Idioms to Describe Big Effort

Idioms to Describe Big Effort

“The results you achieve will be in direct proportion to the effort you apply.”

Denis Waitley, an American motivational speaker

If you want to enrich your vocabulary with idioms meaning trying hard to achieve a goal, read on. For phrasal verbs on the topic, subscribe to our blog as we’re planning a post on those too. 😉

  1. To make every effort

We are making every effort to raise enough funds.

The NGO is making every effort to help the refugees but it’s never easy.

2. To spare no effort

Police have spared no effort in securing the area ahead of the event.

The government is determined to spare no effort in investigating this case thoroughly. 

3. To do one’s utmost

I’ll do my utmost to be there for you.

He’s doing his utmost to prepare for the interview. I hope he’ll pass it.

4. To do whatever it takes

I’ll do whatever it takes to help my child succeed at school.

She always does whatever it takes to make sure her family are healthy and happy.

5. To leave no stone unturned

I left no stone unturned when I was researching my thesis topic

In the difficult weeks ahead, we’ll leave no stone unturned in our search for a peaceful solution to the crisis. 

6. To jump through hoops

You have to jump through so many hoops to get a job like this.

If they jump through enough hoops, they can get work visas. 

7. To go out of one’s way

You need to thank Monica – she really went out of her way to get you this job interview.

He’s getting out of his way to please his superiors.

8. To strain every nerve

I strained every nerve to reach that book on the top shelf, and I still couldn’t get it.

I strained every nerve to become a better sales manager, but I just wasn’t cut out for the job (I didn’t have necessary qualities/abilities for the job).

9. To push / drive oneself to the limit

She’s pushing herself to the limit to provide for her children.

He’s been driving himself to the limit to get a promotion.

10. To break one’s neck

Don’t break your neck trying to please these people – they’ll never appreciate it.

I’ve been breaking my neck trying to increase traffic to my website. Now I just enjoy the ride (I relax and enjoy whatever happens; for more rest and relaxation idioms, check out this article).

11. To wrack one’s brains

I’ve been wracking my brains, but I still can’t remember what her husband’s name is (I’ve been trying hard to remember the name).

I’ve been wracking my brains trying to think of a solution to the problem (I’ve been trying hard to think of a solution).

12. To give your best shot

Henry gave it his best shot (he gave it his best effort), but the board still denied his proposal.

Give it your best shot and don’t worry if you fail.

13. To give it all you’ve got

Good luck, sweetie – give it all you’ve got out on the court today!

Give it all you’ve got! I know you can do it!

14. To bust one’s ass (rude slang)

I’ve been busting my ass all night long to get this presentation ready for tomorrow’s meeting.

She’s going to have to bust her ass if she wants a place on the team.


Click the link here and complete each sentence with one word.

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