English Idioms for ESL / EFL Learners (Part 2)

Common Idioms in English

ESL and EFL students find English idioms hard to learn as their meanings are so different from the literal meanings of the words that make them up.

10 of the most common idioms are listed below with their definitions and example sentences. You can also find other common idioms in another hub which is: English idioms for ESL / EFL Learners

1 - Add fuel to the fire: make a bad situation worse.

Shouting at your daughter just adds fuel to the fire.

2 - Come rain or shine: used for saying that something always happens or someone always does something inspite of bad weather and difficult conditions.

We are determined to finish our project by the end of the month, come rain or shine.

3 - Draw the short straw: be chosen to do something unpleasant.

Somebody has to stay home to look after the baby, and I am afraid you have drawn the short straw.

4 - Follow your nose:

1. do what you feel is right in a particular situation, though you are not certain.

I learned to follow my nose in situations like this.

2. go straight forward, without turning.

Once you go past the post office, just follow your nose.

5 - Grin and bear it: accept a difficult situation without complaining or showing how you feel.

You just have to grin and bear it when your book gets a bad review.

6 - In the middle of nowhere: a long way from any town or city.

I realised that I was in the middle of nowhere when my car broke down.

7 - Keep your hair on: used for telling someone not to get angry or upset.

Keep your hair on! There is no need to get annoyed.

8 - On the spur of the moment: if you do something on the spur of the moment, you do it suddenly and you do not take time to plan it or think carefully about it.

We booked the holiday on the spur of the moment. We hadn't been planning to take a break at all this year.

9 - Reinvent the wheel: waste time and effort trying to do something that someone else has already done well.

There is no point reinventing the wheel. Just use the same document you used last time.

10 - Split hairs: argue or worry about very small details or differences that are not important.

You shouldn't waste time splitting hairs. Just accept it the way it is.

  • 16 January 2015, Friday
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