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V.7.2 - Idiomatic Language

10 Common Idioms

Average: 3.7 (189 votes)

Here are some sample sentences using English idioms. After you read the sentences, see if you can match each idiom with the definition.

1. After he was cut by the team, he turned over a new leaf and started working out.

2. I couldn't believe he actually passed himself off as a native speaker.

Idiom of the day 'Off the wall'

Average: 3.3 (10 votes)

If something - particularly an idea or a suggestion - is described as 'off the wall', it is shocking or unusual. The origin of this expression comes from sports like handball, racquetball or squash, in which the ball is hit against a wall. When the ball comes 'off the wall', the player is uncertain where it will go. Therefore, an 'off the wall' idea is a rather unusual idea, and no one is entirely sure where it will lead. In other words, the outcome is unpredictable!

Some Handy (=useful) Expressions

Average: 4 (9 votes)

Pick out the correct word to go in the blank to complete the expressions with 'hand.'  The actual meaning is inside the brackets or parentheses.

This lesson was created by Evelyn Ono Vineberg, EC San Diego

Environment Vocabulary - Saving our Planet

Clothing Idioms

Average: 3.4 (10 votes)

Here are some idioms which use items of clothing:

An anorak

Used to describe a boring person with an uninteresting hobby who always talks about it - they are too interested in unimportant details:

'He's such an anorak. He's always talking about the history of steam trains.'

Take one's hat off

To admire or respect someone:

'She got 100% on the test. I take my hat off to her.'

Do you know these idioms with 'Get'?

Average: 3.5 (13 votes)

The following idioms and expressions use the verb 'get'. This word is, as you know, very common in English.

See how many of these you recognise. Anyone know them all?

Now, get on with it!!

 By Thomas Williams

Thomas Williams is a teacher at EC San Diego

Link: Irregular Verbs

Music Idioms

Average: 4 (15 votes)

The beat of a different drum

To be different from the rest; to do things in your own way.
"Everyone except Sarah went to the bar. She marches to the beat of a different drum."

Blow your own trumpet

When you blow your own trumpet you boast about your achievements or talents; you are not modest.
"I don't want to blow my own trumpet, but I got the highest score on the test."

Cartoon - Cut it

Average: 3 (11 votes)

Cut It - Learn English Cartoon

We use scissors to cut paper. Cut can be used as a verb. Did you know that cut is used in a common English idiom? Read on...

Work Idioms

Average: 4.1 (12 votes)

Any plans for the summer? Will you be working or taking some time off? There's no time off for us hardworkers here at EC!

Anyway, here are some idioms which are related to work or holidays:

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy

Proverb: It is not healthy for someone to work all the time and never play:

'Come to the beach with us today. Remember, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.'

A busman's holiday

Doing something on holiday which is similar to your job:

School Talk - Learn Idioms

Average: 3.5 (8 votes)

What are the similarities and differences between your school system and the American one?  What kind of student are you?  Are you brainy (very smart) or a low achiever (a poor performer)?  Do you sometimes ditch your classes (not attend your classes)?  Or, are you the teacher's pet (the teacher's favorite student)? 

Take this quiz to see how good you are at recognizing some common American expressions for talking about school performance. 

Baseball Idioms for everyday English

Average: 3.7 (18 votes)

Baseball is considered America's favorite pastime, and as a result there are many idiomatic expressions which come from this great sport. If you are not familiar with baseball jargon, some very common idioms may be difficult to understand. Here are some of the most common expressions and idioms from the world of baseball: