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On Hand

Meaning: Present; available


Terri: Did
you just see that used car with the “For Sale” sign parked over there? It’s a
gorgeous car and it looks like new!

Selma: Yes, I
did. I called the number on the sign and talked to the owner. The mileage is
really low and it drives perfectly.

Terri: Well,
you’ve been looking for a car. Why don’t you buy it?

Selma: That’s
just the problem. The owner needs to sell it fast, and he is willing to
negotiate the price. But, he wants cash only.

Terri: There’s
a bank right down the street.

Selma: Yes,
I know, but I still don’t have that much cash on hand to pay for the
car today and I’m afraid someone else will buy it if I wait until I can get the

Terri: I wish
that I had enough cash on hand to lend to you because that
is a really good deal for a car. Maybe you could borrow from your roommate?

Selma: Yes,
she might have enough cash on hand
because she is really good at saving money. I think I’ll call her right now.

Example 2:

Ken: Oh, the kids are so
bored and it’s summer! We have to do something. Can we play a game?
Jolene: Well…We could play
volleyball at the beach, but I don’t think we have enough people on hand to make two complete teams.

Ken: I see. Why don’t we just
play Frisbee at the beach. Do we have enough Frisbees on hand for 6 kids?
Jolene: Yes, I think we do. Also,
Mrs. Smith already lives right on the beach and she is willing to watch the
kids while they play.

Ken: That makes me feel better
to have an extra person on hand to
help with the kids. They can get pretty wild at times.

be on hand
means that someone or something is available or ready to be
used. In example one, they are talking about having cash or money on hand. In
example two, they talk about having people and things on hand to play at the

This idiom can be found in the LSI textbook
Reading Horizons. This book is used at LSI schools in the level 6 Reading/Vocabulary
classes. For more information, please visit:

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