Compiled by John Millen
They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. Picture phrases are fairly useful, too. What do these picture phrases mean?
What is ...?
1 a picture hook
a. a sheet of glass used to protect a picture
b. a special nail for hanging a picture on a wall
2 a picture frame
a. a wooden or plastic edging that goes around a picture
b. a stand on which you prop a picture for display
3 a picture window
a. a small window in a roof
b. a big window through which there is a beautiful view
4 a mental picture
a. an artistic photo taken by a professional photographer
b. something seen in your mind
5 the big picture
a. a still picture taken from a movie
b. the most important facts about a situation
The right picture
Choose the correct noun to complete these sentences
1 How many picture (hooks / frames) will we need to hang these photos on the wall?
2 The hotel room was great. There was a massive picture (frame / window) and we had a wonderful view of the sea.
3 You don't need to tell me any more details. I've got a good (big picture / mental picture) of what happened.
4 If I give you a few more details, you'll get (the big picture / the picture frame) of the problem we are facing.
What do these verb phrases mean?
1 to be out of the picture
a. to take a photo with bad lighting
b. to be completely uninvolved
2 to get the picture
a. to fully understand the situation
b. to buy an expensive painting by a famous artist
3 to keep somebody in the picture
a. to keep a person fully informed of a situation
b. to take a group photo
4 to be a picture
a. to stand perfectly still
b. to look beautiful
5 to paint a black picture of somebody
a. to take a black and white photograph
b. to describe somebody as very bad with no good points at all
Finish it off
Complete the following sentences by choosing the correct phrase.
1 She always _________________ of her younger brother, but he's not really that naughty.
a. paints a black picture
b. gets the picture
2 There will be serious consequences if you behave that way again. Do you _________________?
a. paint a black picture
b. get the picture
3 Please _________________ about your job applications.
a. keep me in the picture
b. keep me out of the picture
4 Make sure Mum's kept _________________ - I want this party to be a surprise!
a. a picture
b. out of the picture
What do these phrases mean?
1 A picture is worth a thousand words.
a. It's better to read about something than look at a picture.
b. A picture of something gives as much information as a large number of words.
2 You look the picture of health.
a. You look very tired and fed up.
b. You look very well.
3 Her face was a picture.
a. She fell asleep.
b. She looked so surprised.
4 Put me in the picture, please.
a. Pass me the camera, please.
b. Give me all the facts, please.
5 Picture this.
a. Listen to what I'm going to say and imagine the situation.
b. Will you please take my photo?
Complete these dialogues using phrases from the previous exercise.
1 Okay. You've found lots of clues at the scene of the crime, so tell me everything you've found out. _________________
2 You wouldn't believe the damage the lorry did to my car, so I took a photo. _________________
3 I'm really pleased you've recovered from the flu. _________________
4 Listen to what I am going to tell you. _________________ It was a dark, starry night ...
5 I told her yesterday that I was going to marry her ex-boyfriend. She was shocked - _________________
Picture nouns: 1. b, 2. a, 3. b, 4. b, 5. b
The right picture: 1. hooks, 2. window, 3. mental picture, 4. the big picture
Picture verbs: 1. b, 2. a, 3. a, 4. b, 5. b
Finish it off: 1. a, 2. b, 3. a, 4. b
Picture phrases: 1. b, 2. b, 3. b, 4. b, 5. a
Picture power: 1. Put me in the picture, please, 2. One picture is worth a thousand words, 3. You look the picture of health, 4. Picture this!, 5. Her face was a picture