In the Line of Duty

Like many of you, I’ve mostly been staying home over the past few months, and I’ve been catching up on (doing what others have already done) some TV series.

One I’ve enjoyed is a British series called Line of Duty.

It’s a police drama about a unit (department) in the police that investigates (tries to find evidence of) police corruption (dishonesty or criminal activities).

The title, Line of Duty, comes from the idiom in the line of duty. In the line of duty refers to the things that are done or that happen to you as part of your regular job.

If I say, “The soldier was injured in the line of duty,” I mean that he or she was hurt while working, while doing his or her job.

We use it most often for those in the military or doing police work.

Your duties are the tasks or actions you are responsible for, often at work, but not necessarily:

“The duties of a father include helping his children make good decisions in life.”

Here are a couple more useful idioms with “line” in them.

1. To draw the line at means to set a limit to what can be done or what you will do. For example:

“We are shorthanded (not having enough employees) at work so I can work an extra hour or two each day, but I draw the line at working Sundays.” Meaning = I will not work on Sundays.

“At restaurants, I like to try new things, but I draw the line at eating insects.” Meaning = I will not eat insects (small animals with six or more legs and wings).

2. Along the lines of means similar to, but not exactly the same, as something else. It can also mean according to the same rules or standards as something else.

“Let’s build our house along the lines of the White House (where the president lives), but smaller.”

“I’m organizing a birthday party for my wife along the lines of a beach party.” The idea is that the party will not actually be at the beach, but it will have decorations, foods, drinks, music, etc. that you might find at a beach party.

Of course, any parties will have to wait until the current coronavirus threat has lessened (gotten better), but I draw the line at waiting too much longer before having a good restaurant dinner!


P.S. For more idioms related to “line,” see our Daily English 628 – Introducing a New Product and Daily English 790 – Giving Birth to Twins.

P.P.S. Like this short English lesson? Get a FREE sample lesson (no money needed) – SIGN UP BELOW!

Just fill out the form below and we’ll send a FREE lesson to try!

We hate spam, too! We will never sell, rent, or give your information to anyone – ever!

What Will I Learn in My Free Lesson?

Here is just a small part of what you’re going to learn in this free lesson:

  • What “take a rain check” means and how to use it in a conversation . . .
  • The difference between a “recluse” and a “busybody” . . .
  • Why “to fend OFF” means something from “to fend FOR” . . .
  • What it means to “take a rain check,” “keep to yourself,” and “to appoint (someone)” . . .
  • What a social secretary is . . .
  • The best way to use “to sort out” and “to turn down” . . .
  • How to use phrasal verbs like “to settle in” and “to settle down” (they’re not the same!) . . .
This entry was posted in Language & Terms, Life in the United States. Bookmark the permalink.