Idioms

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Idioms

  1. 1. IDIOMS
  2. 2. What is an idiom? • An idiom is a group of words (or a compound) with a meaning that is different from the individual words, and often difficult to understand from the individual words. • Moreover, an idiom is an expression, word, or phrase whose sense means something different from what the words literally imply. When a speaker uses an idiom, the listener might mistake its actual meaning, if he or she has not heard this figure of speech before. Idioms usually do not translate well; in some cases, when an idiom is translated into another language, either its meaning is changed or it is meaningless. For example: In the English expression to kick the bucket, a listener knowing only the meanings of kick and bucket would be unable to deduce the expression's true meaning: to die. Although this idiomatic phrase can, in fact, actually refer to kicking a bucket, native speakers of English rarely use it so. Cases like this are "opaque idioms."
  3. 3. Here are some common idioms. • Get a move on If someone tells you to get a move on, they are asking you to hurry up. "You'd better get a move on or you'll miss the bus!" • Answer back means reply rudely Don't answer back your mother! • Call it a day. A person who decides to "call it a day" decides to stop doing finish doing something, generally because they are tired. Let’s call it a day. • Bear something in mind If someone asks you to bear something in mind, they are telling you to remember it because it is important. "You must bear in mind that the cost of living is higher in New York.“ • My wife and I take turns cooking (I cook one day, she cooks the next, etc) • I don’t know the answer offhand. (without looking it up or asking someone) • I’m not very good at small talk. (social talk; not about serious things)
  4. 4. Other idioms? • I’m sorry I can’t make it on Friday. (come) • I asked her to keep an eye on my suitcase while I went to the bathroom. (watch) • Get cracking When you get cracking, you start doing something immediately. "I'd better get cracking or I'll never get my homework done.“ • Go hand in hand If two or more things go hand in hand, they are associated or often happen at the same time. "In big cities poverty and violence often go hand in hand.“ • Don't beat around the bush This expression is used to tell somebody to say what they have to say, clearly and directly, even if it's unpleasant.
  5. 5. Fixed expressions • There are also expressions in English where the meaning is easy to understand, but the same idea in your language may need a completely different expression. If you translate each word from your language, you may say something in English that is completely wrong. For example: • It’s a good short-term (temporary, for now) solution, but in the long run (over a longer period of time) we will need to think about it. • A bad egg refers to someone as a bad egg means that they cannot be trusted. "I don't want my son to be friends with Bobby Smith. Bobby's a bad egg.“ • On the fly If you do something on the fly, you do it quickly, without thinking much about it, while doing something else. "I'm so busy I usually have lunch on the fly."
  6. 6. Other Idioms • Big cheese This expression refers to a person who has a lot of power and influence in an organization. "Tom's father is a big cheese in the oil industry." • Fast talker A person who speaks quickly and easily but cannot always be trusted is called a fast talker. "The salesman was a fast talker and persuaded the old lady to buy a new washing machine.“ • Bag of bones To say that someone is a bag of bones means that they are extremely thin. "When he came home from the war he was a bag of bones." • Down payment When someone makes a down payment, they pay a part of the total amount agreed when signing a purchase deal or contract. "Emma and Paul are excited. They put a down payment on their first house yesterday."
  7. 7. Next • Take the floor When someone takes the floor, they rise to make a speech or presentation. "When I take the floor, my speech will be short." he said. • Call it quits. If you say "I'm going to call it quits", this means that you are going to stop doing something, or end what you are doing. • Run a mile This expression is used by someone who is anxious to avoid something. "She said she'd run a mile if she saw reporters in the area. • Up and about If someone is up and about, they are out of bed or have recovered after an illness. She was kept in hospital for a week but she's up and about again.
  8. 8. Using Idioms • Idioms often have special features: They may be informal or funny or ironic; they may be used by certain people (e.g., young children, or teenagers, or elderly people); they may appear only in limited contexts; they may have special grammar. For these reasons, you can sometimes “learn” the meaning of an idiom but then use it incorrectly. For example, “I was sorry to hear that your father kicked the bucket.” This idiom means died, but it is used humorously, never in a serious situation. It would be completely inappropriate when offering sympathy.
  9. 9. Some easy idioms to use • A: Can I borrow your dictionary? B : Sure, go ahead. (It’s OK; do it) • A: I don’t know which one to choose. B : Well, make up your mind. (decide) • A : What’s up? (what’s new/wrong?) B : Nothing • A : Are you coming? B : Yeah. Right away. (soon)

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