Advanced English Expressions With Down

Learn advanced English expressions with ‘down.’ Learn to use these expressions in a sentence and expand your English vocabulary.

With fixed English phrases you will improve your English fluency, gain confidence and start speaking English like a native speaker.

Listen to the podcast Speak Better English with Harry or watch it on YouTube at Learn English with Harry.

speak better English podcast - Episode 273

List of phrases with down

advanced English expressions with down

Advanced English expressions with down. Advanced English lessons on Zoom and Skype. Click the link and book your free trial lesson at #learnenglish

Hi there, this is Harry and welcome back to advanced English lessons where I try to help you to get a better understanding of the English language.

To help you with your business English, or conversational English through phrases, use of correct use of grammar, pronunciation expressions and all aspects of English. To help you gain confidence, be more comfortable when speaking English.

So what we’re going to talk to you about today? Well, we’re going to look at some fixed phrases connected with the preposition “down.” Okay, advanced English expressions with down.

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Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

INSANITY: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

So let’s start with the first one


Meaning: when somebody is down-and-out, they’re probably at rock bottom. Somebody with nothing or very little. They are down literally financially, out of a job, out of their home, nowhere to go, etc


Sam hadn’t had a job for many months. He had no money. He was really feeling down and out.


down in the mouth

Meaning: sad or upset about something

And people might say to you,

What are you so down in the mouth about? 

So down in the mouth isn’t a permanent problem. It isn’t a medical problem. You can’t cure it but you can stop it by just finding something that will lift or raise your spirits. 


Little Johnny was down in the mouth when his friend didn’t want to play with him.

Sarah was down in the mouth because she burnt a hole in her favourite dress when she was ironing. 

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ups and downs

Meaning: a mixture of bad and good things

Make sure when you write this and you pronounce it, it’s ups with the -s and downs with the -s.

The ups and downs.


This is exactly what life is, isn’t it? It has its ups and downs. 

All marriages have their ups and downs, bad and good days.

down the drain

Meaning: something wasn’t successful, something has been a failure


We paid so much for that broadband and it never worked right; that’s money down the drain.

advanced English expressions with down

Advanced English expressions with down. Advanced English lessons on Zoom and Skype. Click the link and book your free trial lesson at #learnenglish

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Okay, next expression,


Meaning: somebody who is very practical, pleasant, honest and upfront

We use this as a way of paying a compliment to somebody.


He’s a great guy, he’s got a big position, a big job. He’s quite important in the company, but he’s very down to earth.


Meaning: clothes or other items that are passed from older relatives and friends because they no longer want them or grew out of them

Literally, it means somebody’s hand in clothes down to the next generation. So jumpers, trousers, shirts, even shoes that they weren’t too worn, we would get the hand-me-downs.


I used to survive on hand-me-downs. In our family, we had lots and lots of cousins. When the older cousins had finished with their clothes or had grown out of them, they’d be passed down to us.

advanced English expressions with down

a down payment

Meaning: this is a financial expression we use when we’re making a deposit on something

Whether it’s a house you want to buy, whether it’s a house or apartment, you want to let, whether it’s a car you want to buy, usually, typically somebody will look for a down payment or a deposit so that you’re committed to coming back to make the final payment or the next instalment.


There are many programmes that can help you pay a down payment on your first home.

Adam had to pay a down payment on a new iPhone.

And finally


We started off with down-and-out and down-at-heel is not much better.

Meaning: something has seen better days, now it looks shabby and unattractive because of lack of money


The old block of flats looked down-at-heel. The nearby park was neglected; benches had been broken and not properly repaired. The whole area had seen better days.

Though he had washed his shirt and pressed his jacket and trousers, he knew that he had looked down-at-heel.

advanced English expressions with down

Okay, so those are all advanced English expressions with down. Let me give them to you one more time:

  • Down-and-out
  • Down in the mouth
  • Ups and downs
  • Down the drain
  • Down-to-earth
  • Hand-me-downs
  • Down payment
  • Down-at-heel

Okay, well as always, thanks for listening. And as I said before, if you want to contact me, well then you can do so on Always happy to hear from you.

If you or your family members would like to take online English lessons with native English teachers, please see all the information on our online English lessons on Zoom and Skype.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this lesson. As always, thanks for listening and join me again soon.

More information

For more information on English grammar rules, English collocations and English idioms, check out the links below:

15 Phrasal Verbs with AWAY

Difference between SINCE and FOR

You can always study English advanced level at Learning English with the BBC and British Council Learn English.

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