Tag Archives: Idioms

Everyday expressions

21 Nov

People talking

Look at some common expressions in English. Can you guess what they mean?

  1. You can access our company website twenty four seven (24/7).
  2. It’s almost 7 o’clock. Let’s get the ball rolling.
  3. I have no plans for the next couple of days so I am going to take it easy.
  4. I will get to you tomorrow I have to sleep on it.
  5. I can’t afford these shoes. I am broke.
  6. Having a car is a must if you are planning on living in Connecticut.
  7. Don’t forget, you must be there at 6 am sharp.
  8. You´d better steer clear of the bakery if you want to lose weight.
  9. I know this place like the back of my hand.
  10. If you had time would you give me a hand?
  11. Look at all eye candy at the party!
  12. I haven’t hanged out with my friends in ages.
  13. I am sick and tired doing the same things over and over again!
  14. I didn’t feel like going out but Jean talked me into it.
  15. I tried to keep my cool when he was yelling at me.
  16. I´ve been driving since I was a teenager, so it´s second nature.
  17. I saw her in the mall yesterday but she just blew me off.
  18. Tomorrow she’s going to the DMV to take her driving test. I hope she’ll pass.  I’ll keep my fingers crossed for her.




  1. every minute of every day
  2. to start something
  3. to relax
  4. to take some time to think about one’s decision
  5. to have no money
  6. something necessary
  7. exactly
  8. avoid
  9. very familiar to you
  10. to help
  11. something or someone attractive and pleasing to look at
  12. for a long time
  13. to hate
  14. to convince
  15. to remain calm
  16. easy and natural for someone
  17. to ignore
  18. to wish someone luck

Idioms: Describing feelings

11 Oct


What feeling do these idioms describe?  Match them with the words in the box.

  • I was scared stiff.
  • I felt on top of the world.
  • I was at my wit’s end.
  • I was completely at a loss.
  • I was up in arms about it.
  • I felt rather on edge.

desperate         angry        very happy      nervous

unable to decide        terrified

Choose idioms to fill the following sentences.

  1. Suddenly, we heard a door open.  We were …………………… .
  2. He lost his job and now his wife left him.  He’s …………………… .
  3. They want to build a new shopping center in the area, and the whole town is …………………… .
  4. I wish the exam result would come.  She’s been …………………… all week.
  5. It was a wonderful day, and I was feeling …………………… .
  6. What on earth should I do? I’m …………………… .


  • I was scared stiff.                                             terrified
  • I felt on top of the world.                             very happy
  • I was at my wit’s end.                                    desperate
  • I was completely at a loss.                            unable to decide
  • I was up in arms about it.                              angry
  • I felt rather on edge.                                      Nervous
  1. scared stiff
  2. at his wit’s end
  3. up in arms about it
  4. on edge
  5. on top of the world
  6. completely at a loss

Idioms: Numbers

11 Oct


Complete the following sentences using numbers.

  1. I applied for seven jobs, and I had three interviews, but I didn’t get anything.  So now I’m back to square …….. .
  2. I’m in ……. minds about going to the party tomorrow. It’d be great to have some fun, but I’ve got a lot of things to do.
  3. Driving courses are …….. a penny nowadays, so you won’t have any trouble getting into one.
  4. I wondered why they always seemed to go out at the same time.  Then I put …….. and …….. together and realized they were more than just friends.
  5. I got a mail telling me I had a sister. It absolutely knocked me for …….. .
  6. I almost cancelled my trip but money became available at the eleven hour.


  1. one
  2. two
  3. two
  4. two / two
  5. six
  6. eleven


Idioms: Animals

11 Oct


Choose the correct animal to complete the following sentences.

cat (2)       lion        donkey        fish        snail


  1. He has some fascinating ideas, but he makes us do all the ……………… work.
  2. It took us forever to get home because we had to drive at a ………………’s pace through all the snow.
  3. The engagement is supposed to be a secret, so don’t let the ……………… out of the bag.
  4. He took the ………………’s share of the credit for the performance, but in fact it was his brother who did most of the work.
  5. I am so tired, I’ll have a ……………… nap.
  6. I felt like a ……………… out of water at the party as I hardly knew anybody there.



  1. donkey
  2. snail
  3. cat
  4. lion
  5. cat
  6. fish

Idioms: Colours

11 Oct


1. She has got green fingers.  Does this mean:

a)      she’s got no experience of life?

a)      she steals things?

b)      she’s good at gardening?

2. They were caught red-handed.  Does this mean:

a)      they were just stealing something?

b)      they had blood on their hands?

c)       they felt  embarrassed?

3. Which would you prefer someone to do:

a)      give you a black eye?

b)      give you a black look?

4. What should you do with a red herring:

a)      eat it?

b)      take it to the police?

c)       ignore it?

5. You friend comes to visit you out of the blue.  Does this mean:

a)      from far away?

b)      unexpectedly?

c)       because she is feeling lonely?

6. Your brother writes to you once in a blue moon.  Does this mean:

a)      about once a month?

b)      on special occasions?

c)       very rarely?

Practice the idioms

2 Jul

Choose the best substitute for the phrase in bold.

1. When he was promoted to manager, his colleagues were green with envy.

a. sick                    b. very jealous                  c. happy for her

2. Martha is really gung ho about her new job.

a. very enthusiastic                         b. concerned                     c. angry

3.  Ever since her cat died, she has been down in the dumps.

a. depressed                      b. angry                                c. busy

4. Take it easy, I’m sure they will be back soon.

a. it’s not tough                b. relax                                 c. it’s difficult

5. Don’t take it wrong, but I liked your hair better before you had it cut.

a. take offense                 b. take it right                    c. it’s a wrong place

6. Help yourselves to cookies and tea.

a. I can’t help you            b. make your own meal                                c. serve yourselves

7. I was thirsty. This glass of water is just what the doctor ordered.

a. exactly what I needed              b. very healthy for me                   c. exactly what my doctor said

8.  I would like to live on an island and write novels, but I know that’s just a pipe dream.

a. a realistic hope                             b. an realistic hope                          c. a big hope

9. The cheese cake was so delicious; I made a pig of myself by eating three slices.

a. made myself sick                         b. turned into a pig                          c. ate more than I should

10. Peter likes to draw silly cartoons of his classmates.  He’s a wise guy.

a. a smart student                           b. a sarcastic person                       c. a bad student

11. My friend wanted me to go to Africa with her, but I told her it was out of the question.

a. impossible                                      b. possible                          c. interesting

12. Have you seen that Burberry jacket?  It’s all the rage this season!

a. the latest fashion                        b. out of fashion                               c. hideous




  1. B
  2. A
  3. A
  4. A
  5. A
  6. C
  7. A
  8. B
  9. C
  10. B
  11. A
  12. A


Practice the idioms

2 Jul

Choose the most appropriate reply to the following statements

1. I can’t get my old job back.  It’s a lost cause.

a. Lost?  Maybe I can help you to find it.

b. Yes, I know it’s not a good cause.

c. I understand.  You’ll find something else.


2. I’m not surprised she got fired.

a. Yes, she was footing the bill.

b. Yes, she was too busy slacking off.

c. Yes, she was working like a dog.


3. It’s getting late. You’d better start hitting the books.

a. Hit the books? I’d better read them.

b. Yes, that’s a good idea.

c. I’d rather study.


4. The truth is that I really can’t stand Peter.

a. I know, he likes you too.

b. I know, he is a nice guy.

c. I know. I don’t like him either.


5. I didn’t sleep a wink last night.

a. You must be really exhausted.

b. Lucky you are!

c. You look great!


6. What’s up?

a. Fine, thank you.

b. I’d like to discuss a business deal with you.

c. I don’t know.  Let me ask my boss.


7. I think he will go nuts over this cake.

a. Nuts? If you insist, we can put nuts in the cake.

b. You are right. After all, they’re absolutely fantastic!

c. I don’t agree. They’ll definitely like them.


8. These cookies are out of this world.  What do you think?

a. I agree. They’re delicious!

b. I don’t know where they are.

c. No thanks, I‘ve already eaten twelve cookies.


9. How’s it going?

a. I don’t know how to do it.

b. Everything is fine.

c. I don’t know how to go there.


10. Christopher was really lucky – he won the race by a hair.

a. Yes, he was very lucky because his hair was very short.

b. Yes, the second-place winner had his hair cut.

c. Yes, the second-place winner came in just a second behind him.


11. She was upset that they had kept her in the dark about their plan to sell the house.

a. They should have told her about their plans.

b. They should have turned on the lights.

c. She could have left the lights on.


12. They caught the thief red-handed.

a. Yes, his hands were covered in red.

b. Yes, they found the stolen jewelry in his pocket.

c. Yes, they didn’t manage to find the thief.



1. c

2. b

3. b

4. c

5. a

6. b

7. b

8. a

9. b

10. c

11. a

12. b