so you become more confident in using it. 

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