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Skype English SchoolLearning English Beyond the Classroom

Focus on Idioms
September 2009

Skype English School

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Learning Objectives
To understand how idioms work
To be able to use idioms
To recognize idioms in use

What is an idiom?
An idiom is a phrase whose meaning cannot be determined by the literal definition of the phrase
itself, but refers instead to a figurative meaning that is known only through common use.
There are different types of idioms in use:
Form
Verb + object
Prepositional phrase
Compound
Simile
Binomial
Trinomial
Whole clause

Example
kill two birds with one stone
in the blink of an eye
a bone of contention
as dry as a bone
rough and ready
cool, calm and collected
to cut a long story short

Meaning
produce two results by doing one action
in an extremely short time
something which people argue over
very dry indeed
crude and lacking sophistication
relaxed, in control, not nervous
to tell the main parts but not everything

Why are idioms so important?


You will come across a great deal of idioms in spoken
English and in written English. You will also find them on
television and at the movies.
It is important to know these idioms and how they are
used.
Learn English a nywhere,
anytime!

They are one of the most interesting and fun parts of the
English language.
There are idioms to cover almost every situation in life.
We are going to start by focusing on everyday
conversational idioms.
Please click here to visit the blog for more idioms:

Find yo ur
t ea ch er .

Conversational Idioms
Possible conversation

Idiom in use

You mean

You can borrow may can tonight.

Thanks a million.

Thank you very much indeed.

Did you get the job that you


wanted?

No such luck!

You are disappointed that you


were not able to do something.

wanted?

were not able to do something.

Can I do skiing with you and your


friends this weekend?

The more the merrier!

Youre happy for others to join


your group or activity.

Shes a great teacher!

You can say that again!

You totally agree with


someone.

Come on the roller coaster with


me.

No way !

You do not want to do


something.

I dont know how you can drive in


London?

Theres nothing to it!

You think something is easy.

You could become a model.

Dont make me laugh!

You think something is unlikely.

Its nearly the end of the holiday


already.

How time flies!

You are surprised at how


quickly time passes.

We bumped into Johns teacher in


Venice.

Its a small world!

You are surprise at a


coincidence.

Idioms in useIts all about life !

Putting it into practice which idiom would make sense?


1. My new neighbor was at the same school as you!
2. Is it OK if I bring Jeff to the party?
3. Goodness! Its nearly midnight!
4. I cant come out with you, I have to wash my hair.
5. Its wonderful being here on the river whilst everyone else it at work.
6. Your new girlfriend has dumped you already!

The Skype English Approach


We use a variety of resources and scenarios which may include some of the following:
Role-plays
Student-centered activities
Casual and social element
Formal and professional element

Casual and social element


Formal and professional element
Practical communication skills
Speaking Games
Useful Language and standard phrases for the various communication skills.

Be the TeacherCorrecting Idioms


1.
2.
3.
4.

Its a lovely present. Thanks a thousand!


You wont find it difficult to skate. Theres really nothing to that.
Lets have a big wedding. The more the merry.
I cant believe schools over, how time fly!

Tip
It is a good idea to learn a typical conversational response idiom in a pair with a
statement that might prompt it . For example Do you like heavy metal music? I can
take it or leave it .

Idioms at the moviesThe Lion King


Taken from the movie

What it means

Simba: I'm going to be King of Pride


Rock.
Scar: Oh, goodee.
Simba: My dad just showed me the whole
kingdom. And I'm gonna rule it all. Heheh.
Scar: Yes, well forgive me for not leaping
for joy. Bad back, you know.
Simba: Hey Uncle Scar, when I'm King,
what'll that make you?
Scar: A monkey's uncle.
Simba: You're so weird.
Scar: You have no idea

Simba: I'm going to be King of Pride


Rock.
Scar: Oh, wonderful.
Simba: My dad just showed me the whole
kingdom. And I'm going to rule it all.
Heheh.
Scar: Yes, well forgive me for not being
excited. I have a bad back, you know.
Simba: Hey Uncle Scar, when I'm King,
what'll that make you?
Scar: The uncle of someone low and
worthless*.
Simba: You're so strange.
Scar: You have no idea how strange I am.
*"I'll be a monkey's uncle" is an old fashioned expression of shock or surprise. It
comes from the time when people didn't
accept Darwin's theory of Natural Selection and were offended at the idea that
they could share DNA with monkeys.

Taken from the movie

What it means

Zazu: Checking in with the morning


report.
Mufasa: Fire away.
Zazu: Well the buzz from the bees is
that the leopards are in a bit of a spot.
And the baboons are going ape over
this. Of course, the giraffes are acting
like they're above it all... The tick birds
are pecking on the elephants. I told
the elephants to forget it, but they
can't. The cheetahs are hard up, but I

Zazu: Checking in with the morning report.


Mufasa: Tell me what's happening.
Zazu: Well the gossip from the bees is that
the leopards are having difficulties. And the
baboons are going crazy over this. Of course,
the giraffes are acting like they're too
important to be bothered with it... The tick
birds are picking on (tormenting) the
elephants. I told the elephants to forget it, but
they can't. The cheetahs don't have much
money, but I always say, cheaters never
prosper...*

the elephants to forget it, but they


can't. The cheetahs are hard up, but I
always say, cheetahs never prosper...

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money, but I always say, cheaters never


prosper...*
*Of course, all of these are double meanings.
Bees make a buzzing sound, leopards have
spots, elephants have long memories, etc

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Skype English School
Learning English beyond the classroom
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