COMMON IDIOMS IN USE 5

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  really master them.

red heart on a old opened book

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

Read the sentence and match its definition on the right:

1. We’ve had some big disagreements over the years, but it’s all water under the bridge now. We get on fine. The belief that outside appearances do not reveal what someone or something is really like
2. You are what you eat so it’s better to have a healthy diet. Annoying or irritating somebody
3. You can’t judge a book by its cover. I need to get to know him before I decide what he is like. Things from the past that are not important anymore
4. We’re really working against the clock now. We must hurry. Telling someone who is getting ahead of themselves to wait / be patient
5. Why are we bothering? We’re flogging a dead horse. Our online business is making no money, so we should move on and do something else. Good luck
6. I bent over backwards to help him. I hope he appreciates it. To put forward a side in an argument that may not be your own in order to show the counter-argument / ensure all sides are discussed
7. So you have the Idioms test today? Break a leg. If you eat bad food, you’ll be unhealthy, if you eat good food, you’ll be healthy
8. Ok, I’m playing devil’s advocate here, but if marijuana is legalized, isn’t it more likely young people will smoke it? Doing all you can to help someone
9. Hold your horses! We haven’t won anything yet. Not having enough time to do something
10. She is driving me up the wall. She won’t stop talking. Attempting to continue with something that is finished / over

Did you get all ten correct? Chances are, you are doing great. Good luck in all your endeavours. Below is the answer key:

1. We’ve had some big disagreements over the years, but it’s all water under the bridge now. We get on fine. Things from the past that are not important anymore
2. You are what you eat so it’s better to have a healthy diet. If you eat bad food, you’ll be unhealthy, if you eat good food, you’ll be healthy
3. You can’t judge a book by its cover. I need to get to know him before I decide what he is like. The belief that outside appearances do not reveal what someone or something is really like
4. We’re really working against the clock now. We must hurry. Not having enough time to do something
5. Why are we bothering? We’re flogging a dead horse. Our online business is making no money, so we should move on and do something else. Attempting to continue with something that is finished / over
6. I bent over backwards to help him. I hope he appreciates it. Doing all you can to help someone
7. So you have the Idioms test today? Break a leg. Good luck
8. Ok, I’m playing devil’s advocate here, but if marijuana is legalized, isn’t it more likely young people will smoke it? To put forward a side in an argument that may not be your own in order to show the counter-argument / ensure all sides are discussed
9. Hold your horses! We haven’t won anything yet. Telling someone who is getting ahead of themselves to wait / be patient
10. She is driving me up the wall. She won’t stop talking. Annoying or irritating somebody

pexels-photo-634848.jpegJust to wet your appetite, here are some more idioms to study as they are used in sentences. Try to complete the sentence by choosing the correct idiom. Answers are given at the end.

  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 _____ 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

Good luck in your endeavours.

As of old: Be EMPOWERED and EXCEL.

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