Idioms with "scratch" (А.В. Эйвазова)


Idioms with the word "scratch"

There are a lot of idioms with the word scratch. Let's learn some of them, look at the examples and see how people use them in everyday speech.

To do sth from scratch

Is the most common idiom with the word scratch.


  1. The class has started the lesson from scratch to be able to understand the basics in a better manner.
  2. I have worked hard and started this empire from scratch, so now I am considered an expert in the industry.
  3. I will have to start from scratch and redo the entire assignment because I missed a key point that was to be worked upon.


When you cook from scratch, you're paying attention to what you're eating; you're choosing your food and you're processing it - not the other way around.

Up to scratch

Also means - as good as the usual standard, for example:

The last few episodes of the TV program haven’t been quite up to scratch.

Every business no matter what business it is to some degree a data-driven business which obviously means that the quality of the data has to be up to scratch.

To scratch one's head

To scratch one's head means to have difficulty understanding something or to think hard about something.


  1. A lot of people must be scratching their heads about which way to vote.
  2. All I can do is scratch my head and ask why.
  3. The final decision has left many people scratching their heads.
I had to scratch my head a little bit and question, what does it mean to be a super achiever?

To scratch the surface


  • To deal with only a small part of a subject or a problem;
  • To initiate the briefest investigation to discover something concealed.


  1. They scratch the surface and never think to look within.
  2. All the payments we’ve made have hardly scratched the surface of the amount we borrowed.
  3. To get to the truth, you need to scratch the surface and look beneath.
Scratch the surface of any regularly angry person and you will find a wild optimist.

To scratch together


To find and gather or collect things or people from various sources or locations.


  1. How are we ever going to scratch enough people together to form a team by this weekend?
  2. We're just trying to scratch together a meal.
The grains of rice scratch together when there is not that much water.

Scratch my back and I'll scratch yours


  1. You know what I’m asking for is not so bad, if you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours. Think about it.
  2. The partnership between the two firms is more of “if you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” than actual financial dealings.
  3. The kids in that class have an “if you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” attitude and cheat plentiful during examinations.


Have you ever heard anyone say "You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours!"? It's used when two people both do something to help the other, so that they're both being helped. They're both benefiting.

You can find other idioms and examples in your textbook on page 118. Make sure you checked them, before doing the exercises.

Bye, have a great time!
Специализируемся на развитии навыков говорения и понимания реальной речи на слух. Используем только оригинальные материалы.