Idioms with like as a preposition word order exercises


Idioms with the preposition like presentation and practice

Idioms with like as a preposition word order exercises

Put the preposition like into the place or places below where it is necessary to make sense and/ or be grammatically correct. Sometimes more than one “like” is necessary

  1. Float a butterfly, sting a bee (= quote by Mohammed Ali on his boxing style)
  2. He took to it a duck to water (= he adapted to it very quickly because it suited him)
  3. He will rise a phoenix from the ashes (= he will quickly recover from his bankruptcy, scandal or other disaster)
  4. If it looks a duck and it quacks a duck, it probably is a duck (= sometimes the simplest explanation is correct, e.g. that they appear to be doing something bad because they are doing something bad)
  5. It looks a bomb has hit it (= it’s incredibly messy)
  6. I’ll come down on him a ton of bricks (= I’ll criticise and/ or punish him severely)
  7. Life is a box of chocolates (= you never know what you’re going to get – quote from the Tom Hanks movie Forrest Gump).
  8. Father, son (= characteristics such as skills tend to run down families)
  9. Nothing succeeds success (= once people see you winning, earning money, etc, they will support you more)
  10. There's no fool an old fool (= people who think they already know everything make the worst mistakes)
  11. There's no place home (= the place you are from is best)
  12. There's no time the present (= you should do it as soon as possible, without delay)
  13. They are running around headless chickens (= they are busy but have no plan)
  14. When all you have is a hammer, everything looks a nail (= people tend to use what they know and have available to solve problems which don’t match at all)
  15. With friends that, who needs enemies? (= not all help from people who claim to be your allies actually helps)
  16. You look the cat who swallowed the canary (= you seem very satisfied, as if you got exactly what you wanted)


Put the words in each line into order to make idioms with like as a preposition.

  1. he like money spends water (= he doesn’t limit his spending)
  2. a cat Cheshire grinning he like was (= he was showing how happy he was, like the character from Alice In Wonderland)
  3. a a have I like memory sieve (= I can’t remember anything)
  4. a going I’m king like live to (= I will have a luxurious life)
  5. a built he is like tank (= he is large, and probably very muscular)
  6. a it like out sore sticks thumb (= it is very obvious, for example because it’s in the wrong place)
  7. are dropping flies like they (= they are literally or metaphorically dying)
  8. in like packed sardines we were (= there was very little space and too many people)
  9. a fire get house like on we (= we get along really well = we have a really good relationship)


Check as a class or below.

Suggested answers

  1. Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.
  2. He took to it like a duck to water.
  3. He will rise like a phoenix from the ashes.
  4. If it looks like a duck and it quacks like a duck, it probably is a duck.
  5. It looks like a bomb has hit it.
  6. I’ll come down on him like a ton of bricks.
  7. Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get.
  8. Like father, like son.
  9. Nothing succeeds like success.
  10. There's no fool like an old fool.
  11. There's no place like home.
  12. There's no time like the present.
  13. They are running around like headless chickens.
  14. When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
  15. With friends like that, who needs enemies?
  16. You look like the cat who swallowed the canary.


  1. He spends money like water.
  2. He was grinning like a Cheshire cat.
  3. I have a memory like a sieve.
  4. I’m going to live like a king.
  5. He is built like a tank.
  6. It sticks out like a sore thumb.
  7. They are dropping like flies.
  8. We were packed in like sardines.
  9. We get on like a house on fire.


Test each other on the idioms:

  • say a phrase with a word missing for your partner to complete
  • giving the meaning, key words, etc until your partner can make the whole idiom that you chose

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