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Free GMAT Idiom List

Please do not waste your time memorizing this list. Just skim through so you are familiar with some of the wording. International Students should spend a little bit more time skimming. Keep in mind most GMAT questions have multiple errors in them. They usually do not test ONLY idioms.

1. A
2. able + infinitive
3. ability to
4. accede to
5. access to
6. acclaimed as is the correct idiom (Acclaimed to be is wrong)
7. accompanied by
8. according to
9. account for (When explaining something)
10. on account of
11. account to (When receiving blame or credit)
12. accuse of
13. acquaint with
14. acquiesce in
15. adapted for
16. affect to
17. affinity with
18. afflicted with
19. afraid of
20. agree on + noun
21. agree on + gerund
22. agree to
23. agree with
24. aid + person/thing
25. aid in + gerund
26. aim at
27. allergy to (Allergy of, allergy for are incorrect)
28. allocated to
29. allows for
30. a lot
31. although x,y
32. alternative to
33. amount to
34. analogy with
35. analogous to
36. angry at
37. widely anticipated that
38. appear to
39. apply to
40. argue over/ with
41. appeal to
42. approve/disapprove of
43. *as….as
44. as X so Y
45. as …so too…
46. as X to Y
47. ask of
48. ask X to Y
49. ask + infinitive
50. ask + person + infinitive
51. *associate with
52. associate X with Y
53. assume …to be of…
54. assure that
55. at least as . . . as
56. attend to (someone)
57. attribute X to Y / X is attributed to Y
58. attempt to
59. attention to
60. attended by
61. attest to
62. authority on
63. available to
64. averse to
65. aware of
66. aware that

67. B
68. *base on
69. based on
70. because of
71. begin + infinitive
72. believe X to be Y
73. belief in
74. benefit from
75. between [a] and [b]
76. better served by X than by Y
77. better than
78. both X and Y (Both X as well as Y is incorrect)
79. both at X and at Y
80. both on X or on Y
81. boom in
82. built by

83. C
84. call for
85. capable of
86. care about
87. care for
88. centers on + person/thing
89. center upon ( not round)
90. choice of
91. choose to / from
92. choose + infinitive
93. claims to
94. claims to be
95. collaborate with
96. collide with (not against)
97. comment on
98. combined X with Y
99. combined X and Y
100. compare to (similarities)
101. compare with (differences)
102. *compare A to B
103. *compare A with B
104. compensate for
105. comply with
106. comprise of
107. to be + composed of + thing
108. concerned for – worried
109. concerned with
110. conclude that
111. concur in ( an opinion)
112. concur with ( a person)
113. conducive to
114. conform to
115. in conformity with
116. connection between X and Y
117. consequence of
118. consider X Y (without to be)
119. consist with
120. consist in
121. consist of
122. consistent with
123. contend that
124. *consider + person/thing
125. continue + infinitive
126. contrast A with B
127. in contrast to
128. contribute to
129. contrary to
130. convert to
131. correspond to
132. correspond with
133. *count on + person/thing
134. cost to/of
135. craving for
136. created with (not to)
137. give credit for (something or doing something)
138. to credit with
139. credit X Rupees to Y’s account (When money is involved)

140. D
141. are in danger of + gerund
142. date from
143. deal with
144. debate over
145. debate on
146. decide + infinitive
147. decide on + thing/person
148. decline in
149. defend against
150. defined as
151. delighted by
152. demand that
153. demonstrate that
154. depend on
155. depends on whether
156. depicted as
157. descend from
158. descendent of (descendent for is incorrect)
159. desirous of
160. determined by
161. *different from/differ from
162. difficult + infinitive
163. at a disadvantage
164. disclose to + person/organization
165. *distinguish between X and Y
166. *distinguish X from Y
167. disagree with (person/idea)
168. discourage from
169. dispose of
170. feel disgusted with ( not at)
171. at one’s disposal
172. dispute whether
173. divergent from
174. doubt that
175. draw on (take out)
176. draw + thing
177. to be drawn to + thing/person
178. *dream of/about
179. due to
180. dwindle from

181. E
182. [in an] effort to
183. easy to
184. [in an] effort to
185. either …or
186. elect to
187. elect + person
188. be embarrassed by ( not at)
189. emerges from
190. *enable + person + infinitive
191. enable X to Y
192. enamored with
193. *encourage + person + infinitive
194. encourage X to Y
195. encouraged by
196. end with, end in (not by)
197. entrusted with
198. be envious of, jealous of
199. be equal to ( not as)
200. escape from
201. be essential to
202. estimate to be
203. to be + essential to + person/thing
204. except for + person/thing
205. except for + gerund
206. except that
207. to exchange X for Y (exchange X with Y or any other form is incorrect)
208. expect to
209. X expected to Y
210. expected X to be Y …
expected that X would be Y
211. explain to
212. expose to
213. extend to
214. extent of
215. equal
216. equal to

217. F
218. fail in
219. fail to
220. fear that
221. fluctuations in
222. be familiar with
223. fascinated by
224. flee from
225. *forbid to
226. forbid X to do Y
227. for over…XXX years…
228. force + thing/person + infinitive
229. focus on + thing/person
230. frequency of
231. from [a] to [b]

232. G
233. get credit for/give credit for
234. get rid of
235. grow from
236. grow out of

237. H
238. help + thing/person + infinitive
239. be hindered by
240. hypothesize that

241. I
242. in contrast to
243. inclined to
244. in danger of
245. identical to/with
246. independent from
247. Independent of
248. indifferent towards
249. indicate that
250. indicate to + person
251. infected with
252. inherit from
253. in order to
254. Inside
255. insist that
256. instance of
257. instead of
258. X instead of Y
259. instill something in someone ( not instill someone with)
260. intent to
261. interaction of
262. introduce to
263. invest in
264. isolate from

265. J
266. judge by ( not on)
267. just as…so too
268. just as X, so Y

269. K
270. know to do X

271. L
272. leads to
273. less than
274. less X than Y
275. likely to
276. likely to be
277. liken to
278. localized in

279. M
280. Manage to
281. mandate that
282. *make + thing/person + verb (simple form)
283. meet with
284. Meet
285. *mistake + thing/person + for
286. modeled after
287. to monitor
288. more common among X than among Y
289. (no) more…than/(no) less…than
290. more than ever
291. move away from

292. N
293. Name
294. *native to
295. *a native of
296. need
297. need to
298. a need for
299. to be + necessary + infinitive
300. necessity of
301. necessity for
302. neither…nor
303. no less… than
304. no less an authority than…
305. no less was X than was Y
306. X is unknown, nor it is known – is a correct idiom (Neither is not required)
307. no sooner…than
308. not X but rather Y
309. noted that
310. not [a] but [b]
311. Not ……. but [rather merely]
312. not in a flash…but in a …
313. not only…but also
314. Not so ……. as
315. not so much…as
316. not so much to X…as to Y
317. not ( X or Y ) nor Z

318. O
319. be oblivious of
320. oblivious to
321. off
322. One X for every Z ( some numeric number) Y’s …
323. opportunity for
324. opportunity to
325. opposed to
326. opposition to
327. opposite of
328. to orbit
329. X ordered Y to do Z
330. ought to
331. Originate in

332. P
333. partake of
334. participate in
335. Perceive as
336. *permit + thing/person + infinitive
337. permit X to Y
338. persuade X to Y
339. plead guilty for … failing
340. potential to
341. practice for
342. practice to
343. practice of
344. predisposed to
345. preferable to
346. prefer X to Y
347. prejudiced against
348. pressure to
349. prevent from
350. prior to
351. prized by
352. prized as
353. prized for
354. profit by ( not from )
355. *prohibit from + gerund
356. prohibits X from doing Y
357. prohibits X from Y
358. promise of + thing
359. promise to
360. protect against
361. protest against ( not at )
362. provide with
363. way to provide (Way for providing is incorrect)
364. published by
365. published in

366. Q
367. question whether

368. R
369. range of
370. *range from X to Y
371. rates for (not ‘of’)
372. rather than
373. to ratify (At ratifying is incorrect)
374. receptive of
375. receptive to
376. related to
377. relations with ( not towards )
378. refer to
379. *regard as
380. X regarded as Y
381. regardless
382. repent of
383. replace with
384. in response to
385. require + thing/person + infinitive
386. required of
387. requiring that X Y
388. require that X be Y (Not require that X is Y)
389. requiring X to Y
390. research to
391. resemble + thing/person
392. resemblance of X to Y ( resemblance X with Y is incorrect)
393. resemblance between X and Y
394. resistance to
395. responsibility to
396. responsible for
397. restitution…for …
398. results in
399. results from
400. result of
401. retroactive to
402. rivalry between X and Y
403. *the rivals X and Y
404. rule that

405. S
406. sacrifice X for Y
407. [the] same as
408. the same to X as to Y
409. Save for
410. save from
411. in search of
412. see as
413. seek + infinitive
414. seek + thing/person
415. seem + infinitive
416. seem to indicate
417. sense of so…that
418. send to
419. be sensible of
420. be sensitive to
421. separate from ( not away from or out )
422. sequence of
423. similar to
424. sleep with
425. so (adjective) that
426. so X that Y
427. so X as to be Y
428. so X as to constitute Y
429. so as not to be hindered by
430. be solicitous of ( not to )
431. be sparing of ( not with )
432. speak to + person
433. speak with + person
434. spend on
435. subject to
436. subscribe to
437. substitute [a] for [b]
438. such…as
439. such X as Y and Z
440. such X that
441. suffer from ( not with)
442. superior to
443. supplant by
444. to survive
445. suspicious of
446. sympathy for
447. sympathize with

448. T
449. Take advantage of
450. tamper with
451. target at
452. teach + person + infinitive
453. teach + person + thing
454. tell + person
455. Tend
456. tend to
457. tendency to ( not for)
458. that X …that Y
459. think of…as
460. threaten to
461. tie to
462. tinker with ( not at )
463. be tolerant of ( not to )
464. train to
465. transit to
466. transmit to
467. try to
468. to try to fix is the right idiom (to try and fix is incorrect)
469. type of

470. U
471. use as
472. Use + person/thing + infinitive
473. used + infinitive
474. to be + used to + gerund
475. [the] use of

476. V
477. view as
478. vote for
479. in violation of
480. Visit

481. W
482. wait for
483. wait on
484. X is to… what…Y is to
485. to be + willing + infinitive
486. worry about

a long face
‘Why have you got such a long face?’ ‘I just lost all my money in the casino.’

ability to
Correct Usage: Bats have the ability to fly in the dark
Incorrect Usage: Bats have ability of flying in the dark

act as
A big tree can act as an umbrella in the rain.

act like = behave in a certain way
“Please stop acting like a child”, said the mother to the teenager.

agree (up)on
Let’s try to agree upon a date for the vacation
We agreed to go to the play together.

agree to
We agreed to share the lottery prize.

aid in
The explorers needed aid in finding drinking water.

allow for
Allowing for his youth and lack of experience, I forgave him completely for his oversight.

appeal to
The idea of a vacation to Florida this winter appeals to me a lot.

are in danger of
Correct Usage: These days, fewer people are in danger of dying due to bacteria related diseases.
Incorrect Usage:
- These days, fewer people are in danger to die due to bacteria related diseases.
- These days, fewer people have a danger of dying due to bacteria related diseases

as an adolescent
Correct Usage: As an adolescent, he suffered from acne.
Incorrect Usage: While in adolescence, he suffered from acne.

as good as
She owes me an apology – she as good as called me a liar.

ask for
The child asked for a glass of water
The diners asked the waiter for a type of wine the restaurant didn’t have.

associate with
I always associate Water with pizza for some reason

attend to
Please attend to your teacher’s instructions

attribute to
We attribute our success to your good advice

base on
I based my opinion upon my own seasoned judgment.

begin to see daylight
I’ve been working on my thesis for two years, and at last I’m beginning to see daylight.

between x and y
Correct Usage: He had to choose between studying or going to play.
Incorrect Usage: He had to choose between studying with going to play.

burn the candle at both ends
She’d been burning the candle at both ends studying for her exams and made herself ill.

care about
I care very much about my family.

care for
I don’t care for sweet desserts

choose for
I chose a funny card for his birthday.

choose as
We will choose her as our representative.

claim to or claim that
He claims that he can run backwards.
Columbus laid claim to America through the cunning use of flags.

come to a dead end
I’ve come to a dead end. I’m fresh out of ideas.
He compared himself to one of the knights of the round table.

compare with
Let’s compare the virtues of savings accounts with investing in bonds.

composed of
The committee is composed of people from every department.

consider (as)
I don’t consider you as a possible candidate
I consider myself an excellent athlete.

contend with
I don’t want to have to contend for the job with Ed

continue with
Do you mind if I continue with my knitting as we talk?

conform to
Does my casual dress conform to your regulations?

conform with
Does this part conform with the specifications?

consider x y
Correct: Michael Owen is a good football player, but not generally considered an all time great.
Incorrect: Michael Own is a good football player, but not generally considered to be an all time great.

In Contrast to
In contrast to previous reports, one senior British official suggested an attack was not imminent,

contrast with
The black one contrasts nicely with the white one.

count on
We can count on Bill to get the job done.

to credit with
Correct Usage: Newton is credited with discovering the laws of motion
Incorrect Usage:
- Newton is credited as discovering the laws of motion
- Newton is credited to having discovered the laws of motion
- Newton is credited for discovering the laws of motion

credit for
Mary should get a lot of credit for the team’s success.

credit to
We had to credit much of our success to simple good luck.

credit with
We have to credit Jeff with saving us a lot of money.

debate about
The candidates debate about taxes tomorrow

debate on
Are they still debating on the question?

decide on
I decided on the chocolate flavored ice cream.

declared unconstitutional
Correct Usage: The Dictator declared all fundamental rights unconstitutional.
Incorrect Usage: The Dictator declared all fundamental rights as unconstitutional.

define as
We have to define that comment as careless and unthinking.

delighted to
I’m delighted to make your acquaintance,

different from
I am very different from my twin sister.

disclose to
Please disclose the names to me at once.

distinguish between
Psychopaths cannot distinguish between right and wrong.

distinguish from
Psoriatic arthritis can be difficult to distinguish from rheumatoid arthritis

draw a line
Let’s draw a line under the whole episode and try to continue our work in a more positive frame of mind.

draw attention to
Now, I would like to draw your attention to Fred, the gentleman we have all heard so much about

draw (up)on
By the end of the contest I had drawn upon all the energy I had

draw to
He was drawn to the sports car.

dream about
I dreamed about you all night last night.

dream of
I dreamed of a huge chocolate cake.

dwindle away
noise dwindled away to nothing.

easier said than done
finding a good job is easier said than done.

easy to come by
A good job is not very easy to come by

either x or y
The money is either in my wallet or I have lost it.

elect as
She was elected as our president.

elect to
We elected you to office, so do your job.

emerge as
The caterpillar would emerge as a butterfly in a short time

enable to
This money will enable me to open my own business

encourage in
We want to encourage her in her musical career

encourage to
We encouraged her to develop her musical talents

enough to
Correct Usage: The Kid was not tall enough to go on to the ride.
Incorrect Usage: The Kid was short enough not to go on the ride.

escape from
I wish to escape from my addiction.

escape to
Max escaped from prison to a hideout in Alabama.

escape notice
I’m sorry. Your letter escaped my notice.

essential to
Heat is essential to life.

estimated to be
Correct Usage: The antique picture was estimated to be worth much more than the floor price.
Incorrect Usage: The antique picture’s worth was estimated at much more than the floor price.

except for
The car is beautiful and perfect, except for one thing – the price
Except for being good with numbers, she wasn’t anything great.

expected to
Correct Usage: The king was expected to protect his people.
Incorrect Usage: The king is expected that it should protect his people.

explain oneself
Jo Cooper? You had better explain yourself, and it had better be good.

explain to
Please explain the experiment to me.

explain away
You will find it hard to explain away all these mistakes

expose to
Do not expose the film to the light.

fail on
The teacher failed half the class on the assignment

fail in
I hope I do not fail in math.

flee from
The children fled from the wrath of the old man.

flee to
The little mouse fled to its hole in the wall when the cat came around.

focus on
Let’s focus our attention on Tom and discuss his achievements so far.

forbid to
They forbade them to enter the castle

forbid from
They forbade them from entering the castle.

go to the mat
When he believes in a project, he’s willing to go to the mat for it.

grow from
Can you grow a mango tree from a seed?

grow into
The child grew into a tall, powerful athlete.

grow out of
A big argument has grown out of a tiny disagreement!

have a run of something
I had a run of bad luck at the casino

help (someone) (get) over something
I helped the puppy over the barrier.

in contrast to or in contrast with
Correct Usage:
- In contrast to his earlier self, the athlete appeared weak & frail.
- In contrast with his earlier self, the athlete appeared weak & frail.

Incorrect Usage:
As contrasted with his earlier self, the athlete appeared weak & frail

include someone out
I am not interested in your games. Include me out of them.

independent of
His reasoning was flawed, and appeared to be independent of any logic.

independent from
‘The children have been independent from their parents

indicate that
Studies indicate that women actually live longer than men.

indicate to
Fred indicated his assent to me.

indifferent towards
Can you make yourself indifferent towards someone you might love?

in order to
Correct Usage: She began dating the playboy in order to go to the best parties.
Incorrect Usage: She began dating the playboy in order that she got to go to the best parties.

inherit from
My dark hair was inherited from my father.

invest in
I invested five weeks of my time building this model ship.

invest with
The constitution invests the vice president with the authority to act on the president’s behalf in certain
conditions.

isolated from
We isolated the children from the source of the disease

just as x, so y
Just as Kate was considered for a seat at Harvard Business School, so was Tina.

known to
Correct Usage: Even as a young boy he was known to explore different ways of doing things.
Incorrect Usage: Even as a young boy, he was known as wanting to explore different ways of doing things.

lead away
The trainer led away the dog from the other animals.

lead to
a life of crime will lead to inevitable sorrow.

left, right and centre
The rebels were firing at people left, right and centre.

localized in
Are International Charities Becoming More Localized in the Economic Cris

manage with
I am sure we can manage with the money that we have

a means to
Correct Usage: For some people, mobile phones are just a means to an end.
Incorrect Usage:
- For some people, mobile phones are a means for an end.
- For some people, mobile phones are a means of an end.

mistake x for y

Correct Usage: Because of the sisters’ similar looks, one was often mistaken for the other
Incorrect Usage: Because of the sisters’ similar looks, one was often mistaken as the other

modeled after
Robot Modeled After Bat And Dolphin Echolocation Behavior

more than ever
Correct Usage: I regret more than ever not getting into HBS
Incorrect Usage: I regret more than never not getting into HBS

much as
Much as she needed the job, she had to refuse.

native of
Svetlana is a native of Poland

native to
The cobra is native to Africa

necessary to
Lisa deemed it necessary to go home.

originate from
Some of our customs originate from old beliefs

originate in
All your troubles originate in your lungs.

originate with
This idea originated with the committee.

permit (someone) through
Would you permit me through the door?

permit up
She would not permit me up the ladder

prized above
He prized his only daughter above everyone else in the world

prized as
pink corals have been prized as jewelry for 5000 years

prized for
Gold Jewellery Has Been Prized for Thousands of Years

prohibit from
Correct Usage: Only when we prohibit people from driving fast will we reduce the number of accidents.
Incorrect Usage: Only when we prohibit people to drive fast will we reduce the number of accidents.

promise the moon
My boss promised the moon, but never gave me a raise

promise to
Is this book promised to anyone?

range from
The winter weather ranges from bad to terrible in this part of the north.

range over
These animals range over a very large territory

reluctant to
Correct Usage: The child was reluctant to jump into the deep end of the pool.
Incorrect Usage: The child was reluctant about jumping into the deep end of the pool.

refer to
My doctor referred me to a specialist.

regard as
I have always regarded you as my friend.

required to
The employees were required to hand over the pass when the quit the company.

require of
What is required of me in this job?

resemble in
This resembles vanilla ice cream in flavor, but not in consistency.

result from
It will be interesting to see what results from your efforts.

result in
I hope that this will result in the police finding your car.

rival in
No one rivals Ted in pitching a baseball.

sacrifice for
Would you sacrifice your bank account for a chance to go to Europe?

sacrifice to
I sacrificed a lot of money to a fancy lifestyle

seem like
seemed like such a nice person when I met you.

seem to
Correct Usage: The officer went to question the man who seemed to be hiding something.
Incorrect Usage: The officer went to question the man who seemed like hiding something.

seek out
Liz sought out a helper for Karen.

seek from
We will seek an injunction from the judge

seek after
will continue to seek after the thief who stole my car.

seek revenge
I will not seek revenge for what he did to me.

sequence of
The sequence of events folded step by step

speak about
And now I will speak about Abraham Lincoln.

speak against
Please don’t speak against cats in my presence.

speak down to (Talk in simple language)
There is no need to speak down to me. I can understand anything you are likely to say.

speak from
Believe me, I speak from experience.

speak up
I want to speak up for the rights of students.

speak volumes
The unsightly yard and unpainted house speaks volumes about what kind of people live there.

speak with
He did what? I will speak with him!

speak for
Is the experiment a success? I think the numbers speak for themselves

take advantage of
to take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way.

good advantage
Having and using a large vocabulary shows your intelligence to good advantage.

target at
Correct Usage: The uncomplimentary remarks were targeted at the host.
Incorrect Usage: The uncomplimentary remarks were targeted to the host.

think of or think to be

Correct Usage:
- I think of him as my best friend.
- I think him to be my best friend.

train to
Correct Usage: He was trained to become an athlete ever since he was a child.
Incorrect Usage: He was trained as an athlete ever since he was a child.

try to or try and
Correct Usage: He tried to start afresh after the set back.
Incorrect Usage: He tried and started afresh after the set back.

unlike x, y
Unlike Tom, Brenda loves to go shopping

used as
Correct Usage: language can be used as a weapon
Incorrect Usage: language can be used like a weapon.

Other idioms rules generally tested on the GMAT

Among Vs Between
Among is used when more than two items are in question, between is used when there are only two
items:

e.g. I have to choose between studying & watching a movie.

I have been admitted to several schools. I now need to choose the best among them.

Both Vs Each
Use “both” to point similarities, “each” to point differences. “Each” is always singular

Twice Vs Double
Use “twice, thrice” for comparison; “double, triple” is used as a verb only.

Each Other Vs One another
“each other” is for two things; “one another” for more than two.

If v/s Whether
If there is a choice between the two, use “whether”. On GMAT, “if” is primarily for if/then type sentences.

like v/s such as
Use “such as” when possible. On GMAT. “like” is used when implying “similar to”