What Are Idioms?

Vocabulary – What Are Idioms?

In this episode, you will learn everything you need to know about idioms in English, what they are and how they are used. Besides, you will learn a couple of new idioms along the way as I will be using examples to explain the different uses of idioms.

What Are Idioms?

Formulaic Language

Idioms are a type of formulaic language. Formulaic Language consists of fixed expressions which you learn and understand as units rather as individual words:

Greetings and Good Wishes: Hi there! See you soon! Happy birthday!

Prepositional Phrases: at the moment, in a hurry, from time to time

Sayings, proverbs and quotations: It’s a small world! Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. To be or not to be — that is the question.

Compounds: car park, bus stop, home-made

Phrasal Verbs: take off, look after, turn down

Collocations: blonde hair, deeply disappointed

Idiom Construction Examples

Tim took a shine to his teacher. (verb+object+preposition)

The band’s number one hit was just a flash in the pan. (idiomatic noun phrase)

Little Jimmy has been as quiet as a mouse all day. (simile)

We arrived safe and sound. (binomial)

How to Use Idioms

Idioms are informal, so use them carefully. However, we need them to understand the English we read and hear all around us. When we start to use them wisely in our conversations, we will sound more natural and fluent.


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