about turn / about face
The terms ‘about turn‘ or ‘about face‘ refer to a complete change of opinion or policy.
“The ambassador’s recent declarations indicate an about turn in foreign policy.”
any port in a storm
When you have no choice, any port in a storm refers to a solution you accept, which in normal circumstances you would find unacceptable.
“The hotel was substandard, but it was a case of any port in a storm; all the others were full.”
argue the toss
If you argue the toss, you dispute a decision or choice which has already been made.
“The final choice was made yesterday, so don’t argue the toss now!”
between the devil and the deep blue sea
If you are between the devil and the deep blue sea, you are in a situation where there are two equally unpleasant alternatives.
“When the new product didn’t take off, the management was caught between the devil and the deep blue sea: develop a new marketing campaign or drop the product.”
as broad as it’s long
This expression means that there is no real difference which alternative is chosen.
“Take the high-speed train, or fly and take a taxi? It’s as broad as it’s long.“
A catch 22 situation refers to a frustrating situation where you cannot do one thing without doing a second, and you cannot do the second before doing the first.
“I can’t get a job without a work permit, and I can’t get a work permit without a job. It’s a catch 22 situation!”
change your mind
If you change your mind you change your original opinion, plan or choice.
“At first I intended to rent a car, but then I changed my mind and decided to use public transport.”
When you cherry pick, you choose something with great care and select only the best.
“Top university graduates are often cherry-picked by large companies.”
different strokes for different folks
This expression means that each individual has their own tastes and requirements. What suits one person may not suit another.
“Alison really enjoys gardening, whereas Julie finds it a chore. Different strokes for different folks!”
embarrassment of riches
When there is much more of something than necessary, and it is difficult to make a choice, you have an embarrassment of riches.
“Our hosts presented us with an embarrassment of riches. There was so much food that we didn’t know where to start!”
This French expression refers to something that has been done and cannot be changed.
“He used his savings to buy a motorbike and then presented his parents with a fait accompli.”
on the fence
When faced with a choice, a person who is on the fence has not yet reached a decision.
“The candidates have such similar ideas that many electors are still on the fence.”
hedge your bets
If you hedge your bets, you choose two or more courses of action in order to reduce the risk of loss or error.
“The company hedged its bets by developing a second line of products.”
horns of a dilemma
If you are on the horns of a dilemma, you are faced with a choice between two equally unpleasant options.
“I’m on the horns of a dilemma; I have to choose between a boring job with a good salary or a more interesting job with a lower salary.”
in a quandary
If you are in a quandary about something, you find it difficult to decide what to do.
“The job they offer is less interesting but the salary is better. I’m in a quandary about what to do.”
in two minds
If you are in two minds about something, you have difficulty deciding what to do.
“I’m in two minds about whether or not to accept the offer.”
keep your options open
When you keep your options open, you postpone making a decision so that you can choose among several possible courses of action.
“The offer sounds good, but keep your options open until you’re sure it’s the best choice.”
know your own mind
If you know your own mind, you know what you want or like, and are capable of making a decision.
“I don’t want to influence you. You’re old enough to know your own mind.”
(the) lesser of two evils
If you choose the lesser of two evils, you opt for the less unpleasant of two poor options.
“I didn’t want to go. Choosing the train instead of driving was the lesser of two evils; at least I could relax on the way.”
(the) line of least resistance
If you opt for the line of least resistance, you choose the easiest way of doing something.
“To make sure the children would stay inside, he chose the line of least resistance and rented a film.”
(the) luck of the draw
To refer to something that happens as the luck of the draw means that it is the result of pure chance, with no possibility of choice.
“The samples distributed varied in size and value; it was the luck of the draw.”
my way or the highway
If you say to someone ‘it’s my way or the highway’,you are telling them that either they accept to do as you say or they leave the project.
“You don’t have much choice when someone says: ‘it’s my way or the highway‘!
no accounting for taste
This expression is used to indicate surprise at another person’s likes or dislikes. It’s a way of saying that personal preferences or choices are not debatable.
“She fell in love with a guy who’s short, fat, bald and poor … there’s no accounting for taste!”
A decision or choice that requires little or no thought, because the best option is so obvious, is called a no-brainer.
“The choice was between a cash refund or having the amount credited to my account – it was a no-brainer! I took the cash!”
Plan B is an alternative solution to be adopted if the original plan does not succeed.
“The idea is to get a caterer to provide the food. If that’s too expensive, plan B is to organise a buffet with the help of friends.”
(the) point of no return
When you reach the point of no return, you have no option but to continue what you have started, because you have gone so far that it is impossible to go back.
“I’ve resigned from teaching and decided to become a writer. Now I’ve reached the point of no return and must work on the book I am writing.”
take pot luck
If you take pot luck, you accept whatever is available without knowing what it will be like.
“We were so hungry we decided to take pot luck and stopped at the first restaurant we saw.”
take a stand
When you take a stand, you adopt a firm position on an issue and publicly declare whether you support it or are against it.
“The politician was asked to take a stand on the government’s proposed measures to curb illegal immigration.”
test the water(s)
If you test the water(s), you try to find out how acceptable or successful something is before becoming involved in it.
“You should go to a gym class to test the water before enrolling.”
(a) shotgun approach
If you use a shotgun approach, you cover a wide range in a non-selective, haphazard and inefficient manner.
“Identifying a specific segment of the market as our target will be more effective than a shotgun approach.”
When there are two options or possibilities to choose from, and both are equally good, the choice between the two is called a toss-up (like tossing a coin).
“Both boxers are in excellent condition. It’s a toss-up which of them will win.”
weigh the pros and cons
If you weigh the pros and cons, you consider the advantages and disadvantages, the arguments for or against something.
“They weighed the pros and cons of the house before signing.”