in your element: meaning and explanation

If you are in your element, you feel very happy, comfortable or in control because you are doing the thing that you are best at.

Imagine someone who is quite shy and awkward, but who becomes incredibly calm and confident when they are playing the piano. When they are performing, they are in their element. They are doing what they do best.

Another example could be someone who is very skilled at organising things – when they are running a complicated project, they would be in their element.

People who are very talented swimmers or divers probably feel like they are in their element when they are in water.

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: Ireland

, Jess .
When presentation to full people, Jess really .

About the sentence

…When she’s giving a presentation…

Notice the important collocation to give a presentation. e.g. I’m giving the most important presentation of my life tomorrow and I haven’t even started writing it yet.

Micro-listening #2

Accent: North America

, .
sister organise , and absolutely .

About the sentence

…I let my sister organise my wedding…

Notice the important verb pattern to let someone do something. e.g. Can you let me speak please? I’m fed up of being interrupted all the time.

A common mistake with this verb pattern is to use ‘to’ after the verb, i.e. to let someone to do something.

Micro-listening #3

Accent: England (RP)

. .
I’ve cooking. When I’m I feel like I’m  .

Extra practice

Here are some questions/links to help you learn the new vocabulary:

  • As a teacher, I feel like I’m in my element when students are asking me lots of tricky grammar questions. What about you – when do you feel like you are in your element?

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