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to add fuel to the fire


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Choose the correct definition : a, b or c.

a) to make something worse

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This expression ’to add fuel to the fire,’ is to say or do something that makes a bad situation worse.

French translation

mettre de l’huile sur le feu

How NOT to translate : *ajouter du fioul sur le feu

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Examples in context

‘Simon Cox and Jamie Mackie in talks at Reading with Nottingham Forest exodus set to continue following Stuart Pearce and Fawaz Al Hasawi row.’

Cox arrived from West Brom for £2million in 2012 and along with Mackie had become a crucial part of the Forest attack in the last year. A move to Reading would see Cox play in a second spell at the Madejski Stadium having begun his career with the Royals in 2005, making just a handful of substitute appearances before leaving for Swindon three years later. For Pearce, the loss of two forwards will be a major blow ahead of the new Championship campaign, and will only add fuel to the fire in his rift with club owner Fawaz Al Hasawi.’

The Daily Mail, 5th August 2014

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’Eurozone manufacturing growth at 13-month low.’

Manufacturing growth in the eurozone slowed to a 13-month low in August, according to a closely-watched survey.

The final Markit’s Eurozone Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) dipped to 50.7 in August, down from 51.8 in July. A figure above 50 indicates expansion.

"France remains a real concern, as does Italy’s descent from solid expansion to stagnation. Signs that growth impetus waned in the key industrial engine of Germany, and in Spain and the Netherlands too, is also less than reassuring," Mr Dobson said.

The slowdown in industry is likely to add further fuel to the fire for analysts expecting additional monetary or fiscal stimulus to be implemented.’

BBC News, 1st September 2014

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Everyday usage

People are already unhappy, and if the government allows oil prices to increase it’ll just be adding fuel to the fire.

Shouting at a crying child just adds fuel to the fire.

b) to improve the situation

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c) to fill up your car

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