One of my most motivated students is an advanced ESL student, and we work exclusively on idioms. She’s obsessed with idioms, so much so that now I’m obsessed with idioms. I collect them like people collect stamps or seashells. Every time I hear one or use one that she and I have not yet talked about, I type it into my notepad on my phone. So, by the time I see her each week, I have a treasure trove of idioms to share with her.
We get giddy talking about idioms—their history, their usage, how they differ between her native language and English, and how the idioms differ between American English and British English. Needless to say, it’s a lot of fun for a couple of lovers of English.
With that in mind, here is a handful of phrases that she and I recently discussed.
Continue reading “7 great idioms every language learner needs to know”
We’ve all been there—at least anyone who has attempted to master a new language has. You are in a conversation with some English-speaking friends or co-workers, and you have this brilliant, well-articulated idea to express. The problem is the idea lives only in your mind…and in in your native language. You attempt to articulate it, but your verbal translation just doesn’t do your original thought justice.
Continue reading “Do You Want To Build Your English Speaking Confidence? Use Idioms”
You can have all the dictionaries, phrasebooks, and apps in the world and still have no clue what someone really means. Once you’ve mastered English grammar and vocabulary, the new challenge is understanding the coded meanings behind English expressions.
Continue reading “What Americans Really Mean When They Say Things Like “How Are You?””