As Photography Coursework Examples Of Idioms

English idioms, proverbs, and expressions are an important part of everyday English. They come up all the time in both written and spoken English. Because idioms don't always make sense literally, you'll need to familiarize yourself with the meaning and usage of each idiom. That may seem like a lot of work, but learning idioms is fun, especially when you compare English idioms to the idioms in your own language.

Learning to use common idioms and expressions will make your English sound more native, so it's a good idea to master some of these expressions. The tables below are organized by how common the idioms are in American English. You can start by learning the very common English idioms, since these are the ones you'll encounter regularly watching American movies or TV, or visiting the United States. When you've mastered those, move on to rest. None of the idioms on this page are unusual or old fashioned, so you can be confident using any of them with native English speakers from all English-speaking countries.

The most common English idioms

These English idioms are extremely common in everyday conversation in the United States. You will hear them in movies and TV shows and can use them to make your English sound more like that of a native speaker. 

IdiomMeaningUsage
A blessing in disguise a good thing that seemed bad at first as part of a sentence
A dime a dozen Something common as part of a sentence
Beat around the bush Avoid saying what you mean, usually because it is uncomfortable as part of a sentence
Better late than never Better to arrive late than not to come at all by itself
Bite the bullet To get something over with because it is inevitable as part of a sentence
Break a leg Good luck by itself
Call it a day Stop working on something as part of a sentence
Cut somebody some slack Don't be so critical as part of a sentence
Cutting corners Doing something poorly in order to save time or money as part of a sentence
Easy does it Slow down by itself
Get out of hand Get out of control as part of a sentence
Get something out of your system Do the thing you've been wanting to do so you can move on as part of a sentence
Get your act together Work better or leave by itself
Give someone the benefit of the doubt Trust what someone says as part of a sentence
Go back to the drawing board Start over as part of a sentence
Hang in there Don't give up by itself
Hit the sack Go to sleep as part of a sentence
It's not rocket science It's not complicated by itself
Let someone off the hook To not hold someone responsible for something as part of a sentence
Make a long story short Tell something briefly as part of a sentence
Miss the boat It's too late as part of a sentence
No pain, no gain You have to work for what you want by itself
On the ball Doing a good job as part of a sentence
Pull someone's leg To joke with someone as part of a sentence
Pull yourself together Calm down by itself
So far so good Things are going well so far by itself
Speak of the devil The person we were just talking about showed up! by itself
That's the last straw My patience has run out by itself
The best of both worlds An ideal situation as part of a sentence
Time flies when you're having fun You don't notice how long something lasts when it's fun by itself
To get bent out of shape To get upset as part of a sentence
To make matters worse Make a problem worse as part of a sentence
Under the weather Sick as part of a sentence
We'll cross that bridge when we come to it Let's not talk about that problem right now by itself
Wrap your head around something Understand something complicated as part of a sentence
You can say that again That's true, I agree by itself
Your guess is as good as mine I have no idea by itself

Common English idioms & expressions

These English idioms are used quite regularly in the United States. You may not hear them every day, but they will be very familiar to any native English speaker. You can be confident using any of them when the context is appropriate.

IdiomMeaningUsage
A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush What you have is worth more than what you might have later by itself
A penny for your thoughts Tell me what you're thinking by itself
A penny saved is a penny earned Money you save today you can spend later by itself
A perfect storm the worst possible situation as part of a sentence
A picture is worth 1000 words Better to show than tell by itself
Actions speak louder than words Believe what people do and not what they say by itself
Add insult to injury To make a bad situation worse as part of a sentence
Barking up the wrong tree To be mistaken, to be looking for solutions in the wrong place as part of a sentence
Birds of a feather flock together People who are alike are often friends (usually used negatively) by itself
Bite off more than you can chew Take on a project that you cannot finish as part of a sentence
Break the ice Make people feel more comfortable as part of a sentence
By the skin of your teeth Just barely as part of a sentence
Comparing apples to oranges Comparing two things that cannot be compared as part of a sentence
Costs an arm and a leg Very expensive as part of a sentence
Do something at the drop of a hat Do something without having planned beforehand as part of a sentence
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you Treat people fairly. Also known as "The Golden Rule" by itself
Don't count your chickens before they hatch Don't count on something good happening until it's happened. by itself
Don't cry over spilt milk There's no reason to complain about something that can't be fixed by itself
Don't give up your day job You're not very good at this by itself
Don't put all your eggs in one basket What you're doing is too risky by itself
Every cloud has a silver lining Good things come after bad things by itself
Get a taste of your own medicine Get treated the way you've been treating others (negative) as part of a sentence
Give someone the cold shoulder Ignore someone as part of a sentence
Go on a wild goose chase To do something pointless as part of a sentence
Good things come to those who wait Be patient by itself
He has bigger fish to fry He has bigger things to take care of than what we are talking about now by itself
He's a chip off the old block The son is like the father by itself
Hit the nail on the head Get something exactly right by itself
Ignorance is bliss You're better off not knowing by itself
It ain't over till the fat lady sings This isn't over yet by itself
It takes one to know one You're just as bad as I am by itself
It's a piece of cake It's easy by itself
It's raining cats and dogs It's raining hard by itself
Kill two birds with one stone Get two things done with a single action by itself
Let the cat out of the bag Give away a secret as part of a sentence
Live and learn I made a mistake by itself
Look before you leap Take only calculated risks by itself
On thin ice On probation. If you make another mistake, there will be trouble. as part of a sentence
Once in a blue moon Rarely as part of a sentence
Play devil's advocate To argue the opposite, just for the sake of argument as part of a sentence
Put something on ice Put a projet on hold as part of a sentence
Rain on someone's parade To spoil something as part of a sentence
Saving for a rainy day Saving money for later as part of a sentence
Slow and steady wins the race Reliability is more important than speed by itself
Spill the beans Give away a secret as part of a sentence
Take a rain check Postpone a plan as part of a sentence
Take it with a grain of salt Don’t take it too seriously as part of a sentence
The ball is in your court It's your decision by itself
The best thing since sliced bread A really good invention as part of a sentence
The devil is in the details It looks good from a distance, but when you look closer, there are problems by itself
The early bird gets the worm The first people who arrive will get the best stuff by itself
The elephant in the room The big issue, the problem people are avoiding as part of a sentence
The whole nine yards Everything, all the way. as part of a sentence
There are other fish in the sea It's ok to miss this opportunity. Others will arise. by itself
There's a method to his madness He seems crazy but actually he's clever by itself
There's no such thing as a free lunch Nothing is entirely free by itself
Throw caution to the wind Take a risk as part of a sentence
You can't have your cake and eat it too You can't have everything by itself
You can't judge a book by its cover This person or thing may look bad, but it's good inside by itself

Familiar English idioms & proverbs

These English idioms and proverbs are familiar and easily understood by native English speakers, but they are not usually used in everyday conversation. If you haven't mastered the more frequent idioms yet, they are a better place to start, but if you're already familiar with those expressions, the idioms below will further spice up your English.

IdiomMeaningUsage
A little learning is a dangerous thing People who don't understand something fully are dangerous by itself
A snowball effect Events have momentum and build upon each other as part of a sentence
A snowball's chance in hell No chance at all as part of a sentence
A stitch in time saves nine Fix the problem now because it will get worse later by itself
A storm in a teacup A big fuss about a small problem as part of a sentence
An apple a day keeps the doctor away Apples are good for you by itself
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure You can prevent a problem with little effort. Fixing it later is harder. by itself
As right as rain Perfect as part of a sentence
Bolt from the blue Something that happened without warning as part of a sentence
Burn bridges Destroy relationships as part of a sentence
Calm before the storm Something bad is coming, but right now it's calm as part of a sentence
Come rain or shine No matter what as part of a sentence
Curiosity killed the cat Stop asking questions by itself
Cut the mustard Do a good job as part of a sentence
Don't beat a dead horse Move on, this subject is over by itself
Every dog has his day Everyone gets a chance at least once by itself
Familiarity breeds contempt The better you know someone the less you like him by itself
Fit as a fiddle In good health as part of a sentence
Fortune favours the bold Take risks by itself
Get a second wind Have more energy after having been tired as part of a sentence
Get wind of something Hear news of something secret as part of a sentence
Go down in flames Fail spectacularly as part of a sentence
Haste makes waste You'll make mistakes if you rush through something by itself
Have your head in the clouds Not be concentrating as part of a sentence
He who laughs last laughs loudest I'll get you back for what you did by itself
Hear something straight from the horse's mouth Hear something from the person involved as part of a sentence
He's not playing with a full deck He's dumb by itself
He's off his rocker He's crazy by itself
He's sitting on the fence He can't make up his mind by itself
It is a poor workman who blames his tools If you can't do the job, don't blame it on others by itself
It is always darkest before the dawn Things are going to get better by itself
It takes two to tango One person alone isn't responsible. Both people are involved. by itself
Jump on the bandwagon Follow a trend, do what everyone else is doing as part of a sentence
Know which way the wind is blowing Understand the situation (usually negative) as part of a sentence
Leave no stone unturned Look everywhere as part of a sentence
Let sleeping dogs lie Stop discussing an issue as part of a sentence
Like riding a bicycle Something you never forget how to do as part of a sentence
Like two peas in a pod They're always together as part of a sentence
Make hay while the sun shines Take advantage of a good situation as part of a sentence
On cloud nine Very happy as part of a sentence
Once bitten, twice shy You're more cautious when you've been hurt before by itself
Out of the frying pan and into the fire Things are going from bad to worse by itself
Run like the wind Run fast as part of a sentence
Shape up or ship out Work better or leave by itself
Snowed under Busy as part of a sentence
That ship has sailed It's too late by itself
The pot calling the kettle black Someone criticizing someone else he is just as bad as part of a sentence
There are clouds on the horizon Trouble is coming by itself
Those who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones People who are morally questionable shouldn't criticize others by itself
Through thick and thin In good times and in bad times as part of a sentence
Time is money Work quickly by itself
Waste not, want not Don't waste things and you'll always have enough by itself
We see eye to eye We agree by itself
Weather the storm Go through something difficult as part of a sentence
Well begun is half done Getting a good start is important by itself
When it rains it pours Everything is going wrong at once by itself
You can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar You'll get what you want by being nice by itself
You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink You can't force someone to make the right decision by itself
You can't make an omelet without breaking some eggs There's always a cost to doing something by itself

Here are 15 common English idioms and phrases that will enrich your English vocabulary and make you sound like a native speaker in no time.

1. ‘The best of both worlds’ – means you can enjoy two different opportunities at the same time.

“By working part-time and looking after her kids two days a week she managed to get the best of both worlds.”

2. ‘Speak of the devil’ – this means that the person you’re just talking about actually turns up at that moment.

“Hi Tom, speak of the devil, I was just telling Sara about your new car.”

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3. ‘See eye to eye’ – this means agreeing with someone.

“They finally saw eye to eye on the business deal.”

4. ‘Once in a blue moon’ – an event that happens infrequently.

“I only go to the cinema once in a blue moon.”

5. ‘When pigs fly’ – something that will never happen.

“When pigs fly she’ll tidy up her room.”

6. ‘To cost an arm and a leg’– something is very expensive.

“Fuel these days costs and arm and a leg.”

7. ‘A piece of cake’– something is very easy.

“The English test was a piece of cake.”

8. ‘Let the cat out of the bag’ – to accidentally reveal a secret.

“I let the cat out of the bag about their wedding plans.”

9. ‘To feel under the weather’ – to not feel well.

“I’m really feeling under the weather today; I have a terrible cold.”

10. ‘To kill two birds with one stone’ – to solve two problems at once.

“By taking my dad on holiday, I killed two birds with one stone. I got to go away but also spend time with him.”

11. ‘To cut corners’ – to do something badly or cheaply.

“They really cut corners when they built this bathroom; the shower is leaking.”

12. ‘To add insult to injury’ – to make a situation worse.

“To add insult to injury the car drove off without stopping after knocking me off my bike.”

13. ‘You can’t judge a book by its cover’ – to not judge someone or something based solely on appearance.

“I thought this no-brand bread would be horrible; turns out you can’t judge a book by its cover.”

14. ‘Break a leg’ – means ‘good luck’ (often said to actors before they go on stage).

“Break a leg Sam, I’m sure your performance will be great.”

15. ‘To hit the nail on the head’ – to describe exactly what is causing a situation or problem.

“He hit the nail on the head when he said this company needs more HR support.”

To test your new-found knowledge here are some sentences to practice with. Fill in the blank!

A) I can’t afford this purse! It _______. I won’t be able to pay my rent!

B) His birthday was supposed to be a surprise! I can’t believe you _____. Now he knows!

C) Ha! John has been promising to paint the house for five years…. Maybe when _______.

D) Yeah, it’ll _______. I need to sign some papers at Jenny’s school anyway so i’ll pick her up for you too.

E) I don’t really like going out to bars anymore. I only go _______.

F) I’m sorry I can’t come into work today. I’m ________. I have a sore throat and runny nose.

G) They tried ________ when installing the pipes for the house and now we have leaks only one month after purchasing it!

H) We missed our flight to Paris because the connecting flight was late and to ______ they made us pay for a new ticket as if it was our fault!

I) I can’t wait to see you perform on stage tonight! ______!

J) Jane is just never on time to work, it’s really annoying. O wow, ______ here she comes…

K) So we’re going to London, then Munich, then we will fly out of Athens, right? Great. I’m so glad to be traveling with someone I _______ with.

L) Wow, she found her dream man and has now landed an amazing job. She really does have ______.

M) OK, she might not be the most attractive but _________. I’m sure she is a sweetheart.

N) I have been trying to figure this out for ages. Thanks so much, you’re right. You _______.

O) I can’t believe that was our test. I think it was easier than some of our homework! It was a ______.

So how did you do? Don’t forget to try and use these idioms and phrases when practicing your English. And do let us know if you need further clarification on commonly used idioms by leaving a comment below.

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Answers: 6, 8, 5, 10, 4, 9, 11, 12, 14, 2, 3, 1, 13, 15, 7

2016-09-06

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