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Free English Lesson! 4 Common Clothing Idioms

Image representing students taking the FCE exam

In the English language, idioms can come from the strangest of places. This time, we’re looking at clothing-related idioms, to help you use English naturally and easily.

1.At the drop of a hat

This is used to describe doing something suddenly, without any prior planning or warning.

E.g. “He changed his mind about his travel plans at the drop of a hat”

2.Fine tooth comb

This is a metaphorical idiom, used to describe going through and checking something very carefully and slowly. It can be used when you are looking for something physical, such as an object, or in an abstract sense too.

E.g. “We have to go through the report with a fine tooth comb, to make sure there are no mistakes.”

 3.Put oneself in someone else’s shoes

This is used to express trying to imagine how someone else might feel in a particular situation, or to understand someone else’s perspective.

E.g. “Put yourself in her shoes, she hasn’t got as much money as the rest of us.”

 4.Put a sock in it

This is used in a slightly aggressive way, to tell someone to shut up or stop talking, when you are annoyed with them. You would only use this in informal situations.

E.g. “Will you put a sock in it? I’m trying to watch TV.”

 Quick Practice

 Which idioms would you use in the following events? 

  1. Some people keep talking and interrupting during a film at the cinema
  2. You are trying to get two people to understand each other during an argument.
  3. You are looking through your house for a lost earring.
  4. Your friend has a habit of coming up with plans at the last minute.

Your turn

 Practice is the best way to help you understand and remember idioms. Write a conversation between you and your friends at a mall, and try to use each idiom once.