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  1. #1
    Olenek's Avatar
    Olenek is offline Junior Member
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    idioms meaning "to give a freedom to act or make decisions"

    Hi,

    I've found some idioms with the sense "to give a freedom to act or make decisions":

    To give someone elbow room,
    To give someone their head,
    To give someone a free rein,
    To give a blank cheque

    Are these phrases common in your country?

    Do you use/ know other phrases with this sense?

    Thanks for all your replies!

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: idioms meaning "to give a freedom to act or make decisions"

    I'd use 3 & 4 in BrE. We also have a carte blanche.

  3. #3
    Olenek's Avatar
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    Re: idioms meaning "to give a freedom to act or make decisions"

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    We also have a carte blanche.
    We also have this expression with the French roots in Russian language

  4. #4
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: idioms meaning "to give a freedom to act or make decisions"

    French used to be the language of diplomacy, so maybe that's the reason for both languages using it.

  5. #5
    freezeframe is offline Key Member
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    Re: idioms meaning "to give a freedom to act or make decisions"

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    French used to be the language of diplomacy, so maybe that's the reason for both languages using it.
    Aside:

    In the "old days" well-bred Russians spoke French. Some of them didn't know Russian well. Russian is full of French words.

  6. #6
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    Re: idioms meaning "to give a freedom to act or make decisions"

    Is it just me or aren't free rein and carte blanche uncountable? As in, he was given free rein to do..., he was given carte blanche to do...

    I've never heard elbow room used in this sense. Usually it's in a more literal sense of, "the plane was so cramped, I didn't even have any elbow room."

    I've also never heard number 2 at all.

    We can also give someone the run of the place
    let someone off the leash/lead
    give someone some wiggle room (they can fine tune decisions, rather than actually making them)


    English speakers: can you give someone their druthers? Or do we only say "If I had my druthers"? (Druthers is short for I'd rather) It's been so long since I've actually heard it I can't remember if we can use it like this.

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