to bend over backwards: meaning and explanation

If you bend over backwards, then you try your best or do everything you can to help somebody or to achieve something.

Note that this idiom is often used in negative contexts, to communicate the idea that you have done everything you can to help somebody, and that this is not appreciated. e.g. I’ve bent over backwards for him over the last few months and he didn’t even think to say thank you.

Have a go at these micro-dictation exercises to hear this expression being used in context – how much can you understand?

Listening exercises

Micro-listening #1

Accent: Australia

, .
I’ve for him years, and ship at .
I’ve over backwards for him the years, and he just jumps ship at the opportunity.

About the sentence

…then he jumps ship at the first opportunity…

At the first opportunity is a more formal alternative to as soon as possible. e.g. I plan on speaking to head office about this at the first opportunity.

Here is an exercise to practise the expression ‘to jump ship’.

Micro-listening #2

Accent: England (RP)

My boss backwards to settle .
My boss always over backwards to new recruits settle and get up to .

About the sentence

…settle in and get up to speed

to settle in = to feel comfortable and at home somewhere, usually after a period of time. e.g. Here’s where you’ll be working. Why don’t you get settled in, and then head over to my office for your induction?

Here is an exercise to practise the expression ‘up to speed’.

Micro-listening #3

Accent: North America

We’ll bend make success .
We’ll everyone to bend backwards to make success of the .

About the sentence

…to make a success of the conference…

to make a success of something = to make something successful. e.g. Even after receiving numerous rejections and setbacks, Mike always believed he would make a success of his business

Photo by Carl Newton on Unsplash