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Michael IELTS Band 9
Professional Teacher
Everyday UK Expressions (10): It's getting out of hand!

It’s getting out of hand

When a situation “is getting out of hand”, it is becoming harder and harder to control.

e.g. He started drinking only one pint of beer after work with his colleagues on Friday.  But now, he drinks 3 or 4 pints of beer most evenings, and sometimes comes home drunk. It’s getting out of hand and I don’t know what to do about it.

This informal, common expression can be used in most situations in life including work, leisure, politics, and economics. You use the whole expression together:

situation (it) + get + out of hand.  The verb “get” can take any tense

e.g. If we don’t stop our dogs barking at each other, pretty soon it will get out of hand and there will be a fight.

Can you create your own sentences with this expression? Good luck.

Sep 28, 2016 2:00 PM
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Comments · 13
Ok, Natalia.  I think you are making progress with "pull out all the stops", but you didn't use it quite right. I am going to revisit how to use that phrase in a future discussion, after I have given a few more tips.  Keep up the good work.
October 1, 2016
Right. But I will pull out all the stops to eat one more cake, while he is rescuing me.
October 1, 2016
Well done, Natalia.  I can imagine your friend having to rescue you because you can't stop eating all the cakes! 
October 1, 2016
I have a sweet tooth. And now I am at the birthday party. There are so many delicious sweets, cakes and buns on the table. It seems it will get out of hand soon.
October 1, 2016

Thanks, Jennifer, Sudeep, and Filippo.  Good example in particular from Jennifer - you've got the idea.  "end up" goes well with "getting out of hand".


September 28, 2016
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Michael IELTS Band 9
Language Skills
English, French, German, Italian, Spanish
Learning Language
German, Italian