Click on the questions below to learn more about the idioms and activities.
One of the challenges to learning any language is to understand and use idioms in everyday conversation. Although there exist many idiom dictionaries for North American English, learners (1) often cannot find enough sample sentences to learn how these expressions are used in different contexts and (2) don’t have speaking opportunities to practice the idioms in conversation.
In response to this need, I create short videos that introduce idioms with these goals:
Learners need to know how common an idiom is used in actual conversation. I don’t want you to try to use these idioms and find out no one uses them at all. I mean, who wants to sound out-of-touch with the modern world by using expressions only known to William Shakespeare. With this in mind, I try to indicate how frequently these idioms are used based on my interviews with other native speakers in the United States. I use these general identifiers:
All of the activities can be done by learners on their own. However, because the lessons are designed to increase learners’ comprehension AND speaking skills, going through the speaking questions and situations (with a teacher or a study partner) can help learners really master the idioms.
I suggest having students work in pairs as they work through the activities.
This project is in the early stages of development, with links to activities that have been completed.
Well, I have been developing this Web site since 1998, and over the years, my interests have evolved over time along with online services such as YouTube and more recently, TikTok.
I have always wanted to help students understand everyday conversations AND speaking more naturally, and studying idioms and learning how to use them is one of my focuses now.
Absolutely. Feel free to send me a suggestion for consideration.
Don’t judge a book by its cover
Doze off (also, nod off and out like a light)
Ghost someone (Future Lesson)
Harp on (and on) about something
Let sleeping dogs lie (Future Lesson)
Nose around (Future Lesson)
Not the sharpest tool in the shed
On the back burner (Future Lesson)
Paddle your own canoe (Future Lesson)
Pain in the neck (Future Lesson)
Paint the town red (Future Lesson)
Put a sock in it (Future Lesson)
Rack your brains
Raise the bar (Future Lesson)
Recharge one’s batteries (Future Lesson)
Run out of steam (Future Lesson)
Spill the beans (Future Lesson)
Sweep something under the rug (Future Lesson)