i d i o m s
n idiom is an expression that cannot be understood literally. Even when a person knows the meaning of all the words and understands the grammar,the overall meaning of the idiom may be unclear. When students gain anunderstanding of American idioms, and the facility to use them, they are truly a part of the American English speech community. Tis may be one reason why somany students are interested in learning idioms.Some idioms are so widely used that they are clichés—so commonplace in thespoken language that they are best avoided in writing for fear of suggesting anunoriginal mind! Clichés and proverbs, another form of idiomatic usage, donot vary in form, e.g., “Curiosity killed the cat” not “the dog” and “oo many cooks spoil the broth” not “the meal.” Other idioms may allow for some form of variation, such as “to look (or feel) like death warmed over;” or in the form of taking on modiers, e.g., “It was (beautiful) music to my ears.” q. Te rst two activities in this section can be done inpairs or as a whole class “mingling” activity. If the mingling format is used, theteacher will give each student a piece of paper with a portion of the idiom writtenupon it. Te student’s task is to locate the classmate who has the portion of thesentence which completes the idiom.Te “Fun ime” and “Idiomatic Antonyms” activities should be done in pairs with students identifying the correct idiom and providing a situation and a sentence in which it can be used.Te nal activities in this section include (1) idioms that are semantically linked,as expressions relating to sports or food, and (2) idioms derived from specializedvocabulary items that have found their way into current, general AmericanEnglish usage.