Binomials, or binomial expressions, are frequently used by native speakers of English. The word order of a binomial pair is usually fixed, and to use them in a different order would sound strange to a native speaker. Here are some common binomials:

BINOMIAL EXPRESSIONSMEANINGEXAMPLE
Aches and painsMinor pains and a feeling of discomfort, especially in the muscles.After a hectic outing with the kids I had aches and pains all over!
Alive and wellIn good physical conditionThe search party found the stranded hiker alive and well.”
Back and forthGoing to and from a place.He’s tired of travelling back and forth to London.
Bits and piecesSmall items or personal belongings.Here’s a cupboard where you can put all your bits and pieces.
Bit by bitGradually; little by little; a small amount at a time.They renovated the old house bit by bit.
Black and blueSore and bruisedThe boy was black and blue after falling off his bike.
Black and white Something clear to understand or something in writingClimate change is not black-and-white issue for me.
Born and bredBe born and grow up in a particular place.I was born and bred in Madrid.
Bright and earlyEarly in the morningMy dad goes off bright and early every Saturday morning to play golf.
By and largeOn the whole, generally.He can be difficult but by and large he’s a good kid.
Cloak and daggerRefers to stories or situations that involve intrigue, secrecy, espionage or mystery.My young brother loves cloak-and dagger spy novels.
Comings and goingsHow people keep arriving at and leaving a placeShe observed the comings and goings of guests at the party.
Cut and driedClear and definite or unchangeable.There is no cut-and-dried solution to the problem.
Do’s and don’tsA set of basic rules.There’s a list of Dos and Don’ts on the wall for everyone who uses the kitchen.
Done and dustedCompletely finished.We’ve finished the project. It’s all done and dusted, so let’s go and get a bite to eat!
Down and outWithout any money or means of supportAfter losing his job, car and home, he was completely down and out.
Dribs and drabsLittle by little; in small numbers or amountsInstead of the crowd expected, people arrived in dribs and drabs.
Fair and squareIn an honest and open mannerGavin won the competition fair and square – no doubt about it.
Far and wideOver a large geographical area.People came from far and wide to visit the exhibition.
First and foremostWhat is most important.She went into politics for a while, but first and foremost she was a writer.
Give and takeMake mutual concessions or find a compromise.Most relationships require some give and take.”
Give or takeMore or less; plus or minus an amount or number.I’ll be there at 9 a.m. give or take 5 minutes.
Hard and fastFixed and strongly bindingThe administration established hard-and-fast rules for every procedure.
Haves and have-notsRich and poor peopleOur aim is to reduce the gap between the haves and have-nots in our society.
Heart and soulMake a lot of effort to do something.Paul put his heart and soul into the project. Let’s hope it will be a success.
Here and thereIn various different placesWe found some mushrooms here and there in the woods.
High and dryIn a difficult situation without resources or assistanceThose who lose their jobs may be left high and dry.
High and lowEverywhereI searched high and low for my keys but couldn’t find them.
High and mightySuperior, haughty, full of self-importanceShe was too high and mighty to tidy up after herself.”
Hot and botheredAgitated, flustered or worriedThere’s no need to get all hot and bothered. It’s just an English test!
Hue and cryLoud opposition to somethingThere will be a great hue and cry when the measures are announced.”
Hustle and bustleNoisy activity and surroundings.John moved to a small village to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Ins and outsThe finer details of something.I heard he was arrested but I don’t know the ins and outs of the story.
Laughter and tearsJoy and sorrowThe family reunion was a blend of laughter and tears.
Leaps and boundsVery quickly and greatly.Silvia’s English has improved in leaps and bounds this year.
Loud and clearEasy to understand.The message was loud and clear; everyone understood.
Make or breakWill lead to either success or failureThis is a make-or-break collection. Our future depends on it.
Mix and matchPut different things together e.g. clothes, furniture…In our house we like to mix and match different styles of furniture.
Neat and tidyWith everything in good order.I don’t know how you manage to keep your desk so neat and tidy.
Now and again
Now and then
Sometimes but not very oftenWe don’t eat out often but now and again wo go to a local Italian restaurant.”
Now or neverAt the present moment because you may not get another chanceGo on! Ask him for an autograph. It’s now or never!
Null and voidHave no legal force or be invalid.The agreement was declared null and void.
Odds and endsVarious small items.
Small tasks to finish.
Part of the garage was full of odds and ends.
I’ve got to take care of a few odds and ends before I leave.
On and offIntermittently; sometimes.I’ve been suffering from backache on and off this past year.
Out and aboutGo out regularly and take part in an activityMy mother was ill for a while but she’s out and about again.
Out and outAbsolute; completeDon’t trust that man. He’s an out-an-out liar!
Part and parcelAn integral or essential part of something.Travel is part and parcel of the job.
Peace and quietFreedom from stress and noise; a period of calm.I just can’t concentrate. I need some peace and quiet.
Pick and chooseSelect only certain things and reject the others.You must obey all  the rules. You can’t pick and choose!
Pins and needlesA tingling sensation in a part of the body.I lay curled up for so long that I had pins and needles in my legs.”
Pride and joySomething that makes you feel proud and happyThe house he built is his pride and joy.
Prim and properFormal and socially correctShe’s too prim and proper to be seen drinking beer!
Pros and cons
The good and bad sides of something; the advantages and disadvantages.Before we decide on anything we should discuss the pros and cons.
Pure and simplePlainly, without exaggeration or further explanationIf you cheat, you fail the exam – that’s the rule, pure and simple!
Rank and fileThe ordinary workers or members of an organisation – not the leadersThe minister remains popular with the party rank and file.
Rant and raveSpeak loudly and angrily about something.You can rant and rave about the rules but you still have to obey them!
Rough and readyHastily prepared but sufficient for the purpose. Without formality or refinement.The map of the area was rough and ready, but we found our way.
Rules and regulationsInstructions as to what is allowed or forbidden.The rules and regulations in our school are very strict.
Safe and soundNot injured or hurt in any way.After the avalanche all of the skiers were found safe and sound.
Short and sweetBrief but pleasant or appropriate.His introductory speech was short and sweet – which suited everyone!
Sick and tiredAnnoyed or frustrated with something to the point of weariness.Tom was sick and tired of having to explain the problem over and over again.
Sink or swimSucceed or fail solely through your own effortsAfter a brief explanation the new recruit was left to sink or swim!
Skin and boneBe very thin or emaciated.She was nothing but skin and bone after a severe illness.
Sooner or laterEventually; at some time in the futureI’ve mislaid my bracelet but I’ll find it sooner or later.
Step by stepFrom one stage to the next.The whole procedure was explained to us step by step.
The long and (the) shortUsed to explain something without giving the detailsThe long and short of it is that I just don’t want to go.
Toss and turnMove around restlessly in bed because you are unable to sleep.She tossed and turned all night, and woke up feeling exhausted.
Trial and errorSolving a problem by trying different methods and learning from mistakes.Some things we have to learn by trial and error.
Trials and tribulationsThe difficulties we face in lifeIt’s a book about the trials and tribulations of living abroad.
Tried and trueTested and known to be reliableA cup of warm milk is my tried-and-true remedy for insomnia.
Up and comingShowing great promise or likely to achieve successNowadays he’s meeting competition from up-and-coming players.
Ups and downsA mixture of both good and bad experiences or events.Anne and Tony have had their ups and downs but they’re still together.
Wear and tearDamage that happens gradually over time due to everyday use.After several years of wear and tear we had to buy a new sofa.
Weird and wonderfulStrange or unusual but ingeniousA collection of weird and wonderful inventions was on display.
Wine and dineEntertain someone with a good mealThe company likes to wine and dine good customers.