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  1. VIP Member
    Student or Learner
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Bulgarian
      • Home Country:
      • Bulgaria
      • Current Location:
      • Bulgaria

    • Join Date: Sep 2007
    • Posts: 5,000

    see how the land lies/get the lay of the land/are in for it/was stony-broke

    Dear teachers,

    Would you be kind enough to tell me whether I am on the right track by the interpretation of the expressions in bold in the following sentences?

    He was determined to preserve the policy of strict neutrality until he saw how the land lay.
    “That doesn’t mean anything in correct English,” she objected. He floundered foe a fresh start. “What I’m driving at is that I’m beginning to get the lay of the land.”
    I’ll go first and see how the land lies.
    to see how the land lies = which way the wind is blowing = to know the state of affairs, what people are thinking; to know what’s what

    Well, we are in for it. This time we won’t get away with it-we’ll have to face the music.
    to be in for = to be involve, as to be in trouble (i.e. likely to get into trouble)

    But the little model, who mentally lived very much from hand to mouth, and had only the philosophy of wants, acted differently.
    to live from hand to mouth = with only the bare essentials, existing precariously

    I was stony-broke when I came out of Locklynn, so I stuck myself down on the waiting list…
    to be stony-broke = to be without money, to be hard up

    Hello, Mary, why so glum? Anything amiss? You seem to be out of sorts.
    to be amiss = to be wrong, out of order in a wrong way
    to be out of sorts = to be in low spirits; to be in a bad mood; to be unwell

    No, too much was at stake, besides I didn’t have to do any persuading at all.
    to be at stake = to be won or lost; to be risked; to be in danger

    Thank you for your efforts.



  2. Editor,
    English Teacher
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Laos

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 60,722

    Re: see how the land lies/get the lay of the land/are in for it/was stony-broke

    Bang on

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