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up to scratch: meaning and explanation

If something is up to scratch then it is at the required or acceptable standard.

This expression is usually used negatively, to say that something is not good enough, or does not meet the required standard. e.g. He tries hard, but I’m afraid his results just aren’t up to scratch.

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: England (RP)

I’m that your isn’t .

About the sentence

…I’m sorry to say…

The phrase I’m sorry to say… is a useful way of introducing bad news. e.g. I’m sorry to say that your loan application has been turned down.

Micro-listening #2

Accent: Wales

Micro-listening #3

Accent: Scotland


Extra practice

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

  • Can you remember an example of a time when you had to deal with something that just wasn’t up to scratch? What did you do?
  • Has there ever been a time when your work or performance wasn’t up to scratch?

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