Here is a short story about Dave’s interest to make more friends. You’ll find idiom definitions, example sentences, conversations, and a short quiz after reading the story.

There was a young boy named Dave. He had one friend, and he wanted to make more friends. He thought that he was on the ball to make more friends in the neighborhood. 

Dave was never happy without a lot of friends around him, so he decided to go out alone without his mother. He spent his whole day walking around in the neighborhood but did not meet any new friends. He thought that he might be barking up the wrong tree, so he moved to another block. A few days later, he did not make any new friends.

Dave decided to travel to meet new friends in the next town. He thought that this would not cost an arm and a leg, but he has spent his extra allowance while travelling. After spending a month, he realized that he had thrown caution to the wind when he decided to move in this town to make new friends. He went back home, and his mom accepted him and let him off the hook.

Let someone off the hook

  • to release someone from blame or responsibility
Example Sentences

Dale was suspected of cheating in their monthly exam, but he was left off the hook when he got a failing score.

Jenny was scheduled to clean their house, but her mom let her off the hook because Jenny has received an excellent score in her Math exam. 

A: Danny did not attend the orientation. Are you sure that he can follow all the rules?

B: He is a fast learner, so let him off the hook. I am sure that he will do good.

On the ball

  • knowledgeable and competent
Example Sentences

The new company director is really on the ball as the sales target went beyond what’s expected. 

Rhea completed her report so quickly as she is on the ball with this kind of task.

A: Why is it that you can get that formula quickly? Is there any secret?

B: My mother said that I need to study well so that I will always be on the ball on any subject.

Barking up the wrong tree

  • to make a wrong assumption or choice in something 
Example Sentences

Rexy is barking up the wrong tree because he always focuses on his problem rather than its solution. 

The cops were barking up the wrong tree as they point a man that was nowhere in the crime scene. 

A: Sara told me that I became so addicted to mobile games because I have my smartphone with me always.

B: She is barking up the wrong tree because I don’t see any mobile games app on your phone.

Cost an arm and a leg

  • expensive
Example Sentences

I would love to invite all my friends and relatives for my birthday celebration, but this will cost an arm and a leg when I do that. 

To look pleasant and charming, most movie actors and actresses undergo cosmetic surgery that costs an arm and a leg for them. 

A: What’s your birthday wish gift this year from your parents?

B: I know this wish will cost an arm and a leg for my parents, but I hope I can have a new pair of Nike shoes.

Throw caution to the wind

  • to decide without thinking of the risk or its adverse effects
Example Sentences

Tourists are warned not to throw caution to the wind when they visited an area for the first time. 

Samantha throws caution to the wind when she goes shopping as she always buys expensive dresses and shoes. 

A: I want to swim in the deep area now! Do you want to go with me?

B: I can’t! I never throw caution to the wind when I go swimming, as I am not sure about the sea current.


1. Letty is always _____________ because she was the youngest in the group.

2. My mother is absolutely _____________ when it comes to cooking my favorite recipe.

3. My sister is _____________ because she always insists that our youngest brother eats all her food in the refrigerator.

4. Celia is very thrifty because she never tried to buy an item which ______________.

5. Teenagers usually ________________ and end up regretting it.

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