Idiom Examples

The English language as one of the most difficult languages to learn as a second language. Idiom Definitions and Usage. Idioms and Prepositions. Basics on Prepositions. Examples of prepositions. Important rules to remember concerning prepositions.

Рубрика Иностранные языки и языкознание
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Язык английский
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Idiom Examples

The English language is one of the most difficult languages to learn as a second language. In part, this difficulty is caused by all of the idioms that exist in all aspects of the language. An idiom is a construction of words or a phrase that means something different than what the words are literally saying. Idioms are passed down through tradition, culture, and history. Individuals whose primary language is English are able to understand English idioms. However, those with English as a second language (ESL) will often take idioms to mean literally what they say.

Idiom Definitions and Usage

Now that you know what an idiom is by definition, here are some examples of idioms in the English language to further explain this literary term.

Example 1: To make ends meet

Definition: While someone who is not familiar with this idiom might believe it to mean forcing the ends of an object to touch each other, this phrase actually means to have enough money from day to day.

How this idiom is used: Growing up, my family was poor. We often did not have enough to make ends meet.

Example 2: A storm in a teacup (or a tempest in a teacup)

Definition: People not familiar with the saying might literally start to think about how there could possibly be a storm in a teacup. However, this idiom is used to describe the process of showing a lot of worry or excitement over something trivial.

How this idiom is used: All of the panic in the media and the country over the swine flu was just a storm in a teacup.

Example 3: To get out of hand

Definition: Someone who takes this idiom literally would think it to mean that someone was holding something in their hand and they released the object or it escaped. However, this really means to allow a situation to get out of control.

How this idiom is used: The police had allowed the incident to get way out of hand.

Example 4: To pay through the nose

Definition: No, this does not literally mean that people have money coming out of their noses. This is an expression that says someone has paid more money for something than what that something is worth.

How this idiom is used: My mom paid through the nose for her new computer.

Example 5: To take someone under your wing

Definition: Taken literally, others might start to think people have grown wings and can fly. However, this phrase means to mentor someone or to take over looking after another.

How this idiom is used: After the sudden death of their mother and father, the twins were taken under the wings of their aunt and uncle.

Example 6: To pull your weight

Definition: This does not mean to grab your belly and pull. This idiom means to work as hard as you possibly can, or at least give a contribution to a task that is equal to your peers.

How this idiom is used: If she does not start pulling her own weight, I am going to have to report her to the instructor.

Example 7: To bang your head against a brick wall

Definition: To do this literally would just be insane, not to mention hurtful. This idiom means that a person is feeling frustrated because they are getting nowhere either with themselves or with another.

How this idiom is used: Sometimes I feel as if I am banging my head against a brick wall when trying to convince my teenage son that some of his actions are not acceptable.

Example 8: Under the weather

Definition: By natural law, we are always under the weather. However, this phrase means that someone is not feeling very well.

How this idiom is used: I stayed home from work today because I was feeling a bit under the weather.

Example 9: To be one card short of a deck

Definition: To someone not familiar with the phrase, this might literally mean they are trying to play cards with a deck that is not all there; they have 51 cards instead of 52. However, this phrase actually means that a person is a little slow or stupid.

How this is used: My mother in law is so crazy; I honestly think that she is one card short of a deck.

Example 10: To throw in the towel

Definition: This does not mean to literally throw a towel. This idiom is a way of expressing that someone has given up and stopped trying.

How this is used: After seeing that she was never going to understand economics, Denise threw in the towel.

Idioms and Prepositions

Prepositions play a key role in correctly communicating an idiom. If the wrong preposition is used, you will not be using the idiom correctly.

When using prepositions, it can get confusing. For example, one can express anger at a thing, but only express anger with a person.

· Katy was angry with her mom for not letting her go to the party on Friday night.

· Kalob was angry at his stereo because he could not get his CD to play.

Basics on Prepositions

Prepositions are words used to express relationships between two or more things such as direction, location, time, and figurative location.

Some examples of prepositions include:

· To

· Into

· Across

· Toward

· At

· In

· On

· Under

· Over

· Beside

· Among

· By

· Between

· Through

· Before

· After

· During

· Until

· Since

· For

· Against

· With

Some special rules exist pertaining to prepositions. Three important rules to remember concerning prepositions are:

· They must always have an object.

· The object can come before or after the preposition. The preposition and its object are known as a prepositional phrase.

· Avoid overusing prepositions that are not necessary.

Idioms on YourDictionary

You can use YourDictionary to look up the meaning of over 10,000 idioms.

idiom preposition definition

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