Advanced English Expressions With On

Learn advanced English expressions with ‘on’. Learning and using chunks of the English language is the best way to improve your English vocabulary quickly. 

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

speak better English with Harry - Episode 343

list of fixed english expressions

advanced English expressions with on

Advanced English expressions with on. Better way to improve English vocabulary. Online English lessons at Click the link.

Hi there, welcome back to my English podcast. This is Harry here. We’re going to give you some helpful tips on how to improve your English. I’m going to help you with grammar, phrasal verbs, expressions, everything possible that will help you better communicate in English

Intermediate to Advanced English Marathon

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.

We’re going to talk particularly about fixed phrases with on.The preposition ON. Fixed phrases with on.

I’ll go down through them one by one, and then I’ll explain them individually and give you some examples.


on the off chance 

Meaning: when we use this expression, we’re not quite certain that something might be possible or somebody might be able to help us

For example, you go into a shop, you’re searching for perhaps a particular notebook, you haven’t seen it anywhere in the city, but you see this little stationery shop at the end of the street. So you run in and you say to the shopkeeper,

👦 On the off chance, would you happen to have this type of notebook?

👱‍♀️ Yeah, hold on, I think I’ve got one in stock. 

Or you could ask a colleague,

👨‍🦱 On the off chance, will you be driving my way? Could you give me a lift home?

👨‍🦰 Yeah, sure. I pass by your house quite regularly. 

So again, we asked somebody to help us on the off chance that they might be able to, there was a possibility that they might not.

But then, of course, as there are two sides to every coin, there was the chance that they would be able to help you. 


on second thought(s)

Meaning: there must have been the first thought. Then you think about something and decide that maybe you acted a little bit hastily, and you change your opinion or decision. 

👩‍🦰 We are meeting for a beer, would you like to come?

👨 That sounds like a great idea… On second thoughts, I think I’d better stay in tonight. I’ve got a really big presentation tomorrow, I don’t want to mess it up.

So it changed from the first thought. Either positive to negative or negative to positive.

I’d love those diamond earrings for Christmas. The ones that I was showing you in the shop that day. Remember? Actually, on second thought, I think I would prefer a new mobile phone. 

book your trial English Lesson


on a whim

Meaning: when we do something on a whim, we do it without really thinking. It’s just something that suddenly comes into our minds. We don’t really plan it. We just do it.

I’m sitting by a pool in Turkey enjoying some winter sunshine. I just came here on a whim, I wanted to get away.

on a budget

Meaning: when you’re on a budget, you have a restricted amount of funds that you can spend over a period of time

We can also add lots of different adjectives here:

  • on a tight budget
  • on a small budget
  • on a very small budget

We might travel around Europe or somewhere around the world. However, we will be travelling on a budget and staying in hostels. 

We are restricted as to how much money we can spend.

It was one of the best holidays I have ever had. We drove around France on a budget.

advanced English expressions with on

Advanced English expressions with on. Better way to improve English vocabulary. Online English lessons at Click the link.

Share and help other students to improve English language skills.

on principle

Meaning: when we do something on principle, we stand up for what we believe is right

It was a terrible meal, I complained to the manager. They didn’t give me a discount, I have to pay the full price. So now, on principle, I am never going to set foot in that restaurant again.

On principle, I wouldn’t work for him because he’s a male chauvinistic pig.

on one’s own

Meaning: be or do something by yourself

We travel on our own.

We set up home on our own when we leave the family nest.

We go and we get our first apartment or our first home, but we are on our own.

If you decide to make a stand on this issue of principles, you might be on your own because nobody is going to support you.

advanced English expressions with on

on target

Meaning: in the right direction to achieve those goals that you (or someone else) have set

It’s looking good. We’re on target. We’re going to get that bonus as coming close to the end of the year.

The company is on target to make a good profit by the end of the year.

The government is on target to reduce the budget deficit.

on duty

Meaning: at work, engaged in an assigned task or occupation. People who are usually on duty would be people like police officers, doctors, nurses.

Who’s on duty tonight?

I’m supposed to go on duty at 6 am.

advanced English expressions with on

on purpose

Meaning: deliberately

Michael hit me. He hit me on purpose. He picked up that stone and he threw it at me.

on (the) condition that

Meaning: when you use this expression when we want to make something conditional

I will agree to sign this contract on the condition that you give me a payment of 10,000 Euro.

I will allow you to go to the party on condition that you come home before midnight.

So advanced English expressions with on:

  • on the off chance
  • on second thought(s)
  • on a whim
  • on a budget
  • on principle
  • on one’s own
  • on target
  • on duty
  • on purpose
  • on (the) condition that

There are fixed phrases with on. Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed this podcast episode. Why don’t you tell some of your friends?

If you want to contact me, you can do so on Always happy to hear from you. Always happy to get your contributions. Okay, take care.

More information

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

Useful expressions with CATCH

20 Phrasal verbs related to EDUCATION

You can always study English advanced level at Learning English with the BBC.

You will love these English lessons