Necessity of Idiomatic Expressions in English Language
The usage of Idiomatic expressions is an essential part of the English Language competence and vocabulary. English language speakers must be aware and proficient in using these expressions. Idioms can be tricky but when you go deeper, they are fun to learn.
As an online English speaking course in India, we believe that it is imperative that our students should know if not all but the common English idioms that native speakers routinely use.
What are Idioms?
An Idiom is defined as a group of words in a fixed order that have a particular meaning that is different from the meanings of each word on its own.
An idiom is a phrase that is used in everyday English to express certain ideas or opinions. It is vital to understand English idioms as they can be complicated to comprehend when someone uses them in conversation. Most online English classes will have a ready reckoner of the commonly used ones that students can refer.
The meaning of an idiom normally depends on the specific context in which it is used. For Example, ‘break a leg’ means something different from its literal sense. It basically means good luck, generally before a performance. Similarly, there are many such idioms which have a figurative meaning, not deducible from the individual words.
There is no need to learn idioms by heart. Recent research states that there is a link between idiomatic expressions and their meanings which are based on physical experiences, which are universally shared or based on specific domains. According to Rodriguez and Winnberg (2013), there are various methods to teach idiomatic expressions. An online English tutor can make generalizations when planning their lessons to improve the acquisition of idioms by students.
Commonly used Idiomatic expressions:
You might have heard many English idioms in TV shows or movies. It might take some time to make yourself familiar with the idiomatic expressions but there are some of them that are very well known and will come handy if you know them. When you learn English online, especially idioms and phrases, you will definitely sound more confident especially when you speak with English language experts.
Here are a few most commonly used English idioms and phrases that will enrich your English vocabulary.
Speak of the Devil- It is said when that the person actually appears at that moment after being mentioned. For Example- Did you hear what happened to Sara today- Oh, speak of the devil, there she comes.
See Eye to Eye- This is used when you agree with someone or have a similar opinion with somebody. For Example- They finally saw eye to eye on that mega deal.
Once in a Blue Moon- Refers to something or someone that is rare in occurrence. For Example- I only go to my grandmother’s home once in a blue moon.
To Cost an Arm and a Leg- Refers to something that is very expensive. For Example- Nowadays, fuel costs and arm and a leg.
A Piece of Cake- Refers to something that is very easy. For Example- The Social Science Exam was a piece of cake.
To Feel under the Weather- To feel sick or not feel well. For Example- Today, my brother is really feeling under the weather today; he has a fever.
You can’t Judge a Book by its Cover- It means to not judge someone or something based on their appearance. For Example- We did not want to go into the restaurant as it looked small but the food was delicious. We realized that you can't judge a book by its cover.
To Hit the Nail on the Head- Refers to describe exactly what is causing a situation or problem. For Example- He hit the nail on the head when he said this company needs more support.
Let the Cat out of the Bag- Means to reveal a secret accidentally. For Example- I let the cat out of the bag about their birthday plans.
The Best of Both Worlds- It means a situation where you can enjoy two different things at the same time. For Example- She works in the country and lives in the city, so she gets the best of both worlds.
To Add Insult to Injury- It means to make a bad situation even worse. For Example- To add insult to injury, the car left without stopping after colliding with my bike.
When Pigs Fly- Means something that will never happen. For Example- When pigs fly, he’ll do his homework.
A Blessing in Disguise- It means a misfortune that eventually results in something good happening later on. For Example- Losing that job was a blessing in disguise because I got a wonderful job.
Call it a Day- It means to stop working on something. For Example- I am tired now. Let's call it a day
Let Someone off the Hook- If someone gets off the hook or is let off the hook, it means they manage to get out of the awkward or unpleasant situation that they are in. For Example- My teacher gave me punishment today after school but luckily there was a fire alarm and she let me off the hook.
No Pain no Gain- Means to work hard for something you want. For Example- My friend goes to gym twice a day and all his muscles ache, but you know what they say, no pain no gain.
To Kill Two Birds with one Stone- It means to solve two problems at one time or achieve two aims at once. For Example- He had gone to Germany on a business trip, while there, he killed two birds with one stone and visited his relatives as well.
Giving someone the Cold Shoulder- Means to ignore someone. For Example- Radhika thought Manica was a good friend, but the last time she saw her, she gave her the cold shoulder.
To Cut Corners- It means to do something in the least expensive way. For Example- They really cut corners when they built this room; the wall looks shabby.
Break a leg- The phrase means ‘good luck’, usually before a performance. For Example- I am sure you will break a leg in this dance performance.
Stealing Someone’s Thunder- Means taking credit for someone else's achievements. For Example- Mansi stole all the thunder when she said that she had done all the work that I did.
Idioms give a bright, conversational and creative feeling in the English language. If non-native speakers want to speak English fluently, they need to learn idioms to feel confident and improve their communication skills talking to native speakers.
Related Article: 25 Commonly used Idioms