Test Your Knowledge on IDIOMS

Idiom Quiz

Hello English world! As you know, idioms and expressions in English are a big deal…

Now, before we get onto the exercise I’d like to clarify something first. What is the difference between an expression (often referred to as phrase) and an idiom? Most people confuse the two (I am guilty of that myself), which is not that big of a deal, but since we are on the topic, let’s make this clear once and for all!

Here is what the dictionary says:

  • Idiom – a group of words in a fixed order that have a particular meaning that is different from the meanings of each word on its own
  • Expression/phrase – a short group of words that are often used together and have a particular meaning

To put it simple, the phrase is a lot more simple to understand without the actual meaning. The idiom tends to be more metaphorical (ex: raining cats and dogs…that does not happen LITERALLY) while the expression of phrase is less colourful and figurative (ex: even if you don’t know the expression, you can always guess  what “to give a dirty look” means, or at least close).

So I have put together a little quiz with some common or very useful idioms and expressions, all levels mixed). Let’s see how many you get right!

QUIZ

  1. A penny _____ your thoughts.
  2. Drastic times call for drastic __________.
  3. The grass is always greener on the other side of the ________.
  4. Would you be so ______ as to forward the email once more, please.
  5. She looked so happy when I told her the news. She was smiling from _____ to ear.
  6. Why the long _______?
  7. I don’t feel ready for next week’s exam…I should really _______ the books today.
  8. At first, I thought Henry looked weird, but I guess you should never judge a book by its ______ because he turned out to be the nicest person I know.
  9. Not getting the promotion was actually a _______ in disguise as I was contacted by another company and they offered me a much more interesting position.
  10. A good carpenter will not cut _____ and buy cheap wood just to save a bit of money.
  11. I know Martha looks guilty but we should give her the _______ of the doubt.
  12. I am never sick. Maybe once in a blue _______ but that’s about it.
  13. Man, this exam was way too easy. It was a piece of ______.
  14. My brother and I don’t really see eye to _____. We disagree about just everything.
  15. How could you afford a Ferrari? They cost an _____ and a leg!

ANSWERS

  1. for
  2. measures
  3. fence
  4. kind
  5. ear
  6. face
  7. hit
  8. cover
  9. blessing
  10. corners
  11. benefit
  12. moon
  13. cake
  14. eye
  15. arm

 

So….How many did you answer correctly? It wasn’t that easy right?! I hope you enjoyed this post, I haven’t really posted quizzes like this before. Would you like more?

That’s it for today guys…Keep on learning! Xoxo

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The Synonym Race

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Hello teachers and students! This is a post that you can all benefit from.

I went to a training session with the Pearsons editors last year and they showed me this awesome ESL activity.

I have written an informal letter (similar to Cambridge PET Writing part 3) but throughout the text there is more than 1 option to choose from to complete the text. ALL the options are correct. It just shows how to diversify your vocabulary.

Here is the document:

The Synonym Race – B1 letter

How to play the activity

Each student should have their own copy. They read the text individually and choose one option each time. They should circle the ones they chose.

The students should be in pairs for the activity. Their goal is to guess and memorise their classmate´s words.

To do so student A starts reading and says the option they think student B chose. If B says it is correct, A continues reading. If it is incorrect, B starts reading and guessing from the beginning. Every time someone fails, the other student starts again form the beginning.

The students are NOT allowed to write down what their partner´s options are, they must remember them!

More Advanced

This activity can very easily be adapted to other levels. I have also created a connector race, but this one is for B2-C1 and it is in the shape of an essay on the environment.

I specifically chose that topic because my students who are preparing the Trinity ISE II examination need to study this topic. So this is three birds, one stone. They see an example of what an essay should look like, they practise varying their vocabulary and they learn more vocabulary related to a topic they have to study.

Here is the document:

The Synonym Race – B2/C1 Essay on the Environment

Alright, so if you are a student, just download the materials and practise the activity with a partner. It should help you memorise new vocabulary quickly.

If you are a teacher, download the materials and have your students practise. I strongly encourage you to create new documents like this one, but the best would be to focus them specifically on the vocabulary/register/type of writing your students need to practise.

 

I would love to hear your thoughts on this activity! Comment down below how you would adapt it to you own students´ needs.

Keep on learning (and teaching)!

And don’t forget to follow My Little English Page on Facebook , Instagram and YouTube for regular updates.

Idiom in W – Water Under the Bridge

I am a bit late for this entry…My apologies! I have been extremely busy. For instance I started doing live videos on YouTube last Friday! It was quite fun and interactive. Here is the link in case you want to check it out!

 

Anyways…Are you ready for our weekly idiom?

What it means:

If something is water under the bridge it belongs to the past, is unimportant or not a problem anymore.

When to use it:

  • It is often used when someone has wronged you such a long time ago that it does not matter anymore.
  • Something could also be water under the bridge because you have forgiven the person.

Other interesting idioms:

Wake up and smell the coffee – When someone doesn’t realise what is really happening or is not paying attention to what is going on, you can tell them to wake up and smell the coffee.

Walk on eggshells – If you have to walk on eggshells with someone, you have to be very careful as they get angry or offended easily.

Well-oiled machine – Something that functions very well is a well-oiled machine. It does not necessarily refer to machines. A team of workers who work well together can be refered to as a well-oiled machine.

Whale of a time – If you have a whale of a time, you really have a good time.

 

 

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Idiom in Q – Quiet as a Mouse

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We are so close to Christmas! Are you excited?

Tomorrow night, if you are as quiet as a mouse you might be able to hear the bells on Santa’s sledge.

What it means:

If somebody is as quiet as a mouse they make as little noise as possible.

When to use it:

  • In any situation when someone is trying to be unnoticeable. The person often acts a lot more quietly as well, avoiding rapid movement and sometimes remaining still.
  • It could be someone trying to hide to surprise a friend, a child trying to be forgoten after bringing home bad grades or even a shy person being very quiet.

Other interesting idioms:

Question of time – If something’s a question of time, it’s definitely going to happen but you just don’t know when.

Quick fix – A quick fix is an easy (usually temporary)  solution.

Quiet before the Storm – It is when you know that something is about to go horribly wrong, but hasn’t just yet.

 

Keep on learning!

Xoxo

 

And don’t forget to follow My Little English Page on Facebook , Instagram and YouTube for regular updates.

Idiom in P – Page-Turner

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Another week, another idiom. We tackle number 16 of our weekly post. Last time it was letter O so we covered ‘Off the Grid’ so make sure to check it out if you haven’t already.

What it means:

A very exciting book.

How to use it:

  • It is used to describe a book that is so interesting that you cannot stop reading page after page.

Example: The name of the wind is my favourite book. It is such a page-turner.

Other interesting idioms:

Packed like Sardines – If a place if very crowded you can say that you are packed like sardines (ex: We went to the club like night but left very quickly. We were packed like sardines so it was very unpleasant).

Pay on the nail – It means to pay quickly and it cash (ex: I don’t mind lending Jack money. He always pays it back on the nail).

Penny pincher – A penny pincher is either a mean person or someone who really doesn’t like to spend money (ex: She always goes for cheap products…even when the quality is bad. She is a reall penny pincher).

Pep talk – It is a conversation usually given to motivate or boos someone’s confidence (ex: When I was a teenager, my dance teacher used to give us a pep talk before every show. It always motivated us to do our best).

 

Keep on learning!

Xoxo

 

And don’t forget to follow My Little English Page on Facebook , Instagram and YouTube for regular updates.

Idiom in O – Off the Grid

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The 15th idiom of the series! Have you ever heard of this one? Well, sometimes it is good to get off the grid for a while.

What it means:

To make it simple it means “not connected”.

How to use it:

It can be used in many different ways. Here are just a few:

  • Not connected to social media or internet.

I tried contacting Pepe via Whatsapp but I just remembered that he is on a retreat so he will be off the grid for a while.

  • Not connected to services (water, electricity…):

Once our solar panels generate enough power, we’ll be able to go off the grid.

  • Not under governmental control:

The inventor of the Bitcoin currency is still unknown to this date. He is completely off the grid.

Other interesting idioms:

On a roll – If someone is on a roll they are experiencing good luck and success (ex: So, you found a ten pound note on the floor this morning and your boss gave you a day off? You’d better play the lottery today because you are on a roll).

On board – To be on board means that you are willing to do something (ex: I asked Mark if he wanted to come with us to Madrid this weekend and he said that he was on board).

Open book – If a person is an open book they are easy to understand and to know (ex: I know you like that boy, it is obvious. You are like an open book).

Open secret – Something that is supposed to be a secret but that everyone knows (ex: Marilyn Monroe and John Kennedy had a relationship. It was an open secret).

 

Keep on learning!

Xoxo

 

And don’t forget to follow My Little English Page on Facebook , Instagram and YouTube for regular updates.

Idiom in M – Make Someone’s Day

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It’s official! I am committing to posting a new idiom for this series every week. So make sure to follow the blog and you’ll receive a notification as soon as it is out every week.

What it means:

If something makes your day, it makes you very happy. I also feel that you need an element of surprise for someting to make your day. It is not just happiness, it is unexpected happiness.

When to use it:

You can use this idiom whether it is something or someone that makes you happy.

Receiving a message from a friend, finally finding that top you have been looking for, finding a 5 euro note in one of your pockets or even realising a new episode of your favourite TV show is out are all things that could make your day.

Other interesting idioms in M:

  • Make ends meet – If it is hard to make ends meet, it is difficult to live with the money you earn.
  • Make someone’s blood boil – Something that makes your blood boil makes you angry.
  • More than one way to skin a cat – This means that there is more than one way to achieve the same result.

Keep on learning!

Xoxo

And don’t forget to follow My Little English Page on Facebook , Instagram and YouTube for regular updates.

Idiom in L – Learn the Ropes

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New entry in the series, letter L.

What it means:

If you are learning the ropes of something, you are learning how to do it.

When to use it:

There are millions of ways and situations when you can use this idiom. When I started teaching, I had to learn the ropes of teaching, become familiar with what to do.

It is often associated to starting a new job and getting used to the new tasks it involves.

Here are 2 synonyms of learn the ropes:

  • get the hang of something
  • get the knack of something (the -k- is silent here, like in ‘know’)

Other Interesting Indioms in L:

Last laugh – to finally be more successful than someone who was unpleasant to you or finally succeed after experiencing setbacks.

Lay down the law – give instructions or orders in an authoritarian way (ex: when a mother tells you to clean up your room)

leading edge – sometimes cutting edge – refers to the most advanced position in a field (ex: leading edge technology)

 

Keep on learning!

Xoxo

 

And don’t forget to follow My Little English Page on Facebook , Instagram and YouTube for regular updates.

B2 Listening – Plastic Surgery

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And here we go with another Trinity style listening exercise. This one is for ISE II (B2) students, but feel free to challenge yourself with this exercise regardless of your level (as the listening is a bit long and on the higher spectrum of B2).

I chose the topic of plastic surgery specifically because it is a controversial topic. Which means the exercise is more focused on expressing ideas and opinion than fishing for pure facts like in the previous one (B1 Listening – Axolotls)

  • Audio clip:

 

  • Download this document for the script, the questions and the answers.

Plastic Surgery B2

You need to get 50% of the answers right. Let me know how it went in a comment below!

Keep on learning!

Xoxo

 

And don’t forget to follow My Little English Page on Facebook , Instagram and YouTube for regular updates.