Play fast and loose

Test No. [color=blue]incompl/advan-48 “Speed”, question 3

He just couldn’t play fast and with his employees any longer simply because they never knew where he was.

(a) slow
(b) loose
© weak
(d) tight

Test No. [color=blue]incompl/advan-48 “Speed”, answer 3

He just couldn’t play fast and loose with his employees any longer simply because they never knew where he was.

Correct answer: (b) loose

Hello, help me please. I don’t understand this sentence:
He just couldn’t play fast and loose with his employeers…

Test No. [color=blue]incompl/advan-48 “Speed”, question 5

Since he left the army, he misses the excitement and danger and still wants to live life in the fast .

(a) track
(b) path
© street
(d) lane

Test No. [color=blue]incompl/advan-48 “Speed”, answer 5

Since he left the army, he misses the excitement and danger and still wants to live life in the fast lane.

Correct answer: (d) lane

I don’t understand fast lane too
thanks in advance
Zulfiya

Hi Zulfiya,

Both expressions are idioms: ‘to play fast and loose’ means to act in n a reckless or irresponsible manner, so you do something that can harm others and you don’t care.

When you live life in the fast lane you move very fast ahead because you want to achieve your goals immediately.[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEIC listening, photographs: Greetings[YSaerTTEW443543]

Hi Torsten, thank you for your explanation. It is so hard for me to understand and remember these idioms. Are idioms often used in exams?
Let me now, please you opinion. I heard the expression Play by ear I understand it as pianist plays without printed music. Perhaps, * Play by ear* is idiom too. What do you think?
Many thanks in advance
Zulfiya

Hi Zulfiya,

You’re quite right to say that ‘play by ear’ is also an idiom. More exactly the expression is ‘to play it by ear’. The meaning is that you are careful what you say and do in a sensitive situation. For example suppose that you want to get your money back on something you have bought and you are not sure whether this will be possible. Someone might give you advice like this: ‘If I were you I would see what sort of person you are dealing with and then I would be very careful about what I said - just play it by ear.’

Clearly idioms can come up in examinations but they would not usually be very obscure ones.

Alan

Hello Alan. I thought that Play by ear means to tell lie. But you tell that it means something a little different . I understand that Play by ear means to be careful. Do I think properly?
many thanks
Zulfiya

Hi,

Play by ear simply means to think before you speak so that you don’t make things worse. Literally you are listening carefully to what the other person is saying and then choosing your answer/response with care.

Alan

Hello Alan, Thank you very much.
Have a wonderful day
Best wishes
Zulfiya

Hi guys, I got a question about the playing by ear thing. May I use this idiom with “learn by heart” meaning?

Thanks

Hi blacksnake,

These are two separate expressions: play by ear means to wait a moment to understand what people are saying and then make your comment - in other words assess the situation before you speak.

It also has another meaning: play music that you have heard and remember without reading the actual music.

Learn by heart means: remember the words of something exactly so that you can repeat these words without looking at the text.

Alan

Just to add to what Alan has explained, I would also say that “play it by ear” can mean the same as “improvise”.

Amy

Thanks a lot alan n’ amy, it’s all clear like water now :slight_smile: