Learn new expressions in English with these exercises:
If you are ‘at the end of your tether’ or ‘at the end of your rope’ (US only) you are so tired, weary or annoyed with something that you feel unable to deal with it any more.
- He hasn’t been able to find a job and is at the end of his tether.
- That baby hasn’t stopped crying all day and I’m at the end of my rope.
If you are worried or upset about something because you have tried every possible solution and nothing has worked, you are ‘at your wits’ end’.
- Nothing I’ve tried seems to work. I’m at my wits’ end.
- She can’t get him to follow her orders. She’s at her wits’ end.
If something keeps on repeating and it annoys you, it ‘gets on your nerves’. (This is informal.)
- His constant talking is getting on my nerves.
- We don’t work well together. We get on each other’s nerves.
If you ‘add insult to injury’, you make a bad situation even worse.
- He was an hour late for the meeting and then, to add insult to injury, he spent twenty minutes on the telephone.
- To add insult to injury, not only did she not come to the meeting but she then insisted that she had never been invited.
‘The last straw’ is the last in a series of unpleasant events which makes you decide that the situation cannot continue.
- Working in the company was not very nice so, when they asked me to take a pay cut, it was the last straw and I left.
- The last straw was when he came back from lunch at 4.00. I sacked him on the spot.
If someone keeps doing something and it is making you very angry, it is ‘driving you round/around the bend’. (This expression is informal.)
- Her constant moaning is driving me around the bend.
- She rings me up every week trying to sell me something. It’s driving me round the bend.
Another similar expression is ‘driving me up the wall’. (This expression is informal.)
- The way she always arrives one hour late is driving me up the wall.
- All these telephone calls are driving me up the wall.
A similar expression, but more formal, is ‘driving me to distraction’.
- The way he whistles all the time is driving me to distraction.
- Her insolence is driving me to distraction.
If you are ‘tearing your hair out’, you are very frustrated.
- I’ve been tearing my hair out trying to timetable this meeting.
- I’m tearing my hair out trying to solve the problem.
If you say that you ‘will kick yourself’, it means that you will be angry with yourself for missing an opportunity.
- I could have kicked myself for wasting time earlier when I found out I’d missed the plane by only five minutes.
- If I don’t buy one now and they sell out quickly, I’ll kick myself.