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 this dictation exercise to hear this expression being used in context – how much can you understand?

Dictation #1

Accent: England (RP)

I’m that your isn’t .
I’m sorry say that your work really isn’t to .

…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.

Discussion questions

Write your answers to these questions in the comments section, and I’ll get back to you with some feedback:

  • 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?

Photo by Seven Song on Unsplash

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