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Word Pairs

Nonreversible word pairs always appear in the same order, e.g., back and forth. It would sound awkward if we read forth and back. For many of us, certain words go together and we will automatically use the correct order. However, nonnative speakers will need to learn nonreversible word pairs.

Common Word Pairs

The following is a list of common word pairs. Collocations are also a good idea to learn if you are a nonnative speaker. These are words commonly used together, e.g., have a headache.

Adam and Eve life or death
back and forth lock and key
bacon and eggs lost and found
bed and breakfast man and wife
birds and bees name and address
black and white nice and easy
body and soul null and void
bread and butter peaches and cream
bread and water pen and pencil
bricks and mortar pork and beans
bride and groom pots and pans
business and pleasure prim and proper
by and large profit and/or loss
cause and effect pros and cons
cloak and dagger pure and simple
coat and tie rain or shine
coffee and doughnuts ranting and raving
cream and sugar read and write
crime and punishment right and/or wrong
cup and saucer rise and fall
dead or alive salt and pepper
down and out shirt and tie
first and last shoes and socks
fish and chips short and fat
flesh and blood signed and sealed
forgive and forget slip and slide
front and center soap and water
fun and games sooner or later
give and take stars and stripes
ham and eggs suit and tie
hammer and nail supply and demand
hemmed and hawed sweet and sour
high and dry tall and thin
high and low thick and thin
hot and bothered tossed and turned
huffing and puffing touch and go
husband and wife trial and error
in and out trials and tribulations
Jack and Jill up and/or down
knife and fork wait and see
ladies and gentlemen war and peace
law and order wine and cheese

If we forgot a word pair, please let us know via our comment form below.

36 comments… add one
  • Chalk and Cheese
    Rock and Roll

  • Thanks for taking the time & creating this post!

  • This is a great website – TY!

  • also
    Sing and Grow
    Nut and Berries

  • Meat and Cheese!

    • Mac & cheese!
      Sweet and sour
      hot and spicy
      down and dirty

  • This website is VERY GOOD
    thank you

  • To and Fro

  • Terms and Conditions

  • Peace and love

  • Slip and Slide
    Song and Dance

  • Mother and father

  • May I just say what a comfort to uncover someone that really knows what they’re discussing over the internet.

    You actually know how to bring a problem to light and
    make it important. More and more people ought to check this
    out and understand this side of your story. It’s surprising you aren’t
    more popular given that you surely have the gift.

  • Ice and lemon
    Bits and pieces
    Thunder and lightning
    Sick and tired
    Now and again
    Safe and sound
    Now or never
    More or less
    All or nothing
    Once or twice

  • laugh and cry, long and short, ladies and gentlemen . . .

  • Sticks and stones
    Time and space
    Pain and suffering

  • Horse and Chariot
    Horse and Buggi
    Dog and bone
    Kettle and teacup
    Plate and bowl
    Field and Stream
    wine and dine
    mom and dad

  • mother and father

  • spick and span
    now and then

  • Food and Drink, chapter and verse, plain and simple, mix and match, bar and grill

  • Strawberies & cream

  • Apples and oranges
    Trick or treat
    Fortune and fame
    Hook or crook
    Cash and Carry
    Fast and furious
    Salt and pepper (hair)
    Wild and woolly
    On again, off again
    Tooth and nail
    Spic and span
    Hit or miss
    Hide and seek
    (Game of) Cat and mouse
    Tarred and feathered
    (To know) Right from wrong
    (To struggle) Tooth and nail
    Hither and thither
    Hither and yon
    Horse and carriage
    (Raining) Cats and dogs
    Blood, sweat and tears (sorry, I know that’s three)
    Lock, stock and barrel (sorry, I know that’s three)
    Hook, line and sinker (sorry, I know that’s three)
    Aches and pains
    Pins and needles (a tingling sensation)
    Rest and recreation
    Heart and soul
    Arm and Hammer (the brand)
    Beer and skittles
    Fear and trembling
    High and mighty
    Out and about
    A wink and a nudge
    A wing and a prayer

    • Rack and ruin
      No pain, no gain
      (All’s fair in) Love and war
      Death and taxes
      The Young and The Restless (TV series)

    • Hearts and minds

  • Tooth and nails

  • Chalk and blackboard
    Me and you
    Sister and brother
    Cat and dog
    Chair and table

  • Nice and Easy
    Slow and Simple

  • oil and water

  • breaking and entering
    slow and steady

  • Right and wrong

  • Victim and Murder

  • Needle and thread

  • Shoes and socks

  • High and mighty

  • Love & Marriage
    Horse & Carriage
    Trials & Tribulations
    Thick & Thin
    Feast &/or Famine
    Truth or Consequences
    Sink or Swim
    “Young & Old (alike)”
    Sooner or Later
    Town & Country
    Work & Play
    Win or Lose

  • Day and Night
    Young and Old
    Hit and Run
    Here and There
    This and That
    To and Fro
    Time and Money
    Milk and Cookies
    Quick and Easy
    Fire and Ice
    Time and Date
    Tried and True
    Big and Tall
    Fast and Furious
    Boys and Girls
    Toys and Games
    When and Where
    Go and See
    Come and See
    Search and Destroy
    You and I
    Before and After
    Does and Don’ts
    Hem and Haw
    Ride and Die
    Cheese and Crackers
    Liver and Onions
    Fish and Chips
    Peanut Butter and Jelly
    Now and Then
    Thunder and Lightning
    Heaven or Hell
    Can and Will


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