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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

10 Common English Idioms You Should Know

If you’ve been learning English for very long, then you have heard some idioms. You may understand the individual words, but you don’t understand how they work together. Idioms are strange like that. An idiom is an expression, word, or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is only understood based on the common use of that expression, separate from the literal meaning of the words. There are estimated to be over 25,000 idioms in the English language.

Idioms can be very colorful, but they can also be extremely hard for non-native speakers to understand. Some idioms are widely understood. Idioms like, “This is a piece of cake”- meaning it is easy- have many variations in other languages as well. To help you out (assist you) here is a list of ten common English idioms, their meaning, and how they are used.

Table 1: 10 Common English Idioms You Should Know
IdiomMeaningExample of use
used toAccustomed to/ comfortable withI am not used to running so far. That is why I am tired.
take placeTo happen/ to occurThe party took place at Jim’s house.
stick with (something)To continue / to not quit (especially with difficulties)It was hard, but I stuck with my piano lessons. Now I can play well.
show upTo appear/ to arrive/ to be presentI did not think the teacher was going to show up today, but he was just late.
A dime a dozenCommon/ easy to getI thought that my baseball card was rare, but the man told me it was a dime a dozen.
A slap on the wristA mild punishmentWhen he broke the window he should have gotten thrown out of school. Instead, he just got a slap on the wrist. He has to go to a week of detention.
An arm and a legVery expensive/ a large amount of moneyA nice laptop computer will cost you an arm and a leg.
On the other handHowever/ in contrast/ looking at the opposite side of a matterI like your idea of skipping class today, but on the other hand I need to keep my grades up.
For sureWithout doubt/ certainly/ surelyI am going to meet you for sure this weekend.
For goodPermanentlyDid you hear? They are closing the store for good tomorrow!

This guest post is contributed by Debra Johnson, blogger and editor of full time nanny. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: - jdebra84 @ gmail.com.

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