Expressions used in Everyday Spoken English in Social and Professional contexts

(learn/show) the ropes

show the ropeslearn the ropes
Meaning(s)
1) explain or demonstrate something to someone
  • How to MemorizePopularity MediumProfessional MediumSocial
    • show someone/learn the ropes
  • Analysis

    To 'learn the ropes' means to know how to do something or learn how to do something particularly in regard to a job or skill. When you 'learn the ropes' you discover how a particular task is done. To 'show someone the ropes' IT means to teach someone how to do a particular job or task. If you 'show someone the ropes' it can also mean to help someone get to know a new group neighbourhood or work environment. In a negative context to 'show someone the ropes' can mean to 'rough someone up' or be violent towards them usually as a means of teaching them a lesson. This particular use is colloquial and casual and is associated with 'the ropes' of a boxing ring.

  • Professional Examples (Basic)
    1. I know you're new, but I've been working here for ten years so I would be happy to show you the ropes
    2. How am I going to be able to operate this machinery now that the person who was supposed to be showing me the ropes called in sick?
    3. The onboarding process is very thorough so it shouldn't take you long to learn the ropes.
  • Social Examples (Advance)
    1. He reported us to the police, now we're going to have to show him the ropes.
    2. It didn't take me long to learn the ropes in the new neighbourhood. It was pretty clear who was in charge from the beginning.
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