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go through the motions

This page is about the idiom go through the motions


You go through the motions when you do something without putting any real effort or thought into it.

For example

  • They've told Jamal that he has to leave his job at the end of the month, so he's just going through the motions until then.

  • Our team was so far behind that for the last few minutes of the game it looked like they were just going through the motions.

Quick Quiz

The band were playing their songs, but they were just going through the motions because

a. there was a huge crowd cheering them on

b. millions of fans were watching them on TV

c. they were doing a rehearsal to check the sound

Idiom of the Day

Contributor: Matt Errey