Expressions used in Everyday Spoken English in Social and Professional contexts

(catch/cop) on to

catch on tocop on to
1) understand or realize something
  • How to MemorizePopularity HighProfessional HighSocial
    • catch/cop on to what someone is saying
  • Analysis
    In the context of this expression, the understanding or realization of something usually comes after an initial struggle or period of time. 'Cop on to' or 'catch on to' can both mean 'to realise' something. The 'cop on' variation is primarily heard in Ireland, where it can be used similarly to the phrase 'wise up.' Due to the fact that this expression is often used in relation to learning, understanding, and awareness, it is heard commonly in both a social and professional setting.
  • Social Examples (Basic)
    1. Brenda speaks in such a thick accent that it took me a while to cop on to what she was saying!
    2. Tom seems to have finally caught on to the fact that he's in his mid-thirties now and needs to get his life together.
  • Professional Examples (Basic)
    1. If you hadn't given me that step-by-step breakdown, I don't think I'd have ever copped on to what I'm supposed to be doing!
    2. I'm beginning to catch on now, but for the first few days in my new job I was all at sea.
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