Archive for July 10, 2011

idiom: the writing is on the wall

This week’s idiom is “the writing is on the wall”, and it is used when we know a certain situation is going to end badly based on things that we have observed. For example:

My girlfriend and I are still together, but I’m pretty sure we’re going to break up soon. The writing is on the wall; we hardly ever talk anymore.

I think my company is going to close down in the near future. The writing is on the wall; we have very few customers now, and several people have been laid off.

That politician is going to lose the next election. He’s been in power too long and has become extremely unpopular lately. The writing is on the wall for him.

I think my grandfather will die soon. He’s over 90 years old and has been sick for a long time. Unfortunately, the writing is on the wall.

Apparently, this expression comes from the Bible. There is a story in which someone writes on the wall of a King’s palace in order to tell him of great danger that will happen to him.

As you can see from my examples, we use this expression by explaining the situation first and then using “the writing is on the wall”. When we’re talking about other people’s situations, we can add “for him/her/them”.

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