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English idioms

Classification of idioms

The idioms ,in a broad sense ,include slang, proverbs, common sayings and idioms. They have various forms, for example, phrasesclauses and sentences.

Different ways to classify the idioms


1.By origin

Idioms from the bible : lead by nose wheels within wheels eat ones own flesh

control someone completely complicated situation or relationship lazy and idle persons

Different ways to classify the idioms


2.according to semantic relationship the meaning of the idioms can be clearly figured out from each words meaning.
show ones teeth (angry)

What done is done. () green as grass ( young or inexperienced )

Different ways to classify the idioms

3.according to the morphological structure Strike while the iron is hot. Barking dogs do not bite. More haste ,less speed.

Different ways to classify the idioms

4.according to the grammatical functions Reason: help us to correct the wrong use of the idioms in our daily life ,and make us have a clear mind of the idioms which have their own liberal meanings

Classification according to the grammatical functions

1.idioms nominal in nature They have a noun as the key word in each and work as a noun in the sentence.

Classification according to the grammatical functions

Examples a white elephant :something useless and unwanted but big and costly (a +n) flesh and blood :relatives and family (n + conj + n) clean hand: innocence green hand: inexperienced person (a+ n ) land of promised :paradise (n + prep + n)

Classification according to the grammatical functions


2.Idioms adjective in nature Their constituents are probably not adjective , but they function as adjectives. Examples: as poor as a church mouse: having or earning barely enough money for ones own needs (as + a + as + n)

Classification according to the grammatical functions


all things to all men :take great pain to today to all person (n +prep +n) eg. Being a man of the world ,he is all things to all men. bone of the bone and the flesh of the flesh: closely linked( n +conj +n)

Classification according to the grammatical functions


3.Idioms verbal in nature (1)Phrasal verbs ( v + prep/particle )

go off with sth: leave someplace with that does not belong to one (v + particle + prep) eg. He went off with 10,000,000 dollars of the companys money look into :investigate take after sb: resemble (ones father or mother )in appearance or character

Classification according to the grammatical functions


(2).other verb phrases

burn ones boats:v +s +n) wash the feet of sb: serve sb (v + n +prep + n)

Classification according to the grammatical functions


4. idioms adverbial in nature The idioms here contain numerous prepositional phrases, which can be considered both as adjective and adverb, so the idioms which have the same structure may function differently in a sentence.

Classification according to the grammatical functions


Examples tooth and nail: with great violence and determination ( n+ conj +n) heart and soul (n + conj +n)

Classification according to the grammatical functions


5. sentence idioms As we mentioned before, idioms are stable. The constituents can not be changed or replaced, so the sentence idioms are sayings and proverbs, which can be subdivided into simple, compound and complex sentences.

Classification according to the grammatical functions


Examples: Am I your brothers keeper? (simple) Pig might fly if they had wings (complex). One boys a boy; two boys are half a boy; three boys are no boy at all. (compound) He who has ears, let him hear. (complex) Whatsoever a man sowed, that should he also reap. (compound)

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God bless you!