27th October 2021
Idioms are used frequently in conversational English, not to mention formal and informal writing, and in song lyrics. Additionally I have heard British politicians, speaking in Received Pronunciation, employ an idiom in two in their remarks.
Generally students like having a few idioms under their belt, as it makes them feel that they are closer to everyday English, and can hold their own in a conversation.
Therefore, here is a one-stop shop for various idioms I’ve introduced over the years. Now, put your nose to the grindstone and get cracking.
it’s raining cats and dogs
it costs an arm and a leg
piece of cake
I’m burning the candle at both ends
once in a blue moon
pass with flying colours
turn over a new leaf
Another string to (your) bow – a new skill or learning experience
bear with me – please wait a very short time (usually spoken as opposed to written)
bit of a sore point – something that makes you sad or angry
down in the dumps – depressed, unhappy, feeling gloomy
hit the ground running – to start something immediately and with all your energy
like a madhouse – a place or area that is crazy, too noisy, too busy etc
run of the mill – ordinary, typical, normal, usual, boring
up in arms – to be very angry about something, to protest strongly
you take your life in your hands – doing something that is extremely dangerous
tickled pink = very happy – I’m tickled pink
fit as a fiddle = very healthy
Keep an eye on = watch something carefully
under the table = to give money to someone unofficially
kick the bucket = to die (informal) Did you hear ? Old Tom kicked the bucket.
A spanner in the works = a serious problem
In the right ball park (US) = not correct but close
On the right track (UK) not correct but close
Learning the ropes = learning what the job involves
Snowed under = very busy
number-cruncher = a slang term for an accountant
cooking the books = writing false information in accountants – a serious crime
Let’s call it a day = We can finish work now
Can you run that by me again ? = Please repeat.
tea / cherries / nutshell / cucumber / carrot
Growing up is hard, life isn’t always a bowl of _________ .
He walked in, as cool as a _________ , and told the boss he wanted a pay rise.
We’re going to try using a _________ and stick approach
I’m not a fan of karaoke, it’s not my cup of _________ at all.
To put it in a _________ , philosophy is very difficult.
Speaking Practice can be accessed on this blog: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/06/06/cat-got-your-tongue-time-to-talk-idioms/
what have you been getting up to ? // raining cats and dogs
chockablock // hold your horses // under the weather // chop chop // vicious circle
// can you follow me ? // a screw loose // not my cup of tea // kick the bucket
cut and dry // turn over a new leaf // pull your socks up //
as much use as a chocolate teapot // let’s call it a day
You may not know some of the above, so just ask your teacher, or do an online search
Extra idioms lessons may be found on these pages:
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