Well, that doesn’t sound like my cup of tea, and it’s raining cats and dogs outside – plus I’m feeling a little under the weather – so I’ll just batten down the hatches.

Say what?

Welcome to the zany world of British idioms.

IDI-WHAT?

An idiom – or idiomatic expression / phrase – is a phrase or sentence where a literal translation would not give you its true meaning…(pragmatics for those linguists out there).

Their beginnings, roots or etymologies are sometimes historical, sometimes theological, sometimes just unknown.

They flirt, on occasion, with both metaphor and phrasal verbs (featured on a previous blog, click the link!), and are playful little devils.

Ultimately, they make speaking English quite good fun.

I’m over the moon!

Really?

No.

It means: I am very pleased. 

As you cannot usually translate an idiom, they have to be learnt. And there are quite a few…

WHY USE THEM?

Well, aside from being jaunty, they’re commonly used by native speakers – so learning and using idioms helps both with understanding English and increasing your own fluency.

Certain idioms are bound to specific contexts – and surfing has quite a few. Many of these double up as phrasal verbs too:

  • She’s in the pocket = to ride in the steepest – and therefore fastest – part of the wave. A great place to be!
  • Wipe out = falling off your board on a wave

TOP TIP

Take a look at some lists of idioms. Here’s a good one.

Learn one idiom a day and try and use this in your English practise.

BABEL FISH LANGUAGE MISSION…

Can you decipher the idioms first sentence of the blog? Answer to follow in our Instagram stories…

There are four of them! Piece of cake 😉