English Vocabulary Lesson # 161 – To take a toll on something (Idiom)

Sometimes, we do things that have a negative impact on us. We may not realize it initially, but as time passes, we can clearly see or feel the bad effects they have on us.

The idiom ‘to take a toll on something’ basically means to have a bad effect on something. We use this idiom to say that something has an adverse effect or reduces the good effect of another thing.

When something ‘takes a toll on’ someone or something, it means that the subject is having a negative effect on the object, be it a person or a thing.  Usually,  when a person or thing has been doing a certain action a lot, and that action starts having an adverse or a bad impact on the person or thing doing it, it means that it has taken a toll as it has affected the person or thing negatively. So, in short when something has harmful or damaging effects, we say it takes a toll on that person or thing.

In this idiom, ‘to take’ is a verb that shows the action of receiving or performing a negative effect. Its past form is took and past participle is ‘taken’.

For example, if you have been stressed over a long period of time, due to work pressure and meeting deadlines at work, they take a toll on you after a certain period. This is because stress has a negative impact on you. You may start facing various health issues like hypertension, disturbed sleep patterns, you may take to smoking and drinking.

English sentences to practice conversation :

Example 01: Working on the computer for long hours daily, takes a toll on one’s eyesight.

Example 02: Working in a graveyard shift for a long time can take a toll on one’s health.

Example 03: Seeing her parents undergoing a divorce took a toll on the little Mary’s upbringing.

Example 04: Extensive exercising over the years has taken a toll on Kevin’s knees. He has to wear a knee cap now.

Example 05:  Over consumption of alcohol over the years, takes a toll on the liver.

Example 06 : Being insulted at work by her team leader took a toll on her confidence.

Example 07: After witnessing a road accident, it took a toll on Samantha’s mood and she couldn’t focus on her work the entire day.

Example 08: Heavy rains in the city took a toll on the schedule of all the airlines.

What takes a toll on you? How do you manage it?

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