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6.6: Idioms

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    70204
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    Idioms are expressions that have a meaning different from the dictionary definitions of the individual words in the expression. Because English contains many idioms, nonnative English speakers have difficulties making logical sense of idioms and idiomatic expressions. The more you are exposed to English, however, the more idioms you will come to understand. Until then, memorizing the more common idioms may be of some help.

    Table \(\PageIndex{1}\): Common Idioms

    Idiom

    Definition

    a blessing in disguise

    a good thing you do not recognize at first

    a piece of cake

    easy to do

    better late than never

    it is better to do something late than not at all

    get over it

    recover from something (like a perceived insult)

    I have no idea

    I don’t know

    not a chance

    it will definitely not happen

    on pins and needles

    very nervous about something that is happening

    on top of the world

    feeling great

    pulling your leg

    making a joke by tricking another person

    the sky is the limit

    the possibilities are endless

    What if you come across an idiom that you do not understand? There are clues that can help you. They are called context clues. Context clues are words or phrases around the unknown word or phrase that may help you decipher its meaning.

    1. Definition or explanation clue. An idiom may be explained immediately after its use. Sentence: I felt like I was sitting on pins and needles. I was so nervous.
    2. Restatement or synonym clues. An idiom may be simplified or restated. Sentence: The young girl felt as though she had been sent to the dog house when her mother punished her for fighting in school.
    3. Contrast or Antonym clues. An idiom may be clarified by a contrasting phrase or antonym that is near it. Sentence: Chynna thought the 5k marathon would be a piece of cake, but it turned out to be very difficult.

    Pay attention to the signal word but, which tells the reader that an opposite thought or concept is occurring.

    Contributors and Attributions


    6.6: Idioms is shared under a not declared license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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