Picture this scenario: You are having a nice or an epic conversation with your friends about anything in the world. When suddenly, your other friend starts blurting out phrases or words that seem to sound so ordinary to them as well as to your other friends. But you were the only one who found it confusing. Have you been in that situation before? These conversations could happen with just about anyone. Friends, colleagues, family and even other students, classmates or teachers, have you ever heard them mention words that sound so fancy or just plain odd? That even when you have to listen to it again, you still cannot decipher as to what they actually mean? There are also cases wherein you may encounter words while reading your favorite books or reading literary pieces with what others may call as fancy words. Words like “burning the midnight oil”, “She is the black sheep of the group.”
If you have gone through this and find the phrases sounding funny or difficult to decipher, you may have encountered idioms. Idiomatic expressions or Idioms for short. These are the kinds of expressions that can be found mostly in literary pieces like poems, short stories and even essay writing. But how does one really define an idiomatic expression? Why are there idioms in the first place? What do you think is their purpose? Questions left unanswered never really got anyone anywhere. So check out the following examples as well as the answers to your questions. You may want to burn the midnight oil for this, but it is worth it.
“Born with a silver spoon”. “Raining cats and dogs”, “Under the weather”, “Black sheep”, “Sleeps like a log”, “head in the clouds”. Do any of these words or phrases mean anything to you? Do you think that these words or phrases have any meaning behind them? Are you not as curious as the rest to know what these phrases or words literally mean or do they have a different meaning to them altogether? To keep the ball rolling, there’s another one. What are idioms or idiomatic expressions? What is the meaning behind the phrases above? Where can you use an idiomatic expression and how do you use them at all? Should idioms be a part of daily conversations? Some questions that often lead to being unanswered or left unanswered. Not anymore. Let’s begin. An idiom or an idiomatic expression is a phrase or a group of words. These phrases or words present a different meaning, this means that the phrases do not necessarily mean what has been said. An example for this would be born with a silver spoon. Have you ever heard of anyone born with a silver spoon? That is not only impossible, it is also unheard of. This is why an idiom or an idiomatic expression are considered words or expressions that represent a non-literal definition to it. A group of words mixed together to form an expression. These idioms can range from idiomatic expressions in color like “seeing red”, “turning green”. Of course this does not necessarily mean that the person sees only the color red nor is the person turning green. This is just a fancy way of saying something else that may seem too common. In a way you can also say that idiomatic expressions can be exaggerated, to make it sound better or charming to the ears.
In addition to that, an idiomatic expression as defined by Merriam Webster is a dialect or an artsy form of language. This means that idioms are considered a dialect or a language often spoken in a different style or form, with a separate meaning than that of a literal meaning. It is an expression that is oftentimes understood as a form of language that differs from the common rest. In addition to that, it has its own grammatical rules and it only abides by its own. Basically different from the normal English language. Idioms by far are what many people would simply call a fancy way of saying things or a fancier way of speaking the language. To use as an expression that is not as common as one may think. To use in a way to express the characteristics of things, people, colors, and even the weather. To coin it correctly, idioms are expressions. Idioms are somewhat a flight of fancy language that literary writers often use to condone something different to their readers. The idioms do not have to be taken seriously as well. An example for that would be “It’s raining cats and dogs.” If you took this seriously, would you expect to see cats and dogs falling from the sky? Of course some idioms came from somewhere, the idiom it’s raining cats and dogs had a darker history, but not all idioms do. Depending on their origin of course.
As for the idiomatic expressions found in this article, here are there answers. “Born with a silver spoon – born wealthy or born rich.” “Raining cats and dogs – heavy rainstorms, stormy weather.” “Under the weather – feeling ill”, “Black sheep – unlucky person, bad news”, “Sleeps like a log – heavy sleeper”, “Head in the clouds – daydreaming”, “Burn the midnight oil – working late” and “Get the ball rolling – let’s begin, let’s start”.
Did you know? You can actually use idioms in daily conversations or even add an idiom to a conversation? Yes, it’s possible enough to add idiomatic expressions in your conversations. Whether you may notice it or not, there are times that we accidentally slip and use idioms while we talk. Of course idioms can be used just about anywhere and anytime. Depending on the situation and the audience as well as the familiarity of the expression you are using. For more ideas, you can also check on how to use idioms, below.
When you want to stand out of the crowd when doing conversations, you may want to add an idiom or two. Not only does this make you literally stand out, but it also makes your conversations less predictable or dull. Idioms help by making dull conversations better and it’s also good knowledge for those who are interested in learning new idioms day by day. Of course you also have to choose which idiom is appropriate for the conversation as well as for where you are going to be using them.
Literary authors often use idiomatic expressions to make their literary pieces stand out. They also love using idioms in a way that helps their characters express something on a deeper level or in a fancier way. Rather than just using the most common of expressions. Idioms also help make literary pieces sound better when readers would be reading them out loud or quietly.
What better way for students to learn idioms than giving it as a class activity. Depending on the level of your students, your idiomatic expression class activity should also fit their level and their needs. A good class activity filled with idioms, you can get as creative as you can get.
Just like in literary writing, essay writing is also famous for having a lot of idiomatic expressions used. This makes the essay stand out as well as making your points more interesting. It is also usually used when you want to make it seem more thought out than it normally is. Idioms on essay writings can differ as well as using the right idiom would eventually make your essay stand out over the rest. Just as long as you know which idiom to use in your sentences as well.
Another activity that idioms can be used in. Ice breakers especially for occasions that need a lot of it. Think of events like weddings, school parties, school plays. Even using idioms in the form of a joke. Idioms are really quite helpful if you come to think of it that way. So the next time you need one, think of an idiom and turn it into a game or a joke.
The most common idioms are:
Idioms can be used just about anything. From literary pieces to essay writing. They can even be used as ice breakers or even games for class. Idioms make your writing or conversation stand out by using words that are not as common as anyone may expect.
Depending on the conversation and how you may use them, yes. Idioms can be used on any occasion and on a daily basis. Again, depending on where, how and who you may be talking to or using it.
The next time you hear someone talk something either too fancy or too out of this world, you may now assume it as an idiom. There are of course a lot of ways to realize if they use idioms as idioms often go with sentences or can even stand on their own. Regardless of how they use it, finding out that idioms can be used in so many ways is cool information already.