The following pages will familiarize your students with the use of different English idioms.

This collection of worksheets will introduce your students to common English idioms. After finishing this section students should have a solid grasp on this skill and be ready to get to that next level of language development. Project idea: Have your students choose a favorite idiom and research its origin. Note that some have many different theories as to where and how they developed. I bet you never could have guessed the history on that one?

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Print Idiom Worksheets

Click the buttons to print each worksheet and associated answer key.

Using Them Worksheet

Using Idioms

The sentences below express literal thoughts. Rewrite each sentence using the bank full of words.

Meanings Worksheet

Sentence Meanings

Use each words in a sentence. Then tell what the idiom you think it means. What is the message that is coming across for you.

Fill In Worksheet

Filler Up!

Read the word bank below. Fill in the blanks to complete each sentence. You will need to understand the thought that is being placed.

Track It Worksheet

Track It Down!

Underline the word that sticks out "Like a Sore Thumb!" in each sentence. See what we did there?

Change It Worksheet

Change Up

Read the sentence. Then, on the line below, rewrite the sentence to convey the same meaning without using the word that is pointed out. The really helps you understand where you are with this skill.

Sentence Level Worksheet

Sentence User

Look at each picture below. Match it to the word that describes what is going on in the picture. Write what the sentence or thought really means. Then use it in a sentence.

Literal Thoughts Worksheet

Literal Words

Underline the idiom in each sentence below. Then rewrite it using only literal words. This is an interesting worksheet. We encourage teachers to do the first one as a class.

Translate Worksheet

Translate It

Rewrite each sentence below, translating the highlighted word(s) into literal language. This is a nice one to help students get through it.

Recognition Worksheet

Recognition

Find the word of interest in each sentence and explain what it means in your own words.

Explaining Worksheet

Understanding

Explain the nature and use of each short phrase that you are shown here.

Common Idioms Worksheet

The Common List

Typical examples include: I know this place like the back of my hand. This product uses cutting edge technology. I figured that getting Ed to agree ought to be a snap.

Sentence Worksheet

Sentence Stuffers

Use the word chunk or phrases to complete the sentences. Make sure that the language flows well.

Word Bank Worksheet

The Big Olde' Bank

Choose the word that best matches each situation. Write the idiom’s letter on the line next to each item.

Beats Worksheet

Box of Beats

Explain the meaning of everything that is presented to you. This really helps you put this skill into motion.

Speaking Worksheet

Speaking

Translating the meaning of slang is a huge profession in other countries around the world.

Why Do We Use Idioms?

Idioms are set phrases that are specific to each language and culture that regularly share a common language. These phrases are not intended to be taken literally. Idioms are a form of figurative language that breathe life into the language that they are commonly spoken in. They offer hidden meanings in the words that are spoken. A common example is "That was a piece of cake!”" When interpreted by the listener or reader it would mean that what ever action was performed was simple or very easy. Each language has a set of well-known idioms present. The English language has tens of thousands, at last count. More are being created daily for example a recent idiom is, "hug it out". Which means come to a quick agreement. Though idioms often function as a metaphor, they are not considered to be one. Idioms require total familiarity with a culture in order to be correctly interpreted because the individual definitions of the words are not supporting the comparison. Instead, it relies on shared cultural references to make its point.

You must have heard many idioms in your life which have elicited some reaction or emotion in you. Idioms are phrases that are literary devices to add more color to the piece of writing or spoken words. Since it is figurative, the phrase's true meaning is entirely different from the literal meaning.

According to the experts, the idioms relate to the complexity of human thinking. Everything is not supposed to be perceived as it is. Sometimes there are hidden truths to the simple words, and idioms are an artistic way to present such complex thoughts. There are various uses of idioms in all languages from which a person can benefit.

Optimally using idioms can help writers enjoy their pieces, and readers can ponder and think. It portrays a writer's creativity and prompts the audience to think outside the box. For example, if you are giving a speech about saving money, you can start by saying, "A penny saved is a penny earned."

Another example could be, "We deserve the best of both worlds." This means that we deserve all the benefits and opportunities. Idioms can enhance your conversational skills and make you feel confident about incorporating different speech styles in your conversations.

Idioms are part of every language and are customized according to the culture and traditions of a place. When a non-native use idioms, it shows one's knowledge about culture and the place that creates an impact on the other person. Such as the Spanish idiom for "seeing through rose-tinted glasses" is "al mal tiempo, buena cara," which is translated into "during bad times, put on a good face."

Moreover, idioms are used to create humor, and even bold or severe things can be said with a tinge of humor to make them look acceptable. For example, if you want to tell someone that something is impossible, instead of refusing them and looking rigid, you can use the idiom "when pigs fly" to say that what they demand is not available. Using expressions can make something less severe or insulting.

Examples of Idioms from Daily Life

A blessing in disguise

Meaning: Something that seems terrible but turns out to be highly favorable.

Bite the bullet

Meaning: To do something reluctantly because it is inevitable.

Cry over spilled milk.

Meaning: Regret doing something, but now nothing can change.

Cutting corners

Meaning: Doing bare minimum.

Pull yourself together.

Meaning: To calm down

Hit the sack

Meaning: To get ready to sleep

Miss the boat

Meaning: missing the chance.

Pull someone's leg

Meaning: to joke with someone

Speak of the devil

Meaning: it is used when a person about whom you are talking or thinking shows up.

Once in a blue moon.

Meaning: something that occurs very rarely.

Bent out of shape

Meaning: To be upset.

Under the weather

Meaning: It is used for a sick person.

These idioms are part of our daily routine. Tell us which one is your favorite and which ones you use in your life the most. We’d like to hear some clever stories of how you use idioms at your advantage!