What Is the Origin of the Saying "At a Loose End"?
To be at a loose end means to have nothing to do. It is a nautical term, which refers to a time when a ship's captain would task idle sailors (i.e., those with nothing to do) with checking the ends of rigging ropes to ensure none had come loose.
Test Your Knowledge of English Proverbs and Idioms
Here are three randomly selected questions from a larger exercise, which can be edited, printed to create an exercise worksheet, or sent via email to friends or students.
"Smashing Grammar" Written by the founder of Grammar Monster, "Smashing Grammar" includes a glossary of grammar essentials (from apostrophes to zeugma) and a chapter on easily confused words (from affect/effect to whether/if). Each entry starts with a simple explanation and basic examples before moving to real-life, entertaining examples. All entries conclude with a section highlighting why the grammar point is relevant for a writer and top-level bullet points summarizing the entry. If you like Grammar Monster, you'll love this book. [More…]
"Grammar for Grown-ups" Vocational rather than academic, "Grammar for Grown-ups" is packed with real-life examples and keeps you engaged with a wealth of great quotations from Homer the Greek to Homer the Simpson. Straight talking and methodical, Craig Shrives draws on his years compiling Grammar Monster and as an army officer to present a comprehensive but light-hearted and easily digestible grammar reference guide. [More…]