Okay. You’ve got the grammar textbooks, dictionaries, and translators. In the classroom, you are a superstar. So why is it so difficult to sometimes understand what natives are saying in the “real world?” What is the difference between being an English language learner who sounds like a learner, and one who sounds more like a native? The answer to both of those questions: [English] IDIOMS. According to Merriam-Webster Learner’s Dictionary (the best ESL dictionary, ever!) an idiom is:
1 : an expression that cannot be understood from the meanings of its separate words but that has a separate meaning of its own.
2 : a form of a language that is spoken in a particular area and that uses some of its own words, grammar, and pronunciations.
3 : a style or form of expression that is characteristic of a particular person, type of art, etc. [count]
In other words, it’s language that’s difficult to learn in a book, with no context, extremely useful and common in any English speaking country, and most importantly, a way to express YOU. So, how should you learn? As there are thousands (and thousands) of idioms out there, I recommend learning them by common theme. The great thing is that idioms can be categorized in so many ways. Find something that interests you, and do a search: _____(interest) idioms and voilà, there you have it.
Or, leave it to me. Learn English idioms online, right here on English Outside the Box! Review the many posts below to learn how to use over 70 new English idioms. To find the new themes, or review past posts, click under CATEGORIES <upper right hand side of the blog> in the “English Idioms of the Week” There you can learn, utilize and practice new idioms based on a variety of themes. In the comment section of each new weekly post, I encourage you to write a relevant story where you can try and use these new idioms, because without application, the learning process can be very difficult.
Happy Learning! ♥