Learning common English idioms and their usage can enrich your vocabulary and make you sound more native. These figures of speech are usually metaphorical and allow their users to describe an exact situation in a creative way. They also share cultural and historical information that help broaden the learner’s knowledge in the language. Because idioms are peculiar to themselves grammatically and cannot always be understood from the individual meanings of their elements, you need to familiarize yourself with them and their usage in order to understand them well and therefore use them in the appropriate contexts.
Why are common English idioms important for fluency?
Idioms bring a spectacular illustration to ideas in everyday speech. They help the speaker describe situations in a precise manner that alternative wording would not be able to express. Sometimes they are the only way to describe that exact idea. They also provide interesting insights into the use of words, languages and the thought processes of their native speakers. The clever and creative English idioms tend to be memorable, which is another advantage for easy English learning.
What are some common English idioms?
Here are 7 most common English idioms that will make your vocabulary more interesting and dynamic and make you sound like a native speaker:
- “The best of both worlds” – a situation in which you can enjoy the benefits of two different or contrasting things at the same time:
- She worked in the city and lived in the countryside, so she had the best of both worlds.
- “Speak of the devil” – a phrase used when the person you are talking about appears at that moment:
- Hi Johnny, speak of the devil, I was just telling my friends about your new car.
- “To beat around the bush” – a phrase used when the person does not speak about the main topic directly and precisely:
- Will you please stop beating around the bush and get to the point?
- “To kill two birds with one stone” – to solve two problems with one single action:
- He had to go on a business trip to Germany, but he killed two birds with one stone and visited his relatives too.
- “To hit the nail on the head” – to be exactly right about something:
- Tom hit the nail on the head with that answer. I couldn’t agree more!
- “You can’t judge a book by its cover” – you cannot prejudge the value of something or someone solely based on appearance:
- The candidate did not look very intelligent, but you can’t judge a book by its cover.
- “to give (someone) the benefit of the doubt” – to choose to believe someone even if you are not sure if what they are saying is true because you have no proof that they are lying:
- Sara said she would be on time today. I don’t think that’s true, but I will give her the benefit of the doubt.