Idiom Back to the Drawing Board - Idioms In English

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In this lesson you will learn how to use the idiom ‘back to the drawing board’ in your conversations.


Lenny: “Back to the drawing board” means to start something from the beginning again.

Windy: The idiom normally speaks of something which is started over again, after a failure in the previous attempt, right?

Lenny: Correct! Would you give us an example to show how the idiom is used?

Windy: Oh sure! Guess I’ll have to go back to the drawing board if my first thesis isn’t approved!

Lenny: Good example! The idiom also means to start planning again because an earlier plan didn’t work! We can also use this idiom to say that some changes might be needed in order to make a plan successful, after it has failed to meet its purpose.

Windy: Now you give an example, Lenny.

Lenny: Sure, here it goes: the school committee went back to the drawing board after their plan to change the curriculum failed.

Windy: Are you kidding? Or was that just an example? The exam pattern might change?

Lenny: It was just an example, and I am quite sure they won’t change anything in the exam, at least not this year.

Windy: Good! Then I’ve nothing to worry about in English class!

Lenny: I’m sure you’ll do well in the exam. Listen to these conversations now.

Fatal Mistakes

Ana: Hey Greg. I’ve heard your project was cancelled?

Greg: There were some mistakes in the calculations and we had to go back to the drawing board because of that.

Ana: That’s bad Greg! Mistakes may be too costly if you are going to drill for oil.

Greg: Yeah, we can’t afford any mistakes.

What Should I Buy?

Greg: Hey Ana. Did you find a good present for dad’s birthday?

Ana: I had the perfect idea but then, Karen stole my idea and bought one for him already.

Greg: So you need a new idea?

Ana: Yes, I have to go back to the drawing board.

New Guidelines

Ana: Greg, how is your work on the new design going?

Greg: I have to go back to the drawing board to meet the new building guidelines.

Ana: You've almost completed the blueprints right?

Greg: I did and I already showed them to Mr. Smith.

Ana: So he told you to re-do them?

Greg: Yeah, back to the drawing board!

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