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 and try to decipher their meanings.
An idiom is a common expression understood figuratively, as the literal definition makes no sense.
Each sentence given below contains a boldfaced idiom/phrase which is explained at the end.
- When the boy was caught stealing, everyone thought he would receive a severe punishment, but all he got was a slap on the wrist. This means that he received a very light and easy punishment.
- We thought that our neighbours were rich beyond our wildest dreams, but it turns out that we’re all in the same boat. This means that we were in very similar situations.
- If Ella thinks that I’m going to let her copy my math homework, she’s barking up the wrong tree. This means that Ella is asking the wrong person.
- United thought that they would easily beat Spurs, but when it was tied with a minute left, they knew that this game was really coming down to the wire. This means that the outcome of the game was not going to be clear until the very end.
- We thought Janet would be a good worker, but it turns out that she can’t cut the mustard. This means that Janet cannot perform the necessary duties.
- Marwa wanted to get down to brass tacks, but the lawyer kept chatting about the weather. This means that she wanted to talk about the important issues.
- The lawyer knew that beating around the bush would get Marwa all worked up. This means that the lawyer wanted to waste time.
- After playing for three straight games, Paul was beginning to run out of steam. This means that Paul was getting tired.
- Don’t get so worked up, mate. She’s only pulling your leg. This means that she is lying or fooling around.
- Jane decided that she would go out on a limb and ask Byron out. This means that she would take a chance.
- Tad was too tired to finish the assignment, so he decided to hit the hay. This means that he was going to sleep.
- Pearl was excited when she found out that she would have her own front row parking spot at the university, but that was just the icing on the cake. This means that she would receive greater benefits than the parking spot.
- Ever since Amy’s uncle bought the farm, she’s been faced with the difficult decision of dividing the inheritance amongst the family. This means that he died.
- Working at the Burger King was at first overwhelming to Aaron, but now he knows the ropes. This means that he learned how to perform his duties.
- Julie thought her mom would let her go to the party, but had no dice. This means that things did not go the way that she wanted them to go.
How about learning the following idioms?
a. To “take it with a grain of salt” means to treat something as insignificant.
b. To “sell like hotcakes” means that something is selling very quickly.
c. To “get in a pickle” means to get stuck in a difficult situation.
d. To shed “crocodile tears” is to cry tears or display sadness that is not sincere.
e. To “push the envelope” is to go beyond what is normal or expected.
f. To “turn the other cheek” is to forgive an act of aggression.
g. To “go against the grain” is to oppose or resist a strong force.
How did you find these idioms? Please leave a comment below.
Good luck in all your efforts.
As of old: Be EMPOWERED and EXCEL.