The TIES Gazette – Edition 4
May 5, 2011
-ed / -ing adjectives
May 19, 2011

Idiom Practice

English Idioms

Idioms are phrases or expressions which can’t be taken literally. Idioms are used in all languages and they can be a fun way to learn some new vocabulary and specific expressions. Most students enjoy learning English Idioms in my class, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to share some online along with some examples and definitions – enjoy!

Try writing the following idioms as a Listening Dictation first. Press ‘play’ below and write the sentences in your vocabulary book. Check your spelling afterwards and the meaning of each Idiom below.

[play-button:wp-content/uploads/2011/05/EnglishIdiomPractice.mp3]

(Please press play to hear the listening dictation)

English Idiom’s beginning with the letter ‘A’

1: “A bird in the hand…”

Definition: This idiom is actually a shortening of a longer idiom which is; ‘A bird in the hand is worth two in the tree’, which means that if you have something for sure it is much better than taking a risk to get more. Most native English speakers know this idiom and simply shorten it as it is easier to say.

Situation: We often use this idiom if someone is deciding to take a risk, even though they already have something which is definite.

Example: Person A: “A man is coming to my house now to buy my desk for $50, but I was just offered $100 by someone else. What should I do?” Person B: “A bird in the hand…”

 

2: “A blessing in disguise”

Definition: A bad situation which turns out to be a good one in the end.

Situation: We often use this idiom when something bad has happened and yet there seems to be a positive outcome.

Example: Person A: “I lost my job two weeks ago, but I just got a better job today with a higher salary and better conditions” Person B: “It was a blessing in disguise”

 

3: “A drop in the ocean”

Definition: A very small and insignificant contribution towards something.

Situation: We often use this idiom when someone does something which is considered very small and insignificant.

Example: Person A: “I rode my bike to school today to help stop global warming.” Person B: “Sorry, but I think that’s just a drop in the ocean if you ask me.”

 

4: “A leopard can’t change its spots”

Definition: People can’t really change who they are.

Situation: We often use this idiom when someone does something which is considered ‘out of character’ and is thought to be only a temporary change rather than permanent.

Example: Person A: “Did you see that James cleaned his room with me asking? I think he’s really changing.” Person B: “A leopard can’t change its spots.”

 

5: “A piece of cake”

Definition: Something which is really easy to do.

Situation: We often use this idiom when we want to describe something as being especially easy to do.

Example: Person A: “English grammar is so hard to learn.” Person B: “Actually, I think it’s a piece of cake.”

 

6: “A slap on the wrist”

Definition: A punishment which is considered too mild or easy.

Situation: We often use this idiom when we hear about criminals being sentenced to very minimal time in jail based on the crime committed.

Example: Person A: “Did you see how long that murderer got in prison? It was only 5 years!” Person B: “yeah, it’s just a slap on the wrist.”

 

7: “Actions speak louder than words”

Definition: It is better to do something rather than talk about it.

Situation: We often use this idiom when someone says they will do something, but we are a little skeptical about if this is true or not.

Example: Person A: “If you get me that game I will clean my room.” Person B: “Actions speak louder than words.”

 

8: “All in the same boat”

Definition: People in a given situation are facing the same problems or issues.

Situation: We often use this idiom when we want to stop an argument and make it clear that everyone is facing the same problem.

Example: Person A: “Learning English is really hard.” Person B: “We’re all in the same boat.”

 

9: “An arm and a leg”

Definition: Something which is very expensive.

Situation: We often use this idiom when we want to say that something is particularly expensive. This kind of statement is called a hyperbole.

Example: Person A: “Did you buy a new car?” Person B: “Yeah, it cost an arm and a leg.”

 

10: “A dream come true”

Definition: Something which you have dreamed of for a long time which actually happens.

Situation: We often use this idiom when we want to describe an amazing achievement in our lives.

Example: Person A: “I finally started my own business.” Person B: “Wow, it must be a dream come true!”

 

Thank you for stopping by and I hope you enjoyed the post! Let me know what you think below 🙂

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