Showing the Ropes

Tell her to show you the ropes; she has been sailing for years and can teach you the basics.

My dad taught me to play baseball.  He showed me the ropes back when I was a kid.

To "Show the ropes" means...

To teach or introduce someone to either a general topic or a specific activity or skill.

In this expression: ropes = basic methods, or the way something is done.

Someone "learning the ropes" is being taught the basics

Someone who "knows the ropes" is familiar or experienced - and could "show the ropes" to someone else!

Examples of Usage

You might need to be shown the ropes in the following situations:

A new job

Thankfully, my co-worker showed me the ropes until I got comfortable enough at my new position.

A new sport

My dad showed me the ropes of baseball when I was a kid.


I couldn't get a date until my older brother showed me the ropes.


We have a friend who loves going camping. She showed all of us the ropes on our summer trip!


The phrase "know the ropes" might be a sailor expression, used to describe the necessary basics for sailing – rope and knot tying.  For a sailor to "learn the ropes", he becomes familiar with the different methods for tying secure knots, and when to pull which rope on the sailboat, in order to sail well.