TO THE TUTOR
AN IDIOM IS A WORD OR PHRASE WHICH MEANS SOMETHING DIFFERENT FROM ITS LITERAL MEANING.
Idioms are thus common phrases or terms whose meaning is not real; but can be understood by their popular use.
Idioms and idiomatic expressions are used in everyday language, and help to bring richness and variety to speech.
Teach your students idioms which are commonly used in English.
Lists of idioms, together with their meaning and example, are ideal for the student.
Here is an example of a list of idioms which a student can learn;
1. 'It's raining cats and dogs'
Meaning; It is raining very heavily.
Origin; In Norse mythology, the dog is associated with wind and the cat with storms. This expression thus means there is strong wind and rain.
2. 'It came like a bolt out of the blue'
Meaning; A complete and utter surprise.
Origin; The allusion here is to the surprise like a lightning bolt from a clear sky. Thomas Carlyle was the first author known to have used the term in print, in his The French Revolution, 1837.
'Arrestment, suddenly really as a bolt out of the Blue, has hit strange victims'.
3. 'To hit the hay'
Meaning; To go to bed.
Example of use; 'I think it's time to hit the hay'.
4. ' Dot the i's and cross the t's '
Meaning; To do something carefully and with great detail.
Origin; When only handwritten documents were used, it was very important for the clerk to write everything properly, especially letters like 'i', and 't', which could easily be confused.
The idiom has since come to mean doing something very carefully with attention to detail.
5. 'A hot potato'
Meaning; A current and controversial subject
6. 'Blessing in disguise'
Meaning; Something good that isn't recognized at first
7. 'Every cloud has a silver lining'
Meaning; Every difficult situation usually has something positive somewhere
8. 'Piece of cake'
Meaning; It was very easy to do
9. 'Hit the books'
Meaning; Study hard
10. 'Hit the nail on the head'
Meaning; The facts have been stated exactly
TO THE TUTOR;
Set your student lists of idioms to learn. Do this at regular intervals.
Check the student's knowledge from time to time by means of verbal and/or written tests.
Best wishes with your tutoring!
Catherine Nicolette Whittle
Diploma TESOL and EDI Level 5 Diploma in Teaching English
London Teacher's Training College