Commonly used idioms

April 26, 2014pdf

An idiom is an expression that comes naturally to native speakers of a language.

Every language has its collection of idioms. English is no different. There are very many idioms in English.

Idioms add color to your language. They are very common in informal speech and writing. However, idioms are not considered appropriate in formal or academic writing.

Proverbs and idioms

Both proverbs and idioms are sayings peculiar to a language.

Proverbs tend to be longer than idioms. They also express a wide idea.

Here is a list of common idiomatic expressions in English.

A hot potato

A hot potato is a controversial issue or topic that a lot of people are talking about.

A penny for your thoughts

An expression used to suggest that you would like to hear what somebody is thinking about.

Actions speak louder than words

You can judge people’s intentions by what they do than by what they say.

Add insult to injury

To add insult to injury is to make a bad situation worse.

An arm and a leg

If something costs an arm and a leg, it is very expensive.

At the drop of a hat

If something happens at the drop of a hat, it happens instantly.

Back to the drawing board

Used to suggest that you have to start all over again because your attempts have been unsuccessful

Ball is in your court

When the ball is in your court it is up to you to take the next step.

Barking up the wrong tree

To bark up the wrong tree is to accuse the wrong person.

Be glad to see the back of

When you are happy to see the back of somebody you are happy to see them leave.

Beat around the bush

To beat around the bush is to avoid the main topic.

Keep your grammar up-to-date!
Includes Grammar Guide (PDF)