Idioms are an integral part of the English language. They are used often by almost all native speakers of English. Some are used often by some people, but not by others. There are some that everyone understands, but hardly anybody uses. Some are used and understood in some parts of the Englishspeaking world and not in others. Because idioms are rooted so strongly in culture and used in very specific situations, it is difficult for English language learners to know what idioms are used in what situations and by whom. That’s a tall order! (A tall order is a very difficult and complex task.)
The best way to begin a study of idioms is to improve comprehension. We suggest that the teacher first focus on understanding definitions and situations so that students can make sense of what they hear or read.
The following classroom activities begin with tasks that focus on comprehension and progress to tasks that require speaking. Many of the activities in Part Three refer to the categories of idioms listed in Part Two. We encourage teachers to use their imaginations in creating integrated activities around idioms. The suggestions here are only a jumping-off point. (A jumping-off point is a starting place to help ideas develop.)
And remember, idioms are fun! You don’t need to learn them all to speak English well, but knowing just a few can help make your English more colorful.