Purple Level

Lesson Three — extended practice with idioms


put / put / put / putting

The verb "put" is frequently used with prepositions to form idioms.

put away = save money

We’re putting some money away for our retirement.


put (it) away = eat a lot of food.

Bobby can really put it away. Look at how many sandwiches he ate.


put back = to return something to the place where it once was.

Kendra was interested in buying the vase she saw in the shop, but when she saw how expensive it was, she put it back.


put back = to drink alcohol.

After work on Friday, Ed and some of his buddies put back a few glasses of beer at a local tavern before going to a baseball game.


put behind = to try to forget something; to move forward after a bad experience.

Carla was in a terrible accident last year and lost one of her arms, but now she’s trying to put that all behind her.


put down = to insult; to say something mean about a person.

It’s not a good idea for a teacher to put down a student in front of the class.


put money down = to leave a deposit of money in order to get something you want. (Often a buyer puts five, ten, or twenty percent down on a big purchase such as a house or a car.)

They put $3000 down on a new car. They’ll finance the rest.


put (one’s) finger on = to identify something; to remember.

I know her from somewhere, but I can quite put my finger on it.


put in = to contribute time, money, effort.

After putting in eleven hours at work, Jose took the bus home and went to sleep.

Everyone put in a little bit of money to buy a retirement gift for Marion.


put in (one’s) two cents = to express an opinion; to say what one thinks.

Do you mind if I put in my two cents? I think you should keep the job you have instead of looking for a new one.


put on the line = to take a large risks with money, reputation, power.

He put his reputation on the line when he agreed to hire a good friend for an important position in the company.


put out = produce; to manufacture in large numbers.

Toyota is putting out a lot of well-made cars that Americans like to buy.

The company can’t put out its product fast enough to meet the demands of consumers.


put one over on = to fool someone; to trick.

He won two million dollars in the lottery? Are you trying to put one over on me by telling me he won two million dollars?


put through = to send someone to school, usually tuition-based private schools, universities, and colleges.

It’s not easy to put three kids through college all at the same time.


put up = provide lodging; to allow someone to stay in your home for a night or more.

Hey, I’ll be in town next weekend. Do you think you could put me up for a few nights?

Thanks for putting me up.


put up with = to tolerate; to ignore a problem.

How does Yvonne put up with her neighbors? They’re so noisy!

Now try this exercise.

The answers to the exercise are below.

Go back to Lesson Three

Answers: 1. through; 2. behind; 3. out; 4. up; 5. over; 6. down; 7. on; 8. in; 9. away; 10. back; 11. up; 12. behind; 13. down; 14. over; 15. away