Idioms (Idiomatic Expressions)
Do you know what Idioms are? Check this out!
According to the book English Idioms in Use (Advanced), written by Felicity O’Dell and Michael McCarthy (Cambridge), “idioms are fixed combinations of words whose meaning is often difficult to guess by the meaning of each individual word.”
To make it simple, idioms are non-literal groups of words which are used a lot within the English language. To sum up, if you want to improve your fluency and maybe sound more like a native, read books and magazines, understand songs and movies, it’s very important that you know Idiomatic Expressions, so you can understand and express yourself naturally. They are not so formal, so be careful.
Here is a list with some common Idioms (I’ll be adding 5 more every week, so come back and check):
A HOT POTATOE
to speak of an issue (mostly current) which many people are talking about and which is usually disputed.
” The abortion issue is a religious and political hot potato in Brazil.”
A PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS
a way of asking what someone is thinking.
A sudden silence between a couple leads the gentleman to say:
-A penny for your thoughts, my lady. Please, tell me what’s on your head.
AT THE DROP OF A HAT
Meaning: without any hesitation; instantly.
-John, would you do it now, please?
-Sure, at the drop of a hat.
BE A CATCH
to be someone worth dating, marrying, having.
– Sarah, you should marry him, he is a catch!
HIT THE BOOK
to study very hard for a purpose.
– Paul, we’re going to the beach tomorrow. Would you like to come?
– I’m afraid not, I’m going to hit the books this weekend, I have a test on Monday.
PIECE OF CAKE
when something is extremely easy to make or do.
– Do you think you can win this match?
– Sure, it’s a piece of cake. I’m better than her.
DON’T JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER
not to make a decision based on first impressions or based on what you see.
– This new boy is boring, look at the glasses and his stupid face.
– You shouldn’t judge the book by the cover, Claire.
MISS THE BOAT
when a person misses an opportunity to do something
– Did you go the interview this morning?
– Oh my god! I missed the boat. I have problems with waking up earlier.
SIT ON THE FENCE
to stay in the middle, to stay neutral, not take sides.
– Well don’t you think I’m right, she’s been acting differently hasn’t she?
– I’m sitting on the fence, you’re both my good friends.
BE TICKLED PINK
to be excited and happy about something
– She was tickled pink when she knew about going to Disneyland.
you are great/awesome
– Paul is very good in most of the sports, he rocks!
HANG IN THERE
wait and be patient
– I know you want to go to the toilet, but we can’t now. So please, hang in there.
GO DOWN IN FLAMES
to fail or end suddenly
– He was really ambitious, but when the company knew he was stealing, everything went down on flames.
Take a look at the Cambrige’s Excerpt(Explanation and Exercise) from the book quoted at this page for a more detailed explanation about Idioms and practice doing the exercises.