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IDIOMS By Paula Morales


Similes Similes are expressions which compare two things, they have the words as or like . You can use similes to make your English more colourful and your comparisons more powerful.


e.g.

• My son as thin as a rake

(extremely thin)

• The baby’s skin is as smooth as silk. (extremely smooth)


• Jenny si as bright as a button. (extremely clever)

• I sleept very well , so I feel as fresh as a daisy this morning. (extremely fresh and full of energy)


• John ran like the wind to get the message to Paula before she left (ran extremely fast)


Binomials Binomials are a type of idiom in which two words are joined by a conjunction, usually and. The order of the two words is fixed.


e.g.

•

If you go for cheaper speakers, the sound quality may be a bit hit and miss. (sometimes good, sometimes bad (informal))


• They finish the race neck and neck. (equal)

The traffic was bumper to bumper all the way to the coast (very heavy)


It took a lot of blood, sweat and tears to get the business going.(hard work)

• Although the twins look the same, when you talk to them you realise they’re like chalk and cheese (totally different)


Proverbs Proverbs are short sentences which refer to something most people have experienced and which give advice or warmings


e.g.

A: Martha told her new boyfriend that she was five years younger than she really is. B: All’s fair in love and war! (all behaviour is acceptable in extreme situations, especially in romantic situations and competitions) •


•

A: I wonder why Sylvia and Anthony have broken up. B: Well, it takes two to tango. (two people are equally responsible)


•

I’m really impatient to finish decorating my flat, but Rome wasn’t built in a day! (it takes a long time to do important things properly)


Euphemisms Euphemisms are a type of idiom used to avoid saying words which may offend or be considered unpleasant.


e.g Euphemism

Example

Meaning

Four letter words

They play may offend some people, as it’s full of four letter words

Swear words (many of these have four letters in English)

Pardon my french

He’s such a bloody idiot, pardon my French

Apologies for swearing (humorous)

Powder my nose

I’m just going to powder my nose

Use the toilet

Answer the call of nature

Go behind a tree if you need to answer the call of nature

Urinate (more direct)

Have a bun in the oven

Guess what! I’ve got a bun in the oven

I’m pregnant


ClichĂŠs and fixed statements A clichĂŠ is a comment that is often used in certain common, every situations .


e.g

•

•

There are plenty more fish in the sea (There are plenty more people or possibilities)

It’s not over until the fat lady sings (you cannot be sure what happen until the very end of something, often a sports event)


• Ignorance is bliss (you may be happier sometimes when you do not know all the facts about a situation)


Fixed statements Fixed statement

Meaning

Get your skates on!

Hurry up!

I’ll believe it when I see it

I’m doubtful that it will happen

Mum’s the word

I promise not to tell a secret

Good riddance!

I’m happy something or someone has gone.

Take is easy!

Calm down ! Relax!

Fair’s fair

Their behaviour is reasonable

So far, so good

Things are going well up to this point

Give me a break

Stop criticising me!


Other languages English includes many words from other languages. Latin Idiom

Example

Meaning

Ad hoc

He was paid on an ad hoc basis.

Not planned but arranged or done when needed.

Ad infinitum

Their list of demands seemed to go on ad infinitum

Without end, forever

Compos mentis

My father is nearly 100 but he is perfectly compos mentis

In control of his actions, mentally healthy

De facto

Jorge is the de facto head of the organisation

A statement which does not seem to be connected with what was said before

Status quo

The conservatives favoured maintaining the status quo, while the liberals hoped for change

The present situation


French A: Are you familiar with our health and safety procedures? B: No, I’m not really au fait with them yet (fully knowledgeable about) A: I hate people who talk ludly on their mobile phones on trains. B: I agree. They’re my absolute bête noire (what the speaker hates most) A: It’s always beautiful weather when you have to study for exams. B: I know. It’s always the way. C’est la vie (you say this when something happens that you do not like but which you have to accept) A: Only the very best students are accepted on this course. B: I know. They really are the créme de la créme. (very best) A: I wish he’d consulted with us first about changing the computer systems. B: Yes, he just presented us with a fait accompli (a decision that has been made or a completed action that cannot be changed) A: I think she should make more effort to control her children. B: Yes, she has quite la laissez- faire approach, doesn’t she? (desire not to control) A: The older generation criticising young people! There’s nothing new about that. B: yes, plus ça change (times change, but some things stay the same)


idioms