Idiom of the Week: Know/Show/Learn the Ropes

After a nice, refreshing summer vacation, our idioms are back!


Meaning:The ropes” are things you need to do at work or in a special place. To know the ropes is to know how to do things, to show someone the ropes is to teach someone how to do things, and if you’re being taught how to do things, you’re learning the ropes.


This job is easy once you know the ropes.

I’ve lived in New York for thirty years. If you want someone to show you the ropes of life in the Big Apple, just give me a call.

He makes a lot of mistakes, but that’s okay. He’s still learning the ropes.

Pop Quiz:

Who at your job do you think knows the ropes?

A.  Someone who’s worked there for one week.

B.  Someone who’s worked there for ten years.

C.  Someone whose wife works there.

To see the correct answer, click on “Continue reading”:

The correct answer is B. If you know the ropes at a job, that means you know how to do everything and you understand how everything works. So if you’ve worked somewhere for ten years, that’s hopefully the case!

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