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Free English Lesson: Some of the Most Used Idioms in English!

Image representing students learning how to make sentences much more interesting

Idioms are important to know, because we English-speakers use them all the time. So even if you feel a little strange using them yourself, knowing them will give you a much better level of understanding. Here are some of the most common ones:

1.  To ‘kill two birds with one stone’

This means ‘to do two things at the same time’, and is used especially when you want to get two tasks finished in one go.

Eg, ‘If we meet Dave in St George’s pub, then I can ask the pub owner if he found my jacket on Friday – so we’ll kill 2 birds with one stone’

2. To be ‘on the ball’

This is when someone is quick to understand, focus and react to things.

E.g, ‘I didn’t get much sleep last night, so I’m not really on the ball today, sorry’

3.  To sit on the fence.

This means when someone does not want to cmake a clear choice between two possibilites. It is often used in politics, when someone does not want to choose a side in regards to a political decision.

E.g. ‘No one knows who Sarah is going to vote for. She’s sitting on the fence at the moment’

4. Hear it on the grapevine

This is when you hear news from someone who heard the news from someone else, often when people have been gossiping.

E.g. ‘I heard on the grapevine that they are getting married, but I don’t know when’.

5. Once in a blue moon

We use this idiom when something happens very rarely (not often).

Eg. ‘My husband is lazy. He does the dishes once in blue moon!’

Practice

Which idiom would you use in these situations?

  1. You can’t decide whether to quit your job or stay there.
  2. You invite your friend over because you haven’t seen him in ages, AND he can help you fix your computer!
  3. You hardly ever go to the cinema.
  4. You heard from a friend that your other friend might be pregnant, but you’re not sure.
  5. You hire a new employee and she is very sharp, smart, intelligent and always gives you answers quickly.

Your Turn

Now try to use these idioms in sentences. Write a short story and use all 5 idioms in it. It can be as silly and crazy as you like – just have fun with it!