Scratch appears in a number of common English phrases and expressions such as : (not) up to scratch, scratch someone’s back; scratch the surface (of something) or scratch your head_._ Start from scratch is arguably the most frequent of these common idioms.
To do something from scratch is to begin from the very start with no preparation or prior advantage.
This expression originated from the field of sports in the 1700s when scratch was used in races to refer to a starting line scratched on the ground. Participants with any form of handicap could run shorter distances but still had to start from scratch.
- Let’s just forget about our past problems and start again from scratch.
- It’s a complete disaster so we’ll just have to start the project from scratch
Other common variants are build or create something from scratch, in addition to make or bake:
- From square one – When we start at square one we normally start from a new beginning – «They lost everything and found themselves back at square one»
- Fresh start – A fresh start is when we have a new beginning » We all want to put this horrible moment behind us and make a fresh start»
- Clean slate / Wipe the slate clean – Here we mean that we’d like to start again and forget the past. «The criminal completed his sentence in prison and came out with a clean slate»
To finish off for today, make sure you remember this expression and use it in conversation to sound more confident and natural in English. Otherwise you’ll have to learn it again and effectively….start from scratch!