Idioms: Everything You Should Know

First off, what is an idiom? An idiom is a word or phrase that means something different than the literal meaning. Idioms are commonly used in English conversations, so non-native speakers should understand their meaning to avoid confusion and have more natural speech patterns.

Idioms are an essential part of the English language and should be a part of your ESL learning experience. The use of idioms will make your English sound more conversational. This article will help you understand and identify a few common idioms that are used in everyday conversation.

Idioms that sound bad, but aren’t

There are a few idioms in the English language that sound like insults but are actually the opposite or have entirely different meanings. These idioms are important ones to master so that you can properly use them in conversation.

Break a leg

This is a common idiom that is used to wish someone good luck before some kind of performance. This is a common idiom that is appropriate for use in a casual and friendly conversation where you are wishing someone good luck.

Bite the bullet

This idiom is used to signify getting something done that you do not necessarily want to do. This idiom is used in a sentence, not normally by itself. An example would be: “I need to bite the bullet and finish my homework.”

Speak of the devil

This phrase is a common idiom that is used when someone you were just talking about shows up, seemingly out of nowhere.

Kill two birds with one stone

This common phrase is used to convey completing two or more tasks with a single action.

Silly sounding idioms

The elephant in the room

This odd-sounding phrase is often used in friendly or even professional conversations. This phrase is used when a topic or problem is being avoided by the people involved. This idiom is commonly used in a sentence and rarely by itself. Here is an example: “I’m just going to address the elephant in the room, why are our sales numbers so low this quarter?”

You can’t have your cake and eat it too

This idiom is used to represent that you cannot have everything that you want.

Hear something straight from the horse’s mouth

This funny-sounding phrase is used in a friendly tone to mean that you heard something directly from a person involved. This phrase is often used as part of a sentence such as, “Adam has a new girlfriend, I heard it straight from the horse’s mouth.”

These are just a few examples of idioms that are used in day-to-day English conversation. Mastering these few phrases will help you strengthen your English language skills and prepare you for conversations with native speakers.

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