COMMON IDIOMS IN USE 4

English@HighSchool would never be complete without idioms, proverbs and expressions which are an important part of everyday English. They come up all the time in both written and spoken English.

Because idioms and proverbs don’t always make sense literally, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with the meaning and usage of each idiom. That may seem like a lot of work, but learning idioms is fun, especially when you compare English idioms to other idioms in other languages.

An idiom is a common expression understood figuratively, as the literal definition makes no sense.

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Read the sentence and match its definition on the right:

Common Idioms

Definitions

1. Let’s keep studying for English. Practice makes perfect. To sense that something is not right
2. Don’t get upset about what he said. He’s just pulling your leg. Principal that is strictly adhered / kept to
3. Sorry but I think I’ll take a rain check on that. Unwell
4. As a rule of thumb, I don’t study at weekends. I spend the time with my family. Joking around
5. I can smell a rat. He said he has a PhD but he can’t even remember which university he studied at. Continuously doing something to improve
6. She’s the spitting image of her mother. Something said in humour rather than seriously
7. The ball’s in your court now. What are you going to do? To decline an offer that you will take up later
8. Unfortunately I think he’ll be studying for English until the cows come home. His English is very poor. Telling someone it’s now their turn to make a decision
9. It was all tongue-in-cheek. He didn’t really mean what he said. To look exactly like someone else
10. She’s feeling under the weather today so she won’t be going to work. For a very long time

I trust you are getting better and better. Practice make it perfect. Just keep on practicing and you will bear the good fruits. Here is the answer key to the above exercise:

Common Idioms

Definitions

1. Let’s keep studying for English. Practice makes perfect. Continuously doing something to improve
2. Don’t get upset about what he said. He’s just pulling your leg. Joking around
3. Sorry but I think I’ll take a rain check on that. To decline an offer that you will take up later
4. As a rule of thumb, I don’t study at weekends. I spend the time with my family. Principal that is strictly adhered / kept to
5. I can smell a rat. He said he has a PhD but he can’t even remember which university he studied at. To sense that something is not right
6. She’s the spitting image of her mother. To look exactly like someone else
7. The ball’s in your court now. What are you going to do? Telling someone it’s now their turn to make a decision
8. Unfortunately I think he’ll be studying for English until the cows come home. His English is very poor. For a very long time
9. It was all tongue-in-cheek. He didn’t really mean what he said. Something said in humour rather than seriously
10. She’s feeling under the weather today so she won’t be going to work. Unwell

Here are some interesting idioms to read – try completing them by filling the missing word:

  1. A rolling stone gathers no ______, so one should stick to what one is doing.  (A) dust       (B) moss     (C) weeds       (D) dirt
  2. You do not need to argue because ______ always speak louder than words.  (A) actions   (B) ideas      (C) performances      (D) results
  3. Birds of a feather ______ together. So, it is not surprising to see the two hang around all the time.    (A) go   (B) fly      (C) hatch       (D) flock
  4. You must draw a _______ between what you can and cannot do.    (A) distinction     (B) parallel       (C) difference      (D) line
  5. New ______ sweep clean, but I doubt if the new boss can sustain this pace.   (A) brooms     (B) laws      (C) cloths       (D) mops
  6. Granny used to ______ yearns about her experiences during the Japanese Occupation. (A) tell       (B) knit      (C) speak       (D) spin
  7. She pulled all  _____ in order to get the job.    (A) plugs       (B) strings      (C) threads       (D) connections
  8. He stayed calm and did not turn a ______.    (A) head       (B) nose       (C) hair       (D) foot
  9. There is no ______ and fast rule to do the job. The most important thing is to finish it as fast as you can. (A) fit       (B) hard       (C) far       (D) hold
  10. He let the ______ out of the bag and announced the new plan to the staff.    (A) cat       (B) dog       (C) bunny       (D) mouse
  11. You should keep him at _____ length because he may have a bad influence on you.     (A) arm’s      (B) foot’s      (C) hand’s       (D) shoulder’s
  12. He is sitting on the ______, trying to see which side he should cheer for.   (A) ledge     (B) fence      (C) edge       (D) gate
  13. He is willing to play second ______ although he obviously has much better skills. (A) hand     (B) fiddle      (C) thought       (D) chance
  14. Do not worry. I have the whole plan at my ______.   (A) mind     (B) heart      (C) hands       (D) fingertips
  15. Get the job first. A bird in the hand is worth two in the ______.  (A) cage     (B) wood      (C) bush       (D) forest
  16. I paid through the ______ for the over-priced video game.  (A) blood       (B) nose      (C) head       (D) heart
  17. Janet broke the ______ and started a conversation with the shy boy.   (A) quiet       (B) snow      (C) air       (D) ice
  18. We have to nip the problem in the ______ or it will grow out of control.  (A) bud       (B) root       (C) stalk       (D) seed
  19. He held his ______ and managed to keep the secret to himself. (A) lips       (B) tongue       (C) mouth       (D) teeth
  20. She is a ______ and it takes time for her to learn all the skills needed for the job. (A) green leaf       (B) greenhorn       (C) green finger       (D) green grass

ANSWERS:  1B   2A   3D   4D   5A   6D   7B   8C   9B   10A 11A   12B   13B   14D   15C   16B   17D   18A   19B   20B

So how did you do?

As of old: Be EMPOWERED and EXCEL.

 

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