I start my speaking classes by explaining that I do not teach English, but Englishes; how the same sentences can be pronounced in Standard English, or in my London accent, in my east London accent, in my (attempt at an) American accent etc …
For those working towards an IELTS qualification, these distinctions are point-earners. Similarly, a knowledge of idiomatic English is so beneficial, not just for boosting scores, but for making students feel they are learning real English; this is how people REALLY speak.
Have a gander at this
(This is London slang meaning take a look at this):
You telling me they’re chattin’ away in Standard English ? Pull the other one.
(Are you trying to make me believe that the people are talking in Standard Queen’s English ? I don’t believe you).
English, as you can see and hear, is a multifaceted language, and I see so many problems in listening exercises, due to speed of speech, accents and unknown words or phrases. So let’s tackle idioms – expressions you will hear everyday, from street markets to politicians being interviewed on the news.
Let’s kick off (start) with some common idioms and expressions:
bear with me = please wait a short time
seems to me = I think, I believe but I can not be certain
do you follow ? = do you understand ?
hold the line = please wait on the phone a very short time
I’ll get back to you = I’ll reply to you as soon as possible (ASAP)
the day after tomorrow = in two day’s time
hit the ground running = to start work at a fast pace immediately
24 / 7 = all day, every day
Now … practice: What idiom or expression ?
“6 – 3 = 6 ……. ?”
“I’m exhausted, I’ve been working …”
“No, I’m busy tomorrow, how about … ?”
“Let’s all work with energy and be successful. I want us to … !”
I’ll see if the manager is in …
“Well, I’m not sure of the answer, let me … “
Work in pairs – try to make sentences using these new idioms.
Idioms – A random selection. Which do you know ? Which can you use in a sentence ?
same old, same old = same thing everyday, as always
stuck in a rut = no progress or change at all. Doing the same thing in life
raining cats and dogs = extremely heavy rain
chockablock = too busy to move – traffic
cooking the books = cheating with the accounts
cost an arm and a leg + very expensive
straight up = serious, not joking
pulling my leg = joking with me
learning the ropes = learning what the job involves
snowed under = very busy
let’s call it a day = we can finish work now
can you run that by me again ? = please repeat.
Teams ask each which idiom fits for:
Time to finish work // Bad weather // Stuck in traffic // Too much work
The accountant was writing false information // I am new at a job // iPhone 11 is not cheap // Sorry, can you explain again //